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1:50 PM on 03.29.2012

HUNGER GAMES: A Second Opinion

If your reading this then I'm sure you have already read the Flixist Staff review of the recently released Hunger Games. In my review here I plan on doing just that, you as the reader I'm sure already know the story of this film since it has been the biggest craze in a while an the world is talking about about. So you already (hopefully) understand the plot of Katniss (Jennifer Lawerence) who is taking from her home District 12 and sent to do battle with a number of other children for the entertainment on a TV Show that entertains the wealthy Capitol. Keep in mind this is coming from a person who had absoultely no high expectations for the film and has never read the book.

So simply lets start this off, was the Hunger Games a good movie? was it worth your time and money to go and see? the easiest answer is YES. This movie was definitely high quality and surprised me very much. Gary Ross I believe has found himself a trilogy that will put him on the mark in the film industry and make him known for sure for people who are not familiar with his work (Pleasentville) as long as he keeps this pace up.

I feel the movie strives for its first half at an unbelievable pace, they do a wonderful job of creating this Dystopia. When first introduced to District 12, you instantly feel that this is a shanty town. Everyone is poor and dirty, and as hunting something simple as a squirrel is a prized possession. Then when we are transported with Katniss to the futuristic Capitol where every citizen is covered in extravagant costumes and make-up you feel just how deranged these people are and understand why they love to see children slaughter each other. These are the best parts of the film in my opinion. Every actor does a great job from Jennifer Lawrence being arrogant and aggressive while feeling awkward and uncomfortable in the world of the Capitol, to Woody Harrelson's drunkard comedic relief Haymitch as well as Lenny Kravitz's (wow thats strange to say) loving Cinna. My favorite character in the film is Stanley Tucci's Caesar Flickerman; who rocks some of the best blue hair and eyebrows you've seen in a long time.

But where the movie starts to slip in its greatness which I felt was a huge let down was the actual games. I felt them to be very lackluster; its not bad necessarily but I just felt disappointed, but not to the point to make a bad movie. When the games begins the arena that the game maker's design is a generic forrest which is good because it fits into Katniss' skills of hunting and archery. (Fun Fact! Jen Law took archery classes to become her skilled character.) But i feel after seeing this fantastic world with gleaming lights and sounds then being dropped into a forrest was a very dynamic change, this issue may just be me and you might not feel the same but I believe it is something worth watching for.

The Games themselves actually surprised me with the amount of violence was actually displayed, I had a bad feeling that because this film shines to such a large demographic, here is enough blood shown in small shots to keep you gore and violence addicts at bay.

Camera work this movie has a lot of shaky cam, it absolutely fits for the fast paced style of the movie and shows how hard it is for the characters to realize what is happening to them while adrenaline is spitting out of their ears at the same time. The sad apart about it is it does make it hard for the audience to sometimes see whats actually happening. But with a combination of a lot of focusing tricks changing the depth of view constantly makes you see exactly what it is Katniss is looking at especially in archery scenes.

Overall, I'd recommend this movie, it tends to be predictable at times and the ending sucks completely, but try to think (hope) that it will pick up right there whenever movie two comes out eventually.

I give this movie an
80/100   read

10:31 PM on 02.29.2012

Wanderlust: Review

So this is my first blog review for Flixist. Hope it comes out good!

So lets see Wanderlust. We have a couple (Rudd and Anniston) who are trying to establish themselves in New York City by purchasing their first Studio Apartment (Micro Flat..funny if u see the movie). Rudd's character George works for some corporate office in the city and Anniston's Linda has been hopping around jobs trying to find her fit; but when George's company runs bankrupt the couple can no longer afford their new place.

George is told by his completely obnoxious brother who is funny a third of the time; but the catch he lives in Georgia. The couple drives down and has hilariously edited scene of the two bickering with each other and going through the different motions of the long drive.

Along the way they look for an inn to stay for night and they pull down a road where they find a nude man walk out of the brushes, he takes them to what they think is the inn but ends up being a hippie commune. The couple go back and forth deciding whether or not they want to stay living at the commune where they are surrounded with happiest for the first time in awhile, as well as hallucinogenic tea, more stringed instruments then a guitar center, and open sexual activities with the entire group.

