Another night with Oscar–The 85th Academy Awards Wish List

In a year full of wonderful films, the Academy seems to have missed the mark in a few areas (as usual)–especially for Best Director where 4 of the top were snubbed.  Matthew McConaughey was ignored 3 times–Bernie–Killer Joe–and Magic Mike–wow!  The Dark Knight Rises–not even a tech nom?  Cloud Atlas?  No love. At all.  Oh, well–I can go on and on.

As I’ve mentioned to a few of you, I have a love/hate relationship with Oscar–yet, it’s a tradition now (been watching since I was 8) and I can’t imagine not watching.  It is more for the ceremony–the outfits–the speeches–and my favorite, all the special clip reels, then for the actual awards.

I hope that this year will be entertaining and fun–and that Seth McFarlane doesn’t choke.  I am sure we will have plenty to talk about tomorrow!

Here we go–as you will notice, I plan to be disappointed most of the night.  😀

Happy Oscars!!

Best Picture

My wish:  Django Unchained

Reality:  Argo  (it has built momentum and seems to be possible–which is solid)

Glaring Omission:  Moonrise Kingdom (My #1 of 2012)

Ah, Hell NO! : Les Miserables

Best Actor

My wish and Reality:  Daniel Day-Lewis

Glaring Omission:  John Hawkes (The Sessions)/Liam Neeson (The Grey)

Ah, Hell NO! : Denzel Washington (not for this one)

Supporting Actor

My Wish:  Christoph Waltz

Reality:  Robert DeNiro (sentimental vote)

Glaring Omission:  Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)/Leonardo DiCaprio (Django)

Ah, Hell NO! :  None–all worthy

Best Actress

My Wish: Quvenzhane Wallis

Reality: Jennifer Lawrence (worthy performance)

Glaring Omission: Emily Blunt (Looper)

Ah, Hell NO! : None.  Solid picks.

Supporting Actress

My Wish:  Helen Hunt

Reality:  Anne Hathaway (for one song–really?)

Glaring Omission:  Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas)

Ah, Hell NO! :  None.  All good.

Animated Feature

My Wish:  Wreck-It Ralph

Reality: Brave (Pixar tradition to win)

Glaring Omission:  Rise of the Guardians

Ah, Hell NO! :  The Pirates! (good but not Oscar worthy)

Cinematography

My Wish:  Skyfall (Deakins is a genius and overdue)

Reality: Life of Pi (haven’t seen it yet, but hear it is the one to beat…)

Glaring Omission:  Masanobu Takayanagi (The Grey)

Ah, Hell NO! :  Anna Karenina–uh, no.

Costume Design

My Wish:  Snow White and the Huntsman (Very cool and creative)

Reality: Les Miserables

Glaring Omission:  Django Unchained/The Avengers/Moonrise

Ah, Hell NO! :  All good.

Best Director 

My Wish:  Steven Speilberg or David O. Russell

Reality: David O. Russell

MAJOR Glaring Omissions:  Wes Anderson (Moonrise)–Quentin Tarantino (Django)–Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

Ah, Hell NO! : I am still upset with the omissions 😀

Documentary Feature and Short–Do not know any of them

Film Editing

My Wish:  Argo

Reality:  Argo (I hope)

Glaring Omission:  Django  Unchained/The Avengers/The Hobbit

Ah, Hell NO! :  Silver Linings Playbook (really?)

Makeup and Hairstyling

My Wish:  The Hobbit

Reality:  Les Miserables

Glaring Omission:  Moonrise Kingdom/Cloud Atlas/Snow White

Ah, Hell NO! :  Les Miserables

Music–Original Score

My Wish:  Lincoln (John Williams is brilliant!)

Reality:  Skyfall

Glaring Omission:  Beasts of Southern Wilds (my favorite)/Cloud Atlas/The Hobbit

Ah, Hell NO! :  Anna Karenina

Music–Original Song

My Wish:  None–not invested in any

Reality:  Skyfall (duh.)

Glaring Omission:  Safe and Sound (Hunger Games)

Ah, Hell NO! :  The silly rules keeping more songs from being nominated.

Production Design

My Wish:  The Hobbit

Reality:  Les Miserables  or Life of Pi

Glaring Omission:  Django Unchained/Moonrise Kingdom/TDKR/Cloud Atlas

Ah, Hell NO! :  Anna Karenina (yeah…I did not care for it)

Short Film (Animated)//Short (Live Action)

Only one I’ve seen is Paperman and it is beautiful!!

Sound Editing

My Wish: Django Unchained

Reality:  Zero Dark Thirty 

Glaring Omission:  The Avengers/The Grey/The Dark Knight Rises/The Hobbit

Ah, Hell NO! :  All good.  

Sound Mixing

My Wish:  Argo

Reality: Skyfall

Glaring Omission:  Django/Avengers/The Grey/The Dark Knight Rises/The Hobbit

Ah, Hell NO! :  Les Miserables (yeah…didn’t like this either.)

Visual Effects

My Wish:  The Hobbit  (One word. Gollum.)

Reality:  The Hobbit (may be the only one it receives)  

Glaring Omission:  Looper/Cabin in the Woods

Ah, Hell NO! :  Prometheus (it may be worthy, I just do not want to reward it) -_-

Writing (Adapted)

My Wish:  Lincoln

Reality:  Argo or Silver Linings (both worthy)

Glaring Omission:  Perks of Being a Wallflower/Cloud Atlas

Ah, Hell NO! :  No objections.

Writing (Original)

My Wish:  Moonrise Kingdom

Reality:  Django Unchained (will be happy, too)

Glaring Omission:   Looper/The Master

Ah, Hell NO! :  Flight (No.  Should not even be here.)

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Finally caught up with The Walking Dead and I am stoked for Season 3!

I love The Walking Dead. The first season was amazing–I was addicted instantly. It was engrossing, intense and strangely poetic, in many ways. A character study with heady themes ranging from survival to death, that just happen to have zombies roaming around.

Based on the world-renowned graphic novels (of the same name) by Robert KirkmanTony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.  Series creator Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) has stayed true to the source material and has incorporated many visual and style elements of the novels. (It will interesting to see if it stays that way since Darabont has stepped down…)

I just finished the 13 episode second season and was totally impressed. Compared to the short 6 episodes of the first season, S2 seemed too long and dragged out, but as it started to reach the end it became clear that the set up was mandatory and the pay off was awesome. There were moments that I was on the edge of my seat…ahhhh!  I love it!

The cast is pitch perfect.  It is a true ensemble–each actor working off each other and it truly feels like a community.  There are characters you love (Rick, Daryl, Glenn) and the ones that annoy (Lori, Dale, Shane), but they’re all fully realized and rich in complexities.  That is the most brilliant part–that even though you love watching the incredible zombie make-up and gruesome zombie kills–this is fundamentally a story about humanity.  What do we become when you take away all the rules and structure of an organized society? Sometimes the “monsters” are among the living.

If you haven’t started this series and you like intense, gripping drama mixed with gory, cool zombies, you may want to catch up before Season 3 is scheduled to begin on October 14, 2012.  From the people who have read the novels–I am in for an awesome story line–how exciting! 😀

Here are some of the trailers for each season:

 

Bye-bye 2011films! Oscar finalizes the award season…

84th Academy Awards Poster.png

It is over!  The Academy Awards have come and gone for 2011.  The verdict?  Not too bad. The theme was going to the movies and I will dare say this was the best show in a LONG time.  It felt faster paced (liked the combining of categories)–fresh (loved the Cirque du Soleil piece and the pre-recorded interviews)–and funny (Billy Crystal was fantastic–and there were some funny bits due to Robert Downey, Jr and Emma Stone).  The theme was cool–especially for all of us cinephiles–I could relate to many of the comments made about film, their impact and importance in our lives. 

There were no real big surprises, except for Meryl Streep‘s win–everyone was certain it would go to Viola Davis (even Streep herself)–but no one can be upset though because Streep is amazing. Period.  And her speech was lovely. 

I was also pleased that Hugo was getting some love, but not quite enough since The Artist still managed to win the big categories–BOO!  As you know most of my favorite films of the year were not in contention tonight so I was just cheering for anything that wasn’t The Artist (on principle). 

I was happy for Rango to win in Animation.  (I still think Tintin should have been there!)  Was upset Rise of the Planet of the Apes lost the visual effects trophy–they deserved it.  Or at least Harry Potter, but no. Potter was also robbed in the Make Up category.  Original score should have been John Williams.  Everything else was alright

So, bottom line?  We need to bring Billy back every year until he dies (c’mon what else is he doing now?)–keep the brisk pace and creative additions and maybe the Awards can return to their old glory. Because to quote Billy, “Nothing helps the economy like watching millionaires give each other gold statues!”

Enjoy some video highlights! 

 

Game of Thrones Season 2!! April can not get here fast enough!

HBO’s Game of Thrones is awesome!  And the new year is upon us…if you have not seen Season 1 yet–then you may not understand the excitement!  The rest of us, that have invested our time, are on pins and needles, as we wait for the awesomeness to return. 

The first season aired last April to wide critical praise and about 2 million viewers.  The show is based on author George R. R. Martin‘s best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels (which I have yet to read because I do not want to spoil the show) and from what I hear it is a very truthful adaptation.

At first, it may seem overwhelming with so many characters and different locations–but after 2 episodes it is easy to follow.  It is a drama full of political dealings, betrayal, family strife, dragon eggs, dire wolves, kings, wannabe kings and power, with a bit of the unexplained.  If you love that kind of world, clever word play and enjoy the medieval time period this is for you. 

With a powerhouse cast (so pleased that Peter Dinklage won the Emmy–he’s my favorite), beautiful sets and costumes, and fantastic writing Game of Thrones is a wonderful escape from the ordinary. 

Winter is coming!! Be prepared…

Season 1 :

Season 2:

 

Sherlock how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

A view of the London skyline, with the word "Sherlock" in black letters

I have been smitten!  Sherlocked!  I am head over heels in love with Sherlock!  It has quickly and easily become of one my all time favorite pieces of storytelling from television and/or film.   It continually impresses me–the writing, the performances, the mind-bending puzzles and Benedict Cumberbatch.  Series 2 is now over and I am already planning to re watch Series 1 and 2 because I am not sure how I will survive almost a year before Series 3!

I stumbled upon this awesomeness while browsing the PBS Masterpiece Mystery website last year. I read “Last chance to see Sherlock–a reinvention of the classic sleuth–still set in London, but in the 21st century!”  I was intrigued.  I knew Martin Freeman (already cast in The Hobbit) but was unfamiliar with anyone else.  I have always enjoyed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes stories and up to that point, Hollywood’s latest version with Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law was a fun, although predictable, action-filled blockbuster.  So, Sherlock in the 21st century?  Could that work?

YES!  It works wonderfully!  What writers and creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, have done is taken the original Victorian stories and given them a contemporary update.  This version allows Holmes to use all the modern technology available and makes the necessary tweaks to make everything fit the present world–it is very cleverly done.  They use visuals to accompany Sherlock’s process and it is cool to not only hear, but see how his mind works. 

The best update is Sherlock himself–he is now a fast talking, arrogant, “high-functioning sociopath” and Cumberbatch is perfect.  Freeman as Dr. Watson is the perfect counterpart–intelligent, stable, and calm.  I love their chemistry–it is natural and yet, electric.  Watson: Why didn’t I think of that. Sherlock: Cause you’re an idiot. No no no, don’t be like that, practically everyone is.

Add a strong supporting cast and some truly mind twisting cases and it is pretty awesome.  Yet they also added an amazing villain, James Moriarty (Andrew Scott) and pushed it over the top.  Scott’s Jim Moriarty is spectacular!  It is a performance not to be missed.  I do not want to spoil anything, but I will say that Cumberbatch and Scott, together are an impressive duo.  (Series 2 finale Reichenbach Fall is fantastic!) 

I could go on and on.  There is something special in every episode and so many little details.  I can quote many, many classic lines, but, as always, I do not wish to spoil the pleasure of you discovering all of this on your own.  Check it out–as Sherlock would say…”The Game is On!”

Series 1:

Series 2:

 

Downton Abbey is a fine, well told saga and I want more!

Downton Abbey.jpg

Downton Abbey is a big, lavish and sprawling narrative that is full of human drama.  Add some top-notch performances and excellent writing and you have entertaining, addictive story.  I just finished the two seasons and now I must wait– impatiently–for the next season due return in September.

Downton has way too many characters and threads to try to explain–but are easy to follow when watching. The basic premise follows the lives of the aristocratic family, the Crawleys (their lives upstairs) and their servants (their lives downstairs) at the family’s Yorkshire country home during 1916 to 1920.  I love the differences between the classes and the fact that honor and dignity does not limit itself to social status.  But to keep it simple I will say it’s good…really good! 

Writer and creator Julian Fellowes has an incredible talent!  He is able to weave these intricate stories together seamlessly and has created some wonderful characters that cover the range from sweet and innocent to conniving and bitchy.  I have several favorites–Anna and Mr.Bates, Lord Crawley, Mr.Carson, Mary and Matthew–but the best is Maggie Smith‘s Dowager Countess Violet Crawley.  She is the reason to watch–Ms. Smith has a pitch perfect delivery–her expressions and quips are CLASSIC!  It is always a pleasure to find a new beloved character–hats off to Ms. Smith!

If you can spare some time and you enjoy British drama (and humor), you will not be disappointed spending it at Downton Abbey–in fact, you may want to stay there. 

Season 1 promo:

Season 2 promo:

My world of television

 

A view of the London skyline, with the word "Sherlock" in black letters

I am definitely more a film person than television–obviously!–but I do like some TV.  I am very particular though.  I rarely like procedurals (I get bored)–hate Reality TV (except Food Network and Top Chef)–I can’t do melodrama or soap operas–I find most sitcoms unwatchable–so, as you can see…I am picky.  🙂

If I commit to a show it has to entertain, take me out of reality and engross me with well developed characters.   In the past I have loved only a few programs enough to be a dedicated viewer–Wise Guy–The X-Files (minus last 2 years)– Star Trek: Next GenerationLa Femme Nikita (USA network version)–24–The Office (with Michael Scott)–Lost–Cheers–Seinfield–and The Wire (one of the best shows EVER!).

Presently I have a few addictions.  I will break them down a little–rather than write a post for each–so you can catch up or check them out if you wish.  They’re not in a particular order–just as they come to me. 

Dexter (Showtime)

One of the most original protagonist I have ever seen.  It’s proof of the brilliant writing and cast that you find yourself rooting for and caring for a serial killer.  Clever and always interesting.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

This show is awesome!  In the first episode you’re flooded with so many faces and stories that you feel like it will be too much–but after the second episode you’re hooked!  It is a whole new universe–beautifully rendered and perfectly acted–and it has Dragons! Enough said!

Parks and Recreation (NBC)

I am a late comer for this little jewel–trying to catch up to season 1-2 now, been keeping up with current season.  I have found some all time favorite characters and find it wonderfully funny. Ron Swanson, I love you!

 The Walking Dead (AMC)

The first season of the show was probably one of the best I have ever seen.  Yes, it does have Zombies in it, but that is NOT the only thing that makes is awesome–it is the human drama that propels this program into greatness.  Unfortunately I have not seen season 2 yet–I plan to catch up soon.

 Justified (FX)

One of the great things about this program is its authentic portrayal of rural Kentucky.  The setting is a character in the show and it is fascinating.  I love the actors here–Timothy Olyphant and Walton Groggins are pitch perfect.  But it was last year’s villian that blew me away and won the emmy (deservedly so) Ms. Margo Martindale–WOW! is all I can say. 

GLEE (Fox)

I am a GLEEK!  Maybe not as fanatical as some…but I love it! I think Ryan Murphy is brilliant.  I watch Nip/Tuck as well and found his writing to be very creative and original.  Add music and comedy and you have magic.  I do not how it can continue for too long–but for now I am able to forget about my real world for a bit and sit back, enjoy the music and Coach Sue Sylvester. 

Modern Family (ABC)

This show grew on me.  The first half of the first season was bit corny–always ending with some family lesson learned–blah!  But as the show found its legs, it also found its bite.  Now it is a well oiled machine–cracking out the funny non-stop!   Great!

The League (FX)

Hilarious!  I laugh out loud with this show!  Crazy, border-line caricatures but it works.  The chemistry between the leads is perfect.  You do not have to love Fantasy Football to love this show!

Once Upon a Time (ABC)

I am hoping that this will become the timeless classic it has the potential of becoming.  I absolutely LOVE the premise of this show.  The execution so far has been awesome.  What creative new twists on a familiar stories.  And it has what could be one of the best villains I’ve seen in a while–Rumpelstiltskin rocks!

Grimm (NBC)

I am liking the mythology that they’re trying to set up–although I am getting concerned with the procedural aspect of the program–it may get boring fast.  So far I am digging the characters and the twists.  And having a “big bad wolf” as your sidekick doesn’t hurt either (Silas Weir Mitchell steals the show).

 Fringe (Fox)

I did not like this show for the first few years–felt it was too much of a copy cat of  The X-Files–but when they found their story and started building around that it became very good.  It is intelligent and engrossing.  It has had some of the best cliff hangers I’ve seen in recent years. 

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Steve Buscemi finally gets a leading role!  I love him and he gets to shine brilliantly here.  Add Michael Shannon–who is phenomenal–and a stellar cast, wonderful writing and perfect set pieces and you get a mini movie every week.  Awesome!

True Blood (HBO)

This one is pure fun!  Laughs, sex and vampires!  What more can you want?  Characters are over the top and delightful.  It is a blast!

Sherlock (PBS–Masterpiece Mystery)

LOVE-LOVE-LOVE!   I am more excited about season 2 of this series than I am of the upcoming Sherlock movies.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are spectacular!  Whoever thought of bringing the character of Sherlock Holmes into the modern world (there is no literary character in this universe) is a genius.  The writing though is the true genius–fast, intelligent and sharp! AWESOME!

I think that is it.  There are other shows I watch casually and are fine–but, these are my-DO NOT miss–have-to-know-what-happens-next-shows!  

There a several I have not yet seen that I want to–Treme–Breaking Bad–Homeland–Sons of Anarchy–etc–etc.  One day I will catch up with those too and I will let you know…

Justified–it’s REALLY good!

 

Justified 2010 Intertitle.png

I am a casual television watcher.  I have Hulu playing in the background on my weekend shifts, mostly as white noise, but it does allow me to watch a lot of programming.  Yet, few shows catch my genuine interest and most are hit and miss. 

There are a few stand outs–Modern Family–GLEE–The Walking Dead–and for the last two seasons, Fringe.  (I love some premium channel shows–Dexter–True Blood–Boardwalk Empire–yet they do not count on Hulu)  But the one show I am really loving now is Justified

It is well into its second season and finding its stride.  I enjoyed the first season.  It was original with unique characters in an under exposed setting…the backwoods of Kentucky.  The villains and cases that involved the U.S. Marshalls were  involved in were creative and well thought out.

I did begin to worry about the second half, which started feeling episodic, but by then I was 100% invested in Timothy Olyphant‘s Raylan Givens.  I haven’t liked a character this quickly since Jack Bauer!  He is intelligent, stubborn and a perfect gentleman.  Full of southern charm and wit, he does whatever he feels is “justified”.  

Graham Yost and Elmore Leonard write some great episodes and some really good lines for Raylan–classics–and infuse the world with an authentic realism. 

Now inhabit Raylan’s world with wonderful characters–good, bad and in between–especially Walter Googins Boyd Crowder–which was so good they brought him back from the dead.  This season they introduced the Bennett Clan–and wow!–Margo Martindale (Momma Mags Bennett) is a wonderful character actress that I am predicting will get some attention for this role.   What they are smart about in this series is character development.  They take the time to focus on the interactions and relationships among the people–no matter what side of the law they may be on. 

I do not want to give you specifics or details–discovering the folks of  Harlan County is a pleasure you must experience on your own.  Go pay them a visit–you will not regret it!

Raylan Givens: Dear Lord, before we eat this meal we ask forgiveness for our sins, especially Boyd- who blew up a black church with a rocket launcher, and afterwards he shot his associate Jared Hale in the back of the head out on Tate’s Creek bridge. Let the image of Jared’s brain matter on that windshield not dampen our appetites, but may the knowledge of Boyd’s past sins help guide these men. May this food provide them with all the nourishment they need. But, if it does not, may they find comfort in knowing that the United States Marshal Service is offering fifty-thousand dollars to any individual providing information that will put Boyd back in prison. Cash or check, we can make it out to them. Or to Jesus. Whoever they want. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Sorry–experienced Oscar technical difficulties…

the Oscars 2011 Online www.livestream.com/theo...

Image by michperu via Flickr

My live blog was interrupted by technical difficulties–FAIL!

Well…bottom line–show was just alright–some good moments but overall meh! Anne Hathaway had some funny, but James Franco was stoned! 🙂 

Glad they are bringing back the Original Songs back–but I guess I want it to be a “show” again…

Nice to see Billy Crystal again–memories…

Happy to Inception win some awards–visual effects and sound–at least they got something.

Other awards were expected and worthy–except for the last two–

Tom Hooper?  Best Director?  I think not….I loved King’s Speech, but it is not the best directed movie–Darren Aronosfsky was robbed!  David Fincher would have been a good choice as well–and Chris Nolan was completely snubbed–but oh well…

The King’s Speech–best movie?  NOPE– again, it was good–but Black Swan was the Best movie of the year!

But that is how the Oscars goes…Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan–Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas–yeah they have a legacy to uphold!

Now, back to 2011–let’s see what it holds for us…hope it’s good! 🙂

“A true love of cheesy cinema…”

Modern Family has easily become one of my favorite sitcoms–ever.   Today I watched the latest episode–Our Children, Ourselves (S2E12)–and was reminded of the divide that can sometimes occur in our family.

Phil and Claire Dunphy proclaim to share a “true love of cheesy cinema–favorite categories being genetically engineered animals gone wrong, when young people switch bodies, tough guys taking care of babies, any sequel 3 and higher–and usually you get a new cast at around 5, that’s when the magic really happens.”  All this to explain their enthusiasm for wanting to watch “Croctopus 3D!!”   This is juxtaposed with the “smarter” parents watching the subtitled, boring, french film which was “one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year”.

Too funny! And true!  I call those movies–Badtastic or Horriblicious–oh, how I love you Starship Troopers! And how many times can I watch Strange Days? Many, many times.

While all of my family members love the cinema–there is a great disparity when it comes to individual taste or shall we say preference.

We have the romantic comedy lover.  Does it have Katherine Heigl and Zac Efron in an exotic location singing about their undying, albeit disturbing romance?  In!

The cinema snob.  Who never has to watch a movie he knows to be a steaming pile of shit–and he knows by intuition and poorly cut trailers–hello–it’s obvious to the intellectually superior.

The closet cheesy movie lover.  Enjoys all film, and tries to watch the critically acclaim indies, but has a secret love for the cheese.  Queen of the Damned anyone?

And me.  I have an openly admitted broader range of appeal.  From subtitles to dragons and by the way…dragons make any movie better!  So, if it interests me, I will check it!  I try to judge each movie on its own merit based on its intended genre.

In our defense we are a pretty well-rounded group–and we can all appreciate a fine, well made film.  When we all agree…it is truly a fantastic piece of storytelling–no matter what the genre is!  Cheesy or not!