Tag Archives: Oscars

Our Oscar Season Preview

The leaves are changing a golden hue, little trick-or-treaters will soon be ringing our bells, and the quality of films suddenly takes a huge leap after the September lull that always follows a summer of blockbusters. Yes, Oscar season is here, and we can’t wait to see some of the enticing films coming to theaters very soon or are already here. We each picked three we can’t wait to see.

BRIAN
The Master
Currently in limited release but I have not seen it yet. Director Paul Thomas Anderson is currently, in my opinion, the finest American director working today. This has a chance at a second, wider release, like last year’s best picture winner “The Artist.”

Skyfall
Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) steps in to direct the new James Bond film. How could you not get excited?

Argo
Ben Affleck directs another thriller, and if his last two films are any  indication, this will be fantastic.

MATT
Wreck It Ralph

It’s not too hard to predict that a Pixar film will be nominated for an Oscar, but this is the first one in a while I’ve been pumped for. It looks stocked full of video game nostalgia wrapped in a nice story.

Lincoln
Steven Spielberg has whiffed on a lot of movies over the last decade, but this ambitious period piece could just put him back on the map. Academy Award-winners Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field round out an excellent cast.

Django Unchained
Any time Quentin Terrantino makes a movie, the world sits up and pays attention. He has yet to win best film or director, but perhaps this is the one to do it. Academy Award-winners Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz star in Terrantino’s first western — a genre that feel made for him.

Brian’s Review – “The Artist” Nominated Best Picture!

The Artist

Rating: 7 out of 10

It’s a shame this movie is getting hyped up beyond belief because it’s a fairly standard romantic comedy that has an interesting gimmick. If you haven’t heard by now, “The Artist” is an almost 100% silent film. There’s a couple scenes where we hear the actors but it’s very brief. About 95% is just the film score, beautiful black and white cinematography, and title cards. The actors are forced to trump up their emotions because of the lack of audio just like in the old days. Every single one of them does a terrific job, particularly Jean Dujardin as George Valetin. He’s really the only character that is forced to go through any metamorphosis through the story. All of the other principal characters are the same from beginning to end. But, Dujardin must act out the heights of fame and his fall from grace without uttering a word. I give him a great deal of credit for pulling it off. In the old days, this was a standard practice and hardly a novelty. But, to do it over 80 years after the Jazz Singer graced cinemas and ushered in the era of talking pictures is a great feat and I won’t take that away from “The Artist.” Another positive is the note perfect film score that runs the entire duration of the movie by Ludovic Bource. The music is joyous, sad, romantic, and beautiful. I’d be shocked if it didn’t win an Academy Award because of the dependence a silent film has on its score to tell the story and set the mood.

On the negative side there’s one element that can’t be ignored: story. This is really basic stuff here. An actor has it all, loses it all, falls in love, and gets it back. I’ve seen the rise and fall story so many times that it’s not lost on me how unoriginal it is just because it’s wrapped in a fuzzy nostalgic package. I have no doubt this will win best picture at the Academy Awards simply because it’s an homage to the very institution that is casting the ballots. I don’t want anyone who’s reading this to think I didn’t enjoy the film because I did. I just want to temper your expectations. It’s not even close to the best picture this year (My pick is Moneyball). But, it is a charming film and when it ends, most people will have a smile on their face.

Heidi the Crosseyed Opposum

A couple of us here at The Movie Brothers were beaten in our Oscar picks by a cross-eyed marsupial. (I’m won’t name names, Victor and Kyle)

Reuters is reporting a quirky story from Germany, where an opossum named Heidi guessed all but one of the Oscars, incorrectly picking “127 Hours” to win best picture, which instead went to “The King’s Speech.”

The 2-1/2-year-old opossum correctly predicted Natalie Portman (“Black Swan“) to win best actress and Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech.) as best actor during a series of appearances on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show on U.S. broadcaster ABC last week.

Heidi, who lives at the Leipzig Zoo in eastern Germany, attempted to duplicate the success of Germany’s oracle Octopus Paul, who correctly tipped each of Germany’s matches in last year’s soccer World Cup, as well as the final between Spain and Netherlands, according to the report.

Better luck next year Kyle and Victor! 😉

Dogtooth

In this Oscar-nominated Greek drama, siblings who grow up cut off from the world — homeschooled and reliant on one another for entertainment — create their own idyllic alternative universe, which is shattered when their father lets in an outsider. Sex enters the picture when dad begins bringing home a female security officer to satisfy his son’s libido … and suddenly nothing is the same within the highly idiosyncratic family unit.

Brian
Rating: 8 out of 10

Disclaimer: I am by no means recommending this film as much as I’m grading it. Be warned that the film contains a lot of material that most people will be disgusted by, including animal cruelty, human cruelty, incest, and what appears to be actual sex.

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on to the review. I haven’t made up my mind whether Dogtooth is brilliant or brilliantly disgusting but it sure is an original piece of work. The camerawork, much like the characters in the film, is completely off and it’s done on purpose to great effect. Angles are sometimes shot where you can’t see people’s faces or it focuses on the inaction instead of the direct action of the characters. This approach works. These people live in their own world where up could be down, right could be left, or, as in the case of one character, a zombie can be a beautiful flower.

