Monday, March 31, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - The Only Lovers Left Alive


Okay, sure, Vampires are a bit played out. More than a bit actually. But this looks cool. Super cool, in fact. I've actually been waiting for this film for a long time now. I mean, there's a real short list of Directors out there I would tolerate making a movie about vampiric ennui and very few people I would actually like to see star in it... and they've all somehow come together. How could I not be excited for it? Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in a Jim Jarmusch film about an aimless pair of ancient and too-cool vampires living in the modern world? Ah... yes, please. Thank you. I'll take that right now.

What? You don't get it, do you? "Ugh, vampires..." you're thinking. Look, man, just watch the trailer and be honest: How could you not want to see this immediately?



Heh. Blood pops...

sucks,
Jon

Friday, March 28, 2014

Films I am looking forward to - The Raid 2


Did you see the first Raid? Maybe not. If not, WTF, people? Come on. I listed it in my top ten favorite films of 2012. It's only one of the most relentless and supremely kick ass films I've ever see. It's a total blast. Directed by Gareth Evans, The Raid is an Indonesian martial arts action extravaganza about a team of cops raiding (DING! DING! DING!) a 15 story apartment building. On the top floor is the dangerous crime boss they are looking to arrest. Standing between the cops and the crime boss is a ton of bad guys. A not insignificant amount of fighting commences... 

And now we have The Raid 2

Let's watch the trailer.


Oh, man... It looks like shit goes absolutely crazy. Even better, while the plot of The Raid was by no means bad, it wasn't exactly complex either (although it didn't need to be). In The Raid 2, I hear the plot is actually interesting and well done, much more sprawling crime drama akin to The Godfather (supposedly) then just endless cans of Whoop-Ass being cracked open all up in this bitch (which is definitely not a bad thing). This time out, we see Rama return, forced to go undercover to infiltrate a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to expose police corruption and protect his family. A literal army of bad guys stand in his way. I think it's probably safe to assume that there will be quite a bit of Indonesian Kick-Assery going on.

Everybody dance now!

Anyway, the film opened this weekend, but it looks like it's only in a limited release so far, just the coasts and overseas, so keep your eye open. Because when or if this film hits a theatre near you, this is definitely one you'll want to go see. I can hardly wait.

Don't make me kick you in the face,
Jon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Jupiter Ascending - The Second Trailer


Now, from the title of this post, most of you probably guessed right off that I have probably mentioned this movie here before. And you would be right. It was right here, in fact. That is where I put up the first version of the trailer and where I then gushed about it for a bit. I mentioned how it was original sci-fi and how I was a fan of what I was seeing. I also said one of the main things I found really appealing about the films of the writing/directing team of the Wachowski Siblings is how they're unafraid to go big and crazy and unabashed, and how they make it all look great. Now, I realize I had no idea how big and crazy and unabashed they were actually going for, because from what I gather, the synopsis of Jupiter Ascending goes something like this:

"Jupiter Jones is just a girl who cleans toilets for a living, until the day a warrior from outer space arrives, a half-human/half-albino wolf who tells her that not only has she been marked for death by an ancient intergalactic Empire, but she just might be the next Queen of the Universe."

Yep...

The second trailer is posted below and let me tell you, folks, it is amazing. Seriously, you guys. Amazing. Check it out and see for yourself.



Wha...? What was that?

That was a golden slice of fried awesome, son, that's what that was. Unbelievable, right? Unexpected, definitely. I saw a crazy anime-inspired, hi-adventure, epic space opera fairy tale and I loved it. There's whole new worlds in there, people. Aliens and monsters too. Come on! I love everything about this trailer. I can not wait to see the film. Mid-July can't come soon enough, my friends. I mean, with Captain America 2 in under two weeks, Godzilla is April, then this in July and Guardians of the Galaxy bringing up the rear in August...?

That's a hell of a summer right there, peeps. I'm giddy.

Not surprising, I know. I'll admit it. So let's pause here and bring the room down for a second...

