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MY 2014 OSCAR WINNER PREDICTIONS

2 Mar

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Well hello out there fellow internet machine users.  I know its been way too long since my last post and I’m sure you all missed me so much…well all 5 of you that are regular readers.  Anywho, since I am a huge movie lover, and the Oscars are tonight, I I figured that I should jump on and post my Oscar predictions for some of the major categories…and I’ll keep it as short as possible.  Plus, for the first time since they expanded the best picture noms, I was actually able to watch all nine of them!  I did this not only because I have a hardcore passion for film, but because there are so many great movies out there these days and I don’t want to miss them.  From blockbuster action summer movies, to gorgeously shot indie films.  I just couldn’t miss these flicks any longer.  Oh and I was able to watch them all because I have no life…but that’s for another post.  So without an further delay, here are my 2014 Oscar Winner Predictions!  And I almost forgot, I am wearing a gorgeous grey hoodie, accompanied by dark grey warmup pants…all by Nike.  Just incase Joan Rivers is wondering….

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BEST PICTURE:  12 YEARS A SLAVE – There were so many good films to come out this year.  Including one of my favs that wasn’t nominated, Lone Survivor.  Nevertheless, this category is lined with all sorts of movies.  From movies with majorly witty dialogue, to action adventures, an outer space spectacle, low budget indies and emotionally charged storylines.  This year’s best picture category is truly versatile.  If you haven’t watched many films this year, do yourself and a favor and enjoy all nine noms in this category….there really is something for everyone.  Although Her and Dallas Buyers Club were my favorites this year, 12 Years features a great adapted screen play, terrific directing and a cast that showed their acting chops throughout this courageous story.

ImageBEST ACTOR:  MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY – Finally we were staring at McConaughey this year not because he was working out shirtless on the beach somewhere.  Did anyone have a hotter year?  From his work in tv’s True Detective, Mud, Killer Joe and his chanting in Wolf of Wallstreet, McConaughey took himself out of the ‘chick flicks’ pigeonhole and lofted himself right to the top of the acting charts.  And to top it all off, he transformed his body and his career by giving the world Ron Wood in DBC.  Ejiofor is a close 2nd, but the man from Dazed and Confused is taking home the gold.

ImageBEST ACTRESS:  AMY ADAMS – This one is a three person race between Adams, Blanchett and Bullock.  But in the end, Adams gets it!

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  JARED LETO – Fassbender was character was terrible, but his acting was terrific.  However, in my opinion, Jared Leto, aka Jordan Catalano, gave one of the greatest supporting performances I have ever seen.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and the delicateness of his characters personality, mixed with the fire was an unreal combination that just put me in a trance when he was on screen.

ImageBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  JENNIFER LAWRENCE – Another great performance from the greatest young actress in the business.  I mean this girl is in her 20’s and she has three noms already!  June Squibb cracked me up in Nebraska, but Lawrence once again flexed her muscles in a film filled with A-Listers, and she was the brightest star shining.  Lupita Nyong’o could pull the upset…but only because she was ridiculous!

ImageBEST DIRECTOR:  ALFONSO CUARON – Whether you enjoyed this movie or not (most people either loved it or hated it), the directing was simply awesome.  Those shots were just…well…out of this world (pun intended!)!

ImageBEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: THE HUNT – Only because star Mads Mikkelsen is so good in Hannibal!

ImageBEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  12 YEARS A SALVE – One word…powerful.  Before Midnight could pull the upset.

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  AMERICAN HUSTLE  – Great story and should win…but I wish would be Her…Joaquin was robbed of a nom for best actor, so I hope this movie stacks up the awards in other categories.

ImageBEST ANIMATED FEATURE: FROZEN – Disney modern day classic gets the gold!

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WORST SNUB:  MICHAEL B. JOHNSON – I guess this movie was too small for a nom, or he just to unknown.  I don’t know what the reason is, but Vince from Friday Night Lights was spellbinding and deserved a nomination…just like my man Joaquin Phoenix!  Honorable mention…the late great James Gandolfini.  I missed Enough Said, but I have heard from multiple “experts” and my resident LA Film guru B Yok, that Tony Soprano was straight disrespected by not getting a supporting actor nomination.  Maybe we should send out Paulie Walnuts and Silvio to crack some skulls!!

