flickflackmovietalk

Robot and Boy T-Shirt! (Available for Limited Time)

Posted on | March 5, 2014 | 1 Comment

Flick and Flack aren’t just movie critics anymore. We’re filmmakers, too. Our most recent film, Robot and Boy, is a touching 24 minute sci-fi adventure about a robot who lands on earth and the boy who takes care of him.

Robot and Boy - Q and A

We were lucky enough to show the film in the Youth Filmaker Show at the 2014 Providence Children’s Film Festival (just a few weeks ago). We loved having the opportunity to share our film with more than 200 people. After the screening, we participated in a Q&A with our cast and other filmmakers. You can read all about the event in the Brown Daily Herald.

So far, Robot and Boy has been a success. But for success to continue…we need your support! That’s why we’re selling a limited edition Robot and Boy T-shirt. The shirt has beautiful artwork on the front and credits on the back. Trust us, it’s awesome. With an affordable price and cool design, how could you miss out? You must order before Wed. March 5th at 9pm ET,  so get yours at:  teespring.com/robotandboy

Robot and Boy - t-shirt front Robot and Boy - t-shirt back

Flick + Flack interview Director Maryam Milani

Posted on | April 15, 2013 | 2 Comments

Flick and Flack were fortunate to sit down with Maryam Milani, Iranian director of The Rooster Trademark Paper. We talked about the film, working with child actors, the reason why Milani made the movie, and much more. Below you can watch the entire interview.

The Top Ten Films of 2012…and more! (Flick’s List)

Posted on | February 8, 2013 | 4 Comments

We’ve never done it before, never, not for any other year. But all of the other critics do it and we believe the time has come. It’s time to list the top ten films of the year. Below, you can find my top picks. So, what’s the “…and more!”? Well that would be some awards that will be given to the Worst Film of the Year, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director. Enjoy! I hope to be posting more posts in the rest of the new year!

First, a word or two describing the year. 2011 was widely considered a terrible year for movies. Personally, I think there were some great spectacles, but, similar to this year, there were also many disappointments. All in all, I would say this year was a better year than last. That is not to say that there were no disappointments. In fact there were several films that I was highly anticipating, that dropped my excitement on the floor.

This was not the year of the spectacle. Many of those let-down films that I mentioned are big, explosive blockbusters. The summer was an unfortunate time for films, but the fall and winter films took the torch to a higher level. So what was this year? This was the year of the small (some large) films that put storytelling first. They didn’t use action sequences and laugh-out-loud jokes to carry the film on their shoulders. No, they used them to build your interest in the story. The films weren’t afraid to have A+ list actors sit in a room and talk for 150 minutes. The films weren’t afraid to build tension during cinematic reincarnations of events that we already know will turn out this way or that way. The films on my top ten list all did one thing in common: they told stories of different scales with one common goal. That goal was to keep the audience wanting more. I’m not saying that we need another sequel. What I mean is these were the films that I responded to…and will treasure over time. But before my list…The other lists!

The Other Top Ten Lists

Below are links to other critics thoughts on the year in film. Some are ten best lists while others are just thoughts and some are both, plus some are even audio. Enjoy!

David Edelstein (New York Magazine/Fresh AirRead the list from New York Magazine here. Listen to his thoughts on Fresh Air here.

A.O. Scott  (The New York Times)

Manhola Dargis (The New York Times)

Stephen Holden  (The New York Times)

Michael Phillips (The Chicago Tribune)

Josh Larsen (Larsen on Film)

David Denby (The New Yorker)

Anthony Lane (The New Yorker)

Adam Kempennar and more (Filmspotting) Listen to Part 1 here. Listen to Part 2 here.

Bob Mondello (All Things Considered)

Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter) Read his thoughts here.

