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Flack’s 2015 Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture Question Marks and Actor Locks

Posted on | January 8, 2015 | 1 Comment

Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke in BoyhoodAs soon as the bloggers and journalists of awards-season finished analyzing (and retweeting) the 2014 Oscar broadcast, they began speculating about next year’s potential nominees (Jersey BoysBig Eyes?). A lot has changed since then, with the aforementioned films falling short of expectations and some smaller films stealthily sneaking to the front of the pack. There’s been an excess of who-cares mini-controversies (op-eds bemoaning historical inaccuracies, category-placement confusions, straight-up obnoxious Twitter outbursts), while journalists squeeze out every headline they can. Film writers have called this year’s crop of contenders smaller than usual, but they’re far from correct. Sure, some categories are easy to call, but the Best Picture race still leaves plenty of opportunities for snubs and shocks. Unlike profesional Oscar pundits, I haven’t seen every film, overheard industry whispering, or attended any cast-and-crew luncheons. But after much copying-and-pasting, fact-checking, and second-guessing, I’ve come up with my predictions for the major categories, with the nominees ranked in order of likeliness.

Best Picture

A Note: During the past three years, the Academy has allowed five to ten films to be nominated, and nine has been the magic number each time. Deciding how many films will snag noms this time is sheer speculation, so I’ve listed ten.

1. Boyhood

2. Birdman

3. Selma

4. The Imitation Game

5. Whiplash

6. The Theory of Everything

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

8. Gone Girl

9. Foxcatcher

10. Unbroken

Analysis:

Drawing on the consensus of critics, box-office data, other Oscar experts’ picks, nominations from other awards-groups with overlapping voter-bodies, and my own forecasting, these are the ten films that have the best shot at a nom. Looking closely, my picks can be divided into debatably hyper-specific groups. At the front of the race are three films: coming-of-age journey Boyhood, showy show-business dramedy Birdman, and M.L.K. drama Selma. There’s no chance those films won’t get nominated. To a lesser extent, the same can be said about a duo of beloved indies (Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel) and two period biopics (The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything). It’s the last three remaining spots spots that get tricky. Gone Girl (a populist pick voters can feel good about) and Foxcatcher, two relatively divisive early-fall psychological thrillers, should get in there.

Unbroken and American Sniper, two true-stories of war bravery released on Christmas, will be duking it out for the tenth spot. Many critics have been calling Bradley Cooper’s lead performance the best thing about Sniper, but it’s difficult to imagine him getting nominated in that busy field. That, coupled with liberal voters wary of director Clint “Empty Chair” Eastwood, will weaken the film’s chances. That gives the edge to Unbroken, which despite negative reviews, can be called two of the Academy’s favorite adjectives: “tough-to-watch” and “crowd-pleasing”. If one of those two doesn’t make it, an under-the-radar arthouse pic (Nightcrawler or Mr. Turner) or a Hollywood epic (Interstellar or Into The Woods) could sneak in. But don’t count on it. I’ll stand by my ten picks.

Best Director:

1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

2. Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman)

3. Ava DuVernay (Selma)

4. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

5. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Michael Keaton in BirdmanBest Actor:

1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)

2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

4. David Oyelowo (Selma)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Best Actress:

1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

2. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

3. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

4. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)

5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

Best Supporting Actor:

1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

2. Edward Norton (Birdman)

3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

5. Miyavi (Unbroken)

Best Supporting Actress:

1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

2. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

3. Emma Stone (Birdman)

4. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

5. Jessica Chaistain (A Most Violent Year)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1. The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)

2. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

3. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

4. The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)

5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Best Original Screenplay:

1. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

2. Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo)

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness)

4. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

5. Selma (Paul Webb)

Emmett and friends in The LEGO MovieBest Animated Feature:

1. The LEGO Movie

2. Big Hero 6

3. How To Train Your Dragon 2

4. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

5. Song of the Sea 

Best Foreign Language Film:

1. Ida (Poland)

2. Leviathan (Russia)

3. Force Majure (Sweeden)

4. Wild Tales (Argentina)

5. Tangerines (Georgia)

Best Documentary Feature:

