Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More cinematic thoughts.

Of course, there are movies I haven't seen yet from 2013 that had to be omitted from my list. The biggest miss I think has been Nebraska, but I hope to fix that tonight. There's also The Spectacular Now (when I finally finished the somewhat terrible book it was already out of theaters - but bad books tend to make good movies? At least I know this one will), Stories We Tell, The Act of Killing (my documentary game was way off this year - docs are more TV-watchers for me than paying a movie ticket for...), Dallas Buyers Club (too much info floating around about the 'true story' really about a self-interested homophobic arse, so...), Captain Phillips (meh), Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks? Meryl lays it out...), The Butler (Lee Daniels doing something straight-laced? And also Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan? Hm.), You're Next (how do I see this movie?), Kings of Summer, Philomena, In a World, etc.

I'm a bit wary of feature films "based on true stories" given the liberties taken by movies like The Hurricane and also because perhaps it would've been more compelling as a documentary than a dramatization and also I don't have a need for films to be 'realistic.' But sometimes it works out as in two of my Top 10s - 12 Years a Slave is just an out and out masterpiece with a story little have heard or been exposed to in such a way and Fruitvale Station begins with the actual video, and takes artistic license in the day in the life Oscar Grant. The point being that it was a relatively normal day. I wish that more movies started out like American Hustle, warning, "Some of this actually happened." At least The Wolf of Wall Street didn't campaign or tout much of it's true story, because that man is a terrible person and gee gosh darn makes a cameo in the film because I guess his life is still pretty awesome now that he's buddies with DiCaprio and Scorcese. He's a bad person (swindler, wife-beater, rapist), but life turned out great for him anyway -- and that's probably the most succinct way of telling you why I didn't like that movie or its message.


Tomorrow are the Oscar nominations, and though I'm always disappointed, every year at least there are some surprises! Here are some of my far-fetched hopes for tomorrow:

Her and Before Midnight are nominated for Best Film. I think Her has a better chance, but you never know. All the indie lovers may gear their votes towards Nebraska instead. Here's my best guesses for at least five of the Best Film nominees: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity, Captain Phillips, and Nebraska.

Spike Jonze (Her) is nominated for Best Director. This may be hard given that I think think the locks are Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips). That leaves one iffy spot and Martin Scorcese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Alexander Payne (Nebraska). Scorcese is Scorcese so I'm thinking he'll get the last spot, but maybe Greengrass will be left off? At this point I think Russell should be shunned for making those comments about Jennifer Lawrence's Hunger Games schedule being like 12 Years of slavery. Oh really? No wonder George Clooney vowed never to work with him again after making Three Kings...

Brie Larson and Julie Delpy are nominated for Best Actress. This is going to be especially hard because the Academy loves Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett (and obviously Meryl Streep, but she's not much of a lock from what I can tell). I think Amy Adams is pretty deserving for American Hustle, and Sandra Bullock and Emma Thompson probably as well as far as the other locks go. But could they drop off Dench possibly for Larson or Delpy?? Maybe?? Pretty sure that won't happen. (Also, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Enough Said! And Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha!)

Michael B. Jordan nominated for Best Actor. Definitely not going to happen. This one belongs to Chiwitel Ejiofor (who I hope WINS), Bruce Dern, Tom Hanks (always there), Robert Redford, and Matthew McConaughey. I'd place a vote for Joaquin Phoenix on my personal ballot too, because that dude is a straight chameleon.

Scarlett Johansson nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Because, as Jesse said the other day, she somehow holds together the movie Her with just her voice. But I'd actually nominate her for Don Jon -- she gets the role perfectly. I think JA says it best. However, I'm hoping Lupita Nyong'o takes the statuette home, because she definitely nailed the best supporting role this year. Jennifer Lawrence, she's a great actress, but I was not overly impressed by her in American Hustle; Adams stole the show for me.

James Gandolfini nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Posthumous, but worthy. He most likely won't be nominated, given that he passed away, but Heath Ledger recieved one a few years ago... That said, I think the locks are Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper (meh), and hopefully Michael Fassbender. Another worthy longshot is Keith Stanfield who played Marcus in Short Term 12.

We shall see tomorrow! Like most years, the films I tend to like most don't get nominated or are solely nominated in screenplay categories. It's the way of the industry -- money talks.


Okay, time to meet Jesse for Nebraska!

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