Thursday, December 26, 2013

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)- Movie Review by Sean Wu

There was a poll on Letterboxd in November, asking if you were to erase either Inside Llewyn Davis or The Wolf of Wall Street off the face of the Earth, which one would you pick? Consensus had it with Inside Llewyn Davis would be mystery while Scorsese's latest being history. I picked to erase The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that I was much more excited for, but I already knew that Inside Llewyn Davis was a great film, and at the time, The Wolf of Wall Street was not even complete. Now after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis, I can say that it might be the best film of the year, and maybe even the best film that the Coen brothers have ever done.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

American Hustle- Movie Review by Sean Wu

Based on the first trailer, and the first scene of the first trailer, there is only one thing you need to know about the film: That there are two sides to everything and everyone. This is initially telling when Irving Rosenfeld (a hugely chubby Christian Bale) points out a forged Rembrandt picture to FBI agent Richie DiMaso (an off-the-walls Bradley Cooper).

So everything is more than meets-the-eye, and that's what makes the movie great. Literally everything is detailed, every main character is three-dimensional, every scene is thorough and fleshed-out, and many hilarious lines of dialogue mean more than they seem. It's a work of genius, the film, because it is so intelligent, well-crafted, and well-made.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Critics Choice nominees!

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford – All Is Lost
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Brie Larson – Short Term 12
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl – Rush
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Scarlett Johansson – Her
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Asa Butterfield – Ender’s Game
Adele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest Color
Liam James – The Way Way Back
Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan – Mud
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze – Her
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Spike Jonze – Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Roger Deakins – Prisoners
Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave
Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave
Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American Hustle
Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips
Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush
Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave
Thelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street
Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek into Darkness
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Lone Survivor
Star Trek into Darkness
Henry Cavill – Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt – World War Z
Mark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3
American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World’s End
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Simon Pegg – The World’s End
Sam Rockwell – The Way Way Back
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Sandra Bullock – The Heat
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy – The Heat
The Conjuring
Star Trek into Darkness
World War Z
Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
20 Feet from Stardom
Atlas – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Happy – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2
Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen
Ordinary Love – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
Steven Price – Gravity
Arcade Fire – Her
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave

Four new clips for Her.

I'm really digging how this movie is looking.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Golden Globe Nominations!

I remember when I left Ron Howard's Rush, and I told my dad that the film was a lock for a Golden Globe nomination. Even though I recently changed my mind, the film did well on the today, earning Best Picture and Supporting Actor nominations. Based on yesterday's SAG nominations and today's Globe noms, is Tom Hanks now out of the race for Saving Mr. Banks? Is Julia Roberts now in for August: Osage County? Also, thank heavens The Butler got zero nominations. It's a good lineup here, I've gotta admit.
Best Motion Picture, Drama:
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama:
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama:
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical:
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical:
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical:
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita N'yongo, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Animated Feature Film:
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Best Foreign Language Film:
Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises
Best Director - Motion Picture:
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture:
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle
Best Original Score - Motion Picture:
All Is Lost
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
The Book Thief
12 Years a Slave
Best Original Song - Motion Picture:
Coldplay, "Atlas" - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Idina Menzel, "Let It Go" - Frozen
U2, "Ordinary Love" - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver, "Please Mr. Kennedy" - Inside Llewyn Davis
Taylor Swift, "Sweeter Than Fiction" - One Chance

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SAG Award nominations!

SAG has always been an organization that has crushed dreams, at least for me. The Master, last year, was snubbed for Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix. However, they've always been recognized as a pivotal organization, one that has announcements so powerful, that any film nominated in the Best Film Ensemble is an instant contender. This go-around though, three of the nominees (Dallas Buyers Club, The Butler, August: Osage County) have been below the radar... below. Major snubs include the heat-gaining Her, and Scorsese's latest The Wolf of Wall Street.

"12 Years a Slave"
"American Hustle"
"August: Osage County"
"The Butler"
"Dallas Buyers Club"

Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Forest Whitaker, "The Butler"

Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"

Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Bruhl, "Rush"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Oprah Winfrey, "The Butler"

"All is Lost"
"Fast & Furious 6"
"Lone Survivor"
"The Wolverine"

Monday, December 9, 2013

AFI Top 10 Films of 2013!

