Friday, February 20, 2015

My official predictions for the 87th annual Academy Awards.

This Sunday Night, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their award recipients for what they felt represented the best achievements in cinema of 2014. To be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the ceremony looks to be an exciting one (which is desperately needed as of recently), but as for the actual award winners, the race for the awards are looking to be the most jam packed in many years.

It is true that in years past, many of the categories have felt easy to predict, but this year, a number of categories feel like an incredibly close race not just for two films, but in some instances even three or four. The Best Picture victor in particular is the hardest it has been to call since before The Return of the King in 2004. It makes it not only exciting to see which films will ultimately come out on top, but also a nail-biter to see if our favorites will somehow be able to hit it big.

So, like I did last year, I’m going to make a post detailing my picks for what I think the eventual award winners will be, and my reasoning as to why, and I’ll also chip in my picks for what I’d most like to win in each category. Keep in mind that I am nowhere near 100% on most of these, but this is about as certain as I’m ever going to be. With that said, let’s get started.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of 2015...

With 2014 past us, and the Oscars set to air this Sunday, I thought now would be the best time to finally reveal my list of my most anticipated films of the year. 2014 wasn’t all that impressive of a year to me, despite three fantastic movies that were each fiercely battling it out with each other to be my favorite film of the year. However, if you were underwhelmed with the number of stellar films, then 2015 should bring incredible promise.

2015 is going to be LOADED with potentially fantastic films, from smaller and creative independent fare, to bigger and possibly wildly fun blockbusters. There are so many films that look great coming out this year that I found it uncommonly difficult to narrow down a list of what films I’m most looking forward to. For this reason, rather than narrow it down to ten, to include all the films I’m excited for, I made a list of my top fifteen most anticipated films, along with ten honorable mentions… And believe me, there were STILL movies I wanted to include here.

Anticipation can often be a dangerous thing, because we’re never necessarily sure if these movies will live up to expectations, if they’ll be good, or if they’ll suck. In fact, some movies may not even be released this year at all. Sometimes, smaller films can even swoop in with little fanfare and steal anticipation away from another film, much like films like Birdman and Whiplash which made huge splashes in the festival circuit. So for these reasons, this list is merely how it stands at the present, and films could likely swap places as time goes on. Also, I neglected to include films that aren’t guaranteed to be released this year, such as David O. Russell’s Joy.

As always, this list is based on my own personal preferences and taste, so if a film you’re anticipating isn’t on here, it means I haven’t yet heard of it, I’m anticipating it but not enough to put it on the list, or I’m simply not looking forward to it at all. So if you were hoping to see Mad Max: Fury Road in here somewhere, I apologize in advance for the disappointment.

Anyway, let’s start off with the films that didn’t quite make it in the top 15.

Honorable Mentions include:
25. The Stanford Prison Experiment

24. Ant-Man

23. Equals

22. Everest

21. Knight of Cups

20. Tomorrowland

19. Jane Got a Gun

18. Dark Places

17. In the Heart of the Sea

16. Freeheld

And with those addressed, let’s get to the real list.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Top Ten Best Films of 2014...

Last week, it was very refreshing to let off some steam against movies that I absolutely detested, but today, it’s time to look at those that I had nothing but high admiration for. As I’ve said before, 2014 wasn’t full of much variety due to countless sequels and the like having been released, but films of immeasurable quality and genuine originality shone through the cracks. Even though the sequels were overloaded, that still didn’t mean we didn’t get fantastic experiences out of them, for though some of these films were based on previous material, they still put their own creative spin on what they were given to work with.

That led to a big problem for me, though. Choosing what I ultimately wanted to be my pick for the best film of 2014 was agonizing, because it was such a dead heat between my top three, as I could see any of them being my pick, and any of them would make sense. Well, after a long time mulling it over, I’m as confident as I’ll ever be in this list.

First up are some honorable mentions. The hardest movie to leave off this list was The Lego Movie, a clever satire of ongoing pop culture trends and corporate perfectionism, but above all was the funniest film that I saw all year. Two Days, One Night was both a gorgeous and gloomy film, creating a disturbingly accurate portrait of deep-rooted depression, and featured a stunning Marion Cotillard in the leading role. Foxcatcher felt a lot like watching a disturbing documentary, its analysis of American patriotism and the fight for global relevance and fame deeply unsettling, and its trio of lead actors all turning in performances that stand among their greatest. The Babadook was practically the film that saved modern horror for me, boasting genuinely excellent storytelling and allegories to depression and suicidal contemplation, and knew how to scare audiences without resorting to ten million jump scares. While I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic for Whiplash as others, there’s no denying that it’s a psychologically invasive film, mainly thanks to a passionate but utterly venomous J.K. Simmons.

And without further ado, here’s the list.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Top Ten Best Film Scores of 2014...

Hi, everybody! My list of my top ten best films of 2014 will be unveiled this Saturday, but in the meantime, I thought I’d add a new annual feature to my blog. In celebration of the upcoming IFMCA nominations in two days, I decided to post my list of the top ten best film scores of 2014.

I adore film music! I’m practically spoiled on the classics by John Williams, and nowadays, my appreciation for orchestral scores and the like have still remained just as strong. If you’re willing to look hard enough, you can usually find a spectacular score even in the worst films, and this is one reason why I admire the IFMCA’s so dearly. They judge film music exactly how it should be judged, basing their final verdicts on how the scores work just as well on a separate album experience as they do in the film (an inspired change from the Oscars always equating Best Score to Best Movie).

So, for my list, I’ll be basing my rankings based on how well they work outside of the film, and how well they work in context. For this reason, you won’t be seeing Gone Girl on my list, for while it may compliment David Fincher’s atmosphere fine, on its own it’s simply deplorable, grating, and lacking any cohesion and thematic development.

So, with all that established, let’s proceed with the actual list.