Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

29 January 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 5 of 13

The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey
3 Nominations
  • Production Design: Simon Bright (King Kong) & Dan Hennah (King Kong, The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring) & Ra Vincent
  • Visual Effects
  • Hair and Makeup
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Sylvester McCoy, Andy Serkis, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee

Apparently no one liked The Hobbit's first installment. Well, that's sort of a lie. It has made over $600 million worldwide so far. And counting. But the Academy, it seems, was not having it. In categories where the Lord of the Rings franchise cleaned up – score, editing, both sound categories, cinematography – this movie got left out, despite its technical brilliance. My sympathy, as you can probably imagine, runs low. But I have to say that it deserves to win a few things, and I think it will win Hair & Makeup (I mean just look at the hair in that poster!). And... if I am being honest, I would probably watch this movie again. Just to give it another chance. In a guilty-pleasure sort of way, you understand.
Will Win: Hair & Makeup
Could Win: Visual Effects
My Rating: #51 out of 61

Flight
2 Nominations
  • Best Actor: Denzel Washington (Training Day, The Hurricane, Malcolm X, Glory, Cry Freedom)
  • Original Screenplay: John Gatins
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Washington, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, Tamara Tunie, Tommy Kane, Brian Geraghty, Melissa Leo

Um, Best Original Screenplay? It's a little odd because the time-travel picture Looper looked like it was going to get this nomination, but who knows what the writers branch was thinking. Instead they went with this highly moralistic screenplay that is, in many ways, a retread of The Lost Weekend. Being an alcoholic is bad, guys. Not that I disagree, but this film gets across its message... inelegantly. There are good things about the movie – I actually rather liked it – Denzel Washington is great and Zemeckis' direction is tight and exciting, but Gatins' screenplay is heavy handed and unnecessarily sentimental. All that to say: this movie is not taking home any Oscars.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #29 out of 61

Snow White and the Huntsman
2 Nominations
  • Costume Design: Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland, Nine, Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Memoirs of a Geisha, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chicago, Sleepy Hollow, Beloved, Little Women)
  • Visual Effects
Director: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Sam Spruell, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Brian Gleeson

This film is not winning any Oscars. But I think I probably screamed out loud when I saw that it was nominated. See: I thought it was going to be terrible, and so my friend Julie and I got drunk and watched it together. In fact, it isn't the least bit terrible. The visual effects are delightful, the narrative is interesting, the costumes are completely fabulous, and Charlize Theron goes for absolute broke in the role of the evil queen. It really is a very fun film marred just slightly by a fairly uninteresting heroine. I want to say, too, that two Oscar nominations is kind of a lot! It's more than, say, Cloud Atlas or, say, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen got. Colleen Atwood has enough Oscars, however – three, actually; can you believe she has three? – and she does not need another one for Snow White and the Huntsman. But if her nomination gets you to rent the camp-fest that is this movie, I say more power to the Academy for honoring good design and visual effects work, no matter what kind of movie they appear in.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #35 out of 61

2012 In Review


LOVED
~ ~
1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. Bullhead
3. Oslo, August 31st
4. Amour
5. Anna Karenina
6. Lincoln
7. The Grey
8. The Kid with a Bike
9. Neighboring Sounds
10. Barbara

REALLY LIKED
~ ~
11. Moonrise Kingdom
12. Once upon a Time in Anatolia
13. Rust and Bone
14. The Master
15. Easy Money
16. Argo
17. Silver Linings Playbook
18. The Impossible
19. North Sea, Texas
20. In Another Country 
21. Zero Dark Thirty
 22. Django Unchained
23. ParaNorman
24. Skyfall
25. The Deep Blue Sea
Rise of the Guardians
Looper
Arbitrage
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Premium Rush
Frankenweenie

LIKED
~ ~
A Royal Affair
A Simple Life
Goodbye First Love
Middle of Nowhere
The Dark Knight Rises
Elena
Life of Pi
End of Watch
Chronicle
Flight
Brave
Seven Psychopaths
Savages
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Footnote
Snow White and the Huntsman
Dangerous Liaisons
(危險關係)
The Paperboy
Hitchcock
Magic Mike
Gayby

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful
Monsieur Lazhar
The Lucky One


LIKED MORE THAN I DISLIKED
~ ~
Prometheus
Wuthering Heights

Total Recall
Killing Them Softly

BARELY LIKED MORE THAN I DISLIKED
~ ~
 Holy Motors
Any Day Now
Haywire
The Snowtown Murders
John Carter
To Rome with Love
The Sessions
The Hunger Games
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


DISLIKED
~ ~
This Is 40
Joyful Noise
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey

Wreck-it Ralph
Ted
Les Misérables
The Avengers

Hyde Park on Hudson
The Turin Horse
The Raid: Redemption
Mirror Mirror
Compliance


HATED
~ ~
Hit & Run
Cosmopolis
The Cabin in the Woods
Killer Joe
Hermano

COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF TIME
~ ~
The Man with the Iron Fists

28 January 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 4 of 13

Beasts of the Southern Wild
4 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Director: Benh Zeitlin
  • Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis
  • Adapted Screenplay: Benh Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar
Director: Zeitlin
Cast: Wallis, Dwight Henry, Gina Montana, Jovan Hathaway, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes, Pamela Harper

This is my favorite film of the year, and it surprised big on nominations morning when Benh Zeitlin managed a well-deserved Best Director nod. Clearly there is a lot of for this film around, especially for the film's star, director, and screenwriter. With its Malick-inspired photography and sensibility, its insightful class critique, and its perspective on the material effects of climate-change, this is the must-see film of the year. It also manages to be an emotionally charged narrative about familial relations, childhood, imagination, and bravery. I can't say enough good things about this movie. It probably won't win any Oscars on awards' night, but I am glad Beasts of the Southern Wild was invited to the party. Go see this film.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #1 out of 61

Anna Karenina
4 Nominations
  • Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey (Atonement)
  • Original Score: Dario Marianelli (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice)
  • Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice)
  • Production Design: Sarah Greenwood (Sherlock Holmes, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) & Katie Spencer (Sherlock Holmes, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice)
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Matthew Macfadyen, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams

Joe Wright's film version of Tolstoy's novel is set in a theatre, and though this conceit does not always work, it is always interesting. What interested the Academy even more, however, is how beautiful this film looks. Four nominations means that the Academy didn't dislike this film nearly as much as some of the people with whom I've chatted about the movie. In fact, it looks as though they rather liked it. Seamus McGarvey's nomination, for example, means that the film had broad support among the below-the-line folks. And the categories of Costume Design and Production Design have been going their own way lately – they are not linked nearly as strongly as they have been to Best Picture. I am expecting Anna to take home both awards, though Costume is the likelier of the two. (And they will be well deserved. Durran has yet to win, and really ought to.)
Will Win: Costume Design, Production Design
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #5 out of 61

