My Oscar Predictions, Snubs and Silly Noms

86th Annual Academy Awards - Red CarpetIt’s like a rite of passage in film community that you’ve got to give your Oscar predictions.  I am also going to note the snubs and nominations I think are nonsense. I will say I a notoriously awful at this so don’t put too much money on my predictions.

Best Picture- I have seen all of the nominees and I  think The Revenant will win. 

Out of this list I think Spotlight is leagues above the rest.  I’d order them like- Spotlight, The Martian, Brooklyn, Mad Max Fury Road, The Big Short, Room, The Revenant, Bridge of Spies. 

I would have nominated Inside Out for best picture as I think it was the most emotional (forgive the pun) and innovative film of the year. I also think Carol and Ex-Machina would have been worthy entries (and of course I love Star Wars: The Force Awakens but who are we kidding.  It didn’t stand a chance of being nominated).

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant (will win)

Room

Spotlight (dark horse)

Best Director- I think Inarritu will win for The Revenant because the academy loves him and the movie was hard to make (so are lots of movies.  That doesn’t mean it deserves to win. I mean Mad Max was a nightmare to make).  

Dark horse is George Miller who would be my pick. 

I would have loved to see Pete Docter in here for Inside Out (no, all my snubs won’t be for Inside Out).  I think Todd Haynes not getting nominated for Carol was a real snub.

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road- dark horse

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant (will win)

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Actor- I haven’t seen Danish Girl or Trumbo. I think Leonardo DiCaprio will win for The Revenant and I am fine with that.

I am fine with the list although I loved Michael B Jordan in Creed.

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (will win)

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (dark horse)

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress- I haven’t seen 45 Years but the rest are great performances.  It’s a race between Brie Larson and Cate Blanchett.  Oscar loves Blanchett and she is great in Carol. But Oscar also loves to honor new performers in this category so I say Brie Larson will win.  

Charlize Theron in Mad Max Fury Road and Carey Mulligan in Far From the Maddening Crowd would have been nice to see.

Cate Blanchett, Carol- dark horse

Brie Larson, Room (will win)

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor- Great list. I think Sylvester Stallone will win. 

Mark Rylance from Bridge of Spies is the dark horse and I’d be ok with him winning even though wasn’t nuts for the film. Mark Ruffalo would be my pick for Spotlight.

Idris Elba from Beasts of No Nation is the snub I’ve heard about but I have not see the film. Also Steve Carrell should have been nominated not Christian Bale for The Big Short.

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies- dark horse

Sylvester Stallone, Creed (will win)

Best Supporting Actress- I have not seen Danish Girl or Hateful Eight.  I’m still going with Kate Winslet for the win with strong chance of Rooney Mara for Carol.  She’s good but it’s not a supporting performance.  Winslet is so good in Steve Jobs.

Only real snub is I think Alicia Vikander should have been nominated for Ex-Machina.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol- dark horse

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (will win)

Best Original Screenplay- I haven’t seen Straight Outta Compton. I clearly would pick Inside Out and think Bridge of Spies screenplay was actually really weak.  It drops storylines and only has 2 developed characters, but as I seem to be one of the only one’s who realizes that it gets the nomination.  I think Spotlight will win this one.

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina- dark horse

Inside Out

Spotlight (will win)

Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay- I’ve seen all of these films and I think The Big Short will win with an outside chance for Brooklyn and Carol.  I personally would give it to Brooklyn.

Big snub on this is Steve Jobs; although, if I’m honest I’m kind of glad as I think Aaron Sorkin is a bit overrated and writes mostly one-note characters.

The Big Short (will win)

Brooklyn dark horse

Carol- dark horse

The Martian

Room

Best Animated Feature- I’ve seen all of these films and they are all worthy nominees.  I think Inside Out will win with Anomalisa being the dark horse.

The obvious snub is The Peanuts Movie, which I think is better than Boy and the World.  It is certainly less heavy handed and preachy.  Plus, what it did with hybrid animation should have been recognized. 

I also think Good Dinosaur for it’s stunning animation should have gotten a nomination over Anomalisa although they are such different films it’s hard to compare them.

Anomalisa- dark horse

Boy and the World

Inside Out (will win)

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Best Foreign Language Film- Haven’t seen any of these but only one I’ve heard any buzz on is Son of Saul and Hollywood loves Holocaust movies.

