Sunday, February 26, 2012

Last Minute Oscar Predictions...

Okay... Captain Procrastinator strikes again. I had this elaborately detailed commentary on the Oscars all mapped out, but school and my current enslavement at the OG has been so "cray cray" that I had no choice but to put off the blog. Regardless, I am ready to throw out my predictions etc. So without further adieu...


Best Supporting Actress...
Will Win: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Should Win (Matty's pick): Jessica Chastain, The Help
Don't get me wrong, Octavia Spencer was incredible in The Help, but I felt at times that she was more a caricature than a character. Believe me there's a difference. She stole the comedic show, but I felt like Chastain's comedic moments were less "over-the-top" and more grounded in "white-trash" reality. Also, Chastain's moments more fully humanized the story's theme that "you is smart. you is kind. you is important." On the outside she had it all, but inside she was entirely conflicted and I think that made The Help a much better film. Even still, I would not be surprised or upset if Melissa McCarthay of Bridesmaids ran away with Oscar Gold here. She does seem to have the "Marisa-Tomei-in-My-Cousin-Vinnie" factor on her side.  

Best Supporting Actor...
Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Should Win (Matty's pick): Max Von Sydow, Extrememly Loud &Incredibly Close
I loved Plummer as the 70 year old who finally comes out of the closet. His role is a unique one that defintely goes against his past filmography, however I didn't exactly find his acting that incredible. His "son" in the film Ewan McGregor was far better in my opinion. Von Sydow should win this. His "silent" acting was full of subtle nuances that simply spoke louder than words. Plus I loved, Extremely Loud and thought the acting all around was "Oscar-worthy."

Best Actress...
Will Win: Viola Davis, The Help
Should Win (Matty's pick): Viola Davis, The Help
Hands down the performance of the year and so far this very new decade is Viola's turn as Aibileen in The Help. It would be criminal to NOT see her win. If there was one person I wouldn't mind see winning here, It would have to be Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She took some serious risks that both worked out and made for a memorable turn as the truly twisted Salander.

Best Actor...
Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Should Win (Matty's pick): TIE. George Clooney, The Descendants. Brad Pitt, Moneyball.
Okay, I've seen The Artist. It was really pretty good. I laughed and thought overall Dujardin did a great job making a silent film star come to life. Nonetheless, I did feel like the film in general was/is pretty gimicky. If the film wasn't almost entirely silent, I'd say Dujardin nor the film itself would be looked at for any real Oscar love. Both Clooney and Pitt deserve this. Honestly, I'd be completely happy with a full blown tie between the two of them. Clooney turned in his best performance in his illustrious career and Pitt was no different. Honestly how have neither of these guys won Oscars for acting? I mean didn't Clooney play Bruce Wayne in Batman & Robin? Joking...

Best Director...
Will Win: Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist
Should Win (Matty's pick): Martin Scorsese, Hugo 
Again, The Artist will win, but I found nothing about the direction worth a nomination. It's gimcky as I said before. Scorses resurrected 3D. Yes, he actually made it relevant for thatres today. It also doesn't hurt that his film serves as a paean to the history of cinema as well.

Best Picture...
Will Win: The Artist
Should Win (Matty's pick): The Descendants
Though Oscar will undoubtedly pick The Artist, I'm still holding out hope for The Descendants. I have no problem whatsoever with honestly any of the other nominees winning. The Help was probably the most talked about film of the year, while Hugo was the most beautiful. Extrememly Loud & Incredibly Close is easily the biggest longshot, but I really enjoyed the film (I've seen it 3 times--oops!). Moneyball wouldn't be a bad choice, nor would Tree of Life. I'm just personally not sold on The Artist, but unfortunately Hollywood is.

Well there you have it... the Oscars start in literally an hour, so we'll have to wait and see how right and how wrong I am. One thing's for sure, I'm really excited. Time for a Bridesmaids awkward dance?

Yup, I just did this right now... I have no shame! Happy Oscar everyone (All 8 of you)... ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where Have I Been?

I'ts been WEEEEEEKKKKKKSSSSS since I last posted. I promise I haven't quit on all 8 of you; nor have I been lazy. Actually life has been super busy. Between now and the last time I posted there's been lots of stuff goin down... I think in this case, words are less effective than pictures and animated .gifs... so I'll tell you where I've been and what I've been doing through the visual medium...

There's definitely been some fist pumpin while watchin J-Shore on Jerzday...


I've also been in the club... fist pumpin... Jerz-style

(I'm dead center, sportin mad facial scruff, a grey/blur striped v-neck, just to the left of
my Ginger Princess aka Kramer)

School has been crazy too, Utah Valley University just decided to have everything due the last couple weeks.

(Honestly, don't let the mountains or pond fool you--this place is a prison.)

My niece, Bailey, is on Juab High School's Drill Team and they competed for State and Region recently... so of course I was there supportin her...

1st at Region...

5th at State...

It goes without saying... she learned all her best dance moves from me...

I've been workin my guts out at The OG...

(That's me (future Academy Award winner) with my very good friend
(future Grammy winner) Keena Casper.
I'm her biggest fan... ask her ;)

A word to anyone who goes out to eat.. If you can't afford to tip... you can't afford to eat out. PERIOD! Servers are paid $2.13 an hour. That hourly pay takes care of our taxes. If you think it's appropriate to tip $3.00 on a $70.00 ticket in which a server has to bring salad and soup several times, while also filling drinks, refilling breadsticks, and assuring your leftovers are boxed to take home, then you're dead wrong--like Ron Paul and his craziness. No worries. There's a place for people who tip terribly... It's called Hell. ;)

Oops, sorry for the rant.. but that's been frustrating.

