Feb 232015
 

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So, the Oscars are over for another year. While this was one of the longest ceremonies in recent memory, the fact that it was an unpredictable Oscar race kept it interesting throughout. Birdman took out four big awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography (the second time in a row for Chivo). The Grand Budapest Hotel won four technical awards, including Best Costume Design for Anderson’s long-time collaborator Milena Canonero, and Best Original Score to dual-nominated Alexandre Desplat. Whiplash took home three, including Best Supporting Actor to JK Simmons and Best Film Editing.

Check out my recap of some of the ceremony highlights and the full list of winners after the jump: Continue reading »

Feb 092015
 

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Early this morning the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awarded their winners for the year of 2014 in film. They loved The Grand Budapest Hotel, which led all winners with five (including Best Original Screenplay, Score and Production Design). Boyhood, which was awarded Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, finished with three along with Whiplash, including Supporting Actor – JK Simmons, and The Theory of Everything, including Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne. Julianne Moore continued her domination this awards season, winning Best Actress for Still AliceCitizen Four and Ida, hotly tipped to win Best Documentary and Foreign Language Film respectively, were also awarded.

In a star-studded field The Theory of Everything took out Best British Film, while Anthony McCarten’s adapted screenplay also beat out its chief Oscar contenders. While I personally would have loved to have seen Paddington win, The Imitation Game failed to take out its only real chance. Eddie Redmayne secured his favouritism for Best Actor over Michael Keaton, taking out the award on home turf. This Oscar race has to be one of the most interesting in recent years. While Birdman has slowly risen to Oscar Best Picture/Director favouritism after victories at the PGA and the DGA (excellent guide due to the voter crossover), Boyhood bounced back with the double here. With The Grand Budapest Hotel taking out Original Screenplay and Redmayne winning, Birdman was left with just the one win – for Lubezki’s cinematography. All of these categories, come Oscar day, are going to be quite unpredictable.

Check out all of the BAFTA winners after the jump: Continue reading »

Jan 142015
 

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In cinemas this week: Birdman, Unbroken and Paper Planes.

Birdman – A captivating, awe-inspiring work that takes a fascinatingly layered narrative about an aging actor, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) attempting to finance, direct and star in his own stage adaptation of a Raymond Carver story and escape a career defined by one achievement. As he struggles to bring the story to life, he is suffering with anxieties of failure and a loss of purpose. Once the star of the blockbuster series, Birdman, Riggan walked away at the height of his fame in pursuit of other projects. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. Made to appear like it is comprised of a single shot, courtesy of the work of Emmanuel Lubezki, this is a technical marvel that features masterful performances from Keaton and the supporting cast. Conceptually bold and brilliantly written and directed, I loved everything about Birdman. Within minutes Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s (Babel, Amores Perros) film has done its dance and laid out its rules. If you let yourself get swept up in its aesthetic it will be hugely rewarding, and even when the story gets morose and odd it always entertains.

Paper Planes – Directed by Robert Connolly (The Turning), this is an imaginative children’s film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Ed Oxenbould and Sam Worthington star. The trailer reveals the whole story, but this looks like it will be quite pleasant and charming.

Unbroken – Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s novel, Unbroken brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit. Leading the accomplished crew is 10-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins, while Joel and Ethan Coen rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese. There has been plenty of Oscar buzz about Unbroken, given the story and the pedigree, but reviews have been very mixed, claiming that the film hits too many of the cliche dramatic beats to fully resonate, despite O’Connell and Deakins bringing their full potential.

Weekly Recommendation: Birdman. What a film. 

Jan 132015
 

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With the nominees in the 87th Academy Awards to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning here in Australia, I thought I would reveal my predictions as to who those anticipated nominees might be.

These predictions have come from a mix of influences – keeping up with the ‘experts’ tips, keeping tabs on the nominees and winners at the various critics awards and Guilds, and mere speculation. I have made my predictions 80% with my head and 20% with my heart. In a lot of instances I hope I am wrong, but even though I don’t particularly like films such as The Imitation Game or Whiplash I am convinced they are going to be a part of this year’s ceremony.

So, after the jump, check out who my predicted nominees are, with a series of alternatives (in order of likelihood).

Continue reading »