Oscars 2016 – Academy Awards

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With the Golden Globes done and dusted for the year, we have the Oscars (Academy Awards) to look forward to.

Here is the list of nominees, and my guesses.

Please note, most of these are not the films I want to win, and are merely who I think will win.

Best Actor

Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

My Prediction: Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Best Actress

Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

My Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

My Prediction: Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

My Prediction: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Directing

Nominees: Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant), Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

My Prediction: Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant)

Film Editing

Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spotlight

My Prediction: The Revenant

Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Embrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, A War

My Prediction: No guess

Original Score

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Picture

Nominees: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight

My Prediction: The Martian or The Revenant

Production Design

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant

My Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Visual Effects

Nominees: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room

My Prediction: The Martian

Original Screenplay

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton

My Prediction: Straight Outta Compton

Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Anomalisa, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, Boy and the Wild, When Marnie Was There

My Prediction: Inside Out

Cinematography

Nominees: Carol, The Hateful EightMad Max: Fury RoadThe RevenantSicario

My Prediction: The Hateful Eight or The Revenant

Costume Design

Nominees: Carol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant

My Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Documentary Feature

Nominees: Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

My Prediction: No guess

Documentary Short Subject

Nominees: Body Team 12, Chau Beyond the Lines, Claude Lanzmann, A Girl in the River, Last Day of Freedom

My Prediction: No guess

Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, The Revenant

My Prediction: Either Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Original Song

Nominees: Earned It (50 Shades of Grey), Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground), Writings On The Wall (Spectre), Manta Ray (Racing Extinction), Simple Song 3 (Youth)

My Prediction: Writings On The Wall (Spectre)

Animated Short Film

Nominees: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Superteam, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow

My Prediction: No guess

Live Action Short Film

Nominees: Ava Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok, Stutterer

My Prediction: No guess

Sound Editing

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: The Revenant

Sound Mixing

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: The Revenant

 

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Manny (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr., Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier. We have all heard of these world-renowned boxers. But there is one name that is quickly growing in fame and popularity, and that name is Manny PacquiaoManny is one of the better feel-good and inspirational sports films that has been released of late, and is one that can be watched by everyone in the family.

The film Manny follows the life of Manny Pacquiao. This – for some time relatively unknown – Filipino boxer has his story translated by Hollywood alum, telling the tale of his rise from impoverished teen who began his boxing journey just to feed his family, to a thirty-five year old eight-division world champion. We follow him as he becomes known by the world, and furthers his career, entering politics and film. The film deals with the ups and downs that go with becoming a professional athlete, and the more personal side of it.

Even from just watching the two-minute trailer, you can feel the way the film gathers you and inspires you. It does more than make you want to watch the film, but also to get out and make something more happen for yourself. If Manny can do it, you can do it.

This film has some Hollywood bigwigs behind it, powering it out of the plain ‘documentary’ world, and onto the stage with other feature films. The famous faces help us to connect with the rising figure that many probably haven’t heard of before. These stars include Liam NeesonMark WahlbergJeremy Piven and Jimmy Kimmel, who aid us in relating to a film that is in another language. Manny also featured original music by Lorne Balfe, whose name is on Inception, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man – to name a few. To have this kind of power backing you, Manny Pacquiao must be a big thing.

The colour and cinematography of the film also raise it to another level. It feels like a feature film with the odd-angles and slow-motion sequences, and it makes the experience all the more entertaining and enjoyable.

One thing people need to remember before taking their young children to see this film, is that it definitely involves violence and blood. For some, it is inappropriate, and for others, it just isn’t their cup of tea. However, there are also those that will only care about the boxing and not about Manny’s political, etc., successes and aspirations.

There is a lot of anticipation and expectation around this film, which comes to me as a surprise. I was surprised by the attention, by the A-lister stars, and then by the story. Manny has what it takes to be a hit. The film points out how successful Manny Pacquiao has been in boxing, politics, and as the representation of the low-income people of the Philippines, and it wouldn’t be too much of a leap for Manny to gain a healthy film following too.

3 out of 5 stars

Dinosaur 13 (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.

