Tag Archives: Oscars

A Quick Update

So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I was already strongly considering dropping the “daily” feature of the blog due to life getting in the way and the blog taking up a decent chunk of time… It should be pretty obvious at this point that I’m not really doing this as a daily blog anymore.

Still, I do want to write more often than I have been. There are still many things to talk about. Movies, plays and restaurants to review, politics to discuss, subjects to ponder about… all sorts of things. And I plan to do so, just in a slightly irregular fashion.

To update about life, though: I finished the most recent version of my play “Camp Gethsemane” and have started in on three other plays now. After a few more people read this version of CG, I’ll go back to spruce it up again and then I may be at the place I need to be for a production.

I was also cast as the lead role in a TV pilot from the UA TCF department, which has designs to be shown at a festival in New York City. The show is called “Toss-Up,” and you can help out by donating some money to the IndieGoGo we have set up here. It’s a comedy about a high school history teacher/tennis coach basically forced by his boss into being the Quizbowl coach, despite knowing nothing about it. It doesn’t help that their team is pretty crappy. You can watch the brief teaser-trailer here to get a very tiny taste of the show.

I’m also no longer single… We’ll see how long she tolerates me. And I spent about a week and change being super deathly ill, like to the point where I couldn’t even eat or drink for a couple days without severe pain. It sucked and I still don’t know what I had, though I’ve got a good idea.

Also, for those curious, I got a record 50 percent of my Oscar guesses right, though I would’ve had more if I’d actually slowed down and paid attention to what some of the technicals are and what they mean. All I can say is that “Life of Pi” ruined me a bit.

Anyway, I do have an old review of “Othello” to put up, as well as a review of “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” which wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it might be, though I still found it lacking in certain areas. I’ll have a full review up sometime this week, I’m sure.

For now, my apologies on my lengthy silence. You’ll hear a bit from me from time to time. Just keep a lookout.

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Big Screen Ballyhoo – “Amour”

Have you ever noticed that foreign films really seem quite foreign? Not just because of the language or whatnot… they just feel different than American/Western films.

“Amour” is certainly no exception. Directed by Michael Haneke, with Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actress and Best Foreign Film (Austria), “Amour” definitely stands out when compared to its fellow Best Picture nominees.

The movie is a rather simple concept: An elderly couple, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), live together in their apartment in Paris. They are retired music teachers with a daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert) who lives abroad in the UK, I believe. The movie is mostly a slice of life style film, focused entirely on the lives of Anne and Georges inside their apartment.

One day, Anne spaces out for a period of several seconds, if not minutes, prompting a visit to the doctor. While she abhors visits to the doctor, it’s discovered that Anne has had a stroke. The surgery to remove the clot goes wrong, leaving Anne partially paralyzed. Anne despairs, not wanting to live in this condition, while Georges despairs that she’s telling the truth. Anne’s condition worsens after a second stroke, limiting her to near paralysis and extremely simple speech, such as repeating the word “Hurt” over and over.

I’m personally surprised that only Riva received a Best Acting Oscar nomination, although the Best Actor category was quite contentious. Still, Tringtignant did a rather fantastic job acting opposite of his wife, a man struggling with the same decision everyone that sees a despairing and invalid loved one struggles with: Be selfish and keep them around or end their suffering?

Still, the movie is distinctly foreign in feel. Confined to one location, there is very little musical backing to speak of anywhere in the film, forcing the acting to be the focus of attention. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there are moments where I felt the movie dragged on a bit, perhaps.

It is, though, a pretty compelling story with some fantastic acting in it. The movie is in French, though, meaning subtitles are required for the majority of Americans, something I know many people dislike. Still, I’d say give it a chance… but it’s certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I’d definitely say this is one of the more artistic films of the year as opposed to a crowd pleaser.

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Big Screen Ballyhoo – Oscar Nomination Reactions

So, if you were perhaps unaware, the Oscar nominations for 2013 came out. And, as they do nearly every year, they’re causing just a bit of controversy.

This year, 53 films have been nominated (By my count. I could be wrong. Counted 54 the first time.). Still, even with 53 nominated movies, with several getting a huge handful of nominations (“Life of Pi” got 11, which ties it with the most nominations a movie has ever won.), there are people that feel there were snubs and missing nominations. And I’m a bit inclined to agree.

First off, for Best Picture. This has been a pretty good year for movies. There are only two movies I’ve seen this year that I didn’t like, and I’ve seen more movies this year than most. Even though I’ve only seen 13 Oscar nominated films this year, but I’ll get to that in a bit. The way the Best Picture category now works is that it allows for any number between five and 10 nominations. They changed it from five to 10 some years ago to widen the field and potentially make it more exciting for the viewers at home. Then they made it variable when they couldn’t produce 10 Best Picture material movies. This year, I really think there were 10 possibilities. Such as, while I haven’t yet seen it, “Moonrise Kingdom.” Or, out of what I have seen, “Skyfall” or “Cloud Atlas.” The last of which I will bring up again in a second.

Then you have Best Director. What the what happened here? The two most talked about sure-fire “will definitely be nominated” directors were Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty” and Ben Affleck for “Argo.” Yet neither got a nomination. And neither did Tom Hooper for “Les Miserables.” Hooper and Bigelow’s absences mean the two defending champions, both having won the Oscar for Best Director (and Best Picture) for the last film they made, are out of the race. It also means that Bigelow’s movie “Zero Dark Thirty” is no longer the top contender for Best Picture, as the Academy rarely splits director and picture for the Oscars. And poor Affleck… at least his movie got nominated a few times, including for Best Picture. His last movie got ousted by a massive roster of good films. Still, I think he really deserved the Best Director nod. Yes, you can’t get all the Best Picture directors a nomination, but their absences were very shocking.

And now, to chat about “Cloud Atlas.” As you may recall, I enjoyed “Cloud Atlas” a decent bit. I even said it’s practically a shoe-in for the Oscars.

And it was shut out entirely.

No nominations for Make-Up, Costumes, Visual Effects… nothing. It’s freakin’ crazy, in my mind. It makes NO sense. First, why is it that Make-Up only gets three nominations when there are clearly other deserving films? Second, not a single nomination? “Flight” gets a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, despite being one of the WORST screenplays I’ve seen this year, yet “Cloud Atlas” doesn’t even get mentioned? It’s an absolute travesty in my mind. Just a shame.

Anyway, there are other people who have some other complaints about the Oscar nominations, if you’re curious. Me, I’m just going to buckle down and try to watch as many of these things as I can. Even if I exclude Documentaries, Short Films and Foreign Films (except for “Amour,” a Best Picture contender), I’ve got 17 movies left to watch by February. Better get cracking.

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