Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Murphy’

My Thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations

February 2, 2012

The Academy Awards nominations were announced on January 24, 2012 and here are the nominees for Best Picture:

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

If you want to see the entire list of nominees, you can read them here: http://www.movieweb.com/news/84th-annual-academy-awards-nominations

Now for my thoughts on the subject:

Then There Were Nine
This is the third year in a row that more than five films are up for Best Picture and I’ve grown to be not so crazy about the idea. If the Academy is going to expand one category, then it should expand the other categories, like Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, etc. Especially for an award like Best Picture, which is an icing-on-the-cake type of award. I feel that if your film has been nominated for Best Picture, it should have a few other awards, too. While films on the list are up for other awards, only two on the list are up for both Best Director and Best Actor (The Artist and The Descendants). This year none of the films in the Best Picture nominees have the quadruple nods of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Getting all those nominations gives a film a cache of respectability, as well as, bragging rights of “Look how great we are.” So, I say either expand all the categories or shrink the Best Film category back to five.

“The winner is…”
I predict that Meryl Streep will win for Best Actress, The Artist will either win for Best Film or Best Director and George Clooney will squeak by with Best Actor. What makes me say those things? Simple:

1.)   Meryl Streep is due for a win. While she has been nominated 17 times, she only won twice (1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1983 for Sophie’s Choice). So, how about giving her an award for portraying a powerful woman like Margaret Thatcher.

2.)   The Artist is an artsy and nostalgia piece and the Academy loves to award art and nostalgia films as if to say, “See, things were great back then. People cared about art and so do we.” Never mind the fact that the same tension between art and commerce existed “back then” as it does now.

3.)   George Clooney’s character in The Descendants isn’t some “I’m so handsome/smart/cool” type of character. Rather he plays a widowed dad who is trying to raise his kids and keep the ancestral home from being bought by real estate developers. Maybe the Academy will reward him with an Oscar. Yet, he is up against Jean Dujardin from The Artist. So it’s an actor in an art and nostalgia film versus an actor who’s known for playing “I’m so handsome/smart/cool” types, this time not playing such a type and getting an Oscar nomination for it. Hmmm, it will be close.

And Now A Word About The Host
When I learned that Eddie Murphy would be the host of the Academy Awards, I was so happy. Finally, a host who knows how to play for laughs. While Anne Hathaway was great at last year’s show, James Franco was just there. Then came the news that Murphy left when the telecast’s producer, Brett Ratner, left. I thought, “Oh no, the show’s going to suck.” When I heard that Billy Crystal would be the host, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve seen him host the show before and he knows what he is doing. He’s funny and moves the telecast along. So, my fears of a host who just shows up and nothing more were, thankfully, unfounded.

The 84th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) on February 26, 2012. To learn more about the Academy Awards go to: http://oscar.go.com/

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/84th-annual-academy-awards-nominations
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000658/awards

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2011 Holiday Movies

November 24, 2011

The last Thursday in November marks Thanksgiving in the U.S., a holiday first celebrated by colonists, commonly known as Pilgrims, at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts in 1621. It was established as a national holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. This is a day in which Americans gather with family and friends to give thanks and share a meal of, most likely, turkey. November also marks the start of the holiday movie season. Holiday movies can be animated, blockbusters, family fare that aims for the ol’heartstrings or anything else.  As you can guess, I’m going to spotlight some holiday movies that are either currently playing or will be released.

November
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

Our favorite escapees from Guantanamo Bay, Harold and Kumar, decide to celebrate Christmas in style. Unfortunately, they end up burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s Christmas tree. Uh-oh. Stars Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris and it is currently in theaters.

Tower Heist
Working stiffs lose their pension because the boss was running a ponzi scheme. So, they decide to rob the boss. Yes, karma bites. Stars Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck and it is currently in theaters.

J. Edgar
A bio-pic about  J.Edgar Hoover, the man who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) for almost 50 years. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz and it was directed by Clint Eastwood. I still feel Eastwood should have gotten the Oscar for Hereafter. Let’s hope the Academy smiles on Eastwood this time around. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts and it is currently in theaters.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Vampires, vampires go away. Don’t come back any day (or night).

Oh, and by the way, Edward and Bella get married and they finally do it. Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner and it is currently in theaters.

The Muppets
Kermit and Miss Piggy, now that’s one couple I want to see together. They and the other Muppets reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon. (Is there any other kind?) Stars Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, as well as Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppet crew. The film is currently playing in theaters.

December
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Elementary my dear reader, this looks like this could be better than the 2009 release and I would be delighted if that were the case. Oh, and Holmes battles his nemesis, Professor Moriaty. Stars Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris and it will be released on December 16.

The Iron Lady
This is a bio-pic of Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of England in the 1980’s. It stars none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent, call…) and will be released on December 16.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Does Tom Cruise still have it in him to carry a blockbuster? We’ll find out with MI 4. The movie will be released on December 21.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Here is the American film version of the book of the same name by Stieg Larsson. The mystery involves a journalist who searches for a woman who has been missing for 40 years and he is helped by a computer hacker. Stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Stellan Skarsgard. The film will be released on December 21.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
The holiday season Spielberg releases a movie, Part 1. This is a motion capture film, meaning that movement is recorded and then translated into a digital model. Another famous motion capture film is The Polar Express. This films deals with friends going off on an adventure to find treasure. Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig and will be released on December 21.

War Horse
The holiday season Spielberg releases a movie, Part 2 and this deals with a boy and his horse, during World War I. Stars Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis. It will be released on December 25.

Well there it is, some of this year’s holiday films. Which ones will hit it big and which ones will bomb? Your guess is as good as mine. Still, save me the middle seat in the middle of the theater.

Sources:
http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/page2

http://www.cityoffilms.com/reel-news/the-city-of-films-fall-holiday-movie-guide-2011/3/

http://www.cityoffilms.com/reel-news/the-city-of-films-fall-holiday-movie-guide-2011/4/

I Don’t Like Horror Films

September 1, 2011

This past weekend, while Hurricane Irene was creating havoc up and down the east coast of the United States, a remake of the made-for-television horror film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was released. The film starred Katie Holmes and was directed by none other than Guillermo del Toro. Yet, no matter who’s directing or starring in the film, I must admit that I was never a fan of horror films. Yes, that’s right, while the people I grew up with saw Friday the 13th Part Whatever, I either saw E.T., the latest Star Wars re-release or was working on my book that was destined to become the Great American Novel. Now that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is in movie theaters, I thought take the opportunity to highlight the reasons why I don’t like horror films.

All that Blood and Gore
The old time horror films such as Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff were built upon good acting and suspense. The violence happened off screen. Since the 1970’s, the unofficial motto of horror films is “We give you BLOOD!” All that slicing and dicing does nothing for me. I don’t think it is thrilling or even funny. It just seems like a big waste of acting, special effects and film. A car chase, as implausible as it is in a horror film, would be a much better use of all those things.

Too Many Damsels in Distress
Why is it that the chicks in the film are always the ones who are being chased and killed by the villain? If you are going to portray someone who kills indiscriminately, why discriminate against guys? Don’t guys get in the villain’s way?  So how about having a few guys sliced and diced, just to even out the body count? After all, it’s only fair.

Eddie Murphy Was Right
If you are of a certain age, you will remember when Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live in December 1982. He did a stand up routine in place of a monologue and during the routine he talked about the horror film plot device of the haunted/possessed house. The routine goes like this:

“Wow, baby, this is beautiful. We got chandelier hangin’ up here, kids outside playin’, it’s a beautiful neighborhood, I really love – this is beaut–”

[demonic whisper] “Get out!”

“Too bad we can’t stay.”

Exactly. Horror movies that utilize the haunted/possessed house plot device beg the question of “Why don’t the characters just leave?” The obvious answer is that it would end the movie without much of a dénouement. Still, lots of times in these films the characters heard the stories about said house or place, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when things start go wrong. Dudes, they put a “Keep Out” sign for a reason. Don’t you think it would have been a good idea to stay away.

Of course, even with these “corrections” I still won’t like horror films. So, if you are in the mood for Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street don’t bother inviting me because I’ll either be working on another blog entry or watching Star Wars on DVD.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/don-t-afraid-katie-holmes-182915204.html

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/82/82imono.phtml

Successful Movie Franchises Part 2

July 28, 2011

In last week’s entry the reader was treated to tales of spies, villains and redemption. That’s right, the blog entry dealt with successful movie franchises. This week’s installment continues the story. Will good prevail? Will the hero get the girl? Read on and find out.

Batman/Superman
I combined them because they both started as comic books, then went to movie serials, then television and finally back to movies. They are also complex characters. They both lost their parents. They both are compelled to fight the good fight. Superman does it because his foster parents, the Kents instilled in him that his gifts must be used for the betterment of humanity. Batman does it because of survivor’s guilt. He saw his parents killed in a botched robbery and that spurred him to fight for justice.

