Thursday, February 28, 2019

New "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" trailer

Even though I didn't think the original "X3" is the abomination so many comic book fans say it is, I will agree it left something to be desired. That was a tough shoot though. Fox executive Tom Rothman screwed over Bryan Singer, even though the guy made Fox a ton of money. He pushed for a quick release date and tight schedule to beat Singer's "Superman Returns" to theaters. It lost several directors. It would actually be a neat story for biopic movie, to be quite honest. The background story of the making of "X3" is insane. No matter how you look at it, "X3" was going to be a hot mess. I will never argue that "X3" is a great movie, because its not. I will say I have always given it the benefit of the doubt.

I can't say I am doing the same with this new-age "X-Men" franchise. It's been some good footing ever since "First Class" in 2011. Yet, I can't seem to get too excited over this new "Dark Phoenix" movie. I look at this new trailer, and it just looks like a soft reboot of "X3." Except there is no Wolverine and Jean is being manipulated by a different character.

The more I look at this new trailer, the more it looks the exact same.

But hey, since it looks like the X-Men are going to headed the Marvel Cinematic Universe really soon, I guess it only makes sense that all the characters in this franchise would die or lose their powers.

All joking aside, what do you guys think?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

How many villains will the Affleck-less "Batman" movie feature?

We are slowly but surely beginning to receive information on Matt Reeves' upcoming Batman movie. Yep, the solo movie that just recently lost Ben Affleck. In fact, trying to figure out this upcoming Batman movie at all has been a chore. Back in June, conflicting reports could not figure out what franchise this new film belongs to. Will the movie be a backdoor link to the upcoming "Joker" movie with Joaquin Phoenix? Will the movie still take place in the current DCEU, sharing continuity with "Justice League," "Batman vs. Superman," and "Aquaman?" Or will this be the beginning of a new universe? DC doesn't seem to have a clear plan right now, they're focusing on getting good movies into theaters. A thoughtful gesture, but one which could confuse some viewers.

I guess it makes more sense Ben Affleck left.

But we are not going to focus too much on that, this evening. We are going to talk more about the rumor that dropped today, that this new Batman could include as many as four villains. Some fans of these movies get hung up on the villain count, because they think that will effect the script, story, and coherency. If you ask me, that really depends on how gifted the filmmakers are. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" had roughly three villains, plus one making a cameo. Even Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" featured Scarecrow, Carmine Falcone, Ra's Al Ghul and a brief appearance by Victor Zasz. Hell, "The LEGO Batman Movie" featured roughly half of Batman's own rogues gallery all by itself. It really depends on how well the script is written and how well the movie is directed. Matt Reeves has made some great movies, so I am giving him the benefit of the doubt right now.

Another rumor suggests that The Penguin will be among the villains fighting Batman in this upcoming movie. A villain who has been out of the movies since "Batman Returns" in 1992, but has regained some popularity on the Fox TV show "Gotham." If we look at the two Tim Burton movies, the two Joel Schumaker movies, the three Christopher Nolan movies, and Batman's appearance in "Batman vs. Superman," we have seen the longevity of Batman's villains list. We've seen three Jokers, two Catwomen, two Bane's, a Penguin, a Mr. Freeze, a Poison Ivy, two Two-Face's, a Riddler, a Scarecrow, a Ra's Al Ghul, a Talia Ah Ghul, a KGBeast, a couple mobsters from the comics and even a reimaging of a guy created for the animated series. "Suicide Squad" featured Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc on the team's roster, all known Batman villains. We also know in the upcoming "Birds of Prey" movie that the main villains will be Black Mask and Victor Zasz. Now, for anybody who doesn't know comics, would you believe me if I said that there are still several Bat-villains we haven't seen on the big screen yet?

Some villains that we haven't seen yet, who would be cool movie villains, include...

Hush- Thomas Elliot is a renowned doctor in Gotham City and the childhood best friend of Bruce Wayne. He, obviously turns evil in the comics and becomes Hush.

Hugo Strange- A professor who pretends to be Batman, and if I'm not mistaken, figures out Batman's identity. Don't quote me on that last part, though.

Clayface- There have been a couple versions of this guy, an actor who uses make-up to become other people. Or, the most popular version, a huge, hulking monster that looks like a walking pile of diarrhea. Any version would be cool.

Man-Bat- Yep, he's exactly how he sounds. A man who literally turned into a giant Bat after an experiment gone wrong.

Firefly- you could say that he's Gotham's local evil pyromaniac.

The Mad Hatter- An Alice In Wonderland themed villain.

Professor Pyg- A more modern addition to Batman's rogues gallery, he's got a pig mask and he loves to kill people!

Court of Owls- A secret society of Gotham City's richest people, who secretly control things within the city and abroad. Apparently they've been doing this for centuries.

Anarky- Gotham City's friendly neighborhood anarchist.

These are just some of the many Batman villains we have yet to see on the big screen. But perhaps Matt Reeves will give us updates on guys like The Riddler or Mr. Freeze, guys we haven't seen since the 1990's. The list above is just some villains I'd love to see translated out to the big screen. Or maybe I have this all wrong and Matt Reeves is planning on giving us Kite Man, Polka Dot Man and the Condiment King. Yes, those are all real Batman villains. Yes, they are exactly how they sound. Who knows. What I do know is that casting is going to begin very soon for this movie, so hopefully we will learn more about it very soon. Which Batman villains would like to see?


