Here are the 39 songs eligible for a Best Original Song nomination


Yesterday, the Academy announced that the following 39 films are eligible to nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song of 2011.  Considering how the awards season has gone so far, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that few of the songs that I truly enjoyed hearing this year are eligible.  Still, it is nice to see that Capt. America will have a chance to score a nomination for “Star-Spangled Man.”

Then again, it would also be nice to see something from The Muppets win because I’m sure Bret McKenzie would give a perfectly charming acceptance speech.

One final reaction to this list: there’s a movie called White Irish Drinkers?  

Yay!

  • “The World I Knew” from “African Cats”
  • “Lay Your Head Down” from “Albert Nobbs”
  • “Star Spangled Man” from “Captain America: The First Avenger”
  • “Collision of Worlds” from “Cars 2”
  • “Dakkanaga Dugu Dugu” from “DAM999”
  • “DAM999 Theme Song” from “DAM999”
  • “Mujhe Chod Ke” from “DAM999”
  • “Rainbird” from “Dirty Girl”
  • “Keep On Walking” from “The First Grader”
  • “Where the River Goes” from “Footloose”
  • “Hello Hello” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
  • “Love Builds a Garden” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
  • “Bridge of Light” from “Happy Feet Two”
  • “The Mighty Sven” from “Happy Feet Two”
  • “Never Be Daunted” from “happythankyoumoreplease”
  • “Hell and Back” from “Hell and Back Again”
  • “The Living Proof” from “The Help”
  • “Coeur Volant” from “Hugo”
  • “It’s How We Play” from “I Don’t Know How She Does It”
  • “When the Heart Dies” from “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
  • “Ja Nao Estar” from “José and Pilar”
  • “The Keeper” from “Machine Gun Preacher”
  • “Life’s a Happy Song” from “The Muppets”
  • “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”
  • “Pictures in My Head” from “The Muppets”
  • “Summer Song” from “The Music Never Stopped”
  • “Imaginary Friends” from “Olive”
  • “Sparkling Day” from “One Day”
  • “Taking You With Me” from “Our Idiot Brother”
  • “The Greatest Song I Ever Heard” from “POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”
  • “Hot Wings” from “Rio”
  • “Let Me Take You to Rio” from “Rio” 
  • “Real in Rio” from “Rio”
  • “Shelter” from “Take Shelter”
  • “Gathering Stories” from “We Bought a Zoo”
  • “Pop” from “White Irish Drinkers”
  • “Think You Can Wait” from “Win Win”
  • “The Backson Song” from “Winnie the Pooh”
  • “So Long” from “Winnie the Pooh”

The 39th Annual Annie Nominations Have Been Announced


And the awards continue…

The 39th annual nominees for the Annie Awards (honoring the best in animated films, television, and video games) were announced earlier today.

The 10 nominees for best animated film of 2011:

A Cat in Paris

The Adventures of TinTin
Arthur Christmas
Arrugas
Cars 2
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots
Rango
Rio

The nominees for Best Animated Video Game:

  • Bumpy Road – Simogo
  • Catherine – Atlus
  • Gears of War 3 – Epic Games
  • Gesundheit – Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Ghost Trick: “Phantom Detective” – Capcom
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Shadow Planet Productions, Gagne/Fuelcell
  • Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One – Insomniac Games
  • Rayman Origins – Ubisoft Montpellier
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Naughty Dog

A full list of nominees can be found here.

Here Are The 18 Films Eligible For Best Animated Feature Film


Hi, everyone!  Well, I am in a much better mood than I was when I wrote my last post and that’s because I just remembered that November is the start of Oscar season!  Yay! 

Now, I know that a lot of people make a big deal about how little they care about the Oscars and they always sit around and bitch about how such-and-such movie didn’t win and how the Academy always honors mediocrity and the Academy is biased towards the mainstream and blah blah blah blah blah.  As I explained many times last year, I am aware of all of this and I don’t care.  On an annual basis, the Oscars prove themselves to be a big, tacky, spectacular train wreck and I love them! 

Anyway, as Oscar season slowly creeps to life (it won’t really be here until the various critic groups start handing out their equally silly awards in December), the Academy has released the list of the 18 films that have qualified to compete for the title of Best Animated Film.  Since there are 18 contenders, that means that we’ll actually have five nominees this year as opposed to just three and I for one say, “Yay!” to that.  Whenever I see only three films listed in a category, I have flashbacks to trying to understand the concept of the Holy Trinity.

Anyway, here are the contenders:

The Adventures of TinTin

“Alois Nebel”

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Cars 2”
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Happy Feet Two”
“Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Mars Needs Moms”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”
“Rio”
“The Smurfs”
“Winnie the Pooh”
“Wrinkles”

I have to admit that this has been kind of a strange year for animated films, largely because, as my fellow contributor Leonard Wilson once pointed out on twitter, this is the first year in which it appears that Pixar might not have a contender.  I recently saw Cars 2 and did not shed a tear and quite frankly, going to a Pixar film and not crying  is a bit like going to New Orleans, flashing your boobs, and not getting any beads.  It just makes you question everything.  Winnie the Pooh made me cry.  So did Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2 for that matter.  I haven’t seen Puss In Boots yet but I expect I’ll love it because it’s about a cat and I love cats.  However, I have a feeling that the award will be given to Adventures of TinTin just to keep Steven Spielberg from throwing a hissy fit after War Horse fails to live up to expectations.

