Nominations and Abominations

January 17, 2016

The nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards were announced Thursday, January 14, 2016. See, e.g.,

Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

February 2, 2014

You will be missed.

They Said, We Said, I Say…

February 26, 2013

How the 85th Annual Academy Awards went down:

They said = The Academy

We said = The mood of the Oscars in Black and White

I said = How it should have been….

Best Picture:

Seriously, if you haven’t seen Amour, please go see it. It is one of the three movies-of-the-year.

Best Supporting Actor:

Best Supporting Actress:

Best Director:

Best Actor:

Best Actress:

Best Original Screenplay:

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • They said: “Argo” – Written by Chris Terrio
  • We said: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • I said: “Life of Pi” – Written by David Magee

Best Animated Feature:

Best Foreign Feature:

Best Visual Effects:

Best Cinematography:

  • They said: “Life of Pi” – Claudio Miranda
  • We said: “Anna Karenina” – Seamus McGarvey
  • I said: “Life of Pi” – Claudio Miranda

Best Costume Design:

Best Documentary Feature:

Changing a nation and not even knowing it. See this story.

Best Documentary Short:

  • They said: “Inocente” – Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • We said: “Mondays at Racine” – Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • I said:

Best Film Editing:

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Best Music (Original Score):

Best Music (Original Song):

  • They said: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • We said: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • I said: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Best Production Design:

Best Short Film, Animated:

Best Short Film, Live Action:

  • They said: “Curfew” – Shawn Christensen
  • We said: “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” – Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • I said:

Best Sound Editing:

Best Sound Mixing:

In a Hole in the Ground …

February 24, 2013

As my awards season began, so it ends with my last review before the Academy Awards: The Hobbit .

I was introduced to the book in 8th grade. It was assigned reading in my English class and so I read it. I suppose everyone has moments in their life that seem innocuous, but in retrospect are moments that change everything, whether for the better or worse.

Reading The Hobbit was such a moment for me.

I loved the book. In fact, I devoured it. Long already, even at that young age, I had been an avid reader. If memory serves, and my parents’ stories are true, I had mastered the alphabet by age three and was reading by age four fairly proficiently. In first grade, I was immediately bumped to the second grade split class as I was reading (and doing math or whatever it is that one does in first grade) at a level advanced for that time.

I say this to set a scene: I was a reader. I read a book every day or so. I read everything I could find. I read fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, anything. And yet, reading The Hobbit was a transformative experience – for the first time in my tender life, I read a story, and had a dream, that everything around me, and myself in particular, could be far, far more than what I had imagined. I knew, for the first time, that I could be more than what I ever thought I was, and that I could do something far more meaningful than anything I had ever imagined.

A dream began with that book.

And so for your consideration, my review.

Most Decidedly Not Miserable

February 19, 2013

New review: Les Miserables. Best moment in film this year with Anne Hathaway’s memorable performance as Fantine and her one-shot delivery of “I Dreamed a Dream.” An epoch performance also from Hugh Jackman, one of the most talented and versatile actors of our generation. Bravo.

Fact Versus Fiction

February 19, 2013

A new review of Argo:

The film occupies a difficult genre – it is not fiction nor is it historical fiction. It is fiction that is  derived from events that happened in history. It does not need to be faithful to actual facts, and yet against the historical facts it will be judged.

This is a difficult path to walk.

I’ll admit that I struggle to know what to say about such movies. In some ways, they are a cheat. They have a story pre-made that resonates with us all; after all the story is based on events that happened in history and, for one reason or another, captivated us all.

On the other hand, these movies, invariably criticized for historical inaccuracies, are stories of fiction. They are not documentaries, nor historical re-enactments. They are supposed to be a fictional tale, and yet they feel like they are not.

I am not sure this sort of movie should be judged among the other fictional stories that are nominated for Best Picture. Like Animated Feature, they are a different sort of tale, with different expectations and different advantages. Having said that, I do not know how one would separate out this sort of tale from the rest…

However, this is the landscape in which we live.

And so Argo.


Number 16

February 19, 2013

A new review of Lincoln.

Disclaimers: I loved the performances in this film, but I am not sure beyond Daniel Day Lewis that this film will live with me through the years. The story will – it is an apocryphal retelling of a pivotal moment in American history.

I watched the film twice, and I remain a humbled fan of Spiellberg. Since The Duel, he has amazed and awed me.

Here is a preview of Lincoln:

For Spielberg at his genesis, see if you can:


February 18, 2013

A new review of the film Paranorman

I love this film. It is a story that is not at all about the story you think you are watching. It is a story that fools you, teases you and transports you. Watch it.

In the category of Animated Feature, my vote goes to Brave, but I admit I may be pre-biased, and see also my review of The Pirates. In the categories of animated films (feature or short) some wonder is happening this year…


February 18, 2013

Joining the modern age, sort of, Pixar finally gives us a movie with a female heroine. I held my breath when the film came out, because if it failed, would they try again or would we be stuck with more boy movies, year after year?

Thankfully this movie soared and was enjoyed. It has my … divided … vote for Animated Feature, among a very competitive category. Paranorman or The Pirates would well deserve a win in this category as well.

In any case, for your consideration, my review.


February 18, 2013

The films in the category of Animated Feature are wonderful, and I have struggled to find my favorite. My first review in this category, for The Pirates! Band of Misfits, is submitted for your consideration.