Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Delayed 2013 Movie Wrap Up

I've moved out of the big city, so it's no longer possible for me to post my year-end movie results on the 31st/ 1st of the year.  I've mulled over a new deadline for myself, and I'm going with one week after the Oscar nominations.  This was the deadline I used years ago, when I compiled a best-of list among my friends and needed to provide a deadline for the feet-draggers!  It seems like a good date to go with as I go forward with onelinereview, to still be timely, but allow me to see movies that are literally impossible to see in December living in a small town.

It was pretty tricky for me to see Blue is the Warmest Color, Nebraska, and even Oscar Best Picture front-runner 12 Years A Slave but I managed.  At this point there are a number of films that I most-certainly have to see before I can post my top ten, including: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Her; and, on DVD at this point: Fruitvale Station and Short Term 12.

I've seen 40+ films total and I will finalize my list when I've reached my usual 60 titles.

The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 16, 2014.  I'll post my Movie Wrap-Up on January 22nd and my Top Ten Movies and Noteworthy Achievements 2013 on January 23, 2014.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Picks for the National Film Registry 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

As is tradition, it's time for me to reveal my votes for this year's National Film Registry, due to be announced in about a month's time by the Library of Congress. We'll see how many of mine they pick! 

Last year's list spanned the years 1897-1999, and included: Uncle Tom's Cabin (1914), Sons of the Desert (1933), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), A League of Their Own (1992), and The Matrix (1999).   Also included were the usual selection of obscurer, but no-less-deserving picks such as the Technicolor industrial film The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair (1939).  A link to the Hollywood Reporter article from last year can be found here; I was mixed on the selections last year (although a few "biggies" undeniably got their due, like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Dirty Harry).

The National Film Registry started in 1989, and there are currently 600 films on the list.  Although there does seem to be less of a push for great films these days over those of "cultural" importance (Librarian of Congress James M. Billington was quoted last year to say: "These films are not selected as the best American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture"), there is still at least an unconscious push for inclusion of those considered works of art.  If the selections were based entirely on cultural "endurance" over that of a quality assessment, why would such narrative films that made the list last year as The Wishing Ring (1914), Born Yesterday (1950), and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) [films hardly part of the contemporary zeitgeist] make it in over such perennial shut-outs as The Seven Year Itch (1955), The Birds (1963), and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)?

Below are my picks for what should be on this year's list (I only do the narrative feature films: I'll let the Library of Congress decide on the obscure works).  To me, the film that most needs to be added above all (my choice now FOUR years running!) is Blue Velvet.  Last year just one of my picks made the list: A Christmas Story (1983). 

My choices for this go-round, by year:

1920s-30s (2 titles)
The Sheik (1921)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

1940s (5 titles)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Lifeboat (1944)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
The Lady From Shanghai (1948)

1950s (10 titles)
Harvey (1950)
The Red Badge Of Courage (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Limelight (1952)
The Quiet Man (1952)
Stalag 17 (1953)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
The Killing (1956)
The King and I (1956)
Auntie Mame (1958)

1960s (10 titles)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Lolita (1962)
The Birds (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Seconds (1966)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

1970s (10 titles)
Love Story (1970)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Front (1976)
Grease (1978)
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)

1980s (10 titles)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Arthur (1981)
The World According to Garp (1982)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Aliens (1986)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Wall Street (1987)
Die Hard (1988)

1990s (2 titles)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Titanic (1997)

2000s (1 title)
Bad Santa (2003)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

EW Fall Movie Preview 2013

The EW Fall Movie Preview is out this week and my reaction is night-and-day compared with the summer movie issue-- there are TONS of movies coming out I can't wait to see.  Here's at least a few of them:

Parkland (9/30)

Gravity (10/4)

Captain Phillips (10/11)

Machete Kills (10/11)

Carrie (10/18)

Blue Is the Warmest Color (10/25)

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (10/25) [I confess!]

