Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Interstellar (2014)

When Earth's resources start to fail, a group of explorers embark on a voyage to search the solar system for a new inhabitable planet. The fate of humanity on rests on this one mission.

Interstellar movie, Interstellar review, Interstellar Christopher Nolan

As a space adventure, Interstellar succeeds, like most Nolan films, as an edge of your seat thrill ride. Even at nearly 3 hours, there's never a dull moment. Visually, the cinematography, production design, and visual effects put Interstellar among the most beautiful space films ever made. It's an all encompassing experience that hits its highs as good as any film this year.

 Interstellar scenes, Interstellar movie Christopher Nolan's latest epic might just be his most emotional film yet. With deep characters and themes dealing with love and family, its his most relatable film. Unlike his previous works, we feel a real connection to the film as these characters carry the story.

At the center is Matthew McConaughey, who again proves he's on his way to becoming one of the best actors of this generation with another stellar performance. Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway also excel in what might be the best ensemble work in a Nolan film yet.

 Interstellar McConaughey HathawayHowever, Interstellar might be too intellectual for its own good. In this day and age where sequels, remakes, and superhero films are taking over Hollywood, an original epic should be respected. I admire the ambition, but it packs in so many concepts and ideas to the point where it starts to feel bloated.

 There's so much to take in that it might be hard to understand everything on a first viewing. This is especially the case because it relies so much on complicated scientific theories, including worm holes, black holes, and time travel within the space-time continuum.

 Interstellar spaceThe script has gotten a lot of criticism because it contains too much exposition. But when dealing with these complicated ideas that the average audience might not understand, exposition is necessary to get the point across.

Personally, I didn't have a problem with it, but I can understand if some might.

Still, this may be Nolan's weakest script to date. There's a few too many plot contrivances and cringe worthy lines of dialogue that prevent this from being among Nolan's best.

Nonetheless, Interstellar is still a fantastic achievement and a worthy addition to Nolan's increasingly impressive filmography.

 Interstellar shot, Interstellar film, Interstellar Nolan

Friday, November 28, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

1. Boyhood
 Boyhood Oscar Predictions

2. Unbroken
 Unbroken 2014, Unbroken Angelina Jolie, Unbroken Oscar Predictions

3. The Imitation Game
 The Imitation Game, The Imitation Game Oscar Predictions

4. Birdman
 Birdman movie, Birdman Oscar Predictions

5. Selma
 Selma MLK, Selma Oscar Predictions

6. Whiplash
 Whiplash 2014, Whiplash movie, Whiplash Miles Teller, Whiplash Oscar Predictions

7. Interstellar
 Christopher Nolan Interstellar, Interstellar Oscar Predictions, Best Picture 2014

8. The Theory of Everything
 The Theory of Everything movie, The Theory of Everything Oscar Predictions

9. American Sniper
 American Sniper Clint Eastwood Bradley Cooper, American Sniper Oscar Predictions

10. Foxcatcher
 Foxcatcher, Foxcatcher 2014, Foxcatcher Oscar Predictions

Other Contenders

11. Gone Girl

12. Into the Woods

13. A Most Violent Year

14. Still Alice

15. Wild

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

1. Angelina Jolie - Unbroken
 Angelina Jolie Unbroken Oscar Predictions, Unbroken behind the scenes

2. Richard Linklater - Boyhood
 Richard linklater Boyhood, Richard Linklater Oscar Predictions, Boyhood behind the scenes

3. Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman
 Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman, Birdman behind the scenes, Birdman Oscar Predictions

4. Christopher Nolan - Interstellar
 Christopher Nolan Interstellar, Christopher Nolan Interstellar Oscar Predictions, Interstellar behind the scenes

5. Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game
 Morten Tyldum Imitation Game Oscar Predictions

Other Contenders

6. Clint Eastwood - American Sniper

7. Ava DuVernay - Selma

8. Damien Chazelle - Whiplash

9. David Fincher - Gone Girl

10. Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

1. Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
 Imitation-Game Benedict Cumberbatch Oscar Predictions

2. Michael Keaton - Birdman
 Michael Keaton Birdman, Michael Keaton Birdman Oscar Predictions

3. Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
 Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything Oscar Predictions

4. David Oyelowo - Selma
 David Oyelowo Selma Oscar Predictions

5. Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
 photo foxcatcherstevecarell_zps09f3b9b0.jpg  

Other Contenders

6. Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

7. Jack O'Connell - Unbroken

8. Matthew McConaughey - Interstellar

9. Timothy Spall - Mr. Turner

10. Joaquin Phoenix - Inherent Vice

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

1. Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Julianne Moore Still Alice Oscar Predictions

2. Reese Witherspoon - Wild
 Reese Witherspoon Wild

3. Amy Adams - Big Eyes
 Amy Adams Big Eyes Oscar Predictions

4. Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
 Rosamund Pike Gone Girl Oscar Predictions, Gone Girl still

5. Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
 Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything Oscar Predictions

Other Possibilities

6. Hilary Swank - The Homesman

7. Emily Blunt - Into the Woods

8. Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night

9. ShaileneWoodley - The Fault in Our Stars

10. Anne Hathaway - Interstellar

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

1. Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
  Patricia Arquette Boyhood, Patricia Arquette Boyhood Oscar Predictions

2. Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
 Keira Knightley The Imitation Game, Keira Knightley Oscar Predictions

3. Emma Stone - Birdman
 Emma Stone Birdman, Emma Stone Birdman Oscar Predictions

4. Laura Dern - Wild
 Laura Dern Wild

5. Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year
 Jessica Chastain A Most Violent Year Oscar Predictions

