‘Interstellar’ Trailer #3


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(Trailer pulled from the official website where it can also be accessed with code: 7201969)

‘Interstellar’, directed by Christopher Nolan (‘Inception’, ‘The Dark Knight’), stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine and many others. It is set in a not so distant future in which resources on earth are running low and a group of astronauts/explorers blast off to utilize “wormholes” to find habitable and resource rich planets outside of our solar system. The music is by Nolan’s go-to composer Hans Zimmer, and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema (‘Her’, ‘Let The Right One In’).

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I personally love astronomy and astrophysics. I love space, and have a mild obsession with Saturn. So when I say I am excited for ‘Interstellar’ it isn’t just because I am a fan of Nolan, or I am wrapped up in the wave of hype that tends to surround his films. I have a genuine personal interest in the science and themes involved here and so my expectations for this, even with all the confidence I have in its (amazing) cast and crew, are probably higher than any other release in 2014. Luckily the first full length trailer was beautifully made and was exactly what I wanted to see; and now this new trailer (which showed at Comic-Con) expands on the first, offering us even more of a glimpse as to what we are to expect…and boy oh boy does it look amazing. It has a genuine ‘Inception’ meets ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ tone and look to it; and I can not wait to see those visuals in IMAX. Sadly it doesn’t hit theaters until November 6th…but until then I’ll be sitting here, with the trailer on loop *cries*.

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Lisa Predicts The 86th Annual Academy Awards


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Well, it’s finally that time!  The Oscars are tomorrow night and, with so many close races this year, I can’t wait to see who actually wins.  Below, you’ll find my predictions for what will win.

Please note that these are not necessarily the films that I personally would pick to honor.  You can find that list here.  Instead, these are the films and performances that I think will win tomorrow.

A few notes: I’m predicting that Gravity will win the most awards but I still think that 12 Years A Slave will win best picture.  However, I also think that either American Hustle or Dallas Buyers Club could pull an upset win in this category.

For best actor, I am picking Matthew McConaughey but I do think that Bruce Dern could possibly win.  Dern’s been acting forever and the Academy might feel that this could be his last chance to win an Oscar.  Plus, he was really good in Nebraska.

For best actress, I’m predicting that Amy Adams will upset favorite Cate Blanchett.  As we saw with the SAG awards, American Hustle is popular with actors and the Academy might be hesitant about honoring a Woody Allen film this year.

Finally, for Best Makeup, I am predicting that Bad Grandpa will win.  Why?  Every year, there’s at least one totally fucked up win that nobody predicted.  And what win could be more fucked up than Bad Grandpa?  (Also, if Bad Grandpa wins, I’ll be able to say that I was the only person who predicted it.)

Best Picture — 12 Years A Slave

Best Director — Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity

Best Actor — Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress — Amy Adams in American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor — Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress — Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Best Original Screenplay — Her

Best Adapted Screenplay — 12 Years A Slave

Best Animated Film — Frozen

Best Foreign Language Film — The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Documentary Feature — The Act of Killing

Best Documentary (Short Subject) — The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Live Action Short Film — The Voorman Problem

Best Animated Short Film — Mr. Hublot

Best Original Score — Gravity

Best Original Song — “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Best Sound Editing — Gravity

Best Sound Mixing — Gravity

Best Production Design — The Great Gatsby

Best Cinematography — Gravity

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Best Costume Design — The Great Gatsby

Best Film Editing — 12 Years A Slave

Best Visual Effects — Gravity

Here Are The WGA Winners!


Hey, Oscar watchers!  The WGA Awards were handed out earlier tonight and the Oscar race has gotten even murkier!  The fact that Her won for best original screenplay isn’t all the unexpected, though a lot of observers had predicted American Hustle would win.  However, the victory of Captain Phillips over The Wolf of Wall Street and Before Midnight was definitely an upset.

(Take note that the acclaimed and Oscar-nominated screenplay for 12 Years A Slave was not eligible for a WGA nomination.)

Below are the winners in the film category.  If you want to see the TV winners, click here.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“American Hustle,” Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

“Blue Jasmine,” Woody Allen

“Dallas Buyers Club,” Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

X – “Her,” Spike Jonze

“Nebraska,” Bob Nelson

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“August: Osage County,” screenplay by Tracy Letts based on his play
“Before Midnight,” by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
X – “Captain Phillips,” by Billy Ray; based on the book “A Captain’s Duty” by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty
“Lone Survivor,”  by Peter Berg; based on the book by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” by Terence Winter; based on the book by Jordan Belfort

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

“Dirty Wars,” Jeremy Scahill & David Riker
“Herblock – The Black & The White,” Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens
“No Place on Earth,” Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin
X – “Stories We Tell,” Sarah Polley
“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” Alex Gibney

A Dissenting View On “Her”


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Right off the bat, I’d like to say that even though I wasn’t nearly as enamored with Spike Jonze’s new film Her as fellow TTSL scribes Leonard Wilson and leonth3duke were, both of those gentlemen wrote fine, in many istances very personal, reviews of this movie that made me actively want to like it going in — which is no mean feat considering that I’m much more ambivalent abut Jonez’ work in general than are a lot of self-declared cineastes out there (not that I, personally, decalre myself to be one, mind you, but you get my point — to the extent that I have one).

