Friday, February 12, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hmmm...interesting...


This is the Superbowl spot for M. Night's live action version of the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender... and you know what? It looks interesting... Plus, the word on the recent rough-cut screenings so far have been somewhat positive... Is it possible? Has M. Night done something worth watching again?

Decide for yourself...

Last Airbender

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2009 Oscar Nominations


Today was a sad day—Obama’s budget was revealed and it effectively killed NASA’s plans to return the Moon. Goodbye Moon Base dreams… What a total bummer… (Sad face)

But on the bright side, it’s that time again, kids… The Oscar Nominations came out today! So, in an effort to raise my spirit, as my dreams of being an Interstellar Trucker dies, I thought I’d go through the Nomination list and make some mean, pithy comments about the choices, both for your amusement and my own! Yay! What fun! So, let’s begin, shall we?

SHALL WE…?!?!

The 2009 Oscar Nomination list:

BAH-BA-BAAA! BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH-BA-BAAAAA!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Hmmm… I didn’t see Invictus because… who cares. I also did not see The Messenger, but I’d bet anything that Woody wears a Hemp suit to the Oscars. I didn’t see Last Station or Lovely Bones either, but I’ve heard nothing but bad about Lovely Bones… Some people would say that not being familiar with 80% of the nominations would preclude me from making a comment on the outcome… Well, not me! That being said, though, I will refrain from commenting on who should win… this time… and instead merely present my own personal choice: Christoph Waltz and not just because he’s the only performance I actually saw, but because he was also very good.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo'nique, Precious

Penelope Cruz’s giant melon head freaks me out. I love Maggie Gyllenhall, but I’m not sure why. I can’t really name a role where she wowed me, but still… love her. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick were both very good in Up in the Air and I really, really want to see Precious, I’ve heard nothing but good/very sad stuff about it, but as to who WILL win… Hmmm… This one is a toughie… looked at from the classic Oscar best sellable story angle (since the Oscars aren’t merit based…), I can see a case for all of them… BUT, I think I will name Maggie as the winner. Crazy Heart has got that Indie/deep acting thing going on, blah blah blah, and like me… people love her. As to who SHOULD win (and a strong candidate for who MIGHT win)? Well, I haven’t seen all of the performances, just FYI, but I’m leaning toward Anna Kendrick. Not only was she good, but she’s also young and “unknown”, the Academy loves that kind of first-timer shit.

BEST ACTRESS
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Sandra Bullock? The Blindside? The very special uplifting true story about the white lady who teaches the black savage how to play football? Come on! Okay, I haven’t see it, but come on! … Come on! Seriously? I mean, I can understand Avatar (if not condone it), because it made a ka-billion-trillion-frickin’ dollars, but The Blindside?!?!... What the hell, America, what the hell? Anyway… Still haven’t see the Last Station or An Education, but Helen Mirren is always hot shit… Meryl Streep is genius as Julie Childs, though, absolute genius, just a joy to watch, performance wise, and I don’t usually fall for her Automatic Oscar bait shtick, but yeah, she was fantastic. Gabourey Sidibe? I have no idea how her name is pronounced, but she’s got that out-of-nowhere newcomer thing going on, which Hollywood loves, and much like the Blindside, Hollywood also loves to pander as sensitively as possible to any racial issue they can (Dances with Wolves, anyone?), so she could be a shoe-in for the WILL win category. The upside is, I hear she’s amazing. Just amazing. I’m very excited to see this film. I’m also a little scared of it, because I’ve also heard it’s very sad, but since I haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to go with Meryl for my SHOULD win pick.

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Ok, so the running theme this year is how I’ve very behind on my film viewing, but talking shit about the picks regardless, and in an effort to maintain some consistency… I haven’t seen: Crazy Heart, A Single Man, or Invictus… once again… just FYI. So, back to the shit talking… Colin Firth? What the…? Come on, man, what are we? England? PPPHHHBBBTT… Fuck off! As if! Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman is playing Nelson Mandela, talk about fucking Oscar bait… This is going to work against him, though, because Invictus and everything related to it is way too obvious with its Oscar win formula to get anything, it’s just that mandatory 5th nomination that is supposed to be all deep and impressive and message-y and shit, but really it's just stupid and boring and no one really likes it, so… Sorry, Morgan, no shirt, no shoes… NO DICE! Jeff Bridges is also riding what looks like Oscar bait, but it's not "up-lifting" and therefore not as obvious AND he’s got that whole “I’ve been around so long, I’m generally awesome, so it’s my turn for an Oscar” status and that may put him over the top. Jeremy Renner? Great performance. Loved him. Loved Hurt Locker, but he might be too young/untested, which can sometimes work against a young Actor, especially when he's kind of "dude-y". And then there’s Clooney… our last real movie star, one cut from the old mold. Plus, Up in the Air was about a real and relatable America, a surprisingly funny, well told and touching story. I think Clooney WILL win this year and after finally seeing the film… I might even think that he SHOULD as well.

