Thursday, 30 January 2014

Breaking Bad cast break out big time in 2014

So the stars of Breaking Bad were here long before they got the call to become forever set in stone as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman but now all eyes are on them as they make their first steps in the post-Breaking Bad world. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul must now be two of the hottest stars in Hollywood with everyone wanting to get a little bit of the Breaking Bad magic dust sprinkled all over their new film. So far they've been snapped up for six projects across 2014 with Paul leading the way with four films to Cranston's more restrained two.

Hellion


When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob’s delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home. Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, Walt Roberts.
Read more at http://collider.com/hellio-images-infinitely-polar-bear-images/#VGWuPsBI9Pzhm9M4.99
When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob’s delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father (Aaron Paul) must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home. Joining Aaron Paul in the cast are Juliette Lewis and some relatively unknown individuals. It's been in Sundance this year and has some decent reviews.
When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob’s delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home. Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, Walt Roberts.
Read more at http://collider.com/hellio-images-infinitely-polar-bear-images/#VGWuPsBI9Pzhm9M4.99

A Long Way Down


Four people meet on New Year's Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another weather the difficulties of their lives. Aaron Paul is joined by Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Pierce Brosnan. It's based on the 2005 novel of the same name written by Nick Hornby (of About a Boy and High Fidelity fame).



Need for Speed


Fresh from prison, a street racer (Aaron Paul) who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins. The more I hear about this, the more excited I get. Refreshingly free of CGI, this has the potential to be awesome fun. Paul is joined by Dominic Cooper and Imogen Poots (again!).



Exodus


An account of Moses' hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. Christian Bale takes the role of Moses. Let's hope the director of photography doesn't get in his way while he's trying to part the sea. Aaron Paul is Joshua under the direction of Ridley Scott and the rest of the cast is rounded out by Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver.

Godzilla


A giant radioactive monster called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind. Bryan Cranston plays Joe Brody and is joined by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. It's directed by Gareth Edwards who made the memorable Monsters. Should be interesting to see what he does woth this kind of budget.



Get a Job

A comedy centered around a recent college graduate, his friends, and their attempts to secure employment.  Cranston is joined by Miles Teller, John C. McGinley and Anna Hendrick.

What are you most excited to see the Breaking Bad boys star in this year?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

That Awkward Moment Review

That Awkward Moment when you realise your raunchy new comedy just isn't that funny. That's the situation Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan find themselves in with That Awkward Moment. It is a rom-com from the male perspective where the guys are mostly douche bags and the girls fare little better. Even Imogen Poots cannot save this from the lack of laughs reached for by the utterly predictable and unoriginal script.

Jason (Efron), Daniel (Teller) and Mikey (Jordan) are three friends in New York City who decide to see who can stay single the longest. Jason and Daniel both have rosters of girls they see regularly but never commit to and Mikey has just found out his wife is cheating and is now facing the single life that he is not interested in or prepared for. When Jason meets Ellie (Poots) and with Daniel growing closer to his friend Chelsea and Mikey still pining for his wife, staying single might not be as easy it appears.


That Awkward Moment is full of awkward moments where you feel you should be laughing. There is a mix of sweetness with sexism and Viagra jokes with attempts to tug at the heart. It is a rom-com that is as predictable as all the others but will get more guys going to see it with its promise of American Pie style boys being boys and talking about women as if they are simply sexual conquests. The characters are soulless, arrogant, smarmy and unlikeable. Even the married Mikey comes across as mopey, stupid and simplistic. Efron looks smug throughout, clearly enjoying dropping F-bombs and getting to be one of the lads instead of a clean cut heart throb. It might be fun to see him in varying states of undress for High School Musical fans but for everyone else, it is just a guy trying desperately to sully his image.

Miles Teller is his usual vaguely funny self but he is hampered by a weak script and having to tone down the crudeness of his usual on screen persona as he starts to fall in love. He may have been more offensive in 21 & Over but at least he was funnier. Only Imogen Poots emerges with a slightly more exciting and interesting character but too much time is spent pratting around with the male scoundrels that she is left hopelessly undeveloped.


