My Oscar Picks For The 89th Annual Academy Awards

I say this pretty much every year lately but I really don’t care about the Oscar nominees & winners anymore. The Academy is so out of touch with the general public’s opinion. Okay – I admit to being a film snob so, when I say “general public”, I mean us crazy fans of cinema. I mean people like you guys, my fellow movie bloggers. We should be the Oscar voters! 😉 If we left it up to only the general public & box office take, Oscars would go to shit like Fifty Shades. But that would still almost be better than going to undeserving movies that usually win because of behind the scenes Hollywood politics.

I’ll still watch the show, though, like I have for many many years now. I even continued watching it after moving to the UK, even though it means I have to stay up all night since it’s on in the middle of the night here. Why do I do it?! I dunno. Tradition, I guess.

I also do this post every year although, once again, I’ve seen hardly any of the nominees. Only two of the Best Picture nominees! Out of eight?? That’s pathetic, I know. To be fair, we were once again a bit screwed over in the UK. Hidden Figures & Moonlight have only been out for a week here and I’ve not had a chance to go to them. I badly wanted to see Manchester By The Sea & wanted to see Portman in Jackie but they had limited showings at a time I was too busy. As always, these Oscar-worthy films get pretty quickly replaced by more mainstream films so, if you don’t get to them right away, you’re out of luck. I like the sound of Lion so will watch it eventually and I’m kind of kicking myself for not watching Hell Or High Water after the hubby went to it & said it was really good. I may have the evening to myself so am tempted to rent it tonight…

I’ll give a quick list of links to my reviews of all the nominated movies that I’ve actually seen. Haha! Looking at it now, it’s a funny list. How obvious is it that, if you have kids, they rule your life?? And I wouldn’t change that for the world! 🙂 It just means that I’ve seen pretty much every kids’ film nomininated for anything. Including that stupid Trolls movie. Yeah. Trolls is up for an Oscar but Amy Adams isn’t. Screw you, Academy!

After that, I’ll list all the nominees for each category and what I WANT to win each Oscar and what I think WILL win each Oscar. And I’m certainly making no bets this year – I’m completely clueless and uninformed. Again, though, I just do this out of tradition I guess. And, as always, I pick my favorite sounding title from things like the documentaries & shorts because I know NOTHING about any of them. 😉 Especially this year. Yep – I fully admit it. If the Oscar clips make them look good, though, I’ll then look into them.

Here we go! And I’m happy to hear opinions from those of you who watched more than just kids’ films last year. 😉 And if Arrival wins EVERYTHING like it should, I may take back all my bitchy comments about The Academy. (It won’t)

All The Nominees I’ve Seen:

Arrival
La La Land
Nocturnal Animals
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Zootopia
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
Trolls
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book
Piper

NOMINEES:

Best Picture:
Arrival (WANT!!!!!)
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land (WILL)
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle, La La Land (WILL)
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (WANT!!!)
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Best Actor:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (WANT & WILL)
Denzel Washington, Fences
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Best Actress:
Emma Stone, La La Land
Natalie Portman, Jackie (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Dev Patel, Lion (WILL)
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (WANT)

Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis, Fences (WILL)
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (WANT)
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Fences
Lion
Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay:
Manchester by the Sea (WILL)
La La Land
Hell or High Water (WANT)
The Lobster
20th Century Women

Best Foreign Language Film:
Toni Erdmann (WANT & WILL)
The Salesman
Land of Mine
Tanna
A Man Called Ove

Best Documentary Feature:
O.J.: Made in America
13th
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated (WANT & WILL. Why? I like the name the most. I don’t know what any of these are about. Although I assume the first one is about O.J. Simpson??)

Best Animated Feature:
Zootopia (If this wins, I’m gonna throw something at the TV)
Kubo and the Two Strings (WANT)
The Red Turtle
My Life As a Zucchini
Moana (WILL)

Best Film Editing:
La La Land (WILL)
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT)
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water

Best Original Song:
“City of Stars,” La La Land (WILL)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls (WANT, although the movie sucks ass)
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story

Best Original Score:
La La Land (WILL)
Lion
Jackie
Moonlight
Passengers (WANT. Not seen it but Thomas Newman deserves an Oscar.)

Best Cinematography:
La La Land
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Silence
Lion

Best Costume Design:
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Allied
Jackie (WANT & WILL)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Star Trek Beyond
A Man Called Ove
Suicide Squad (WANT & WILL)

Best Production Design:
La La Land (WILL)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
Arrival (WANT)
Passengers

Best Sound Editing:
Hacksaw Ridge
Arrival (WANT & WILL)
Deepwater Horizon
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Arrival (WANT & WILL)
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Visual Effects:
The Jungle Book (WILL)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (WANT)
Kubo and the Two Strings (Also Want)
Doctor Strange
Deepwater Horizon

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Timecode (WANT & WILL. Yeah, I’ve just chosen the most interesting sounding title again.)
Silent Nights
La Femme et le TGV
Ennemis Interieurs
Sing

Best Short Film, Animated:
Piper (WANT & WILL) (Very unlikely it will but it’s the only one I’ve seen & it’s adorable.)
Pearl
Borrowed Time
Blind Vaysha
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Best Documentary, Short Subject:
Joe’s Violin
The White Helmets
Extremis (WANT & WILL. And, again, I’ve just chosen a title I like…)
Watani: My Homeland
4.1 Miles

Music Video Friday: Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger (1982 Oscar Nominee)

Today’s Oscar nominated song is Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger from the film Rocky III.

