Tag Archives: AcademyAwards

My 2015-16 Oscar Predictions

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It’s that time again. This Sunday are the OSCARS!!!!!  That trivial, self serving, over-bloated telecast that I’m obsessed with and can’t get enough of every year.  Regardless of the whirlwind of controversy, I still need to make my picks! A few years ago I had my best ballot which was two wrong. Will this be the year I get them all right?

Remember, I am picking who will win, as opposed to who I want to win. Below, you’ll see the word ‘WINNER’ next to the film I believe will take home the award.

And don’t forget to follow along as I (and the rest of America) live tweet the Oscars. @nuttyplofessor

So, without further ado, my picks:

Best Picture

The Big Short – WINNERthe-big-short-movie

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Thoughts: The PGA hasn’t been wrong since 2006 and The Big Short won this year, so I’m betting on the house.

Possible Upset: Spotlight

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumboleonardo-dicaprio-revenant-trailer-buried-alive-092915

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant – WINNER

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Thoughts: He won’t lose. He’s won all the awards and it won’t stop here.

Possible Upset: Anybody else because it would just be Leo’s luck.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol room_1

Brie Larson, Room -WINNER

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Thoughts: She won’t lose. She’s won all the awards and it won’t stop here.

Possible Upset: I don’t even think there’s a chance of anybody else winning.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short creed-critic-jumbo

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed – WINNER

Thoughts: He’s the perfect winner. Veteran actor getting his due for a part he first played in the 70s? An Oscar moment to live on forever.

Possible Upset: Mark Rylance.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight alicia.vikander

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl – WINNER

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Thoughts: Alicia Vikander won the SAG and overall they match the Oscars about 80%.

Possible Upset: Kate Winslet.

Best Directing

Adam McKay, The Big Short TheRevenantInterview

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant – WINNER

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Thoughts: Iñárritu won the DGA, so once again, I’m going with statistics.

Possible Upset: George Miller.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short – WINNER maxresdefault

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

Thoughts: I think it’s going to win best picture, so I’m taking the chance it wins this too.

Upset: The Martian

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies Spotlight-Image-1

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight – WINNER

Straight Outta Compton

Thoughts: Despite the fact that Inside Out will win it’s award, Spotlight is the only legit best picture nominee here that has a shot.

Upset: Inside OutMV5BMTUyMTE0ODcxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE4NDQzNTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Best Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNER

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Foreign Language Film

Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent30842_43_Son_of_Saul01_Sony

France, Mustang

Hungary, Son of Saul – WINNER

Jordan, Theeb

Denmark, A War

Best Original Score

Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spieshateful-iimage-7-30.0

Carter Burwell, Carol

Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight – WINNER

Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario

John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spiesmaxresdefault

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNER

The Martian

The Revenant

Best Visual Effects

Ex MachinaMad-Max-Chase

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNER

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Animated Feature Film

Anomalisa 107279-full

Boy and the World

Inside Out – WINNER

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Best Cinematography

Caroltom-hardy-the-revenant

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant – WINNER

Sicario

Best Costume Design

Carol – WINNERcarol-image-rooney-mara-cate-blanchett

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Best Documentary – Feature

Amy – WINNER amy_winehouse_poster

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Documentary – Short Subject305167-a-girl-in-the-river-the-price-of-forgiveness-0-230-0-345-crop

Body Team 12

Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – WINNER

Last Day of Freedom

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNER MadMaxFuryRoadImmortan

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

Best Original Song

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of GreyTil_It_Happens_to_You_by_Lady_Gaga

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3,” Youth

“‘Til It Happens to You,” The Haunting Ground – WINNER

“Writings on the Wall,” Spectre

Best Animated Short Film4edc1645760f5d20edf79dfa367d9b3f0cf21a14320ea3801cac4c529a67ab6a-1024x576

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow – WINNER

Best Live Action Short Film69d1686a857d030df21f4560ec12cd7a87123fd2a4b27aebee20b27926f3a0c9-724x1024

