Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Fountain

Wow. I just saw The Fountain. Wow. It is amazing. I can't even describe how incredible it is. Visually its stunning. It is far and away one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. A lot of people have been saying that it's confusing, but I didn't feel that way at all. Sure, the film didn't spell out exactly what exactly what everything means, but that's part of the beauty of the film. You can look at it in a couple of different ways, either believing the events to be literal and actually taking place in the film or believing only the modern day story line, taking the five hundred years before as if they are just from Izzy's manuscript and the five hundred years after as Tommy's way of eventually coming to terms with his wife's cancer. Either way you choose to believe, (and I'm not sure which I even believe) the story is very powerful. Easily the years best film in my opinion, and one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Interestingly enough, this wasn't the movie that Aronofsky originally set out to make. After Requiem for a Dream when he could do anything he wanted, he wrote a hugely ambitious film about death set in three different time periods that would have a huge budget. The studio balked. But then Brad Pitt read the script, cried, and signed on. With such a big star attached, the studio agreed as well.

Nothing but trouble followed, and eventually Brad Pitt backed out. Then the studio backed out. It appeared the film would never get made, but Aronofsky refused to give up. He rewrote the script as a smaller budget film and defying all odds, the movie got made

Until Next Time, For a look at what the original vision for the film was, you can read the graphic novel recently published, but the film as made is still incredible. Just an amazing bit of film making.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

LOST I Do, first thoughts

I have to admit I am disappointed with the way this episode went and really saddened that I have to wait until Feb with this being the last new episode.

Here is my problem, Dr. Jack took control of the situation far too easily.

Remember Benry Gale and the Others have consistently been at least one step if not more ahead of the crash survivors the entire time, and yet Jack has single handily gained control of the situation?

I'm not buying it.

Why even take Sawyer and Kate if not to use them to make sure Dr. Jack does his best on Benry?

You expect me to believe they didn't foresee this possibility? Wouldn't it have been more prudent to already have Sawyer and Kate at knife or gunpoint in the room to make sure Dr. Jack was on his best behavior?

So, is there anyway to explain this (what I believe is a) inconsistency in the Others? Maybe.

It certainly could be the idea that the Others really are the "good guys" as Benry Gale put it earlier this season. 

If that's the case, then, sure, they're smart, but they aren't really evil, so it becomes a little more understandable that they would be so trusting of Dr. Jack.

Add to it that Benry was pretty desperate to have the surgery, and maybe he might become a little less efficient.

While that all seems a little plausible, it doesn't help that just a couple episodes earlier we saw Benry (needing spinal surgery and all) con Sawyer, which shows some capacity (at least) for evil.

Granted they didn't actually put an exploding pacemaker in either Sawyer or the bunny, but they had him convinced that they did and whatever their motives you can't call that "good".

And what's even worse, they took away Sawyer's hope.

I guess that what I have to figure is that they don't consider themselves evil and definitely aren't planning evil deeds which means, of course, that Ethan must have known way back in season one that Dr. Jack and Kate would be around in time to save Charlie from dying from being hanged.

If that is true, then perhaps they could be as smart as they are but still naive enough to not realize how desperate the survivors are when it comes to their plight.

Possible, I suppose but I still don't know that I buy it. After all, three of the Others have died proving how the survivors act when fearing for their safety. You'd think that the Others would have learned this lesson by now.

Until Next Time, I guess we'll get more of an idea in February when season 3 returns.

Friday, November 3, 2006

LOST The Cost of Living, first thoughts

Wow.  So, I just finished watching last night's Lost episode and so many things are going through my head right now.

First off, I think that might be my favorite episode of television ever.  I really love Eko as a character, so that helped.  As any of you who have seen my camp labs know, I also really love when religion plays a significant role in pop culture, and clearly that is the case in this episode.

There are spoilers ahead, so if you aren't caught up, you probably shouldn't read on...

First off, I feel that this episode has answered more questions then any other.  I think that much of what was confusing me is more clear.  More on that later.

At the beginning of this episode, Eko sees his brother who tells him the time has come for him to face his sins and confess.  This culminates in the tent in which Eko has been laid catching fire.  Damnation awaits.  Or so it would seem.

I have 30 minutes to finish this post.  I hope that I can get all of my thoughts in during that time.

