Check Out The Half Popped Review Movie Awards For 2014!


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Okay, one last precursor for tonight.  The Half Popped Reviews Year End Movie Awards were voted on by a group of dedicated film bloggers and they’re important to me because I was one of the voters!  You can check out the full details of the voting by clicking here and I suggest that you do because I am quoted all through the article!

(And, incidentally, I would recommend that all of my fellow movie bloggers check out the Half-Popped website.  It’s a good way to see what other smart and witty people are saying about the movies and it’s also a good way to gain exposure for your own work.)

Here are the winners!

Favorite Comedy: The LEGO Movie (runner up: 22 Jump Street)

Favorite Thriller: Gone Girl (runner up: Nightcrawler)

Favorite Horror Flick: The Babadook (runner-up: Under The Skin)

Favorite Sci-Fi: Interstellar (runner-up: The One I Love)

Favorite Drama Movie: Boyhood (runner-up: Locke)

Favorite Action Movie: Edge of Tomorrow (runner-up: The Raid 2)

Best Sequel: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (runner-up: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Worst Sequel: Transformers: Age of Extinction (runner-up: The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Super Hero of the Year: Star-lord (runner-up: Lego Batman)

Best Adaptation: Gone Girl (runner-up: Guardians of the Galaxy)

Worst Adaptation: The Legend of Hercules (runner-up: Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For)

Most Disappointing Movie: The Monuments Men (runner-up: Transcendence)

Most Surprisingly Good Movie: Locke (runner-up: Chef)

Best Visuals: Interstellar (runner-up: The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman (runner-up: Richard Linklater for Boyhood)

Best Actress: Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl (runner-up: Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin)

Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler and Enemy (runner-up: Tom Hardy in Locke and The Drop)

Best Picture: Boyhood (runner-up: Under the Skin)

Most Enjoyable Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (runner-up: The LEGO Movie)

Most Anticipated Film of 2015: Star Wars Episode VII (runner-up: Avengers: Age of Ultron)

2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014


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Continuing our look back at the previous year, today I present you with my choices for the 16 worst films of 2014!

I have to admit that 2014 was a strange year for me.  While I saw a lot of films that I didn’t think were very good, none of them quite inspired the amount of loathing that I felt while watching previous TSL worst film “winners” like Love and Other Drugs and Man of Steel.  Looking at the 16 films below, I’m struck by how many of them were simply films that failed to live up to my expectations.  (The Judge and Endless Love are obvious examples.)  Some of the other entries are films that we all knew ahead of time would never be good but they made the list because they represent everything that annoys me about mainstream film making. (Case in point: Transformers: Let’s Deafen The Audience or whatever the Hell that thing was called.)

Of course, some of the films listed below are on the list because they just plain sucked.  In fact, one made-for-Lifetime movie was so mind-numbingly awful that it made the list despite having never actually been released in theaters!  That’s pretty bad!

(Be sure to click on the links in this sentence if you want to see what I considered to be the worst of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013!)

Without further ado, here’s the list!

16) Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart 
15) Ride Along
14) The Judge 
13) Into the Storm
12) Endless Love
11) Nuse 3D
10) Barefoot
9) The Best Of Me
8) I, Frankenstein
7) Left Behind
6) Paranormal Activity — The Marked Ones
5) The Legend of Hercules
4) Transformers: The Age of Extinction
3) A Million Ways To Die In The West 
2) The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story

And finally, without further ado, here is the worst film of 2014!

1)  April Rain

Birdemic 2 April Rain

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting my 10 favorite songs of 2014!

Others Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2014:

  1. Things I Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of My Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best of SyFy and Lifetime

Here Are The 79 Songs That Could Win An Oscar!


Okay, this new is really late but, as always, better late than never!

Last Friday, the Academy announced that 79 songs had been judged to be eligible to be nominated for Best Original Song!

Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I love long lists and playing “what if.”  Quite a few Oscar commentators have said that Patty Smith is so obviously going to win the Oscar for her song from Noah that it’s pointless to even speculate about anyone else.  Well, that may indeed be the case but hey, it’s still fun to look at all of these possibilities and wonder “What if…”  Speculation is never pointless, as long as it’s fun.

“It’s On Again” from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″
“Opportunity” from “Annie”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes”
“Immortals” from “Big Hero 6″
“The Apology Song” from “The Book of Life”
“I Love You Too Much” from “The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls Song” from “The Boxtrolls”
“Quattro Sabatino” from “The Boxtrolls”
“Ryan’s Song” from “Boyhood”
“Split The Difference” from “Boyhood”
“No Fate Awaits Me” from “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them”
“Brave Souls” from “Dolphin Tale 2″
“You Got Me” from “Dolphin Tale 2″
“All Our Endless Love” from “Endless Love”
“Let Me In” from “The Fault in Our Stars”
“Not About Angels” from “The Fault in Our Stars”
“Until The End” from “Garnet’s Gold”
“It Just Takes A Moment” from “Girl on a Bicycle”
“Last Stop Paris” from “Girl on a Bicycle”
“Ordinary Human” from “The Giver”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
“Find A Way” from “The Good Lie”
“Color The World” from “The Hero of Color City”
“The Last Goodbye” from “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Chariots” from “The Hornet’s Nest”
“Follow Me” from “The Hornet’s Nest”
“Something To Shoot For” from “Hot Guys with Guns”


