Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Now Playing: Edge of Tomorrow

Why is it that Tom Cruise gets so many good goddamn movies?  His agent must be phenomenal.  But, I won't repeat myself, as I've talked about this before.

Enter: Edge of Tomorrow.

A film that uses many video game images (Jim Raynor's skull helmet in Starcraft, Cloud Strife's sword in Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear's exoskeletal suits....) and then does what most video games shy away from: put them on a woman.  There are notable exceptions (Metroid and Mass Effect among them), but rare.  The real hero in this story is the Rita Vrataski, the Angel of Verdun or the Full Metal Bitch, depending on who you ask.  Ably played by Emily Blunt, Rita is simply amazing.  She's tough, smart, quick, and brave.  She drags Cruise's Bill Cage along with her, chagrined that his cowardice rewards him with the gift of time travel.  She makes hard decisions, sacrifices herself over and over (and over!) again.  She is, simply put, awesome.  The kind of poster-hero that every little girl or boy can look up to.

Aside from the one lingering question, at the very end, which Jadek and I worked through on our quick walk home, the plot and pacing is solid.  A nice rental, if you don't want to waste warm spring afternoons inside a chilly theatre.  4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Now Playing: Maleficent

I've been waiting for Maleficent for what seems like ages!  I mean, it combines so many things I love: Angelina Jolie, a "true evil" villain in the titular character, reverse storytelling, special effects, fantasy, an amazing title song...sigh. So, I had high hopes.

The only real disappointing part was just how short the movie was! Clocking in at only 97 minutes, I felt there was so much more we could have explored ...alas.

What there was of it, was beautiful.  It made the little girl inside me very happy indeed.  4 out of 5 stars.

And for your aural pleasure, Lana Del Ray's Once Upon a Dream, below.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Now Playing: X-Men: Days of Future Past

100-word review!

I liked X-Men Days of Future Past a lot; it did a pretty good job retconning all the previous movies.  Left some good questions to chew on too – like, how did Professor X recover after his adventures in X3? And what happens to all those timelines after the last scene? I really enjoy the star-studded cast, the insane amount of cameos, the subtle nods for long-time fans… really, any movie with a lineup that includes McAvoy, McKellan, Stewart, Fassbender, Lawrence, Jackman, Berry, Paquin, Dinklage, Ashmore, Page... pretty much unstoppable.  It was great; you will have to see the other five movies to really get everything out of it though.  4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now Playing: Godzilla

Sixty years ago, Ishiro Honda’s iconic classic Godzilla (or, more accurately, Gojira) came out.  The King of Monsters has reappeared dozens of times since, sometimes serious, sometime silly, every time entertaining.

Flash forward to 2014, and Godzilla is back on screen.  Having watched the one remade in the 1998, (which was a straight-up monster movie with heroic humans), I was pleasantly surprised by the movie’s more serious turn as well as its indictment of WMDs, human hubris, and the general attitude of “shoot-first, investigate-later”.  I didn’t expect science (science!) to be a factor and I certainly didn’t expect a coherent storyline, but both were present and accounted for. Not to mention a cast of very capable actors, with Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, and Juliette Binoche adding their usual panache.

I won’t go into too many details, because spoilers would actually ruin the movie.  Suffice it to say that if you’re Sci-Fi geek, you’ll love it.  3.5 out of 5 stars.  (And while the trailer is good, it was the teaser that got me going)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Now Playing: The Amazing Spiderman 2

We went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 a couple of weeks ago.  I do love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – they have great chemistry.  The movie, overall, was okay, but I felt it was a little slow.  I expect that from origin stories, but sequels should slip along at a fairly rapid pace.    It suffers from too many villains (see Batman Forever) and not enough time to give them the screen time needed to, well, care.  Castling was pretty much spot-on, but we saw entirely too little of everyone to really see the benefits of it.  And that Twilight-esque passage of time bit?  Schmaltz!

I guess Captain America is still too fresh on the brain.  I’m giving this a 3 out of 5 stars, based on special effects, cinematography, and casting alone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Now Playing: Transcendence

I watched Transcendence over three weeks ago – sorry for being so late.  It was okay, but nothing mind-blowing.  I found HAL so much creepier.

