Monday, December 31, 2012

See you next year!

Another year is over. Thank for the handful of you who read and comment on the blog or more likely converse with me on twitter. You might have also visited my tumblr from time to time and for that I'm thankful as well. A recap of my favorite TV shows, movies, and actors are to come in the next month but for now here are a bunch of year-end film montages for you to watch. Until the new year!



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birthday Boy: Jude Law


I feel like Jude Law doesn't get nearly enough credit as an actor even with his two Oscar nominations. He did win a much deserved BAFTA for his role in The Talented Mr. Ripley which was probably his biggest break in the industry giving him his first Oscar nomination and yet even before that he had already worked with David Cronenberg and Clint Eastwood. He got more notices in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence playing an android and then his second Oscar nomination playing a confederate soldier in Cold Mountain.

Since then he has made over 20 films, co-starring with various fellow Hollywood A-listers. Some of my favorites include I Heart Huckabees, Closer, and Contagion. Though if you ask the general public, they'd probably cite his role as Dr. John Watson playing the sidekick to Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes in those Guy Ritchie films. More recently, he played Karenin opposite Keira Knightley's Anna Karenina. It's unfortunate that the Joe Wright film seems to have faded into obscurity at least in regards to year-end awards, because I think Law delivers quite a mature and subtle performance as the wronged husband. He also lent his voice in Rise of the Guardians playing the main villain Pitch. I had actually seen Anna Karenina just days before I saw the aforementioned film and for some reason I just could not place Law's voice until the end credits. Pretty shameful on my part.

With all of that said, Jude Law celebrates his 40th birthday today and from the looks of things, he hasn't even begun to slow down.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thoughts on Doctor Who & Downton Abbey Christmas Specials

Looks like the world didn't end last week, which was good news I suppose since it at least gave us a 4-day weekend to celebrate Christmas. I spent it with family for the most part so I actually didn't get to see or catch up on as many TV shows and movies that I had wanted to watch. And yet I still got to see the Christmas specials for Doctor Who and Downton Abbey. The first acts as a premiere of sorts while the latter acts as a proper finale for the show's third season. Below are my brief thoughts, but since Downton Abbey S3 hasn't aired in the states, only my Doctor Who thoughts are spoilery.


Doctor Who

The show's ability to reinvent and reboot itself every few years is why this show has lasted as long as it has and this particular Christmas episode speaks to that ability. Last we met up with the Doctor, he has yet again lost his friends and his world is full of doom and gloom. Matt Smith is great when he plays charismatic and quirky, but he's just brilliant with the darker, moodier stuff (probably better than David Tennant actually). But we can't have a show where the main character is wallowing in his melancholy and living literally up in the clouds. Enter the Doctor's friends in the form of Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny, and the hilarious Strax as well as "new" companion Clara played with a breath of fresh air by Jenna Louise-Coleman whose performance here only confirmed my love for her during her surprise appearance in the season's premiere. If there's one thing this show gets absolutely right, it's casting the Doctor's companions. All four slowly, but surely gets the Doctor back to his old ways with the help of an intriguing case of sentient snow and a frozen Pond. Speaking of the latter, the one-word test between Vastra and Clara was just a spectacular scene giving you more info on Clara as well as giving fans of Amy and Rory an unexpected gut check. All of this is to say this was probably my favorite Matt Smith Doctor Who Christmas episode considering they also needed to do a lot in the episode (re-introduce Coleman's character, touch on Amy/Rory's departure, re-invigorate the Doctor, get us to love Vastra/Jenny/Strax more than we already do, and finally tell a good, solid story). I am slightly mixed with the ending with regards to Clara's "impossibleness." Obviously there's something off about her as we first met her as a Dalek and now here she is again as an 18th century barmaid/governess. I'm certainly intrigued by the Doctor's investigation of this, but is Moffat stretching himself too thin again by being just a little too clever? And I really was looking forward for a non-modern person traveling with the Doctor, but the previews says it isn't so. In any case... new companion, new opening, new TARDIS interior... there's enough new here for me to get excited about for next year. A-


Downton Abbey

This past season was better than last season, which doesn't mean it was flawless. The Bates-in-prison storyline still dragged for far too long and a few other characters made questionable choices that seemed more to create drama for the show than something actually organically coming from the character. There was also a big chunk of the season where every episode something heartbreaking happened and while it provided great emotional moments, it was also difficult to "enjoy" in a sense. But it wouldn't be so emotionally harrowing if I didn't care about the characters so they're doing something all right. With that said, I was glad that most of the Christmas special was quite uneventful. Not to say that nothing happened, but for the most part, it felt like watching these characters spend a fairly routine few days in their lives, which I actually found pleasant in its normalcy. The episode itself felt a bit scattered as the main bulk of the family spent it off in the Highlands, away from Downton (a nice change of pace actually), while the servants and a couple other characters were left to their own devices back at home. Of course, the real drama happens towards the end capping off a season that felt more emotionally brutal than the previous one which mostly took place during the war. Can any of these characters get a break? I mean seriously. B+

And now back to real life... ugh, do I have to?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Live Like We're Dying

So the world is probably not going to end tomorrow, so the message of this song is even more meaningful then...


We gotta start looking at the hands of the time we've been given
If this is all we got and we gotta start thinking
If every second counts on a clock that's ticking
Gotta live like we're dying...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking Forward To...


Les Misérables
Release: December 25, 2012
Distributor: Universal
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Colm Wilkinson, and Helena Bonham Carter

"Tomorrow is the judgement day..."

Django Unchained
Release: December 25, 2012
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson, Christoph Waltz, Walton Goggins, Jonah Hill, James Remar, and Samuel L. Jackson

"Adult supervision is required."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Box Office: Good News, Bad News for The Hobbit


It has been more than a decade since Peter Jackson introduced us to his version of Middle Earth and now he's back with the prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy that delighted critics and fans the world over. The good news for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was that it grossed $86.4 million which is good for the best December opening ever and certainly the best opening for a Lord of the Rings film. The bad news for this film is that it only grossed $86.4 million, which when adjusted for inflation loses its top spot to Return of the King and barely edges out Two Towers. Furthermore, everyone expected the film to easily surpass $100 million especially considering how beloved the original trilogy was and years of pent-up demand. Plus this year alone, four films had already opened north of $140 million and The Hobbit couldn't even beat the opening for Skyfall ($88.3 million just last month). Part of it has got to be the mediocre reviews (64% Rotten Tomatoes), but the film had enough baggage with the controversial 48fps technology and the unpopular decision of making this a trilogy. So objectively, it's doing quite fine and the holiday season will only help its gross, but relative to expectations, it has an uphill battle.

