Tag Archives: Cinematography

Golden Globe Awards 2015 Nominees and Winners (Update)

golden-globes-logo

It’s that time of year again. Award season. The one time of year we get to celebrate films by awarding them with self glorifying statues. To me this is my Super Bowl. I like to be able to predict the winner and see how many I can get right. Lately it has been easier than usual. The award shows stick with the safe bets instead of awarding what is truly great. For the most part they are all good movies but sometimes the less inspired choice wins.

I’m going to keep things short. I will list the nominees, who I think will win, and the eventual winners. Easier said then done. My predictions will be bolded BLACK while the winners will be bolded RED

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Boyhood – Directed by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher – Directed by Bennett Miller
The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum
Selma – Directed by Ava DuVernay
The Theory of Everything – Directed by James Marsh

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

Birdman – Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu 
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Directed by Wes Anderson
Into the Woods – Directed by Rob Marshall
Pride – Directed by Matthew Warts
St. Vincent – Directed by Theodore Melfi

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Drama

Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Best Actor in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Bill Murray – St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes

Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical

Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Emily Blunt – Into the Woods
Helen Mirren – The Hundred Foot Journey
Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars
Quvenzhané Wallis – Annie

Best Director

Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
David FincherGone Girl
Ava DuVernaySelma
Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituBirdman
Richard LinklaterBoyhood

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. SimmonsWhiplash

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Best Screenplay

Wes AndersonThe Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian FlynnGone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituBirdman
Richard LinklaterBoyhood
Graham MooreThe Imitation Game

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie

Best Foreign Film

Force Majeure (Turist), Sweden
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Gett, Israel
Ida, Poland/Denmark
Leviathan, Russia
Tangerines (Mandariinid), Estonia

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Big EyesBig Eyes (Lana Del Ray)
Glory – Selma (John Legend, Common)
Mercy Is – Noah (Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye)
Opportunity – Annie (Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck)
Yellow Flicker Beat – Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1 (Lorde)

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez – Birdman
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar

Best TV Drama

The Affair
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
House of Cards

Best Actor – TV Drama

Clive Owen – The Knick
Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards
James Spader – The Blacklist
Dominic West – The Affair

Best Actress – TV Drama

Claire Danes – Homeland
Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Ruth Wilson – The Affair
Robin Wright – House of Cards

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

Fargo
The Missing
True Detective
The Normal Heart
Olive Kitteridge

Best Actor – TV Miniseries or Movie

Martin Freeman – Fargo
Woody Harrelson – True Detective
Matthew McConaughey – True Detective
Mark Ruffalo – The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo

Best Actress – TV Miniseries or Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Honorable Woman
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Frances McDormand – Olive Kitteridge
Frances O’Connor – The Missing
Alison Tolman – Fargo

Best TV Comedy

Girls
Jane the Virgin
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Transparent

Best Actor – TV Comedy

Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Ricky Gervais – Derek
Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent
Louis C.K. – Louie
William H. Macy – Shameless

Best Actress – TV Comedy

Lena Dunham – Girls
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin
Julia Louis Dreyfus – Veep
Taylor Schilling – Orange Is the New Black

Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or TV movie

Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart
Alan Cumming – The Good Wife
Colin Hanks – Fargo
Bill Murray – Olive Kitteridge
Jon Voight – Ray Donovan

Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or TV movie

Uzo Aduba – Orange Is the New Black
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Allison Janney – Mom
Michelle Monaghan – True Detective

 

Advertisements

Best Movies of 2014

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on here. The last few months have been rather hectic. From school to work, I couldn’t find time to write reviews or continually post on this site. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see any movies since then. In fact I’ve seen most of the movies you could have seen, except the noticeably bad films released in the last few months.

A lot of movies that I really liked didn’t make my list and even with such a great summer with some impressive blockbuster, it was hard to keep some off my list.  The top three films where difficult because the could be interchangeable at any time.

There were some very welcome movies and also very disappointing movies that I was looking forward to. Making this list was rather difficult but I feel that it is a rather well constructed list.

10. Boyhood

image2resize

By the time I reached number 10, I realized that I didn’t include one of the best reviewed movies of the year. Everyone seems to be putting this at the top of their lists and I can’t deny that it is one of the best constructed movies of the year and a masterpiece, in my opinion. The story is timeless, the editing seamless, and the directing is top notch. The 12 years used to make this movie sets it apart from other movies of this caliber. Why is it at the bottom? When it comes to my list I put movies on it that I would rewatch in a heartbeat. After thinking about it, I haven’t really had the urge to watch Boyhood again. Now matter how impressive the movie may be, I never thought about watching it again.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL_426.jpg

Early on in the year, I believed that no movie could top this movie. To my surprise this year has been a fantastic year for film. This movie combines everything I love about Wes Anderson. The aesthetic of the film is amazing, while Monsieur Gustave H. is by far the most fascinating character in Anderson’s filmography. The changing aspect ratios was another amazing addition to the movie. This isn’t my favorite of his film but it is certainly one of his greatest achievements.

