What If Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2022 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa Marie 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 be. 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.

It should also go without saying that I’ve only nominated films that I’ve actually seen.  So, if you’re wondering why a certain film wasn’t nominated, it’s always possible that may have not gotten the opportunity to see it yet.  Of course, it’s also possible that I didn’t feel that a certain film was worthy of a nomination, despite what the critics may say.  In the end, my best advice is not to worry too much about it.  I’m not an Academy voter so ultimately, this is all for fun and that’s the spirit in which it should be taken.

You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 2021, 2020201920182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

And now, without any further ado:

2022 

Best Picture 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Elvis 

Emily the Criminal 

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

The Fabelmans 

Nitram 

TAR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Vengeance  

Best Director 

Edward Berger for All Quiet on the Western Front  

Todd Field for TAR 

Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick 

Baz Luhrmann for Elvis 

Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin

BJ Novak for Vengeance 

Best Actor 

Austin Butler in Elvis 

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick 

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin  

Caleb Landry Jones in Nitram 

BJ Novak in Vengeance  

Adam Sandler in Hustle 

Best Actress 

Cate Blanchett in TAR 

Emma Corrin in Lady Chatterley’s Lover  

Annie Hardy in Dashcam 

Mia Goth for Pearl 

Aubrey Plaza in Emily The Criminal 

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Best Supporting Actor 

Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin 

Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick 

Anthony LaPaglia in Nitram 

David Lynch in The Fabelmans 

Brad Pitt in Babylon 

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Best Supporting Actress 

Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin 

Essie Davis in Nitram 

Judy Davis in Nitram  

Nina Hoss in TAR  

Nicole Kidman in The Northman 

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans 

Best Voice Over Performance 

Antonio Banderas in Puss In Boots: The Last Wish 

Jack Black in Apollo 10 ½ 

Steve Carell in Minions: The Rise of Gru 

Mike Judge in Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe 

Ewan McGregor in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio  

Jenny Slate in Marcel the Shell With Shoes On  

 

Best Adapted Screenplay 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio   

Lady Chatterley’s Lover 

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On 

Operation Mincemeat 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Original Screenplay 

Apollo 10 ½

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Emily the Criminal 

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

TAR 

Vengeance 

Best Animated Feature Film 

Apollo 10 ½ 

Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe  

The Bob’s Burgers Movie 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinoccio  

The House 

Mad God 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On 

Minions: The Rise of Gru 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Turning Red  

Best Documentary Feature Film 

The Automat 

Bitterbrush

Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel

Goodnight Oppy 

Is That Black Enough For You? 

My Old School 

Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me 

Send Me 

Three Minutes: A Lengthening 

Wildcat 

 

Best International Feature Film 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Bardo 

Battle: Freestyle 

The Bombardment 

Dark Glasses

How I Fell In Love With A Gangster 

Into the Wind 

My Best Friend Anne Frank 

Restless 

RRR 

Best Live Action Short Film 

A Little Dead

Forgive Us Our Trespasses 

Best Animated Short Film 

The Flying Sailor

Ice Merchants

The Garbage Man 

Steakhouse 

Best Documentary Short Film 

Elephant Whisperers

Her Majesty’s Queue  

The Martha Mitchell Effect

Nuisance Bear 

The Runner 

Stranger at the Gate 

Best Original Score 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Babylon 

The Banshees of Inisherin

Don’t Worry, Darling 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Top Gun: Maverick 

 

Best Original Song 

“At the Automat” from The Automat 

“Sunny Side Up Summer” from The Bob’s Burgers Movie 

“Vegas” from Elvis

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio  

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR 

“My Mind and Me” From Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me 

“Hold My Hand” From Top Gun: Maverick 

“Carolina” From Where The Crawdads Sing 

“New Body Rhumba” from White Noise 

“A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen” from Wildcat 

Best Overall Use of Music In A Movie 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Elvis 

TAR   

Father Stu 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Sound Editing 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Avatar: The Way of the Water  

