Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

One of the great things about Star Trek, be it any of the series or many of the feature films, is the way it has always put ideas at the forefront of its stories, valuing philosophy and political science above action and swashbuckling. Even First Contact, my absolute favorite of all the movies, found a way to work some excellent action sequences into a film that was mostly about ideas and really developed some of the characters.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Bourne Ultimatum Movie Review

Matt Damon never smiles in The Bourne Supremacy. I think that’s also true in The Bourne Ultimatum, which is the darker and slightly more sinister installment in the trilogy. It picks up where the previous film left off, after Bourne has tried to achieve some redemption by apologizing to the young woman whose life he altered when he murdered her parents. Most of the movie cleverly, it turns out, takes place between that apology scene and the epilogue of The Bourne Supremacy in which he calls Pam Landy and insinuates that he’s looking at her through her office window.

The Bourne Supremacy Movie Review

If The Bourne Identity was the grounded, relaxed version of an action spy film, then its first sequel The Bourne Supremacy is the next step in kineticism, ratcheting up the energy as Bourne remembers more about his past and becomes more deeply embroiled in layers of cover-ups he can’t understand.

It picks up two years after the events of the first film. Bourne and Marie are hiding out in India until an assassin (Karl Urban) shows up and accidentally kills Marie (Franka Potente) instead of Bourne. Meanwhile in Berlin, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), a CIA bureaucrat, is working a case to uncover a mole within the organization. Someone is also setting up Bourne as a rogue agent. The old Treadstone project that made Bourne has become Blackbriar. Landy is kept at arm’s length by Abbott (Brian Cox, returning in his role as the head of the Black Ops program).

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

From My Collection: The Bourne Identity Movie Review

I’m revisiting the original trilogy of Bourne Movies after seeing Jason Bourne. I guess that’s backwards, but the inspiration didn’t strike until I found myself disappointed in the new movie. Seeing how frenetic the editing was, I felt that Paul Greengrass had taken his style to an extreme. I didn’t recall that the two he directed were similarly edited.

Cafe Society Movie Review

There’s not much left for Woody Allen to say in his movies, is there? He’s already been walking the same ground for decades, hitting the same themes and even repeating (or so it feels) zingers and one-liners. After fifty plus films in as many years, how could he not? He puts out a new movie every year like clockwork. Sometimes it’s as if he’s going through the motions and occasionally he gives us something inspired, as with Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine. His latest is Café Society, which is far better than the recent misfire of Magic in the Moonlight but still falling short of genuine genius.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne’s story was told through a trilogy of films that concluded nearly a decade ago. From The Bourne Identity, which saw Matt Damon playing the title amnesiac trying to figure out who he was, why people were trying to kill him, and how he was so capable with his fists, his language, automobiles, and weapons, to the capper The Bourne Ultimatum in which he remembers everything and handily exposes the CIA program that made him who he was we saw Damon and director Paul Greengrass (for the two sequels) reinvent the action spy thriller for the new millennium. Bourne’s story being complete, the franchise attempted to skew in a different direction with Jeremy Renner starring. Now Damon and Greengrass have reunited, I suppose catching on to the popularity of series reboots that have cropped up all over Hollywood in recent years.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Finding Dory Movie Review

The Pixar Animation Studio has been a little hit or miss with their sequels. The two Toy Story follow-ups are stellar, but Cars 2 doesn’t even measure up to its predecessor, which wasn’t great to begin with. Monsters University carried on the story in a really interesting way, going back to show us how Mike and sully got where they were. It enriches Monsters, Inc. So who knew what to expect with Finding Dory? The biggest error of Cars 2 was the belief that a great supporting character could be the centerpiece of a movie. Dory Added so much to Finding Nemo and she was the most beloved character there. But could her short term memory loss affliction carry an entire movie?

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Infiltrator Movie Review

The world surely has no shortage of movies about the international drug trade or about law enforcement using everything in their arsenal to take down the cartels. There’s also plenty of movies about the perils of going undercover to take down a criminal organization. The Infiltrator combines both for a premise that is not especially original, but which is often enthralling. There’s something about the story of a person who goes into another world pretending to be something they’re not. There’s the adrenaline rush of going into the danger zone. There’s the excitement of getting to be someone else for a while leading a sort of double life. It’s like getting a chance to be someone and do something that you’re not. Who wouldn’t like the opportunity to see how that fits? Of course who wants to take with it the possibility of getting killed?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Everything I saw in the first half of 2016

So I've maintained some consistency through three years. I watched a total of 79 feature films in the first six months of 2016. 77 of those were unique features, meaning there were two movies that I repeat viewed within the six month period. That’s right on par with the last two years. Additionally, 61 of those movies were first time viewings for me. Once again, that’s almost identical with January – June the previous two years.

