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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The New Avengers Trailer Looks Pretty Kick Ass

I will admit it. I thought I had grown to old. I thought my interest in men running around in tights was over. Err...wait a minute, not just any men...let's do that over. I thought that my interest in superheros had faded to the point of disinterest. I guess I was wrong. Joss Wehdon knows what he is doing. After a first trailer that faiile to interest me, this one look outstanding. My only concern is the villain. Can a film with so many characters, so many personalities have a villain that can hold his own in their presence? We'll see. After this trailer, suddenly I am looking at doing so from a theater seat.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Opening The Oscars SHOULD Have Had

Hoping to have an Oscar Recap up at some point. For now, watch this clip that would have served as a much better opening than Mr. Moth Balls Crystal. Enjoy and let's hope it helps you forget yesterday's snore of an opening.

Friday, February 24, 2012

FilmSnork's Official Oscar Predictions and Results UPDATED 2-28-2012

It is the biggest night in entertainment, the night Hollywood honors the best in the field of entertainment. Of course, I am talking about the Oscars. The night of the year that can transform careers and give lucky films a permanent seat in the film history books. As we grow ever so close to the ceremony I am still waiting for one thing that usually goes hand and hand with the When Eddie Murphy came on board as host the press had a field day – some loved the idea, some loathed it. Either way, it was press worthy. Well, that came to an untimely end after Eddie stepped down after a scandal that shook the film industry to the core. Okay, maybe not to the core, but it did make a few headlines in the local community newspaper/coupon book. In an attempt to save face, the Academy went back to a well that had been believed to have been empty or maybe just forgotten about; the emergency host, the most popular host in the last 30 years, perhaps ever... Billy Crystal. Riding the success of his latest movie, “City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold” he was the obvious choice. When the news broke on that November 10th (a day that will go down in the annuls of film history) the response was beyond anything that could have been expected as fans, reporters and celebrities alike rejoiced with a big ole “meh.” With a host in place it was time to nominate some films. And what a batch they came up with, fan favorites like “Albert Knobs,” “W..E.,” “Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud.” With such a selection films it is no surprise that millions of film fans are completely indifferent about this year's show, awards and host.

Just about every year there is a film that I am passionate about, rooting for its victory in every category. Then there are years where there is a Big Bad, a Hollywood darling that is a shoo-in to win multiple categories (including Best Picture) – which, by chance, is also a film I can't stomach seeing win a single trophy (i.e. Titanic). This year has the distinction of having neither. Sure there are films I really enjoyed, but passion, don't think so. Also there is no Big Bad -not one film ever gained the momentum to make a true odds on favorite to sweep or even come close. As you will see in my picks, expect the Academy to spread the awards around, share the love and wait for the next great year of film and forget about 2011. I do have one trophy that I have a vested interest is Best Song. After listening to the movie soundtrack about 90 times while driving my kids around, I not only like the music, I love it. Written by most of the team from “Flight of the Conchords,” and teamed with The Muppets – result, movie magic. If “Man or Muppet” is chosen worthy of the trophy, my (and my kid's) night will be complete.

UPDATED 02/28/2012
So the tally is in and I did better than I had expected.  20 and 4.  Damn you Meryl Streep for your sneaky unexpected yet expected win.  I hope my picks and insight were helpful in making your Oscar party a bit more enjoyable or in the very least help you get to sleep.  We will do it again next year.
Now, with that said, let's get to the picks:

Best Picture
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"
This category lacks focus and should have been cut to five or six films this year – some are just not worthy. If you have been following my reviews you know which handful are deserving of their nominations and which are not. Because it is so easy to like, short, sweet, original and has a cute dog (that has gotten more buzz than most films in the category) “The Artist” will take hole the trophy. Other films like “The Descendants” were solid, but were a little too gloomy to embrace. My sleeper pick is “The Help,” it has a large cast, takes on racial issues and is well liked. I personally would like to see “Midnight in Paris” win – it is not an important film or a all that showy, it was just the film that I can see watching again and again. A “Hugo” victory would not be upsetting either, but Scorsese has received a trophy recently. If “EL&IC” happens to take home the gold, I will NEVER watch the Oscars again.

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants" SHOULD WIN
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist" WILL WIN   WINNER
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
A solid category. All good performance, with only Brad Pitt's falling shirt of being an award-winning caliber performance. It may be a minor upset; I expect Dujardin with his mile long smile and silent charm to take the trophy. He is infectious and someone you want to see at the podium. The only other actor you will possibly see up there on Oscar night is Mr. Clooney – his performance is perfect; not as showy or glamorous just natural... when you make it look that easy, you are good.

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"  WINNER
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Kind of a weak batch for Best Actress. Two impersonations, one manyl woman dressed like a man and one hell of a lot of piercings and body art – which leave Viola Davis. She is a fresh face to most people, she is charming, and with body language alone she made you feel bad for her. Meryl is too good and too consistent for her own good. Would not mind Rooney Mara making her way to the podium, but her big mouth used to disses may have prevented that.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball" SHOULD WIN
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners" WILL WIN  WINNER
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Nolte played a character he has played before in a little seen film. Von Sydow does not speak a word and if it weren't for the terrible film he is in could have a chance. Not the most exciting category of the night. Christopher Plummer will win unless Jonah Hill's weight loss is enough to find him some extra votes.

