4 Shots From 4 Bloody Films: Special Michael Caine Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is the 87th birthday of the great actor and icon of all things British, Michael Caine!

Caine is famously prolific and, when it comes to picking shots from his films, it’s hard to narrow them down to just four.  At a certain point in his career, the big joke about Michael Caine was that he would appear in literally everything.  He even missed accepting his first Oscar in person because he was busy filming Jaws: The Revenge.  Not surprisingly, it was after Jaws: The Revenge that Caine started to become more discriminating when it came to picking his films.

Despite the fact that he’s now a bit more careful about picking roles that allow him to show off his considerable talent as opposed to just supplying him with an easy paycheck, Caine remains a busy actor.  In his autobiography, Blowing the Bloody Doors Off, Caine wrote that he plans to keep acting as long as he is physically and mentally able to do so.  I look forward to seeing what future, great performances Michael Caine is going to give us.

For now, here are:

4 Shots From 4 Films

Get Carter (1971, directed by Mike Hodges)

The Man Who Would Be King (1975, directed by John Huston)

A Shock to the System (1990, directed by Jan Egleson)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012, directed by Christopher Nolan)

 

8 Sure Shot Best Picture Nominees That Were Not


Let’s be honest.

Predicting the Oscar nominees is not an exact science.  The fact of the matter is that a lot of it is guesswork, especially in the early months of the year.

“Oh, Scorsese has a movie coming out?  Well, Martin Scorsese’s movies are always nominated!”

“Last year’s best seller is being adapted into a movie?  The Academy loves best sellers!”

“David Fincher’s directing High School Musical 4?  I LOVE DAVID FINCHER!  Best Picture for sure!”

That’s why, every year, there are films that seem like they’re guaranteed to reap Oscar glory.  These are the films that, in July, are listed on all of the awards sites as probable best picture nominees.  And every year, several of those sure shots turn out to actually be long shots.

Since Arleigh founded Through the Shattered Lens back in 2009, there’s been many guaranteed Best Picture contenders that, when the nominations were announced, were nowhere to be found.  Here are just 8 examples:

1. J. Edgar (dir by Clint Eastwood)

Remember how Leonardo DiCaprio was going finally win his first Oscar for playing J. Edgar Hoover in the 2011 Oscar biopic?  There was also some speculation that Armie Hammer would pick a supporting nod and, of course, the film was going to be a best picture nominee.  Then the movie came out, fell flat, and received not a single Oscar nomination.

2. The Dark Knight Rises (dir by Christopher Nolan)

I was not as big of a fan of this movie as some people who write for this site.  In fact, I thought it was kind of a mess.  Still, back in 2012, a lot of people assumed the Academy would make up for not nominating The Dark Knight by nominating the sequel.  (In a particular noxious example of fanboy culture, Christy Lemire was attacked online when she gave The Dark Knight Rises its first negative review.)  For all of the hyper and controversy, The Dark Knight Rises was totally ignored when the 2012 Oscar nominations were announced.

3. The Monuments Men (dir by George Clooney)

As strange as it may seem today, this now-forgotten World War II film was originally considered to be a surefire Oscar contender.  Throughout most of 2013, the majority of the experts on Gold Derby listed The Monuments Men as their number one prediction for Best Picture.  The logic was that it was based on an interesting true story, it featured Bill Murray in a serious role, and it was directed by George Clooney.  Then, suddenly, the release date was pushed back to 2014.  That was the first sign of trouble.  Then the movie came out and it turned out to be a complete mess, one that underused Murray and which reminded us that, regardless of his skill as an actor, George Clooney is a remarkably dull director.

4. Lee Daniel’s The Butler (dir by Lee Daniels)

From 2013, this is a good example of a film that tried so hard to be an Oscar contender that it basically knocked itself right out of contention.  Between the blind and dated worship of JFK and John Cusack’s performance as Richard Nixon, this film almost seemed like a parody of a bad Oscar contender.

5. Interstellar (dir by Christopher Nolan)

Personally, I liked 2014’s Interstellar more than I liked The Dark Knight Rises but ultimately, this turned out to be just another Christopher Nolan film that didn’t get much of a reaction from the Academy.  (Despite the nominations given to both Dunkirk and Inception, it’s hard not to feel that the Academy will always resent Nolan for being both successful and ambitious.)

6. Joy (dir by David O. Russell)

Many of us thought it would be one of the films to be nominated for best picture of 2015.  That was until we actually saw the damn thing.  David O. Russell’s worst movie still managed to net Jennifer Lawrence a nomination but not much else.

