2014 was the 3rd full year of Reel and Unscripted and I’m proud to say that many of my predictions throughout the year panned out in the Oscar nominations results. I truly feel like my critic “skills” are blooming! Haha! Now that the awards are right around the corner, here are my official Oscar picks!
My prediction for Best Picture is a toss up as Birdman (#4) and Boyhood (#5) were only 1 spot apart from each other on my Top 25 list of 2014. I knew Boyhood was something special when I watched it, but Birdman is quirky and I love Michael Keaton. I truly don’t care which one wins!
My vote goes to Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman! The whole idea that the movie looks as though it is shot in one take is pretty impressive.
Everyone is talking up Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, but I don’t think he did much in the 2nd half of that movie. Michael Keaton in Birdman gives a career changing performance that really showcases his talents! He gets my vote!
Before I saw Still Alice, I would have given the award to Reese Witherspoon for Wild, but after seeing Julianne Moore, she deserves the award hands down. This feels like deja vu from last year with Cate Blanchett.
This one is easy! I have a joke going with my friends that if J.K.
Simmons doesn’t win for Whiplash, then I’m shutting down this review site…
Best Supporting Actress:
Everyone is talking about Patricia Arquette as though her role in Boyhood was defining, but I feel like Emma Stone in Birdman is the one who shows us what a supporting role is all about. I said similar things 2 years ago when Christoph Waltz won for Django Unchained so here is to hoping!
Birdman without a doubt due to the same reason I chose it for direction.
Best Original Screenplay:
Again, I think Birdman is a pretty damn good movie and the parallel story to Keaton’s life to his character in a neat way. The metaphors it creates is amazing!
Best Adapted Screenplay:
It is always hard for me to pick this category due to the fact I don’t know the source material to compare. However, as a story in general, my vote goes to American Sniper as it would be my 3rd choice for Best Picture.
Best Foreign Film:
So far I’ve only seen 2, but Leviathan is a pretty solid choice!
Just like last year this is a slam dunk… EVERYTHING IS AWESOME from the Lego Movie!
Best Animated Film:
Usually the winner here has been an American movie, but this week I watched Song of the Sea and it was excellent. I wouldn’t be shocked if it beats How to Train Your Dragon 2… however, the Lego Movie should be the real winner.
For the rest of the categories that surround Hair/Make-up/Production/Sound/etc., I just don’t have the background knowledge to pick these appropriately so I won’t make random guesses. Also lets face it, who cares what I think about make-up and sound, right? Stay tuned in a couple of days for the results of the 87th Academy Awards!
Another year in the books as “movie critics” and we are well on our way to calling it as we see it. We may not always get it right but that doesn’t stop us from sharing what we think. So in that vein here are my picks for the winners of this years Academy Awards.
There are quite a few decent picks in this category but my money is on Boyhood. I am with my other half that Birdman is right there as well but I think Boyhood is more up the Academy’s particular creek so it will be their chosen winner. If either wins I will be happy.
Personally I would choose Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel because he has such a unique way of making a film fascinating. However I think the winner will be Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman and it will be well deserved.
While I think Bradley Cooper was truly inspiring in his performance, Michael Keaton was phenomenal so he deserves to run away with Best Actor.
Hands down Julianne Moore. She conveys so much with her performance in Still Alice.
Best Supporting Actor:
I wasn’t a fan of the film but J.K. Simmons had better win for Whiplash. He has done so much in the industry and he truly deserves the award.
Best Supporting Actress:
Boyhood took a lot for work and effort its cast so Patricia Arquette seems obvious choice here.
I have never been very good a picking the winner in this category but for all intensive purposes I think it will be Birdman.
Best Original Screenplay:
Some good choices for this category this year but the most compelling and unique of them to me is Birdman.
Not having read anything that these screenplays were adapted from I can’t pick with confidence but I think the winner will likely be American Sniper based on popularity alone.
Best Foreign Film:
Sadly I can’t put my two cents in for this category as I haven’t seen any of the films nominated.
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME from the Lego Movie! Seems rather an obvious choice!
Best Animated Film:
After finding the magical hot tub in the first movie, Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) have used time travel to benefit their lives. Due to this success, someone tries to kill Lou by shooting him, but since the hot tub time machine is close by, the group attempts to go back in time to stop the shooting from happening. Only problem is they land 10 years in the future where they meet up with Adam Jr. (Adam Scott) who also aids in the attempt to save Lou from dying.
I would like to start by saying that John Cusack is the smartest man alive by avoiding this mess of crap. This movie is only targeted at the people who liked the crude nature of the first movie. They took everything about the first movie and removed it and all that is left is stupidity. Sure the actors are likable and fit the roles perfectly, but they just aren’t funny. The story is dumb. The jokes are dumb. The whole idea that a sequel needed to be made is dumb! Guess what, it looks like a 3rd movie may be on the horizon! Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t “50 Shades of Grey” bad, but if I were watching this at home for free, I probably would have turned it off.