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: "Paddleton" is a heartwarming new film on Netflix

Paddleton Review
Throughout the history of cinema, one of the lessons we've learned many times is the power of friendship. We've seen friendship on film in many forms. Hollywood has used friendship in fairly obvious metaphors and explorations. Other times, it hasn't been as easy to get to a certain point. But the way this business has used and explored friendship has been often times important and other times, just fun in general.

The Duplass brothers have been working on movies for years now. You may recognize Mark Duplass as a name by this point, because he seems to be  an actor who is everywhere. Mark and his brother Jay, have been working in entertainment for a long time though. The secret weapon to many Duplass Brother movies is how the put a real-world, grounded edge on their comedy. They have brainstormed some very funny material in the past, but how they make it relatable to others and how accessible their comedy is has been remarkable to follow. While Mark Duplass co-starred and co-wrote "Paddleton," the new comedy now streaming on Netflix, and while the brothers both get producing credits, it certainly feels like a Duplass movie.

Mark Duplass plays Michael Thompson, an everyday Joe Schmoe type character. He is good friends with his neighbor Andy, played by Ray Romano. They seem to be fairly close as the movie starts, which is good because right at the beginning of the movie, Michael gets news that he has cancer. It doesn't seem like Michael has any close family nearby, and no other close friends. He's got Andy though, and they seem to spend lots of time together. Facing his morality, Michael and Andy go on a trip after Michael gets some medication for his cancer. What emerges is an unlikely bromance between these two friends, and how that friendship is tested along the way. Should Michael be living his life to the fullest or should he just commit suicide? Where does Andy fit into all of this? Should Andy just let Michael die simply because Michael doesn't want to struggle? 

Over the course of the movie, we see Andy being put to the test. The bond between him and Michael is equally put to the test. I find it amazing how Mark Duplass' script co-written by Alex Lehmann squeezes laughs out of a fairly unfunny situation. That can sting, but I find it bracing when a script can find good humor like release valves in dramatic work. The Duplass' are masters of this kind of humor though, so it feels natural. This type of "dramedy" work is something Mark Duplass excels at and he brings a certain charm to his work as Micheal. This also feels like a revelation for Ray Ramano. We've just never really seen anything like the work from him that he does here, its very good work. The two actors pretty much hog the screen time here, is it was imperative that they work as actors. 

There is some predictability here. But for the most part, this is a winner. An unlikely favorite in a rather slow part of the cinematic year routinely. A showcase of acting talent by Romano and Duplass and just a funny, heartwarming story overall.


Monday, February 25, 2019

If I ran the Oscars

Okay one last Oscars related post and then I'm done.

I was originally going to have a lot more fun with this concept, but it would have ran really long and it was kind of crazy. So I am going to do a simple version of this. I sometimes complain most years about the snubs in nominations from the Academy. There are always...several. So I thought it would be a fun exercise to think of what The Oscars would look like if I was in charge.

And if I was alone in choosing them.

If I picked the nominees, picked the winners and so on and so forth. What would tonight's ceremony had looked like? Well, let me tell you.

Annihilation WINNER!
Beautiful Boy
Black Panther
A Star Is Born
Thunder Road

So as you can see, my list of Best Picture nominees is somewhat close to the Academy. But I have to admit that I am shocked "Annihilation" or "Beautiful Boy" just weren't nominated for ANYTHING. Since "Annihilation" was my favorite film of 2018, of course that's my Best Picture winner.

Actor In A Lead Role
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Steve Carrell, “Beautiful Boy”
John David Washington, “BlackKklansman” WINNER
Jim Cummings, “Thunder Road”

Rami and Bradley seriously were THAT GOOD, but as amazing as Rami was (and he really is the big reason to see Bohemian Rhapsody) but I'd still give it to John David Washington

Actor In A Supporting Role
Flea, “Boy Erased”
Adam Driver, “BlackKklansman”
Michael B. Jordan, “Black Panther”
Timothee Chalament, “Beautiful Boy” WINNER
Jackie Long, “Bodied”

Besides Adam Driver, my Supporting Actor category would have been wildly different. I'm sure the Academy didn't know what to make of a movie like "Bodied." But I am surprised both Chalamet and Fucking Flea got overlooked this year. Seriously, wild acting. Who knew from Flea in particular?

Actress In A Lead Role
Toni Collette, “Hereditary”
Elsie Fisher, “Eighth Grade”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Amandla Stenberg, “The Hate U Give” WINNER

"The Hate U Give" was one of the most talked about movies of the year, and it couldn't get nominated for ANYTHING? For shame! Again, I liked Olivia Colman, but these five women in particular just couldn't be ignored this year!

Actress In A Supporting Role
Gina Rodriguez, “Annihilation” WINNER
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Annihilation”
Katherine Waterston, “Mid90s”
Zoe Kazan, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
Regina Hall, “The Hate U Give”

We rarely see such a dark and delirious decent into madness than what Gina Rodriguez pulled off in "Annihilation." I know, I'm sure The Academy didn't have a single clue what to make of "Annihilation," but I thought Rodriguez was the best Supporting Actress.

Animated FILM
Yep. "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse" was the best animated feature.

Yep. Alfonso Curoan still wins for "Roma"

Costume Design
Oh yes. Wakanda Forever all the way!

Best Director
Alex Garland, “Annihilation” WINNER!
Spike Lee, “BlackKklansman”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Joseph Kahn, “Bodied”
Jim Cummings, “Thunder Road”

 Alex Garland is somebody you all need to watch out for and the Academy should have recognized that. Plus I can't believe they ignored Jim Cummings, his wild Kickstarter campaign just get the funds to MAKE his movie and the brilliant indie he ended up making.

