The Top 10 Most Anticipated movies of 2019

ma2019

The 2019 Cinema Forecast…

While we are still in the bulk of the 2018 Oscar Season, there is no actual real season for movie goers. This list is not meant to be a predictor of any kind (thought it would be ideal), but to just show the ten films that have me the most excited to make my way to the theater no matter what.

 

 

10.

10

Of all the live action remakes Disney has done (including the upcoming Dumbo and Aladdin), none has me more anxious than that of The Lion King. Not excited, but anxious. This one needs to be perfect.

 

9.

9

 

With the perfectly cast Tom Holland returning as the titular hero, and Jake Gyllenhaal as the villian Mysterio, expect another big solid hit for the MCU in Spider-Man: Far from Home.

 

8.

8

 

With stars like Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort, and Finn Wolfhard, The Goldfinch looks like a drama we could be talking about for the 92nd Oscars.

 

7.

7

 

After 2017’s amazing first chapter, we fast forward twenty-seven years to IT: Chapter Two. With a cast such as James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader as the part of the adult “Loser’s Club”, I will gladly float to the theater in September.

6.

6

 

The year will see some more animated sequels such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Frozen 2. Yet even after the perfect ending of the third film in 2010, Disney/Pixar still feels they have more to tell with Toy Story 4. Oh, how I hope they are right.

 

5.

5

 

Okay, I am more excited for the 2020 release Godzilla vs. Kong, but this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters had one of the coolest trailers I have seen in the last few years. So, yeah, I am hooked to seem some awesome monster mashing.

4.

4

Anytime Quentin Tarantino has a movie coming out, I am pumped. His next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is no exception. Add in a cast including Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), and Al Pacino, and you have the workings of what may be a classic.

 

3.

2

 

The title has yet to be released, but Episode 9 will more than likely bring an end to the Skywalker timeline (Mark Hamill will be in it, despite Luke’s fate in The Last Jedi). Also, how bittersweet it is that this will be the last time John Williams scores a Star Wars film.

 

2.

 

3

 

Remember back at the start of the 21st century, when we all thought it was hard waiting for the newest film of the original Lord of the Rings films to continue. That almost seems juvinile to having to wait for the conclusion of MCU’s Thanos storyline. Avengers: Endgame is more than likely to make a good amount of money, but more importantly, give us closure on some great film characters.

As said in the trailer, “Part of the journey is the end.”

 

1.

 

1

 

It may not be a certified blockbuster, but when a movie has a cast that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, ones heart is in shock. When it is discovered that film is directed by Martin Scorsese, ones heart does a backflip. There is no actual release date yet, but the Netflix film The Irishman, revolving around the infamous Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) is one that has me more ecstatic than ever before.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo

Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and crew board the Falcon for the first time.

I doubt I was alone in having a bad feeling about this film. For starters (as a kid I know told me), it is hard seeing anyone but Harrison Ford in the role of Han Solo, one of the most popular characters the galaxy has offered us. Yet director Ron Howard’s  Solo: A Star Wars Story does offer us places of the galaxy we have not seen before, plus some truly remarkable new visuals that make me just able to recommend it.

Alden Ehrenreich does what he can to play the young version of Han, who we learn tried to escape his home planet with his girl Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). He succeeds but she is left behind, leaving him to try to enlist in the Empire in order to get a ship to come back and save her. Years later, he meets up with Beckett (Woody Harrelson), who is working to get supplies back for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Thandie Newton stars as Beckett’s girl Val, and we also meet a young Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover.

Bettany does play a decent villain (yet in all Star Wars films, it is impossible to stack up to Vader). There is some nice chemistry between Ehrenreich and Clarke. Yet there are two casting choices that stand above the rest. It seems to make the best of sense to have someone like Harrellson as the guy who would take Han Solo under his wing, and show him the ropes. Still, the scene stealer is Glover’s Lando. It is truly like looking at a young Billy Dee Williams that it is almost scary.

