Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TheScreenTeen's Top 10 Films of 2013.

In one of the strongest years in movie history for a long time, out comes a top ten. Blood, sweat, and many tears have been sacrificed in perfecting this list, and whittling it down was more difficult than telling a kid that he was adopted. Anyways, here goes.

10. 12 Years a Slave
It's a lyrical ode to a time gone by, a warning to the future about the brutalities of human past. Almost everything in the film is pitch perfect, from the performances, Steve McQueen's unflinching direction, John Ridley's epic script, and even the Oscar snubbed cinematography. It would rank higher if the movie just had a better sense of time.

09. Blue is the Warmest Color
Sheit, I may have been too young to see the film, and I may or may not have streamed it via internet, but that doesn't mean I can't sing my praises for it. Adele Exarchopolous gives a natural tour-de-force in her debut lead performance: she feels raw and real in emotion. Lea Seydoux plays against her perfectly, and watching their relationship evolve for three or so hours makes for great filmmaking.

08. Short Term 12
I hated seeing this film get so much recognition, because it was such a small film that hardly anyone got to see. I saw it maybe two or so weeks ago, and it really deserves more recognition. Awards are all about recognition, and that means that Brie Larson deserves all awards that are Best Actress related. She is an embodiment of nature and grace, and she gives such an intimate down-to-earth feeling in every scene she is in. Loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it. Please seek this little gem out.

07. Frances Ha
I loved this one too! I think I'm saying that I loved every film in my list, but its true. This one's special though: it's a brisk lightweight comedy that feels effortlessly rewatchable and always hilarious. Two words that make this chaotic calamity work so well: Greta Gerwig.

06. Gravity
In the past few years of movie history, we've had technological innovations like Avatar, Hugo, and Life of Pi, but nothing on the level of Gravity. Even for 2D movie history, Gravity is on its own level. The shots are beyond normal length and beauty, and Sandra Bullock's solo is great. Cuaron directs with the most risk I've seen in a long time, and the payoff is HUGE. Let's cross our fingers for more Cuaron soon.

05. Ain't Them Bodies Saints
I feel that this is the year's most overlooked gem. I have a thing for all things styled like Terrence Malick, and this one is worthy of being placed on the level of him. Lowery, a feature film director newbie, tells the story he wants to tell, and by no one else's agenda. It's lyrical, it's beautiful, it's human, and it's natural. I could not take my eyes away.

04. Before Midnight
I said in my review of the film that it would be guaranteed a spot on my top three of the year. Well, that was a bit of a lie, but it came damn close. Watching Ethan Hawke's Jesse and Julie Delpy's Celine love, lose, and rediscover each other is so heartwarming and beautiful, and the two do it with immense ease and grace. It's amazing that Linklater could craft a film just out of walking and talking, but I loved it.

03. The Wolf of Wall Street
And the winner for the year's best three-hour movie that actually felt like ninety minutes goes to The Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese, the best working director today, should be barred from moviemaking ever again, because this movie pretty much confirms he uses filmmaking enhancing drugs. At 71, he shoots scenes more off-the-wall than a 25 year old with an Annapurna budget can. Leonardo Dicaprio, a great guy that tends to overact, gets his best performance yet with the Wall Street investor Jordan Belfort, who just can't get enough, with Jonah Hill as his sidekick that goes too far too many times and Margot Robbie (I'd let her give me AIDS), is his wife. An American masterpiece.

02. Inside Llewyn Davis
I own a t-shirt with The Dude on it, but I think that Inside Llewyn Davis is the best film that the Coen Brothers have ever made. It's a short look in the life of a struggling artist, a film that frightens me in a way, but its also enchanting too, to see the hopeful Llewyn struggle his way for success in a grim workforce. What makes the film great is that Llewyn is three-dimensional, played brilliantly by the underseen Oscar Isaac. I loved watching the escapades, all of it hilariously somber. I can't wait to see it again.

01. Her
Having seen it last weekend, I have to admit, this is the best film I have seen all year. Of the 2010's. Of the past thirteen years. Hell, I think it might be the best film since GoodFellas. On the surface, it's a sweet and hilarious (if not slightly weird) look at loneliness, but deep down it is an essay on what the future will behold. It's undeniably a twenty-first century picture, and its a picture that we have unknowingly needed.

Look around you. Any public place you go to, you might see rows and gaggles of people buried into their iPhones and Androids. Absorbed in the cloud of the internet, Jonze taps into this reality with an ambitious and self-contained lens. Extras in the film dig themselves into their devices. It's not the future, it's actually the present.

