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Monday, February 25, 2013

Thank The Academy For The 85th Annual Oscar's

     The 85th annual Academy Awards are over and they were nothing short of spectacular. Hosted by Seth MacFarlane at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood; it was a good night for the Academy; not so good for the people who can't sit in a chair for over 3 hours straight, aka anyone with a butt. The ceremony scored 40 million viewers.
     There were 24 awards given out. From Best Picture to Best Makeup to Best Seth's Personal Insult (not really). Lincoln was nominated for 12 awards, Life of Pi was second with 11, Les Mis and Silver Linings Playbook had 8, and Argo was next with 7. Life of Pi won the most awards with 4.
     Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for his work in Django Unchained and Anne Hathaway won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Les Miserables. See, you don't have to be front and center to steal the show. Anne hands down stole the show, and the show stole her hair. Waltz was the comic relief for Django. He would deliver regular sentences, but he delivered with perfect wit and sarcasm.
     Life of Pi, Lincoln, Anna Karenina, Argo, and Les Miserables took home the eye candy awards. Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography went to Life of Pi. Les Mis took home the award for Best Makeup, Anna Kareninia took home Best Costume Design, Argo won the award for Best Editing, and Lincoln took home Best Art Direction.
     The ear candy awards went to Les Miserables, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty (in a tie, what??), and Life of Pi. Best Original Song went to Adele for "Skyfall", Best Original Score went to Life of Pi, the tie was for Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound went to Les Miserables. When you make a theater full of people cry just by singing, then you need to win Best Sound. The last tie was in 1968.
     My favorite categories, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay went to Quentin Tarantino and Chris Terrio, respectively. Tarantino won for Django Unchained and Terrio won for Argo. That's a great accomplishment for Argo, since part of the movie was inspired from a magazine article. Good job fleshing that out, Terrio.
     Size doesn't matter at the Oscars. The smaller films couldn't be overlooked; the documentaries and shorts. Searching for the Sugarman took home the award for Best Documentary, Curfew took home Best Live Action Short, and Paperman from Disney took home Best Animated Short. English isn't the language of love, Austrian is; Amour won the award for Best Foreign Language Film.
     Pixar yet again took home Best Animated Picture with Brave. Personally, I was pulling for Wreck-It Ralph, which is better according to me, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, IMDB, and various other previous awards shows, but either way, the Mouse House won.
     The most prestigious awards of the night, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Film were well deserved. The Best Director award went to Ang Lee for Life of Pi. I personally didn't see that coming, nor did I see Life of Pi, but Ang Lee is a great director and Life of Pi is a great movie. You don't have to see it to know it's great. Ang also gets bonus points for the cool name.
      Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his work as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. Day-Lewis has now won 3 Oscar's as a leading actor, a record.
     Jennifer Lawrence surprised when she beat out 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis (try saying that fast 5 times, or saying it at all), 85 year old Emmanuelle Riva, and reported frontrunner Jessica Chastain for Best Actress for her work in Silver Lining's Playbook.
     Argo was the real deal as it beat out all of the movies I've already mentioned 20 times to win Best Picture. Directed by Ben Affleck, Argo is the highest critically rated mainstream movie of the year. Argo was released on October 12th (a week after my birthday; sorry had to say it) and it is still going strong in theaters. Despite being released on home video last week, Argo dropped only 16%. It has amassed $130 million domestic and $207 million worldwide on a $45 million budget and after winning BP, its life in theaters should be prolonged, again. A well deserved win for Affleck and Co.
      17 of my 23 predictions were right. Jennifer Lawrence surprised by winning Best Actress and I was wrong on Best Editing, Cinematography, and Art Direction, which I saw going to Zero Dark Thirty (though I just put something down there), Skyfall, and Life of Pi, respectively. I also had Steven Spielberg for Best Director.
      Superlative awards are as followed; Best Personality went to Kristen Stewart. No, wrong, I meant Jennifer Lawrence and Quvenzhane Wallis; gotta love them. Best Inspirational Speech went to Ben Affleck; gotta love him. Longest Speech went to Bill Westenhofer, who was cut off by the Jaws theme and ABC. Some think the chime is rude, but they have to air those commercials they were paid for. Most Offensive Joke, the Lincoln joke. 150+ years and it's just still too soon.
      So which one of these actors, actresses, directors, movies, writers, etc. will win at the 2013 Kid's Choice Awards in March? Will Argo win Best Picture? What about Django? Or does Zero Dark Thirty appeal best to kids? Tune into the Kids Choice Awards on Nickelodeon next month to find out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

