Oscar Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Win?

•February 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

With the 84th Annual Academy Awards less than a week away, I thought it would be a good time to share my predictions. So, after watching about 90% of the films nominated and reading more than the healthy number of prediction posts on various sites her are my picks for who will and who should win:

BEST PICTURE

Should Win: The Help

The winner is almost certainly not going to be The Help, but it really should be. The film is a well-rounded adaptation of the book of the same name, and boasts an extremely talented cast.

Will Win: The Artist

To be honest, there are a number of films that deserve to win more than The Artist (Midnight in Paris and Hugo for example). But the film has generated a tremendous amount of buzz, even if it is a film that is staggeringly “up itself”.

BEST ACTRESS

Should Win: Viola Davis, The Help

In a cast that is full of shining performances, Davis shines brightest as Abilene, the maid who first takes the leap of faith in telling her story. Every move and word said by Davis in this film illustrates the emotion weighing on Abilene and it would win her an Oscar were it not such a strong category this year.

Will Win: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

It has been about 20 years since Meryl Streep last won Academy Gold, but her amazing transformation into the iconic Margret Thatcher has caused a staggering amount of buzz. As mentioned, it is a very talented category this year, but it seems highly likely that Streep will walk away with gold for the first time since 1982.

BEST ACTOR

Should Win: George Clooney, The Descendants

He plays a wealthy man who has to not only deal with the fact his wife is in a coma she will never wake up from, but he also learns that she has been having an affair. Clooney handles this complex character very well and gives an outstanding performance – he more than deserves the win.

Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

 

I do not think that Dujardin is deserving of the award at all, I only predict he will win based on the fact that the film and his performance has garnered so much attention, and wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards and SAG Awards make his win seem, sadly, inevitable.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Should Win: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

 

While I certainly did not enjoy Bridesmaids nearly as much as a lot of people, I do think that McCarthy’s performance was truly amazing, and after she was snubbed for a nomination at the Golden Globes I am very glad she is in the running for the Academy Awards. Sadly, the Academy is historically known for not awarding comedy; so do not expect to see her take home a win.

Will Win: Octavia Spencer

After years of small but memorable roles in film and television Octavia Spencer looks to receive recognition. Especially after wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, and SAG Awards, her performance as the strong and feisty Minnie, Spencer is the favourite to win.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Should & Will Win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Christopher Plummer has been commonly looked at as one of the most talented actors alive today without an Academy Award. But with his performance as the elderly father who comes out as a gay man to his son at 82 years-old, only to be diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly afterward, would seem to be the performance that wins him an Oscar.

BEST DIRECTOR

Should & Will Win: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

There is very little doubt in my mind that the masterfully crafted 3D family film, Hugo, will result in Scorsese taking home his second Academy Award for Best Director.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Should & Will Win: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

For his charming and enthralling story, intriguing characters and engaging dialogue, Mr Allen is considered by most to have this category in the bag.

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Should & Will Win: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

With a recent win in the same category at the WGA Awards this well-adapted screenplay filled with rich characters it seems highly likely this writing team will walk away with gold.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Should Win: Kung Fu Panda 2

The first film is one of my favourite animated films, and Po’s second adventure seemed to have a darker tone and felt a little more grown up in a lot of ways. In a year where for the first time in a while no Pixar films are nominated, the lovable Panda might just pull it off.

Will Win: Rango

It was visually stunning; slightly head scratching; and it had some extraordinarily well-written scenes. Not to mention the film tipped its cowboy hat to the traditional western – nods to the past seem to be very in fashion this year, so it definitely has that going for it. Gore Verbinski’s Rango is the more artistic choice, and seems most likely to take the gold.

So there are my picks and predictions. Please feel free to sound off in the comments or talk to me @CDWB on Twitter about your thoughts regarding the winners come the February 26th ceremony.

 

COLT.

My 10 Best Films of 2011

•December 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

So here are my picks for best films of 2011. Now these are the films I enjoyed most and not the films that were necessarily the best critically.  So here we go.

