Posts Tagged ‘Meryl Streep’

My Thoughts Regarding the 2012 Oscars

March 1, 2012

The 84th Annual Academy Awards took place on February 26 and here is the list of winners:

Best Picture: The Artist, Thomas Langmann, producer

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Cinematography: Hugo, Robert Richardson

Best Art Direction: Hugo, Dante Ferretti (production design) and Francesca Lo Schiavo (set decoration)

Best Costume Design: The Artist, Mark Bridges;

Best Makeup: The Iron Lady Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran

Best Film Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Best Sound Editing: Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Best Sound Mixing: Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Richard Middlemas

Best Animated Feature: Rango, Gore Verbinski

Best Visual Effects: Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman, and Alex Henning

Best Score: The Artist, Ludovic Bource

Best Song: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets), music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

Best Screenplay (adapted): The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash

Best Screenplay (original): Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

Best Short Film (Live Action): The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George

Best Documentary Short Subject: Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

Now for my thoughts.

I’m Right (75 Percent of the Time)
I predicted in my blog entry of February 2 that Meryl Streep would win Best Actress for Iron Lady, The Artist would win Best Film or Best Director and George Clooney would win Best Actor for The Descendents. Well, Meryl Streep won Best Actress, The Artist won both Best Film and Best Director, and Jean Dujardin won Best Actor. That means, I got three out of four right. I’m better than the lottery. As for George Clooney, I’m thinking the Academy is waiting to see if he can pull off the kind of performance he gave in The Descendants again before they give him an Oscar.

The Host
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Academy for having Billy Crystal host the Oscars. He was funny, engaging and moved things along. As I said in my Twitter post of February 27, “Hire him next year, & the year after that & the year after that…”  Of course, if Crystal can’t do next year’s Oscars, how about having Anne Hathaway as host. She was great last year, good enough to host the ceremony without James Franco. Here’s an idea, Billy Crystal can do even numbered years and Anne Hathaway can do odd numbered years and in years ending in 5 or 0, they can do it together. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Finally!
Bravo to Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer. Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help and Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for  Beginners. Spencer, like a lot of actors, toiled in bit roles in television and movies, before being cast in The Help. Plummer had roles ranging from Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music to bank president Arthur Case in Inside Man, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he got his first Oscar nomination. It was at the 84th Academy Awards where they both finally won. Just goes to show you that hard work and class pay off.

Let’s Not Forget…
The Cirque Du Soleil tribute to the magic of movies was great. Though, I must say that I didn’t like some of the camera shots. It would have been better if they didn’t show the performance at different angles, rather just keep a straight ahead shot. Then there was Kermit and Miss Piggy. Their little skit/presentation was funny. I especially liked Miss Piggy’s comment about not being nominated, “It’s about time Spielberg left some for the rest of us.” She said. “How many Oscars does he need anyway?” Well, Spielberg was snubbed more times than he won, so he understands why Miss Piggy would be frustrated with the Academy.

Well, that’s my two cents on the 2012 Academy Awards. Will George Clooney (not to mention Miss Piggy) finally get that Oscar? Will Billy Crystal return as host? Will the Kodak Theatre get a name that will stick for more than 11 years? These and other questions will be answered next year.

Sources:
http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-27/news/31104758_1_academy-awards-winners-hugo-film-editing

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001626/

http://oscar.go.com/video/PL55173797

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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

Movie Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in a Well Lit Alley

December 22, 2011

Never mind the saying that goes “I wouldn’t want to meet that person in a dark alley.” There are some movie characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight. Who are some of these characters? Well, there’s…

Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction
One of the most infamous movie of the 1980’s, which features the most psycho of psycho ex’s and is one of Glenn Close’s signature roles. There wasn’t even much a relationship for her to get worked up over. It was just a weekend fling with Michael Douglas’ character. Of course, when Michael Douglas’ character explains he’s married and things have to end, Alex isn’t just going to slink away and gripe about married men. Crank calls, acid on a car hood and a boiling pot that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Rabbit Stew, all show how sick this woman is. In fact when this film was broadcast on television, I had to shut it off when I saw the pot-boiling scene. That scene scared me, because I knew immediately what was in there and I didn’t wait to see Anne Archer, who played Douglas’ wife in the film, lift the lid. I thought, “If this lady can kill some kid’s pet, who knows what she’s capable of and I don’t want to find out.”

Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada
Newly minted journalism graduate, Andrea Sachs, (Anne Hathaway) is hired as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andrea soon learns that the job most gals would die for involves working for a boss who takes maliciousness to a whole new level. Miranda makes snide comments about Andrea’s sweater (“It’s not blue… it’s cerulean.”) and expects her to know what type of skirt Miranda means when she tells Andrea that she wants “skirts”. Yes, the boss is not only from hell, the boss also makes everyone’s life a living hell. Of course, it would be funny if there weren’t bosses like Miranda Priestly. Unfortunately for the majority of working folk, there are plenty of bosses, both male and female, like Miranda Priestly.

Avery Tolar from The Firm
If you’ve seen The Firm you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about Avery Tolar, who’s played by Gene Hackman? Yeah, he’s a lawyer, but he doesn’t make sarcastic remarks or threats. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that he is apathetically amoral. He knows that the law firm he works for is basically a tool of the Mafia. Maybe at one time he cared and thought about doing something about it. Unfortunately, he gave up and thought, “The hell with it.”  So, he just did his job, ate, drank and was merry and waited for what he thought was inevitable, death at the hands of the firm. That’s what makes his character so scary. He had lost hope and not having hope is scary.

Darth Vader from Star Wars Episodes IV – VI
Of course, I couldn’t leave out the baddest of bad guys. The man who killed his son’s adoptive parents, destroyed an entire inhabited planet, had his daughter tortured, had someone frozen in carbonite, was going to freeze his own son in carbonite, fought his own son in what was suppose to be a death match and cut off his son’s left hand. It’s pretty obvious the dude’s not to be messed with. Or is it? Remember Darth Vader started out as Anakin Skywalker, a noble Jedi Knight. Yet, as noble as he was, he was something of a lost soul. His mother had to stay behind on Tatooine while he went off to become a Jedi and she later died at the hands of the Sandpeople. He had to keep his love (and marriage) to Padme Amadala a secret. On top of that, somehow being a Jedi wasn’t enough and he was seduced by the Dark Side of the Sith. He lost Padme because of joining the Sith and never got to know his children. So, is he to be pitied, as well as feared? No, because in the end he redeems himself. In Episode VI, as the battle is raging in the space above and on the ground of Endor, Luke Skywalker, in the new Death Star, refuses to continue fighting Darth Vader. Therefore, the Emperor says, “So you shall die, Jedi” and starts zapping him. Luke cries out, “Father!” At that moment, Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and tosses him over a ledge. Vader is no longer lost. He sees that his son is in trouble and helps him. His love for son trumps any allegiance to the Sith and it brings him back to the way of the Jedi.

See, there is hope for all the bad guys out there to turn from their villainy. The thing is, they themselves have to see the error of their ways.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attraction-Michael-Douglas/dp/B00005UPNS/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1323367591&sr=1-4

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093010/

http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wears-Prada-Widescreen/dp/B000J103PC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106918/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/

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/

ROI From Hollywood Collectibles

September 29, 2010

Recently, I read on Moviematics.com that movie posters, particularly classic movie posters, can be good investments. I also read on Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com that said if a certain item is mentioned in or associated with a successful movie, the value of said item goes up.

Those articles got me thinking. After all, I’ve stated many times on this blog that I don’t recommend people buy movie posters or movie collectibles as investment vehicles, because no one knows which movies will become classics and which ones will be duds. So, I read the articles and found that the authors made good points about collecting with an eye towards return on investment.  Regarding movie posters, Moviematics.com mentions:

Rarity
Take the 1931 classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. There are only three original movie posters from that film in existence.  One of those posters recently sold on an online auction for over $300,000.  If there more than three Dracula posters, they wouldn’t command those kinds of prices.

The Movie Itself
Classic movies, like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz have seen movie posters, props and costumes sell very well at auction.  Flops, like Krull* wouldn’t do very well in an auction.

Who Starred in the Movie
Movie posters featuring the likes Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, do well for two reasons. One, they are all dead, which is related to rarity. Two, they starred in classic films, which is related to the movie itself.

What about items associated with a movie?  What’s so great about them? Well according to Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com:

Valuable Before More Valuable After
Items associated with the H.M.S. Titanic were valuable before the film Titanic was released in 1997.  Subsequently, they went up in value after the film’s theatrical release.

Possible To Plan Ahead
A film about Margaret Thatcher is going to be made and reports state that none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent? Call…) is on board as the Iron Lady. That should renew interest in Thatcher’s political career and England in the 1980’s. Also, there will be two more Harry Potter movies scheduled for release and that should increase the value of things related to Harry Potter movies and series author J.K. Rowling.

My advice remains not to buy a movie poster or other collectible for investment value. Still, it never hurts to research what you plan to buy. After all, knowledge is power.