Meanwhile Lincoln continues to astound having crossed the $100 million milestone before the weekend and then surpassing Argo after the weekend to become the highest-grossing Best Picture contender at $107.7 million. Argo, for its part, is doing just fine cracking the Top 12 list again in its 10th week of release with a total of $105 million. Another Oscar favorite, Silver Linings Playbook had the smallest week-to-week decline, but still at 317 theaters, the Weinstein Company's decision to not expand the film is getting more dumbfounding. While those films were obviously helped out by last week's Golden Globe nominations, other films benefited as well such as Best Animated nominees Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph and Best Picture/Director nominee Life of Pi, which all saw sub 35% declines. Meanwhile, Best Song nominee Skyfall is slowly making up some ground on the non-nominated final Twilight film for the honor of being #4 for the year behind blockbusters The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, and Hunger Games. The James Bond film also has a slight chance to reach $300 million.

With about a dozen films set to open in the next few days in time for Christmas Day, eyeballs will be scarce so the films out now hope to maximize their results as quickly as possible. Should be an interesting end of the year for the box office.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Golden Globes: Film Nominations


Another organization, another good day for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. This time it's the Golden Globes bestowing the film a leading 7 nominations followed closely by Argo and Django Unchained with 5 nominations each, the latter finding new life this awards season with this morning's announcement. Though perhaps the most surprising film to do well has to be the little-seen Salmon Fishing in the Yemen netting 3 nominations. Onwards...

Best Director
  • Ben Affleck, Argo
  • Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
  • Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Bigelow, Spielberg, and probably also Affleck are locks for Oscar. Lee is also up there, but with so many other prominent directors in play like Tarantino, Hooper, Russell, Zeitlin, Anderson, Haneke, Anderson... it's tough to say anything with certainly. As I've said before this is a super competitive category this year. Hooper's non-nomination speaks volumes though I think.

Best Motion Picture, Drama
  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Zero Dark Thirty
The 100% match-up with Best Director says a lot more notably how these films seem set for Oscars. It also helps that they all were nominated by the BFCA as well. The big losers are unfortunately Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour which were shut out completely today.

Best Actor, Drama
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Richard Gere, Arbitrage
  • John Hawkes, The Sessions
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight
I actually thought there was a teeny chance for Logan Lerman to show up here, but Gere pops in for his first notice this awards season. Phoenix showing up here also gives his lowering stock after being snubbed by SAG some lift.

Best Actress, Drama
  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
  • Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible
  • Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Former Oscar-winners Cotillard and Mirren repeat their unlikely SAG nods with nominations here making their return trip to Oscars that much likelier. Watts is right there with them though she's aiming for her first Oscar nomination. Weisz, on the other hand, finally shows up somewhere else after her unexpected NYFCC win. Again, it was a tough break for Riva and Wallis and my dark horse pick Winsted.

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Miserables
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Silver Linings Playbook
People are saying that Best Exotic Marigold could be this year's Midnight in Paris, a modest summer hit aimed for the older crowd. Its notices here certainly helps its cause. But this is Les Miserables category to lose, though its low nomination tally (4) is a bit perplexing. What else is perplexing is the deliberate lack of actual comedic films on the list. No Pitch Perfect, This is 40, Ted, etc.

Best Actress, Comedy or Musical
  • Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Maggie Smith, Quartet
  • Meryl Streep, Hope Springs
As if they were actually going to give Streep a year off. We should all know better. Though I have to admit that seeing Dench vs. Streep vs. Smith makes me a little happy even though this award is probably Lawrence to lose, which is actually a bit unfortunate. If I was voting though, my write-in vote would probably be Anna Kendrick.

Best Actor, Comedy or Musical
  • Jack Black, Bernie
  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
  • Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
  • Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Unlike the Oscars, the HFPA have already nominated Ewan McGregor once (for Moulin Rouge), but he gets his second nomination for such an unlikely film. I'm happy for him. This category is Cooper vs. Jackman (the like Oscar nominees), but I'm thinking no one can beat Jackman. He'd win in charm alone I think.

Best Supporting Actress
  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
While the rest of the season will go back and forth between Field and Hathaway, I'm just happy that this particular Kidman performance is able to find some footing this awards season. Adams, like her Master co-star, finds good news this morning after getting snubbed by the SAG.

Best Supporting Actor
  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Three men lead the pack in this category and they are all Oscar-winners: Arkin, Hoffman, and Jones. But the more interesting thing about this category are the nominations for DiCaprio and Waltz. Mostly because their traction this season has been iffy. DiCaprio was seen as a frontrunner early on then faded while Waltz was seen as lead until... he wasn't. Deniro, Bardem, and McConaughey are looking in from the outside.

Best Animated Film
  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Wreck-It Ralph
HULK SMASH! How dare they ignored ParaNorman. I mean, of course, for all intents and purposes all of these films have received some good reviews with the exception of Hotel Transylvania (which was apparently better than many thought), but PARANORMAN IS FANTASTIC. It... just is. Sad face.

Best Foreign Language Film
  • Amour
  • The Intouchables
  • Kon-Tiki
  • A Royal Affair
  • Rust & Bone
I have plans to see at least three of these within the next few months (Amour, The Intouchables, and Rust & Bone), but since I haven't seen any yet I don't have much to say.


Best Screenplay
  • Argo, Chris Terrio
  • Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
  • Lincoln, Tony Kushner
  • Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Since the Golden Globes don't divide their Screenplay nominations, I'm confident all of these will be nominated for Oscars. Would've loved to have seen Perks of Being a Wallflower here or even Looper which has been getting some notices this awards season, but alas.

Best Score
  • Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
  • Argo, Alexandre Desplat
  • Cloud Atlas, Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimet & Reinhold Heil
  • Life of Pi, Michael Danna
  • Lincoln, John Williams
It's refreshing to see a couple of different films here, Anna Karenina and Cloud Atlas. I'm finding that I am liking them more than the general consensus so it's a shame that both have been largely ignored this awards season.

Best Song
  • “For You,” Act of Valor
  • “Not Running Anymore,” Stand Up Guys
  • “Safe and Sound,” The Hunger Games
  • “Suddenly,” Les Miserables
  • “Skyfall,” Skyfall
I don't really care about this category this year, especially with these nominations so, yeah whatever. But I did hear someone today suggest that the cast of Pitch Perfect should perform these acapella-style. Brilliant idea!

Click here to read my thoughts on the TV nominations.