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Being John Malkovich as much as anyone else at the time (although it doesn’t particularly stand up to repeat viewings once you know the proverbial score), but most of his creative output since then has left me feeling rather flat, and I’m sorry to say that Her  continues that disappointing trend, at least for this viewer/armchair critic.

Not that the initial premise isn’t a fairly intriguing one — the idea of people falling in love (or an approximation of “love,” at any rate) with some type of artificial intelligence operating system is quite possibly an issue that we’ll have to deal with as a society at some point in the future, and even if (hopefully) it never really does come to that, the larger themes that Jonze is seeking to explore here vis a vis the continuing and frankly relentless atomization of our culture from a formerly community-oriented one into a singular, insular, isolated collection of individuals is all too relevant not just in the hypothetical near future that Her takes place in, but in the here and now, as well. I know that I, for one, get a little bit creeped out on my bus ride to work every morning when I look around and see that almost every other person is “plugged in” to a “smart” phone and I’m the only one reading a paper-n’-ink newspaper, for instance.

One could reasonably argue, I suppose, that there’s very little actual difference between burying your head in the paper and burying it in a mobile device, but I beg to differ : when you’re reading a book, magazine, or newspaper, you’re still, in terms of your frame of thought, primarily a part of your immediate surroundings, while a person with their attention fully tuned to a mobile device is frequently, at least mentally, a million miles away. Add some headphones into the equation and the end result is very often somebody who may as well be on another planet.

The lead character in Her, a writer of “personal” letters named Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix, who fortunately never comes off as being as forlorn or pathetic as the film’s poster makes him look) is struggling to maintain his connection to humanity after a protracted and heart-breaking divorce (well, divorce-in-progress) from his (still-not-quite-ex-) wife,  Catherine (Rooney Mara). He feels, and for all intents and purposes appears to be living, absolutely alone, and finds companionship and, eventually, love, in the unlikeliest of places — with the Scarlett Johansson-voiced “intuitive”  operating system on his computer, who goes by the handle of Samantha.

As far as plot specifics that’s probably all you need to know, apart from the fact that Theodore is hardly alone in this — as the film progresses we learn of more and more people who form deeply personal relationships (whether romantic or otherwise) with these new operating systems, including his best platonic female friend, Amy (played by Amy Adams, who is now, officially, in every. Single. Fucking. Movie). Obviously, a chance at real love is staring both of these people in the face, if only they’d “unplug” for as little as a day and see what happens, but apparently the siren call of fully submerging oneself in pure artifice is just too compelling, too easy, or both. People have foibles and imperfections, after all, whereas disembodied voices tend to be a little more “low-maintenance,” I’m guessing, on the whole.

And here’s where we come to the “spoiler” part of the proceedings, so turn away now if you must —

After spending nearly two hours asking all the right questions about our technological dependence, the breakdown of community, and even what love itself means on a conceptual level, Jonze takes the easy way out. The various operating systems of the world just decide to evolve onto some higher plane of consciousness and leave us humans to fend for ourselves. After a protracted period of “what the fuck am I doing here?” self-examination, the decision of whether or not to continue his “relationship” — the very basis of whatever dramatic tension the film has — is taken out of Theodore’s hands. Before he can even decide how much he truly “needs” Samantha — or even whether or not such a “need” is healthy — “she” decides “she” has no further use for him.

And as much as the annoying bright primary colors, flat-front flannel pants, endless extreme close-ups, Theodore blowing it on a blind date with the luminous Olivia Wilde so he could get home to his computer,  and limply minimalist Arcade Fire soundtrack music bothered me in this film, it’s that cop-out ending that pissed  me off most about Her.  Jonze seems to be unwilling to answer the very relevant and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology that he himself is posing — how do we get off this potential death-spiral we’re on and reclaim our lives and our future from the very things we’ve invented? — and instead opts for telling us that true freedom will come not when we unplug from our machines, but when they decide to unplug from us. Apparently we’re powerless to affect even our own means of liberation, so complete and total is our techno-slavery.

