Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Problem of the Magical Transportation Book in Beauty and the Beast

First and foremost, I actually liked the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. For the most part, the casting was right on and it really was a joy to experience this movie musical in this way. A part of me wished the movie hadn't been SO faithful to the classic animated film, but another part of me also needed to see every single thing about the animated film translated perfectly. I'm sure Disney and company struggled with this dilemma as well especially with an animated film so indelible in so many people's minds. In the end, they played it conservatively keeping a lot of the classic moments untouched while giving new touches to a few things (think the Prince's Louis XIV dance party at the beginning and the addition of the new songs).

One of the cooler new additions they made was the existence of the Magical Transportation Book that the Beast uses to transport himself away from the loneliness of his castle. In a touching scene, he shows Belle this book and in turns helps Belle go to Paris and get some closure on her mom's death. It was a kind turn from the Beast endearing himself to her while at the same time actually helping her emotionally. Also... the Magical Transportation Book is just fucking cool. Who wouldn't want one? My biggest issue is that this is the one and only time the Magical Transportation Book is used and that is an outrage.

Think about it. Here's a book that can transport you anywhere your heart desires and they don't use it ever again? Instead, oh yeah, there's the Magical Mirror that shows you whatever you want. Yes, this mirror is in the animated film, but imagine if they had just replaced the mirror with the Magical Transportation Book. It would've certainly been more cinematic. A tiny ass mirror with old-timey barely visible glass is no match to actually being transported somewhere. Remember after they danced and Belle wanted to see how Maurice was doing and the Beast showed her via the Magical Mirror that her father was in big trouble? Instead of sending off Belle to ride in the dark wearing a dress not fit for the weather AT ALL, how about using the Magical Transportation Book to teleport her directly to town? Um, oops.

Okay, okay so maybe that would've changed the plot too much. It's after all important for the Beast to actually let her go and have Belle actually ride away from him (sidenote: I love, love "Evermore" and that whole sequence).

So how about tweaking the ability of the Magical Transportation Book so that anyone who goes through it wouldn't be able to actually change anything and in fact they can't be seen or heard (actually the Enchantress gives the Magical Transportation Book to the Beast as a cruel reminder that while he's free to travel anywhere in the world, he would have to do so looking like a hideous Beast, but honestly let's hand wave that away since it wasn't really developed). That would've changed nothing of the Paris scene and the Magical Transportation Book would've been a more direct replacement to what the Magical Mirror actually did. So when Belle asks about Maurice, the Beast could've taken her to the library to the Magical Transportation Book and she (and him) could've seen the horrors up close. As I mentioned earlier, this would've been more visually interesting and the visceralness of it all would've done a lot more emotionally for Belle wanting to leave and the Beast wanting to let her go. And think about the other side of that sequence with Belle, Magical Transportation Book in tow instead of the dinky ass Magical Mirror, showing Gaston and the town folks the existence of the Beast. How intense would've that been for them, seeing the Beast in all of his glory as he broods in his dark West Wing.

In the end, what really stings for me is a truly missed moment between Belle and the Beast. Let's think about this for a second. When the Beast showed Belle his library he was nonplussed by its grandness and its contents while Belle, as we all know, thinks this is the Greatest Shit Ever. Her love of books and reading is such a core to her character. So when the Beast shows her the Magical Transportation Book for the first time, it was him reaching out to her in a way he thought she would get, by showing her the only book he truly cherishes. It's one of his greatest possessions in a castle full of priceless possessions. So now fast forward to the moment he lets her go to rescue Maurice. How much more gut-wrenchingly wonderful would it have been for him to give Belle, who I remind you loves books like she loves air, his most beloved possession in the world. And it's a damn book. I'm crying just thinking about it. UGH.

So... I praise the movie for coming up with this very nifty idea of this Magical Transportation Book. But I'm frustrated they weren't able to actually use it in a more emotionally (and cinematically) resonant way.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Happy 20 Buffy!

20 years ago today Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite show of all time, premiered.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Best Picture Tweets

Happy Oscar Day! Now, I thought it was fun compiling my reaction tweets last year to when I saw each of the Best Picture nominees so I'm doing that again this year! The only film that didn't get a tweet reaction from me was Hell or High Water probably because I saw it at home and then forgot all about it afterwards. Anyways, in the order of most Oscar nominations to least:

And one more for La La Land to end it:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thoughts on Oscar Nominations and Predictions

With just a day to go until the 89th Academy Awards, here are my thoughts on the nominations (and the snubs) as well as my personal picks to win and also my predictions. All-in-one post for efficiency!

  • Arrival (8 nominations)
  • Fences (4 nominations)
  • Hacksaw Ridge (6 nominations)
  • Hell or High Water (4 nominations)
  • Hidden Figures (3 nominations)
  • La La Land (14 nominations)
  • Lion (6 nominations)
  • Manchester by the Sea (6 nominations)
  • Moonlight (8 nominations)

It's La La Land's world and we just live in it. And I couldn't be happier. It's not often that the Oscar front-runner (with a record tying 14 Oscar nominations) is also my favorite film so I've been quite enjoying its dominant awards-season run even with the predictable backlash. If that backlash sticks though Moonlight should benefit and thankfully I really like that film too! Meanwhile don't ask me why Hacksaw Ridge or Hell or High Water were nominated.

