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In this new horror movie that I will never see – The Roommate, I think it’s called – did they purposely cast Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly to look like the same person? Because I was watching a commercial for it on TV, and I literally could not tell which woman was which. Is this going to factor into some plot twist in the movie? Or did everyone attached to the film somehow miss the fact that they were casting the same person twice? Or maybe they could only get Minka Kelly (cause let’s face it, if only one of them was available, it would be Minka Kelly) and just got her to play both roles, and pretended that Leighton Meester was in the movie, too?
Contrary to popular belief, I do have a heart. Movies like The Notebook do nothing for me, but I have a soft spot for a good romantic film. Unfortunately, not many of those movies exist. BUT there are a few on-screen couples that I have won me over. If I had to choose one, I’d go with…
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in Before Sunrise
(and Before Sunset, though I didn’t like it as much)
Is this some kind of fantasy love that only happens in movies? Yes. Whenever I go on vacation, I’m always with my parents, and the only strangers that I seem to end up talking to (and not by choice) are really friendly middle-aged women. But you know, I’ve never been to Europe, so maybe it’s different there. Maybe there are all sorts of Ethan Hawkes running around…
But I digress. I love this relationship, even though all they do is walk and talk. The dialogue is so good that it makes it compelling, and Hawke and Delpy have great on-screen chemistry. You’re rooting for them, but they both have flaws, and that gives the whole thing a (slightly) more realistic tone.
Other favourites (many of which are quite cliché): Annie Hall, Brokeback Mountain, Big Fish (I dunno why, but to me that is one of the most romantic films ever), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Wedding Singer (I will never stop loving that pairing), Titanic, Bright Star (beautiful movie, amazingly romantic)
Believe it or not, there are still movie coming out this year. The world doesn’t stop for the Oscars, apparently. So here are a few trailers for some upcoming films. I recognize a few as TIFF movie that didn’t get picked up for 2010 release, and there are, as always, a few big blockbusters, too.
Release Date: June 3, 2011
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent
This movie looks really, really good. Like, REALLY good. It’s a beautifully constructed trailer. The voice-over work from McGregor does a good job of laying out the story without seeming forced. I also like that it shows you enough of the plot to get you intrigued without showing the whole movie (alright, maybe it shows a little too much, but what trailer doesn’t these days?) It looks like McGregor and Plummer both give great performances, and I love the dog. The trailer made me smile, and I like movies that balance funny, life-affirming moments with heavy subject matter. I remember this movie got pretty good reviews at TIFF, and I am now officially excited.
Release Date: TBA?
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green
Basically, take the opposite of my thoughts on the Beginners trailer, and you’ve got my opinion for Perfect Sense‘s trailer. They are trying so hard to make this trailer look cryptic and intriguing, but in execution it accomplishes neither. There is far too much heavy-handed narration, and it looks like they simply compiled the film’s most “dramatic”. It could have been intriguing as a one-minute teaser, but instead we get two and a half minutes of muddled clips that have no meaning out of context. Maybe the film will be interesting (it has a sci-fi element, if my memory serves me), but I feel like I know nothing about it after watching this trailer.
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Cast: Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Johnny Simmons, Tony Kebbel, Jonathan Groff
It’s a really nicely put-together trailer. The Conspirator looks like your standard U.S. period piece fare, but at an elevated level. We get a peak at everyone in this massive cast, and aside from Alexis Bledel (who looks kind of dreadful), I liked the looks of everyone (especially McAvoy, but probably because he got far more screen time than anyone else here). It might not be my favourite genre, but I’m pretty excited for this, based on the cast and effective trailer.
Release Date: March 18, 2011
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Abbie Cornish
I always am intrigued by films about writers, but this doesn’t look good. The concept of an all-powerful drug that lets you access your entire brain could make for a really intriguing movie with lots of moral questions. This is not that movie. It looks like some kind of weird crossbreed between a superhero movie and Eagle Eye, and it does not seem promising.
Release Date: TBA
Cast: Thomas Dekker, Haley Bennett, Juno Temple
Despite some strange tonal shifts in this trailer, it looks interesting. I feel like it’ll play out better as a full-length movie, rather than a two-minute collection of punch lines. It’s also nice to see Haley Bennett getting some more work (yes, it’s Cora Corman from Music and Lyrics!). Definitely intriguing, but I’ll reserve judgement for now.