1. Citizenfour

2. Life Itself

3. Keep On Keeping’ On

4. The Overnighters

5. Last Days in Vietnam

And those are my choices for eleven of the twenty-four Oscar categories. Tune in on January 15 for the announcement. One week to go…

Robin Williams: Teacher, Alien, Nanny, Legend

Posted on | August 13, 2014 | 3 Comments

John Keating (Robin Williams) inspires and surprises his students in Good Will Hunting (1989)After hearing the tragic news of Robin Williams’ death at age 63, I wanted to watch one of his films. My pick was Peter Weir’s high school tear-jerker Dead Poets Society (1989), about a group of boarding-school boys inspired by their unconventional English teacher (played by Williams). The film, though sometimes cliched and sentimental, is inspiring, witty, and thoughtful, not unlike William’s character. In the last stretch of the film, director Weir truly transcends the feel-good genre and creates something deeply poignant, heartbreaking, almost lyrical.

Despite a shortage of screen time, Williams steals all of his scenes as the quirky, Walt Whitman-quoting, John Wayne-imitating hero who influences his students. Clearly a skilled actor, Williams makes every moment count in an inspirational, drily funny performance. Reaffirming how unforgettable the role is, Apple featured his “What will your verse be speech?” in a memorable iPad ad, last fall.

Alien Mork (Robin Williams) and human Mindy (Pam Dawber) in Mork and MindyOf course, this was only one terrific performance in a career full of them. A star was born when audiences saw his bizarrely hilarious breakout performance in ABC’s alien-out-of-water sitcom Mork and Mindy. After four years, the show was canceled and Williams moved onto film roles, like The World According to Garp (1982) and Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), which garnered him his first Oscar nomination. He continued his string of drama-comedies with two more Oscar noms: for Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King (1991). He eventually won, for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting (1997).

Though his most revered roles were his dramatic ones, Williams (originally a stand-up comic) could always make an audience laugh. His high-pitched voice, zany facial expressions, and rapid comic timing made him a distinct comedian with a unique brand of big-screen humor.  Who could forget his performance as divorced-dad turned cross-dressing nanny in the hilarious Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)? Or his voice role as the pop-culture referencing Genie in Disney’s Aladdin (1992)?

Mrs. Doubtfire is not your normal nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)No one will forget those performances, or Robin Williams himself. We’ve lost a legend but we still have his body of work to make us laugh, bring tears, and remind us a true great’s talents. Nanu, nanu.

Celebrate the Life of Peter O’ Toole by Watching Lawrence of Arabia

Posted on | December 16, 2013 | 1 Comment

Peter O'Toole: Acting LegendLast Saturday, Peter O’ Toole passed away at the age of 81. Holding the record for most Oscar nominations with out a win, the acting legend’s wide-ranging career spanned historical period pieces (The Lion in Winter, The Last Emperor), notorious flops (Caligula, Man of La Mancha), and even an animated comedy (Ratatouille). His most famous work, however, was Lawrence of Arabia (1962), David Lean’s sweeping desert adventure. The movie is a biopic of T. E. Lawrence, a British officer serving in the Middle East during World War I. The film is thrilling, beautiful, and captivating, and easily one of my favorites. So next time you’re thinking of renting a movie (and have 216 minutes to spare), watch Lawrence of Arabia.

Peter O' Toole and Omar Shariff in Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)Note: Often cited as one of the best examples of why the big-screen is the way to see movies, I got a chance to see Lawrence of Arabia at the theater during a 50th anniversary re-release at the theater. You can read my full review here.

Flick and Flack on NBC…AGAIN!!!!!!

Posted on | February 11, 2013 | Add Comments

That’s right! Flick and Flack were interviewed by Mario Hilario for the second time! They discuss this year’s PCFF. It’s a brief, but fun interview. Below you can watch it.

Get Ready For Flick and Flack’s Favorite Movies of the Year!

Posted on | December 30, 2012 | 3 Comments

Tony Mendez in a crowd in Argo (2012)Will it be Argo or Lincoln? John Carter or The Lorax? Prepare for the answer…The answer to the question: What is the best movie of the year!!!???