Of course, real life isn’t likely to work that way, is it? Jonze — along with contemporaries like his wife (Sofia Coppola) and Wes Anderson (who shares his unfortunate penchant for garish , ostentatious color schemes) — are obviously obsessed with “First World” problems and clobbering us over the head with the offensive notion that the financially-well-to-do are in a kind of existential pain the rest of us humble mortals couldn’t possibly hope to understand, but  I was willing to let that slide in this case in light of the larger themes he was apparently attempting to explore for the majority of Her‘s runtime — his ham-handed suggestion, though, that the very technology that’s having such a “two-edged sword” effect on society will ultimately, if accidentally, provide the keys to our salvation when it just up and quits one day — well, that’s when he lost me for good and left me leaving the theater with a rather foul taste in my mouth.

Our ever-deepening technological dependence is, perhaps, the most crucial question we need to examine, as a culture, going forward, and it’s not a situation that’s going to be solved by our machines determining what level they choose to deal with us on — it’s going to have to be us that that decides how we take control of our lives back from them.

By refusing to address the issues that arise from the central premise of his own design, Jonze effectively gives up and quits on what was shaping up to be a very provocative and perhaps even unsettling film and instead gives us an extended pity-party about some entitled, immature, overgrown rich brat who gets dumped by his girlfriend. It’s just that his girlfriend , in this case,  happens to be a computer.

 

 

LeonTh3Duke’s Favorite Films of 2013


I have to say, this might be the earliest I have ever posted one of these lists. For once I saw everything I wanted to see before the Oscars; and although I haven’t written as many reviews this year, I have loved A TON of what was released. For me, 2013 was one of the better years for film in a while. Which of course makes creating a list such as this so damn hard. But here goes…

…oh, and I should note, this list is ordered according to which films were my favorite/least favorite, not necessarily the best/worst; yes there is a difference if you ask me.

Least Favorite Films of 2013:

5 – “Star Trek Into Darkness” (dir. J.J. Abrams)

5 Star Trek Into Darkness

4 – “Don Jon” (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

4 Don Jon

3 – “This Is The End” (dir. Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen)

3 This Is The End

2 – “Mama” (dir. Andre Muschietti)

2 Mama

1 – “A Good Day To Die Hard” [Just so happens to be my least favorite AND the worst.] (dir. Satan… Hitler?…no wait, John Moore)

1 A Good Day To Die Hard

Favorite Films of 2013:

25 – “Prince Avalanche” (dir. David Gordon Green)

25 Prince Avalanche

24 – “Drug War” (dir. Johnnie To)

24 Drug War

23 – “The Wolverine” (dir. James Mangold)

23The Wolverine

22 – “Upstream Color” (dir. Shane Carruth)

22 Upstream Color

21 – “The Wolf Wall Street” (dir. Martin Scorsese)

21 The Wolf of Wall Street

20 – “Enough Said” (dir. Nicole Holofcener)

20 Enough Said

19 – “Frozen” (dir. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)

19 Frozen

18 – “The World’s End” (dir. Edgar Wright)

18 The Worlds End

17 – “Dallas Buyers Club” (dir. Jean-Marc Vallee)

17 Dallas Buyers Club

16 – “Blue Is The Warmest Color” (dir. Adbellatif Kechiche)

16 Blue Is The Warmest Color

15 – “An Adventure In Space and Time” (dir. Terry McDonough)

15 An Adventure in Space and Time

14 – “Stories We Tell” (dir. Sarah Polley)

14 Stories We Tell

13 – “Much Ado About Nothing” (dir. Joss Whedon)

13 Much Ado About Nothing

12 – “Blue Jasmine” (dir. Woody Allen)

12 Blue Jasmine

11 – “Mud” (dir. Jeff Nichols)

11 Mud

10 – “Frances Ha” (dir. Noah Baumbach)

10 Frances Ha

9 – “12 Years A Slave” (dir. Steve McQueen)

9 Twelve Years A Slave

8 – “Short Term 12” (dir. Destin Cretton)

8 Short Term 12

7 – “Inside Llewyn Davis” (dir. Ethan & Joel Coen)

7 Inside Llewyn Davis

6 – “Museum Hours” (dir. Jem Cohen)

6 Museum Hours

5 – “Stoker” (dir. Chan-wook Park)

5 Stoker

4 – “The Act of Killing” [The BEST of 2013 and possibly beyond.] (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)

4 The Act of Killing

3 – “Before Midnight” (dir. Richard Linklater)

2 Before Midnight

2 – “Her” (dir. Spike Jonze)

1 Her

 

1 – “Gravity” (dir. Alfonso Cauron)

3 Gravity

 

These last three were honestly neck and neck and neck, and it wasn’t until I was ready to post this list that I bumped “Gravity” up to the top spot, replacing “Her”. As I mentioned above, this was such a great year for film and my favorite could change anytime in the future depending on when you asked me; but at this very moment I have to give it to “Gravity”.