Golden Globes: TV Nominations


Like I said yesterday with the SAG nominations, after the Emmys these TV awards seem like an afterthought. Like every year there are some choices to be celebrated for sure, but many more tired, lazy, or crazy choices to vilify... if you actually cared that much. Appropriately in this election year, this year's big Emmy winners Game Change and Homeland lead the pack with 5 and 4 nominations respectively.

Best Television Series, Drama
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Downton Abbey
  • Homeland
  • The Newsroom
Like last year, this is a very premium cable-heavy line-up which means no room for the still wonderful The Good Wife. I'm more surprised, however, by the exclusion of Mad Men which received just one nomination today (for Actor). I'm all about shaking up the nominations, but to replace it with The Newsroom rather than Game of Thrones or even the revived The Walking Dead?

Best Actor, Drama
  • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Damian Lewis, Homeland
Rinse and repeat as these are the exact same men that were nominated by SAG. And my comment stands... I'm not a fan of Daniels and I don't watch Boardwalk Empire. They should've nominated Dan Stevens especially for what he did in S2. No matter this is last year's winner Lewis' competition to lose.

Best Actress, Drama
  • Connie Britton, Nashville
  • Glenn Close, Damages
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
I'm glad Britton is recognized, but it doesn't have the same oomph as when Madeleine Stowe got nominated last year. I don't even have any real complaints about this category especially since my girl Dockery is still impressing people as per usual.

Best Television Series, Comedy
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Episodes
  • Girls
  • Modern Family
  • Smash
Well at least they didn't nominate Glee or The Office which the SAG did, but Smash? Seriously? Seriously? And no 30 Rock for its final season or Parks and Recreation for being inherently awesome? Those two shows' leads are hosting the damn show! And how about last year's nominee New Girl? It's actually BETTER this year. And then there's the perpetually under-appreciated Community. This category gives me all the sad feelings.

Best Actor, Comedy
  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
It's not a bad list, just one that doesn't inspire much passion. Still no one from Two and a Half Men so that's a plus. Remember last year when Galecki was nominated instead of Parsons? Now THAT gave me a chuckle.

Best Actress, Comedy
  • Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
  • Lena Dunham, Girls
  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
I... actually love this. I mean I'm not a huge fan of Dunham's acting, but for everything she does with that show I think this nomination is well-deserved. There's still a couple of people I'd swap in, but as a category this one probably has the best nominees.

Best Mini-Series or TV Movie
  • Game Change
  • The Girl
  • Hatfield & McCoys
  • The Hour
  • Political Animals
I'm a bit confused by HFPA eligibility window. They're clearly honoring The Hour's 2nd season since they nominated it last year for its first, but the show has only aired 3 episodes in the US (less when ballots were due). Maybe they got advanced screeners? Whatever. Happy to see it here as well as the short-lived Political Animals.

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie
  • Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
  • Woody Harrelson, Game Change
  • Toby Jones, The Girl
  • Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Really wished Ben Whishaw would've gotten in for his work on The Hour, but alas. And the only performance I've seen here is Cumberbatch's so not much to say.

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie
  • Nicole Kidman, Hemingway and Gellhorn
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Sienna Miller, The Girl
  • Julianne Moore, Game Change
  • Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
American Horror Story strikes again in "mini-series" even though it was honored as a "drama series" yesterday with the SAG. What.the.fucking.ever. Kidman gets two Golden Globes nominations today, one for this and another for The Paperboy, but Moore looks likely to repeat her Emmy win here.

Best Supporting Actor
  • Max Greenfield, New Girl
  • Ed Harris, Game Change
  • Danny Huston, Magic City
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
If you ever think the TV categories at the Golden Globes actually mean anything, you only have to look at the clusterfuck that are the supporting categories to set you straight. Mixing all of these genre in one catch-all category is ridiculous and it leaves off so many worthy people (Aaron Paul, Peter Dinklage, Ty Burrell, Nick Offerman, Damon Wayans Jr., etc.). Patinkin and Greenfield's nominations are rad.

Best Supporting Actress
  • Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
  • Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
  • Sarah Paulson, Game Change
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
See above. NO ONE from Mad Men? Anna Gunn? Mayim Bialik? This list does give us Hayden Panettiere (I thought she was a co-lead though) versus Maggie Smith which is all I could ever ask for. Thanks for that last bit of humor, HFPA.

Click here to read my thoughts on the film nominations.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Screen Actors Guild Nominations


Is it just me or does this year the awards announcement seem to happen on top of one another? Well in any case, all those critic awards are all well and good, but it's the guilds that seem to really reflect where the awards season is going. So this morning when the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations were announced, ears were perked. Unfortunately Perks of Being a Wallflower was ignored, but that's a whole other story. Now while getting nominated for a SAG award doesn't automatically translate into an Oscar nomination, getting one doesn't hurt.

Best Ensemble
  • Argo
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Misérables
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
This season's Oscar frontrunner Zero Dark Thirty tumbled a bit today garnering only one nomination for Actress and none for Ensemble, but it's hard to fault the nominations above especially with their sprawling casts. All but Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are surefire bets for Oscar glory so there's no big surprises here and even Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has some British acting royalty that the actors couldn't seem to deny.

Best Actress
  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Chastain and Lawrence was always going to be nominated but Cotillard and Watts have been checking off the right boxes this awards season, first getting BFCA nominations and now SAG ones. It's important to note though that Beasts of the Southern Wild wasn't eligible thus explaining Wallis' absence. Mirren's nomination could be an anomaly (even though she had good notices).

Best Actor
  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • John Hawkes, The Sessions
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
  • Denzel Washington, Flight
The big "snub" here is Joaquin Phoenix and perhaps they just couldn't identify with his character or access the film. With that said, I think the Oscar line-up will be made up of these men including Phoenix. The only question is who will be left out. Hawkes (too small of a film?) or Cooper (newcomer) might be the odd man out in that case.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
  • Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This category right now feels a little bit unformed, but the enabled the voters to put in a big name in a polarizing role (Kidman) as well as honor a great dame (Smith). In fact, while Smith was honored with FOUR nominations by SAG, two in film and two in TV. Amy Adams not getting in here hurts her chances, but does it matter since this is Field vs. Hathaway all the way?

Best Supporting Actor
  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Javier Bardem, Skyfall
  • Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
I really thoughts McConaughey was going to make it in, but alas the actors decided to go with a list of nominees that have all won an Oscar before. Has that ever happened? In any case, they all were also nominated at the BFCA including the now not surprising Bardem for his fun work in Skyfall. Could he really be the first Oscar acting nomination for the James Bond series? Djanjo Unchained's supporting men were all snubbed.


