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Feb. 21st, 2008

King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

So . . .

76 hours and counting. ;)

And I'm still two movies shy! I don't think it's going to happen. I'm not going to be able to see "I'm Not There" or "The Kite Runner." And I was so bloody close!!!!!
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Jan. 22nd, 2008

Dio time to go.

opiate1138

Opiate1138, aka the Great Kreskin

I shall now compare my predictions to the official nominee list. Don't make fun of me.Collapse )
OK, nerdery finished until 02/24. Unless they are postponed due to strikage.

Oh, and hey! I did pretty good with seeing all of them. The Savages and The Diving Bell might throw wrenches into my progress, but I only need to see:
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Netflix)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Netflix)
The Savages
I'm Not There
American Gangster (Cheap Theater)
Gone Baby Gone (Netflix)
The Golden Compass (Cheap Theater)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Bourne Ultimatum (Netflix)
The Kite Runner (that's a maybe. only one nomination, and not showing for much longer)
Across the Universe is not on my list. Bah.
King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

Oscar Predictions

I posted this in my regular journal yesterday, but totally forgot to cross post it. :)

Cut for giant nerd-out.Collapse )

Oct. 1st, 2007

King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

Reviews of potentials

Wow. I went to see "Eastern Promises" two weekends ago, and saw "In the Valley of Elah" yesterday. I was way more psyched for EP, but ItVoE just blew me away.

Eastern Promises will be much more appreciated if you go into it knowing absolutely nothing. Some of the press is a bit misleading, and I won't spoil it here. Viggo Mortenson does deserve all the rave reviews he's getting, but Vincent Cassell deserves some praise as well. He was brilliant. I think the reason I'm so impressed with Cronenberg's latest two is because I did not appreciate the older stuff at all. Bleh. The story was great here, and there were a couple jaw-dropping moments, but I really wish I had gone in blind.

In the Valley of Elah. New Paul Haggis flick. I don't even know where to start. Well, Tommy Lee Jones is so heartbreaking in this. I don't know that I've ever seen him in something where he wasn't a wisecracking good ol' boy type of character. There's one line, one tone of voice that has made Jones one of my new favorites. I always liked him, but now I have the utmost respect. Susan Sarandon does not have a huge part, but a very effective one nonetheless.

Critics are saying that this is much less "THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE! YOU SHOULD THINK THIS WAY TOO!" than "Crash" was. I think I agree, but if someone walks out of the theater getting a different message than I did, I think it would be safe to say that they didn't understand what they just watched. It's a bleak movie, but there are glimpses of hope through realization. Probably the best movie I've seen this year.

Aug. 25th, 2007

King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

On to October . . .

Grace is Gone. Everyone's favorite everyman is all growed up. Let's face facts - even straight dudes have a crush on John Cusack. He's not Brad Pitt. He's not Anthony Hopkins. He's us. This is a topical tear-jerker, and I hope it makes him HUGE.

Michael Clayton. I have to admit that the plot synopsis I've read has left me a bit befuddled, but it's a legal drama with some kick-ass names attached. Tilda Swanton FTW.

October 12
Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Can a sequel to such a critical bohemoth tread the same waters? Francis Ford Coppola would say "fuck yeah it can!" So what the hell - I will too. I can see all kinds of nods coming from this one, including my first official pick for a Best Picture nominee.

October 19
Reservation Road. Brilliant actors telling a story of great loss and its aftermath. In an earlier post, I said when Sean Penn grows up, he is going to be Clint Eastwood. Well, I think Joaquin Phoenix is going to grow up to be Sean Penn. And I'll state my controversial opinion here and now - Joaquin is a thousand times the actor his brother was.

Gone Baby Gone. Ben Affleck's directorial debut. Seriously. And you know - good for him! "Hollywoodland" made me like Affleck again - a lot. Another Casey Affleck vehicle, but we've got Ed Harris to boot. Sweet!

October 26
Rails and Ties. Kevin Bacon got screwed for "Murder in the First." I like Kevin Bacon. Another tearjerker/redemption type story, but I think it looks very interesting.

Slipstream. A movie within a movie movie, writted (?!!?) and directed by Anthony Hopkins. Woot! I read a comment that this is a classic "mess with your head movie." I'm already a fan.

Things We Lost in the Fire. More forbidden love and struggles with addiction. But . . . Benecio Del Toro. David Duchovny. And . . . Halle Berry? I'm so totally on the fence when it comes to Halle Barry. Monster's Ball was the shit, but I think that was more part than actress. We'll see.
King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

We interrupt this regularly scheduled community . . .

