Oscar Predictions 2016

Oscar Predictions 2016

Only one day to go until the night now. In the spirit of competition Sam and I have wrote down our predictions for the winners of each category (apart from short film categories). On Monday I will calculate the score out of 21 and the winner will receive a shiny five pound note from the loser. I figure the best way to not allow any cheating is to stick our predictions up here for you all to see.

Best Picture

Sam – The Revenant

Paul – The Revenant

Best Director

Sam – Alejandro González Iñárritu

Paul – George Miller

Best Actor

Sam – Leonardo DiCaprio

Paul – Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress

Sam – Brie Larson

Paul – Bria Larson

Supporting Actor 

Sam – Sylvester Stallone

Paul – Tom Hardy

Supporting Actress

Sam – Jennifer Jason Leigh

Paul – Rooney Mara

Original Screenplay

Sam – Spotlight

Paul – Straight Outta Compton

Adapted Screenplay

Sam – The Big Short

Paul – The Big Short

Animated 

Sam – Inside Out

Paul – Inside Out

Foreign Language Film

Sam – Son of Saul

Paul – A War

Documentary

Sam – Amy

Paul – Amy

Original Score 

Sam – The Hateful Eight

Paul – The Hateful Eight

Original Song

Sam – “Writing’s on the Wall” – Sam Smith (Spectre)

Paul – “Writing’s on the Wall” – Sam Smith (Spectre)

Sound Editing

Sam – The Revenant

Paul – Mad Max

Sound Mixing

Sam – Mad Max

Paul – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Production Design 

Sam – Mad Max

Paul – The Martian

Cinematography 

Sam – The Revenant

Paul – The Revenant

Make-Up & Hairstyling

Sam – Mad Max

Paul – Mad Max

Costume Design

Sam – Mad Max

Paul – The Revenant

Editing 

Sam – Mad Max

Paul – Mad Max

Visual Effects

Sam – Star Wars : The Force Awakens

Paul – Mad Max

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Netpicks – Fruitvale Station (2013)

Netpicks – Fruitvale Station (2013)

Netflix is the best thing to happen since Betty White. Far superior to it’s closest competitor Amazon, Netflix has managed to become the most popular VOD service in the world. With it’s vast catalogue however I find myself browsing for a good half an hour before finally settling on a film to watch. So I am here to try and make life a little bit easier for you (unless you’ve already seen the film I choose, in which case, sorry!). Every Friday I will post up the best film I’ve watched this week on Netflix. Hopefully this should mean every weekend you’ll instantly be able to find and watch some high quality cinema for your Saturday night in or your hungover Sunday morning.

fruitvale-station-main1

My selection this week is the film Fruitvale Station. It is Ryan Coogler’s first shot at directing a film. As you all probably know his most recent effort was Creed. Being allowed to direct a Rocky film in your second outing and to direct Black Panther in the 2018 Marvel film just shows the instant promise Coogler has shown in this first outing. Michael B Jordan, who was the Creed in Creed, stars as a twenty two year old man growing up in Oakland, California. The film is based on a true story of an event that happened in the early hours of New Years Day 2009.

The film feels very independent, but it is very well directed and written despite the fact it looks as though it was made on a very small budget. Jordan plays a really interesting and complex character, with Melonie Diaz playing his girlfriend with whom he shares a child. Octavia Spencer stars as Jordan’s mother in the film, showing once again why she deserved that Oscar of hers. The themes in the film are as relevant today as they were in 2009. Race and Class play a big part in this film, all leading up to a powerful ending that will leave you thinking for a long time afterwards.

Anyway if I tell you anymore than that I will ruin the film for you, so if you find yourself stuck this weekend, log on and watch it. I will post a full review up on Monday for anyone who wants to know my more spoilerific opinion!

Happy Watching!

Rating: 8/10

The Oscars – Right & Wrong – Part 2

The Oscars – Right & Wrong – Part 2

Just four days to go people. Monday morning us British will wake up to find out whether Leo finally has his highly campaigned for Oscar. We will find out what Chris Rock has to say about the white wash. We’ll have seen if Jennifer Lawrence has fallen over again. Personally I will either be on top of the world or super hungover and pissed off. For the first time in the past three years I will be missing the ceremony to go and watch my team in the League Cup Final at Wembley, so won’t be able to stay up til silly o’clock to watch the proceedings. However for now it’s time for me to further criticise the “experts” on their decisions in my long awaited Part 2!

Leonardo-Dicaprio-Everything-Oscar

Having looked in to the big three awards that everyone is talking about it’s time to look deeper in to the nominations. Not too deep though. I can’t see many of you caring who will win Sound Mixing or Make Up & Hairstyling. So let’s look at arguably the next big three. The supporting actors & actress roles and my personal favourite to look out for, Directing. Again I think there have been some balls dropped here, but also a few very good selections.