The past has happened, and what we have now is a present (haha). Joaquin Phoenix somberly plays Theodore Twombly, a ghostwriter for a .com letter writing company, and is one of the best at his job. However, he's deeply lonely. He's haunted by the marriage of his past, and how it fell through. He spends his nights aimlessly exploring the world of video games, in solitude. Until he meets a computer operating system that calls itself Samantha. Sam is brilliant, modified to fit Theodore's every need, and open to exploring the world.

The catch with Samantha is that she is expected to meet people's needs by being hyperintelligent, not human. Watching the film for a second time has shown me the slow evolution of Samantha's thought processes as they gradually become more 'Homo sapien'. She can read full books in milliseconds, recreate versions of philosophers (like Alan Watts), and communicate with others via email, but she can't seem to explore human love without needing time to herself.

Samantha's romantic Achilles Heel is not uncommon, but it's fascinating to watch Samantha's behaviors. Scarlett Johansson's voice performance is brilliant, one of the best performances I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. On paper she reminded me of HAL and Siri, but on screen she was her own entity.

Consider this scene: Theodore is talking to Samantha as they ride a train together. They are playing a guessing game, figuring how many trees are on a mountain. Samantha can determine to the nearest digit, but Theodore aimlessly shoots numbers from out of the blue. Simultaneously, she is communicating with a publisher to see if they are interested in publishing a book of Theodore's ghostwritten letters. She communicates to the publishers as Theodore however, and does this behind his back, but in the best way possible. She's doing this out of what feels like love, and the fact that Samantha is doing this without Theodore knowing is glossed over, something hardly mentioned. Jonze's vision reveals a flaw in his opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey: HAL's decision making was heavy-handed and very logical, while Samantha's decision-making is natural and normal. It's sweet to see the couple so happy, I cried a little.

The supporting cast is good too. Rooney Mara is Catherine Klossen, Theodore's childhood friend and eventual ex-wife, and Amy Adams is Theodore's friend that has also discovered an OS friendship amid a divorce. The score by Arcade Fire is incredibly melancholy and soulfully hopeful, and the Oscar-nominated production design is radically inspired too: The future is not dystopian, nor is it utopian, but it is minimalist and real. Her is a rhapsody to love at any age, any time, and with anyone. It's a movie will define the 21st century, and one of the most incredible things to ever grace the silver screen ever.

So I can finally shut the book on 2013. And with 2014 bringing us Richard Linklater's Boyhood, AJ Edwards' The Better Angels, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, two Terrence Malick pictures, and Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, I think we're gonna have a good year ahead of us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

TheScreenTeen's Top 10 Films of 2013 (Honorable Mentions).

It's a long time coming, twenty days overdue, but it is done. It's complete. I have finished my top ten films of 2013, and it's a doozy. In any other year, some films near the bottom of my top twenty would find a way in the middle of a top ten. There's sixteen films I really want to recognize, so that means I do have six honorable mentions. Here they are, in alphabetical order.

All is Lost
I was bored through lots of this movie, in fact I thought near the thirty minute mark that the film

had spliced in repeated takes. But I feel that that was the intention of J.C. Chandor: to feel like Robert Redford in the film, bored, restless, and impatient. He succeeded, no doubt. The Golden Globe-winning score by Alex Ebert is strong, and the performance by Redford is on point.

American Hustle
I thought that this film would be guaranteed a spot on my top ten list, but in retrospect, the film is not nearly as great as some are making it out to be. Performances are confident and assured, like O. Russell's direction, but the film is pretty much just fluff. Highly stylized entertaining fluff, at least.

Blue Jasmine
I love me some '70's Woody Allen, and I can say with great confidence that this is a film by Woody Allen. Not chug-a-film-a-year Woody Allen, but by the auteur Woody Allen. It's his best film since Crimes and Misdemeanors, and I really wish I had room on this year's list for it, but it's just too strong of a year. Cate Blanchett is excellent, and I am so happy that Sally Hawkins got the recognition she deserved from the Academy.

The Great Beauty
It's the leading contender for best foreign language film of the year, and its a worthy one. Direction by Sorrentino is Felliniesque, sumptuous in style and heaving with thoughts of life's regrets.

The Spectacular Now
A great film about young love in the old years of youth. Sure, themes of alcoholism are heavyhanded, but the performances by Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are superb, spot-on reflections of youth today.

Spring Breakers
There's no doubt in my mind that this film is trash, but it's dreamy, Florida sun-glazed, neon-light, orange-glow, hookers-and-blow, trash. Korine directs with some off the wall ambition, and James Franco is simply haunting as the rapper/pimp Alien. I've got half of the "Look at all my sheit" monologue engraved in my head, if that's a testament to my appreciation.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SAG Winner predictions!