Empire Magazine 

Total Film Magazine 

Ty Burr (The Boston Globe)

Wesley Morris (The Boston Globe)

Roger Ebert (The Chicago Sun-Times)

The Top Ten Films of the Year

10. Frankenweenie

Tim Burton’s ode to classic monster movies beautifully blends sentimentality with purposefully cheesy scares. It features a wonderful opening scene that I won’t spoil here. All I’ll say is that, of every moment in the film, the opening showcases Burton’s wildly funny imagination the best. The rest of the film isn’t quite up to your average Burton par, but it’s still enjoyable fun.

9. The Amazing Spider Man

It’s not the best action film of the year (save that for my next pick), but it’s one spot away (second place!), and an entertaining film at that. It was the only summer spectacle that not only met my expectations, but also took them and threw them out of the window. The film features several mind-blowing action sequences (large poles falling down, a scientist turned lizard, etc.) that may not have revolutionized visual effects, but certainly filled the spot of “Lack of Massive Summer Blockbuster”.

8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson’s decision to adapt J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit into two films scared some people out of their minds. But that shock was much smaller than a baby Hobbit compared to the level of surprise when Jackson announced that there would be not two films, but three. Whatever you think about Jackson’s decision, we can only judge the first film. So…let’s judge! Despite that looming dread in the back of my head (“There’s two more coming! Two more coming! Two more coming!”), I managed to enjoy most of the film It’s worth the extra money for the IMAX and 3-D, and despite the overly lengthy battle sequences (“Just throw the rocks already!” raced through my mind), this is an enjoyable romp through the mystical world that Tolkein and Jackson have magically created.

7. Moonrise Kingdom

An extraordinary achievement from a director who managed to blend story with humor, style with substance in this indie wonder. Wes Anderson is the man I am talking about. Anderson only overdoes the story with style a few times, and even those segments are entertaining because of the style overdose. Mostly though, he creates cinematic feats of marvel without using $250 million. Anderson has the ability to create entertaining moments out of small two person conversations, and that is unfortunately a rare however delicate skill.

6. Argo

A tense, politically personal thriller-drama that’s expertly crafted. The entire first three and a half quarters of the film are fabulous. Is it possible to have your heart racing, as you’re laughing? Director and star, Ben Affleck proves it is. The amazingly funny scene stealers are Alan Arkin and John Goodman, although Affleck does underuse them somewhat. The only major weakness of the film is the climax. Affleck makes the final moment so obviously fictional that I shivered in my seat. Other than that though, high marks to Mr. Affleck!

5. Life of Pi

While it doesn’t quite rise to the full potential that Yann Martel’s stunning novel gives, it is still a visual masterpiece and for what we have here, Ang Lee and his screenwriter, David Magee, do a good job with keeping everythng straight. The 3-D is the best I have ever seen and this is a competitor for my favorite visuals in a film of this year. (The only other close contenders areThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Amazing Spider Man.)

4. Les Miserables

Forget what they said. The critics were wrong. “A tasteless bombardment” and “I screamed a scream as time went by” were two of many criticisms that critics threw at this film. But, I heartily disagree. The only reason why you could possibly not like the film is because of the camera-on-a-rope effect that is slightly overdone and, of course, if you don’t like the music, then you won’t like it anymore after sitting in the dark for nearly three hours. But I love the music and the film. Tom Hooper’s decision to actually sing live (on set), was a great one because it pulls out the true emotion in the actors which forces us to feel like we’re sitting just above a Broadway stage. All of the actors are wonderful, especially Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. And while Russel Crowe doesn’t have quite as perfectly rounded a voice as Jackman and Hathaway, he can sing. I dreamed a dream that time went by and this remained…CLASSICCCCCCCCCCC!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Searching For Sugar Man

Searching For Sugar Man is in my opinion the best doccumentary of 2012. There were many other good ones, but this one prevails. It takes the story of an American musician who, ironically, failed in America but was a big success in South Africa and then…He shot himself in front of an audience at the end of a performance. But the film searches for the musician who went by the name Rodriguez. The story is fascinating and as a South African record store owner and music journalist come closer and closer to the truth, the pulse pounding kicks in. And boy does it kick hard. The film doesn’t only tell a fascinating story, but it also tells it well. On top of it all, Rodriguez’s music is wonderful and fortunately director Malik Bendjelloul isn’t afraid to incorporate Rodriguez’s music into the story, this giving the film a breaking-the-boundaries-of-doccumentaries feel. When the credits roll you are left with Rodriguez strumming his guitar and singing his pesimistic, yet amazing lyrics. “Sugar man” he sings. “Oh my gosh!” I respond, in awe of a riveting tale.