The Bombardment 

Elvis 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinoccio  

Top Gun Maverick 

Best Sound Mixing 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Batman 

Elvis

TAR 

The Northman 

Top Gun Maverick 

Best Production Design 

Babylon

The Batman 

Elvis 

The Fabelmans 

RRR 

See How They Run

Best Casting 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Northman 

She Said 

TAR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Vengeance 

Best Cinematography 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Bardo   

Elvis 

Everything Everywhere All At Once

RRR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Costume Design 

Babylon 

Death on the Nile 

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Elvis

The Fabelmans

See How They Run  

Best Film Editing 

All Quiet on the Western Front  

Ambulance 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Everything Everywhere All At Once   

The Fabelmans 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling 

Babylon 

Elvis   

The Fabelmans   

The Northman  

Terrifier 2 

Best Stuntwork 

All Quiet On The Western Front

The Batman 

Bullet Train    

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

RRR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Visual Effects 

Avatar: The Way of Water 

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 

Mad God 

RRR 

Terrifier 2 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

15 Nominations — Top Gun: Maverick

11 Nominations — Elvis

10 Nominations — All Quiet On The Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin

8 Nominations — TAR

7 Nominations — Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Fabelmans

6 Nominations — Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, RRR

5 Nominations — Babylon, Nitram, Vengeance

4 Nominations — The Northman, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

3 Nominations — Apollo 10 1/2, The Batman, Emily the Criminal, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

2 Nominations — The Automat, Avatar: The Way of the Water, Bardo, Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, The Bombardment, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Mad Dog, Minions: The Rise of Gru, See How They Run, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, Terrifier 2, Wildcat, X

1 Nomination — A Little Dead, Ambulance, Battle: Freestyle, Bitterbush, Bullet Train, Dascham, Dark Glasses, Death on the Nile, Don’t Worry Darling, Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel, Elephant Whisperers, Father Stu, The Flying Sailor, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, The Garbage Man, Goodnight Oppy, Her Majesty’s Queue, How I Fell In Love With A Gangster, Hustle, Ice Merchants, Into the Wind, Is That Black Enough For You?, The House, Hustle, The Martha Mitchell Effect, My Friend Anne Frank, My Old School, Nuisance Bear, Operation: Mincemeat, Pearl, Restless, The Runner, Send Me, She Said, Steakhouse, Stranger at the Gates, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, Turning Red, Where The Crawdads Sing, White Noise

Films Listed By Number of Wins:

6 Oscars — Top Gun: Maverick

4 Oscars — All Quiet on the Western Front, Banshees of Inisherin

2 Oscars — Babylon, Elvis, TAR

1 Oscars — A Little Death, Avatar: The Way of the Water, Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Ice Merchant, Nuisance Bear, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, X 

Will the Academy and I agree?  Probably not!  But we’ll find out for sure in just a few hours!

Lisa Marie’s Final 2022 Oscar Predictions


Well, it’s finally going to happen.  Tomorrow, the Oscar nominations are going to be announced.

And that means that it is time for me to make my final predictions as to which films will be nominated.  Keep in mind that these are not necessarily the films and performances that I would nominate if I had all the power.  (I’ll be posting those later.)  Instead, these are my predictions for what will be nominated on Tuesday morning!  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the past few months, check out my predictions for February, March, April, May. June, July, August, September, October, November, and December!

Without any further ado, here are my predictions for the Big Six Categories:

Best Picture:

All Quiet On The Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Oninon

TAR

Top Gun: Maverick

Best Director

Edward Berger for All Quiet On The Western Front

Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All At Once

Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin

Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans

Best Actor

Austin Butler in Elvis

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

Bill Nighy in Living

Adam Sandler in Hustle

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in TAR

Viola Davis in The Woman King

Danielle Deadwyler in Till

Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano in The Fabelmans

Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin

Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau in The Whale

Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere At Once

Janelle Monae in Glass Onion

We’ll find out how right (or wrong) I am, come tomorrow morning!