Okay so lets talk about where the film hits the nail on the head. The movie is funny yes, but it is one of those movies that they take a funny concept and then exploit it to where it is no longer even worth paying attention for. The film makes an excellent job of establishing the hippie vegan lifestyle within this small commune, but i found myself getting bored with it after awhile, Its not the movie's fault necessarly you will learn if you keep reading my posts that I cannot stand the hippie, hipster, Emerson College lifestyle that is the main concept of the movie.

But aside from the what the fuck moments this movie is pretty forgettable. In fact i had to look up the main character's names just to make sure I got them right and I already forgot the commune's name. (I saw the movie 30 minutes ago). The joke are hit and miss and semi-filled theatre that I sat in was either dead quite on many dry jokes or occasionally filled with laughter.

As for performances I am a Paul Rudd fan, and I feel he gave a solid comedic performance in the movie, he has definitely had better (I, Love You Man, 40 Year Old Virgin...well pretty much everything else, i can say i did not see Idiot Brother though, but one can hope right?) Jennifer Anniston's performance is alright, nothing to brag about, she's funny here-and-there. The funniest character is the Nudest Wayne played by Joe Lo Truglio (I, Love You Man, Superbad). He is a nude Wine maker and novelist that is the one joke that gets progressively funnier.

Would I recommend this movie, eh it depends if your in the mood, the movie is funny but can also be very obnoxious. The Judd Apatow crew has had much stronger movies and this one does not come anywhere close to any this film. If you haven't seen any of the Apatow they are solid "What The Fuck? The Really Just Happened? movie.

Now for the Rating in Flixist numbers i'd say
64 out of 100   read

9:02 AM on 02.26.2012

Best Actor/Actress Overall Through 2011

With cinemas' biggest night being held in only a couple of hours, I thought of one more writeup that I just had to do before the awards were given out. This one is different then the likes of Best Actor or Actress awards that will be given out later tonight; those go for just one performance. I feel we should give recognition to an actor or actress who performed solidly in more then one film throughout the year and surprised us all.

The actor who I believe deserves this honor is none other then Ryan Gosling. Yes every human with a pair of X chromosomes knows him from his performance in the Notebook (Which I still haven't seen for that matter). But for this year this actor performed in three completely different types of flicks and devastated the audience with ability to play such a variety of roles.

First this year he was a supporting actor to Steve Carrel in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. This movie was my favorite comedy of 2011 (Sorry [i]Bridesmaids[/i). This movie had great execution, it was well written, and most importantly Ryan Gosling stole the show from slapping the shit out of Carrel to punching Kevin Bacon directly between the eyes.

Goslings Second performance in the year of 2011 and which stands as one of my favorite performances of the entire year was in the completely underrated by Academy Drive. Everyone who reads anything on this site already knows how amazing Drive was so I'm not gonna go into those rants about how robbed the film was. But Goslings performance is what I found most impressive. Yes the directing and cinematography all the way to the sound mixing was beautiful; but this performance, well just woah! First off the Driver character is a complete badass he's completely dynamic and unexpected in his actions and is so much fun to follow as the plot progresses; but thats because of how Gosling portrays the character. You understand just how alone he his but how little lines he actually says. You can feel what he is thinking just by eye movement. If you haven't seen Drive and your reading this your probably like what the fuck?!?! But once you actually view it trust me!

And lastly Ryan's last role he played for the year was Stephen Meyers who was a consultant for the Democratic party soon to be nominee George Clooney in The Ides of March. What I liked about this movie as well as all 3 of these films was simplicity. But this one stood out in that aspect if feels simplistic by how short the film is for such a deep plot, because it really is semi-complex and you really feel the punch-in-the-face dirty politics scheme of things as does Goslings character. He portrays a character that is pretty straight edge when dealing with politics, but when realizing every person he encounters can top one another on the list of "King of the Shit-Holes" as we like to call it here; you feel for Goslings character; you really feel bad for him that he's stuck in this mess of things.

So with these three solid films and their explanations that thus concludes why I feel Ryan Gosling was the overall strongest actor of the year. Let's hope he keeps it up with his upcoming season of 2012 films!

Feel free to leave comments below of who you think is worthy of best Actor Overall!   read

7:21 PM on 02.22.2012

Ant's Oscar Predictions!

So this is my first official Community Blog Post on Flixist and I’d like to continue writing them depending on how this post goes. After debating for a while what my first topic should be it came to mind that hey Oscar Sunday is coming up soon so this is a perfect opportunity to try this out! So lets see how it goes!
So first off lets take a look at the actual films for 2011. I believe this was a strong year for cinema with some definite favorites for the industry and myself. A constant theme throughout the year the worked surprisingly well was making films about the actual industry the stand within. Movies like Hugo, The Artist, and Midnight in Paris all showed some type of element of film and all three of these films strive strong with a great collection of nominations.
So were going to save the big boys like Best Picture, Director, Actor, and actress for the end and start with some of the other awards that tend to go overlooked by many Oscar viewers. After studying previous year winners as well as this years guild awards I believe I have crafted a solid ballot list that I think is on of my strongest since the past couple of years that I’ve made predictions. Sadly this year I did not see all the top nominated movies this year like I was last year, but I’ve tried to read up on them as much as possible for the one’s I missed here and there like the very early last year release of The Tree of Life staring a favorite of mine Brad Pitt.
I think a fun first area to begin this post will be Special Effects:

Nominees Being-
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
• Hugo
• Real Steel
• Rise of the Planet of the Apes
• Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Okay so I write this section with the upmost respect for these films but honestly Fuck Transformers, was it just me or would that shit just never ended. But, that’s sadly not what this is about. This isn’t about which movie was the best, this is the best use of technology and which well just looked the most stunning on the big screen. And too me this award belongs to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. How Andy Serkis has mastered that motion capture suit and is able not only to play just human characters but perform as another animal is just stunning. To me Transformers just looks like gritty trash displayed over a screen that create a mess. And no matter how much I loved everything about Hugo this belongs to Apes.

Sound Mixing Nominees-
• The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Hugo
• Moneyball
• Transformers: Dark of the Moon
• War Horse

I believe that this category was nominated perfectly. Each of these films deserves to be here. From the quiet and distinctly eerie sound of Dragon you get the tingling feeling of the winter tundra that the characters are investigating. In Hugo the buzzing and clinging of the magical train station in Paris is filled with a noise of childhood life. Moneyball grabs your attention every time one of those balls is smacked out of the quite stadium. And Transformers and War Horse both succeed in the blaring of bullets and explosions over different types of battlefields. But, this award belongs to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Sound Editing Nominees-
• Drive
• The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Hugo
• Transformers: Dark of the Moon
• War Horse

I’m sorry but with my immense anger at the academy with only giving Drive one god damn nomination is just bullshit. So I’m only going to talk about this movie here. This film is great! It was one of my favorites right after seeing it in theatres. I called my mom and immediately told her to go see it (which she did). But in actuality I do feel it deserves this win. As the director said “the film isn’t about the cars its about the noise the cars make.”

Best Make-up Nominees-

• Albert Nobbs
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
• The Iron Lady

Although I also disagree with the academy here I believe a nominee should have absolutely been J.Edgar and should have absolutely won the award. When watching this movie and Leo was first shown I didn’t even realize it was him, the make-up was so good I thought; but apparently I’m just fucking crazy. So what I think is a solid winner for this category is Albert Nobbs; Glenn Close in this movie looks way too much like a man, which was the overall goal of the film.

So with the next couple of nominations I haven’t actually seen these films aside from watching trailers and reading up on them in other articles here and there but I figured I’d throw in my opinions anyway.

Best Animated Feature Film-
• A Cat In Paris
• Chico & Rita
• Kung Fu Panda 2
• Puss in Boots
• Rango

So from what I’ve seen I figure this has to go to either Rango or Puss in Boots. I personally gave it to Rango but unless a Toy Story movie is nominated this is usually a toss up.

Best Foreign Film-
• Bullhead
• Footnote
• In Darkness
• Monsier Lazhar
• A Separation

So although I have seen zero of these films the only one I’ve actually heard any buzz over is A Separation This Iran made film is also nominated for best original screenplay so the shit must be good? Right? Well your guess is as good as mine. Give it to A Separation.