The Master
3 Nominations
  • Actor: Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, Gladiator)
  • Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt, Charlie Wilson's War, Capote)
  • Supporting Actress: Amy Adams (The Fighter, Doubt, Junebug)
Cast: Phoenix, Hoffman, Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, Rami Malek, Ambyr Childers, Christopher Evan Welch

This film clearly did not take off with the Academy, although Joaquin Phoenix is so good in it, that he was simply not to be ignored. The Master in a lot of ways is a retread of There Will Be Blood, and though the Academy loved that movie, this one is more flawed and certainly less lovable. And in reality P.T. Anderson has never been everyone's cup of tea. He is storyteller haunted by intense, epic tragedies, and he is fascinated by characters who often make very bad decisions, sometimes over and over and over again. These films have often rubbed people the wrong way. So it isn't really a surprise that The Master didn't quite connect with audiences the way TWBB did. Still, I'm glad Phoenix and Adams were nominated; their work really is excellent (Phoenix's in particular), and I am surprised that the film's cinematographer was ignored by the Academy. Oh yeah, and one more thing: Jonny Greenwood's score for this movie is perhaps the best film score of the year. Check it out.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #10 out of 61

Texts from Last Night

I sent the following text to my kids last night. Their responses form a fairly accurate portrait of their relationships with me:

Me: At least one night a week I forget to eat dinner and then have two beers. This time it wasn't my fault. I planned to eat, but the kitchen at the bar was closed. #drunk

(Identification:) Jackie: Me too!!!

(Support tinged with derision:) Dayne: HAHAHAHA! Perfect!

(Affection tinged with shame:) Dexter: I love you.

(Judgment:) Jordan: #firstworldproblems Haha

Yep. That's them.

26 January 2013

An Appreciation of Supporting Actors

I am not one to rant about whom the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences decides to nominate for its big awards. I think the nominations really are the coolest thing about the whole Oscar process. Because the nominations are given by peers who are working in their fields, I really do believe that it's an honor just to be nominated.

First-time nominee Bradley Cooper
This year, there were four actors nominated for the very first time – Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Emannuelle Riva. This is an incredibly small number by any standard. Last year there were nine actors with first-time nominations. In 2011 there were eight. In 2010 that number was a whopping twelve.

Two thoughts. First, it is to the Academy's benefit to nominate a large number of new people every year, to give a kind of official blessing to actors who have been working hard for many years and to enable them to get more and better work (like Jacki Weaver or Shohreh Aghdashloo or Octavia Spencer or Sophie Okonedo), and when they fail to do this, they really fail a whole bunch of good, hard-working performers. Second, what this small number of first-time nominees demonstrates even more fully is an absolutely astounding lack of imagination. Instead of nominating a bunch of truly amazing supporting performances, they chose to nominate in both supporting categories ten actors who have all been nominated before. All of them. For the men it's even worse. Every single one of the nominees for supporting actor has won an Oscar before. Each and every one of them has an Oscar. Robert De Niro, in fact, has two.

Now it is true that in Silver Linings Playbook De Niro probably gives his best performance in the last fifteen years. Broad love for the film meant that he was definitely getting a nomination. But is it really an astounding performance in any way? Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman (who I think is always overwrought), and Christoph Waltz? All of whom already have Oscars? Why is it that 4 of the 5 nominations in this category come from Best Picture nominees? Last year that ratio was 2 out of 5. In 2011 only 1 out of the 5 was in a movie nominated for Best Picture (eventual winner Christoph Waltz).

My favorite performances of the year from supporting actors – apparently – had no shot of a nomination. Most have never been nominated for Oscars before, I guess, and so they're on nobody's radars. A true shame because there were some really wonderful performances by hard-working, excellent actors happening on the sidelines of this year's movies. I will stop complaining for the rest of this post and (instead) talk about some of these great performances.

Tom Holland is great in The Impossible. This true (but totally preposterous) story of a family separated and battered by the tsunami in 2004 is an emotional rollercoaster and is filmed in gruesome detail. Holland plays the eldest of a trio of boys who are separated when the giant waves hit. Holland's character Lucas manages to locate his mother (played by Naomi Watts) and though she is very badly wounded, he helps her to safety, rescues a random baby, and then while he's in this hospital filled with refugees, he starts to help people find their family members, going from room to room calling out names in the hope that people will be reunited. As I say it is incredible, but my generally skeptical heart of stone melted constantly when Holland was onscreen. His performance is honest and beautiful and completely believable, and as we follow the ups and downs of his narrative of loss and terror, the overwhelming nature of what he is going through also manages to be our way of going through it. It is an excellent performance.

Nate Parker in Arbitrage plays a young man named Jimmy who gets embroiled in the dealings of Richard Gere's scheming, criminal businessman Robert. Gere's character basically foists his entire problem onto Jimmy, and Jimmy has to deal with the difficult ethical question of whether or not to turn Gere's character in to the police or to protect a man to whom he feels indebted. Richard Gere's performance created quite a lot of buzz during Awards season, but Nate Parker is a revelation. His moral quandary and his total desperation as the noose around him and Robert tightens are beautifully performed, and – given that he is also the ethical center of the film – his decisions resonate deeply with the audience. Arbitrage, at key points in its narrative, asks us to put ourselves in Jimmy's shoes, and Parker's performance has a suppleness and power that makes that identification riveting and deeply emotional.

In A Royal Affair, Mikkel Bøe Folsgaard plays the crazy Danish/Norwegian king Christian VII in eighteenth-century Denmark. The performance already won the 2012 Silver Bear at the Berlinale, and his work is really impeccable. Folsgaard manages to play this young monarch with a vulnerability and humanity despite his truly ridiculous and oftentimes violent and cruel behavior. And as much as the audience is alternately disgusted with him and terrified of him, I found myself sympathizing with this young man, who has no control over his irrationality, and needs more than anything else someone to attempt to understand him. It is completely due to Folsgaard's excellent work that the performance doesn't descend into Tom-Hulce-in-Amadeus craziness. Instead, King Christian is a character we want to succeed, whom we want to forgive even when he behaves erratically.

In Monsieur Lazhar, a primary-school teacher kills herself in her classroom and in the morning, she is found when the school bell rings. The film is no great shakes, honestly, but Émilien Néron, who plays the young boy who discovers his teacher's body, and who harbors an enormous amount of guilt about his teacher's suicide – he blames himself. Néron is superb in this part. He communicates his character's terror and disaffection perfectly. This kid will break your heart; I promise. I couldn't watch him without welling up. It is exactly the kind of performance that deserves to be honored, and it isn't just me who thought so: Néron won the 2012 Jutra Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Monsieur Lazhar.