2. Lincoln

Steven Spielberg has a wide range: sci-fi ’70s action films to Indy & co. adventures to gritty warfare violence. But I didn’t think he could do this. Here, Spielberg manages to shift the focus in key moments from Lincoln to other vital characters. He also manages to do what, judging from the trailer, everyone thought impossible: turn Lincoln from giant legend statue to intimate, understanding, man. Best of all is Daniel Day-Lewis’ unflinching portait of Lincoln that is without a doubt mesmerizingly real. The screenplay by Tony Kushner, I agree with the critics, does feel more like a play than a film. That doesn’t mean that Spielberg loses sight of his usually cinematic camera angles. In a year of films that ranged from the plain awful to the cream of a very good crop, Lincoln managed to battle it’s way to second place. It is a sincere and beautiful film, not because it involves $250 million effects (which it doesn’t), but because Spielberg and his team took their time. In doing so they have created a film that is beatiful because it is so unlike anything else. It is a real masterpiece.

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Raw. It’s definition: “a material or substance in it’s natural state; not yet processed or purified”. That’s how I would describe Beasts of the Southern Wild. It is directed by a debut director and it stars an adult who is a debut and…Quvenzhanè Wallis. Possibly the best performance of the year, as it is unrivaled in realistic feeling. By the way, she was five when she shot it and had never acted in anything before. And the film was shot with just under $2 million. And yet Zeitlin manages to capture truly wonderful acting in order to ground the film in raw, stark reality. The first time I watched the film, I was under impressed, but the second time, the film was totally different to me. Now, I can’t wait to see it for a third time.

The Year Roundup

I hope you enjoyed my list of the top ten films of the year. But no worries: it’s not time to say goodbye yet! Oh no! To give light to other films that didn’t crack the top ten, but were brilliant or horrible in their own way, I have decided to list off some achievements. Let’s start with the worst of the worst.

Worst Film: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

I love Dr. Seuss’ playful and funny books, his wit and his humor that travels to all ages. But this animated film is the opposite. Here we get a piece of tasteless trash. A despicable film this is. Not only does it not do justice to a timeless book, it seems as if the filmmakers are prurposefully trying to make this a terrible experience for the audience: it’s unbelievably that bad! The songs are tastelessly antagonizing the already boring film. Am I overwhelming you with terribly awful adjectives? I am sorry, but this film deserves them. There is however one redeeming element to the film: it’s a very short 86 minutes!

Thoughts on Performances of the Year:

This year was a great one for performances. They ranged from debut breakouts that include Suraj Sharma to Ben Affleck sporting a ’70s hairdo to Hugh Jackman singing at the top of his lungs. Some actors and actresses starred in many films like the Hemsworth brothers, Liam and Chris. (Liam appeared in three films: The Hunger Games, The Expendables 2, and Love and Honor. Chris on the other hand, tied his brother’s amount of films and appeared in The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Red Dawn.) But my favorite actor and actress of the year both appeared in one film. The actor nearly didn’t get the part, not because he wasn’t offered it, but because he dismissed it. Once he accepted, he researched the role for one year. The actress had nothing to research. She did the audition. Two days later, her mother gets a phone call. She got the part. Both performances are massively different, but both are, in my opinion, truly wonderful works of acting. Here they are.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

I have never seen an actor like Daniel Day-Lewis. This is the only film I’ve seen him in, but while and after watching him, I could feel Lincoln. Lincoln is one of the most loved American presidents of all time. He is one of the most famous people of all time. He died one of the most tragic deaths of all time. How do you translate all of that into one film, more precisely one performance? You don’t. You focus on one task out of a trillion and make that performance a nail biting “How did he pull that off?” craze. In a year of great male performances, this one arose from the rest because of Day-Lewis’ sheer skill.