10. Final Destination 5

The Final Destination films are up there as some of my guiltiest pleasures. After the truly terrible fourth film which had little to no redeeming qualities, I was incredibly sceptical of this film. However, the film was thrilling, shocking and hilariously entertaining.

9. Kung Fu Panda 2

The first Kung Fu Panda film is one of my favourite animated films ever. The second instalment doesn’t quite live up to first film – partly due to a change of director and subsequently the tone of the film – but it is still fantastic in it’s own right.

8. The Help

I am obsessed with Emma Stone and I’ll admit that was the only reason I was interested in this film. However, after seeing the first trailer I was interested in it for it’s heart felt yet amusing tone. The film had me sobbing several times and is sure to drum up plenty of awards buzz.

7. Scream 4

The first Scream film in years was like putting on that most comfortable of hoodies that you haven’t worn in a long time. It has everything that made the first three wonderful, and it is so rewarding to see the old gang back together again, and the traditional reveal of who is behind the Ghost-face mask twist ending is equally rewarding.

6. Super 8

J.J. Abrams is my idol; he has the career I hope to have in ten years. He has a very distinctive style to the films and television he directs and writes. And his stamp is definitely all over Super 8 – most notably the lens flares, which show up in his Star Trek adaptation and his television work with Fringe. With the added guidance of Steven Spielberg the film is a huge sci-fi hit.

5. Jane Eyre

Being a huge fan of the novel the film is adapted from I was very excited about the latest in a long line of adaptations. The film captures the hopeless feeling and stunning imagery of the novel and boasts an outstanding cast lead by Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska, Dame Judi Dench, and the standout star of 2011 Michael Fassbender.

4. Rio

The most underrated animated film of the year is a colourful collage of birdlife dancing and singing in Brazil. The Hollywood Foreign Press overlooked the film, but I sincerely hope that come the Academy Awards that mistake is rectified.

3. Friends With Benefits

I had absolutely no expectations going into this film, only the promise of an Emma Stone cameo and the direction of Easy A (my best film of last year) director Will Gluck. However, the film is absolutely hysterical adult fun and Justin Timberlake is becoming a surprisingly good acting force.

2. X-Men: First Class

After the debacles that were X-Men The Last Stand and X-Men Origins Wolverine there were many fans who had lost their lustre for the X-Men films series. However, after the director of the first two films Bryan Singer re-joined as producer and Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn joined as director, hopes were higher. Copious film-series continuity errors aside the film was a huge triumph.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

The final instalment in the decade long film series was moving, exciting and magnificently made was easily the most anticipated and enjoyable this year – not to mention it’s the highest grossing film of the year.

 

So there we go, my favourite films this year. Bear in mind I have not seen most of the films released in November and December.

For a look at all the films from this year take a look at Cinema 2011 by the incredibly talented Kees Van Dijkhuizen.

Feel free to let me know what your favourite films were in the comments or let me know @CDWB on Twitter.

[the films of] Pixar Animation Studios – Kees van Dijkhuizen

•July 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have mentioned Kees on my blog before and I highly recommended his work. And now with his latest instalment in his [the films of] series he has outdone himself.

This latest instalment focuses on the creative gold of Pixar. His video capture perfectly the feeling and tone that is Pixar. It is exciting, funny and most importantly moving.

A new [the films of] is released on the last Friday of every month and once more I highly recommend Kees’ work and encourage you to have a look at some of his previous videos. You can find more on Kees van Dijkhuizen here; view his YouTube Channel here; or follow him @keesvstheworld on Twitter.

Let me know what you think of Kees and his latest video in the comments or talk to me @CDWB on Twitter.

COLT.

iRecommend: Alphas

•July 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well hi there, it has been a fair while since I made a post. A little because I’ve had a terrible internet connection the last couple of months but also been lazy 😉 But anyway I am back and will be endeavouring to provide entertaining and informative posts on a regular basis.