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids" SHOULD WIN
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help" WILL WIN  WINNER
There are three strong performances in this group. Berenice Bejo was wonderful to watch, but I cannot see two Oscars going to silent roles. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious even with my high expectations. Working against her is the film was not only a comedy, it was a gross one – some Academy members may not have been able to stomach it. The trophy goes to Octavia Spencer who shined in “The Help.”

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris" SHOULD WIN
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist" WILL WIN  WINNER
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
This is a tough one. I think the restrained performances of “The Descendants” were the best of the year – they rang very true. Woody's “Midnight in Paris” captured the city and its citizens not only in the 2000's, also in the 1920's. The visual storytelling of Scorsese transcends genres in “Hugo.” Then again, the work in “The Artist” took everyone out of their element; the performances and the style of the genre of film was emulated to the tee. A close call.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN  WINNER
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"
If Woody Allen shows up to pick up the award Hollywood will be shocked. Something tells me this trophy will be sitting on his mantle soon. The surprise for me was the nomination of “Bridesmaids” it was alright, but nothing groundbreaking.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants" WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN  WINNER
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Alexander Payne will have to settle for a writing Oscar. Hugo would be a great competitor if the film was 20 minutes shorter.

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
“Rango” has it in the bag. “Kung Fu Panda 2” was good as well – too similar to the original. Glad to see that “Cars 2” did not get any recognition even if it was a Pixar film. They have been given a free ride for too long.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
This Iranian film will not be beat, with a nomination for Screenplay as well as foreign Film, “A Separation” is the obvious victor.

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource WILL WIN  WINNER
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse," John Williams
There is one film that you can remember the score of, or at least think you can, “The Artist.” That alone will give it the win. FYI: John Williams picked up his 47th and 48th nominations this year. That is amazing.

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie WILL WIN/ SHOULD WIN     WINNER
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
If The Muppets do not win for “Man or Muppet” I will turn off the award show... and then immediately put it back on. I would be extremely upset though. My biggest disappointment of the night I have ben notified of in advance, there will be no performance of the song. I really wanted to watch that with my daughter and bind over The Muppets, movies, awards and Twitter (@filmsnork) – instead Kermit and Co. will get to present an award. Yawn.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"
“Hugo” is a beautiful film – if only 20 minutes shorter it would be winning more than the technical categories.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"  WINNER
"The Tree of Life" WILL WIN/ SHOULD WIN
"War Horse"
This one will all depend on who is voting for the award, if it is the Academy as a whole this will go to “The Artist,” otherwise “Tree of Life” will take it. If not for the annoying 3D camera angles that were often more obtrusive than tolerable, “Hugo” would be a major contender. All are worthy of the honor.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Jane Eyre"
The era was captured perfectly in “The Artist” but the work in “Hugo” was equally worthy. Berenice Bejo's outfits are memorable enough to bring the Oscar to the artist.

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again" SHOULD WIN
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Undefeated"  WILL WIN   WINNER
The third “Paradise Lost” film has a well known news story to make it the stand out from the crowd. For me “Hell and Back Again” resonates the most. But, "Undefeated" seems like the easiest to root for.

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"   WINNER
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom" WILL WIN
I am taking a stab in the dark here - sounds like a story of pain and renewal.

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist" WILL WIN
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" SHOULD WIN   WINNER
“The Artist”did have the task of emulating a different era of film while entertaining modern audiences. For that it wins.

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" SHOULD WIN
"The Iron Lady" WILL WIN    WINNER
This is the one award I always get wrong – it seems like Harry Potter with its Valdamort and cast of odd creatures and characters is the obvious choice. I am sure that means something else will win. Giving it to “Iron Lady” for the aging of Margaret Thatcher over the man-ification of Glenn Close.

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore WILL WIN    WINNER
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
Another category I have little or no access to. Based on descriptions, this would be the one I would buy a ticket to see.

Best Live Action Short Film
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"
I do not get the opportunity to view these films so I must go based on the descriptions and this one sounds interesting.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Transformers was just a mess of over saturated sight and sound. Going with “Hugo” because sometimes less is more.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"
Transformers was just a mess of over saturated sight and sound. Going with “Hugo” because sometimes less is more.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"   WINNER
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" WILL WIN
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
There were apes, lots of apes – not men in apes suits, not cartoons – realistic, scary apes all acted out by one man Andy Serkis (aka Gollem). Winner.

Well that's it. This seemed to be the easiest picking in recent memory. With that said, do not blame me if you copy my picks and lose your office pool, I myself have had some off years picking the winners.
Sound off and let me know what you think. I want to hear YOUR opinions.

Also follow my live Oscar Tweets on at my @snarkysnork Twitter page. And as always follow everything at the @FilmSnork Twitter page and on my Facebook page. I will see you there.