Thor: The Dark World (11/8)

The Wolf of Wall Street (11/15)

Her (11/20)

Nebraska (11/22)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (11/22)

American Hustle (12/13)

Saving Mr. Banks (12/13)

The Monuments Men (12/18)

Anchorman 2 (12/20)

The Invisible Woman (12/25) [maybe, we'll see]

Jack Ryan (12/25)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Best of the Year So Far: Mid-Year Top 5 2013

Time again for my top 5 of the year, and I've never had no "must sees" at this point.  Ugh! What a movie year this is turning out to be. Auteurs where are you? The eight contenders this year (all "recommended") are: 42, Before Midnight, Identity Thief, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Oz The Great and Powerful, This Is the End, Warm Bodies.

It's not gonna be easy to cobble a decent list from them, but here it goes...

My top 5 2013 so far (listed alphabetically)
Before Midnight
Iron Man 3
Oz The Great and Powerful
This Is the End

Monday, May 6, 2013

EW Summer Movie Preview 2013

It's taken me quite a while to peruse my favorite EW issue of the year, and I was wondering why.  I discovered after I looked through it that I'm much less psyched than usual for this year's summer movie offerings.  As always, my top-to-see are May releases, but strangely the one I want to see most is not a blockbuster-- it's Before Midnight (very excited).

Man of Steel: what can I say? How can I get excited by a Superman movie?  Please stop (a.) with superhero movies and (b.) the same old, same old.  I feel the same way unfortunately about Wolverine. I like the X-Men, but there have been countless movies at this point.

Among the ones that I fear could be bad, but hope they are at least popcorn-fun: After Earth, The Lone Ranger, White House Down, and World War Z.

Curious about Only God Forgives due to Drive-director/actor reuniting.

Pacific Rim and Elysium are interesting to me in the same way: two directors who pulled off pretty cool past films on small budgets, now have a big budget to play with. Hopefully they don't screw it up.

Here are the top six films I'm most looking forward to seeing, in release order:

Iron Man 3 (5/3)

Star Trek: Into Darkness (5/17)

Before Midnight (5/24)

The Hangover: Part III (5/24)

Despicable Me 2 (7/26)

Elysium (8/9)

Friday, March 15, 2013

IMDb & Indiewire Top Films Mash-Up


I was curious to see what would happen if I took the top films on the Indiewire poll of critics from 2012 and melded it with the (now "settled") top rated films from users on IMDb.  It was a pretty interesting list! (I looked at IMDb's 2011 list as well for foreign films that might have been released a year earlier in their country of origin. Didn't apply this year.) Here's the top ten (alphabetically listed):

TOP TEN 2012
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Putting the lists together eliminates both IMDb's top film (The Dark Knight Rises) and Indiewire's top film (Holy Motors).  It seems to "work" to eliminate the top "popular" acclaimed movie and the top "critically" acclaimed movie. Both of their #2s made the list: IMDb (Django Unchained), Indiewire (Zero Dark Thirty).

In the olden (pre-internet) days, The National Board of Review's top ten (plus foreign film list) was a pretty reliable list.  Melded with the New York Times top ten for any given year and compared against IMDb's users ratings, you get a similar more "accurate" list of the ten-best of any given year [again, shifting release dates as necessary].

Here's two years, to illustrate:

Captains Courageous
The Good Earth
Grand Illusion
The Life of Emile Zola
Lost Horizon
Make Way for Tomorrow
Night Must Fall
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Stage Door
A Star Is Born

American Graffiti
Day For Night
The Last Detail
The Long Goodbye
Mean Streets
O Lucky Man!
Paper Moon
The Sting

It's not perfect since some movies were not acknowledged as great films in their day, most famously Touch of Evil and Vertigo in 1958, but in these cases it's pretty obvious when such films are missing, such as The Exorcist from 1973, above.  Does always seem to result in a pretty primo top ten, and a nice place to start for budding cinephiles.

None of this matters, but it's always fun to make a movie list!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Full Reviews on OneLineReview

From time to time, I write full movie reviews. Here's a list of all the movies for which I've written full reviews (a list I'll update with this annual March 1 blog entry from now on), in chronological order. It skips the capsule reviews I've sometimes written (I'll look to expand some of those and add them here). I'm doing it in paragraph, rather than list form, to conserve space.

Bambi (1942), Brief Encounter (1945), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Adam's Rib (1949), All the King's Men (1949).

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), The Quiet Man (1952), Marty (1955), Wild Strawberries (1957).

Psycho (1960), Dr. Strangelove... (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

Gandhi (1982), Terms of Endearment (1983).

Casino Royale (2006), The Departed (2006), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Away From Her (2007), Juno (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), There Will Be Blood (2007).

Monday, February 25, 2013

85th Annual Academy Awards: A Review

This year's Oscars was a throwback to the garish Academy Awards of yesteryear.  It was so crazy that, for my money it "worked." Seth McFarlane, in going the extra mile to just do whatever the hell he wanted proved to be a more capable host than anyone could have expected.  As much as I enjoyed the old Billy Crystal schtick of last year, this one-- overlong, overproduced, unnecessarily bloated-- turned out to be an entertaining bit of Hollywood hokum.

Things started off really crazy and off-kilter with a quite elderly looking William Shatner in a bit better suited for the Emmys in which Capt. Kirk shows McFarlane his future "bad" reviews as Oscar host.  This included a totally unfunny and uncomfortable song number about movies in which the actresses' showed their "boobs." One laugh amidst the melee: the number of times Kate Winslet has been nude in a movie.

To me, the best thing about this particular show was the fact that they got out the old-timers.  That's what I ALWAYS liked about the Oscars of old-- it was a meeting of movie elite old and new.  This years' show saw: Jane Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand [replete with as one reviewer wrote, a "cheesy" ad-lib when she sang "The Way We Were"], etc. appearing onstage.  It was nice to see them all, and they all looked good.  Well, except for maybe Jack, who, in an extremely ill-fitting tux, resembled Groucho Marx.

My favorite of all of Seth's semi-disastrous bits was a parody of The Sound of Music's climax as an intro to Christopher Plummer.  I thought it was hilarious.  And it also helped that Plummer himself was the absolute perfect presenter. As last year's Best Supporting Actor he was on hand to give the award for Best Supporting Actress and he was as regal as Captain von Trapp himself.

Best-dressed and fountain-of-youth-gorgeous was (a slightly nervous) Halle Berry.  She introduced an unfortunately weak James Bond 50th tribute.  Sean Connery-- how lame are you! Maybe Brosnan was a holdout too, but Brosnan would have showed if Connery had.  We did have Shirley Bassey.  Unfortunately when she started it was really bad; however, she nailed it in the end and got herself a deserved standing ovation.  Adele's singing of "Skyfall" I thought went well, but afterward people were making excuses for her because she was a bit "off."

I was so pleased that Skyfall won 2 Oscars (one in a VERY rare tie in the technical categories when it shared Best Sound Editing with Zero Dark Thirty). [Presenter Mark Wahlberg was funny: "It's a tie, no BS!"] The most any Bond film has every won is a single Oscar (Goldfinger, Thunderball)-- so even without a Best Picture nomination, Skyfall brought the Bond films back into the Oscar arena in a big way: with 5 nominations the most of any Bond (The Spy Who Loved Me got 3 nominations), and with 2, the most wins.

The "theme" of the show was musicals-- for no other reason than just because.  It made the cruel playing off of accepters to the strands of the Jaws theme that much more abusive-- the old "why-can't-they-cut-one-musical-number-and-let-them-speak" argument.  It was particularly bad the first time it was used when Life of Pi won for visual effects and the winner was attempting to comment on the fact that the f/x house who did the work, Rhythm & Hues, is in Chapter 11.

Odds and ends section:

• It seemed to everyone that Meryl Streep announced Daniel Day-Lewis' win without even looking at the envelope!