Yes. Yes, sometimes The Wachowski Siblings' efforts can fall a bit short. Yes, sometimes they can get a bit mushy and perhaps a little bombastic. Yes, this is all true. And yes, sometimes these out-of-left-field massive space operas reach for the stars and miss. But you know what? I'd rather have something more akin to Lynch's Dune--Hell, even Prometheus--then another lame and lifeless turd like the Robocop remake or the latest awful Transformers movie. I mean, I love the Marvel movies truly, madly, deeply, y'all know I do...but an original property, a quality original property--especially when it's a crazy new space opera--will always turn my head. I am always interested.

And so, I am definitely interested in this. In fact, I'm looking forward to it.


Whole new worlds, people...

Can't wait,
Jon

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Jodorowsky's Dune


Dune is a novel by Frank Herbert. It is a story of family and betrayal and other planets and destiny and holy war among the far-flung reaches of an ancient galactic empire. It's filled with magic and drugs and crazy technology and giant sand worms burrowing through vast deserts. It's an incredible book, you should definitely read it, if you haven't already. Yes, yes, it's big and complicated, with lots of words and no pictures to speak of, but it's good, very good. I'm not so hot on the follow-up books personally, but the original, the first one: Dune? I love it. It really does deserve it's status as a classic.

And, much like the story of Don Quixote--although for a different reason--it's one of those things that have long been considered to be "unfilmable".

David Lynch tried in 1984 and he kind of succeeded, but only kind of. It's a film worth watching, sure, but maybe not one to go too far out of your way for. It's a bit awkwardly paced and weirdly scripted and cut up, and it wasn't the best adaptation to begin with, but it's not totally Lynch's fault. The studios wanted a new Star Wars and didn't quite understand who they were asking or what the book was (unsurprisingly) and the end result had too many hands all over it before hitting the screen. Here's the original trailer. Like I said: It's good, but, well... your mileage might vary. More recently, the Syfy Channel tried to do a longer miniseries version and while it's definitely a much more faithful adaptation... well, actually that's probably the best you can actually say about that one.

But these weren't the only attempts...


Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of those names. A visionary Director and auteur, he's long been a kind of film-nerd pass-code, inhabiting an intersection born both of staggering talent and from being active during a time when it wasn't as easy to track down and see these smaller foreign films as it is today. So if you were familiar with his work back in the day, you were a cool kid. He didn't make a lot of movies, and for awhile he kind of stopped, so he's never really got his big public due, but his version of Dune--his attempt to film the great unfilmable--is a thing of film lore, a legendary creature too beautiful to live. Strange and wonderful and awesome and new and way ahead of its time, it ultimately crashed and burned during production and the winds of Hollywood scattered the ashes to the four corners of the world. Gone. Poof. 

But traces remain, and that's what this documentary is about...



Looks amazing, right? And Jodorowsky's passion is infectious. It opens this Friday, but only in you lucky duck limited markets on the coast and the download options aren't too clear at the moment, so hopefully it will go wider for the rest of us. I know I'll be watching out for it. You should too.

Maud-Dib,
Jon

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Scribblerati


Hey there, friends and readers and random strangers!

I'm talking comics over at the Scribblerati blog today. I'm there recommending some titles that are cool and interesting and pretty to look at, and as an added bonus, relatively new, so they're easy and still fairly inexpensive to jump on board with and enjoy. Swing by, take a gander, and let me know what you think.

Your friend in comics,
Jon

Friday, March 21, 2014

More Orphan Black!



I've talked about Orphan Black a couple of times now. I talked all about the First Season here. And just recently I was somewhat giddy over the release of the first teaser for Season Two right here. If you haven't read either one of those, for one: I'm so glad to hear about your recent escape from that desert island, and two: feel free to click through and peruse a bit, I'll wait. Or, y'know... tl;dr: Wooo! Orphan Black!

Whatever's clever, my friend.

All caught up? Right on. Full speed ahead.

So as awesome as all that was, guess what, kids! The reason for this post is because a longer trailer for Season Two was released a little while ago and it is crazy-pants awesome time. Let's watch...



