Friday, January 24, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club tells the true story of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) and his fight with AIDS in the 1980s. After being diagnosed with the disease, he tries to work around the system in order to get other AIDS patients the medicine and care they need.

 Dallas Buyers Club Review, best Picture Dallas Buyers club
After his diagnosis, doctors estimate that he only has 30 days left to live. Woodroof is met with harsh criticism and hatred from his cowboy friends because AIDS was only thought to be a "gay" disease. Upon further reflection and research about the disease, realization sets in.

In the 1980s,  the start of the AIDS crisis, there weren't many viable treatment options. The disease was most effectively treated by a drug called AZT, but AZT was only in the trial stages and wasn't cleared for the public yet.

 Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey Oscar Best Actor As a dying man, Woodroof takes measures into his own hands to find the best possible care for himself and others with the disease. He learns there may be more effective alternatives to fight the disease, but is met with resistance and hostility from the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

Woodroof is an interesting character because we see his transition from a racist, homophobic asshole at the beginning to a caring, responsible human being. His relationship with Rayon (Leto) is particularly powerful. Rayon, a transgender HIV patient, helps Ron open his eyes and see that difference isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Now I've never been a fan of Matthew McConaughey before, but he completely changed my mind. This is easily the best performance of his career and one of the best of the year. It looks like he might win the Oscar for Best Actor, and he would absolutely be a deserving winner.

 Jered Leto drag, Jered Leto Oscar, Jered Leto transgender, Jered Leto Dallas Buyers Club Jered Leto also delivers and incredible performance. Not only did it take courage to play a transgender role, but he took his commitment to whole new level by dropping down to scary 114 pounds for the role.

In many ways, Rayon is the heart of the film. Rayon is a character full of pain and sadness and Leto portrays that brilliantly. He's already gained tremendous praise for his performance is on his way for his first Oscar win.

Dallas Buyers Club is a story of acceptance, care and the courage to fight for what's right. It's an important film that helps us realize we are all alike and deserve to be treated equally, no matter our race, gender, preferences or beliefs. All people deserve to have love and respect.

Dallas Buyers Club is powerful film and one of the years very best. It's a fascinating story filled with the tremendous performances. It's a film that needs to be seen and it will stick with you long after watching it. 

 Dallas Buyers Club scene and review

Monday, January 20, 2014

Top 10 Films of 2000

1. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
 Almost-Famous-kate-hudson, best movies of 2000 
2. Gladiator (Ridley Scott)
Best movies of 2000s, Gladiator Russell Crowe 
3. Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky)
 Requiem for a Dream Darren Aronofsky 
4. Cast Away (Robert Zemeckis)
 Cast Away, Tom Hanks Oscar, Tom Hanks Castaway 
5. Remember the Titans (Boaz Yakin)
 Remember the Titans, Best football movies, Denzel Washington 
6. The Patriot (Roland Emmerich)
 The Patriot movie, The Patriot Mel Gibson  
7. High Fidelity (Stephen Frears)
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8. The Family Man (Brett Ratner)
 Nicolas Cage The Family Man, Best Christmas movies 
9. Traffic (Steven Soderbergh)
 Traffic movie 

10. Meet the Parents (Jay Roach)
  Robert DeNiro Ben Stiller Meet the Parents 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Top 10 Films of 2001

1. Memento (Christopher Nolan)
 Memento Christopher Nolan, Best Movies of 2001 
2. Training Day (David Ayer)
 photo training-day_zps3c57de81.jpg 
3. A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard)
 Russell Crowe A Beautiful Mind 
4. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch)
 Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts David Lynch 
5. Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly)
 Jake Gyllenhaal Donnie Darko, Weirdest movies 
6. Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman)
 Monsters Inc. Best animated movies 
7. 61* (Billy Crystal)
 61* Roger Maris Mickey Mantle, Best baseball movies 

8. The Score (Frank Oz)
 Deniro Brando The Score
9. The Fast and The Furious (Rob Cohen)
 1970_dodge_charger_the_fast_and_the_furious, Fast and Furious Vin and Paul Walker
10. Shrek (Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

January 7th Update

With nominations less than 10 days away, these look like the most likely contenders. Anything outside of the top 15 making it in would be a surprise.