• Seth had a few too many, on purpose, groan inducing inappropriate jokes: the Rihanna/Chris Brown [ancient] joke, the Booth "too soon" Lincoln gag, etc.

• The risky Flight sock-puppet bit should have been bumped up in Seth's grab bag of never-ending opening bits: funny.

• What was up with all the sound drop outs? Again sound problems at the Oscars! Embarrassing.

• Michelle Obama's co-presenting of the Best Picture award added nothing.

• Never has anyone turned around falling on the stairs with such aplomb as Jennifer Lawrence.  Receiving a standing ovation she immediately pointed out it more had to do with her stumble.  Kudos too to Jean Dujardin for coming to her rescue.

• Some of my favorite speeches included a funny Daniel Day-Lewis, a grateful Ben Affleck, and a short and sweet speech by the costume design winner that said to me: see "technical category" people it IS possible to WRITE a speech and MEMORIZE it, instead of mumbling incoherently because, after all, you're not a "performer."

• Although widely predicted, Argo's win for Best Picture was a rare moment of not a full fait accompli for a Best Picture win; and, more significantly, I don't recall ever a category as equally matched as Best Supporting Actor this year-- which literally could have gone to ANY of the five nominees.

• With three wins, Argo ties Crash (2005) with least number of wins by a Best Picture winner in recent history.

For all the bad reviews this year's Oscars got, lets face it, here's our choices: (a.) a pleasant, "safe" Billy Crystal evening (b.) a train wreck of lameness with Anne Hathaway & James Franco (c.) this crazy mess.  I pick (c.)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Box Office #1s: US Domestic

Marvel's The Avengers was a big hit among many huge box office hits this past year.  Here are the top grossing films of the last ten years, entirely dominated by "franchise" blockbusters:
2012: Marvel's The Avengers
2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
2010: Toy Story 3
2009: Avatar
2008: The Dark Knight
2007: Spider-Man 3
2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2005: Star Wars: Episode III
2004: Shrek 2
2003: LOTR: Return of the King

What will be the biggest US domestic release this year? LOTS of franchise stuff... Star Trek Into DarknessIron Man 3Man of Steel? Catching FireThe Hobbit 2? I'd love to see a non fantasy/superhero movie come out of nowhere and catch the top slot.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oscar Nominations 2012: My Thoughts

Wow! This was a surprising morning. I would have guessed the "same old, same old" and it turned out to be one of the most interesting. The nominations went much more along the lines of my own personal preferences for the year as well, so I'm happy about that.

First off: the most shocking was Best Director.  Kathryn Bigelow's snub wins the award for the one-I-would-have-staked-my-life-on nomination (not unlike Albert Brooks in Drive last year). It has, of course, killed Zero Dark Thirty's chances at Best Picture. Lincoln has essentially won Best Picture and Best Director as of a few minutes ago...! I ALSO would have staked my life on a Best Director nomination for Ben Affleck (although I'm the only one who wasn't in love with Argo).  Affleck must be in a coma right now! When the DGA nominations came out, I said I would love to see David O. Russell get in and one of the others bumped... which looks like what happened to Tom Hooper. And I must say I DIDN'T like the way Les Miserables was directed.

I've been making bets all morning that Emmanuelle Riva will win Best Actress over Jessica Chastain.  My thinking is Amour and Zero Dark Thirty BOTH got 5 nominations, however this translates to: Amour's stock just hit the roof and Zero Dark Thirty's stock just PLUMMETED. And even though I didn't love Amour (pun!), I acknowledge that Emmauelle Riva did a helluva job.

Beasts of the Southern Wild's nominations elude me, especially quite frankly screenplay. I mean, c'mon! It will have to be happy with its nominations: no wins seem likely.

Jees, Leonardo DiCaprio can't get arrested at the Oscars!

I would have liked to see more nominations for Moonrise Kingdom, but at least it got screenplay.

First Oscar nomination for Robert DeNiro since Cape Fear (1991)!

Skyfall didn't get the "big" nominations (acting/picture, etc.) but with 5 nominations it is the most nominated James Bond film of all-time (The Spy Who Loved Me [1977] got 3 nominations).