Other Contenders

6. Meryl Streep- Into the Woods

7. Kristin Stewart- Still Alice

8. Carmen Ejogo - Selma

9. Katherine Waterston - Inherent Vice

10. Carrie Coon- Gone Girl

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

1. J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
 J.K. Simmons Whiplash, J.K. Simmons Whiplash stills, J.K. Simmons Whiplash Oscar Predictions Best Supporting Actor

2. Edward Norton - Birdman
 Edward Norton Best Supporting Actor Oscar Predictions, Edward Norton Birdman Stills

3. Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
 Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher Oscar Predictions, Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher stills

4. Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
 Ethan Hawke Boyhood Oscar Predictions, Ethan Hawke stills Boyhood

5. Josh Brolin - Inherent Vice
 photo INHERENT_VICE_zps8e4ab0de.jpg

Other Contenders

6. Tom Wilkinson - Selma

7. Christoph Waltz - Big Eyes

8. Matthew Goode - The Imitation Game

9. Logan Lerman - Fury

10. Joel Edgerton - Exodus: Gods and Kings

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Boardwalk Empire

The following is a review for Boardwalk Empire (2010-2015).

Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s, Boardwalk Empire tells the story of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, the treasurer of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Due to his relationships with mobsters as well as political contacts, the Federal Government starts to take an interest in him. The show focuses on the crime syndicates of Atlantic City, New York, and Chicago.

 Boardwalk Empire review, Boardwalk Empire still, Boardwalk Empire

The show blends factual characters with fictional elements. Nucky Thompson is based on Nucky Johnson, the real life boss who controlled Atlantic City. Real characters include Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, Johnny Torrio, and Meyer Lansky among others. In addition to the real characters, other fictional characters (or loose interpretations) are added to make the narrative work. This creates a fascinating criminal underworld dealing with bootlegging, corruption and murder. We really get to experience how ruthless these mobsters could be.

 Boardwalk Empire set, Boardwalk Empire Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire characters
From a production standpoint, the show's beauty remains unmatched. From the sets, costumes, design, music, and atmosphere, it truly feels like we're experiencing life in the 1920s. The show genuinely feels like a work of art.

Boardwalk Empire premiered with massive expectations. After all, Terrance Winter created the show and Martin Scorsese served as executive producer (while also directing the pilot). Winter also was a writer and executive producer on The Sopranos. Many other writers and directors from The Sopranos joined Winter to work on Boardwalk Empire. So the comparisons to The Sopranos seem inevitable, albeit unfair (after all The Sopranos is widely regarded as the best television show of all-time).

With a reported budget of nearly 50 million for the first season alone, the scale is massive as anything to ever appear on television.

 Boardwalk Empire NuckyWhile these expectations may have been impossible to match, Boardwalk Empire will always feel like a missed opportunity to me. With such a big scope, it sometimes feels like too much time is wasted on meaningless story lines for minor characters we don't really care about. The death of a certain character a few seasons in also dramatically changed the arc of several characters and significantly altered the show's structure.

Don't get me wrong, Boardwalk Empire still proved to be a great show. Through great storytelling, the show remained strong for the next few seasons. But I don't think it was ever able to reach the heights of the early seasons again (which were among the best on television). Consistency was a problem as a certain dynamic that made the show so successful was lost.

 Boardwalk Empire JimmyHowever, the biggest problem with Boardwalk Empire ended up being its premature cancellation. With a decline in ratings and budget concerns, HBO surprisingly announced that a shortened final season would be its last.

This final season will be most damaging to Boardwalk Empire's legacy. Based on how things ended in Season 4, it was clear they had no intentions of ending the show just yet (they were setting up new story lines instead of wrapping them up). Instead of the usual 12 episodes, the final season only featured 8.

Boardwalk Empire Al CaponeNot only that, but the final season features a time jump of 7 years from where we left off. 7 years is a long time. It feels like we skipped 5 chapters are placed right at the end of the story. It just feels off.

The final season also features an ongoing flashback sequence that proves pointless and doesn't add anything to the story we didn't know already. We spent so much time we these characters, it's a shame we didn't get to experience their full journey.

The whole season feels rushed because they are trying to wrap everything up in a measly 8 episodes. With so many characters and story lines, it proves to be an impossibility. The signature tension and suspense the show usually displays isn't as prevalent because they didn't have the time to build the stories like the previous seasons.

Boardwalk Empire had so much potential. It's a shame HBO had to ruin it by canceling it too soon. Even though it was never able to live up to the impossible expectations, Boardwalk Empire was one of the better shows on television, providing great entertainment and insight into life in the 1920s.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Top 10 Films of the 1990s

Best of the decade (1990-1999).

1. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese)
 Goodfellas Robert Deniro, Goodfellas Scorsese scene, Goodellas scene, Goodfellas best movie of the 1990s, best of the decade 1990 Goodfellas

2. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
 Pulp Fiction Tarantino, Pulp Fiction scene, Pulp Fiction best films of the 1990s, Best films of decade Pulp Fiction, Travolta Jackson Pulp Fiction

3. L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson)
 L.A. Confidential scene, L.A. Confidential best films of the 1990s, best of the decade 90s

4. Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg)
 Saving Private Ryan best films of the 1990s, Saving Private Ryan scene

5. American Beauty (Sam Mendes)
 American Beauty scene, American Beauty best films of the 1990s

6. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)
 The Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lector, The Silence of the Lambs best films of the 1990s

7. The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont)
 The Shawshank Redemption scene, The Shawshank Redemption best of the 90s, Morgan Freeman Shawshank Redemption

8. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson)
 Magnolia frogs, Magnolia PTA

9. Titanic (James Cameron)
 Titanic King of the World, Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic James Cameron, Titanic best films of the 1990s

10. Se7en (David Fincher)
  Seven Brad Pitt David Fincher, Se7en scenes, Se7en movie best of the 1990s