The SAG Awards are tonight, and their unusually strong support for August: Osage County and The Butler clearly didn't translate to the Academy Awards.

BEST ENSEMBLE: American Hustle. Because in October, people like me were hailing 12 Years a Slave as the instant winner. I think that the simmering cast here is going to provide a bit of an unsurprising upset.

BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club. He won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice, so he's unstoppable right now. In fact, the SAG seems to factor men's looks into voting, because in 2003 Johnny Depp won for Pirates of the Caribbean. Sorry Chiwetel.

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. Because.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club. Because.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle. She's the hot thing in Hollywood, and she'll be swept up with the Best Ensemble prize. Or vice-versa.

Critics Choice winners!

You think this tells us something, but it really doesn't. 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture, American Hustle's fanbase gives them Best Comedy, and Gravity wins the most awards. The three-way race perseveres.

The full list of winners are below are in BOLD.
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • 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)
  • American Hustle
  • August: Osage County
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler
  • Nebraska
  • 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)

Oscar nominees!

So they've been announced. I'm going to cry about Inside Llewyn Davis missing the big categories. Fare thee well, my honeys.

Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
  • Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
  • Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”
  • Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
  • Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Amy Adams in “American Hustle”
  • Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
  • Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”
  • Judi Dench in “Philomena”
  • Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
  • Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”
  • Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
  • June Squibb in “Nebraska”

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Original Screenplay Nomination Predictions!

1. Spike Jonze, Her
Whoa, I literally exploded when Her won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes. I was so happy, really. And now there is just a slight chance that Spike Jonze's masterpiece will win the Oscar it deserves.

2. Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, American Hustle
It's not really a screenplay when the movie is loosely improvised. It's hilarious, it's fun, breezy. But it's all fluff, really.

3. Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Written ten years ago by a debut writer, it's a total Hollywood story. Doesn't hurt if the movie itself if good too, ya know.

4. Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
It's his 48th feature, but Woody Allen really knows how to write a modern rendition, with this one being A Streetcar Named Desire. Take notes Baz Luhrmann.

5. Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Word on the street is that voters hate the scene when Llewyn abandons the cat in the snow. Are you kidding me? Just because Llewyn abandons a cat, voters decide to not vote for what might as well be one of the best screenplays of the Coen brothers repertoire, and one of the best of the year? They must be joking really. I can't believe something so smoothly somber yet off-kilter and hilarious could go unrecognized by the WGA. The script is a masterpiece on it's own. But I think it can squeak in tomorrow. The Academy loves the Coens, and A Serious Man, probably their least accessible film, managed
a nomination in this category in 2009.

Keep your eyes peeled for Nicole Holofecener's Enough Said  and Dallas Buyers Club.

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination Predictions!

1. John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
It's a great screenplay, Shakespearean with its screenplay. The dialogue is wonderful, but the pacing is poor. Leading film contender and pretty much a lock for a screenplay win.

2. Terrence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
Winter's energy is boundless, contagious, and infectious. Worthy of all its praise, it's one of the film's best aspects, and I'll be surprised if it wasn't nominated.

3. Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
No, its not my bias kicking in, the film's screenplay is the one thing that's playing into the Oscars. I wish it was a lock for Best Picture, but hey, beggars can't be choosers!

4. Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
It's going to be nominated. No comment.

5. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena

Other films to consider are The Spectacular Now (oh how I wish it was nominated!), Tracey Letts' August: Osage and even Lone Survivor, which did manage a WGA nom.

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Supporting Actor Nomination Predictions!

Jared Leto has a cat and its in the bag.

1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Again, Jared Leto has a cat and its in the bag. He's won so many precursors and critics groups prizes.

2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Seriously powerful stuff. Fassbender is finally getting his first Oscar nom, and it couldn't be a better film to have a nominate him for. He treats performance brutality with incredible weight.

3. James Gandolfini, Enough Said
This is the one notable film of the year that I have yet to see, along with Philomena. I've always liked Gandolfini, and there's no better way to celebrate his life than with an Oscar nomination.

4. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
I honestly can't tell you what's so great about Abdi's performance. Sure, he hold his own against THE Tom Hanks, but what separates Abdi from his co-stars? You tell me. Others like him enough to give him Golden Globe and SAG nominations though.

5. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
When it came down to Daniel Bruhl and Cooper, I had to pick Cooper. He's a great actor, and his role is more alive than what Bruhl does with Niki Lauda in Rush. Rush also has a major hurdle with Abdi too, and I've seen Abdi on the campaign trail a whole lot more than Bruhl. Maybe another year.