Since the Emmys were held a few months ago, these TV nominations always feel like an afterthought, but at least the nominations this year are slightly better, albeit still mindnumbingly dull, than last year...

Best Ensemble, Drama
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Downton Abbey
  • Homeland
  • Mad Men
Last year, this group ignored Homeland, but seem to be making up for lost time this year giving the show an Ensemble nomination along with noms for its two leads. Downton Abbey also gets its first nomination for Ensemble this year. But to see how unexciting this list is, one just has to compare it to this year's Emmy Awards where the same exact shows (minus Game of Thrones) were nominated.

Best Actress, Drama
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
I'm sorry, but American Horror Story can't be a miniseries in one award while a drama series in another. That's just plain rude. The nominees themselves are okay, but what about the Emmy-nommed Anna Gunn, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, and Christine Baranski?

Best Actor, Drama
  • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Damian Lewis, Homeland
I'm not a fan of Daniels and don't watch Boardwalk Empire so I'm slightly side-eying those nominations even if they are worthy. Just can't take this list seriously with the absence of Emmy winner Aaron Paul or his co-star Giancarlo Esposito. And I thought Peter Dinklage should've also gotten in!

Best Ensemble, Comedy
  • 30 Rock
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • Nurse Jackie
  • The Office
They decide to nominate six shows and I stillw ant to get rid like almost all of them and replace them with other shows. Glee? Really?! We're still on that? And I know that Carrell's departure has made The Office even MORE of an ensemble show, but NO. How about this year's breakout Girls? Veep? PARKS AND RECREATION? Community? New Girl? This category year in, year out disappoints me.

Best Actress, Comedy
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
  • Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Glad that Parks and Recreation gets a nod finally, but Betty White again? Whose naked picture does she own? Probably a lot actually. Kind of just surprised not to see Louis-Dreyfus, Dunham, Deschanel, or Bialik nominated.

Best Actor, Comedy
  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Louis CK, Louie
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
This is actually an okay list especially with the lack of anyone from Two and a Half Men making last year's nominations really dreadful. Still, it would benefit them to think more outside the box. How about Greenfield? Wayans, Jr.? OFFERMAN.

Best Actress, Miniseries
  • Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Julianne Moore, Game Change
  • Charlotte Rampling, Restless
  • Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
  • Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias
Kidman gets her second nomination this year, but I think Moore will repeat her Emmy win and win this one as well. Glad that Political Animals is getting some awards season notice. Maybe it's enough for them to uncancel the show? Wishful thinking in my part, I'm sure.

Best Actor, Miniseries
  • Kevin Costner, Hatfield & McCoys
  • Woody Harrelson, Game Change
  • Ed Harris, Game Change
  • Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Bill Paxton, Hatfield & McCoys
I've seen a total of none of these performances so I don't know what to tell y'all. This organization certainly didn't feel bad about their tendency to starfuck.

Best Stunt Ensemble, Film
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Bourne Legacy
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Les Misérables
  • Skyfall
The snub for The Avengers worries me more than it should, but it's interesting to see Les Misérables get in here. If Maggie Smith was in that film, it would've been unstoppable!

Best Stunt Ensemble, TV
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • The Walking Dead
Yeah, sure I guess. Does Downton Abbey not have a stunt ensemble?

Looking Forward To...


Zero Dark Thirty
Release: December 19, 2012
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Harold Perrineau, Édgar Ramírez, John Barrowman, Mark Duplass, Taylor Kinney, and James Gandolfini

The Sambola and The Gift

While I was a bit lukewarm to Damsels in Distress itself as a film, I can't exactly deny the charms of Greta Gerwig. Similarly, I pretty much adored the final song/dance number of "The Sambola!" which was revealed yesterday as being eligible for one of five spots for Oscar's Best Song category. I highly doubt it will make it in, but more people should really see it so we can at least make it a legitimate international dance craze:


Nathaniel over at The Film Experience has the complete list of eligible songs along with a few more clips. While perusing the list, I was shocked to see that Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, the Oscar-winning pair for the absolutely amazing "Falling Slowly" in the film Once, have a song in contention from the film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. How have not heard about this until now? View the video for their song "The Gift" after the jump...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Broadcast Film Critics Association Nominations


For better or for worse, the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) try to predict the Oscars. They may not be even doing it on purpose, but year in and year out their nominations and even winners reflect what's going to happen at the Oscars a few months from now. But they are still known for going outside the box (see last year's broad support for nearly Oscar-snubbed Drive). From first look, there doesn't seem to be anything like that this year unless you count the 7 nominations garnered by Skyfall. More surprising has to be the relatively low nomination count for critic-favorite and current Oscar front-runner Zero Dark Thirty with only 5 nominations. If there was one more thing to say is that the number of nominations is just crazy. Do we really need to set aside acting wins for Comedy/Action films? What is this the MTV Movie Awards or something? More comments and a full list of nominations below...

Best Picture
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Les Misérables
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Slowly, but surely the list of films for Oscar is coalescing into these ten films. Foreign film Amour may play "spoiler" later on, but I'd be shocked if anything else gets in. Lincoln leads with 13 nominations followed by Les Misérables with 11 and Silver Linings Playbook with 10.  As I mentioned above, Zero Dark Thirty only managed 5 nominations, but then Django Unchained only got 2. Both may have been hampered by their very late releases though.

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

I'm still thinking Wes Anderson, Benh Zeitlin, or Michael Haneke could also get in for Oscars, but as you can see with the names already listed here, this category is stacked (isn't it every year though?).

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Solid boosts for some of the actresses that needed more attention this awards season namely Cotillard and Watts. It's also good for Riva and Wallis who are both probably going up against the age factor. This is not good news though for Rachel Weisz or my dark horse pick Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike

That's two acting nominations for Skyfall with both Bardem and Dench (see below) getting in. Could mean something or nothing, but they really were the heart of the movie. But as solid (and kind of fun actually) as this list is, I kind of wished they had gone more outside the box. Ezra Miller? Dwight Henry? I figure Christoph Waltz or Leonardo DiCaprio could figure for Oscars.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Best Young Actor/Actress
Elle Fanning, Ginger & Rosa
Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom
Tom Holland, The Impossible
Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

I haven't seen Ginger & Rosa or The Impossible yet, but I 100% agree on the other nominations. If I had to nitpick, I would say Jared Gilman should also be nominated. And I was going to say how upset I am that Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) isn't getting any love, but he's actually too old!

More nominations after the jump...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Critics Groups Rundown


Time to start keeping track of what those darn critics groups are saying about what their favorite films and performances have been this year. So far only six groups out of the bazillion groups have chimed in so we're still in that fun first phase when every movie and actor still think they have a chance for some glory. The groups to have already announced are the following:

New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC), New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO), Boston Online Film Critics Association (BOFCA) Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA)

The results for the major categories are below along with a few films/actors also in discussion (for now). NBR winners are marked with an asterisk.

