February 26, 2012

The Most Important Evening of the Year

I'm not going to be doing Oscar Minutes this year. Last year proved to be too stressful, and, honestly, I'd rather just enjoy the show with the crowd instead of fiendishly writing the whole time.

Expect some sort of coverage though. I haven't decided what yet, but be sure to check back here and follow my ass on Twitter (@blackholecritic) for what it is I come up with.

This should be fun, if unsurprising. What are you wearing?

February 24, 2012

Trailer Trash: Wrath of the Titans

It's time to root through some trailers. what sorts of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

Oh boy! The anticipation for this movie is off the charts! Can you feel it?
What? You can't? Oh, ok then. Suddenly this doesn't seem all that important.

Ok, so, apparently enough people got over the fact that Clash of the Titans was a mediocre piece of crap and saw a couple hundred times, since it made a lot of money. And now we have the sequel, which, honestly, looks to be copying the plot from Disney's Hercules. Anyone else getting that vibe?

That being said, I really like this trailer. This was sort of the same situation I found myself in when the first one was being promoted. The trailers made it out to be this incredibly bombastic action extravaganza. In reality, Clash of the Titans was surprisingly boring, with action that never really rose above average.

If Wrath is as relentless as this trailer makes it out to be, awesome! I'll pay top dollar for that. It's being directed by the guy who made the pretty relentless Battle: Los Angeles, so I'm not expecting anything in the realm of good story or acting, but as long as the adrenaline is coursing for most of it, then we won't have a problem.

February 22, 2012

The LAMB Devours the Oscars 2012: Best Director

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!

We're almost at Oscar night. What is normally one of the most exciting build ups of the year, frankly, has left me very disinterested. Sorry, but a vast majority of the movies I cared about last year didn't make the cut, so I really could care less who wins Best Picture.

This mindset comes shining through with the Best Director race. Whereas last year was chock full of directors doing awesome things, this year is just... well, eh. This is more personal opinion than anything, but out of the five chosen, I'd say only two, if that, deserve to be on it.*

*Bear in mind, I haven't seen Hugo yet.

But, for the second year running, it's my job to squelch through the muck and analyze all this stuff for you. Let's get into it.

Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris): I'm not the biggest Allen fan. I love Annie Hall, but I don't think anything he's done in the last twenty years deserves any sort of mention. But, he came screaming back onto the A list with Midnight In Paris, a wonderful film, full to bursting with biting humor, strong acting, some of the most lovingly composed shots of Paris ever seen, and all the while, pushing a solid message of how our society views nostalgia. It's good stuff.

So, Can He Win?: No! Not only are the other films on the list more "directed" than Midnight, Allen's film hasn't really racked up a whole lot of previous awards. If this film takes home anything, it's gonna be in the writing categories. Allen will have to wait it out until the next one, provided he is consistent this time.

Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist): Translating a gimmick (and let's be honest. The Artist is all gimmick) into an Oscar winning film is no small feat, but Hazanavicius manages it with ease. Even without all the hoopla of it being a silent film, The Artist would still be one of the best films of the year. Hazanavicius takes all the trademarks, visual cues, and touches that defined the silent film genre, and makes them feel new again. Not a word is spoken throughout the movie, and yet you won't be able to take your eyes off it.

So, Can He Win?: I'd say it's a damn certainty at this point. The Artist has been cleaning up shop these last few weeks, taking home the PGA, the BAFTA, and, most importantly, the DGA. It's not quite as clear as previous years, as there is another contender who could swoop in (more on that later), but if you put this guy on your ballot, you'll be considered a smart person.

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life): My favorite of all the directors in this race, Malick does amazing things with this film, making it quiet and intimate one second, and grandiose and epic the next. Many people have bashed it for boring, ponderous, and slow. I loved it. I thought it was fascinating and moving. The actors, under Malick's wing, create fleshed out and memorable characters with their minimal dialogue. Also dinosaurs!

So, Can He Win?: He should... but he won't. I don't know what it is, but I think The Tree of Life has proven to be too much for the Academy to go for. They do love their moving epics, but they have their limits. No, I think the reason is that Malick is too much of an odd duck to warrant any sort of real chances. I don't even think he's gonna show up to the ceremony. Stupid reason, but since when has the Academy ever behaved like normal people?

Alexander Payne (The Descendants): A quirky family drama, set against the lush backdrop of Hawaii, with George Clooney in one of his best roles. Yeah, it's no wonder that this one got all the nominations it did. Even so, The Descendants is worth it, and Payne does an admirable job with it. It's funny, moving, and heartfelt. And the child actors are stupendous, and we all know how hard child actors can be to work with.

So, Can He Win?: This marks the second time that Payne has been nominated for a much beloved film, and he's the only multiple nominee in the race, apart from Malick, who hasn't won. This automatically helps him. Well, than and the fact that if any film is going to challenge The Artist, it's going to be this one. It's too close to call for sure. If I'm putting my money somewhere, it's going to Hazanavicius, but this guy may prove to have the cojones to go the distance.

Martin Scorcese (Hugo): Would you have expected this a couple months ago when the first trailer for Hugo dropped? I sure as hell didn't. But here we are, and Hugo is leading the pack with a whopping 11 nominations. Now, according to that little footnote up there, the writer of this post hasn't seen it yet, so there's not gonna be any mention of it's quality. But, from what other people are saying, Hugo is a vibrant, moving film that pays a crap ton of reverence to the cinematic medium. In other words, the Academy's wet dream. Also, the 3D is supposed to be awesome!

So, Can He Win?: He just won, and his last movie was completely shut out of the race to begin with, so, I don't think so. Granted, the Academy might be swayed by the whole birth of cinema thing, and the film does seem to employ a whole bunch of visual trickery, but, it's still too soon. Marty'll have to wait for a few more years before it's his time again.

So, Who Got Shafted?: There are three. Nicolas Winding Refn, David Fincher, and David Yates. Now, I understand why all three of these films got shafted. Drive and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are too cold and violent, and Harry Potter is too mainstream. How are those for stupid reasons? But, all three of those films deserved to be recognized, thanks in no small part to their directors. Yates had been getting better and better with the Harry Potter brand since the reprehensible Order of the Phoenix, and Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was not only the best Harry Potter film, but the best mainstream blockbuster to come out all year, or, indeed, in many years.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was no doubt cast aside due to the whole "It's copying the swedish version" bull crap, but no one can deny that Fincher's dark sensibilities were right at home with Mikael and Lisbeth. He took everything he had learned from his previous movies, and applied them, making Dragon Tattoo more than just a rote cash in.

And Drive was the best movie of the year, bar none. Ok, yes, it was savagely violent and the protagonist was a bit too distant to really relate too, but so what? Drive was simply the best example of film as an art to be seen all year. Deftly combining steely cool, asphalt covered action movies with the bright pink, techno infused touches of europop, and then offering up a slow burn tale of crime, suspense, and violence, everything about Drive just worked.

Although, there is a scene where a man gets his wrist slit that is probably the most sickeningly gory scene of the year, so that probably had something to do with it.

Whatever, though. It doesn't matter. I don't know how you feel, but I'm just coasting on the coattails of this awards season, counting down the minutes until it is over and we can start looking ahead to when Christopher Nolan gets snubbed again. Anyway, that's all for now. Return to your daily tasks. Peace!

February 21, 2012

Hopped Up

Strange as it might be to hear coming from the... fingers of a person with somewhat refined taste in film, the fact remains that I dig the kind of movies that Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor make. Though they have their names on some stinkers, I thought Crank was a fun, if formulaic flick. Crank 2, on the other hand, was the single biggest "fuck you" to mainstream action movies ever. Pretty much every single stupid thing you could imagine being packed into an action movie, Crank 2 had it. And I loved every single ridiculous inch of it. So, when I heard that Neveldine/Taylor were taking on the derided Ghost Rider franchise, my ears went all perky. Ghost Rider is the kind of comic book character that these guys were made for, totally insane and over the top. Now, the first Ghost Rider movie is one of the worst comic book films I've ever seen, so there wasn't much in the way of expectations for this one. That being said, there are elements to enjoy here. They are few and far between, and even though Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance doesn't quite get a recommendation from me, it does so in a very half hearted manner.

This is me on a good day!

February 20, 2012

The Black Hole Presents: Final Oscar Predictions

First off, I don't care.

I don't care about this year. Too many films that I cared about were snubbed out of the big categories. Indeed, of my top 4, only The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo garnered a major nomination, and it only got one. Such is life.

But, I do want to stay relevant with my contemporaries, so here are my final predictions on who will take home gold next Sunday.

February 10, 2012

The Jeremy Renner Thing

The story of the Hollywood superstar who enjoys a meteoric rise from small timer to big leaguer is a timeless one. We all love to hear about how you started in a small indie, got noticed, and now are headlining one of the most anticipated new franchises of the year.

Wait, this post isn't about The Hunger Games. Damn it, Jennifer Lawrence! Get out of my head!

No, today we'll be talking about the guy who, up until two years ago, was a relative nobody. Then he headlines an Oscar winner, gets two nominations in a row, but it isn't until now that the craziness begins. Now, he's poised to take over two of the most popular action franchises currently going, and is an integral part of another. 

Did you guess who it is?

Could just turn off the swagger? Please?

February 7, 2012

Let's Talk About: The Hunger Games

You know how it is.

When a form of entertainment (that isn't a film in it's genesis) is praised to high heaven by critics and, more importantly, the general public, it's only a matter of time before said property is given the big screen treatment.

This is where it gets complicated.

February 6, 2012

The Black Hole Presents: Thoughts on Oscar 2012

So, when the Oscar nominations came out, I was embroiled in Robert Redford's ode to all things independent. But now that Sundance is no more than a beautiful memory, it's time to offer my, albeit very late, two cents on this year's Oscar race.

February 4, 2012

PROOF:Talking With Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Dear God, why didn't I shave?

Thanks to hitRECord user tarinanderson for the video!!!

Soundtrack on a Staruday: Is Your Love Strong Enough (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

Well, those couple of days were exactly what I needed. After the rat race that was Sundance, I suddenly found myself exhausted, with no energy to do much of anything. What energy I had I was forced to devote to my first week of class.

But, I think I'm back in the groove now, so regular Black Hole shenanigans will resume, starting with this gem off the soundtrack for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!!!! Don't hate.