Monday, August 31, 2015

Oscar Watch: Concussion (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of my Oscar Watch where I discuss trailers for upcoming Oscar contenders. For this post, I will delve into a trailer for a film that is hardly on my radar but I wouldn't be surprised to see it make a late splash since it comes out at around Christmas time. This film is Concussion starring Will Smith.

This one deals with very hefty and timely subject matter as it depicts a doctor that delved into the brain damage problems that have plagued NFL players. Because its subject matter is so heavy, I can imagine the NFL being nitpicky and pointing out whether the events that take place in the film are true. If the film paints the NFL out to be the villain, then it'll suffer in my opinion. Both at the hands of the NFL and critics.

My other biggest concern is Will Smith. While I have enjoyed his on-screen star charisma, I've never really bought him as an actor per se. Here, he looks like he's trying really hard to not be his "King of Cool" self by playing the role quite straight and putting on the African accent. Even if he doesn't get an Oscar nod for this, if it fares well, here is hoping he seeks out more movies where he isn't saving the world. Also, I hope that Gugu Mbatha-Raw has a larger role than the trailer suggests. While the film is the Smith show, I would hate to see an actress of her caliber relegated mostly in the background.

Overall, I have my reservations about the film. But if it doesn't get hit with controversy by the NFL or get harsh reviews, then it might be a late bloomer in the awards race. If not, then it might at least fare better commercially if Will Smith still has staying power at the box office.

Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on whether you think it looks primed to be an awards player or whether it just looks like a good film. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oscar Re-Do Blogathon: My Own Entry!

Hello, Bloggers, since I just completed my Oscar Re-Do blogathon, I figured just for the heck of it, I would create my own entry. It is a little late, but because there are plenty of amazing films that have been ignored by Oscars almost across the board, I will avenge one myself. That film is Gone Girl. 

Best Picture: This is an easy one. It is one of my top 5 films of the year and after repeat viewings, it continues to hold up. Much more so than others, which brings me to...

What Goes Off: The Theory of Everything. Gone Girl is a modern and inventive look at the media and marriage while also being a mystery. The Theory of Everything is another disabled genius biopic that, despite its solid performances, is too conventional for its own good.

Best Director: David Fincher. Of course, how could I forget to recognize the genius who put the amazing film together?

Who Goes Off: Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game. Interestingly, while I thought his film was pretty good, one of its biggest flaws was Tyldum's direction, which left me very cold by the time the credits rolled.

Best Actress: Rosamund Pike (*already nominated*)

Best Supporting Actress: Carrie Coon. While I think the movie belongs to Pike, out of the supporting cast, it is Carrie Coon who is the MVP as the one bright spot amongst a sea of darker, grey characters.

Who Goes Off: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood. After repeat viewings of Boyhood, Arquette's performance didn't really hold up in my eyes. Quite the opposite effect of Carrie Coon's performance.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Gillian Flynn. THE adapted screenplay of the year. Not even close. Even if the movie wasn't for everyone, this snub was inexcusable. I mean, those diary monologues! Damn.

Who Goes Off: Damien Chazelle, Whiplash. Pains me to do this, but it isn't an adapted screenplay. So unfortunately, it goes off.

Best Original Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Those two continue to create such inventive and unique scores. This one is no different.

Who Goes Off: Johann Johansson, Theory of Everything. Even when it won at the Globes, I thought "It was a fine score, but over that competition?"

So that is my entry in my own blogathon. Please feel free to write your thoughts on it in the comments section and I look forward to creating another one in the future. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oscar Watch: 45 Years (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of my Oscar Watch where I discuss trailers for upcoming potential Oscar contenders. For this post, I will go into the trailer for 45 Years starring Charlotte Rampling and Oscar-nominee Tom Courtenay.

Now, I'm pretty intrigued by this one and am curious to exactly what it is about. It also looks like an interesting showcase for Charlotte Rampling who I've only seen in her few scenes in Melancholia and she nailed it. I could definitely see her getting a solid push. She did win Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival which is quite a prestigious honor and could add fuel to her campaign. It also is an intriguing leap for director Andrew Haigh who previously directed the criminally underseen gay dramedy Weekend and was behind the recently cancelled HBO series Looking. 

So I'm pretty intrigued by it and think that its storyline about an elderly couple could resonate well with Academy voters. That is if the film isn't too obscure. Of course, that doesn't immediately hinder one's chances. Just ask Marion Cotillard. When Jennifer Aniston made the rounds for Cake, her film had a small distributor as well, but outside of her performance, the film had a mixed reception and peaked way too late. But this one looks to be peaking at the right time as it will make its way to Toronto and since it has been released in the UK, already has a positive reception.

What do you guys think? Do you think it looks like a legitimate awards contender? Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Topic Of The Day: The Re-Ascension of Anne Hathaway

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I figured I'd delve into an actress that received unnecessary flack yet looks to return to the screen with a vengeance. That actress is Anne Hathaway.

As Anne Hathaway won every award under the sun for her work as Fantine in Les Miserables, she became such an object of hate on the Internet. Partially because of overexposure and also because of her campaigning and breathless acceptance speeches that came off as feigned and less genuine. She was pretty much labeled as the Anti-Jennifer Lawrence.

After her Oscar win, though, she took a minor break from the screen, having a cameo in 2013's Don Jon as well as voice work in Rio 2. Then she reunited with Christopher Nolan for Interstellar. Yet because the promotion of the film didn't put much emphasis on her, it didn't feel like a TRUE return to the screen.

But looking at her upcoming slate of films, she looks to be reclaiming her title as one of Hollywood's versatile leading ladies. This year, she has the romantic comedy The Intern co-starring Robert De Niro. Next year, she returns to Wonderland for the sequel to Alice in Wonderland: Alice Through The Looking Glass. 

It gets even better. She'll be teaming up with director Joe Wright for the adaptation of the period novel The Lifeboat and will star in and produce a female-centered sci-fi comedy known as The Shower which deals with women fighting off men that are turned into vicious aliens after a meteor strikes. She'll even be taking her talents to television with the upcoming TV miniseries The Ambassador's Wife. Thanks to her much-lauded lip-synced rendition of "Wrecking Ball" on the show Lip Sync Battle, she might be slowly earning back the respect of audiences and truly become the eclectic star she deserves to be. She is one of our best working today and she is making no apologies for it yet I am thrilled about it. Catwoman will come out of the Bat Cave!

Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on Anne Hathaway's upcoming film choices. Do you find them to be as interesting as I do or are you still not overly fond of her? Either way, I'd love to hear your opinions. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oscars 2016: As The Season Begins...

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. The fall festival circuit is just around the corner and that means awards season will officially kick in to high gear. So I figured I'd offer up a few things to keep in mind.

On my blog, I often talk about Oscar films that focus on checking the most boxes whether they are real-life stories or adaptations of Broadway musicals with pedigree casts. But I would say that when looking at the upcoming slate of contenders, look past the pedigree. When the trailers for Bridge of Spies came out, I didn't really buy it as a legitimate contender despite the checked boxes (Spielberg and Hanks re-teaming for another war movie) because the trailers weren't very mesmerizing like the teaser for Carol. Honestly, I keep forgetting about the existence of Bridge of Spies which isn't the greatest sign. So what I am getting at is that a contender with a lot of prestige doesn't always translate to breathing awards fire. Just ask the makers of J. Edgar, Amelia, Nine, The Judge, Wild, Foxcatcher, Into The Woods, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. They'll tell you. While a lot of these films did get at least one nod, they weren't the juggernauts that I'm sure their studios were hoping they'd be.

It's the same thing with performances as well. Take for example Jennifer Aniston. Plenty of us thought she was a lock for a Best Actress nod because of, not just her aggressive campaign, but because of the boxes her performance checks: Comedian going serious, glamorous actress stripping off her makeup, illness, etc.. But low and behold, she was left out in favor of critical darling Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night. That brings me to my next point. Pay attention to the critics. Look at a few key critics awards: LAFCA, NYFCC, BSFC, NSFC, NYFCO, Online Film Critics Society, and the National Board of Review. When a film or performance is getting ignored by the guilds, they're usually pretty good at predicting a dark horse or fringe contender that sneaks in like Marion Cotillard who won the NYFCC, NSFC, BFSC, and NYFCO award for her work in Two Days, One Night and The Immigrant. While critics don't run the Oscars, they still matter as to who gets in.

Some of the contenders this year for say, Best Actress, are previous nominees and/or winners (Julianne Moore, Carey Mulligan, Jennifer Lawrence, etc.). But I wouldn't be quick to put them on my predictions on Gold Derby as of right now because for all we know, their films could falter. So as of right now, I would lean more towards performances that plenty have seen already like Blythe Danner in indie crowd pleaser I'll See You In My Dreams, Charlotte Rampling who won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for 45 Years, and even Charlize Theron who received some pretty loud buzz in Mad Max: Fury Road. Of course, there is talk about previous winner Cate Blanchett being a possible frontrunner in Carol but thankfully that film screened already at Cannes.

So going into this upcoming awards season, my biggest advice is to look past the pedigree. While being a previous winner or nominee certainly helps a performance or a film's cause, it doesn't make one an automatic guarantee as a frontrunner. Some of this year's early critical darlings are Inside Out, Straight Outta Compton, Love and Mercy, and Mad Max: Fury Road. If we pay attention to films like those in case a prestigious pedigree film falls flat, then those more out of the box contenders could have a legitimate fighting chance if we give them plenty of attention. If any of them win the major critics circles I just mentioned, then I would keep a watchful eye on them.

Whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading and here is to a great awards season!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Oscar Re-Do Blogathon Links!

Hello, Bloggers, here are the links to those that participated in my Oscar Re-Do blogathon. First off, I want to thank those who participated. I really enjoyed reading about which snubbed films you would've avenged. Let's take a look:

First off, Andrew from A Fistful Of Films took us back to 1939 with one of his favorites known as Beau Geste.

Wendell from Dell On Movies would've made 'everything more awesome' of he ran the Academy.

Big Screen Small Words shows some love for Stoker.

I also want to give a shoutout to a user named joel65913 who entered his own entry in the comments section on my previous post on the blogathon.

It was a lot of fun creating my first blogathon and I look forward to starting another one and seeing more exciting entries from you folks. Thanks again!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Oscars 2016: For Your Consideration- The Supporting 'Trainwreck' Girls

Hello, Bloggers, I have created another For Your Consideration post since we are getting closer to the incoming awards season. To prevent potential cases of category fraud, which is very common in the Supporting acting categories, I figured I'd throw in some names worthy of consideration that give legitimately supporting performances. For this post, I'll go into the supporting ladies from Trainwreck: Brie Larson and Tilda Swinton.

First, Brie Larson. As the protagonist Amy's sister Kim, Larson manages to attempt to ground Amy into her reality and mold into her lifestyle of marriage through the use of deadpan yet charming wit. It also helps that she and Amy Schumer create such natural, sisterly chemistry. Since Larson's task is to humanize the main character, she nails it without the use of shouting or teary "actress-y" scenes. A nomination for Larson would be like a beacon, signaling the arrival of a new star.

Next, I'll go into Tilda Swinton. While Brie Larson provides grounded support to the main character, Swinton is an absolute scene stealer and is completely unrecognizable as Amy's boss Dianna. She has some of the film's best lines ("You're clever, but you're not too brainy or British and you're not gorgeous. You're approachable.") and while being so crass and crude, always had me anticipating her next scene. That's one main idea of a supporting performance. I mean, how can co-leads steal what is already their show, right? Also, after snubbing her for Julia, Snowpiercer, and especially We Need To Talk About Kevin, she is overdue for a second Oscar nod in my opinion. Plus, it's not every film she does that we get to see Tilda Swinton, the sardonic comedienne.

So I hope that any critics or awards voters that may read this take these two performances into consideration. To anyone else that has seen the film, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on whether you think these two actresses are worthy of awards praise. Thanks for reading!

Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

             'Straight Outta Compton' Packs Some Pretty Powerful Lyrics

               When I saw this, I used a raincheck pass given to me by my theater so I can see one movie for free. After it was over, I thought to myself "Damn, I should've used that pass when I saw Minions!".

    Straight Outta Compton tells the real life story of the controversial rap group N.W.A. and their rise to fame as well as the struggles they have faced from both within and those that have tried to silence their artistry.