The second half of the film is where the force is truly strong (though that word is never mentioned). The first half is by the books, not really anything fancy (save for that train scene, and the intro of Chewbacca). The ultimate part of the film is the segment on the mining planet (too hard to explain why the movie leads us there). The visuals of the second half of the film are nothing short of breathtaking.

Parents, if your kids have seen a Star Wars film, they would be ok with this one. It is PG-13, but a soft one.

There is one point in the second half, however, that I am afraid is the big blunder of the film. There is a quick cameo appearance from a character that, while unexpected, does not make sense in the Star Wars timeline. Nevertheless, I do admit to liking this film better than Rogue One.

 

Overall: Three Stars ***

The Top 20 Movies of 2017

Cover.jpg

Even with 20, these films did not make the cut.

Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for.

 

I went back and forth as to whether make the traditional top ten, or go with twenty. I decided on the latter for a few reasons. First, in a great year for movies, there were too many to ignore (and even at twenty, films such as Wonder Woman, Detroit, Mudbound, and Darkest Hour did not make it). Second, so what if I added more than ten? If you really want see just the top ten, here is a trick: skip down to number ten, and go from there (though you will be missing a lot of great films along the way).

 

20.

The Disaster Artist.JPG

“YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA!!!”

 

A passion project for director/actor James Franco, The Disaster Artist tells the tale of another passion project (and cult favorite), The Room. Franco is so wonderful in the role of the aloof Tommy Wiseau that it goes beyond comedy and becomes very human. It truly tears you apart!

 

19.

Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain, fantastic as Molly.

 

Renowned screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game, is full of electricity. As always, his dialogue snaps like fire crackers, no doubt due to the wonderful casting of greats such as Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

 

18.

Faces Places

JR and Agnes Varda, on a quest you have not seen before.

The most recent film I have seen as of this writing, Faces Places is the unique documentary about legendary french film maker Agnes Varda and her friend JR (whose eyes she has never seen). They go around meeting people as they post big pictures of their subjects on vast walls. As in all great films, it goes far beyond that. It reminded me a lot about Errol Morris’s masterpiece, Gates of Heaven.

 

17.

Logan Lucky

No peaking!

Even with an all-star cast including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Hillary Swank, Seth Macfarlane, and (especially) Daniel Craig, a film like Logan Lucky could have gone wrong on so many levels. Thankfully, the script is so tight that every moment is real, authentic, and down right ludicrously hilarious.

 

16.

The Last Jedi

Sometimes, questions don’t need concrete answers.

A prime example of a movie you either love or hate, I am on the former when it comes to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. No, we did not get any “answers” to questions we may have had, but so what? It was a Star Wars film that gave us new twists and turns we had not seen before, plus was much better than the overrated Rogue One.

 

15.

Blade Runner 2049

Deckard returns.

From one sci-fi sequel to another, Blade Runner 2049 is full of a lot of questions that are also unanswered. What no one will question is the gorgeous scope of the film, thanks in part to cinematographer Roger Deakins (who may finally get his Oscar now).

 

14.

Logan

Logan and his daughter.

In one of the best years for superhero films, my pick still goes to Logan. A swan song of epic proportions, Hugh Jackman truly goes out swinging. Or clawing.

 

13.

 

The Post

Meryl Streep as Kay Graham, owner of The Post.

 

Even if the film was rushed, Steven Spielberg’s The Post has a fire burning in the soul, which shows in the cast led by Hollywood giants Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It is a movie that, had it not been made, I would not be reminded of the right I have to be typing these words in the first place.

 

12.

I Tonya

Just before the show, Robbie’s Harding is set to go…

How wickedly devilish is the film I, Tonya! So fun, and self-aware of itself, it gives a stellar Margot Robbie performance, and heaven knows how wonderful Allison Janney is as one of the worst mom’s in recent cinema history.

 

11.

Coco

Miguel’s passion for music knows no bounds…

As Miguel tugs at the guitar strings, so does Coco tug at our heart-strings. Which, by now, is totally the standard Disney/Pixar films have set for all animated films (and others in general).

 

10.

Lady Bird

Ronan as the title character.