To start off I would like to make a recommendation. I recently began watching a new series title Alphas. Essentially the show is like a cop procedural show set in and around New York City. The catch is that these investigators are extraordinary individuals with special abilities.

To be honest the only reason I was interested in this show was because of the super-power aspect. I’m a complete sucker for a good special ability. I adored Heroes and I thought the short lived No Ordinary Family was awesome. And while Alphas is most definitely different from both those shows it still has interesting people with more interesting powers.

I had not heard of a single one of the actors or actresses who star in Alphas but they mostly do a very good job. David Strathairn plays the guiding fatherly role as a Dr. Rosen, who specialises in the alpha phenomenon. His team is made up of five alphas who have their own strengths and weaknesses as characters. My personal favourite team member is Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) who has the ability to enhance her senses. She is both reserved and caring and I am very interested to see how she develops as the series progresses.

Ryan Cartwright as Gary concerns me slightly. He has the ability to see and interact with wireless signals. He is also autistic I think, he is certainly not all there. It could be sweet or endearing – and I think that’s what the creative team was aiming for – but I think he comes across as a petulant and spoiled toddler, and to be honest a little irritating. I’m hoping he’ll grow on me as the series progresses.

Regardless, the team is very interesting as a dynamic. They work together with the government and law enforcement to help solve cases that seem to have elements that could lead to an alpha individual. The action is very gripping and the effects are very cool, but more importantly the characters – Gary, and possibly Bill, aside – are engaging and likeable.

I have high hopes for the rest of the season, even more so because it appears one of my favourite actresses is set to guest-star later in the season. Summer Glau is fast becoming a geek goddess with roles in Firefly, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse and Chuck. And now she will guest on a superhero cop show 🙂

Anyway, if you’re still unsure whether or not you’re going to give Alphas a chance here is a promo shown at this year’s Comic-Con:

If you’ve watched the show tell me your thoughts on it in the comments or @CDWB on Twitter.

COLT.

Glee Report: Prom Queen

•May 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ok, I’d like to apologize for the missed episode last week, but I just couldn’t find the motivation to get it done. After “Born This Way”, which was one of the best episodes of the season, “Rumours” was bitterly disappointing. Unfortunately “Prom Queen” was equally as unfulfilling for me. It definitely had it’s moments, but as a whole I feel it’s yet another episode that could be used as an example of poorly thought out writing from Team Glee.

The episode starts with Figgins hiring the New Directions to perform at their own prom.  This ultimately brings up issues for Mercedes because she has no date. Rachel has a rare moment of human kindness and concocts a plan for a three-way date (not that dirty) with Sam.

In another bit of prom drama, Kurt asks Blaine to the prom – bringing up past issues for Blaine. Yet, Kurt naively thinks things are going to be fine and there won’t be repercussions to a gay couple at a high school prom. But we’ll get to that later.

One of my favorite scenes from the episode was the “sacred inner-sanctum that is the prom gown dry-run”. Some great moments for Kurt, Lauren and Santana (“Go with God, Satan- I mean Santana” 🙂 hahaha) This scene leads into the concept of the protective detail on Kurt by the Bully Whips.  This leads to yet more phenomenal Santana gems and a really nice moment between Kurt and Karofsky as he breaks down for a moment and truly apologizes to Kurt.

One of the more annoying sub-plots was Artie trying to win back Brittany. His song to Brittany was just awful; his scene with Sue was damn awful! Can we just toss Artie off the top of a high building already? He is quite possibly the most annoying character on television at present.

Speaking of annoying, lets talk Rachel’s love life. I remember loving Jesse as a character – and while his entrance in the episode was stunning, I found myself (several times throughout the episode) wanting to strangle him with that stupid little scarf.  The four-way date between Jesse, Rachel, Sam and Mercedes was so uncomfortable. Fin just annoys me at all times so naturally the Fin jealousy thing was ridiculous and Rachel’s longing looks at Fin during her prom performance had me gagging a little.