It did spark a debate on whether one would choose to “live” eternally as a computer on a massive hard drive somewhere, if one could.  Also, as an extension of that question, what make a human, "human"? If you cut off my arms and legs, I’m still human.  What if you cut off my stomach too?  What if I’m just a brain/stem combo – still human? Robocop kinda talked about this – but he had a few meat organs left.  What if I all I have are the unique chemical composition of my brain and the electrical synaptic responses therein?

Dark thoughts for a Spring day.

Oh!  2.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Now Playing: Muppets Most Wanted

Indulged in my inner child in some Muppet mania with Muppets Most Wanted. Yes, the plot was thin and the cameos bordered on overkill, but it was what Muppets do best - funny and cute.  No secret that I'm a fan of Kermit - maybe it's because he's so earnest or that he loves the impossible Miss Piggy or his unfailing loyalty.  I don't know.  I like him a lot.  Seeing a mean Bizarro-Kermie? Pretty awesome!

My favourite moment has to be the green piglet and the pink tadpole, though.  Probably not worth going to the theatre - I'd even say it's a bit too slow for kids.  But it's a nice trip down nostalgia lane. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

For some bonus fun, check out:
Gordon  Ramsay v Swedish Chef 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Now Playing: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, and I’m not sure why.  Last Sunday, we went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier in IMAX 3D (if you’re going to do to 3D, poppets, take it from this veteran: only bother if it’s in IMAX).  This is the second Captain America movie (and I must have not liked Cap; The First Avenger very much at all, as I didn’t even bother to review it) and the ninth Avengers movie in the series.  We should be getting tired of these by now, but they just seem to be getting better and better.

Case in point: TWS is really good.  I mean, really good. Yes, yes – action sequences, special effects, yaddayadda is all good. Pretty great, actually.  Especially on that crisp IMAX 3D screen.  But that’s to be expected.  What makes this one really good is script and, yes, acting.  I really felt for the Captain (something I was missing in the first one) and the Big Bad is the kind of antagonist I like: many shades of grey*. There are so many spoilers if I try to talk about this topic, so I’ll expound below.

Needless to say, it’s a good movie.  4 out of 5 stars.
*I hate that the phrase “shades of grey” has been co-opted by mediocre erotica.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

new look

Have decided to enter the Web2.0 era (just as 3.0 is getting going) and reformat the blog to fit more naturally on widescreen monitors.  While it is a bit of an adjustment (I do miss that black background...), I think it's time.  No need to be alarmed.  Same old me, just a different skin.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Now Playing: 300: Rise of an Empire

Wow.  I actually completely forgot we had watched 300: Rise of an Empire, like two weeks ago.  That's a statement unto itself.  So, what do I actually remember? umm...

Eva Green! Oh yes, she had the hottest costumes. Her battle armour had these fantastic golden spinal ridge-horn-dealies that actually had a defensive purpose!  And she was a wicked marksman, which meant her bow was elaborate and goth-ish.  Oh, and her "off-duty" "dress"?  Several leather strips that hid everything but gave her complete mobility.  drooool.  She also had the best lines.  Anyway - that's what I remember most.

 The rest is pretty much a blur of abs.  That's sad.  Oh, and the lack of anything remotely historical.  As we learned from Spartacus, when it's bloody and believable?  The combination is, simply, thrilling.

So, I guess I can't do anything but give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.  Anything more would be a lie.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Now Playing: Veronica Mars

It’s funny, I never did share my love of Veronica Mars with you, poppets, via a dedicated post.  I mean, I’ve mentioned the show in passing, but haven’t had an ode to it like I have with others, and that’s okay.  That may change this summer.  After watching the movie, I’ve developed an itch to rewatch the show in its entirety.

The movie was like a really good, double-part episode.  Right down to not tying up all the loose ends and hinting to what’s coming up in the future.  The mystery is good, pacing is good… it’s all good.  The actors slipped right back into their roles , too.  No awkwardness there.  It’s great to see father and daughter reconnect (my favourite father-daughter relationship on TV, actually).  And LoVe? They’re perfect.