One of the most original scripts in recent memory, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is full of outstanding wit and charm. It is also more proof why Saoirse Ronan is truly one of the best actors of her generation.

 

9.

Wonder

The Wonder that is Jacob Tremblay.

Of all the movies I saw this year, I fought the hardest (okay, fought myself) for Wonder to be in the top ten. Based of the book of the same name (which I highly recommend), this wonderful fable of why it is important to #choosekind is something I cannot imagine parents not taking their kids to.

 

8.

Dunkirk

Many of the soldiers at Dunkirk

 

Very few, if any, director has a current positive track record than Christopher Nolan, and Dunkirk is no exception. Packed with more than enough tension and grit, it is as fitting a war film as they come.

 

7.

A Ghost Story.JPG

Time moves by in an instant for the ghost

At only around an hour and a half, few films of this (or any) year have given me more questions than that of A Ghost Story. Like a pool, you soak in it, look at the reflection, and see all the questions you want answered. Multiple viewings are needed, and are something I plan to do in the time I have left on earth.

 

6.

TBOEM

Mildred is a role only Frances McDormand could play

Another one of the most original scripts in years, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a tough sit through at many times. Yet it has so much dark peppered humor and spot on performances (mainly McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and especially Sam Rockwell) it is hard to turn away.

 

5.

The Big Sick

A love story unlike any seen before

The true story of how one man met his wife, The Big Sick is still the best rom com I have seen in nearly a decade. All the actors are hilarious and convincing, and the writing is top-notch. I still can’t get over that 9/11 joke.

 

4.

The Florida Project

Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the hotel manager who is tough but kind-hearted.

I had never thought of what could be outside the walls of Disney World before I saw The Florida Project. I doubt I am alone. With some of the best acting from children you will see, and a sublime Willem Dafoe, the movie takes us to a place that has been under the shadows of Disney for far too long.

 

3.

Phantom Thread

DDL, the master at work

Like most, I had to wait nearly a month before I could see Phantom Thread, but it was far worth the wait. Daniel Day-Lewis gives (no surprise) a perfectly majestic performance as a dress-maker in 1950s London, whose new muse (Vicky Krieps) must put up with him. Director Paul Thomas Anderson treats the film as gentle as the fabric that Woodcock works with in his shop.

 

2.

The Shape of Water

Though mute, Eliza (Sally Hawkins) lets herself be heard.

Of all the love stories of this year, my favorite still goes to that of a mute help worker and a sea creature in The Shape of Water. Guillermo Del Toro gives us a world of endless possibilities, filled with memorable characters (don’t get me started on how much we love to hate Michael Shannon here), astounding visuals, and a love that is not easy to forget.

 

1.

IT

“Hello Georgie”

I can imagine a lot of people being surprised at my number one pick, but after more than one viewing, I just could not deny IT. Undoubtably one of the top four or five adaptations of Stephen King, the film is far more than a horror masterpiece. It is also about coming of age (I have yet to meet anyone who though negatively of the kid performances, all of whom are perfect in their roles), young love, bullying, and, of course, clowns.

Floating has never been so terrifying. Or enjoyable.

 

The 10 Worst Films of 2017

Worst of 2017

The only reason these films are not on the list is that I was spared seeing them…

I am still waiting on a few movies to see before I can list my top ten movies of 2017, but I am more than ready to list the pieces of trash (trash being the most polite word I can think of) of the past year. Movies in the collage above are not going to be mentioned, only because I did not see them.

 

That being said, here comes the reminder of the pains I went through the past year…

 

10.

The Shack

Despite having a nice message, The Shack falls in so many ways that it sadly becomes another forgettable Christian movie. Also, I still don’t see how you can see the title and not think it is a horror film.

 

9.

The Space Between Us

I had hopes for The Space Between us, but was disappointed. Despite nice acting and chemistry between the young leads, the story goes nowhere and we are left wishing Butterfield and Robertson were in another movie.

 

 

8.