I've always had a soft spot for the AFI Top 10, because it was a list that recognized Terrence Malick's epic The Tree of Life. This soft spot still continues, because the the top 10 released today is fantastic. (WOOOOO NO BUTLER)


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Boston Film Critcs gives top prize to 12 Years a Slave, loves Enough Said and Nebraska.

So they're announcing today too. Busy day, eh?


Inside Llewyn Davis

Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station

The Wind Rises

The Act of Killing



Nicole Holofocener, Enough Said

June Squibb, Nebraska

James Gandolfini, Enough Said

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (or James Gandolfini, IDK)

Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave


LA Film Critics award winners reward Gravity AND Her!

Great announcements! Gravity got its biggest traction to date, and it may look like that we all have been underestimating what people thought of when it came to Her. This is an odd critics award session, because rewards were all over the place for so many films. I honestly have no idea where this award season is going.

Her, runner-up Inside Llewyn Davis

Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave, runner-up June Squibb, Nebraska

Gravity, runner-up Upstream Color

Gravity, runner-up Inside Llewyn Davis

Tie! James Franco, Spring Breakers (YES!), Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Ernest and Celestine, runner-up The Wind Rises

Inside Llewyn Davis, runner-up Her

Stories We Tell, runner-up The Act of Killing

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity, runner-up Spike Jonze, Her

Bruce Dern, Nebraska, runner-up Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight (YES!!!), runner-up Spike Jonze, Her

Tie!! Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine, Adele Exarchopolous, Blue is the Warmest Color

TIE!!! Gravity AND Her!

Blue is the Warmest Color, runner-up The Great Beauty (YAY!)

Megan Ellison (Annapurna Pictures)

The Criterion Collection

Creative team of 12 Years a Slave

Saturday, December 7, 2013

LAFCA predictions!

Tomorrow the LAFCA is announcing their winners. This is the third of the big four critics groups, the first two being NYFCC (New York) and NBR (National Board of Review, where Her upset with a best picture win). Who'll win? Let's predict!

When it comes down to Best Picture, LAFCA chooses films that happen to be highly critically acclaimed, many times leaning toward the foreign side. Last year, Amour broke Zero Dark Thirty's streak, and The Master settled with Best Director and Picture runner-up. For the critically acclaimed film, I'm going to predict 12 Years a Slave, because it is still the film to beat, and for foreign, I will predict Blue is the Warmest Color.

Best Director and Picture correlate usually, so I'll say Steve McQueen will win the director prize, and Abdellatif Kechiche on his tail. I predict McConaughey to win again for Dallas Buyers Club, and Chiwetel Ejiofer being his alternateBest Actress will go to Adele Exarchopolous, because the LAFCA has an odd tendency to side with foreign performances when it comes to the Best Actress category, including wins for 2008's Seraphine and 2009's Mother. For an alternate, I'll say Sandra Bullock in Gravity.

Supporting Actor will go to Michael Fassbender for his tremendous work in 12 Years a Slave or maybe Jared Leto, and Supporting AcHer, and Lupita Nyong'o settling for second. To reward the best film of the year, Before Midnight will probably take the screenplay prize (it sure deserves it!). Foreign Film will definitely go to Blue is the Warmest Color. A complete, uncluttered list of predictions are below.
tress will go to Scarlett Johansson for

Best Film
12 Years a Slave (alt. Blue is the Warmest Color)
Best Director
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (alt. Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color)
Best Actor
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (alt. Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Actress
Adele Exarchopolous, Blue is the Warmest Color (alt. Sandra Bullock, Gravity)
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave (alt. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Supporting Actress
Scarlett Johansson, Her (alt. Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Screenplay
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight (alt. Spike Jonze, Her)
Best Foreign Film
Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color (alt. Paolo Sorrentio, The Great Beauty)
Best Cinematography
Bruno Del Bonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis (alt. Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity)
Best Documentary
The Act of Killing (alt. Stories We Tell)
Best Editing
Gravity (alt. The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Music Score
Arcade Fire, Her (alt. Steven Price, Gravity)
Best Animated Film
Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises (alt. Frozen)
New Generation
Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New trailer for Her!

This new trailer really highlights Scarlett Johansson's voice work and exposes the technology of the film. Still looks awesome. Also, Theodore Twombly has the SICKEST wardrobe. He has shirts, every f**kin' color.

I'm super pumped for the score by Arcade Fire. With this, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street, my December is stacked. CANNOT WAIT!

American Hustle wins Best Picture from the NYFCC!