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Moonlight

  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

I wished this had matched up the DGA nomination with Garth Davis (Lion) replacing Gibson, but alas we can't have everything. I think the other nominees were pretty expected and quite deserving. I'm especially thrilled that Villeneuve made it in for a sci-fi film and that Jenkins could become the first black director to win. But I think no one is beating Chazelle. I think even La La Land detractors would agree that he directed that movie wonderfully.

SHOULD WIN: Damien Chazelle
WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle
COULD WIN: Barry Jenkins

  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle

This was a very competitive year for this category that such veterans like Annette Bening and Amy Adams were left out in the cold. The safe bet here is to pick Stone with her winnings the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA. But Portman and Huppert have their staunch fans and they've picked up their share of awards as well (i.e. Stone hasn't steamrolled). And let's give it up for Negga nabbing her first nomination... and of course Streep getting her 20th (!) Oscar nomination.

SHOULD WIN: Emma Stone
WILL WIN: Emma Stone
COULD WIN: Isabelle Huppert

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

If there was an acting race, this would be the category to watch. Affleck is the slight frontrunner dominating the awards season, but there was always the hint of a scandal that never coalesced to anything concrete. And Washington is right there on Affleck's heels with his own powerhouse of a performance garnering him the SAG which feels like a shift in the race... or not. What I would give to have Gosling win in a shock (though as much as I love his film, he should've been nominated for The Nice Guys). Then again as happy as I am for Garfield's first nom (should've been for The Social Network), it really should be for Silence and not this film.

SHOULD WIN: Ryan Gosling
WILL WIN: Casey Affleck
COULD WIN: Denzel Washington

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

First and foremost I love Davis and I'm so happy she's going to win her first Oscar! And yeah, no one is going to beat her. With that said, it's so clearly a lead role and I'm just a little bit disappointed at the category fraud. She would've been VERY competitive in lead. With that said, I also can't fault her. She's a lock here. If she wasn't here I think Williams could've won her first or perhaps Harris in a "shock" win. Anyways, if Davis wasn't here, who could've snuck in? Greta Gerwig? Janelle Monae?

SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis
WILL WIN: Viola Davis
COULD WIN: Michelle Williams (but she won't)

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Ali is the frontrunner here after dominating the awards season early on, but since then the race has gotten more interesting. He lost to Aaron-Taylor Johnson at the Globes and Patel at BAFTA. Thankfully Johnson wasn't nominated (instead his co-star Shannon deservedly snuck in without much precursor support), but with Lion surging, Patel is still a threat. Bridges' nod is so damn uninspiring. Could've made room instead for Hugh Grant or Ralph Fiennes.

SHOULD WIN: Michael Shannon
WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali
COULD WIN: Dev Patel

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

At the WGA Awards, Arrival won, but it wasn't up against Moonlight which interestingly enough was in the Original Screenplay category and won that award. I think Moonlight will make history and double-dip by winning here. If anything its closest competition is probably the surging Lion or the beloved Fences (to posthumously honor August Wilson) and not Arrival.

WILL WIN: Moonlight

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

With Moonlight in Adapted, this should be a cakewalk for Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea UNLESS the Oscars want to give La La Land all the awards which it could very well do. I don't think they will, but you never know. I *am* thrilled to see The Lobster and 20th Century Women nominated here. By far the two best scripts in film this year.

SHOULD WIN: The Lobster
WILL WIN: Manchester by the Sea

  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • Tanna (Australia)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)

I'm a bit sad I haven't seen any of these films yet, but I know I'll eventually see at least Toni Erdmann (the favorite to win) and The Salesman (the very strong possible spoiler). With early favorites Elle and Neruda not making it in, Toni Erdmann is the only other film to receive precursor love, but if the Academy wants to make a political statement look for Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman. Also if you haven't read the joint statement of these filmmakers, you must.

SHOULD WIN: The Salesman
WILL WIN: Toni Erdmann
COULD WIN: The Salesman

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

I think you know it's a great year in animation when a Finding Nemo sequel is just my fourth favorite animated film of the year and I'm not even sad it's not nominated. Zootopia is the favorite to win and it's also MY favorite animated film of the year, but I did love Moana and Kubo as well and the latter, with its recent BAFTA win, is nipping at the Zootopia's heels. I've also only heard good things about the other two which I haven't seen.

SHOULD WIN: Zootopia
WILL WIN: Zootopia
COULD WIN: Kubo and the Two Strings

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

All of these are Best Picture nominees and convention says La La Land will take this (and it will deserve it!). But if they want MOST editing, they could possibly go with Hacksaw Ridge or even Hell or High Water. Arrival or Moonlight would be inspired.