All in all: 4 out of 5 stars.  But if you’re not a fan – don’t even bother.  The movie will make so sense and half the dialogue quips will be lost.

Friday, March 07, 2014

oscars 2014

For the first time since we've made the Oscars a betting event, I actually won.  (the first year, my dad won, and he made the picks according to “the sound of the titles”…go figure). The difference this year is instead of choosing with my heart, I picked things that the Academy would choose.  The two categories I really went with my gut – Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay – I lost. So, there you have it.

For a recap, here you are:

The BIG SIX (a nice mix)
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Directing: Gravity
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o

Hard-to-find-in-theatre Awards
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Animated Feature: Frozen 
Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot
Best Live Action Short Film: Helium
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Creative Awards
Best Original Score: Gravity
Best Original Song: Frozen (Her was robbed…)
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Screenplay: Her

Technical Awards (a sweep!)
Best Film Editing: Gravity (Alfonso CuarĂ³n, Mark Sanger)
Best Sound Editing: Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity
Best Visual Effects: Gravity
Best Cinematography: Gravity

Production Awards (no surprises)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club
Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby
Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby

The real winner though? Ellen DeGeneres.  She broke Twitter with that selfie (product placement as an art), ordered pizza (which the glitterati actually ate), and was cute-and-cuddly.  I mean, she wasn't mean like Gervais, or risky like McFarlane, or even as witty as the Fey/Poehler 1-2 knockout, but she made me laugh and made 3 hours go by at a good clip.

Plus, I made $30 and learned how to spell BennyCumby's name.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Now Playing: Nebraska

Finally - the ninth and final movie on the Best Pics list: Nebraska.  It was a slow piece, lots of pauses and long stares.  your typical Oscar fare.  Bruce Dern was pretty good, but in watching him do the talk show rounds, I felt it was just an exaggerated version of himself.  Will Forte?  I've seen that earnest character on lots of SNL skits too. The best of the bunch had to be June Squibb, the cantankerous  wife who was equal parts valkyrie, bitch, and faithful partner.  I kinda liked her.  As a movie?  3.5 out of 5 stars - a rental.  Would I have bothered to watch it if it weren't nominated?  Nope.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rob Thomas' birthday weekend

I have a long-standing abhorrence of Valentine's Day.  I won't retread old ground, but suffice it to say, I'm not one to make a big deal of Vday.  Here's how I spent my Friday night: I was killing time, waiting for Jadek, wandering about SqOne.  I haven't been to the mall for quite some time and it didn't take long for its effects to take its toll.  I felt ugly.  So I bought myself a delicious MAC lipstick (Dark Side) and too many creams at Clinique (I like them, but I had a resolution to stick with drug store creams this year... poof).  I found jeans on sale at Ricki's (a store I adore) and tried them on.  I have been envious of girls wearing their boots over top of their jeans - I have many boots but they're always hidden under my sensible boot-cuts.  Anyway, I tried on these "skinny" jeans and lo!  they fit!  5 inches smaller around the waist than the ones I had on!  ...what... Obviously I bought two pairs of those.  Feeling sufficiently assuaged, I decided stop tempting myself.

I had scoped a great table, so I guarded it with my backpack while getting caught up on life.  Read a great post by Elle, which makes me think I should rename Vday for me too.  Until I get a suitable replacement, hers will do. 

Finally, Jadek arrived and our "romantic" date had begun.  You know where you don't need a reservation on Valentine's Day?  The Food Court.  So, we had Taco Bell for dinner and it was fab.  Then we window shopped at the Microsoft store - there was indeed love that night, poppets.  I fell in love with the Windows Surface Pro 2.  The wise Jadek steered me out the front door and we watched the dance stylings of little kids playing with the MS Kinect.  On our way out of the mall, we passed an ice cream store and I remembered I had a coupon, so we got milkshakes to go.  Got home, changed into PJs and watched our weekly TV allotment.  Perfect.