Ok, I guess it’s time to broach the Rebecca Black issue. Why did you do this to me Glee? Why? I am slightly at a loss for words that this truly terrible song could be performed on Glee without some joke or tongue-in-cheek attitude behind it. All I can say is that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the original.

The little moment between Sam and Mercedes during Rachel’s “Jar of Hearts” performance made me smile, but I really hope they don’t end up as a couple.

I actually felt a little bad for Quinn and her whole Prom Queen aspirations. It seemed really shallow but because it’s more about her clinging to the moment that will never really happen I felt a twinge of pity.

Well the King and Queen were announced and it was…Dave Karofsky and…Kurt Hummel. Yup, they went there. It was a lot irritating that they made the moment about all the Prom Queen applicants instead of just Kurt. But when he overcame it and took the stage with a triumphant “Eat your heart out Kate Middleton” it was just fantastic.

The final moments of the episode were very sweet and well done. Now onto the music, here are my ratings:

  • Rolling in the Deep: A
  • Isn’t She Lovely: F
  •  Friday: D
  • Jar of Hearts: C
  • I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You: B
  • Dancing Queen: B

So what were your thoughts on “Prom Queen”? Leave a comment or talk to me @CDWB on Twitter.

COLT.

iRecommend: Kees van Dijkhuizen

•May 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So I figured it was time for another recommendation.

Should you find yourself with free time on your hands I really think you should have a look at Kees van Dijkhuizen. He is a young editor from the Netherlands who posts a number of compilation videos on YouTube.

My favourites are the ‘Cinema’ series; which is a look back at the year’s films. He has recently started a new series called ‘The films of’ which are also fantastic.

Please do have a look at these, he is just so talented!

If you’ve watched the videos tell me your thoughts on it in the comments or @CDWB on Twitter.

COLT.

Shotties 2011: Ralph

•May 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This may be a bit of a deviation from the theme of my blog, but I thought I would share it anyway.

This is the film I wrote and directed for the University of Cape Town’s Shotties Short Film Competition 2011. I submitted a screenplay to the theme of ‘It Came from the Cape’ which was selected by a panel to be produced. I was then assigned a group who helped me bring my script to life.

The film was screened to an audience and judges on the night of May 6th; and while I didn’t win I still had a lot of fun making this film and am very proud of it. So without further adieu I present to you all “Ralph”:

Tell me what you think of it in the comments or @CDWB on Twitter

COLT.

Glee Report: Born This Way

•April 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In true inconsistent form, Glee has recovered from the last week’s painfully average episode. This week’s episode was funny and moving and the musical numbers were mostly top grade and to make things even better it was an extra long episode. Even with the extra time, it was one of those rare episodes that you wish would never end.

The episode was themed around – as the title suggests – Lady Gaga’s smash hit “Born This Way”. I am a Gaga fan through and through so I could not wait for this episode.

To start the story ball rolling we have the New Directions having a dance practice session, which results in the ever-bumbling Fin breaking the very Jewish nose of Rachel. This leads to a dodgy doctor (who performs plastic surgery on his own children!!) suggesting Rachel get some ‘vanity surgery’.

Cue the discussion on self-esteem issues, lead by Santana. I just need to say that Santana is quite possibly my favourite character on this show right now; she has all the biting words of Sue Sylvester and Lauren Zizes combined and Naya Rivera is the hottest actress on the show. I could go on and on about Santana, but so much happened in this episode I’ll just have to move on. So Santana points out some obvious flaws from Sam’s ‘trouty mouth’ to Fin’s “weird puffy pyramid nipples” (hahahaha :)) in a hilarious fashion. And don’t lie and say you found it offensive, you were all smiling; I on the other hand was laughing myself to tears.

Naturally Will get’s on his high horse and is somehow shocked that teenagers have insecurities.  He airs these thoughts to Emma over some neatly polished grapes, and she inadvertently gives him the inspiration for the week. GAGA!

