2017 Academy Award Nominations Reavealed

Hollywood, CA: January 24, 2017

La La Land leads the 2017 Oscar nominations with a record tying 14 nods. Damien Chazelle’s love letter to classic Hollywood musicals  joins Titanic and All About Eve as one of the most nominated films of all time.

Some observations, surprises and disappointment:

Amy Adams was snubbed for both Nocturnal Animals and Arrival. Meryl Streep was recognized for Florence Foster Jenkins. Take that, Donald Trump.

What should have been Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s well deserved nomination for Nocturnal Animals went instead to his co-star, Michael Shannon, playing a grizzled sheriff in a small town solving a crime. Ironically, Jeff Bridges was recognized and more deserving for playing a very similar role in Hell Or High Water.

Happy to see the touching and beautiful Lion nominated, though Nicole Kidman did little in that film to earn her a best supporting actress nod. Disappointed that the Academy did not recognize Annette Benning’s fine work in Twentieth Century Women.

Pleased that young actor, Lucas Hedges was nominated for Manchester By The Sea.

The love for Hidden Figures is well deserved but the raves for Moonlight are hard to understand. Is it a result of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign of the last few years?

13th and I Am Not Your Negro are both moving and powerful films in the Best Documentary category. Both have to be seen.

Isabelle Huppert’s nomination as Best Actress in the lame, Elle makes little sense, and talking of making little sense, the off the wall, nonsensical and ridiculous, Toni Erdmann is on the list for Best Foreign Language film. That award has to go to Land of Mine, a powerful and moving film from Denmark that should not be missed.

The 2017 Oscars will take place on February 26 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

Read the 2017 nominations in full below.

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Director

  • Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
  • Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
  • Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Best Actor In A Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
  • Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
  • Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
  • Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
  • Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best Actress In A Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
  • Ruth Negga (Loving)
  • Natalie Portman (Jackie)
  • Emma Stone (La La Land)
  • Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
  • Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea)
  • Dev Patel (Lion)
  • Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis (Fences)
  • Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
  • Nicole Kidman (Lion)
  • Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
  • Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan)
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
  • The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou)
  • Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • 20th Century Women (Mike Mills)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival (Eric Heisserer)
  • Fences (August Wilson)
  • Hidden Figures (Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi)
  • Lion (Luke Davies)
  • Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Best Cinematography

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Best Original Score

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life As A Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Best Film Editing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Best Original Song

  • ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ (La La Land)
  • ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ (Trolls)
  • ‘City Of Stars’ (La La Land)
  • ‘The Empty Chair’ (Jim: The James Foley Story)
  • ‘How Far I’ll Go’ (Moana)

Best Documentary Feature

  • Fire At Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • OJ: Made in America
  • 13th

Best Documentary Short

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Land Of Mine
  • A Man Called Ove
  • The Salesman
  • Tanna
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Live Action Short

  • Ennemis Interieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Best Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Best Sound Editing

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Best Sound Mixing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Production Design

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail Caesar
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Best Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Best Makeup and Hair Design

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A Review

by Mark Salcido

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Avengers: Age of Ultron is 2015 comic book superhero film in a long and still growing line of movies from the juggernaut Marvel Studios. Joss Whedon returns to direct and do what he does best. It also brings back Robert Downey, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Cobie Smulders and Samual L. Jackson. Joining this incredibly large cast isImage 5 Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle and James Spader. Holy shit that’s one hell of a large cast and I didn’t even name “everybody”.

The story involves Tony Stark creating a program that was meant to protect the earth and keep world peace. Keeping up with the classic Frankenstein trope, Stark’s creation Ultron (voiced and MOCAP by James Spader) takes that idea and flips it on his head. How to keep world peace? Get rid of the problem; humans. And with that, we have our plot and villain in attendance.

The summer blockbuster season has started and Age of Ultron kicked the door wide open. From the start, the film gives you a strong reminder why the audience eagerly awaited this sequel. Where the pervious movie kinda started slow but not quite thrilling enough, this one puts the viewersImage 4 in the middle of a battle between The Avengers and what’s left of H.Y.D.R.A. Whedon took from what was called, “Working Together” scene from the ‘Battle of New York’ in The Avengers and throws it right back in your face. Oh but wait, that’s not even the best action scene.