My Fam has had a lil drama here and there... but nothin that we haven't faced before... There's no photographic evidence but I think we are slowly moving on and up...

(Yeah, I wish this would solve it all, but we'd eat the cake, get fat, and cry more)

I haven't posted most of all, because I haven't seen any movies. I've seen The Grey and that's it over the past 3 weeks. A review on that is coming--PROMISE! Also the Academy Awards are coming this Sunday and my predictions will be posted later this week.

Anyway, please don't worry. I'm back. It's just been a dry spell... Love ya'll.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Review)

BRIEFLY: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a deftly crafted post-modern film that both effectively reflects and evokes the post-9/11 paranoia of America, while simultaneously being a simple story of a family told in the most unconventional Hollywood way. Most importantly Extremely Loud does little to answer all the questions of our world turned upside down on what the main character Oskar Schell refers to as the Worst Day—September 11, 2001. Instead of coming off pompous and preachy it feels passionate—a love note to the American sentiment both in fear and faith of the days that have proceeded since 9/11. Bullock, Hanks, and Davis all are on par, but it’s the silent performance of Max Von Sydow and newcomer Thomas Horn who steal the show. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is probably my favorite film of 2011 and had I seen it last year, it would have been my number one choice. Fortunately, The Academy did see it and tabbed it for a Best Picture nomination.
DETAILED REVIEW: Anyone who knows me knows I do read a lot of books (I’m an English major after all). I’m definitely into the more post-modern and contemporary literature than most other English majors. I prefer the voice of the time and the moment rather than the voice of decades or centuries gone by (This probably explains my affinity for Stephen King instead of Milton or Chaucer). I honestly don’t even remember where I heard about Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, but suffice it to say I’m very glad and fortunate to have done so, because it is not just a stellar book, but probably my favorite book I’ve ever read—yes EVER. It sweeps you off your feet and you can’t put it down. A drug addict would call it ecstasy. A fat person would call it a Big Mac. An anorexic would call it Ex-lax. I however say it’s simply brilliant (like fry sauce and chicken strips—maybe I’m the fat person?).
So with that in place, let’s just say I was very excited to see the book on the big screen. I’ll admit though, I was weary. I mean off the top of your head, name a film adaptation that was deemed better than the book? (And please no mention of Twilight!). Yes, film adaptations are rarely deemed better than the source material. Ask any Potter muggle and even they’ll agree (though I do think Hermoine is far hotter on screen than on the page). Film adaptations seem to “leave out” things for the literary fans. I was expecting that this same thing could happen with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and it certainly did, but the result was not one of dissatisfaction, but quite the opposite. In the end I found the film to be as enjoyable and satisfying as the book—something I certainly wasn’t expecting.
The plot centers on Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) whose father (Tom Hanks) died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Left with nothing more than his father’s empty closet, Oskar seeks to find meaning after his father’s untimely death. He finds a key which he determines must open something his father wanted him to find. Oskar, despite his worried yet seemingly negligent mother (Sandra Bullock), gallivants around the New York to find whether the key actually is a postmortem message from his father. Along the way Oskar meets Abbey Black (Viola Davis), The Renter (Max Von Sydow), and others none of which know anything about the key or Oskar’s father.
Remarkably, the film manages not to slump into some sort of travelogue for New York City. I wondered if we’d see Oskar looking around Times Square or searching for answers at the Statue of Liberty, but fortunately the New York presented on screen is a mysterious one—the real one.  Credit director Stephen Daldry for finding the right tone for a city as iconic as New York and yet making it feel almost foreign and new.
Daldry is no stranger to Oscar fair either with his films like The Hours, The Reader, and Billy Elliot. He has a knack for finding a story that can be both touching and heartbreaking, but most of all entertaining. Extremely Loud is no different having garnered nominations now for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor with Sydow’s work.
What’s most interesting about the film is how Daldry captures the feeling, the genuine sentiment of the dark days that preceded 9/11. We were all in deed a little nervous and wondered if things would be even darker in the days that were yet to come. Would there ever be a “normal?” Daldry projects these feelings in Oskar (who in the book has Asperger’s syndrome, though the film doesn’t clearly define him that way). Oskar wants so badly to understand his father’s death, but to an audience who grew up in such perilous times we find ourselves, in moments of pure catharsis, thinking the exact same things he does (like being suspicious of public transportation). Though Daldry dabbles with the “why,” he wisely sidesteps the answers simply with “It’s not going to make sense, because it’s not supposed to” (that’s a line delivered from a teary eyed Sandra Bullock who subsequently made me teary—Kleenex please?!).
Though I won’t reveal any of the third act of Extremely Loud I will say that is an extremely (no pun intended) satisfying climax coupled with an effective denouement. Oskar finds, something we all know but rarely say, that he isn’t the only one suffering and more importantly he is not alone. Though he can’t completely resolve the death of his father, he has finally developed the courage to move on. Much like the American public (for better or worse) that’s what we’ve done—moved on. Though the plot of the film revolves around Oskar and his family, the story aims higher, becoming a sort of allegory to Americanism in the wake of 9/11—and in my opinion it does it beautifully.
I’m truly surprised that the film has been so divisive among critics (It’s currently at 46% on Maybe this is more a reflection of the current political landscape, one divided both on war and the economy, than representative of the film itself? Regardless, the other 54% are wrong. It’s a movie that not only “moves” you but inspires you. I know it made me break out my laptop and pound out a few pages on my screenplay. Though one thing is for sure, anyone (myself included) will be extremely hard-pressed and have to be incredibly talented to match the revelatory scope, both in word and image, of this movie. Don’t miss it. It’s the Best Picture of 2011.

I'm Baaaaaaaacccccckkkk!

Like Michael Meyers in Halloween... I'm back from the (blogging) dead. Reviews are on their way...