7. Silence (dir by Martin Scrosese)

Martin Scrosese’s 2016 passion product was expected to be a major contender and, on many sites, it was listed as a probable winner all the way through December.  However, when the nominations were announced, Silence only received one nomination, for cinematography.

8. Logan (dir by James Mangold)

At the start of 2017, a lot of critics stated that Logan might be the first comic book movie ever nominated for Best Picture.  For a month or two, I certainly thought it would be.  Ultimately, though, it only picked up a nomination for adapted screenplay.

Which 2018 sure short will turn into a long shot?  We’ll find out next year!

Things Could Be Worse: 8 Fictional Presidents Who Were Terrible At Their Job


Jack Nicholson

2016 is an election year and things are looking pretty grim right now.  It’s enough to make you throw your hands up in frustrating and demand that someone push the reset button.  However, things could always be worse.  From the world of film, here are 8 President so incompetent, corrupt, and sometimes murderous that they will make you long for the dull mediocrity of a Jeb Bush or a Martin O’Malley.

1) The President (William Devane) in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

devaneYou’re the leader of the free world and a masked terrorist has just launched a deadly attack on a major U.S. city.  He has blown up a major sporting event on national television.  He has killed the mayor.  He is allowing a crazy sociopath to preside over show trials.  The terrorist demands that you neither send troops into the city nor do you aid anyone who is trying to leave.  What do you?  If you are the President played by William Devane in The Dark Knight Rises, you say, “Okay,” and then breathe a sigh of relief when Batman turns out not to be dead after all.  William Devane also played JFK in The Missiles of October and President James Heller on 24.  Neither of them would have backed down to Bane as quickly as the President in The Dark Knight Rises.

2) The President (Billy Bob Thornton) in Love Actually (2003)

This President thinks that he can bully the world until he makes the mistake of getting on the bad side of the new British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant).  How are you going to call yourself the leader of the free world when even Hugh Grant can make you look like a fool?

3) The President (Donald Pleasence) in Escape From New York (1981)

DonaldHey, Mr. President, when Snake Plisskin nearly gets killed trying to save your life, you might want to try showing a little gratitude.  Escape From New York ends with Snake asking The President who he feels about all the people who died rescuing him from New York.  When the President can only mutter a few words of regret, Snake responds by destroying the tape that would have presumably prevented World War IV.  Way to go, Mr. President!  Would it have killed you to shed a few crocodile tears, at least over the fate of Cabbie?

4) The President (Cliff Robertson) in Escape From L.A. (1996)

The President from Escape From New York was practically Lincolnesque compared to the jerk who succeeded him.  A theocrat who claimed to have an open line to God, this President banned smoking, drinking, cursing, red meat, guns, atheism, pre-marital sex, and everything else that made life fun.  Anyone who disagreed got exiled to the island of California.  Good thing that Snake Plisskin was still around to set things straight, even if it did mean that Florida ended up getting conquered by Cuba.  Why doesn’t Snake ever run for President?

5) President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) in Independence Day (1996)

billIn a word, overrated.  Yes, President Whitmore did lead the army that repealed the alien invaders but he would not have had to do that in the first place if he had prevented the Earth from being invaded in the first place.  How many warning signs did the Whitmore administration ignore until it was too late?  And how much funding did his administration cut from the military that the Air Force was left in such poor shape that they could get shown up by Randy Quaid in a crop duster?  As for Whitmore’s famous speech and the battle that followed, a sequel to Independence Day is coming in June so he must not have done that good of a job of scaring the aliens off.

6) President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) in Mars Attacks! (1996)

At least President Whitmore got a chance to redeem himself by leading the battle against the invaders.  James Dale did not even get that far.  After foolishly believing everyone who told him that the aliens came in peace, he made the mistake of offering his hand in friendship and ended up with a flag sticking out of his chest.

7) President Alan Richmond (Gene Hackman) in Absolute Power (1997)

Not only did President Richmond think that he could get away with murder, he also thought he could outsmart Clint Eastwood.  Big mistake.  Clint Eastwood is no Hugh Grant.

8) President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) in Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

Mixing the raw charisma of Adlai Stevenson and the phone skills of Bob Newhart, President Merkin Muffley attempts to stop the end of the world and fails miserably.  He even allows the Soviet ambassador to get a picture of the Big Board!  But don’t worry.  President Muffley may have failed to prevent nuclear war but he will not allow there to be a mineshaft gap!