In the excellent Beasts of the Southern Wild there is more than one standout performance. Everyone is understandably talking about young Quvenzhané Wallis's fabulous work in the movie, but Dwight Henry as Hushpuppy's father is also wonderful, and in a true supporting fashion that never overshadows or eclipses Wallis. In many ways, Henry's character is the conflict of the film, pulling his daughter in various directions and teaching his daughter the things she needs to know before he goes. It's a desperate performance of parental anguish and physical agony. If the film is as intensely moving as it is, this is not due only to Wallis, director Benh Zeitlin, and the excellent script, score, photography, etc. (it really is the best movie of the year) but also due to Dwight Henry's performance and the fierceness with which he approaches this role.

And you already know how much I loved Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained since apparently I can't seem to shut up about how good he is in that movie. In fact, Jackson steals the movie from all of his co-stars. Jackson's role, granted, is the best written role in the film, but the actor's skill at playing Tarantino's dialogue to the hilt, his genius at knowing just what kind of film he is in, and his way of making a role into something iconic illustrate that Jackson is not only one of the most exciting actors to watch onscreen these days, he is clearly also one of the most shrewd. The performance is over-the-top while managing to be empathetic and surprising, and it's completely, totally, perfect for Django.
 
And there are more. Anna Karenina's earnest farmer Levin is played with mannered intensity and timid passion by Domhnall Gleeson. His performance is eager and honest, and it is perhaps the most emotionally charged work in what I thought was a beautiful film. And Christopher Walken's sad, aging dog-napper in Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths also deserves mention. It's an excellent performance of a profoundly tired character dealing with great loss. There is also Irrfan Khan as the adult survivor of a great adventure in Life of Pi, and Javier Bardem psychopathic villain in Skyfall.

No matter how you look at it, there were some beautiful performances by supporting actors this year. Some of these performances were the best things in their films, and some simply made excellent films even better with their honest work. In any case, I had a great time watching these actors at the movies this year, and I hope they stay on all of our radars, Oscar nomination or no.

24 January 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 3 of 13

Zero Dark Thirty
5 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Help)
  • Original Screenplay: Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) 
  • Film Editing: William Goldenberg (Argo, Seabiscuit, The Insider) & Dylan Tichenor (There Will Be Blood)
  • Sound Editing
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Reda Kateb, Harold Perrineau, Mark Strong, James Gandolfini, Chris Pratt, Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kinney

Good stuff. I loved it less than I probably ought to have because this movie is not The Hurt Locker. I know that it is unfair for me to expect it to be The Hurt Locker and even for me to want Bigelow to repeat herself, but, alas, that's sort of how I felt while watching Zero Dark Thirty. This movie is very good, has an excellent script, and was named by dozens of critics groups across the country as the best film of the year. Still, with the big surprise of Ben Affleck's Director snub on Oscar nomination morning came the same snub for Kathryn Bigelow. Their spots were taken by David O. Russell and Benh Zeitlin. However... I feel like ZDT is going to make a comeback by the time Oscar night comes around. I am predicting a Black Hawk Down style surge at the last minute. I expect ZDT to definitely win Actress, but I expect it also to take home Original Screenplay and Film Editing, with a possible fourth Oscar for Sound Editing.
Will Win: Actress, Original Screenplay, Film Editing
Could Win: Sound Editing
My Rating: #14 out of 61

Django Unchained
5 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction)
  • Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds
  • Film Editing: William Goldenberg (Zero Dark Thirty, Seabiscuit, The Insider) 
  • Cinematography: Robert Richardson (Hugo, Inglourious Basterds, The Aviator, Snow Falling on Cedars, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon)
  • Sound Editing
Director: Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Laura Cayouette

A fun but overly long picture. QT gets a bit carried away with himself and can't seem to stop himself from adding in sidebars that are delightfully fun but that his movie doesn't actually need. In this way (and forgive me for saying it, QT) Django Unchained is a lot like one of this year's other endless movies: The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. My real feeling about all of this is that QT should be making films for HBO. Then he could make the six-hour epics he really wants to make, we could watch them an hour at a time, and we'd also get the pleasure of watching them (and talking about them) for weeks and weeks. I think this is a win-win plan. Whaddya think, QT? I have Django winning Supporting Actor in my predictions mostly because all of the nominees have already won an Oscar and Christoph Waltz is the least established among them, i.e. the most in need of the award (although he really isn't). I want to take this moment also to note that the Academy truly showed no imagination with its Supporting Actor nominees this year. Arkin, Jones, Hoffman, De Niro, and Waltz are all fine in their movies, but they aren't as exciting as these five guys or (to my mind) the other seven guys I've listed on the page.
Will Win: Supporting Actor
Could Win: Original Screenplay, Sound Editing
My Rating: #15 out of 61

Skyfall
5 Nominations
  • Cinematography: Roger Deakins (True Grit, The Reader, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Man Who Wasn't There, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Kundun, Fargo, The Shawshank Redemption)
  • Score: Thomas Newman (WALL·E, The Good German, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Finding Nemo, Road to Perdition, American Beauty, Unstrung Heroes, Little Women, The Shawshank Redemption)
  • Sound Mixing
  • Sound Editing
  • Song: Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Bérénice Marlohe, Helen McCrory
The Academy decided it loved James Bond again! This is what happens when Sam Mendes directs your Bond movie instead of Lee Tamahori. These nominations are all well deserved, too. I was delighted by Adele's song – which she is performing at the Oscars and which will in all likelihood win – but the Academy will also be doing a tribute to "50 Years of Bond" at the Oscars, so the Song win will be icing on that particular cake, I think. Roger Deakins, who is one of our very best cinematographers, earned a very deserved tenth nomination here, but he will (again) not take home the Oscar. I am not sure when he will get to take home one, but I hope it is soon.
Will Win: Song
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #17 out of 61

23 January 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 2 of 13


Les Misérables
8 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Actor: Hugh Jackman
  • Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
  • Costume Design: Paco Delgado 
  • Production Design: Eve Stewart (The King's Speech, Topsy-Turvy) & Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • Sound Mixing
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Song: Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer & Claude-Michel Schönberg
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Jackman, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Hathaway, Aaron Tveit, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Isabelle Allen

I didn't quite hate this movie – I posted about some of Les Mis's good qualities here – but this is definitely one of the worst movies I saw all year, and the love it is getting from people who hand out awards all across the country this season just baffles me. This is going to be mean, but: for me the film version of Les Mis is like watching a community theatre try to put on the show, except that the community theatre is Hollywood and the audience is just proud of these actors for doing their best. It's kind of like if our own six-year-old tried to sing Jean Valjean and we decided to give the little guy an Oscar for trying so hard. Still, people seem to love it. Expect Anne Hathaway to win this year's Renée-Zellweger-in-Cold-Mountain Oscar, and I suspect it will probably win for Sound, as well.
Will Win: Supporting Actress, Sound Mixing
Could Win: Makeup, Song
My Rating: #53 out of 61