Actor in a Supporting Role

The Good

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Christian Bale in The Big Short. Steve Carell was fantastic in this film and I walked out raving about him, but Sam felt differently. He couldn’t get over the scenes with Bale in. He was very funny, but very stressful to watch. You could see his inner conflict in that he was going to make a lot of money, but for all the wrong reasons. Mark Ruffalo put in a career performance in Spotlight. I’ve always been a big fan of him, even in the awful Foxcatcher, he was the one redeeming factor. This is his best performance so far. You could see him feeling every ounce of disgust that the audience felt.

The Bad

Stallone in Creed for me. I loved the film for a lot of reasons, but I agree with Sly himself. He was the weak link in the film. His character being there is necessary, but I don’t think you can give him the plaudits for what is undoubtedly Michael B Jordan’s film through and through. Again this isn’t a case of Sly being bad, just that we are meant to be celebrating outstanding performances. Same goes for Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies. Just nothing that really gripped me and made me feel like this is something special that we are watching. Last year with J K Simmons you felt goosebumps watching him. Neither of these come close to that.

The Overlooked – Seth Rogen (I thought he stole the scene every single time he was on screen in Steve Jobs) Walton Goggins, 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Leigh2

The Good 

Now this is another difficult one to write. Not like the best actor, because I think they got it mostly wrong. This is, because I think they have actually gotten their selections mostly right! My personal favourite is Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hateful Eight. She was meant to play a deplorable disgusting human being and she hit the nail on the head. Also she played the guitar and sung live during filming and did a good job of it. Hard to do for someone who isn’t a musician by trade.However, I think the winner should be Rooney Mara. She held her own across from Cate Blanchett which has to be up there with the ultimate compliment you can give an actress.

The Bad

I guess the only one I may disagree with is Rachel McAdams in Spotlight. I loved the film and I enjoyed her performance, but it was a very small role in reality and she didn’t have much to do. It’s another case of she’s not bad, I just can’t see how her performance was outstanding. I do believe it could be a benchmark however. She’s been trying to escape the whole love story, Nicholas Spark type films for a while. A Most Wanted Man and Southpaw missed the mark on helping her with that, but this film easily could push her towards a higher class of film constantly. I say watch this space.

The Overlooked – Tessa Thompson (Only one who stands out for me outside the nominations, great performance.)

Directing

madmaxhardymiller-xlarge

The Good

Max Miller’s directing of Mad Max is that of legend. Thousands of rumours coming out of that film. The conditions were awful, the cast didn’t get along, shoots delayed etc. Yet everyone is keen for a sequel. That has to be due to the sheer genius that is Max Miller. He has created a masterpiece and everyone involved knows it. With all the practical effects involved and using locations, managing to pull together a film this well directed takes nothing short of a miracle. Going to sound like a broken record here, but I have to talk about Room again. I didn’t like Frank. Lenny Abrahamson however showed a different level of filmmaking when making Room. He gave the story the credit it was due and he pulled out two amazing performances.

The Bad

This pains me to say. I am obsessed with American comedies so two men have shaped the past ten years for me. Judd Apatow and Adam McKay. This time I have to say I love the film, but The Big Short isn’t directed especially well. For someone who has never made anything serious it’s well done and has a few clever storytelling devices (Margot Robbie in a bathtub). However it felt a little bit disjointed in points and the pacing was off. Combination of editing and directing led to this, because the Screenplay was wonderful.

The Overlooked – Ryan Coogler, Sarah Gavron

Deadpool

Deadpool

This ultra violent superhero film captures comic book perfectly!

DEADTEEN

I know this review is a little late as the film has been out just shy of 10 days, but the film is still the topic of continuous debate. Deadpool is a film that has been stuck in production hell for over 10 years and Ryan Reynolds has been campaigning for it to be made virtually the entire time. It seemed like the film was never going to get made until some test footage was leaked by an anonymous source (my money is on the leak coming from either Ryan Reynolds or the films director Tim Miller). The huge positive response to the footage gave 20th Century Fox no choice but to greenlight the film.

I for one have been hyped for this film ever since I saw the footage and the confirmation that the film would stick to the characters traits of ultra-violence and foul jokes. I have to say for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool and it is the purest entertainment I have seen all year. The character of Deadpool is famous amongst comic book enthusiasts for his breaking of the “fourth wall” and addressing the reader/viewer directly, he openly acknowledges that he is in a comic book and in this case a film. I had my apprehensions about this before seeing the film as I didn’t know quite how it was going to play out but literally in the opening credits my fears were put to rest. The ‘in-jokes’ start from the get go as instead of saying the casts names for example it just says “Some Hollywood douchebag” “A hot girl” etc. It is a smart and bold move which hugely pays off because it thrusts you into the humour of the Deadpool character straight away. The plot of the film is my biggest back and forth argument for and against this film. On the one hand there is so little plot that it is literally a chase for the main villain who has kidnapped his girlfriend and a few flashbacks in which we see Wade Wilson get cancer and become Deadpool through the infamous Weapon X programme which made Wolverine who he is. To its credit it is done in a non-linear fashion which is unique for an origins story but is ultimately formulaic and predictable from the get go. However on the other hand Deadpool is filled with such energy and witty writing that dare I say it a plot can almost take a back seat as it is just a thrill to be in this character’s company as he shoots bad guys in the face and then says “I’m touching myself tonight” besides we have the all-important world-saving of the MCU characters for all the “serious” stuff.