8. Gone Girl

GONE-GIRL-Movie-HD-Trailer-Captures00004_1_1

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors working today. He always brings something new to an aged formula. That is one of the reasons that make Gone Girl so unique. Instead of having the major twists saved for the end, the movie decides to reveal it at the end of the first act. It is an intriguing factor that I give both Gillian Flynn and David Fincher for pulling it off so well. What makes this movie even more fascinating is the commentary on both marriage and the media. Everything about this movie is nearly perfect. Rosamund Pick proves her acting chops and even Tyler Perry was able to surprise me, for the first time in his career. Even if I like other of Fincher’s films more, I do think this is a great addition to his impressive filmography.

7. Locke

ct-cth-locke-l-fp-r4-050613-un-jpg-20140501

No other movie this has done more with less. So much goes on during the course of the runtime, that it is surprising that it was only 80 minutes long. Tom Hardy has impressed me lately. He is a powerhouse of an actor and he really shines as Ivan Locke. Throughout the movie more and more is revealed and it makes you question both his choices and reasons behind them. For a movie that takes place solely in one location, I couldn’t believe how much and how well they were able to pull it off.

6. Under the Skin

Under_the_Skin_23

I always thought that Scarlett Johansson was all looks and not really a good actor. I was proven wrong when I saw her in Under the Skin. The movies unique approach is impressive and the minimalistic style makes for a haunting and exhilarating experience. It asks questions that movies typically don’t ask. It asks what it is meant to be human but it doesn’t give you all the answers. The visuals are impressive and the score creates a chilling yet unique.

5. Filth

Filth-James-McAvoy

I don’t know why I loved this movie so much, it was just so damn fun. James McAvoy is like you’ve never seen him before. He plays the vile and disgusting character so well. The movie isn’t so much about plot but more about how insane his characters become over time. Often times the movie is hilarious but also very sad and depressing. You never truly sympathize with him, you mostly fell bad for him. The ending is so damn perfect for the movie and completely ends the film in a satisfying manner.

4. Interstellar 

Interstellar astronauts explore new planet

Christopher Nolan is one of the best blockbuster directors working today. He is able to make the movies that he wants and is able to create some impressive films. His visual eye is incredible. He may have some problems with female characters but this is the first time that I feel he has created some worthwhile female characters. This movie isn’t about space travel as much as it is about love, loss, and fatherhood. There are so many perfect scenes of action but it is the little scenes that Nolan was able to impress me. This is by far his most emotional film to date. You feel the stakes at hand and really sympathize with each character, except for one. Interstellar impressed me both visually and emotionally.

3. Whiplash

tumblr_n9fdfk11dt1ts6gi0o3_1280-new-york-film-festival-2014-whiplash-movie-review

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I never really liked Miles Teller and a movie about a jazz drummer didn’t make me want to see it. Once I saw the trailer, that changed. The final product is so intense and awe inspiring that I loved it the minute I walked out. J.K. Simmons gives one of the best performances of the year, he is volatile and intense but somehow relatable. Even Miles Teller impressed me. The final ten minutes had me at the edge of my seat and is incredibly satisfying after all that happens in the movie.

2. Nightcrawler

nightcrawler review

This was one movie that surprised the hell out of me. The movie created a character that is both psychotic and wise. He is a man who know what he wants and takes it, no matter what. Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his life. The story is always surprising and you don’t know where it is going to go in the end. The commentary behind this movie is strong and very out there but it works so well. The directing is perfect and the cinematography is breathtaking. More than anything this is a character study and it showcases a character that is completely original and is also a work of genius.

1. Birman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

_AF_6405.CR2

The most surprising and delightful movie of the year goes to Birdman. Alejandro González Iñárritu created such a fascinating experience. He one of the best dramatic directors working today. He is able to get the best performances out of some of the most unexpected actors. Every actor in this movie are going the extra mile. Michael Keaton is revolutionary. He essentially playing a warped version of himself and he convinces everyone that he still does matter. What sets this movie apart from any other film this year is the fact that it is manipulated to look like one take. It is a technical revolution and is impressive in it’s cinematography. A lot had to go into this movie to achieve this feat and boy does it achieve it. There is also a lot of commentary involving the state of hollywood today, critics, and the will to matter. I loved this movie and think it is the best made movie this year.