That Awkward Moment is as funny and original as the hundredth internet meme picture you see with those three words emblazoned across it. Efron, Teller and Poots try their best with a script that gets stuck on sexism, sentimentality and all the predictability of every other rom-com set in New York. Despite a couple of good gags, it has no one to root for and nothing to say. If, as Poots' character says at one point, they are the 'selfish generation' plagued by miscommunication, then this is that awkward moment where someone needs to say loud and clear: get over yourselves and grow up.

More reviews from I Love That Film:

The Wolf of Wall Street

Out of the Furnace

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

Daddy issues: The Place Beyond the Pines and Mud

I'm working my way through the big films of 2013 that I missed and I started with a pair of films about fathers and father figures; The Place Beyond the Pines and Mud.


The Place Beyond the Pines is Derek Cianfrance's follow up to Blue Valentine and his second collaboration with Ryan Gosling. It has a very strange and surprising structure with the film being divided into three very clear acts but with each one following a new character. Firstly there is Ryan Gosling's Luke, a stunt motor cycle rider who turns to robbing banks when he discovers he has a son with an old lover of his played by Eva Mendes. Luke is a fascinatingly flawed character who seems determined to do the right thing by doing the wrong thing. He wants to use his skills to provide for his son but Mendes is coping fine and also has a new man who is clearly perfectly capable of looking after the child.

The scenes where Luke has to ride away from the banks and evade the cops are thrillingly shot, giving a real sense of the speed and the danger. It is only when Bradley Cooper's cop Avery shows up that things get really sticky and the film starts to follow him instead. Shot in an altercation with Luke, Cooper's character is as morally dubious as the bank robber he is chasing. His rise from cop to District Attorney is questionable, even if he does bring down corrupt cops like Ray Liotta's Deluca.


The final act of the film skips forward to when both Luke and Avery's little boys are now teens. Cooper's son AJ is a bad influence on Gosling's boy Jason and though the pair do not know their father's histories together, their relationship is at first fun but soon turns nastier. Dane DeHaan is superb in these scenes as the sins of the fathers come back to haunt the sons. The Place Beyond the Pines threatens to descend into vigilante style revenge silliness but then pulls back and emerges as something far smarter and ultimately affecting. Powered by a trio of excellent performances, some kinetic cinematography in the early scenes and an odd yet sometimes unforgettable score from Mike Patton, The Place Beyond the Pines is a fascinating film about the way our fathers fuck us up in their own ways.


Mud, on the other hand, follows two young boys from the start to the finish. Ellis and Neckbone encounter a fugitive on an island in the Mississippi River and agree to keep him a secret and help him communicate with the love of his life who he cannot visit on the mainland. Calling himself Mud and played by Matthew McConaughey, this fugitive is evading the law and vigilantes who are out for revenge. He wants to fix a boat on the island but needs the two boys' help in getting parts and also getting his love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) to come with him.

Newcomers Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland as Ellis and Neckbone carry the entire film on their shoulders and are absolutely superb. Ably supported by Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson and McConaughey; the boys deliver completely convincing performances as they get some harsh lessons about love and life. Tye Sheridan in particular is fantastic in scenes with his stern but fair father and when learning the hard way that love is never easy.


Mud is a simple tale, well told. Its female characters leave a lot to be desired with women appearing to be the cause of so much male strife. Neither Juniper nor Ellis' mother come across very well, while the men appear to be wiser and worn down by their women folk. Unlike The Place Beyond the Pines, Mud does descend into vigilante style revenge silliness. It climaxes with a brilliant little shoot out that is tense and if a little too conveniently plotted, still very convincing. The coming of age stuff works best and perhaps didn't need the extra excitement of snake bites and shoot outs but Mud manages to stay believable in no small part due to a cast full of fine performances.

More reviews at I Love That Film:

The Wolf of Wall Street

Out of the Furnace

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

The Invisible Woman Premiere with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones

I got to interview Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes on the red carpet for Fiennes' new film The Invisible Woman on Monday night. The premiere was in London and I was there for Tastic Film in the freezing cold waiting for the stars to come out! I also got to interview composer Ilan Eshkeri who also worked on Fiennes' directorial debut Coriolanus and spoke briefly to producer Gaby Tana and the author of the book the film is based on Claire Tomalin. Kristin Scott Thomas was also present but I didn't get a chance to chat with her unfortunately. Below is the video of my short interviews with Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes:



I also wrote a quick article for Yahoo about getting to attend a red carpet event and meet the stars. Here is the link:

The Invisible Woman: Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones on the red carpet

Here are my pictures taken on my phone from the event:

Composer Ilan Eshkeri
Producer Gaby Tana
Author Claire Tomalin
Felicity Jones
Ralph Fiennes


The Wolf of Wall Street Review

Mr Scorsese, why are you making me laugh at this? The Wolf of Wall Street is a not very cautionary tale of disgusting greed, loathsome behaviour and the many perks of being a white collar criminal. It is excess all areas; vast quantities of drugs are consumed, prostitutes are used and abused and cash flows quickly into the pockets of our real-life anti-hero Jordan Belfort. It should be repugnant. It is repugnant. But against my better judgement, it is also hysterically funny; a pitch black comedy that you might not want to laugh at but you probably will.

Jordan Belfort is the Wolf of Wall Street. As a newly married young man, he moves to New York to work on stocks and make his fortune. After losing his job in the big crash of 1987, Belfort starts his own firm, trading in penny stocks and convincing people dumber than him to invest in shares that he knows will never go anywhere. He soon works his way up, partnering with Donnie Azoff and taking on the big boys of Wall Street with his illegal, immoral and irresponsible firm Stratton Oakmont. As he 'earns' ridiculous amounts of money by ripping people off, he also develops an unquenchable thirst for every drug under the sun and using prostitutes becomes another favourite pastime. It is the rise and fall of a white collar gangster; perhaps not as violent as Henry Hill but equally if not more destructive, decadent and disgusting. He may not murder people, but Belfort ruins plenty of lives.


It's hard to focus on the victims of Belfort's story as we never get the chance to see them. We never meet those who lose their money and we never see the consequences of his actions for the people involved. Belfort, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio is, takes us along for his ride. We see events as he sees them and nothing is going to kill his buzz except maybe the intrusion of the FBI. From the vile language of his first experience on Wall Street through to the head shaving of women for cold hard cash, throwing of little people on to office targets and the stag party to end all stag parties, Belfort is surrounded by decadence and moral decay. DiCaprio talks us through it all with a voice over and direct to camera address; sweeping you along for the ride with a smile and wink and rarely giving you a moment to think about those less fortunate than Belfort in all of this.

Scorsese does not hold back from showing any of the debauchery; the language, the sex, the occasional violence and most of all the drugs. The Wolf of Wall Street has the most swear words in one feature film in history. It has enough cocaine to make Scarface blush. And when Belfort and Azoff get hold of some super powerful Lemmon Quaaludes, it has one of the funniest drug taking scenes in cinema history as Belfort loses all control of his body. This scene pretty much sums up the film. It is absolutely hysterical. Belfort's excess leads to DiCaprio delivering a comedy masterclass as he crawls his way to his car under the influence. It is only when he gets to the car and begins driving that you realise what a selfish, dangerous, immoral guy you are watching. The consequences of his actions could have been fatal but still you laugh until tears come out.


The Wolf of Wall Street wallows in the behaviour of utter scumbags. Scorsese enjoys their company and makes us enjoy it too. It may be a rise and fall story but there is no real fall here. Belfort gets off far too easily and Scorsese reminds us in a striking final shot that we are all still watching Belfort; giving him our money gladly and lapping up his every word. The Wolf of Wall Street will leave you in a moral vacuum. I heard people leaving the cinema saying they wanted Belfort's life. Scorsese shows it how it was. Despite everything, it looks like fun and he pretty much got away with it. Belfort is undoubtedly a scumbag but with Scorsese and DiCaprio at his back, he is an eminently watchable scumbag.

Though the film is a little long, occasionally allowing some scenes (particularly some moments of improvisation) to slow the pace, it also gives plenty of chance for the stars to shine. Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Joanna Lumley and Jean Dujardin all get to show off their comic chops with Hill being particularly committed to bringing Donnie Azoff to hideous life. Backed by Terence Winter's snappy screenplay and Scorsese's smart direction, the larger than life characters all leave an impact, no matter how small their role in the three hour, event packed film.


The Wolf of Wall Street is Scorsese's best since Goodfellas. BUT it is also a disgrace. It makes you forget just what a complete shit Belfort really is. It is not angry enough. Belfort gets off easily. He turns on everyone around him, gets away with a tiny prison sentence in a white collar prison and is still not paying nearly enough back to his victims. To have Belfort appear in the film is just another slap in the face for the forgotten victims of the story. Scorsese has made a fun film about a man who deserves nothing but disdain. There is little caution in this 'cautionary' tale. We need to stop paying to listen to Belfort but with a film like this, Scorsese makes that very difficult.

More reviews at I Love That Film:

Out of the Furnace

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

Saving Mr. Banks

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Mr 50 Shades of Grey will see to you now: New Poster

Oops! I'm sorry did I just mis-read the brand spanking new poster for 50 Shades of Grey. Bruce Wayne looks out over Seattle.. a mystery in a grey suit... his handsome face turned away from us... a phallic symbol visible in the distance... oh my! Take me to the Bat-cave/red room of pain already!


In case you didn't know I'm writing for Yahoo about the 50 Shades trilogy and its film adaptations so the neat new teaser poster is really just an excuse to throw in some links to my recent writing over at Yahoo.

50 Shades of Grey film to be even more boring than the book? 
As a man who has read 50 Shades of Grey’ I was expecting the film to focus more on the romance than the nookie. The producer of the film has now officially confirmed that the silver screen version will not be as explicit. Really? No shit Sherlock!

Should 50 Shades of Grey book trilogy be only one film? 
Reports have emerged that the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ trilogy of books could be condensed into a single film to be released in 2015. Though these reports have been denied, there are a great deal of reasons for the trilogy to be reduced into a single film. For a start... it goes on foreveeeeeeeer!

Why Jamie Dornan must go full frontal in 50 Shades of Grey 
Rumours are circling that '50 Shades of Grey' star Jamie Dornan will go full frontal in the movie's countless sex scenes when he finally hits screens as Christian Grey. Should Dornan go all the way to keep the fans happy? Surely there will have to be abundant nudity from both parties!

'50 Shades of Grey' has become a bestseller, made its author very rich and is now on its way to becoming a big Hollywood movie. Things could get even more exciting for readers with the '50 Shades of Grey' inspired range of luxury ladies underwear.
After finishing the '50 Shade of Grey' trilogy, I was taken aback by how many women had stuck it out for three books. Are they really all in love with Christian Grey or is there another reason for reading the erotic novels? He's a controlling monster goddamit! I'd rather go out with Bruce Wayne!

The movie adaptation of the '50 Shades of Grey' trilogy of erotic novels will have an incredibly delicate balancing act to perform when it is released in 2015. How far will the sex scenes go and will they appeal to the target audience?
All we ever hear about is why women everywhere have been falling in love with '50 Shades of Grey'. I read the trilogy shortly after my wife and cannot believe more men have not been seduced by its many raunchiness!
 
What do you think of the new poster?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Robocop preview in new issue of Starburst Magazine

Issue 397 of Starburst Magazine is out now and available to buy online from the website or from loads of good retailers. This month there is a huge focus on the Robocop remake and and all the films (and TV shows) that have come in the franchise before it. I was offered the opportunity to write the preview of the reboot and just recieved my copy of the magazine in the post.

As always there is also loads more stuff in the latest issue including news, reviews and features on everything in the world of sci-fi, horror and fantasy so I hope you might be interested in going and picking up a copy.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Out of the Furnace Review

Forget American Hustle. You won't see a better performance this year from Christian Bale than in Out of the Furnace. It might at first glance look like a simple revenge thriller, particularly with many promotional pictures showing Bale carrying a gun but Out of the Furnace is more than this. It is a slow burn drama that only turns thriller in its final act and even then keeps character at the fore and never descends into silly over the top thrills.

Out of the Furnace sees Bale as Russell Baze, a hard working mill employee in a happy relationship with Lena (Zoe Saldana) and trying  hard to keep his brother Rodney, a returning US army soldier (Casey Affleck) out of trouble. With a dying Dad to care for, Rodney getting into increasing debt and a tough job under threat from the crippled US economy, all looks fairly bleak for Russell and his brother. Rodney refuses to get a job, preferring instead to take loans and gamble and then finding himself getting into bare knuckle boxing matches where he is paid to take a fall but doesn't always feel like going down. When Russell is sent to jail for his part in a tragic accident, Rodney descends further into an underworld of boxing, betting and brutality at the hands of mountain dwelling redneck Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), a man even the cops don't want to mess with.


Out of the Furnace is another death of America movie. Its locations, its characters and its themes all show an America struggling to survive. It takes place in the very real, very sad, ass end of America where the people work hard to scrape a living but are faced with increasingly uncertain and depressing looking futures. Mills are closing, jobs are disappearing and crime is increasingly becoming a way of life. The wars on other countries have left America economically ravaged and its young men returning haunted by what they have seen and done. They are left to their own devices; fuelled by rage and resentment at the country that no longer cares for them.

Rodney is a tragic figure, sympathetically played by Casey Affleck. He is bitter, angry and a danger to himself. Russell in comparison is an angel, but an angel whose one very big mistake changes his life forever. When he loses his freedom, his girlfriend and his father, he is desperate to keep his brother from going completely off the rails. However Out of the Furnace is not a film of happy endings. It is a wholly believable deconstruction of bruised masculinity and the things it drives modern men to do.


Bale is outstanding as the almost saintly Russell who just wants to do the right thing but is dragged into revenge and despair by unfortunate circumstances. His chemistry with Affleck is touching, convincing and ultimately tragic. Bale carries the film and delivers an outstanding performance, whether crying over lost love or determined to take action against those who wrong him. While Harrelson's character constantly teeters on caricature, the rest of the cast; Affleck, Saldana, Forrest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe add gravitas and believability to what could have easily turned ridiculous. Director and co-writer Scott Cooper never turns this into a one man Rambo mission and the film is all the better for it.

Out of the Furnace is not the simple revenge thriller it may at first appear to be. With top-notch performances from an excellent cast, it is a depressing look at the lack of choices and opportunities facing many modern Americans and the fallout from economic disaster and war that has left many young men with little hope of recovery.

Please enjoy some more reviews from I Love That Film:

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

Saving Mr. Banks

Philomena Review

National treasure Judi Dench gives one of the best, funniest and emotionally stirring performances of her long career in Philomena. Writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope and director Stephen Frears gift her a role that demands a huge emotional range and all wrapped up in a story that delivers so many twists, turns and unexpected revelations that it is also a seriously bumpy emotional ride for the viewer. With a character as wonderful as Philomena, you never quite know what to expect next, especially with such a warm and well written script and the film veers expertly between laugh out loud comedic moments and tear inducing heartbreak.


Philomena is the story of the titular little old lady's struggle to find her son who was stolen from her when she was just a very young woman. After a brief encounter with a young man in a fairground, Philomena was forced to give her boy up for adoption by the nuns who she lived with, worked for, and who convinced her of the shame she should feel. On the boy's 50th birthday, Philomena finally tells her daughter of the long lost son she has thought of every day since and her daughter makes contact with recently sacked spin doctor Martin Sixsmith to ask if he would be interested in helping tell Philomena's story. Sixsmith was a BBC political correspondent with only disdain for human interest stories in journalism but down on his luck and intrigued by the story, he decides to help Philomena to find her son in order to be able to turn it into an article.

Steve Coogan is clearly getting something off his chest with Philomena. Oddly, for a guy who has been so vehemently against the tabloid press, getting his own back on the News of the World by airing their dirty laundry at the Leveson Inquiry, Coogan centres his script and also takes the role of journalist Sixsmith. Without lumping all journalists together under the disgusting umbrella of the gutter press, it is still strange to see Coogan playing a man who decides to try earning his living at digging into someone's private life. Sixsmith is obviously a fairly decent fellow, not one of the tabloid snoopers that Coogan so despises in real life. His career as a journalist took him to Washington and Moscow and when he decides to have a go at a human interest story, he is careful not to exploit Philomena but instead turns the story into an investigation and expose of a terrible wrong doing.


While the ethics of this kind of journalism is touched upon, with Sixsmith encouraged to find the 'best' story by his cold, calculating editor, most of the rage presented in the script is reserved for the Catholic church. Though Philomena the character is an incredibly sweet soul who will never blame, hate or crucify the Catholic church and in particular the nuns who wronged her so spectacularly, Philomena the film feels filled with the righteous anger that Sixsmith and every member of the audience is likely to feel by the end.

The script piles on revelation after revelation and it would be a shame to reveal its many secrets. Philomena and Sixsmith travel to Washington after finding out that the lost boy was adopted by an American couple. It is never black and white like the stories Sixsmith's editor wants with heroes and villains and happiness or tragedy. Both happiness and tragedy are found during their search and though there does appear to finally be a very great evil at the heart of the story, Philomena's response to it reveals the kind of woman she is.


Dench gets to have a great time bringing the charming Philomena to screen. Whether boring Sixsmith to tears with her retelling of romance novels or admitting that she didn't know she had a clitoris, she is frequently hilarious. Beneath her naivety however is a steely resolve, fierce bravery and unexpected smarts. She is a brilliant character and Dench delivers hilarity and heartbreak perfectly. Watch her excitement when she learns Sixsmith once met her son in Washington and weep as her face falls at other revelations. It is a layered performance that could easily have been one note and simply had a good laugh at the expense of the character.

Philomena is a brilliantly written script with an unforgettable character who has an incredible story to be told. While it takes potshots at journalism and the church, it is ultimately an inspiring story of forgiveness. Dench and Coogan make a hilarious double act with Coogan unexpectedly playing the straight man but it is the tragedy of Philomena's treatment at the hands of the nuns that will linger longest in the memory.

Stick around! Please enjoy some more reviews from I Love That Film:

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

Saving Mr. Banks

Screen Actors Guild Award Winners 2014

The Screen Actors Guild Award winners were announced last night with very few surprises. Here are the full list of nominees. The only one out of these I didn't predict correctly was American Hustle for Best Cast. I'm gutted that the 12 Years A Slave cast didn't get that. After the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice and now these, it looks like we've got a couple of absolute dead certs for best actor and actress with Blanchett and McConaughey looking unbeatable.

Fingers crossed 12 Years A Slave will be the Best Picture winner on the big night and not American Hustle and I'd also really like to see Leto and Nyong'o repeat their success at the Oscars. As usual there were a bunch of other winners so here is the full list.



OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
American Hustle  

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Breaking Bad

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

The only one of these that doesn't seem right to me is the American Hustle win. The cast were excellent but I just feel that either 12 Years A Slave or Dallas Buyers Club had stronger casts that had to give bigger and braver performances. Perhaps I'm just swayed by the emotional battering of these two as opposed to the more light-hearted American Hustle.

Either way, it looks like I might as well kiss goodbye to that £2 I bet on Ejiofor to win Best Actor at the BAFTAS. That was a dumb move placing that bet before the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and Screen Actors award winners were announced. Ejiofor was the favourite when I placed the bet but I suspect he won't be anymore!! Producers Guild Awards are tonight and the list of nominees are here.

For more awards coverage at I Love That Film, please check out:



Who will win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2014?

Critics' Choice Winners 2014 

Oscar nominations 2014 

Who will win at the Critics' Choice Awards 2014? 

Golden Globes winners and losers 

BAFTA 2014 Nominations


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/2014-screen-actors-guild-awards-winners#y44I2SKzqrMBMVJM.99
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/2014-screen-actors-guild-awards-winners#y44I2SKzqrMBMVJM.99
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/2014-screen-actors-guild-awards-winners#y44I2SKzqrMBMVJM.99

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Who will win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2014?

Below are the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards for 2014. The winners will be announced tonight January 18th and should give a further clue as to who might be winning at those all important Oscars in March. I have highlighted who I think or would like to win in each category and just click the titles to read my reviews of the films I have already seen.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
12 Years A Slave 
American Hustle  
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
The Butler

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years A Slave 
Tom Hanks Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club
Forest Whitaker, The Butler 
Bruce Dern, Nebraska  

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson Saving Mr. Banks

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Michael Fassbender 12 Years A Slave 
Barkhad Abdi Captain Phillips
Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Daniel Bruhl Rush

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years A Slave 
Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle 
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

The rest of the awards are for TV with Breaking Bad looking like it might clean up a bit with Cranston, Gunn and the ensemble all nominated. It's also good to see both Dinklage and the Game of Thrones ensemble also nominated though I suspect this year will undoubtedly belong to Breaking Bad. What do you think of the nominees?

For more awards coverage at I Love That Film, please check out:

Critics' Choice Winners 2014 
Oscar nominations 2014 
Who will win at the Critics' Choice Awards 2014? 
Golden Globes winners and losers 
BAFTA 2014 Nominations

Friday, 17 January 2014

Dallas Buyers Club Review

Matthew McConaughey, in case you hadn't noticed, is on the biggest roll of his career. He has risen from the pits of endless bland rom-coms to become a real leading man constantly showing off his very real skill in front of the camera. Dallas Buyers Club is likely to be the pinnacle of his career unless he continues to choose his roles very wisely and keep chasing awards worthy films in future. Shedding so much weight that he is half the man he once was, McConaughey's face and body is a haunting sight in Dallas Buyers Club, a sight befitting the true story of AIDS victim Ron Woodroof.


Woodroof contracts HIV in the mid-80s, is swiftly given 30 days to live by the doctors who tell him to get his affairs in order and then goes on to become a supplier of medicine to other victims of AIDS. The fact he is a hard drinking, rodeo loving hick who hates 'faggots' and loves nothing more than hanging out with prostitutes and snorting cocaine means he is in for a seriously Oscar baiting arc as he is forced to deal with more and more homosexuals who come to him for help and medicines that have not been approved in America by the FDA. He meets transexual Rayon (Jared Leto) who helps him approach his new customers and his business of importing the unapproved and potentially dangerous meds into the country booms. The FDA and doctors want him shut down but Woodroof is determined to survive and to keep others like him alive by supplying the medicine by not selling it, but offering membership to what becomes the Dallas Buyers Club.

Ron Woodroof is a bit of a bastard. He is selfish, greedy, racist and homophobic. How true to life this representation is of the man is is debatable but in the movie Matthew McConaughey and the scriptwriters do not hold back from showing Woodroof's nastier side. It is only after he contracts AIDS, loses his redneck bigot friends and meets the tragic Rayon that another side predictably emerges. However Woodroof's arc is not sugar coated. He doesn't transform over night and the film takes plenty of pleasure in drawing comedy from the odd couple relationship of Ron and Rayon.


It is here where the Dallas Buyers Club flies. Rayon is instantly loveable with a career best performance from Jared Leto. He is barely recognisable, all skin and bones and beautifully made up as the tragic transexual. Whether covering Ron's walls with pictures of made up men or teasing the miserable Ron, he is a caring and beguiling figure. Leto is completely convincing as the man who should have been born a woman; as comfortable and stunning in his women's clothes as he is uncomfortable dressed as a man. It is a shame the character of Rayon gets less screen time than the less likeable and arguably less interesting Ron.

On the other hand, Matthew McConaughey desrves all the awards he will get (Golden Globes, Critics Choice) as his Ron has the biggest arc and emotional range. Scenes of the rough and ready redneck breaking down alone in a car or sticking up for his new friend in a supermarket will likey leave audiences in tears and McConaughey is barely off screen throughout. It is as much of a transformative turn as Leto's and the pair both give incredibly committed central performances that carry the film, making it completely credible. Jennifer Garner gets in on a bit of the action as a doctor trying to treat AIDS patients and Steve Zahn registers as a decent cop but neither get a chance to step out of the shadow of McConaughey and Leto's towering performances.


What is less committed and brave than these performances is the films' handling of homosexuality and the instrumental role many homosexuals had in starting up similar buyers clubs. Dallas Buyers Club is far more comfortable in wallowing in Ron's homophobia (and exploiting its comedic potential) than it is in really exploring homosexuality. Leto's relationship with another AIDS sufferer is incredibly chaste and the only hint of homosexuality in the film is a dance in a gay club. The film sidelines its gay characters, neglecting to tell the full story in favour if its focus on the straight man. It's a real shame as the recent documentary How to Survive a Plague covered the FDA and the government's dangerous neglect of finding solutions to the AIDS epidemic in far more detail and put homosexuals at the forefront of the fight back.

Nevertheless, Dallas Buyers Club is a very effective emotional story. See it for two staggering transformations and a touching true tale that desrves to be told. While Woodroof is the flawed star of the film, Leto's equally damaged Rayon threatens to steal it away from him. It may not tell the full story, choosing to focus on one frequently unpleasant man instead of many other heroes in the fight against AIDS, but Dallas Buyers Club avoids cliche to become powerful, credible and profoundly affecting. Join the club.

 

Stick around! Please enjoy some more reviews from I Love That Film:

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

All is Lost

The Railway Man

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Captain Phillips

Saving Mr. Banks

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Critics' Choice Winners 2014

For a full list of the Critics' Choice Awards Nominees, and my predictions for who would win, please click here. The winners were announced last night and the ones I guessed correctly are in bold. Click the titles for the few that I have reviewed. Here is the list:


Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave

Best Young Actor/Actress: Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Colour

Best Acting Ensemble: American Hustle

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Best Art Direction: Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby

Best Editing: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity

Best Costume Design: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

Best Makeup: American Hustle

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Action Movie: Lone Survivor

Best Actor in an Action Movie: Mark Wahlberg

Best Actress in an Action Movie: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Best Comedy: American Hustle

Best Actor in a Comedy: Leonardo Dicaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actress in a Comedy: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Movie: Blue is the Warmest Colour

Best Documentary: 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Song: Let it Go, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen

Best Score: Steven Price, Gravity

I predicted 20 out of 28 correctly. That's not bad for me! Any surprises here?

Oscar nominations 2014

Here are most of the nominees for the Academy Awards 2014:

Best Picture:

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director:

David O. Russell American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor:

Christian Bale American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years A Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress:

Amy Adams American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Stree, August Osage County

Best Documentary:

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Here is the full list of nominees. 

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, Nebraska

Adapted screenplay
“Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips Screenplay by Billy Ray
Philomena Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years A Slave  Screenplay by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street Screenplay by Terence Winter

Original screenplay
American Hustle  Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” Written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska Written by Bob Nelson

Best animated feature film of the year
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“Frozen”
“The Wind Rises”

Best cinematography
“The Grandmaster” Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” Roger A. Deakins

Best costume design
American Hustle  Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster” William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby Catherine Martin
“The Invisible Woman” Michael O’Connor
12 Years A Slave  Patricia Norris

Best editing
American Hustle  Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
12 Years A Slave  Joe Walker

Best foreign language film of the year
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy
The Hunt Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
“Omar” Palestine

Best makeup and hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Best original score
The Book Thief John Williams
“Gravity” Steven Price
“Her” William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks Thomas Newman

Best original song
“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
 Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

Achievement in production design
American Hustle  Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
12 Years A Slave  Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

Achievement in visual effects
“Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton