Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Revenant Trailer: Or (why Chivo is going to win his third Oscar (back to back to back) this year)

Have you watched this yet?  Of course you have.  Everyone has.  I'm the last person to watch this, I know.  Listen, I don't know if anyone has ever (in any category) won three Oscars back to back to back (speak now Josh), and I know that everyone is groaning for Deakins to finally win (which isn't going to happen for Sicario), but I don't think that anyone could deny that Emmanuel Lubezki, while always a brilliant cinematographer, has been on the grandest of hot streaks this decade.  I've spoken my piece about my feelings on his Oscar win for Gravity, but even disregarding that film we're still left with The Tree of Life, To the Wonder and Birdman; all stunning work.

And now we have The Revenant.

I'm not going to lie, this looks like his best work to date.  BY A LOT.  The use of light, NATURAL LIGHT, the framing, the breadth of landscape captured coupled with such grand, sweeping movement and energy.  


And speaking of every frame; feast!

Monday, September 28, 2015

So, this is 47...

Naomi Watts turns 47 today.  Not only is she jaw-dropping in her absolute beauty, but she's one of the most talented and versatile actresses working today, and she only gets better and better.  The reality that this woman has yet to win an Oscar is shame enough, but the fact that she's only been nominated TWICE in her incredible career is probably the bigger shame.  In this disgusting day and age where women not named Streep fail to maintain their careers past 50, it's strange to think that time may be running out for this thespian to attain the highest of acting honors, but her youthful beauty and undeniable range may (hopefully) work in her favor.

So, while Oscar has so unjustly shunned her in the past, let's take a few minutes to bask in her talents and remember her best work!

Friday, September 25, 2015

1946 Fisti Awards

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1946.  This was a great year.  Even Oscar got a lot of stuff right.  The year was great even before 1945 stepped in and handed it some treasures.  Yes, due to the Fisti rule that any foreign film nominated for an Oscar must compete in the year in which it was nominated, there are quite a few 'technically' 1945 films that are competing here.  

One of which is my Best Picture winner.

But more on that in a minute.  First, let's talk about Oscar.  While the debate will continue to the end of time as to whether of not The Best Years of Our Lives should have defeated It's a Wonderful Life for Best Picture, the fact remains that both films are truly beautiful.  Personally, I feel that The Best Years of Our Lives IS the better film, while It's a Wonderful Life is understandably the more iconic feature.

They're both treasures, and that's the most important thing.

One thing that The Best Years of Our Lives was able to capture, and a clear reason as to why it won (and won SO MUCH) on Oscar night, was the state of the times.  It understood that, in that moment, the message it carried was a very important one.  In fact, with WWII just barely over, the welcome home of the men and women who defended the country was on the minds of every single person, and so the year became a bounty of films that tried to understand more fully the mindset, not only of the soldiers coming home, but also of the men and women standing at the front door to greet them.  

And that brings us to...another Lee Hirsch Award for Change!

Yes, with the war over, the incredible John Huston put together a series of PSA-Documentaries, and the final film in that series is a chilling look at PTS-Syndrom.  Let There Be Light is a film designed to help the general public understand that there is help for those soldiers returning home and that they can and should be accepted back into a normal way of life.  The fear to hire these young men and women was real, and so John Huston's powerful documentary served a real purpose and is still stirring even today.

Alright, alright, alright...let's get on with it!  I now present to you the Fisti Awards of 1946!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

1990 Fisti Awards

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1990.  Well, I remember liking Dances with Wolves when I first saw it...and then I didn't really care anymore.  I remember finding Goodfellas overrated when I first saw it...and then I remembered it fondly.  Things change over time, and our perception of film and the way it rests on us changes as well.  

Is it a crime for me to say that Goodfellas losing the Oscar was not real big loss?  I mean, it's CLEARLY better than Dances with Wolves, but it's not Scorsese's best, despite the 'pop culture iconic' status, and it's not the best of the year (at least in my humble opinion) and so I'm kind of whatever on the whole thing.  But, eww at that lineup, right?  Ghost is so trashy and The Godfather Part III is so subpar.  Awakenings is actually quite tender and moving, but it's also such Oscar bait.  

This year was better than that.

You know what 1990 brought us?  The beginnings of two cinematic legacies of genius; The Coen Brothers and Wong Kar Wai (and yes, I know they both began their careers in the 80's).