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

Shok – WINNER

Stutterer

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNERmaxresdefault-1

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies
mad-max-6

Mad Max: Fury Road – WINNER

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Dear… OSCARS

the-oscars-and-social-media-by-the-numbers-630dfbfb1c

Dear Oscars,

You have to stop nominating actors and actresses into the lead category when they are clearly supporting roles. Your understanding of what a protagonist or anti-hero and character arc is continues to be–

Wait a minute. I’m sorry. Before I begin criticizing you, I want to be as clear as day. I love you very much. As a child you were my gateway drug into film and the conversation that could be had about film. You were (and still are) bigger than any other holiday in my personal calendar. While I have grown to understand your trivial nature, my enchantment with you is unwavering. I used to be able to name every single best picture, actor, and actress winner. I knew all the facts and figures. My first “MUST WATCH” lists were based on what you deemed ‘the best’.  Then, through backwards ways, you taught me the true meaning of subjectivity and objectivity in art.

My summers are spent going to the movies, absorbing all of the fantasy, superhero, sci-fi movies my little brain, eyes, and ears can handle. My fall and winter are spent seeing everything that will potentially be nominated or just in your nomination conversation. Then I take your nominations list, run it against everything I know about you, pick your winners, and win some Oscar-pool prizes. I dedicate my free time to my love of film and my obsession with you.

Since I know so much about you, I also see your glaring flaws. (We all have them, so don’t stream_imgget defensive.) I could go on and on about how your broadcast doesn’t prioritize its viewers, or how your nominations system is flawed, or how I see more of the nominated movies than your voters, or how you don’t pay attention to certain genres, or how– okay, I’ll stop. You get it. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before and you’ll hear it from years to come. What really bothers me though, like really, really bothers me is when you compromise your understanding of Lead and Supporting Actor/Actress–a semi-straight forward concept when it comes to basic storytelling.

Let’s use this year’s nominations as an example. Steve Carell is nominated in the category of: BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE for ‘Foxcatcher’. I saw that movie. I have the ticket stub to prove it, so I’m pretty sure that Channing Tatum’s character, Mark Schultz, is the mainfoxcatcher1 character. He’s the protagonist that the audience connects and empathizes with throughout the bloated two hour and fourteen minute running time. Tatum’s Mark is the character that we follow as he is led to make bad choice after bad choice. The story that ‘Foxcatcher’ is presenting is the story of Mark Schultz. Once his story is complete, Schultz isn’t in the movie for about 20 minutes. The director, Bennett Miller, had told his full story, so despite the shocking penultimate scene, the last portion of the movie is dull and without a main character.

Oscars, I totally agree that Carell is excellent as John du Pont. I’m not criticizing his performance. He’s haunting as the manipulative, isolated rich man, but still only serves as steve_carell_foxcatcheran obstacle in Mark’s way of self-discovery. Regardless of screentime, du Pont is a supporting character in Mark’s story. John Du Pont has no real character arc–he’s just as troubled at the start of the film as he is at the end. His barometer needle doesn’t move enough to warrant a lead actor credit. Du Pont doesn’t go through any type of transformation that puts him in a different place–he just chooses to act on his already tainted thoughts.  Your cousin, the BAFTA’s, got it right,  Oscars. Carell should be nominated for Supporting Actor. His nomination bumps two actors, Jake Gyllenhaal (‘Nightcrawler’) and David Oyelowo (‘Selma’), out of the field that they actually fit and gives Robert Duvall’s unworthy performance in ‘The Judge’ a spot in the supporting line-up*.

*Note: Duvall does fit your historically documented love of giving supporting nominations to veteran actors in when they haven’t been around a lot lately.