Film Review: Cars 2 (dir. by John Lasseter & Brad Lewis)


There was once a rumor that the major heads of Pixar – John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich (I don’t count Brad Bird because he came later) were afraid to let any of their staff take on directing any of their films. With such an illustrious track record, it’s understandable. Pixar has picked up quite a reputation as being one of the few production companies one can count on to have Supposedly, they felt that the quality wouldn’t be as great.

So, I’m certain that the Pixar Heads are eating their own pie when they realize how Cars 2 turned out. It’s a fun film that the kids will adore, but it really lacks the heart that many of the other Pixar films are known for. Mind you, I’m not blasting the movie and saying it should be avoided. Not at all. It’s just that this is more of a movie for the kids and less of one for the adults. I feel that’s the problem everyone’s having with it. This is a good thing. It reminds Pixar of what they need to do to keep winning Oscars, while still being entertaining for the kids. Hopefully, because one of the head honchos made a mistake, maybe the company may consider letting some of the new kids try a hand at it.

In short, the Kid in me loved Cars 2. The Adult in me felt “Well, at least the Kid enjoyed it.” It suffers from two problems – a great story that would have been better set in the world of The Incredibles and a forced moral to the story. This may be the first Pixar film since A Bug’s Life where I haven’t teared up, this coming from someone who couldn’t make it out of the first 15 minutes of Up without tissues.

Previously on Cars, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) won his very first Piston Cup after a pit stop in the small town of Radiator Springs, where he learned to slow down and relax. He also met up with Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), who may not be the brightest spark plug in the engine, but means well and manages to help when he can. Now, we find that McQueen has earned a number of Piston Cups and is one of the best racers in the world. After returning to Radiator Springs, he finds himself greeted by Mater – who’s been anxiously waiting for his best friend. Mater, being who he is, can’t help but be a little overboard in his fun, which ends up getting McQueen involved in a brand new race that’s sponsored by a clean fuel magnate.

Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) are also investigating what could be a dangerous situation. While meeting with one of their American contacts (a great cameo by Bruce Campbell), the contact passes on some special information to Mater. Mater, not realizing what he’s been tagged with, is mistaken for a spy by the duo and brought into the investigation. That’s basically what Cars 2 is. It’s “Mater becomes a Spy”, and for the most part it works, but only if you really like the character. Mater is finally given his time to shine and he pulls it off well. I myself don’t mind Larry the Cable Guy, so it’s okay for me. For the grown ups, it could be a Mater overload. The kids will eat it up. The parents may actually get a little annoyed at how clueless Mater can be at times.

I have to admit that both Michael Caine and John Tuturro (Francesco Bernoulli) were two of the strongest character voices in the film. Owen Wilson’s okay, but the story really is only about him in terms of his relationship to Mater. I really didn’t care too much about Lightning this time around. We know his story, he’s grown about as much as he can in my eyes. More or less, he’s playing second or third fiddle. Seeing Caine in this made me want to watch Harry Brown again, or The Fourth Protocol. The fact that he’s also playing an Aston Martin DB5 type Vehicle is a sweet touch for me. He ’s smooth with his lines and pulls off the British Agent role pretty well. Mortimer is also relaxed in her role. Tuturro’s Bernoulli is as over the top as he was in The Big Lebowski, and he was a treat here as McQueen’s main rival. He may have had more fun than the others working on this, from the way he sounds.

Visually, Cars 2 is as beautiful as the other Pixar films, but doesn’t really seem to break that much new ground. Toyko looks nice, Paris is perfect (right down to the Ratatouille reference, if you catch it) and Italy looks sweet, but we know Pixar can do that. The 3D, however is downright magical, and I’m one who honestly believes the medium is best served with Animated films rather than filmed ones. It’s not exactly How to Train Your Dragon, but it’s still good in it’s own right.

I mentioned earlier that the story could have been better set in the world of The Incredibles. It’s an interesting spy story (the reasoning behind why what’s happening was funny in the sense of cars and the like), but the idea that cars are actually doing all of this action kind of pulls away from the story. At least, the adult in me comes off with this thought. For kids, it’s cars doing cool stuff, and I doubt it’ll come across as boring. The other problem is that the moral of the story – accepting your friends for who they are, despite their quirks (because we all have them) – feels a little forced. It’s like someone concentrated so hard on trying to do it that when it does occur, you go..”Okay, I get it.”, But I didn’t walk away feeling anything. Ratatouille’s Remy had a passion for cooking, one so great that he even made the most wicked food critic believe that “Anyone Can Cook”. In Up, Carl Fredricksen learned to let go of what he was holding on to and found new adventures. Mater undergoes a change, but it isn’t quite a big or a substantial. Actually it doesn’t even last long. It’s just clean fun.

Overall, looking at Cars 2, it’s not the greatest Pixar film they’ve done – far, far from it, but it’s a kid’s film. It’s quite enjoyable, but it sacrifices heart for action, something that Kung Fu Panda 2 managed to hold onto this year. Your kids will love it and you’ll enjoy that they’ll love it, but just don’t bring any tissues. They’re not necessary. You really wont find your heartstrings pulled here too much.

Poll: Which Films Are You Looking Forward To In June and July?


Rapidly we are approaching the half-way mark of 2011.  This is the time of year that the studios start to roll out their big “event” movies along with the occasional “prestige” film.  In short, this is the time that, for many (thought not for me), the year in film truly begins.

So, I’m curious — what films are you most interested in and excited about seeing in June and July? To help answer that question, I’ve created two polls which you can find below.  You can vote for up to four films for each month and write-in votes are accepted. Voting will be open on both polls until July 1st.