Mar 6, 2016

WIWTW #37

So back to my predictions for the Academy Awards, here's what I got:

Best Picture: The Revenant
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress: Brie Larson
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance
Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara
Best Animated Film: Anomalisa
Best Cinematography: Sicario - Roger Deakins
Best Costume Design: The Danish Girl - Paco Delgado
Best Directing: George Miller
Best Documentary (Feature): Cartel Land
Best Documentary (Short Subject): Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road - Margaret Sixel
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Revenant
Best Music (Original Score): Bridge of Spies: Thomas Newman
Best Music (Original Song): "Til it Happens to You" - Lady Gaga and Diane Warren
Best Production Design: The Martian: Arthur Max
Best Short Film (Animated): World of Tomorrow
Best Short Film (Live Action): Day One
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road - Mark Mangini and David White
Best Sound Mixing: Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, and Neal Scanlan
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Big Short - Adam McKay and Charles Randolph
Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Spotlight - Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer

Yikes, that's a lot of red. And yes, I got absolutely clobbered by my girlfriend who somehow managed to get 14 categories right to my 8. Clearly I made some ill-advised dark horse choices like Anomalisa (I'll never bet against Pixar again) and clearly I shouldn't ever think that Roger Deakins will win an Oscar for Best Cinematography despite his now 13 nominations. Should have put all my chips on Mad Max clearly.

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • Looks like a Venom movie is back on at Sony after having scrapped everything Spider-Man related following the disaster that was The Amazing Spider-Man 2@The Hollywood Reporter
  • Box office report: So how well did Disney's Zootopia do? $73.7 million well to be exact. It now holds the title for biggest animation debut for a Disney animated film (overtaking Frozen's $67.4 million). No doubt it'll have some solid legs as well which should make Disney accountants pretty happy. Gerard Butler can breathe a little easier after Gods of Egypt flopped since London Has Fallen took the #2 spot with $21.5 million. Sure that falls below the $30 million debut of Olympus Has Fallen, but the budget is a mid-sized $60 million which should be easy enough to break even on, especially if we include foreign takes. Deadpool mania finally cooled a bit, but $16.4 million is still pretty good for a fourth weekend. Tina Fey and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot weren't as lucky unfortunately with only $7.6 million for the weekend.
  • Christian Bale has some things to say about his performance as Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy (ugh, forgive me for the autoplay video). @Entertainment Weekly
  • Bad Boys 3 is a go. It's seriously the one time I'd like to see Michael Bay directing something, so it's a shame he's not helming this one. @Comicbook.com
  • An article that tackles the phenomenon that is The Room, aka the worst movie ever made. @BBC
  • Here's a good look at what 2016 is shaping up to the for the major film studios of Hollywood and it's a pretty volatile situation for everyone. Scariest number? “Last year, over 25% of total box office came from just five films, well above the average of roughly 16% from 2001-14 and the prior peak of 19% in 2012.” @Variety
Video of the week: If it's possible that Donald Trump could potentially be president of the United States, it should shock absolutely no one that there's an upcoming Halloween-themed Madea movie.

 _______________________________________________________________________

Number of movies watched: 8

Average rating: 6.75
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February 28th

 

The Crunch Bird (1971)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: Best Animated Short winner at the 44th Academy Awards

To best honest, The Crunch Bird is another animated short that surprised me in the sense that it doesn't strike me as an Oscar winner. It's the shortest winner ever I believe at a scant 2 minutes and the animation really isn't all that special. So why the 7/10? The honest truth is that The Crunch Bird succeeds in its mission quite well. It builds up towards a single joke that definitely got me pretty good. I'd categorize this short as something like a joke book but in animation form. Is it really an Oscar winner? I can't really answer that, but I can say that it's funny and sometimes that's enough.

February 29th

 

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

Rating: 6.5/10

What is it: A mid-90's kid classic

I'll admit, the 90's kid in me came out hard when I started watching this. I believe that I only saw TIitC once before, but everything flooded back to me as if it had only been the day before since I last saw it. Definitely shocked to see that Frank Oz was the director and I learned that the actor who portrays Little Bear is an Amerindian hip hop artist! Weird stuff. The other major thing I learned is how annoying the main kid is as well as his friend. Aside from the very distracting score that tries a bit too hard in shoving emotion down your throat and some VERY questionable acting, this isn't a bad children's movie. However, this mainly get a pass from me due to some serious nostalgia.