Documentary Feature
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?WINNER!
Three Identical Strangers
Minding The Gap
Fahrenheit 11/9

This time all the right documentaries get nominated and the right one wins.

Documentary Short Subject

Film Editing
First Reformed
The Favourite

Seriously the way the rap battles are edited, the ferocity of the whole thing. Amazing. Pure bliss.

Foreign Language Film
Cold War
22 July

Slightly different nominees. Same winner. Fair trade.

Original Score
Black Panther
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Mission: Impossible Fallout

There isn't a single score in any movie that has haunted me more from 2018 or had me constantly thinking about it. That's worth something.

Original Song
“Shallow,” A Star is Born
“Sunflower,” Spider-Man: Enter The Spider-Verse
“What’s Up, Danger?” Spider-Man: Enter The Spider-Verse
“Revelation,” Boy Erased WINNER!
“Legend Has It,” Black Panther

Mostly different line-up for Original Song. This is what the category should have represented, this would have made the decision much tougher. But I think I like Revelation the most out of those five. Hard ass decision though.

Production Design
Black PantherWINNER!
The Favourite
A Private War
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Only like one different nominee but same result

Short Film-Animated

Short Film-Live Action

Sound Editing
Mission: Impossible Fallout
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born
Black Panther

Sound Mixing
Mission: Impossible Fallout
A Quiet Place
Ant-Man & The Wasp
Ready Player One

This time, the right movie wins for the Sound Awards!

Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity WarWINNER!
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

This time the right nominee wins, even though the work on The Shimmer and that scary mutant bear make this a close race

Adapted Screenplay
Avengers: Infinity War
BlackKklansman WINNER!
The Hate U Give
Beautiful Boy

Nothing new here! Except a few nominees

Original Screenplay
First Reformed WINNER!
Thunder Road
Eighth Grade
A Quiet Place

Seriously, that script was beautiful. Paul Schrader was robbed.

This was only meant to be a fun exercise. Sure, we can scrutinize the Academys choices, but in the end these awards are just the collective opinions of a bunch of Hollywood personalities. I know its lauded as the most important night in Hollywood, but its all rooted in opinion. I still find it interesting because I do like seeing what others value each year. Personally, I could not put together a ceremony like this. I love movies too much and I would want so many movies to have a spotlight of their own that the show would take 24 hours.

It is the Monday after the Oscars. The road to the Academy voting booths starts anew. Time to start searching for the next big thing.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Academy Awards Reaction

Well, as I figured it would be, this was a tough year to predict. In a year where film critics in unison pretty much said that it was one of the best years in cinematic history, its going to be tough to get predictions correct. Out of the twenty-four categories of the Academy Awards, I got fifteen right. That's fairly low for me. But in a world as awesome as 2018 was, predictors ballots went every which way. I know. I read several film analysts choices before. Usually everybody is in somewhat of a unison. But not this year, and that's what made 2018 great.

I have to say, I think going hostless may have been a good thing for the Oscars. Picking a host can be hit or miss. Billy Crystal was always great, I thought Ellen DeGeneres did really well a few years ago. And I know I'm in the minority on this one, but Seth MacFarlane was amazing, I thought. Jimmy Kimmel was hit-or-miss. I thought Neil Patrick Harris was flat. But in recent years, nobody was as bad as James Franco and Anne Hathaway. I like both of them as actors, but hosting the Oscars just ain't their bag. Anyway, I know it was really controversial what was going on with Kevin Hart, but I think having no host helped keep the ceremony ending at a halfway decent time on a Sunday night. The ceremony flowed much better than in recent years. Perhaps in the future, we don't need a host.

Now even though I figured I wasn't going to do well, prediction-wise. That doesn't mean I wasn't surprised. I will be forever stumped at how "First Man" got visual effects over "Avengers: Infinity War." And no, that's not the Marvel fanboy in me talking. As far as deep space effects are concerned, "First Man" was pretty basic to look at, so I am blown away they didn't give it to "Infinity War." I also stand by my opinion that "Roma" and its use of sound was so unique to the experience in the film, and I figured "Bohemian Rhapsody" winning the sound awards seemed safe to me. I think out of all the nominees for Best Picture, and all the movies the Academy left off the nominee list of Best Picture, they picked "Green Book." That is going to perplex future film scholars and cinephiles forever. Mark my words.

I was pleasantly surprised that Olivia Colman won Leading Actress, I thought that out of the five nominees, she truly deserved the big win. But I was scared Glenn Close would win simply because she's been nominated lots in the past. Trust me, people win based solely on that, and I hate it. It should be about the performances, not because "its time." I am glad that The Academy didn't follow suit with so many other award circuits and gave the true winner the statue. I was also happy that, finally, my favorite modern franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has Oscars. "Black Panther" made even more history as they take home three Academy Awards. I am glad to be alive just to live through this moment in history of not just black movies, but superhero movies.

The highlights of the night? Man that trash panda named Bradley Cooper sure can sing. I thought Spike Lee's acceptance speech for Adapted Screenplay was good. Olivia Colman had my wife and I cracking up during her heartfelt acceptance speech. In fact, most people gave some very personal, well-done acceptance speeches. Its nice to take a step away from politics and just remind people to chase their dreams, no matter what they are.

My final ballot. Black marks mean my original predictions, red marks mean the winners.
I guess 15/24 still isn't that bad. How did you do with your predictions?

