Oscar Predictions 2016

In exactly 24 hours time, the awards season will be crawling to its end with the annual overlong pat on Hollywood’s back known as the Oscars. With this year set to be the year in which Leonardo DiCaprio will finally hear his name read out in something other than the list of nominees, why not whet your appetite by checking out my predictions for the awards. As usual, I’ve predicted what should win and what will win in tonights ceremony. Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments and look out for a possible tweetalong at @movie_mad internet permitting. For now though, the predictions:

 

Best Picture

The Revenant – Will

Room – Should

Best Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant – Will

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road – Should

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant – Will

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs – Should

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Brie Larson, Room – Will

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn – Should

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies – Will/Should

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl – Will/Should

Best Animated Feature Film

Inside Out – Will/Should

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant – Will

Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight – Should

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell, Carol – Will

Sandy Powell, Cinderella – Should

Best Documentary (Feature)

Amy – Will/Should

Best Editor

Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin, Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Original Score

Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight – Will/Should

Best Original Song

‘Writing’s On The Wall’ Sam Smith, Spectre – Will

‘Simple Song 3’ David Lang, Youth – Should

Best Production Design

Colin Gibson (Production Design); Lisa Thompson (Set Decoration), Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Sound Editing

Mark Mangini and David White, Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Sound Mixing

Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo, Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Visual Effects

Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams, Mad Max: Fury Road – Will/Should

Best Adapted Screenplay

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short – Will

Emma Donoghue, Room – Should

Best Original Screenplay

Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out – Will/Should

NB. I’ve not predicted the winners for Best Documentary (Short)Best Foreign Language FilmBest Short Film (Animated) and Best Short Film (Live Action) because I’ve not seen all or enough of the nominees.

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Bottom 10 Films of 2015

As another 12 months pass, what better way to start off the celebration of the past year in film than with a look back on the most dire excuses for art to grace the silver screen! Hopefully you’ll be able to take this list as a warning not to approach the films mentioned but apologies if it serves as simply nightmarish reminders of when you witnessed the atrocities yourself:

10. Knock Knock

Eli Roth’s latest is a poorly written ‘thriller’ which brings more laughs than thrills. Not even Keanu Reeves can save this film. But what’s more distressing is that this was able to get a UK release this year yet still Roth’s previous film The Green Inferno still struggles to get into cinemas here.

9. Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest had two things in it that begged to be seen on the big screen, the long awaited reuniting of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. At least it was for me, a die hard Walk The Line fan. But not even this repairing could speed up the films dull 148 minute runtime nor its muddled story.

8. Jupiter Ascending

Sean Bean is in this. He plays a bee. And he doesn’t die.

7. The Boy Next Door

How this managed a cinema release I’ll never know. It barely even deserves to be on channel 5.

6. Mortdecai

As I type, even my macbook rejects the title of Johnny Depps ‘comedy’ in which he prances about with a grating british accent and even more disturbing moustache. You can’t blame Gwyneth Paltrow for gagging at the sight of it.

5. The Visit

While it divided audiences upon release, M. Night Shamalamadingdong’s latest is a cringeworthy found footage horror with the most insufferable child actors of the year. Barely 5 minutes into it I was in uncomfortable.

4. Terminator Genisys

The latest entry into this once great franchise brings back it’s main selling point and then proceeds to shit all over the originals in a clear attempt to ruin the timeline as much as possible before the rights revert back to James Cameron.

3. Fantastic 4

The worst thing about Fant4stic was how much potential it had. With a great young cast to reboot the comic book franchise into a grittier retelling, all interest is swept away from us thanks to a title card that shoves us forward a year before a hastily joined on final act that’s over before it’s even begun.

2. Pixels

Adam Sandler hangs out with his buddies again. Having previously nearly destroyed Al Pacino’s career in Jack and Jill, this time he destroys the nostalgia of classic arcade games while plonking Kevin James in as president of the United States for good measure. Save yourself the time by watching the original short which in 2 minutes long, gives a much better version.

  1. Absolutely Anything

The Monty Python gang gather to bring a story in which Simon Pegg is able to make anything happen just by saying it. Unfortunately he couldn’t make the film disappear.

A Tarantino Trawl: Pulp Fiction

This September it’ll be 5 years since I first saw the film that changed my life. I’ll always remember flicking through the channels late one night and happening upon Pulp Fiction just as it was starting on BBC1. Recalling my cousins suggestion that I should watch it after being rather unimpressed with Inglourious Basterds (My first Tarantino experience. More on that in a few weeks though) I decided to stay up till the early hours of Saturday morning just to watch it. And to this day it will be one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.