March 1st

 

On the Waterfront (1954): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8.5/10

What is it: An American classic and big winner at the 27th Academy Awards

Marlon Brando is an acting legend and for good reason. On the Waterfront is just one example of how well he's able to mesmerize audiences. Along with some strong direction from Elia Kazan, OtW has some absolute showstopper scenes that are unforgettable. As great as Brando is to watch, Karl Malden as Father Barry and Lee J. Cobb as Johnny Friendly deserve just as much credit. I can't remember the last time I saw three powerhouse performances all in one movie like this. The story itself is also very good, although it does start a bit slow in the beginning. The tension quickly mounts though  for what is an unforgettable picture.

March 2nd

 

Youth (2015)

Rating: 7.5/10

What is it: A drama through the eyes of two aging men

Youth was directed and written by Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino who also did The Great Beauty which won Best Foreign Language Film a few years ago. Youth definitely has that Euro vibe to it which makes for a nice change of pace. What probably stands out the most to me is the lovely cinematography which makes this film a feast for the eyes. Acting is also strong with Michael Caine and Havey Keitel leading the charge, but the true standout to me is Paul Dano who is able to do so much with so little. Rachel Weisz has a very memorable scene as well. The main issue I have with the film is that it could've been a lot more focused. It meanders at around the three-quarter mark before finding itself for a great finish.

March 3rd

 

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)

Rating: 6.5/10

What is it: A DC Animated Universe film that presents an anthology of different stories

Like Batman: Gotham Knight, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights presents several stories following different members of the Corps and their efforts in keeping the universe safe. Some stories are better than others which is expected, but the good ones really are quite a bit of fun. The animation disappoints in certain places, but overall it's pretty good for a direct-to-video release. There's a fight scene in particular with the character Laira that's very impressive. Nathan Fillion is just perfect for Hal Jordan and the rest of the voice cast is solid as well. I really missed Michael Madsen as Kilowog though. GL:EK can be a bit ridiculous at times, but that's just the nature of Green Lantern really.

 

 

Is Anybody There? (2008)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A UK drama directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn).

Is Anybody There? is a story that brings together a young boy (Bill Milner) obsessed with the morbid due to growing up in an old folks home and a retired magician (Michael Caine) who comes to stay at said home. Their pairing is a charming one, but it feels like an avenue that's very thinly explored. A lot of time is dedicated to the other characters that populate this retirement home and that takes away from watching Caine do his magic. Let me tell you, he's got some heart-wrenching scenes in this one. While it's nice to watch English acting veterans like Rosemary Harris and Leslie Phillips, more time should've been dedicated to Milner and Caine's characters bond and grow.

March 4th

 

It's Tough to Be a Bird (1969): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 6/10

What is it: Best Animated Short at the 45th Academy Awards

Surprisingly, this was Disney's last win for Best Animated Short until Paperman (2012). It's Tough to Be a Bird is a bit longer than your typical animated short at 21 minutes, but that's just because it's all over the place. Literally. It's part educative comedy, part animated/live action documentary and part weird 60's/70's animated montage. While I actually did learn some interesting things during the documentary portion, this just felt like an overly long special made to fill an empty TV slot. That's not to say that it's a terrible movie or anything. It's just a little too aimless for my liking.

March 5th

 

Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A comedy/crime film partially based on real life Irish criminal Martin Cahill.

Having Kevin Spacey playing an Irishman is pretty unsettling. While he certainly does better with the accent than I could do, he falls into uneven territory more often than not. However, he's still Kevin Spacey and there's no shortage of his particular brand of on-screen magnetism. Probably the best aspect of Ordinary Decent Criminal is simply the story. It's just good fun to watch an intelligent criminal play games with the cops and it leads to some pretty amusing scenes. There are some bizarre issues with the re-recording of dialogue though which gives it this floaty, tacked on feel which doesn't sound natural. I also absolutely hated the "trick" editing at the climax as well. ODC is still a pretty good time though.