May 31, 2013

Academy Changes Oscar Rules for 2014

Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Science (AMPAS) has announced changes in rules regarding Animated Feature, Foreign Language films and Documentary short.
Toy Story 3 - Best Animated Feature of 2010
According to new rules, maximum two persons will get an award for Best Animated Feature film, one of whom must have a producer credits. However, despite "maximum of two" Oscar recipients, "the director and/or key creative individual shall continue to be a recipient, and in the circumstance of a two-person team with shared and equal director credit, a third statuette may be awarded".

As for Foreign Language film and Documentary short:

From 2014 and onward, Academy voters will be able to watch the nominated films either at a theatrical screening or on DVD. That means for the first time the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ entire voting membership will automatically be eligible to choose the winners in all 24 Oscar categories. As you might know, before this rule was released Documentaries was voted only by those members, who have specifically seen all the nominees and accordingly not everybody was legible for voting. For this year and onward, Academy will provide DVDs of the nominated films in five categories: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Animated Short Film, and Best Live Action Short Film.

Follow the link to see the original text of press release.

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Movie Review: The English Teacher [2013]

Julianne Moore always makes me watch her films. For no reason I love her. However, enjoyment of seeing her on the screen did not overcome my dissatisfaction with the movie itself. 

The English Teacher is a story of Linda Sinclair (Moore) - a passionate teacher of English literature. She's obsessed with it and only with it, that's why Linda is single, in all terms she can be single. Movie begins win exploring her character -  a lonely, middle age lady, who is definitely living in her own universe surrounded by... no one. Realizing this, she tries to meet someone, her type of men. A five minute scene in restaurant shows that she's not even capable of finding suitable men, mostly because there is no man who is romantic, gentleman, nice-to-talk guy the same time and etc. 

One day, Ms Sinclair meets her ex-student Jason Sherwood - a failed, depressed play writer who easily falls under parental influence. Linda reads one of his latest plays and decides that it's the best thing she's read lately. She reunites with Carl - a drama teacher - to bring this novel on the stage. The rest of story is not important, but what is really important is how cheaply she "falls in love" with Jason - they just fuck, at school.

And all this romance, Linda ever imagined, planned or wanted to experience, just ruined on the class table during rehearsals. Later she discovers that all that matters is sex (arguably, but yes). Then story evolves as always, she thinks that loves a boy, the guy does not, he just wants every single girl at school, except his ex-teacher. Finally, they fall apart.
Greg Kinnear and Julianne Moore
But this story could be at least hilarious. This is supposed to be a comedy. I tried to find something funny but did not succeed much: no funny jokes, no funny performances, just drama - a big lame drama. But I got a little enjoyment with Julianne's performance, with is far from being good but still, it made me not to walk out the movie. The rest of cast is about average. Despite the big names like Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane and new actress Lily Collins, you are not going to see something special. 

Giving the English Teacher 4 out of 10, I don't recommend to watch this. Especially if you have to spend some money on it.


May 30, 2013

Movie Review: La Cara Oculta (the Hidden Face) [2011]

It's an erotic 90 minutes of thrilling mystery

La Cara Oculta is a classic thriller directed by Andrés Baiz. Before you go to the end of my review you might think that it's one of those cheap dramas of desperate love and relationships. That is really what I thought during first five minutes, when everything went "as it always is" - a girl dumps lifelong boyfriend and disappears. Then the guy gets drunk in pub and fucks first woman he grabs, who turns out to be a waitress. 

But then the movie suggests something, which is extraordinary tale of physical  mental and spiritual suffer caused by your own mistakes and  treason. 

Adrian is an young, talented Spanish orchestra conductor who moved to Columbia with girlfriend Belen. They truly love each other, but Adrien has a bad habit - he makes out with every single girl he meets. One day, Belen just decides to give him a lesson and disappear. With the help of an old woman - an owner of the house the couple rents (not giving any clue how she disappears, you need to see it), she successfully implements her plans. But she never knew the consequences of her own actions...
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May 28, 2013

Predicting 86th Oscars: Best Actress

This year has one of the most extraordinary candidates for Best Actress lately. Lots of big names, lots of big roles and big movies. We've not seen most of them yet but we all have expectations.

Here is a list of top ten female lead performances that can get into final list:

1. Meryl Streep in August: Osage County (3 wins, 17 nominations)
Definitely, the best actress of all time. In 2011 when she accepted her third Oscar for Iron Lady, Meryl said "I know I won't be standing here anymore". But who knew. She seems brilliant in August: Osage Country trailer. First screening raves predict her another glorious trophy for portraying Violet Weston. Frankly, sneak peak makes her shoo-in nominee and even most deserving winner this year.

2. Julia Roberts in August: Osage County (1 win, 3 nominations)
This movie is brilliant for female performances. Mostly the story develops around them and male actors are beyond the major story. Here is a deal, Julia can be a lead or supporting actress this year. We don't know yet. But wherever she goes, she's one of the best candidates to nominate. Dinner scene (from the trailer) can bring her fourth late nomination for powerful, emotional and dramatic portrait of Barbara Weston

I personally think that if her performance is submitted as supporting, there are more chances to be a top contender, since Academy does not particularly like two lead nominees in the same category for the same movie. But it has happened before in Thelma & Louise. So, anything is possible.
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May 26, 2013

Movie Review: Rosemary's Baby [1968]

Rosemary's Baby is one of the first films of Roman Polanski, technically directing and writing debut in world cinema. But still this is a decent, smart and quite interesting movie. 

Film follows a young couple, Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy  (John Cassavetes) Woodhouses, who movie to a new apartment in New York City and find themselves surrounded by strange neighbors and mystic occurrences.  Guy is a rising actor, who tries to get his place in a big city and spends most of his time outside the house. Rosemary, on the contrary, is a loving wife without job, trying to adopt with husbands aspirations. When Mr. Woodhouse get new role, their life totally gets better and they decide to have a child.

Their life is sometimes interrupted by an old couple of Cassavetes living just behind walls. They always seem very welcoming to young couple and sometimes even overtry to help them. Cassavetes really seem to be an average husband and wife in their late sixties. Having no child, they try to "love" other people. But Rosemary is starting to dislike them, soon after their ward commits suicide unexpectedly and she's unable to get support of Guy to avoid contacting suspicious neighbors. Since getting pregnant Rosemary has strange dreams and hears strange noises and Guy becomes remote and distant. Then Rosemary falls pregnant and begins to suspect that her neighbours have special plans for her child.
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May 21, 2013

Predicting 86th Oscars: Best Picture

Someone can tell that predicting Academy Awards nominees in late May is just waste of time. Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Agree that there are lots of films,  potential nominees, that we have no idea and which premiere mostly very late December. But I'd say that academy has pretty predictable taste, especially when it comes down to Best Picture nominees. Total shut-outs do not happen frequently.

I'll predict 10 nominees for Best Motion Picture, however 9th and 10th place are those who have 50/50 chance getting in the list. So, let's start!

10. Foxcatcher - directed by Bennett Miller, an Oscar nominee director of Moneyball and Capote 
Speaking about him, Bennet has directed two motion pictures, both Best Picture nominees. Himself got node for directing Capote. Miller directed three actors to Oscar nominations: Catherine Keener, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill and one to triumphal win - Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Perfect record for young movie maker. The same time, academy loves new-comers.

Foxcatcher is a true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John duPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz. John duPont is wealthiest person ever to be convicted of murder. 

Comedian Steve Carell stars as Du Pont, with Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, and Sienna Miller in the cast. It really seems to be a great Oscar material with dramatic plot and real-life story.

9. Fruitvale Station - a film by debuting director Ryan Coogler 
Ever noticed that since 2010 every big hit of Sundance made final list? Latest example is Beasts of Southern Wild - another directing debut that marched at Oscars with Directing and Best Picture nominations. Fruitvale Station won both - jury prize and audience award at Sundance, which most probably brings a great love of viewers and critics. It tells a true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. This film seems to be quiet, emotional and thrilling - perfect match for nominee.

8. Inside Llewyn Davis - directed by Brother Coens 
Coens are one of the Academy's favorites. Their films have won (No Country for Old Man) or got Best picture nominations lately. The last one, True Grit was listed in 10 nominations, but winning none. Both of them won 4 Oscars each, including directing and writing nods.

Inside Llewyn Davis follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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May 16, 2013

Movie Review: Aftershock [2012]

Do Not Watch Trailer!

"If you are going to watch this film, forget trailer, because it gives you every possible spoiler"

Aftershock - directed by Nicolás López, written and acted by Eli Roth - tells a story of 6 people trying to survive in Chile after destructive earthquake. Three friends, Gringo, Ariel and Pollo are having a typical vacation - girls, alcohol, parties and etc. They meet three Russian girls in club Kylie, Irina and Monica. And all of them have some affair with each other, but...

Before that, on February 27, 2010 Chile was hit by 8.8 magnitude earthquake, which last the whole three minutes and caused a huge destruction in most part of country, becoming number 6 strongest earthquakes of all time. But the worst thing happened is what's called AFTERSHOCK - minor earthquakes and chaos throughout every city.
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May 15, 2013

Tribute To Dexter: Season 1

7 weeks left until the great day of June 30, when 8th and final season of Dexter premieres. 7 seasons are past, a brilliant and thrilling 7 seasons. Before we farewell Dexter Morgan, I'll take you back to each season, accordingly I'll post a tribute regarding each of them every Fridays. The last post will be updated just before the premiere.

So, Here we go!