As mentioned I worship the moments Santana in on screen and her little realization that Karofsky is gay was fantastic. From the inner monologue, to the wildly entertaining scene in the coffee shop (“The only straight I am is straight up bitch” :)), to being responsible for the return of Kurt to McKinley; Santana rocked the foundations of the Glee universe this week.

Now, as much as I’d like to think the episode revolved around Santana alone, that is not the case. We also bore witness to a brutal battle over the Prom Queen crown that gave Miss Zizes another chance to shine and revealed that Quinn was not always so beautiful.

Speaking on Quinn’s beauty, Rachel’s entire story was yet more envy over Quinn. It did lead to some wonderful musical numbers including the moving mash up ‘Unpretty/I Feel Pretty’ and the Barbra-vention flash mob of Duck Sauce’s ‘Barbra Streisand’.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of Finn. He’s a bumbling buffoon, looks constantly awkward and his voice is frankly irritating to me. So while his number with Mike was entertaining enough, it didn’t blow my hair back the way some of the other numbers did.

I’ve briefly mentioned Karofsky, but I think he needs to be elaborated on. He’s flourished into an interesting character. Yes, he was pretty much blackmailed into change; but I actually believe that he has turned a new leaf. Oh and the little montage of slushies was so funny.

“Kurt Hummel is back at McKinley!” That’s right people; feel free to celebrate at inappropriately high volumes 😉 It was great to see Kurt back in the choir room performing his best ballad. This means, for now, we say goodbye to the Warblers. I’m not too upset by that, especially because we’ll be seeing Blaine again soon I’m sure, and he’s the only warbler who really matters.

Emma has been a favourite of mine since the first episode, and I love that her OCD is being given the attention it deserves. It’s been treated like just a joke for so long. And even though I thought Will was a little bit scary when he was trying to forced blueberries down Emma’s throat, I thought her scene at the therapist was so wonderfully moving.

The t-shirts for the ‘Born This Way’ performance were so amazing, as was the performance in general. It just made me smile; the song really was made for Glee. And, of course, the little moment of Santana in the audience wearing the ‘Lebanese’ shirt was great.

With that, onto the music. Here are my ratings:

  • Unpretty/I Feel Pretty: A
  • I Gotta Be Me: C
  • Somewhere Only We Know: B
  • As If We Never Said Goodbye: B
  • Barbra Streisand: A
  • Born This Way: A

So what were your thoughts on “Born This Way”? Leave a comment or talk to me @CDWB on Twitter.

Glee Report: Night of Neglect

•April 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

So after a month of waiting Glee has returned! Unfortunately the show’s return was far from triumphant for me. The plot seemed so incredibly thin and to be honest a little annoying.

The introduction of ‘The Braniacs’ was unfathomably dumb. Artie, Tina, Mike and Brittany as an academic team? Really? Oh and the show they go on is called ‘The Smartypants Show’? My eyes were rolling so much I got a bit dizzy for a second.

Then there was the ‘League of Doom’ sub-plot. I really like the idea behind it; it had the potential to be so funny and entertaining. The introductory segment where Sue explains her motives and goals was mostly pretty good. Although, is it just me or is the whole ‘Sue flipping between being best buds with Will, to hating Will, to being best buds with Will again, to oh look she hates Will again’ getting a little old. The rest of the encounters between Sue and her henchmen were actually hilarious – Sue had some very good lines this episode. Dustin was so sleazy and gross, oh and unbelievably funny. Sandy unfortunately lacked a little something like, I don’t know, a three dimensional personality.

On that note I want to say that I really love Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly Holiday but she was just not right this episode. Her story was nowhere near as interesting as I thought it would be. She introduces the concept of the ‘Night of Neglect’ which I thought was pretty stupid, and she had hardly any memorable lines. She did, however, perform an amazing cover of Adele’s ‘Turning Tables’.

The return of Charice as Sunshine was as disappointing as the episode as a whole. It made very little sense to me, and the song she sang was good but not great. She pops up for a performance and then disappears again, taking her 600 twitter followers with her.