What did you think of the show?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

2019 Academy Award Oscar Predictions!

Its that time of year again, folks!

I am not going to spend too much time on a preamble. Last month, I discussed these nominees. We know that history has the potential to be made tomorrow night. We know the players, and we know the snubs. We know that this will be host-less season. Since the day I posted my end-of-the-year list for 2018 up until now, I have been catching up on movies I missed. I've been paying close attention to who has been winning and not winning during the earlier award circuit. So I feel ready to make these predictions. There is one in particular I am going against popular vote, because if the popular vote is wrong on this particular category this year, it will be in good service to the Oscars.

Let's get to it.

Best Picture
"Black Panther"
"A Star is Born"
"The Favourite"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Green Book"
WHO COULD WIN? Green Book...or Black Panther...or The Favourite
WHO SHOULD WIN? BlackKklansman
I will go ahead and say "Roma" will also most likely take best Foreign Language Film this year. We don't usually get an international title in the Best Picture race. But "Roma" has been wildly popular, and perhaps history will be made with "Roma" getting the two big wins. BUT this year seems almost impossible to predict. Maybe history will be made with "Black Panther" as the first superhero movie. Or "Green Book" will win. Lot of the movies on this line-up have been winning various other award shows, so it really is one massive, clusterfuck toss-up.

Best Leading Actress
Glenn Close, "The Wife"
Lady Gaga, "A Star is Born"
Yalitza Aparicio, "Roma"
Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"
Melissa McCarthy, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
WHO WILL WIN: Olivia Colman (Glenn Close)
WHO COULD WIN: Glenn Close
Okay, I am going out on a HUGE limb here. I know Glen Close is the popular choice to win tomorrow. She's been winning other awards left and right. I am completely stupid to bet against her. Plus, Glenn Close has been nominated so much in the past that it will more than likely be her time tomorrow night. BUT, I've been hearing popularity around Colman, and I've heard some voters weren't too impressed with "The Wife." If Glenn Close doesn't win tonight, then film scholars in the future will look over her career, and when they see that win for "The Wife," they'll think..."she won for that?"

Best Leading Actor
Christian Bale, "Vice"
Bradley Cooper, "A Star is Born"
Viggo Mortensen, "Green Book"
Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Willem Dafoe, "At Eternety's Gate"
WHO WILL WIN: Rami Malek
WHO COULD WIN: Willem Dafoe or Christian Bale
WHO SHOULD WIN: Viggo Mortensen
Some people thought I was crazy, but something told me that we'd be talking about Rami Malek's performance from "Bohemian Rhapsody," and why not? It's easily the best thing about the movie, the thing I gravitate toward's the most. He's been much more popular than I thought he'd be on the trail, and I think he's got the biggest shot to win.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, "Vice"
Marina de Tavira, "Roma"
Regina King, "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Emma Stone, "The Favourite"
Rachel Weisz, "The Favourite"
WHO WILL WIN: Regina King
WHO COULD WIN: Rachel Weisz
WHO SHOULD WIN: Rachel Weisz
More often than not, if you are a first-time nominee in an acting category, you will usually win a Supporting Actor before a Lead Actor statue. Regina seems to be the only one in the conversation for the win tomorrow night, and she's the safest bet to win. BUT upsets DO happen, and I think if anyone upsets, it will be Weisz. She certainly deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, "Green Book"
Adam Driver, "BlackKklansmen"
Sam Elliot, "A Star is Born"
Richard E. Grant, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
Sam Rockwell, "Vice"
WHO WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali
WHO COULD WIN: Richard E. Grant
WHO SHOULD WIN: Richard E. Grant
Now I know, it's really rare for a winner who won only a few years ago to win again so soon. But, "rare" is the important word there, not "never." Christoph Waltz won two Supporting Actor statutes fairly close together in recent years, so let's stop acting like it never happens. Mahershala Ali has been very, very popular and has been stacking up wins in the other shows as well this season. But I've read that Oscar voters also really liked Grant, so if anybody upsets, it will be Grant.

Best Director
Spike Lee, "BlackKklansmen"
Pawel Pawlikowski, "Cold War"
Yorgos Lanthimos, "The Favourite"
Alfonso Cuaron, "Roma"
Adam McKay, "Vice"
WHO WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuaron
WHO COULD WIN: Spike Lee or Yorgos Lanthimos
WHO SHOULD WIN: Spike Lee or Alfonso Cuaron
This is another reason why I can't help but pick "Roma" as my best picture winner, Alfonso Cuaron has been beyond popular on the campaign trail this year, and I got to say, "Roma" has been winning more than I thought.

Best Original Screenplay
"First Reformed"
"Green Book"
"The Favourite"
WHO WILL WIN: The Favourite
WHO SHOULD WIN: First Reformed
This is really popular and one of the biggest sure things of tomorrow night. I understand why, its a very playful script. But good god, I'd be lying if I didn't think that Paul Shraders First Reformed is getting heavily overlooked.

Best Animated Movie
"The Incredibles 2"
"Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse"
"Isle of Dogs"
"Ralph Breaks The Internet"
WHO WILL WIN: SPider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
WHO COULD WIN: The Incredibles 2 or Ralph Breaks The Internet
WHO SHOULD WIN: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Let's not kid ourselves, ladies and gentlemen, Spider-Man was THE animated movie of 2018. It just was. What is blowing my mind right now that it actually has the best chance to win. I can't believe it is true, but it is. It's been winning left and right on the other award circuit shows. BUT sometimes the Academy throws a curve-ball and I would not be surprised at all if Academy voters found it too weird, so they give the statue to one of the Disney movies. I hope that doesn't happen, because Spidey deserves this.