Best Original Song-
• Man or Muppet from The Muppets
• Real in Rio from Rio

I find it kinda amusing that both of these nominees have their title in their song name! No? I’m the only one? Whatevas… but winner, please who do you think? Of course The Muppets.

Best Documentary-
• Hell and Back Again
• If a Tree Falls: a Story of the Earth Liberation Front
• Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
• Pina
• Undefeated

Common guys I don’t know?!?!?! I picked Hell and Back Again because honestly that sounds fucking badass! You got someone that went to Hell, managed to leave, and was like no fucking way I’m going back to fuck some shit up! Now yes I understand the film probably isn’t anything like that, but imagine if it was?!?!

Best Documentary (Short)-
I’m not even going to write these out. Yea I give the people who made these films the up most respect they made something I probably could never do! I went with Incident in New Baghdad shit seemed deep.

Best Short Film (Animated)-
The only one I’ve heard anything off or have even seen a still picture was of A Morning Stroll The art looks amazing and I would love to see the rest, so I think were going with this one.

Best Short Film (Live Action)-
I went with The Shore. I have no idea what any of these are about and too be frank this was just in the middle of the ballot options! So yea go with The Shore its probably dope for all I know!
Okay now that we’ve pushed through that rut; were gonna continue with some editing.

Best Film Editing Nominees-
• The Artist
• The Descendants
• The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Hugo
• Moneyball

Okay so all of these films are great and deserve to be I every award section they are but to pick editing I don’t personally know what makes a film like al of these have better editing then the other, but for this one I’m going with The Descendants. Why? Its fucking pretty I don’t know! I loved it I saw it twice in theatres.

Best Cinematography Nominees-
• The Artist
• The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Hugo
• The Tree of Life
• War Horse

So this is one of my favorite awards. The director of photography on a set has one of the hardest jobs. You’re in control of making sure everything looks how its supposed to working with a combination of lights and lens to get that perfect shot. I was originally going to go with The Artist for this one because the black and white style looks so incredible, but when I saw the trailer for The Tree of Life I was completely blown away this movie was shot with all natural light, and worked! That’s insane! Go with The Tree of Life for this one for sure.

Best Costume Design-
• Anonymous
• The Artist
• Hugo
• Jane Eyre
• W.E

For Costume Design I had a bit of a difficulty picking just one. I was able to lower it down to just The Artist and Hugo. And while writing this very article I thought about it one last final time and had to go with Hugo. The recreation of Georges Melies old cinema masterpieces was just amazing.

Best Art Direction Nominees-
• The Artist
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
• Hugo
• Midnight in Paris
• War Horse

Same with Costume Design I had limited it down to both The Artist and Hugo. I went with Hugo for the same reasons.

[b]Best Adapted Screenplay Nominations-
• The Descendants
• Hugo
• The Ides of March
• Moneyball
• Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

This was another tough award to make a prediction for. I never saw Ides or Tinker, Tailor but I heard both great things about them. In the end I went with The Descendants. I felt that overall this film expressed a very dark overall theme and displayed it with full character, quality, and even comedy in a since even without having the Coen Bros anywhere around to touch it.

Best Original Screenplay Nominations-
• Midnight in Paris
• Margin Call
• A Separation
• The Artist
• Bridesmaids

I think that this award has the widest selection of nominees we have a Woody Allen film about screenwriters and novel writers. Margin Call, a completely underrated flick that I’m pretty sure no one saw aside from me with a plot about the stock market crash. A film that will probably win best foreign film. And then lastly one of the best comedies of the year Bridesmaids, which is way better then just being called the “hangover for girls”. But in the end it had to go to the creativity of Midnight in Paris.

Now for the best acting awards of the year.

Best Supporting Actress-
• Berenice Bejo- The Artist
• Jessica Chastain- The Help
• Melissa McCarthy- Bridesmaids
• Janet McTeer- Albert Nobbs
• Octavia Spencer¬- The Help

This is another fun group of nominees; it has to go o Octavia Spencer. Her maid Minny will be a memorable character that will go down in history along with many of these others.