Honorable Mentions

Edge of TomorrowAn original and fun blockbuster. Not your typical blockbuster but it breaks the model and makes something unique.

EnemyAn interesting and intelligent thriller that leaves you asking question long after it’s over.

Guardians of the GalaxyA very different Marvel movie and really shows that they can make an interesting movie out of unknown characters.

The RoverFueled by amazing performances and a simplistic story. This movie creates a landscape fully developed and tension that is equally fascinating and grim.

Blue RuinA movie that came out of nowhere and managed to create a fascinating and personal portrayal of revenge.

 

 

Eraserhead: The Disillusionment of Fatherhood

725_BD_box_348x490_original

Eraserhead

Directed by: David Lynch

Starring: Jack NanceCharlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, and Jeanne Bates

Eraserhead (1977) directed by David Lynch, is a tricky film, it is essential an experimental horror film yet it is much more than that. From the start it feels so close to a dream that you forget that it tells the story of Henry Spencer and his journey through fatherhood. It’s been stated that Lynch’s films focus on the human experience and he himself stated that it is about “dark and troubling things” and if you look deep enough you can see that this movie portrays fatherhood as one of those dark and troubling things. He presents fatherhood as if it is this evil thing that will take over your life and not let you have any freedoms. It takes a subject that films usually don’t present in true form. Parenthood is a tricky thing that causes people stress and angst. It is a hard thing to do in life and most movie don’t present it that way. I feel Eraserhead shows it in a more true and somewhat surreal manner. When you look past that part about fatherhood you are still left to wonder about the beginning and much other things involved with the narrative; the woman in the radiator, the man in the planet, and the weird creatures that pop up here and there. These all are key factors to the story even if it is hard to pinpoint their purposes.

Henry Spencer’s (Jack Nance) life is changed when he gets unsettling news about his girlfriend and her premature birth. He is thrust into the role of being a father without a say in the matter. After a few days Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) leaves because she can no longer take the pressure of being a mother to a baby that shouldn’t be alive. This leaves Henry in the role of the lone parent at which point he escapes into his mind so that he can have his moments of peace. This is when Eraserhead turns into a surreal journey through Henry’s mind and his role of being a father. This when the woman in the radiator becomes important. She is clearly a figment of Henry’s imagination and provides him with an outlet of escaping his reality. They are never really seen together until the end when he kills his child but she is a big part of Henry’s escapism. One scene in particular is when the sperm like creatures, which look strangely like his son, come flying out at her and she keeps killing them all. This makes me think that it is Henry dreaming of a way to end the life of the creature that is his son. It is a heavy scene that gained a few laughs but shows just how much Henry hates being a father. That also brings it back to the beginning when the shot of Henry is superimposed to have the sperm like creature come out of his mouth. It once again shows just how much his son looks like said creature and his disposition with the creature and his son.

Most of the imagery of Eraserhead represents the mind of Henry and what he wants in life, it’s why he has weird sex with his next door neighbor. It is all him trying to escape the life that he is presently living, which it’s an unhappy one. He wants a life worth living and he is stuck raising the son of woman no longer present in the movie. Now some of the images don’t necessarily represent his terrible life or the sounds but the underlying them, in my opinion, is fatherhood and how it isn’t what people expect of it. Lynch himself said the movie was about dark and troubling thing, I think it refers to the fear of fatherhood and how it affects one’s mentality. Eraserhead is more than just a horror movie with a shocking finale but also a good analogy for fatherhood, industrialism, and dreams and there is still alot about this movie that no one will ever know. It is a movie that every time you watch it you find something  new and more interesting than the last viewing and is also why the movie will be able to stand the test of time and affect people now as it did in 1977.

Eraserhead is a true life passion project. David Lynch spent nearly four years making this movie and you can see the love that David Lynch had for the subject. The direction is superb and is something that is replicated in any of David Lynch’s other films.

The story is compelling and really is masterfully told. It requires the viewer to think and observe what really is going on. The mysterious beginning doesn’t provide a single explanation for what is going on and only makes the movie more interesting. The man in the planet can be interpreted as a god like creature controlling the fate of Henry and the rest of the characters within the movie. The sound design of the movie is really interesting. It makes for an interesting experience and makes it seem that there is something much more sinister going on on the outside of Henry’s world. These things are what make this movie even more mysterious. There is always something else going on in this world that isn’t even explored. Lynch is able to hide his true intentions and makes for an incredibly surreal experience. Nothing is as it seems and that is the movies true power.

