Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar Picks and Predictions: 2016

Here are my final picks for tonight's ceremony:

WRITING: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Who Will Win: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy for SPOTLIGHT
My Pick: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy for SPOTLIGHT

WRITING: ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Who Will Win: Charles Randolph and Adam McCay for THE BIG SHORT
My Pick: Emma Donoghue for ROOM

VISUAL EFFECTS
Who Will Win: Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
My Pick: Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer for THE REVENANT

SOUND MIXING
Who Will Win: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
My Pick: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin for BRIDGE OF SPIES

SOUND EDITING
Who Will Win: Alan Robert Murray for SICARIO
My Pick: Oliver Tarney for THE MARTIAN

SHORT FILM: LIVE ACTION
Who Will Win: DAY ONE
My Pick: EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY

SHORT FILM: ANIMATED
Who Will Win: WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT COSMOS
My Pick: WORLD OF TOMORROW

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Who Will Win: Eve Stewart & Michael Standish for THE DANISH GIRL
My Pick: Eve Stewart & Michael Standish for THE DANISH GIRL

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Who Will Win: "Till it Happens to You" from THE HUNTING GROUND
My Pick: "Till it Happens to You" from THE HUNTING GROUND

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Who Will Win: Ennio Morricone for THE HATEFUL EIGHT
My Pick: Ennio Morricone for THE HATEFUL EIGHT

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Who Will Win: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
My Pick: SiĆ¢n Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini for THE REVENANT

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Who Will Win: MUSTANG
My Pick: A WAR

FILM EDITING
Who Will Win: Tom McArdle for SPOTLIGHT
My Pick: Tom McArdle for SPOTLIGHT

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Who Will Win: A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS
My Pick: A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Who Will Win: AMY
My Pick: AMY

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Who Will Win: Ennio Morricone for THE HATEFUL EIGHT
My Pick: Ennio Morricone for THE HATEFUL EIGHT

DIRECTING
Who Will Win: Alejandro G. IƱarritu
My Pick: Lenny Abrahamson for ROOM

COSTUME DESIGN
Who Will Win: Sandy Powell for CAROL
My Pick: Paco Delgado for THE DANISH GIRL

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for THE REVENANT
My Pick: Emmanuel Lubezki for THE REVENANT

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Who Will Win: INSIDE OUT
My Pick: INSIDE OUT

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Who Will Win: Kate Winslet for STEVE JOBS
My Pick: Kate Winslet for STEVE JOBS

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone for CREED
My Pick: Mark Ruffalo for SPOTLIGHT

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Who Will Win: Brie Larson for ROOM
My Pick: Brie Larson for ROOM

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for THE REVENANT
My Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio for THE REVENANT

BEST PICTURE
Who Will Win: SPOTLIGHT
My Pick: ROOM

~~~

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Witch

This morning I saw The Witch, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Kate Dickie.

It's the early 1600s in New England and Thomasin (Taylor-Joy) is watching her baby brother while her mother tends to other household chores. As she's playing peek-a-boo with him, he disappears in what seems to be thin air (but what really is the creepy dark woods they live next to). An evil witch has snatched him up for her own purposes.

Predictably, Mom (Dickie) goes into hysterics and the family unit is altered considerably. Dad (Ralph Ineson) tries to keep things as normal as possible, but the baby's absence casts quite a shadow. The young twins are constantly babbling about speaking with "Black Phillip," who tells them their older sister is a witch. To get them to shut up already, Thomasin plays along and pretends she is one. She will later regret this action.

To tell you more would be to spoil... so I'll just say that I was underwhelmed by this film as a whole. It had great potential; a great setting with great actors and rich folklore. But for me, it missed the mark.

Though the abstract shadowy images are indeed a bit spooky, I never really felt scared throughout. We know what happened to the baby (and the others as the story progresses), but with the exception of a few gratuitous bloody scenes, there's nothing very 'horrifying' about the story.

Sure, it's clever that the main character's last name ends in "sin" and the mother longs for happier times in the past, in the place that really felt like home.

But crafty moments don't make for an overall good film. I actually shivered more at the trailer for The Conjuring 2. I'm hoping this spring after I see that one I'll be compelled to write a better review.

~~~

Sunday, February 14, 2016

45 Years

This morning I saw 45 Years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.

Kate (Rampling) has loved Geoff (Courtenay) all of her adult life. The pair have been married for nearly 45 years and are in the midst of planning a party to commemorate that. What's normal for many is customary for them too—each have their rituals like reading the paper and walking the dog, though they're often done apart.

When the body of Geoff's first love, Katya, is found on the mountain he long left her on after she fell during a hike, their long-dormant marital tension comes to a head. You see, Geoff didn't tell Kate about Katya. Didn't mention that they were on the verge of marriage before he met her; or that her death had traumatized him ever since.

When Katya's perfectly preserved 27-year-old body surfaces (she's been frozen in the snow until now), Geoff's pent-up sorrow for his lost love does as well. This, of course, raises questions about what else he's been keeping from his wife all of these years. If he can hold a secret that serious for that long, upon what has their entire relationship been based?

This is a film that shows, not tells. This is a film that communicates pain through the faces of its actors; not through dialog. This is a film that moves along at a quiet pace, as life does when something tragic lingers in the air.

It's not an enjoyable movie to endure, but Rampling's performance is certainly worth its Oscar nomination, and watching her work will leave you speechless.

It will also leave you questioning every relationship you've ever had.

~~~