Friday, February 25, 2005

Oscar Picks

The Oscars are almost upon us. I'm not really as excited this year as I was last year. There's no movie that I'm really rooting for, like I was for last years The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. After last years event, I decided that I would try to see all five of the Best Picture nominees before the awards, so I could make a well educated prediction. Unfortunately, I fell well short, only having seen two of the five. Ray unfortunately and Sideways which, while good, just didn't have that Best Picture feel. Since I can only judge by word of mouth and general buzz, my predictions go as follows. I feel that once the Best Director winner is announced, we will know who the Best Picture winner is. If the Academy gives it to Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby, then Scorsese's The Aviator will take home the night's big prize. If Scorsese wins for his direction, then Million Dollar Baby will win the highest honor.

These are my picks for most of the other major categories: (it's who I think will win, not that they necessarily should win)

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jamie Foxx - Ray

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Thomas Haden Church - Sideways

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Virginia Madsen - Sideways

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor - Sideways

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Charlie Kaufman - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Incredibles

ART DIRECTION
The Aviator

CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Aviator

COSTUME DESIGN
The Aviator

FILM EDITING
The Aviator

MAKEUP
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

MUSIC (SCORE)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

SOUND MIXING
The Aviator

SOUND EDITING
Spider-Man 2

VISUAL EFFECTS
Spider-Man 2

Friday, February 18, 2005

Ad Overkill

You know what I do get sick of? Seeing the same commercial over and over and over and over again. I understand that certain networks and certain programs have certain sponsers, but isn't there some way to add a little variety to the spots? I am watching TBS right now and I have seen the same Barq's Root Beer commercial 4 or 5 times now. It's the one with the "psychic" who answers the door to find a young man holding a bottle of Barq's. He, the psychic, then proceeds to guess the purpose for the man's visit. He's, of course, not really a psychic but he keeps pretending. The commercial is, in a word, lame. This leads me to a greater question.

Are advertisers even trying? The ad in question did not cause me to crave Barq's Root Beer. I didn't want to rush out and buy some. It didn't even make me thirsty. What's the deal? The easy answer might just be, simply, some ads don't work. There have always been good and bad ads, but when was the last time we had a "Hey, Mean Joe!" or "Where's the beef?" Even the commercials during the Super Bowl, supposedly where the "best" ads (read: most expensive) are shown, have been lackluster in recent years. I guess they're just going for quantity over quality. It's ridiculous.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Crushed and other

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!1 As many predicted, the Eagles fell short last night. I was home for the weekend and happy that I got to enjoy the game with my dad and brothers though. We had it. We had the game in control but let it slip away after the first half. Then, instead of mounting our come back, we gave them the game with some of the worst 4th quarter play calling I have ever seen. Heartbreaking definately. But, let's not dwell on the negative. This year's Superbowl brought a bevy of new movie trailers for our viewing enjoyment. I'll put them in order for you, worst to best, and give you my thoughts on each:

The Pacifier- Vin Diesel's very own Kindergarten Cop. We've seen this movie made a dozen times over, most recently, last month (Are We There Yet?). Okay, we get it, it's funny that he doesn't know how to handle kids.

xXx: State of the Union- Diesel turned down this and accepted The Pacifier? So now we have Ice Cube stepping in as the new XXX and cool Sam Jackson reprises his role. With Willem Dafoe as the villain, this has a chance to be halfway decent.

Sahara- This movie reminds me of: After the Sunset, The Mummy, Hidalgo, Flight of the Phoenix, and National Treasure. Needless to say, it looks derivative. Could be fun though.

The Longest Yard- With Adam Sandler making another movie about football, it's no surprise that this ad attempts to remind audiences of The Waterboy, Sandler's first box office smash. This continues Hollywood's current remake trend, but the involvement of Burt Reynolds should help audiences keep an open mind. Looks like another hit for Sandler.

Robots- These CG animated flicks seem to have a 100% success rate. Just look at last fall's lackluster Shark Tale. While this doesn't quite carry the star power of Shark Tale, it does have Robin Williams, quirky, quick, crazy, off the wall, hilarious Robin Williams (see: the Genie, from Aladdin). That said, I hope it's good.