Maybe if John Cusack had returned it could have been better, but since the only thing that remained here was the dick and fart jokes, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is just as stupid as it sounds. Don’t waste your time even if you liked the first movie.
3/10 Stars – This is an avoidable mess that was only made due to the success of the first movie. Not funny and not interesting!
Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a smart and nerdy high school girl with 2 gorgeous friends who are nothing like her. Jess (Skyler Samuels) is pretty, sweet and attractive. Casey (Bianca A. Santos) is athletic, aggressive and attractive. What Bianca soon realizes, through the help of her pig-headed, next door neighbor Wes (Robbie Amell), is that she is a D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) and she makes her friends look better. Not only is Bianca offended and hurt by this realization, but she is determined to change her image in order to get the guy of her dreams, and she needs Wes’s help to do it!
I’ll be the first to admit that the story of The Duff has been overdone so many times that it was pointless to make another version, but alas, here it is. For those of you not familiar with this story (The Ugly Duckling, The Taming of the Shrew, She’s All That, My Fair Lady, and my personal favorite 10 Things I Hate About You), you will be in for a treat because the Duff is this generation’s interpretation of it. As those that came before it, The Duff is cute, enjoyable and charming. It teaches the age-old lesson “Be True to Yourself” and “Beauty is on the inside.” In my opinion, this is one of the rare times when having a cast that is full of rookies is of benefit. We get to attach ourselves to these characters based on the story roles and not because of real life popularity (which is the point of the movie).
As I stated above, The Duff isn’t the first time this story has been done and I think that is its only flaw… but it will be a huge one. Sadly, I don’t think The Duff will stay in the limelight for long due to the other adaptations. It just doesn’t have anything memorable to standup against Heath Ledger singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” during band practice, Audrey Hepburn yelling “Arse” at the horse races or Rachel Leigh Cook walking down the stairs to “Kiss Me” in that red dress. However, to those young people out there who have never seen those other films, The Duff can be their “She’s All That” because they do feel somewhat similar (minus the cruel bet.) The Duff is a perfect date movie as girls will love it and guys should enjoy. However, if they don’t, girls you’ll know it’s ok to dump him! HA!
At the end of the day, The Duff is sweet, entertaining and an easy watch without being too shiny. It might not be laugh out loud funny, but it will sure make you smile. It takes an age old story and handles it very well, but just don’t be expecting anything new from the idea. This movie could have easily gotten an 8 from me due to the likability and enjoyment, but when “10 Things I Hate About You” is in your top 5 movies of all time, it’s hard to say The Duff is on the same level. Still, The Duff is a solid film and one that I would recommend teens and families enjoying. Co-starring Bella Thorne, Romany Malco, Nick Eversman, Ken Jeong, Allison Janney, and Chris Wylde.
7/10 Stars – The Duff is sweet, cute, charming and entertaining, however, its only flaw is the predictable story done much better by countless other adaptations.
Harry Hart aka Galahad (Colin Firth) is a member of a prestigious secret group in London whose sole purpose is to protect the people of the world. This organization is called Kingman and is lead by Arthur (Michael Caine) and his Knights of the Round Table. When Lancelot (Jack Davenport) is found dead on a search and rescue mission, each Knight puts forth a new recruit in order to compete for the new title of Lancelot. Galahad’s new recruit is a young man named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who has lived a troubled life but has high potential of being the next Lancelot. Galahad has a soft spot for Eggsy due to the fact that his father died 17 years earlier saving Galahad’s life so he feels this is how he can repay the debt. When new villainous mastermind Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) decides to become the next “Noah” by creating mass genocide in order to save the Earth, the Kingsman are set out to stop him.
In the spirit of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer, Kingsman: The Secret Service is one hell of a fun ride! From beginning to end it is an action spectacular that never takes itself too seriously. The action is over the top, the comedy is subtle and the characters are likeable. This movie is cast perfectly and newcomer Taron Egerton is someone to watch for in the future. Samuel L. Jackson is excellent as Valentine and delivers a great line by saying that any great spy movie is only as good as its villain. Boy is he right! He isn’t mean or nasty, he is just crazy and sinister. Just as in the Bond films, Valentine even has a signature side-kick Gazelle who has blades for legs that can slice people up with a single blow! Now doesn’t that remind you of Jaws or Odd Job?!?! Brilliant! The trio of big name Brits (Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Caine) are well suited for their roles, and without them, this movie wouldn’t be the same. The only thing missing from Kingsman is Sean Connery, but he stopped acting years ago… Oh well…
Sure Kingsman may have a predictable plot that many spy movies have used over and over again, but the sheer likability of this movie will entertain for beginning to end. This is definitely going to be one of the best movies of the year and it is only February! Go see this movie! Co-starring Sofia Boutella, Mark Hamill, and Sophie Cookson.
8/10 Stars – Fast, action-packed and fun! Kingsman will rival the likes of James Bond and Jason Bourne any day!