Best Actress: Quvenzhanè Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

“Come on! She was five years old when she shot the film!” If you haven’t seen the film, that is what must be racing through your mind. That’s exactly what I thought when I heard the buzz. There were definitely many great performances from adult women this year, so why did this youngster surpass them all? I highly doubt that Wallis was aiming for perfection. I think she was just doing her best. But there is a raw intensity that she posses. It’s far too raw for some; many people don’t enjoy watching something so real. But I love it. I love the overwhelming expressions that spread across Wallis’ face as her character, Hushpuppy, experiences many things that your average 5 year-old wouldn’t be able to handle. This is barely a performance: to me it registers more as a 5 year-old being put on camera, acting as she always would. This is probably part of Wallis’ genius.

Thoughts on Directors: I’ve already talked about the great performances of the year, but now the question has come: how are these films crafted so greatly? They are directed by a great director. Also, the entire film. From the special effects to the score to the cinematography; it comes down to the director to make the final decision. The greatest directors of this year are the ones who have been able to take the stories and make them something of their own. They put their style into it. Lincoln wouldn’t have been the same if it was directed by Benh Zeitlin or Terrence Malick or Martin Scorsese or Tim Burton. As you read those names you must be thinking “I can’t even imagine the film with those directors at the helm!”. That’s my point! Spielberg makes Lincoln his own film. But what about some other directors who are just starting out. Take for example Malik Bendjelloul (Searching For Sugar Man) or Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man). Are they just as good? Judging from this year, yes. But my No. 1 pick just barely manages to rise above the rest.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

Although Beasts of the Southern Wild managed to beat out Lincoln for my favorite film of the year, Spielberg managed to beat Zeitlin for my favorite director. Why? Because, with Lincoln, I sense Spielberg is moving into a new phase of his career. Is this enough for me to award him as being the best director of the year? No. But this phase, judging from this film, will be a wonderful one, an absolutely great one. Spielberg garners great performances from his actors, but so does Zeitlin! Yes, but I think Wallis is more responsible for her performance than Zeitlin. I think Spielberg is very much responsible for not only Day Lewis’ performance, but the entire ensemble’s performance. Spielberg has so much to deal with: keeping John Williams’ score hearty and exciting, but reserved, keeping the editing in sync with the film’s long, slowly drawn out pace, not allowing for Janusz Kaminski to get too fancy with the camera work, and of course getting the most emotional, dramatic, yet real performances out of the talented cast. And he pulls it off. Every nitty-gritty trick, it’s all there.

With that, I hope you’ve enjoyed my year end-wrap up extravaganza. It was probably the hardest post to write out of any that I have written. It’s also just about the longest (or pretty close) post I ever wrote. But, I think it was worth it. Was it? (Comment below! COMMENT BELOW!!!!!) Until the next post…”That’s all folks!” (Trust me, that’s really all there is left to say.)

Lincoln Trailer Premieres Tommorow

Posted on | September 12, 2012 | 4 Comments

LincolnOn Thursday September 13th go to Google Plus to view a live chat with Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levvitt as they talk about their new film Lincoln at 7:00pm, based on the book Team of Rivals. You will also be able to see the premiere of the trailer. I’m not sure if it will be archived so don’t forget to watch it live. Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Fields, and Tommy Lee Jones in other roles. It will be released in limited release November 9th and wide release on November 16th.

Flick and Flack’s 200th Post: A Celebration (Flick and Flack’s Celebration)

Posted on | September 1, 2012 | 2 Comments

Flick and Flack themselvesIt’s hard to believe, but it’s true. The 200th post has finally, arrived. It’s here. It’s huge. It’s stunning, and it’s ready to knock your socks off. (Cue Flick Flack theme song, whatever it is.) This September marks our third year of posting, but we thought we would celebrate our 200th post, after all it is something to celebrate. (That’s not to say we aren’t celebrating three years with all this, it’s just that 200 is worthy of a fiesta too.) So here it is: our fiesta, party, birthday, holiday (take a day off if you like), celebration, or whatever else you want to call it. This post is filled with surprises; unlike most posts where we devote our first paragraph to a preview of the post, here we’re not saying anything (at least not in this first paragraph). But if you would like the secrets of the world to be spilled, there is one thing you may do. Scroll down the page and take a listen to the eight celebratory podcasts Flick and Flack have recorded specially, exclusively, and exhaustively  just for you. Note: While listening to them all straight through is much longer than most movie’s running time, but trust us, it’s worth it. Just as writing our other 199 posts have been.

Daniel Kamil

Click on photo to hear podcast.

To kick it all off Flick and Flack discuss it all. This first part also includes an audio clip of Flick’s interview with Daniel Kamil and a discussion of The Avengers and a reading of Flick’s review of the film. Note: Our discussion about the best films of the year is not up to date, as we recorded this awhile ago. However it still provides interesting critiques.

Skyfall

Click on photo to hear podcast.

In the second part of the exciting saga Flick and Flack discuss The Avengers even more and they give you a rousing preview filled with opinions about this Fall’s movie lineup including James Bond’s latest, Skyfall.

Warner Brothers Studios New Logo

Click on photo to hear podcast.

This third part includes a talk on why film studios matter… and just maybe, why they don’t. One of the studios talked about is Warner Bros.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Click on photo to hear podcast.

Whew. We’re halfway done. So in the center of the stage (the fourth part), we respond to questions asked by readers.

Super 8

Click on photo to hear podcast.

For our fifth part we discuss some of our reader’s favorite films, including Super 8.

Pirates Of The Caribean: Dead Man's Chest

Click on photo to hear podcast.

As we venture into our second phase of the website we thought it might be a good idea to talk about the second phases of franchises. In other words Flick and Flack return in the sixth part to discuss their favorite movie sequels.

The Empire Strikes Back

Click on photo to hear podcast.

In part VII we continue talking, discussing, and arguing over our favorite movie sequels.

Citizen Kane

Click on photo to hear podcast.

It’s bittersweet. It’s all ended. We come to a close with the finale: our eighth part of this series where we finally discuss our all time favorite films.

And that’s all folks! Cheers to another 200 posts…… and beyond!

Flick and Flack: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Posted on | April 26, 2012 | Add Comments

While at TIFF Kids, on April 18, 2012 Flick and Flack attended a preview screening of Aardman Animation’s new film, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. After the film, an approximately thirty minute Q&A with Peter Lord (director of Pirates!) followed. We asked him questions, got our picture taken with him (see below), and saw the real claymation puppets of the Pirate Captain played by Hugh Grant, and the dodo.
The next day we both went to the hour long Master Class with Lord. We were honored to be there and we both enjoyed hearing Lord discuss four of Aardman’s films (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit Arthur Christmas, and Pirates!) and a short from 1992 titled Adam (also  from Aardman). A cool fact we learned? Steven Spielberg (head of Dreamworks, the studio that produced Chicken Run) approved Chicken Run because Spielberg has chickens, Aardman pitched it as “The Great Escape with chickens”, and The Great Escape is his favorite movie.
Next up for Aardamn is Pirates! 2, some secretive projects, and possibly another Wallace and Gromit movie. Hopefully The Pirates! is a box office hit (it deserves to make more money than Alvin and The Chipmunks). Here are both of our reviews of the film. The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens this Friday, April 27th.

Flack reviews The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Flick reviews The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Photos Courtesy of TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival.

84th Annual Academy Awards 2012 Predictions Part 2

Posted on | February 23, 2012 | 1 Comment

Flick and Flack talk about their 2012 Oscar Predictions in Part 2 of a 3 part video series. In this video, Flick and Flack discuss the acting, directing and screenplay categories and give their predictions in all of those categories for this year’s Academy Awards.

Part 2 (37 minutes, 56 seconds)

84th Oscars Predictions (Flack’s Predictions)

Posted on | January 22, 2012 | 2 Comments

84th Oscars (for movies that were released in 2011)

This year there will be 5 to 10 films nominated for Best Picture.  A film must get 5% of the number 1 votes to qualify. Click here to  read the rules announcement. This makes it more confusing to predict the nominees, but join Flack as he predicts the possibilities.

Since the nominations have not been announced yet, I’ll focus on the Best Picture predictions.  I have not seen all the films I’ll be talking about, but based on predictions from such resources as Entertainment Weekly, Empire Magazine, the New York Times, my own movie knowledge, and help from other people, I will do my best.

So far I think there are 3 obvious front runners: The Descendants, War Horse, and The Artist.  I cannot see the Descendants, but I did see War Horse and The Artist.  War Horse is one of my favorite films of the year, but The Artist is pretty good too. Hugo and The Help also have good chances. Predicting the next batch of films is a bit trickier.  The way you can tell which are the 5 front runners are for Best Picture when there are more than 5 movies nominated is by comparing them with the movies also nominated for Best Director. This a bit hard obviously because we don’t know which movies will be nominated for Best Direcor so I guess I’ll just have to get those as well.  I’m guessing the nominees for Best Director will be Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Steven Spielberg (War Horse), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo), and Tate Taylor (The Help).  If there are any more than 5 nominated for Best Picture, I’m guessing they will be The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball. If there are 10, the last 2 would probably be blockbusters, like Harry Potter or dramas that got mixed reviews, like The Ides of March.

The Golden Globes can sometimes make predicting the nominees a little easier but only one movie (Slumdog Millionare) in the last seven years has been both the Best Picture winner for the Globes and the Oscars. Also for the Globes there is Best Drama and Best Comedy or Musical instead of one Best Picture like the Oscars. This year it didn’t help much either but  as many had predicted The Descendants won Best Drama and The Artist won Best Comedy or Musical. Although War Horse hasn’t fared so well in the awards season I am guessing that the Academy will find it hard to ignore the movie’s emotional epicness and Spielbergian story.

The Help is likely to have Viola Davis win Best Actress and Octvaia Spencer win Best Supporting Actress. Meryl Streep, however could beat Davis and for Best Actor George Clooney for The Descendants is likely to beat Brad Pitt for Moneyball and  Jean Dujardin for The Artist. I think that War Horse will also win for Best Cinematography, Musical Score, Adapted Screenplay, and Director as well as Picture. It will probably not win or even be nominated for any of it’s actors but in the past Titanic and The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King (2 of the 3 movies to win 11 Oscars, which is more than any other) didn’t win in any of the acting categories. The 3rd movie was Ben-Hur, which won Best Actor for Charlton Heston and Best Supporting Actor for Hugh Griffith.

I am expecting War Horse to win but things might change. Almost 8 months ago I thought War Horse and The Tree of Life would be the two frontrunners and then in September I thought it would be War Horse against J. Edgar. See, things change. But will The Descendants, with it’s acclaimed script and applauded acting beat War Horse. Or could it be The Artist with it’s unique premise and magical music?

I think Billy Crystal will be a good host because he’s good in Monster’s Inc (Mike) and The Princess Bride (Miracle Max).  Many people thought last year’s show with Anne Hathaway and James Franco was horrible but I thought they were just  okay. I hope that this year the show can mix funny jokes, silly spoofs, celebrity cameos, great guests, and terrific hosting to excellent effect. If they can they will have succeeded at creating an enjoyable show.

Now I will list 8 movies. I’ve seen all of them except The Descendants and I have put them in order from most likely to win to least likely to win.