Here Are The Sequel-Dominated 2022 Satellite Nominations!


The Satellite nominations were announced on Thursday morning. 

What are the Satellites?  For years, they were like a less important version of the Golden Globes.  However, considering all of the recent controversy that has surrounded that Hollywood Foreign Press and the Golden Globes, it wouldn’t surprise me if, in a few years, the International Press Academy and the Satellites became Hollywood’s new favorite shady precursor group.

Like the Globes, the Satellites hand out awards for both film and television.  Below, you’ll find their film nominations.  If you want to see their TV nominations, Next Best Picture has got you covered.

Here are the Satellite noms for 2022!  To me, perhaps the most interesting thing about the nominations is that many of the biggest contenders — Glass Onion, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: Way of the Water — are sequels.  It’ll be interesting to see if the Academy follows suit.

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
Jessica Chastain – The Good Nurse (Netflix)
Cate Blanchett – TÁR (Focus Features)
Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Danielle Deadwyler – Till (United Artists Releasing)
Vicky Krieps – Corsage (IFC Films)
Viola Davis – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
Brendan Fraser – The Whale (A24)
Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Gabriel LaBelle – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Hugh Jackman – The Son (CAA Media Finance)
Bill Nighy – Living (Sony Pictures)
Mark Wahlberg – Father Stu (Columbia Pictures)

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Margot Robbie – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Janelle Monáe- Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Emma Thompson – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Searchlight Pictures)

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Collin Farrell – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Austin Butler – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Diego Calva – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Adam Sandler – Hustle (Netflix)
Ralph Fiennes – The Menu (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Daniel Craig – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jean Smart – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Kerry Condon – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Dolly de Leon – Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Claire Foy – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Eddie Radmayne – The Good Nurse (Netflix)
Ben Whishaw – Women Talking (United Artists Realising)
Paul Dano – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Jeremy Strong – Armageddon Time (Focus Features)

MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Living (Sony Pictures)
The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Till (United Artists Releasing)
Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
TÁR (Focus Feature)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
RRR (Variance Films)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Elvis (Warner Bros.)

MOTION PICTURE, INTERNATIONAL
Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
Decision To Leave (Korea)
Holy Spider (Denmark)
Close (Belgium)
War Sailor (Norway)
Corsage (Austria)
Bardo (Mexico)
The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

MOTION PICTURE, ANIMATED OR MIXED MEDIA
Turning Red (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (A24)
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Inu-Oh (GKIDS)
The Bad Guys (DWA)

MOTION PICTURE, DOCUMENTARY
The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed (Neon)
Moonage Daydream (Neon)
Fire Of Love (Neon)
Descendant (Netflix)
The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile (Sony Pictures)
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Prime Video)
All That Breathes (HBO Documentary Films)
Young Plato (Yleisradio)

DIRECTOR
Baz Luhrmann – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
James Cameron – Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Netflix)
Joseph Kosinski – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Sarah Polley – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)

SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL
Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Tony Kushner & Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Ruben Östlund – Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Todd Field – TÁR (Focus Features)
Lukas Dhont & Angelo Tijssens – Close (A24)

SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED
Sarah Polley – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Samuel D. Hunter – The Whale (A24)
Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Peter Craig, Ehren Kruger, Justin Marks, Christopher McQuarrie & Eric Warren Singer – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Kazuo Ishiguro – Living (Sony Pictures)
Rebecca Lenkiewicz – She Said (Universal Pictures)

ORIGINAL SCORE
Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Terence Blanchard – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)
Justin Hurwitz – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
John Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Carter Burwell – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)