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a successful business man. He is single and doesn’t have much of a public personal life. In fact, he is practically a mystery to everyone who knows him. When Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) interviews Mr. Grey by her roommates request, she enters a world she never knew existed. Mr. Grey’s dominant personality is instantly attracted to Ana’s innocent nature and not before long, the two are embarking on a sexual journey that is full of discovery and pain.
As a disclaimer, I just want to say that I did not read the book and after seeing this movie, I’m so glad I didn’t. This movie is a disaster! It is probably the worse movie I’ve ever seen! I recently watched The Boy Next Door starring Jennifer Lopez (2/10 Stars), and I stopped to ask myself which I would rather watch again if forced, that movie or 50 Shades, and I couldn’t honestly answer. 50 Shades of Grey is so bad on so many levels it is hard to find a place to start!
First off, this movie is flat out BORING! Most of the scenes are contrived of events that do not progress the thin weak story. About 1/3 of this movie is spent watching these 2 people have sex. Sex scenes in movies are one of the most annoying things to watch because it adds nothing to the story and here it is in abundance! I guess it doesn’t matter here because there isn’t much of a story to begin with, but once we get to the 6th and 7th sex scenes, it stops being a true “movie” and instead can be labeled as softcore porn (and that’s even with some people saying this is playing it safe!) When these 2 aren’t having sex, we are subjected to horrible acting from unknown leads. They have little chemistry and present us with 2 characters we don’t want to invest in. That’s pretty much the movie! It’s so sad that the numerous sex scenes, in a movie about sexual domination and bondage, will bored you to death (sense my sarcasm), and if that doesn’t, the acting sure will! What does “50 Shades of Grey” mean anyways…
I want to now talk about the one aspect of this movie we all will have an opinion on and that is the main subject matter; Christian’s domination over Ana. I have to say that I was appalled as I learned what this movie was truly about (remember, I didn’t read the books.) They expect me to believe an innocent virgin, who had pretty much no sexual experience prior, is just going to go along with everything this strange man suggests? The way Christian talks to Ana reminds me of the way I talk to my dog! He says degrading crap and constantly reminds Ana that he is a gift to her and he owns her. How many times did we need to hear him say “I don’t sleep with my girls” or “It’s not my thing”? Are you kidding me?!?!? What is even worse is that she lets him do this and lets him think this behavior is charming. To use my analogy once more, she responds to him just like my dog does! My female dog drops to her back with her legs spread the moment I step in the house so I can pet her belly. That is exactly how Ana acts! “Oh, hey Christian, glad you are home, pet me now!” So stupid! She must have a pretty low self-esteem if she thinks it is attractive for a guy to treat her like garbage! I don’t get why so many women eat this crap up?!?! Several women say they wish this would happen to them but in reality, if this actually happened, I see lawsuits, restraining orders and jail time in any man’s future who acted this way. I guess that is why Christian wants Ana to sign a legal document before starting their sessions. On the flip side, Men are going to hate this movie/story for how unrealistic it is. All men know that bold behavior to a complete stranger is most often looked at as pig-headed and jerkish. With all the women’s rights movements over the last 100 years, I’m shocked that now women sit back and say “sure come treat me like a stupid play toy!” YEAH RIGHT!
The only sparkle of something good about this movie is the end. I find it ironic that I liked the ending so much because when the movie was over, many of the people in the theater (women) let out a collective groan of displeasure (similar to the same one I had for Gone Girl.) I say irony because of the movie Gone Girl. I loved Gone Girl up until the very end at which time I felt a huge wave of disappointment come over me, yet in 50 Shades, I hated it so much that the ending left me feeling better (but not by much.) Why did the ending make me happy? The ending was something I enjoyed because the event at the end was the first “right” thing that happened all movie long! It took any horrible message sent at the beginning and sent a completely different message. A good message. A positive message. Sure many women out there are going to hate the end, but that is because they live in a fantasy world, and here in reality, the ending is perfect!
With a new outlook on the world after my daughter was just born 3 weeks ago, I would hope that no woman on Earth would wish to be treated this way. Sure, I can understand it if this kind of behavior is only in the bedroom between 2 people who have been in love for quite some time, but these 2 characters are strangers who play this game non-stop! I’ll say this one more time… 50 Shades of Grey is the worst movie I’ve every seen, and that is a huge statement since I see a lot! I think I would rather see The Boy Next Door again then watch this dull, degrading, garbage.
2/10 Stars – Horrible acting, horrible story, horrible characters and more importantly, horrible message!
His Predictions: 2014 was the 3rd full year of Reel and Unscripted and I’m proud to say that many of my predictions throughout the year panned out…
His Review: After finding the magical hot tub in the first movie, Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) have used time travel to benefit…
His Review: Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a smart and nerdy high school girl with 2 gorgeous friends who are nothing like her. Jess (Skyler Samuels) is pretty, sweet…
His Review: Harry Hart aka Galahad (Colin Firth) is a member of a prestigious secret group in London whose sole purpose is to protect the people of the world. This…