Thursday, January 14, 2016

How'd I Do? 2016 Edition: Results of My Oscar Nomination Predictions

Ummmm. So I got 19 out of 20 acting nominees correct. But only 35/43 (81%) in the Big 8 categories, a slight improvement over last year. My overall is 77/106 or 73%, a minor improvement over last year.

Here's the breakdown.

Nominees marked with an asterisk are the ones I missed.

Best Picture 6/8
I predicted 9 nominees. There were actually 8. Normally I make a graduated list, indicating the 5 certain nominees and the each successive most likely. I forgot to do that this year, but if I'm honest

Spotlight
The Revenant
Brooklyn
The Martian
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Big Short
*Room

predicted but not nominated: Inside Out; Carol

88th Academy Awards Nomination Predictions

These predictions get harder and harder to make not so much based on what I've seen of the movies, but more on how much I've read from other prognosticators. The last couple of months have left me bone-dry for reading material on the topic of awards season. I used to read a lot of the buzz, which provides a sense for what people in Hollywood are talking about. You see the ebbs and flows of popularity and the ways in which smaller films creep up from behind to overtake some studio film. I don't have a sense of any of that this year, so I'm winging it.

Of the roughly 13 films from which I believe the 5 - 10 Best Picture nominees will come, I have yet to see two of them.

I've got my eyes on about 25 films that are in the running for acting awards. I haven't seen 9 of them.

But here it goes anyway. My nominations for predictions to be announced tomorrow morning...

Best Picture
I'm going with a prediction of nine nominees this year.

Spotlight
The Revenant
Brooklyn
Inside Out
Carol
The Martian
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Big Short

With outside chances for one of these to sneak in:

Room
Sicario
Straight Outta Compton

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Everything I Saw in the Second Half of 2015

So in the final six months of 2015 I watched a total of 61 feature-length films
(only 59 different films as two of them were repeats within the same period).
I also watched 29 TV episodes and 5 animated short films.

My feature film viewing is down by 3 films from the same period a year ago.
However, I watched more films that I had never seen before, tallying up 42
from July - December 2015 compared with 35 in the second half of 2014.

Trips to the cinema is where I'm really down. I saw only 13 films in the
cinema compared with 16 in July-December 2014, which itself was way off
the 31 of 2013.

My totals for 2015 are as follows: 143 total feature films, which is only 1 less
than in 2014. I managed only 31 films in the cinema for the whole year. That's
down from 38 in 2014. But 102 of all the feature films I saw in 2015 were
films I'd never seen before, an improvement over 2014 by 8 films.

Here's the list of everything I watched on purpose complete with the
date/s seen, the film's original year of release and the method by
which I saw it. Asterisks indicate films or shows I'd seen before.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Romancing the Stone Movie Review

The movies you loved as a kid sometimes turn out to be classics (i.e. Back to the Future and Star Wars) while others, it turns out, were really just not very good. Ah, the undiscerning view from a child’s perspective. When you’re a kid, a movie is good or not because it has excitement, adventures, romance, and comedy. For some adults I guess that never changes. Before Robert Zemeckis directed Back to the Future, he had a big commercial success in Romancing the Stone, a sort of Raiders of the Lost Ark knock-off starring Kathleen Turner as a dowdy romance novelist and Michael Douglas as a roughneck who saves her in the jungles of Colombia.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Southpaw Movie Review

Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw is a little chaotically scripted by Kurt Sutter with plot points that are occasionally unbelievable, nonsensical, or irrelevant, but it is Fuqua’s most restrained directing effort I can recall and contains enough moral uplift that it just crosses the line of what’s worth watching as a minor diversion.

Jake Gyllenhaal is impressive as Billy Hope, the light heavyweight champion of the world. Hope (and Gyllenhaal by extension) is physically imposing with a ripped torso and biceps. He has an anger control problem that remains mostly confined to the ring. So that he garners our sympathies, he’s got a beautiful wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), and daughter, both of whom he adores and dotes on. Maureen doesn’t want him to keep fighting because his style allows him to endure punch after punch until he’s angry enough to pummel his opponent. His manager (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) wants him to sign a three fight deal.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Full Monty Movie Review

I wanted to revisit The Full Monty because in my memory, it resides in a place where thruway, but well-made popular entertainments go to die. Every time I’ve considered its pace among five Oscar Best Picture nominees (competing against L.A. Confidential, Titanic, Good Will Hunting, and As Good as It Gets, it was the definition of “it’s an honor just to be nominated.”) Was it also a stroke of incredible good fortune to be nominated? Was it really that good or did it just tickle audiences the right way and have the right wards marketing team to help it fill a niche spot in the category often reserved for light quirky comedies that make a lot of money and get people talking? C.f. Four Weddings and a Funeral and Chocolat.

Election Movie Review

Alexander Payne’s second film was a brilliant little gem called Election, a satirical look at electoral process through the prism of a high school student council election. The screenplay was adapted from Tom Perrotta’s novel by Payne and Jim Taylor and is as true to high school life and character as it is cynically observant of political ambition.

Reese Witherspoon achieved major breakout success playing Tracy Flick, the little bundle of gumption and up-start attitude that comes across as admirable in a teenager, but which has the potential to transition into an adulthood of stepping on everyone to achieve her goals. Matthew Broderick plays the popular history teacher, Jim McAllister, who oversees student government elections. He teaches the students civics and about the difference between morals and ethics – a line he would do well to consider later in the film when he manipulates the election results and cheats on his wife. Mr. McAllister is one of those teachers that students remember their whole lives. He is dedicated and enthusiastic and truly a stand-up guy, even standing beside his friend and colleague Dave Novotni after it’s discovered he’s been having an affair with sixteen-year old Tracy (the one detail I find sort of unbelievable in an otherwise perfect movie because girls like Tracy are not typically sexually ambitious and aren’t targeted by men like Dave.