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul (will win)

Theeb

A War

Best Documentary Feature- Only seen Amy but this is between Amy and Cartel Land.  As I find Amy to be very overrated I would love for Cartel Land to win but it probably will go to Amy.

Amy (will win)

Cartel Land- dark horse

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Cinematography- The Revenant will win with an outside chance for Sicario to reward Roger Deakins.  I loved the cinematography in Far From the Maddening Crowd and in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant (will win)

Sicario- dark horse

Best Film Editing- This is between The Big Short and Mad Max Fury Road.  I would give it to Mad Max and I think it will win. The editing in that film was amazing.

The Big Short- dark horse

Mad Max: Fury Road (will win)

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design- This one is a tough one to predict.  I think this might be Bridge of Spies win, which I would be ok with as the film looked great.  The fact that The Revenant beat out Brooklyn and Carol in this category is complete nonsense.  I wouldn’t be surprised if The Revenant won for designing great snow and about 15 minutes of set and props.  Nonsense. 

Out of these nominees The Martian is my clear favorite; although I have not seen The Danish Girl.

Bridge of Spies (will win)

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road- dark horse

The Martian- dark horse

The Revenant- dark horse

Best Costume Design- I think Carol will win this one although I could see Cinderella winning. 

Only snub is Far From the Maddening Crowd for costumes.

Carol (will win)

Cinderella- dark horse

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Best Original Score- I think Ennio Morricone will win for the Hateful 8.  He’s a legend and the music is great.  I’m fine with all these nominees although I love the music in When Marnie was There and Inside Out.

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight (will win)

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens- dark horse (never count out John Williams)

Best Original Song- I think Writing on the Wall will win for Spectre. 

I would have nominated Fine on the Outside from When Marnie was There and When I See You Again from Furious 7.

“Earned It,” 50 Shades Of Grey

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3,” Youth

“Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground-  dark horse

“Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre (will win)

Best Visual Effects- Great list.  I think this will be Star Wars win and it is deserved.  Ex-Machina or The Revenant could be the dark horse. 

I think Ant-Man could have been nominated but I like all of the nominees in this category.

Ex Machina- dark horse

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant- dark horse

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (will win)

Best Makeup & Hairstyling- Why only 3 nominees? Far from the Maddening Crowd, Cinderella, Carol, Star Wars all had terrific makeup.  If it is the Revenant’s night than it will probably win although between the 2 I’d pick Mad Max.

I actually think for hairstyling Jupiter Ascending should have been nominated.

Mad Max- dark horse

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

The Revenant (will win)

Best Sound Mixing- These are all pretty good nominees.  Mad Max Fury Road is my best guess but I can see any of them being a dark horse winner.  My favorite would be the sounds created for Star Wars.

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road (will win)

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens- dark horse

Best Sound Editing- These sound similar but they really aren’t.  I think Mad Max will take this one.  Star Wars or The Revenant could be dark horse.

Mad Max: Fury Road- (will win)

The Martian

The Revenant- dark horse

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens- dark horse

Best Documentary Short- Haven’t seen any of them so just guessing on this one.

Body Team 12

Chau Behind the Lines

Claude Lanzman

A Girl in the River

Last Day of Freedom- will win

Best Live Action Short Film- Haven’t seen any of them so just guessing on this one (wish Academy would make the shorts available to more theaters)

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay

Shok (will win)

Stutterer

Best Animated Short Film- I have seen all of these films! I think World of Tomorrow will win.  It’s been available on Netflix and the academy actually has been pretty artsy in this category.  Pixar surprisingly hasn’t won that many times.

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team- dark horse

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow- (will win)

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Movie Munchies 2: Ratatouille

Today I get to present to you the 2nd episode in my Movie Munchies series.  Just in time for Valentines Day Jacqueline and I make the french dish ratatouille and talk about- you guessed it- Ratatouille!  These videos were a huge challenge for me so I would love your feedback.  We plan to do a couple a month so if you have ideas for good movie/recipe combinations please put in the comments sections.  Thanks!

Recipe:
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 large eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large
1 lb mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Salt the eggplant and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Saute peppers, onions and garlic till translucent.  Add eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms and get some color.  Add tomatoes and then let stew on medium low heat as long as you can.  Serve as a topping for pasta or a side with meat.