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Dinosaurs are something not just loved by nerdy little boys. There are so many questions surrounding their types, way of life, and death, that it is a mystery that attracts all. In Dinosaur 13 (not as cool of a name as the 2002 book from which it comes – Rex Appeal), we look back twenty-four years, to a group that were looking back even further. This documentary had all of the interesting points – discovery, dinosaurs, and even an apparent big-scale conspiracy theory – but still found itself lacking in entertainment.

The film follows the story of Peter Larson, a palaeontologist whose group makes the biggest dinosaur discovery before or since. The event occurred in 1990, but it was what happened afterwards that turned it into the bigger story. Two years after excavating an almost-complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton – named Sue – the team found themselves battling the United States government, museums, Native American tribes, and other palaeontologists. The film follows the ten-year battle, that saw fossils taken, careers in jeopardy, and one member of the team in prison. Why was this discovery so controversial, and how would it all end?

For the most part, this film wasn’t bad. It had its moments where it dragged and the audience could easily lose interest, but the story was an interesting one, and you wanted to see how it would all end.

Like I said before, dinosaurs aren’t just a topic of interest for little boys, but the seriousness of the film and the emphasis more on legal/political matters, might not make it the kind of film that will be for everyone.
The video quality is oftentimes quite poor as well, as some of the footage was taken back in the 90s before cameraphones and HD video. This might turn-off some of the younger audience members who weren’t alive then.

Dinosaur 13 does, however, have a strong way of gathering the Davids in the hope of slaying Goliath. They do well in making you want the ‘little guys’ to win and find out the real reason behind why all of these events had to happen. But, they tend to play the sympathy card a bit too much. Sure, we feel bad for them in that their whole lives were turned upside down, but there are a lot more important things going on in the world. They also focus more on emotion, than on logic. There were more angles – like the deeper legal implications – that were simply not explored as thoroughly as they could have been.

Reviews have been quite mixed. It obviously has struck a cord with an audience, giving it a wider release than previously expected. The online reviews have been predominately positive, and it’s sure to be played in a lot of schools all over the world.

Overall, this film is worth taking a look at.

3 out of 5 stars

Justin Bieber’s Believe (2013) – Review

Here’s an old one for you.

As seen on CinemaParadiso.

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Bieber-fever is alive and well among the pre-teen female population all over the world. Continuing from his musical success, and the success of his first documentary feature film, Justin Bieber once again graces the big screen. It definitely won’t be loved by everyone, or win any awards, but it’s worth the watch.

Believe is a documentary feature film that follows the life of Canadian teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber. We are taken behind the scenes, and granted access to the ‘real Justin’ the media can never quite portray. There are interviews – with family, friends, fellow pop artists, assistants, and the Biebs himself – all combining to make a film that follows on from where his first film Never Say Never (2011) left off. We find out about who the real Justin is, what is happening in his private life, and what might become of him in the future.

I’m not a Belieber, nor am I the first to chuck insults at the kid. I do find some of his songs to be quite catchy, and commend him for his religious commitment, but I don’t ever see myself wanting to attend one of his concerts. I did, however, like this film. I had seen the first one on TV, and thought I’d give this one a go too. The thing that makes it most likable, is that it’s for the fans. I remember wanting to get all of my favourite fan merchandise when I was younger, so I know how special it is to get these and behind the scenes extras. These celebrities are only where they are because of their fans, and it’s good for them to include them in the entire process. Believe asks the questions a lot of people want to know, and continue to show the child beneath the star.

Another reason I liked it was because of how well it was handled. Prior to release, Bieber had already begun a personal downward spiral, and while this film was obviously trying to reconnect fans to Justin’s ‘good guy’ image, they also asked some harder questions.

As can be expected, this film has received mixed reviews. The hordes of screaming fans have all given the film a big thumb’s up, while the negative reviews have been more focused on the parts that weren’t in the film. These reviewers wanted more in-depth questions, revealing more of the truth behind the news headlines, but Bieber’s team were smart about how much they chose to reveal. It is also comical to note that some of these reviewers only saw the movie to gather material to mock the teen for, but, in the end, the sale money is going into his pockets.

A lot of Beiber’s biggest events (Gomez, fight with Bloom, his arrest) all happened after this film was released, so it would be even better to see whether he does another one, and what we would learn from that.

Overall, Believe is a must-see for his fans, and interesting for anyone else who is curious.

4 out of 5 stars