Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tinker Tailor, Movie Trailer

Do you remember when, in my Top 25 Most Anticipated post, I put Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy at number nine? Well, it just leap-frogged over everything else to become my Number Two.

This trailer makes me swoon. Thanks to Kristopher Tapley for pointing this out. I mean, how many times can one watch a trailer in a single day before labeling oneself obsessed? Good Lord, this is right up my alley.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the Older

As you can see on the right, the poll is closed and the people have spoken. But before I officially unveil what you can already see, one last mention of 1974: my Top Ten of the Year.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

POLL: Tie-Breaker!!!


Because the poll ended in a four-way tie, I had to get a tie-breaker. And I did, in the form of one of my friends from film school, a man whose taste in films is almost on par with my own. This guy introduced me to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was among a group of us that saw Burlesque, and watched Angels in America with me (the first part, anyway). I gave him the years y'all were most interested in -- 1951, 1957, 1964, 1980 -- and asked him to choose. And the year he chose is...


But wait! Just as the polls closed, a tweeter tweeted me their choice, claiming that the poll should have stayed open until midnight instead of midday. You may know her as Concrete Jane, and she demands her vote be counted. So she went with...


Which means I need yet another tie-breaker before deciding once and for all what film year to do (sorry, 1980 champions -- you were loud and proud, but people adore the classic classics). Open for approximatey twenty-four hours:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Remember to Vote! Last Day!

Today is the final day for voting for the decade you want me to guide us through next. The 1980 fans are loud and proud, both on the actual poll and in the comments, but that year is currently tied (!!!) with 1957.

Once again, that poll is on the right. Or, hell, right below!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Freeky Fridays: Eine Kleine Joymusik

Freeky Friday

Taking a brief break from film to take part in a grand blog party called Freeky Fridays. Started by two sisters who are very near and dear to me, Freeky Fridays is a weekly prompt focused on positivity, good vibes, balloonity, named Freekware, a clothing line whose proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And for why that is...well, that's not my story to tell. You can learn all about Freeky Fridays, Freekware, and its origins at Concrete Jane or Dr. Princess, sister bloggers and keepers of the flame. I really do ask that you read both sisters' posts so that you have a full appreciation of the legacy they're keeping.

Anyway. This week's prompt: If you were making a positivity playlist, what three feel good songs would you include?

It's a difficult question for me, really, since no matter how amped the disco beat may be, most of the songs I listen to are not uplifting. I'm not depressed all the time or anything, but some of the best songs are about longing and love lost and mistakes. I don't write the songs, I just listen to them. "Born to Run" came to mind, but I have a problem with categorizing "someday we'll escape this hell-hole" as feel-good. Goal-oriented, maybe, but not feel-good. My recent Roy Orbison kick offers nothing ("Only the Lonely", "It's Over", "Crying"...good God, and this before his wife and kids were killed). My favorite musicals are about sadness and regret: Follies, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd. And, of course, it would be difficult to place my favorite song of all time, the apologetic disco number "Everlasting Love", on a feel-good playlist, despite its upbeat tempo. Pledge that eternal love all you want, Carl Carlton, she still hasn't said she'll come back to you.

Then there's the fact that most of the music I listen to is by Philip Glass, John Adams, Alexandre Desplat; in other words, instrumental. Do these count as songs? Because I listen to them a lot more than I do anything with lyrics.

And only three? If I'm making a playlist, it's got to at least last me the twenty minute walk to Dunkin' Donuts and back. So, yes, I went for more than three. Indeed, I went and made the playlist:

1. Opening from Mishima - Philip Glass
You know, I've never seen this biopic, and I know the guy ritualistically killed himself or something. But this music feels like you've achieved the unachievable. The music reminds me of riding the monorail at Disney: those chimes of excitement when you catch a glimpse of the park, building up as it comes further into view, and that huge rush of bells when you see that EPCOT ball and the World Showcase, before calming down so you can disembark.

Eleven other tracks after the cut, including Hollmann Award winners, ELO and a very special final track...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My eyes were beginning to hurt reading my own blog, so I decided a change was in order. What do you think?

Not That Crap Again: June Oscar Predictions

By this time, many of you may be aware of the Academy's new rule for Best Picture: no more of this The Ten business. Instead, the number of films nominated will fluctuate between five and ten, according to how many films get 5% of the number one votes. That's the minimum required, apparently in reaction against the much smaller representation for some of last year's Best Picture honorees (Winter's Bone and 127 Hours, probably). What this means is that we won't know until Nomination Morning how many films will be up for Best Picture. It could be seven, it could be eight, it could be five, or maybe ten!

The possibilities...