Best Cinematography
"Cold War"
"Never Look Away"
"The Favourite"
"A Star Is Born"
Even though its a black-and-white movie, "Roma" is most gorgeous movie to look all year.

Best Visual Effects
"Avengers: Infinity War"
"Ready Player One"
"First Man"
"Solo: A Star Wars Story"
"Christopher Robin"
WHO WILL WIN:Avengers: Infinity War
WHO SHOULD WIN: Avengers Infinity War
It's been a long time coming, but I am happy to report that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will pick up their first Academy win tomorrow night. I can't freaking wait because this franchise has deserved it for awhile. It really is a summation of just how awesome visual effects have become over the years, and if any movie was going to give your eyes erections this year, it was Infinity War. But if voters decide to go more practical, then "First Man" will win.

Best Foreign Language Film
"Cold War"
"Never Look Away"
This is truly only between "Cold War" and "Roma," as it should be. The two best international movies all year. If "Cold War" ends up taking it, I wonder if that will allude that "Roma" really has the best chance of getting best picture. Or like I said above, it will get two wins.

Best Documentary Feature
"Free Solo"
"Minding The Gap"
"Father and Son"
"Hale Country This Morning, This Evening"
WHO COULD WIN: Minding The Gap or Free Solo
WHO SHOULD WIN: Minding The Gap
This is another category of this year that I really think is up in the air, and no matter what you put as your predict choice, its 50/50 for everyone. My heart is screaming "Minding The Gap," absolutely my favorite documentary from that bunch of nominees. But, it sounds like its just not getting the popularity or traction according to some Academy analysts. The favorites are "RBG" and "Free Solo" and it seems other predictors are split down the middle on those. Some analysts have also guessed "Minding The Gap" and since I loved it the most out of those nominees, I am putting it down. Hard getting your heart and head together sometimes. But the Academy has already did a great disservice to this category by NOT including "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" So I really don't care who wins this.

Best Documentary Short
"Black Sheep"
"A Night at the Garden"
"Period. End of Sentence"
WHO WILL WIN: Period. End of Sentence
I never get to see shorts, don't even know how to see shorts. So I usually take a shot in the dark in these categories. Oh, well!

Best Original Song
"Shallow" from A Star is Born
"I'll Fight" from RBG
"All The Stars" from Black Panther
"The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns
"When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
WHO WILL/COULD/SHOULD WIN: Shallow from A Star Is Born
There is no way anything else is winning in this category tomorrow night. NO. WAY.

Best Adapted Screenplay
"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"
"Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
"If Beale Street Could Talk"
"A Star is Born"
WHO WILL WIN: BlackKklansman
WHO SHOULD WIN: BlackKklansman
One of the reasons I love this movie so goddamn much is because the script is so infectious. I believe firmly "BlackKklansman" wins this tomorrow and I am totally not alone!

Best Production Design
"Black Panther"
"The Favourite"
"First Man"
"Mary Poppins Returns"
WHO WILL WIN: The Favourite
WHO COULD WIN: Black Panther
WHO SHOULD WIN: Black Panther
It kills me that "Black Panther" is NOT the sure thing in this category, because it goddamn should be. Not trying to take away what "The Favourite" achieved, because it does feel like a time machine movie. But the fictional world of Wakanda seemed so real and so lived-in that again, I just can't believe it's not the sure thing tomorrow. But everyone seems to be in agreement, "The Favourite" wins tomorrow. But I am going to cry if "Black Panther" ends up upsetting.

Best Costume Design
"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"
"Black Panther"
"The Favourite"
"Mary Poppins Returns"
"Mary Queen of Scots"
WHO WILL WIN: Black Panther
WHO COULD WIN: The Favourite
WHO SHOULD WIN: Black Panther
I could be wrong and perhaps "The Favourite will end up winning, they have the type of costumes that usually win this category, but again, the culture of Black Panther is just so spectacular that it would be a disservice to awards if "Black Panther" doesn't win. At least win for this if not Production Design.

Best Sound Editing
"A Quiet Place"
"Black Panther"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"First Man"
WHOU COULD WIN: Bohemian Rhapsody
"Roma" is a full sensory overload, and it does it will.

Best Sound Mixing
"Black Panther"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"First Man"
"A Star Is Born"
WHO COULD WIN: Bohemian Rhapsody
See directly above.

Make Up and Hairstyling
"Mary Queen of Scots"
I mean have you seen Christian Bale's transformation in this movie. Come on, that's impressive. No matter what.

Best Film Editing
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Green Book"
"The Favourite"
WHO WILL WIN: Bohemian Rhapsody
WHO COULD WIN: BlackKklansman
WHO SHOULD WIN: BlackKklansman
As far as musical biopics go, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the best and well edited movies and it looks like its popular enough to get the win tomorrow.