But if you do see a wildcard / dark horse contender, it will probably by Daniel Bruhl. And imagine, it was only a month ago when Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) appeared to be a lock!

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Supporting Actress Nomination Predictions!

So there's two big contenders, and the rest is just filler to round out the five.

1. Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
It's her big debut, but a powerful one. As Patsy, the apple of Epps' eye, she is the epitome of slave dehumanization. It's a powerful performance, worthy of a win I guess. Actually, there is a below the line contender that should take the cake...

2. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
It doesn't hurt to be Hollywood's it girl, but Jennifer Lawrence steals the show in what is the best performance of the film. Also she won the Golden Globe. She and Nyong'o are the two leading winner contenders, in the two leading film winner contenders.

3. June Squibb, Nebraska
Like Emma Thompson, this is a crotchety lady performance, but this one steals scenes likes no other. June Squibb's graveyard scene is the stuff Oscar dreams are made of.

4. Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
Remember when she was a leading contender? What doesn't work with her role is that it's neither emotionally engaging nor characterized well... but the fact that she's Oprah really helps with her campaign. She isn't always making the ballots, i.e. Golden Globes.

5. Scarlett Johansson, Her
You know what? It's come down between Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), but I've picked Scarlett Johansson. It's the greatest voice performance of all time, and blows all supporting performances this year out of the water. She's been nominated for many critics groups, and I think we might be looking at a bit of a surprise come tomorrow. IDK, I just really loved Her.

Yea, if Johansson doesn't make it (and probably won't), don't count out Roberts and Hawkins.

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Actress Nomination Predictions!

Best Actress this year is really pointless to predict, since Cate Blanchett is going to win.

1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Off the top of my head, the only big prize that Cate Blanchett hasn't bagged is the National Board of Review, which was given to Emma Thompson. Cate Blanchett though- total class act, just sweeping the the circuits with her brilliant work.

2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
It's amazing that Sandra Bullock can go from fierce motherly performances such as The Blind Side to hilarious rom-coms (The Proposal), to this. A tour-de-force, an emotional triumph, a plateau of humanity in an out-of-this-world waltz. If The Blind Side never happened, Bullock would be a lot stronger of a contender, but people just don't like the sound of "Sandra Bullock, two-time Oscar winner", do they?

3. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
It's a total crotchety performance, but its the best thing about the movie. Sure its soapier than a Dove bar, but its better than what it should be by Thompson's layered performance. The Academy is sure to love it too.

4. Judi Dench, Philomena
Based off a true story, with Harvey Weinstein by her side. Yep, it's safe for a nom, I think.

5. Amy Adams, American Hustle
Hot off the Golden Globes win, Amy Adams I think can squeak out over the Meryl Streep. Sure, what Meryl does is chew scenery like bubble gum in August: Osage County, but Amy Adams is in the Best Picture contender. Also, her sexy sideboob never hurt anyone either.

Still, don't be surprised if Meryl gets a nomination because she's working with Harvey Weinstein too. If you want to be especially risky, put chips down on Adele Exarchopolous for Blue is the Warmest Color. I can only pray for a nomination for Brie Larson (Short Term 12), but that's wishful thinking.

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Actor Nomination Predictions!

This is the year's most packed category. Maybe this could be like the Emmys, where there were seven Best Actress nominees.

1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Geez this guy is great. He's great in the movie, he has Mud on his resume, ran away with the first ten minutes of The Wolf of Wall Street, and also is incredible in the first episode of True Detective. God he's on a hot streak. And the best way to reward Matthew McConaughey is with an Oscar. Nomination, at least.

2. Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave
What a triumphant performance. Really. This movie is great, and Ejiofer owns it.

3. Bruce Dern, Nebraska 
Yo. The movie's good, and Dern was probably the best part of it. It's funny on paper, and right below it is withering humanity and regret. And Dern, a well-liked Academy member, might get his nomination almost like a lifetime achievement sort of deal.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Quality film, and DiCaprio being an actor that tends to overact, totally owns this role that is so unhinged and so damn crazy. Also winning the Golden Globe doesn't hurt.

5. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
He's Tom Hanks. Two-time Oscar winner in two years. Also the movie's based off a true story, that doesn't hurt.

Also don't forget about Robert Redford (All is Lost) and Christian Bale (American Hustle), two performances that would easily slide in if it was less crowded.

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Director Nomination Predictions!

I'm a hunter shooting with a crappy gun in the dark when it comes to this category. Really, this category messed with everyone last year, especially since Bigelow and Affleck weren't nominated last year.

1. David O. Russell, American Hustle
The leading best picture contender, and it's pretty much a lock for a nom. Actually the whole top three is.

2. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Yo. Seriously. Visual movies are the ones that fit the directing category best, and Gravity is no exception. Actually, I don't know how to rank
the top three, all that matters that they are locks.

3. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
One of the best directed films of the year, crafted by a true artist. Totally worthy of the director recognition.

4. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
He's Scorsese. Not always a winner, but his seventy-one year old energy is
too infectious to ignore in such a stylistic picture.

5. Spike Jonze, Her
Beautifully crafted American masterpiece. Has such a huge fanbase, and the film is amazing. And even if her isn't recognized tomorrow, he is a lock for the screenplay category.

Keep your eyes peeled for Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), and the Coens (Inside Llewyn Davis).

2013 Oscar Nominations: Best Picture Nomination Predictions!

So I've been slacking, no big deal. Final predictions, here goes nothing!

1. American Hustle
Winner of three Golden Globes, including Amy Adams. David O. Russell is on a hot streak too, so here's what's up: this movie is packing the heat. If we had a winner as of now, it would be American Hustle.

2. 12 Years a Slave
Enough said. No, not the Nicole Holofecener one. This film, despite winning only one Globe, took the Best Drama one. Winner of the TIFF People's Choice prize. Yea, it's a lock for a nom.

3. Gravity
Every year has one film that's a visual amazement. And those films were Avatar, Inception (not 3D, but still), Hugo, and Life of Pi. The list of films listed above were major Oscar contenders in their years, and Gravity might be the strongest one of recent memory. It's certainly the best one. And Cuaron's Globe win doesn't hurt at all.

4. Nebraska
Everyone's eating up this small town flick by the deadpan quirk man Alexander Payne. It's good, yea, but most people seem to like the movie more than me. I can see why.

5. Her
It's the best film since Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas. I know that the movie has an audience, and I'm part of it. It's so good. I don't have to hope for votes, though, it's bound to get nominated. It's so worthy.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street
Amid the controversy is a passionate fanbase. It's a great movie, no doubt. Masterpiece level really. And since voters can't mark films they hate, the film's fanbase is bound to get it nominated.

7. Captain Phillips
Probably the weakest out of all nominees. I really can't see it getting number one votes, but it's hit all the guilds, and that's what counts. Whatever, I'll count it as a nominee.

8. Saving Mr. Banks
Another Tom Hanks picture, supported only by Emma Thompson's lead performance. One month ago we were looking at the possible winner, now we're just seeing a movie headed for two noms.

9. Dallas Buyers Club
The underdog of the Oscar season. It's been on the PGA, the WGA, the SAG... and McConaughey plus Leto really make the film a contenda. Actors will vote this one high.

10. Inside Llewyn Davis
Good god I wished this one was a lock. It's the best film by the Coen brothers. Really. Despite falling off the WGA and PGA list, the film did win the National Society of Film Critics and AFI, so it's got a fanbase. The Academy has a thing for the directing duo, since True Grit surprised with 10 noms and A Serious Man was a total surprise in 2009.

Look out for Blue Jasmine, Fruitvale Station and Philomena. This year is so packed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Golden Globes Predictions.

So this is late, no big deal. Make bets, I don't know.

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
American Hustle / Her (I just want Her to win...)
Blue is the Warmest Color
Please Mr. Kennedy, Inside Llewyn Davis

Her- Movie Review by Sean Wu

Finally, I can shut the book on 2013. And there is no better way to cap out the year with Her, the best film of 2013. As a whole, this bizarrely beautiful Spike Jonze love story is so perfect because of three scenes:

First, after Joaquin Phoenix's mopey Theodore Twombly meets his OS, he brings her to work to help him proofread his letters he's ghostwriting. His system Samantha reads them out loud at first, and Theodore tells her she doesn't have to. She responds with an unenthusiastic and somewhat disappointed okay. An awkward silence falls occurs, and Theodore tells her that she can. She responds with an enthusiastic and jovial "Okay!"

The scene, on paper, sounds good. But on the screen, it's beautiful. Scarlett Johansson performs so brilliantly with just her voice alone, my heart honestly melted at the moment she said the second "Okay!". Maybe because the OS voice is so human and so familiar that I was able to relate to Samantha on a human level.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DGA Nominees!

So the nominations are in, and it's fine. Nothing too surprising.

Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Saturday, January 4, 2014

PGA and WGA announce, recognize Dallas Buyers Club, skunk

I mean, Dallas Buyers Club is a pretty solid flick, but over Inside Llewyn Davis? How about no.

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

...and the WGA nominees.

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

August: Osage County
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Lone Survivor
The Wolf of Wall Street