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Hacksaw Ridge

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Here's the thing, if it was up to me I'd give La La Land most of the categories it's nominated for. And the Academy could very well think the same thing and give it a win here. With that said, I think Fantastic Beasts and Arrival and maybe even Passengers had some precursor support. The big miss here was The Handmaiden.

WILL WIN: Arrival
COULD WIN: Fantastic Beast

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Silence
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Probably one of my favorite list of nominees this year. I just think every single nomination here is truly well-deserved as I thought these were five of the most beautiful films I saw this past year. Again convention says La La Land if they want to sweep, but I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if Moonlight or even Lion took the trophy.

WILL WIN: Moonlight

  • "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," La La Land
  • "Can’t Stop the Feeling," Trolls
  • "City of Stars," La La Land
  • "The Empty Chair," Jim: The James Foley Story
  • "How Far I’ll Go," Moana

Last year's winner was deplorable so the Academy can only do better this year! And it's a good list with the exception of the totally random "The Empty Chair." It probably took the spot of "Do Anything" from Zootopia or the totally awesome "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street. That said, this is La La Land versus Lin-Manuel Miranda's quest to EGOT for his Moana song. He has more than a good possibility I think especially if the two La La Land songs split votes.

SHOULD WIN: "How Far I'll Go"
WILL WIN: "City of Stars"
COULD WIN: "How Far I'll Go"

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

As if the Academy voters aren't going to give the score award to the musical film. I think that's a pretty safe bet. If they are feeling adventurous though this would be the best chance to honor Mica Levy's work in Jackie. Or even poor Thomas Newman (Passengers) with his 14 nominations and 0 wins.

WILL WIN: La La Land

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land 

People are saying La La Land is a safe bet here, but I know more than a few people who wasn't too impressed (they're crazy). But if that's a more widespread feeling then I would think it'd be between Jackie or Florence Foster Jenkins. Unless they feel they must award Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts) with her 4th win. Light a candle for The Dressmaker.

WILL WIN: Jackie

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Hacksaw Ridge and Deepwater Horizon were really loud. But La La Land could sweep so...

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Hacksaw Ridge

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One
  • 13 Hours

Someday I'll know the difference. Then again many Oscar voters don't. I'd probably just say La La Land again, but I think this will swing to another film. Arrival or Rogue One perhaps?

WILL WIN: Rogue One

  • Rogue One
  • The Jungle Book
  • Doctor Strange
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Kubo and the Two Strings

I think if I was making the ballot, these would've been my exact same five films. And yes, I'm thrilled that Kubo made it in since that film used VFX so well. Anyways, this is The Jungle Book's award to lose, but weirder things have happened.

SHOULD WIN: Kubo and the Two Strings
WILL WIN: The Jungle Book
COULD WIN: Doctor Strange

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad? Really? I would've gladly switched that out with The Dressmaker, Deadpool, or Florence Foster Jenkins. The sad thing is it's probably the frontrunner here too.

SHOULD WIN: Star Trek Beyond
WILL WIN: A Man Called Ove
COULD WIN: Suicide Squad

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • 13th
  • O.J.: Made in America

I've only seen the Ava DuVernay's 13th, which I implore everyone to watch. With that said I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about any of these films. Made in America is probably the slight favorite with all of its precursor support, but I still call foul on submitting a 6+ hour miniseries for Oscar consideration.

WILL WIN: OJ: Made in America


  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets 

I've seen The White Helmets and Extremis since they're both available on Netflix and I meant to see 4.1 Miles and Joe's Violin since they're also available elsewhere online. Without knowing too much about the race, I think The White Helmets might have an edge especially with our current political climate. Or maybe Joe's Violin.

SHOULD WIN: The White Helmet
WILL WIN: The White Helmet
COULD WIN: Joe's Violin

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Having seen only Pearl and Piper which I thought were both good (though not amazing), I have no earthly idea which of these films is the favorite or even who should win. Your guess is as good as mine.


  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Saw these last weekend and I think any of them could win for various reasons. My absolute favorite is Timecode which is probably the slightest of them all story-wise, but it's also the most delightful. Sing has a very satisfying arc and some great character work. La Femme et le TGV might attract older voters and it's the only film with a recognizable star (always a plus). The latter two were my least favorites, but they were also the most topical. Ennemis Intérieurs was the better of the two but also the most inert film of the five while Silent Nights is just not good in so many sense.

SHOULD WIN: Timecode
WILL WIN: La Femme et le TGV

So where does that all leave me in terms of predictions? I predicted La La Land to walk away with a leading 7 wins including Picture/Director/Actress. With the rest of the wealth shared among a few films namely Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Arrival, etc. And I think Lion, Hell or Hell Water, and Hidden Figures will walk away with no wins. Let's all check back on Sunday and see how wrong I am!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A rat-tat-tat on my heart...

A look in somebody's eyes
To light up the skies
To open the world and send it reeling
A voice that says, I'll be here
And you'll be alright

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BAFTA Nominations and Predictions

Currently watching the BAFTA red carpet live stream which means we should be getting spoilerific updates for the actual awards in a couple of hours. But first some quick thoughts and predictions!