When this election year get you down, just remember: things could always be worse!

strangelove

 

 

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Prequel Shorts


dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-poster-janee-meadows

(Above is an exclusive poster found on Collider.com)

I am having a hard time remembering the last time I made a post like this that wasn’t a review, so I think you can use this article as a measure of just how excited I am for ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’. I, like a lot of people, was completely surprised by how good ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ was. It rejuvenated a franchise (one I really enjoy) that was most recently tarnished by a really, really bad remake. It was so good that a sequel was not only inevitable, but desired.

Luckily Fox is fulfilling that desire next week with the release of the sequel, which has received universal praise from the few reviews that have already been released. The out-pour of this praise definitely has me more excited than I was beforehand…but it is not the true source of the hype that has me ready to buy a ticket for a Thursday night showing for the first time since ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. No, the source of that hype is a series of short films that act as a bridge between ‘Rise’ and ‘Dawn’, examining (quite artistically, surprisingly) the events that occurred after the outbreak of the Simian Flu at the end of ‘Rise’. These shorts are a collaboration of 20th Century Fox and Motherboard and can be viewed below:

‘Spread of Simian Flu: Before The Dawn of the Apes (Year 1)’ (dir. Isaiah Seret)

‘Struggling to Survive: Before The Dawn of the Apes (Year 5)’ (dir. Daniel Thron)

‘Story of the Gun: Before The Dawn of the Apes (Year 10)’ (dir. “thirtytwo”)

What I love most about these is how they are so unlike most “viral” shorts. These aren’t straight forward stories like you see with the Marvel One-Shots. These are actually artistic, emotional and thought provoking films, to the point in which I saw people commenting on them being pretentious…music to my ears to be honest with you. Each explore themes of their own while also wonderfully adding to the atmosphere and mythos of the new ‘Apes’ series. Furthermore, the very fact that the studio clearly gave the writers and directors of each liberty to not “play it safe” with a piece of marketing revolving around a multi-million dollar franchise just gives me a ton of confidence in the franchise on the whole. It is this, more than the reviews, that has me excited to see ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ next week, and maybe they will do the same for you.

———————————————————————————————————————-

Along with the prequel shorts, which are directly related to the events of the film, they also released a documentary which can be seen below. It too is incredibly well made, and is a surprisingly poignant true story of apes and human interactions during and after the events of medical testing and human warfare.

‘The Real Planet of the Apes’ 

What If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now seems like a good time to indulge in something I like to call “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.  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.

For those who are interested, you can check out my picks for 2010 by clicking on this sentence.

Meanwhile, my picks for last year can be seen by clicking on this sentence.

Best Picture

Best Picture

Anna Karenina

The Avengers

Bernie

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

The Master

Silver Linings Playbook

Skyfall

Ang Lee

Best Director

Drew Goddard for The Cabin In The Woods

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Richard Linklater for Bernie

Quinton Tarantino for Django Unchained

Joe Wright for Anna Karenina

master-trailer-joaquin-phoenix

Best Actor

Jack Black in Bernie

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe.

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

michelle-williams-take-this-waltz-trailer

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone

Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress

Kiera Knightley in Anna Karenina

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Michelle Williams in Take This Waltz

django-jackson

Best Supporting Actor

Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master

Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained

Sam Rockwell in Seven Psychopaths

Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Zoe-Kazan-in-Ruby-Sparks-e1348740167495

Best Supporting Actress

Rebecca De Mornay in Mother’s Day

Dame Judi Dench in Skyfall

Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables

Zoe Kazan in Ruby Sparks

Sarah Silverman in Take This Waltz

cabininthewoods_4

Best Original Screenplay

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

The Master

Ruby Sparks

Take This Waltz

Bernie Bearing Gifts

Best Adapted Screenplay

Anna Karenina

Argo

Bernie

Life of Pi

Silver Linings Playbook

"BRAVE"