Argo
7 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio
  • Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming
  • Film Editing: William Goldenberg (Zero Dark Thirty, Seabiscuit, The Insider)
  • Original Score: Alexandre Desplat (The King's Speech, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Queen)
  • Sound Mixing
  • Sound Editing
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Kerry Bishé, Christopher Denham, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Farshad Farahat, Željko Ivanek

This is a really good movie, and I am expecting it to win Best Picture. After I first saw Argo, I really didn't think it could pull off the big trophy, and I still have my doubts, but somehow I feel like critical consensus is going to form behind this film before all of the voting is done in February. "Argo fuck yourself" is still one of the funniest lines of the year in any movie, and the picture is strong, moving, and filled with tension. I've even put it down as a possible contender in the Best Director category. I've heard that a write-in campaign is afoot, and that folks are trying to get Ben Affleck the Best Director Oscar even though he wasn't nominated. Seems like a longshot, but if there's that much buzz about the movie, it seems to me that the consensus really is forming.
Will Win: Picture, Sound Editing
Could Win: Director (?), Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Score, Sound Mixing
My Rating: #11 out of 61

Amour (Love)
5 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Director: Michael Haneke
  • Actress: Emannuelle Riva
  • Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke
  • Foreign Language Film: Austria (Revanche, The Counterfeiters, '38)
Director: Haneke
Cast: Jean-Louis Trintingant, Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Ramón Agirre, Carole Franck, Dinara Drukarova, Laurent Capelluto

Love love love. For me, Michael Haneke is someone with whom I don't necessarily feel comfortable. I feel very strongly about almost all of his films. I hated Funny Games but I loved Caché. There are a lot of strange and wonderful movies in this guy's oeuvre, and you will be hard pressed to forget the ones that you have seen. The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Amour: these are unforgettable films whether you love them or hate them. Amour is the story of a man who takes care of his wife after she has a stroke. It is a meditation on a true test of love. I found the film powerful and deeply moving, and I wager that most people in the Academy will too. When I saw the movie in December, the audience afterward stood in the hallway of the theatre gabbing about Jean-Louis Trintignant and Un Homme et une Femme (of all things). Amour surprised on nomination morning with a Best Director nomination (which I was expecting) and a Best Picture nomination. It will certainly win for Foreign Language Picture, but I think Spielberg, Lee, and Russell might split the votes here and Amour will also take home the Best Director Oscar. If it does, it will be well deserved.
Will Win: Director, Foreign Language Film
Could Win: Actress, Original Screenplay
My Rating: #4 out of 61

21 January 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 1 of 13

As I do every year in the weeks leading up the Academy Awards ceremony, I will be sharing my thoughts on all of the feature-length fiction films. For me that means 43 films this year (I usually exempt myself from the documentaries). 2013 is certainly the strangest Oscar season I've seen since I started watching all the films in 1999. And because the thing I tend to love about Oscar season is all of the surprises and unexpected twists and turns – in short, the drama – I am finding this year really fun, though hard to predict. Still, my favorite films of the year (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, and Lincoln) all did better than expected when the nominations came out, and each is nominated for Best Picture. So I am excited to see what happens.

If the nominee has been nominated for Oscars previously, they will be listed next to his/her name in parentheses). This year's nominees:

Lincoln
12 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Director: Steven Spielberg (Munich, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
  • Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot)
  • Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner (Munich)
  • Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah, The Fugitive, JFK)
  • Supporting Actress: Sally Field (Places in the Heart, Norma Rae)
  • Film Editing: Michael Kahn (Munich, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Fatal Attraction, Empire of the Sun, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
  • Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski (War Horse, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Schindler's List)
  • Original Score: John Williams (War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, Munich, Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Catch Me If You Can, Artificial Intelligence: A.I., Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Patriot, Angela's Ashes, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Sleepers, Nixon, Sabrina, Schindler's List, JFK, Home Alone, Born on the Fourth of July, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Accidental Tourist, Empire of the Sun, The Witches of Eastwick, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The River, Return of the Jedi, E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, The Towering Inferno, Tom Sawyer, Cinderella Liberty, Images, The Poseidon Adventure, Fiddler on the Roof, The Reivers, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Valley of the Dolls) 
  • Costume Design: Joanna Johnston 
  • Production Design: Rick Carter (War Horse, Avatar, Forrest Gump) & Jim Erickson (There Will Be Blood)
  • Sound Mixing
Director: Spielberg
Cast: Lewis, Field, Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Jackie Earle Haley, Gloria Reuben, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, Jeremy Strong, Stephen Spinella

I really loved Lincoln. You can read some of my thoughts (on it and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) here. I loved this film mostly for the beautiful acting and for the gorgeous script that Tony Kushner wrote. I felt as though it said so much about the man, his inner struggles, and his ethical principles. I also felt like it managed to capture Lincoln's sexuality, not as a desiring sexual subject, but as a sexual object. The film got at why his contemporaries and why we have found him so desirable as a personage – both as a man and as a symbol. I found it a lovely film. I did not, however, imagine it would wind up as the year's most nominated film, and I was a little surprised to see it rack up more nominations than last year's Hugo. Evidently, the Academy loved Lincoln, loved Daniel Day-Lewis, and loved Tony Kushner's script as much as I did. Don't expect an enormous number of wins, here, though. If the movie did well in terms of nominations overall, that doesn't mean it will emerge victorious in single combat. Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, I think, have it beat in several key categories.
Will Win: Actor, Adapted Screenplay
Could Win: Picture, Director, Film Editing, Costume, Production Design, Sound Mixing
My Rating: #6 out of 61

Life of Pi
11 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Director: Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
  • Adapted Screenplay: David Magee (Finding Neverland)
  • Film Editing: Tim Squyres (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
  • Cinematography: Claudio Miranda (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
  • Original Score: Mychael Danna
  • Production Design: Anna Pinnock (The Golden Compass, Gosford Park) & David Gropman (The Cider House Rules)
  • Sound Mixing
  • Sound Editing
  • Visual Effects
  • Song: Mychael Danna & Bombay Jayashri
Director: Lee
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Wow. A lot of people liked this film. (I was charmed but not in love.) It deserves all of its technical nominations, of course – Life of Pi's most important achievement is its visual and aural splendor – but its lack of acting nominations means that it probably can't win Best Picture. Still, I think the best thing to do when gauging how the movie will do at the Oscars is to think about the categories in which Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon performed well in 2001. That movie had no acting nominations either, but people loved looking at it.
Will Win: Cinematography, Score, Visual Effects
Could Win: Director, Film Editing
My Rating: #28 out of 61

Silver Linings Playbook
8 Nominations
  • Picture
  • Director: David O. Russell (The Fighter)
  • Actor: Bradley Cooper
  • Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
  • Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell
  • Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro (Cape Fear, Awakenings, Raging Bull, The Deer Hunter, Taxi Drive, The Godfather: Part II)
  • Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)
  • Film Editing: Jay Cassidy (Into the Wild) & Crispin Struthers
Director: Russell
Cast: Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Weaver, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Julia Stiles

This movie was the big surprise on the morning of the nominations. Not many people were expecting Russell to be nominated for Best Director, and almost no one was predicting that Jacki Weaver get her second Oscar nomination for this movie. I really really liked Silver Linings Playbook (though I am forced to admit that the title is truly terrible, no matter how related to the plot it is), and I found its direction particularly powerful. Can the film surprise us just as much on the evening of the awards? Or was the morning of the nominations the peak in this movie's popularity? I think SLP really could end up cleaning up if the love for this movie can carry through to mid-February, but... somehow I don't think it will. It's a comedy, after all, and on reflection it will seem more lightweight than Argo or Amour or even a baldly sentimental epic like Lincoln. I think the Academy will lean toward films that feel more "important" on Oscar night.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Director, Actor, Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing
My Rating: #12 out of 61

20 January 2013

Avenging Angels

It has recently become an Oscar-season tradition for my friend Julie and I to get drunk and watch a bad movie together. Last year we watched the Shakespeare fantasy-action movie Anonymous, and more recently we watched the (actually good) fantasy film Snow White and the Huntsman.

Oddly enough, it was difficult for us to think of something awful to watch this year, both of us having already seen Ted, but Julie alighted on The Avengers and her instinct was spot on. It's a long film, so the dialogue does go on quite a bit. And we tend to ramble, as well. But I've put some images next to our chat in case you're feeling as though you want to skip to a more interesting section of the conversation.

Aaron: Yo yo yo!
Julie: Sup!
Aaron: Just pouring my beer. What are you drinking?
Julie: I am going to pop my corn and grab a drink........... RED BEER, 'course! you?
Aaron: This is a White IPA from Harpoon. Fancy stuff and so delicious.
Julie: But is it too fancy for a cheesy comicbook flick? At least the color of my drink is fitting.
Aaron: Well, I thought I'd begin with the good stuff and let it devolve. This movie is long.
Julie: Ugh, these Marvel previews.
Aaron: Oh my god, there are a million. Is Spiderman Turn Off the Dark being promoted?
Julie: Aaron, SPIDER-MAN is not a Marvel character.
Aaron: Oh hahaha. It isn't? [Julie is actually wrong about this.]
Julie: Neither is Superman or Batman. Clearly, Marvel has all the shitty characters no one cares about. Like The Hulk (poor Ang Lee). 
Aaron: Seriously. Poor Ang Lee. And that movie made money, so I don't know why everyone acts like it was a big failure. Also, remember when Sam Mendes directed a Bond movie and everyone loved it?
Julie: Yeah, what was that about?
Aaron: And remember when he directed a movie about abortion and the 1950s and no one loved it? Hahaha.
Julie: HAHAHA. Yes.
Aaron: Is this Transformers?
Julie: I hope it is... I love me those Transformers.
Aaron: I do too! Those are ridiculous.
Julie: Who doesn't? Such fun. Such good sound. But you know that Joss Whedon directed this, right?
Aaron: Oh did he? I get Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams confused.
Julie: P.S. Why are we watching this? I forget what it is nom'd for.
Aaron: Special Effects. Of the Visual variety.
Aaron: I love this actor. With the glasses. He makes me smile.
Julie: Oh, I thought you loved Sam Jackson. I mean, who doesn't? P.S. this character was written with him in mind! (Don't you love that I know these things now? I am a comic geek!)
Aaron: I love him. So this character is not from the comic books? He's just from the movies?
Julie: No, he's from the 'books. But the later ones. So they wrote him for Sam, basically. Which is obviously the best thing ever.
Aaron: It is! Also, could he have been more genius in Django Unchained?
Julie: He could have, and then perhaps he would've been nom'd.
Aaron: Julie!
Julie: No, I loved him! I'm saying the Academy sucks! Also, I have no idea what's going on... I haven't been listening.
Aaron: This thing – which is called a tesseract – is "misbehaving". It's a gateway to another world or planet or something. Maybe like in Thor? Jeremy Renner just said "It's a door right? Doors open from both sides."
Julie: Yes! Thor is going to show up. Chris Hemsworth. I am excited. This is his evil brother, by the way.
Aaron: Tom Hiddleston is the villain from Thor. I saw Thor.
Julie: Of course you did. *eyebrow raise*
Aaron: What? I thought it was a lot of gay fun. There was glitter and rainbows. And Tom Hiddleston is like a gay villain or something. I love a gay villain.
Julie: It makes me think of Adventures in Babysitting. I do hope you've seen that. It is a staple of our 80s youth.
Aaron: Don't fuck with the babysitter.
Julie: YES! Nobody leaves here without singin' the blues.
Aaron: I wasn't reading the Bible the whole time I was a child.
Julie: But I thought you didn't know what a TV was until you went to college?
Aaron: I watched TV beginning at age 11. Sam Jax just got shot!!
Julie: So much good TV happened before '92, Aaron. I am sad for you. SLJ will be fine. Motherfucker doesn't know how to die.
Aaron: And I am sorry that you missed Dark Shadows and Dallas.
Julie: Well, Dallas has been remade, so I shan't miss it.
Aaron: haha.
Julie: So far I think The Dark Knight Rises (or whatever it was titled) had better visuals than this. What was that blue mess?
Aaron: It did. I wonder why they snubbed The Dark Knight Rises.
Julie: They were mad that it otherwise sucked.
Aaron: Seems odd. They liked the last two so much. Oh that was a cool effect!
Julie: I missed it. I was thinking about Tom Hardy.
Aaron: Sam Jax just jumped from a crashing helicopter. Who is Laura Dern's younger lookalike supposed to be?
Julie: Cobie Smulders?
Aaron: You just said a name I do not recognize.
Julie: She is an agent. No one likes her, though she's super-competent (i.e. boring.)
Aaron: I see. You are a wealth of knowledge.
Julie: How I Met Your Mother. Neil Patrick Harris. I am a fountain.
Aaron: What does that have to do with How I Met Your Mother?
Julie: She's in it. And so is NPH.
Aaron: Oh. TV. You know I don't care about TV.
Julie: Ohh... Scar Jo. Two days ago I saw you as Maggie the Cat... and now you're basically CatWoman. How the mighty have fallen.
Aaron: Haha. She is playing Maggie the Cat? How is she?
Julie: Eh... ok. She's the best part of the show, which is pretty sad (for Rob Ashford). She is not a good redhead.
Aaron: Speaking of how the mighty have fallen.
Julie: Who?
Aaron: Rob Ashford.
Julie: Yes, he got really bad reviews for this show. My heart is sad for him. Oooh, that was a fun flip.
Aaron: That one too!
Julie: This guy she's talking to is not in the books
Aaron: That's the one I like!
Julie: He is written in here to represent the Everyman, i.e. he has no cool powers. Mark! The Hulk! Where's Ang?
Aaron: I didn't see the Hulk movie. But I think I saw all the other ones. Who directed the second Hulk?
Julie: There was a second Hulk?
Aaron: Oh yes. I think Edward Norton was in it.
Julie: Louis Leterrier or something. Never heard of him.
Aaron: Hm.
Julie: At least Ang came back from the Hulk. Eric Bana never did.
Aaron: Poor Eric Bana. What a hottie.
Julie: Right?
Aaron: He was great in that bad Judd Apatow movie. I still think he's good.
Julie: He was in an Apatow movie?
Aaron: Funny People.
Julie: Ohhh. Yeah, didn't see that mess.
Aaron: That was wise.
Julie: Mark is looking a little schlubby here. Remember when he was hot?  
Aaron: Mark Ruffalo was never hot. You are misremembering.
Julie: Hmm. Really? I saw him in person once. He looked pretty hot.
Aaron: I mean I think he's hot, but he has always looked a little worn. Remember he became famous in You Can Count on Me.
Julie: I never saw that either!
Aaron: Oh! It's so good!
Julie: Stop referencing things I don't know about. I want to feel smart.
Aaron: Hahaha. That was the 2000 Oscar season. What were you doing with your life?
Julie: What was I doing with my life? Freshman in college = mess.
Aaron: It's Captain America! Yay. Did you see that movie?
Julie: Hahaha, no. Absolutely not.
Aaron: It's really bad. Haha. Thor is way better.
Julie: I wish Green Lantern was in this. I love me some Ryan Reynolds.
Aaron: I missed that one. The effects looked so bad I didn't think I could stomach it.
Julie: Shit, he was a DC character. See? None of the Marvel characters is fun. Yeah, it was supposed to be pretty wretched. But Ryan!
Aaron: They are fun! Iron Man?
Julie: Blech. Overrated.
Aaron: Sam Jax just bet Captain America 10 bucks. And I laughed out loud.
Julie: Sam Jax always wins. And he should always wear an eyepatch.

Aaron: Gwyneth Paltrow is in this? How delightful.
Julie: Sarcasm? I hope?
Aaron: You don't like Gwyneth Paltrow?
Julie: Ew. She's the worst. Her ridiculous blog makes me want to kill myself.
Aaron: I love her. I think she's adorable. And I love her bangs. I am not following her blog. Does she, like, talk about her kids and shit?
Julie: She is all, like, pretentious about food and stuff that she has no authority to be pretentious about.
Aaron: You are mean.
Julie: People have regularly made fun of it, A-ron. I cannot believe you have not heard of this.
Aaron: I am sure she's not prententious She's lovely.
Julie: She's awful. Stop defending the bitch.
Aaron: Bitch? Julie!
Julie: Aaron! Everyone thinks so. Where have you been? P.S. I am out of beer. Are you keeping up?
Aaron: Well I like her. I am keeping up. I promise.
Julie: That's because you like bitches. Hence, our friendship.
Aaron: HAHA. Facts. We are 30 minutes in.
Julie: Oh my god, I'm going to be so drunk.

Aaron: Oh my god, this is homophobic.
Julie: What just happened?! I was getting beer!
Aaron: Well they have Phil saying things like "I watched you while you were sleeping" and then Captain America like raises his eyebrow like "are you a homo?"
Julie: Perhaps the actor is a homophobe.
Aaron: And then Phil is talking about how he redesigned Captain America's costume.
Julie: With nipples? Like the Batman suit?
Aaron: Dear lord I hope so.
Julie: Who is this Darth Vader wannabe?
Aaron: I don't know.
Julie: This looks like Tron. Which was decidedly not nominated for Visual Effects.
Aaron: Wasn't it? Tron did get some nominations, didn't it?
Julie: Only Sound Editing.
Aaron: Oh yeah! Haha. Poor Tron. It really was very bad. But I rather liked it. The art direction of this film is absurd. It looks like Transformers.
Julie: slash Tron!
Aaron: See! More homophobia. They're making Phil into a pseudo-gay character.
Julie: Am I homophobic for not catching any of the homophobia?
Aaron: No. Just not used to hearing it like I am, probably.
Julie: Now it looks like Battleship! Which was nominated for a bunch of Razzies, by the way. We should totes watch it.
Aaron: No thanks. There are a lot of good things I want to watch.
Julie: Oh, you're no fun.
Aaron: Lot of white people on this bridge. Hahaha. Sorry. I can only handle so many bad movies. And I watched The Man with the Iron Fists.
Julie: Why would you do that? (Without me?)
Aaron: Hahaha. To put the F-U in Kung Fu.
Julie: Oh dear.

Aaron: Mark Ruffalo is talking about science. Gamma rays, spectrometers, anti-protons.
Julie: He is basically Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day. Oh, I get it! This was Renner's warm-up for Hansel and Gretel!
Aaron: A horrible reference. May I never think of Jeff Goldblum.
Julie: Jurassic Park!
Aaron: Are we about to have some action, finally? It has been 40 minutes. That eye thing was cool.
Julie: I think these effects are pretty lame.
Aaron: They are. This won't win.
Julie: You're right: Snow White will.
Aaron: Haha. I wish! Life of Pi is going to win Visual Effects.
Julie: Probably. But Prometheus was really pretty – though it had absolutely nothing else going for it.
Aaron: Not much, no. But the effects were really cool in Prometheus.
Julie: Why does his gold suit go away? I'd wear it all the time.
Aaron: He was surrendering. But I'm with you. If you have a fabulous outfit, you wear it as often as possible.
Julie: Right? If nothing else, that's what we learned from the Evil Queen Charlize.
Aaron: She has many lessons to teach us.
Julie: So true. Like how to suck her albino brother's lifeblood/soul/something. 45 minutes in. I'm drunk.
Aaron: Oh I like this emotional brother scene. Thor was a big glittery business. You missed out. It was even directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Julie: I am not sure I did. Now I'm positive I didn't.
Aaron: Hahaha. I just laughed out loud again.
Julie: But why? Hahaha.
Aaron: "I'm listening." That was a good joke. SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK?!??! Bahahaha.
Julie: Thor's hair is almost as good as our crimped friend's from Anonymous.
Aaron: I am just glad there is more action happening.
Julie: I am glad you are finding humor in this mess. I am not.
Aaron: This is, admittedly, a terrible film. But I have laughed three times. So all is not lost.
Julie: It's really bad, right? If nothing else, the visuals should be good, and they are not. This is most unfortunate.
Aaron: As usual in a Marvel film, too. These people have a million awesome technologies for killing each other and yet all they do is trade punches.
Julie: Ooooh he's flying.
Aaron: He jumped.
Julie: Fly-jumped. Whatever.
Aaron: Like Michael Jordan.
Julie: Hahaha! Just like.

Aaron: His hair really is fabulous. You're right. This movie is directed so weirdly.
Julie: Thank you. I'm trying to focus on the good.
Aaron: The styles differ so widely!
Julie: I think it's 'cause they don't know whose story it is. Right? Everyone's a star.
Aaron: Yeah. Which is weird, because it's Loki's story, right? And yet that's Tom Hiddleston. Not one of the stars.
Julie: No, he's the bad guy. It can't be the bad guy's story in a comicbook movie.
Aaron: I think the star is actually Chris Hemsworth's biceps.
Julie: Oh my god, his hair! offically my favorite thing. after sam's eyepatch.
Aaron: Samuel L. Jackson. He is so much fun.
Julie: Always. Though I'm afraid he's a bit crazypants. Then again, most actors are.
Aaron: Like in real life or just in this movie. I laughed at another joke.
Julie: In real life.
Aaron: "He's adopted." Good joke.
Julie: Also, his twitter is incoherent. Is it really him? I'm not sure, but I had to unfollow him.
Aaron: Are you watching The Avengers?
Julie: I am bored by this film.
Aaron: Yeah. So much talk!
Julie: Transformers was way more fun.
Aaron: Yeah, Transformers always had giant motherfucking set pieces. This has a lot of talk, a lot of morality, and Captain America's earnestness.
Julie: Yeah, so much earnestness. Blah.
Aaron: He's hot though, Chris Evans, don't you think? I loved him in Sunshine.
Julie: Also, why is the cinematography so muted? These colors are dull. I want my superheroes to be bright and fun.
Aaron: That's what I was saying when we were on that ship!
Julie: Sunshine... did we see that? I have a vague recollection of being in that student life cinema
Aaron: Yes! It was. I love that movie. Danny Boyle.
Julie: And Cillian Murphy! I don't remember it much, though.
Aaron: Samuel Jackson should be in this movie more.
Julie: Truth.
Aaron: He should be the lead.
Julie: Well, he kind of is, right? Because he's in charge of them all.
Aaron: Yeah, but the film isn't as interested in him as it is in the others.
Julie: That's because he's black. This film is racist! Also, he has the best name. Nick FURY.

Aaron: Truth. I don't think it's about racism. I think it's about not knowing how to direct a movie. This is directed like television ought to be directed.
Julie: Well, he is all about the TV. And he does it well.
Aaron: Switching between stories, not having a main character.
Julie: Perhaps we should just drink more.
Aaron: This is good TV, but movies don't work well like this. I am drinking. Tom Hiddleston is great.
Julie: Sam wearing a blue tooth?
Aaron: Black people love bluetooth.
Julie: hahahahaha
Aaron: My sister never takes hers off. THIS CINEMATOGRAPHY. This is fucking awful.
Julie: SO BAD. What the fuck is happening?
Aaron: They're fighting and I think that little sword thing like knows or something.
Julie: Why did we go upside down?
Aaron: Now we're seeing everything in closeup! It's like Les Mis! Are you hoping they sing, because I am.
Julie: Nothing is like Les Mis, A-ron. Nothing. Captain America really wants to burst into song.
Aaron: Nine is like Les Mis. (Mark Ruffalo is a great actor. For real.)
Julie: No, Nine had Daniel Day-Lewis. Les Mis had Russell Crowe.
Aaron: Those are equivalent.

Julie: I just want you to know that this cinematographer did We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Aaron:  What? That movie is shot in an interesting way!
Julie: And Anna Karenina.
Aaron: And Anna Karenina is shot gorgeously.
Julie: I'm just telling ya the facts.
Aaron: This is the director's fault, clearly.
Julie: Hahaha. I like to blame directors, too. Let's go with that. HULK! I wish Ang Lee was with us in this moment. He's good, that Ang. And so damn cute.
Aaron: Isn't he? I totally agree. Samuel L. Jackson is saving this film right now. These effects, Julie. They look so fake! Did you like Life of Pi?
Julie: I thought it was pretty.
Aaron: Oh this Hulk is what the Visual Effects nomination is for, I guess.
Julie: There was too much god going on in that film, though.
Aaron: Right?
Julie: Between that and Les Mis, I was godded out.
Aaron: And it is unrelated to the plot.
Julie: Precisely.
Aaron: The novel (as you know) has way more god. As does the 1935 film with Fredric March.
Julie: Like Jane Eyre! at least adaptations of that book always cut out the god crap. I don't know why novelists love the god so much.
Aaron: They were old.
Julie: Life of Pi is not old!
Aaron: Oh, Yann Martel isn't! Hahaha. If we can return to The Avengers for the moment. We have totally departed from the actual plot of the film. And now we're watching a set piece. So I guess that's something. I think there's another hour left.
Julie: Hahaha. What beer are you on?
Aaron: I am 2 IPAs in. High alcohol content. Going to open another one now.
Julie: I am also almost done with my second red beer. for some reason, this drink makes me drunk quickly. Perhaps because it tastes like fruit juice.
Aaron: Sensible.

