My 2012 Academy Awards predictions

Oscars Academy Awards 2012

I’ve previously come out with my Oscar predictions, and selected my winners from the entire list, but it was too long and boring (kind of like the show – am I right?) so I’ve just narrowed it down to the big six.

I feel like I did well this year seeing a good chunk of the nominees, but in a couple cases I’m going on limited selection. Below my choice you’ll see the other movies in the category that I’ve seen, just so you know where I’m coming from.

Have a look and let me know what your picks are!

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

(I’ve seen: Jonah Hill (Moneyball))

Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help)

(I’ve seen: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids))

Octavia Spencer - The Help

Best Lead Actor: George Clooney (The Descendants)

(I’ve seen: Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball))

George Clooney - The Descendants

Best Lead Actress: Viola Davis (The Help)

Haven’t seen the other nominees’ films.

Viola Davis - The Help

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

(I’ve seen: Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life))

Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Best Picture: The Help

(I’ve seen: The Artist, The Descendants, Midnight In Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life)

The Help

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Safe House: Too much flash, not enough substance

Safe HouseIt’s been a while since I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds or Denzel Washington in anything worth watching, but the two stars are still a good reason to check out a movie.

The basic premise of the Safe House sees Matt Weston (Reynolds), an inexperienced CIA agent who’s the solitary staffer in a South African safe house, get the most hands on experience of his career. Soon after the famous rogue CIA agent, Tobin Frost (Washington) is brought in for questioning, the house is attacked, eventually causing Weston to flee with Frost – and so begins the non-stop shaky camera car chasing, gun shooting and CIA conspiracy-ing adventure.

There isn’t much else to this movie other than the aforementioned action, and it barely slows down enough to let you get to know the characters very well. I liked the idea of the “trust no one” aspect of the movie, but I feel it was a shadow of what it could have been. Washington shows the same kind of intensity that he brought to his role in Training Day with Ethan Hawke and Reynolds is believable as the under-used agent who’s somewhat gullible, but I thought they under used the talent in favour of loud noises. There were glimmers of Washington getting into Reynolds’ head, but that was mostly at the beginning and after a while it trailed off.

If you’re looking for an action movie with a lot of car chases and loud gun shooting then this is the film for you. If you’re looking for a solid script that lets the actors shine, then you might want to pass this one over. I give Safe House a 2.5/5.

The Adventures of Tintin… in 3D!

TinTinIt took just over three weeks, but I finally made it out to see The Adventures of Tintin… in 3D.

Adapted from The Secret of the Unicorn, the 11th comic book in the Tintin series by cartoonist Hergé, the movie, directed by Stephen Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, holds true to to the original relatively well. It starts off with Tintin (Jamie Bell), accompanied by his white dog Snowy as they look through the outdoor market, eventually coming upon an antique model ship, which he buys for a single pound. After making the purchase strange people start approaching him and eventually his journalistic instincts perk up after his house is ransacked and the ship stolen. So begins the adventure that sees him meet Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and travel by boat, plane and motorcycle in a story that has that Indiana Jones feel, but is also an innocent mystery like you’d expect from Tintin.

When it came to the graphics I thought the 3D would turn me off. At some points I was a bit irritated, but for the most part I thought the technology was used very well, and aside from the glasses being too small for my big head, I didn’t have much of an issue with it this time around. The motion-capture animation was brilliant and brings to life the many exciting scenes throughout the movie, like the plane crash in the Sahara, a dangerous motorcycle ride through a Moroccan village and even the flashback pirate fight on the Unicorn.

I didn’t really do much research into the actors for this one, for no reason in particular, but I was surprised to find out that Serkis and Daniel Craig were in it as Haddock and Sakharine. I couldn’t even tell it was either one of them, but especially Serkis who is a master of voices. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear the voices of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Thompson Twins. They added the comedic side story of clumsily searching for the pickpocket stealing the wallets of everyone in the city. Overall the acting was incredible and I think it was good that I wasn’t distracted trying to figure out who were behind the characters.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure movie this one definitely provides you with that. It’s basically non-stop action, save for a few scenes and it’s fun for the whole family, though there was a lot more guns and fighting than I had expected. It was the best non-comedy animated film that I’ve seen and I give The Adventures of Tintin 5/5. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think in the comments!

My top 5 movies of 2011

It’s the end of the year, so you know what time it is? That’s right, it’s time for my 3rd annual top 5 movie blog post.

Looking back to 2009 I was a big fan of comedies, as all of my choices gave a good laugh or two. In 2010 I’m sure I watched funny movies, but I moved on to more dramatic/thriller kind of movies for my top 5 picks. After watching 37 movies this year, let’s see what top picks are. When you’re done scrolling let me know your favourites:

5. 50/50

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, 50/50 is based on a true story of writer Will Reisler who blends the seriousness of a life-threatening cancer story, with comedy.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2It was a long journey but the story of Harry Potter was finally settled, and they couldn’t have finished it in a better way. I found as the cast got older and the storyline became darker, the movies became more entertaining.

3. Bridesmaids

BridesmaidsI hadn’t really seen a comedy that made me laugh til it hurt since The Hangover, but I was expecting Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and a great cast would at least compete for the title – and it matched it.

2. The Help

The HelpAs I mentioned in my review earlier this year, I was worried the movie version of The Help, wouldn’t live up to the book version – thankfully it did, and then some. This is a great story to open up the discussion of race relations, but also one with strong female characters played by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and (though on the evil side of strong) Bryce Dallas Howard.

1. Super 8

Super 8When I first saw the previews for Super 8 I wasn’t all that excited to see it, but once I watched it I couldn’t take my eyes off the movie, and it shot to the top of my list. I’ve seen a few people saying this J.J. Abrams directed movie is an homage to producer Steven Spielberg’s films like E.T. for the most part, but I could also feel a hint of Hook and Jurassic Park – simply for the use of the children.

50/50: Odds are you’ll love it

50/50As with any other Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie, I was compelled to check this one out. There’s something about the scripts this guy picks that produce great movies, and 50/50 was no different.

The gist of the film is Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, finds out he has a rare form of back cancer and that because of the difficulty of the operation, there’s a 50/50 chance that he’ll survive. Obviously it’s a traumatic experience for him, but thankfully his best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen, is there to lighten up the situation. Because of his situation, his relationship with his mother, wonderfully played by Anjelica Houston,  becomes stronger as he opens up to her, and conversely he begins to see the true colours of his girlfriend, Bryce Dallas Howard.

Writer Will Reiser does an excellent job of mixing some serious subject matter with comedy, which lead to a roller coaster of emotions throughout the movie. Of course, since the story is based on Reiser’s own experiences, it came across as very realistic. You could feel Adam’s emotional struggles as he tries to deal with his cancer, his flaky girlfriend, his semi-hysterical mother and even Kyle who, in trying to make him feel better by getting him to use his illness as a way to hook up with girls.

The scenes with his therapist Katherine, played by Anna Kendrick, and the relationship that develops between the two is where I’m mostly torn. As a young therapist she seems way out of her element in dealing with a patient – she has very little experience – and when you add on her acting on her feelings for Adam, she is in no way qualified to work in the profession. I like the chemistry between the two once it gets over the initial awkwardness, but it’s totally unrealistic (though I’ll admit, not improbable).

50/50 will make you laugh, but just as quickly you may find yourself tearing up, so be prepared to deal with an emotional drama with great comedic timing. Gordon-Levitt steals the show once again, and has made it possible for me to give the movie a 5/5.

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