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 »

Feb 082015
 

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Adapted from the autobiography by Jane Wilde Hawking, ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Steven’, The Theory of Everything deals with Jane’s relationship with her ex-husband, world-renowned astrophysicist Steven Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neuron disease and how, through her decades of support while raising their family, Steven would go on to write ‘A Brief History of Time’.

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Jan 292015
 

FOXCATCHER

In cinemas this week: Foxcacther, Still Alice, The Theory of Everything and Mortdecai. 

FoxcatcherTells the story of Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), who sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Desperate to gain the respect of his disapproving mother, du Pont begins “coaching” a world-class athletic team and, in the process, lures Mark into dangerous habits, breaks his confidence and drives him into a self-destructive spiral. Based on actual events, Foxcatcher is a gripping and profoundly American story of fragile men who pinned their hopes for love and redemption on a desperate obsession for greatness that was to end in tragedy. Review at link.

Still Alice – Alice Howland (five time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore), happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. The film is based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 best-selling novel. Moore, and her co-stars Kristen Stewart and Alex Baldwin in particular, are outstanding in this deeply upsetting film about the shock onset of a debilitating illness, and how Alice and her family cope with her gradual loss of knowledge, memory and identity. It is a candid and honest portrayal of such a terrifying situation, but the filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland do everything right. Tears aplenty.

The Theory of Everything – Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. The film is based on the memoir ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’, by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire). Naturally, I am fascinated by this film because of the critical acclaim and the Oscar-nominated performances, but why do I think this is going to be a very ordinary film about an extraordinary man?

Mortdecai – Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Reviews have been dire, calling this role a low point in Depp’s post-Pirates career. Yikes. I think I will skip this one.

Weekly Recommendation: This is one of the most Oscar-heavy weeks of the season so far. Foxcatcher and The Theory of Everything both received five Academy Award nominations, and Still Alice one. I will catch up with The Theory of Everything this week, but I can highly recommend Foxcatcher and Still Alice, which are likely to cut deep. 

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).

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