Monday, 29 October 2012

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Oscars 2012 - Part II - Best Director

Best Director is naturally one of the biggest categories and a personal favorite because that's what differs a good movie from a great movie. A genius director can use a fantastic story and make a fantastic film. 

But it's hard to win, Hitchcock never won, neither did Kurosawa, Fellini or Robert Altman. Tim Burton hasn't yet. 

The nominees this year are:

  • Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
  • Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
  • Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne – The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Woody Allen (or Allen Stewart Konigsberg, did you know that?) already has two Oscars and I don't think he's due for another, even if Midnight.. is well received. 
Michel is the new star, the writer/director/actor that finally got a break in Hollywood and made a black-white silent movie that had taken everyone by storm. He has a real chance of bagging the prize, depending on if the jury award The Tree of Life the Best Picture award. 
Hugo is a wonderful film but it lacks that last percent that I would expect from Scorsese, I think that movie will win Oscars but not in this category. There are too many scenes that he could have made that little better. He also won in 2006 for The Departed, and rightfully so. It was brilliantly directed. 


The first years this award the eligibility period spanned two calendar years, but in 1935 they changed it to the format we are familiar with still, films from the last calendar year. They also gave out two Oscars for best director, one for drama and one for comedy. 

Last year Tom Hooper won for King's Speech (a real Oscar bait movie, well played but a bit of a yawn if I'm honest and Darren should have easily won for Black Swan) and so far 88 directors have been nominated more than once (with John Ford leading with 4 but dwarfed by William Wyler with 12 nominations in total, hands up everyone that can even name 12 movies by him. I know Ben-Hur and that's about it)

Pictured above: Celluloid history in tweed and total lack of empathy for human life

Sorry, catch you next time
The problem I have with the Oscars (besides them giving it to Michael Moore for best documentary when it has very little to do with reality, and to Al Gore for the very same reason) is that they skip worthy winners because another worthy winner was skipped last time so they have to give the prize to a person, not their creation. 
Let me give you a couple of examples; in 1975 Al Pacino was nominated for The Godfather part II but lost to Art Carney because Art was due. Never mind that Pacino put in the performance of his (and therefore everybodys) life. 
In 1992 he was nominated again for Scent of a Woman (yeah he drives a Ferrari blind, that's pretty much everything I also remember from that heaping pile of manure) but won because he was due. 

In 2000 Ang Lee was nominated for THE movie that brought Asia to Hollywood for real and for ever; Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. But lost to Soderberghs Traffic, so in 2005 Ang Lee was nominated again with an extremely boring movie about two cowboys that was more than just friends and won over Munich, Capote, Crash and Good Night and Good Luck. 
Because he was due....

Michel will win, because those none are due this year. Not in this category anyway. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Oscars 2012 - Part I - Best Visual Effects

So the Academy Awards (or "Oscars" after Bette Davis named it) are upon us again this Sunday 26/2. This will be the 84th ceremony after starting in 1929.
I will write a little about who the nominees are and who I think should win, and who I think will win. There will also be a follow-up post afterwards with opinions about the show, the winners, the losers and why I was wrong in every category. So everything but the clothes, basically (cause frankly I don't care).

I don't know how to feel about the Oscars anymore, there have been some really weird winners (hello Al Gore and Eminem) and some films you just can't believe lost (Saving Private Ryan lost to Shakespeare in Love back in 1999, Forrest Gump won over Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption in -95) but it's still the biggest thing in film so what can you do but watch.

I'm gonna start my predictions with the category Best Visual Effects. And the nominees are:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Many very impressive effects in these, I haven't seen Hugo yet though but from the clips I've seen it's up there with the rest of them. Planet of the apes is really good, especially the transformation between FX shots and film. But I don't think it will win. Reel Steel is a bit like Transformers but so much smaller in scale, so I don't think it would be logical to choose that. The Harry Potter movies has always had fantastic Visual Effects, they have never tried to make them the point of the scene, they have just helped telling the story.
I still think Transformers will win though, and why shouldn't it?! It's not a movie at all, it's just an expose of how brilliant ILM is at making visual effects, just take a look at this video showing some of the magic being made:

The only real threat to Transformers would be Hugo (because it's a better movie and could get this prize instead of Best Picture or Best Director, or Harry Potter because it's the last movie in the epic.

We'll see on Sunday night.

Cracked about the Oscars
Oscar Etiquette with Sir Cecil Worthington
Hugo Trailer

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Library of Dust

[Image: From Library of Dust by David Maisel, published by Chronicle Books]

This is a canister filled with human. Crazy human.
Sounds strange, looks strange = is strange. And somehow beautiful and disgusting. 

The backstory is this; before WWI an Oregon state psychiatric institution (where they filmed Cuckoos Nest no less) cremated the corpses of patients that died but that nobody came to collect. They decided to store the ashes in copper canisters, one per patient, so they still had something to present to what ever relative that decided to show up. Or maybe just because even those deemed mad by society deserved some (although somewhat twisted) dignity in death.

[Image: From Library of Dust by David Maisel, published by Chronicle Books]

What photographer David Maisel really has captured transcends merely moldy metal cans. What he has done, is to bring these terribly sad human stories to light. They have a chance one final time to be beautiful in a way. The chemicals in their ashes reacting with the copper and surrounding air, drawing maps of their instanity.

[Image: From Library of Dust by David Maisel, published by Chronicle Books]

About Me

My photo

Member of the band Colony 5, also producing music under the names Moonboy & 200OK.
Rides a Kawasaki ZX6R
Loves movies, books, whisky, pipes and an open fire. 
Father of two girls; Enya & Leia 
Fiancé of Malin