And the nominees will probably be…

Here are the top 5 no doubt about it nominees:

1. War Horse: Chance: I think this is the frontrunner. Why: The Academy loves epics and this is just that. Steven Spielberg is likely to win his third Best director award and second Best Picture award for this war adventure film. Other Possible Nominations: Best Director  (Steven Spielberg), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Costumes, Editing, Art Direction, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 7

2. The Artist: Chance: I think is tied with The Descendants as the second most likely film to win. Why: Fantastic, fun, greatly acted, superbly directed, and sad. This movie is very entertaining and a good bet. Other Possible Nominations:Best Director (Micheal Hazanvicius), Actor (Jean Dujardin), Supporting Actress (Berenice Bejo),Original Screenplay, Original Score, Costumes, Editing, Art Direction, Editing, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 10

3. The Descendants: Chance: I think this is tied with The Artist as the  second most likely film to win. Why: This George Clooney movie has been favored by many critics. The Academy usually prefers epic dramas rather than independent ones like this but the movie has gotten great reviews so I think it’s still a strong contender. Other Possible Nominations: Best Director (Alexander Payne), Actor (George Clooney), Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley), Cinematogaphy, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 5

4. The Help: Chance: I think this movie probably won’t win but will definitely be nominated. Why: With a great cast and an inspiring story, the movie is a definite nomination. In terms of winning however  it’s chances are rather slim. Other Possible Nominations: Best Director (Tate Taylor), Actress (Viola Davis), Supporting Actress(Octavia Spencer), Supporting Actress (Jessica Chaistan), Original Score, Original Song, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 7

5. Hugo: Chance: I think this movie will be nominated but not win. Why: Superbly directed and terrifically acted, the film has a good chance. Even though I highly doubt it will win it has gotten stronger buzz after Martin Scorsese won Best Director at the Golden Globes. Other Possible Nominations: Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Visual Effects, Original Score, Costume Design, Cinematography, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 6

I’m guessing this year there will be 3 more extra nominees:6. Midnight in Paris: Chance: I think this movie will be nominated but not win. Why: Woody Allen’s “comeback” film has gotten strong reviews. I disagree with many others that is a frontrunner and I’m betting Tate Taylor (for The Help) will beat Allen for a  Best Director nomination. But with a smart script and creative cast this movie will definitely get nominated. Other possible nominations: Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, and possible a few others.
Possible Total:3

7. The Tree of Life: Chance: I think this movie will be nominated but not win.  Why: The winner of the Cannes Palm D’Or Award, the film has slightly lost it’s momentum from a definite front runner to being a possible possibility. Still Terence Malick could be a possible Best Director nominee and the Visual Effects could get a nod.  Other possible nominations: Best Visual Effects and possibly a few others.  Possible Total: 2

8. Moneyball: Chance: I think this film will be nominated but not win. Why:  Brad Pitt will be no doubt about it be nominated for Best Actor.  And the director Bennett Miller could be a surprise nominee. The script and Jonah Hill are also likely. Other possible nominations: Best Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Best Adapted Screenplay, and possibly a few others.
Possible Total: 4

I doubt there will be any other nominees for Best Picture, so I’m not going to list any more. If there are though I’m guessing they would probably be one of the following:  Bridesmaids, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Ides of March, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The final verdict:  So far the race has been narrowed down to 3 top movies, although Hugo and The Help are good options too.  The top 3 are in my order: War Horse, The Artist, and The Descendants.

I’ll be back to talk about the nominees (possibly with Flick), after they are announced on Tuesday by Melissa Leo and Colin Firth. In the meantime go buy the amazing  book, The Academy Awards®: The Complete Unofficial History — Revised and Up-to-date. It tells you all the winners from 1927 to 2010. Also I cannot wait to watch Wings, the first movie ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars. You can get it on Netflix. The book Oscar Fever is also good but it is different than the other one because it is more of behind the scenes history of the Oscars. I can’t wait until February 26 (the show) but January 24 comes first (nominations announcement.) If you’re impatient go to the website to watch the show’s hilarious trailer and don’t forget to catch up on watching all the actual movies.

The Holidays of Spielberg

Posted on | December 24, 2011 | Add Comments

Over the years he’s proved his worth and now he’s come back to prove it to us more. Steven Spielberg has currently directed over twenty feature films. He already has two more planned for the next two years (Lincoln, an Abraham Lincoln biopic staring Daniel Day Lewis as the big man himself being released 2012, and Robocalypse, a sci-fi epic based on the novel entitled the same being released 2013). If one word could describe the man it would be unpredictable; he’s directed films ranging from war epics to action manifestos. This month he gives us both.

Let’s start with the action film. Based on on Herge’s French comic book series, The Adventures of Tintin could have been titled Indiana Jones in 3-D, digitally animated and based on a book from another country. Tintin, an intrepid reporter is on the case of a mystery. Red Rackham, a long dead pirate’s ship’s model is found by Tintin in a market. But Tintin is not the only one is interested in the model. The game is afoot. Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, and Andy Serkis will be playing motion capture characters. In case you haven’t heard of motion capture here is a quick definition: it’s a way of making CG animation look more real. The actors wear suits with little balls that look like golf balls. The animators animate the characters before hand so that they are ready. Special computers read the suits and the characters on the computers move the same way the actors do. When on screen the characters move more realistically. I’ve read a few of the books including the three the film is based on which are The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackhams Treasure. Although Spielberg has never directed a fully CG film it’s no surprise that the animation looks great because Peter Jackson who directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong is producing and Andy Serkis, the master of Mocap acting is playing Captain Haddock.  Serkis has collaborated with Jackson many times before including on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. And then there’s the 3-D. I will definitely be seeing the film in this format. Before you continue reading watch the official Tintin trailer.

Originally I was going to break down the two trailers but that would take the fun out of having your own opinion. My breakdown of the trailer could become persuasive and after all this a news article not persuasive text. The action in the trailer is so intense that you literally forget where you are and are instantly sucked into Tinin’s world. John William’s score sounds like Raiders of the Lost Ark’s and I mean this as a good thing. The score is very orchestral and rhythmic. The last fifteen seconds of the trailer are the most jaw dropping because of the quick editing. There is not much shown here but action however I am expecting quirky characters because the book is full of them.

The war epic, War Horse is certainly epic. According to the news Spielberg has chosen to replace gritty war violence with subtle yet disturbing takes on war. I guess you could say it’s not exactly original: based on the book, which became a Broadway play, but that doesn’t mean Spielberg can’t strike gold. In fact I predict it will be nominated for the Oscar nomination of all Oscar nominations: Best Picture.  The book is sad, horrifying and brilliant all at the same time. The play also fits those descriptions. However the best part about the play is the way Joey, the war horse is presented: when he is young , he is made out of fabric and other material and when he is older he is made out of the same materials and is large, actors stood inside it at all times. The plot is simple, yet complex. Albert, a farm boy, lives with his to the point mother (in the play) and drunken father.  Not long after they get Joey “the horse”, he is sent off to the war, becoming a war horse.  Joey goes from owner to owner. By the end he has seen everything. Before you continue reading watch the official War Horse trailer.The opening shots of the trailer hint at very sad,somber themes. John William’s score is melancholy, yet by listening to samples of other songs from the film on iTunes there are definitely lighter tunes probably played during scenes with Albert riding Joey. The war scenes showed are very realistic yet as I said before there is no gore. Another notable key feature is the cinematography which is aided by the lighting. Take the last shot for example: Joey looks out onto the sunset. The sky is bright orange and the camera is still. The camera doesn’t do much here but the lighting is extraordinary. If you want mouth watering cinematography look at Joey jumping onto a tank and then jumping onto the muddy ground. If the cinematography wasn’t filmed in this way the shot could easily have become a waste of film.

Now that you’ve read the news go see the movies. Tintin was released on the 21st and War Horse is coming out tomorrow. You can also look forward to my reviews of at least one of these films. Happy Holidays!

2011 Providence Children’s Film Festival :Day 5

Posted on | February 22, 2011 | Add Comments

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