The Emoji Movie

 

Every now and then, I feel a little sorry for The Emoji Movie, which was not as hated by me as most of the rest of the human race (even by those who did not see it). Then my mind remembers how bland and boring the film was. And the absolute worst humor imaginable.

 

7.

Split

 

Lousy M. Night, making me almost hopeful that he may be going back to good movie making. At the end, Split is still an utter failure, with premises that I found completely ridiculous.

 

6.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

 

While watching The Dark Tower, you get a sense that this movie had so much promise, but that every decision made behind camera was the wrong one. I never read the book series (by Stephen King), but I feel that doing so will give me more reason to hate the film.

 

5.

Transformers

Tranformers: The Last Knight. It is a Transformers movie. That alone should be enough explanation.

 

4.

POTCDMTNT

Remember when the Pirates of the Caribbean movies where fresh, new, and exciting? Well, if they make more sequels like Dead Men Tell No Tales, I will forget why I liked the first film at all to begin with.

 

3.Life

 

A solid cast and some neat special effects cannot stop Life from being a rip off of the original Alien, or from having one of the worst end twists I have seen in my life.

 

2.

The Snowman

If you look up all the people associated with The Snowman, you will be as confused as I am. Confused not just at the plot, but at how all these people could make a film the equivalent of eating yellow snow.

 

1.

frozenolaf

 

It may have been a Disney animated “short” (yeah, those quotation marks are as important as ever), but I have seldom felt more anger (even hatred) towards a movie screen than when I had to sit through Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Sure, Disney pulled the film (which was followed by the far more superior Coco) a few weeks later, but those of us who saw it were left with one of the most excruciating experiences that we are still not sure is over yet. No one asked for this film to be in a theater, and I predict it will have the same future that was given to The Star Wars Christmas Special back in the 1970s.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars The Last Jedi

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8.

No one can overstate the fandom of the Star Wars Universe. Even so, regardless of how many times you have seen the movies, the amount of books you read, the hours of gameplay you have spent on KOTAR (Knights of the Old Republic) and the Lego versions, and even if you know the difference between a fambaa and a Tauntaun (actual creature names in the Star Wars Universe), you are still going to be surprised by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The dialogue from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) says it best:

“This is not going to go the way you think!”

Set right after the events of The Force Awakens, this film (Episode 8) shows the rebels under attack and virtually cornered by the first order, led by Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his apprentice Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Despite efforts by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and others, the rebel’s star ships seem to be running low on fuel and are at the end of their rope. Still, hope is still being held onto, mainly by Leia (the late great Carrie Fisher, whose final film performance both melts your heart and warms it at the same time). Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has finally found Luke Skywalker, but getting him to join the fight is no easy feat.

That is all I will say of the plot, because I would never dream of dropping any spoilers. I can say that this film does seem to be in a class of its own in the Star Wars franchise. It has shown us parts of the force we have not experienced before. Yet where it differs, the similarities are still there (there are vibes you get of The Empire Strikes Back as well as Return of the Jedi). There are twists we do not see coming, and I was shocked many a time during the film. That is a positive thing.

Obviously, the film is a technical marvel. It is so wonderous to see that, even after all these years, the Star Wars films can still give us imagery that we have not yet seen (the same goes for the music, done, once again, by the legend that is John Williams.) The credit of taking a risk with going in a different direction has got to go to director Rian Johnson (who also helped write the screenplay). This even includes some unexpected, yet delightful humorous moments.

The Last Jedi does have some faults that keep it from the likes of Episodes 4 and 5. The movie is long (the longest, in fact, of the franchise, at 2 1/2 hours). There is also a character played by Benecio Del Toro (undoubtably an amazing actor) who, I feel, was totally redundant to the film. His character, DJ (which really seems a little odd for a Star Wars film, somehow) is in a situation to help the rebels, but that situation alone was awkward writing in the first place.

Still, we get some fresh new faces that add to the franchise that are more than welcome. The two stand out characters are Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a rebel fighter helping Poe and Finn (John Boyega), and Vice Admiral Holdo (the always wonderful Laura Dern). All these characters (and others) get at least one moment in the film to shine (some of which will have you applauding).