It's gonna be so good. The first season was weird and original and fun and funny and dark and creepy. Just a good time. I'm really excited to see what they do next. And really, Tatiana Maslany is one talented SOB, man. I think I might re-watch Season One just to be ready. Well, if I have time, that is. Which I don't, which is problematic. Hmmmm... hey, wait a minute... if I were to clone myself...

Hmmmm,
Jon

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Batman: Arkham Knight

I like the Batman Arkham games. They're fun, they're cool, and they always come with these great little movies called Cinematics. I'm a fan.


That being said, I still haven't finished Arkham City yet. I mean, I finished the main story awhile back, but all the extra bits and additional characters? Nope. Not even close. Mostly, it's due to time constraints, but also, things like the Zsasz missions where you're chasing the ringing phones? Hate those. The swooping ones too. But on the upside, I still have the side-stories where I get to play as Catwoman and Harley Quinn respectively, so that'll be fun. All together, with all of that still to go, plus the Challenge Levels and all the trophies? I'm maybe 70% done.

I'm a slow Gamer.

But someday soon-ish I'm totally going to get it all done. I will. Eventually. Of course, to be honest, lately I've mostly just been swinging idly around the city and randomly beating the crap out of any thugs I happen upon, but hey... it's fun. But yeah, I know, I'm behind. I should hurry up and polish off Arkham City, because there's still Arkham Origins to pick up. I haven't even purchased that one yet. I will, but only after I finish up Arkham City. See, I have a rule about my game purchases: I'm only allowed one example of any specific type of game at a time. Finish one and get another. That's my rule. I'm sure I've mentioned it before. Just like I'm sure I've also mentioned how much I love these Cinematics that occasional accompany new game releases. In fact, I'm sure I mentioned all of this in the same post even, right here.


The reason I bring this all up is that, well... there's a new Batman game out. It's another in the Arkham series. It's called Arkham Knight. So now, where I was once kind of behind in the series, now I'm really behind. I need to pick up the pace. In a nutshell, where Arkham Asylum all took place within Gotham's infamous and ridiculously sieve-like loony bin, and Arkham City took place within a flooded and ruined Gotham neighborhood  that had been walled off and turned into a rioting Prison, and Arkham Origins takes us back in time to an early Batman adventure, Arkham Knight apparently takes place within the crime-ridden and seemingly perpetually rainy sum totality of Gotham City and features an alliance of super villains on a blood-thirsty rampage, I don't know... breaking stuff and cackling evilly, basically just like any other week in Gotham City's history. Why do people live there? Anyway, it sounds awesome, like Grand Theft Auto with Batman, so I'm very interested.

And to bring this post full circle, a new Cinematic was put out to announce the game's release. Like I said, I like the style of these things. They all come from a group called Blur Studio apparently. So, good on them. They do good work.

Let's watch this new one...



Okay, sure, it's... not the best one they've ever done, narrative-wise at least. It leans pretty heavily into the overly dour tone some of the less-than-awesome Bat-fans really drool over, which is admittedly a prevalent tone in these games, but still... a little heavy-handed and self-important. I mean, it's fucking Batman, not King Lear, people, so relax a bit.

But... I like the animation style. Plus, I'm sure the game will be fun, the others certainly have been. Although... notice how the Scarecrow tells everyone to evacuate the city in the trailer? That's kind of disappointing, since it means there won't be any random civilians wandering about the city streets and getting in the way, and as a result, force the players to use a little finesse while playing, which would increase the difficulty a little by making the players use Batman in a more restrained and honorable good guy type of way instead of as a general rip-roaring tornado of pleather-wrapped kick-assery. It also means that this game will probably just end up being a larger version of Arkham City, which maybe is not a bad thing, but it's not really an evolved thing either, game-wise at least. 

BUT... you do get to drive the batmobile this time, so...


