80th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

The 80th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 24, 2008.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

It was an off year for the Academy as they chose the absolute worst film for Best Picture as a way to finally reward the Coen Brothers (just as I sadly predcited).  Meanwhile, the Schleicher Brothers tied for the lead in the Oscar Pool with 13 correct predictions from 24 categories.  This was off from my personal best from last year where I scored 17 correct predictions. Continue reading

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The 2nd Annual Davies Awards in Film

The year’s best film , There Will Be Blood, closed in a orchestral flourish with this amazing piece from Brahms.  It was a fantastic way to end a wonderfully strange year at the cinema.

2007 ended up being a great year for films, possibly the best since 1999.  While 2006 was consistent in its passably entertaining mediocrity, filmmakers seemed to take more chances in 2007 leading to more highs (see below), more curiosities (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Beowulf, Sweeney Todd), and more lows (I Am Legend–not quite legendary).  The year’s two greatest films explored Greed and the American Dream.  There Will Be Blood took an epic approach to explore how greed driven and focused can build nations while slowly devouring the soul of the individual, while Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead took an intimate approach and explored how greed ill-planned and misdirected can destroy a family in the blink of an eye.  While Hollywood seemed to cash in on more name brand sequels and three-quels than ever before (and the public ate them up ad-naseum only to quickly forget them a few weeks later) three trends stood out in my mind that I feel defined 2007: Continue reading

A Review of Jason Reitman’s “Juno”

Ellen Page and Michael Cera: Finally, a teen movie where the kids look like real kids. 

For Realz, 17 December 2007
8/10

Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

Ellen Page (in a star-making performance) plays an accidentally pregnant smart-alleck 16 year-old named Juno (named after the Roman goddess, not the town in Alaska) in the latest hyper-smart comedy from Jason Reitman (director of “Thank You for Smoking”). “Juno” follows the latest Hollywood trend of quirky comedies that actually deal with some heavy issues. Unlike most of those films, “Juno” manages to stay funny even as it gets serious and treats its characters and audience with respect by keeping the jokes coming even as it gets cutesy or plays for tears.

Screenwriter Diablo Cody (a pen-name destined for greatness) has a knack for writing hipster dialog that doesn’t wear thin or get annoying. She manufactures big laughs from both quasi-goofy pop culture references and nervous situations inherent to adolescence. She keeps things fresh even when the film starts showing its sweet side. Think of her as Judd Apatow without as much of the raunchy humor. Director Reitman gives the film the appropriate indie-feel and populates the movie with a great soundtrack of songs whose lyrics perfectly match Cody’s storyline and dialog.

Ellen Page is eternally likable in the lead role, and the decision Juno makes in the end feels totally organic and true to her character, giving the film a ring of truth instead of feeling manufactured to make the audience feel good. Michael Cera proves again to be one of the most amiable and subtly funny young actors working today. His performance is a perfect companion piece to his more overtly hilarious work in the riotous “Superbad”. The rest of the supporting cast is equally likable, and even Jennifer Garner, and actress who always seems to try so hard, seems perfectly cast here as an adoptive mother-to-be who tries way too hard.

Though not as laugh-out-loud funny as most of Apatow’s films, “Juno” swings as one of the best of the quirky indie-comedies of the past five years. It’s funny and has a heart, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it like “Little Miss Sunshine” did, and instead, thanks to Ellen Page and Diablo Cody, feels like the real deal.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0467406/usercomments-57