I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Short Programs at the film festivals I attend (maybe unfairly so) but I’m working changing that. In preparing to attending the upcoming Sundance film festival I came across a trailer for Boneshakers, the next project for 2013 Oscar-nominated (youngest in history!) and overall adorable star of Beasts of the Southern Wild starQuvenzhané Wallis. I’m really digging her right now. If you are interested to see it, here is a short trailer for the 12-minute short film:
Synopsis: An African family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to cure its problem child.
If you missed Beasts of the Southern Wild when it was in theaters, it is being re-released for a second theatrical run in select cities. Get more details here.
In case you haven’t heard (or don’t really care to which you won’t be reading this post anyway), this morning around 8:30 am EST, the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced. I had some big hopes (Leo DiCaprio, who made Django Unchainedso great! Argo, my pick for best film of the year! Anne Hathaway, who sang her heart out in Les Mis! Please, don’t nominate Jennifer Lawrence!). The nominations were announced by the duo of Seth MacFarlene (host for the upcoming award show) and Emma Stone (the resident “It girl” of the moment). Seth MacFarlene, who I never really found all that funny in the past, continues to surprise me (do you know he is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and now can add Oscar nominee if you see below) and is definitely growing on me. I found his banter with the always adorably funny Emma Stone to be cute. By the way, if you didn’t get to see the nominees announced live but sill want to see it, you can still watch it here.
I’m looking even more forward to Oscar night. And I started a new tradition last year to see whatever wins Best Film and Best Foreign Film as a double feature after the awards show if I hadn’t already (Last year, it was The Artist & A Separation) so excited to see what will win. Let’s get to my recap of the top nominees, my commentary and predictions as well as some good ol’ fashion Oscar trivia…
Best Motion Picture of the year: Amour | Argo | Beasts of the Southern Wild | Django Unchained | Les Miserables | Lincoln | Life of Pi | Silver Linings Playbook | Zero Dark Thirty
According to the aggregate of critics, the frontrunners are Argo, Amour and Zero Dark Thirty (which just made it in since it entered theaters as a limited release in December). However, more likely than not, Best Film winners also have a best director nom. None for Ben Affleck (Argo) or Kathyrn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) so they may relegate them off of the frontrunner list. My money was on Argo, but now I’m actually thinking Lincoln may sweep in there after it’s strong showing with nominations (the most with 12 noms). I do think it was a great movie, my favorite drama of the year. Or it can be Amour.
An interesting Oscar fact - With the nomination of Argo, GeorgeClooney (who produced with Affleck) has been Oscar nominated in the most categories ever: Actor, Directing, Supporting Actor, Original & Adapted screenplay, and today—Best Picture. Interesting.
BEST FEATURE “Beasts of the Southern Wild” | “Bernie” | “Keep the Lights On” | “Moonrise Kingdom” | “Silver Linings Playbook”
BEST DIRECTOR Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom” | Julia Loktev, “The Loneliest Planet” | David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook” | Ira Sachs, “Keep the Lights On” | Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
BEST SCREENPLAY Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom” | Zoe Kazan, “Ruby Sparks” | Martin | McDonagh, “Seven Psychopaths” | David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook” | Ira Sachs, “Keep the Lights On”
I have to say I have only seen one maybe two movies in the theaters in the last two months or so, an absolute rarity for me. It have been pretty much due to the lack of new movies I have been interested in enough to see. Well that is all about to change next month with the slew of summer releases that are on the horizon and I couldn’t be happier. Actually, I’m ecstatic. Thanks to the good people over at EW who continue to publish awesome movie calendars so people like me can plan their theater outings. With almost 15 movies between May and August, this will be my busiest summer yet:
The Avengers: Yep, I’m planning to assemble with some friends and see this. I will just miss seeing it at Tribeca and will but in Europe on opening weekend but I’m rushing back to see this. If you are like me and missed some of the origin movies like Thor, AMC theaters are running a Marvel movie marathon on May 3rd!
Killer Joe: When a debt puts a young man (Emile Hirsch)’s life in danger, he decides to hire a contract killer, Killer Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), to kill his evil mother in order to collect the insurance money. No trailer yet but this dark indie comedy premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival to good reviews, and I think it would be worth seeing.
Safety Not Guaranteed: This is my sweet and genuine comedy pick of the summer. The film is actually inspired by a real internet meme of a newspaper classified ad by a person seeking a companion for time travel (so how can this NOT be funny?). In this, three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed this classified ad. One of my favorite up-and-coming actors Mark Jake Johnson (New Girl) stars.
To Rome With Love: The next Woody Allen movie focusing on people’s experiences in Rome starring Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, and Alec Baldwin.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: A magical story of a 6-year old girl who lives with her father in a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. When her father contracts a mysterious illness which threatens the balances of nature, Hushpuppy goes on a quest to find her mother.This was not a film on my radar at this year’s Sundance as I usually avoid anything remotely close to fantasy films but after it won the big prize there, I have to check it out.
Update (5/5): The trailer is here, and its beautiful fantasy film indeed:
Magic Mike: Male strippers without shirts but with plenty of dreams in Steven Soderbergh’s latest starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Matthew McConaughey
The Amazing Spiderman: I still think its too early for a spiderman reboot (or is this a prequel? really?) but I can’t fault them. They had my money at Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
Savages: I think Oliver Stone is on the right track with this new crime drama starring Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, and Benicio del Toro.
The Dark Knight Rises: I have to see the next and last entry in the Christopher Nolan Batman franchise. It doesn’t hurt that Inception castmates Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt co-stars. Am I the only one still not 100% sure of Anne Hathaway at Catwoman? Watch the official trailer or see a (much better, in my opinion) fan-made trailer. A new official trailer is suppose to premiere before The Avengers so keep an eye out for it!
The Bourne Legacy: In this 4th Bourne film, there is more to the Treadstone project: Jeremy Renner!
The Odd Life of Timothy Green: This is my family film pick of the summer. A childless couple bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. This characteristics are personified with the appearance of Timothy Green, but all is not as it appears. I’m curious to see the gentler side of Joel Edgerton (have you seen some of his past films?).
Premium Rush: A NYC bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city. I actually don’t think this is going to be anything more than just a cool looking action movie on a bike but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it… so… you know… gonna go see it. I actually stumbled across the film set last year so curious to see what they do with it to give it some substance.
Lawless (formerly The Wettest County): Three brothers (two of which are played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) find their bootlegging business under threat in Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia. No trailer yet but I’m already pulled in by the cast which also includes Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain.
Update (4/24): The trailer has just been released and it looks pretty damn good. I barely recognized Guy Pearce. Anyone thinks like I do that Shia LaBoeuf was born to play an outlaw?
Last night, the Sundance elite got together for this year’s festival award ceremony in Park City. This year’s festival celebrated the work of Black filmmakers and actors with some of its top prizes. The biggest winner of the festival was Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film that showcases the talents of two Black leads. The film won the granddaddy of them all, the Grand Jury Prize, and also the US Dramatic Cinematography Award. Not bad for a 29-year old Benh Zeitlin’s first feature. Bonus, it was filmed in my home state of Louisiana.
Another triumph went to Ava DuVernay who won the US Dramatic Directing Award for her film Middle of Nowhere. This win made her the first Black woman to ever win this award at Sundance. Kudos goes out to her. This film was also acquired for distribution at the festival so be on the look out for it.