BEST PICTURE
  • Zero Dark Thirty* - NYFCC, BSFC, NYFCO, BOFCA, WAFCA
  • Amour - LAFCA
  • Lincoln
  • Argo
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Les Misérables
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Master

BEST DIRECTOR
  • Kathryn Bigelow* - NYFCC, BSFC, NYFCO, BOFCA, WAFCA
  • Paul Thomas Anderson - LAFCA
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Tom Hooper
  • Ben Affleck
  • Michael Haneke
  • Benh Zeitlin
  • David O. Russell
  • Wes Anderson

BEST ACTOR
  • Daniel Day-Lewis - NYFCC, BSFC, NYFCO, BOFCA, WAFCA
  • Joaquin Phoenix - LAFCA
  • Bradley Cooper*
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Denis Lavant
  • John Hawkes
  • Denzel Washington

BEST ACTRESS

  • Emmanuelle Riva - LAFCA, BSFC, NYFCO
  • Jessica Chastain* - BOFCA, WAFCA
  • Jennifer Lawrence - LAFCA
  • Rachel Weisz - NYFCC
  • Quvenzhane Wallis
  • Naomi Watts
  • Marion Cotillard

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
  • Tommy Lee Jones - NYFCO, BOFCA
  • Matthew McConaughey - NYFCC
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman - WAFCA
  • Dwight Henry - LAFCA
  • Ezra Miller - BSFC
  • Leonardo DiCaprio*
  • Christoph Waltz
  • John Goodman
  • Javier Bardem
  • Robert DeNiro

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  • Anne Hathaway - NYFCO, BOFCA, WAFCA
  • Sally Field - NYFCC, BSFC
  • Amy Adams - LAFCA
  • Ann Dowd*
  • Helen Hunt
  • Samantha Barker
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Maggie Smith

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  • Zero Dark Thirty - NYFCO
  • Looper* - WAFCA
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Master
  • Amour
  • Django Unchained

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • Lincoln - NYFCC, BSFC, BOFCA
  • Silver Linings Playbook* - WAFCA
  • Argo - LAFCA
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Anna Karenina

I didn't really keep track of these critics group so closely until about three years ago when The Hurt Locker and its director Kathryn Bigelow dominated the critical landscape. Fast forward to the present-day and it's feeling a little déjà vu, isn't it? Time will tell if Bigelow and film can repeat their Oscar glory of yore. The good news so far is that the rest of the categories, with the exception of Best Actor, seems to be pretty open still. How Oscar predictive these awards have been can vary greatly by category and this early on, it's even more difficult to say anything with any certainty. A few more big groups--Broadcast Film Critics, Screen Actors Guild, and the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes)--are set to chime in with their nominations in the next few days putting awards season more in focus.

AFI Top Ten Films/TV Programs of 2012

It's the American Film Institute's turn to chime in on their favorite films and TV shows of the past year. Do note that only American films and TV shows make the cut. Check them out below:


MOVIES OF THE YEAR
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

This is a damn solid albeit supremely dull list. Most, if not all, are already in the shortlist for Oscar nominations so what else is there to say? The inclusion of Christopher Nolan's final Batman film is slightly refreshing, but I myself would've opted for Joss Whedon's The Avengers myself. The exclusion of The Master is probably the one major snub in this list, but I would've also liked to have seen them champion Perks of Being a Wallflower or even ParaNorman. The latter especially since they championed Coraline a few years back. I do still need to see three of these films (Django, Les Miz, and Zero Dark), but since they all haven't been released yet to the general public I think I'm good!


TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
  • American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game Change
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girls
  • Homeland
  • Louie
  • Mad Men
  • Modern Family
  • The Walking Dead

We're still not sick of honoring Modern Family? I mean, yes I still like the show very much, but think outside the box, people! And Mad Men is great, but have they ever NOT picked the show for this honor? And especially with an election year, I'm surprised not to see Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Veep, or The Good Wife, which all tackled politics in one form or another this year, on this list. Then again they probably had their politics quota with Game Change and Homeland. Plus overall, I really can't fault them on this list too much. It's just not an overly exciting one for me. But I recognize that it could be much worse.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Amazing Race Season 21 and Team Chippendales


Though I haven't posted anything Amazing Race-related in probably a year, I just needed to talk about the latest season which just had its finale a little less than an hour ago. Mostly I wanted to shine a light on the delightful team made out of Chippendale dancers Jaymes and James. Now I am sad to say that I judged them wrongly off the bat. I immediately thought they would be those annoyingly aggressive and entitled alpha male teams that would tear through the race making enemies left and right. And really from the get go, they proved me wrong time and time again. They were probably the nicest team this season, not only to the other teams, but to each other. Despite their slow starts, they never got angry at one another or displayed a "woe is me" attitude. They approached the entire experience with wonder and glee that was frankly infectious and it helped that they were definitely eye candy (see their picture above). With all of that said, it's no surprise then that by tonight's finale I was rooting for them 200%. More on tonight's finale including spoilers on final outcome...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kelly Clarkson, Stronger and Grammy-Nominated


The humble girl from Burleson, Texas with the booming voice is on top of the music world again as Kelly Clarkson was nominated for three Grammy Awards last night: Record of the Year, Pop Vocal Album, and Pop Solo Performance. Her single "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" was also nominated for Song of the Year. While she's already won two Grammy Awards, this is her first nomination in two of the top Grammy prizes, Record and Song of the Year. All of this is to say that I suddenly give a crap about this year's Grammy Awards.

And for Kelly? Well, this is just icing to the cake in a year where she sang at the Super Bowl, achieved another #1 radio hit, celebrated her 30th birthday, and more recently commemorated her 10th anniversary in the business by putting out a Greatest Hits album. It's still a relatively short career and one that has also been filled with as many highs as downs, but I'm glad she's getting much deserved dues from the industry. And how did she find out about her nominations? Well, her friends surprised her with the news as she woke up in London.

As for the rest of the Grammy nominations, it was practically a Boys Club with lots of love given out to fun., Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Mumford & Sons, and Jay-Z. For a complete list of nominations, click here.

Watch Kelly's Grammy-nominated single below:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking Forward To...


The Impossible
Release: December 21, 2012
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast, and Samuel Joslin

National Board of Review Winners


Like last year, the National Board of Review is chiming in second to the New York Film Critics Circle with their picks of the best films and performances of the year. But things seems to be coalescing early for one particular film which both groups picked for the top film of the year.