You have a very clear history of allowing for this sort of category jump, Oscars. I can name dozens of examples. For instance, Meryl Streep’s monstrous Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ was nominated for Lead Actress. I saw that one too! I’m The-Devil-Wears-Prada-Theme-Song-1almost positive that Anne Hathaway’s Andrea Sachs is that movie’s lead character. It’s almost exactly like the ‘Foxcatcher’ example. Do you get what I’m saying, golden statue man? You know, I can’t tell because you haven’t moved a muscle, so I’ll try and figure out another one. Okay, here. Did you see ‘Training Day’? You probably did because Denzel Washington won Best Lead Actor for the role of Alonzo Harris. That’s so interesting to me because Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is that film’s lead character and Hawke was nominated for Supporting Actor. Oscar, I could go on with examples like Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin Dada in ‘The Last King of Scotland’, Judi Dench as Barbara Covett in ‘Notes on a Scandal’, Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz in ‘The Reader’, and to lesser extents, a206a947-68dd-49ab-8fe7-e7272596cb64.grid-6x2Louise Fletcher in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, Anthony Hopkins in ‘Silence of the Lambs’, Morgan Freeman in ‘Invictus’ and Michelle Williams in ‘My Week with Marilyn’.* In my opinion, in a weaker year for all male categories, JK Simmons would be up for Best Lead Actor for ‘Whiplash’. All of these performers are 100% worthy of accolades for their work in these roles, but in the correct category.

Is it because it’s a famous actor bringing a human side to a villainous character? (Most of these parts are charismatic villains that create obstacles for the leads.) Is it purely because of the studio’s campaign for the lead nomination? (These are your rules, so you can do what you want.) Maybe it’s because these parts seem to overshadow the other actors or actresses in the film? (Character roles are usually the most entertaining parts of a film, especially when executed at high level.)

Oscars, if you had a mouth, you’d probably say something like, “Bryan, I love you too, but a movie can have more than one lead! Why can’t Carell and Tatum both be considered leads?” First of all, thanks, I love you too. Second, sure they can. I’ve seenTrainingDay ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘9 to 5’, and of course, ‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion’. Films can absolutely have two lead characters, but both the characters need to have full arcs and do more than ‘hinder that other person’. We get caught up in the glitz and glamour in what these big time actor and actresses are doing  in this films that we don’t think that, well, maybe they aren’t the emotional focus. It’s not as crazy as it seems when you actually break it down.

So, Oscars, I doubt you’ll do anything to appease my request to shape this up, but I had to try, right? I mean, can you imagine how much more competitive both the Lead and Supporting categories would be if Simmons was up against Carell or Oyelowo/Gyllenhaal went mano y mano with Keaton and Redmayne?! Wowza! Again, I love you and know that you’ve been doing this since 1927. I hope there are no hard feelings, but seriously, know how narratives and story work before you start handing out awards.

One more quick thing while I have your attention. If ‘American Sniper’ wins Best Picture based on its current box office momentum over any of the other seven nominees, I’ll never watch you again. I seriously mean that statement. I don’t think I can handle that letdown. Thanks, man.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

2015 Oscar Nominations

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

HAPPY OSCAR NOMINIATIONS MORNING TO YOU ALL! The entire year of movies has boiled down to this penultimate step! (That’s a sweeping, untrue generalization, but it’s the Oscars—a time to be dramatic. Unfortunately, it’s not a time to be comedic because the academy doesn’t take well to “that genre,” unless you’re Woody Allen.) ANYWAY, before I have to go and do stuff for work*, below are the core category nominations and some of my initial reactions.

*Note: Yes, I came to my office early to make sure I could livestream the presser, quickly blog about them, and not be late for work. That’s just what I do.

Best Picture

American Sniper

Birdman

MV5BMTYzNDc2MDc0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwMDQ5MTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • Only 8 nominations. Thought there would be 9.
  • No Foxcatcher, but Bennett Miller was nominated for best director and the screenplay received a nod
  • Huzzah for Whiplash
  • No Nightcrawler (which has a writing nomination)
  • Early favorite: BOYHOOD

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – Birdman

Richard Linklater – Boyhoodboyhood-richard-linklater2

Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mortern Tyldum – The Imitation Game

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • No Selma (boo) or American Sniper (yay) which both have Best Picture nominations
  • I’m a big advocate of: there are no Best Director Snubs, because there are only 5 spots for a potential 10 movie Best Picture race.
  • Bennett Miller is the HUGE surprise here, as he hasn’t received many of these for Foxcatcher. Plus it’s not up for best picture.
  • Would have loved to see Damien Chazelle for Whiplash here. The last 10 minutes deserves an honorary Oscar!
  • Early Frontrunner: RICHARD LINKLATER