Vroom-vroom, bitches,
Jon

Friday, March 14, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Noah


Normally I shun any kind of bible stuff in popular fiction. As soon as it becomes apparent, I'm out. This is true of actually any religious dogma to be honest, but it's especially true for bible shit. No, thank you. This is just how I roll. I'm just not interested. I find it dull and preachy and overly concerned with itself. It bores me. And I especially dislike all of the stupid baggage that comes part and parcel with anything bible related. I find any time I have to talk to its adherents about their cult tedious, especially when they have a real head of self-righteous steam going, and the fact that they are constantly going on and on about it, with their whining and bitching and trying to shove their default status in everyone's faces, is exhausting. I mean, there are already boycotts planned for this film because they claim it's offensive, but none of them have even see it. Why can't they just keep it to themselves and leave everybody else alone? Fucked if I know, but in a most likely completely futile attempt to get ahead of the inevitable flood of Butt-hurt Bible Folks (the name of my next band), the studio is attaching a disclaimer to some of the trailers: 

The film is inspired by the story of Noah.
While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.
The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.

You hear that, people, it's in the Book of Genesis, you know, just in case you were out there going: "Holy shit! What the hell was that and where can I read more about it?" There's your answer: Book of Genesis. Which I can only assume is an easy lover that will take your heart, but you won't feel it, like no other and before you know it? You'll be on your knees. YOU'LL BE DOWN ON YOUR KNEES!

But I digress...

Most of all, I usually avoid bible shit because it's an easy bet that whatever it is, be it a movie, TV show, music, book, or whatever, it's going to be absolutely terrible. Terrible and amateurish and shockingly dumb. Every time. It's like the genre attracts the talentless and the hacky. It's a reliable bet. So, yeah, normally I shun this kind of shit. No fucking thank you.

However, I am somewhat interested in Darren Aronofsky

But I don't worship his films like some do, so I'm still only somewhat interested. In fact, his involvement alone probably wouldn't have been enough to get me into the theatre if it were just for a straight-up bible epic. But then I start to hear things, good things, weird things, interesting things, things about giant, multi-limbed, rock-covered and battle-ready fallen angels. I start to hear about a divergent world with its own technology getting washed away from the flood. I start to hear about special screenings for the various film sites out there because Aronofsky is more concerned with alienating genre fans than kowtowing to the frothing Evangelicals--significant because they're usually a better money bet--because he says his film is actually an Epic Fantasy. And then I start to read some surprisingly good advanced reviews and from places you wouldn't expect to see them either. 

Now I'm a little interested, so let's check this trailer out...



Hmmm... Seems a little wonky and melodramatic, huh? But I suppose there isn't too many ways around that. Being a bit over-stuffed is a hallmark of most bible shit honestly. I do like the imagery, Aronofsky has an incredible eye. Plus, the hints of the weirdness and crazy apocalyptic stuff looks great. A guy with a flaming sword banging the ground? Whaaaa? Tell me more. The flood looks appropriately epic too. The big question is: Will the whole Ham as justification for slavery thing be left out? Probably. But will Noah be portrayed as a huge drunken asshole? It does star Russel Crowe, so I'm betting there's a good chance. Either way, yeah... I'm definitely interested, which I guess isn't that surprising since the story is basically about a crazy, backwoods Prepper who turns out to be right. 

So... we shall see, I suppose,
Jon

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Veronica Mars

Hey out there, Marshmallows!


If you're anybody, then you probably already know, but for our just-back-from-the-desert-island readers: Veronica Mars is one of the best things ever. It is a shockingly well-written murder mystery/P.I. drama/teen soap. You might think you're too good for it, but you would be wrong, my friends, you would be wrong. I could go on and on about how great it is, how funny and clever and smart and cool it is, how fantastic the cast is, how all around well-done it is, but instead I think I'll let #1 Super Fan (and Creator of Awesome Things In His Own Right) Joss Whedon say it for me:

"Last year, Veronica Mars' best friend was murdered. Some months later, she was drugged at a party and raped in her sleep. Welcome to the funniest and most romantic show on TV, collected on DVD in Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season.

On the surface, VM is a simple Nancy Drew update: High School Girl Solves Mysteries. It's impressive how well it works as just that, because week to week, nothing is harder to pull off than a genuine whodunit, and no show does it better than VM.

But obviously, it's what lies deeper that not only makes the show remarkable but defines it. Mysteries are its central metaphor; Veronica solves little puzzles because she, like all of us, cannot unravel the bigger ones. Her life now turned upside down (additionally, her sheriff father's been fired, her mother's run out, and her True Love has inexplicably deserted her), she's developed a knack for seeing through people and their inevitable fictions. She also has cameras, audio taps, and databases, courtesy of the reduced-to-private-detective dad she works for. She's a super-sleuth, but the show never forgets that her power is born of pain, and that the kids who don't need to see — or avenge — every secret wrong are actually happier and more well-adjusted. Yet our identification is always strictly with Veronica, the girl buffeted by the base duplicity of her peers and the unfathomable vagaries of her own heart." - Joss Whedon, EW.com, 10/11/05

So I'm sure you're probably saying: "But Jon--you continue to amaze me, btw (You're too kind)--this is a TV show, right? Why mention it in your awesome 'Films I'm looking forward to' series?"

Good question. Allow me to explain... No, there is too much, let me sum it up...

Y'see, there's 3 seasons of Veronica Mars. The first one is phenomenal. The rest are too, but the second had some interference by the Dipshit Studio Suits. "Too complex for the inbred masses," they said. And when the show somehow stayed great and didn't One Tree Hill enough for the Dipshit Studio Suits, the third season ended up getting canceled too soon, and as a result, the story ended suddenly, a little truncated. A later reboot attempt died on the vine. The show passed from memory.

Or so they thought...

A movie idea floated about the internet, almost gaining traction but not quite, so Show Creator Rob Thomas made a kickstarter, not so much for the money, but to prove fan interest. Okay, for the money too. Anyway, it made a jillion dollars in like... four seconds or something like that.

And now the movie is here. Let's watch.



Okay, maybe that doesn't splash with you if you don't know the show, but that's your fault, man, not mine, so RECTIFY THAT! You've got time, the movie opens Friday in theatres and on VOD simultaneously. It premiered this past weekend at SXSW and the fans are loving it. Seriously, the show is great and so worth your time. I'm betting the movie will be too. Check it out.

I can't wait,
Jon

Monday, March 3, 2014

Orphan Black Season 2 Teaser


Oh boy. I loved the first season of Orphan Black. Loved it. I blogged about it here. It came out of nowhere and was simply awesome. Tatiana Maslany is incredible. Incredible. And the show itself? Twisting and turning and funny and smart and so not what you would expect it to be, since the end of the first season, I have been breathlessly anticipating the next one. Well, maybe not "breathlessly", but close enough. It was just that good, folks. Sometimes hyperbole is the only way, y'know?

And now, finally, the first teaser for season two...



Pretty cool, right? It's just a teaser, so of course it tells you nothing, but that's all right, it's still pretty cool. Besides, there will be more soon enough.

Can't wait,
Jon

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oscars 2014



It's Oscar time, folks! Tomorrow, in fact. The Big Day. Oscar Day!

I like the Oscars. Of all the big events and awards type shows out there, the Oscars and the Superbowl are the only two I watch. They're American High Holidays and I am nothing if not a good American. Ask anyone.

Yes, I know they're just a big dumb spectacle, how could I not? Just like I know they're judged off of no metric of quality and instead are based purely off of behind-the-scenes politics and a voting base that really sees even a quarter of the nominated films. They're worthless. They have no meaning, unless they already conform to your own personal opinion, but still... I like them. They're fun. They're grand. They're this giant industry award show kind of thing, like the ones they have in Vegas every year for Dentists or Advertising people or whatever, but it's for movies stars, so it's kind of like a cross between a Royal Ball and the Laff-a-lympics. What's not to love? It's crazy and obnoxious and kind of embarrassing, but whatever, it is what it is and I like to do the predictions. I'm usually about half right too... or less maybe... whatever. My point is, as you're reading my picks, keep in mind that I'm basically blindfolded and throwing a dart, so who cares, right? 


