Do’s and Don’t of the Oscars: 2012 Edition


You won’t find a list of winners here. Just check ever other entertainment blog on the face of the earth. Here we just have the Do’s and Don’ts of the Oscars: 2012 Edition.

Do’s and Don’ts: 2012

  1. Do check your sound. My television couldn’t been the only one with weird audio feedback and sound.
  2. Do let Billy Crystal host every year. Maybe he can switch it on and off with Hugh. Billy does it simple, classic. It might seem boring or safe, but overall he carried the show well. The audience seemed to agree.
  3. Don’t do fun facts before commercial breaks. I don’t care. I don’t like it when you do it during the Emmys so I’m definitely not going to like it during the Oscars.
  4. Do let Emma Stone come on stage more often. She will be my best friend. She was so funny and charming. Not in an obnoxious way either. I thought she and Ben Stiller played very nicely.
  5. Don’t let RDJ do that documentary thing again. I love him, but it was very awkward. Let me say it again, I love him, but don’t let him do that again.
  6. Do switch up your presentation such as Cameron Diaz. She does present like every year. Let her have a little fun. Same for Sandra Bullock. She was Ms. Congeniality, let her speak that German Chinese! Find the right balance. Yes to the ladies. Just let RDJ stand there and be handsome.
  7. Don’t do little jokes that aren’t that funny. Do a test audience on the test audience skit. You can save time. Speaking about time… look to the next one.
  8. Don’t say you’ll end at 11:30. Be honest with yourselves… you always end at 11:40.
  9. Do allow Colin Firth to present all awards. You can’t say no to that face or that voice.
  10. Don’t let there only be two Best Song nominees. Also Do let them perform. It’s more entertaining.
Bonus:
  1. Do play a side game on tumblr or twitter with other fans of an actor.  Benedict Cumberwatch ’12 on tumblr. It was highly entertaining for myself since I’ve just become a fan.
  2. Do make a twitter for Angelina Jolie’s leg. Pretty funny when going through your feed and you see that.

 

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“Drive”: A very 1980’s feel


Everyone told me I had to watch this movie. That might have had to do with “everyone” being women who were in love with Ryan Gosling. However, I’m sure car fanatics would say the same thing.

Gosling played the main lead in “Drive”. The character has no name, he’s just the “The Driver” and that’s pretty much all he does, he drives.  He’s a stunt driver part time, works as a mechanic with Shannon played by the very talented Bryan Cranston. He is also a getaway driver for thieves. It’s a good thing that “the Driver” works on or drives beautiful classic cars and the chases scenes are crafted old-fashioned with a confident driver.  He’s “the Driver” and he should know his material best.

The movie becomes complicated with the generic plot of mob bosses from different sides. Gosling is concerned with helping his next door neighbor Irene played by Carey Mulligan and her son to remain safe. Her husband owes money.

Critics loved “Drive” because it reminded them of the gritty 80’s L.A. movies and that’s what it was. This film had a predominant 80’s soundtrack and gave it’s location gave off this 1980’s vibe. I’ve not seen many 80’s heist movies, but I would have to agree that it must seem like “Drive”.

The beginning sequence of the film sets up the type of character that Gosling is: quiet, cunning, agile like a fox. I wish the rest of the film carried this vibe throughout. His character however changed slightly when Gosling got involved with Irene. He got too attached, but maybe that was the point. He actually cared about someone. He would put up a fight. I guess I have to look no farther than the elevator scene that switches from romance and than abruptly violence to protect her.

One surprising thing about this movie was the reappearance of Tren Reznor’s “Hand Covers Bruise” from the “Social Network”, such a defining piece. I’m surprised he let “Drive” use it.

This film is nominated for best sound editing. Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis, the two sound editors definitely did an excellent job of being able to weave great moments of sound.  I especially loved the combination that came from the radio, the police radio, car tires and dialogue in the opening sequence.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Sound Editing

 

“Rango”: Yeehaw!


This move just needs to win Best Animated Picture. It’s not because of the storyline, but because the way it was constructed. I included below how Director Gore Verbinski used a type of motion capture to get his actors “playing.” Johnny Depp who plays the leads liked to call it “emotion capture”.

I saw this behind the scenes footage and the film a while ago, but I decide to rewatch it today to catch anything I missed before the Oscars.

“Rango” is about an identity crisis Chameleon who must change his life to fit his new life situated in the Wild  West. Chameleons would have an identity crisis. He has lived his whole life in an aquarium as a pet. His only friends are a headless Barbie, a dead bug and orange fake goldfish. When his tank suddenly falls out his owner’s truck and into the highway, he must learn the Spirit of the West.