Best Film
  • Arrival
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Best British Film
  • American Honey
  • Denial
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Notes on Blindness
  • Under the Shadow

Just last year, there was no overlap between these two categories. This year there's one film I, Daniel Blake which hasn't made its way here in the US yet. Of course, awards front-runner La La Land is here and leads with 11 nods followed closely by 9 nods for Arrival.

SHOULD WIN: La La Land for Best Film, American Honey for British Film
WILL WIN: La La Land for Best Film, Daniel Blake for British Film

Best Director
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals also garnered 9 nods, but without a Best Film nomination. It did get Best Director knocking off a possible nomination for Moonlight's Barry Jenkins. Loach could be a surprise win, but everyone's betting on DGA-winner Chazelle.

SHOULD WIN: Damien Chazelle
WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle

Best Actor
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Best Actress
  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie

Most of these names are Oscar-nominated but the ones that weren't are worth pointing out. The Brits really liked Nocturnal Animals and not so much for Fences so Gyllenhaal replacing Denzel Washington made sense. It's a bit more surprising to see Blunt replace Ruth Negga (both British so that didn't make an impact). The racial optics of both replacement isn't great. FYI, Isabelle Huppert wasn't eligible. Could Garfield surprise as a Brit in the increasingly competitive Actor category?

SHOULD WIN: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
WILL WIN: Casey Affleck, Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
  • Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Viola Davis, Fences

We all know Viola is winning this award, but her film didn't get much love while the others got a lot of love. Supporting Actor could be interesting as well. Ali is the favorite, but how about Globe-winner Taylor-Johnson or home-town favorite Patel and Grant?

SHOULD WIN: Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis
WILL WIN: Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman

Best Original Screenplay
  • Hell or High Water
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Moonlight is in the Adapted category for the Oscars and just won the Scripter Awards last night. But the safe bet would be Manchester by the Sea (unless La La Land sweeps) for Original and one of Amy's films for Adapted.

SHOULD WIN: Moonlight, Lion
WILL WIN: Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals

Best Film Not in the English Language

  • Dheepan
  • Julieta
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary
  • 13th
  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
  • The Eagle Huntress
  • Notes on Blindness
  • Weiner

Best Animated Film
  • Finding Dory
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • Zootropolis

Zootropolis should continue its season-long domination. With Documentary, I have no earthly idea while in Foreign it's 2016 favorite vs. 2017 favorite with Son of Saul and Toni Erdmann. I think Erdmann has momentum though.

SHOULD WIN: Toni Erdmann, 13th, Zootropolis
WILL WIN: Toni Erdman, The Beatles, Zootropolis

Best Cinematography
  • Arrival
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Editing
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Production Design
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Costume Design
  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Best Make Up & Hair

  • Doctor Strange
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Original Music
  • Arrival
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Sound
  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land

Best Special Visual Effects
  • Arrival
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • The Jungle Book
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

La La Land could easily sweep but there's some strong competition in a few of the categories. Plus someone else will have to win in Visual Effects and Make-Up/Hair (a weird miss for the musical IMO).

WILL WIN: Arrival for Cinematography, La La Land for Editing, Fantastic Beast for Production Design, Florence Foster for Costume, Nocturnal Animals for Make Up/Hair, La La Land for Music, La La Land for Sound, Jungle Book for Visual Effects.

Best British Debut
  • The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (writer), Camille Gatin (producer)
  • The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (writer/director/producer), Dionne Walker (writer/producer)
  • Notes on Blindness - Peter Middleton (writer/director/producer), James Spinney (writer/director), Jo-Jo Ellison (producer)
  • The Pass – John Donnelly (writer), Ben A Williams (director)
  • Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (writer/director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (producers)

Best British Short Animation
  • The Alan Dimension
  • A Love Story
  • Tough

Best British Short Film
  • Consumed
  • Home
  • Mouth of Hell
  • The Party
  • Standby

EE Rising Star Award
  • Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Laia Costa
  • Lucas Hedges
  • Ruth Negga
  • Tom Holland

I'm fairly ignorant on these British categories so I'll have to plead the fifth when it comes to commenting on them. As for the Rising Star award, could anyone actually beat Spider-Man Tom Holland?

WILL WIN: Notes on Blindness for Britist Debut, The Alan Dimension for Animation Short, The Party for Short Film, and Tom Holland for Rising Star.

Monday, January 9, 2017

La La Land and Meryl Streep Win at Golden Globes

The most important thing to happen tonight at the Golden Globes is Meryl Streep's speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. She expertly vilified a certain unnamed president "elect," made an impassioned plea for more empathy, and paid tribute to her "dear departed Princess Leia." Like Streep's filmography, her speech had range, was mostly captivating, and certainly already iconic. Other awards were given, many to a certain Los Angeles-set musical and many more to British actors. Jimmy Fallon, with the exception of the fun opening number, stuck with his usual milquetoast bland schtick with almost anyone else going to the stage tonight displaying why they'd be a better host (Viola Davis, Sunny Pawar, Kristen Wiig/Steven Carrell were my personal favorites). Anyways, onwards...