Every year I do a custom valentine and this year was no exception.  Here is the 2016 valentine.  Happy Valentines Day!

Rachel_Valentine2016

Disney Princess Tag

I was testing out some new lighting and so did this Disney Princess Tag.  I think it turned out fun but would be curious for your feedback.  Still got to work on this whole lighting thing but it’s going to make my videos much better in the end.

What would be your answers to the Disney Princess tag?

  1.  Who is your favorite Disney Princess?  (top 5)
  2. What is your favorite Disney Princess movie?
  3. Which Disney Princess not included in the princess line up should be included?
  4. What is your favorite Disney Princess song?
  5. Which Princess are you most like and why?
  6. What Disney Princess dress is your favorite?
  7. If you could have any of the Princesses sidekicks which would you pick?
  8. What ethnicity or country would you like to see a Disney Princess from?
  9. What is your favorite Disney princess sequel?
  10. Which princess do you think had the best home life?
  11. Who has the most attractive prince?

Anyone who wants to do the tag consider yourself TAGGED!

Blindspot 2: Tron Review

So I was going to review the anime classic Ghost in the Shell for my February Blindspot pick but I started it and it had too much nudity for me to be comfortable with.  So, as a replacement I decided to watch the Disney sci-fi classic Tron.

The Blindspot project is where we watch and review a classic film we have never seen before.  I had never seen Tron before tonight but had heard how great it was from many people.  Now that I’ve seen it I can see why they like it so much.  It’s a thoroughly unique, creative, entertaining sci-fi film.

tronTron was made in 1982 and it’s pretty amazing when you think of the visuals involved.  Just as a point of comparison, Pixar made their first short, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B in 1984, and that is about a minute and a half.  This is a whole movie made 2 years earlier heaped full of visual effects both real and computerized.  It’s incredible to watch and you can’t help but wonder ‘how did they do that?’

tron3The story in Tron can be very confusing so it is perhaps better to just enjoy the visual experience, but I will try to summarize it.  Basically Jeff Bridges plays Flynn a computer programmer who designs a video game but his boss played by David Warner stole the credit and passed the coding off as his work.

In an attempt to hack into the computer system and change the coding Flynn gets sucked into the computer itself.  When he arrives in the computer world, he finds a system of subjugation where the MCP (Master Control Program) manipulates the programs and gets them to deny their belief in the Users (or humans playing the game).

As a User himself Flynn has the ability to use energy and change things for the programs.  He and a program named Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) and Yori (Cindy Morgan) work to destroy the MCP before it destroys all the Programs.

Through destroying the MCP, Flynn the Programs can begin to communicate with their Users, Flynn is sent back and he is given the credit for his designs.

tron4It is kind of convoluted but I didn’t care.  I was able to keep track and found it creative and different.  I see so much that feels the same that it is refreshing to watch something like Tron that is so out there.  Kind of like Blade Runner, it is nice sometimes to watch a movie that is a little hard to figure out- that makes you think.

tron6All the performances are good. I particularly liked Jeff Bridges who I thought was very attractive in the role! What a great smile! He was a great ambassador to this world and you felt like you were learning about it along with him.

I also liked Cindy Morgan, Bruce Boxleitner and David Warner.  They are all good and elevate the material.  This is not like Jupiter Ascending where the visuals apologize for terrible acting.  They all do a good job.

tron-helmet-kissThe score by electronic musician Wendy Carlos is also a real standout.  It merges synthesizer sounds with classic orchestra.  I particularly liked the final number that uses a pipe organ.  There are also 2 songs from Journey, which is kind of cool.

Tron won’t be for everyone.  I am sure there are people who will think it is boring.   It is kind of confusing but just go with it, just enjoy it.  Some of the visuals look a little dated but it all works within the world of the movie and is consistent in its approach so that did not bother me.  I really thought it was a cool sci-fi film and something different and unique.

Overall Grade- A-

 

Zoolander 2 Review

zoolander2 posterSince I will not be seeing the big release this weekend it left to me to see the other comedy, Zoolander 2.

