SideNote: The first scene of “Whiplash”

whiplash_13SideNote: The first scene of “Whiplash”

There are so many things to admire about the film “Whiplash.” The first thing that can come to mind is the career-making performance from J.K. Simmons. The second thing may be the writing. Damien Chazelle’s direction in “Whiplash” is spot on, not just in guiding its pacing, but also in pulling strong performances from his cast.

Even more so than the direction, much admiration can be found in the writing and structure of the film. For the most part “Whiplash” follows the three-act structure closely. Without spoiling any of the film (except for the first five minutes), let’s talk about that first scene.

Continue reading SideNote: The first scene of “Whiplash”

Golden Globes: Updated Film Predictions – November

30/09/14 xmas film previews - variuos, mkGolden Globes: Updated Film Predictions – November

We have completely updated all of our film categories for our Golden Globe Predictions.

The HFPA thinks a little differently from the Academy. It’s not really a copy/paste situation. In the past few days we have had some momentum shifts, from the strong premiere of “Selma” at the AFI Fest to the strong presence of “The Imitation Game” at the Hollywood Film Awards.

Most of our Television categories haven’t really changed. We will have one more full updated before the nominations are announced on December 12th.

Click “More” to see our entire list of a category’s front-runners and long shots. And click on our Golden Globes page for all categories including Television categories.

Here are our updated film predictions:

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Imitation Game
Boyhood
Selma
Unbroken
Gone Girl
More

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Birdman
Into the Woods
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Top Five
Big Eyes
More
Continue reading Golden Globes: Updated Film Predictions – November

Quick Takes: “Birdman,” “The Homesman,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”

the-homesman__140514141959Quick Takes: “Birdman,” “The Homesman,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Click Scores to see all of our recent star-rating reviews.

The Media 10 doesn’t usually reviews movies, but we are changing that with “Quick Takes” a new segment that gives at most two paragraphs to recently seen movies.

Birdman (★★★1/2)

There are few movies as ambitious as “Birdman,” and under different direction the seamless, erratic, flow of the film may have proven more harm than good. Not only is “Birdman” one of the most beautiful movies of the year, it is also one of the most complex. With layered characters performed to a tee by talented actors.

The Homesman (★★)

With “The Homesman,” writer/director Tommy Lee Jones has cemented the fact that his talents are just as effective on-screen as they are off-screen. Unfortunately, the result of this very faithful adaptation feels unfocused with a paint-by-numbers structure. Some scenes pack an emotional punch, while others feel flat and unimportant.

Guardians of the Galaxy (★★1/2)

By not taking itself too seriously, “Guardians of the Galaxy” easily becomes one of Marvel’s most well-written stories post-”Iron Man.” Not to mention some of the best art direction in a film this year, both visually and practically. However, “Guardians” commits the superhero movie sins of keeping long-winded action scenes too close to one another and having an uninteresting villain.

 

SideNote: Managing Expectations

interstellar_aSideNote: Managing Expectations

The most peculiar thing about “Interstellar” coming out hasn’t been its lukewarm 73% on Rotten Tomatoes or that it came up short to “Big Hero 6″ in the box office over it’s opening weekend, it’s the apologetic reaction from fans of director Christopher Nolan, most of which defended the film even before its release.

“Interstellar” isn’t the first movie to fall victim to hype. But its worth discussing how a person’s reaction to the film is almost set in stone before they even see it. I have always liked Nolan’s films, but since I’m trying to offer an objective opinion on a blog I try to clear my mind of any good, or bad, expectations before watching a film. The same goes for games and television shows.

Continue reading SideNote: Managing Expectations

Analysis: Nintendo wins 2014

bayonetta21Analysis: Nintendo wins 2014

What a bizarre year for video games. Was the first year of the next generation a success? Well, it was different.

Nintendo probably has the greatest story here. Back in March we wrote about their struggling profits and what a world without Nintendo may look like after unveiling their new console – the Wii U. BBC news had reported that Nintendo executives took pay cuts, in the 20-30% range, including president President Satoru Iwata who took a 50% pay cut after disappointing sales of the Wii U.

All of these projections implied a bleak future for one of the eldest video game company. So it feels refreshing to make an easy case that the Wii U had the best exclusive titles of 2014.
Continue reading Analysis: Nintendo wins 2014

Quick Takes: “The Theory of Everything” and “A Most Wanted Man”

1413995838868_Image_galleryImage_The_Theory_of_Everything_Quick Takes: “The Theory of Everything” and “A Most Wanted Man”

Click Scores to see all of our recent star-rating reviews.

The Media 10 doesn’t usually reviews movies, but we are changing that with “Quick Takes” a new segment that gives at most two paragraphs to recently seen movies.

The Theory of Everything (★★★)

“The Theory of Everything” is constantly at war with biopic conventionalism. With a sentimental, above-average script sculpted into something much more aesthetically pleasing. With top class directorial choices, acting,  editing, cinematography, and composition, “The Theory of Everything” is a step above the rest of its genre’s field.

A Most Wanted Man (★★)

“A Most Wanted Man” feels like a procedural espionage thriller. Almost too procedural, as it hinges on the performance of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman who delivers in every on-screen moment. The story, adapted from John le Carré’s book of the same name, was probably best formatted for that medium. However, a strong conclusion makes the film worth the watch.

SideNote: THR writer’s roundtable

SideNote: THR writer’s roundtable

Writer’s roundtable features Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Jon Favreau (Chef), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar), Chris Rock (Top Five), and Graham Moore (The Imitation Game).

Definitely check all of these out this season, especially the writing and directing ones. They are very educational and entertaining.

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