American Hustle proved to be the big winner, with 3 prizes, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay. Is 12 Years a Slave slippin'? We'll find out tomorrow with the National Board of Review. List of winners below.

Stories We Tell

American Hustle

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Wind Rises

Fruitvale Station

Frederick Wiseman

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Robert Redford, All is Lost

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

American Hustle

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street poster gets vandalized.

Just look at the poster. It's just begging to be vandalized.
Oh look. An Oscar. 

(I'm bad with Microsoft Paint).

NYFCC winner predictions!

The NYFCC (New York Film Critics Circle) and the National Board of Review will be announcing their award winning films on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. I've always said Oscar season started in Cannes, and I've said it started at Venice and TIFF, but honestly, this Tuesday and Wednesday are the honest start of the Oscar race. Let's start with the NYFCC.

When it comes down to Best Picture, NYFCC chooses films that happen to have what I'm calling 'the metascore correlation': The idea that films with a metascore of 90 or above on Metacritic have the highest likelihood of winning. Last year, Zero Dark Thirty won with a metascore of 95, The Social Network won with a 95, and The Hurt Locker won with a 94. 2011's winner, The Artist, won having a score of 87, the closest movie of the year to be near 90 besides A Separation.

This year, we have to strong contenders that are above 90: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, with 96 and 97 respectively. 12 Years a Slave is at an advantage for having more scores of 100 (and having the higher score overall), so I predict it will win Best Picture come Tuesday.

Best Director and Picture correlate usually, so I'll say Steve McQueen will win the director prize. NYFCC likes to clump film performances together for acting prizes, like last year McConaughey's supporting actor win for Magic Mike and Bernie. I predict McConaughey to win again for Dallas Buyers Club, and his work in Mud. Best Actress will probably go to Cate Blanchett, or maybe even Adele Exarchopolous for Blue is the Warmest Color. Exarchopolous will probably win the LAFCA and NSFC prizes, so for now I'll say, put your money on Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. (I don't think anyone bets money over this, though).

Supporting Actor will go to Michael Fassbender for his tremendous work in 12 Years a Slave, and Supporting Actress will go to Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave. To reward the best film of the year, Before Midnight will probably take the screenplay prize (it sure deserves it!). Foreign Film will probably go to Blue is the Warmest Color. A complete, uncluttered list of predictions are below.

Best Film
12 Years a Slave (alt. The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis)
Best Director
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (alt. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity, Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Actor
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud (alt. Robert Redford, All is Lost, Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (alt. Adele Exarchopolous, Blue is the Warmest Color, Sandra Bullock, Gravity)
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave (alt. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club, Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Supporting Actress
Lupita N'yongo, 12 Years a Slave (alt. June Squibb, Nebraska, Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle)
Best Screenplay
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight (alt. Terrence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street, John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Foreign Film
Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color (Paolo Sorrentio, The Great Beauty, Asghar Farhadi, The Past)
Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Best Animated Film
Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises
Best First Film
Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station

The Wolf of Wall Street screens, and some thoughts trickle in.

Good news: Scorsese is still fresh with his latest (and longest) picture! Based on an article from Hitfix, performances were things that most took notes on. Last Golden Globes, DiCaprio remarked that he thought that his work in Wolf was his best yet. Apparently Kris Tapley disagrees, but he says its strong work. Jonah Hill shows off his best work yet, allegedly, and looks to be a strong contender in the Supporting Actor category. Newbie Margot Robie is also a contender in the Supporting Actress category.

Bad News: The chances at Oscar are fuzzy. Performances are good, but it might be too crowded of a year. Kris Tapley's words, not mine. Tapley however states that the film is at a major advantage because "it almost feels like what the 2013 film awards season needs is a nice prestige-level dose of the outrageous, something bonkers, something to take the edge off", in a season with somber films, including 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips.

More reactions will come out tonight from LA, since according to Paramount's FYC site, there will be an official screening at 2:00. Expect more reactions from more people soon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nebraska (2013)- Movie Review by Sean Wu

The midwest is a place I know well, for I am an Iowan. Nebraska is a film with a cast of Nebraskan small town folk, stereotyped in a greedy way. Is it offensive at all? Not really, because it is also very hilarious.

As a whole, Nebraska is one of the funniest films of 2013. Debut screenwriter Bob Nelson uses hilarious situations to his advantage, having his characters say the darndest things and having incredible stupidity, similar to what the Coens did to Minnesotans in Fargo. The best performer of  Nelson's dialogue is June Squibb, a character actress that lit up the screen at age 84, and elicited a laughter in almost every scene she was in. She's certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Monday, November 25, 2013

New poster for The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street screening TODAY in NYC!