Best Original Score
"Black Panther"
"If Beale Street Could Talk"
"Isle of Dogs"
"Mary Poppins Returns"
WHO WILL WIN: If Beale Street Could Talk
WHO COULD WIN: BlackKklansman
WHO SHOULD WIN: If Beale Street Could Talk
When I finally caught up with this, I couldn't help but notice how great the script was, I think this will do really well tomorrow night with Original Score

Again, the shorts I am pretty no good at, so I just go with what the analysts are saying. For ANIMATED SHORT, I pick "Bao" for LIVE ACTION SHORT, I pick "Mother"

Okay, so let's see how I do tomorrow night, should be one wild night tomorrow night. Do you agree? Disagree with my choices? What do you predict happens tomorrow?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Twilight Zone is making a comeback and it looks amazing

Okay, this has little to do with movies. But we have discussed TV on this blog before, so I suppose this discussion tonight isn't far-fetched. Plus, "The Twilight Zone" is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and it spawned a movie version in 1983 that was pretty darn good too. Also this is my blog and I make the rules.

If anybody can bring back "The Twilight Zone" and be successful at it, its Jordan Peele. I mean "Get Out" is basically a full-length "Twilight Zone" episode and "Us" coming to theaters this March also looks like one too. It was a show that clearly had an affect on him as he was growing up, part of his pop culture diet that helped him become the man he is today. I do wonder if we will see original ideas in the upcoming show or if he is planning on remaking a few popular episodes. The evidence in the trailer could lean both ways, depending on how well you know your Twilight Zone, but I'll be interested to see if anything new comes from it.

Lots of people are discussing the big stars showing up in this. That's not really surprising to me, William Shatner himself appeared in some of the old school episodes. Other can't seem to get over that there are lots of comedic actors in this. But you know what? If any type of actor can do anything, its a comedic actor. Sometimes, comedy is dark. I mean slapstick is meant to be funny, but if it was physically happening to you, it would not be. I wish comedic actors got more types of work than comedy, and when they do, they are usually amazing.

I can't wait to lay eyes on this!

Dragged Across Concrete Trailer

There is something about this trailer that look so..original. Something I thought I'd never say in a long time. Maybe its because there doesn't seem to be much remaking or reimaging in this trailer. Maybe it feels like a relief that this isn't based off of something that is hot somewhere else right now. It kind of feels like a 90's action movie, but only in scope and ideas, not a frame-by-frame retelling of something we've heard already. The cast is pretty stellar, and I like the energy of it.

I will be looking forward to more from this one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Chris Hemworth as Hulk Hogan?

Now here's a story too fun to pass up.

Acclaimed "Hangover" director Todd Phillips is making a biopic about Hollywood Hulk Hogan. The man who has been cast to star as Hogan is none other than the god of thunder himself, Chris Hemworth.

When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of wrestling. Huge fan. I was a Hulkamaniac. Totally and purely. Even when he turned heel in WCW and became a villain. Even when he formed the NWO. I was still a fan. He was still heroic even when he was bad. I was a fan for a very long time. I was one of those kids that was very disappointed when I found out wrestling was fake. Sometimes though, for nostalgic purposes, I will watch old matches on YouTube, laughing hysterically that I never noticed just how staged much of it really was.

Phillips' film will be about how Hogan got into the wrestling scene, but won't really dig into the controversies outside the ring regarding Hogan.

Hogan himself had some really nice things to say about Chris Hemsworth landing the role. Hemsworth will also be a producer along side typical Phillips regular Bradley Cooper.

What do you guys think about this?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Rocketman trailer

It looks like Taron Edgerton, who I've been swiftly becoming a fan of, is transforming into Elton John in the best possible way.

We are kinda going through a long stretch of biopics. And while I've loved some biopics, hated others and just liked some more, they are all kind of built the same way. Will "Rocketman" stand out or just be another biopic?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Academy Award Prep

The Academy Awards are nearly upon us. As per most years, I play the procrastination game something fierce and I am catching up on the movies nominated for an award right now. Thankfully, I don't have too many to see, so going through them will be a piece of cake, and it should award me enough time to make my predictions after some thoughtful thinking right before Sunday.

If Beale Street Could Talk
I usually can't stand movies that seem to pander to the awards season. When I originally read about "Moonlight," the 2016 movie by Barry Jenkins, it seemed like a movie specifically designed for the awards season. I was ready to write off the movie completely, until I actually saw it. I can barely describe how the movie Barry Jenkins moved me, but I find myself watching it quite a bit since its release. 

While I wouldn't say that "If Beale Street Could Talk" had the same profound impact that "Moonlight" did, but it is an exceptional piece of filmmaking. A moving picture of defiance and love at a time of extreme prejudice. Regina King is very good in the movie. There is a scene in particular where she is trying to convince a woman down in South America to come back to New York City for a court hearing that is so remarkably powerful that it has left me thinking about it for the whole weekend. She could very well get the Oscar Sunday night.

 Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Here's a movie that I just enjoyed for start to finish. I have loved Melissa McCarthy ever since I saw her in "Bridesmaids." But I'll be honest, I've been pretty pissed off by what Hollywood has offered her as a result. Essentially allowing her to be the same person over and over again. I don't get how comedy people get type-cast, because they really are people who can do anything. Comedy has the potential to be dangerous and dark. There have been several people from comedy backgrounds who have proven to be downright scary in the right role. I've been waiting for McCarthy to get her turn.

While there is some humor in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" its not the braindead, slapstick stuff that we usually get from McCarthy. It is more offbeat, and more dry. It is mostly a dramatic film and McCarthy is alive here in way I have not seen in quite a while. Its good stuff indeed.

 The Wife
"The Wife" was ultimately a good movie, but one I felt like just got going a little too slowly. There is some dramatic play between Glenn Close and Jonathon Price that truly is magnificent. They play possibly the most dysfunctional couple I have seen in any movie in a long time. There is a moment where they are arguing over possible unfaithfulness in their relationship, then when their daughter calls them after giving birth to her first son, the couple turns on a dime. They pull it together and find rejoice and love in the tender moment of becoming grandparents. It's actually borderline scary how the scene works. While Close and Price send off fireworks, it ultimately didn't save the movie and promote it to great status, for me anyway. But it might be just enough that Close gets the Oscar. We'll see.

I'll be dropping more hints as the week progresses. And as always, I'll post my predictions this weekend.

Star Wars Episode Nine has wrapped filming

J.J. Abrams, who directed "The Force Awakens" and is now back in the director's chair for "Episode Nine" posted this lovely image of his Twitter over the weekend. Its the three new iconic faces of the "Star Wars" franchise. We see Rey, Poe and Finn all embracing, all the actors in a congratulatory hug after filming has wrapped on "Episode Nine." It is a lovely image, if I do say so myself.

So I wonder if it won't be long before we get a trailer? No to mention a title? We were supposed to get a title drop about two weeks ago, but that ended up being a rumor. There is also another rumor going around that the title for Episode Nine is going to end up being "Balance of the Force," but that sounds so apologetically cheesy that it better stay a rumor. Although I guess its not as bad as "Attack of the Clones." That was a title I initially thought was silly, but then ended up gradually growing on me. The thing I want most of all from this is just a good movie. "The Last Jedi" left such a bad taste in my mouth that I hope Abrams can just course-correct and finish this saga off strong.

That is my hope.

I can only imagine though that a trailer is right around the corner.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: "Berlin, I Love You" proves concept is running out of steam

Berlin, I Love You Review

There is a series of films, all anthologies, that take place in a city. It started in 2007 with "Paris, Je T'aime." It was a star-studded anthology revolving around stories about love. In 2009, we got "New York, I Love You." Which was also a star-studded anthology revolving around stories of love. Today, we get "Berlin, I Love You," which is, you guessed it, a star-studded anthology revolving around stories about love. Of all three movies, the only one I didn't see is the first, "Paris, Je T'aime." Also, telling from the two movies I have seen, I am a little afraid to watch "Paris, Je T'aime."

"New York, I Love You" was a very well marketed movie, really got people on the hook. I missed it in the theater, but when I did catch up with it. I couldn't believe just how boring the whole thing was. Some segments really didn't make any sense, some didn't even seem to have anything to do with love. It was a very weird concept and very weird stories that benefited with a handful of wonderful actors. "Berlin, I Love You," which I can't believe isn't called "Berlin, Ich Liebe Dich" has decided its going to be even more boring, make even less sense and have segments featuring stories that are so far removed from love that I am bewildered they appear in the movie. It seems this series is destined to get progressively worse.

First of all, you couldn't have asked for a more Americanized version of this concept. Its funny that in city in the middle of Germany, there's a bunch of people speaking English everywhere you go. Sure, some people are American, on business. But its just funny that its a movie celebrating the city and the culture and there are so few German actors in it. Where's Christoph Waltz or Till Schweiger? Was Daniel Bruhl unavailable? Or Michael Fassbender or Diane Kruger? Oh, and not throwing in the legendary Jurgen Prochnow was a missed opportunity. Nothing spells American jingoism like a bunch of American actors telling the world what German culture is!

Then there's the segments. There is a wrap around story about a German street entertainer who is annoyed when an Israeli singer comes to his spot and starts playing music for people. Instead of getting angry back, she tries to see if they can help each other, feed off of each other then split the money. They slowly become friends. As you watch this wrap-around story play out, you wonder why the filmmakers didn't just make a whole movie about these two people, its the only two characters that they seemed interested in.

Then we are off with Jim Sturgess, starring in what appears to be a low-rent "Her" remake. Then we meet Kiera Knightley and Helen Mirren as mother and daughter having a rough patch. By far, the weirdest segment is one where a mush-faced Mickey Rourke plays a business man at a bar, and he meets a beautiful yet criminally younger woman. They talk, he flirts, she smiles. Somehow a daughter he has gets brought up, and he was apparently a bad father. He takes her back to his room for sex, but she doesn't want to. He doesn't pressure her, they fall asleep. The man wakes up to find out...giggle...I almost can't type it...the girl was his long, lost daughter!

This being an anthology, there is barely any time for character development. But there are so many stories crammed into this anthology that an emotional depth or weight to any of the characters or their stories is quickly lost. There just isn't enough time to attach any sort of attachment to these people. The stories are so short that you are doing all that development at a gallop and it ends up fumbling in most places.

I hope we can be done with these, or perhaps the team behind these movies start being a little bit more clever and better when it comes to putting them together, they are getting worse and worse.


Nothing is being let go! "Frozen 2" trailer here!

Is it weird that ever since a nurse almost a year ago now broke the news that my wife and I's first child would be a girl, that I've wondered if she will given into the "Frozen" mania? Don't get me wrong, I want my child to follow her interests, but I do wonder if she'll be infected by the "Frozen" bug and if that high fandom will destroy her parents.

All kidding aside, I wonder if Disney planned for this to be as big as it was. I would say "Frozen" is huge. I gave the first film a positive review, I liked that it felt like a classic Disney movie. When you work at a childcare center and hear nothing but "Frozen" songs for well over a year, that good grace turned to contempt pretty fast.