Parents, if your kids have seen at least one other film in this franchise (and if they haven’t and are old enough, what are you waiting for?!?!), they will be fine here. There is no nudity or sex, just some mild swearing and (obviously) action.

As of this review, there is a vast difference in opinion between critics and the public (as is normally the case). It is strange, however, that the critics seem to like it a lot more (at the moment, 93% of critics liked it, while only 63% of the audience liked it). Upon reading the reviews from the latter, I realize a lot of people are upset that certain questions are not answered. Personally, I feel not all questions need to be answered in a movie (I still don’t know how one can explain Anakin’s birth, and have yet to see where Yoda came from). It is up for interpretation, meaning The Last Jedi will require many a viewing.

 

Something I will gladly do.

 

(Minor spoiler) I liked the film so much I did not even realize that, by the end credits, they did not say the line that is always said in the Star Wars films. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” I can almost forgive them for not saying it.

 

Almost.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

carrie-fisher

 

“I signed my likeness away. Every time I look in the mirror, I have to send Lucas a couple of bucks.”

So said Carrie Fisher, who passed away today at the age of 60, after recently suffering a heart attack.

As is the case for nearly everyone who saw the films, my childhood memories are filled with her butt kicking Princess Leia from the original Star Wars Trilogy. The character was probably the greatest “Princess” character that was not (at least at the time) owned by Disney (the star would later brag that she was now a Disney Princess when the studios bought the rights from George Lucas.

Fisher was born into show business to parents Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in the Rain). She would star in other films like The Blues Brothers as the mystery woman set to kill Jake (John Belushi), When Harry Met Sally as Sally’s (Meg Ryan) best friend, and even small parts like that of the therapist in the first Austin Powers film.

Despite these and other roles, it is her role as Leia in the original Star Wars Trilogy, The Force Awakens and the upcoming Episode Eight that she will forever be remembered for.

I like to think that, if we all just yelled “We love you Carrie!”, her response would simply be,…

I know.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

rogue-one

The Walkers have returned for Rogue One…

There are many elements of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that make it stand alone from other films in the Star Wars saga, but that does not make it any better. I won’t go into spoilers, but there is one key part of a Star Wars movie that you would expect to have and this film does not. I won’t say what it is, but when you see it, I hope you are not as let down as I was.

I was always a Star Wars fan since I first saw it at the age of 7 or 8 (the original trilogy came out before I was born), yet I admit I still was unsure of what to expect with the movie, but about twenty minutes or so into it, I started getting “a bad feeling about this”. If you don’t know the Star Wars films (and you should), Rogue One is supposed to take place right in between episodes three (Revenge of the Sith) and four (A New Hope). It tells the story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), whose mother is killed after her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is taken by an Imperial Commander, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), to return to the Empire to help finish the Death Star, despite not wanting to go.

Eventually, Jyn  meets up with another rebel named Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who is accompanied by a scene stealing K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). While he has nothing on R2-D2 (possibly my favorite character of all time), K-2SO does hold his own. We get other characters including a blind Baze Malbus (Donnie Yen), his friend Chirrut Imwe (Wen Jiang), pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), and the mysterious gritty Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).

One of the main problems that the movie (along with The Force Awakens, which I feel was much better) is that it lacks a good villain. Krennic is an imperial officer who does have other authorities to report to, mainly Moff Tarkin (originally played by Peter Cushing in the first Star Wars, though now is CGI enhanced on actor Guy Henry, which I must admit looked pretty awesome). Still, there is no way around the fact that it is Darth Vader (still voiced, as he always should be, by James Earl Jones) that commands the screen. No matter your thought on this or any film in the franchise, the image of the all black suit sends chills down your spine.

This also causes a dilemma, because the movie was apparently supposed to be known as a stand alone. Sure, some minor characters make appearances that I would consider as “easter eggs”, but we get other main characters (besides Vader) who make brief cameos. While I was ok with the one at the end of the film, there was another during a lift off scene that was totally tacked on and not needed at all (much like the titles of the names of all the planets).