Well that’s all for this year.  Enjoy your Oscar parties and remember…if you are in an Oscar pool, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing almost always go to the same movie.  Who do you think is going to win???  Enjoy the show!!

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TOP 10 SPORTS MOVIES OF ALL TIME

21 Sep

Top-10Some of the greatest movies of all time are sports movies.  They makes us cheer, laugh, cry and sometimes make us feel something inside that we never knew we could feel.  Like the scene where Adrian tells Rocky to “win” in Rocky II.  Or the motivational speech by Al Pacino’s character in Any Given Sunday:  “the inches we need are everywhere around us”.  Or Adam Sandler dancing on the green after defeating Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.  Sports movies take us to a place when we were kids.  Or a place when we played catch in the yard with our fathers.  Or maybe even to a place where we did something great on our own teams.  Sports movies are a part of our culture that has last through generations before us, and will last through generations to come.  Here are my top 10 favorite sports movies of all time (in no particular order):

ROCKY:  Is there any doubt that this is one of the greatest movies of all time?  And let’s not forget Rocky II…parts of III…and Rocky IV.  Mickey, Paulie, that music, Sly Stallone…legendary.  Check out this scene from Rocky II if you want to feel chills:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTihNTFNOcc

FIELD OF DREAMS:  “Is this heaven?”  “No, its Iowa.”  If you’re a man, its NOT cool to say you didn’t cry during this movie.  Watch that scene where Ray and his father have a catch and I dare you to not pull the tissues out!  And gotta love Burt Lancaster!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_wnD6jxREU

HOOSIERS:  This movie will make you believe that anything is possible.  Also, has Gene Hackman ever given a bad performance or been in a bad movie?!?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ugkzk2l2ZpM

RUDY:  Rudy…Rudy…Rudy…I’m literally crying right now just thinking about watching Rudy run out onto that field!!  Charles S. Dutton with the five foot nothing, a hundred and nothing speech, the teammates giving up their roster spots and a little heavier version of John Favereau make this movie a gridiron classic!  “You ready for this?”  “I’ve been ready for this my whole life.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY0LUIIwo8k

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES:  A classic about the rise and tragic fall of a true American Icon:  Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig.  Watch it for great acting by the Babe, but stay for one of the most famous speeches in American History!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbNrCxqxzgo

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN:  It has comedy, tears and everything inbetween.  Tom Hanks is brilliant as always and you have to cheer when Kit hits that high pitch for the game winner!  Come on Evelyn, you know there’s no crying in baseball!!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M8szlSa-8o

RAGING BULL:  Beautifully shot in black and white by Martin Scorsese.  Beautifully acted by Deniro, Pesci and company.  Raging Bull does not dissappoint!    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVOwxsa4OM

MAJOR LEAGUE:  A hysterical sports comedy about an underdog team in one of the most underdog cities in the country:  Cleveland!  Great cast featuring Tom Berenger and Wesley Snipes.  But Roger Dorn and Pedro Cerrano steal the show!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGraAwtXbEQ

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY:  This movie is somewhat underrated.  It has a great cast and a great director in Oliver Stone.  The soundtrack really adds to the moments and Pacino’s speech could be and should be used in locker room across the country! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9CD7uj2TL0

THE NATURAL:  If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and hit the old netflix up now!  Robert Redford is terrific as an aging ballplayer that makes the most of his last host at greatness.  Wonderboy, Wilfred Brimley as Pops and the music when the ball hits the lights…ah…so great!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i94ldGNNSQ0

*BLUE CHIPS:  Ok, so I had to add this movie as a bonus because it is a reminder of the golden days of the Orlando Magic!  Shaq and Penny and a preview to come!  I don’t see the Heat’s big three in any movie!  Plus, Nick Nolte is genius!!

What movies would you add???

10 UNDER THE RADAR FILMS YOU MUST SEE

14 Mar

film reelSo all over the old internet machine, you can find websites and individuals listing cool, low budget  films that they think you should see.  Well, I thought I would add my own list to the pile.

Basically these are 10 films that I have seen, that you may or may not have heard of, and that are under the radar.  I guess you could call them indie films.  But whatever you call them, these are films that I think you must see!!  I’m not talking about films like Pulp Fiction, but films like Chris Nolan’s Following.  Don’t  just think low budget like Mean Streets, but think under the radar like the foreign film The Secrets in Their Eyes.  

