Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Oscars Predictions 2014

The Oscars are just round the corner and I thought I would give my thoughts and predictions on the nominees this year. I'm only going to do the categories that I have seen most of the films in, I'll tell you who I want to win and who will most likely win because unfortunately they are rarely the same.

Best Director
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf Of Wall Street
I'm a massive fan of Scorsese and would love to see him win this award, however I think it will go to Steve McQueen.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf Of Wall Street
The film I would most like to see win this is The Wolf of Wall Street. All the films this year are brilliant but The Wolf of Wall Street tops it, however I think it will be 12 Years A Slave that gets it.
Best Actor
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf Of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years A Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Hands down Matthew McConaughey, I feel for Leonardo DiCaprio and I wanted this to be his year but I want McConaughey to get it and think he will also.

Best Actress
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench - Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

This is probably the category I am least sure about. My favourite performance on this list is from Amy Adams so I hope she gets the award.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf Of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
I really want Michael Fassbender to get this one, he was one of the best things about 12 Years a Slave. However there is a lot of hype around Jared Leto so I have feeling he could be taking the award instead.

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Out everybody on this list Jennifer Lawrence is the stand out performance for me. However I can see The Academy giving it to newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, either way they it will be well deserved.

Best Original Screenplay
Eric Singer & David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze – Her
Bob Nelson - Nebraska
For me this is a showdown between American Hustle and Her. I have no idea how it might turn out though. May the best screenplay win!

Best Adapted Screenplay
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years A Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf Of Wall Street
Hands down Before Midnight should get this award! However because of the dodgy rules of adapting it might not be held as highly as its other competitors because it's not really adapted from anything apart from the characters from previous films in the trilogy. Fingers crossed though!

Best Cinematography
The Grandmaster


Inside Llewyn Davis

It's got to be Inside Llewyn Davis right? Surely...

Best Film Editing
American Hustle - Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten

Captain Phillips - Christopher Rouse

Dallas Buyers Club - John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

Gravity - Alfonso CuarĂ³n and Mark Sanger

12 Years A Slave - Joe Walker
When editing I have always been told that more is better. So why Gravity is on this list and The Wolf of Wall Street isn't is beyond me! However I feel it will be either Captain Phillips or 12 Years A Slave because both have excellent editing.
Best Original Score
John Williams, The Book Thief

Steven Price, Gravity

William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her

Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks
Best Visual Effects
Gravity - Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug - Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds

Iron Man 3 - Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick

The Lone Ranger - Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier

Star Trek Into Darkness - Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Gravity should definitely win both of these, the score was great and come on, the effects were mind blowing! And who nominated The Hobbit? Apart from Smaug that film's visual effects were terrible!

So that concludes my opinions on The Oscars for 2014. It's a strong year, most of the films nominated are really, really good so I'm happy.
Do you agree with who I want to win and who I reckon will most likely win? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


I had high expectations for Spike Jonze's new film Her and I can safely say that those expectations were met. Her is a really sweet film about human emotion, love and happiness and the different ways we seek it. I am big fan of romance films that push the boundaries and try something new, hence why Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my favourites. Her takes the sci-fi element of A.I and doesn't have it destroy the world at the end, it uses it in a different way, to explore the need for social and human interaction.

Set slightly in the future, Her follows Theodore Twombly after his recent breakup with his wife. Lost and lonely Theodore finds love with a new A.I operating system named Samantha. The two go through the highs and lows of relationships as well as exploring what it means to be human, especially if you can't be because you're a computer.

The relationship is helped made real by the brilliant performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, who really are good in this film, they turn the unconventional relationship into something believable. This is more Phoenix's show though, he holds the piece together as the ever sweet and lovely Theodore, you can tell Spike Jonze knew this as well because the film is pretty much made of just close ups of his face.

Although it mainly is made of close ups the film still looks really beautiful. The soft camera focus really brings warmth to the story as well as helping realise a futuristic hipster like Los Angeles. There are some really cool looking gadgets in the film that are never to far from the reality of today. The whole film doesn't seem to far from a truth that could soon be realised.