Now, where I’ve fallen off is going to the cinema. I saw only fifteen feature films at the movie theater in the first half of this year. That’s down from eighteen last year and twenty-two the year before. And when you consider that I go to the movies a lot in January and February to catch up with the last of the best from the previous year, that basically means I’ve seen almost nothing new in the cinema this year. In fact, I’ve seen only five 2016 releases in the cinema through June. My focus has been much more on watching things at home, saving the time and money it takes to go out, and catching up on old favorites.

Ghostbusters Movie Review

In this era of reboots, sequels, re-imaginings, and reinventions, one thing has consistently escaped the Hollywood executives who greenlight this stuff. They continue to make blockbuster cinema a boys club, catering to and casting men in most major action and comedy films. But leave it to Paul Feig, the director of the hysterically funny female response to the male gross-out comedy – Bridesmaids – to bring us the female Ghostbusters. A second sequel in the franchise was part of Hollywood lore for years with talk of Chris Farley being involved shortly before his death in 1997. But now we finally, at long last, even though almost no one was demanding it, have a new Ghostbusters with the all-lady cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon.

From My Collection: Swiss Family Robinson Movie Review

So as my son gets older I find myself wanting to introduce him to the films I found to be magical experiences when I was a boy. And so he’s seen the Star Wars trilogy and E.T. and The Wizard of Oz. But there’s one that I loved that was perhaps less well-known, certainly less popular compared to those blockbuster classics. Disney’s live action adventure Swiss Family Robinson won’t be making anyone’s list of the greatest films, but boy is it fun!

This movie has everything: a shipwreck; exotic locations; a menagerie of incredible animals; pirates; guns; coconut bombs; and the coolest fucking treehouse you’ve ever seen. That treehouse is so awesome, so wondrous that it became a beloved attraction at both Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom theme parks.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Midnight Special Movie Review

The enticement of big studio backing, larger budgets, and wider distribution must be great to successful indie filmmakers. Jeff Nichols had a string of well-received films that did well on the festival circuit and then got a lot more money for his fourth feature, Midnight Special. Unlike what often happens with directors who display talent on the small scale, Nichols didn’t move on to the latest superhero movie or some other blockbuster. Instead he took the money to make his own story and make it without the limitations he surely faced in the past due to budget constraints.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one hell of an impressive machine. It has churned out three Iron Man movies, two Thor movies, a dedicated Hulk movie, two Avengers movies, Ant Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now a third Captain America movie (or Avengers depending on how you look at it). Through all of it, the stories have toyed with more important themes and topicality. They have often remained a notch above just popcorn and candy, explosions and mayhem. Now, after lots and lots of catastrophic destruction in the name of heroism and the self-anointed good trying to stymie evil, Captain America: Civil War aims to dive deep on the divide between those who would allow for an unchecked team of independent heroes (or vigilantes, call them what you will) and those who would seek to control them, track them, and direct them in order to minimize collateral damage and tamp down the public belief that these “enhanced individuals” are running roughshod over the globe.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Heat Movie Review

It’s sort of improbable that Michael Mann was able to make Heat the way he wanted to at the length of nearly three hours. How did a studio greenlight that decision? Mann was not a known director like a Scorsese or a Spielberg. Crime drama was not exactly a genre that typically lent itself to epic scope and length. I can only surmise that it was on the strength of having Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as the two leads that made executives believe that people would come to this movie. It didn’t hurt, I’m sure, that the movie is exceptionally well-made.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Witch Movie Review

As a first time feature film maker, Robert Egger demonstrates a skilled and assured hand at how to handle material that is delicate on several fronts. The Witch, which he wrote and directed, deals with puritanical religious dogma of the seventeenth century, witchcraft, and also the conventions of horror and psychological thrillers. So much could have gone wrong in setting a tone and a pace, but Eggers gets most of it right.

For starters, he set his film nearly four centuries ago in New England. As such the dialogue, much of which is taken from contemporaneous transcripts and texts, contains a style that, to the ears of a 21st century American, sounds like something out of a restoration village where actors pretend they know nothing about modern technology. Also the family at the center of the movie, who have been banished from the village for “prideful conceit”, exercise such deep religious conviction that we might feel uncomfortable laughter coming on. But the events that transpire are no laughing matter.

Deadpool Movie Review

For all the hoopla surrounding Deadpool – strong box office receipts; excellent audience reception; and even positive critical consensus – it doesn’t take long to look past the surface to see that there’s not really much there apart from an admittedly entertaining comic book adaptation. Shouldn’t that be enough for a comic book superhero movie? We go for the entertainment, right? But nothing else?