Now, I do realize that there are a lot more small budget, life changing films out there in addition to my list of 10.  But these are 10 that I recommend (I have more than 10, but I think we might all get bored if I take the list to 100).   So, here in no particular order, are 10 (not a top 10, but just a list of 10) of my favorite under the radar, small budget, indie, whatever else you might call them films.  I’ve added a little bit on each of them, without getting too technical since I’m not really Siskel or Ebert.  Let me know what some of your favorites are…either from this list or your own additions..what’s better than discovering great, new films?!

swingersSWINGERS:  One of my favorites movies off all time.  I could quote this flick with my friends for hours…and as annoying as it is for other people, we usually do!  “You’re so money and you don’t even know it!”

y_tu_mama_tambien1Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN:  A great foreign film from Mexico, directed by Alfonso Cuaron.  Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal take their crush to on a roadtrip to find a hidden beach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             CITY OF GOD:  city of godA gritty, foreign film based on living in the slums of Rio.  In my opinion, one of the best films ever.  Great mix of beautiful visual look/style, guns, violence, love, drugs, and realism.

leon the professional

LEON:  THE PROFESSIONAL:  The great Jean Reno and a young Natalie Portman star in this film about a hitman the girl he protects.  Watch for a terribly underrated, but always amazing Gary Oldman.

oldboy-1OLDBOY:  A great film from Korea.  This one centers on a who is kidnapped for 15 years, and then released.  Don’t wan to give away too much, but there are some twisted plots and amazing shots.  Basically just a really cool movie…watch for the American remake to hit theaters in October…with Josh Brolin (not cool) and Spike Lee directing (wow!).

mementoMEMENTO:  One of the coolest movies out there…great story told in reverse…sort of.  Make sure you see this one, and pay attention!  You know it has to be good if Christopher Nolan directed it!

a single man

 

A SINGLE MAN:  Ok, so this one might not be that under the radar…but it could be.  This film stars the terrific Colin Firth and is directed by fashion designer Tom Ford.  It might be a bit slow, but its just a beautiful movie with great acting.

garden stateGARDEN STATE:  Basically if you are between the ages of 21-35 you have seen this movie…and loved it.  One of those movies, with Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, that you could watch over and over again…and with a crazy good indie soundtrack.  Watch it, and tell me how you could not love this movie!

lost_in_translation_2003_6LOST IN TRANSLATION:  Ok, so I sneaked in another one…everyone might have seen this, but I couldn’t resist.  Bill Murray and Scar Jo at their best.  Great soundtrack, great Sofia Coppola writing/directing, and set among a beautiful Japan landscape.  Plus, Anna Faris is hilarious!

a separation

A SEPARATION:  I can’t say enough about this foreign film from Iran.  It has some of the best writing and acting you will ever see…just amazing.  Watch it as soon as you can!

 

 

*Sorry, I just couldn’t resist adding a list of “just missed the cut”:  The Crow, Ruby Sparks, The Secret in Their Eyes, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Descent, High Fidelity, Talk to Her (Hable con Ella), Winter’s Bone, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs (obviously not under the radar).

SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS ARE COMING SOON! (MAY EDITION)

10 Mar

cld summer 2011

This spring will bring an infusion of blockbuster movie muscle with releases such as Jack the Giant Slayer, Oz the Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe:  Retaliation, The Place Beyond the Pines, Oblivion, To the Wonder and The Big Wedding.  But the real, over the top, world ending, theater shaking, life changing blockbuster won’t begin to roll out until the summer.  And although the summer technically starts on June 21, the box office summer begins with the start of May (at least to me it does).  So let’s take a look at all the upcoming summer blockbuster releases of 2013:

May gets things started with the release of 6 potential blockbuster hits.  Iron Man 3 kicks things off with the return of Tony Stark and his iron suit of sarcastic wit, charm and earth saving abilities.  IM3 is followed by Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.  The Leo DiCaprio vehicle could also feature some early favorites for Oscar noms.  The latest installment of J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek franchise also hits theaters in May with Star Trek Into Darkness.  The final three blockbusters of May include the animated Epic, a sixth film in the Fast and Furious franchise (Fast 6), and the somewhat anticipated Hangover Part III.  May appears to be packed with films that everyone can enjoy.