I really don’t have much to say about Mercedes’ diva plotline except that it was unbelievably pathetic. I loved Lauren’s part in it, mostly because I find her character so entertaining, but overall it was annoying.

I was so glad to hear that the sham of a marriage between Emma and Carl is finally done. And the scene between Emma and Will in the teacher’s lounge was so sweet.

There was nice bit of foreshadowing with Kurt, when he fondly shows Blaine around his old school. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be back at McKinley soon. This little walk lead to yet another run in with closet case Karofsky for Kurt. However, it was Santana to the rescue. I must say I am LOVING Santana more and more every week I see her.  And the way she took down Karofsky had me smiling from ear to ear.

Onto the Night of Neglect itself, and might I just point out how unbelievably unrealistic it is that only Blaine and Kurt would show up to support the New Directions. What about Bieste, or Emma, or any of the kids parents? You’d think I’d stop being surprised at the number of plot holes the Glee writing team leave gaping in clear view, but it still shocks me from time to time.

I did not appreciate the hecklers ruining what looked like the beginnings of the rare good performance from Tina. I love Lykkie Li, the arrangement looked good and Tina’s voice was good. I personally was offended by little Becky having to hurl insults and mild profanities at anyone, it’s just so wrong.  And, of course, this all lead to yet more bad acting from Jenna Ushkowitz.

The dance number by Mike was really good and I love that song – I’d never heard it before and I downloaded it soon after.

I have a feeling that the segment with Holly talking to the hecklers about cyber bullying was a direct dig at some of the less enthused Glee fans who have been harsh online.

I won’t lie, I was sad to see Holly go. I knew Gwyneth wouldn’t be around very long because she’s a big movie star and not ready to settle down in TV land, but it still hurt. Thankfully the door was left open when Will asked if she’d come back and visit and she responded with her typical “I thought you’d never ask”. I got a little misty eyed I’m not entirely ashamed to say. And as sad as it is it does leave the door open for the long awaited Will and Emma relationship – but knowing Glee there will undoubtedly be an incredibly unrealistic break-in-continuity type obstacle come next week.

The episode ends with Sandy funding the New Directions and the Braniacs in full; followed by Sue resting her hopes on the ‘shrew’ Terri.

So on to the music. Here are my ratings.

  • All By Myself: C
  • I Follow Rivers: D
  • Bubble Toes: B
  • Turning Tables: A
  • Ain’t No Way: B
Next week is the 90 minute “Born This Way” Gaga extravaganza. I personally have high hopes 🙂

So what were your thoughts on “Night of Neglect”? Leave a comment or talk to me @CDWB on Twitter.

iRecommend: The L Word

•April 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So I have just (not 2 minutes ago) finished the last episode of one of the greatest shows ever. That show is the wildly popular and provocative, The L Word.

The show centers around a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles, and follows their lives and loves. The show has created some of the most memorable characters on TV – Dana(Erin Daniels), Alice (Leisha Hailey), Bette (Jennifer Beals), Shane (Katherine Moennig), and of course the infamous Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner). The show ran for six wonderful seasons, from 2004 until 2009, on the Showtime network

I personally came to the L Word party a bit late, I only started watching it the end of last year, but I found it to be a remarkable piece of television. The stories were fascinating and compelling and the characters immensely entertaining. The first season was without doubt the best in my humble opinion, it was new and fresh and the plot-line was at it’s most artistic and gripping in the beginning. That’s not to take anything away from the other five seasons, which were fantastic.

While a lot of people may be drawn into watching the show because of the lesbian novelty, one of the show’s strengths is the fact that the stories and characters are phenomenal. It’s the quality of show that I think would have been just as entertaining and popular had it been about heterosexual couples.

I don’t know what else to tell you about this show – it’s funny, and sexy, and moving, and thrilling, and just so damn good! So go watch it people! Right now! Go! 🙂

If you’ve watched the show tell me your thoughts on it in the comments or @CDWB on Twitter.

 

COLT.