Criterion’s release is breathtaking and their most anticipated this year. The packaging alone is simply beautiful and the picture is the best that Eraserhead has looked. The features are plenty and give you a thorough look at the making of this movie. I could recommend this movie more and is worth the price of a Criterion blu ray.

Under the Skin Review, A Mesmerizing Look at Human Existence

under-the-skin-poster

Under the Skin

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer

Starring: Scarlett Johansson

When you look at science fiction you always end up with two different kinds of executions. On the one hand you have the ones that rely on action and on the other hand you have the slow burning think pieces. Under the Skin is the perfect example of the second one. The movie is vague and purposely so. The director made it this way so that the audience can think and figure out the purpose of the film on their own instead of being explicitly told what the movie means. It works to the movie advantage because it leaves this sense of mystery. The actions of the main character are never spelled out for you, it’s left to you to figure it out. A TV trailer compared the director to Stanley Kubrick. I wouldn’t agree with that entirely. I feel like the movie feels like a Kubrick movie. Kubrick’s films have the same level of mystery to them. He liked to challenge his viewer and make them think. He has made films that no one else can duplicate but Under the Skin accomplishes the mystery that Stanley Kubrick’s movies were able to portray.

In Scotland, an unnamed motorcyclist (Jeremy McWilliams) retrieves the body of a dead woman on the side of the road. At an undisclosed location, a naked woman (Scarlett Johansson) strips the dead body of it’s clothes and taking up the position that she held. She rebrands herself and starts on her quest to lure men into a trap and harvest their skin for her alien race. Along the way she begins to feel the emotions that plague the human race. She abandons her quest and makes her way into the foothills of Scotland.

This movie says a lot about how fragile we are the human race. The men in this movie want to feel affection from a more attractive individual. It makes us feel special when someone notices us and finds something interesting about us. Our lives depend on the affection of other, especially the opposite gender. The male characters in this movie all essentially let themselves go for woman. The main female is played by Scarlett Johansson and I don’t think anyone else could have played her. She is cold and beautiful yet at the same time very vulnerable and curious. In the beginning, she is the killing machine, on the prowl, for lonely men and does’t care about them only for their skin, a necessity for the alien race to blend in. As time goes by she begins to evolve and learn about the emotional state of human kind. Due to encounter with a young man, who suffers from the disease neurofibromatosis, and after their encounter she begins to see the beauty in the world and the curiosity about the live of humans. You see life through the eyes of another being. She is like a newborn baby, always discovering new things and learning about the world around them. You get an interesting look at a character that has fresh eyes towards the human race. The development of her character is done so well without to much exposition or dialogue, they are given the ability to develop along with the story.

Like The Rover, Under the Skin is minimalism at its best. Unlike other movies this year, Under the Skin uses the idea of less is more. Nothing is spelled out in this movie and it adds to the mystery of the film. Scarlett Johansson’s performance is by far the best work she has done and it shows that she is much more than a pretty face. Many people know this movie as “the movie in which Scarlett Johansson gets naked”. For whoever plans on seeing it for that fact alone than you should probably watch a different movie. She is never overtly sexualized but it is used for the character and he curiosity with human life.

The production values of the movie are spectacular. For such a low budget you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it was so cheap. The cinematography is something of note. It uses long takes to linger on the world around her. The shots linger a little longer than most but I feel that is a strength of the movie. The look of the film is bleak and beautiful. The soundtrack is also breathtaking. It gives it a haunting and foreign feel to it.

Mind you the movie is a lot more fun to think about that it is to watch but I feel the need to watch this movie. It is simply amazing and that’s what I can take away from it. I loved every minute of it and I know that I will be returning to it in the future.

Grade: A+

Birdman Trailer

birdman-banner

The trailer for this came out about a month ago and I may be a little late to game when it comes to posting about it. Alejandro González Iñárritu is one of the most promising directors working today. His entire filmography has gained critical acclaim and a bunch of Oscar nominations. Birdman could possibly be an awards darling when it is released, just based on the directors track record. I personally cannot wait for this movie. Based on some of the news regarding the cinematography and how they plan to have be a continuous take or very little takes, who knows at this point but that alone gets me excited. Michael Keaton deserves a comeback and this role looks perfect for him. Having once played a superhero, similar to his character, it brings authenticity to the role that not many people can do.

An actor (Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. The play in the film is an adaptation of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

Birdman is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Starring Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson / Birdman, Edward Norton as The Rival Stage Actor, Emma Stone as Riggan’s Daugther, and Zach Galifianakis as Brandon Vander Hey. Produced by Regency Enterprises. Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.