Best Actor

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradly Cooper – American Sniper

and-the-oscar-goes-to-could-birdman-be-the-first-superhero-movie-nominated-for-best-pictureBenedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • Carrell was on the fence as him momentum started to swing down, but got a nomination regardless which meant one person was getting snubbed.
  • BUT THEN, Bradly Cooper was nominated and two people were snubbed: Sorry Jake Gyllenhaal and David Oyelowo (Nightcrawler and Selma). American Sniper’s Oscar campaign definitely helped it here.
  • Alas, no Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Not that I expected it, but still a boy can hope.
  • Early Frontrunner: MICHAEL KEATON

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of EverythingJulianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosemund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • Except for Cotillard taking a spot (Yay) from Jennifer Aniston from Cake, not surprised here.
  • Early Frontrunner: JULIANNE MOORE

Best Supporting Actor

635483774418719401-01-simmonsRobert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

JK Simmons – Whiplash

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • Zero Surprises here at all.
  • Early Frontrunner: JK SIMMONS

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood53ec746af1a7bba0_pat2.xxxlarge

Laura Dern – Wild

Kiera Knightly – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • Dern out of NOWHERE. I love it!
  • Altough it is sad that Jessica Chastain gets no A Most Violent Year.
  • Early Frontrunner: PATRICA ARQUETTE

Best Original Screenplay

hr_The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_3Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nightcrawler

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • For me, no surprises here, as Selma was the only film that had field breaking potential
  • Early Frontrunner: BIRDMAN

Best Adapted Screenplay

American SniperPoster-art-for-The-Imitation-Game-film-Alan-Turing-Enigma-codebreaking-movie

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Quick thoughts, clear “snubs,” and my early prediction:

  • I still think it’s crazy for Whiplash to be an adapted screenplay
  • Inherent Vice is a nice surprise though.
  • Sorry Gone Girl (NBD)
  • Early Frontrunner: The IMITATION GAME

OTHER:

  • I also want to mention how shocked I am that ‘The LEGO Movie’ wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature!
  • And somebody should check the mics during the livestream dead time. I’m pretty sure the TV staff was practicing their cues and I heard all of the nominations.
  • Yes, congrats to Dick Poop!(PRACTICE BEFORE YOU SPEAK, PRESIDENT BOONE!)
  • This is the first year since 1995 where all of the acting nominees are white.
  • And where are all the women? No director (AVA) or screenplay (GILLIAN) reps!
  • Honestly, there are little surprises here or there in these categories (Cooper, Dern, Cotillard, Miller), but do surprises really matter when most of the winners are locks (Moore, Simmons, and Arquette)? This has been the pattern since the Academy moved the Oscars from March to February.

As we break these down and the media has a field day over all of this information, it’s really nice that most of these nominations are from independent films. If these awards get some people into the theatre to see a movie that will challenge, excite, or inform them, then the Oscars have done their job already.

The Oscars Awards ceremony will be hosted by NPH on Sunday, February 22nd.

 

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Moore, Cotillard–Please!: Reviews of ‘Still Alice’ and ‘Two Days, One Night’

Julianne Moore and Marion Cotillard are the best. They continually choose tough, challenging, thoughtful parts in interesting movies that seem to always fly under the radar. marioncotillard1(‘A Single Man’, ‘Don Jon’, ‘The Immigrant’, ‘Rust and Bone’) When they do appear in a larger scale films, they bring so much to their roles that it’s hard to pay attention to anybody else (‘Mockingjay’, ‘Inception’). They mesmerize. As Cate Blanchett proclaimed in her ‘Blue Jasmine’ Oscar acceptance speech, “…and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the 405bdcd4d7d479c6b515bf49242cb7ec_largecenter are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.” These two woman prove this powerful sentiment over and over. Sorry Meryl, along with Blancett and Chastain, they’ve been the best for a while now. Recently, I had the pleasure to sit through two excellent, nuanced performances from these actresses.