I spent a lot of the film wondering how it would end and I think Jonze did too, because unfortunately the final act feels a bit rushed compared to the slow burning build of the relationship throughout the film. The film connected to me on a basic emotional level but I was still left wanting more. Don't get me wrong, I still think Her was great and I was happy that it was as good as I had hoped it would be, but it did not hit me as hard emotionally as I thought it would.

The writing and style of the whole piece is really well done and I feel that Jonze was able to get across his message nicely in the film, however I do feel it could have been a bit shorter as it started to drag a little near the end. The good points of this film very much outweigh the bad, that are really just small personal niggles for me. I am rating Her a 4/5.

What did you think of Her? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Quick Reviews #7

Odd selection of films for this post of quick reviews. Two Oscar nominated films and one that should have been in for Best Animated Film, if it had come out earlier. Read on to find out what I thought of The Lego Movie, Inside Llewyn Davis and Dallas Buyers Club.

The Lego Movie

This animated film is brilliant. It is a very nostalgic piece that brings you back to your childhood and reminds you of all the crazy and weird things you can do with Lego. The film feels like a child could have written the story and I do not mean that in a bad way! The story is big and wild as you follow Emmet, the special one who has been prophesied to save the word from the evil Lord Bussiness. Emmet however is a pretty average figurine living in a world run by one company, with their views and beliefs being chucked down his neck. Yes The Lego Movie is also political, but it's not distracting from the amount of fun you can have with it if you just sit back, relax and expect stupid hilarity that will have you laughing throughout. The Lego Movie is one of the smartest animated films I have ever seen, even though it is one big product placement, it never takes itself too seriously and never fails to make you laugh. It's just a lot of fun and so it should have been because that's what playing with Lego is all about. The film makes you feel like a kid again as you remember the wonders and imaginations of Lego with stunning CGI and stop motion animation. Bringing characters like Batman into the mix makes my inner nerd squeal and putting them into the crazy adventure is all a plus. I also saw it in 3D which was good but I wouldn't say it was necessary. I am giving the film a rating of 4/5. Take your family and go see it!

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen brothers latest film is a treat. The beautifully shot Inside Llewyn Davis follows a folk singer as he tries to get through life after his music partner has committed suicide, and whilst his luck is generally just going down hill. The film is bittersweet but Oscar Issac manages to bring a softness to character who seems unlikeable but by the end of the film I was really caring for him. The film has the most amazing lighting, every shot looks incredible and a lot of care has gone in to them, as you would expect from a Coen brothers film. The best thing about this film is it's relationship with the music, much of the film is full of musical performances but every single one feels unique and adds a new depthness to the already well written characters, never getting boring. The music itself is also great and there is a great selection of songs on the soundtrack, which I bought immediately after seeing the film. It's a tragic yet sweet story that is put together so well with its great shots, lighting, dialogue and performances. The Coens always bring lightness to a bad situation with their brilliant writing style. I know Inside Llewyn Davis is going to be one of those films that I can watch over and over again. I am giving it a rating of 5/5. I wish it all the best at the Oscars this year!

Dallas Buyers Club

I knew this film would be good but I didn't expect it to hold up so well against the other Best Film Oscar contenders this year. I was wrong, Dallas Buyers Club is an incredible film that feels very relevant for the time we live in. even in our world now, there is still a lot of prejudice against homosexuality and AIDs and this film strives to change our views even though the film is set in the 80's when our prejudices were worse than they are now. I would give an Oscar to Matthew McConaughey right now if I could, he has my metaphorical vote for his performance as  Ron Woodworth, a man who strived to get medication to AIDs patients after being diagnosed himself. It's a truly powerful and uplifting story despite it's heavy topic, the way it unfolds took me by surprise and kept me hooked to the screen at all times. This is a really brilliant film that needs to be seen by everybody, its story is one that needs to be told even though it took an age for the film to be in development. The use of sound and cinematography heightens all emotions as you start to feel for a character that began as racist, homophobic cowboy. The other highly commendable performance that everyone is talking about is Jared Leto's. Believe the hype, he is great, but I think the spotlight deserves to be on McConaughey, who really does go all out for the character. I loved this film, it is amazing and therefore I am also rating it a 5/5. It may not win Best Film but it should win Best Actor hands down!

What did you think of the films I have reviewed? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!