ORIGINAL SONG
“Hold My Hand” – Lady Gaga: Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
“Lift Me Up” – Rihanna: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
“Naatu Naatu” – Kala Bhairava, M.M. Keeravani & Rahul Sipligunj: RRR (Variance Films)
“Vegas” – Doja Cat: Elvis (Warner Bros.)
“Carolina” – Taylor Swift: Where The Crawdads Sing (Columbia Pictures)
“Applause” – Diane Warren: Tell It Like a Woman (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Claudio Miranda – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Linus Sandgren – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Roger Deakins – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)
Ben Davis – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Russell Carpenter – Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Mandy Walker – Elvis ( Warner Bros)

FILM EDITING
Eddie Hamilton – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Jonathan Redmond, Matt Villa – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Paul Rogers – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Monika Willi – TÁR (Focus Features)
Terilyn A. Shropshire – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)

SOUND ( Editor / Mixer )
Top Gun: Maverick – Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson (Paramount Pictures)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Christopher Boyes (Supervising Sound Editor / Re-Recording Mixer ), Gwendolyn Yates Whittle Dick Bernstein (Supervising Sound Editors), Gary Summers, Michael Hedges (Re-Recording Mixers), Julian Howarth (Production Sound Mixer) (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Babylon – Steve Morrow, Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Andy Nelson (Paramount Pictures)
Elvis – David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, Michael Keller (Warner Bros.)
The Woman King – Becky Sullivan, Kevin O’Connell, Tony Lamberti, Derek Mansvelt (Sony Pictures)
RRR – Raghunath Kemisetty, Boloy Kumar Doloi, Rahul Karpe (Variance Films)

VISUAL EFFECTS
Top Gun: Maverick – Ryan Tudhope, Scott R. Fisher, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson (Paramount Pictures)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, Richie Baneham, Dan Barrett (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Babylon – Jay Cooper, Elia Popov, Kevin Martel, Ebrahim Jahromi (Paramount Pictures)
Good Night Oppy – Abishek Nair, Marko Chulev, Steven Nichols (Amazon Prime Video)
The Batman – Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, Dominic Tuohu (Warner Bros)
RRR – V. Srinivas Mohan (Variance Films)

PRODUCTION DESIGN
RRR – Sabu Cyril (Variance Films)
Babylon – Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino (Paramount Pictures)
Elvis – Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy (Warner Bros.)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Dylan Cole, Ben Procter (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The Fabelmans – Rick Carter (Universal Pictures)
A Love Song – Juliana Barreto Barreto (Bleecker Street Media)

COSTUME DESIGN
Ruth E. Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Mary Zophres – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Cathrine Matrin – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Gersha Phillips – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)
Sandy Powell – Living (Sony Pictures)
Alexandra Byrne – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

ENSEMBLE MOTION PICTURE: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)

Music Video of the Day: Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga (2022, dir by Joseph Kosinski)


I’ve heard at least one critic predict that Top Gun: Maverick will be a major Oscar contender.  I don’t quite buy that but I do imagine that the soundtrack will get a major awards push.  As performed by Lady Gaga, Hold My Hand feels very Oscar bait-y.  We’ll see.

As for the song itself, it’s okay.  It’s definitely not my favorite Lady Gaga song, largely because it was so obviously conceived as a way for the film to win an award.  To me, it has a bit of a gospel feel and, as I think I’ve said in the past, I find gospel music to be the most boring type of music in existence.  That said, Lady Gaga’s voice is amazing and she certainly sells this song.

Enjoy!

The 2nd Top Gun: Maverick Trailer


Paramount Pictures released the 2nd trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, starring Tom Cruise and Miles Teller. In this trailer, we get not only F-18 Hornets, but the classic F-14 Tomcats, and what also looks to be perhaps a stealth plane, perhaps. This film has Maverick training some new aviators with some classic moves.

Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Oblivion and Tron Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski, opens in cinemas on June 26, 2020.

Trailer – Top Gun: Maverick


Maverick is back in the skies in Top Gun: Maverick. In the newly released trailer, it looks like Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is still flying after all these years, which explains why he isn’t an Admiral by now. He still has that old motorcycle, though it looks like he rides a newer one and we’re seeing F-18 Hornets in combat, which should be cool. Tomcats are also still in flight, bless the angels.