Best Feature-Length Animated Film

Brave

Frankenweenie

Paranorman

Pirates!  Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

rustboen21

Best Foreign Language Film

Barbara

Headhunters

The Raid: Redemption

A Royal Affair

Rust and Bone

Ai Weiwei never sorry film

Best Documentary Feature

Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry

The Central Park Five

First Position

The Queen of Versailles

2016: Obama’s America

brave_movie--300x300

Best Original Score

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Brave

The Dark Knight Rises

For Greater Glory

The Master

the-raid-redemption-trailer_450x254

Best Original Song

“For You” from Act of Valor

“Yo No Se” from Casa De Mi Padre

“The Sambola! International Dance Craze” from Damsels in Distress

“Ancora Qui” from Django Unchained

“Abraham’s Daughter” from The Hunger Games

“The Baddest Man Alive” from The Man With The Iron Fists

“Razor’s Out” from The Raid: Redemption

“Big Machine” from Safety Not Guaranteed

“Skyfall” from Skyfall

“Anything Made Out of Paper” from West of Memphis

Les Miserables 

Best Sound Editing

Chronicle

The Dark Knight Rises

End of Watch

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Les Miserables2

Best Sound Mixing

Chronicle

End of Watch

Killing Them Softly

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Anna Karenina

Best Art Direction

Anna Karenina

The Avengers

The Cabin In The Woods

Cosmopolis

Les Miserables

Skyfall

Best Cinematography

The Hobbit

Lawless

Life of Pi

Moonrise Kingdom

Skyfall

looper

Best Makeup

The Hobbit

The Hunger Games

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Looper

wesandersonmoonrisekingdom

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

The Hunger Games

Lincoln

Moonrise Kingdom

django-unchained-2

Best Film Editing

Anna Karenina

The Cabin In The Woods

Django Unchained

The Master

Silent House

Life of Pi

Best Visual Effects

The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

Life of Pi

Looper

Men In Black 3

List of Films By Number of Nominations

8 Nominations — Django Unchained

7 Nominations — Anna Karenina

6 Nominations — Les Miserables, Life of Pi, The Master, Skyfall

5 Nominations — The Cabin In The Woods, Silver Linings Playbook

4 Nominations — Bernie

3 Nominations — The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, Lincoln, Take This Waltz

2 Nominations — Brave, Chronicle, Damsels in Distress, End of Watch, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Ruby Sparks, Rust and Bone

1 Nomination —Act of Valor, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, Argo, Barbara,  Beasts of the Southern Wild, Casa De Mi Padre, The Central Park Five, Cosmopolis, First Position, For Greater Glory, Frankenweenie, Headhunters, Killer Joe, Killing Them Softly, Lawless, Looper, The Man With The Iron Fists, Men In Black 3, Mother’s Day, The Pirates! Band of Misfits , The Queen of Versailles, A Royal Affair, Safety Not Guaranteed, Seven Psychopaths, Silent House, 2016: Obama’s America, West of Memphis, Wreck-It Ralph

List of Films By Oscars Won

2 Oscars — Anna Karenina, Brave, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi

1 Oscar — Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, Bernie, The Cabin In the Woods, Looper, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Ruby Sparks, Rust and Bone, Skyfall, Take This Waltz

The LAFCA Rejects Zero Dark Thirty And Embraces Amour


Oscar season continued today as the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named their picks for the best in 2012.  The winners are listed below:

BEST PICTURE
“Amour”
Runner-up: “The Master”

BEST DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”)

BEST ACTOR
Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Denis Lavant (“Holy Motors”)

BEST ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”)
Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Dwight Henry (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
Runner-up: Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (“The Master”)
Runner-up: Anne Hathaway (“The Dark Knight Rises”; “Les Miserables”)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Chris Terrio (“Argo”)
Runner-up: David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

BEST EDITING
Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg (“Zero Dark Thirty”)
William Goldenberg (“Argo”)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”)
Runner-up: Mihai Malaimare Jr. (“The Master”)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Master”
Runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST MUSIC/SCORE
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
Runner-up: Johnny Greenwood (“The Master”)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
“Holy Motors”
Runner-up: “Footnote”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Frankenweenie”
Runner-up: “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”

BEST DOCUMENTARY/NONFICTION FILM
“The Gatekeepers”
Runner-up: “Searching for Sugar Man

Over on Goldderby.com and AwardsDaily.com, all the usual suspects seem to be shocked that Zero Dark Thirty didn’t win best picture and happy that Beasts of the Southern Wild got some love.  A lot of the people leaving comments are also upset that The Master got as many votes as it did.  Over at Goldderby, one visitor found the time to comment, “Those votes for The Master should have been tossed in the trash, along with the film itself!” before going back to his usual routine of waiting to see if any celebs had responded to his twitter follow request.

As far as Amour winning best picture is concerned, I’m happy to see another film win a major critics’ award because seriously, Oscar season can get pretty boring when only one film is winning everything in sight.

As for Beasts of the Southern Wild, this is one of those times when I find myself respectfully disagreeing with just about every other reviewer out there (including our very own Leonth3Duke, whose excellent review can be read here).  The film had its moments (and I do think that Dwight Henry was the best thing in the film) but, for the most part, it left me cold.  Then again, I’ve never had much patience for the myth of the noble savage.

As for The Master, it’s one of the best of the year.  Deal with it.

By the way, here are the Satellite Award Nominations…


In even more Oscar season news, the International Press Association announced their nominations for the Satellite Awards yesterday.  Les Miserables led with 10 nominations.

If you’re like most people who don’t obsess over film awards then chances are that you’ve never heard of the International Press Association.  And that’s okay.  The main thing to know is that it’s Oscar season and that means that everyone’s giving out an award.  The Satellites are a lot like the Golden Globes, just with less credibility.  As far as serving as a precursor is concerned, a Satellite win can help a film maintain momentum but a loss doesn’t really hurt.

That said, for the past few years, I’ve always ended up agreeing more with the Satellite Nominations than with either the Oscars or the Golden Globes.  For instance, back in 2010, the Satellites nominated Noomi Rapace for her performance in the original (and the best) version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

BEST PICTURE
“Argo”
“Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
“Life Of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Les Misérables”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“The Sessions”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Kim Ki-duk, “Pieta“
Ben Lewin, “The Sessions”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTRESS
Laura Birn, “Purge”
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Emilie Dequenne, “Our Children”
Keira Knightley, “Anna Karenina”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Laura Linney, “Hyde Park On Hudson”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Omar Sy, “The Intouchables”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Samantha Barks, “Les Miserables“
Judi Dench, “Skyfall”
Helene Florent, “Café De Flore”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Javier Bardem, “Skyfall”
Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
John Goodman, “Flight”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Eddie Redmayne, “Les Misérables”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
John Gatins, “Flight”
Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, “The Intouchables”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Kim Ki-duk, “Pieta”
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Tom Stoppard, “Anna Karenina”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”
David Magee, “Life Of Pi”
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
Ben Lewin, “The Sessions”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Amour” (Austria)
“Beyond The Hills” (Romania)
“Caesar Must Die” (Italy)
“The Intouchables” (France)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“Our Children” (Belgium)
“Pieta” (South Korea)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

BEST ANIMATED OR MIXED-MEDIA FILM
“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“Ice Age 4: Continental Drift”
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“Paranorman”
“Rise Of The Guardians”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”
“The Central Park Five”
“Chasing Ice”
“The Gatekeepers”
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”
“The Pruitt-Igoe Myth”
“Searching For Sugar Man”
“West Of Memphis”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Seamus McGarvey, “Anna Karenina”
Ben Richardson, “Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
Claudio Miranda, “Life Of Pi”
Janusz Kaminski, “Lincoln”
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., “The Master”
Roger Deakins, “Skyfall”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Sarah Greenwood, Niall Moroney, Thomas Brown, Nick Gottschalk and Tom Still, “Anna Karenina”
Nathan Crowley, Kevin Kavanaugh, James Hambidge and Naaman Marshall, “The Dark Knight Rises”
Rick Carter, Curt Beech, David Crank and Leslie McDonald, “Lincoln”
David Crank and Jack Fisk, “The Master”
Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson, “Les Misérables”
Niels Sejer, “A Royal Affair”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”
Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud, “Cloud Atlas”
Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux, “Farewell, My Queen”
Paco Delgado, “Les Misérables”
Manon Rasmussen, “A Royal Affair”
Colleen Atwood, “Snow White And The Huntsman”

BEST FILM EDITING
Alexander Berner, “Cloud Atlas”
Jeremiah O’Driscoll, “Flight”
Chris Dickens, “Les Misérables”
Lisa Bromwell, “The Sessions”
Jay Cassidy, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Dylan Tichenor, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Dario Marianelli, “Anna Karenina”
Alexandre Desplat, “Argo”
Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
John Williams, “Lincoln”
Jonny Greenwood, “The Master”
Thomas Newman, “Skyfall”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Learn Me Right,” “Brave”
“Fire In The Blood/Snake Song” “Lawless”
“Love Always Comes As A Surprise,” “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“Suddenly,” “Les Misérables”
“Still Alive,” “Paul Williams: Still Alive”
“Skyfall,” “Skyfall”

BEST SOUND (EDITING AND MIXING)
“Flight”
“Les Misérables”
“Snow White And The Huntsman”
“Kon-Tiki”
“Life Of Pi”
“Prometheus”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Cloud Atlas”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“Flight”
“Life Of Pi”
“Prometheus”
“Skyfall”

12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2012


So many things to be thankful for!

