Sunday, February 24, 2013

Academy Award Predictions

Can't be a movie geek without making Last Minute Predictions. I am proud to say that I have seen almost all the films this year round missing only the following: Chasing Iceflows, No, Kon Tiki(Will be seeing it before the event) and the Gatekeepers. Of course pretty certain to not see most of the short films but did manage to see three of them this year.

Of the nominees I will start at the bottom and work my way at the top. Other than Animated Short film I will leave those out as I haven't seen any of them.

Orginial Screenplay:
I will admit that this may not win this year and is more of a hopeful but I have seen the films and this is by far in my opinion the best one. Wes Anderson is considered a favorite by the oscars and will be a very good way into the hearts of oscar goers. I do think that the others have a good shot but I still am plugging for Wes to make the plunge

Adapted Screenplay:
Argo in my opinion will be the big winner this year. It is sad that Ben Affleck kind of got snubbed at at the oscars. At the other awards ceramonies the film managed to pick up quite a bit of praise and is still one of the favored to win. I think that Lincoln has a good shot along with Life of Pi. Silver linings playbook and Beasts of the Southern Wild are in the rear in this catigory.

Visual Effects:

This is a hard one for me as all of the nominees are pretty spectacular. I think that the movie itself pulls about even with Avengers and the Hobbit but I think that it will get ahead as the academy will probably feel bad about it not winning a lot of the awards that it is up for. Please don't get me wrong the mix of colors and effects make this a wonderful film to keep in mind.

Sound Mixing:
I must admit I am not very good with this category. I am placing Argo in this slot as I feel it has a lot of action and events where sound mixing is a very important part of the process. This could still be anyone's game.

Sound Editing
Another Category I am unsure of but I do believe this will pull the win. I don't think this film will get much love this year and this award is the academy's opportunity to present it with some. There are multiple sound issues to consider with explosions and gun fire to try and balance it with the voices of the actors this is a struggle and I believe this is how it will go.

Animated Short Film:
I admit I still have not seen Head over Heels or Adam and Dog but this is still a very strong contender. This is probably one of the best short films Disney has produced on it's own without the Pixar Name. If you haven't seen this I recommend you do.

Production Design:
Well if I am correct this has to do more with the sets than anything else. Though many of the nominees are very good at this Les Miserables is in my opinion the best. They managed to capture the feeling of the broadway musical to the point where at times I almost felt I was watching it again in the theater. This is again one of my favorite films.

Original Song: 
This one is a no brainer. Skyfall has been built up and built up for this song and it has won nearly every award. The song does bring back a lot of the old feel I used to have when I was watching a bond film as the movie itself kind of fell back off of the Bourne Identity phase the series was going through during the last two installments.

Original Score:

The very fact that this film was nominated for original score when it should never have been even close to the award is the reason that I feel it will win. Someone really wants this film to succeed and I have a feeling that there are plenty of people pushing to have this variation of the original bond score to finally give the series its due. I don't pull for this one personally hoping for Anna Karenina but this is my predictions of what will will not what should win (That's coming later).

Makeup and Hairstyling:
I know Les Miserables is one of the favored to win in this category but I cannot do so. The Main character in that movie went through the entire movie looking younger instead of older and tired this is a failure as far as makeup is concerned. Peter Jackson does wonders finding makeup and effects staff and this film is no slouch in that department. The different beard styles of each dwarf the makeup on some of the various creatures to the birds nest in the brown wizard's hair this is a needed boost for this movie series.

Foreign Language Film:

This is hands down the front runner. I have not seen Kon Tiki or No yet so I cannot fully be an expert in this category but I do believe this will make it. It is a depressing film but very well acted and directed bringing attention and depth without any score and this takes doing. If you haven't seen it yet you definitely need to check this one out.

Film Editing:
I feel this film will get in on the editing basis improving hand over foot upon the Hurt Locker. The various scenes are spliced together quite well making it easy to follow and not making you sick too the stomach when seeing it.