Iron_Man-7Of all the films coming out this summer, Iron Man 3 is sure to be one of the most entertaining.  Yes, we have been doing the superheroes thing to death the last several years, but IM3’s Robert Downey Jr.  seems to be at the top of his game in this role, and his antics never grow tiresome.  With cast additions that include Oscar winner Ben Kingsley and the underrated Guy Pearce, Iron Man 3 looks like it might be able to do what few franchises can:  deliver for a third time!

Directed by Baz Luhrmann  Gatsby will definitely be beautifully stylized and exceptionally well acted.  With a cast anchored by the three-time Oscar nominated Leo DiCaprio, F. Scott Fitzgerald’ s classic greatgatsby novel is sure to come to life on the big screen with Luhrmann at the helm.  While we can’t expect car chases, explosions, or Bay-life special effects, Gatsby, for the acting and directing alone, is a film that I cannot wait to see!

Space, the final frontier…but hopefully not the final Star Trek film!  J.J. Abrams and the crew of the Starship Enterprise are back and ready to boldly go where no man has gone before!  Ok, enough of the Star Trek play on words…sorry!  Star Trek Into Darkness, the 12th installment in the Star Trek film franchise, also hits theaters in May.  Abrams, directing again, did a great job in relaunching the Star Trek series with his 2009 project.  That film reintroduced us to the beloved Star Trek characters and even featured a star-trek-into-the-darkness-plot-officially-revealedgreat Leonard Nimoy as the future, old Spock from the past or future…or…ok, you get the point.  I thought ’09’s Star Trek did a great job in pulling in a new generation of fans.  With stars like Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and Harold…er John Cho, Abrams made it cool to be a Trekky again!  With the same writers, director and stars, the newest Star Trek will most definitely be a fun, space exploring adventure….and with my man J.J. leading the way, I think we can expect a fun, intelligent, summer action flick!

Epic, a fun, 3D animated film about the secrets of the forest, includes an all-star cast that is sure to entertain kids and parent alike.epic-post-21  I’m not sure if I will shell out the $10+ to catch this in the theater, but how great would it be to hear the great Christoph Waltz voice the villain??  Positioned as a fun, Avatar like animated flick, Epic should be fun for the kids, but I think I’ll be staying home for this one, but a possible Redbox grab could happen.

Fast-and-furious-6-set-pictures (2)Fast 6 will be a blood-pressure raising action ride from start to finish and feature a great action based cast that includes the return of a team member from the past.  Fast 6, it appears, will continue the franchise’s transition from street racing themed, to action-heist.  I’m not totally sure how many times we can watch Paul Walker and Vin Diesel play this game, but I’m willing to give this one a shot.  I mean it’s gotta be better than Tokyo Drift, so at least we’re safe there.

Then, on Memorial Day Weekend, strap the kids in the car and head over to the local cineplex for what is sure to be the family feel good movie of….wait wait….scratch that, scratch that…better put the kids to bed early because the Wolfpack is Back!  That’s right, The Hangover Part III opens on the holiday weekend and is being called “the epic conclusion to the trilogy”.  From what we can see, all your old favorites are back for another Vegas run around (probably no Baby Carlos though); including the incomparable Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow and “Iron” Mike Tyson in a role that only he could play….Mike Tyson.  Here’s hoping we get another Phil Collins song out of Mike…maybe “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” or Su Su “Sussudio”.  The-Hangover-Trailer-the-hangover-6895791-1920-800Not too much of the storyline can be guessed from the trailer.  But when referring to the Hangover series, this much we know will happen:  Zach Galifianakis and his beard will be ridiculous, Ed Helms’ character will cry and scream and probably end up with something crazy happening to him by the end, Bradley Cooper’s Phil will yell at someone, and Ken Jeong is sure to get naked…probably more than once.  Whereas part two of this trilogy felt like a repeat of the original (but with a new location), I am hoping that director Todd Phillips has some new tricks up his sleeve.  I would have to think that with the cast of the Hangover all very hot right now, this film would have to be more original and just way more excellent than the 2nd one for them all to return for a third helping of hangovers.  Although I am a little hesitant because of the repetitive nature of part 2 (I mean how many times and in how many cities can these guys lose someone and end up with scandalous strippers?), I do have faith in this cast and this director.  I think we are in for a good show with part 3.  It won’t be Dark Knight Rises or LOTR part 3 good, but this film will be just like Alan’s beard…bushy, versatile, something you can’t help but star out, and a solid good time for all.

Enjoy the blockbusters of May!