Parents, despite it being a PG-13 movie, there is nothing completely wrong here at all that a child of 8 or 9 could not see. Characters die, but if they have seen any of the other films, they are fine here.

Is this movie better than the originals? Heavens no. Is it better than the prequels? I don’t know (it has been a while since I saw those, although I am still confident my least favorite of all Star Wars films is Episode Two). For one reason or another, Rogue One does seem to miss the gravitas that makes the Star Wars universe so wonderful in the first place.

Overall: Two and a Half Stars ** 1/2

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, on a trip through New York that is not as he planned it…

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them does what it is meant to do: introduce us to characters that are magical in a magical world. It does not do much more than that, but what it does do is done pretty dog gone well.

For those of you who know nothing about the Harry Potter universe (and if you are one of those, just stop reading now and read the original books, see the movies, and then come back to see this film), Newt Scamander (Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, proving yet again to any naysayers that his talent as an actor is quiet something to watch) is a magizoologist. He arrives in New York in 1926 (in the Wizarding World, this is seventy years before Harry Potter ever attended Hogwarts). A mishap occurs with a no maj (a non-wizard, aka “muggle” in Great Britain terms) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), resulting in many of Newt’s kept beasts are let loose in New York.

At the same time, Grindlewald (who will eventually confront Dumbledore) is on the loose, killing no majs and wizards alike (whether he shows up or the rumors about the actor who plays him are true, I will not say, though you may have heard by now). Investigations are led by the Wizarding President Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo) and auror (a wizarding version of the police) Perceveil Graves (Colin Farrell). Graves is also trying to get help from a troubled boy named Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller, from The Flash). Graves is also trying to stop the dangers of Newt’s beasts. Assisting Newt and Jacob  are witches Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), who can read minds. Others with minor roles include Oscar winner Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, and Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny).

I admit a lot is happening on the screen, both special effects wise (which is obviously something spectacular to see) and screenplay wise (which is not too much to handle, but is close). Creator/writer/household name known everywhere J.K. Rowling wrote Fantastic Beasts and where to find them back in 2001 one for Comic Relief (it is meant to be one of the eventual text books at Hogwarts). I have never read it (though the original Potter series I consumed like oxygen), so I can’t say whether or not it is true to the source material completely or not. However, Rowling herself wrote the screenplay (her first), so really, who are we to disagree with her?

Parents, the PG-13 rating is not meant to say that you can’t take kids to this. If they have seen the original films (and if they haven’t, what are you waiting for?), then they are ok with this. There are a few curse words, nothing at all sexual, and quite a bit of action/peril. It is a little more on the side of the last few films of the original series, which makes sense, since films five six seven and eight were done by the same director, David Yates.

I hear now that we are getting more films to follow-up on Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. This does not excite me so much as it worries me. When The Hobbit films came out, I thought it was a mistake to add so much that it took three films to make the story complete (by the end, it all seemed superfluous). The same could be said for franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean (we are getting another one), Star Wars (kidding! kidding!) and Transformers (totally not kidding, and sadly another is coming out next year). Thankfully, if J.K. Rowling is still doing the writing, I have some hope for the Wizarding World.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars ***1/2

Children of Men (2006)

children-of-men

Clive Owen and Clare-Hope Ashitey in Children of Men

My favorite movies are the ones that get better and better the more you see them. I have only seen Children of Men for the first time just recently, but I am sure my hype for the movie will grow the more I see it.

Before he won the Oscar for Best Director for his stellar Gravity (2013), Alfonso Cuaron directed (and wrote the screenplay with writers Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, based off of the book by P.D. James) this film about a post-apocalyptic world in 2027, with the weirdest (at least that is how it feels at first) pandemic imaginable: infertility (it is described by a prior flu outbreak, I believe.) An ex-activist named Theo Faron (Clive Owen). We see the start of the film as showing parts of his daily life (the first movie that came to my mind in the start was Blade Runner), with his talks to his good friend Jasper (Michael Caine, proving once again there is not a role he cannot play).