Best Film
Zero Dark Thirty

Top Ten Films
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Looper
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Promised Land
Silver Linings Playbook

Repeating its NYFCC win, Zero Dark Thirty looks like the film to beat so far this awards season, but it's still super early and especially in recent years, the winners of this award has gone on to lose including last year's Hugo and two years ago with The Social Network. The entire list is a bit more indicative as to which films we're going to be seeing over and over again this season, which is why the absence of supposed frontrunners Life of Pi and The Master must be slightly worrying to their fans. With that said, it allowed the organization to branch out a bit from the usual slate giving much needed boosts to film like Looper and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I've seen 6 of the 10 films so far.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Supporting Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Ann Dowd, Compliance

Breakthrough Performances
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tom Holland, The Impossible

Best Ensemble Cast

Les Misérables

Spotlight Award
John Goodman (Argo, Flight, Paranorman, Trouble with the Curve)

An acting win here doesn't automatically mean they are Oscar-bound, but it definitely increase one's chances for a nomination. This is a big win then for Bradley Cooper and Ann Dowd who will need some big industry support to catapult them to their first Oscar nominations. This also helps DiCaprio and Wallis especially with increased competition in their respective categories. Finally, we have yet to see an acting win for the Les Miz cast this season including presumed Best Supporting Actress front-runner Anne Hathaway, but the Best Ensemble win here more than helps their cause.

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Debut Director
Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson, Looper

Best Adapted Screenplay
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award
Ben Affleck, Argo

Best Animated Feature
Wreck-It Ralph

Like her film, Kathryn Bigelow right now is dominating the awards buzz. Can she repeat her unprecedented sweep through awards season the way she did a few years ago leading up to her Oscar win for The Hurt Locker? Time will tell! Honors for Behn Zeitlin and Ben Affleck may signal them joining Bigelow for Oscar nominations. That Screenplay win for Looper is another refreshing pick from the group. Finally, score one for Wreck-It Ralph in the all-too competitive and difficult to predict Animated race.

Top Ten Independent Films
Arbitrage
Bernie
Compliance
End of Watch
Hello I Must Be Going
Little Birds
Moonrise Kingdom
On the Road
Quartet
Sleepwalk With Me

Seeing as I've only seen one of these films, the delightful Moonrise Kingdom, I don't have much to say except to chastise myself for not seeing more films. The past two years I would've at least seen 4 of these films by now. Any recommendations which ones I should check out right away?

Best Foreign Film
Amour

Top Five Foreign Films
Barbara
The Intouchables
The Kid with a Bike
No
War Witch

Best Documentary
Searching for Sugar Man

Top Five Documentary Films
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Detropia
The Gatekeepers
The Invisible War
Only the Young

I've only heard good things about Amour, The Intouchables, and Searching for Sugar Man, but unfortunately I've seen exactly none of these films so I have nothing much to say.

William K. Everson Film History Award
50 Years of Bond Films

NBR Freedom of Expression Award
Central Park Five
Promised Land

So in summary, Zero Dark Thirty rules while Les Miz, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, and Beasts of the Southern Wild are also out in front. Well, at least until the next organization chimes in with their picks and changes the whole story yet again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Doctor Who Gets TV Guide Fan Favorite


The folks over at BBC America must be thrilled that Doctor Who won this year TV Guide Fan Favorite cover. That would make it the second US magazine to put the long-running British sci-fi show on its cover this year with Entertainment Weekly doing so this past summer. Seems like BBC America's mission to make the time-traveling two-hearted Doctor more accessible and popular over the pond (by hosting screenings in New York and making the cast available at various cons around the country, etc.) is coming to fruition. The show itself has more recently shot in location such as New York City's Central Park and Utah's Monument Valley for a handful of episodes.

Doctor Who is actually on the cusp of celebrating its 50th Anniversary next year and the media and fans alike are already buzzing at all of the possibilities of how the show will mark the impressive milestone. I wouldn't be surprised if current Doctor and magazine cover boy, Matt Smith, will share some screen-time with past Doctors such as David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston. For things a little bit closer to look forward to, Doctor Who's Christmas special, which will re-introduce viewers to the new companion played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, will be airing in a few weeks on BBC America on Christmas Day.

And just for reference, the show beat out other fan favorite shows this year such as Fringe, Parks & Recreation, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Happy Endings, and Vampire Diaries. Former winners include Community and Supernatural.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looking Forward To...

 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release:
December 14, 2012
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitrage, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, Aidan Turner, Ian Holm, James Nesbitt, Dean O'Gorman, and Ian McKellen

So of course I'm super excited for this film mostly because I was such a huge fan of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy which I consider to be three of the best films of last decade. I cheered when they swept the Academy Awards for the final film and more recently I spent 4 hours (or was it 5? 6?) watching the extended edition of Return of the King and remembered why I loved it in the first place. So when it was announced that Peter Jackson was coming back and directing the prequel with some of the original cast members? Well, I was off-the-moon happy. Then of course one film became two films... and two films became three films... and well some of my excitement has been noticeably diluted. Still, I'll be right there on opening weekend. I miss Middle Earth that much. Also look how pretty...



Birthday Girl: Karen Gillan


Quick birthday shoutout to Karen Gillan who played Doctor Who companion Amy Pond. She turns 25 today which just highlights just how freaking young she is especially in light of her former co-stars, Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith, both turning 30 last year. Then again, not really a big surprise since everyone had already commented on how young she was when she was cast in the role all those years ago. Along with Darvill, Gillan was the longest running Who companion of the modern series. Their last appearance on the show was just a couple months ago.

While it was sad to see her go, it's heartening to see her involved with more than a few projects. She starred in a couple of TV movies which aired in Britain earlier this year, We'll Take Manhattan and In Love with Coward. She will then be appearing in the following two films with release dates still to be determined: Not Another Happy Ending and Oculus. The latter film is slated for 2014 release and also stars Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spirit Awards Nominations


I could probably lament the poor state of my severely neglected blog, but instead I will just dive into a new entry talking about the Spirit Awards nominations which were announced earlier today. That announcement along with yesterday's Gotham Awards winners (Moonrise Kingdom won Best Feature), awards season is officially underway!

BEST FEATURE
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bernie
Keep the Lights On
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and David O'Russell's Silver Linings Playbook led the pack with 5 nominations each including one for Best Feature. One of those will probably win, but it's heartening to see Sundance and Cannes sensation Beasts of the Southern Wild make it in as well as Music Box's Keep the Lights On.