Hitch- Considering his roots (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), it is a surprise that this is Will Smith's first venture in to the realm of flat out comedy. This looks like a hit, as white men trying to dance are always funny.

Be Cool- I liked Get Shorty a lot, when I saw it ten years ago. I hardly remember anything about it though, besides that I liked it. Surprisingly, this sequel has me excited, mostly due to the presence of Vince Vaughn and The Rock. It should be a fun time.

Constantine- I know Keanu Reeves is not the best actor in the world; I really only like him in Speed and The Matrix, but, given the right material, he can be halfway decent. This looks like the right material. The special effects look nothing short of breathtaking. This movie could be a huge first quarter hit this year. Rachel Weisz's involvment makes it that much more promising.

Batman Begins- Now we get to the big fish in the pond. This and the following are two of the most anticipated movies of all time. After the camp-fest that was Batman and Robin, most would agree that the Batman franchise seemed to be on its way down. Fortunately, director Christopher Nolan (of Memento fame) stepped in to put his spin on the dark knight, emphasis on dark. With Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, and Ken Watanbe, this should be a far cry from Arnold Schwarznegger as Mr. Freeze.

War of the Worlds- Oh boy. Tom Cruise. Steven Spielberg. Dakota Fanning. H.G. Wells. Aliens. Destruction. ILM. David Koepp. This movie looks incredible. All the pieces are in place for this to be one of the most incredible blockbusters of our time, although it might be too dark for some audiences. I am so excited for this.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Superbowl

The Superbowl is coming up this weekend and even though I am a huge football fan, I usually spend this week in eager anticipation of both the game and the commercials. This year however, is quite different. I haven't given the commercials more than a passing thought. Why you may ask? Well, this year MY TEAM IS IN THE SUPERBOWL!!!1 The Philadelphia Eagles have finally made it to the big show, the big game. I am so excited for Sunday that I can't stand it anymore. As opposed to most sports announcers and commentators, I think the Eagles have a great chance to win the big game this Sunday. The defending champion Patriots are not to be taken lightly, but we have at least an even chance.

Even though the Pats are my second favourite NFL team, there is no conflict of interest. Growing up, my brothers and I were all phans of the Philadelphia teams. So when it came time for the seasons to start, we were all rooting for the same team. That leaves no room for sibling rivalry. Everyone agrees, no one competes. We couldn't have that, so we all found our second favourites, so we could have a little healthy competition. I picked the Pats, but they are a distant second. Come to think of it, the commercials are also a distant second this year, well behind the game.

Friday, January 28, 2005

77th Annual...

The nominations for the 2005 Academy Awards were announced this past Tuesday and I regret to say that I can't really offer any real opinions about many of these pictures nominated. I am embarassed to say that I have only seen one of the five Best Picture nominees, Ray. I fully intend on seeing each of the remaining four and I'm most excited about The Aviator, Sideways, and Million Dollar Baby. The fact that Ray was even nominated in the first place tells me that either A) the Academy overlooked a much better film *cough* Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind *cough* or B) 2004 was not a very good year for cinema. I'd probably lean toward the former as I think it was a solid year for film. Getting back on point, Ray is not worthy of the title "Best Picture of the Year." Was it a good performance by Jamie Foxx? Yes. Will he win an Oscar for it? Probably. (I don't think he should.) But it is, on the whole, not a good movie.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Commercials

I'm not really one of those people who get that pissed of at commercials. Yeah they're annoying sometimes but you deal with it. Either you change the channel, you don't look at the billboard, you turn the page in the magazine, etc. Deal with it, right. It seems that nowadays people seem to get pissed off at commercials at the movies in particular moreso than at other places. I went to the movies on Monday the 17th; it was a double feature, Elektra and The Phantom of the Opera. Of course, there were commercials before each movie. I, for one, don't mind the commercials at all. It's not that I necessarily want them, it's just that I simply don't mind them. They are just another way for companies to reach their consumers. Ads have become a part of life and we all deal with it everyday. Suck it up and deal, that's my answer. I've actually come to love one of the commercials. I mean love. It's the one for Coca-Cola's new "half the sugar, half the carbs" soda "C2." It features the Queen song "I Want to Break Free." It makes me want to dance. I love it.

The movies were pretty good too. Elektra was better than I expected but not that great. Phantom should win some gold. Pretty darn good.