Top 10: Films of 2012

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Top 10 Films of 2012

1. Les Miserables
Tom Hooper tops “The King’s Speech” with style and grandeur. Les Miserables is an enchanting experience, adapting itself with discipline from the epic Broadway musical and to Victor Hugo’s classic novel. The film reaches its heights with the assistance of a vocally talented ensemble.

2. Moonrise Kingdom
With whimsy and nostalgia, Moonrise Kingdom is a welcoming period piece from a not-so-unfamiliar time, about a not-so-unfamiliar subject matter. Wes Anderson tells his story with fantastical renderings and a keen-eye for detail and design.

3. Lincoln
A film told by words and character, Lincoln successfully humanizes a heroic figure from human history by guiding us through his most difficult struggles with stunning finesse. Spielberg directs an impressive cast into a film that is as entertaining as it is education

4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Quvenzhane Wallis transforms the character of Hushpuppy to an unsung hero. Beasts of the Southern Wild directs us into the struggling mind and heart of this girl and adventures us through a lifestyle of self-reliance that is touching and often miraculous.

5. Cloud Atlas
Ambitiously adapted from the successful novel, Cloud Atlas is interwoven with several entertaining plots, and entrusts the audience to discover the connectedness of each story. With well-paced editing and execution any easily-possible contrivances are avoided.

6. The Grey
Carnahan’s character-driven thriller is as intense as it is emotionally sound. Liam Neeson humanizes the appointed leader of a pack of humans struggling to survive in the Alaskan wilderness. Deep, thematic themes are explored along with a beautifully developed narrative that ties up all loose-ends.

7. Zero Dark Thirty
Combining elements of journalism and a strong narrative, Kathyrn Bigelow’s retelling of America’s greatest manhunt through the eyes of a CIA agent named Maya is thrilling and told with subjectivity. Zero Dark Thirty surpasses expectations and fantasies of the untold story with realism and humanism.

8. Safety Not Guaranteed
A film about regret and second chances subtly wraps itself in inde-comedy paper. But with intriguing characters, and a strong lead performance by Aubrey Plaza, the film maintains a consistent amount of humor and heart-warmth. All that leads us to a spiraling, and satisfying third-act.

9. Argo
The pacing in Affleck’s thriller will make your heart-race. Argo becomes a true American story that adapts itself from real-life events and characters involved in dramatic and dire situations. Meticulously crafted and edited with breath-taking attention to execution, Argo is an ideal Hollywood thriller.

10. Indie Game: The Movie
Independently funded and shot on DSLR cameras, Indie Game: The Movie interweaves the struggles and ideals of video game developers. Edited seamlessly to support a strong, moral narrative; directors Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky encompass us in the midst of the artistic process; behind the scenes of an art form so few understand.

Honorable Mentions: Amour, Silver Linings Playbook, The Dark Knight Rises, The Cabin in the Woods, Life of Pi

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Awards: Oscar Predictions 2013 – September/October

Awards: Oscar Predictions 2013 – September/October
by Matthew Durham

I recently wrote an article about What we learned from Telluride, Venice and Toronto. Within it I kind of hinted at what Oscar Predictions would be looking like come February (Ceremony has been moved to February, Announcement of nominations to January.)

I had meant to do my predictions earlier, but wanted to do some major research before posting them, a lot of mathematics and consideration help from other more popular Oscar bloggers at websites and most importantly Gold Derby, which takes all the bloggers predictions and narrows them in percentages.

So here are my predictions for the 2013 Oscar nominations at this point:

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Oscar Predictions – August 2012

 

 

Oscar Predictions – August 2012

 

Best Picture

Argo

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Lincoln

The Master

Moonrise Kingdom

Zero Dark Thirty

 

RUNNER UPS

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Cloud Atlas

Life of Pi

Anna Karenina

The Dark Knight Rises

To The Wonder

Silver Linings Playbook

The Sessions

Trouble with the Curve

Hyde Park on Hudson

 

Best Director

Ben Affleck, Argo

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master

Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

Tom Hooper, Les Miserables

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

 

RUNNER UPS

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Kathyrn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Cloud Atlas

Joe Wright, Anna Karenina

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises

Terrence Malick, To The Wonder

Ben Lewin, The Sessions

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Michael Haneke, Amour

 

 

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

John Hawkes, The Sessions

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

 

RUNNER UPS

Richard Gere, Arbitrage

Clint Eastwood, Trouble with the Curve

Denzel Washington, Flight

Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained

Joel Edgerton, Zero Dark Thirty

Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs

 

 

Best Actress

Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina

Elizabeth Olsen, Therese Raquin

Maggie Smith, Quartet

Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

 

RUNNER UPS

Emanuelle Riva, Amour

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Rachel McAdams, To The Wonder

Laura Linney, Hyde Park on Hudson

 

Supporting Actor

Jim Broadbent, Cloud Atlas

Bryan Cranston, Argo

Russell Crowe, Les Miserables

Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

 

RUNNER UPS

David Straithairn, Lincoln

Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Jude Law, Anna Karenina

Aaron Johnson, Anna Karenina

Woody Harrelson, Seven Psychopaths

Sacha Baron Cohen, Les Miserables

John Goodman, Argo

Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike

Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained

Tom Courtenay, Quartet

James Gandolfini, Killing Them Softly

 

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Master

Samantha Barks, Les Miserables

Annette Bening, Imogene

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

 

RUNNER UPS

Olivia Williams, Hyde Park on Hudson

Kelly Macdonald, Anna Karenina

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Vanessa Redgrave, Song for Marion

Helena Boham Carter, Great Expectations

 

Original Screenplay

Amour

Django Unchained

The Master

Moonrise Kingdom

Zero Dark Thirty

 

RUNNER UPS

Imogene

Hope Springs

Flight

Seven Psychopaths

To The Wonder

Trouble with the Curve

 

Adapted Screenplay

Anna Karenina

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Les Miserables

Lincoln

 

RUNNER UPS

Life of Pi

Cloud Atlas

The Sessions

Quartet

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Silver Linings Playbook

Hyde Park on Hudson

The Dark Knight Rises

This is 40

 

 

So, I gave Beasts of the Southern Wild a little less love this time. I did this because it feels like the buzz is already dying down for it, I can only imagine of Oscar voters will even remember it at this rate. Still very possible, we’ll just have to wait and see as time goes on through Oscar season. If a lot of these potential award winners are really good, Beasts could fade into the early year background.

Gave Zero Dark Thirty a little more love. The trailer was alright, but the more I think about the films timeliness the more I am persuaded to go with it for award season.

Giving Argo more love because Ben Affleck hasn’t made a bad film yet, while a lot of these are still potentially not good. Argo is also a timely subject and the more times I see the trailer the better it looks. Also gave Cranston a spot because someone pointed out that an actor has always got a nomination from an Affleck film.

 

Anticipation Preview: The Best Films of 2012 and Why.

It’s an odd hobby to have predicting award show outcomes, but it is an odd hobby I enjoy. This article however is not based toward the Oscars or any other award show. Well, kind of. This will be a list for anyone trying to predict the Best Films of 2012 and explain why they can be good, or how they could be bad.

As I have established before there are a lot of fantastic talented filmmakers putting out stuff this Award Season. So here’s a list of the Films you should watch out for.

Amour

Description: From what I’ve read the story revolves around music teachers in their eighties going through rough times, a lot of the descriptions I’ve read are pretty vaugue

Why Will It Be Good?
French filmmaker Michael Haneke is why. In 2009 he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Foreign Oscar frontrunning film The White Ribbon. The film didn’t get the Oscar and a lot of people believed it was snubbed. Now he is back.

Why Could It Be Bad?
I doubt this movie will be bad but as we’ve seen from Pixar recently no one ever really keeps making good movies. As far as Award-Races foreign films are often shut out of any category other than their own. The White Ribbon got a cinematography nod, and sometimes Acting nods come into them, so it really depends on how good it is.

Anna Karenina

Description: A period piece taking place in the 19th century in Russian High society. Never knew Keira Knightley did period pieces…. sarcasm. But yes it’s about an affair.

Why Will It Be Good?
The trailer looked alright, the film has some great actors in it including Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly MacDonald. The Director is Joe Wright, I really enjoyed Atonement he did with Knightley and the Writer of the film is Tom Stoppard who won an Oscar for  Shakespeare in Love. 

Why Could It Be Bad?
Although Stoppard hasn’t had too many speed bumps in his writing career, director Joe Wright hit pretty low with The Soloist. Two other notable films he’s done is Hanna and Pride & Predjudice; another film in which he worked with Knightley. Also while the novel is older the premise seems to have been done multiple times and period films are usually hit or miss lately.

Argo

Description: During an Iranian Revolution and CIA specialist comes up with a plant to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian Ambassador.

Why Will It Be Good?
Ben Affleck has proven himself twice in a row now as a Director. As far as acting he did well under his own direction in The Town. There is an all-star cast in this film and with Affleck’s track record it could be the one that finally gets him in contention during award season.

Why Could It Be Bad?
There seems to be a lot going on in this movie. All the actors in it are extremely talented but in the trailer they all seemed to be playing working stiffs. Maybe it’s just that the trailer wasn’t that good. Also the screenwriter Chris Terrio is relatively new to writing having only worked on minor short films (info via IMDB.)

Cloud Atlas

Description: Hard to say. Pretty much about how peoples life’s and their actions impact one another in the past, present and future.

Why Will It Be Good?
The Wachowski Brothers are directing/writing and they did The Matrix which was good. A third director named Tom Tykwer directed Run Lola Run which had high critical praise. The trailer while portraying a convoluted storyline looked visually stunning and interesting. Also I have heard the book is excellent and complex.

Why Could It Be Bad?
Besides The Matrix trilogy we haven’t really seen much from the Wachowski’s. Can they pull a story off like this? With all these intricate layers and storylines. This film could literally be 50/50 either it will show us something we haven’t seen before and blow our minds with intelligent storylines or be boring, long and convoluted. The acting in it looked good, but Tom Hanks with the short brown hair was a little unrealistic.

Django Unchained

Description: A slave turned bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from an evil Mississippi plantation owner.

Why Will It Be Good?
Tarantino hasn’t ever really done a bad movie. So I doubt this film will be bad. It looks fun, cinematography looks good, acting looks good. Really everything looks well rounded out with it.

Why Could It Be Bad?
As said before I don’t think it will be bad. It could be like Kill Bill for example, good but not an Award winner like Inglourious Basterds or Pulp Fiction. Also the trailer wasn’t incredibly impressive.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Description:  Peter Jackson is back to the LOTR series this Christmas with the highly anticipated prequel about Bilbo Baggins.

Why Will It Be Good?
There’s a ton of hype surrounding the film and Peter Jackson has been slaving away at it for a long while now. The 48 fps is also going to be a very intriguing experiment. The actors are there and most importantly Jackson has the same screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boynes that helped write the other LOTR films and King Kong with him.

Why Could It Be Bad?
King Kong and The Lovely Bones were not nearly as good as the LOTR series, but they weren’t bad at all, at least not in my opinion. A big turn off for me though is that they are turning this into a trilogy, I fear we might experience some long runtimes in these films that can hopefully entertain up the difference. Also the trailer was complete garbage.

Hyde Park on Hudson

Description: The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.

Why Will It Be Good?
Bill Murray looks absolutely amazing in the trailer, and looks like a major player come award season, that is unless the film is total garbage. The film concept is interesting too.

Why Could It Be Bad?
Roger Michell, the director has done films like Notting Hill and Morning Glory. That’s not a great track record, so why they hype for this film? Maybe it’s the writer Richard Nelson. Actually Nelson is a newcomer who has worked on some shorts and indies and when it comes to new screenwriters it’s like flipping a coin.

Les Miserables

Description: An adaptation of the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel set in 19th-century France, in which a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean seeks redemption.

Why Will It Be Good?
I’ve seen the musical and I cried like a baby. Best musical I’ve seen. High critical acclaim on Broadway. Tom Hooper is directing, I didn’t care for The King’s Speech but that doesn’t change the fact it got him a Best Director and Best Picture Oscar. Also Hooper did the acclaimed HBO John Adams series and since this takes place in the heart of the French Revolution and a period piece it is in his ball park. William Nicholson is adapting the script, his highest achievement being a co-writer for Gladiator. 

Why Could It Be Bad?
I don’t see much, I don’t believe it’s likely that Tom Hooper could dish out another Oscar winner so quick, but everything looks good from Acting to Production Design and Cinematography. Still anything is possible. Also we need a longer trailer, teaser is good but not enough.

Life of Pi

Description: The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper’s son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Why Will It Be Good?
It’s been highly anticipated for awhile. The book is supposedly amazing and there are already some devout fans. The concept of the story is very original and intriguing which you don’t see much of today. Also the movie looks cinematically beautiful. The director is Ang Lee who won his Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. The adaptive screenwriter David Magee has only wrote a few things, one of which he was nominated for an Oscar for and it was Finding Neverland which shares similar magical traits as this film.

Why Could It Be Bad?
From the trailer some people complained that it simply looked too cheesy and that the CGI animals looked too fake. Personally I was impressed by the trailer and I would love to see it. We all also can’t forget while Ang Lee did Brokeback Mountain he also did the first Hulk movie.

Lincoln

Description: The sixteenth President of the United States guides the North to victory during the Civil War.

Why Will It Be Good?
Spielberg is Spielberg. He has created some of the greatest films of all time and he has created some alright films. More of the alright films have been happening lately. Daniel Day-Lewis looks picture perfect has Lincoln and screenwriter Tony Kushner has previously worked with Spielberg on critically acclaimed but underrated film Munich. 

Why Could It Be Bad?
We could have another War Horse scenario on our hands or Catch Me If You Can. Where the film is really good, but not a classic. We can’t expect Spielberg to ever release another ET or Jaws. He might someday, but no one should have that high of expectations looking at them. So it’s really up in the air, especially without a trailer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got pushed to 2013 at this point.

The Master

Description: A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.

Why Will It Be Good?
Paul Thomas Anderson has had a variety of styles over the years, but he seems to be sticking with the grim emotions of There Will Be Blood with this one, which is not at all a bad thing. The concept is interesting, the acting looks incredible and it was recently shown secretly to some random viewers who praised the film.

Why Could It Be Bad?
It won’t be. The one negative thing the viewers who got to see it said was that it was a little long. It may not turn out to be the big Oscar winner people are expecting it to be this year, but it is very likely it will be in contention.

Silver Linings Playbook

Description: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Why Will It Be Good?
The acting looks really good first of all. The premise sounds interesting and I’ve heard good things about the book it is based off of. The director is David O. Russell who was recently nominated for an Oscar for The Fighter he is a talented director and writer.

Why Could It Be Bad?
They could fall into a trap where the leads are too unlikable, but this film looks like it uses empathy to make the audience connect with the characters and their situations. I was impressed by the trailer, but as far as winnings Awards it could really go either way. It doesn’t really seem like a typical award film.


To the Wonder

Description: A romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.

Why Will It Be Good?
Terrence Malick is the writer/director who recently had some luck with The Tree of Life. There is a wide variety of good casting here as well.

Why Could It Be Bad?
I am seriously doubting this will be released this year, especially since Malick is notorious for pushing his films release dates back and we haven’t heard anything about this film, no trailer, screenshots nothing. Just the posterish photo above. So we’ll see.

Trouble with the Curve

Description: An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.

Why Will It Be Good?
The performances look really good from the trailer, Eastwood is still doing his Eastwood things but he just does it so damn good. Amy Adams looks incredible, overall it looks like a charming heartwarming sports flick.

Why Could It Be Bad?
Robert Lorenz is making a directorial debut after working as an AD with Eastwood on movies such as Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. This could be a good or bad thing. Randy Brown is also making a screenwriting debut. Parts of the trailer seemed like this would be a warm-hearted family melodrama. So I’m thinking doubtful for award season but I could be wrong.

Zero Dark Thirty

Description: The NAVY Seal Team 6 tracks down wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Why Will It Be Good?
Kathyrn Bigelow has teamed up again with screenwriter Mark Boal (both are known for the Oscar winning movie The Hurt Locker) to cover familiar territory here. The cast also looks great for the film.

Why Could It Be Bad?
We all know what it’s about, but we don’t know what it’s REALLY about. Bigelow and Boal have been keeping the project pretty quiet so it’s hard to make speculation outside of past experiences from the actors and crew and who knows maybe Bigelow and Boal got lucky with The Hurt Locker. 

Well I hope you enjoyed these films, other films that have already been released that will be in Award contention are: Moonrise Kingdom, The Sessions, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Brave.