While a lot could be said about the differences and similarities between the two, for now I’ll just focus on the films. As for Superman, there have been five movies about the Man of Steel, four starring the late Christopher Reeve in the title role (Superman films from 1978 to 1987) and one with actor Brandon Routh (Superman Returns). The films are:

Superman: The Movie 
1978
Superman II

1980
Superman III
1983
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
“1987
Superman Returns
2006

Since Superman Returns was such a disappointment critically and commercially, I hope there will not be another Superman movie. It had a good run, give it a rest and think of something new.

Moving along to Batman, there have been six films. Where did I get that number from? Simple I included the very campy Batman film from 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, the television show did spawn a movie) As for the role call of actors, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney each portrayed the Dark Knight in one film, Michael Keaton portrayed the Caped Crusader twice and with the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will have portrayed Batman in three films. If you want to know  the filmography, here it is:

Batman 1966 Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin
Batman
1989 Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as The Joker
Batman Returns
1992 Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Batman Forever
1995 Val Kilmer in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman + Robin
1997 George Clooney in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman Begins
2005 Christian Bale in the title role
The Dark Knight
2008 Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger as The Joker
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 expected release Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman.

I hope The Dark Knight Rises is the last Batman movie—ever!  Director Christopher Nolan did a great job rebooting Batman and Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, got the darkness of Batman/Bruce Wayne just right. After all, he’s not some rich guy with nothing better to do than fight bad guys. For all his wealth and for all the good that he does as Batman, Bruce Wayne cannot bring his parents back and therein lies his darkness. Still, like Superman, it had a good run. End it. Please!

Shrek
The thumb nosing tale to every Disneyesque motif out there spawned four films. Each of the films featured the voices of Mike Myers as the title character, as well as Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. The films collectively have made over $1 billion in the U.S. Not bad for an orge, his wife and his donkey pal. In case you want to put these films in your Netflix queue, they are:

Shrek 2001
Shrek 2
2004
Shrek the Third
2007
Shrek Forever After
2010

This franchise looks like it is done. Yet, the careers of the three principal stars have stalled recently, so there just might be another one coming down the pike. Still, let’s hope the folks at Dreamworks decide not to greenlight Shrek 5: Insert Clever Subhead Here.

Spider-man
This franchise took a while to get off the ground. The motion picture rights were first purchased in 1985 but a combination of the story not being right to limits of technology delayed the movie from being made until 2000. It was finally released in 2002 with Sam Raimi as the director and Tobey Maguire as the title character. Three films where made with Raimi as the director and Maguire as Spidey and these three films made $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. Yet Spider-man 3 got mixed reviews. So, there were plans to make a Spider-man 4, yet Sam Rami couldn’t meet the deadline of 2011. So, Sony Pictures cancelled Spider-man 4 and announced that the franchise would be rebootted with a new director and new cast. The rebootted Spider-man is expected to be released in 2012. Personally, I think it would have been better just to end the franchise with Spider-man 3. Spidey/Peter Parker battled his demons, got the bad guys and married Mary Jane Watson. There are loads of superheros in the Marvel universe, so there would be no lack of material for filmmakers to draw from. Again the list:

Spider-man 2002
Spider-man 2
2004
Spider-man 3
2007

Pirates of the Carribean
This movie franchise wasn’t based on a comic book or book or came from anyone’s imagination. This successful movie franchise is based on a ride of the same name at both Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The series stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. The idea of a pirate movie based on the ride was in development at Disney since the early 1990’s. When director Gore Verbinski came on board in 2002, he wanted to marry the fun of the ride with its supernatural aspects.  Well, it came as a great surprise that the film did well, because a pirate movie had not been successful for a very long time. To date the films have made over $1.2 billion in the U.S. That’s a lot of yo, ho, ho-ing and it won’t end because Johnny Depp has signed on for a fifth Pirates movie.

You know what is below:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 (Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were filmed simultantiously.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011

Thus ends the tale of the movie franchise. Tune in next time for another exciting tale from the world of movies, collecting and pop culture, brought to you by a Generation X’er with many writing credits and not to mention many movie posters for sale.

Sources:
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/other.php?topic=bizarro-files

http://gothamknightsonline.forumotion.com/t106-how-many-batman-movies-are-there-and-what-are-their-names

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=shrek.htm

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=spiderman.htm

http://spiderman.wikia.com/wiki/Spider-Man_(film_series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_(film_series)