As he learns about the Spirit of the West from a roadkill Armadillo, he comes to the town of Dirt that is dependent on water. Too bad, their water supply is looking pretty bleak. The chameleon creates the persona of Rango, a tough westerner who must find the cause of the missing water. Another notable character is Beans who has semi-states of unconsciousness. Hysterical!

Gore Verbinski assembled a great cast of actors to play dress up including his good friend Johnny Depp. Verbinski was the director on the first three Pirates of the Carribbean movies. I’m sure you know who Johnny Depp played. More of the cast includes Isla Fisher as Beans and Bill Nighy plays Rattlesnake Jake.

This movie might not be the most kiddy movie because the characters are quirky, but this film is definitely favorite for fans of Western films. Verbinski litters his film with them.

Check out the indiewire which did a great interview with Verbinski on all his Western homages! Just click on the picture for the article. The music is a great mix of Western tunes especially with Hans Zimmer returning to work with Verbinski.

The Playlist from the Indiewire

The Playlist from the Indiewire

While I am sure “Puss in Boots” is entertaining, I don’t think it is going to win best animated picture. “Rango” definitely plays a unique take on animation thanks ILM or Industrial Light and Magic. This is their first full length future film.

Oscar Nominations: 

1. Best Animated Picture

 

 

 

“Safe and Sound”: Beautifully Rustic


Taylor Swift in "Safe and Sound"

Taylor Swift in "Safe and Sound"

About two months ago, I wrote in regards to the Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars “Safe and Sound” for “The Hunger Games Movie.”

My thoughts were these: “Quite frankly, I love it. It has this great southern, coal miner daughter’s sound to it and that’s just what you want. Hello, Katniss Everdeen is from the District 12, the coal mining district.”

Now upon seeing the music video released by MTV, I believe this more than ever. It is has this great rustic quality. I’m thankful that Lionsgate did not cheesify this song with intermixed clips from the movie. (Secretly, I might have loved this)

It is beautiful done. I saw on JustJared that Ms. Swift filmed it in Nashville which makes a great location. The location was love, the choice of wardrobe was beautiful and even the hint of the Hunger Games with Swift finding the mockingjay pin was very nice.

Mockinjay pin

Mockingjay pin

The only thing I was confused about was the disappearing deer. Can anyone explain this to me?

The full soundtrack was also released  including my girl Miranda Lambert and a new song from Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars. It is set to drop March 20th.

Click below to get to the Billboard article with all the other artists on the album!

The Hunger Games soundtrack....

The Hunger Games soundtrack....

So Swift fans, did you love the video? “Hunger Games” fans are you happy with the outcome and the soundtrack list?

“War Horse”: A journey worth taking


How good could a movie be with a horse as the main lead? Apparently, pretty good.

“War Horse” directed by Steven Spielberg, comes a story about a boy and his horse. Yep, you’ve read that right. Not a boy and his dog, but a boy and his horse. “War Horse” before it became a movie, was based off a children’s book and has a continuing run on Broadway.

Jeremy Irvine plays Albert Naracott, the boy who raises the horse called Joey after his father overbids for him at an auction. The story really takes off when the first World War starts. Joey is sold into the army to pay off the money Albert’s father still owes to the auctioneer. Captian Nicholls played by Tom Hiddleston takes charge of the horse and promises that he will do whatever it takes to reunite the boy and horse back together. Side note: Loved this character…

Due to the dangers of War, the horse is passed between the English, the Germans and the French. This is where  Speilberg finds a great story within the horse and the four years it lived through the war.  You don’t see much of Albert until the end when he enlists in the Army. That’s not the important bit. It’s how this horse changed people’s lives.

Joey was different things for each person. He became an army horse that charged into battle. He became a way to escape the War for two Germans. He became a little French girl’s dream for a couple of days. My favorite part was the understanding between enemies, an Englishman and German soldier put aside differences to save a horse. Joey is also a friend to Albert.

The film seems daunting when you see the running time for the film which is 2 hours and 26 minutes. You ask yourself, surely Spielberg could’ve found something to cut? That’s the thing, I’m glad he kept all the different stories in. It made Joey become a War Horse.

The film had great beauty especially during the scene when the army men mount their horses in the wheat field. There is such a symmetry and artistry in that shot.

I was even surprised by John Williams score. A lot of his much usually sounds the same. For instance, you can watch “Harry Potter” and pick up on a “Star Wars” theme. The score to “War Horse” sounded different. It fit with the time period and the journey that the horse went through.

“War Horse” is definitely one of my top picks for Best Picture which surprises me. This is what my Oscar challenge forces me to do. See movies I usually wouldn’t go see and in the end, I am very happy with the outcome.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Art Direction
  3. Best Cinematography
  4. Best Music (Original Score): John Williams
  5. Best Sound Editing
  6. Best Sound Mixing

“Midnight in Paris”: Nostalgia all the way


“Midnight in Paris” is an interesting take on nostalgia thanks to the director and writer, Woody Allen.