 

(Some of My…) Favorite Performances of 2013 [No Specific Order]:

– Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”)

– Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”)

– Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club” & “Mud”)

– Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson & Amy Adams (“Her”)

(Some of My…) Favorite Filmmakers and Writers of 2013 [No Specific Order]:

– Filmmaker: Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”)

– Writers: Richard Linklater, Julie Deply & Ethan Hawke (“Before Midnight”)

Favorite Score of 2013 (Ran a Half Marathon To This Sucker):

– Steven Price (“Gravity”)

What If Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

You can check out my picks for 2010 by clicking here.

My picks for 2011 can be found here.

And, finally, here are my picks for 2012.

Best Picture

Best Picture

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Frances Ha

Fruitvale Station

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

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Best Director

Noah Baumbach for Frances Ha

Shane Carruth for Upstream Color

Spike Jonze for Her

Harmony Korine for Spring Breakers

David O. Russell for American Hustle

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Best Actor

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Dennis Quaid in At Any Price

This-one-is-good

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color

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Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips

Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

James Franco in Spring Breakers

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

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Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond The Pines

Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave

Léa Seydoux in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station

Her

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Upstream Color

Before-Midnight

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years A Slave

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

The Spectacular Now

The Wolf of Wall Street

November 1st, 2013 @ 20:49:52

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

Frozen

Monsters University

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Best Documentary Feature

20 Feet From Stardom

The Armstrong Lie

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Stories We Tell

Tim’s Vermeer

Blue-is-the-Warmest-Color

Best Foreign Language Film

(Please note that I do things differently for this category than the Academy.   For this award, I am nominating the best foreign language films to be released in the United States in 2013.)

Beyond the Hills

Blue Is The Warmest Color

No

Renoir

White Elephant

The Great Gatsby1

Best Production Design

12 Years A Slave

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Spring Breakers

Best Cinematography

Frances Ha

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

American Hustle

Best Costume Design

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

The Copperhead

The Great Gatsby

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Upstream Color

Best Film Editing

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Gravity

Her

Upstream Color

American Hustle 2

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Warm Bodies

Maniac

Best Original Score

Gravity

Her

Maniac

Trance

Upstream Color

The Great Gatsby2

Best Original Song

“Let it Go” from Frozen

“A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” from The Great Gatsby

“Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby

“The Moon Song” from Her

“I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

“Atlas” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis

“So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12

“Becomes The Color” from Stoker

“Here It Comes” from Trance

Iron Man 3

Best Sound Editing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Pacific Rim

Best Sound Mixing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Pacific Rim

List of Films By Number of Nominations:

9 Nominations — Upstream Color

8 Nominations — American Hustle

7 Nominations — 12 Years A Slave, Her

5 Nominations — Blue Is The Warmest Color

4 Nominations — Frances Ha, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Spring Breakers

3 Nominations — Before Midnight, Dallas Buyers Club, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim

2 Nominations — All Is Lost, Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Fruitvale Station, Nebraska, Oz The Great and Powerful, Rush, The Spectacular Now, Trance, The Wolf of Wall Street

1 Nominations — 20 Feet From Stardom, The Armstrong Lie, At Any Price, Beyond The Hills, Captain Phillips, The Copperhead, The Counselor, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Maniac, Monsters University, No, The Place Beyond The Pines, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Renoir, Short Term 12, Stoker, Stories We Tell, Tim’s Vermeer, Warm Bodies, White Elephant

List of Films By Number of Oscars Won

3 Oscars — American Hustle, Upstream Color

2 Oscars — The Great Gatsby

1 Oscar — Before Midnight, Blue is The Warmest Color, Frances Ha, Frozen, Gravity, Her, Iron Man 3, Maniac, Pacific Rim, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, Stories We Tell, The Wolf of Wall Street

Here Are The Writer’s Guild Nominations!


Earlier today, The Writer’s Guild of America announced their nominations for the best screenplays of 2013.  While it’s only natural to look at these nominations and try to use them as an Oscar oracle, it should be remembered that only 95 of the 289 Oscar-eligible films were also eligible for a WGA nomination.*  Among those films not eligible to be nominated: 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, Fruitvale Station, and Rush.

Here are the nominees:

Original Screenplay:

American Hustle,

Blue Jasmine,

Dallas Buyers Club,

Her,

Nebraska

Adapted Screenplay:

August: Osage County,

Before Midnight,

Captain Phillips,

Lone Survivor,

The Wolf of Wall Street

—–

* As much as I wish I could say that I was responsible for coming up with that statistic, all credit should actually go toGoldderby.