I haven't done the research, but I believe that Silver Linings Playbook is the first film to be nominated in all 6 of the top categories since Reds (1981). I'll get back to you on that! [UPDATE: Yup, I was right... Silver Linings is indeed the first film since Reds to be nominated in ALL six major categories].

I was right that Lincoln would get the most nominations (12) [per my predix yesterday] but did not see Life of Pi's 11 nominations as #2 most nominated....

I thought the Seth/Emma patter during the nominations was ugh, by the way. I didn't like Seth's bitchy gag about directing, but must admit I laughed at his comment that adapted screenplay involved copy-and-pasting from MS Word to Final Draft...!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Film Will Get the Most Oscar Nominations?

Tomorrow morning at 5:30ish AM PST (the official site says 5:30 but it's traditionally been 5:38), the Oscar nominations will be announced.  It's time for the annual parlor game: What is your guess for the film that will get the most nominations? Last year it was HUGO (with 11 nominations), besting eventual Best Picture winner THE ARTIST (that got 10 nominations).

This year is unusual because it appears that it's only a two pony race and neither is (arguably) Best Picture frontrunner ZERO DARK THIRTY:

It seems it's either LINCOLN or LES MISERABLES.  LES MIZ has a one-nod bump with a possible Best Song nominations but only has two acting nominations likely to LINCOLN's likely three.   It seems like LINCOLN has this.  I really want to buck the obvious and go LES MIZ but I will give it to LINCOLN for my predix this year.

Maybe the "game" this year should instead be what will be #3? Here we have a long list: ARGO, DJANGO UNCHAINED, ZERO DARK THIRTY, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, LIFE OF PI (which will have that F/X nomination to make up for no acting nominations), SKYFALL (which could theoretically nab nominations for Bardem and Judi Dench-- how I would LOVE to see Dench get in there... go SKYFALL!!!).  My guess here would be: ZERO DARK THIRTY... guess it has to be, with ARGO a close #4.

What is the #1 acting nomination I'd like to see tomorrow morning?: Bradley Cooper Best Actor for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (and unfortunately it's not a sure thing at all). As for "crafts" noms: SKYFALL for Best Cinematography and THE SESSIONS for Editing (longshot, for sure).

Can't wait for the nominations! Go Bond!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Line Review's Top Ten Movies and Noteworthy Achievements 2012

TOP TEN 2012 (alphabetical)
Django Unchained (d. Quentin Tarantino)
Frankenweenie (d. Tim Burton)
Moonrise Kingdom (d. Wes Anderson)
Prometheus (d. Ridley Scott)
The Raid: Redemption (d. Gareth Evans)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
(d. Lorene Scafaria)
The Sessions (d. Ben Lewin)
Silver Linings Playbook (d. David O. Russell)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
(d. Bill Condon)
Zero Dark Thirty (d. Kathryn Bigeow)


Best Film:
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Best Actor:
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

Best Actress:
Noomi Rapace in Prometheus

Best Supporting Actor:
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress:
Sally Field in Lincoln

Best Original Screenplay:
Lorene Scafaria for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Best Adapted Screenplay:
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director:
Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom

Honorable Mentions:

Best Film: Moonrise KingdomSilver Linings Playbook.

Best Actor: Jack Black in Bernie; Steve Carell in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Mark Duplass in Your Sister's Sister; Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables; Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln; John Hawkes in The Sessions; Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty; Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Helen Hunt in The Sessions; Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva in Amour; Naomi Watts in The Impossible.

Best Supporting Actor: Larry David in The Three Stooges; Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook; Ezra Miller in The Perks of Being a Wallflower; Martin Sheen in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Michael Sheen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2; Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained.

Best Supporting Actress: Charlize Theron in Prometheus.

Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom; Rian Johnson for Looper; Ben Lewin for The Sessions.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner for Lincoln; Chris Terrio for Argo.

Best Director: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook; Lorene Scafaria for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.