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Friday, January 23, 2009

Oscar Nominations: The Dark Knight and The Wrestler Get Snubbed.

Here it is. The list of the Academy Award Nominations have been announced and it leaves something to be desired. Much like "Zodiac" and "Eastern Promises" last year, "The Dark Knight" and "The Wrestler" were snubbed out of the Best Picture nominations. Instead both movies were passed off for "The Reader," a film considered so poor by critics and audiences alike I wonder how it was even considered. "Revolutionary Road" was punted out in favor of this movie as well. And of course "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was nominated for being the best reprise of "Forrest Gump."

Both Darren Aronofsky and Chris Nolan were cheated out of directing nominations as well. Instead all of the Best Picture's director's got nods.

And can someone explain to me how Brad Pitt gets an actor nomination for Benjamin Button, but Cate Blanchett does not? Anne Hathaway gets a nomination? Really?

The list is a huge disappointment, and, frankly, an embarrassment. In a fall where movies just weren't that great "The Dark Knight" should have been a shoe-in.

The Academy had a chance to finally pull themselves out of a rut. "The Dark Knight" was that chance to show that they weren't attracted to the same bait they nominate every year, which, as time goes by, becomes less and less magnificent. Just because a film is artsier does not make it better. But according to the Academy only period pieces, melodramatic character pieces and, in rarer occasions, heroic epics with with plenty of swords deserve top awards. Lets not forget gay actors/pro-gay films get an unfair advantage. ("Milk")

The Academy is stubborn. They're stuck in a rut of believing their respected by nominated the same thing every year. They're a bunch of people who sit around getting off to the same flicks and refuse to see beauty anything beyond them. This may seem like an extremely pretentious remark, but it's something I've watched grow for awhile. I've tried to restrain it, but when I see the only heart-filled drama this fall get snubbed ("The Wrestler") it's time to let the volcano blow.

Already critics are claiming this year's snubbing of "The Dark Knight" will project the Oscars into its lowest audience yet-- And I hope it does. Audiences are angry. Critics are appalled-- Particularly at the inclusion of "The Reader." The Academy goofed. That's all that can be said. They goofed big time.

The nominees are:

Best Picture

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Frost/Nixon
* Milk
* The Reader
* Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director

* Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
* Stephen Daldry – The Reader
* David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
* Gus Van Sant – Milk

Best Actor

* Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
* Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
* Sean Penn – Milk
* Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Actress

* Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
* Angelina Jolie – Changeling
* Melissa Leo – Frozen River
* Meryl Streep – Doubt
* Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor

* Josh Brolin – Milk
* Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
* Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
* Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (posthumous)
* Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Best Supporting Actress

* Amy Adams – Doubt
* Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
* Viola Davis – Doubt
* Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Best Original Screenplay

* WALL-E - Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
* Happy-Go-Lucky - Mike Leigh
* Frozen River - Courtney Hunt
* In Bruges - Martin McDonagh
* Milk - Dustin Lance Black

Best Adapted Screenplay

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
* Frost/Nixon - Peter Morgan
* The Reader - David Hare
* Slumdog Millionaire - Simon Beaufoy
* Doubt - John Patrick Shanley

Best Animated Feature

* Bolt – Chris Williams and Byron Howard
* Kung Fu Panda – Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
* WALL-E – Andrew Stanton

Best Foreign Language Film

* Revanche (Austria) in German
* The Class (France) in French
* The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany) in German
* Departures (Japan) in Japanese
* Waltz with Bashir (Israel) in Hebrew

Best Animated Short

* La Maison En Petits Cubes - Kunio Kato
* Lavatory - Lovestory - Konstantin Bronzit
* Oktapodi - Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
* Presto - Doug Sweetland
* This Way Up - Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best Art Direction

* Changeling – James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
* The Dark Knight – Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
* The Duchess – Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
* Revolutionary Road – Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

Best Cinematography

* Changeling – Tom Stern
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Claudio Miranda
* The Dark Knight – Wally Pfister
* The Reader – Chris Menges, Roger Deakins
* Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Costume Design

* Australia – Catherine Martin
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jacqueline West
* The Duchess – Michael O'Connor
* Milk – Danny Glicker
* Revolutionary Road – Albert Wolsky

Best Documentary Feature

* Nerakhoon (Nerakhoon)
* Encounters at the End of the World
* The Garden
* Man on Wire
* Trouble the Water

Best Documentary Short

* The Conscience of Nhem En
* The Final Inch
* Smile Pinki
* The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

Best Film Editing

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
* The Dark Knight – Lee Smith
* Frost/Nixon – Mike Hill, Daniel P. Hanley
* Milk – Elliot Graham
* Slumdog Millionaire – Chris Dickens

Best Live Action Short

* On the Line (Auf der Strecke)
* Manon On the Asphalt
* New Boy
* The Pig
* Toyland (Spielzeugland)

Best Makeup

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Greg Cannom
* The Dark Knight – John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
* Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Best Original Score

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Alexandre Desplat
* Defiance – James Newton Howard
* Milk – Danny Elfman
* Slumdog Millionaire – A.R. Rahman
* WALL-E – Thomas Newman

Best Original Song

* "Down to Earth" from WALL-E – Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman (music), Peter Gabriel (lyrics)
* "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman (music), Gulzar (lyrics)
* "O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best Sound Editing

* The Dark Knight – Richard King
* Iron Man – Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
* Slumdog Millionaire – Tom Sayers
* WALL-E – Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
* Wanted – Wylie Stateman

Best Sound Mixing

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
* The Dark Knight – Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
* Slumdog Millionaire – Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
* WALL-E – Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
* Wanted – Chris Jenkins, Frank A. MontaƱo, Petr Forejt

Best Visual Effects

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
* The Dark Knight – Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
* Iron Man – John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan

Poll - What Movie Are You Anticipating the Most This Year?