At the end of last season, John lost faith in the island.  When he saw the tape at the Pearl Station, and saw Jack in the television screen, he felt that everything he had done and believed was in vain.  Clearly, this station was the real deal, and the button was just a test.  The people at Pearl Station were watching while people wrongly believed that they were doing something important.  This is what John felt upon his and Eko's discovery.

We of course learned that the reports being filed from the Pearl Station were jettisoning out into an empty field, and the Pearl Station was the test site for psychological reasons.  As John himself soon discovered, pushing the button was actually quite important.

My point is that Eko never lost faith in the island.  In fact, when faced with evidence that should have lessened his faith (as it did John's) Eko became even more faithful, vowing to push the button even if John quit.  John fought Eko on this and endangered Eko's life because of it.  This horrendous event once again strengthened John's belief in the island.  (As did his vision quest with Boone.)

So, the question becomes, why does Eko get tested when his faith was strong, while Locke does not? 

Furthermore, why does the island have John go find and rescue Eko only to test him and ultimately kill him?  It doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

Unless of course it makes perfect sense.

I won't get into to much detail here, but I see some comparisons with Job.  Eko is the most faithful servant (as was Job) and is tested.  He is told by his brother to confess his sins and is caused by the island to relive them.  In the end, he rails out exclaiming that he will not admit to sins.  He lived his life the only way that he could.  He didn't ask for what befell him, but tried to survive it as best he could.  He stops short of claiming to be a good man, but says that he did the things that he did in the interest of good.

It is at this point that the smoke monster, which if you will recall Eko has faced before, kills him.

At the end of Job, of course, Job regains all that was taken from him, twice as much as he had before, and lived a long and full life "being old and full of days" Job 42.17 (sorry for the bible lesson, but I want to point out that I think the episode was similar.)

I realize that Eko dies, but is that such a horrible thing?  After all, he faced down his demons, and for the most part, I think, is at peace with them.

Benry Gale asks Dr. Jack if he believes there is a God.  I'm pretty sure that Eko does.  Eko's brother, or whoever that was, asks Eko if he's ready to meet God.

In order to do that, he must die.  Boone got over his problems and was rewarded (I know it seems weird, but I think it fits) with death, as was his sister and Ana Lucia.  All of them died after their main issues were resolved.  We still aren't sure that it is possible to actually escape the island, so while this might not be a literal purgatory (as the show creators have assured us it is not) it could very well be a figurative one (which would explain why the book "Bad Twin" was written by Gary Troup, an anagram of purgatory).

Man made or somehow supernatural, you are tested on the island and set free through death.  I believe that Eko passed his trials and tribulations, and left Locke and those with him with good news, "You will be next."

Until Next Time, I only have a couple minutes left, so I'll have to wait to another time to get into what's going on at the other island with Benry Gale and his tumor.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

LOST Every Man For Himself, first thoughts

I'm guessing it's Benry Gale who has the spinal tumor, but I almost expect it to be someone else, because that seems so obvious.

Other Big Questions after this ep...

What's up with the second island?
It's like something out of an Oliver Stone pic.  Instead of a second shooter, there's a second island.

I wonder what it is they want from Sawyer.
We know what they want from Dr. Jack, and they probably took Kate in order to get the boys to stay in line, but what is it they want from Sawyer?

And finally, what is Desmond's new found power?
An ability to see the future of some sort obviously, but my guess is there's more to it.

Either way...

Until Next Time, can't wait to find out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

LOST Further Instructions, first thoughts

Man it was awesome seeing Boone again.  I really like Ian Somerholder, and enjoy the play between him and Terry O'Quinn (Locke).

So, Desmond can see the future now, huh?  Weird.  Wonder where that will take us.

Where you like me, did you think that the cop was going to shoot Locke, paralyzing him?  I wonder when we'll finally find out how he becomes paralyzed.

Until Next Time, Lots of stuff going on this season, but sadly only three more episodes before we get a long hiatus.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

LOST The Glass Ballerina, first thoughts

Highlights from Ep 2...

Benry Gale showing Dr. Jack the tape of Red Sox winning world series.  Whole scene was brilliantly done, plus makes you wonder how the hell they are getting their info on the island.