John Carter himself in a scene from John Carter (2012)Flick and Flack will both post their own lists. Flick will be ranking his 10 favorites and describing the Worst Film of the year, while Flack ranks all the movies he saw on the big screen in 2012. So while you’re waiting, try to guess… What will Flick and Flack (each) pick as their favorite movie of 2012!!!!???? You can guess what the top honors will go to in the comments below. You can comment and tell us your favorites on the upcoming posts from Flick and Flack.

A Lavish, Sci-fi IMAX Exclusive (Flick’s IMAX Exclusive Review)

Posted on | December 25, 2012 | 1 Comment

If you attended an IMAX or IMAX 3-D showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, then, unless they lost the film reel, you probably saw the first nine minutes of next summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness. You can watch all of the International Announcement trailers (the Japanese subtitled one has an extra fifteen seconds) and last week’s new teaser that is, minus the voiceover at the beginning and a bit of new material, virtually the same thing, here. In the following paragraphs, I’ll describe the nine minute exclusive and share my thoughts on it.Star Trek Into DarknessThe IMAX exclusive begins with an African-American couple whose daughter is in the hospital. The start is rather abrupt with an alarm going off and the entire shebang is very teasery, so I suspect that this might not be the first nine minutes, just a nine minutes towards the beginning. But whenever the sequence takes place, it’s miraculously good. No, not good. It’s great. Abrams uses the opening scene to introduce the villain: Benedict Cumberbatch’s…er, villain. The exact antagonist that Cumberbatch will play has not been revealed but rumors that he might be Khan have spread at light-speed. (Is that Star Wars or Star Trek?) Anyway, Cumberbatch is only in the trailer for less than a minute, but at least we get a glimpse of him.

The remainder of the trailer is the Enterprise crew’s journey to save a species that will die if not saved, because of an erupting volcano. Abrams and his technical crew are all very skilled at the technology and I got a feeling watching this trailer. I witnessed visual effects that felt new. They didn’t feel like something I had seen in hundreds of other films. No, this felt new and unique, especially the 3-D. I prefer 3-D not in my face at every moment, but instead merely popping out at key moments which is much more powerful. The latter is exactly what Abrams does here, and it works perfectly. There are two moments in particular that use the 3-D wonderfully. The first is when Kirk and fellow crew member, Bones, are being chased by an alien species on an island. The aliens fire arrows which land square in your face. The second moment is when Kirk and Bones escape from the aliens by jumping off the edge of the island (more like a mountain), which just so happens to be a five-hundred foot drop.

Moments like these are moments that are truly magical on the silver screen and most especially on the massive IMAX screen. Anybody who is think of seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in IMAX 3-D should definitely do so, and not just to see the film. This exclusive trailer is worth the extra few dollars. You don’t only get a glimpse of what could be a potential summer blockbuster. You also get a glimpse into the future of visual effects…

PCFF Showing Outside Shorts This Thursday

Posted on | December 5, 2012 | Add Comments

Providence Children's Film Festival (PCFF) logoLooking for some great outdoor film fun? Well then jump like a piece of popcorn being popped over to Hope Street and more specifically, Seven Stars Bakery this Thursday!!! Some shorts will be shown outside of the much loved bakery by the PCFF (aka the amazing Providence Children’s Film Festival). While you’re there don’t forget to go into Seven Stars for a movie treat (foccacia bread is my favorite!). Most of the shops on Hope Street will also be open later than usual from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. The details are listed below.

December 6, 4:00-8:00pm

Outdoor Film Event at Hope Street Holiday Stroll
COST: Free
AGES: All ages
VENUE:
Outside at Seven Stars Bakery, 820 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906

Holiday stroll 4-8pm; Film shown 5:30pm-7:30pm.

Last but not least get ready for the 4th annual PCFF coming February 14th-19th, 2013! Many fantastic local and foreign movies are coming your way!!!

 

Flack’s Movie News

Posted on | October 6, 2012 | Add Comments

Here is some movie news:
The Jazz Singer (1927)

It has been exactly 85 years since the first talkie premiered 85 years ago today when the romantic musical drama The Jazz Singer, starring Al Johnson, debuted at Warner Bros. Flagship Theater in New York City. I have not seen the film but would someday like too. It was remade twice, in 1953 (with Danny Thomas) and 1980 (with Neil Diamond).