Today is the day that I (and perhaps a few others) look over the past year and ask myself, “What am I thankful for?”  I am happy to say that I have a lot to be thankful for right now.  I’m thankful for my family, for my friends, for my readers, and for my love.

Believe it or not, I’m even thankful that I’m now 27 years old!  When my family gathered together earlier today, I actually got to hang out with the grown ups!  Seriously, being an adult was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is also the day when I do a post entitled “10 Things That I Am Thankful For.”  So, here we go.  As I stated previously, I’m thankful for a lot of things in 2012.  Here, in no specific order, is twelve of them:

1) I’m thankful that The Cabin In The Woods and Sinister reminded me of why I love horror films in the first place.

2) I’m thankful for the Snarkalecs on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a SyFy movie with.

3) I’m thankful that this current season of Survivor is one of the best yet.

4) I’m thankful that someday, when I do have a daughter, I’ll be able to watch films like Brave and The Hunger Games with her.

5) I’m thankful that Richard Linklater directed Bernie and let the true citizens of Texas speak for themselves.

6) I’m thankful that Sarah Polley wrote and directed Take This Waltz.

7) I’m thankful for the TCMParty on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a classic film on TCM with.

8) I’m thankful that the final season of The Office is turning out to be a good one.

9) I’m thankful that Skyfall reminded us of why we all love James Bond in the first place.

10) I’m thankful that Branded eventually ended.  Seriously, I was worried that film was never going to come to a close.

11) I’m thankful that The Avengers turned out to be a lot more fun than even I was expecting.

12) I’m thankful that even a generally disappointing film year can still see the release of films like Life of Pi and The Master.

What do you think, Trailer Kitties?

Don’t worry, kitties!  Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers will return next week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Song of the Day: Gotham’s Reckoning from The Dark Knight Rises (by Hans Zimmer)


This weekend sees the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s deconstruction of the superhero myth, especially that of the Batman/Bruce Wayne duo. I’ve never been a big fan of Hans Zimmer’s work as a film composer though he does have some very good work in his body of work down the years. When I found out that his co-composer from the first two Nolan Batman films, James Newton Howard, wasn’t going to be involved in the third film, The Dark Knight Rises, I was very worried at how the score for that film would turn out.

Fortunately, there was one new piece of music from this Zimmer-composed soundtrack that I found to be great and my latest”Song of the Day”.

“Gotham’s Reckoning” is the leitmotif for the main antagonist of The Dark Knight Rise come in the form of the physically imposing but still devious and cunning Bane. Zimmer uses the now-recognizable ritualistic chanting that has been used over and over in the trailers and tv spots for the film. It’s only in “Gotham’s Reckoning” that we hear the chanting, but the tempo and tone created by the chants become the basis for Bane’s theme and could be heard throughout the film whenever the character enters the scene to do something important.

It doesn’t have the discordant sound that Joker’s theme had in the second film. Bane’s theme has a much more linear and organized quality to it while still retaining the primal qualities that describes Bane as a villain who wasn’t just more than a match for Batman physically actually surpasses him) but also a match for the Dark Knight in intelligence albeit with a huge streak of malice and ruthlessness. For those who have seen the film they might have noticed how Bane’s theme soon becomes a variant on the main theme for the whole trilogy. Will not spoil it for those who haven’t seen, but it’s very hard not to miss.

 

Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “The Dark Knight Rises”


At this point, I wonder if it’s even possible to separate today’s tragic events in Aurora, Colorado from any discussion about The Dark Knight Rises and simply analyze the film based on its own merits. If so, it takes a harder heart than mine, so before we even get started here let me say that my heart goes out to all the victims of this completely senseless tragedy, as well as their families and friends. In the days to come we can analyze the motivations, the warning signs that may or may not have been missed, and debate the proper courses of policy action to take in the wake of this absolutely senseless tragedy, and that’s all well and good — we still, and hopefully always will, live in a free society where the open debate and discussion about how best to address any situation, even and perhaps especially tragic ones like this, is not only absolutely appropriate, it’s absolutely necessary. So let’s remember that before we go and start calling people “anti-second amendment gun-grabbing liberal extremists” for merely suggesting that it might be a smart idea to figure out ways for guys like this accused suspect to not get their hands on private arsenals, and before we start suggesting that somehow various Batman-related movies and comics may have “inspired” the killer. If those are your views, fine, express them and have at it, but do respectfully, calmly, and in a mature fashion, please — assuming those who don’t agree with us are somehow “the enemy,” or placing a higher value on ascribing blame for a problem than on finding ways to prevent the situation from happening again, will only guarantee more tragedies in the future. But let’s all take a deep breath and let the police and various other investigative bodies do their work before we assume we know anything, much less that we know everything (or, at the very least, all we need to) about the situation. For now I think we can all agree that this kind of senseless violence represents an unconscionable act of cruelty and that there are no, and never will be, any justifications for it whatsoever.

