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2013 Oscar Predictions

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Best Picture

  • Will Win: Argo
  • Alternative: Lincoln
  • Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty (or Amour)
  • Should Be Nominated: Skyfall and Moonrise Kingdom

Pretty great batch of nominees overall. Zero Dark Thirty and Amour are my favorites, but Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild are not too far behind. Realistically speaking, though, only Lincoln has a chance of winning over Argo.

Best Director Read More…

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My Scattered Thoughts on Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz

For better of for worse, technology has completely changed the way we interact with cinema. No longer do we have to wait days or even months to hear early word about the latest movies. Thanks to Twitter we can find out instants after any given screening. With the latest innovations in home theater technology, watching a movie from the comfort of your own home is becoming a more and more viable option. For more and more relatively high-profile movies it is becoming an option even before the movie receives a theatrical release, thanks to new video on demand trends. There are many benefits  to this; no longer do those of us living too far from a theater showing a movie we want to see have to wait months and months to see it. The downside to having word about any given movie get out so early, though, is fewer and fewer people willing to decide for themselves whether they like anything. There are those who won’t go anywhere near any movie not playing in over 3,000 theaters across North America. Those who take pride in their intellectual superiority, having the ability to enjoy that independent little gem that general audiences are not “smart enough” to appreciate.  Those who get a kick out of being the contrarian, always having a negative opinion ready when something becomes successful. Yet, perhaps it’s the middle group who is the most conservative of all.

How often do you see sellouts at a festival for a film without a star or director that has already been given some kind of critical seal of approval prior to the screening? How many small, truly independent films become breakout hits without an amazing reception during the FIRST festival or public screening. It seems that, more and more, that first screening is a make or break moment. If it’s successful, its smooth sailing ahead for the film. If that first group of people who sees the movies isn’t ready to declare it a masterpiece, chances are no one after that will want to be the first to do so. We don’t want to take a chance on something that hasn’t already been branded hip. It’s my opinion that Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz has fallen victim to this. It had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and while reaction to it has been far from bad, it does feel a bit on the tepid side, especially in comparison to her 2006 masterpiece, Away From Her. It’s a shame because in spite of some minor flaws (the series of coincidences that set the “romance” of the film in motion seem like a bit of a stretch) it is one of the best films of the year.

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Melancholia

I have considered myself a Lars von Trier fan for over a decade. Ever since, as a teenager, I stood horrified but completely absorbed in front of the screen as the conclusion of Breaking the Waves unfolded, the announcement of a new von Trier film is an event. I say this even though I haven’t truly loved any of his films in the past decade. Melancholia, which I saw months ago, was another in a series of disappointments. It is, however, the first in a while that I feel compelled to give a second chance.

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Modern Treasures: Y Tu Mama Tambien

Several movies over the past decade have brought Mexican cinema repeated international recognition. While popular films like Amores Perros and, most notably, Pan’s Labyrinth are without a doubt great, no film in the last decade has given me as much hope about the possibilities of a Mexican national cinema as Y Tu Mama Tambien (beautifully directed by Alfonso Cuaron).

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Last Minute Oscar Thoughts: Possible Surprises

Another yearly award season will come to an end tonight when trophies for top motion picture honors, the Academy Awards, are handed out in California. As with previous years, the long stretch of endless pre-cursor awards handed out leading up to the Oscars means we pretty much know what to expect tonight. It would perhaps be Oscar’s biggest shock if someone like Mo’nique ended up losing.

Sure, there are people out there who think there’s an actual race for Best Picture between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. The only thing I can say to that is that I don’t get it.  The Hurt Locker might appear microscopic in comparison to Avatar but, apart from the Golden Globe, it has won every award you can think of so far. An Avatar win tonight would flat-out shock  and disappoint me. True, I would have said the same thing about a Brokeback Mountain loss a few years back, but I am not expecting history to repeat itself so soon. So with Picture, in my opinion, pretty much wrapped up, it narrows down the likelihood of any major surprises to a couple of categories. The most likely of these is Best Actress.

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Last Minute Oscar Predictions

What Will/Should Win. Plus What should have been nominated.

Best Picture
Will Win: The Hurt Locker (Alt: Avatar)
Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Should Have Been Nominated: Bright Star

Best Director
Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow (Alt: None)
Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow
Should Have Been Nominated: Jane Campion (Bright Star)

Best Actress

Will Win: Sandra Bullock (Alt: Gabby Sidibe)
Should Win: Gabby Sidibe
Should Have Been Nominated: Catalina Saavedra (The Maid)

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Valentine’s Day 2010 Movie Pick: Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art.

One of my favorite ways to spend Valentine’s Day, were I not so cynical, would be a day with a few of my favorite movies. I might be biased, but it’s romantic, relaxing and relatively effortless.  Judging by a couple of titles out now and aimed at sweethearts all over, a less-cynical version of me would not be alone.

If you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day this way this year, do yourself, your relationship and humanity a favor: stay away from multiplexes and crap like Dear John and Valentine’s Day. I suggest, instead, watching the tragically overlooked 2009 Jane Campion film, Bright Star.

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