Julie: This is so bad. Remember Hugo? That film was pretty.
Aaron: It was. But also boring.
Julie: True. But this film is boring and ugly. Killer combo.
Aaron: How did Thor get inside the cell that was supposed to be holding Loki?
Julie: He is magic. Magic hair.
Aaron: I love both of their hair.
Julie: I don't know. His bro's is quite greasy. Oh no! Everyman died!
Aaron: Phil. Phil-in-the-blank. Gay characters always die. These effects really are embarassing.
Julie: Oh, he didn't die after all. So this film isn't homophobic!
Aaron: Um. I think it still is.
Julie: And I think it's racist. So we'll have to agree to disagree.
Aaron: The two are hardly mutually exclusive. As you know.
Julie: Oh, he died. So you are right.
Aaron: Everyone is having a lot of feelings about this guy. We're learning plot information now.
Julie: Poorly crafted exposition.
Aaron: This should be an act three monologue, but there are 50 minutes left in the movie.
Julie: Who wrote this mess? Oh, Zak Penn who wrote every other terrible superhero movie. That explains things.
Aaron: What else did he write? Mark Ruffalo is naked now! Nice.
Julie: The Incredible Hulk. Elektra. X-Men.
Aaron: Oh. Bad shit.
Julie: Fantastic Four, too.
Aaron: Yikes.
Julie: Yeeeahhhh. COLOR!
Aaron: Why would they even hire him.
Julie: I wish the whole movie looked like this. Oh, it went away. What the fuck was that?
Aaron: That hypercolor was a welcome change.
Julie: That lasted 2 seconds. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Aaron: Seriously. I am drinking more. Jeremy Renner is looking good.
Julie: That is because of the alcohol. Although his hair is nicely gelled.
Aaron: Sometimes I like arms.
Julie: As in biceps?
Aaron: Yes. What was the other option? Arms and the Man? What am I, George Bernard Shaw?
Julie: Well it was such an odd comment, I thought it best to clarify.
Aaron: He just called Loki a diva. This movie is getting gaaaaayyyer. This white girl really is very boring. No wonder all the fanboys hate her.
Julie: Scar Jo is white. She is boring too.
Aaron: Yeah. She is.
Julie: "I have an army."
Aaron: "We have a Hulk"
Julie: "I have a Hulk." BAM. hahahahaha
Aaron: Bam? It's so boring.
Julie: I know. I was being sarcastic.
Aaron: These jokes. Performance Issues?
Julie: You like them, remember?
Aaron: Only, like, 1/3 of them.
Julie: That is still way more than is appropriate for a film of this caliber, A-ron.
Aaron: Well I am drinking. It leads one toward generosity.
Julie: And I'm clearly not drinking enough.
Aaron: Well no one is drinking enough to think these special effects are good. I think the war is starting to happen. And not a moment too soon. 100 minutes in.
Julie: There is only... THE WAR. Ahahahahahaha
Aaron: I mean, they look like they're standing in front of a green screen.
Julie: Right? The worst.
Aaron: They're gods from another planet. So they punch each other. They literally must have no access to technologies of any kind.


Julie: What the hell is that?
Aaron: Megatron?
Julie: It's kind of Transformers-like... I like it. Hahahahahahaha
Aaron: I love Chris Hemsworth's British accent.
Julie: Thor better not die!
Aaron: It really is like Shakespeare in the Park. He will not die. He has to go back to Natalie Portman.
Julie: Haha
Aaron: It really is shocking how few people of color are in this. You are so right about how racist it is.
Julie: Yes. Sondheim should've scored this.
Aaron: Bahahaha!
Julie: Are there any black comic book characters though?
Aaron: Plenty! Who did score this?
Julie: Alan Silvestri.
Aaron: Seriously? The Forrest Gump guy?
Julie: Forrest Gump. Blech. And Beowulf! AHAHAHA
Aaron: Where's your feather theme now, bitch?
Julie: And Lara Croft! He is good.
Aaron: He actually is.

Aaron: I just laughed out loud again. "So... this all seems... horrible."
Julie: Oh, Aaron. You and your jokes.
Aaron: Are we alone in thinking this is bad? I think people liked this movie.
Julie: I think they did too. I don't get it.
Aaron: I can't believe The Avengers got this nomination, actually. I liked John Carter's effects better.
Julie: We could probably name at least 5 films that had better effects.
Aaron: I think so too!
Julie: The Academy is ridiculous.
Aaron: As we know. This year is definitely the weirdest year ever, though. Since Driving Miss Daisy and Do the Right Thing, surely. Sam Jax just said "stupid ass decision". I love him.
Julie: Me too. 1990 was a weird year, you are correct.

Aaron: The weirdest year. But 2013 might be weirder.
Julie: I do not like this year. It is making me upset.
Aaron: Oh I am a fan. But, then, I like surprises. As long as I have surprises I'm happy.

Julie: Was Stellan Skarsgård always in this film?
Aaron: Hahaha. From, like, the first 2 minutes.
Julie: Whoa. I might as well have not watched any of this. I clearly am retaining nothing.
Aaron: Whenever I crash through glass somehow I manage not to bleed, as well.
Julie: Well, that makes sense.
Aaron: There are another 20 minutes in this flick.
Julie: Indeed. Totally necessary. There's Stellan again! How fun.
Aaron: I can't believe you have missed him this whole time. In act one, Loki converted him to his side like he did with Jeremy Renner.
Julie: Dude, it's the red beer. I blame the red beer. And this film's badness. Oh, whatever. I'd rather be watching him in Dragon Tattoo. Remember that one? Why am I so nostalgic for last year. What a horrible year.
Aaron: Haha. Stellan was not good in Dragon Tattoo. You need to release your love for last year. This year is better. Just weirder.
Julie: I LOVED lots of films this year, but they are all getting backlash now. So I am bitter.
Aaron: Actually I do think last year was better than this year. Well, I think there will be reverse backlash. I am predicting Zero Dark to take a bunch. ("Please tell me nobody kissed me". Gotta get in one more homophobic joke!)
Julie: A bunch? it was only nom'd for five.
Aaron: Well, I think it will take more than Life of Pi.
Julie: I think it will get actress, that is all.
Aaron: You are wrong.
Julie: I don't know, Pi has lots of technology that looks and sounds pretty.
Aaron: Well, I think Zero Dark comes back. Like Black Hawk Down.
Julie: Black Hawk only won 2.
Aaron: Black Hawk made a huge comeback. It was the talk of that year! What was that, 02?
Julie: Yes.
Aaron: I think Zero Dark makes a similar comeback. I could be wrong, obviously, but I think so.
Julie: That's not much of a comeback. It was a slap in the face not to nominate her. Even Ridley got a nom. Oh my god, it's over. What happened?
Aaron: Allegedly there is another 10 minutes in it, though. Must be a button at the end of the credits. There usually is with the Marvel movies.
Julie: Oh I am so excited. And I still have half a beer.
Aaron: So do I!
Julie: I feel we can remedy this.
Aaron: Oh my god so there will be a sequel.
Julie: That was stupid. Of course there will be a sequel. It's a comic book! There will be TEN sequels!

Aaron: Hahahaha. This song was not nominated.
Julie: I don't see why not. It is equally as good as the one from Ted.
Aaron: You exaggerate. The lyric of this song is "Like the sun we will live to rise again"
Julie: "Like the sun we will learn to rise... AGAAAAAAAINNNNNN." HAHA. These lyrics are the best They are definitely equal to those of the Les Mis song.
Aaron: Like the sun we will live to rise. / Like the sun we will live and die.
Julie: Like the sun we will live and die.
Aaron: ???
Julie: HAHAHA
Aaron: The sun dies?
Julie: It seems so.
Aaron: This movie sucked. But, Julie: Was it better than Les Mis?
Julie: Oh. I don't know, actually. They were both wretched. And at least this one had Sam Jax. So I think it was better.
Aaron: Like the sun we will live to rise again.
Julie: Again......
Aaron: Hahahahaha.
Julie: Well, I wish I could say this was a pleasure... but I'm not sure it was. Wait. There is more! Seriously, what the fuck was that?
Aaron: That was a bunch of white people having burgers.
Julie:
I hate this film. Well, I finished my beer, so I suppose that really is the end.