Let’s Go to the Movies – Oscar Sunday!

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This year I haven’t managed to watch nearly as many of the nominees as I wanted or have in the past. And very sadly, I did not make it to a presentation of the short films either.  That said I’ve seen some and know enough about some others that I will once again make my predictions.  Have you made yours?

I’ll likely be tweeting during the broadcast if your interested in my opinions of what actually happens.  Congratulations to all who’ve been nominated and all who will win. Happy Oscars! (more…)

Musings on Movie Trailers

In the last couple days, a slate of new trailers has been released for some of the upcoming movies that I am really excited about (Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, etc.). And I’ve seen people raving about some of them – Man of Steel to be specific. People are so excited by the latest trailer I have seen it mentioned on almost every geeky website I follow (and I follow feeds from quite a few). People are talking action and music and pure awesomeness.

Superman from Man of Steel

I haven’t watched it. And I don’t think I’m going to. I’m already really looking forward to the movie and excited about the treatment for Superman which could lead to some awesome Justice League things. I don’t want to be disappointed.

I think I’ve also been conditioned to not want anything spoilery thanks to JJ Abrams and his notorious black box methods.  Im so excited to find out who Benedict Cumberbatch is and what he’s about in the next Star Trek film that I don’t want anything to spoil it for me before I see it.  Though I know that any and all cuts for Star Trek trailers will not reveal anything JJ doesn’t want revealed. I’ve decided I don’t want to see it.

Scene from Star Trek Info Darkness

I love movies and I love movie trailers. I always quiz people who have gone to the movies about which trailers they saw before the film.  My parents have started taking notes and quizzing each other after the movies they see just so they can remember the trailers they saw for when I ask that inevitable question. So not watching trailers is a actually a big change for me.

But I want to get the full effect of enjoying every second of these films that I have looked forward to for a year or more.  I want the excitement and drama and hopefully none of the disappointment. It sucks coming out of a movie and feeling like it didn’t offer anything more than what you’d already seen in the trailers.  So hopefully, this tactic I’m attempting will work out for me. I’m hoping to avoid disappointment from false high hopes. (My hopes are already high enough thank you.)

I know this also means working harder at avoidance as the movie release dates get closer and press previews start popping up  – but I’m willing to do it, even if it means an internet black-out.  Our culture has become one of spoilers and that kind of sucks. I want some surprise left in things I care about.

What do you think? Is it a good idea to avoid trailers? Or stupid? What movies are you super excited for?

Oscar – and the Reason Award Shows are Relevant (to me at least)

The Oscar Statue

It’s almost time for the biggest film related awards show there is! Don’t get me wrong I love all the other awards shows too (the Globes for the silliness, the BAFTAs for the British sensibilities, the SAGs for the mutual support, and more), but there is something to be said for the Oscars.

I know a lot of people don’t like the Oscars or awards shows period. I respect that and I understand that these award shows can at times seem like rich, powerful people just wanting to slap themselves on the back and exclaim “Aren’t we great? We’re rich, powerful, and beautiful – and better than you.”  And yes, some of the people at awards shows fit that category perfectly; others not so much.

I’ve grown up watching the Oscars every year with my family. In fact, as a young child, Oscar night was the only night I could stay up past my bedtime.  I come from a family who loves movies and often has silly games and random conversations based on film trivia.  Before the ubiquitous-ness of smart phones, conversations would pause until someone came up with the answer to the question of “what was that movie called?” or “Who was the actor that played….?” It was fun and actually a great mental exercise for all of us. Now, we often don’t have to wait that long because someone can easily use imdb or google to answer most questions.  (Although lately, we’ve all been trying to avoid that and test ourselves to come up with the answers through our own mental prowess.)

For me, the Oscars (and other awards shows) are part about tradition, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion it’s also about the spectacle.  I’ve never been one to regularly read and enjoy the celebrity gossip sites and magazines. I’m not going to deny ever reading them – but I try to avoid them most times. Why? I think it really is despicable what paparazzi do to get many photos and stories.  I understand that some celebrities (hello reality television stars) do invite that scrutiny or bring it upon themselves with stupid public behaviors (Lindsey Lohan?), but most don’t.  I think everyone is entitled to privacy in their lives.  So for me, awards shows with all the pre-show  publicity junkets and the red-carpet glitz are my opportunity to be a voyeur without the icky-ness.  Celebrities welcome and understand the photos and interviews at these events. It’s a way to get the celebrity fix without feeling guilty about invading their lives.

So come this Sunday, I will happily be seated on my couch enjoying all the red-carpet glamour, the acceptance speeches, and the overall spectacle that is the Oscars.

Let’s Go to the Movies – Oscar Animated Shorts

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In anticipation of the Oscars this Sunday, I’ve been trying to see some of the films up for the industry’s biggest prize.  I love going to the movies, but I’ve been very remiss over the past year. So much so that many of the movies I was extremely excited about to see opening weekend didn’t even get watched until they were released on DVD (Frankenweenie).  For others, it took me several months (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and/or a discount theater (Wreck-It Ralph) to catch them.  I’m hoping I will be better this year – after all this is a big summer for the genre movies I really enjoy. (Typically, summer is for the fun movies and winter is for the award caliber movies – but I’ll save the argument/rant/debate for that and the constant snub of genre movies for another time).

The Oscars are on Sunday, and I want to be one of the many people sharing their opinions on nominated films.  I’m going to start with the Shorts, both Live Action and Animated (sadly, I never saw the short documentaries).  For only $10, I got to see all the 2013 nominated Live Action and Animated shorts (plus a few other honorable animated shorts). It was a bargain. And their was some great film-making exhibited.

If I were a voting Academy member, I’d vote for Paperman. Have you seen any of the animated shorts? What are your thoughts?

Paperman

Paperman ImageI had watched Paperman at least five times prior to seeing the Oscar Shorts presentation. Even so, it does not fail to illicit emotion from me (Yes, I cry. Every time!).  The unique look and feel of the film (combining the hand-drawn animation in a CG environment) and the story are just so beautiful.  I love the one spark of color from the woman’s lipstick. I love the soundtrack. I love the paper airplanes. Watch it and see for yourself! This is my favorite and the one I hope wins the Oscar.

Head Over Heels

image from Head Over HeelsThis is a Claymation short that is the one of the five most likely to be in competition with Paperman for the top prize.  It’s a very cute little tale about a couple that has some issues with gravity.  It’s clever and cute and the perfect length to convey all that it needs to convey.  In some ways, it is a great example of the importance of communicating and how love requires work and gestures – grand and small.

You can watch this short at Filmo Filia here.

The Longest Daycare

image from The SImpsons: The Longest DaycareThis a short which was shown before Ice Age (Continental Drift?) in theaters.  It’s a Simpson’s related short, but it is focused on Maggie (Marge appears briefly at beginning and end).  I enjoy this short and I don’t regularly watch The Simpsons. It was sweet and funny and it made me gasp at one point.  My only compliant – how can Maggie be categorized as average intelligence? Though plot wise, it clearly would not have work for her to be with the prodigy children…

You can watch it for yourself via Hulu at io9 here.

Fresh Guacamole

Image from Fresh Guacamole, nominated animated shortThis was the shortest of the shorts at just around 2 minutes long.  The idea of adding real sounds to images that are familiar, but not accurate in context, to create something was intriguing. It didn’t seem as seamless to me and just felt strange. But it was very clever.  I understand the substitutions in most cases, but did anyone else know what exactly the light bulb was supposed to be? Cilantro? I think this is a long shot to win the statue.

Adam and Dog

Adam and Dog imageThis was the longest of the shorts, coming in around 20 minutes. The animation was reminiscent of Studio Ghibli at some points, if a little inconsistent in some aspects (shadows in particular). But the film was too long. I think the main ideas and story could have been conveyed in half the time.  Maybe I would have enjoyed the film more if it was shorter, but I’m not confident. Why? This is the story of Adam, the first man, and how he meets dog, man’s best friend. Their relationship is what you’d expect and it made me smile. The problem is when Eve arrives and Adam ignores and forsakes Dog for her. As a woman, I’m a little tired of seeing Eve as the cause of all Adam’s troubles.  Spoiler Alert! Granted, the dog rejoins Adam and leaves paradise with him and Eve at the end. But by then, I was just over it all.

Filmo Filia also presents this short here.

A New Year…and New Movies

It’s always amazing how at the end of the year/start of the year there are so many different articles about best of/worst of lists for the old year and the year to come. There’s also a lot of “look forward to…” articles. I understand that a lot of these are a result of the natural human tendency to reflect (as well as the stockpiling of articles that can be easily written before holiday vacations and posted during), but it can be a bit much when EVERY web site you visit has at least one (usually more) of these types of articles.

That being said…I like reading these types of articles, especially the ones that highlight “things” in the coming year.   And that brings me to my point for this post.

Yahoo ( a site that never fails to remind you of the events of the past year) posted an article about The Most Anticipated Movies of 2012).  And boy there are some biggies coming out in 2012. I don’t know about you by I’m looking forward to the continued plethora of superhero movies, particularly The Avengers on May 4th.  I can’t wait to see the final product of Joss Whedon’s hard work.

Banner for The Avengers movie

I’m also really excited about Pixar’s upcoming flick – Brave.  Brave has a red-headed heroine who fights a bear, with a bow and arrow. I don’t know about you, but that in itself is enough to make me salivate.  And it comes out on June 22nd: perfect timing for me to see a celebratory birthday movie.

And for me, my final “absolutely must-see no matter what movie of 2012” is of course The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 14th.  The trailer gave me chills.

So, what are you’re must-see movies of 2012?