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom
Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

I haven't seen either Silver Linings Playbook or The Loneliest Planet, but I have seen the other films and at least for those three, I thought this nomination was very well-deserved. Again, it's looking like an Anderson-Russell battle, but I would not underestimate Zeitlin.

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Fill the Void
Gimme the Loot
Safety Not Guaranteed
Sound of My Voice
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I've only seen Safety Not Guaranteed (weird, fun, but original) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (should be more celebrated) from this group. The latter I'm hoping gets more notices this awards season somewhere.

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Linda Cardellini, Return
Emayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of Nowhere
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed

Like everyone who hasn't yet seen it yet, I realized that I need to see Middle of Nowhere which picked up a solid 4 nominations including one for its leading lady. I'm very curious to see how far Quvenzhané Wallis will go this awards season. Finally, it's just awesome to see a list that includes Katniss Everdeen, Lindsay Weir, and Ramona Flowers. Winstead's nomination makes me smile.

BEST MALE LEAD
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Thure Lindhardt, Keep the Lights On
Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe
Wendell Pierce, Four

Unfortunately, I've only seen one performance here and that is Lindhart's star turn in Keep the Lights On. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Cooper though as he's apparently very good in the film. Finally, what a great year for McConaughey, huh? Along with his scene-stealing supporting turn in Magic Mike, he's doubly nominated.

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Rosemarie DeWitt, Your Sister’s Sister
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice
Lorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere

Looks like a diverse and deserving crowd. Well actually since I haven't seen any of these performances, I can't exactly say if they are deserving, but it's always nice to see someone like DeWitt get praised as well as Hunt's re-emergence.

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
David Oyelowo, Middle of Nowhere
Michael Péna, End of Watch
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths
Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

McConaughey, with his critically-loved roles this year and name recognition, might be on the short list for Oscar, but how about David Oyelowo? He's like the Jessica Chastain circa last year with five films to his credit. I haven't seen his nominated performance, but he was more than fine in Lincoln and The Paperboy. Also where is Ezra Miller for his great work in Perks of Being a Wallflower?

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Amour
Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
Rust And Bone
Sister
War Witch

It's pretty bad that I not only have I not seen any of these films, but I also don't even know what most of them are about. I do know Amour (the frontrunner?) and Rust And Bone are on my shortlist to see ASAP, but that's about it. Also apparently Holy Motors was snubbed? I also probably should see that when I can.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
How to Survive a Plague
Marina Abramoviæ: The Artist is Present
The Central Park Five
The Invisible War
The Waiting Room

How to Survive a Plague recently won at the Gothams so it's probably being seen as the front runner, but how do you count out a legendary documentarian like Ken Burns who directed The Central Park Five? You don't.

BEST SCREENPLAY
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Rama Burshtein, Fill the Void
Derek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed
Christopher Ford, Robot & Frank
Rashida Jones & Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse Forever
Jonathan Lisecki, Gayby

The cool thing about these screenplay nominations is that even if I haven't seen the films, I actually KNOW about them. Lots of interesting names here as well like Kazan, Sachs, Lisecki, and Jones. The latter's nomination made me yell "ANN PERKINS!"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Yoni Brook, Valley of Saints
Lol Crawley, Here
Ben Richardson, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Roman Vasyanov, End of Watch
Robert Yeoman, Moonrise Kingdom

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Low Budget Films)
Breakfast with Curtis
Middle of Nowhere
Mosquita y Mari
Starlet
The Color Wheel

No other comments, but I'm realizing there's just way too many films I still need to see and this just encompasses the "independent" films. And so far, I'm not sick of awards season yet! But I'm sure that will change as people divide via their rooting interests, etc. See you all on the other side.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Looking Forward To...


Anna Karenina
Release: November 16, 2012
Distributor: Focus Features
Director: Joe Wright
Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew McFayden, Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Johnson, Ruth Wilson, Michelle Dockery, Emily Watson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Olivia Williams

Friday, November 9, 2012

Willow & Oz Together Again


Alyson Hannigan posted the picture above earlier today on her twitter to show her reunited with former Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Seth Green on the set of How I Met Your Mother. As a longtime-fan of Buffy and especially a HUGE FAN of Willow/Oz, this made me ridiculously happy. It was like seeing a continuation of the Willow & Oz story.

But of course Hannigan and Green took it up a notch by posting this extremely adorable and unbelievably cruel picture later today...


I... just... I can't even really. I've the lost the ability to... whatever. I'm done. It really does look like Willow and Oz got their happy ending, didn't it?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Looking Forward To...


Skyfall
Release: November 9, 2012
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney, Helen McCrory, and Javier Bardem

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keep Calm and Rock the Vote


If only my fridge can vote, you know? In any case, if you can, then please vote today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombie Redneck Torture Family

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope it was a good one full of costumes, candies, and cheers. Or maybe it was filled with gory adventures Cabin in the Wood-style. If the latter, do tell me which scary monster you picked to hunt you down...


Was it... Werewolf, Alien Beast, Mutants, Wraiths, Zombies, Reptilius, Clowns, Witches, Sexy Witches, Demons, Hell Lord, Angry Molesting Tree, Giant Snake, Deadites, Kevin, Mummy, The Bride, The Scarecrow Folk, Snowman (wait, what?), DragonBat, Vampires, Dismemberment Goblins, Sugarplum Fairy, Merman, The Reanimated, Unicorn, Huron, Sasquatch/Wendigo/Yeti, Dolls, The Doctors, Zombie Redneck Torture Family, Jack O' Lantern, Giant, or the Twins?

I say anything but the Merman. Because... eewww. Also, how great was this little gem of a film written by Joss Whedon released earlier this year? I was almost glad its release was delayed a couple of years so we could all enjoy the 1-2 cinematic punch of Whedon this year. Could be three if Much Ado About Nothing actually releases this year. Make it happen, Hollywood, or I swear the Angry Molesting Trees will get you.

Looking Forward To...


Lincoln
Release: November 9, 2012
Distributor: Buena Vista
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Hawkes, Jared Harris, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jackie Earle Haley, Julie White, Adam Driver, Lee Pace, Walton Goggins, Gregory Itzin, S. Epatha Merkerson, David Oyelowo, and Hal Holbrook

A star-studded cast headed by a legendary director in a movie about one of the greatest historical figure of all time... GIVE IT ALL THE AWARDS! Or not. Can't really say much until I see the film. I mean look at last year's J. Edgar. But I have higher hopes for this film than last year's dull affair mostly due to two elements that are conveniently highlighted in this week's TIME covers.


First, the American cover features Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln and surely delving more into the life of the supremely popular president will be a bit more worthwhile than the controversial head of the FBI. The focus on the election this year (this week!) will also keep politics in the forefront of many Americans' minds making the film perfectly topical. The second cover, the International Edition, chose to highlight the actor or in their words, The World's Greatest Actor. It's a bold claim that I'm sure has been widely debated, but it's certainly acceptable. Nothing against Leonardo DiCaprio, but he's no Day-Lewis. Of course, with all of this said, the film can still disappoint, so we'll see!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Parks and Rec: I Say I Do

I've been working on a post where I touch base on all of the new shows I picked up this season and see where I am with each, but I'm going to post that a bit later this week. For now I just want to quickly talk about my favorite comedy, Parks and Recreation, especially since this week it's getting preempted for some stupid reality show.

First, the proposal last week was absolutely perfect. It just felt right that these two characters are taking this next step in their relationship. And even though Ben, yet again, put Leslie and her dreams ahead of his professional career because he realized that he was "ridiculously in love" with her was the stuff of fairy tales, it still felt like this show and these characters EARNED this perfect moment. The fact that it was also a surprise proposal gave me joy since I honestly didn't see it coming. I knew some big, life-changing thing was probably going to happen in the episode. I thought Jerry's heart fart attack was it then I thought it was Ben taking the job in Florida. And even later in the episode, I thought it was going to be Ron opening himself up to a romantic relationship. So when Ben went down on bended knee and opened the box with the ring, Leslie wasn't the only one whose heart skipped a beat.

My love for Ben, Leslie, and their relationship can probably be summed up in this wonderful retrospective video montage of some of their best moments:



Frankly, I'm glad Ben's Washington arc is done as both actors really do play off best with each other, but that's not to say I didn't like it. On the contrary, I have enjoyed seeing Adam Scott have lots of scene with Audrey Plaza as they too had palpable chemistry. But I really was starting to feel uncomfortable as it seemed like the show wanted us to imagine Ben and April together, as in romantically. On the other hand, I knew this show really wasn't like that as that plot development would absolutely break the hearts of Leslie and Andy.

But on to the other characters... how awesome is it that Ron Swanson is dating Xena Warrior Princess? I mean when I heard Lucy Lawless was cast as Ron's love interest, I already knew it would be love at first sight and it really, really was. Speaking of, I'm more and more convinced that Chris and Ann are becoming endgame. Yes, when they first got together it didn't work out, but we now know that BOTH of them were seriously messed up as evidenced by Chris going to therapy now and Ann most recently realizing she's been losing herself in her relationships. I think a season or so of more self-actualizing and both can reconnect. A few of the other things that have made me smile this season: Andy hanging out with kids, Donna livetweeting, Tom's Rent-A-Swag, Ron in princess makeup, Leslie's half-perm, Ben's Star Trek fanfic, and April toying with Ben.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joss Whedon And the Zombie Apocalypse

It's been a busy week/weekend what with celebrating my birthday and prepping for the hurricane barreling up the East Coast. When I can I do want to talk about me getting to see The Heiress with Dan Stevens and Jessica Chastain and Bryan Fuller's take on The Munsters in his possibly aborted pilot Mockingbird Lane.

For now, everyone should check out Joss Whedon's brilliant endorsement of Mitt Romney's plan to to bring about the zombie apocalypse:


And people wonder why I've been a Whedon fan since 1997.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Looking Forward To...


Wreck-It Ralph
Release: November 2, 2012
Distributor: Buena Vista
Director: Rich Moore
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Adam Carolla, Rachael Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Ed O'Neill, Alan Tudyk, and Mindy Kaling

Guess What I'm Seeing Tonight

Hint #1: It's not a movie or a TV show, but it was a film at one point that won a few Oscars.

Hint #2: One of its stars (female) is a recent Oscar nominee and has been insanely busy.

Hint #3: Another star (male) is on a show that everyone seems to be watching and/or talking about.

Hint #4: The other male star is also an Oscar nominee, but has been headlining a genre TV show more recently.

If you don't get it after those first four hints, maybe this casual cast photo shot earlier this month after the cut will help you out...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Looking Forward To...


Cloud Atlas
Release: October 26, 2012
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Directors: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, & Tom Tykwer
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Tom Hanks, David Gyasi, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Doona Bae, Jim Broadbent, Xun Zhou, and James D'Arcy

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: Nashville and Arrow


The involvement of Connie Britton and the great reviews from TV critics were the reasons I checked out ABC's new show Nashville. It also helped that last year I ended up visiting the city and was absolutely charmed by it. I'm saying all of this so you know that even before I saw a single second of the show, I already knew that I wanted to like it, and I'm pleased to say my feelings have been confirmed after the pilot episode. Yes, there are worrying aspects about the show. The biggest will be the political subplot symbolically being played out parallel to the whatever issues Rayna Jaymes (Britton) has with her overbearing father. And while I appreciate Britton's character being pulled in so many directions, her main struggle of trying to be relevant in the country music scene is far more engrossing to me. She is helped by a talented ensemble and a soundtrack that not only sounds good, but also feels real and organic. That final duet with Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen is absolutely bewitching. And even though we meet so many characters within the hour and all their different relationships with each other, I already feel invested in them as characters. Finally, it's also a gorgeously-shot pilot episode, showing off the best of what the city of Nashville has to offer. Really looking forward to seeing more of this. B/B+


As many comic book TV shows and films I have seen in my lifetime, my geekdom knowledge is still relatively limited so the prospect of having a Green Arrow TV series didn't excite me much. But I was intrigued enough to check out Arrow's pilot episode, mostly to see Stephen Amell shirtless and also just to see how the CW would go about giving the property a Smallville-esque reboot to cater to their young female demographic (see again beaucoup male shirtlessness). The verdict is decidedly mixed on my part. Yes, Amell's body is a vision to behold, but his character's Bruce Wayne-ness is feeling a bit flat at the moment especially since we know so very little of him and his supposed big change. I also understand that they needed to pack a lot of backstory, exposition, and setup in this first episode, so the hour felt a bit disconnected and most definitely rushed. My favorite part of the pilot, however, is slowly realizing how similar it was to last season's Revenge. We have the main character, who has gone through extensive training, seeking justice as a result of their father's death and has a penchant for voice-over narration. We also have a wise-cracking wealthy sidekick, a sister dabbling into substance abuse, an old flame they can't get involved in, and an older female mother figure out to get them. I'm not saying Arrow is as good as Revenge. It's not, especially since I'm not immediately invested in the characters as I was for the characters in Revenge or even Nashville. But those similarities will keep me watching a bit. B-/C+