Kind of a surprising final result on this poll. (Assuming a friend of mine didn't vote multiple times -again- in which case I'll void this right away.) *smiley face*

This isn't to say "Harry Potter" isn't worth the hype though. It is. I suppose such is my audience though. Here's the final poll result:

Watchmen - 1 Vote (6%)

Star Trek - 2 Votes (12%)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - 2 Votes (12%)

Dragonball: Evolution - 3 Votes (18%)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen- 1 Vote (6%)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - 6 Votes (37%)

Inglorious Bastards - 0 Votes (0%)

Shutter Island - 1 Vote (6%)

Public Enemies - 0 Votes (0%)

Other - 0 Votes (0%)

After I had made the poll I remembered I didn't add "Terminator: Salvation" and "Avatar." Obviously they weren't needed since the "Other" option wasn't used. So that's that. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is my blog's most anticipated movie this year. I'll work harder to scrape up some news.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is Marvel in a Finacial Rut?

I only ask because there's a few factors involved behind this assumption.

- Jon Favreau: It seems the director of "Iron Man" is attached to direct the sequel now, but that wasn't always the case. Some just thought Favreau was unsure he wanted to do a sequel. Others felt Marvel wanted to go in a different direction. The fact is there were some payment issues from Marvel to Mr. Favreau that I don't think anyone will fully understand.

- Terrance Howard, who played Rhodey, was dropped for Don Cheadle. Though some attribute this to Howard's unpredictable personal life, rumors have been circling that Marvel wasn't willing to cough up the dough for him. Although it makes me wonder: Would Cheadle really be that much cheaper than Howard?

- Samuel L. Jackson announced recently that he may not be playing the roll of Nick Fury in future Marvel installments. He was quoted saying, "There seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world so [they're saying to me], ‘We’re not making that deal.’" Economic crisis?

- Finally, the latest in the rumor mill, Marvel offered Mickey Rourke $250,000 to play Crimson Dynamo in "Iron Man 2." I'll throw that by you again: $250,000.

What? I mean, I would do terrible, evil things for $250,000, but for a Hollywood actor who's probably getting an Oscar nomination [for "The Wrestler"] tomorrow? That's chump-change.

Marvel has been as cheap as they can be with this. I wonder if they really are stingy, or if there's some sort of financial fiasco that's keeping them from awarding their A-list cast/crew.

15 Films That Inspired "Metal Gear Solid"

With the "Metal Gear Solid" series over creator/director Hideo Kojima reveals the 15 movies that inspired the "Metal Gear Solid" series. I'm kind of surprised by the picks.

The "Metal Gear Solid" series is arguably the greatest video game series out there. While there's a group of players that whine and complain that they're more interactive-cinematics then actual games, they also seem to miss the beauty behind blending the gaming and film world.

"Metal Gear Solid" was a wonderful test in this idea for the Playstation. "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty" pushed the envelop even further, and for the same system "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater," added even more cinematics, creating an emotional finale that seemed to have bridged the gap between a video game's simple, scripted story and the emotional impact of the art of film. Finally, with the release of "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots," you could argue it is more of a movie than a game-- None-the-less you have to hang on to the control if you want to further the incredible story and characters.

So what inspired these masterpieces? Kojima lets fans know which movies had the greatest impact on some of the greatest games ever crafted:

-The Guns of Navarone

-The Great Escape


-2001: A Space Odyssey

-Planet of the Apes (1968)

-The Deer Hunter

-Dawn of the Dead

-Full Metal Jacket


-Die Hard


-Black Hawk Down

-Children of Men

-The Bourne Series

-Casino Royale (2006)

I'm a little surprised no "Escape from New York" or "Rambo: First Blood" is mentioned since those two films' have the lead characters that Solid Snake is loosely based off of. It's also interesting to note that Col. Campbell is directly, and wholly inspired by Col. Trautman, played by Richard Crenna in "First Blood."

I find it very interesting that "2001: A Space Odyssey" played a roll in Kojima's inspiration. And I do wonder what he got from movies like "Heat," "Predator" and "Planet of the Apes" to continue with the series. "Solid" list I might say.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

TRAILER - "Earth"

For those of you who have seen the incredible "Planet Earth" series, rejoice. "Earth," the spin-off movie of the series will be released this April 22nd. Earth day, appropriately.

The movie utilizes the footage from "Planet Earth" and basically creates "Planet Earth: The Movie." So for those who don't think they can sit through an entire season of a nature series, or are interested in seeing the original series, but don't fully understand how incredible it is, this movie is something for you. "Earth," like its television, counterpart promises to deliver high definition visuals of our planet like we've never seen before. Showing it in ways and scopes that were once thought impossible.

The trailer certainly evokes the beauty of the project. Put to the beautiful music from Sigur Ros and showcasing incredible shots of the planet with Patrick Stewart's voiceover, this trailer is an editor's and cinematographer's wet dream. This is the experience of our planet like it's never been seen.

It is unclear whether or not Patrick Stewart or James Earl Jones will narrate the film. Recent releases of the trailer have been dubbed over with Jones' voice, so it's very probable the North American release will include him. Europe received it with Patrick Stewart's narration and Asia with Ken Watanabe's.

"Earth" hits theaters April 22nd.