Now, you might think, “Oh this movie will just have cool action scenes, funny one liners and hero posing non-stop”. Well my lack of open minded friend, I’m happy to say that you are wrong. Once the action slows down, the pacing doesn’t suffer. There are few character development scenes that get pretty deep and hold your interest. In the previous Avengers film, there was a hint of a romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow that gets explored in this sequel and not crammed down your throat. I would say it helps the audience sympathize more for the characters. Also in the previous film, there was a lack of Hawkeye/Clint Barton in the mix. Where Clark Gregg character (Agent Coulson) was the heart andImage 2 push the Avengers needed to keep going, Jeremy Renner’s character and (gasp) family takes up the mantle and does it well.

As the story progresses, Ultron needs to create a body strong enough to withstand the punishment the Avengers can dish out. Enter The Vision played by Paul Bettany. Arguably the Hulk was the one who stole the show the first go around, The Vision can hold the title for this film. He’s introduced later on but his introduction leaves a mark on you as he proves himself “worthy” to be a member of the Avengers (wink wink Thor’s hammer).

Let’s talk about the elephant in the internet room. When 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past was released, fans and critics applaud Bryan Singer’s take on Quicksilver played by Evan Peters…that’s cute. Whedon’s crack at Quicksilver (Johnson) and the visual Image 4effects surpasses Singer’s. And more importantly, the character isn’t wasted or confined to a small portion of the film. You actually feel something for this character. But, I do wish there was another scene or two of Johnson’s Quicksilver and his sister Scarlett Witch played by Olsen. I think the brother and sister dynamic between the two could’ve added more to the depth of the film from the other side of coin.

James Spader as Ultron fitted right into the movie. His craft of bringing the character alive would easily make him the best villain Marvel has produced. Now, put the torches and pitchforks down. Loki was fun as well, but Spader’s Ultron fits more into the modern world of Avengers. Think of Ultron as an evil robotic version of Stark and you got yourself some entertainment.

The Effects are well put together and fits in like a glove. With a big budget backing up this film; it better be. The battleImage 2 scene between Hulk and Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster is flawless. It was given the right amount of action, mixed with bit of comedy all in a well timed length that didn’t make it seem tedious.  There is a little bit of disjointness when some of the action really picks up in a scene or two. It teeters on that Transformers edge of “What the hell is going on”. But I’ll forgive it and chalk it up to the not so stellar record of a 3d viewing.

By the time this review is released, more than likely, the movie will hit two-hundred million dollars for its U.S opening weekend. So if you want to give your hard earn money and be entertained for close to 2 ½ hours, I suggest you head to your local theater and give it a viewing. And if you think you’re too good for this movie, well my friend, you don’t enjoy life and all things that come with it.

Three Movies to See This Weekend

May 16, 2014

Here are our movie recommendations for the weekend of May 17, 2014.

1.  GODZILLA

Yes, it may sound like another cheezy video game movie, but this Godzilla actually has heart.  The story is compelling, the action non stop.Spanish_Godzilla_2014_Poster  Don’t listen to the haters who tell you there is not enough of the G monster.  He is there when you need him, and he does save the world.  The cast in Godzilla is strong,  especially young Aaron Taylor-Johnson and veteran actor Bryan Cranston.  If you are looking for a fun ride with huge special effects, this is the one to see.

2. MILLION DOLLAR ARM

Writer, Thomas McCarthy has crafted a well written Disney film that touches the emotions and delivers a sweet, well told true story in the process.  Directed by Craig Gillespie and starring John Hamm as a down on his luck sports agent who comes up with the brilliant idea of recruiting Indian cricket players Million+Dollar+Arm+Film+Posterand grooming them to be baseball stars.  After holding a nation wide contest in India he returns to the US with two wet behind the ears kids who have barely been out of their village, let alone to L.A.  Will they ultimately deliver?  Check out this congenial film to find out.  Be prepared to laugh and maybe shed a few tears in the process.

3.  IDA

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski comes this new Polish language film set in 1962 about a young apprentice nun (played by stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska in her very first role), who is about to take her vows.  Before she does however, her Mother Superior insists that Ida visits her aunt Wanda, (Agata Kulesza) who lives in the city.  Ida soon learns that she is in fact Jewish and a holocaust survivor.  Ida and her aunt, a hard drinking, chain smoking judge who has sent people to the gallows, set out to find the grave-site of Ida’s ida-posterparents, and in the process discovers the truth as to how Ida’s parents died.  Ida experiences life and love, ultimately coming to terms with what she really wants out of life.  Not at all predictable, Ida is a beautifully made film about a deep and disturbing subject.  It has some of the most visual and compelling black & white images from cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewsi and Lukasz Zalwe have seen on film in recent times.  Hopefully the Academy will remember this one come award season.