Pulp Fiction is a beautiful mess of a film. My first viewing confused me so much, what with Tarantino’s presentation of the jumbled up story-line. But I knew I’d just witnessed something special. From that day on I have and will always cite Pulp Fiction as my all time favourite film. Whilst I understand there are plenty of other films just as good and at times even better than it, there’ll never be another film that sits so close to my heart.

With a cast including John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel, Tarantino’s mobster epic has enough to please anyone in its 153 minute run-time. Travolta and Jackson’s storyline of a day in the life of two gangsters is spliced perfectly within the story of Bruce Willis’ Butch Coolidge attempting to do over gangster boss Marsellus Wallace in a fixed boxing match.

Each mini story in Pulp Fiction weaves effortlessly between themselves and gives plenty of shocks as well as plenty of laughs. Most of this is of course due to Tarantino’s flawless script, but praise must also be given to the late Sally Menke for her fantastic work in the editing suite. Having already proven herself a worthy ally to Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs, Menke outdoes her last performance by pulling off the editing of Pulp Fiction. Imagining anyone else pulling off such a feat in the same way is near impossible.

I can’t end this review without mentioning one of the greatest moments of Pulp Fiction. Whilst there are plenty of moments and scenes which can be picked out of the film to be discussed at length easily enough, such as Samuel L Jackson’s ‘The path of the righteous Man’ Bible quote or John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s dance scene to Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell, the one stand out moment for me has got to be that of Christopher Walken’s scene. Tarantino gives us a fantastically written three page monologue in the form of a story about two men, the Korean war and a gold watch. And Walken gives an equally fantastic performance as he tells the story brilliantly. It’s not surprising that Tarantino decided to keep the camera on him during the whole speech. Walken demands your attention from beginning to end.

Pulp Fiction is a masterpiece in every way possible. Whilst it’s not a film that can be watched constantly over and over again, it IS a film that deserves to be seen once and revisited again and again from then on. After only five years since my initial viewing, it has become an old friend and whether I watch it a year later or ten years later, the experience will be nothing short of magnificent.

 

Next week I’ll be looking back at Jackie Brown so keep a lookout for that. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not giving the films in this batch of reviews a mark out of 5 because I can tell you right now that each and every one of Tarantino’s directed films gets a 5 from me.

A Tarantino Trawl: Reservoir Dogs

It seems that, in the past year or two, my interest in not only writing about, but watching films has somewhat lessened. So in a pitiful attempt to bring back my love for movies, I figured I’d finally try my hand at writing about the work of the man who became my cinematic God back in 2009 when I first laid my eyes on Pulp Fiction.

But before Pulp Fiction, it seems only right that I tackle Tarantino’s first feature length. Of course if I were doing this properly I would start at the very beginning with Four Rooms. But maybe we’ll come back to that later…

Released in 1992, Reservoir Dogs very quickly became a much discussed film after screening at Sundance. And rightly so. It’s an extremely powerful film to kick off ones feature length directorial CV. From it’s opening scene in which Tarantino’s character, Mr Brown discusses the music of Madonna whilst Steve Buscemi’s Mr Pink explains why he doesn’t believe in tipping, right through to it’s mexican stand off conclusion, Tarantino gives us plenty of gems which, even 21 years after release, are still discussed and debated.

Reservoir Dogs 1

 

No doubt the most memorable of scenes is that of Michael Madsen’s sadistic Mr Blonde torturing a cop whilst dancing to Stuck In The Middle by Steeler’s Wheel. A scene that quickly attached itself to the song and will forever be remembered together. Madsen’s portrayal of Mr Blonde is incredibly performed. From the second he enters the film, having been watching in the background as Mr White and Mr Pink argue like an old married couple, he brings about an air of, simply put, coolness about him.

However the real stars of Reservoir Dogs, for me at least, are Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth as Mr. White and Mr. Orange respectively. Throughout the course of the film their relationship blossoms from professional to an almost father/son connection as White protects a dying Orange. Although, with the way in which Tarantino lays out the timeline of his screenplay, it’s the father/son relationship we see moreso than the professional one.

In regards to the story, Reservoir Dogs certainly isn’t the most original story Tarantino has come up with. However he does manage to bring the traditional heist plot with a fresh twist. Not showing the heist at all and instead focusing on the aftermath of the failed attempt. Tarantinos quick paced script with it’s hefty dialogue will make you rush to keep up and have you thoroughly entertained as you try to figure out who the undercover cop is.

Not much can be said these days about Reservoir Dogs that hasn’t already been said. However the main reason I wrote this is just to bring back my absolute love and adoration for films. If you haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs seek it out. It’s on Netflix so you have no excuse really.

Do feel free to comment with any suggestions on other reviews you’d like. I’m planning to come back to this more than I used to so if you’d like me to look back over any other directors when I’m done with Tarantino, let me know. I’ll be back probably in a week or so (Maybe sooner) with Pulp Fiction. And I may put some other stuff up in the mean time…