Best Supporting Actor Nominees-
• Kenneth Branagh- My Week With Marilyn
• Jonah Hill- Moneyball
• Nick Nolte- Warrior
• Christopher Plummer-Beginners
• Max Von Sydow- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

My beef with this group? Take a guess! I had a rant about this films lack of nominations way in the beginning. How about the witty, fun, and completely evil mob leader played by Albert Brooks. Where is his rightful and winning award Academy?!?!? Where!?!?!...Well anyway, yea this is probably going to Christopher Plummer and not for his role in Dragon, instead the one where he plays a gay grandfather or something along those lines. Pretty obvious I didn’t see the flick right?

Best Actress Nominations-
• Glenn Close- Albert Nobbs
• Viola Davis- The Help
• Rooney Mara- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Meryl Streep- The Iron Lady
• Michelle Williams- My Week with Marilyn

This is another great collection of actresses. Each of them provided excellent performances but what we’re looking for here is a winner. The two biggest choices are of course Streep, but people don’t understand although yes she is an amazing actress and has a metric-fuck-ton of nominations but has only actual won two awards. Who I think is going to take it home this year is Viola Davis for her beautiful performance in The Help.

Best Actor-
• Demian Bichir- A Better Life
• George Clooney- The Descendents
• Jean Dujardin- The Artist
• Gary Oldman- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
• Brad Pitt- Moneyball

This is one of the biggest awards given at the Academy Awards. It symbolizes the best performance done by a male actor in the entire year of 2011. I would be completely fine with anyone winning this award aside for Demian Bichir because I have no clue who that is. But all and all I would love to see Pitt take one home for Moneyball although I’m pretty sure he won’t and its really down to Clooney and Jean. I’m leaning more towards The Artist. Jean Dujardin’s breakout performance was incredible. He captured the same technique that silent actors from the early 1910s to 19teens used.

Best Director-
• Woody Allen- Midnight in Paris
• Michel Hazanavicius- The Artist
• Terrence Malick- The Tree of Life
• Alexander Payne- The Descendants
• Martin Scorsese- Hugo

The best director also one of the biggest awards given out Sunday night. This director succeeded so well at making one of the most amazing pictures of the year and will be remembered forever. The top three contenders for taking this prestigious award home with them are Payne, Scorsese, and Hazanavicius. I’d love to give it to my favorite director here; Scorsese; but I feel as though the award is going to go to Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist I feel his risk of taking on a silent film and succeeding so well will place him at the top of the list but honestly it’s a complete tossup between the three.

And lastly we find ourselves at the best picture award. The biggest and most spectacular award of the night. This movie was better then all the others this year. All though it maybe didn’t win in the box office, quality wise this film stood above all other. This is the award everyone will be waiting for and will be announced last late on Sunday night. Good luck too all the nominees even the one’s that don’t deserve to be there in my opinion (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Obnoxious as I put it just had to take Driver’s spot!) And the nominees are…

• The Artist
• The Descendents
• Extremely Loud & incredibly Close
• The Help
• Hugo
• Midnight in Paris
• Moneyball
• The Tree of Life
• War Horse

And the film that I’m going to give this award to is going to be Hugo. I feel as though this award goes for the same the Best Directors section it’s a toss up between many but mainly The Artist, The Descendants, and Hugo. I’m going to give it to Hugo purely because this was the film that I thoroughly enjoyed the most out of everything that I saw this year. Hugo message of preserving film is great and I hope that everyone is able to see this movie it deserves everything in my opinion!

So and with that we conclude my predictions. I would like to list out some films that I feel were completely robbed this year. As you already know some that I’m going to say.

• Drive: I’ve complained enough don’t ya think!?!
• J. Edgar: This movie was directed and acted very well and got zero recognition from the Academy which is a totally bummer but this movie told a great and interesting story that should be seen as well as heard.
• Source Code: This movie I feel everyone forgot about, but I thought it was a movie that seemed both simple and complex all at the same time and was very enjoyable.
• Super 8: J.J. Abrams is a master of his craft. This Sci-Fi movie was like a grown up E.T. and had all the same suburban feel as its daddy did.

So once again good luck too all of the nominees on Sunday! And leave any comments below this is my first blogpost here and I’d love to do more! I will probably post another blog about the results

Thanks For Reading!
-Ant   read

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