Documentary Feature:
I have managed to watch all but one of the films this year and sadly I do think that the Gatekeepers has a shot of taking the top spot but I have not seen it so I can not declare for or against it. Searching for Sugar Man leads the pack that I have seen this year as excellent music and for an uplifting story that keeps you interested and informed for the entirety  This is a film that actually had me get up and buy this guy's two studio albums right after finishing it and this is a powerful move in its favor.

Best Director:
I believe that Spielberg is going to win this year. He hasn't won in a while and I believe that this is partially political and partially deserved. This film has been his baby for a while now and it is done very very well making it a must see. The Political reason is that I believe Argo was purposefully snubbed so that Lincoln could have a clear path to victory and if the academy promises they try to deliver.

Costume Design:
 There is no doubt in my mind that this will take home the design award. The other nominees are very good and Mirror Mirror is extremely imaginative but this film flows every well on the eyes and this is partly for the costumes involved. This movie was made for this award and I believe it will get what it was made for.

I want to give this film some due. It is a well rounded cast and they work together exceptionally well. I am not an expert in this category so i could very well be wrong but I am hoping for it to win in this as I don't see it anywhere else.

Animated Feature:
There are others that I will be rooting for but I still feel this will take the win. I like Pixar and I think this is a great film but I feel it has fallen under their standard. I have believed that Pixar had a lock on this category for years and has a pull with the academy. I feel it took them taking with Cars 2 to get them out of the category giving them a chance to do something fun and giving other features a chance. Will the Pixar hold of the academy still stand strong? We shall find out tonight.

Supporting Actress:
I believe that Anne Hathaway is doing to take this home. It is too easy to call as the buzz around her is astounding. I do not necessarily agree with this as I believe that Samantha Barks did a much better job in the role both in acting and in singing. I also feel that Sally Field more deserved this award. I feel that the buzz factor is too strong with this one for it to go anywhere else. Don't get me wrong she did a good job with the role I just don't feel it is the best of the best.

Leading Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence is going to win this award. She did a great job with it and is a way better than the competition. The only think I can see happening is a political move to have Quvenzhane Wallis placed up for her age amongst other things to become a one of many firsts for the award. This is a far field but if it doesn't go to Jennifer you will see it going to Miss Wallis.

Supporting Actor:
Philip Seymour Hoffman did an excellent job in this film. I was bored by it and it was waaaay too long but still very good never the less. His character came across as believable and likable and it holds strong in this category. I would probably but either Robert De Niroo or Tommy Lee Jones as the next likely ones to take home this award should he flounder. I kind of hope this is the case as I really don't want to see this movie again.

Leading Actor:
No doubt in my mind that Daniel Day Lewis will take this home. He does an excellent job in the role and on top of that he has a ton of buzz and awards already in this category. At a long shot I will give the second possible to Denzel Washington for his wonderful performance in Flight but politically this time the cards are not in his favor.

Best Picture:
This film has too much momentum and buzz to be ignored (though the academy has tried). It has won best picture at many other award events including the globes and stands to be a contender for many more. Argo is excellent in almost every way and though it is not something that I consider the best picture overall it is still one of the best ones in the lineup. Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty also have a chance as the academy loves the director of Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln is a spectacular film in its own right but I feel this will be the number one.

Well there you have it. I hope you all are ready to watch and enjoy the upcoming show before us. We shall see which way the die falls.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Young Guys

Let me start by saying that this blog is primarily about political issues so don’t worry I am only touching on the entertainment scene today. We have recently had the Grammies and the Oscars are upcoming so please pardon me whilst I stray a tad from my focus.

The Big winner at the Grammies of course ended up being the band “Fun” and the star song of the night is their song “We are young”.  I will say that this song is extremely catchy and for the target audience it is an excellent song. That being said I am still not happy with the win.

I am not big on the music industry. I am out of touch today and even when I was in touch I tended to like bands that were popular before my time and odd little indie bands. Today with the big music still hanging around Gangsta Rap, Bubble Gum Pop and Pop Punk wannabes I really have little interest in the current styles but yet this still bothers me.

Here is the Song in Question:

The song is as I said very catchy and will stay in your head for hours due to the really anthemy lyrics and full out chorus. The Lyrics is where I have the main issue. After reading them over and over the song is pretty much about being young and able to work hard during the day and party during the night while your life is out ahead of you and to enjoy it to the fullest. This song is clearly targeted to the audience that tends to run with trendy music being in their late teens and early 20s. This is the crowd that can easily bounce back from a full night of drinking drugging and having sex and then go to work the next day able to do the job.

I know the song is in a bar and usually you only have a few types in a bar but the song can easily be applied to the club scene and to house parties as well where you have more of the drugging and sex going on as well as our late teenagers. Admittantly partying and burning up the night is something that is common amongst this age crowd and this is the crowd that usually listens to new release music where as you go by 25 the new poppy stuff kind of starts to pass you buy. I understood even before I listened to this song that my time is over when it comes to the current music crowd (for me I never really was in it). The song of course is a great energizer for the party age crowd but in a way can be a real downer for anyone who’s age is catching up with them.

Heavy Drinking in late teens and early 20s is just a sign up a good social life but remember once you hit 25 and up it starts looking more and more like alcoholism.

After hearing this song I figured that the group would be a bunch of late teen early twenties kids just hitting the band scene and playing to their generation. I was very surprised to find that even their youngest member is in his late twenties and that the lead singer is in his early 30s. I hear this song now and think to myself “my lord, they are really trying to hold on to those last vestiges of youth”. I say you need to let it go. This is the song they should really have been playing:

Glee did a performance of this song and I believe that it really hit home about the age group that this song is playing to. Go back to the top and consider the band members and their ages then check out this video and think about who is more appropriate to sing this song: (Sorry about the video quality couldn’t find anything better on this one)

Now don’t get me wrong, a friend of mine has told me that many people are still into the party scene well into their 30s and beyond and that the song could be aimed at them. I can tell you by seeing it and by experiencing it on a milder level myself that if you are still out all night most nights drinking it is a sad thing and don’t dare tell me that you aren’t feeling it in the morning or that you can shrug it off the same as your pre-twenty-five self. If you are listening to this song and saying “yeah we’re young lets live it up, bring on the night!” its starting to look sad.

Again don’t get me wrong. Fun is a good band and the song “Some Nights” is really good. They have a good sound and I think they are pretty cool but I really don’t care much for this song being performed by them when it should be looked on by a much younger crowd.

I will leave with a song for people who are in the 25-40 bracket that a good portion of you would remember and is slightly more appropriate:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Politically Incorrect

You know I usually come up on the left side of the fence on these topics but for once I’m going to head a little to the right. It seems like these days it is fashionable to be offended if you aren’t up on the current brand of political correctness you may end up on the wrong end of a political cursing out. This is not a good slope for our society to be climbing up on. I want to isolate the factors that are running wild in our world and in the end show where we are headed if this does not veer off.

Before I proceed I do not want to be mistaken in what I am trying to say. There is a measure of politeness that we should have in certain situations such as on the job in a nice restaurant and so on. I am talking about political correctness itself which applies to all walks of life be it in a fancy place or alone in your room at night.

The Makeup of the Political Correctness Movement:

 Paranoia: One of the most driving factors of political correctness is paranoia. At one point in time we had these things called conversations; people would shoot the breeze, tell a joke laugh and move on. These days everyone is looking to be offended so anything that is said is a potential insult to them. I will give you an overblown example:
Burt: “Hey Roger”
Roger: “Hey Burt”
Burt: “It’s a nice day today.”
Roger: “Maybe but there were other days just as nice as this one.”
Burt: “I guess so…I’m just saying what a nice day it is.”
Roger: “Are you telling me I don’t know what a nice day looks like? I’m gone I’ll talk to someone who doesn’t look down on me.”
Roger is mad due to Burt’s politically incorrect commend. Roger is also reading evil intent on Burt’s part. To Roger it is obvious that Burt thinks little of him and therefore is a terrible person. Burt is left scratching his head not understanding what he said wrong. People tend to jump at the negative too much these days focusing on themselves and not even trying to understand the other person’s real intent. Even when the other person states it they still find offense either considering the person an inconsiderate idiot or a liar. This is paranoia and a little bit of self centeredness. Listen people! Everything is not always about you! What was once civilized conversation is turned into angry discourse. Due to this no one is ever a lasting ally. You can agree and team up against others for a while but if your ally agrees with you in the wrong way or disagrees once they are now the enemy. In the end you have no friends.

Everyone is Evil: Remember that intent statement I made a little while ago? Well in the world of political correctness everyone is evil and hates everyone…except for you. Again we are being a tad self centered. I myself do subscribe to the belief that everyone is evil and must work to maintain the good but I do not believe that everything someone says has evil intent attached. We are again searching for evil intent in every comment someone makes. As per the conversation above Burt is considered evil because he is purposefully belittling the other days holding this one up as superior. Burt had no grand intent for what he said and certainly has nothing against all other days. This perception is not paranoia but works under similar measures it is just thinking how others hate the world instead of saying how they hate you. These two are of course combined to form the thought “everyone hates everybody and everything including me…but I’m better than that and am different.”

Sterilization: George Carlin said it best in the end. We are taking away any emotion or meaning from our language. We are making things less and less personal until it either has no meaning at all. Let’s take the mental health field for example. Patient was one of the first words used to describe the people we see. It sounds nice enough we are treating an illness and therefore it has implication. Patient then became offensive as people were saying “it sounds like I’ve got an illness or something this makes me different from everyone else”. So we moved on to Client; this reflected that you were getting a service and didn’t have any reference to illness or setting someone out of the loop. It did, however, imply some level of power that the provider (current correct term) may have over the “Client” so we couldn’t have that and moved on to the word Consumer. Consumer showed that the person had total control over the services provided to them yet still kind of set them out as someone having a service performed for them so it was changed again to individual which becomes totally anonymous and has no feeling to it at all. Individual, of course started to sound a little like we were calling the people being treated “it” and became an offensive term so we changed back to consumer for the time being while we pondered it some more. This progression took place over the last 10 years. There was no implied malice in the word patient and it conveyed a meaning that everyone could understand for the treatment provided yet people saw malice in the word just as they will for consumer again and for what ever word replaces it.

Fad Driven: The language of political correctness is fad driven. Much like fashion the appropriate wording at the appropriate time is the difference from regular conversation or being offensive. You have to keep on top of things as these words can sometimes change quickly (just like dresses or outfits). Remember: What is considered appropriate and inoffensive today can be evil and intolerant tomorrow.

The Future:

What are we headed for? Well eventually in our society as we are readily offended all the time any form of communication or non communication will be considered offensive. We as a society will isolate from one another staying to our monitors and computers fearing to see another human being. What communication we will have will be unfeeling and cold eventually crossing emotion totally off of the human spectrum. It will be a colorless tasteless society where information gathering replaces conversation and laughing or crying will be a thing of the past. 


How can we save ourselves from this future? It is quite as simple as understanding one simple fact “you are not the center of the universe”. Once you realize this it becomes much easier to read intent in what people are saying. If someone is trying to be offensive it is very easy to tell this via body language and tone. If you are online and you have a question of a person’s intent simply ask them if they are being serious and start a conversation. I hate computer conversing as it is very hard to read expression into things. We use the same words and phrases without altering them so much we try and embrace the meaning so no one is confused or left out.

In the end there are two big points to take with you:

1. Understand that not everything is about you.

2. Approach conversation from a neutral view

If you follow both of these things you will laugh longer and enjoy life more.
Here’s hoping that we can make your life a little brighter.