I always liked Mary Poppins (1964) as a kid, so it was nice to get some backstory to the film. The way they tell it isn’t exactly original, but it is pleasant. Emma Thompson is great and quite funny, even if her character is sometimes infuriating. Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast are fine, too. The whole thing was a bit self-congratulatory on the part of Disney, but they have produced magical films and it’s all very nice. I think “nice” and “pleasant” are the most apt words to describe the film, really. It’s hardly brilliant, but it’s harmless and did actually give another dimension to Mary Poppins that I wasn’t previously aware of.
I liked it. The plot is basic, and there’s not all that much to it, but it was pleasant and didn’t feel like a lot of other romantic comedies. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (in one of his final roles) are great and have a really nice chemistry together. The screenplay is well-written and it had some quietly amusing moments. I’m not rushing out to recommend it to everyone I know, but it’s a good film and worth a watch.
- I liked Ellen Degeneres as the host. She’s fairly safe, but she had some really funny moments, I thought.
- There weren’t any big surprises, really, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
- I’m fine with 12 Years a Slave winning best picture. It wasn’t my favourite, but at least neither American Hustle nor Gravity won.
- Gravity did get a lot of the technical awards, and I’m absolutely fine with that. It deserves them.
- I knew it would be either Leonardo DiCaprio or Matthew McConaughey for best actor and the result makes sense.
- No shock about Cate Blanchett for best actress, but I was happy.
- Same deal with the supporting actor awards - Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o were pretty sure things.
- I was truly pleased with the decision of the screenplay award going to Her. I thought it was thoroughly deserved.
- Frozen winning best animated film was obvious, but appropriate.
- Yeah, it was a pleasant ceremony and apart from a few of the musical performances, I enjoyed watching all of it.
- Oh, and John Travolta absolutely butchering Idina Menzel’s name was incredible.
Okay, I’ve seen all 9 nominees for Best Picture at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, so it’s time to make some thoughts and predictions on the main categories. Here’s the full list, by the way.
Best Motion Picture of the Year:
I think the most likely recipient might be 12 Years a Slave. American Hustle is also a possibility, but I really hope not. Personally, I’d give it to either The Wolf of Wall Street or Her, both of which may be a little out there for the Academy.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
I think Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey are the front-runners here, and I’d be happy with either of them winning.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
I haven’t seen Meryl Streep’s performance, so I can’t comment on that. I hope Cate Blanchett gets it, and she probably will.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
I’d be perfectly happy with any of the nominees winning this, except for Bradley Cooper. Jared Leto feels like a pretty safe bet, but perhaps Jonah Hill will shake things up.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
I also haven’t seen Julia Roberts’ performance. I’m thinking possibly Lupita Nyong’o, but it’s a tough call.
Best Achievement in Directing:
The Academy do seem to love David O. Russell, but I hope he doesn’t get it. Martin Scorsese would be a good choice. I’m not sure if I can see them giving it to any of the others, but maybe.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
I definitely think Her should get this, but who knows? They could go for American Hustle or Blue Jasmine.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:
I’d really like it if Before Midnight won, but I think The Wolf of Wall Street is more likely.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
I’d be incredibly surprised if Frozen didn’t win.
And just some extra thoughts: I haven’t seen the other nominees, but I’d like it if The Hunt won for Best Foreign Language Film of the year. And again, although I haven’t seen the others, The Act of Killing should absolutely be considered for Best Documentary, Feature.
This is definitely a very unique documentary. It delves into the minds of killers, real people who have committed genocide, and it’s a scary place. The way they talk about what they did - calmly, like murder is a regular thing, even laughing about it, seemingly remembering it fondly - it made me seriously uncomfortable and angry. While I think it’s interesting to look at this side of humanity, I almost wish they hadn’t given these horrible people the opportunity. They don’t deserve to be given anything. Still, I think it’s an important documentary, and it should be seen.
I loved it. Honestly, I was totally sold on it within the first two minutes. I’m a fan of Spike Jonze, and I think this is his best film yet. The screenplay is wonderful. It’s full of relatable, human moments as well as clever insights about the future and where technology is now and where it’s headed. Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant, and he’s backed up by great performances from Amy Adams and Rooney Mara. And, of course, Scarlett Johansson is amazing, completely evoking a character with only a voice. The cinematography was beautiful too - I loved the colours. One of the things I really liked about the film was that it avoided falling into the cliches it easily could have. In different hands, the film could have been a horrible experience. Instead, Jonze really cares for the main character, and it shows in the lack of the movie making fun of him. I’m not sure everyone would like it, but I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch.
Okay, so, I think I may have finally come around to Matthew McConaughey. At the very least, I like that he’s doing roles like this and ones like in Mud (2012) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). He’s excellent in this film, and just as brilliant was Jared Leto. I’m so glad he’s come back to acting. Jennifer Garner isn’t bad, but she can’t match the other two. I don’t know if it would half as good without the great performances, but it’s a solid film. The story is interesting, and it’s emotional without being overwrought. I’d recommend it.
I’d heard a lot of bad things about this, as well as a couple of good things, so I thought I’d better just check it out for myself. Turns out, yeah, it’s pretty bad. Just FYI, I’m not really familiar with the original TV series. There was a time when it seemed like Johnny Depp could do no bad. Now, it seems like he can’t do much good. This movie just comes across as an attempt to make another Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and an ensuing franchise. It doesn’t work. For one thing, Depp’s Tonto is certainly no Jack Sparrow. He’s just a bunch of silly facial expressions. Also, he’s probably pretty damn racist. The title character is dull as hell, too. The film might have been partly saved by a charismatic villain, but nope, boring again. The female characters might as well not exist. None of the characters are engaging at all. The plot isn’t interesting either, as well as being needlessly convoluted. Oh, and the whole thing is too damn long. It would’ve been a boring film at 90 minutes, but 150? It’s a tedious challenge. The humour falls flat, the visual effects aren’t very good, and it proves that Hollywood just likes to rely on formulas for movies, not actual good ideas. A waste of time, overall.
Check this as another success for Woody Allen. I preferred this to his last popular movie, Midnight in Paris (2011). This film doesn’t have much in the way of plot, but it’s a nice character study. The structure was cool, and the ending was brilliant. Cate Blanchett was excellent, and the rest of the cast are fine too. That’s about all I have to say. Good film.
I think there’s something to admire about Vin Diesel and writer/director David Twohy’s attachment to the character of Riddick. I just wish it was a better one. I thought Pitch Black (2000) was quite fun, but The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) was kind of a mess. I like that they tried to go back to the spirit of the original, but it’s the same goddamn movie. It started off well with Riddick surviving in the wilderness, and some cool creatures. But once the marines/mercenaries characters that we’ve seen a dozen times before show up, it gets a whole lot worse. They’re boring, one-dimensional and too much time is spent with them. I was rather disgusted with Katee Sackhoff’s character being constantly sexualised, and then the implication that her homosexuality could be ‘cured’ by being fucked by Riddick. How is that shit still happening in this day and age? The film gets slightly better once Riddick re-enters the story, but it all ends up being pretty mediocre. The visual effects were sometimes good, but sometimes truly awful. All in all, it’s not terrible, but not memorable either. Also, they should have called it “Riddickulous”. That would’ve been awesome.