Eventually, Theo runs into his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore), who introduces him to Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). She is the first woman to become pregnant in years. What the movie does so well is show how precious life really is. There is a scene where Theo and a hand ful of other characters (including a young Chiwetel Ejiofor) are talking about how to handle the situation. Everyone has different views, but they know to lose Kee and her baby would be to lose all hope.

Now to the near immaculate film making. There are tracking long shots in this film that are on par with some of the best known films ever made. It is hard to put to words: the ones that come to my mind are visual, poetic, haunting, charming, epic. Children of Men is one of those futuristic films where it does not look like a world we would like to see (in such films as Star Wars, though that was, of course, a long time ago), but one that could (sadly) have potential to happen.

Parents, though there is no sexual material, there is one brief glimpse of nudity as Kee tries to show she is pregnant (why we need to see her fully nude is beyond me). There is also swearing and violence, but neither that any teenager in this day and age has not seen in other movies or video games. High School and above would be ok.

In many ways, I think Children of Men is a forgotten version of movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or Star Wars (1977). It is a movie that is going to be known as being ahead of its time. It is not as good as those movies mentioned (it does seem to start off a bit slow), but the journey is impossible to forget. By the end, you will feel like I did, and hope to never take children for granted ever again.

Overall: Four Stars ****

And the Oscar goes to…

And-the-Oscar-Goes-to

 

Honestly, I am tired of the whole Oscarssowhite talk going around (I too wish it was more diverse, but it is not all the Academy’s fault: I mean, there were not many performances to begin with, sadly). Why can’t we just acknowledge the nominees as they are?

I have been doing Oscar Contests since I was about 13, and have learned as I went along (I used to think it was ok to have ties in catagories). I am not saying I know all the answers, but if you want to win an pool you may be in, here are my picks in all catagories (and reasons why)…

For a list of all nominees, visit

http://www.imdb.com/awards-central/oscars?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=2348233542&pf_rd_r=0KC5ZWBP7PAY2XWABKNB&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_t=15091&pf_rd_i=main&ref_=ac_ac_ac_lk10

Best Picture

Picture

 

Truly, the biggest award of the night is also the biggest toss up of the night. The PGA awarded The Big Short while SAG awarded Spotlight and DGA The Revenant. Those three are the top three closest to the finish line.

Being that The Revenant also should be winning Best Director and Best Actor, I have it down as winning Best Picture. Still, it is going to be a photo finish, so don’t be surprised if it goes to the other two (or even Mad Max: Fury Road).

Will win: The Revenant (65 % sure)

Could win: Spotlight, The Big Short

Should win: Room (my favorite of the year)

 

Best Director

 

 

Director

Only twice in history has a director won Best Director two years in a row. Being that he just won his second consecutive DGA award (the first time that has ever happend), it seems best to say that Alejandro G. Innaritu will win again this year for The Revenant (the DGA award has predicted Best Director at the Oscars all but 5 times in over 50 years). If there was a spoiler, it would be my personal pick, George Miller, for his incredible work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant (95 % sure)

Could/Should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

 

 

Best Actor

 

 

Actor.jpg

 

 

The wait is over. All who have been waiting for Leonard DiCaprio to win an Oscar will finally get to see the chance. Even one of his competitors, Eddie Redmayne, has stated he wants Leo to win. I would not be surprised if the other nominees felt the same way. It also helps that it is the best performance of the group. I personally can’t wait to see the standing ovation, and hear his speech.

Will win/Should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (100 % sure)

Could win: No one really, but if I had to pick, it would be Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

 

 

Best Actress

Actress

 

 

 

One of the reason’s I picked Room as my favorite movie of 2015 was the performance by Brie Larson. It is one that will go down in history, and an Oscar will only help it more. The only real threat is Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, proving she is still one of the best young actresses around.

Will win/Should win: Brie Larson, Room (95% sure)

Could win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Supporting Actor

“CREED”: (L-r) SYLVESTER STALLONE as Rocky Balboa in “CREED.” Photo: Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros. Pictures

 

 

 

 

I am still a bit upset that Room’s Jacob Tremblay was overlooked, but all the five nominees give stellar performances. Still, none was more surprising or as heartfelt as Sylvester Stallone in Creed. Tom Hardy is probably the next closest, proving he is one of the best actors working today. Still, expect a win for Rocky.

Will win/Should win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Could win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Supporting actress

 

 

I must admit I was not a huge fan of The Danish Girl, but I was impressed by the great turn by Alicia Vikander. Despite other great performances in the catagory, I feel she will win. However, it would be kind of cool to see Kate Winslet win, mainly to see her and Leo holding Oscars next to each other.

Will win/Should win: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (90% sure)

Could Win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Original Screenplay

 

Original Screenplay

While Inside Out was the most original film of the last few years, expect the win to go to Spotlight.

Will win: Spotlight (90%)

Could win: Straight Outta Compton

Should Win: Inside Out

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

 

Even if the film was very confusing at times, expect this award to go to The Big Short.

 

Will win: The Big Short (90%)

Could win/Should win: Room

 

Best Animated Feature

Animated

While I have heard great things about Anomalisa, I doubt anything is beating Inside Out.

Will win/Should win: Inside Out (95% sure)

Could win: Anomalisa

Best Forgein Language FilmForgein Language film

 

 

I have not seen any of the films, but I have heard nothing but good things about Son of Saul, a film I am hoping to see.

 

Will win: Son of Saul (85% sure)

 

Best Cinematography

Cinematography

 

It is rare for someone to win consecutive Oscars, so it is even rarer for someone to do so three times in a row. Still, that seems to be the case for Emmauel Lubezki, after winning two years ago for Gravity and last year for Birdman. Expect him to win again for The Revenant, unless they finally give one to Roger Deakins (for Sicario).

Will win/Should win: The Revenant (85% sure)

Could Win: Sicario

 

Best Film Editing

Film Editing

The fast paced, yet somehow smooth editing of Mad Max:Fury Road should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could Win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

Production Design

Despite the awesome looking images of The Revenant and the realistic looks of Mars of The Martian, the futuristic deserts of Mad Max: Fury Road should drive away with it.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Martian

 

Best Costume Design

Costume Design

Sandy Powell is up against herself for Carol, but her work in Cinderella is what is the best of the bunch.

Will win/Should win: Cinderella (75% sure)

Could win: Carol or The Danish Girl

 

Best Make-up/Hairstyling

Make-up

Another award for the outstanding Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Revenant

 

Best Original Score

Original Score

I am as big a fan of John Williams as anyone, and his work in Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is more proof he is the best film composer ever. However, he has already won five Oscars while another legendary composer, Ennio Morricone, has yet to win a competitive Oscar (he won an Honorary one a few years ago). Like Dicaprio and Stallone, expect a standing ovation.

Will win: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight (90% sure)

Could win/Should win: John Williams, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

Original Song

I won’t lie: I am not a huge fan of any of the songs, but the best one, “Til it happens to you” from The Hunting Ground, should bring an Oscar to Lady Gaga and (finally) Diane Warren.

Will win/Should win: “Til it happens to you”, The Hunting Ground (75% sure)

Could win: “Writings on the Wall”, Spectre

Best Sound Editing

Sound Editing

I am still trying to find out the difference between Sound Editing and Mixing, but expect both to go to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing

See above. Don’t bet against a rock band on trucks.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Documentary Feature

Documentary

Will win: Amy (80% sure)

 

Best Documentary Short Subject

Documentary Short

Will win: Body Team 12 (50% sure, and not just because they look like Minions)

 

Best Animated Short Film

Animated Short

Will win: World of Tomorrow (45% sure)

 

Best Live Action Short Film

Short film

Will win: Ave Maria (30% sure)

Best Visual Effects

Special Effects

The Revenant had one amazing bear attack and Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens gave us more Star Wars brilliace. Still, the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road had very little CGI effects, which is why it should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (75% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens