Sunday, February 27, 2011

Maxxies pt 2

Now for the minor categories. Doing it Speed Round Style:

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Should and will win. And not just because it's Pixar.

Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing
It's a sweet story about loneliness and friendship with lots of subtext. I'm putting my money on The Gruffalo however, since it's hard to go wrong with a half hour short with A-list Oscar nominated actors.

Best Live-Action Short: Wish 143
All the shorts in this category were amazing. Better than most movies this year, and only take 20 minutes of your time. Wish 143 is about a terminal cancer patient trying to lose his virginity, and mixes the highs and lows of humor and drama. God of Love is a funny rom-com shorty that I would also recommend. Na Wewe is a close contender for the real prize, being the only one of a historical nature, but I think The Confession is going to edge it out, especially in this year of overpresent 'downward spiral' movies.

Best Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Thank Matt Groening and your local art-house theatre for this one. Haven't actually seen any of these movies, so couldn't tell you which is best, but ETtGS has the hype and will run with it.

Best Documentary Short: Killing in the Name
Haven't seen any of them, but thank alphabetical order and Rage Against the Machine for this one.

Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Do you know what Art Direction is? Neither do most of the Academy voters. They'll either take the fancy, colorful Burton flick, or go with the Oscar frontrunner The King's Speech.

Best Cinematography: Inception
Got to admit, I don't know if I'm picking this one for actual camera work, or the special effects. But compared to the other nominees, Inception wins out. This category is up for grabs for the Oscar, but I think Inception will edge out the other four.

Best Costume Design: The King's Speech
Period piece. Best Pic frontrunner. Need I say more. Alice in Wonderland has a shot, but it'll be lucky to take the 'overall' Art Direction award.

Best Makeup: The Wolfman
No clue here. Just makes sense...

Best Original Score: The Social Network
Probably one of the best and most unique scores in film ever. Trent Reznor's electro-infused soundscape sets the incredible pacing of the movie and conveys as much emotion as the actors themselves. It would be a crime if he didn't win this Oscar.

Best Original Song: We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)
Hands up if you thought they were talking about the Pat Benatar song. This category is a complete toss-up, and wouldn't surprise me if A.R. Rahman gets a second statue here. But when in doubt, vote for Pixar.

Best Visual Effects: Inception
The lone SFX action movie in the Best Picture category should clean up in this category.

Best Sound Editing: Inception
See Best Visual Effects

Best Sound Mixing: The Social Network
Combine the score with the editing, and you got the reason why I'd give TSN the gold here. All logic and reason say go for the SFX-heavy Inception, but the score is so powerful in TSN that I say take the odds bet.

Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful
Haven't seen any of these films, but this one has a previously nominated director and Oscar-winner Javier Bardem. And you've heard of it. Watch out though, you'll often see obscure pics win in this category.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Maxxie Awards!

Wait, no, that's a terrible name for an award show... I'm taking my microphone and going home...

Welcome to the first annual Maxxie Awards... The Netheredge of Reality's answer to The Oscars. Except more awesome! We'll go through the categories and give you my pick... and some interesting commentary. There will be punches, there will be jabs... security might be called to keep me from hitting on Amy Adams... but dammit, we're gonna have a good time!

I'll also give ya my bet for the real Oscar... I'm usually pretty on... probably should go to Vegas right now...

So here we go:

The Golden Maxxie Award

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter)

For the first time in several movies and years, Christian Bale reminds us that yes, he can indeed act. As a washed-up crackhead boxer, Bale steals the show from the rest of the cast. He gets to the depths of human frailty and delusion in his comeback-kid character while maintaining a sense of true loyalty to his rising-star brother. It was very much like his performance in The Machinist, a must see if you haven't yet.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)

This was my pick before seeing "The Fighter". Garfield plays a convincing portrayal of a man rising to the peak of success just to get screwed over by his best friend. As the 'foil' to Mark Zuckerberg, his Eduardo Saverin demands respect and sympathy, and is held in it's own light against MZ's other 'victims'

Who will win: Christian Bale

He's just that good.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Probably the only supporting actress to 'Wow' me this year was The Fighter's Melissa Leo. As the acerbic, overbearing mother and manager of Marky Mark's boxer, you almost want to reach into the screen and strangle her. Anyone who can inspire that much anger definitely warrants the award.

Honorable Mention: Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Who can forget Hit-Girl, the foul-mouthed killing machine super heroine... who is only a little girl. It may be a gimmicky role, but she is great in her role as a brainwashed-from-birth trained assasin, and gets most of the laughs and attention in the movie. Or maybe it's just that anyone looks like an Oscar-winning actor next to Nicholas Cage...

Who will win: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Ok, the biggest Oscar mystery this year is... HOW THE HELL DID SHE GET NOMINATED IN THIS CATEGORY!?!?! Really... she is the obvious main character of the movie and has nearly 100% screen time. Did her press agent pull some tight strings... and if so, why wasn't she hired by Annette Benning to get her into THIS category? Does Hollywood not take young, first time actresses seriously? Somehow Tatum O'Neal also got nominated in the supporting category for her leading Oscar performance. Or does the Academy just love the Coen Brothers to a fault? Either way, Steinfeld gives an amazing peformance which nearly rivals Natalie Portman in the lead category, and will win the Oscar. I just can't put her in this category for my award.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island)

The first big Oscar screw-over goes to Leo in his twist-and-turns role in Scorcese's thriller as a man tormented by family tragedy and his ongoing quest to find a missing mental patient. DiCaprio keeps you engaged in the role, not knowing what he's going to do next. It's been one of his best roles to date, and should have been honored.

Who will win: Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
Another great performance this year. And a tamer movie which will invite more votes. It's a sweet role and you sympathize and cheer for his character, even though you know it ends well. Firth overcomes adversity in this role, which is absolute Oscar bait. And the British charm and history of past nominations doesn't hurt... And you don't want to insult the Queen Mum's father...

Honorable Mention: Vincent Cassell (Black Swan)
Cassell's dance instructor keeps you guessing in his role. Is he supporting her? Is he driving her insane? Is he just some pervert who likes Jewish girls in tights? A very convincing role, which I'm surprised didn't get a nod for lead or supporting.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

The first nominee I would have put money on to win right after seeing the movie. Talk about someone losing herself in a role. She fits perfectly in to Aronofsky's scheme of characters falling apart under their own obsession, and this time he goes even deeper. Physical performances like this require significant dedication, and lesbian scenes... well, they get attention. Portman sucks you in to her character, making you forget it's an actress and not a documentary about a crazed ballerina.

She'll win the Oscar, and with Steinfeld in the wrong category, she has no competition for the award...

Best Editing: 127 Hours

Did I ever tell you I was a professional film editor? Probably not. But I know a thing or two about editing, so I'm gonna give the award to 127 Hours. How do you keep a movie where the main character doesn't move for 90 minutes exciting? Editing! It's a very fast paced movie despite the complete lack of movement. Most of the scenes take place within hallucinations and flashbacks and the pace and jumpiness of these scenes keep us focused and really help us get inside James Franco's head. And the famed 'arm' scene... well, lets just say the editing keeps us cringing, but makes the right cuts just before we lose our lunches...

Honorable Mention: The Social Network
I almost regret picking 127 Hours, as these two movies are two of the best examples of editing I have seen in a long time. The editing in TSN.. interleaving shots between frat parties and LAN parties... the pacing along Reznor's musical score.. the subtle cutaways that emphasize Zuckerberg's inattentive narcissism... pure genius... This one will take home the Oscar.

Best Screenplay: The Social Network

I'm not a huge Aaron Sorkin fan, but he does write some witty dialogue. Sometimes it works, sometimes its annoying. This time around, it's perfect. And who better to tap into geek culture... It's a very dialogue-intense movie, and the movie thrives on lines like "I'm bigger, stronger, and there's two of me" and "You think people aren't going to get you cause you're a nerd... but actually, it's because you're an asshole". The scripting is very consistent through the film with no dull points.

It will win the Adapted Screenplay Award. The King's Speech will likely take home the Original Screenplay award, but something in me wants to see Inception take it away. I like Nolan's mysterious stories, but the movie was too weird for too many to get him the votes this time. And remember, he's already lost to the token 'old-folks' movie, with Gosford Park beating out the classic noir, Memento.

Best Director: David Fincher (The Social Network)

So many elements came together for this movie that you can't not give it to Fincher. The pacing and conviction of the film make TSN the great movie it is. There is so much subltly to the film that it wouldn't have been a fraction as great if it was without. Notice the subtext... scenes like where the regular college kids are doing college things: drinking, sex, drugs, parties and the like... then see it cut between that and a group of nerds huddled around their computer for social interaction. Scenes like that make movies genius, and Fincher deserves the award.

He'll win the Oscar.

Honorable Mention: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

A directing job that would win any year if it wasn't for Fincher. Anyone who can make a movie that draws you in like this proves his worth as a director. I mean, it's a movie about ballet that GUYS were lining up to see. He did something right. The last fifteen minutes of the film are so captivating you forget you're in the theater. Aronofsky is due for an Oscar one day (especially after missing a nom for Requiem for a Dream) but he just got edged out this year.

Best Picture: The Social Network

There were indeed a lot of good movies this year, but The Social Network was the one that blew me away. It's a story we're all familiar with, but don't have all the history or the details behind it. Fincher and Sorkin kept a nerdy computer story interesting without 360* action scenes or galactic thermonuclear war.

Of course, i'm sure you could say "of course a social media geek is going to pick that one"... and you're probably not wrong. But 500 million friends can't be wrong...

Honorable Mentions: Black Swan and 127 Hours

Well, you've read what I've said about Black Swan. Awesome movie. If you can tolerate "downward spiral" type movies, it's a must see. As for 127 Hours, it's a gripping survival drama that glues you to the screen. I don't cringe that much in most horror movies. I'd call it a mix between "Castaway" and "Saw" and I loved both those films...

Lightning Round for the other films... why they wont win:

Toy Story 3: Animated
Kids are all Right: Lesbians
Inception: Weird
The Fighter: Marky Mark
True Grit: Why do they hang the Coen Bros so high?
Winter's Bone: Redneck True Grit

Who will win: The King's Speech

In the end, The King's Speech will edge out The Social Network for the big prize. Why? It's simply a generational thing. Oscar voters prefer the more traditional movies, which Social Network was not. In addition, I'd expect some apathy field for the older voters towards a movie about trendy Facebook. The King's Speech was a cute, fun, positive feel good movie with a great underdog story and a historical backdrop... pure Oscar bait.

Thanks for watching, see you at the movies... or in the blogs!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Missing out

So I notice that I miss out on 90% of things in life solely because I don't have anyone to do them with... And 90% of those things either require, or wouldn't be any good without, at least one other person...

Not Realistic  :(

Sports... good example. Can't play 'em alone. And it's no fun to go to an event by yourself.

Restaurants... You're gonna eat at some point during the day anyway, so why not making an event out of it... been living in this city for three years and still haven't checked out restaurants a block away from me, just because I had no one to go with. I mean I could grab food alone, but you pay the premo $$$ for the experience... Not worth buying a $50 steak if I'm gonna eat it alone... I'll be done in ten minutes and be bored during that time. Plus, the waiters always look at you funny...

I used to hate that the most when I was a consultant on the road all the time...

I'd have to assume there are circles where you'll always have someone to do something with... TV doesn't lie that much. But are these harder to find that they should be? Or do I have a bad habit of only friending the extremely lazy or busy? Or do I just have unrealistic expectations of the activity level of the American young adult?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coming Soon...

Hey Reality Seekers:

Been slacking a bit on my posts since the new year started. But don't worry... I'm channeling the energy from my frustrations with the 'real world' into some interesting posts and a new website project which I'll be announcing very soon! Really excited about this too, since I'll get to provide a service for the benefit of mankind AND disrupt corporate bureaucracy... Stay tuned for the awesomeness!