Frankenweenie

Wondering if there are any great family movies to see over the long weekend? Frankenweenie, the new Tim Burton stop motion animated horror comedy, seems like a great choice. It’s a black and white IMAX 3-D homage to old horror movies such as Frankenstein (1931). Here’s the IMDB plot summary: Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences. Sounds like Burton at his Burtony best. To prepare for the film you could watch some of the classic Universal horror movies or Tim Burton’s original Frankenweenie short from 1984.

Also many movie trailers have been released recently such as The Lone Ranger and The Croods. There have also been new trailers for Lincoln and Wreck-It Ralph. All of these films look interesting. The Croods seems that it would be so-so, Lincoln will probably become a classic, Wreck-It Ralph seems fun, and The Lone Ranger could have potential. Lincoln will almost undoubtedly be the best but the others seem entertaining and a great time at the movies.

Expect more movie news from Flack coming up soon, including some special early Oscar predictions.

Happy Birthday Bond……James Bond

Posted on | October 5, 2012 | Add Comments

Today celebrates 50 years of James Bond (or Global James Bond Day). On October 5th, 1962 Dr. No first premiered at the London Pavilion and was shone to an audience for the first time. The film (and some of the other movies in the series that followed) was based on the 13 books in the series by Ian Fleming. Three days later it opened in the rest of the UK and on May 8th it opened in the US. Last Friday the box set of Blu-Ray sets that we ordered came. The set includes all the James Bond movies in Blu-Ray format and over 120 hours of bonus material. If you love James Bond and have a Blu-Ray player you’ll want Bond 50. We’d never seen a single Bond film until last weekend when we watched the first two, Dr. No and From Russia With Love, both fun, solid movies with Sean Connery as the most classic, most loved version of the character. So how will you celebrate half a century of the most ongoing franchise ever?????!!!!! Will it be watching Goldfinger for the first time (or perhaps tenth time in your case) as we might. Maybe you’ll take a Bond quiz to see how much you really know. You could visit the James Bond website. Or will it be watching Dr. No, Casiano Royale, GoldenEye, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License To Kill, Moonraker or any of the James Bond movies. You could dress up as the character or listen to the extremely catchy music (the theme, Goldfinger, or any of the others). You could watch all the trailers of Skyfall. Perhaps head over to NPR’s site to listen up on their Bond celebration. Or, least costly yet very appropriate, you could say Bond… James Bond (or you own name) and then blare the theme music! One last thing: You can also look forward to a truckload, yes truckload of posting about Bond, from reviews to previews, and more.

Here (in chronological order) are the six James Bonds. Can you guess who’s who? Also in the comments, tell us your favorite Bond and your thoughts on 50 years of the spy.

Sean Connery as Bond

George Lazenby as BondRoger Moore as BondTimothy Dalton as BondPierce Brosnan as BondDaniel Craig as Bond

3 Years of Flick and Flack

Posted on | September 28, 2012 | 3 Comments

You’re right. This comes nowhere close to rivaling our 200th post bonanza, but that’s not the point. The point is to quickly say that this day celebrates three years (yes you read right) since the day we first hit the publish button on post #1. September 28th, 2012. We are just a bit excited. So to celebrate we are doing two things: the first is an announcement of a new series of posts, and the second is a bunch of photo booth style pictures featuring us with many film related books, cameras, and more. So what’s the announcement? Flick and Flack will be writing posts about Blu-Ray: the picture, the sound, the special features, the books that come along with it… Flick and Flack will have it covered. Why didn’t we start earlier? We just received a Blu-Ray player as a birthday present. We also ordered three of the best Blu sets out there, all three of which we cracked open this afternoon. We won’t be spilling the beans here, though. Oh, no. We will tell you what these sets are in the first entry of the diaries. Anyway, we haven’t watched anything on these sets.. not until this afternoon, that is. So look forward to a heck of a lot of more posting in the future… But for now bask in the glory with us.

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