When it comes to investing, there are other investments vehicles out there and if you are interested in one of them, don’t ask me. Instead, consult a financial advisor as to which one is right for you.
Sources:

http://www.moviematics.com/2010/08/17/classic-movie-posters-a-great-investment/4004/

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=73&docid=3826

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/


* Krull, released in 1983, is a movie about a world that is about to be invaded by aliens, and a prince and princess marry in order to unite their world and fight the enemy. The princess is kidnapped and prince goes on quest to find her. The film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson (yes that Liam Neeson)

It Came From The Stacks

August 25, 2010

Recently, the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts opened in theaters. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert and it deals with one woman’s post divorce soul search via travel. This is not the first time a book was the source material for a movie. In fact, many, many movies were based on books. So much so, someone could do a blog on all the movies that were based on books.  (ha-ha)

Well, if you think that I’m going to do a blog entry about books that have been made into movies, I have this to say:

You’re right.

While I can’t write about all the books that have been made into movies, I will feature some notable examples.

The Bible
Yes, the best selling book of all time has spawned quite a few movies.  They include:

The Ten Commandments
Released in 1923 and a remake came out in 1956. The 1956 version starred Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Based on the book of Exodus and regarding the 1956 version, in a nutshell, Moses (Heston) is raised in Pharaoh’s household and is loved by all, except by his brother Rameses (Brynner). Moses discovers he is not Egyptian is banished from Egypt, he later returns and declares “Let my people GO!” Oh and Brynner does a lot of scowling. The 1923 and 1956 films were directed by none other than Cecil B. DeMille. So, stop being mad at George Lucas for wanting to revisit Star Wars. Lucas was just following DeMille’s footsteps.

The Bible…In the Beginning
Released in 1966. Based on the book of Genesis, which means it starts with Creation and ends with Abraham being told not sacrifice his son, Isaac. This film also features director John Huston as Noah and George C. Scott as Abraham.

The Passion of the Christ
Released in 2004. Based on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus, by way of the Gospels according to Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The film starred James Caviezel as Jesus and was directed by Mel Gibson. At the time it was released, there was a lot of controversy. Some said film was anti-semitic in tone. Others took issue with the violence in the film. When the film’s theatrical release ended, the controversy died down and life went on, the same as it always did.

Gone With The Wind
Released in 1939, this is the movie most people think of when the phrase “Based on the best selling book” comes to mind. Based on the book by the same name by Margaret Mitchell, the movie deals with two people, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, and how they lived and loved during the time period before, during and after the American Civil War. The movie also features one of the most quoted lines in the history of American films. If I have tell you what that line is, I have this to say:

Frankly my dear, have you been living under a rock?

Wuthering Heights
Released the same year as Gone With The Wind and is overshadowed by that film. Based on the book of the same name by Emily Brontë, it deals with the love of Heathcliff, an orphan brought to Wuthering Heights and Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of the owner of Wuthering Heights. Circumstances force them apart but their love for each other never dies. None other than Sir Laurence Olivier is Heathcliff and Merle Oberon is Catherine in this movie. The book has gone through many film and television adaptations, yet Olivier/Oberon version is considered by many to be the definitive film version. FYI: Timothy Dalton (James Bond of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s) was cast as Heathcliff in the 1970 film.

The Bridges Of Madison County
Moving up a couple of decades, this film came out in 1995. Based on the book of the same name by Robert James Waller, this deals with a four-day affair between Francesca Johnson, Iowa housewife/World War II bride from Italy and Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer. Meryl Streep with a very convincing Italian accent, played Francesca (of course), Clint Eastwood played Robert and was the director of this film. Yet, for some strange reason, this film did not receive any Academy Awards. Bummer.

There you have it, several examples of books that were made into films. Of course, nowadays, many writers are interested in writing the Great American Blog, as opposed to  book. Here’s an idea for you. A movie based on a blog! Oh wait, that’s been done with Julie & Julia.

What about a movie based on a blog that deals with collecting, movie posters and pop culture as it relates to the movie industry?  Now, that would make a great movie! Don’t you think?

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Commandments-50th-Anniversary-Collection/dp/B000CNESNA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176115&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Story-Ever-Told-Movie/dp/B0002BO05S/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176496&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Beginning-Michael-Parks/dp/B00005NKT6/ref=sr_1_14?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282176915&sr=1-14

http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Christ-Full-Screen/dp/B00028HBKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282178185&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Wind-Two-Disc-70th-Anniversary/dp/B002M2Z3BA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282180096&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Wuthering-Heights-Merle-Oberon/dp/B00028HCEW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282332941&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Wuthering-Heights-Anna-Calder-Marshall/dp/B00005R5GB/ref=pd_sim_d_5

http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Julia-Meryl-Streep/dp/B002RSDW80/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282337444&sr=1-1