I guess we should just get right into it; the Fisti Awards for 1990!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trailer Break: The Jungle Book

So, these live-action Disney recreations are getting tiresome, I agree, but there is something in me that has been anticipating this ever since it was announced based on the voice-cast alone.  Like, Johansson, Nyong'o, Walken, Elba, Murray,, these are actors with GREAT voices, and so the idea of them using those in this setting seemed so perfect.  I've been a little skeptical as to how they were going to spin this into a live-action film with talking animals and not have it here it is.  The action looks sharp, the sets look dynamic, the visuals look remarkable and Scarlett Johansson's silky voice lacing the whole trailer is perfection.

But, yes, the most beautiful note at the end is Baloo whistling The Bare Necessities!

I'm all in for this.  I mean, this was kind of perfect, right?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Poster Break: It's Only the End of the World

So, Xavier himself posted this teaser poster for his upcoming Marion Cotillard collaboration on Twitter today and OMG!!!  This reminds me very much of the poster for Stranger by the Lake, which was glorious.  Unfortunately, that poster was the best thing about that movie.  Hopefully this won't be the case (who are we kidding, we know this movie is going to be delicious) here.

Happy Together: My Visual Reviews of Grandmaster Wong Kar Wai

Yup, it's time for more Visual Reviews.  I'm trying to get some posts scheduled so that, throughout my unfortunate absence, you won't forget about me.  This is one of them.  More will follow (I think).  What better way to remember me than by basking in some Visual Reviews.  What better subject than Shanghai born auteur, Wong Kar Wai.  There is no denying that Kar Wai's films are GORGEOUSLY framed, and because of that they lend themselves rather easily to these Visual Reviews.

So let's get started!

Friday, September 4, 2015

4 Ways a Best Picture: It's a Wrap!

Alright, it's the moment of the truth.  The incredible Britt, Wendell, Kevin and Jeffery have spent the better part of a year (believe me) researching this project and now we've reached that pinnacle moment when all will be revealed!  It's ranking time!!!

So, we have two things to rank.  First, we have individual years.  This is the complete score given to a group of winners.  Then we have all the individual films/scores and where they rank alongside the bounty of winners we saw.  

We have 56 films to rank!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

4 Ways a Best Picture: 2014

All good things must come to an end.  That is the bittersweet reality of this post right now.  We have reached the end of a very incredibly rewarding project, and that is killing me right now.  I'm glad it's over because we can now bask in the full glory of the project, but the discussions I have had with these bloggers about these films and these years and just everything has been so enjoyable and...UGH...I may cry, and I'm not joking, so I'm going to stop.

Yes, it's time to wrap up 4 Ways a Best Picture with discussion of 2014.

Let's just look at our panel and get into it.

Britt from Rambling Film
Drew (me, duh) from A Fistful of Films
Jeffery from jdbrecords
Wendell from Dell on Movies

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trailer Break: The Danish Girl

Is your body ready?  Eddie Redmayne's is.  Listen, I'm going to level with you all here.  I am NOT a fan of Eddie Redmayne's Oscar win last year, not because Michael Keaton was so much better (I don't even nominate Keaton), and not even because Redmayne whored himself out for an Oscar, but I'm not a fan because his performance was emotionally vacant and undeserving of an Oscar.  It was a gimmick.  I don't hate Redmayne or find him devoid of talent (I've nominated him once before).  I don't care what anyone does in their personal life...what I care about is what they do in front (or behind) that camera, and what he did wasn't impressive to me.

This looks impressive.

He delivers more emotional character development in this trailer than he did in the entirety of The Theory of Everything, and Vikander looks incredible as well.  I'm all in for this.  It looks visually captivating, and emotionally stirring, and it's so topical and poignant and pretty much everything that everyone is talking about right now.

Oscar bait?  Yes.  

Worthy of our attention?  Yes.

Now, I've been saying this all year, and this trailer didn't change it for me.  Eddie Redmayne is easily the frontrunner for the Oscar this year, and unless this gets universal pans and he's nominated on gimmick alone, I don't see him losing.  Sure, Don Cheadle or Leonardo DiCaprio could make a play, especially if their performances receive raves and their 'dueness' becomes a real narrative this year, but this performance/character/subject seems really, really ripe to snag Redmayne the gold.

I just hope he's truly deserving this year.