I’ve ended up only doing three of these Oscar Song posts (I figured I better review Deadpool instead one Friday so I scrapped Eminem’s Lose Yourself). I’ve missed out on a lot of great nominees & winners. Oh well – I’ll post more at Oscars-time next year!

Last week I talked about Aimee Mann’s Save Me and the one I kicked things off with was Irene Cara’s Flashdance…What A Feeling. Let’s face it – Eye Of The Tiger is the equivalent of Flashdance… What A Feeling for boys so it made sense to talk about this one now. Plus, of course, Sylvester Stallone is up for an Oscar this Sunday for his role in Creed. No, I’ve not seen Creed since I’ve never even seen any of the Rocky films. Yeah, yeah – I know I should. Hey – at least I’ve seen Flashdance so I’ve seen the girl version of Rocky anyway! 😉 Without all the unnecessary hitting.

Eye Of The Tiger lost out to Up Where We Belong from An Officer And A Gentleman. That’s fair enough – that’s a good song and worthy winner. But it’s not as well-known and iconic today. Eye Of The Tiger may be a piece of 80’s cheese but who doesn’t know it and who doesn’t immediately think of Rocky when they hear it (even when they’ve not even seen the movies)?? I miss cheesy, uplifting 80’s songs like these. I can’t say this is an all-time favorite song but it usually puts a smile on my face and makes me want to punch something (in a happy way!).

Does he seriously train by punching meat? Lol! And people make fun of similar movies like Flashdance?! Hopefully the meat thing is in one of the non-Best-Picture-Winner sequels. And I really hope Eye Of The Tiger was used in one of those long, silly montages that only ever worked in 80’s films. God I love those! Push it to the limit!

Anyway, I read on Wikipedia that Stallone asked Survivor to do a song for the movie as he originally wanted Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust to be the theme song but they didn’t give their permission. That’s good – I like that song and think it would’ve been ruined for me being associated with a Rocky movie. Besides, Eye Of The Tiger ended up being the perfect fit.

Onto the video: Wow – no expense was spared! Are those garbage bags behind the band?? I like how they have fans blowing on them to make a cool effect. Ha! A+ for effort on what I assume was a very low budget. GOD I love the Eighties…. 🙂

My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners (And Bottom Five!)

I’m continuing my Oscar-themed week with this list of my favorite (and least-favorite!) Best Picture Oscar winners.

The Academy does quite often get things very wrong (especially in recent years) but when looking at a list of all the winners, there are indeed a lot of true classics here that I’d highly recommend to everyone.

I have my little IMDB project where I’m trying to watch all the IMDB Top 250 Films so I’m not about to start attempting to watch all the Best Picture Winners. However, when making this list, I discovered that I’ve already seen 47 so I guess that isn’t too bad! So I ranked them ALL (because I’m sad like that). But I’ll of course focus on the top ten.

So now, counting down to My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners, these are all of them that I’ve seen ranked from least favorite to favorite. My Bottom Five list will follow this one…

Chicago
Birdman
Oliver!
Out Of Africa
On The Waterfront
Driving Miss Daisy
Chariots Of Fire
Dances With Wolves
Unforgiven
A Beautiful Mind
Argo
Braveheart
My Fair Lady
All About Eve
The Best Years Of Our Lives
The Silence Of The Lambs
Rebecca
West Side Story
Gladiator
Amadeus
Forrest Gump
Ben-Hur
Rain Man
Casablanca
Gone With The Wind
The Sting

We’re getting there… 😉

15. Terms Of Endearment
14. Platoon
13. The Deer Hunter
12. The Departed
11. Titanic

My Top Ten Best Picture Winners:

10. American Beauty

9. Schindler’s List

8. Midnight Cowboy

7. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

6. The Apartment

5. The Artist

4. TIE: The Godfather & The Godfather Part II (it made more sense to keep them together but I slightly prefer the first film)

3. The Bridge On The River Kwai

2. The Sound Of Music

1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

I absolutely love Cuckoo’s Nest – it’s very easily my number one favorite. 🙂

And now is when I’m going to be a bitch! Here are My Bottom Five Best Picture Oscar Winners (Counting down to the very worst):

5. Crash
4. Ordinary People (it beat Raging Bull & The Elephant Man!)
3. Shakespeare In Love (it famously beat Saving Private Ryan)
2. Slumdog Millionaire
1. The English Patient


*yawn!*

It was fun making this list! I really should try to watch more Oscar winners – I seem to especially have not seen many of the winners from the past decade or so. I’d love to hear all of your favorite & least favorite Best Pictures in the comments now! 🙂

My Oscar Picks For The 88th Annual Academy Awards

Well, I guess it’s time to pick who I think will win Oscars this year! I don’t take this too seriously as I don’t know anyone who is into having an “Oscar Party” or anything like that. But this is a movie blog so I figure I better at least do this on here. 🙂

To make it more fun, I’ll also choose what I want to win each category (which is quite often different from what I think will win). Here’s a quick list of the nominees that I’ve seen & links to my reviews:

Room – 9/10
Mad Max: Fury Road – 9/10
The Martian – 7.5/10
The Revenant – 7.5/10
Spotlight – 7/10
The Big Short – 5.5/10
Steve Jobs – 7/10
Inside Out – 8.5/10
Ex Machina – 8/10
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 9/10
Cinderella – 7/10

Okay, for each category I’ll put WANT for the ones I want to win & WILL for the ones that I think really will win. Here we go!