Best Motion Picture, Drama: Moonlight
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: La La Land
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Best Actress, Drama: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Emma Stone, La La Land
Best Actor, Drama: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Best Animated Film: Zootopia
Best Foreign Language Film: Elle
Best Screenplay: La La Land
Best Score: La La Land
Best Song: "City of Stars," La La Land

Awards season frontrunner La La Land dominated, picking up a record breaking 7 awards and winning every category it was nominated for, becoming the winningest film in Globes history. Their haul included Best Comedy/Musical and first Globes to director Damien Chazelle and leads Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film awards were bookended with surprise wins, the first to Aaron Taylor-Johnson winning Supporting Actor (many thought, myself included, he had no right of being nominated let alone win) and the last to Moonlight for Best Drama Picture (a delightful turn of events). Isabelle Huppert, Casey Affleck, and Davis won acting awards giving their Oscar chances a boost though only Huppert was the only one that needed it (and I guess Taylor-Johnson as well but I still think/hope/pray his nomination/win here is a fluke). Predictions-wise, I think pretty great going 10 of 14 (12 of 14 with alternates). I was certainly happy that La La Land swept and I hope it happens again at the Oscars.

Best TV Series, Drama: The Crown
Best TV Series, Comedy: Atlanta
Best Actress, Drama: Claire Foy, The Crown
Best Actress, Comedy: Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Best Actor, Drama: Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath
Best Actor, Comedy: Donald Glover, Atlanta
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie: The People vs. OJ Simpson
Best Actress, Mini/TV Movie: Sarah Paulson, The People vs. OJ Simpson
Best Actor, Mini/TV Movie: Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Best Supporting Actress: Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Best Supporting Actor: Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

For TV, color me surprised that The Night Manager ended up as the most awarded TV show of the night with 3 wins. In retrospect, it really shouldn't have surprised anyone how much love this show would get from the HFPA (all its leads won including an Olivia Colman win that made me jump for joy). The Crown, Atlanta, and The People vs. OJ Simpson won Best Show honors as well as a key acting win each (Claire Foy, Donald Glover, and Sarah Paulson respectively). First time wins by Foy, Glover and Tracee Ellis Ross were a great sight to see. My predictions wasn't so great at 3 of 11 (6 of 11 with alternates) but in general I think the right people, mostly, were awarded.

To end, I have to again go back to Meryl Streep's speech. It's something that can be easily watched in full. You can do so below, courtesy of HFPA's tweet.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Golden Globes: Predictions and Hopes

My last post was almost four months ago talking about another awards show so I guess it's fine if I just dive right back in the midst of awards season especially with the Golden Globes happening tonight. No extended thoughts on the nominees, but my predictions and hopes are below.

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea

Will Win: Damien Chazelle
Alternate: Barry Jenkins
Should Win: Either one of those would be fine by me!

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Manchester By the Sea

Will Win: Moonlight
Alternate: Manchester by the Sea
Should Win: Happy for either of those, but I'm low-key hoping for a LION shocker.

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
20th Century Women
La La Land
Florence Foster Jenkins
Sing Street

Will Win:
La La Land
Alternate: N/A
Should Win: La La Land! La La Land! La La Land! LA LA LAND!!!

Best Actress, Drama
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Ruth Negga, Loving

Will Win: Natalie Portman (Globes likes the big name!)
Alternate: Isabelle Huppert (Globes like the foreign ladies!)
Should Win: Amy Adams (Globes do whatever they want!)

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Will Win: Emma Stone
Alternate: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Stone should really get this, but most of her fellow nominees are great.

Best Actor, Drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Casey Affleck
Alternate: Denzel Washington
Should Win: Viggo Mortensen. Or Andrew Garfield... but for his non-nominated role in SILENCE.

Best Actor, Musical, or Comedy
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Will Win: Ryan... Gosling
Alternate: Ryan... Reynolds
Should Win: GOSLING! I like Reynolds but I swear if DEADPOOL crashes the LA LA LAND party, I might have a stroke.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel, Lion
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Alternate: Jeff Bridges
Should Win: ALI! Maybe Dev Patel, but only if he shares his award with Sunny Pawar. But really ANYONE BUT Taylor-Johnson please and thanks.

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea

Will Win: Viola Davis
Alternate: Michelle Williams
Should Win: What I really wish is Davis winning in Lead and Williams winning here.

Best Screenplay
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Manchester by the Sea
Alternate: Moonlight
Should Win: Again, both films are worthy and will likely get their respective Oscars so let's blow it up a bit here and say LA LA LAND.

Best Foreign Language Film
Divines, France
Elle, France
Neruda, Chile
The Salesman, Iran/France
Toni Erdmann, Germany

Will Win: Toni Erdmann
Alternate: Elle
Should Win: Unfortnately I haven't seen any of these to make a judgment call.

Best Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
My life as a Zucchini

Will Win: Zootopia
Alternate: Moana
Should Win: A strong year for the medium that started out with a bang with ZOOTOPIA and it should be rewarded thusly.