     What is so unique about this film is that even though it has some typical conventions of the musical biopic (band rises to fame then slowly falls apart), it still didn't really feel like a biopic. It does demonstrate the accomplishments of the members of N.W.A. yet at the same time, it still manages to convey how in terms of both race relations and freedom of artistic expression, nothing has changed. Even though our first amendment gives us the right to say what we want, there are still artists that are trying to be put in a box like how they tried to censor N.W.A.. But while the lyrics of their songs are laced with profanity, they were mainly trying to get their point across about police brutality and life in the ghetto.

      The film is like two rolled into one. The first one, or the first half, delves into the rise of N.W.A. as well as the artistry behind the music. But the second half, which deals with (*possible spoiler alert*) life after N.W.A., goes deep into the business side of the music industry as well as how the members of the group achieved fame and greatness yet at a certain cost.

      Some of my favorite scenes were some of the earlier ones where the band is recording music and performing together. As Ice Cube and Easy E are rapping, they put so much fire and spirit into the way they rap, that it makes each scene both raw and entertaining. It is mostly due to the actors playing them which brings me to my next point.

      I thought the three main actors: Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, O'Shea Jackson as Ice Cube, and Jason Mitchell as Easy E, were tremendous. One thing I loved about their performances was how, since they are playing real-life people, they weren't trying to do a complete imitation of the people they were portraying because that is something that often plagues biopics where the actor puts so much emphasis on the mechanics of the role, it becomes a technical mastery but not much else. While I thought Corey Hawkins and O'Shea Jackson were very charismatic and brought their roles to life, in my opinion, the MVP of the trio was Jason Mitchell. He commands the screen as Easy E and captures both his lively rapid-fire rap style and his opportunistic demeanor with 'ease'. He is funny, sympathetic, and also heartbreaking. I hope that he, along with Hawkins and Jackson, goes places after this movie. I also loved the small cameo by Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg. He's another one on his way up.


      Overall, Straight Outta Compton is a successful biopic that uses the conventions of its genre to a great advantage as it mixes the life story of the group it portrays with a portrait of how our nation is today. Even if it has a similar formula, it is done in a way that doesn't appear formulaic. One of the best movies of the year.

      Would I Recommend It?:
      Absolutely. Even if you aren't a fan of rap or N.W.A., give this one a chance.

Grade: A+

Friday, August 21, 2015

2011 Film Guy Awards Update

Hello, Bloggers, I recently made some small updates to my 2011 Film Guy Awards. While in my Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories, the nominees remain the same, while I was reflecting on the people I originally picked as the winners, I also thought of their competition and decided to go in a different direction. As wonderful as Kim Wayans was in Pariah, after reflecting on her master class rendition of 'New York, New York', I ultimately feel that Carey Mulligan was worthy of a win for Best Supporting Actress for that scene alone. Although if you ask me on a different day, my Best Actress winner could change, I now pick Charlize Theron as my current winner.

Best Actress:
Olivia Colman, Tyrannosaur
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron, Young Adult*

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain, Tree of Life
Melanie Laurent, Beginners
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Carey Mulligan, Shame*
Kim Wayans, Pariah

Like my other ballots, I will potentially update it again in the future. To see my updated ballot, click on the link above.

Origin Of An Auteur Blogathon: Steve McQueen

Hello, Bloggers, John over at Hitchcock's World has started his own Blogathon known as Origin of An Auteur where you analyze the first feature film of an artistic director. Here are the rules:

1) Pick one director and identify his or her first feature film. It must be the first feature film (i.e. over one hour runtime) listed in her/his filmography. 

2) While you will be primarily discussing that one film, you should have an understanding at least some of the director's later films, enough to be able to recognize his or her style. 

3) Analyze your chosen film in relation to the director's later projects. What elements of his or her style do you see here? 

4) Keep in mind that this blogathon is based on critical thinking and analysis, not simply on whether you liked the film. Your post should not be so much on the film itself as what it says about the director. 

5) Repeats (i.e. two people writing about the same director and film) are acceptable, but discouraged. If you do choose a topic someone else is writing about, try to find something different to say on the subject. 

6) Include a banner and a link back to this post. There are several banners to choose from below, and you are permitted to create your own provided they fit the blogathon's themes.

So the director I went with is Steve McQueen. His first film is the 2008 biopic Hunger. Even though he has made only three feature films to date, he still managed to create his own distinctive vision. 

One technique that McQueen often uses is long takes. There is one scene where Bobby Sands, played by Michael Fassbender, is talking with a priest about his plans for a hunger strike and its take lasts for about 17 to 20 minutes. As the scene progresses, the tension isn't released until the camera cuts away.

But there is one scene in his sophomore effort Shame where the long take technique is put to even greater use. In a scene where Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan, is singing a rendition of "New York, New York", as the camera focuses closely on her face, both McQueen and Mulligan reveal the sadness and broken dreams in her eyes behind that songbird singing voice. (Seriously, how the FUCK was Mulligan not nominated for this?!) 

But that actually brings me to my next point. Not only does McQueen never cut away from the raw realism present in his work, but he is also a visual storyteller that hardly ever relies on dialogue to have the characters demonstrate their feelings or their background. In about the first 20 minutes of Hunger, there is hardly any dialogue spoken. Instead, McQueen films the horrible conditions the prisoners lived in. 

This kind of visual storytelling is also present in McQueen's most recent film 12 Years A Slave. One scene where he films a long take to tell the story is when Solomon Northup is hanging from a tree and as he is fighting for his life, his fellow slaves walk by out of fear and his master's wife just looks on from her house, standing still without much sympathy. 

I'll also go back to Shame. Much like how in Hunger, the first 20 minutes are nearly free of dialogue, in the climax of Shame, Brandon goes on a night of binge sex. With each place that he goes to, we see how a bodily experience so enriching for many causes him such suffering. For a scene filled with sex, it is interestingly sexless. 

So I think what makes McQueen's style so effective is how he films important fragments to make his films feel like fictional documentaries. Whether it'd be the filming of horrendous prison conditions, or a closeup into the eyes of a broken dreamer, or a slave fearing for his life, McQueen manages to tell his stories through the use of eyes and walls rather than focusing on words. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of Fall/Winter 2015

Hello, Bloggers, since we are already getting close to the end of the year, I have created a new top 10 list of my most anticipated movies for the rest of the year. Let's take a look:

10. The Hateful Eight: I was a big fan of Tarantino's last film Django Unchained so I'm pretty pumped for this one. I like the way it looks and I love the talent in front of the camera. Still crossing my fingers it does wonders for Jennifer Jason Leigh's career. But we'll see if it can match or surpass the brilliance of Django Unchained. 

9. Sicario: Ever since her banner year in 2014, I have become an instant mega fan of Emily Blunt. She is consistently making interesting film choices and this film, like Edge of Tomorrow, might be more proof of why she should play Captain Marvel. She also has great talent surrounding her, like director Denis Villeneuve as well as co-stars Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

8. Spectre: I love Daniel Craig's portrayal of James Bond and not only does this seem like it could be as deep and intellectual as Skyfall, but I love how this time around it has Hoyte von Hoytema, who filmed Her, Interstellar, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, doing the cinematography. Plus, we have Christoph Waltz as the villain and Lea Seydoux as the latest Bond girl.

7. Black Mass: While Johnny Depp has been hit and miss lately in terms of his career choices and box office track record, the fact that he doesn't seem to be playing Jack Sparrow here gives me hope that he'll try and win back our respect. Also, That. Cast. Holy toledo! Yeah, with that cast and the whole Goodfellas vibe, this one's going to be good!

6. Crimson Peak: I am a huge fan of director Guillermo Del Toro and think that he tends to bring something special to the horror and fantasy genre with almost each film he does. Here, he might be bringing something special to the old style Gothic horror genre. Also, while I really like Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston. I think Jessica Chastain is going to SLAY it as the villainous Lady Sharpe!

5. Steve Jobs: Out of all the biopics coming out this awards season, this is one of a few I am most excited for because of one reason: Michael. Fassbender. as Steve Jobs. He is the best actor working today and he looks like he is going to nail his role and Aaron Sorkin's rapid fire dialogue. I also love seeing Kate Winslet getting a juicy role as Steve Jobs' assistant/confidante Joanna Hoffman. This one might be good!

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part II: I am a huge fan of the books and while I wasn't crazy about the third book and think it only exists to provide closure, here is hoping that the final film becomes a powerful swan song to the film series. Fingers crossed.

3. The Revenant: I am stoked for this one! You got Birdman's Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu at the helm, Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki as cinematographer, and an amazing cast that includes Tom Hardy and last and certainly not least...DiCaprio!! Could. This. Be. His Year. For Oscar? Will the Poor Leo meme be obsolete? Not sure as of now, but I will certainly wait until the film comes out.

2. Carol: The minute the trailer was over, as I said in my review of it, I was like...WOW!! The cinematography, the song "Foolish Heart" that fits perfectly with the story, the costumes, Rooney Mara's Audrey-esque elegance, and Queen Cate Blanchett being....well, Queen Cate Blanchett!!! Simply, perfection!

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: "Chewie, we're home!"

No further words needed.

So that is my list of my most anticipated movies for the rest of the year. Please feel free to share your own top 10 list in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Topic Of The Day: What If Genres Had Their Own Categories?

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I will discuss yet another possible way to fix the Oscars. As I have mentioned before, the Academy is notorious for their bias against certain genres. In particular, comedy, horror, sci-fi, and action. But it occurred to me, what if these genres had their own category?

Not only would these genres get proper credit, but it could allow certain films that we want to see make it to the ceremony call themselves Oscar nominees or winners. Let's say they had this category back in 2010 when The King's Speech won Best Picture. If there was a Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie category, then Inception likely would've won and since the Best Picture category always goes to the producers, Christopher Nolan could finally call himself an Oscar winner since he was a producer on the film. That way, the fanboys could rest easy. Also, I was a little saddened Easy A couldn't land with the Academy. But with a Best Comedy category, it might've actually found its way in.

 Speaking of the Comedy category, though. One minor downside to having a Best Comedy category is that it could allow dramedies that make their way into the Best Motion Picture-Musical/Comedy category at the Golden Globes to make their way into this special category, preventing more legitimate comedies from getting in. If they had this category a few years ago when American Hustle was up for Best Picture, it likely would've won since it was up for 10 Oscars and a special Comedy category would've been a place to reward it had it been nominated. Since its response was so divisive, I could've imagined the backlash towards it getting the label of being an Academy Award-winning picture.

If they were to include these special categories, then one suggestion I would make is to take the actual Best Picture lineup and not only go back to 5, but perhaps give it the label of Best Drama since serious films tend to dominate the category. That way, people can easily compare one drama to another or decide which film was funnier and so on and so forth. Plus, you would have more diverse lineups and with a Sci-Fi/Horror and Action Film category, we could have films to get the masses excited and would solve the ratings issue.

So those are my thoughts on why they should have categories for certain genres at the Oscars. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Topic Of The Day: Tips When Starring In A Franchise/Superhero Movie

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. Whenever an actor signs on to a big franchise or a film that becomes a franchise, it can serve as both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because of the fat paycheck and career exposure, but also a curse because some actors have difficulty drawing in audiences without the cape on or without their star-making franchise. So I have some tips for anyone that signs on to a franchise so that it can be more of a blessing. Let's take a look:

After you finish wrapping one film, before you work on the potential sequel, keep a little busy before the sequel starts shooting and tackle different genres to give your career some life outside of your franchise so that your most famous character isn't the only one audiences are familiar with and you can widen your audience. Take for example, Christian Bale. Over the course of his time as Batman, he worked with directors like Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, and David O. Russell. Of course, he also won an Oscar for his work in The Fighter. You also have Scarlett Johansson who, over the course of her time as Black Widow, has landed serious artistic cred with Don Jon, Her, and Under The Skin while landing the lead in Ghost in the Shell thanks to her box office success with Lucy. Even Chris Hemsworth has been trying to build a career outside of Thor by dabbling into comedy with both Vacation and the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. Plus, he has worked with the likes of Michael Mann and Ron Howard. So I would work with prestigious directors and tackle various genres (comedy, horror, indie dramas, etc.) So that it doesn't feel as if you're resting on your Marvel or Jedi laurels in between movies.

