PHIL/GEEK/PHIL


Oscar Predictions !


Well, it’s the oscars tonight. I never do this, but here are my official predictions/desires list for major categories. We’ll see how many I get right….

UPDATE : I did fairly well. I predicted 19 of the 24 categories correctly. Getting better at knowing the academy ! see below, for what I got right

BEST PICTURE
Who I think will win : Slumdog Millionnaire CORRECT
My Pick for win :  Milk

BEST DIRECTOR
Who I think will win : Danny Boyle CORRECT
My Pick for win : Danny Boyle

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Who I think will win : The Dark Knight
My Pick for win : The Dark Knight

BEST ACTOR
Who I think will win :  Mickey Rourke
My Pick for win : Sean Penn next time, I’ll vote with my heart 🙂

BEST ACTRESS
Who I think will win : Kate Winslet CORRECT
My Pick for win : Anne Hathaway

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Who I think will win : Heath Ledger CORRECT
My Pick for win :Heath Ledger

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Who I think will win : Penelope Cruz CORRECT
My Pick for win : Viola Davis

BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)
Who I think will win :  Slumdog Millionnaire CORRECT
My Pick for win : The Reader

BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
Who I think will win : Milk CORRECT
My Pick for win : Wall-E

BEST FOREIGN LANGAGE FILM
Who I think will win :  Waltz with Bashir
My Pick for win : The Class

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Oscar misses its target, once more (but it’s not as bad as it sounds)

As I saw the nominations come out yesterday, I was thrilled by some but could’nt help to cringe at others. Overall, I’m not impressed. and here is me bitching about it.

What I think they blatently overlooked

Revolutionary road : How can you snub these performances by DiCaprio and Winslet ? In Winslet case, I can understand that the votes may have been split with The Reader. But Dicaprio’s snub is unacceptable and Brad Pitt’s nomination is undeserved. I would also put this in the best picture category. At least they recognized how good Michael Shannon was.

Batman Begins : Was a perfect example (same as Lord of the rings was) of how mainstream movies can be artsy, intelligent and brillantly directed. Total snub.

Rachel Getting Married : why the script was not nominated is shameful and shows a lack of perception, especially when Benjamin Button’s overlong, overboring and preformatted is nominated.

I’ve loved you so long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) : Kristin Scott Thomas delivered a top-3 performance this year. This one was for Kristen. As far as aching mothers go,  I liked Angelina’s performance in Changeling, it doesnt even compare to Scott Thomas’ turn in that film.

Happy Go lucky : Sally Hawkings was pure bliss in that film. Meryl’s spot was hers. Why they still give those nominations to Meryl Streep (that I love) is beyond me. And she never wins anymore.

Wall-E : to me, definetly was supposed to be in the BEST PICTURE category. It was a perfect film. But god forbid we take animation seriously.

***

What is overhyped

The Curious case of Benjamin Button : I will give the film credit for its fabulous yet classical technical approach. But other than that, it lacks heart and is deeply boring. And I hated Taraji P. Henson in it.

Slumdog Millionnaire : Yes, it’s fun. Yes, it’s remarquably filmed. Yes, it has an awesome soundtrack. but, seriously, this is not a great film. It’s a good film.  Hollywood always manages to overhype films so much. This one is going to win. and it’s going to be a shame. a small one though, because the film does have its merits.

***

and to end on a positive note, here’s a quick list of things they got right : anne hathaway, richard jenkins, frozen river, the class, milk, heath, michael shannon.



A wedding you don’t want to miss…
October 23, 2008, 10:37 am
Filed under: Movies | Tags: , , , ,

Usually, at this time of year, the word buzz starts resurfacing as the Hollywood distributors release the ‘best films’ they have in stock, in hopes of getting their foot in the Oscar race.

This year, the first serious buzz we heard was about Anne Hathaway’s performance, in Rachel Getting Married. Of course, being the cynical guy I am, I was a bit apprehensive. However, I find myself in the peculiar situation of actually working for the distributor of that film, and am therefore a bit biased when I say : This film not only exceeds the buzz it’s getting, but it establishes (or should I say confirms) director Jonathan Demme as one of the great contemporary directors.

Borrowing from Altman, Dogma filmmaking and even a little from HBO-style filmmaking, Demme crafts a movie that is not only enjoyable, moving and gripping, but also real. REAL. How often do you hear that about a movie? I guess a lot. but rarely rightfully: the word is used loosely, but in this case, thanks to a fabulous cast, immaculate script and top-notch cinematography and camera work, you feel like you’re illegally thrown into these people’s lives and somehow they can’t see that you’re sitting in the living room with them. That’s an experience I would recommend to anyone who isn’t afraid of feeling a bit awkward, like a voyeur.

The film revolves around Kim (Hathaway, who gives the performance of her career… for now at least), a junkie ex-model who gets out of rehab to attend her sister’s wedding. There, the family scars will slowly unravel… But this is not your typical family reunion flick. The characters are as real and rich as it gets. Kim is despicable, irritating, narcissistic but yet we sympathize with her. Rachel is jealous, stubborn and a bit selfish, but we often understand her. and so on…. What I mean to say is that the characters are not stereotypically defined, and are a little more “normal”. The movie constantly asks you to reevaluate your perception of these people, as it slowly uncovers the underlying history (a tough one) of this family. Also, the film may have a lot of drama in it (and heavy drama that is) but it also knows that in life, you can easily jump from tears to laughter, and isn’t afraid to show it on screen.

Enough said. This film is amongst the year’s best and should not be missed by anyone who remotly likes cinema.



Robot pleasure
July 17, 2008, 10:00 am
Filed under: Movies | Tags: , , , , ,

I went into Wall-E with very high expectations. Every Pixar movie I saw uptil then had somehow managed to top the previous one and, after Ratatouille, I was very skeptical about Pixar’s ability to surpass themselves once again. So you can imagine how shocked I was to see them go in a totally unexpected direction : the art film.

Yes, I said it. Art film. Because that’s what Wall-E feels like : A modern Metropolis, a simpler 2001: A Space Oddysey, with a hint of E.T. , all well-mixed in a perfectly balanced pixar-sauce. Yes, these comparisons are huge, but frankly that’s what it felt like. This movie is what Spielberg’s A.I. failed to be : a modern masterpiece about the future of mankind, the dangers of current human behavior and the looming of the robot age. The film has barely any dialogue! You’ll be stunned by how well it bypasses that fact and you have to salute whoever greenlit this project at Disney. This was a risk, a huge one; but one worth taking.

There is no need to mention that the look of the film is top-notch. However, added to that is a particularly inspired cinematography that captures the essence of the story so precisely and proves that animation too can be sensible and personal.

The directing, by Andrew Stanton, is outstanding. It’s not everyday that you notice the director in animation films. These movies usually feel so author-less but not this one- this is a highly personal film, and the vision is far from generic. Speaking of vision, this is not your typical children movie. The subject is apocalyptic, strikingly approrpriate in today’s political and environmental landscapes, and most of all, it’s relevant.

I read that somewhere : Daring and traditional, groundbreaking and familiar, apocalyptic and sentimental, Wall-E gains strength from embracing contradictions that would destroy other films. I totally agree with that statement: Thanks to one of the best scripts in animation history, these contradiction work so well together and it’s hard not to be in awe.

I can go on talking and talking about that film. It would be easier if you just do yourself a favor, let go of your preconceived anti-hollywood notions, and go see that film. You won’t regret it.

Note : I will throw in an early Oscar prediction : Wall-E will get a nomination for Best Picture this year, making it one of the very few animation films to ever make that category (I think only Beauty and the Beast made the cut before). I also smell nominations in the Best Director and Best cinematography categories. We’ll see if I’m right next january 😉