I actually hadn’t seen the original Zoolander until last week and I wasn’t that impressed.  In my opinion it is a one joke movie.  Most of the gags involve subverting gender norms and men doing stuff that is typically done by women.  Even the famous blue steel from Zoolander is basically a joke on the pouty face done by female models.

That said, there are some laughs in Zoolander, and I thought there were some laughs in Zoolander 2. I know I am in the minority if you look at rotten tomatoes but comedy is subjective and I can’t deny when I laugh.

Here is my youtube review

If you don’t know Zoolander is about a male supermodel named Derek Zoolander played by Ben Stiller.  He comes up in the first one against a designer named Mugatu played by Will Ferrell and a fellow model Hansel played by Owen Wilson.

zoolander4

So this time around Zoolander and Hansel have become exiled and get drawn back into the fashion world to find Derek’s son.  They end up meeting up with Valentina played by Penelope Cruz who is investigating the death of pop star like Justin Bieber.

zoolander3

To say Zoolander 2 is stupid kind of goes without saying.  Of course it is stupid.  But the chemistry between Hansel and Zoolander made me laugh and I thought some of the gags worked.  Particularly the cameos which were bountiful I thought were often funny.  There was a cameo with Kiefer Sutherland that especially made me laugh.

In some ways I liked it a little bit better than the first one because the jokes were more all over the place and not just one-note like the first.  Neither are comic masterpieces but I can’t deny when something made me laugh.

Zoolander 2 made me laugh, so there you go.

Overall Grade- C

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Jane Austen fan.  I reread all 6 of her novels every year and they never grow old to me.  She has such witty dialogue, complex characters and builds tension better than any author I know.  So, it was with some hesitation I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was being made into a movie.  I had heard of the parody book but never read it because it seemed to be making fun of my beloved Austen.  I worried the movie would do the same.   In fact, I wasn’t going to see the movie but I decided a true Austen fan should give her review and so I took the bullet and went and saw it.

And to my surprise I had a pretty good time.  I still wish Pride and Prejudice and Zombies didn’t have the zombies and was just a straight adaptation but for what it was I found it entertaining.   In truth, it doesn’t mock Pride and Prejudice or Jane Austen but just has a new spin on the story.

zombies2

The idea behind this version is that zombies came with the plague and the Bennett girls are not only looking for husbands but fierce warriors trained in China.  It is all very silly but done with enough panache to be fun.  Mr Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr Bingley are all zombie warriors too.  Mr Wickham has shady background and is working with the zombies and Mr Collins is still just plain old Mr Collins.

zombies7The cast is a lot of fun in this version.  Lily James is wonderful as Lizzy.  Again I wish she could have just been a regular Lizzy.  I also LOVED Matt Smith as Mr Collins.  He may be my favorite Mr Collins yet on screen.  I thought Sam Riley was fine as Mr Darcy but nothing spectacular.  He was better at the zombie killing than the Darcyisms.

Matt Smith in Screen Gems' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

My favorite scene is probably the proposal which has a fighting component that totally worked.  Also the take on Lady Catherine played by Lena Headey was so much fun.

zombies3

There are some problems with the direction of the film. A lot of the action is jerky and darkly shot and the zombies are rather inconsistent. Sometimes they can hold in their zombieness and other times they can’t. There are also one too many martial arts style fight sequences than they probably needed, but they all are done in a spirit of fun. I laughed a lot.

Overall, I went into this expecting to hate it but I had a good time.  It’s silly but also creative and doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I think if you give it a shot you will enjoy it.

As far as content much of the violence is off screen with just the sound effects.  What you do see is dark or in shadows.  I’m pretty squeamish and I was ok with it.

Overall Grade- B

Super Bowl Trailers

Yesterday was the 50th Super Bowl and honestly the game did nothing for me.  What was fun was all the new trailers we got.  The ads were pretty lame but the movie trailers were very cool.  I thought I would very quickly give you my thoughts on them.

(I won’t mention Deadpool or 10 Cloverfield as I have no interest in either of those films).

11.  God’s of Egypt- There is something 90’s Mummy about this film but it really looks terrible and this trailer did nothing to increase my enthusiasm.  I think it will be this year’s Jupiter Ascending.  The white-washing of Egypt does bother me a little bit.

10. Alice Through the Looking Glass- As someone who did not like the first one this trailer didn’t do much for me.  Some of the visuals look kind of cool but aside from hearing Alan Rickman again there isn’t much to appeal to me in the trailer.  It’s just not my Wonderland.

9. Secret Life of Pets-  When this movie is focusing outside of Kevin Hart bunny I feel better about it and this trailer did. But I still have that rabbit in my head with that annoying Kevin Hart voice…

8. Independence Day 2: Resurgence-  I’m not the biggest fan of the original.  I like it ok but nothing Roland Emerich has done since then has impressed me and this looked like another CGI blandfest. The first one was fun!

7. Batman v Superman Turkish Airlines- This was a fake ad for Turkish Airlines advertising Gotham and Metropolis.  Some might find it cute.  I found it groan inducing and dumb. Something is just off in the marketing of this film.

6. Jason Bourne- This was a big surprise!  I didn’t expect a trailer for it but it looks awesome.  Hopefully the shaky cam is reduced from 2 and 3 but great to have Matt Damon back.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes 2- As far as big reveals this might be number 1.  Krang is in the new turtle movie.  We had suspected something but that was so cool.  It looks like they are making some neat improvements to the original films, even in the look of the turtles.  If it didn’t have Michael By plastered on the trailer I’d like it even more.

4. Captain America: Civil War- This trailer was pretty awesome.  We saw the Avengers divided up and Bucky and Cap fighting Tony and Black Widow.  I loved that glove we see and it looks super entertaining!

3. Eddie the Eagle- The more I see from this film the more excited I get.  It looks like the new Cool Runnings.  I love the Olympics and I love inspirational stories so sign me up.  It looks like something that is right up my alley.

2. Xmen Apocalypse- This looks amazing!!  Apocalypse looks menacing and I am LOVING the female Xmen presence in this movie.  Mystique, Jean Gray, Psylocke look awesome.  I think everyone is sleeping on this movie and it is going to be great

1. Jungle Book- The 2 minute Jungle Book trailer blew me away.  It’s the first time I’ve felt that way about this movie.  It looks like a great merging of the book and animated film.  It’s going to be scary, funny, exciting and everything and the visuals look so great!  I’m sold!

What was your favorite and least favorite?  Put in the comment section.

Movie Munchies 1: The Blind Side

Hi guys!  I wanted to share with you a very exciting video I just posted on my youtube channel.  It’s called Movie Munchies where we will review a film and make a recipe on the same video.  This week to celebrate the Super Bowl we are talking about 2009’s The Blind Side and making my favorite apricot chicken drumsticks- perfect for game day.  This was a huge challenge for me and I would love to get your feedback.

We’ve already got episode 2 filmed and will probably do this a couple of times a month.  If you have any ideas for good movie/meal parings please let me know!

Making this video required a whole new kind of editing and filming for me so I learned a lot but I’m really excited for the future.  I loved my chemistry with Jacqueline and found the entire experience very rewarding.  I know each episode will only continue to improve.

Thanks for checking it out.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe-
3 lbs drumsticks or other meat
1 cup onions diced
1 cup bell peppers diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/3 c soy sauce
1/4 c firmly packed cup brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1/4 c honey
1 14 ounce bottle ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste
1 jar apricot preserves
Olive Oil
Heat up onions, peppers, and garlic till translucent. In separate skillet sear the chicken on high heat to get a golden brown color. Add all ingredients except for jam, heat and then let simmer till it thickens.
Add apricot jam to mixture and poor over chicken.
Bake at 400 degrees for an hour, remove tin foil at 30 minutes. Test with thermometer. Want chicken 165 degrees or higher.
Enjoy! Let me know if you like it and I’ve made it with wings, pork, ribs etc.

The Choice Movie Review

the choiceOnly have a sec tonight but wanted to share with you all my review of the latest Nicholas Sparks’ movie adaptation- The Choice.

You can probably tell from my expression in the thumbnail I strongly recommend you not make the choice to see The Choice.  I liked last year’s Longest Ride and gave it a B-.  I thought they had good chemistry and the story wasn’t half bad.  But this is just awful.  Terrible acting, writing, and chemistry between the leads.

The strangest thing in my eyes was the cakey, odd make-up and sullen lighting.  That’s something these types of movies usually nail.

Instead of seeing The Choice, make the choice to find Brooklyn instead.  Now that is a great romance!

Overall Grade- F