6th Gear

     Fast and Furious 6 is nowhere near letting off of the gas. The sixth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast and Furious 6, also known as Fast Six and Furious 6, is bringing the most to the series.
     Directed by Justin Lin and starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Luke Evans; F6 follows Dom and the gang as they enjoy their lucrative new lives with their $100 million Rio fortune. Unfortunately, they're still considered criminals so they can't walk into a club, bank, Target, Best Buy, or a grocery store and freely spend that cash. They really can't walk on US soil for that matter. DSS agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) finds Dom (Vin Diesel) and tells him that he needs Dom and his team of premier drivers to help him and his team of elite agents to take down an international team of mercenary drivers after they hijacked a military convoy. That's a lot of teams. Dom and the team agree to the job, but only if they are granted full pardons. Surprisingly to them, Dom's presumed dead former girlfriend and the teams former close friend, until she "died", is helping lead the attacks. F6 follows the team through Europe as they try to take down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), the leader of the gang.
     F6 has raised the stakes in a major way. Not only is the budget bigger, but the scope is as well, though Vin and Dwayne are still basically the same size as in Fast Five. Dom and Hobbs now team up to take down a man bigger than them, there's a girl fight between Gina Carano's character and Letty, tanks and armored cars are now drivable, and they have found a way to beat the scope of the bank vault from Fast Five. This installment will not only be bigger, but it should dig deeper into the characters. Letty is back, but it's "not the old Letty we used to know." The team also has more to fight for- freedom. Letty and Dom, Dom and Hobbs, Dom and Hobbs and the big guy, Dom and Hobbs and Owen, Owen and Letty, Letty and Elena, Elena and Dom, Letty and Gina, Brian and Mia, the chemistry of the team; character development should be at an all time high (for this series). Not to mention that Mia was also pregnant in Fast Five.
     I used to argue that F6 should move to a different date and let Hangover 3 hold the Memorial weekend, but the only thing we have from TH3 is a picture of a wolf, the guys in the desert- again, and Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) holding a gun. F6's marketing though, has mashed on the gas, pun intended. Hangover 3 now has more to fear. Todd Phillips said that "Hangover 3 would be different from the first two", but there's only so much you can do where the movie can still be the Hangover. The marketing for H3 is virtually zero. The movie comes out in under 4 months and there is still no trailer and the story isn't clear. Yes, movies can still be in good shape even if they don't have a trailer 4 months before release, but after the lukewarm reception from Hangover Part 2, WB really needs to show that this installment is really a different entry, or show us something at least, and fast.
     There will still be some competition that F6 will have to overcome, but with the soon to be PG-13 rating, rising star power of Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, exotic locations, strong female characters (yes, the females won't only be scantily clad girls dancing on cars), broader scope and genre (F&F is not just a street racing movie anymore, which somewhat limited the audience previously), Universal's marketing effort, and prime summer spot- F6 should be able to reach a real mass audience, broader than before. Fast and Furious Six could give Star Trek into Darkness a battle and finish #2 for May, after Iron Man 3. No matter what, F6 is poised to push the RPM of movie theaters domestically and internationally. F6 may also become Universal Pictures' first movie to open north of $100 million.
     Catch the mind blowing 3 minute trailer and 1 minute Superbowl spot here! Fast and Furious Six opens May 24, 2012 international and May 23-June 6, 2012 worldwide. Also starring Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Gina Carano, Joe Taslim, Gal Gadot, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Elsa Pataky. Produced by Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel and distributed by Universal Pictures.