Enjoy the show.

- FilmSnork

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Artist - Film Review

Up until now, the making of a silent film in the 21st century was unheard of; unless, by chance, you were taking an intro to film class or going to see an installation at the local, pretentious art gallery. The Artist has changed that, but not without risk. Sure the novelty of a modern era silent film will draw in a certain audience, but it is the sweet core of this film and its genuine charm that has sold this picture. The filmmakers had the challenge of entertaining audiences using a style of filmmaking that is more foreign to most audiences than even foreign films themselves – the silent film. The additional challenge was to emulate the look, style and techniques of the silent film-era films with enough authenticity that the story took center stage, not the technique. If the film was seen solely as a technical exercise, then it would be a bust. If it came across as a parody of the silent era, same result. Thankfully neither is the case.

Sure, as a technical exercise the film is a home run. It succeeds on every level, from the cinematography to the editing to the trim of the star's mustache. The film emulates the style of the silent era so well that if it was playing on TMC at 4 in the morning, the only thing that may give away that it was produced recently would be the familiar faces of John Goodman and James Cromwell. But it also succeeds at being a great piece of entertainment; a simple, sweet story of Hollywood's past.

The film, set in late 1920's Hollywood, captures the journey from silent film to talkies - a change that forever altered the way films were made, and in turn, the careers of our two lead actors. When the talkies arrive, Hollywood’s top box-office draw, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), is oblivious to what their introduction means: a quick silence to his career. Contrarily, for our young and peppy extra, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), the opposite is true – the talkies arrival means her star is ready to shine.

This is not "Inception." You will not need to discuss the meaning of the ending over late night beers at the pub. It is a delightful film with a story that will be enjoyed by a wide range of movie fans.
The film's performances are spectacular. There is a reason not everyone is an actor. The charisma and charm Dujardin and Bejo exude on screen is palpable and magnificent to watch. Dujardin's smile is like none I have ever seen - ear to ear, and just a flash provides more sparkle than one finds in the whole cast of "Twilight" (yes, even in the sun). And then there is the dog, Uggie, who manages to add even more laughs and pizzazz of his own - quite the feat for a dog. This film is about as well cast as they come.
This film truly pays homage to the silent era of film. The filmmakers (like Scorcese with "Hugo") must have a real love and appreciation for silent film to have created such an effective tribute. If anything, this film proves that silent film is not a part of film history that need be forgotten, but rather embraced. In a time when just about every film not only has sound, but also is in 3D, I cannot expect all audiences to embrace this film; the self-imposed restraints may simply be too much for some. In all likelihood, this will be a contentious film with many seeing it as a novelty act; but I know others will see it as I do, as something far more than just a gimmick – but a complete film.  

9 out of 10 stars

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hey You Keep Your Damn Hands Off Her! FilmSnork Bad Idea #3 - Tampering with Back to the Future

If you guys ever have kids and one of them when he's sixty-one years old disgraces this film with a Broadway musical... DON't go easy on him.
They found me, I don't know how but they found me.  Run for it Marty! And Doc Brown, and Biff, Lorraine, George, Skinner and even you Huey Lewis.  Just run.  I don't know how, but somehow Hollywood has found a way into my heart, my soul, my core.  It is not a new thing for Hollywood to produce unnecessary remakes it has been going on for year  - this time they crossed the line.  Not only are they remaking a film, a film which happens to be be my favorite film of all-time "Back to the Future," they are bringing it to Broadway... AS A MUSICAL.  Great Scott!

According to the Huffington Post, "a representative for writer and director Robert Zemeckis confirmed to The Huffington Post that Zemeckis, co-writer Bob Gale and composer Alan Silvestri are engaged in preliminary creative discussions about the possibility of bringing "Back to the Future" to Broadway."

The Huffington Post also notes that other films that have or are currently being converted into stage productions are  "Newsies," "Ghost," "Big Fish," "Austin Powers," "Rocky," "The Goonies," and "Dave."

The worst part about this is that Rober Zemeckis is not only on board with it, his is the driving force behind the Broadway venture.  Robert, you are supposed to protect BTTF, you are supposed to be the guardian at the gate; instead you are pimping it out like a street whore and your street of choice Broadway.  Have you no shame?  I understand that your directing career reached its pinnacle with BTTF, but isn't that more reason to protect it, not desecrate it.

As more information becomes available I will expand on this article.  Look for updates.  Until then, voice your opinion and enjoy the following FilmSnork production.

In the spirit of Hollywood (and now Broadway) remakes I have decided to write my own reinvention of BTTF, but in this version Doc uses his time machine to find Robert Zemekis' parents to try to stop this terrible idea from taking flight.

Docs: Mr and Mrs Zemekis you have to come with back to the future.
Mr. Zemekis Sr.:  What's going on Doc?  Does something happen to us?

Doc:  You turn out fine it is your kid, something has got to be done about your kid!
Mr Zemekis Sr.:  Does something to him?  Does he turn into an asshole or something?
Doc: Yes.  Yes he does.