The challenging part as a viewer is trying to understand why the parents would choose to have their children grow up this way. We’re never really given a reason as to why they’ve isolated them. Is it because they fear the world’s influence over their kids? Is it because the father has an obsession with control? Or, is it that they fear their children will leave them behind? I do know that the decisions they make to keep them within the confines of their home is unbelievably upsetting. Early in the film, the father makes a decision that the son needs a sexual partner. I’m assuming he is concerned that his son’s desire for a mate will lead him to leave. So, what does he do? He hires a woman who works security to provide sex for cash. When her influence starts to create unrest among his three kids, he decides that no outsider can be brought in again. But, his son still needs a partner. You can fill in the blanks I’m sure (He has two daughters). At this point, you’re probably wondering what enjoyment can be found in experiencing a film that is this dark. Well, it asks a lot of questions about human beings that I found interesting. What kind of climate would this type of isolation create? When would one of them rebel against their parents and why? The storytelling is top notch despite the controversial material. I can also say the ending is satisfying and fitting. It’s just a tough 90 minutes to get there.

Our Oscar Picks

And the Oscar pick winner is….

We posted our Oscar picks last week to see who would get the most correct out of the major categories, and we have a three way tie between Brian, Lauren, and Matt.

The Oscar pick winners are:
Matt
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Lauren
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Brian
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Animated feature: Toy Story 3

And the Oscar loser is….

We had a two-way tie. With three correct, Victor and Kyle are our Oscar Losers. Better luck next year, guys!

Oscar night is here

Oscar night is here! This is the pinnacle of film awards, and we are aways excited to see who wins.

We’ve made our picks (click here) and can’t wait to see how they unfold. For a complete list of the nominees, click here.

And the winners are…

Achievement in Art Direction: Alice in Wonderand
Achievement in Cinematography: Inception
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing
Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Foriegn Film: In a Better World
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Original Score: The Social Network
Best Sound Mixing:  Inception
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best makeup: The Wolfman
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderand
Life Action Short Film: God of Love
Feature-length Documentary: Inside Job
Short Subject Documentary: Strangers No More
Achievment in Visual Effects: Inception
Best Original Song: We Belong Together, from the film Tangled
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Picture: The King’s Speech 

Our Oscar Picks

Who will be the Oscar winners…
and the Oscar losers?

Oscar night is upon us, at long last! Here are the picks from our regular contributors. Our writers are all making their selections, and we’ll see who the most prolific prognosticator is… and who isn’t. Click here to see the full nominee list. We’re only picking the main categories. I mean, who really gives a crap about art direction awards? Well, we do, but we won’t bore you with that. The Oscars are Sunday at 8 p.m. east coast time on ABC. The majority are picking “The King’s Speech” for best picture, but after that, it’s a jumble.

Matt

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Brian

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Annette Benning, The Kids Are All Right
Supporting Actress: Hailee Stenfield, True Grit
Animated feature: Toy Story 3


Kyle

Best Picture: Black Swan
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, The Black Swan
Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, The Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Lauren

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Victor

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffery Rush, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

127 Hours

From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger — and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. The film scored Academy Award nominations in the Best Picture and Best Actor (Franco) categories.

Lauren
Rating: 8 out of 10

“127 Hours” is hard to watch and completely worth it. It made me cringe watching the opening scenes as Aron Ralston (James Franco) greedily chugs water, ignores phone calls from his family, and leaves his apartment without his Swiss Army Knife to go hiking in Utah. I knew he was going to go, not tell anyone where, fall, and that a boulder would trap the hand he’d lose on the trip. But a part of me still hoped for a different outcome.

It didn’t happen. About a half hour into the movie he fell, the boulder crushed his hand, and he was trapped. The real-life hiker filmed himself during his 127 hours in the canyon, and Franco and director Danny Boyle are among the few people who have seen these tapes. I’m sure the video helped Franco to pull off the amazing performance he gave expressing the frustration, fear, anger, desperation, and sadness Aron felt.

There’s a scene when he’s standing there, hand caught, nothing to drink, nothing to eat, where his mind rushes back to the bottle of Gatorade laying in the back seat of his car. Oh, what he’d do for that Gatorade. There’s nothing funny about this story, obviously, but the way Boyle tells the story I can’t help but laugh. Even though there were lighthearted moments I was just waiting. I knew what was coming. The hand had to go. And he had to be the one to slice it off.

From the time I heard about Aron when he had his accident in 2003 I always said there’s no way I could do it. I’d just die there in that canyon. I don’t think I would have had the strength to survive what he did (not that I’ve been there to begin with). But watching him, how he had given up and knew he was dead, I understand how he did it. Not the physical how, but the emotional how. The physical how, well, that’s another story. Watching him snap his bones and hack away at his half dead arm, blood gushing out, just to get to the nerves, which he plucked like guitar strings as he screamed in pain. It is graphic and slow but I felt the relief with him and could breathe again.

The movie ended with a little about Aron and his life since 2003, but I still want to know more. I wonder if he will ever show the real videos? Probably not. “127 Hours” is probably intense enough anyway.

The King’s Speech

Britain’s King George VI (Colin Firth) struggles with an embarrassing stutter for years until he seeks help from unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in this biographical drama, which received multiple Golden Globe nods, including Best Picture. Logue’s pioneering treatment and unlikely friendship give the royal leader a sense of confidence that serves him and his country well during the dark days of World War II.

Lauren
Rating: 9 out of 10

If you follow my blog you know I love the British Royals. So, you can probably guess how excited I was to see such great actors in a movie about a royal story I knew almost nothing about.

Colin Firth plays King George VI, better known to this generation as Queen Elizabeth II’s father. I knew his brother was king first and that he abdicated to marry an American divorcee, which made George VI king and Elizabeth heir to the throne; but the stutter was news to me.

“The King’s Speech” was a perfect movie. Charming and funny, well written and acted. The story centered around the forgotten prince’s speech impediment, his strong-willed wife, and his amazing speech therapist. But in the background was the story of the struggle with his family and his duty to his country just as Hitler was taking over Germany and pulling Europe into war.

I know a lot of people don’t think they care about watching a king learn how to speak but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like this movie.