“For The Dancing And The Dreaming” from “How to Train Your Dragon 2″
“Afreen” from “The Hundred-Foot Journey”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
“Heart Like Yours” from “If I Stay”
“I Never Wanted To Go” from “If I Stay”
“Mind” from “If I Stay”
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
“Call Me When You Find Yourself” from “Life Inside Out”
“Coming Back To You” from “Life of an Actress The Musical”
“The Life Of An Actress” from “Life of an Actress The Musical”
“Sister Rust” from “Lucy”


“You Fooled Me” from “Merchants of Doubt”
“Million Dollar Dream” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“Spreading The Word/Makhna” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“We Could Be Kings” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“A Million Ways To Die” from “A Million Ways to Die in the West”
“Way Back When” from “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”
“America For Me” from “A Most Violent Year”
“I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo In Malibu)” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“Something So Right” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“We’re Doing A Sequel” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“Mercy Is” from “Noah”
“Seeds” from “Occupy the Farm”
“Grant My Freedom” from “The One I Wrote for You”
“The One I Wrote For You” from “The One I Wrote for You”


“Hal” from “Only Lovers Left Alive”
“Shine” from “Paddington”
“Still I Fly” from “Planes: Fire & Rescue”
“Batucada Familia” from “Rio 2″
“Beautiful Creatures” from “Rio 2″
“Poisonous Love” from “Rio 2″
“What Is Love” from “Rio 2″
“Over Your Shoulder” from “Rudderless”
“Sing Along” from “Rudderless”
“Stay With You” from “Rudderless”
“Everyone Hides” from “St. Vincent”
“Why Why Why” from “St. Vincent”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“The Morning” from “A Small Section of the World”
“Special” from “Special”
“Gimme Some” from “#Stuck”
“The Only Thing” from “Third Person”
“Battle Cry” from “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
“Miracles” from “Unbroken”


“Summer Nights” from “Under the Electric Sky”
“We Will Not Go” from “Virunga”
“Heavenly Father” from “Wish I Was Here”
“So Now What” from “Wish I Was Here”
“Long Braid” from “Work Weather Wife”
“Moon” from “Work Weather Wife”

Begin_Again_film_poster_2014

Here Are The Houston Film Critics Nominations!


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I love it when groups from my home state make their voice known.  Here are the Houston Film Critics nominations!

Best Picture
A Most Violent Year, A24 Films
Birdman, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Boyhood, IFC Films
Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel
Inherent Vice, Warner Bros.
Nightcrawler, Open Road Films
Selma
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Imitation Game, The Weinstein Compaany
Whiplash, Sony Pictures Classics

Director
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Actor
Bendict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Eddie Redmayne, Theory Of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Tom Hardy, Locke

Actress
Essie Davis, The Babadook
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Supporting Actor
Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Supporting Actress
Emma Stone, Birdman
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Kiera Knightley, The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

Screenplay
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., Armando Bo; Birdman
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budpest Hotel

Animated
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Book of Love
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Hoyte van Hoytema, Interstellar
Robert Elswit, Nightcrawler
Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Documentary
Citizenfour
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Life Itself
The Overnighters

Foreign
Force Majeure
Ida
Leviathan
The Raid 2
Two Days, One Night

Original Score
Alexander Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Antonio Sánchez, Birdman
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Johann Johannson, The Theory of Everything

Original Song
Big Eyes, Big Eyes
Everything is Awesome, The Lego Movie
Glory, Selma
I’m Not Going to Miss You, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Lost Stars, Begin Again

Texas Independent Film Award
Above All Else
Boyhood
Hellion
Joe
No No: A Dockumentary
Stop the Pounding Heart

Best Poster
Birdman
Godzilla, IMAX
Guardians of the Galaxy, Primary Theatrical
Inherent Vice
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Technical Achievement
Birdman – Creation of single long take for bulk of film
Boyhood – Filming over 12 years
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – creation of ape characters

Worst Film of the Year
Blended
Dumb and Dumber To
Left Behind
The Identical
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Here are the 10 Semi-finalists for The Best Visual Effects Oscar!


Guardians of the Galaxy

Earlier today, the Academy announced the 10 semi-finalists for this year’s Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Not on the list: Noah, Exodus, Edge of Tomorrow, or April Rain.

Here’s what made the cut:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Godzilla

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Interstellar

Maleficent

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Transformers: Age of Extinction

X-Men: Days of Future Past

BW and CA

Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “Transformers : Age Of Extinction”


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You can accuse Michael Bay of many things — overblown spectacle, formulaic hackery, using CGI as a massive crutch, general lack of anything resembling original vision — but false advertising ins’t among them : when you go see a Bay-directed flick, particularly a Bay-directed Transfomers flick, you know exactly  what you’re in for.