Since the movies I've seen so far haven't made me jump for joy, and since I feel I've been neglection my brainchild, I've decided to make an Oscar '07 prediction post. I'm keeping an eye on a bunch of movies, some I just really want to see, some I think look like typical Oscar fodder. So here, in order of their release date, are my suspects.

September 7:
The Hunting Party. It's a black comedy, and nothing funny usually gets too much attention from ye ole Academy. But - this one stars Richard Gere and has a politically charged plot. Thought provoking + funny? You never know . . .

Fierce People. Single mom struggling with addiction. Forbidden love. Based on a novel. The stars are certainly not the media's A-list, but all are respected and consistent. I like Anton Yelchin a lot. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

3:10 to Yuma. First off, let me say that Christian Bale is set to become the next . . . well . . . Russell Crowe. Only better, in this poster's humble opinion. :) Based on an Elmore Leonard short story, this looks like it might take a lot of nods. Westerns are few and far between these days, and when they do well, they do really well. "Unforgiven," anyone? Wouldn't it be great to see Christian Bale nominated for two roles? This, and Rescue Dawn, which I friggin' missed in the theaters. At any rate, this looks like the kind of pleaser that gets recognition for acting, score, cinematography, adaptation, direction, art direction maybe . . . Oscar candy. Ha!

Septmeber 14
Eastern Promises. Cronenberg used to be a bit too icky for the sake of being icky for me. But I LOVED "A History of Violence," and now Cronenberg has admitted in so many words that he was starting to bore himself, and is now a more "traditional" route. Works for me. Viggo Mortenson - he has total potential to become a "superstar," yet he hasn't. And I kind of like that. Vincent Cassel? SWEET.

The Brave One. OK. Silence of the Lambs was tits. But what made it stand out so much? What made it rise above a typical thriller to become one of only three movies to ever sweep the main awards? I daresay it was the acting and directing. Sure, the book was good, but that doesn't really mean a whole lot in the long run. It's really easy to fuck up a good book. I think Jodi Foster is the type of actor that can take anything to another level. So while this could just be a pissed-off-chick movie, I think she'll rock it.

Silk. Lush foreign locations. Forbidden love crossing language bariers. Based on a respected novella. Pssht. Need I say more?

Across the Universe. This is some weird Beatles musical, and it can go one of two way - I see no in-between; briliance, or suckitude. From what I've read, it's a bit avant-gardey, and I am always a bit skeptical of avant-garde. I think it has the largest cast listing I've ever seen on IMDb. But, it's directed by Julie Taymor, who I think is cool. :) So we'll see.

September 21
Into the Wild.GINORMOUS SPOILER BEHIND CUTCollapse ) Sean Penn is going to grow up to be Clint Eastwood, and that's awesome.

Trade. A "message" film featuring Kevin Kline, who I really love. The particular message projected in this film would seem to be that "sex slaves are bad." While it looks like an incredibly powerful flick, not only its subject - Mexican trading of child sex slaves - but also its content (which I will not spoil in this post) might hurt its mainstream appeal. Screw it - we don't need no stinking masses.

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Another character driven western, it seems, this one with a goliath of a cast. Yay Casey Affleck!

September 28
Lust, Caution. An erotic espionage thriller period piece directed by Ang Lee. Win.

The Kingdom I don't know about this one. I really like Peter Berg, but this just looks like it could come out a giant turd. None of the actors shout out at me, and the plot is al right, but it looks like someone said "Hey! Let's set it in Iraq to make it edgier and current eventier!"

Jul. 30th, 2007

King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

A few more oldies . . .

I'm trying to be fair in my judgement of these early movies, but MAN can they be hard to watch. Since I'm having a hard time with it, I pretty much only keep historical factors in mind when I'm watching.

The next flicks in line:

Anna Christie. I believe this was one of Greta Garbo's first "talkie" pictures. She really was amazing . . . I think this has been my favorite movie to watch so far. The acting was nice all around, and the sound and the print were both very nice. Much nicer than the other flicks I've seen so far. I imagine that Anna's "secret" was pretty taboo and controversial back in this movie's day, which raises my appreciation level, too. :)

All Quiet on the Western Front. I read this book many many years ago, and I remember it affecting more than this movie did. But when I think back on the movie, it really does play up the youth of the soldiers being sent off. I don't know that I've seen too many war movies that really focus on that end of things. I can imagine how moving these images were when the movie came out, and I wonder if Clint Eastwood took a thought or two into consideration for "Letters from Iwo Jima."

Hallelujah. Wow. Where to begin with this one . . . I was entranced by this movie more than any of the others so far, but not always for the best reasons. It began with a disclaimer. "Some of the images you see in this movie are considered terrible by today's standards . . . but to alter the film in any way would be to pretend that racism never existed" - which I wholly agree with. Just because it was wrong doesn't mean we should go back and sweep the dirt under the rug, eh? But then the movie started and my jaw dropped. Oh. My. God. Like, it was so bad I wanted to shut my blinds. It wasn't quite up to "Birth of a Nation" bad, but it was still embarassing, as a white chick, to realize that people really used to think this way (I know - they still do. Ick). I mean, short of eating a watermelon there wree more stereotypical presumptions about black people than you could shake a stick at. OH! And here's the kicker - this was the first Hollywood all-black cast production. In the opening credits, the crew was listed first. The crew!! Can you think of any other movie where the crew is listed before the cast? ACK. It took me about 45 minutes to get over the shock and try and watch the movie from an objective point of view. I was able to appreciate the music and dancing, and the weight of the spiritual scenes. This movie fell into the same "WTF" issue I'm getting . . . dude falls in love just 'cause a woman is hot. She's a snake, a backstabber, but she's pretty, so he loves her anyway. I wish I had rented the second disc, because I would have liked to have seen the footage of the actress that played "Chick."

With Byrd at the South Pole. After seeing "Hallelujah," it's really impossible to comment on this one. It was pretty boring.

Jun. 20th, 2007

King of All Cosmos

opiate1138

The first few . . .

There's a large hurdle to jump for these first few years in Oscar history; none of the movies are available. Of all the nominees from the first ceremony, only one was available on Netflix, and only two were available from the second ceremony. I've started a special queue on Netflix for all these flicks, and I've added up into the '40's, probably. The ratio is getting better, but I'd still say that one in five movies has yet to be released on DVD. Gr. I probably won't make many posts for these first few years . . . maybe only one every three movies or so, which brings me to:

"Tempest" (Winner, Best Art Direction, 1929), "In Old Arizona" (Winner, Best Actor - Warner Baxter, nominee for Best Writing, Directing, and Picture), and "The Broadway Meloday of 1929" (Winner, Best Actress - Bessie Love, Best Picture, and nominee for Best Director).

Tempest: The story of a peasant risen to the ranks in the Russian army. He falls in love with a woman of elevated social status, and that love is not reciprocated. He is jailed, but after the revolution he is a leader and the tables are turned.
I don't have a lot of experience with silent film. I've seen and love "Metropolis," and I've seen (and also enjoyed) a few Charlie Chaplin comedies. I've stayed away from silent drama, because I always assumed the worst; fright wigs, hilarious facial expressions and overacting . . . this was not the case with "Tempest." I was pleasantly surprised. John Barrymore was great, as were all of the male actors, but I did think that the female lead was a bit over the top. This edition was apparently a direct transfer, and a lot of the people on Netflix complained about the scratchy quality, but I thought it lent a little nostalgia to the experience. The scratches didn't bother me at all. This version had the original organ score performed on piano, which was nice. But I think I would've liked to have heard the organ accompaniment. There was also some playful camera work - something else I didn't expect from such an old film. My only beef is this is that I never fully understood why John Barrymore's Ivan was so in love. Camilla Horn's character was horrible - an ugly (on the inside) hateful woman. She was awful to him, yet he loved her with all his heart. I don't care if it was 1929 - love based on nothing but beauty doesn't do much for me, so it was a little hard to be sympathetic to the characters.

In Old Arizona: The first "talkie" western (or close to it). The story of a Mexican and an American soldier competing for the love of a duplicitous woman.
Ugh. I didn't appreciate this movie AT ALL. This one filled all the stereotypes I've held in regards to early cinema. Bad wigs, HORRIBLE pancake makeup, as well as bad stereotypes. Warner Baxter plays the Mexican, with makeup that makes our artifical tanning lotion look as natural as can be. And let's not forget the accent, which shifts in and out and, even to someone that is not easily offended like me, actually made me a little uncomfortable to watch. The female lead had a terrible wig, and an accent to match. The sound quality made watching and understanding very difficult - the mix was terrible, but the print was actually pretty nice. I'm glad I saw this, but only for historical reasons. :)

The Broadway Meloday of 1929: This is an example of something I needed to prepare for: the Hollywood Musical. I've never been a fan of musicals . . . and there are about to be A LOT of them in my future. But "The Broadway Melody" wasn't what comes to mind when I think "musical." There were songs, but no big choreographed numbers . . . it was much simpler. This was the very first "musical," I think - definitely the first to win Best Picture. The acting was nice (Bessie Love in profile looks so much like Gillian Anderson it's not even funny, by the way), the plot was not to whimsy. I do think that the repetition of songs was a little silly, but overall it was a fun watch.