I approve of and applaud this system, actually (and I know AMPAS was dying to know). It's hard, sometimes, to come up with a set number of great films for the year. I do a Top 25 and Bottom 10, and I'm thinking of retiring both -- first, I don't see enough movies in a year for those rankings to mean all that much; second, it's led to my "honoring" certain films just to fill the self-imposed quota (guys, The Proposal is a diverting, sometimes frustrating, but altogether harmless comedy that does not belong on a "worst of" list). I understand the frustration, so I can roll with the Academy deciding not to deal with it anymore. Of course, this means losing interesting titles in the Best Pic lineup, your District 9s and so forth, but it definitely makes the season more suspenseful, something that's been seriously lacking as of late.

So, this plus new buzz on some films leads me to believe that now is the time to adjust some of my predictions:


The Big Five
The Descendants
Hugo Cabret
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
War Horse

In no particular order, these are the five that I think will make the cut no matter what. Hugo Cabret and The Descendants are my new additions, since I saw the trailer for the latter and read the former. With Cabret, I feel like you'd only be able to mess it up if you didn't have cinema coursing through your veins. If it was in the hands of a studio hire, maybe it wouldn't make the cut, but in the hands of a Movie Catholic (thank you, Jeff Wells) like Scorsese? Get outta here! It's guaranteed!

The Next Group
The Tree of Life
The Artist
The Dangerous Method
The Iron Lady
Midnight in Paris

And this, for me, is in order of likelihood. The Tree of Life is getting mixed reviews, but Malick's fanbase is a devoted one. Then there's The Artist, the Cannes hit acquired by Oscar whisperers (thanks, Sasha Stone!) The Weinstein Company. It may be mostly silent, but I hear it's got heart. If biopics A Dangerous Method and The Iron Lady impress enough, they shouldn't find it hard to elbow their way in. The warm and charming Midnight in Paris is my wild card pick, just in case they go to Ten.

Among the three I've switched out is My Week with Marilyn (I've been hearing mehs). And if Marilyn is gone here, I might as well shoo it off the Best Director list. I don't see it happening unless it falls within that tower of love which you see above.

George Clooney, The Ides of March
David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
Clint Eastwood, J. Edgar
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Steven Spielberg, War Horse

Cronenberg gets the "sorry we've ignored you for so long" nomination, with Hazanavicius as the "oh holy shit this is artistic brilliance" nomination. I understand I have more confidence than most in The Dangerous Method's chances, but we can't all be pussies.

More predictions after the cut....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quite A Polling!

I was quite thrilled about the feedback from my series on '74. Not just here, but on Twitter, from friends, family. Hell, the whole thing sparked a long conversation between my dad and myself on how amazing Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is, the merits of The Godfather films, Lee Strasberg, great disaster films, seeing Phantom of the Paradise in its initial release at a drive-in...that, I think, was the most rewarding thing of all. Also, seeing Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia for the first time. That movie is incredible.

So, it should come as no surprise that I want to do it again! Not with 1974, of course, but with something! Take a look to the right and you'll see a poll that'll run for the next two weeks begging the question: which cinematic year do you want to live through next? I've narrowed the many choices to these five:

In which An American in Paris wins at the Oscars...but what about in my heart?

In which Sayonara and The Bridge on the River Kwai, two movies I've always wanted to see but never have, must compete against guilty pleasure Peyton Place and my beloved Funny Face.

In which I decide once and for all if Julie Andrews deserved her Oscar, and just how badly Audrey Hepburn was snubbed.

In which the absence of Xanadu in the original song category forces me to watch Honeysuckle Rose. Also, I've never seen Raging Bull, Coal Miner's Daughter, Ordinary People, Private Benjamin....

In which cult horror films (The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad), beloved epics (The Last Emperor, Empire of the Sun) and Cher (Suspect, Moonstruck) square off in a fight to the death.

Voting is open for the next two weeks! Let your feelings be heard, before they are hurt!

Greatness Never Ages

I'm greatly anticipating the final Harry Potter film, but I wouldn't say I'm foaming at the mouth. Still, this is pretty bad-ass, and I want this poster:

She's so fucking cool.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

1974 Hollmann Awards: The Majors

The awards continue and conclude.

Hollmann Awards 1974: The Technicals

At long last...22 years of life...37 years of cinematic history....Ladies and gentlemen, the 1974 Hollmann Awards. No, there's no list of nominees to get acquainted with; it's all here, winners and runners-up, in one fowl swoop. First up, the technicals. Catch them after the jump:

UPDATE: Realized I hit publish before I made my final changes in Art Direction. The winner and runner-up have been switched so that the proper film is given its due.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The 1974 Finalists!

My research tells me that there were about 90 films released domestically in the United States in 1974. There were probably a lot more, but that's the number of titles I've been able to find. Well, folks, with a final tally of 47 (not quite 50, but oh well), I've officially seen 52 percent! That's a hell of a lot better than my usual stats! As per tradition, of course, I've got to provide my fifteen finalists in each category. Oscar didn't have categories for Makeup or Visual Effects back in '74, so I've omitted those, too, and as for my Ensemble award? Oh, it stays. That's my gift to the casting directors.