Still Alice

Based on Lisa Genova’s novel of the same name, ‘Still Alice’ chronicles an accomplished Columbia University linguistics professor, Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), as her mind slowly deteriorates due to a rare case of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. So, yeah, this is a rough one.

Nobody is better than Julianne Moore this year. I hate to chalk up an entire movie’s quality to one performance, as ‘Still Alice’ is beautifully filmed with a natural touch, and wonderfully acted by her co-stars, but it really is Moore’s show. They all supporting this movie’s, and Hollywood’s, true star. Her performance is so delicate, layered, and heartbreaking, that there is room to mistake this for a documentary of sorts.

Alice’s determination to fight the deterioration of her mind, body, and family is put on full display. Moore conveys such a sense of acceptance, denial, and pure fight throughout the MV5BMjIzNzAxNjY1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDg4ODQxMzE@._V1_SX214_AL_entity of the film that when, eventually, hope starts to evaporate, it’s all the more gut-wrenching. Even in her attempts to stall the speed of the disease through different memory methods, Alice knows it’s only a momentary win; her disease is destined to worsen quickly. As Alice loses bits and pieces of herself, which is mapped out with incredbile detail by Moore and the directors, her husband and children reluctantly see the end and, sadly, begin to plan their new beginning in some matter of fact, hard to swallow scenes.

Alice’s fade is hardest on her youngest child, Lydia (Kristen Stewart) and husband John (Alec Baldwin), respectively. Stewart and Baldwin are featured heavily (as far as anybody can be featured in this one woman show) and are excellent. The use of these two characters’ different reactions to the circumstance add insightful and necessary padding around the central character’s journey.

I think that Lydia sees a more stripped down version of her mother—who she used to be or truly is at heart. John just doesn’t see his wife anymore after being her sole caretaker. He lives with, and is taking care of, a pod creature. To deal with his sorrow, he separates himself in an attempt to move on. Lydia gets closer, knowing that a crushing blow is coming. Haunted by the thought: “This wasn’t supposed to happen to us”– John and Lydia’s reactions are surprising to even themselves.

I won’t go into detail of some of my favorite moments, as I want you to see them for the Alec+Baldwin+Alec+Baldwin+Julianne+Moore+Film+NcKfQ3L5Qfolfirst time in context. However I will say that these mishaps and moments never plateau the film, they are strung together to create a natural evolution of the story and overwhelming loss of, and for, Alice.

Directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer deserve a lot of credit that they kept this film from crossing the threshold into melodramatic territory. There is a grounded reality to the work. Told within a simple framework of hazy old films (memories?) of Alice’s long deceased sister and mother, the film’s thematic elements of love, memory, and self-preservation are beautifully, but not abundantly, highlighted as we follow Alice through her devastating final act. Yes, you will cry for two hours–maybe even after. Julianne Moore’s performance will break your heart because Alice is always there, even in her eyes, but at the same time there’s a vacancy that can’t be filled. Once again, Mr. Oscar is Moore’s to lose — and she won’t.

Two Days, One Night

After taking time off due to depression, a wife and mother of two, Sandra (Marion Cotillard), loses her job at the local factory. Her co-workers have collectively chosen to let her go and each take a bonus. Hesitantly, Sandra takes the weekend to convince the majority to change their minds before a second vote on Monday morning. Once again, not light content.

‘Two Days, One Night’ is simple in its premise, but complex it in its ideas and morals. It’s a film not only about finding happiness and inner strength in a world that seemingly hands MV5BMjIyMzczMDI0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjI5Nzk3MTE@._V1_SY1200_CR126,0,630,1200_AL_out raw deals, but about decision making as an individual versus in a group setting and how these decisions genuinely affect the well-being of others. If Sandra can effectively convince the majority to vote for her, she will have discovered that she can have a more direct control over her circumstances–all of them. The opportunity to course correct your own life and potentially succeed is terrifying. For a movie that is about these very moral dilemmas,‘Two Days, One Night’ never gets preachy or over the top. It is all executed well by directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne–beautiful shots of isolation mixed with straight-forward static shots to not distract from Cotillard playing the nervous saleswoman trying to convert voters.

Cotillard’s subtle, big-when-it-needs-to-be, performance holds the narrative together so tightly that it never seems to unravel as she visits co-worker after co-worker. Her husband (Fabrizio Rongione), full of sadness, love and obligation, is the supportive fire that she needs to get going. He’s both looking out for his, her, and their well being and it’s abundantly clear that there are three sources of motivation. They are broken team on completely different pages, clawing to make it all work. There is a layer of their relationship that is only discussed once, three-fourths of the way through the film, but it weighs heavily on everything this family is fighting for throughout the film.

As Sandra struggles to allow herself to fight for her own (and family’s) survival, her co-workers’ justifications for their choices and their willingness to listen to her side vary. It’s Two Days, One Nightan interesting study into what a little extra money does to people. Is the ability to help my fellow man override the need to care for my own family? Is this my money or am I taking it? When given these two options, who does a person become? It’s a high stakes situation that determines the outcome for an entire slew of families in a tough economy. The decision is not as easy as one thinks and the movie doesn’t make look that way.

The third act is very straightforward with some predictable moments, but the outcome is justified and lovely in a way I didn’t expect. The feelings you’re left with kind of sneak up on you. There is a scene (you’ll know it when you see it) that despite the dire circumstances and seriousness of the actions, seems rushed and inconsequential. It incorporated character beats that needed to be included, but didn’t organically flow into the next portion of the story. However, what could have been an below average, run of the mill film, is elevated through Cotillard’s performance, a nicely paced script, and thoughtful direction. It’s not one of my favorite films of this past year, but it’s quite memorable, thanks to its leading lady.

If you go out of your way to enjoy both of these films (which you should), you’ll see how similar these women’s characters are, albeit in very different circumstances. They draw two-days-one-night-cannes-2014-5hope from the same places and they need to find or maintain their own personhood before it’s gone. These films should not only be categorized as “female films,” but explorations of any persons’ identity and strength.

Cotillard already has her Oscar statue for 2007’s ‘La Vie En Rose’ and Moore is sure to win this year. How does she not have a little golden man already?! Fun Fact That Doesn’t Really Matter: Interestingly, Cotillard beat out front runner Julie Christie for ‘Away From Her’ in ‘07, another well-made film about the effect of Alzheimer’s disease. This year, she only has an outside shot to break into the field, which is ashame. Hopefully we will see both of these women in this year’s ‘Best Actress’ article-0-1C4CD36E00000578-831_634x424category (a category that should be considered stronger year to year). Regardless of what “The Academy” thinks, we’ll get to absorb and ruminate about these two women’s strong work for years to come. As Cate Blanchett pointed out, I am ready to see and happy to spend my money on movies that feature these women. The best of the best.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Movie Day 2015: Prologue Blog (Pro-blogue?) #bpmovieday

 

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Hello All,

Yes, you guessed it! It’s that time of year again. MOVIE DAY. A day when anything can happen! (Anything is a relative statement–the schedule is below.)

I love going to the movies. Nothing is better. Growing up in a household where the Oscars were (and still are) arguably bigger than any high holiday, I love being 100% prepared for the February event. ‘Movie Day’ grew from that need to see everything released during the holiday/awards season to be ready to get all of the jokes, pick all of the winners, and absorb as much content as possible.

Not much has changed. While I have grown to understand the trivial and subjective nature of the Oscars, I still can’t get enough. I eat, breath, and sleep movies (and tv). ‘Movie Day’ has since evolved into a full day, over-saturated with film enjoyment, friends, and burnt out retinas.  While I base my choices on what may or may not be up for Oscar contention, it really comes down to what will make for an fun, well balanced day of the films I haven’t seen yet. If I really had my way, I’d see every movie that comes out over the 365 days. Every last frame. (Maybe one day I’ll a ‘Movie Day’ once a month–wait, I really want to do that…)

So, I’ve learned my lesson from years passed. Some days have been too long (starting your 6th movie at 12:30 the next morning is a chore), extremely boring (two mediocre foreign imgres-1language films in a row after a forgettable movie about fracking is never fun), and others heartbreaking (sitting alone for three straight tear jerkers is something I would never suggest). I now try and save certain movies for my favorite day, as I navigate my end of year theatrical experiences. I started just going for me and now I love going with all of you.

For instance, I’ve already seen Birdman, Into the Woods, Inherent Vice, Still Alice, One Day, Two Nights, The Theory of Everything, The Hobbit, Whiplash, Wild, Foxcatcher, St Vincent, Nightcrawler, The Interview, and a few more. I do my best to make sure that with what is left, I can make the day interesting.

This year, while a little heavy in the morning, ‘Movie Day’ should prove to be  a balanced day. Additionally. All the showings are in the same theatre for the first year ever–a movie day miracle.

MOVIE DAY 2015 – Saturday, January 3rd

AMC Lincoln Square 13

9:15 am – A Most Violent Year

11:45am – American Sniper

2:15pm – Top Five

4:30pm – Unbroken

7:15pm – Big Eyes

9:50pm – Selma

imagesFilm and what it can bring to us as individuals and a society is very important to me. Yes, Hollywood isn’t the same and blah, blah, blah–I know all of that. I just love the movies with everything in my being. The marathon of ‘Movie Day’ is a simple extension of that and always becomes a highlight of my year.  I hope that I get to sit in the theater next to you today! If not, read my recap tomorrow and it’ll be just like you were there! (But really, it’s gonna be so specific and detailed.) Can’t wait to see you. I’ll be the one in the comfortable clothes with a fried brain and swollen eyes. #bpmovieday

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Movie Day is Coming…

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Yes. I love clip art…

The new year has begun, and what better way then to celebrate it with the all-powerful, annual…

MOVIE DAY!!!!!

Yes friends, come join me as I romp about (in a seated, quiet manner) through the dark cavernous New York City movie theatre scene, viewing a whole myriad of moving pictures in one glorious day!

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Random Movie Theatre, USA! AMERICA!!!!!!! FREEDOM!!!!

This year’s list is a doozy! I’ve specifically held back in my moving going ventures to “save up” films for this day.  I’m hoping that because it is on a weekend and includes some ‘bigger’ movies, I’ll see more of your shining faces this year.  Then we can all win our Oscar pools this year.  Mwahahaha!

But first I’d like to apologize, as this list is coming out later then usual. The movie theatres changed some of the times last minute, so I had to do a quick, razzle dazzle, re-haul of the movie day schedule.  After learning from last years’ lackluster day, I believe that Sunday’s docket  is going to work very well! So, with out further ado, so you adon’t have to wait any longer, here is your movie day schedule.

MOVIE DAY – SUNDAY, JANUARY, 5th 2014 

10:05 am – The Wolf Of Wall Street (AMC EMPIRE 25)

2:00 pm – Big {Yeah, the 1988 Tom Hanks Movie!} (AMC EMPIRE 25)

4:20 pm – Her (AMC EMPIRE 25)

7:20 pm – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (AMC LOWES LINCOLN PLAZA 13)

10:15 pm – August: Osage County (AMC LOWES LINCOLN PLAZA 13)

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This seat is reserved… FOR YOU!!!!* (*Note: Popcorn, Drink, and Seat will not be reserved.)

It’s supposed to be a fun day, not a tedious and stressful one, so I’ve scheduled to avoid an overstuffed and bloated viewing experience.  It’s only five movies this year, but I think the balance is going to create a nice flow.  There are some nice breaks in-between films to absorb, pee, and eat. (Not at the same time… Or maybe at the same time.)

Last year became long winded and chore-like, so let’s get back to what movie day is supposed to be: the enjoyment of the movie theatre experience.  Again, I’d love it if you could join me for any of the films, so feel free to purchase your tickets in advance!

Movie Day… ASSEMBLE!!!!!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan