Final Oscar Predictions

hugh_jackman

Best Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Best Actress: Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams (Doubt)
Best Director: David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eli Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Cinamatography: Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt / Victor J. Zolfo (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Costume Design: Michael O’Connor (The Duchess)
Best Sound: Tom Myers / Michael Semanick / Ben Burtt (WALL-E)
Best Editing: Chris Dickens (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Sound Editing: Ben Burtt / Matthew Wood (WALL-E)
Best Visual Effects: Eric Barba / Steve Preeg / Burt Dalton / Craig Barron (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Makeup: Greg Cannom (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Song: Peter Gabriel’s “Down to Earth” (WALL-E)
Best Music: Alexandre Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Best Animated Short Film: La Maison en Petits Cubes
Best Live Action Short Film: The Pig
Best Short Documentary: The Conscience of Nhem En
Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Best Foreign Film: Waltz with Bashir
Best Animated Film: WALL-E

There you have it. Some pretty risky predictions there; it’s a mixture of personal opinion and what others have said. Guessing on the foreign films and short documentaries has become an annual tradition for me. 🙂

If I find a laptop, I will be updating during the ceremony via Twitter. Feel free to follow me and tweet your thoughts.

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2008 in Review

It’s been said before by many others that 2007 is the better year for film, and I would agree. But the films of 2008 have amazed me. I saw beauty from different angles and understanding. I saw a man walk on air, the passion behind professional wrestling, and the simple joy of working a crane. I had tears of laughter ripped from my soul.

I would also like to note what appears to be a verite(style) renaissance of sorts last year. Some films blended documentary footage and photographs with the film, while others attempted to capture that realistic feel. Milk, Frost/Nixon, and The Wrestler come to mind.

And along those same notes, there was a good crop of documentary films as well, some of which feature prominately on the following list.

With that said, these are my top 11 films of 2008 in alphabetical order:

Favorite short film: City of Cranes

Alphabet Meme

The Rules

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under “R,” not “S” as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with “S.” Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under “R,” not “I” as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under “L” and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under “C,” as that’s what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Mine was done free-form. Whatever film popped into my head first was the one I picked, provided that I have seen it before. I didn’t want to just plug in my favorite films, which would be boring.

Amelie
Barton Fink
Conversation
Departed
Elephant Man
Fargo
Gosford Park
Heat
Ikiru
Jurassic Park
Kate & Leopold
Little Miss Sunshine
Mystery Men
No Country for Old Men
October Sky
Pirates of Penzance
Queen
Road to Perdition
Shawshank Redemption
Taxi Driver
Unbreakble
V for Vendetta
War of the Buttons
X-Men
You Can’t Take It With You
Zulu

Instigators: Blog Cabins / Insight into Entertainment

Victims:
1. Super Movie Time
2. Impromptu Audience
3. Rants of a Diva
4. Is This Seat Taken?
5. Noirishcity

The Men Behind the Monsters

As my first post after the horror fest (12 classic horror films in four days), I would like to write about some of the recurring actors that I encountered. Some were old friends, like Claude Rains, while others were new faces.



Actor: Bela Lugosi
Filmography: Dracula / The Wolf Man
Previous Films Viewed: Plan 9 From Outer Space

Fond Memory: Listening to his inspired Count Dracula voice.

His performance as Count Dracula lived up to my expectations. It was a little weird watching this version having already seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola), which I didn’t care for all that much. The difference in character is very different from film to film. The next Dracula film on my list to see if Werner Herzog’s adaptation. Kinski in the titular role sounds like a match made in heaven.

Personal Quote:

“Never has a role so influenced and dominated an actor’s role as has the role of Dracula. He [Dracula] has, at times, infused me with prosperity and, at other times, he has drained me of everything.”


Actor: Dwight Frye
Filmography: Dracula / Frankenstein / The Invisible Man / Bride of Frankenstein
Previous Films Viewed:
N/A
Fond Memory: Watching his performance as the crazed Renfield in Dracula.

I have quickly become a fan of Dwight Frye, who is aptly known as “The Man of a Thousand Deaths”. His roles included Renfield in Dracula, Fritz in Frankenstein, a news reporter in The Invisible Man, and Karl in Bride of Frankenstein; he’s quite the versatile actor, though he seems too type-cast as you can see in the following quote from Frye himself.