By exploring other genres and forming relationships with great directors, that way, when a sequel rolls around in your own franchise and doesn't do as hot as the previous installments, you'll have a potential safety net. But if the latest installment doesn't do very hot and there is no demand for another one, then it would be a sign to walk away. Then, you would probably end up coasting through a big payday in a sequel that nobody even wanted. Don't be like Bruce Willis. But if the latest installment doesn't do particularly well and there slowly starts to be interest in another sequel, then if you are game, then by all means, come back. If audiences see that you still enjoy playing the character that made you a star, then they might run out and see you. As I have mentioned in my Topic Of The Day on the art of phoning it in, audiences still run out and see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine because he is game every time he plays the character.

So overall, while I am not an agent, my advice to any actor that tackles a franchise property, whether it'd be a superhero franchise, something along the lines of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, or an original film that becomes a franchise, is to keep busy in between films and tackle different types of films while potentially forming relationships with great directors. Also, if the latest installment in your franchise doesn't do very well, then walk away until there starts to be interest in another sequel as the years go by. If that does happen, then you should come back so that audiences see that you still enjoy playing the character that made you beloved by audiences even as you have built a career outside of it. You can have your cake and eat it too.

Whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section and offer up your own tips to any actor looking to sign on to a franchise property. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oscar Watch: Carol (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another part of my Oscar Watch where I discuss trailers for upcoming Oscar contenders. They finally released a teaser for what is perhaps one of my more anticipated Oscar contenders, Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

All I have to say about this teaser is, Wow! I love the costumes, the cinematography, the song that plays over the trailer, the acting from Rooney Mara and last and certainly not least, Cate the Great! I was a huge fan of Far From Heaven from director Todd Haynes so I am quite ecstatic about this one. This teaser does give me vibes of Far From Heaven and I love that!

I would expect Cate Blanchett's name to be on the Best Actress lineup and Rooney Mara, who won Best Actress at Cannes for her work in this, to potentially be in Supporting since Blanchett is the bigger name and so that her and Blanchett don't have to compete against each other. I'm also crossing my fingers for Todd Haynes to get recognized in Best Director. This one looks like it'll be something special.

So those are my thoughts on the teaser for Carol. Whether you agree or disagree on whether you think it looks like a legitimate awards conteder and if it just looks like a good film, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Oscars 2016: For Your Consideration- Rebecca Hall for Best Actress for The Gift (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, I have created another For Your Consideration post for a performance that I feel is worthy of awards recognition. This performance is that of Rebecca Hall for her work in the sleeper suspense hit The Gift.

As I said in my review, while I thought actors Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton were phenomenal, it is Rebecca Hall who was the MVP of the trio. Hall's work is rather understated, meaning that she allows the audience into her head and showcases the rampant emotions her character goes through without the benefit of plate throwing, wallowing in teary melodrama, and screaming half her dialogue which is one tactic actors often use to nab laurels. The magic is all in her eyes and Hall pulls off her Robyn with such refreshing nuance. She makes Robyn very three-dimensional as she pulls off a woman who is steely yet slightly meek; psychologically troubled yet still ready and willing to investigate the mystery and tries to see the good in her husband's slightly intrusive old acquaintance yet is still weary of her own husband's motivations. Hall gives us an original and refreshing face in the suspense genre and I personally feel that she should be rewarded for her amazing work.

Some of the names in the conversation, like Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Lawrence, have all been to the dance before. But let's have a new girl join the club, right? As much as I love Blanchett and Moore, and only like Lawrence, my biggest issue with their potential inclusion is that it feels like their spots are reserved and it makes the race a little less exciting. Part of the excitement of the awards race is discovering new talent, in my opinion.

I hope that any Academy voters that read this take Rebecca Hall's performance, and the film in general, into consideration. For anybody that has seen the film, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on whether you think Rebecca Hall's work is worthy of awards praise. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: The Gift (2015)

             'The Gift' Works Like A Giant Mystery Box Waiting To Be Opened
                 While the film itself is chock full of twists and turns, some of the biggest surprises are perhaps, Jason Bateman's dramatic abilities and an impressive directorial debut from co-star/writer/director Joel Edgerton.

     The Gift follows the story of a couple named Simon and Robyn Callon (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) that move into a new house for a new start. But their seemingly idyllic life is put into a grinding halt with the sudden arrival of a former classmate of Simon's named Gordo (Joel Edgerton).

     I'll start off with the story. Now, we have seen the whole story of "couple moves into nice neighborhood and becomes terrorized by a neighbor or whatever". But Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed this, gives us a whole new spin on that story and doesn't waste any time with set up as, right in the beginning, we have Gordo and Simon crossing paths. The new spin that Edgerton gives is that he incorporates the theme of being unable to shake off your past as it shapes into who you are now. Also, it was refreshing to see a suspenseful thriller that isn't graphic with unnecessary violence or jump scares. It gets unsettling at times, but not to the point where you feel the need to look away from the screen.

    Next, I'll get into the actors. While Jason Bateman has proven himself to be a formidable comedian, here, he proves that he is an amazing dramatic actor. He really sold his character as he slowly reveals dark shades of him as the film progresses. Joel Edgerton is also very good as the very mysterious Gordo and showcases his mystique, loathing, and even vulnerability with just the use of his eyes. But as amazing as Bateman and Edgerton are, the real star of the movie is Rebecca Hall. Hall is phenomenal as Robyn who tries to see the good in Gordo despite him seeming a little too interested in being involved in the lives of her and Simon while also being weary of her own husband's motivations. Robyn is the heart and soul of this film and Hall brought this three-dimensional character to life beautifully.


    Overall, The Gift is a very tense and superbly acted thriller that is a marvelous directorial debut from Joel Edgerton. Edgerton brought a real 'gift' to the suspense genre that is neatly wrapped in a shiny bow.

    Would I Recommend It?:
    Absolutely. Go to your nearest multiplex and check it out for yourself.

Grade: A

Friday, August 14, 2015

Against The Crowd Blogathon!

Hello, Bloggers, I have decided to take part in another Blogathon known as Against The Crowd, started by Wendell of Dell On Movies. The rules are pretty simple:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

Let's get started:

Amour (2012)- 93%

Wow, is this movie overrated! It boggles my mind how this movie swept every Foreign Language Film under the sun when a.) It wasn't even the best French language film of the year (That honor goes to Rust and Bone) and b.) It pales in comparison to director Michael Haneke's previous work The White Ribbon. While its actors did a fine job, the pacing was incredibly glacial. It dragged on forever and I just couldn't connect with these characters because as the wife was stricken with her illness in the beginning, I didn't feel like I knew the couple. It's as if the movie was saying "They're old and the wife is sick. Feel bad." right off the bat. Also, I still don't get the fuss over Emmanuelle Riva's performance. It was a perfectly fine performance that did what was required, but I don't get why people thought she was absolutely robbed of the Oscar. Just like how I don't get the high praise over this movie and how it became such a runaway train.

Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights (2002)- 12%

I feel kind of bad for this movie. To me, not only is it funny and has such colorful musical numbers, but it is also very deep and profound. While the main character is very neurotic and foul-mouthed, we still slowly understand why he is the way he is. Yet the only reason, and perhaps the ONLY reason it had such a critical beating, is because it is Adam Sandler's. Yes, he hasn't always made the wisest career choices, but he always knew how to entertain his audiences and make them laugh before his schtick got old. This one is certainly entertaining and is one I can even watch when it isn't Christmastime yet I still find myself moved by the protagonist's tragic storyline that is hidden underneath all that raunchy humor.

Dream Cast: Jurassic World Sequel

Hello, Bloggers, because Jurassic World has left giant fossil prints at the box office, becoming the third highest-grossing movie of all time, it only makes sense that it is getting a sequel. So I figured, just for fun, I'd come up with actors that would be exciting new additions to the franchise and my reasons to why that is. I'll start off with the ladies.

Aubrey Plaza: A casting choice like this I could definitely see happen. She already has ties to director Colin Trevorrow who directed her in Safety Not Guaranteed and co-starred with Chris Pratt. I think it would be interesting to see her bring in her own brand of deadpan comedic relief to a film like this. Plus, as a minor Parks and Recreation fan, I can't resist the idea of Andy reuniting with his April!

Marion Cotillard: Usually in a lot of these tentpole films, there is at least one critically acclaimed thespian (Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, etc. in Godzilla, Anthony Hopkins in Thor, Robert Redford in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc.). So I figured for this one, why not Marion Cotillard who already has blockbuster cred with The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, and the upcoming Assassin's Creed film. Plus, if Omar Sy returns, then he'd get to share the screen with a fellow Francophile.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw: Aside fron the upcoming Beauty and the Beast adaptation that she has lined up, a studio pic like this could really give her the exposure she rightfully deserves and since Jurassic World had a pretty diverse cast, if Gugu were added to the sequel, she would help that trend continue because I'm all for diversity in big Hollywood films. But she could easily give us a heroine as earthly and determined as Ellie Sattler.

Now onto the males.

Ben Mendelsohn: Since I thought Jurassic World was mostly adequate entertainment, if its sequel were to be more subpar, an actor like Ben Mendelsohn could easily make it better with his presence. Not only that, but if he plays a role like a scientist, he could bring us a character as special and three-dimensional as Ian Malcolm.

Jack O'Connell: Since Jurassic Park had kid characters at the center that allowed Ian Malcolm to develop more fatherly traits, I figured for the upcoming sequel, maybe they could include a young adult or early 20's character to flesh out more brotherly traits out of Chris Pratt's character to make him even more human. Jack O'Connell seems like a good fit for that kind of character and it would be interesting to see him and Chris Pratt bounce off each other on screen.

Michael Keaton: Even though Michael Keaton backed out of Kong: Skull Island, perhaps Universal could tempt him with another one of their tentpole properties. Not only that, but Keaton has proven himself to be an amazing ensemble player in films like The Other Guys and even Birdman. Plus, since the film will likely have high octane action, it would be interesting to see if Batman has still got it!

So those are my thoughts on who would be exciting new additions to the Jurassic World franchise. Whether you agree or disagree and whether you want to offer your own casting choices, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Topic Of The Day: The Curious Case of Emma Stone

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I will discuss an actress that I have admired ever since her breakthrough leading lady turn and even her work before. That actress is Emma Stone.

Back in 2010, she made a big splash with Easy A. It was a commercial hit and she landed a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress-Musical or Comedy. Ever since then, I figured she would become a success story a la Julia Roberts or become a comedic powerhouse at the box office.

Yet with her recent career track record, I have my worries that will go the way of Alicia Silverstone, who made a big splash with Clueless, then....nothing. Stone may have landed an Oscar nomination for Birdman, which was richly deserved. But Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon have landed recent Oscar nods and their nominations don't seem to be helping their careers. Although, to be fair, with the politics ingrained in the awards system, with them being previous nominees and winners, tackling Oscar bait projects, it was easier for them to get in.

But ever since Easy A, Emma Stone landed the Amazing Spider-Man films which had an underwhelming response. Also, Aloha, Movie 43, and Gangster Squad tanked. She did become Woody Allen's recent muse, though, with the release of Magic in the Moonlight and Irrational Man, but even those had a pretty mixed response.

I feel like I am speaking like I'm her agent, but I just find myself wondering, "Can she ever get another Easy A that could make her the star she seems destined to be?" Should she have turned down the Ghostbusters reboot? Is she doomed to suffer the same fate as Alicia Silverstone? Scarlett Johansson has recently evolved out of her "sex symbol" image and capitalized on her early promise to become a bigger draw, so there might be hope for Stone to do the same.

But what do you guys think? Do you think she can really capitalize on her early promise or do you think she's in a good position and is doing just fine? Do you fear that she will go the way of Silverstone like myself? Be sure to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Oscar Watch: The Hateful Eight (2015) and Burnt (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another part of my Oscar Watch where I discuss trailers for upcoming Oscar contenders. For this post, I've got not just two trailers, but trailers for potential Harvey Weinstein underdogs since he is behind both films. The first film is Quentin Tarantino's eighth film known as The Hateful Eight. 

Normally, I like Quentin Tarantino. I love Pulp Fiction more abd more each time I see it, I loved Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, and Kill Bill: Vol. 1. But while I liked Inglourious Basterds, I thougnt there was almost too much build-up before each action scene and Death Proof was like a massive ego trip because of how it is so dialogue heavy and Tarantino is known for his witty dialogue.

Before I saw the trailer for this one, however, I expected it to look something like his two previous films in terms of the way it is shot. But it looks and feels completely different. Might be because it is filmed with 65mm film which is quite rare these days. But he might use his traditional witty dialogue, I'm sure, and the film has a great cast. It's wonderful that Tarantino casted Jennifer Jason Leigh in this. As I have mentioned before, he has a knack for recognizing leading men and women seemingly forgotten by Hollywood like John Travolta, Kurt Russell, and Pam Grier. So maybe this could do wonders for her if the part is substantial enough. I do have to say, though, we could be seeing a rumble between this and The Revenant, another western. We shall see. I think this'll be good.

The next trailer is for Burnt (previously titled Adam Jones and Chef) starring Bradley Cooper. Not only does it look delicious, but its story is something that seems almost tailor made for awards success: The underdog or mess-up trying to get a second chance at life and redeem himself. I do applaud for Bradley Cooper for continuously stretching himself an actor and taking challenging projects and while I don't think he will win an Oscar for this, that trophy certainly isn't far out of his reach. Despite the redemption story being incorporated, I don't see this as a legitimate frontrunner because it is quite under the radar thus far and if anything, it could be used as leverage for Alicia Vikander's potential march to Oscar since she has a part in this. I would say the same for Bradley Cooper, but I don't think he'll be nominated for this or even this year. His only other contender is Joy but he seems to have a small part in that. It looks appetizing, but in terms of its awards prospects, I'll wait and see.

So those are my thoughts on the trailers for these potential contenders. Please feel free to write your own thoughts in the comments section on whether you think these look like potential Oscar contenders and if you think these just looks like good movies.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Oscar Watch: Trumbo (2015)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of my Oscar Watch where I discuss trailers for upcoming Oscar contenders. For this post, I will delve into the upcoming biopic Trumbo starring Bryan Cranston as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

The film deals with how Dalton Trumbo, along with other Hollywood figures, was blacklisted for his political beliefs and fought both the government and the Hollywood system over the war of free speech.

Given the subject matter of fighting for free speech, it is very timely as there have been horrific events taking place recently over the right to free artistic expression. The prime example being the Charlie Hebdo incident in France. So it'll be interesting to see whether the film can transition its time period.

As of right now, I have Bryan Cranston on my Best Actor predictions. Mainly because he is playing a real-life person (which they love) and since the majority of voters are old white dudes who have probably lived in the blacklisted era depicted here, this one might have them feeling nostalgic. But I do think Cranston looks like he is doing a fantastic job. He also has a great cast surrounding him including Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman, Elle Fanning, and Alan Tudyk. The only drawback to its potential awards campaign is that the film is coming from a relatively new distributor known as Bleecker Street. Usually, the big wigs have an easier time sneaking in so who knows how that'll effect this one's prospects.

So those are my thoughts on the trailer for Trumbo. Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on whether you think this looks like a viable Oscar contender and whether you think it looks as promising just as a film. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2010 Film Guy Awards

2010 was one of the darkest periods for those invested in the Oscars. In a year full of rich and eclectic films and nominees, the Academy once again decided to play it safe by awarding the sentimental yet way too traditional British biopic The King's Speech. While it isn't a bad movie and in fact is perfectly fine, it pales in comparison to its competition which has a much stronger showing here along with plenty of those that were completely under the radar. This is the 2010 Film Guy Awards. Enjoy!

* indicates the winner

Best Picture:
Animal Kingdom
Black Swan
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Social Network*

Best Director:
Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network*
David Michod, Animal Kingdom
Christopher Nolan, Inception

Best Actor:
Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network*
James Franco, 127 Hours
Christos Stergioglou, Dogtooth

Best Actress:
Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank*
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Emma Stone, Easy A

Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank
Ben Mendelsohn, Animal Kingdom
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Michael Shannon, The Runaways*

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Patricia Clarkson, Easy A
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Rooney Mara, The Social Network
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom*

Best Original Screenplay:
Animal Kingdom
Fish Tank 
The Kids Are All Right

Best Adapted Screenplay:
127 Hours
It's Kind Of A Funny Story
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Social Network*
Toy Story 3

Best Film Editing:
Black Swan
Fish Tank
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*
The Social Network

Best Cinematography:
Animal Kingdom
Black Swan*
Fish Tank
The Social Network

Best Original Score:
Black Swan
Shutter Island
The Social Network*
Tron: Legacy

Best Costume Design:
Alice in Wonderland
The King's Speech
The Runaways
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Shutter Island*

Best Production Design:
Alice in Wonderland*
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Shutter Island
Tron: Legacy

Best Makeup:
Alice in Wonderland
Shutter Island*
The Wolfman

Best Visual Effects:
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*
Tron: Legacy

Best Sound:
Black Swan
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*
Shutter Island
Tron: Legacy

Best Original Song:
"Pimps Don't Cry" from The Other Guys
“Garbage Truck” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
“Threshold” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*
“We Are Sex Bob-omb” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

(subject to change)

Retro Review: The Princess Bride (1987)

                     'The Princess Bride' Sits On A High Throne
          It would make sense that Christopher Guest would have a part in this since the humor in this film manages to lie in the characters much like in his movies.

    The Princess Bride follows the story of a kid (Fred Savage) whose grandfather (Peter Falk) reads him a story about a princess named Buttercup (Robin Wright) and the farm boy named Westley (Cary Elwes) that tries to capture her heart.

   To me, what makes this film so funny is that the humor lies in the characters. A few in particular that stood out were the bumbling outlaw Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn, and his accomplice Inigo Montoya, played by Mandy Patinkin, who is seeking revenge against the six-fingered man that killed his father. I thought a lot of the characters were very colorful, but those two stole the film. I also loved how the character of Buttercup was written. They made her very lovelorn yet also very witty and Robin Wright makes you realize why Westley would fall in love with her as both she and Cary Elwes have such rich chemistry.

    I also appreciate the film for its self-awareness in terms of its fantasy genre and how it toys with the typical conventions of ig like the way the hero attempts to save the girl and the banter between two characters as they sword fight and all that.


     Overall, The Princess Bride is an imaginative fantasy that is also a hilarious romp. It features colorful characters and toys with the conventions of its genre without losing sight of it.

     Would I Recommend It?:
     Absolutely. Watch it with the whole family. It's a classic.

Grade: A

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Topic Of The Day: Josh Trank Controversy

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I will delve into the bad publicity surrounding Fantastic Four director Josh Trank and why he serves as a cautionary tale, or Ghost of Christmas Present, for anyone aspiring to make it into the film industry.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this whole controversy, Josh Trank recently took to Twitter to say how a year ago, he had a fantastic version of the latest reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise until the studio meddled with it. Not only that, but there reports of Trank being difficult on set, costing him a directing gig for an upcoming Star Wars spinoff movie. Now, it might seem difficult for Trank to get work.

