You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.
1. Django Unchained
Tarantino. DiCaprio. Levitt. What more could you want?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is poised to have a fucking fantastic year in 2012. Add to that a big role in Spielberg’s next epic, Lincoln. Playing Robert Todd to Daniel Day-Lewis’ Abraham, this could be the role that finally gets Levitt some serious Oscar attention. Oh, and the film also features John Hawkes, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Hayley, Michael Stuhlbarg, and David Strathairn, among many others? That’s cool, I guess.
3. The Master
Man, these first three movies are all very exciting to me. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie since There Will Be Blood and it’s also Joaquin Phoenix’s first movie since his…social experiment (or whatever you want to call all that). Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, and Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights alumni alert!) also star. The subject matter maybe isn’t the most interesting to me (it’s based around a charismatic scientology-like leader), but then again, I would have said the same thing about There Will Be Blood.
4. Wettest Country
Director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road) reteams with Guy Pearce, and also brings Shia LaBouef, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska along for the ride in this crime drama about a Depression-era bootlegging gang. Any movie with that cast is going to grab my attention, and with Hillcoat at the helm, you know it’ll be gritty.
I’ve been avoiding the promotional stuff for this film (and most upcoming films, actually), but the cast is enough to get me very interested. Michael Fassbender and Guy Pearce are the at the top of my favourite actors list, and Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, and Noomi Rapace ain’t bad, either.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I absolutely love the book, and I love that the author (Stephen Chbosky) is also writing and directing the movie adaptation. And let’s talk about the young cast here. It’s like they took every young up-and-coming actor that I love and put them all in one movie. You’ve got Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Reece Thompson, Nicholas Braun, and Mae Whitman. Nice. And Paul Rudd and Melanie Lynskey, too? Extra nice.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
Since it’s #7 on my list in a year full of interesting movies, obviously I’m excited (like the rest of the world). But I’m also nervous. Maybe they should have gone out on a high with The Dark Knight?
8. Liberal Arts
Josh Radnor’s college dramedy was one of the more buzzed-about films at Sundance this year, and it stars Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Zac Efron, and Richard Jenkins. Radnor’s directorial debut Happythankyoumoreplease got mixed reviews, but I was rather fond of it, so I’m excited to see what he’ll do next. I could see this film being a bit of a breakout hit this year.
9. Seven Psychopaths
I would be excited for any new film by In Bruges director Martin McDonagh, so the fact that this one features Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Abbie Cornish and revolves around dognapping is just icing on the cake.
10. Anna Karenina
Joe Wright is a bit of a hit-or-miss director for me (loved Pride & Prejudice, didn’t care for Atonement), but he has definitely proven that he knows how to make a period piece look great. Re-teaming with Keira Knightley, his adaptation of the classic Tolstoy novel also stars Jude Law, Emily Watson, Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Johnson, and Olivia Williams. Awesome.
Well, it’s finally Oscar weekend. In honor of that, I’m posting my final set of predictions for who I think will take home the Oscar in each category. Click here to see the full list of nominees.
Picture: The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Actor: Jean DuJardin, The Artist
Actress: Viola Davis: The Help
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Original Screenplay: The Artist
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Animated Feature Film: Chico & Rita
Cinematography: War Horse (tough pick!)
Art Direction: Hugo
Costume Design: Hugo
Make-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Film Editing: Hugo
Sound Editing: War Horse
Sound Mixing: Transformers Dark of the Moon (no idea with this category)
Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Original Score: The Artist
Original Song: “Man or Muppet”, The Muppets
Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Documentary Feature: Pina
Documentary Short: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (yay for guessing!)
Live Action Short: Time Freak (ditto!)
Animated Short: A Morning Stroll (and again!)
Every year, the same movies snatch up a big portion of the Oscar nominations. Then, we hear about these movies for months as we lead up to Oscar night. And while this year has been a pretty exciting race (I’d say the winners for both lead acting categories are up in the air), and there were a few surprise nominees that snuck in at the last moment (what’s up, Demian Birchir?), it can get a little bit repetitive to hear about the same movies over and over again, even if you enjoyed them.
In hopes of offering a change of pace, I’ve compiled my own “Oscar” list of sorts. For my categories, I ignored all of the existing Oscar nominees and focussed on films and performances that didn’t receive as much awards attention this year. I also omitted people like Shailene Woodley, who did not receive an Oscar nomination but still got lots of attention from critics, bloggers, and awards groups leading up to the nominations.
Also, keep in mind that there are still lots of films from this year that I need to see. Shame, Take Shelter, Melancholia, and Martha Marcy May Marlene are just a few on that list.
Enjoy, and feel free to post your own “alternative Oscars” in the comments.
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
It may be a small, unassuming film, but Meek’s Cutoff stuck with me in a big way this year. The film is unconventional in almost every way (the pacing, the mumbled dialogue, the refusal to punch up the story with high drama), and it’s a true achievement in cinema.
Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Carey Fukanaga, Jane Eyre
Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive
Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff
Again, I have to give this one to Meek’s Cutoff. While Nicholas Winding Refn offered a masterclass in cool and Tomas Alfredson built insane tension around old guys sitting around talking in a room, Kelly Reichardt created something truly unique. I didn’t care for her last project, Wendy and Lucy, but her deliberate pace and sparse, terse tone worked wonders in Meek’s.
Dominic Cooper, The Devil’s Double
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Ewan McGregor, Beginners
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Cooper masters not one but two challenging roles in this messy film. He’s chilling and downright crazy as Sadam Hussein’s son, Uday, and also deeply sympathetic as Latif, the man hired as Uday’s double. It’s a towering pair of performances, and Cooper finally realizes the potential he showed in small roles in films such as Starter for 10 and An Education.
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Keira Knightley, Last Night
Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Robin Wright, The Conspirator
Wiig gives a downright brilliant comedic performance in Bridesmaids, and sometimes that is enough for me. She throws herself into every gag headfirst, and she comes out in the end with a highly charming, perfectly executed performance. McCarthy is also great, but for me, Wiig is the reason to watch Bridesmaids.
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre
Colin Ford, We Bought a Zoo
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March
Simon Pegg, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I thought Fassbender was a tad overrated in X-Men (sorry), but he reminded me why I loved him so much in Fish Tank with a similarly physical and subtly threatening performance in the gorgeous Jane Eyre. He oozes charisma here, and makes for a completely magnetic screen presence. Kudos to Mark Strong, too, for fantastic scene-stealing work in Tinker Tailor, and for converting me into a Mark Strong fan.
Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Anna Kendrick, 50/50
Carey Mulligan, Drive
Amy Ryan, Win Win
Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff
It was the year of Chastain, and my favourite performance of hers (though I haven’t seen them all) was as the ethereal wife in The Tree of Life. It’s a beautiful, moving performance, and she slips seamlessly into the languid tone of the film.
The Bourne Legacy (August 3)
Jeremy Renner is everywhere. Edward Norton is nowhere, currently. But I’m equally excited to see them in this Bourne reboot (?), even though I’m not too excited that they’re continuing the franchise without Matt Damon. Hopefully Tony Gilroy (who wrote the other Bourne films and is stepping in as director for this one) makes it more interesting than he did with Michael Clayton.
Brave (June 22)
This is Pixar’s latest family film, and it looks pretty adorable and female-empowering, which is awesome. I also like that Craig Ferguson now has a second career doing voice-over work in kid’s movies.
Contraband (January 13)
This Mark Wahlberg shoot-em-up movie looks like pretty standard fare, however its cast has me slightly more interested. With a supporting cast that includes Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones (last seen as Banshee in X-Men: First Class), J.K. Simmons, and Diego Luna, this movie has too many actors I like to not give it a rental.
Django Unchained (December 25)
I can’t think of a better Christmas present. Leo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (!!), Sascha Baron Cohen, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, and Kurt Russell are just a few of the intriguing names attached to this Tarantino-directed western.
Cogan’s Trade (TBA)
The problem with following movie casting news is that it can lead to disappointment when things don’t pan out. I remember when Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, and Javier Bardem were all attached to Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to The Assassination of Jesse James. Nonetheless, I’m still very interested to see what else Dominik is capable of, and with Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, and Ben Mendelsohn all on board, we’re really not doing too badly.
Haywire (January 20)
This is Steven Soderbergh’s first action-y blockbuster since Ocean’s Thirteen. In Haywire, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Michael Douglas, and Bill Paxton all must deal with the fallout after a black ops super soldier (played by MMA fighter Gina Carano) is betrayed by her team. With such a strong cast, I have high hopes for the film, however being bumped from late 2011 to January 2012 (the doldrums of movie release dates) might not bode well?
Premium Rush (August 24)
Let’s ponder this for a minute. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Michael Shannon. Bicycling. In what world does this exist as an action movie (or any kind of movie, for that matter)? Whatever, I’m excited.
Skyfall (November 9)
Daniel Craig + Javier Bardem + Ben Whishaw + Ralph Fiennes = a movie that I am very interested in. It would have been awesome if they’d gotten Martin Campbell back for this latest Bond film (I loved what he did with Casino Royale), but at least it’s not Marc Forster again (he fucked up Quantum of Solace pretty badly, in my opinion). Sam Mendes is certainly a good director, though, so I’m interested to see what he’ll do with the series.
This Means War (February 17)
I like Chris Pine and Tom Hardy quite a bit, so by default, I have to watch this movie at some point. The action-comedy genre has already played itself out, I think (and it was never that good to begin with), but this one looks at least potentially funny/interesting?
Untitled International Thriller (December 19)
(This Kathryn Bigelow project is better known by its working title, Kill Bin Laden.)
What a cast. Jessica Chastain is in every big movie, so obviously she is in this one. Throw in other up-and-comers like Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Clarke, and Chris Pratt (I like that he’s becoming kind of a movie star) and Mark Strong (who I have a newfound admiration for), and you’ve got a movie that I’m interested in. Also, I’m sure everyone is excited to see what Bigelow will come out with after The Hurt Locker.