Oscar Winners + My Thoughts

So ends the 83rd Academy Awards. Anne Hathaway shined as a host, but James Franco fell short. The Orchestra was the best part for me, I love hearing familiar scores. 'Hand Covers Bruise' from The Social Network sounded better from them than it did in the film. But now..onto the winners. My thought as always will be in green. The Honest Oscar Poster is from Oh No They Didn't

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
At the beginning of the Awards season, I would've sworn The Social Network would win. Over the last few weeks it's been obvious that The King's Speech was going to take home the price. It was a good film, but it actually rated quite low in my list of how I liked the nominees. That was 1) Inception 2) The Social Network 3) The Fighter 4) Black Swan 5) The Kids Are All Right 6) 127 Hours 7) The King's Speech 8) True Grit 9) Toy Story 3 10) Winter's Bone

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Again, predictable. After seeing Blue Valentine I thought Michelle Williams was just as worthy. I've yet to see Rabbit Hole, but I hear good things about Kidman's performance as well. Oh well, Good job to Portman. She was stunning.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Nobody else even had a chance.

Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David Fincher got robbed. Christopher Nolan got screwed. Enough said.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Sorkin deserved this, hands down.

Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler, The King’s Speech
This award annoyed me the most. I know people will disagree, but in my opinion, Christopher Nolan deserved this more than anyone. His story, his dialogue, his dream was far more intricate and interesting than anything else in this category. The closest to Inception would've been The Fighter. I thought The King's Speech was the least original of the nominees. It's a shame how much the Academy ignores Nolan.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Boo..How To Train Your Dragon was better.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
I would've been happy for Amy Adams, but I called Leo winning. She was great. Even though Hailee Steinfeld should've been nominated in lead, I wouldn't have minded her winning either.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Academy Award WINNER: Christian Bale. Fuck yeah.

Best Editing: Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, The Social Network
I thought Black Swan would take this. I'm still surprised Inception wasn't even nominated.

Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, Inception
No one deserved it more.

Best Original Score: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Hans Zimmer deserved this for Inception. I really enjoyed TSN's score, but it was so simple compared to what Zimmer did.

Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
I thought Inception would take it, but I don't hate on Alice as much as everyone else does. It was a pretty film.

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
You also can't deny that it deserved this award. Alice's costumes alone earned it.

Best Visual Effects: Inception
Predictable. Deserving.

Best Make-Up: The Wolfman
This category could've included Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. Now the freaking Wolfman is an Oscar winning film.

Best Sound Mixing: Inception

Best Sound Editing: Inception

Best Song: We Belong Together, Toy Story 3, Randy Newman
All of Randy Newman's songs sound EXACTLY THE SAME! I was hoping for "If I Rise." That song is beautiful.

Best Documentary Short: Strangers No More

Best Live Action Short: God of Love

Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing

Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World, Denmark
I was rooting for Dogtooh, but I'm going to have to check this one out.

Best Documentary: Inside Job
I'm really surprised Exit Through The Gift Shop didn't win. I guess they really didn't want to give it to Banksy.

Review: Blue Valentine

Not everyone gets their 'Happily Ever After'

Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) were once a happy couple in a whirlwind relationship. Now they are married, have a young daughter and are no longer happy. They are missing the spark they once had. After a failed night at trying to regain that, our couple just grow further and further apart.

Devastating, Tragic, True. Those are a lot of words that people have used to describe the film. It's absolutely correct, this is not a happy love story, this is a story of a relationship (like so many) that crash and burn. The movie intertwines between the times that Dean and Cindy first met, fell in love, and eventually fell out. That's what makes it even more interesting to watch. We see what they once were, and are pained at what they've become.

I've been on Natalie Portman's bandwagon all Oscar season. She killed it in Black Swan, but after seeing Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams deserves that Oscar too. She was so raw, so gritty. She really put it all out on the table, and Ryan Gosling was right there to match her step by step. It's really a bummer not to see him nominated right along side her. Lead Actor was a crowded category this year, but Gosling deserved to be in there. I actually hope they attend the awards show together, because one without the other just won't cut it when representing this film.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "I want to be your husband and I want to be Frankie's dad. I don't want to be anything else." - Dean (Ryan Gosling)

Review: 127 Hours

Aron Ralston knows what its like to have guts.

It's no spoiler what happened to Aron Ralston. (James Franco) In 2003 he left to go hiking in the middle of the night, he didn't tell anyone where he was going. He ends up falling in a canyon with a giant bolder crushing his arm. He tries to free himself, but he cannot. 5 Days later, he's out of water, and out of ideas. He has to cut his own arm off to survive.

Franco plays Ralston to perfection. We see a fun-loving, easy going, maybe even a little bit of an arrogant guy at the beginning of the film. When he gets stuck, we see this quick thinking hiker slowly turn from slightly panicked, to angry, to down right horrified. He's aware of his fate, he's video taping his good bye's to his family to pass the time.

Danny Boyle was the perfect director for his film. His signature quick cuts really add to the beauty of the film. Partnering back up with his Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R Rahmen also adds catchy music to the mix. While is drags slightly in the middle, it holds your interest throughout. It helps that you know that the film has a happy ending, but it doesn't take away from the horror that Ralston really lived through.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Wait a minute, you didn't tell ANYONE where you were going?? Oops." - Aron Ralston (James Franco)

DVD Review: Restraint

Guests, Ravenswood, Power Surge..