Oh, sure, his latest — Transformers : Age Of Extinction — alters the basic cosmetic trappings somewhat, most notably by banishing Shia LaBeouf to whatever hell for dead careers Megan Fox was earlier castigated to in favor of proven “action hero” star Mark Wahlberg, and yeah, Stanley Tucci is about the only major holdover (as far as human beings go) from previous entries in this series (look for more newcomers in the form of Kelsey Grammer and Nicola Peltz as Wahlberg’s daughter), but this is no reboot, by any stretch.

For one thing, the story continues directly on from the previous efforts, with the Transformers having been “driven underground,” so to speak, thanks to a government witch-hunt until no less than Optimus Prime himself is discovered and “resurrected” by Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager (there’s a focus-group-tested name if I’ve ever heard one) character, who —

Oh, fuck it. Does this even matter? Does even the most hard-core fan of this franchise — and that’s precisely what it is, a franchise — care what the plots of these films are about? If so, you have to feel a sort of pity for them, because Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger (who was supposed to be the “next big thing” once upon a time for a few minutes there) clearly don’t. Every single “slow” or “quiet” scene is obviously just set-up to carry us into the next big CGI set piece, so we won’t waste our time here with a terribly detailed breakdown of the story. Sound fair?

Transformers-4-Age-of-Extinction-Mark-Wahlberg-Jack-Reynor-and-Nicola-Pelt

All in all, Transformers : Age Of Extinction is all about getting the job done, slapping the finished product up on the screen, and opening up those cash register drawers. In that respect — and that one only — you’ve gotta say “mission accomplished” here. This movie is making money hand over fist and evidently the public’s appetite for more and more robo-carnage is proving to be flat-out insatiable. We apparently love this shit.

The question I have is — who’s “we”? Like the ever-ephemeral “they” of “well, they say you should — ” and “they say it’s not good for you to —” fame, the target audience for these films eludes me. I don’t like ’em. Nobody I know likes ’em. Nobody whose reviews I read online likes ’em. Nobody anywhere seems to like ’em.

And yet there it is — an 87% CinemaScore rating and another sequel already germinating somewhere in the pipeline. How, exactly, does this happen?

transformers-age-of-extinction-trailer

The short answer is — I don’t know. There’s obviously an appreciative audience for these things out there somewhere, but I can’t figure out where it is, beyond perhaps in junior high schoolyards. That’s not enough to explain the phenomenon, though. I know it’s purely anecdotal, but when I went to see this film, the theater had maybe 30 or 40 people in it, and the crowd remained silent throughout. No clapping and cheering. No gasping in awe. No chuckles at the limp one-liners. And yet it wasn’t a rapturous, devotional silence these folks were in the midst of — it was just a kind of “blah” sense of resignation. We were here. This was happening. Everything, apparently, was as it should be. Until the end credits rolled, and we all left to do whatever it is we were  supposed to do next.

And maybe that’s the genius and/or malevolence of what Bay and company have come up with here in a nutshell : Tranfromers movies, for all their empty-hearted and empty-headed spectacle, aren’t huge pop culture events anymore. But a lot of us — myself included — keep going to them because they’re supposed to be. And we’re supposed to be there for them. It’s almost like a kind of Orwellian mass conditioning going on : we’re told this is a big deal and, lemmings that we are, we don’t want to miss out on that. Final score : Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures 1, hope for humanity 0.

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Pessimistic? Sure. But is there any reason not to be? A family of four left the theater at exactly the same time I did and their car was parked right next to mine. We followed the same route for a few blocks (I wasn’t purposely tailing them, I promise!) — until they pulled into a McDonald’s. And that pretty much says it all right there.

Trailer: Transformers: Age of Extinction (Official)


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I know, I know, another Transformers extravaganza coming this summer. As if the last two wasn’t enough to swear me off the franchise. Well, guess what this one doesn’t have any of the actors from the first three and drops in a whole bunch of new ones to play war with the aforementioned robots who are more than meets the eye.

Instead of Shia LaBeouf in the lead role screaming like the most unheroic lead ever we get the manly man Mark Walhberg himself playing a Texas dad out to protect his daughter from the men in black while jump starting a rusted Optimus Prime on his spare time.

This fourth film looks to be a new start for the franchise that we all thought ended with a bang and a whimper with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but there were still more Transformers that never made it to the bigscreen and what better way to do that than make a fourth. So, it looks like fans finally get Grimlock and the Dinobots plus a Decepticon that looks to be Galvatron.

Again, I will be seeing this (it’s like the scifi blockbuster version of Saw) just for the fact that it doesn’t have Shia LaBeouf for people to listen to scream shrilly every two or three minutes. Plus, it has Optimus Prime wrestling and then riding Grimlock.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is ready to make our eyes explode on June 27, 2014.