1. 12 Years a Slave
 12 Years a Slave Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave Oscars
12 Years a Slave has dominated the critics circle, winning almost everything so far. After picking up every major precursor it was eligible for, it's the clear frontrunner. (Previously #1)

2. American Hustle
 American Hustle Oscar predictions, American Hustle Oscars, American Hustle Best Picture  
American Hustle is the only film to pick up every Guild nomination (PGA, DGA, SAG, and WGA) With this huge support, it jumps slightly ahead of Gravity. It's possible it could contend for the win, but 12 Years a Slave is still the safest bet. (Previously #4)

3. Gravity
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Gravity is also a lock for Best Picture nomination with the support it's received. However it's looking less likely for a win now. (Previously #2)

4. Captain Phillips
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Captain Phillips is another amazing true story highlighted by a terrific performance by Tom Hanks. It's gotten huge support with the Guilds, which helps secure its spot. (Previously #4)
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
 The Wolf of Wall Street Best Picture, The Wolf of Wall street Oscars, The Wolf of Wall Street Oscar Predictions
Two words: Martin Scorsese. He's one of the best film makers of all time and his films always garner a lot of attention. The Wolf of Wall Street has landed the major Guild support it needed in order to cement it's status in the race. (Previously #6)

6. Nebraska
 photo nebraska-movie1_zps71ffbba0.jpg
Alexander's Payne's previous film, The Descendants, was a hit with the Academy, so he has a track record. With the tremendous support, Nebraska is also a safe contender.  (Previously #9)

7. Dallas Buyers Club
 photo DallasBuyers_zpsa90c8ad1.jpg
Dallas Buyers Club has surprised by locking up 3/4 major Guild nominations. With major contenders at Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, it looks to be in great shape. (Previously #8)

8. Her
 Her Oscar Predictions
Her has become a critical favorite. With important WGA and PGA nominations, it's looks to be in good shape. (Previously #11)

9. Inside Lleywn Davis
 Inside Lleywn Davis Oscars, Inside Lleywn Davis Coens Best Picture
The lack of Guild support is surprising. Getting snubbed for the PGA definitely hurts, but I think it will have more success with the Academy. (Previously #6)

10.Saving Mr. Banks
 photo tom-hanks-is-walt-disney-in-the-first-trailer-for-saving-mr-banks_zpsc6c4aa7c.jpg
Saving Mr. Banks is the one I'm most unsure about. It looks extremely Academy friendly. But In an extremely strong year, it could miss out. The PGA nod definitely helps though. (Previously #10)

Other Possibilities

11. The Butler

12. Blue Jasmine

13. August: Osage County

14. Rush

15.  Fruitvale Station

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

January 5th Update. 

In another strong category, the win should come down to McQueen and Cuaron. It's a strong category, but I'd be really surprised if anyone outside of the top 8 made it in. Jonze and Payne look like the most likely spoilers.

1. Steve McQueen- 12 Years a Slave
 Steve McQueen behind the scenes, 12 Years a Slave Oscar Predictions, Best Director Oscars
12 Years a Slave is the frontrunner. McQueen has hit every single precursor. Some people are predicting a Best Picture/Best Director split, but I think McQueen will still win. (Previously #1)

 2. Alfonso Cuaron- Gravity

It's between McQueen and Cuaron at this point. I have him 2nd right now because the Academy hasn't shown much love for Sci-Fi films in the past. (Previously #2)
3. David O. Russell- American Hustle
American Hustle cast, American Hustle behind the scenes, David O. Russell American Hustle Oscar, David. O Russell Best Director
The tremendous love for American Hustle is a bit surprising, but it makes David O. Russell a lock for his 3rd Best Director nomination. American Hustle is one of the top 3 contenders right now. (Previously #4)

4. Martin Scorsese- The Wolf of Wall Street
 Martin Scorsese Best Director, Martin Scorsese Wolf of Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street Oscar Predictions
Martin Scorsese has a ton of support with the Academy. Wolf has also been a big hit with the guilds. After landing a DGA nod, Scorsese is looking even likelier. (Previously #5)

5. Paul Greengrass- Captain Phillips
 Paul Greengrass Oscar Predictions, Captain Phillips Oscar Predictions
Greengrass is looking good for his first nomination since United 93 in 2006. Spike Jonze could sneak in, but I'm sticking with the DGA lineup right now. (Previously #3)

Other Possibilities

6. Spike Jonze (Previously #9)

7. Alexander Payne- Nebraska (Previously #8)

8. Joel and Ethan Coen- Inside Llewyn Davis (Previously #6)

9. Ron Howard- Rush (Previously #7)

10. Lee Daniels- The Butler (Previously unranked)

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street tells the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. It's the 5th collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.