So anyway, my plan is the same as always: I'm going to take a look at each of the major categories in turn and pick which film I think WILL win and which film I think SHOULD win. See what I'm doing there? I've done it before in previous years. Also, like in previous years, I haven't seen all of the nominations. And much like the gaggle of aging octogenarians that make up the majority of the Academy voting base, this doesn't bother me at all or stop me from rendering judgement whatsoever. I already have opinions on most of the films anyway, so it doesn't really matter. Don't worry, I'll cop to it when it comes up. 

Now with all that said, let's get to it...

The Oscars 2014


Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Let's just get this part out of the way... How stupid is it that this is the only category that has nine nominations? It's stupid because it's the only one, and it's stupid because it's just kind of accepted that if a Best Picture nomination does NOT get a corresponding Best Director nomination, then it's not going to win. That doesn't mean that it won't ever happen, but it kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, y'know? What a waste of time. Just pick five and fuck off or make them all nine, whichever, but it's one or the other, because the way it is now? Dumb. On the upside, this years' nine Best Picture nominations really do highlight how incredible a year it was for film, right? I mean there are some damn good films up there, a lot of them... maybe not nine, but whatever...

Will Win: American Hustle. I haven't seen it, but it did win the Golden Globe and that's another one of those Hollywood self-fulfilling prophecies and it's also the most... mmmm... easily digestible film, know what I mean?

Should Win: However, the critical consensus is that American Hustle is--like Silver Linings Playbook--a good movie, but not a great movie, and that might work against it. I've heard it from enough places, especially after the Globe win, which could be key, and I've seen enough of David O. Russell's films to believe it too. So who it is that SHOULD win... well, it's such a good year, so fingers crossed... I'd be happy with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, or The Wolf of Wall Street. Any one of those three deserve the acknowledgment. In a year of amazing films, they were extra-amazing.

Best Directing
American Hustle – David O. Russell
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón
Nebraska – Alexander Payne
12 Years a Slave – Steve McQueen
The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese

This could actually be the big hitch in American Hustle's giddy-up, the part that keeps the Best Picture Oscar out of it's hands, because I get the distinct feeling that no one in Hollywood really likes David O. Russel. He's a well-known asshole, apparently, BIG time, and it's possible no one will vote for him--and as a result: his film--because of that. I can't say how likely that is or isn't, it's just a feeling. But like I said above, the Oscars are 100% behind-the-scene promotion, created project-narrative, and glad-handing, so this could hurt Russel's chances.

Will Win: But despite that, I think he has a big chance and American Hustle is just about the right amount of light and fun cheese mixed with funny wigs and weird outfits that Hollywood loves, but I'm going to ignore all that and remove Russel from consideration. So... as much as I love Marty and Wolf of Wall street, I don't think this is his year. Wolf of Wall Street was incredible and Marty injected so much life and chutzpah, but... Steve McQueen simply made too amazing of a film and it is definitely up Oscar's alley, they love the deep and the serious too, y'know. But then there's Gravity. Alfonso Cuaron is incredible. Incredible. And so is his film. It's completely tonally different from 12 Years a Slave, of course, but it's epic and amazing and a technical marvel and so, so, so definitely Oscar-ish with it's grand vision of the universe. Y'know, I honestly don't know who will win. I hope it's not Russel, but it might be.

Should Win: Cuaron, McQueen, or Scorsese. It's not that Alexander Payne doesn't deserve it, but he's a distant fifth. It's just his bad luck to have made such a great film in a year of so many great films.


Best Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey has been winning this award all over the place. Cleaning up. That's always a big teller. And the word on the street really just kind of accepts that it's his year. Plus, not only is he amazing in the role, but he also took a page from the How To Win an Oscar playbook: He Went Full Ugly in the role. Never underestimate the power of a super ugly nose and/or wardrobe. Nothing says ACTING to the slobbering old fools who make up the majority of the Academy voting base more than when an attractive person plays an ugly person. And McConaughey lost a ton of weight for his role. He looked like a skeleton. It's his year, peeps.

Will Win: McConaughey. He went Full Ugly

Should Win: Wooderson, because no matter how old he gets, those freshman girls stay the same age.... yes, they do. Yes, they do.