This may be a case of people getting a little too excited just because the movie attempts to break ranks with the clichés of the genre. Instead of pleasant PG-13 action that’s short on bad language and long on mild violence, Deadpool sears up and down, there’s sex, and the violence (though cartoonish) very violent and full of blood. This ground has been trod before. Kick Ass got there first, although I think Deadpool does it better and with great moral clarity.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dough Movie Review

It feels almost obscene to speak negatively of a film like Dough. It has only the best intentions. It is not malicious and takes on several noble subjects that are both particular to its London setting as well as universal in the multicultural 21st century.

Jonathan Pryce is a wonderful actor who has made a career of flying just under the radar of superstardom. Here he plays Nat Dayan, proprietor of a kosher bakery that is on the brink of failure alongside the corporate one-stop shopping convenience next door. He’s hardly recognizable behind a thick beard and gristled locks of hair, and a yarmulke. Nat clings to an old way of life in which the family business passes from father to son and the Jewish community thrives in perpetuity. But time marches on and change comes. His son became a successful lawyer and the Jews are fleeing (most likely to the suburbs as they earn their continued financial successes), being replaced by immigrants and refugees, many of them African Muslims.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Purple Rain Movie Review

The sudden death of the enigmatic celebrity, the electrifying performer, the virtuoso musician Prince made me jump immediately to a movie I’d never seen before. Purple Rain was Prince’s first movie. He starred in it and of course wrote all the music that his character, The Kid (a somewhat autobiographical version of himself), performs. He won an Oscar for Best Original Musical – the last time that Oscar category was even awarded. Purple Rain has never a bright reputation. It’s no work of cinematic gold and is only remembered today because it stars Prince and his music. By most accounts, it is the best of Prince’s four films so I can only imagine just how bad Under the Cherry Moon must be.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Woman in Gold Movie Review

I’m a big “West Wing” fan, so excuse me if you don’t know what I’m referring to when I say, “Crime. Boy, I don’t know.” That is a line from “Posse Comitatus,” the season 3 finale and the lynchpin moment when President Bartlett decides he’s going to take it to his opponent in the election. Woman in Gold is the Holocaust equivalent of that sentiment, an empty gesture at acknowledging something inexplicably awful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Movie Review

J.J. Abrams took the reins of the Star Wars franchise and reinvigorated it with The Force Awakens, otherwise known as Episode VII and taking place some three decades or so after the vents of Return of the Jedi. This new chapter is a more than welcome addition following the ill-reputed prequel trilogy and even the Special Edition versions of the original trilogy.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Rocky II Review

So here’s the thing: the Rocky franchise sequels have a truly poor reputation, but revisiting the first sequel, Rocky II, reveals a film that is not so bad as might be remembered. If it were a standalone film, it would be a moderately successful little boxing movie, probably largely forgotten by now, but decent. As the sequel to the wildly popular and Best Picture Oscar-winning first film, it had a lot to live up to.

Essentially, Rocky II follows the formula of the first film almost to the letter. It exists purely to have a rematch between Rocky and Apollo, a recreation of the sports drama of the previous film. Like the first film, this one was written by Sylvester Stallone. However, this time he took on directing duties in addition and of course starred in the film. Carl Weathers returned as Apollo, as did all the other principals: Talia Shire as Rocky’s love interest, Adrian; Burgess Meredith as Mickey the trainer; and Burt Young as Adrian’s brother, Paulie.

Best of Enemies Movie Review

“That was a time when television was still a public square, when Americans gathered and saw pretty much the same thing. There’s nothing like that now.”

“The ability to talk the same language is gone. More and more we’re divided into communities of concern. Each side can ignore the other side and live in its own world. It makes us less of a nation. Because what binds us together is the pictures in our heads. But if those people are not sharing those ideas, they’re not living in the same place.”

Those quotations above reverberate for me long after hearing it in Best of Enemies, the documentary about the Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley television debates ahead of the 1968 election. Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville wrote and directed the documentary, an examination of the series of ten debates between Vidal, a liberal author, and Buckley, a conservative pundit.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Classic Movie Review From My Collection: Rocky

It’s easy to forget after the deluge of increasingly absurd sequels through the 80s that Rocky – the original – as not only a great film, but is raw and gritty. I guess because I grew up on the sequels, the whole of the series sits in my memory as polished Hollywood filmmaking. And I even watched Rocky ten or fifteen years ago!

The movie truly feels like something out of another era. It’s low-budget, it’s seedy and dirty. Interestingly, I watched John Huston’s Fat City for the first time last year. That’s another 70s boxing flock that predates Rocky by a few years. I remember thinking how gritty it looked and felt and was shocked to find how similar the pacing and look of Rocky (at least in the first three quarters or so is to Huston’s film. I wonder if it was viewed by director John Avildsen and cinematographer James Crabe to achieve a real brown street look.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2015 Oscar-nominated Documentary Short Films Review

Documentarians who make feature-length films have become incredibly savvy when it comes to what makes documentaries sell. Many of them nowadays weave a narrative from the material they gather. What was once a rather dry art form used strictly for information dissemination has now become full-fledged entertainment in many of the same ways fictional films are. They have characters and there’s a plot and story arc. The short-form documentary doesn’t really have the time to do all that so we’re left with a purer form of art, used by filmmakers to call attention to a problem, a hero, an artist, or another work of art that maybe we don’t think about often enough. With the program of Oscar-nominated documentary shorts, you get five films that are straight-forward and to the point of their subject matter.

First up is Body Team 12, the shortest of the lot at only twelve minutes. It has little time to do much other than spend a few minutes in the horrors of the job of a team from the Liberian Red Cross whose duties involved collecting the bodies of Ebola victims during the deadly outbreak last year. They gear up with full body coverings, multiple pairs of gloves, and goggles. They go in, take blood samples, and then remove the corpse to a crematorium. One team member follows with an anti-bacterial spray to douse the site where the body was and to rinse his team members’ protective gear as they remove it. The risk of infection is terrifying enough and it’s hard not to conjure memories of the 1995 film Outbreak in which a small breach in the armor led to death. But sometimes the most dangerous part of the job is trying to convince family members to take away their loved ones’ bodies without a burial and gravesite. One group of angry men threaten to burn their car with them inside it. David Darg’s film is a harrowing look at grief that accompanies tragedy and at the unsung heroes who helped avert further spread of the disease as much personal risk to themselves.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Top Ten of 2015


I've been putting this off and putting this off, but I've finally just got to go for it. Here's my top ten movies of 2015. As always, this is a snapshot of the films I enjoyed and admire the most.

1. Spotlight dir. Tom McCarthy - watching this again yesterday affirmed its placement at the top of my list. Sets a new gold standard for journalism movies, depicting what real investigative reporting is like: a long slog of digging deep on a story. Important subject matter, wonderfully acted and written.

2. Son of Saul dir. Laszlo Nemes - this Hungarian Holocaust film and nominee (and likely winner) of the foreign language film Oscar is surprisingly unnerving. The surprise comes from the fact that I wasn't sure the subject matter could still unnerve me in new ways. Nemes keeps his camera with the main character, an Auschwitz sonderkommando, a Jewish prisoner whose job is to usher newly arriving Jews into the gas chambers, then clear out their possessions and remove their bodies to make way for the next herd. The entire story, taking place over the course of a day, is from Saul's perspective giving the film an incredible feeling of tension and horror and confusion.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spotlight Movie Review




Thankfully after the sour taste of Truth, a journalism movie with good intentions but very poor execution and understanding of proper journalism, Spotlight came along to remind us that there are people who get it. They get that investigative journalism can be a tool and a force for change and for good and that the ends in themselves are not always justified even if your story is right, or is most likely right. Good journalism requires good, fair, and accurate reporting. It’s about dogged determination in getting people to talk or reveal secrets. Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy and co-written by him and Josh Singer, sis the best movie about the process of investigation and what goes into reporting a story since All the President’s Men.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Look of Silence Movie Review




The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up or companion piece to his 2012 documentary The Act of Killing. Where that film was shocking in its reveal of Indonesian perpetrators of genocide being so cavalier in their admission of what they did, this film is arresting in the way it personalizes the horror. Adi Rukun, the protagonist, is a younger brother of a young man murdered as a Communist in 1965. He confronts several of the commanders of death squads that operated in his province. Their boastfulness and rationalization of horrific crimes against humanity can only be explained as masking of tremendous guilt. There are powerful statements being made here about the need for national reconciliation and the ways in which families fail to fully heal or function without that acknowledgment.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Creed Movie Review




In an age of reboots and sequels galore coming to theaters and television, it’s easy to become jaded by the lack of originality and craven capitalist instinct to cash in on a known product. Most of the time these projects wind up utter failures because the success of a piece of pop culture entertainment, be it movie, TV show, music, or book is as much the product of the culture in which it was produced and released as the actual quality of the work. You can get the band back together, but you can’t recreate the external climate that contributed to their greatness or the public perception thereof.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review




I fail to see what all the fuss and accolades toward Straight Outta Compton is about. Yes, it’s a good movie, well written and acted with a cast of mostly unknown and inexperienced actors. But as a musical biopic, what does it really bring to the table that hasn’t been done countless times before?