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Faith,” Sing
“Gold,” Gold
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Will Win: The guys who wrote Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen (City of Stars)
Alternate: The guy who wrote Broadway's Hamilton (How Far I'll Go)
Should Win: I would be VERY sad if one of those songs don't win.

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Hidden Figures
La La Land

Will Win: La La Land
Alternate: Not sure...
Should Win: Hoping for a big night for this movie!

Best TV Series, Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Will Win: Game of Thrones
Alternate: The Crown
Should Win: Ask me at different time and I can see myself (and the HFPA) say any of these, but I'll say GAME OF THRONES.

Best Actress, Drama
Catriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Will Win: I have no idea actually... Claire Foy?
Alternate: Same, um... Evan Rachel Wood?
Should Win: Russell, because see Russian comment below. But Ryder for the nostalgia.

Best Actor, Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Will Win: Rami Malek
Alternate: Matthew Rhys
Should Win: We're letting the Russians win elsewhere, so let's give it up for RHYS!

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Mozart in the Jungle

Will Win: Veep
Alternate: Mozart in the Jungle
Should Win: I think this election year is giving me PTSD with VEEP so I would've voted for BLACK-ISH probably.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but can we first just look at how awesome this list of nominees is?
Alternate: Sarah Jessica Parker?
Should Win: Rooting for a first-time winner... Issa Rae!

Best Actor, Musical, or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Will Win: Gael Garcia Bernal
Alternate: Donald Glover
Should Win: Since Bernal won last year, I'd say Glover this time around.

Best Limited Series or TV Movie
American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: The People v. OJ Simpson
Alternate: N/A
Should Win: PEOPLE V. OJ certainly, but I do wish NIGHT MANAGER got its due.

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Will Win: Sarah Paulson
Alternate: N/A

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: Courtney B. Vance
Alternate: Tom Hiddleston
Should win: Either one of those would be good with me, but I'm low-key itching for Turturro.

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: Sterling K. Brown
Alternate: John Lithgow
Should Win: BROWN has got this easily.

Best Supporting Actress
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld

Will Win: Thandie Newton
Alternate: Lena Headey
Should Win: Both were VERY good (very deadly) this past season. But I would love for Colman to grab this in a shocker.

Let's see how wrong I am tonight!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Emmy Nominations and Predictions 2016

The Emmys are today and since I revel in procrastinating, here just now are my quick thoughts on the nominations and my accompanying predictions for tonight's award show. In general, they did pretty okay. Definitely lots of people I would have wanted to get nominated weren't, but a few others did. That's the best one can hope for.

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot

Let's get this out of the way first, last year's Emmy champ Game of Thrones will win. It has the most nominations and they won last year for their weakest season. The two shows I can possibly see toppling it would be the two shows that broke through this year, which would be the buzzy freshman show Mr. Robot and the "should've been nominated a bunch of times already" The Americans. The latter's inclusion pretty much meant I was pretty damn happy nomination morning no matter what happened. I'm already excited about next year though when Downton Abbey *and* Game of Thrones aren't in the running. What happens then?

Prediction: Game of Thrones
Alternate: The Americans
Should Win: The Americans
Should've Been Nominated: Sense8, Orange is the New Black, The Leftovers, Marvel's Jessica Jones

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Matthew Rhys, The Americans

With Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels out from last year, it made room for two of the new best nominations this category has had in awhile with Matthew Rhys finally getting his deserved dues and breakout star Rami Malek also getting honored. This category is actually confounding me in terms of predicting a winner especially since the category has been all Cranston (then Hamm) for the past few year. Chandler is actually the only past Emmy winner while Spacey is the Susan Lucci (outdated reference) of this category with 9 previous nominations and no win.

Prediction: Kevin Spacey
Alternate: Rami Malek
Should Win: Matthew Rhys
Should've Been Nominated: Damian Lewis, Aldis Hodge, Cillian Murphy, Justin Theroux

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards

SUCH a stacked category, like it is every damn year. This list is actually the same as last year (with last year's breakout Maslany surprisingly getting a repeat nom!) with the exception of Keri Russell replacing Elisabeth Moss. Wait, let me repeat that... KERI RUSSELL IS NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY FOR HER WORK IN THE AMERICANS. She'll probably lose, but goddamn if that isn't just the best new ever. Last year's winner Viola will likely repeat and I can't complain that much since I lover her.

Prediction: Viola Davis
Alternate: Keri Russell
Should Win: Keri Russell
Should've Been Nominated: Shiri Appleby, Carrie Coon, Julianna Margulies, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Kristen Ritter

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Last year's winner Dinklage won for a season where he barely did anything so underestimate him at your peril. With that said, the "surprise" nomination for Harington shows great love for the show and he IS featured heavily in the show's "best" episode of the season so don't be too shocked if his name is called tonight. With that said, this really is the best time for them to honor Banks for his great work not only on this show, but as a tribute to what he did in Breaking Bad.

Prediction: Peter Dinklage
Alternate: Kit Harington
Should Win: Jonathan Banks
Should've Been Nominated: Joshua Jackson, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Martin Wallstrom, David Tennant


Maura Tierney, The Affair
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Constance Zimmer, UnReal

After taking a refreshing breather last year, the TV Academy decided to honor Smith one last nomination for her work in Downton Abbey. Will it translate to an actual win given her strongest competitions, the three Game of Thrones ladies, might split votes? That's actually good news as well for Tierney and Zimmer (both inspired choices for nominations). That said... so damn strange to see both Uzo Aduba and Christine Baranski left out especially for the latter's final season.

Prediction: Lena Heady
Alternate: Maggie Smith
Should Win: Maura Tierney
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Clayton, Ann Dowd, Calista Flockhart, Alison Wright

Master of None
Silicon Valley
Modern Family
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I do like that slowly and surely, these comedy categories are changing with the times especially with Black-ish and Master of None breaking through. With that said, sure let's nominate Modern Family again I guess. It's not as if there's a whole list of shows they could've picked instead like Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, etc. Last year, I thought Transparent was a lock to win, but Veep won instead. This year, Veep garnered more nominations than any other comedy show by a lot... so obviously that will win.

Prediction: Veep
Alternate: Transparent
Should Win: Black-ish
Should've Been Nominated: Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Fresh Off the Boat, Shameless

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

If there's anyone who could beat Tambor (he won't lose regardless), it might just be Anderson. It is the more popular show and it's an easy performance to honor especially if voters think Tambor's been awarded enough. I'm just happy that Ansari broke through (lots of those happening this year) as well as Middleditch. And while this category is less heinous than in year's past, I encourage them to keep thinking outside the box.

Prediction: Jeffrey Tambor
Alternate: Anthony Anderson
Should Win: Aziz Ansari
Should've Been Nominated: Chris Geere, Andy Samberg, Randall Park, Timothy Omundson

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

As great as this line-up is, I was bound to be disappointed with the exclusion of Rachel Bloom, Gina Rodriquez, Aya Cash and both Broad City ladies. There's just so much damn talent out there begging to be recognized! That said, Louis-Dreyfuss will probably win unless they're sick of awarding her (they are not). There isn't even anyone that would seem to be competition to her unlike last year with both Lisa Kudrow and Amy Poehler delivering career-best work. Perhaps Ross, but that's not a gimme.

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Alternate: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should Win: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should've Been Nominated: Rachel Bloom, Aya Cash, Gina Rodriguez, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Constance Wu

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

Most of these are repeat nominees from last year with Adam Driver the only one not cited again and being replaced by Anderson and Walsh. I didn't see his show, but apparently Anderson is terrific while Walsh's inclusion shows the deep love the TV Academy has for Veep. Speaking of, last year's champ Hale is your likely winner, but I'm rooting hard for Braugher to finally get his comedy Emmy.

Prediction: Tony Hale
Alternate: Louie Anderson
Should Win: Andre Braugher
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Camil, Noah Galvin, Andrew Rannells, Cameron Monaghan

Niecy Nash, Getting On
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Judith Light, Transparent
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Last year, the TV Academy gave this category 8 slots so this year they've trimmed it down to just six which meant a few perennials were left out like Mayim Bialik, Julie Bowen, and sadly Jane Krakowski. That said, Judith Light is a bit of a surprise inclusion this year and might just fight for the win against last year's champ Janney. The only other person I can see possibly winning would be Chlumsky if Veep suddenly sweeps.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Judith Light
Should Win: Kate McKinnon
Should've Been Nominated: Donna Lynne Champlin, Yael Groblas, Cecily Strong, Jane Krakowski

They've already given out the Guest Acting Awards last weekend at the Creative Arts Awards. The winners are below:
BEST GUEST ACTOR, DRAMA: Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, DRAMA: Margo Martindale, The Americans
BEST GUEST ACTOR, COMEDY: Peter Scolari, Girls
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, COMEDY: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live

What an interesting list of winners. No one predicted Azaria and Martindale barely broke a sweat garnering her second win for this role. Scolari meanwhile was a late addition to the category and still won. And of course this is Poehler's FIRST Emmy win. I'm happy for her, but she also deserved A LOT better than sharing an Emmy win for a guest stint on SNL that won't be televised.

Finally, for completeness sake, here are my predictions for the Limited Series/Movie categories:

BEST TV LIMITED SERIES: The People v. OJ Simpson

Monday, September 5, 2016

Surveying My Summer 2016 Movie Season

Happy Labor Day! While summer technically lasts for a few more weeks, the first weekend of September pretty much signals the end of Summer Season. Kids are heading back to school, stores are putting out their Halloween decorations, and everything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored. What's a better time to take stock of the new movies I saw this summer?

For the purposes of setting a limit, I'm considering April 15 as the start of the Summer Movie Season mostly because THREE films opened that day including one of this year's biggest blockbusters. I'm also including just movies that actually had a theatrical release this year, because I watch too many films. Let's take it month by month.


The third weekend of April started the season with a bang with Disney's live action adaptation of their beloved The Jungle Book keeping the bulk of the story intact while marveling audiences with incredible CGI work that other blockbuster films this year could achieve. Two smaller films also came out that weekend which I ended up seeing later (and really liking) in the summer on DVD. Sing Street is another musical tale from the wonderful mind of John Carney, a coming of age story full of wit and charm and music you can't stop humming. The other film, Green Room, is one of the last films done by the late Anton Yelchin and is also one of the tensest thrillers I've seen recently with a bunch of talented young actors and a scary turn from Patrick Stewart.

Films I wished I had seen: Keanu
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Elvis & Nixon, A Hologram for the King
Films I purposely skipped: The Huntsman: Winter's War, Mother's Day


May technically is the beginning of Summer Movie Season and like the past few years, it's all about Marvel. This year it's their Avengers-sized Captain America: Civil War that starts the season. I saw it opening weekend of course and enjoyed most of it, but like many of their films it seems I'm more primed to look ahead instead of savoring what's in front of me especially with their great introductions of Chad Bosewick as Black Panther and Tom Holland as the NEW Spider-Man. Two films in May which came after that have a good chance of making my Top Films of 2016. The first is Love & Friendship, an Austen adaptation with all the usual period trappings coupled with darkly comedic sensibilities headlined by a never-better Kate Beckinsale. The other film is The Nice Guys, the hilarious buddy-cop movie starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe we all didn't think we needed. Gosling should do more comedies. The last film I saw in theaters this month was X-Men: Apocalypse which I actually enjoyed slightly more than Captain America (I do love me some mutants), but while it's certainly an imperfect film I feel the series' rebooted films of late have been underappreciated. Finally, I saw High Rise on DVD, but other than Tom Hiddleston's almost-naked scene that happens early on, there's not much to recommend.

Film I wished I had seen: The Lobster
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Money Monster, Last Days in the Desert, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Weiner
Films I purposely skipped: The Angry Birds Movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass


And the summer slowdown begins. Didn't it seem like this year summer season was frontloaded of Must See in Theater Films? I only saw two movies in theater this month, both of which are sequels to films I highly enjoyed. The first is Now You See Me 2 which unfortunately fails to capture the magic of the first movie. It was still fun and some scenes were worth the price of admission, but not the follow-up I expected. Then there's Finding Dory, which also seems to rely too much on people's love of the first film, but to me it works perfectly. Dory is one of my favorite animated characters ever and exploring her past was exactly what I wanted. Tears flowed freely by the end. And that's it. I haven't even seen any June films on DVD yet (because they're not out yet?). There were a number of films I WANTED to see in theaters, but just didn't feel motivated enough to do so.

Film I wished I had seen: Popstars: Never Stop Never Stopping
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Me Before You, The Fits, Central Intelligence, The Neon Demon, The Shallows, Swiss Army Man
Films I purposely skipped: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Free State of Jones, Independence Day: Resurgence


The movies I saw this month all had a tinge of nostalgia to it. The first, and my favorite, was Ghostbuster starring the super talened quarter of Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. The remake of the 80s film has had A LOT of media and press about it which had nothing to do with the actual movie itself which, while not Paul Feig's best, was still great fun. The next film is Star Trek Beyond, which of course is based on the 60s sci-fi classic. I actually liked it a lot, certainly compared to its previous outing. Bittersweet to see Yelchin, but glad that he was in a film that looked like it was a hoot to make. Finally, I saw Jason Bourne, the latest film in a series that started back in 2002! I've been a big fan of this series, especially its first three films headlined by Matt Damon who is back for this latest one. But apart from the usual great action sequences, something was missing for me this time around. Maybe give the series a rest for a bit?

Film I wished I had seen: Captain Fantastic
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: The BFG, The Secret Life of Pets, Cafe Society, Bad Moms, Indignation, Nerve
Films I purposely skipped: The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Ice Age: Collision Course


I was away on my Brazilian/Olympics vacation so it makes sense I didn't see that many new movies this month. But the month also was pretty dire in terms of options so I actually just caught up of the rest of the summer's fare either in theater or on DVD. I still did end up seeing two VERY different animated films in theaters. There's the outrageous and raunchy Sausage Party which probably could've been 30 minutes shorter so it doesn't outstay its welcome. In the other end of the spectrum is another gorgeous stop-animation film from Laika, Kubo and the Two Strings which I actually just saw this past weekend. Casting controversies aside, the film is a must-see with its breathtaking animation and a truly heartfelt story.

Film I wished I had seen: Florence Foster Jenkins
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Pete's Dragon, Hell or High Water, Morris from America, Don't Breathe, Hands of Stone, Southside with You
Films I purposely skipped: Suicide Squad, Nine Lives, Ben Hur, War Dogs, Mechanic: Resurrection

More random End-of-Summer honors!

BEST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): The Nice Guys
WORST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): High Rise
ACTING MVPS: Kate Beckinsale, Tom Bennett, Ryan Gosling, Anton Yelchin, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
BEST VOICEOVERS: Idris Elba, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Degeneres, Art Parkinson