Best Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Meryl, Meryl, Meryl. Meryle is amazing. She's a giant. Merciless. Unstoppable. If I was an Academy Award nominated actress, I would pray that Meryl wasn't nominated, because she will crush all comers. It doesn't matter how good the others actresses are, and they are all very good, but Meryl is the Godzilla of the Oscars. Atomic Breath, bitches! She will burn them all down. However... while I haven't really heard all that much about August: Osage County, what I have heard says it's absolute shit. Absolute shit. Now, that's never stopped Meryl from being amazing in a role before now, but... maybe this year she's just a place holder, y'know? A big name. A traditional name. Good in the role, but you don't hear much, so I don't expect it to be her year. And then there's poor Cate. She may have too much Woody Allen stink on her right now to pull off a win, despite an incredible performance. It could be Judi's year, of course, she's old and doesn't have a Best Actress Oscar, after all. The liver-spotted old bastards who make up the majority of the Academy voting base do like to do that on occasion. However, it's just as likely that it could go to Amy for the opposite reason: She's young and doesn't have any Oscars at all. New blood! Plus, like I said... they were all great. But...

Will Win: Sandra Bullock. Gravity is a powerhouse film and she is fantastic in it. She's got the buzz, people like her, and she's shown that she has the chops. Sandra Bullock.

Should Win: Sandra is driving the bus, kids.


Best Actor in A Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actor is often kind of wonky. It's the against-the-grain award. Barkhad Abdi was great. So was Fassbinder. I'm sure Bradley Cooper was too, he seems to work with with Russel. But despite all three of them being very good, they were just "regular" kind of good, y'know? Excellent performances, but...

Will Win: Jared's got the right role for the Academy and he plays it to the hilt too. He's very good. Plus, he leans great.

Should Win: Jonah Hill was fantastic. Plus, he also went Full Ugly, although not as intensely because he's not normally what someone would generally call "attractive", at least not like Matthew McConaughey. Come on, you know it's true. Besides, doesn't matter, he's super talented and he was great in the role. I'd really like to see him win, but I'm not expecting it.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o - 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts - August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska

It's gonna be Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong'o. We all know it. Everyone else go home. Sorry. Julia is just a big name place holder. June was great, but much like the real Nebraska, no one really cares. Sally was good too, but... Woody Allen stink. The post-Globes controversy really seemed to sink Blue Jasmine's chances. This is a good example of how the Oscars are decided. It's not the film so much as the narrative the whole project brings to the wheelchair-bound old farts that make up the majority of the Academy voting base. They sure as shit aren't watching the films, but they are watching the news and gossip shows, dig? But in the end it doesn't matter, because this year it's all coming down to just two women.

Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence. I can't really fault her for it, even though she doesn't really deserve it, because... shit, man... it's JLaw. Everybody loves JLaw, man. Everybody. It's JLaw.

Should Win: Lupita Nyong'o. Incredibly talented. Incredibly stylish. Incredibly beautiful. She was amazing in 12 Years a Slave. But y'know... first nominations are sometimes more about showing your willingness to play the game than ever actually being considered. It's not a 100% true, but a lot of times you have to be nominated and not win first, before you get to actually win one. Not always, but usually...


Best Animated Feature Film
The Croods – Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
Despicable Me 2 – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
Ernest and Celestine – Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
Frozen – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

Hmmm... You know what? I didn't see any of these except Despicable Me 2 and let me tell you, that one is funny, but it totally doesn't deserve the win. Not at all. I also know a guy who claims The Croods is the best damn thing since sliced bread and hand jobs, but... yeah, no. Ernest and Celestine? Hmmm... y'know, I'm not even going to look that one up and I'm just going to guess that's "The French One". And I'm sorry, but that's gonna have to be a No-Go, France. You're still in Oscar jail after forcing the Artist on us as far as I'm concerned.

Will Win: If I had to guess? The Wind Rises. Miyazaki is a god, after all.

Should Win: From what I hear, Frozen is pretty awesome and really funny. Plus, the music is supposed to be excellent. And I love that they have pretty overtly snuck in a pro-LGBT message and it's pissing off all the dumb shit "Christians" out there. So, I'm rooting for Frozen, unseen.

Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer – Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars – Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
The Square – Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
20 Feet from Stardom – Nominees to be determined

I haven't seen The Square, but I have seen the rest of the nominees. Cutie and the Boxer is interesting, but doesn't have much to say really. Dirty Wars is pretty good and so is 20 Feet from Stardom, but when measured against The Act of Killing? Not even in the same league. Nowhere close. The Act of Killing is phenomenal. It's a documentary that will knock you on your ass. Simply amazing. It exposes a horrible open secret of history. It examines its subject thoroughly and in the end, the most incredibly human and powerful moment I've ever seen on film. Simply astounding. Will it win? I really hope so, because it really deserves it. Even better, maybe the best thing it has going for it is that I honestly can't guess which weak-water alternate they would choose in its place. There isn't an artier pick. There isn't a deeper message pick. There isn't one with a better human truth caught on film either. If I had to really choose? 20 Feet form Stardom might be the threat, it's cute and funny and innocuous, but I wouldn't bet on it. Mostly because I don't want to.

Will Win: I'm gonna go with The Act of Killing obviously. It's got the balls and pedigree

Should Win: The Act of Killing. It's got the sauce, the meaning, the insight, and the art. It deserves the recognition.


Best Visual Effects
Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Let's just be clear on this: Star Trek into Darkness and The Lone Ranger were two of the shittiest, bottom of the barrel, god awful, terrible movies this year. Only Man of Steel is missing in order to make the trifecta of the worst pieces of crap films in 2013. Just bargain basement shit-tastic and embarrassingly expensive for being so terrible. Fuck those films. They should not win anything except a punch in the mouth, fines for wasting so much money, and banned from making movies for a whole year. All that aside and fully aware of what I'm saying, I freely admit that I loved the Hobbit Part 2, but I will also admit that it's not the best film either. Not that it really matters, because even though the effects are great, it's the odd man out here, the middle player from Middle Earth as it were. It just doesn't hold up against the obvious winner. Personally, my heart wants to say that winner is Iron Man 3, because c'mon, but in the end, there's just no way around it...

Will Win: Gravity is amazing to watch.

Should Win: I'd love Iron Man 3, but I'm okay with Gravity too.


Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Before Midnight – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips – Screenplay by Billy Ray
Philomena – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave – Screenplay by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street – Screenplay by Terence Winter

Before Midnight? Before Midnight? What the fuck? What kind of dumbass would think this was okay? Before Midnight? Come on, man! Jesus... As for the rest? Captain Phillips was really good I really enjoyed it. I didn't see Philomena, but I wanted to.

Will Win: I'm betting it's either 12 Years a Slave or The Wolf of Wall Street. Amazing films start with amazing scripts and both of those films are too amazing, my friends.

Should Win: Either/or and I'm good.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
American Hustle – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine – Written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her – Written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska – Written by Bob Nelson

American Hustle? Fart. Blue Jasmine? Woody Allen stink. Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club? Definite possibilities, but I don't think it's going to happen. Me? I have to go with Her. It comes from a place that just sounds so dumb, right? Guy falls in love with his OS. And it looks so hipstery dumb too, the whole film should have a curlicue mustache and a tall bike, but, really... it's so good, people. It's sweet and touching and insightful and well-thought out. Plus, it's very obviously about Spike Jonze's failed marriage to Sofia Coppola. Just all around good. Damn good, folks. Damn good.

Will Win: I bet American Hustle will get it, because sometimes that shit has to happen at the Oscars

Should Win: Her. Obviously.

So there we go. That's all the awards I'm going to bother prognosticating over, after all... Oscar Sunday is looming. Will you watch? What are you going to eat? I'm planning on Nachos. Also, do you have opinions? Alternate winners? Feel free to let me know.

Plus, there's this, just fyi...


Look at me, look at me, look at me,
Jon