The reason that I bring this up is to warn anyone trying to make it into film that if you want to make it in Hollywood: You Got. To Play. Ball. You could be a novice screenwriter and write the best screenplay in history. Yet the suits don't care how amazing it is. If they see a film with a profit, they'll either pick it up or potentially meddle with it so that they see a film with a profit. If the latter were to happen, then it would be very frustrating, I know. But in order to get your foot in the door, you would have to let them meddle so that your name doesn't become mud right off the bat. Hollywood is a very tight-knit community. Any small word of an actor or director clashing with his or her collaborators can spread like wildfire within that community.

To further prove my point, I'll bring up two actors that serve as cautionary tales. Take, for example, Mo'Nique. She may have won every award thrust at her for Precious. But because of her refusal to campaign, this soured her relationship with the Hollywood community, according to her Precious director Lee Daniels.

You also have Edward Norton. He's a great, great actor. There is no denying that. But he slowly had trouble getting work because of how he fought for creative control over the projects he started in, meddling with the studios. Since the films he meddled with never brought in huge box office numbers, he slowly resorted to doing Verizon commercials until Wes Anderson took him under his wing and he got brought back to Oscar's good graces with Birdman. If he was difficult yet still put butts in the seats, the suits likely wouldn't care because in Hollywood, it's all about the money. With all the bad publicity surrounding Josh Trank and the poor receipts Fantastic Four is getting, it's unlikely that Trank will direct such a huge studio property any time soon.

So to anybody that reads this and looks to make it in the film industry, I urge you to heed this warning and go into the business with both eyes open. As you try to get your foot in the door, you want to always, not sometimes, ALWAYS make sure you play nice. If you write a script or star in a movie and write one of the best scripts ever or give the performance of your life, the suits don't care as long as your film rakes in dough and/or win awards. If they don't see a film that is commercial when reading it and try to make it commercial, you will have to let them so that the film can potentially make a profit. I may not be in the film business myself, but I get how hard it'll possibly be to stick to your own original vision. But if they wanted to meddle with it, you might just have to play along so that you can build relationships and thrive in the industry in the long run.

If you agree or disagree with my thoughts on the whole Josh Trank controversy and "playing the game" in Tinseltown, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Oscar Re-Do Blogathon!

Hello, Bloggers, I've decided to, for the first time ever, create my own Blogathon. Since a huge portion of my blog is devoted to the Oscars, my first blogathon will be based on those. For this blogathon, you guys pick one of your favorite films over any particular year that didn't get a lot of Oscar love and to make up for that injustice, nominate it across the board. The rules are fairly simple:

1. You must only pick one film from one year.

2. When nominating it in different categories, you must take out one actual nominee to make room for yours.

Ex: Shame (2011)

Best Picture
-Who goes off: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Best Director (Steve McQueen):
-Who goes off: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris

3. After including it in each category you chose, give a short blurb as to why you would've entered it in the different categories that you chose and why you would've nominated it over the nominees that you replaced.

4. It can be a film that is already nominated. But one that only has about one or two.

5. After posting on your blog, you can post the link in the comments section of this page or tweet me @filmguy619.

You guys have two weeks to take part in this blogathon and I look forward to what you guys come up with. Have fun!

Topic Of The Day: Edward Norton's Oscar Proposal

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I will delve into some comments made by Edward Norton about the whole awards campaigning process. I think he is very on point with his thoughts. I do have some minor reservations, but I certainly get where he's coming from and would even like to expand upon his ideas. Here we go:

First off, here is a link to an interview where he offered his proposal:

According to Norton, they should put a ban on For Your Consideration ads which apparently only solicit awards. I agree to a certain extent because there are films that don't really need that kind of promotion. All the films by the bigwigs (Universal, Dreamworks, Weinstein Co., etc.). He thinks that any films that spend money on those types of ads should be disqualified. But they could have a certain criteria for films that send out ads. One thing that I personally think they could do is only have films with budgets of about $10 million or less send out ads. Films that need the exposure more than the Lincolns, 12 Years A Slaves, American Sniper's, and Les Miserables' that don't need the buzz and the limited release treatment. That way, the effort and money put into the ads for these smaller films feels more paid off since they might not have a big distributor on their shoulders. I also think that they should have a rule prior to Nomination Day stating that any film with a budget of about $20 million or above and any individual performer in a film with a $20 million budget or above that puts out FYC ads for themselves before nominations are announced gets automatically disqualified from the race. Strict, I know. But there are a lot of films that could never make it to the Oscars that could benefit from FYC ads a lot more. Plus, it could save the big studios some money because that is the biggest factor in the Oscar race. It is all about money spent on screenings, screeners, ads, etc., which is very unfortunate.

Another part of Norton's proposal is that he thinks that a lot of the guild awards and shows like the Golden Globes shouldn't be televised. I do agree to a certain extent because audiences don't really care about those. Most of them probably just want to see the big show. Although the Globes rely on ratings so who knows how it'll affect them. But by not televising the guild awards, it might actually create some suspense on Oscar night. Since the masses that rely on the televised awards shows to figure out the winners on Oscar night won't really know who they are, they could have an easier time tuning in so they can wonder. As I have mentioned before, one of the biggest flaws with the Oscars is their predictability and them making sure the same names mentioned throughout the season are called up to the stage. But without the precursors being aired, Oscar voters might not be easily swayed by public opinion.

Although, I do have some minor reservations about Norton's proposal. One is that, by letting the AMPAS decide who they want to vote for without studios influencing their decisions, it could potentially allow voters to continue their preferential buddy system. That's another one of their biggest flaws. Although we could see some interesting and out of the box choices, I worry that we could still see the same names pop up. Not only that, but if studio films don't send out FYC ads, then who knows if the studio genre films that the masses pull for will be much of a factor in the Oscar race. While I did offer up my own restrictions as to what films can and cannot create ads, at the same time, there are plenty of studio films that we want to see make it to the Oscars that wouldn't be there without an aggressive campaign.

So those are my thoughts on Edward Norton's proposal to change the Oscar campaigning process. Whether you agree or disagree with his thoughts and whether you agree or not with my own proposal based on his, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!