Archive for the Academy Awards Category

The Cavalcade takes a look at the 2010 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on February 1, 2011 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

This is what I wait all year for.  The reason I saw 50+ movies last year.  The Oscar nominations.

I’ve been doing this review of the Oscar nominations for about 5 years now. Check out my Oscar nomination reviews from 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.  I’ve clearly shown that I know more than the Academy.  So let’s see what I think of the nominations this year.  I’m only going to look at the “money” categories because no one really cares about sound mixing unless they are actually a sound mixer.

True Grit
Best Actor
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions) – Dammit.  Where the f**k did this movie come from?  I saw 50+ movies last year and I’ve never heard of this.
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit” (Paramount) – Yes.  Agreed.  Well done.
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Just watched this. It deserves all the praise it’s getting.
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company) – This is one of those I know I should see and my wife will want to see, but I’m like…”I’ll pass.”
James Franco in “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight) – Apparently this movie is NOT a prequel to the 1993 Renny Harlin classic, Cliffhanger, starring Sylvester Stallone.  And Franco does NOT play a younger version of Sly’s Gabe “Mountain” Walker.  I don’t know about you, but that adjusts my expectations to somewhere below…zero.

The Town
Supporting Actor
Christian Bale in “The Fighter” (Paramount) – I didn’t like this the first time when it was called The Wrestler.
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions) – I totally thought this was porn when I first read the title.  I was like, “Go Academy!”  Nope.  It’s about a small girl who searches for her druggie dad who put the family trailer up for his bail.  Sounds all lovely and depressing.  My friend Dr Mike’s wife will love it.
Jeremy Renner in “The Town” (Warner Bros.) – Yes, I couldn’t agree more.  This movie is great and Renner is fantastic in it.
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features) – So both Hawkeye (Renner) and The Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo) from the upcoming Avengers movie are nominated for Supporting Actor awards. That’s pretty awesome. Oh, and Batman. Forgot Bale was up there too.
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company) – This movie got a lot of nominations.  I know my wife is going to want to watch it.

Black Swan
Best Actress
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features) – Lesbian couple, raising teenagers, Oscar noms, blah, blah, blah.
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate) – A couple’s son dies, they drift apart.  The Academy loves these depressing dramas.
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions) – Kid searches for trailer park druggie dad.  Not porn.  Touching.
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight) – Lots of angry lesbian sex between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.  Of course I want to see this.  Too bad it was filmed by Darren Arnofsky who totally ruined similar sex scenes with Jennifer Connelly in Requiem for a Dream.
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company) – Supposedly a very sexy picture. However, I don’t think I would agree because Michelle Williams is not sexy.

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Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2010

Posted in Academy Awards, Harry Potter, movies, reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by Paxton

Movie Board

Here we are again.  It’s time for my annual encounter with The Movie Board.  We’ve been through a lot, Movie Board, and it’s time to do it again.  Let’s dance.

First off, let’s take a look at this year’s Movie Board.

Movie Board 2010
My Movie Board 2010

According to it’s all-knowing whiteness I saw 52 movies this past year.  Very close to last year in which I saw 53 movies.  I was on a tear throughout the summer, way ahead of my pace for last year, but the pace slowed to a crawl in September with the birth of my son.  However, I rallied and was able to get my movie viewing total back up over 50.  Actually, the number of movies I saw was probably closer to 60 as I also saw movies like True Grit (the original), Death Trap and Harry Brown, but they were all released before 2010.  And this list is for movies released within the calendar 2010 movie season.

Anyway, from this list I’ve culled my favorites.  And here they are in no particular order.

Inception
Inception – Mind bending.  Best way to describe this movie.  Leo is great in this.  I think I prefer this movie to Shutter Island.  I’d definitely watch Inception again before watching Shutter Island.  Sure, some of the dream mechanics are a little…ill defined.  Sure, Ellen Page’s character actually going into the dream made little to no sense.  But I enjoyed it all the same.  Fun and interesting story, action and a cliff hanger ending that usually SERIOUSLY pisses me off but didn’t here.  I love that rotating hallway fight sequence.  So awesome.

Salt
Salt – I was blown away by this movie.  It’s brutally AWESOME.  The action is intense.  I was not expecting the action and suspense in this movie to be as balls out awesome as it is.  Angelina is great and Liev Shreiber is also great (as usual).  So ridiculously good.  It’s like a female Bourne Identity.  I seriously think this is nearly as good as the first Bourne Identity (not the last one, the first one).

Harry Potter 7-1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I – I have seen every one of these movie in the theater.  And dammit if every one of these movies hasn’t gotten better and better.  Prisoner of Azkaban is phenomenal, Goblet of Fire is pretty good, but then Order of Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince are nothing short of spectacular.  And this movie just continues that awesomeness forward.  However, many people I know have been saying they were disappointed with this one.  I think it’s all expectations.  This movie is much darker than any other of the movies.  Plus, it covers the section of the book where Ron leaves and Harry and Hermione are running/searching for horcruxes alone.  Many people thought that storyline was boring in the book but I loved it.  It shows just how difficult a time they had and just how cut off from the rest of the wizarding world they really were.  Makes what happens later mean more.  I love this movie and I can’t wait to watch the next one.  Oh, yeah, since this is a Part I, it sets up a lot of the story for Part II, which may throw people off also.

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Cavalcade of Awesome looks at the 2009 Oscar Nominations

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , on February 3, 2010 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The Academy Awards are almost upon us. This year the Oscars will be broadcast on Sun, March 7 at 8pm EST. The ceremony will be co-hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

The Oscar nominations for this year were released on Tuesday, Feb 2.  I do this every year, I go through the nominations for the biggest categories and see how much I agree with the Academy. More often than not, I don’t agree at all.

See my thoughts on last year’s Oscar nominations here.

See the Oscar noms for 2007 here.

You can see all the nominations on the official Oscar website.  So, without further ado, here are the nominations.

BEST PICTURE
Avatar – I can see this in Visual Effects, but not Best Picture. It’s a good movie, it’s just not a great movie.  And by that I mean it’s not the best written movie in the world and it’s AT LEAST 30 minutes too long. The mineral the corporation is mining in the movie is called Unobtainium. They actually say it in the movie. COME ON!
The Blind Side – Think about this: The Blind Side has a shot at being the BEST PICTURE OF 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I like this movie, but BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR?! No.
District 9 – On my list of top 5 movies of 2009. Of course, there’s no way in Hell this is going to win, but it’s good to see it here.
An Education – Yeah, didn’t see it.  Nor have I heard of it.  Well, played, Academy.  Well.  Played.
The Hurt Locker – I don’t normally like war movies. I hear great things about this, so I may have to suck it up and give it a watch.
Inglourious Basterds – An exception to my war movie rule. In my top 5 movies of 2009.
Precious – I see why this is nominated.  I really do.  I just never want to watch it.
A Serious Man – The Coen’s are weird, dude.  I’ve only enjoyed 3 of their movies.  EVER.  And I’ve only watched one of those three movies more than once.  I’m not exactly itching to see this.
Up – I really did enjoy this movie, but, again, I’m not sure it deserved a BEST PICTURE OF 2009 nomination.
Up In The Air – I love George Clooney.  I knew this was going to be high on Academy voters’ lists.  And I still have no desire to watch it.

District 9 Inglorious Basterds

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, CRAZY HEART – Bridges wasn’t nominated for The Men Who Stare At Goats?  RIGGED!  I’m kidding.  Of course, I’ve never even heard of this movie.
George Clooney, UP IN THE AIR – Another missed opportunity for The Men Who Stare At Goats.
Colin Firth, A SINGLE MAN – Love Colin Firth.  Unless this is a sequel to Love Actually, then I’m not interested.
Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS – I have a man-crush on Matt Damon and I love Morgan Freeman.  That still does not make me want to see a movie about rugby…and apartheid.
Jeremy Renner, THE HURT LOCKER – Again, I hear Renner is great in this.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Matt Damon, INVICTUS – Yay, Matt!  I’m still not going to see this movie.
Woody Harrelson, THE MESSENGER – WTF is The Messenger?!  Harrelson should have been nominated for Zombieland.  There, I said it.
Christopher Plummer, THE LAST STATION – What?
Stanley Tucci, THE LOVELY BONES – Nice nom for Tucci.  He was good in this sequel to What Dreams May Come.
Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS – Waltz better win this.  From what I see here, he PWNS this category.

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The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2009

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okay, on Tuesday, you saw my favorite movies of 2009. These were all the movies I really enjoyed and will probably watch multiple times. Now, it’s time to look at what I think were the worst movies of 2009.

What makes a bad movie for me, for the most part, is disappointment because of expectations. I expect to really enjoy the movie because of a funny trailer or an interesting story and the movie doesn’t live up to those expectations. Those are the movies that go on this list. There are movies like Crank or Fast & Furious that you would expect to be on here, but let’s be honest, those movies are supposed to be bad. They are awful for a reason. Plus they are fun-awful, not awful-awful.

Before we get started, take a look back at previous years’ lists with my worst movies of 2007 and my worst movies of 2008 articles.

So here are the movies I was most disappointed with this year. Honestly, I could only come up with four. I really had a hard time putting together this list. There were a lot of good movies this year.  Here are the movies I really didn’t like.

Men Who Stare At Goats
Men Who Stare At Goats – This was a very disappointing movie for me. The trailer was awesome, however they pretty much showed every single punchline for every single funny scene in the trailer. EVERY SINGLE ONE. The rest of the movie was an awkwardly quirky ride that was neither funny nor interesting.  So by the time I saw the movie, every funny event was spoiled and that made me not care about the rest of the movie.  So many good actors, so much wasted potential.  And, to whomever cut the trailer, thank you for ruining this movie for me, d-bag.

Gamer
Gamer – This movie had so much promise.  Gerard Butler as a prisoner fighting in some type of corporate war games run by Michael C Hall? Oh, and Gerard Butler is being controlled remotely by a video game user played by the kid who’s going to be the lead in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie? Yes, please. However this movie BLEW. It was weird, there wasn’t enough action or humor and the mechanics of the video war games Gerard Butler’s character participates in came and went depending on what was needed in the story. Michael C Hall was good but his character was off the charts weird. This was just a bad movie based on a very solid premise.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2009

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, reviews, sequels, Star Trek with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okay, everyone. We are finally here. We are at the point where I glance up at my 2009 Movie Board and try to figure out what were my favorite movies of 2009. For those scoring at home, here’s the Movie Board for this year:

Movie Board 2009

As you can see, I saw 53 movies that were released in 2009 (and therefore are eligible for the Oscars).  Some of those movies were in the theater (the majority of them, actually) and some were at home on Blu-Ray.  That’s 4.42 movies per month. Up from last year. Also, I was able to top 50 movies for the first time since 2007. So, I’m excited about that.  Last year my total was 49, so I was a bit irked I didn’t make it.  This year, I’m back, baby!

For those just joining us this year, or for those that like reliving the past, check out my favorite movie picks in my Movie Board articles for 2007 and 2008.  I myself like to look back every year before I write this article, just to get in the movie pickin’ mood.

This was a really good year for movies. I saw a metric TON of good flicks in 2009.  I really had a hard time getting this list down to my favorite movies of the year.  As usual, I’m just picking my favorite five.  My own personal “best” list.  You may agree, you may disagree.  Regardless, I’m right, so pipe down and prepare to be told what 5 movies rocked my world this year.

Okay, 2009 movies, let’s do this.

Star Trek 2009
Star Trek – Blew my ass away. I’d take a picture of my ass to prove it to you, but you wouldn’t see anything but a blank space, because it was BLOWN AWAY.  I saw this movie twice in theaters because I had my ass kicked so incredibly hard the first time, I had to go back to be sure it wasn’t an illusion.  And it wasn’t.  I laughed and cried (yes, I f’n cried) at all the exact same spots on both viewings.  Then, my dad gave me the movie for Xmas and I watched it again on Blu-Ray and was reduced to a blubbering, laughing mess for a THIRD TIME.  THIS MOVIE IS FANTASTIC.  I can’t place this movie high enough on the list to get across how much I love this movie.  JJ Abrams gets it.  Orci and Kurtzman get it.  The actors get it.  This movie was Star Trek, warts and all.  I know some people were bitching about the plot holes and time travel, but I invite those haters to SHUT THEIR CHEETOS HOLES.  If you have watched any of the original series episodes from the ’60s (which I’ve been doing) then this movie fits right in.  I put this movie up there with Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country as my favorite Star Trek movie.  I balled when George Kirk died.  I laughed and pumped my fist when Kirk beats the Kobayashi-Maru.  I marveled at the final battle with Nero.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Star Trek movie.  PERIOD.  Best.  Movie.  This.  Year.  Take that to the bank, haters.

District 9
District 9 – I read a lot of the press for this movie before it opened.  A small sci-fi film from South Africa produced by Peter Jackson and written/directed by a little known but talented guy named Neill Blomkamp.  I knew most of the movie is done in a mock documentary style about aliens that have come to Earth.  That’s about all I knew, but it looked like a really clever idea and I was excited to see it.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Fantastic.  This movie blends CGI, practical effects and live action in an unbelievably seamless way.  The aliens are all CGI, but they are REAL.  This is no Jar Jar Binks, my friends.  Also, even though it’s only used for the first 2/3 of the movie, the mockumentary structure really works.  This is just a wonderful sci-fi movie.  Some of the movie review guys on the Internets that I respect even put this in their best of the year.  Devin over at CHUD put it #4 in his top 15 of the year and both Massawyrm and Harry Knowles over at Aint It Cool News put it #1 on their lists.  I absolutely agree.  This movie deserves to be seen.  It’s awesome.  I can’t recommend it enough.  Hopefully we’ll see a nomination for Special Effects as well as Best Screenplay (fingers crossed).

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