Those were all working titles for this little Aussie film at one point. I've always found the process of naming a movie interesting. It's pretty neat to see what they started out with, then ultimately what they landed on.

Restraint follows Ron (Travis Fimmel) and Dale, (Teresa Palmer) a young couple on the run. Ron has just murdered two people, in an attempt to dump their car they happen upon a secluded house. This house belongs to Andrew, (Stephen Moyer) an agoraphobic who becomes their hostage. He offers them a way out, but everything is not as it seems.

Moyer gave a fantastic performance. He's wonderful on True Blood and it was nice to see something else he's done. He has the acting chops to back it all up. Teresa Palmer is lovely as usual, she's one of my favorite up and coming actresses. Moyer plays Andrew with fear and kindness while Palmer's Dale is obviously very conflicted, this leaves us with Ron. Travis Fimmel managed to annoy me so much I almost shut the film off during the first 10 minutes. Thankfully I stuck around, but I absolutely could not stand his character. Your not supposed to like him, so perhaps Fimmel was doing his job just as well as Palmer and Moyer. It's hard to say, but he really almost made me switch it off.

What I liked most about the film was the dark feeling throughout. The ending leaves you wondering of all the possibilities that could happen.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "You could be her." - Andrew (Stephen Moyer)

It's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Birthday!

I haven't written a birthday post since 11 November. So what better actor to get off my lazy ass and honor? My favorite, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Will this post be incredibly bias? Probably. I can't get enough of this guy. One of the things I like the most about him is his creativity, which he shows in his various roles, and on his website hitRECord

Let's get on with it..Happy Birthday, JGL!

My Favorite Film: Brick Easily one of my top 5 favorite films, Brick is a detective story/noir about a young man named Brendan and his mission to find out who killed his ex girlfriend. The rapid fire dialogue gets you hooked right away, and JGL keeps you interested throughout. (fun fact: He's making a new film called Looper with Brick director Rian Johnson)

My Least Favorite Film: Havoc Havoc actually had a few good actors in it and probably sounded really good on paper. As amused as I was to see JGL play a wanna be gangster the film didn't really come together that well. I blame Bijou Phillips for most of that.

Most Bizarre/Fun/Random: Inception Bizarre is definitely a word that comes to mind when I think of Inception. I absolutely loved it and I still hope that it takes home Best Picture. (I know, it won't) This was a movie I had ridiculous expectations for based on the director and the cast and it lived up to every one.

Most Underrated: Mysterious Skin JGL gave the best performance of his career in this indie film. He deserved an Oscar nomination for it, hands down. Sure the content matter was tough, but it was never tasteless and was handled with care. In my opinion, the NC17 rating really hurt it in the end. Still, this is a must see for any fan of JGL. Honorable mention goes to Manic, also a great little film. Guiltiest Pleasure goes to 10 Things I Hate About You

Film to see: Hesher I've seen the majority of JGL's movies. One that I really anticipate played at Sundance last year. Larry reviewed it back then and had it on his top 5 list for the entire festival. I had hoped it would be released this year, especially with all the buzz co-star Natalie Portman is getting, but it hasn't come to light yet.

How about you? Thoughts on Joseph Gordon-Levitt?

Final Oscar Predictions

Here's my final list of who I think will win. Let's see how I do come Feb 27th.

Best Picture: The King's Speech (although Inception winning would rock)

Best Actor: Colin Firth - The King's Speech

Best Actress: Natalie Portman - Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale - The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo - The Fighter

Best Director: David Fincher - The Social Network

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network

Best Original Screenplay: Inception

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3 (even though HTTYD deserves it)

Best Foriegn Film: Biutiful

Best Documentary: Exit Through The Gift Shop

Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer - Inception

Best Original Song: If I Rise - 127 Hours

Best Cinematography: Inception

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland

Best Art Direction: Inception

Best Make Up: Barney's Version

Best Sound Mixing: Inception

Best Film Editing: Black Swan

Best Sound Editing: Inception

Best Documentary Short Subject: Killing in the Name

Best Live Action Short: The Confession

Best Visual Effects: Inception

Best Animated Short: Day & Night

Indie Gems: The Lookout

Whoever has the money, has the power.

Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was once a promising high school athlete. He excelled in hockey and had lots of friends until one night a car accident changed everything. Now his passengers are dead and Chris is left with a brain injury that prevents him from remembering things both short term and sometimes long. He keeps a notebook to help remind him. He lives with a blind man Lewis (Jeff Daniels) that helps him and works the overnight shift at a bank as a janitor. A group of men plan to rob this bank, and once they learn of Chris's situation the befriend him to gain easy access. When Chris finally figures out what they are going to do he plans to stop it if he can hold on to this memory.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the heart and soul of this film. He seems disoriented, but at the same time you can tell that Chris is really trying hard to rise above his condition. Both Levitt and Daniels did a lot of research for their character's disabilities and it shows. They are both very convincing. The problem with that is that they are the only two interesting characters in the movie. No one else stood out like they did. Sure Isla Fischer's Luvlee Lemons provides some interesting parts, but everyone else is very bland. 

The plain supporting cast doesn't take away from the story, which is all Chris's. It just showed how stellar Gordon-Levitt and Daniels are, even in the smallest roles.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Ah, and by stage I assume you mean the kind with a pole." - Lewis (Jeff Bridges)