I’m wanting to see more films that he has been in, so any recommendations would be appreciated before I update my NetFlix queue.

Personal Quote:

“If God is good, I will be able to play comedy, in which I was featured on Broadway for eight seasons and in which no producer of motion pictures will give me a chance! And please God, may it be before I go screwy playing idiots, half-wits and lunatics on the talking screen!”


Actor: Edward Van Sloan
Filmography: Dracula / Frankenstein / The Mummy
Previous Films Viewed:
N/A
Fond Memory: Seeing his face popping in 1/4 of the films we watched.

Actor: Boris Karloff
Filmography: Frankenstein / The Mummy / Bride of Frankenstein
Previous Films Viewed: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Fond Memory: Fully understanding the references to Karloff in Arsenic & Old Lace.

Personal Quote:

“One always hears of actors complaining of being typed – if he’s young, he’s typed as a juvenile; if he’s handsome, he’s typed as a leading man. I was lucky. Whereas bootmakers have to spend millions to establish a trademark, I was handed a trademark free of charge. When an actor gets in a position to select his own roles, he’s in big trouble, for he never knows what he can do best. I’m sure I’d be damn good as little Lord Fauntleroy, but who would pay ten cents to see it?”


Actor: Claude Rains
Filmography: The Invisible Man / The Wolf Man
Previous Films Viewed: The Adventures of Robin Hood / Mr. Smith Goes to Washington / The Sea Hawk / Casablanca / Notorious / Lawrence of Arabia

Fond Memory: His incredible performance in Notorious.

I hadn’t realized until now how many Claude Rains films I’ve seen before. I loved his performance in The Invisible Man; the blend of madness and intelligence was brilliantly portrayed, I thought.

Personal Quote:

“Often we’d secretly like to do the very things we discipline ourselves against. Isn’t that true? Well, here in the movies I can be as mean, as wicked as I want to – and all without hurting anybody. Look at that lovely girl I’ve just shot!”


Actor: Vincent Price
Filmography: House on Haunted Hill / House of Wax / The Last Man on Earth
Previous Films Viewed: The Fly / The Three Musketeers / The Ten Commandments
/ Edward Scissorhands
Fond Memory: Playing Egghead in the 60’s Batman TV show.

Personal Quote:

“I sometimes feel that I’m impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it.”

Attack of the Meme

You can blame this on MovieMan0283 at The Dancing Image for starting this up and T.S. at Screen Savour for tagging me. 😉 So before we get to the goodies, here are the rules for the latest Internet fad:

1. You must not have seen any of the films on your list, either in theatres or on video.

2. The films on your list should not be available on Netflix (this will be the criteria for “availability” since it’s too hard to track down what’s available where, to who, etc.)

3. You can organize the list however you want, in themed couplets like Piper’s original list, or just as twelve semi-random films.

4. You must credit and link to my blog, Piper’s blog for getting the original ball rolling, and for good measure, the guys at Out 1 for planting the seed.

5. Tag five people to keep the meme going.

6. If you’re too lazy to follow all of these rules, but still want to participate, you have my blessing (the more the merrier). Except for the rule about linking to my blog. That you still have to obey.

This time around I decided to break the films up into pairs of two, mostly by director. At first I thought that this would be too hard to accomplish (while abiding by the rules, that is), but then I remembered that there were quite a few Italian films that I couldn’t find on NetFlix. So doing some backtracking, and aided by a few bouts of genius, let’s get this party started:

Theme: Vittorio De Sica (Director)
Films: Shoe Shine / The Gold of Naples

Theme: Roberto Rossellini (Director) / Ingrid Bergman (Actor)
Films: Stromboli / Journey to Italy

Theme: Luchino Visconti (Director)
Films: Senso / Days of Glory

Theme: Abel Gance (Director)
Films: Napoleon / I Accuse

Theme: Miscellaneous
Films: Chaplin / Sleuth (1972)

***BONUS FEATURES***

Theme: Hitchcock Films that NEED to Be More Available
Films: Notorious / Rebecca

Honorable Mention:
War of the Buttons (Why is this gem not on DVD yet?)


Obligatory Tags:

Movie Reviews By CaptainD

The Kinetoscope Parlor

YDKS Movies

Celluloid Fire

/Film

(EDIT: Just found out that this is my 100th post. Yay)

Top 10 Guilty Pleasures…

…movies that I like, but probably shouldn’t.