So I found out this year in school that I’ve seen very few Woody Allen films. I think my totally is up to a grand total of four thanks to “Midnight in Paris”. Allen always has an interesting take on his films and you can always tell that they are his films. He also always picks very beautiful locations.

Paris is beautiful in the opening credits. It seems like a time lapse to show the world of Paris changing from day to night. “Midnight in Paris” is all about Gil Pender who is a would be writer with a past in Hollywood scripting. Gil played by Owen Wilson is engaged to the very spoiled Inez played by Rachel McAdams. While Inez goes out ever night to dance with friends including an ex-boyfriend who she still likes, Gil goes out walking the streets at Paris.

This is where the fun starts. Everynight when the clock chimes midnight, an old car comes to pick him up and transports him back to the time he wished he was born into… the 1920’s. In the 1920’s he runs into may greats including Cole Porter and the Fitzgeralds, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. I love at one point when Gil offers Zelda, a valium when she freaks out.  He also meets Ernest Hemingway.  Gil promises to bring his manuscript back to Hemingway tomorrow.

When he wakes up, he is back in his hotel room, telling Inez about his crazy night. She thinks he has a brain tumor. He keeps trying to surprise her to take her back to this time, but she gives up before the car arrives. Maybe nostalgia doesn’t make her happy, her present life is happy when she is hanging out with an old boyfriend.

With his first trip back to the 1920’s, I thought Gil was just very drunk. However when he returns a second time, I think not. Gil goes back farther with is Adrianna, mistress to Picasso played by the lovely Marion Cotillard. Side note: Anything this woman does is perfect. Love her! Gil and Adriana goes back to la Belle Epoque. Allen never really describes how it happens, it just does.

I think a quote that Gil speaks tells the reason behind these time shifts,

“Adriana, if you stay here though, and this becomes your present then pretty soon you’ll start imagining another time was really your… You know, was really the golden time. Yeah, that’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying.”

It’s a sad realization because Gil is upset with his life and the situation it is in. Allen creates a nice  spin on nostalgia and why so many people look back or can’t move forward with their lives.

If I had to pick a theme for the 9 Best Pictures nominations, I am slowly beginning to realize what is. This movie along with other 8 Best Picture nominations have a great tie to the past and present. They all share a sense of nostalgia and a time that was.

Oscar Nominations: 

  • Best Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Directing: Woody Allen
  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

 

“The Descendants”: A Hawaiian Tribute


Imagine this is George Clooney as a family man… finally. Albeit, a little dysfunctional.

Clooney plays Matt King, a prominent lawyer with three big problems happening in his middle age life. 1) His wife is in a coma and he has to take care of his two daughters which he has not done, ever. 2) He is currently in charge of a trust that contains the last natural part of Hawaii. His cousins are currently trying to decided what to do with it, but Matt is the last deciding factor. 3) He learns his wife was cheating on him.

Now those are some pretty big problems and it’s a good thing that you only have to get a quick flight to get to the different islands of Hawaii. Clooney does a pretty good job of towing his daughters around with their one friend to tell people about his wife’s condition and find the person his wife cheated on him with from island to island.

People were upset that Shailene Woodley who plays Alexandra King, the eldest daughter, didn’t nab a nomination. I thought she was good, but I thought she just played a very unstable teenager. I don’t know if that’s very hard to play. I did however grow quite an affection for Scottie played by Amara Miller, the youngest fiery daughter who has quite a mouth on her.

The same could be said for Clooney. Everyone is loving George Clooney in his role, but I think he showed a deeper character in “Up in the Air”. I didn’t dislike George Clooney. He definitely played a great awkward father with his different hairstyle. However, I thought if I had to say where he really deserved his nomination, it would be at the end of the film when he says goodbye to wife. It shows the full circle of everything he goes through. People could just say, “Yeah, he was crying. How hard is that to do in front of camera?”  I thought the cry still showed what his wife meant to him. He still loved his wife even after all the frustration she caused.

In result to the land development, there’s a couple different ways that it could have gone. That I thought was a better part of the movie when King announces his decision.

The ending I had to think about for a while. I think in the end, the director Alexander Payne was trying to show a family just trying to pull themselves together and to be a family again.

The one nomination I thought was missing from the list was cinematography. Phedon Papamichael showed a beautiful landscape that is Hawaii. He just didn’t show what tourists see, he also showed where the families live which I think a lot of people forget. It’s not just a tropical location… it’s people’s homes.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor in a Leading Role: George Clooney
  3. Best Directing: Alexander Payne
  4. Best Film Editing
  5. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)