Season 1

Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall) is a forensics expert of Miami-Metro Homicide Department, who has a very strange hobbie - killing people, but all of his victims are murderers, who successfully escaped justice and did not answer for their guilt. Dexter believes that he is doing a good thing to the public by prevention of further murders of innocent people. But this is not the weirdest thing about him. Morgan is a creepy person who is really bad at expressing emotions, feelings and any kind of gratitude to any person, including his sister and a co-worker Debra Morgan. He is not capable of love anyone, but still he is a good brother, friend, husband and father. And this is the reason for his strength as a perfect killer.

The first season follows Miami Police Department chasing for The Ice Truck Killer who targets prostitutes and leaves their bodies severed and bloodless. This is the first time someone astonished Dex with brilliance of murder - killing people without a single drop of blood.

In the same season  Dexter kind of "falls in love" with Rita, a single mother whose husband, Paul Bennett, is released from prison on parole. While Bennett does his best to get back with Rita. After Bennett threatens him, Dexter knocks Paul out, and then sets him up to look like he violated his parole by using heroin. While back in prison, Bennett insists that Dexter set him up, but Rita ignores him.

Debra begins dating a prosthetic doctor named Rudy Cooper — who is secretly the Ice Truck Killer. After they get engaged, Cooper kidnaps Debra and lures Dexter to the house where he is keeping her. Here Dexter recognizes Cooper as Brian, his long-lost brother. Finally, Rudy Cooper dies on Dexter's table, just like a lot others.
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May 12, 2013

Movie Review: 42 [2013]

In 1946 there were 16 major league baseball teams, with total of 400 players. Everyone of 400 players were white. But when the opening day came in 1947, that number dropped to 399 and one man stood apart.

42 is a movie about that particular black man, who entered the league for the very first time, challenged everyone, including his teammates and won. Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) became the pioneer athlete to stand alongside the white sportsmen on the field when segregation & racial discrimination was a "rule" in United States. However, film does not actually follow the whole story of Jackie, it more tells a story of racial revolution in baseball, which escalated after one bold decision of Brooklyn Dodgers executive - Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). Branch was the first manager to hire a black man, a talented black man who ran fast, who could catch any ball and who could bring hundreds of black spectators to the field. And since every of them, regardless their skin color paid money to see Robinson playing, this new transfer to the team could be successful.
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May 7, 2013

Top 5 Movies I Can't Wait in 2013

It's almost an axiom that the movies premiered later during any given year, get more award recognition then those which come out earlier. I really want to see each film that premieres in Autumn, because they tend to be one of the bests of year, but still there are some earlier ones I'm looking forward to watch.

Here are top 5 movies, I can't wait to see:

Sequel of Star Trek is already running in the cinemas worldwide, but as usual it's being late in my country. Hell knows when I'm supposed to see it. If you've read my review of Star Trek, you'd know that I loved the it. Trio of Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch makes me more amazed about this movie. 

Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in two most anticipated movies this year. Even though The Wolf of Wall Street seems even bigger shot this year, I really really loved The Great Gatsby from trailers. I've been waiting for this movie since last years trailers. It was supposed to premiere in 2012 but was shifted to 2013. This film has an amazing cast including Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. Leo himself seems to have the biggest chance for long waited Oscar.

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May 2, 2013

Movie Review: Maniac [2012]

Have you ever closed your eyes while watching a horror film? and still looking out, because you really wanna see it? 

If NO, this gonna be your first time, if YES, imagine maximum of your adrenaline, then multiply it by number of Oscars Kevin O'Connell lost and you get a real feeling of watching Maniac.

Maniac is a horrifying thriller about mannequin restorer and shop owner Frank (Elijah Wood), who hunts on women at nights to satisfy his obsession with scalps and enrich enormous collection of human-looking mannequins. Unexpectedly he falls in love with young artist Anna who expresses a great interest in Frank's works. As their friendship escalates, Frank loses control on his life and emotions.
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May 1, 2013

Movie Review: The Chameleon [2010]

A month ago I reviewed a very impressive documentary - The Imposter. Then Shala from Life Between Films advised me to have a look at motion picture version of this very interesting topic. So, I watched Jean-Paul Salome's The Chameleon - a story of Frédéric Bourdin who pretended to be Nicholas Mark Randall - a young vanished American boy.

The Chameleon is not as good as The Imposter, but still this movie is pretty clever. Actually, it gives you more doubts than documentary, cause it does not much follow the line of real story. The Imposter mostly concentrates on actions of Frédéric Fortin, on crimes he's committed and leaves Randall family beyond the interest. However, the movie itself is more complex giving a closer look to every character.

Writers did a great job mixing documented material with fiction one. They clearly show development of main characters after Nicholas's comeback. The script makes you concentrate on three topics: first is Frédéric (or Nicholas) who is kind of shocked as he is introduced to family members closer. As time goes by, he understands that he came in "wrong" place, because they are definitely making his life worse. Every new family, Frédéric has "returned" to  before, welcomed him, made him feel comfortable, but not Randalls, because they have their reasons, why Nicholas should not be back.

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