David Gordon Green
(George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, Snow Angels, Pineapple Express)
(Note: I haven’t seen Undertow, which I know some people don’t love, but I adore all of the others that I’ve seen by him)
I love the sense of atmosphere that is in every David Gordon Green film. Even a dumb, straight-ahead comedy like Pineapple Express has its own unique feeling. He’s not a showy director, but he doesn’t need to be. His assured eye and skill at capturing small moments makes his films captivating.
I also love the actors that he works with. Sam Rockwell, James Franco, Zooey Deshanel, Michael Angarano, Danny McBride, Paul Schneider, Bill Hader, and Jamie Bell have all popped up in various Green films, and he often gets career-best performances out of his cast.
He seems to be headed more towards broad comedy (Your Highness and The Sitter are both slated for 2011 release). While I’ll miss the introspection of All the Real Girls and the quiet sense of dread of Snow Angels, I’m happy to watch any movie that this guy makes.
I suppose these “30-Day Challenges” are more of a Tumblr thing to do, and I apologize if you find these things annoying. But I just see this as a quick way to get me at least writing and posting a bit each day. Now that the Oscar nominations are out, I can finally stop focussing on that (it was fun, but it got a bit tiresome). I hope to still get out some lists/reviews/other content, but I just thought that this would be a fun change of pace – or “challenge”, if you will.
Oh yeah, and I took a few different variations of these types of lists that I found online, compiled my favourite questions, and added a bunch of my own. Is that cheating? Oh, well.
- A director who you have loved every film by
- Favourite on-screen romance
- Favourite on-screen friendship
- Favourite collective cast in a film
- Your favourite movie from childhood
- A movie that no one would expect you to love
- Favourite film by your favourite actor/actress
- Favourite film by your favourite director
- 5 desert island films
- Movie with the best soundtrack
- Favourite movie based on a book
- Funniest film
- Saddest film
- Favourite movie villain
- A character you would marry
- A movie that more people should see
- A horrible movie with a great cast
- Favourite quote from a movie
- The best movie you saw during the last year
- A great film performance that no one talks about
- A movie that you can watch over and over again
- A movie that disappointed you
- Favourite chick flick
- Favourite action film
- A movie character that you relate to the most
- The most bizarre movie that you’ve seen
- A film that everyone hates, but that you love
- A film with great dialogue
- The most visually impressive film you’ve seen
- A film that has stuck with you in a profound way
Prepare yourself for a self-indulgent post about how my Oscar predictions throughout the year stacked up with this morning’s nominations. I have no idea if anyone will find this interesting, but since I’ve spent months covering this race, I figured I should at least do some kind of wrap-up to figure out if it was worth it.
Below, I’ve listed the official Oscar nominees. Beside them, I’ve listed the months in which I predicted them to be nominated. If they are in red, that means that I predicted them every month since and including March 2010, which was my earliest round of predictions. If you want to see that original post from March, click here. And prediction pages for each category show which names I predicted each month.
127 Hours: Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Black Swan: March, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
The Fighter: March, May, June, July, Aug, Nov, Dec, Jan
Inception: March, May, June, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
The Kids Are All Right: Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
The King’s Speech: Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
The Social Network: March, May, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Toy Story 3: June,
July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
True Grit: May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Winter’s Bone: Nov, Dec, Jan
I had four of the eventual ten nominees in my first round of predictions (including The Social Network, which at the time was kind of just “That Facebook Movie”), and by September, I had almost all of the nominees down solidly. But does that make me a genius prognosticator? Not really. It just means that the race was pretty predictable. Who would’ve thought that movies about the founding of a website, a speech impediment, a crazy ballerina, a bunch of toys, and a guy stuck under a rock would make for the most compelling cinema of the year? But once people started seeing these movies, word spread fast and buzz started to build.
Javier Bardem: June, July, Aug, Sept
Jeff Bridges: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Jesse Eisenberg: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Colin Firth: March, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
James Franco: Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
This is probably my category that varied the least from month to month. I really didn’t have too many guesses that went nowhere. I briefly predicted Damon for Hereafter (March and May), I had way too much faith in Stephen Dorff (June-Aug), and predicted Farrell for The Way Back (May) and Eckhart for Rabbit Hole (March) once apiece, but aside from that it was always some combo of the main seven actors. I stuck with Duvall through every round of predictions and backed Gosling through to September. But I can’t say that I’m embarrassed to have predicted them for so long, because they did turn out to be major contenders.
Annette Bening: March, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Nicole Kidman: March, May, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Jennifer Lawrence: June, July, Aug, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Natalie Portman: March, May, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Michelle Williams: March, May, June, Aug, Sept, Jan
Despite the fact that these predictions were more sporadic, I have to say, I’m kind of proud that I correctly guessed four of the five eventual nominees in my very first predictions. Things got a bit wonky in the summer (way too much faith in Hathaway and Lane), but I managed to get things back on track. I shouldn’t have been so steadfast about Lesley Manville (June-Dec) once the precursors ignored her, but at least I dropped her at the last minute.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale: March, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Never in my predictions
Jeremy Renner: Dec, Jan
Mark Ruffalo: May, Aug, Sept, Nov, Dec, Jan
Geoffrey Rush: Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
This was a very strange category for me. There were names that I latched onto for no good reason and just would NOT drop. In Bale’s case, it worked in my favour, but I also spent way too long predicting Andrew Garfield for Never Let Me Go (March-July), Josh Brolin for True Grit (March-Aug), Sam Rockwell for Conviction (June-Oct), and especially Ed Harris for The Way Back (good lord, did I really predict him through to November??). In retrospect, I guess I was smart for being sceptical about Garfield’s Social Network chances, but sadly, I did give in by December. Not my best category, that’s for sure.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams: March, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Helena Bonham Carter: June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Melissa Leo: Oct,
Nov, Dec, Jan
Hailee Steinfeld: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
Jacki Weaver: Dec
It seemed like I tried anything and everything with my predictions in this category. I was solid on Adams (and I’m glad I stuck with her even when everyone was doubting her and The Fighter over the summer) and Bonham Carter from early on, but some of my other guesses were pretty out of whack. Bryce Dallas Howard (March-July), Miranda Richardson (Sept-Nov), Elle Fanning (March, June-Sept), and several other randoms were poor choices. But considering that I had 4/5 by October, I suppose I did alright, eventually.
Alright, I think it’s high time for some good old-fashioned whining about who did and did not get nominated.
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
This was pretty easy to predict (I’ve been predicting those ten films since November). I’ve seen seven of them (yet to see The Fighter, 127 Hours, or Winter’s Bone), and I’m fine with all of them being nominated. I would’ve loved to see The Town sneak in (perhaps instead of True Grit), but I really can’t complain here.
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)
So so SO happy for Jesse Eisenberg and Colin Firth! Both were amazing, and it’s great to see them recognized. Bardem is a bit of a surprise (though a lot of people were predicting him…). I haven’t seen his performance or Franco’s, but I hear they’re both wonderful, and I like them both a lot as actors. I’m kind of bummed that Ryan Gosling didn’t get it (though I haven’t seen his film, so who am I to judge?), and that Bridges did. Bridges was good, but to me, it was kind of a one-dimensional character. Since he just won last year it might have been nice to spread it around, rather than just nominating him because he’s Jeff Bridges. I like the Dude, but it seems like a throwaway nomination. (Am I still a bit sore over the fact that he beat Firth last year? Possibly.)
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
This is the line-up that I expected (but am I allowed to pat myself on the back for predicting the yes for Williams, no for Gosling nomination split?). Only seen Bening and Portman, but Portman DEFINITELY should (and will) win.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
First of all: YAY Mark Ruffalo! And while I didn’t go as absolutely nutty over Andrew Garfield’s performance as some people (despite the fact that I love him), I would have much rather seen him nominated than Renner. Renner is a great actor, and he was good in The Town, but I just don’t see it as a character/performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. I was a slightly doubtful of Garfield’s chances (though not enough to stop predicting him), so it wasn’t a complete shock, but I would’ve liked to see him nominated.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)
Arghhh…WHY did I change my prediction to Mila Kunis at the last second?? That said, I would’ve much preferred to see her get nominated over Carter or Steinfeld. C’est la vie.
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (True Grit)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
I had to read this list over a couple of times, because I kept thinking, “I feel like someone is missing”. Then I realised who it was, and I nearly had an aneurysm. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, anyone? WTF. How does that man still not have a Best Director nomination? The Dark Knight snub hurt, and now this? You nominate TOM HOOPER over him? But ANYWAYS, YAY DARREN ARONOFSKY!!! It’s about time he gets nominated.
(Who would’ve thought I’d have the strongest reaction to Best Director out of all the categories?)
Oh, and how did Black Swan get snubbed for Make-Up and Costume? Just wondering.
We all know what tomorrow is… And considering I have been covering the Oscar race for months, I’m a bit excited. The fifth spot in all of the acting categories are still pretty much up for grabs (Duvall vs. Gosling is torturing me… I keep flipping back and forth), so we’re going to see some surprises no matter who gets nominated. This race has been much more interesting than last year’s, to me.
I’ve also seen a fair number of the big movies in contention. I just saw Black Swan tonight. HOLY. SHIT. I’m still processing it (and it kind of freaked the crap out of me), but I think I loved it. I also saw The King’s Speech recently, and Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush (who I for some reason was not expecting to like that much in it) were SO good. Still need to see The Fighter, 127 Hours, Blue Valentine, Winter’s Bone, Rabbit Hole, and a few others, but I like what I’ve seen so far (except for True Grit, which, though I liked it, underwhelmed me a bit).
I’ve done some last-minute updates to my predictions (including updated Critics charts), so head on over to my Oscar predictions page to see my final guesses! See you back here tomorrow for discussion of the nominations (it’s one of the few things that can get my up so early in the morning…at least I live on the east coast.)
I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts on last night’s Golden Globes ceremony.
- Ricky Gervais. Apparently people are upset with some of his comments? I didn’t find any of his jokes offensive, and for the most part they were funny, and quite accurate. How can you expect him not to take jabs at celebrities when the whole show is one big excuse for celebs to promote themselves? This is just my opinion, but I doubt many of the people he made fun of were offended so much as pleased to get attention. People like Tim Allen haven’t generated this much discussion in about a decade (oh, the irony!)
- “It’s Ashton Kutcher’s dad…Bruce Willis!”
- Chris Colfer wins! (A very deserved win, in my opinion. And I loved his genuinely shocked reaction, and his simultaneously funny and touching speech – “I think I dropped my heart somewhere between Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore!”)
- Jim Parsons wins! (Plus Kaley Cuoco’s reaction)
- Colin Firth winning, and his lovely acceptance speech (plus his shout out to Guy Pearce!)
- Cuts to celebrities at random moments (Kyra Sedwick flaked out on Kevin Bacons’ shoulder, Mark Wahlberg and his red wine, etc.)
- Even though I haven’t seen their movies/shows, it was nice to see Steve Buscemi, Paul Giamati, Katey Segal, and Laura Linney get some recognition.
- Robert Downey Jr.’s presentation. It was risky, and worked for the most part. I’m assuming he wrote it/had some hand in it, and inventive bits like that make the show much more entertaining. (And anyone who thinks that he was seriously complaining about the show’s mean-spirited tone obviously doesn’t know much about RDJ)
- Andrew Garfield and Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting to present for their respective films (JGL was a pro, and Garfield’s insane nervousness was endearing)
- Best dressed ladies: Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis, Claire Danes, Leighton Meester, Hailee Steinfeld
- Michael Douglas: “There has to be an easier way to get a standing ovation”
- Jesse Eisenberg’s unexpected success at wearing a suit (though he’s always been cute)
- Garrett Hedlund’s expected success at wearing a suit
- Why does Emma Stone look like that?
- J-Lo and Alec Baldwin’s awkward presentation
- Lea Michele becoming increasingly more obnoxious by the second.
- Justin Bieber’s presence
- The general predictability of the film categories. I’m a fan of a lot of the people that won, but it would’ve been nice to see a surprise winner somewhere along the line (the TV categories were much more inspired, to me)