And speaking of toning down the rhetoric and behaving like adults, can we also all agree that any online critic — be they “professional” or “amateur” — should be free to express reservations, even outright dislike, for this or any film without being subjected to harassment, personal attack, and even death threats? It’s just a movie, people, even if it’s a really big one, and there’s nothing in this world more subjective than one’s own reaction to and/or interpretation of a work of art in any medium. If people who have opposing views from our own on issues like gun control, public safety policy, and any others that may arise in the discussions resulting from today’s  horrific acts in Aurora are not our “enemies” — and, again, they’re not — then surely people who have differing opinions than our own in regards to a goddamn film aren’t, either. If you can’t wake up to what’s really important in life in the wake of an incident like this, then I genuinely feel sorry for you, but please — dial it all back a notch or shut the hell up if you’re absolutely incapable of being reasonable and level-headed. It’s all about perspective, folks — as in, keeping things in it.

All that being said, I don’t mind segueing into discussion of the film itself by stating immediately and for the record that I absolutely loved The Dark Knight Rises. I was, quite frankly, expecting to, but yesterday I got a bit jumpy. I had read various postings online about how the basic premise here amounted to “Batman comes out of retirement to save the 1% from having their wealth redistributed,” and leaving aside the fact that I find the politics behind such a plot conceit completely antithetical to my own, it just sounded like a pretty lackluster way in which to wind up one of the biggest series in film history and like Nolan was sacrificing inspiration for the sake of being overtly topical.

I needn’t have worried. Yes, the film can certainly be read in such a manner if you strain awfully hard to do so, but it can be read with a more progressive leaning, if such in your inclination, as well, to wit : yes, the principal villain of the piece, one ‘roided-out, breathing-apparatus-of-some-sort-wearing pseudo-revolutionary named Bane (superbly portrayed by Tom Hardy with a kind of chilling nonchalance that’s absolutely palpable) does, in fact, set about “giving Gotham back,” as it were, to the dispossessed masses for his own purposes, but it’s what those purposes are, and the way in which they’re revealed, that gives lie, in my view, to the whole “Batman as champion of the 1% taking on a guy who’s suckered the 99% into falling for him”  interpretation of the movie. I shan’t say anything too specific out of respect for those who may be reading this before they actually see it, but I will say this much : the fact that Bane is (apparently) a tool more for a rival to the corporate throne of Bruce Wayne than he is any “champion of the people,” and that even that turns out to be a ruse when it’s revealed that he’s bringing down Gotham for another set of reasons entirely, reasons which tie right back to the first film in Nolan’s series, are enough for me to dismiss both the conservative championing of this movie and the liberal hand-wringing over it with relative ease. In short, maybe we all need to learn to actually see these movies for ourselves before taking to the web and opining on their political content. And yes, I include myself among those I’m (mildly) castigating here.

All of which is not to say that Nolan (who co-wrote the script for this with his brother, Jonathan) doesn’t have an agenda here — it seems to me, quite clearly, that he does. And what, pray tell, would that agenda be? I’m glad you asked (okay, glad asked) — but first, a bit of background : back when Nolan first arrived on the scene with films like Memento and Insomnia, it was pretty commonplace to hear his work compared to that of fellow Brit-come-to-Hollywood Alfred Hitchcock. Some of that died down a but when he took over the Batman franchise and his career moved squarely into blockbuster territory, but like the so-called “Master Of Suspense” himself, I think our guy Chris has taken a perverse delight in having us all on a bit. Sure, his budgets are a lot bigger now, and he’s definitely able to pack a much bigger wallop, aesthetically speaking, than he used to, but underneath all of that pomp and circumstance, I still think he’s the same guy who lives to confound our expectations and use his work to comment, above all else, on itself.