Ryan Reynolds best performance EVER by a country mile and then some. I dont say this very often, but not since Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man as an actor NAILED their comic book character with such ease. You can clearly tell he is loving every second of this film and he even pokes fun at his disastrous attempt at playing the Green Lantern which shall never be mentioned on our blog again as in the words of Deadpool “It’s a bucket full of assholes”. He is hugely entertaining to watch as he spurts out all manner of jokes, which I won’t spoil here but its say to say I laughed a hell of a lot in the film. Not since I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy has a Marvel film felt so fresh, new and exciting for what is to come. The action is fantastically well directed, gotta give huge credit to Tim Miller, for his debut feature and living up to fan expectation. He blew me away by how assured his direction was. This film knows exactly what it is and that is hugely refreshing to see as it isn’t trying to build a “world” and warn me of events to come 3 or 4 films down the line. It is interested in what the fans of this character want the most and that is to see Deadpool shoot a few guys and make dick jokes about it and I for one loved it.

8/10

Fast, funny and fearless. Deadpool breathes new life into adult related superhero films and charms the hell out of us along the way

 

 

The Oscars – Right & Wrong – Part 1

The Oscars – Right & Wrong – Part 1

Well after a brief foray in to the world of blogging last year Sam and I are back on a shiny new page, with a proper domain name. Sadly we are minus our two friends who found themselves too busy to commit sadly, hence the demise of Rainy City. Anyway welcome to Dead Critics Society, a blog for film news, reviews and general chit chat! I don’t think at this time of year it is possible to open a film blog without writing a bit about the Oscars and that is exactly where I am going to start.

Oscars

Before a single award has been handed out, this years awards have caused a serious uproar, with #Oscarssowhite dominating the discussion. Not for the first time, not a single non-white actor has been nominated in any of the four acting categories. There’s been a lot of discussion, with the majority of people saying it’s terrible and shows a lack of diversity in Hollywood, and a very loud minority saying “Well you have to win on merit not just because you are black.” Which is actually a fair point. I don’t think a single actor alive would want to win for anything other than their artistic merit. However that doesn’t mean the academy was right. In this post I will be looking at where I believe they nominated per

Best Picture

Room

The Good

I wasn’t surprised by six out of the eight nominations in this category. The two that I was surprised about was Mad Max and The Martian, but not in a negative way. Mad Max, up until December, was the best film I had seen all year. The practical effects are unrivalled, the intensity was high and Tom Hardy is in it which is always a positive. The Martian was the most fun I’d had in a cinema all year, it was very funny, just touching enough in the right parts and the science parts where fascinating. Most of all though nominating Room was the best decision they made. It has easily been my favourite movie of the year, with outstanding performances from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, a haunting and original story and Lenny Abrahamson did a fantastic job. I don’t think it will win, but Room should be this years best picture.

The Bad

Bridge of Spies. Don’t get me wrong this is not a bad film, there aren’t many films with Tom Hanks in that are. The Oscars are for celebrating outstanding films though. There is nothing outstanding about this film, but it’s Spielberg so it was always going to get nominated.

The Overlooked – Carol, Beasts of No Nation, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Probably not, probably just me being biased)

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Danish Girl

The Good

This is the hardest part of this article I had to write. I can’t see much right with these selections. I will accept that Leo probably deserved his nomination, but I don’t want him to win. He was outshone in his own film by Tom Hardy this time around. The Revenant was a filmmakers film, not an actors.

The Bad

The rest of them. Matt Damon was good, but really, he was just spinning off a decent script into a camera 60% of the time. Your average youtube star can manage that. Eddie Redmayne is the one I have a real issue with. Quickly becoming The Academy’s golden boy, despite the fact he managed to piss of most of the transgender community by being cast in the role in the first place. Other than that he was also very wooden and plain. Let’s get one thing straight, he also didn’t deserve his win last year. Very overrated in my opinion, just keeps getting Oscar fodder roles.

The Overlooked – Idris Elba, Jacob Tremblay, Steve Carell, Jason Mitchell, Samuel L Jackson (Again, probably not, but I loved him in Hateful Eight)

Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Poehler

The Good

I mean, I’ve probably made it very obvious already, but the best nomination probably in the entire roster is Brie Larson. She is likely to and fully deserves to win the Oscar and I personally am very excited to see where her career goes from here, after smaller roles in Don Jon and 21 Jump Street, she’s really stepped up in class. Cate Blanchett as per fully deserves her nomination however, but that really goes without saying.

The Bad

Jennifer Lawrence. I love her usually, but Joy was a lifeless film, from a director who just keeps using the same actors even though he has probably got everything out of them he can. Also I get an honorable mention here, because I have not seen 45 years so I can’t pass judgment on Charlotte Rampling at all.

The Overlooked – Carey Mulligan (carried Suffragette on her shoulders), Amy Poehler (I don’t care if it’s voice acting) 

Part 2 – Both Supporting Actor Categories and Best Director Categories – Wednesday.