A Movie A Day #287: Leviathan (1989, directed by George Pan Cosmatos)


A group of miners are sent into a dangerous environment by an evil corporation.  When they explore an abandoned ship, they unknowingly bring a hostile creature onto their own vessel.  One of the crewman is killed when the creature mutates inside of his body.  The rest of the crew includes a scientist, one strong woman, one woman who cries, and a strong, silent captain.

Sound familiar?

No, it’s not Alien.  

Instead, it’s Leviathan, which could best be described as being Alien underwater with a dash of The Thing tossed in.  The main difference between Leviathan and the films that inspired it is that people are still watching Alien and The Thing while Leviathan is one of the most forgettable films that I have ever seen.  Peter Weller is the captain.  Richard Crenna is the scientist.  Amanda Pays has the Ripley role and Ernie Hudson fills in for Yaphet Kotto.  Daniel Stern plays Sixpack, who turns into a monster after he drinks contaminated Russian vodka.  (It happens to the best of us.)  Meg Foster, with her translucent eyes, represents the corporation.

That’s a good cast and the script was written by David Peoples (who also wrote Blade Runner, Unforgiven, and 12 Monkeys) and Jeb Stuart (who wrote Die Hard and The Fugitive).  The above average special effects were designed by Stan Winston.  Why, with all of these talented people involved in the production, is Leviathan so by the numbers and forgettable?  It probably had something to do with the presence of George Pan Cosmatos in the directing chair.  Cosmatos is also credited with directing Rambo: First Blood II, Cobra, and Tombstone.  The first two films starred Sylvester Stallone, who was known for directing all of his 80s films in every way but name only and everyone knows that Kurt Russell was in charge on Tombstone.

If you want to see Alien underwater done right, watch Deepstar Six.

Lisa Tries To Predict The Oscars!


Oscars

Well, it’s almost here!

Tomorrow night, the Oscars will be handed out!  Now, I have to admit that, despite all of the time that I spent keeping up with all of the guild awards and the critics award and all the other precursors, I kinda lost interest in the Oscar race after the actual nominations were announced.  I took one look at Jeff Wells claiming to be solely responsible for the success of Birdman and Sasha Stone going on and on about Selma and Ryan Adams doing whatever the Hell it is that he supposedly does over at Awards Daily and I just found myself saying, “Fuck it, who cares?”

Seriously, 2015 will be remembered as the year that Oscar punditry jumped the shark.  Hopefully, within the next few years, new voices will emerge and we’ll be spared from having to deal with Jeff Wells, Sasha Stone, and all the rest.

The Oscar commentary this year has been so negative and so toxic and so predictably strident and so tediously bitter that I did get a little bit burned out.  It just hasn’t been as much fun this year.  When, earlier this week, I was reminded that the Oscars were this Sunday, I have to admit that I was taken a little bit by surprise.  For some reason, I had gotten into my head that the Oscars were next week.

But anyway, they’re not next week.  They’re tomorrow and that means that it is now time for me to try to predict who and what will win tomorrow night.  A lot of people are saying that this is the closest Oscar race in years.  But you know what?  They say that every year.

Remember how there were going to be a lot of upsets last year?

And, in the end, exactly what everyone thought would win did win.

I imagine the same thing will happen this year.

Here are my predictions!  I will be listing both what I think will win and what I think should win.

Need to kill some time?  Look through all the posts since November and count up how many times this picture has appeared on the site!

Need to kill some time? Look through all the posts since November and count up how many times this picture has appeared on the site!

Best Picture: 

Will Win: Birdman

Should Win: Boyhood

Best Director:

Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Should Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Best Actor

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Should Win: Michael Keaton for Birdman

Best Actress

Will Win: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Should Win: Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Will and Should Win: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Will and Should Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Birdman

Should Win: Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will and Should Win: Whiplash

Best Animated Feature:

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Should Win: Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Language Film

Will Win: Leviathan

Should Win: Ida

Best Documentary Feature

Will Win: CitizenFour

Should Win: Finding Vivian Maier

Best Documentary Short Subject:

Will Win (random guess): Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Should Win: ???

Best Live Action Short Film:

Will Win (random guess): The Phone Call

Should Win: ???

Best Animated Short Film:

Will and Should Win: My Moulton

Best Original Score:

Will and Should Win: The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song:

Will Win: “Glory” from Selma

Should Win: “Hooray for Everything” from The Lego Movie

Best Sound Editing

Will and Should Win: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing

Will Win: American Sniper

Should Win: Whiplash

Best Production Design

Will and Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Unbroken

Should Win: Ida

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will Win: Foxcatcher

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Costume Design

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should Win: Inherent Vice

Best Film Editing

Will and Should Win: Boyhood

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Interstellar

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Well, those are my predictions!  Will I be right or will I be wrong?  We’ll find out tomorrow!

Here Are The Oscar Nominations!


Oscar1

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and, judging from the overdramatic reactions on twitter, some people are apparently taking all of this way too seriously.  Listen, I wish The LEGO Movie had been nominated.  I wish Jake Gyllenhaal had been nominated.  I haven’t seen Selma yet but it does seem strange that it was only nominated for one other Oscar.  And, for that matter, how did Foxcatcher get nominated for director, screenplay, actor, and supporting actor without getting a nomination for best picture.

And yes, I do wish that more women had been nominated but, then again, I also wish that more women were being given the opportunity to write and direct films.  If the Oscars are male-dominated, that’s because so is the industry.

AND WHERE’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!?

AND WHAT ABOUT JODOROWSKY’S DUNE!?

*ahem*

But, honestly, I think people are overestimating the importance of the Oscars.  Great films will survive, regardless of awards won and lost.  Believe me, there were a lot of nominations that I did not agree with but I’m not going to have a Sasha Stone-style freak out over it because, ultimately, the Oscars are what they are and if you think they’re anything more than an event, you really need to calm down and get some perspective.

I’m just happy that it was a good morning for Texas filmmaking.  Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson were both nominated for best director.  Boyhood, a Texas film if there ever was on, is the front runner for best picture.  Texas actor Ethan Hawke was nominated for best supporting actor.  Bradley Cooper may not be a Texan but he played one and, judging from the trailer and commercials for American Sniper, he actually got the accent right.

So, I’m happy!

(And, by the way, let’s give this talk about how Laura Dern stole Jessica Chastain’s nomination a rest.  If anything, Meryl Streep stole Chastain’s spot.)

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“American Sniper”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Ida”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Whiplash”

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST SCORE
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“The Theory of Everything”

BEST SONG
“Everything Is Awesome from “The Lego Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“I’m Not Going to Miss You” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”

BEST SOUND EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”

BEST SOUND MIXING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Big Hero 6”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Citizenfour”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Tangerines”
“Timbuktu”
“Wild Tales”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper”
“White Earth”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Here Are The 9 Finalists For The Best Foreign Language Film Oscar!


ida_poster-620x353

Here’s one final bit of late Oscar news.  83 countries submitted films to be considered for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Earlier last week, the Academy announced the 9 semi-finalists!

To the shock of many, Two Days One Night was not a semi-finalist!  That’s surprising, considering that Marion Cotillard’s performance has been receiving a lot of Oscar season attention.  If anything, the snubbing of Two Days One Night would indicate that Jennifer Aniston probably had a better chance of being the fifth Best Actress nominee than Cotillard.

The Canadian film Mommy was also not on the list of semi-finalists, which surprised many.  However, this does mean that Sasha Stone will now have something else to complain about over on Awards Daily.

And finally, the Palme d’Or winner Winter’s Sleep did not make the top 9 either.

What did make the top 9?

Check them out below!

Argentina, “Wild Tales,” Damián Szifrón, director;

Estonia, “Tangerines,” Zaza Urushadze, director;

Georgia, “Corn Island,” George Ovashvili, director;

Mauritania, “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako, director;

Netherlands, “Accused,” Paula van der Oest, director;

Poland, “Ida,” Paweł Pawlikowski, director;

Russia, “Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;

Sweden, “Force Majeure,” Ruben Östlund, director;

Venezuela, “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo, director.

 

A Most Violent Year Is A Most Unexpected National Board Of Review Winner!


A Most Violent Year

The National Board of Review has spoken!  They named their picks for the best of 2014 earlier today and — to the shock of many (especially me) — they picked JC Chandor’s crime drama A Most Violent Year as the best film of the year!

I love surprises!

Now, a lot of us were expecting A Most Violent Year to be an Oscar contender, with practically everyone expecting Jessica Chastain to either be nominated for best actress or supporting actress.  (The NBR named her best supporting actress.)  But I think a lot of us were expecting to see the NBR select Boyhood, Birdman, or maybe Selma.

Also of note is that Clint Eastwood won best director for American Sniper, which appears to be coming on strong as a potential Oscar nominee as well.

(Also of note: Foxcatcher was totally ignored by the NBR.)

Here are the NBR winners!

BEST PICTURE
“A Most Violent Year”

BEST DIRECTOR
Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper”

BEST ACTOR (TIE)
Oscar Isaac, “A Most Violent Year”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Edward Norton, “Birdman”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, “The Lego Movie”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”

BEST ENSEMBLE
“Fury”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 
“Wild Tales”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Life Itself”

SPOTLIGHT AWARD
Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in “Top Five”

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCES
Jack O’Connell, “Starred Up” and “Unbroken”

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Gillian Robespierre, “Obvious Child”

WILLIAM K. EVERSON FILM HISTORY AWARD
Scott Eyman

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
“Rosewater”
“Selma”

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Fury”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Lego Movie”
“Nightcrawler”
“Unbroken”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Force Majeure”
“Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem”
“Leviathan”
“Two Days One Night”
“We Are the Best!”

BEST DOCUMENTARY NOMINEES (alphabetical)
“Art and Craft”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Keep On Keepin’ On”
“The Kill Team”
“Last Days in Vietnam”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (alphabetical)
“Blue Ruin”
“Locke”
“A Most Wanted Man”
“Mr. Turner”
“Obvious Child”
“The Skeleton Twins”,
“Snowpiercer”,
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
“Starred Up”
“Still Alice”

Here Are The Winners of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival


Winter Sleep

It’s debatable what type of effect a victory of Cannes will have when it comes to the Oscars.  Indeed, because of the festival’s international nature, it’s often the case that some of the most acclaimed films at Cannes aren’t even eligible to be nominated.  Blue Is The Warmest Colour was one of the best films to released in the United States last year but its victory at Cannes certainly did not translate into Oscar nominations.  However, at the same time, there’s probably some truth to the theory that winning the Palme d’Or allowed some of the more mainstream-minded Academy voters to consider The Tree of Life as a legitimate Oscar possibility, as opposed to just an art house indulgence.

So, in other words — who knows?

One thing is for sure.  Winning at Cannes will definitely not hurt the Oscar chances of Bennett Miller, Timothy Spall, and Julianne Moore.  In fact, the only film that truly seems to have been knocked out of Oscar consideration by its Cannes reception would appear to be Grace of Monaco(Well, okay — Lost River, too.  But was anyone expecting Lost River to be an Oscar nominee before it premiered at Cannes?)

Anyway, enough of me pretending to be an expert on how the Oscars work!  Here are the winners from Cannes:

In Competition

  • Palme d’Or – Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Grand Prix – The Wonders by Alice Rohrwacher
  • Best Director – Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
  • Best Screenplay – Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin for Leviathan
  • Best Actress – Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars
  • Best Actor – Timothy Spall for Mr. Turner
  • Jury Prize – Mommy by Xavier Dolan and Goodbye to Language by Jean-Luc Godard
Un Certain Regard[39]
  • Un Certain Regard Award – White God by Kornél Mundruczó
  • Un Certain Regard Jury Prize – Force Majeure by Ruben Östlund
  • Un Certain Regard Special Prize – The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
  • Un Certain Regard Ensemble Prize – The cast of Party Girl
  • Un Certain Regard Award for Best Actor – David Gulpilil for Charlie’s Country
Cinéfondation[40]
  • First Prize – Skunk by Annie Silverstein
  • Second Prize – Oh Lucy! by Atsuko Hirayanagi
  • Third Prize – Sourdough by Fulvio Risuleo and The Bigger Picture by Daisy Jacobs
Golden Camera
  • Caméra d’Or – Party Girl by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
Short Films[41]
  • Short Film Palme d’Or – Leidi by Simón Mesa Soto
  • Special Mention:
    • Aïssa by Clément Trehin-Lalanne
    • Yes We Love by Hallvar Witzø

Goodbye to Lanugage

12 Years A Slave Wins In Boston


The Boston Society Of Film Critics voted earlier today and 12 Years A Slave — which, so far, has been underperforming with the critics’ groups — swept the awards.  The Wolf of Wall Street came in second for most of the major awards.

BEST PICTURE
“12 Years a Slave”
Runner-up: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST DIRECTOR
Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”)
Runner-up: Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

BEST ACTOR
Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”)
Runner-up: Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”)
Runner-up: Judi Dench (“Philomena”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
James Gandolfini (“Enough Said”)
Runner-ups:
Barkhad Abdi (“Capt. Phillips”) and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) tie for second.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
June Squibb (“Nebraska”)
Runner-up:
Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”)
Runner-up:
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Wadjda”
Runner-up: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“The Act of Killing,” Josh Oppenheimer
Runner-ups:
“Blackfish,” “Leviathan,” “At Berkeley,” “Crash Reel,” “20 Feet from Stardom ”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Wind Rises,” Hayao Miyazaki
Runner-up:
“Frozen”

BEST NEW FILMMAKER
Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”)
Runner-up: Josh Oppenheimer (“Act of Killing”)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki (“Gravity”)
Runner-up:
Phillippe Le Sourd (“The Grandmaster”)

BEST EDITING
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill (“Rush”)
Runner-up: Thelma Schoonmaker (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

BEST USE OF MUSIC IN A FILM
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
Runner-up: “Nebraska”