Old article, yes, but something certainly interesting. According to Page Six, an ultra-VIP screening is happening tonight and concluding with a reception at the exclusive 21 club in the Big Apple. IMDb doesn't say anything about the film's status, but if this film wants to contest for critics prizes, now is the best time to highlight the film, fresh in the mind of voters.

Expect SAG member and award blogger reactions within the next few days. Stay tuned.

American Hustle has its first screening, Jennifer Lawrence is a standout.

So yesterday American Hustle screened in LA. Is it good for double-digit nominations? You betcha? Is it good? That's a different story.

I'm sensing some mixed reaction. Jennifer Lawrence apprently stole the show, and is bound for another Oscar nomination and got a mid screening applause. There was also a smatter of boos when the credits rolled, mostly drowned out by tepid applause. Kris Tapley of Hitfix tweeted that he thought the movie was "...okay".
However, Variety reports that the film earned 'a big thumbs up.' Reviews are embargoed until next week, but the real opinion you should hear is mine, which you will get mid-December. I still can't wait for American Hustle, and screenings for The Wolf of Wall Street are due to begin next week.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

American Hustle Dinner clip.

The first true glimpse of character interaction in the film. Here's hoping the movie turns out well.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)- Review by Sean Wu

The moment the screen faded to black and the little title cards finished, a word popped into my mind. It started with the prefix trans.

Transsexual? There are characters like that in the film. Transportation? The lead man Ron Woodruff, played by Matthew McConaughey does transport himself worldwide. Transformative? That's the word. Why?

The word transformative applies to the work that both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto do in the film. The hype for the film began last year, when both underwent astounding weight losses to participate in the film. Was it worth it? For a shot at a little gold man come March? You betcha.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First posters and clip for The Wolf of Wall Street!

With the film coming out in nearly a month, the marketing for The Wolf of Wall Street is now kicking into high gear. We have two new posters, a TV spot, and a clip from the movie. Christmas cannot come sooner!

Second poster, and videos after the jump.

Friday, November 22, 2013

August: Osage County Clip.

I've got to admit, this is a really strong scene. Acting seems to be great. I'm now actually looking forward to seeing this movie.

2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress (11/22/2013)

1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
A lock for a nomination, and maybe a lock for a win. Blanchett, one of the best actresses in the movie business, bit off a brilliant Blanche Dubois-like part offered by the once great Woody Allen. She won for her fun work in The Aviator, but that was a Supporting Oscar. Since she really is one  of the best actresses in the business, she certainly deserves a lead actress prize, and this should be the one that gives it to her.

2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
A sci-fi movie getting an acting nomination? Sandra Bullock, potential two-time Oscar winner? Both sound off, but when you see Gravity, both things seem so possible. Bullock delivers a superb performance as scientist Dr. Ryan Stone, stranded in space alone. And since she is alone for most of the movie, she absolutely CARRIES it. I really don't care who would win, Blanchett or Bullock, because both are excellent. And I'm so glad that I'm not an Academy member, since I won't have to decide.

3. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
A relic of 1990's film, Thompson is back with a vengeance in another period drama that is instead set in America over Europe (she is still British!). Mild reactions out of London, but the AFI premiere in LA has spoken many great things about Thompson and Hanks. Will she be recognized? Maybe. Nominated? Definitely.

4. Judi Dench, Philomena
Judi Dench is a pretty well-regarded actress right now, and almost got an acting nomination for a Bond movie last year. This time around she's in a true story that's being backed by the Weinsteins. Definitely one to watch and a serious contender for the top prize.

5. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
She's Meryl Streep. With the Weinsteins backing her. The only problem is that I've heard she's not campaigning at all, and I'm not even sure if this is a leading role or a supporting role. She's #5 for now, but she's the weakest one on the list because of...

Keep an eye out for...
Amy Adams, American Hustle
With The Fighter, director David O. Russell got 3 acting nominations (including Adams). With Silver Linings Playbook, O. Russell got nominations in all four acting categories. With American Hustle, he is definitely a man to watch out for. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner are all on the outside of the nomination bubble and looking in. But with O. Russell at the helm, and assuming the movie's good (which reports from AFI say that the first 6 minutes were), we're going to see some nominations.