Not much is known about Top Gun: Maverick save that Christopher McQuarrie (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Mission Impossible: Fallout) has the writing duties here along with a few others. The directing duties are tied to Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy). Kosinski and Cruise also worked together on Oblivion.

Top Gun: Maverick also stars Academy Award Winner Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer.

The movie will be released in theatres next Summer.

Enjoy.

Review: Oblivion (dir. by Joseph Kosinski)


Oblivion-Movie-Poster

Good science-fiction films tend to be far and few between. Most of the time the ideas and ambition to make a good or great science-fiction film are right there on paper, but loses much once people actually have to create it for others to see. This puts the latest sci-fi film from Tron: Legacy filmmaker Joseph Kosinski in a weird position. His follow-up to the underwhelming sequel to the classic sci-fi film Tron is called Oblivion and it manages to be thought-provoking and entertaining, yet also have a sense of a been there and done that to the whole proceeding.

Oblivion quickly gets the introductions to the film’s backstory out of the way. Earth was attacked 60 years ago by aliens who were called “Scavengers” (Scavs for short) who destroyed the moon thus causing massive tectonic upheaval and gigantic tsunamis to ravage the planet. Humanity in its desperation would fight back with the only weapons it had left once the aliens began landing troops and that would be the nuclear kind. The planet is now devastated with the surviving population leaving Earth for a new colony on Saturn’s moon of Titan and in a massive tetrahedron space station orbiting Earth simply called “The Tet”.

It’s the story of the technician pair left behind to provide support for the array of armed drones who patrol Earth for any remaining Scavs and protect the reclamation factories that has been removing the remaining resources that the planet has to be used as an energy source for the Titan colony. This pair of technician are Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) who live in a towering base above the clouds. Jack does the dirty work by flying patrols in the area that encompasses what used to be the East Coast of the United States while Victoria (who also happens to be Jack’s lover) provides comm and technical support back at their base.

Oblivion01

Victoria can’t wait to finish their five-year stint on Earth and with two weeks left before they can rejoin the rest of humanity on Titan her dream is coming closer. Yet, Jack doesn’t seem to want to leave Earth behind. He has begun to dream about Earth before the war that he should have no memory of. First they’re dreams while he’s asleep but as the film shows it soon begins to invade and distract his waking hours as well.

It’s during one such mission where he comes across the a sudden arrival of a human spacecraft with surviving humans aboard that his dreams become reality. A woman he has dreamed off that he’s never met is one of the survivors (played by Olga Kurylenko) and she becomes the key to unlocking the secret that’s been kept from him about the true nature of the war that devastated Earth sixty years past and why he continues to have flashes of memories that he should never have had.

Oblivion sounds like it’s original at first glance, but as the story moves along we begin to see influences (at times outright plot point lifts) from past innovative sci-fi films such as Moon and The Matrix. While Kosinski (who co-wrote the film as well as directed it) does put his own spin on these ideas it’s not enough to fully distinguish the film from past sci-fi films which did them better. Oblivion is not bad by any means, but it fails to stretch beyond it’s influences that would’ve made it a great film instead of just being a good one. It doesn’t help that the script lags behind Kosinski’s talent for creating some beautiful images and vistas. The world-building he does with art director Kevin Ishioka manages to make a devastated Earth look serenely beautiful which when paired with cinematographer Claudio Miranda’s panoramic sweeps of the Icelandic location shoot make Oblivion one of the best looking film of 2013.

Yet, the script tries too hard to explore some heavy themes such as the nature of memory and identity. The film doesn’t explore them enough to make this film come off as something heavy sci-fi like Solaris. It just teases the audience enough to start a spark that could lead to conversations afterwards. The action that does punctuate the more introspective sections of the film does come off quite well despite coming only few at a time and not for any extended length.

Oblivion02

What seems to hold the film together outside of it’s visuals would be the performance of the cast which sees Tom Cruise doing a very workman-like performance as Jack. We’ve seen him do this sort of performance time and time again that it seems to be second-nature to him by now and something audiences come to expect now. Even Morgan Freeman as an aged resistance fighter lends a bit of serious gravitas to the film whenever he’s on-screen. But it’s the performances of the two female leads that sells the film despite it’s flaws. Olga Kurylenko has less to work with in the role of Jack’s mystery woman Julia. What she does get she does so with a level of empathy that instantly sells the notion that Jack and her were destined to be together despite the vast gulf of time and space.

The stand-out performance comes from Andrea Riseborough as Jack’s lover and partner Victoria. Where Jack comes off as restrained chaotic glee who marvels at the sight he sees every day he’s out on patrol the opposite is Victoria. Her organized and reserved demeanor comes off as sexy in a cold and calculated way, yet just behind that British reserve we see glimpses of her hanging on by a thread at the chaos she sees in Jack. Andrea Riseborough plays Victoria so well that every scene she’s in she steals it from Cruise. Her performance was all about slight changes to her body movement, a quick glance that speaks volumes of what she’s thinking. While this film may not make Riseborough an outright star it will get her noticed by other filmmakers soon enough.

With the summer blockbuster season of 2013 coming closer like a freight train with the approach of Iron Man 3 it’s a good thing that Oblivion was released weeks before this hectic season. For despite it’s flaws in it’s script and the lack of originality in it’s premise the film does succeed in being entertaining and thought-provoking enough that people should see it on the big-screen. Plus, nothing but the massive screen (especially IMAX) does full justice to some of the vistas shot of Iceland that doubles as devastated Earth. So, while Oblivion may not be the slam-dunk hit for Kosinki after failing with Tron: Legacy it is still a film worth checking out.

Trailer: Oblivion (Official)


Oblivion-Movie-Poster

Every year always has a couple of big genre films that seem to continually fly under the radar. This is surprising since people tend to think that films with huge budgets and a cast headlined by one of the biggest names in Hollywood tend to be overhyped before they even reached the big-screen. While I’ve heard of the upcoming scifi and post-apocalyptic film Oblivion for almost two years now it’s still a film that doesn’t generate much talk.

We know several things about Oblivion that came out before the release of the film’s first trailer: 1. it stars Tom Cruise and 2. it’s the follow-up film for Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. The second part may be one thing that has kept this film from being one of the biggest anticipated films of 2013. Kosinski’s underwhelming sequel to Tron didn’t make many genre fans excited as to what he might come up with next.

The trailer looks to erase some of those doubts as we get to see Oblivion as a very beautifully-shot film. We get see some great looking art direction for the film if the trailer show’s us anything about Oblivion. Plus, it has Morgan Freeman all decked out like one of David Lynch’s Fremen from Dune.

Oblivion is set for an April 12, 2013 release date.

Source: Apple

A Guilty Pleasure – Tron:Legacy


For January, one of the themes for this month were “Guilty Pleasures”- those films that you simply can’t get enough of, despite how good or bad they may actually be. My first contribution for this is 2010’s Tron: Legacy.

When I look at Tron:Legacy, I see two things. I see a missed opportunity in trying to break new ground for the story, and a hint of promise from it’s director, Joseph Kosinski. I attended the premiere for the movie at the IMAX with a friend and his son, and was totally with it for the first half of the film. However, in it’s second half, it slowed down just like the film before it and admittedly, I almost fell asleep. Let’s face it, Tron as an overall universe was never really that strong.

And yet, I watch it just about every time it’s on, if only for the Lightcycle Race and Clu’s speech. Seeing the grid in an updated view and the new look of the light cycles always brings a smile to my face. Granted, it could be listed just as a Scene I Love, but I find I can tolerate most of the film.

Let’s go with the Missed Opportunities first.

Tron: Legacy’s biggest problem is it really only gave the audience a rehash of the original tale. While the angle with Sam and Kevin Flynn were interesting, along with Clu being a villain this time around, I feel the writers really could have taken the story places. Instead, they went the lazy route and decided to go with what anyone who saw the original film could remember – a problem that I feel plagues many sequels / remakes of old films. I figure if you’re going to do a sequel to film that’s more than 5 years old, be seriously prepared to throw something (at least one thing) new on the table.

When James Cameron made Aliens back in 1986, he took Ridley Scott’s tale and built on it, expanding on the Aliens universe with the addition of the Colonial Marines and the Alien Queen, giving the creatures themselves a sense of heirarchy. For Tron: Legacy, the only real new element would be the ISO’s, but then we’re never really shown just what they’re capable of, within or outside of the grid. It’s an empty element that only serves the purpose for bring Sam and Kevin together.

Tron: Legacy also suffers from a Video Game Tie-In Syndrome, something I’ve hated ever since The Matrix Reloaded. Back when that movie was due to come out, Warner Bros. And Atari came up with the idea of making a Video Game that would bridge the gap between certain elements in the story. If you play Enter the Matrix, you’ll actually have a slightly more complete story than you would by just seeing the film. That robs the audience of content. Granted, they don’t need to know everything, but Tron: Legacy has a few elements that are only really understood in the story for it’s video game, Tron: Evolution.

Then there’s the sense of promise.

Joseph Kosinski was originally a commercial director, his most famous being one for the game Gears of War that featured the Gary Jules version of “Mad World”. Between this and his Halo commercials, it made sense that for the visual style that Tron: Legacy needed, he’d make a perfect fit. Tron needed something new, wasn’t that critical of a franchise to play with and gave Kosinski the freedom to take it wherever he wanted to go (within the constraints of what the writers gave him, of course). For a first time film director, I think he did very well, but that’s just me. It should also be noted that it was his idea to bring on Daft Punk for the soundtrack. If the movie is remembered for anything over time, it’ll be for the music, because that score is just cool.

Tron:Legacy on a visual scale is really beautiful, and it’s cool to see the design updates in the machines, by way of Digital Domain and other F/X companies. That alone is enough for me to watch this repeatedly (it’s on as I’m writing this). I haven’t found myself compelled to pick up the Blu-Ray, but Starz and Netflix have it available to watch.

If he’s lucky, Kosinski may end up getting a project that he’ll really take off with. Maybe it’ll be something of his own making or another remake, but for me it’ll be interesting to see where he goes.

Film Review: Tron: Legacy (directed by Joseph Kosinski)


As we were sitting in one of the theaters at the AMC Valley View, waiting for Tron: Legacy, I leaned over to Jeff, placed my head on his shoulder, and told him that he should feel very special.

“Why’s that?” he asked.

“Because there’s like a hundred guys in this theater and you’re the only one here with a girl.”

And it was true!  The theater was full of guys who all looked like Jesse Eisenberg but there were literally only three or four other girls in the audience and I think they were all together.

Now, one thing I’ve always wondered — why are guys so scared to sit next to each other in the movies?  Seriously, there were all these little Jesse Eisenberg-looking guys out in the audience but each one had to have an empty seat on either side of him.  Yet, it was obvious that they all knew each other because they were loudly shouting comments to each other through the entire film and, once the movie was over, they all left together.  So, guys, sorry but it was a group date regardless of how many empty seats there were between you.

So, that’s one of two things I learned from seeing Tron: Legacy: boys who look like Jesse Eisenberg are homophobic.

What else did I learn?  Well, whenever the hero of Tron: Legacy started fighting or talking about fighting or driving too fast, Jeff would go, “Let’s do this — LEROY JENKINS!”  And I was like, “Who the frickin frack is Leroy Jenkins!?”  Anyway, after the movie, Jeff showed me this video on Youtube.  So, now I kinda know who Leroy Jenkins is.

Anyway, if I seem like I’m talking about everything but Tron: Legacy that’s because Tron: Legacy really didn’t make much of an impression on me. 

Tron: Legacy is a sequel.  The original film was called Tron and I’ve never seen it but I have seen the You Have 0 Friends episode of South Park and Jeff says that’s close enough. 

Tron: Legacy is one of those movies that are mostly made to show off what can be done with CGI and the CGI is impressive in this film for about fifteen minutes.  Then, after those 15 minutes, the CGI starts to get repetitive (I mean, there’s only so many times I can be impressed by the big orange space ships coming up over the horizon) and now you’re going to have to pay attention to things like plot and acting and that’s when everything pretty much falls apart.

Anyway, the plot of Tron: Legacy goes something like this: Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is apparently some sort of video game guru who vanishes when Sam is 7.  20 years later, Sam is an angry young man who rides a motorcycle and posts silly Youtube videos of his dog and somehow he ends up getting sucked into a really old computer where he discovers the Matrix.

And wow, is the Matrix boring.  There’s like these gladiator style games going on and all the citizens are actually computer programs and they’re ruled over by CLU (also played by Jeff Bridges) and everyone keeps calling Sam a “user” and then there’s this club that’s ruled over by a Castor (Michael Sheen) who is portrayed as being extremely fey and treacherous which I guess is meant to show that even computer programs can be homophobic. 

Anyway, Sam is tossed into one of the gladiator games and then he’s rescued by a program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and it turns out that Quorra lives offgrid with Sam’s father!  It seems that Kevin has been trapped in this world for the past 20 years and now Sam only has a few hours left to get out and Kevin wants to make sure Quorra gets out as well and this is important because Quorra has some sort of digital DNA that’ll end all world suffering but CLU wants to kills Quorra because she’s “an imperfection” and…

Oh, who cares?  Well, the filmmakers apparently because this is an amazingly talky film.  For all the emphasis put on the CGI and the endless stream of action sequences (Sam gets into either a fight or a chase every 10 minutes or so), this is a really verbose film.  Once Sam finds his father, all of the action suddenly halts as the audience is subjected to a seemingly endless monologue that is designed to explain how CLU was created, why CLU looks like a young, sexy Jeff Bridges, and how Quorra can synthesize religion and science and philosophy.  The dialogue brings up all these intellectual and philosophical questions but why?  It’s all very shallow, like listening to someone who just finished an Intro. To Philosophy class trying to explain the work of Jean-Paul Sartre.  (“Hell is other people!  Shit, man…”)  I mean, the explanations make little to no sense yet they keep going on and on!  It’s one thing to make a movie with a nonsensical plot.  It’s another thing to not only continually call attention to that fact but do so in a way that is so humorless and so lacking in any self-awareness that the plot goes from being silly to stupid to borderline offensive.

Anyway, I know this review has been pretty negative so far so instead of dwelling on everything that didn’t work in this movie, I’m going to mention some good things about Tron: Legacy.

Let’s see — well,  I think I may have a girlcrush on Olivia Wilde now.  She kicks ass with style and bring a sly sense of humor to her role.  Unfortunately, she has next to no chemistry with either Bridges or Hedlund.

As CLU, Jeff Bridges is made up to look young and sexy and is obviously being filmed through a lens that has been coated with vaseline.

It’s always nice to see one of my favorite actors, Michael Sheen.  Even though his role here is kind of a waste of his talents, at least he’s not playing Tony Blair again.

Speaking of Michael Sheen, Tron: Legacy might not be a good film but it’s still more entertaining than Frost/Nixon.

Some of the CGI is cool in a “Hey!  Look!  CGI!” sorta way.

However, the best thing about Tron: Legacy is the original score by Daft Punk.  Seriously, this might be the best film score of the year.  The score is a mixture of electronic and orchestral music and it has a perfect sort of other worldliness to it.  To a large extent, the music provides the emotional highs and lows that the rest of the film fails to supply. 

My final verdict on Tron: Legacy: Skip the film, buy the soundtrack.