BEST DIRECTOR
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

This is a very strong field, possibly an actually all deserving field… yes, even James Cameron. True, Avatar is a fantastic looking, but underwhelmingly scripted and very formulaic action film lacking any real surprises or depth (beyond the 3-D special effects, heh…), but there is no denying that it took a Herculean effort to bring all those multitudes of pieces together and deliver a final product that has, ultimately and undeniably, connected with people the world over and honestly, that is what acknowledging the best Director of the year is about. Now, Best Movie… that’s a different story, but Best Director, without even going over the others, I’m calling this one for James Cameron and honestly, he might deserve it, too… I mean, it’s a fucking Green Screen movie and it had NONE of the problems that plagued the Star Wars Prequels. The problem with Avatar is all script. FX wise, performance wise, all that stuff… these are difficult pieces to fit together on any movie, let alone a $500 million dollar monster. Cameron was not only able to do this, but he excelled, destroying records all along the way. In every way (except for script) Avatar has more than succeeded and when it’s all said and done, that is due to the Director doing his job perfectly… God damn it… I wish it weren’t so, because the film and the hype and the money really bothers me, but there you have it, folks… Cameron FTW. Also, fuck Tarantino. Inglourious Basterds was self-indulgent garbage.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, & Thomas McCarthy, Up

Thank God they didn’t nominate Avatar here. I would of lost it… So, I haven’t seen the Messenger, in case you missed that admission earlier. Also, I think I’ve summed up my feelings on Tarantino’s offering. And my thoughts on Hurt Locker and Up are also well documented at this point. Serious Man? It was a good film, a hard core character piece, impressive in performance and execution, but I don’t think I enjoyed. I doubt I’ll watch it again… but it certainly was tight… Hmmm… I’ll go with the Coens for the WILL win, because this is their gimme for having the misfortune to be nominated the same year as Avatar, but I think Up deserves it and SHOULD win. Unfortunately for UP, it’s a cartoon, so… Denied.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Neil Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Ianucci, & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Up in the Air is going to be the media darling of this category, while In the Loop is going to be the film-hipster darling and District 9 is going to be the geek darling that, once it doesn’t win, will be brought up from now until the end of time by geeks who will rage over the injustice of the Oscars. I’m a big fan of Nick Hornby, but I haven’t seen An Education, so I can’t speak on that too much. But none of that matters, because this is Precious’s category. From everything I’ve heard, it’s a great film, plus it’s also got the perfect Oscar formula, BUT it doesn’t have a chance with the Director or Film category, so this is the film’s consolation prize. Precious WILL win, and by all reports, it SHOULD win as well.

ANIMATED FILM
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Up

This is Pixar’s category. Up was beyond good. Everyone else, regardless of quality, should just go home. Disney’s old fashioned 2-D animation song and dance stuff, no matter how good… it’s hay-day has passed. And Coraline was waaaaay too long ago, not too mention it was only "just okay". Fantastic Mr. Fox? Personally, I hate this film with the undying passion of a 1000 burning suns. I have had enough of you, Wes Anderson! You and your Daddy issues. ENOUGH! If he makes one more movie with Jason Schwartzman in a white suit and riding a Vespa…? That is it, man. That is it. Some folks claim it’s good, but I’ll never know, ‘cause I won’t watch the filthy motherfucker… I am boycotting Wes Anderson. Unfortunately, this film is all hipster-y and smug and blech… fucking snide wink-wink bullshit with it’s hipness… PLUS, it has Clooney, you can’t underestimate Clooney, people, so it has a real chance. This is the hipster favorite. So, I hope it loses. The Secret of Kells? Never heard of it… I hoping Up WILL win, but I’m fully acknowledging Fantastic Mr. Fox’s chances. I also believe, even though I haven’t seen Fantastic Mr. Fox (but I doubt my opinion will change), that Up SHOULD win too.

BEST PICTURE
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

You see what they did here, kids? Ten Best Movies! Ten! That’s twice the suspense of years previous! Twice the excitement! Twice the chills! And twice the danger! And it will probably make the show FOUR TIMES as long!!!! WOOOO! How the hell did they even come up with Ten films to nominate this year? It is a mystery! So, anyway, let’s just get down to brass tacks here… Avatar WILL win. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. No big surprise. When you make that much money, it’s a gimme. This is Avatar’s year, that’s just the way it goes. SHOULD it win? Hell no, the script is so amateur and so uninspired, it’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if you liked it regardless of the script’s quality, good for you, mouth breather… The point is, there is no complexity, no surprises, nothing. There is not a single moment, NOT A SINGLE MOMENT where I didn’t know EXACTLY what was going to happen. Not a single moment. It is below average. That alone is ample reason why this film does not deserve the Oscar for Best Picture. As to what does? Hmmm… Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved District 9, but come on… no way. Blind Side? BLIND SIDE?!?! A fucking After School Special movie? Seriously? What the Hell? Is there no such thing as standards and taste anymore? Has the whole world been eating retard sandwiches again? Is it still the 1950s out there? Terrible… fucking terrible! Inglourious Basterds? No. Just: No. I haven’t see An Education, but there must be something there because it’s been in almost every category… so I’ll have to check it out. Serious Man? Any other year, I’d say this was the easy winner of the pack, but… well… you know… On the other hand, Hurt Locker kept me on the edge of my seat. Up is pure enjoyment. Up in the Air was honest and real. I hear Precious is a real kick to the nuts. All good choices and strong contenders, but ultimately, I’m going with Hurt Locker for the SHOULD win pick.

And that’s it!

Wow. So exciting. Be sure to check back here the day after the big show to see how I faired with my picks! And with that... suddenly the anticipation is so high around here, it’s like early Christmas! CAN YOU DIG IT?

Oscar-riffic,
Jon

Monday, February 1, 2010

Avatard Comedy


Oh, comedy... Hilarious Avatar review