Adele Exarchopolous, Blue is the Warmest Color
The Academy is not afraid of foreign performances, a la Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. What they are afraid of is sex, which this film is getting almost all of its publicity for. What Exarchopolous has going for her is that she's already started to campaign, and reviews for the film are strong. She probably won't get an O
scar nomination, but she will nab critics prizes, I'm sure.

Kate Winslet, Labor Day
I read Joyce Maynard's Labor Day last week, and it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a great fit for Winslet, and reviews out of TIFF and Telluride suggest her performance is strong. However, consensus is saying the movie isn't, so... maybe a Golden Globe nomination?

Naomi Watts, Diana
Remember when this movie was supposed to be an Oscar contender? I predicted a tomato score near 60%-70%, but at one point the reviews were at 2%. 2%. Let that soak in. RIP Diana.

Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco
The teaser that premiered was actually pretty decent, but never for one second did I think that Nicole Kidman would match Grace Kelly. The film has moved to some undetermined date next year, so for now, RIP Grace of Monaco.
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
The film will go VOD and small theatrical release next year in Spring. Cannes reception was also decently mixed. RIP The Immigrant (I personally preferred the title Lowlife).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Director (11/20/13)

1. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Usually, the year's best picture and best director coincide. Last year, a unique exception, will probably not be repeated. When there is a film getting an overwhelming amount of praise like 12 Years, that could only mean that the film will win and sweep it's visionary director along with it. It also happens that many of the most recent best picture winners are from the the director's third film (Argo, The Artist, The King's Speech).

2. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
If there was any competition to McQueen, it would most definitely by Alfonso Cuaron. Having directed Gravity with visual excellence and revolutionizing visual effects with his cameraman Emmanuel Lubezki, there is no way that Gravity could be ignored.

3. David O. Russell, American Hustle
O. Russell might be one of the best directors of this decade, with both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. Judging by the commercials and clips, the movie looks like great fun, and at the least, fun. Though the film has yet to be seen, there's no harm in counting him in.

4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Because it's Martin Scorsese. Predictions can change, but right now this picture looks strong and counting him out would be wrong (excuse the rhyme).

5. Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
I'm split between this directing duo and Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips, but I think the Coens are at an advantage. Those that have seen the film and love it really do love it. It's hard not to count out the Coens, because they have a fanbase within the Academy. I mean, between True Grit and Inception, who should've been nominated?

Keep an eye out for:
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
The guys that liked Zero Dark Thirty probably enjoyed this one too. It also stars Tom Hanks and is based off a true story, so that should please the Academy too.

Asgahar Farhadi, The Past
Don't underestimate the 25-man team at Sony Pictures Classics. They know how to get the nominations, as seen by what they've done with Amour. Even A Separation managed a screenplay nomination. This is a tight year, but anything unexpected can happen.

John Lee Hancock, Saving Mr. Banks
This is a real crowdpleaser, and nothing can get the Academy more worked up than a crowdpleaser besides a true story.... it just happens that this film is both! What it doesn't have is name recognition. When you're a director going up against Scorsese and the Coens, you're climbing an uphill slope.

Prequel short film to Gravity by Jonas Cuaron, Aningaaq.

Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 Rome Film Festival winners!

The 9th Rome Film Festival concluded, and this year marks a very unusual and possibly deserving recognition. The winner for Best Actress at this year's fest is the glamorous Scarlett Johansson, whose face is never seen in the film Her. Instead, she is the voice of a computer operating system. The road for Oscar with Johansson began at NYFF, and it looks like she can only go up from here.

In other news, Out of the Furnace won a prize, and so did Dallas Buyers Club. I predict in a couple years that the Rome Film Festival will be proclaimed as one of the big fests. Full list of winners below.

Golden Marc’Aurelio Award for Best Film: Tir by Alberto Fasulo
Best Director Award: Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Sebunsu kodo (Seventh Code)
Special Jury Prize: Quod Erat Demonstrandum by Andrei Gruzsniczk
Best Actor Award: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress Award: Scarlett Johansson for Her
Award for Emerging Actor or Actress: the entire cast of Gass (Acrid)
Award for Best Technical Contribution: Koichi Takahashi for Sebunsu kodo(Seventh Code)
Award for Best Screenplay: Tayfun Pirselimoğlu for Ben o değilim (I Am Not Him)
Special Mention: Cui Jian for Lanse gutou (Blue Sky Bones)