 The Wolf of Wall Street review, The Wolf of Wall Street best of the year, The Wolf of Wall Street Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio Oscars, Oscar Predictions The Wolf of Wall Street

Right from the start, I was hooked. Sure, these guys are crazy, despicable people but I couldn't keep my eyes off of them. Nobody knows how to tell stories of despicable people better than Scorsese. They were fascinating and thoroughly entertaining. It's like Goodfellas but with stockbrokers. Instead of guns and violence, it's sex and drugs.

 Martin Scorsese Wolf of Wall Street, Scorsese and DiCaprio Wolf of Wall StreetIt shines light on the world of these sleezy stock brokers and their drug fueled sex parties. Judging by all the reports of people being offended by the graphic nature of it, I actually thought it would be worse. It's an adult movie and adults should be able to handle it all.

Sure, it's pretty graphic at times but it's 2013... People are okay with murder and bloody violence, yet they freak out over some nudity? It's not THAT bad.

This movie wouldn't be what it is without Leonardo DiCaprio. I've always been a fan, but he still blew me away. The Wolf of Wall Street is simply the best performance of his career. It was great to finally see him lighten up and have some fun. He was electric. Even if he does get robbed at the Oscars again, this will easily be remembered as his best performance and one of the best in a Scorsese film.

 Margot Robbie The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie hot Wolf of Wall StreetFor the other performances, the whole cast hits it out of the park. Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie are the standouts. I can't believe Hill was nominated for Moneyball but is getting ignored here. Robbie, stunningly beautiful, is able to match DiCaprio beat for beat.

Belfort's story is troubling. It's a vital look at greed, pride, and the downside of the American dream. Everyone wants to make money and get rich. When people have such hopes for success, there will always be others trying to take advantage. Belfort is one of those people who uses the misfortunes of others for his own gain. This capitalist idea is part our society. Even how vile a character Belfort is, people like him will keep spawning because on some level we want to be like him.

I honestly don't think anyone else would be able to play Belfort. With how disgusting character he is, it's a tough task. But DiCaprio was able to add enough charisma and charm to keep us interested and make the movie work.

The Wolf of Wall Street is another Scorsese masterpiece. It was the most fun I've had at the movies all year. In year filled with great movies, The Wolf of Wall Street stands out above the rest. It's my first 10/10 of the year.

 photo 1371486896_wolf1_zps7e03486c.jpg

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

January 2nd Update.

Best Actor is easily the most stacked category this year. Each of these 10 contenders have strong cases to be nominated. So I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them sneak in. Bale has the Globe and BFCA, Whitaker has the SAG. Phoenix has the Globe and DiCaprio has the Globe (his film wasn't screened for SAG in time, which makes this more complicated). It's going to be an interesting race.

1. Chiwetal Ejiofor- 12 Years a Slave
 Chiwetal Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is the frontrunner and he carries the film. Ejiofor both have received outstanding reviews so far. After dominating the critics circle, it would be a surprise if he didn't win at this point. (Previously #3)

2. Matthew McConaughey- Dallas Buyers Club
 Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey Oscar
McConaughey has been on a roll lately. He lost 40 pounds for the role of an AIDs patient in Dallas Buyers Club. It's an Academy friendly story and powerhouse performance that will be rewarded. McConaughey is a lock for his 1st nomination. (Previously #2)

3. Tom Hanks- Captain Phillips 
 Tom Hanks Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks Captain Phillips Oscar
Hanks looks safe after receiving nods for each of the major precursors (SAG, Globe, BFCA). The big question was if he was also going to be nominated for Saving Mr. Banks. After the tremendous support for Captain Phillips, I feel more confident predicting him here. (Previously #4)

4. Bruce Dern- Nebraska
 photo nebraska_0_zpsd668772e.jpg
The love for Nebraska has been strong so Dern looks pretty safe right now. He's received nods for all of the major precursors so far. This category is extremely strong, so anything can happen. (Previously #6)

5. Robert Redford- All is Lost
 Robert Redford All is Lost
This is where it gets interesting. Seemingly we have 4 strong contenders fighting for this spot with Phoenix as a dark horse. The lack of SAG nod for Redford is really surprising, but I can still see the Academy nominating him. I wouldn't be surprised with any of the other 5 possibilities getting in somewhere though. (Previously #3)

Other Possibilities

6. Forrest Whitaker- The Butler (Previously #10)

7. Leonardo DiCaprio- The Wolf of Wall Street (Previously #5)

8. Christain Bale- American Hustle (Previously #7)

9. Joaquin Phoenix- Her (Previously #8)

10. Oscar Issaac- Inside Llewn Davis (Previously unranked)