The story of the rise of the rap group N.W.A. from a group of friends making music together to a national voice for the powerless inner city black youths in America and FBI pariah is certainly not uninteresting. We’ve all heard of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. This is where they got their start. Eric “Easy-E” Wright died twenty years ago while DJ Yella and MC Wren are the lesser known members of the group. That Dre and Cube worked as producers on the project should not go unmentioned because it’s pretty clear in the film’s narrative which characters are highlighted most prominently. It’s also worth pointing out that their characters come off as the most morally upstanding while Eric Wright, no longer alive to defend himself, comes across (in spite of a lovely redemption at the end) as the instigator of strife within the group.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A War Movie Review


The Danish entry and nominee for this year’s Foreign Language Film Oscar is A War written and directed by Tobias Lindholm. This is one of the more unusual foreign films you’ll see in that it more closely resembles a Hollywood film than most. It’s easy to forget that American soldiers haven’t been the only ones doing the fighting and dying in Afghanistan. A coalition of many nations sent soldiers there and A War is about a company of Danish men and women patrolling the countryside and villages to keep the Taliban at bay.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

88th Academy Awards Prediction of All the Winners



So real quick and only a few hours before the ceremony begins, here are my final predictions. Every year I think tell myself I'm going to get this done weeks ahead of time and every year it ends up posted last minute. Oh well. Maybe next year.

So the broad stroke: Mad Max: Fury Road will not win Best Picture, but it will win the most awards, picking up almost a sweep of all its technical award nominations.

Picture - a month ago I had Spotlight as a lock on this and I think it's the best movie, but The Revenant has picked up a lot of steam and will take the top prize.
Director - the same is true for Iñárritu, who will repeat as best director, the first time in more than 60 years that it has happened. I went back and forth between him and George Miller as the veteran favorite who directed a stunning action film with lots of practical effects, but ultimately I think this is going to Alejandro.
Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio without doubt.
Actress - Brie Larson. I've known this for some time and I don't expect any surprises here.
Supporting Actor - Ugh, this is a tough one. I don't really think Christian Bale will win a second Oscar for this. Mark Ruffalo is bottom of the list. But The Revenant is hugely popular and Tom Hardy, an incredible actor who had an incredible year, could ride that wave. Sylvester Stallone could be the sentimental favorite here, repeating an iconic character of film history. But Stallone's career of giving terrible performances in terrible movies doesn't give him a lot of cachet. So I'm giving this to Mark Rylance by a nose.
Supporting Actress - Another tough acting category, but I think Alicia Vikander is a strong lock to win.
Original Screenplay - Spotlight will win the "consolation" prize.
Adapted Screenplay - The Big Short seems the most likely winner in this category. Spielberg movies don't often win screenplay awards, although Bridge of Spies was written by the Coen brothers.
Animated Feature - My choice would be for Anomalisa, but we're talking predictions here so Inside Out will take the crown back for Pixar.
Foreign Language Film - Son of Saul. No real competition here.
Documentary Feature - In recent years, this award has gone to the populist choice and this year that movie is the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy.
Film Editing - Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design - Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki will win this award an unprecedented third time in a row for The Revenant and Roger Deakins will go home empty-handed, still having never won an Oscar after 13 nominations for stunning work.
Costume Design - I think this is a tough call and I think it's sort of going out on a limb to say Sandy Powell will win for Cinderella even it's the kind of work that traditionally wins this award. But I won't be surprised if either Mad Max or The Revenant wins.
Makeup and Hairstyling - Mad Max: Fury Road
Original Score - Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight
Original Song - This is pretty difficult to predict, but Lady Gaga is nominated so I'm going with her song co-written with perennial nominee (and never a winner) Diane Warren for "Til It Happens to You" from the documentary The Hunting Ground.
Sound - Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Editing - Mad Max: Fury Road
Visual Effects - Mad Max: Fury Road
Documentary Short - Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Live Action Short - Day One
Animated Short - World of Tomorrow

Friday, February 26, 2016

Oscars Promo



2016: The Oscars Promo from Tomas Medero on Vimeo.

Here's a very nicely put together montage of Oscar-nominated movies ahead of Sunday night's awards. It incorporates clips from 30 of the 42 feature-length films that have at least one nomination, including blink-and-you'll-miss-it clips from YouthJoyA WarBrooklynAmy, and Embrace of the Serpent. And it's very heavy on SicarioThe Revenant, and Mad Max. I am especially impressed that it goes out of its way to incorporate all five foreign language nominees and three of the documentaries.

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.