2016 Oscar Nominees

Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
WANT – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
WILL – “The Revenant”
ALSO WANT – “Room”
“Spotlight”

Best Director
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
WILL – Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
WANT – Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
WANT & WILL – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
WANT & WILL – Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
WANT – Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
WILL – Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Supporting Actress
WANT – Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
WILL – Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Original Screenplay
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
WANT – “Inside Out”
WILL – “Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Best Adapted Screenplay
WILL – “The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“Carol”
“The Martian”
WANT – “Room”

Best Foreign Film (I have zero knowledge of these so am just choosing the name I like the most) 😉
WANT & WILL – “Embrace of the Serpent”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”
“Theeb”
“A War”

Best Documentary Feature (again… I know nothing!)
“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
WANT & WILL – “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best Animated Feature
“Anomalisa”
“Boy and the World”
WANT & WILL – “Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Best Film Editing
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
WILL – “The Revenant”
“Spotlight”
WANT – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Song
“Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Racing Extinction”
“Spectre” (ugh)
WILL – “The Hunting Ground”
WANT? – (I know none of these songs but the Bond one sucks) “Youth”

Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies”
“Carol”
WANT & WILL – “The Hateful Eight”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Digital Effects
“Ex Machina”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
WANT & WILL – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Cinematography
“Carol”
“The Hateful Eight”
WANT – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
WILL – “The Revenant”
“Sicario”

Best Costume Design
“Carol”
“Cinderella”
“The Danish Girl”
WANT & WILL – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
WANT & WILL – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”
“The Revenant”

Best Production Design
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
WANT & WILL – “Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Best Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
WILL – “The Revenant”
“Sicario”
WANT – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
WILL – “The Revenant”
WANT – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Short Film, Live Action (choosing the title I like!)
“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”
“Shok”
WANT & WILL – “Stutterer”

Best Short Film, Animated (choosing the title again!)
“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
WANT – “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
WILL – “World of Tomorrow”

Best Documentary Short Subject (choosing the title… again!) 😉
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann”
WANT & WILL – “A Girl in the River”
“Last Day of Freedom”

Music Video Friday: Aimee Mann – Save Me (1999 Oscar Nominee)

Today’s Oscar nominated song is Aimee Mann’s Save Me from the film Magnolia.

Ah, Magnolia… That was a weird one, wasn’t it? I watched it at the time and I liked it a lot (especially the ending) but I’ve not watched it since and it’s one where I wonder if I’d just find it pretentious now in my bitter old age. However, I still love the Magnolia soundtrack! Okay, the use of Supertramp helped a lot but I also really liked the Aimee Mann songs even though I’m very rarely a fan of the singer/songwriter thing.

I suppose I liked Mann’s voice thanks to ‘Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry (ha – I loved that video! her boyfriend was such an asshole). But, from Magnolia, I preferred Wise Up – I think it’s weird that Save Me was nominated instead of that one considering that was the one used for the movie’s big sing-along.

Phil Collins actually won the Oscar in 1999 for You’ll Be in My Heart from Tarzan. Meh – it’s okay for your typical, lame 1990’s Phil Collins song but it didn’t deserve the win. Besides Save Me, the other nominees were Music Of My Heart, Blame Canada & When She Loved Me. Okay, I admit that I don’t know Music Of My Heart but I’d choose all the others over the Collins song. And, let’s be honest, the one that most deserved to win was When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2! Come on – you know you’re all feeling tearful now just thinking about Jesse being abandoned. 😦

But Save Me deserved its nomination & I’m glad a soundtrack I really like got some recognition. Like the movie, the video was also directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. During the filming of the movie, he’d have the actors stay in place while he filmed Mann performing next to them. Yeah, I read that at Wikipedia – I thought they’d inserted her into the scenes later with special effects magic. I also love this little tidbit at Wikipedia:

“By way of introduction to a live performance, Mann has referred to Save Me as “the song that lost an Oscar to Phil Collins and his cartoon monkey love song.” Furthermore, Mann has occasionally dedicated her song to Collins in several different venues, albeit in jest.”

Haha! I’ll now forever think of Phil Collins as the “cartoon monkey love song guy”. Anyway, here’s Aimee Mann’s video for Save Me: 🙂

My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies

As I’ve finally now seen The Martian, which has earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, I thought it was time to do My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies.

Holy hell, when did Matt Damon make so many movies?! I sometimes struggle to scrape together ten movies that I’ve seen for these actor lists but I’ve seen 22 Damon Films (counting the Bournes as one & not counting Field Of Dreams, in which he apparently had an uncredited role as “baseball fan at Fenway Park”. really??).

I’d never have called Matt Damon a favorite actor of mine but I like him just fine. To be honest, I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed him that much (which is why I was surprised when I looked him up & he was listed as being in 74 things). I was happy for the Damon/Affleck Oscar win for Good Will Hunting and how young, dumb, and full of… enthusiasm they were! Look at them accepting their Best Original Screenplay Oscar – they were so sweet:

I have to say I’ve always preferred Matt Damon to Ben Affleck, though. There’s something shifty about that guy! But their relationship has lasted longer than most Hollywood marriages so that’s pretty cool.