Now, that mania returns again, here's our first look at "Frozen 2"

The details of the plot have been secret and the trailer certainly doesn't give anything away. So I wonder if this is working on any adult fans of this franchise. Me? Well, having a daughter, I think it is safe to say I will see this one eventually. If that's good or bad remains to be seen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: Everything is (mostly) still awesome with "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part"

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part Review
We are now four movies into this "LEGO Movie universe" and I have to say that by and large, I have been more impressed by it than I figured I would be. They are wild and over-the-top, at the same time, they have messages that I feel can be appreciated and recognized by older audiences. "The LEGO Movie" was 2014, and not only did children love another fable about doing their best, and knowing that even they are special. The adults got a wake up call on the nasty world of modern nostalgia, and how that can sometimes leave wounds. "The LEGO Batman Movie" not only brought two of my favorite things, LEGO's and Batman, together. But I think it exposed Batman's id in a way that none of the live-action movies have been able to do successfully. I think the most ordinary movie of the bunch is "The LEGO Ninjago Movie" which just seemed like it wanted your cash and that was it.

Sequels are tough, they are a necessarily evil in this world and I was curious to see what they would do with this sequel. How they could make this second film special without pandering. Or without repeating themselves. The thing is, it seems "The LEGO Movie 2" is most interested in repeating itself, or just mocking the very way sequels repeat themselves in the first place. This second movie takes place exactly where the first movie left off. When Finn (Jadon Sand) learns from his father (Will Ferrell) that he has to share his LEGO world with his sister, that leads to a war in Bricksville between Emmett (Chris Pratt) and friends and the weird little kid LEGOs we saw at the first films end. We learn that LEGO world fights these big LEGO's aliens for five years, which turns it into LEGO World: Fury Road.

The only person who doesn't seem to mind is, of course Emmett. Even though his world is constantly at war. What eventually springs him into action is the sudden disappearance of all of his friends at the hands of these bizarre aliens. They are captured by Queen Waterva Wanabi (Tiffany Haddish) who assures them that they are not trying to hurt them, even though the behavior is anything but reassuring. In any case, Emmett meets up with Rex Dangervest, who is also voiced by Chris Pratt and is a huge parody of several characters Pratt has played over the years, and some he was just rumored to play. Its shamelessly clever character-building. I'm sure audiences will get a kick out of the humor that rises by the interactions of Emmett and Dangervest.

As always, "The LEGO Movie 2" is both wild and over-the-top. If you somehow found "Everything is Awesome" to be the most annoying song in your entire life, well just wait until you hear "Catchy Song" which I think was specifically designed to make people's ears bleed. The whole movie is a massive exaggerated parody on the whole notion of the sequel. Some things are purposefully the same as last time, at least I think they were supposed to be, and that's part of the humor of it all. They do repeat themselves here, but in some clever ways. But the film's secret weapon is how they bend the rules of movies just a little bit to tell a story that is somewhat unexpected. All movie long, I couldn't tell if the movie was going to be predictable or if the movie was going to pretend to be predictable, and that's the fun of it all.

The world of LEGO continues to feel like a living, breathing place. Even though its not somewhere I could ever personally go, I love that it always feels lived in. Even when everything goes dystopian, there is a fun way of keeping things imaginative that I felt was rewarding after every passing minute. I do like the sheer look of this world and just how good high definition special effects are in this day and age. 

The whole notion of making fun of the sequel is clever for a premise. Especially since most of the target audience probably won't even get what is being made fun of, or that there is a joke at play at all. But hey, that's what makes the movie fun for all ages. Some of the humor lands, and some of it doesn't. I think the first film is ultimately a better affair, and lands a lot more laughs. But hey, perhaps that's what makes "The LEGO Movie 2" true in form. This isn't supposed to be better than the first movie, and perhaps they are okay with that. Still, so much is still awesome that its hard to not have a good time.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

A First Look at Tommy Wiseau's "Big Shark"

Move over "Avengers: Endgame," and look out "Star Wars: Episode Nine." I think we just found out what will end up being the biggest movie of the year. Tommy Wiseau's "Big Shark."

Tommy Wiseau is kind of infamous now, and if you caught James Franco's "The Disaster Artist" in 2017, you know why. Tommy Wiseau came over from Europe, or maybe from outer space or perhaps from another dimension. He became best friends with American actor Greg Sestero, and together they made "The Room." A movie that is hailed as the "Citizen Kane of bad movies." If you've ever wondered if there is a film so bad its funny and good, well Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" is your answer. By logic and narrative, the movie is a trainwreck. But its such a fascinating trainwreck that I can't look away. Neither can millions of fans, because since the film's release in 2003, Wiseau has been programming Midnight showings of the film all across the country. Never would we have known that such a film would become a sensation, but Tommy Wiseau is a walking embodiment of the American Dream.

This year, we are getting the next Tommy Wiseau film, the first one in over a decade. He's making a movie about a shark. That's all we have at this moment. But for right now, that's enough.

Yep. Calling it now. Biggest. Movie. Of 2019!

A look at Aladdin!

We are ramping up for another year of Disney live-action remakes and one of the big ones coming this year is "Aladdin." We are getting a much deeper look at characters in this first look, including Will Smith's genie.

I have to say, Will Smith looks a little weird...

It kind of looks to me that somebody took the body of the genie from the cartoon movie and photo-shopped Will Smith face on it. But on a recent cover of Entertainment Weekly, it looks like this genie will also have a human form? Makes sense, the genie could pretty much become whatever it wanted in the original movies, so having a human form isn't far-fetched. I'll be interested to see how much of that human form we actually get in the movie. The other leads looks good and the overall feel of Agrabah is looking pretty great too!

Aladdin will hit theaters May 26th.