Best LOST line ever?

Definitely in the running is Kate's response to Sawyer's statement "You taste like strawberries."  Kate's reply had me laughing so hard I had to pause the show...  "You taste like fish biscuit."  I've been saying that to everyone.  That line is great.

Until Next Time, only one more day til the third episode.  Can't wait.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

LOST A Tale of Two Cities, first thoughts

Wow!!!!!   Right off the bat you were sucked in.  I was like, what in the world is going on here?  Whose flashback is this?  Then we find out that it is actually on the island!!!

I knew that the Others were not really all primitive, but I don't think I was expecting a "leave it to beaver" neighborhood.

I wonder who the guy that Jack's wife left him for is.  I bet he fits into the island storyline somehow.  Everything does.

How much of a connection do the Others have to the world outside the island?  They somehow got all the info on Jack, including events just before the flight (the autopsy of Jack's dad).  Could they have somehow made sure the people on this plane were on this particular flight?

It's looking more and more likely that someone did, if they are able to get such exact info on various passengers.

Why are they keeping them in a zoo?  And who was it that tried to escape with Sawyer?

So much I want to know.  Can't wait to find out more.

Until Next Time, Five more episodes before the long break until Feb.  Good news is that in Feb, once it comes back, it is non-stop til the end of the season, 24 style.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

LOST Season 3 preview

LOST starts Wednesday!!!

Big questions...

What will people say back at camp when they hear from Hurley about Sawyer, Kate, and Dr. Jack?

-Really don't know, can't wait to find out.

Are Sayid, Sun, and Jin going to save them quickly?

- I highly doubt it. I think they'll be with the Others for awhile.

Will Michael and Walt get away from the island?

-no chance in hell.

Follow up question, did Henry Gale lie about the route away or will it be for some other reason?

-you tell me.

What is going on in the world back home?

-we finally saw something off of the island in present day time, but what did it mean? Was Penny searching for Desmond or something else entirely? Does she know what the island is or was she looking for something else entirely? I got to tell you, I'm not sure, could be any of these or something else entirely.

What happened to Eko and Locke?

-I have to assume they are alive, but I'm sure the experience will have changed them. I assume they're alive, b/c we still have no idea how Locke lost use of his legs.

Who will die this season?

-the writers have shown a 24 like disregard for characters lives killing off three main characters last season, I'd look for the death toll to rise. The only real question is who? My bet would be anyone who wanders too close to the Sawyer/Kate/Dr. Jack triangle. (See Ana Lucia, who messed with both Jack and Sawyer and then was shot by Michael.) Other then that I don't feel comfortable guaranteeing anyone's safety.

Oh man, I can't wait.

Until Next Time, hopefully I will soon be more consistent with my blogging about LOST!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

2nd Annual, Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Season Award

Again, the rules are that only network shows are eligible...

This year we have a honorable mention...

Prison Break- FOX

Non-stop action and a brilliant premise.  Not quite sure where this show will go next, but this was certainly a fun ride.  It would have made the list, but there seemed to be quite a lot of place holding happening in the middle of the season that stretched credability a little bit and killed some of the momentum.  Still, a very fun show and one I look forward to keeping up with in the future.

Now, on to the top 5!

5. The Loop

Would easily be the best sitcom in quite some time, if there weren't two other sitcoms that placed higher on this very list.  Hilarious show, that is ridiculous, but at the same time has enough believability to make you completely identify with Sam's problems in the real world.  Love it!

4. My Name is Earl

Jason Lee is one of my favorite actors in the world, and he gets to showcase his comedic genius weekly with this show.  The premise is genius, and sets itself up for a long time of great storytelling.  As much as I love Jason Lee (and he is beyond brilliant in the show), the supporting characters really make the show.  Earl's brother Randy (played by Ethan Suplee, who like Jason Lee was also introduced to me by MallRats), Earl's ex-wife Joy (played to perfection by Jamie Presley), the Crab Man, and Catalina, all add so much character to the world and to the show as they attempt (mostly) to help Earl with his list.

3. How I Met Your Mother

This show was perfect from the very first moment.  It usually takes shows, especially comedies, some time to find their footing, but HIMYM does so right off the bat.  I identify so much with these characters, and know people just like each and every one of them.  Plus, the mystery is fun.  Who exactly is Ted's soul mate and how long until we meet her?

2. The Unit

The President is back, and he is kicking some butt as an elite soldier!  The action is great, but the combination of the home lives of their families who sort of know what it is their husbands do is really what makes this show work.  The cast is fantastic, and this show is certainly a keeper!  It's a great mix of eposodic action tv with a season long story that builds slowly, allowing your investment to grow along with it and with the connection you feel for the characters.

and the winner of the 2nd annual, Josh's choice for the best new show of the season award goes to...

1. Invasion

I can't believe that it got canceled.  Every week it just got better and better.  It was a perfect complement to LOST and a great character driven mystery in its own right.  I will own this on DVD, and always wonder what could have been for this fantastic show. 

Until Next Time, I guess it will have to take solace in the fact that it won this highly coveted award.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

LOST Dave, first thoughts

So, I gotta talk about the last episode of LOST and the question it raised.  Is the island and everything on it just a figment of Hurley's imagination?

For my part, I would have to say, No, I don't believe that it is, or they wouldn't have told us.

However, the idea of things, or indeed everything, being just in the head is an intriguing one.  It may play into the ultimate truth of the island.

What really shocked me about this episode is the fact that the new girl, I always forget her name, (EDITORS NOTE: Holy crap! There was a time when I couldn't remember Libby's name?  Shame on me!)  from the other side of the island was also in the hospital with Hugo.  That's just strange.

We already know that the island has some sort of power.  It gave Locke the ability to walk again.  It brought the horse that was just like the one from Kate's past.  Perhaps it could create someone for Hurley from his past.  Maybe the new girl on the island actually doesn't exist and has been created from the mind of Hurley.  I guess we won't know anytime soon though.  After all, Walt has been missing all season!

Although, maybe something will finally be done about that this week since Jack is going to try to trade "Henry Gale" for Walt.  I can't wait to find out.

Until Next Time, I hope that you are secure in your own reality!

Monday, March 6, 2006

First Annual Thoughts As I Had Them During the Oscars

Hello Everybody!

Welcome to the day after the Oscars. Hope you all slept it off okay. As you might be aware, I was unable to watch the big show live due to work, and therefore taped it and began watching it at about 12:30 a.m., so you'll excuse me if I'm a little tired, the Oscars after all are loooong. Anyway, while watching during the early hours last night, I jotted down some of the thoughts I was having in order to give you, my reading audience an idea of some of the thoughts that go through a future Oscar winners head as they watch the Oscars. Here ya go...

-I'm glad I taped the Oscars. It gives me the opportunity to fast forward through commercials. Take that MasterCard!

-Jon Stewart is handling this very well, doing a good job. I always like the Oscars because they often teach us something we didn't know before, for instance, I didn't know that Jon Stewart was in Death to Smoochey. Learn something new everyday. Course I shouldn't be surprised that he is informative. This is the hard-hitting, informative journalism that Jon Stewart is known for, after all.

-Hey, sweet. I get to fast forward through the song nominees too.

-Is it just me, or were you hoping George Clooney got a little Micheal Moore with his acceptance speech.

-King Kong!?!?!?!?!?! For Special Effects!?!?!?!?!? Ben Stiller's "floating head" was better special effects then that film. Hell, the 1933 version looked better. What the hell are these people smoking?

-Okay, someone producing the Oscars has a sick sense of humor. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves presenting an Oscar. Two of my least favorite actors in Hollywood together on screen to give an art direction award. How does this make sense? Don't say "They were in Speed together" That movie was made like 11 years ago, and neither's careers have really blossomed since then. They should have let these two give out the special effects Oscar. Keanu needs special effects to show emotion, and Sandra needs special effects to differentiate herself from Julia Roberts.

-Hey, that's awesome, Keanu only got one line.

-Did the en absentia Art Director really write that note in third person? "Gretchen would like to thank...." Who does she think she is, an athlete?

-Why was Network in the montage for socially important films? It was a self satire against the media, which probably doesn't belong in a montage talking about how the media (in this case feature films) help to change what's wrong with society. Seems a little out of place there to me.

-The Academy President seems to be giving his State of the Union type deal here. The verdict, "Please go see more movies!!!!!!" Yeah, cause you guys are really suffering. You're making way more off of DVD's now anyway.

-Oh, coming up, Jake Gylenhaal (almost Spiderman), Jessica Alba (Susan Storm the Invisible Girl), and Eric Idle (Incredible Hulk), I hope they do something about Super Heroes.

-Nope, just Jake Gylenhaal pimping out movies for the Academy President. It's just not that easy to be a pimp.

-Hello! King Kong sucked people. Maybe they're still giving out Oscars for Lord of the Rings.

-Okay, I'm going to go ahead and watch the best song performance for the Pimp song. I want to see if they have to beep any of it out.

-Lots of thoughts going through my head as I'm listening to this embarrassingly bad song, but I'll keep them to myself. It's not like its going to win the Oscar.

-Oh My God, it just won the Oscar. Did not see that coming. Clearly it isn't that hard bein' a pimp.

-Hey, Jon. I said it first. Joke stealer.

-She can kick major ass, but walking is sometimes a chore, ladies and gentlemen, Jennifer Garner

-You've got to be kidding me, another award for Kong? Did any of you see that movie? It sucked. Maybe they just saw the trailers and are basing these awards on that. I really think it's Oscar chances should have suffered since ... it .... SUCKED!!!

-So that's how to pronounce Ziyi Zhang. I'm not sure what she's talking about here, but damn, she is hot.

-Perhaps Brokeback is losing some steam. Geisha is picking some up. If it had a Best Picture nomination, I'd start to think it had a chance.

-A great performance in Walk the Line, and a great acceptance speech for Reese Witherspoon. I got teary eyed.

-Wow, for a second there, I thought Phillip Seymore Hoffman was going to say, "I'm honored to be nominated with these strong actors. And Heath Ledger."

-I love Larry McMurtry. And he's wearing Jeans. That's awesome.

-He just thanked me!! I'm a bookseller. Thank you, Larry! Wow, my first thank you in an Oscar speech. Hopefully the first of many.

-Damn it, Jon. Stop stealing my jokes. Write your own.

-Well, the suspense continues. Brokeback and Crash each win the writing nods. Which will it be?

-Ang Lee comes through. I guess I was wrong about the upset. I just really had a feeling that the Best Picture and Best Director would be for different movies. Oh well, we can't be right all the time.

-I was hoping he would say something in his acceptance speech like "This award is for everyone who said Incredible Hulk was gay. You want a gay movie, I'll give you a gay movie."

-Well, really can't say I'm surprised. I just picked the upset in the wrong category, but I knew that Crash and Brokeback would split these two categories. Ahh, it's good to be so smart.

Until Next Time, There you go, my thoughts as I had them during the Academy Awards, or, I guess as I had them while watching them a few hours after they had actually happened, but like NBC always used to say, they were new to me. Hope that you enjoyed the Oscars!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

LOST Maternity Leave, first thoughts

Okay, so what the hell is up with the Others?

Is it just me or did you actually start to think we might have been wrong about them?  Maybe they aren't all bad.  Clearly, they aren't as primitive as we were led to believe.  They have a fairly state of the art medical center that they were able to just abandon, and the whole grizzly adams look that we've gotten from that one guy is just a fake beard and stage makeup.

You saw how he really looked when he spoke to Ethan in Claire's flashback.

I loved that for only the second time, the episode took place entirely on the island (the other being the episode that showed what had happened for the last season and a quarter to the tailies, which while interesting was far too rushed for my taste.) 

This entire island episode was great.  It worked in the show's propensity for flashbacks so well that it was almost half the episode before I realized that it was like a normal episode, but the flashbacks weren't going as far back.  Brilliantly done.  Flashback episodes are always difficult to pull off, but for a series that is partly based on them, this episode was able to seem unbelievably natural.

I also loved that Russo is now good again.

So, some questions answered, far more asked, but all in all a brilliant episode.

The season is really starting to heat up now.

Questions from the last couple episodes that I really am unsure of: is Henry Gale (Wizard of Oz reference? especially with the whole hot air balloon thing, Dorothy Gale's uncle Henry?) an Other or is he telling the truth?

What the hell was that when the clock went down past zero, Egyptian symbols?  What do they mean?  I'm really not sure, but I'm looking forward to trying to find out.

Until Next Time, I want Walt back, and keep Sawyer bad, cause man he is a fun character.

Oscars Preview and Prediction Post 2005

Really, I don't know why I love the Oscars so much, after all, I'm generally very disappointed in the outcomes. I mean I know that I majored in film, but really, are the Oscars something I should devote any energy to whatsoever? Unlike some people I don't give a crap about the wardrobes of those nominated, and I never watch the red carpet. I know many people for whom this is all there is to care about, but for me, I care about the films. Maybe I like it because I can get so worked up about it, since the Oscars so rarely get it right.

First of all, it's important to understand that the Oscars are very political, and the awards don't actually go to the most deserving. I'm not speaking of political in the "the President is an idiot, but at least he didn't shoot anyone" sense of political, but in the inner workings of Hollywood sense of political. (Excluding a few cases such as Marlon Brando and Micheal Moore, but I digress). Remember, the Oscars gave an award for best actor to Russell Crowe for his portrayal of a gladiator in the aptly titled film, Gladiator. Really, what in that film did he do that was so special? Yell? Who can't do that, really? That award was actually for the portrayal one year before in the Insider, a much more deserving part. For those who think he actually won for Gladiator, need I remind you that also in the best actor category that year was an actor who for an hour and a half shared the screen with only a volleyball? And made it interesting? Politics.

With that in mind, I will give a few predictions for this years Oscar telecast...

Best picture.

It's really a two film race between Brokeback Mountain and Crash. Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich are just there for the parties. While, in my opinion, Capote is the best of the five nominated, only Brokeback and Crash really have a chance. Unlike in recent years, all five films are actually good, but I find it hard to believe that Syriana and Walk the Line were left off. If I had to replace two of the nominees to correct this error, I would say Crash and Munich should go. While both are good films, they aren't really Best Picture films. And that is sad, because I think Crash has a legitimate shot at winning. Ultimately though, I think the Oscar will go to Brokeback Mountain.


Here, there are three actors with a real chance. Heath Ledger (who would have believed that a year ago?), Phillip Seymore Hoffman (who many consider due), and Joaquin Pheonix. It's probably going to be Phillip Seymore Hoffman for Capote. Oscar loves it when you play a real person (which is why Pheonix has a real shot), and they love to give it to great actors who have been to often overlooked. So despite all the hype over Brokeback (being another great predictor of Oscar wins), Hoffman gets the nod.


Here we have two contenders. Reese Witherspoon and Felicity Huffman. It will be close. Oscar loves it when you play way against type, and Felicity Huffman, one of t.v.'s desperate housewives, as a transgendered person certainly qualifies. I believe Politics will play a role here, however. Witherspoon will win for her role in a film many (not just me) believe should have gotten a nomination for best picture, the best actress win will be a sort of parting gift.

Supporting Actor

I don't even think this one is close. Paul Giamatti will win for Cinderella Man. Although much like his co-star in that film, he won't really win it for this role. It will be an Oscar one year later for his role in Sideways.

Supporting Actress

Like in the lead actress role, I believe that the winner here will be in the parting gift variety to the film. Racheal Weisz will win for Constant Gardener which many thought should have gotten more notice then it did. If not Weisz, the Oscar will go to Michelle Williams who was really good in Brokeback Mountain as Ennis' long suffering wife. She's come a long way from Dawson's Creek.


Rarely does the winner of best picture not also win best director. Also the winner of the Directors Guild Award often wins this award. Due to that my prediction should be Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain. I've got a strange feeling about Crash, though. I already said it could surprise for Best Picture, I'm going to go ahead and predict that Paul Haggis does surprise here and win for Best Director.

Screenplay Original

Crash is almost certain here, with an outside chance for Syriana because it didn't get a best picture nod.

Screenplay Adapted

Brokeback has a real shot, but I wouldn't be that surprised by Capote getting the nod. I'd love it if Constant Gardener somehow pulled out the win. That was a great script.

Animated Film

Who said that the traditional cartoon is dead? Okay, so only one of the three nominees is a traditional hand animated film, but none of them are computer animated, which means for the first time a non-computer animated film will win the award. Sorry Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (or Howl's Moving Castle), but a claymation film will win. Don't get too excited, Tim Burton; it will be Wallace and Gromit.

Bonus award, special effects,

Chronicles of Narnia, because Aslan looked amazing and Kong looked fake.

Well, watch Sunday and see how I do, but don't call me and tell me during the Oscars I will be working. I'll be taping it.

Until next time, remember it's okay to yell at the television when the wrong movie wins an Oscar

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Top 5 Films of 2005

Counting down, because it is ever so much more fun that way...
5. The Constant Gardener - from the director of City of God, Fernando Meirelles, adapted from the thriller by John LeCarre. This was a smart, thriller about a murder and corruption in the drug industry (the legal one), that entertained without being mind-numbing or requiring an imaginative stretch.

4. Capote - a narrative debut of a documentary filmmaker, Bennett Miller, it is a fascinating look inside the famed author of Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote and at the same time contains an intriguing mystery. The mix of styles that Bennett Miller brings to the table along with the outstanding performances enhances the strong story making it often feel as though you're watching a documentary.

3. Syriana - written and directed by the screenwriter who wrote Traffic, and produced by George Clooney and Stephen Sodorberg (who directed Traffic), this is a film in the same vain as Traffic, an engrossing and massive story told from the view points of many different characters who interact sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in larger ones. Instead of being about drugs (illegal ones in Traffic's case) it is about the oil industry. Every actor is fantastic including Matt Damon, who is often times hit (Talented Mr. Ripley) or miss (nearly everything else). It is better then every one of the best picture nominees. But then so are the other two on my list, so on to number...

2. Walk the Line - I have to admit, I wasn't sure going in about Reese Witherspoon, but damn, she was really, really good. And I can't say enough about Joaquin Phoenix, he was unbelievable. After seeing this film last Thanksgiving with my best friend, I walked out saying, "We've just seen the movie that will win Best Picture." I was sure of it. Unbelievably it isn't even nominated. Ray was nominated, and compared to Walk the Line, Ray was awful. The music was good, and Jaime Foxx was outstanding, but the movie wasn't that great. Here, the music is amazing (I thought after first seeing the preview that they were actually using Johnny Cash's songs, I was blown away to find out it was Joaquin Phoenix. Face it, he nailed that signature Cash sound), the acting was as good as it gets, and the story was phenomenal. I truly don't understand how this film was ignored for best picture.

And now, let me preface by saying that it is entirely possible that no one will agree with me about my first place movie of the year, but considering I feel it is the best movie I've ever seen, it would be hard not to put it at number one for the year. (Are you listening Ebert, my number one movie of all time is also number one in the year in which it came out. It only makes sense.)

1. Serenity.

Okay, okay, some of you are saying, "I've never even heard of that movie" which means you don't think I'm crazy, you just figure it is some obscure independent film that only twelve people have seen despite it's brilliance. Well, you're partly right. Those of you who know what movie I'm talking about either A. think I've finally gone insane, or B. have seen the television show Firefly, been broken hearted by the way it was treated by FOX, heard Joss Whedon (yes the Buffy and Angel Joss Whedon) was going to be making a feature film continuing the story line of the television show, proceeded to try not to let your expectations get too high (because as we all know whenever your expectations are high for a film, or almost anything for that matter, you are inevitably let down), failed as your expectations shot through the roof with the news that every actor from the show would be reprising their roles, the talk of people who saw early cuts and said it was amazing, and just the fact that it was being based on the single greatest television show you had ever seen. Then, with hopes that could not be higher, you found yourself in the movie theatre for the midnight opening, and as the movie unfolded, found that your hopes and expectations were not only met, they were exceeded. Not only exceeded, but embarrassed. It was far better then you could have even dreamed. If you're in camp B (and I'm actually not the only one, but there are few of us out here) you can understand why I say this is the best movie I've ever seen. For those in camp A (who probably now include all those who previously didn't know what Serenity was), let me say (in addition to that absurdly long sentence above) I had Star Wars prequel sized expectations for this film and they weren't high enough. That, in my book, is unbelievable. Due to that, I have to say it is the best movie I've ever seen and therefore the best film of 2005.

Until Next Time, be sure to stay tuned for my upcoming Preview and Prediction Post for the Oscars.  Only one of these films is nominated.