If I haven’t lost you entirely by this point, and I sincerely hope I haven’t please allow me to explain : true, on the surface, a story that revolves around how Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale, of course, who turns in a performance here that’s incredibly multi-layered as he goes from broken to redeemed to more broken than ever to quietly triumphant, complete with physical changes to match), against the wishes of mentor/father-figure Alfred (Michael Caine, as always the beating human heart of the film and here displaying the type of range few characters with his limited screen time are ever even given the opportunity to sink their acting teeth into) comes out of a self-imposed eight-year exile spurred on equally by the threat of Bane and the mysterious allure of a fetching costumed cat-burglar (Anne Hathaway, never specifically referred to as “Catwoman,”  who knocks it out of the park here as sex-appeal-with-a-social-conscience — notice how she only steals from the well-off, and is even portrayed as being sympathetic to the surface level of Bane’s machinations, ultimately false as she knows them to be), aided as always by Morgan Freeman’s beleaguered-but-hardly-dead-yet-by-a-long-shot Lucius Fox, Gary Oldman’s ethically-conflicted-but-still-holding-out-hope police commissioner, Jim Gordon, an idealistic young Detective named Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who embodies a kind of hope for the future every time he’s on screen), and a mysterious ally on his company’s board of directors named Miranda (Marion Cotillard, who’s fetchingly dangerous in her own, non-slinky-suited way), hardly sounds like it has the makings of being a truly personal directorial statement, especially when you consider that it’s got a $250 budget and a remit from the studio to keep hitting us with everything it’s got from start to finish.

And yet, that’s exactly what Christopher Nolan has delivered here. Yes, the action set-pieces are spectacular, the effects are out of this world, Wally Pfister’s cinematography is (as we’ve come to expect by now) absolutely breathtaking, and the metaphorical punches are precisely placed, perfectly executed, and pack one heck of a wallop. It’s all big-scale spectacle on a scale we’ve never seen before and backed up by brains, to boot. In short, this isn’t The Avengers, which can certainly be viewed on an intellectual level and with at least a degree of thoughtfulness involved should you so choose, but where such things aren’t necessary to fully enjoy the film. In a Nolan blockbuster, you’d better put on your thinking cap or you’ll be left in the dust.

It’s what all that thought and action, inextricably linked as they are, is put in service to, though, that really sets The Dark Knight Rises apart and reveals Nolan to be, and I say this with all due respect, a bit of a devious trickster under all that pomp and circumstance. As has been established, this film has more than enough red meat to either appease and/or infuriate both ends of the political spectrum as generally defined, and Nolan indulges himself on a scale so grand that it’s absolutely certain to provide ample fodder for both his detractors and admirers, and now, with all these pieces set, there’s nothing left for him to do but — sit back, laugh, and watch us all have it online, on television, at work, even around the family dinner table. Our reactions to how we view his movie will, in fact have already, mirror the conflict of ideals, as well as the grand-scale physical destruction, shown on screen (although, again, let’s keep it level-headed and in proportion to its actual relevance to our daily existences, please). I don’t think he started out this Batman series with the intention of it becoming The. Biggest. Thing. Ever. To. Happen. In. Movie. History. But, now that it is, he’s making the most of the opportunity and, like his predecessor Hitchcock, whose greatest character was always himself, and whose films ultimately functioned as self-commentary on their own creation and existence, he’s laid a masterfully-prepared, air-tight, $250 million dollar trap here, that once you’ve seen, you have no choice but to play into.

Some may call that cynical, and perhaps they’re right to a certain degree, but it’s cynicism with purpose, executed with almost pristine attention to detail. Even he ending, which I won’t give away, is a supreme act of self-referential commentary on where any future filmmaker could take this series, should they be daring/and or stupid enough to pick up Nolan’s gauntlet. It’s all part of an intricate puzzle designed to do nothing so much as reflect itself back upon itself , and us, once the last piece is in place, and nothing this truly audacious has ever, cinematically speaking,  been attempted on a scale this large before. Think David Lynch’s Inland Empire, only delivered on a level pretty much anyone can understand and appreciate, if not actually and actively like (although early indications are that most audiences really do love this flick), and you’ll have something of an idea of what’s been achieved here.

It may take awhile before everyone is able to fully appreciate what Nolan’s achieved here — hell, we’re still debating Hitchcock’s entire oeuvre decades later — but that’s all part of the plan, as well. This is self-contained, self-propagating, self-constructed, self-sustaining genius (a term I never use lightly) of the highest order, and the most accomplished act of thoughtful pranksterism in movie history. Tomorrow, I’ll be seeing it again — and I bet Chris Nolan isn’t surprised in the least.