There are several Damon movies that I saw but just don’t remember that well (hey – I’m old & I’ve watched a lot of movies). I’ll list them all at the end so you know why they aren’t included. The one I really must admit to not remembering all that much of is Saving Private Ryan. So, I’ve given it an honorable mention to hopefully avoid a riot. I pissed people off enough as it was when I left it out of My Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies. I promise that if I ever re-watch it & think it deserves to be in the ten, I’ll update this list. Yes, I’ve put cameos and super tiny roles above Private Ryan. Sorry! 😉

So here are My Top Ten Matt Damon Movies (not performances) counting down to my favorite:

Honorable Mention (because it’s a worthy war movie & Steven Spielberg rules but I barely remember the film. I hope he got saved!):

Saving Private Ryan

Top Ten:

10. The Bourne Films

9. The Zero Theorem

8. Dogma

7. Mystic Pizza

6. Chasing Amy

5. Ocean’s Eleven

4. The Martian

3. Good Will Hunting

2. The Departed

1. The Adjustment Bureau

The Ones That Didn’t Make The Cut:
Interstellar
Elysium
Contagion
The Majestic
Jersey Girl

The Ones I’d Need To Re-Watch Before I Could Really Include Them In A List:
The Talented Mr Ripley
Courage Under Fire
Rounders
Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind
Hereafter
School Ties

And who doesn’t say “Matt Damon” in this way now whenever they hear his name? He must get sick of people probably still doing that to him. But he apparently found this hilarious because Matt Damon seems like he’s just so damn nice. 🙂

My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

As it looks like Leo may soon *finally* get that Oscar he deserves, I figured it was time for me to do My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies.

DiCaprio would also easily make a list of My Top Ten Actors but, although we’re the same sort of age & I’ve grown up with him since the days of Growing Pains, I never would have called him one of my favorite actors when we were younger. However, I’ve really respected his acting ever since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.


Look at how cute he was in Growing Pains!

I often say that I don’t think Leo got the respect he deserved in the past because he was too much of a pretty boy but I think I was also guilty of feeling that way about him. I mean, look at that baby face he had! It also kept him looking much younger than he really was. And although I have his two big “romance” movies high on my list, I can’t say I ever crushed on him. It was Johnny Depp I had the hots for in things like Gilbert Grape, it was never ever Leo. I just didn’t see him in that way. I think I have a slight crush on him now as an adult, though, with his baby face gone & his starring in proper “grown-up” movies.

Even though I always liked him, I’m not sure when it was that I finally started taking him more seriously. I think it was possibly thanks to Catch Me If You Can & then The Departed. And then, of course, Django Unchained (he really should’ve been up for an Oscar for that role). But, as I ALWAYS say with these lists but will still get asked about it, I’m ranking these according to my favorite films, not Leo’s performances. That list would vary quite a bit, I think (number one would stay the same but I’d have others much higher). I just happen to care about liking a movie first and then I care about the performances. But Leo is great in everything. 

As I’ve already typed out absolutely everything of his that I’ve seen and as he’s been in so many damn good films and only one rather dodgy one, I figured I might as well just rank them all. (And, yes, I like number four. It’s good. I don’t see why some people have a problem with it). So here are My Top Ten Leonardo DiCaprio Movies (including the remaining films as honorable mentions):

Honorable Mentions:

16. Poison Ivy
15. Revolutionary Road
14. The Man In The Iron Mask
13. Shutter Island
12. The Great Gatsby
11. Inception

Top Ten:

10. The Aviator

9. The Revenant

8. TIE: The Basketball Diaries & The Beach

7. Django Unchained

6. The Departed

5. Romeo + Juliet

4. Titanic

3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

2. Catch Me If You Can

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street

**Aww – check out this interview where he talks about joining the cast of Growing Pains. He was so damn cute. 🙂 Why didn’t I have a crush on him? Just too pretty for my liking back then, I think.

Music Video Friday: Irene Cara – Flashdance… What A Feeling (1983 Oscar Winner)

As the Oscars are coming up at the end of this month, I thought it might be fun to post some of the Best Original Song Oscar winners (and nominees) for the next four Fridays.

This song is (obviously!) from the 1983 film Flashdance. I was too young for the movie when it came out so saw it when I was probably about 20. It’s not exactly the best movie ever but it’s fun enough and the “splash” scene above is very iconic. And, screw it – I like the dance at the end. I can be girly sometimes!

I just remember that the film was seen as a little “naughty” at the time and, as a reward, my school’s wrestling coach let the boys pick a movie to watch after they won a wrestling (um, tournament? match? game? meet??) when we were about 13/14 and they chose Flashdance. Horny bastards. I don’t want to know what they all did while thinking about Jennifer Beals that night.

As for the song, though, it’s a classic and far better than the movie. It’s one of those occasions where the song made the film and the movie definitely wouldn’t be as well known without it. It was written by Giorgio Moroder (the music) with lyrics by Keith Forsey & Irene Cara. Well of course it’s awesome – Giorgio Moroder was involved! Even Daft Punk think he’s cool enough to devote a whole song to him. (Moroder also won an Oscar for Berlin’s Take My Breath Away from Top Gun – maybe I’ll post that one next week!).

Anyway, here’s a video of the lovely Irene Cara (of Fame fame. HA!) and Keith Forsey accepting the Oscar from Jennifer Beals and a very young Matthew Broderick. By the way – the Fame theme song, sung by Cara, also won the Best Original Song Oscar. Six degrees of Oscars separation!

And then, of course, is the video for Flashdance… What A Feeling. Take your passion! And make it happen! This song is totally stuck in my head now!!! But that’s okay. 🙂

Room (2015) Review

Room (2015)

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Based on Room by Emma Donoghue

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy

Plot Synopsis:
I’m not putting a synopsis in this time. I, like most everyone who has seen this movie, knew exactly what it was about before going to it. My hubby didn’t know a thing, though, and I think it helped – he thought it was fantastic. If you somehow still know nothing about this movie, keep it that way before watching it. My review will be as spoiler-free as possible.

My Opinion:

This film has finally come out in the UK (along with all the other big Oscar nominees) so, therefore, I’ll be considering it a 2016 movie when I do my year-end lists in December. Then half the bloggers will go “that’s a 2015 movie!”. So annoying. 😉 I know I’ll be having to address comments like that once again, though, because I know already that Room will still easily be in my 2016 Top Ten by the end of December. It’s so good.