In descending order according to their IMDb rankings:

The Master of Disguise

Honestly, I don’t know WHY I like this one.

Kung Pow! Enter the First

It’s just a lot of Oedekerk-y (Yes, I had to copy/paste that name) fun.

Ang Lee’s Hulk

Yes, I definitely prefer this over The Incredible Hulk. Better casting, story, and direction. I won’t go into too much detail, though. I’m wanting to do a more in-depth review at some point down the road.

Lady in the Water

(Got tired of the usual poster) Again, I’m wanting to write up a review for this as well. But I really enjoyed watching this one. Fun and intriguing.

Intolerable Cruelty

What can I say? It’s a quirky romantic comedy from the Coen Bros. You can read my review here.

U.H.F.

It’s a Weird Al film starring Michael Richards and a mop. Watch it already! There are just TOO many clips that I could show. But this one is a personal favorite:

Cop Land

People probably do like this one, but it deserves the plug. 🙂

Cannibal: The Musical

Yeah, definitely a guilty pleasure. A college film from Tery Parker and Matt Stone? Count me in.

The Adventures of Milo & Otis

Pugs are cute.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong

I get a lot of flack for preferring this to the original. What can I say? It blew me away. Sure it isn’t perfect, but neither is the original.

This post was for the Guilty Pleasures Blog-a-Thon at Invasion of the B Movies.

2008 Oscar-Bait

Well, it’s been a good year at the movies so far. There are only a few films that I’m interested in seeing this Summer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder)

My Top 5 for 2008 So Far:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall-E
3. American Teen
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
5. Iron Man

That said, I’m really looking forward to Oscar season this year. I have a feeling that the Academy Awards are going to be insane with competition. Last year was good, but this will probably be better. This afternoon I hunted down the upcoming films for the rest of the year.

My Top 11 Must-Sees:



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett / Tilda Swinton

Zodiac was royally shafted at the Academy Awards this year. I thought it should have been nominated for picture, adapted screenplay, supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr) and visual effects. It probably wouldn’t have won any, but it should have had some recognition.

That said, I think Benjamin Button is going to get Fincher back in the game.


(Apple Trailers)

Burn After Reading
Directed By: Ethan Coen / Joel Coen
Starring: Brad Pitt / George Clooney / John Malkovich / Tilda Swinton / Frances McDormand

After the amazing No Country for Old Men last year, it looks like the Coens are back in action with a dark screwball comedy (their forte) with a great ensemble cast. It will be nice to see Frances McDormand in a Coen film again.


(Apple Trailers)

Revolutionary Road
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leondardo DiCaprio / Kate Winslet / Kathy Bates

Looks like a Titanic cast reunion. Add in the director of American Beauty and Road to Perdition and you have an awesome combination.

The Soloist
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. / Jamie Foxx / Catharine Keener

Robert Downey Jr. has been in an insane number of films the last few years. That’s all.

Australia
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Hugh Jackman / Nicole Kidman / David Wenham

Quite simply, this looks epic, and I do not want to miss seeing it on the silver screen. It may end up being the next Lawrence of Arabia for all we know. And you can’t go wrong with Hugh Jacman.


(Apple Trailers)

Appaloosa
Directed By: Ed Harris
Starring: Viggo Mortensen / Renée Zellweger / Jeremy Irons / Ed Harris

As long as it’s better than Hidalgo. Solid cast, and the amazing Ed Harris.

Lakeview Terrace
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Starring: Patrick Wilson / Kerry Washington / Samuel L. Jackson

What can I say? The preview sold me. This looks to be quite the tense film.


(Apple Trailers)

Body of Lies
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio / Russell Crowe

Since 2002, DiCaprio hasn’t disappionted me once as an actor. He just keeps plugging away. With 8 films in the next two years, he’s going to be a busy man. And to top it off, the preview reminded me a little bit of Michael Mann’s Heat, which is never a bad thing.

Doubt
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep / Philip Seymour Hoffman / Amy Adams

I’ve heard really good things about the Shanley’s play, which this is based on. And what a great cast.

The Reader
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet / Ralph Fiennes

Defiance
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig / Liev Schreiber / Jamie Bell

You can’t go wrong with Edward Zwick.

What films are you looking forward to the most?