As I said when I didn’t include a plot synopsis, I’ll try to remain as spoiler-free as possible but this won’t be an easy film to discuss without giving any idea what it’s about (the pictures will be a clue as well but I won’t include many). It’s one I’d highly recommend to any fellow movie bloggers who still haven’t seen it as it’s the exact sort of movie that us (often misunderstood!) cinephiles can truly appreciate. It doesn’t assume its audience isn’t smart enough to fill in some of the blanks and it leaves just enough not fully explained and/or explored, leaving the audience to think about the movie afterwards and to wonder how they may behave in similar circumstances (as crazy as it may seem, it is a real thing that happens).

This movie may also be a “drama” but it’s not one that plays up to that fact. There are no over-the-top melodramatic moments that feel fake or contrived, which is something that drives me nuts about a lot of films. The characters feel like very real people who happen to be in a situation that most of us can, luckily, not even begin to imagine. I know this was a book but it’s one that I wasn’t at all aware of until now. After the film, I looked it up to make sure it’s up for best adapted screenplay (which it is – I was happy to see that). That’s when I noticed that the novel’s author also wrote the screenplay. Well, she did a fantastic job so I now really want to check out the book as well. I think a novel’s author should also write the screenplay more often if this is the kind of result.

I think one sign of a really good film is how much it gets people talking about it afterwards. My husband & I discussed it for a pretty long time. We go to quite a lot of movies but, most of the time, we have very little to say. Well, we’re big movie fans so we perhaps don’t really count anyway – we discuss movies more than the casual cinema-goers. But a lot of the time I’ll come out of a movie and, if people are even discussing the film at all, they never say much more than “that was good” or “that was bad”. This time there was a woman who clearly wanted to discuss it with everyone who walked by. I thought it was quite cool to see that for a change! She asked people if they’d just seen Room and said how fantastic the kid was and that she’d not felt anything like that for a kid in a movie since Kramer Vs Kramer and The Champ (oh, yes! a Ricky Schroder mention in 2016! made my day!!). As we left, I saw that she’d gone over to discuss the movie with those working in the cinema. It was just great to see such public enthusiasm for a film that so genuinely deserves a lot of praise.

Onto the acting (as mentioned by the lady at the cinema)… The performances in Room are superb – not only from Brie Larson (who very much deserves that Oscar nomination) but especially from the young Jacob Tremblay. Wow. The cinema lady is partly right – it’s up there with Ricky Schroder’s tearfest in The Champ in a way. However, it’s a much more understated & more “mature” performance than Schroder’s. It does make me wonder how you get such an outstanding performance from a kid so young. I assume some of the credit must also go to the director? So I’m very glad that he’s also up for the best director Oscar. It’s great when small films such as this one do get some recognition: It’s nominated for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director & Best Adapted Screenplay. Excellent! But I’m not stupid – I don’t think it’ll get anything other than, most probably, Best Actress (I really wish Tremblay was up for Best Actor too, though – the Academy so rarely likes to nominate kids. What a shame).

The little films like this never win much, though. But hopefully the big nominations will at least get this film watched by people who otherwise may have never even heard of it. It’s a film that deserves to be seen and should be seen. Room is only in its second week of release in the UK and I’ve only just managed to catch it (on a tiny screen where my local cinema shoves all the indie films that no one wants to watch, which means it’s unlikely to be showing anymore beyond this week). Why don’t people go to movies like Room? It makes me sad in a way, which is why I enjoyed hearing that woman talking so excitedly about it after seeing it. This is the kind of film that I want to experience more often. Yes, it’s a difficult subject matter but it’s handled respectfully and the film is very well written with characters who are so believably portrayed. And Jacob Tremblay’s character may just make you want to look at life in a whole different light. Only the best movies can do that.

My Rating: 9/10

The Revenant (2015) Review

The Revenant (2015)

Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Based on The Revenant by Michael Punke

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team

My Opinion:

PELTS! I’ve never heard that word so many times in my life… Man, January is a tough month for movies. As if winter isn’t depressing enough as it is?? (I’m not a fan of winter. Winter can go screw itself). Seriously – why can’t they release lighthearted, happy films in January? I’ll admit that The Revenant is good, though. Grim as hell! But good grim. Your typical Oscar-Worthy January Release Grim.


PELTS!

I fully admit that I watched this movie for one reason only: Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve always thought Leo was a fantastic actor who didn’t get enough credit in his early days because he was too “pretty” (he’s luckily getting the recognition he deserves the past few years now). I’ve only seen one of the other Actor Oscar nominees (Fassbender in Steve Jobs) but I’ll be very surprised if Leo doesn’t finally get his gold statue this year. He definitely earns it in The Revenant and the movie is worth watching for his performance alone.


LUCY VAN PELT!

That’s not to say that The Revenant isn’t a good film without Leo – it just isn’t my sort of “thing” and I know I wouldn’t have watched it if it had starred someone else. I have to say that it’s breathtakingly beautiful and if I didn’t hate winter & cold with a passion, I’d want to visit the places where this was filmed. Gorgeous. And I don’t know exactly how much CGI was involved in this overall but nothing looked iffy to me & the bear attack looked damn good (I know Leo is a very dedicated actor but I’m assuming he wasn’t attacked by a real bear).


*Actual scene from The Revenant

This movie is even more brutal than I was expecting for its 15 rating in the UK (I’m assuming it’s rated R in America?). But, as I said with Dead Snow (and the curiously snowless Dead Snow 2!), there’s something quite striking about red blood-splattered snow and you get plenty of that here. Does that make me sound like a psycho?! I just mean, artistically, it looks cool. I’m a wuss about violence, though, and The Revenant certainly made me squeamish a few times. Hell, just seeing the eating of all the raw animal meat was gross enough for me! I’d have made a really shitty frontierswoman. I could never even make it very far through The Oregon Trail before dying of dysentery.

Summary:

The Revenant is a beautifully shot story of survival & revenge with stellar performances from all involved (but especially DiCaprio – his performance blows everyone else’s away). It’s epic in scope and if you have a spare 7 hours & 36 minutes, I’d certainly recommend this film as I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t get that Best Picture Oscar as well as Best Actor Oscar. As always, though, my ratings are based first & foremost on my own personal enjoyment of a film with about 30% based on a film’s “worthiness”. The Revenant is worthy and I’m glad I experienced its beauty in the cinema. I hope it wins lots of awards but I’d prefer to not sit through it again anytime soon.

My Rating: 7.5/10


BJÖRK PELT!

My Oscars Picks For The 87th Annual Academy Awards

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I wasn’t going to bother doing a post this year but then it seemed kind of silly to skip a year. Once upon a time, I was VERY into the Oscars & would try to watch as many of the nominees as I could before the big ceremony. Meh… I’ve lost interest in doing that the past several years (and even more so after starting my blog, which is odd – you’d think I’d try to watch them even more now). I just think the Academy is getting more & more out of touch with what’s *actually* worthy of winning awards. So… They nominate Meryl Streep for Into The Woods but totally ignore the fabulous performance from Essie Davis in The Babadook? They snub the truly best animated film of the year for best animated feature yet nominate the song?! (The Lego Movie, obviously). Then there are the usual Best Picture nominees which are very rarely high on my own personal year-end lists of my favorite movies. I liked Boyhood unlike a lot of people but can understand why many didn’t. I’d have to say Whiplash is my favorite of the nominees I’ve seen but it’s not an all-time “Best Picture-worthy” classic.

Anyway – here are my picks for what I WANT to win and what I think WILL win in each of the Oscars categories tonight. This is the least I’ve EVER paid attention to Oscars predictions & other awards shows and I’ve watched very little of what’s been nominated so I truly have no clue what will win this year. But, like I said – it seemed silly to skip doing a post about it as, no matter how much I get annoyed by the Academy’s choices, I’ll still ALWAYS watch the Oscars. I love movies, I love (and hate) the actors, and the tiny bit of me that’s girly likes seeing the dresses. 🙂

I’ll include links to the nominees I’ve actually reviewed (the first time each is listed):

Best Picture:
American Sniper
Birdman
**Boyhood – WILL
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
*Whiplash – WANT

Best Director:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
**Richard Linklater, Boyhood – WANT & WILL
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Actor:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
**Michael Keaton, Birdman – WANT & WILL
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
**Julianne Moore, Still Alice – WILL
*Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl – WANT
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor:
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
**J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – WANT & WILL

Best Supporting Actress:
**Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – WANT & WILL
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods (I’ve seen this – review posting tomorrow)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
*Damien Chazelle, Whiplash – WANT
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
**Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything – WILL
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

Best Original Screenplay:
Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
**Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo, Birdman – WILL
*Richard Linklater, Boyhood – WANT

Best Animated Feature:
**Big Hero 6 – WANT & WILL
The Boxtrolls
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (badly want to see this for my Studio Ghibli project)

Best Documentary Feature:
**CITIZENFOUR – WANT & WILL (no idea – I’ve seen none of these)
Last Days In Vietnam
Virunga
Finding Vivian Maier
The Salt of the Earth

Best Original Song:
**”Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie – WANT!!! & WILL
“Glory,” Selma
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights

Best Film Editing:
American Sniper
**Boyhood – WILL
The Imitation Game
*Whiplash – WANT
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography:
*Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman – WANT
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida
**Dick Pope, Mr. Turner – WILL
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Best Costume Design:
Colleen Atwood, Into The Woods
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
**Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent – WANT & WILL
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Best Production Design:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
**Interstellar – WANT (I guess. puke.) & WILL
Into The Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Animated Short:
The Bigger Picture
**The Dam Keeper – WILL (no clue – I’m choosing by title)
*Feast – WANT
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Live Action Short:
Aya
**Boogaloo and Graham – WANT & WILL (no clue – Boogaloo is just an awesome word)
The Phone Call
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh

Best Documentary Short:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
**The Reaper (La Parka) – WANT & WILL (no clue again – I just like Blue Oyster Cult)
White Earth

Best Sound Editing:
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
**Interstellar – WILL
*Birdman – WANT (I guess)
Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing:
American Sniper
Birdman
**Interstellar – WILL
Unbroken
*Whiplash – WANT

Best Visual Effects:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
*Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – WANT
Guardians of the Galaxy
**Interstellar – WILL
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Foreign Language Film:
**Ida (Poland) – WILL
*Leviathan (Russia) – WANT (no clue – seen none of these)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
**Foxcatcher – WILL
The Grand Budapest Hotel
*Guardians of the Galaxy – WANT

Best Original Score:
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
**Hans Zimmer, Interstellar – WlLL & WANT (I guess – can’t remember the score)
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

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**Stay tuned for my review of Into The Woods tomorrow. SPOILER: I wasn’t a fan…

Enjoy the Oscars, everyone! 🙂

My Oscars Picks

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Suppose I better do this before things turn into all John Hughes here for all of March! I’ve chosen what I think WILL win for each and what I WANT to win…

I have NO clue on who’s going to win this year! But watching the Oscars (LIVE, which is allllllll night long as I live in the UK) is always a big thing for me and I always try to choose the winners. I should also point out that this year I’ve chosen a lot of these according to “coolest sounding name” if it’s something I’ve not heard of. 😉

Can’t wait for Sunday night! 🙂

Best Picture

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
(WANT) Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
(WILL) 12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
(WANT) Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
(WILL) Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
(WILL) Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
(WANT) Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
(WANT) Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
(WILL) Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
(WILL & WANT) Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

Best Animated Feature

The Croods (Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson)
Despicable Me 2 (Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri)
Ernest & Celestine (Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner)
(WANT & WILL) Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)
The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)

Best Cinematography

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
(WANT & WILL) Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)

Best Costume Design

(WILL) American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
(WANT) The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor)
12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)

Best Directing

American Hustle (David O. Russell)
(WANT & WILL) Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

Best Documentary Feature

(WILL) The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)
Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)
The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
(WANT) 20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)

Best Documentary Short

CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)
Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)
Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)
(WANT) The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)
(WILL) Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)

Best Film Editing

American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)
Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)
(WANT & WILL) Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)

Best Foreign Language Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
(WANT & WILL) The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)
(WANT) Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty)
(WILL) The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny)

Best Original Score

(WILL) The Book Thief (John Williams)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
(WANT) Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

Best Original Song
(ALSO WANT!) Happy (Despicable Me 2)
(WILL & WANT) Let It Go (Frozen)
The Moon Song (Her)
Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Production Design

(WILL) American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)
Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard)
The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)
(WANT) Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena)
12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)

Best Animated Short Film

Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden)
(WILL & WANT) Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)
Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)
Possessions (Shuhei Morita)
Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer)

Best Live Action Short Film

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (Esteban Crespo)
(WILL) Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras)
Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)
(WANT) Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari)
The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)

Best Sound Editing

(WILL) All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)
Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney)
(WANT) Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)
Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)

Best Sound Mixing

Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)
(WANT & WILL) Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)
Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow)

Best Visual Effects

(WILL & WANT) Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)
Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)
The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)
Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
(WILL) Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
(WANT) The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
(WILL & WANT) Her (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

My Best Picture Oscar Nominee Reviews from my favorite to least favorite film:

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street
2. Her
3. Gravity
4. Dallas Buyers Club
5. American Hustle
6. Captain Phillips

IMDB Top 250 Challenge – Movie #15 – Slumdog Millionaire

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – IMDB Rank #194

Watched 28/4/13 as part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge.

Directed by Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan

Starring:
Dev Patel
Freida Pinto
Madhur Mittal
Anil Kapoor
Irrfan Khan
Mahesh Manjrekar
Tanay Chheda
Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar
Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar
Rubina Ali
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail

Plot Synopsis (courtesy of IMDB):

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

I’ll add that this takes place when he’s answered all but the final question. They never expected him to get that far so they interrogate him before he’s able to go back & finish the show. We’re shown his life in a series of flashbacks as they go over each question he’s answered so far & he explains exactly why he knew the answer to each of them.

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My Opinion:

Urgh. Okay. I’ve been putting off reviewing this. There are obviously people who love this film. It won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. AND it’s in the IMDB Top 250 films, which I see as more “real world” and more representative of what people actually like. Well, I think the IMDB voters were swayed by all those Oscars and have given this film a far higher rating than it deserves. Yet another current film in the Top 250 simply because it’s current and lots of people have voted for it.

I posted a little while ago that I’d watched this and didn’t really like it and then waited for the backlash. Turns out I’m not alone in feeling this way about the movie. The main thing people kept saying was “overrated” and, although I think that word sometimes gets used too often when talking about movies, it really is the accurate word to use for this one. I don’t want to start trashing this movie TOO much – it’s not horribly bad, just average. So I’ll divide it up into the Good & the Not-So-Good like I did with Iron Man 3 (also average – Sorry! But at last I enjoyed that one far more than I did Slumdog).

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The Good:

The main character – Jamal. He’s fine. Thank god for that at least – it would have been unwatchable otherwise. I didn’t feel that he was as fully fleshed out as he could have been & I didn’t feel TOO strongly about his character & what would happen to him but I think that was the fault of the script, not the actor. I bought into him a bit more as a young boy than when he’s grown up but I think that’s because the majority of the scenes where he’s older are when he’s on the game show or when he’s being questioned about cheating.

The love story between Jamal & Latika. Although, I have to say, I found it totally unbelievable it was still sweet and you do find yourself rooting for the guy at the end & wanting him to get the girl.

The concept. It’s an excellent idea for a story! I know it’s based on a book so I looked it up & read a bit about it. Looks like they changed A LOT. It’s really just the overall concept that’s stayed the same but, again, it’s a REALLY GOOD concept. Which is why it was all the more disappointing that the movie was so weak! How did they make an exciting story so boring? I’ll go into that more in “The Not-So-Good” below.

The final 20 minutes. It DOES finally get fairly exciting at the end.

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The Not-So-Good:

The shit-covered kid. Jamal jumps down into a huge pile of shit after his brother has locked him in an outhouse & it’s his only way of getting out. This is in order to get some big famous actor’s autograph who happens to show up right at that moment. This actor is the answer to one of the first questions Jamal later answers on the show. I obviously won’t give away any of the other questions but I had to mention that one as it’s SO ridiculously stupid. What is it with Danny Boyle & excrement? Honestly. You know I tried to watch this movie about a year ago? I didn’t make it past that bit the first time around.

Jamal’s brother – Salim. He starts out as your typical prick of a brother when they’re young & then turns into some pathetic & totally unbelievable version of Tony Montana.

Poorly developed characters. Aside from Jamal (who actually isn’t very well-developed either), we really don’t get to know anyone. WHY is his brother a prick? They have a horrible life growing up – all they have is each other so why wouldn’t he treat Jamal better? Latika is slightly more believable as a young girl than when she grows up to be absolutely stunning – I felt they REALLY wasted her character. We know nothing about her! She becomes nothing more than a pretty face for Jamal to want to win a game show for. But you still want things to work out for them as they’re the ONLY likeable characters in a film filled with hateful people. Oh, the game show host – PRICK! And the gangsters… Oh yes, there are bad guys in this. Gangsters. But, like, really shit gangsters – not Scorsese gangsters. Yeah. Honestly – the “baddies” in this were so unbelievable. I didn’t understand their motives or why they even needed to be in the movie AT ALL other than to add a bit of excitement I guess? So unnecessary – the story itself is exciting enough without having to add all the lame one-dimensional bad guys.

The way they took an excellent & exciting concept and managed to make a boring movie. Seriously – How did they make an exciting story so boring? I think one problem is that they made it too unbelievable. Surely the audience (film audience) is meant to be convinced by Jamal’s story of “why” he knew each of the answers. Some of it was just too far fetched, though. And I expected the “feel good” film that was promised. I expected a moving drama. I didn’t expect to keep looking at my watch up until the final 20 minutes when it finally gets exciting. (Okay – I don’t wear a watch. Does anyone wear a watch anymore?).

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Summary: Slumdog Millionaire takes an excellent concept & manages to make a totally unbelievable & shallow film with two underdeveloped main characters that you only slightly care about. The rest of the characters are very one-dimensional, especially the “baddies” who felt totally unnecessary. This supposed “feel good film” just left me cold. And I obviously won’t give away the ending (if you still want to see it?) but if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean when I say: And now what? Honestly, what is going to happen AFTER how this film ends? Luckily I don’t care!

But you probably shouldn’t listen to me – Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars. Including Best Picture. Yeah.

My Rating: 5/10

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Looks sweet, doesn’t he? A wide-eyed dreamer? He’s taking a shit.

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And I thought my review for Danny Boyle’s Trance was a bit harsh… Turns out I enjoyed it more than this one. But I never want to see a kid covered in shit OR Rosario Dawson’s vagina ever again. 😉

I’ve also now watched another IMDB Top 250 film & I’m happy to report it’s MUCH better – Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious.

My Totally Pointless Oscar Predictions

Meh. Not really into it this year…

I love watching the Oscars. I watch it live every year (yes, even since moving to the UK, where they start at like 2:00 in the morning. that’s commitment, people! and, yes, I still go to work Monday morning). 😉

But… I’m not sure WHY I feel the need to watch the Oscars every year. I love movies. But more and more over the past decade or so the Academy really doesn’t seem to have a clue. Looking at the best picture winners since 2000, I’ve only seen 7. And out of those, I only really liked two of them (The Artist & The Return Of The King). Other than The Artist, I haven’t seen a best picture winner since The Departed in 2006. The ones in between just don’t appeal to me. But I’ll still watch the Oscars anyway. Because I love movies. And because I find all that glitz and glamor interesting. And, yes – because I’m a girl and I love seeing the dresses!

I’ll do my predictions for this year but it seems a bit silly as I’ve seen so few of the nominees. So bear in mind that for the best picture, acting & directing categories I’ve only seen: Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life Of Pi & The Impossible. And this year I’ve paid no attention to other awards shows and have the least informed opinion that I’ve ever had. So… This is really totally pointless. Lol!

I always do a WILL win and a WANT to win…

Best film:

WILL – Argo

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WANT – Django Unchained

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MAYBE WANT (the one nominee I’ve not seen that I really want to see) – Beasts Of The Southern Wild

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Best actress:

WILL – Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
WANT – Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best actor:

WILL – Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
WANT – Denzel Washington – Flight

Best director:

WILL – Ang Lee – Life of Pi
WANT – Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best supporting actor:

WILL & WANT VERY MUCH – Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Best supporting actress:

WANT – Amy Adams – The Master
WILL – Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Best foreign film:

WILL – Amour
WANT – Untouchable which isn’t even nominated!!!

Best animated film:

WILL & WANT – Brave

Best documentary film:

WILL & WANT (desperate to see this) – Searching For Sugarman

Music (original song):

WANT – Everybody Needs A Best Friend (Ted) – Music by Walter Murphy, Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
WILL – Skyfall (Skyfall) – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Music (original score):

WILL – Lincoln – John Williams
WANT (because it’s Thomas Newman & he’s a genius & never gets the recognition he deserves) – Skyfall – Thomas Newman

Adapted screenplay:

WILL – Argo – Chris Terrio
WANT (because I actually read it) – Life Of Pi – David Magee

Original screenplay:

WANT – Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
WILL – Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

Cinematography:

WANT – Django Unchained – Robert Richardson
WILL – Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design:

WILL & WANT – Les Miserables – Paco Delgado

Best documentary short subject:

WILL & WANT – Inocente

Film editing:

WANT – Argo – William Goldenberg
WILL – Zero Dark Thirty – Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Make-up and Hairstyling:

WILL & WANT – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane

Production Design:

WANT – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
WILL – Les Miserables – Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson

Short film (animated):

WILL – Fresh Guacamole
WANT – Paperman

Short film (live action):

WILL & WANT – Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)

Sound editing:

WANT – Django Unchained – Wylie Stateman
WILL – Skyfall – Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

Sound mixing:

WILL & WANT – Les Miserables – Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Visual effects:

WANT – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R Christopher White
WILL – Life Of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R Elliott