But, you know, just because I think that February 14 is a viciously calculated plan to monetise affection, doesn't mean I have heart of stone.  So when Jadek showed up and gave me a single yellow rose, that he carefully carried all the way from his place (through tunnels! in snow!), I did melt, just a little.  I also told him this sets a high standard - because now I know that flowers are possible all the time and I have empty vases.

This weekend, we decided to avoid the ridiculous coupled crowds and do decidedly unromantic things - like lunch at Denny's and watching action flicks.  I even had plans to see friends (and new baby!) and then hang out with the family on Sunday.  And since he works Monday, despite it being a provincial holiday, this was just an ordinary weekend for us.  I think that's what it made it most special.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Now Playing: Robocop

A few caveats: I've never seen the orignal Robocop and I actually have no idea what it's about (other than the obvious cop who is robot aspect).  So, I settled into my traditional anti-VDay movie (more on this later) on Saturday Night, pretty much a blank slate.

Robocop, starring one of my favourite Swedes (Joel Kinnaman) and whole host of other famous faces, was pretty good.  Special effects are what you would expect in this movie.  Although, in trying to retain its PG-13 rating, a lot of the violence is completely sanitised.  I always question this move - I mean, just because there's no blood, doesn't make the acting of killing (en masse!) less violent.  If anything, I'd think that would be reason for a ratings hike, not the size of your Kensngton Gore budget. 
The plotline of having a LockheedMartin-esque company who wants to grow its market share by putting drones on American streets seems very believable.  The opening scene of "cooperation" is pretty much my favourite.  I also liked the grotesquery that is Alex Burphy's body.  A lot of philosophical questions occurred to me while watching: what makes us human?  how much of ourselves do we need to make us human? (I'm also watching Almost Human and it routinely deals with human/cyborg relations).  Can Alex Murphy ever be Alex Murphy again (will he play catch with his son/ snuggle with his wife?)... and where does that leave his wife/son?  It's macabre thought: to lose your beloved only to have him walk the streets and be a hero.

For allowing such discussions in the first place, I have to give Robocop 3 out of 5 stars

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Now Playing: The Lego(tm) Movie

I have to admit - I was pretty excited to see The Lego Movie.  I mean, it has Lego Batman, so already a win.  It was even better to see it will LilBro and MJ, who are Lego fans and who laughed out loud just as hard as I did. 

It had a great story (with a lovely lesson in "tipping the box"), fabulous voice actors, and excellent pacing.  I think it's mostly a movie for adults who used to play Lego and have sort of forgotten how to play at all. 

I loved the attention to detail - there was no cheating, everything used Lego (trees, rivers, clouds, steam, ... heck, even the bubbles in the shower).  Even the slow-mo scenes which feature a lot of fire and ammunition?  It all used lego flames and plastic lasers.  Awesome.

Oh, and speaking of awesome - the songs!  Everything Is Awesome is so fantastically tongue-in-cheek with its ridiculous hook and techno beats, it is stupidly catchy .  And then there's the full Batman-does-Death-Metal song during the credits.  Stay.  Watch it.

If you want a feel for the movie, check out the Behind The Bricks featurette. 

I will complain a little about the lack of female characters (because, it turns out, that even the females are controlled by boys) - Lego could do so much better appealing to girls, especially now with STEM learning making a huge splash.  It's too bad the only two "real" girls in the film are a disembodied mom who has dinner ready and a toddler who can only play with duplo. 

So, 3 out of 5 stars.  Take the kids and kids-at-heart.  And then dig out your old Lego to play.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Now Playing: Captain Phillips

The second of our double-feature: Captain Phillips.  I wasn't looking forward to watching this movie as I'm pretty much an anti-fan of Tom Hanks.  It also seemed to be another "isn't America great" movie and I'm really tired of those. 

I'll admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  CP was paced like an action movie, complete with nail-biting suspence.  It's too bad that we knew the Cap was going to make it, because that would have made it a little more compelling... alas, the constraints of non-fiction.  There was some attempt to illustrate the desperation which would drive young men into piracy, which I appreciated.  The real revelation, though, is the acting debut of Barkhad Abdi, who was pretty fantastic.  He was clearly the bad guy, but I was kinda cheering for him.  I mean, he led three guys with a motorboat and a soldered-together ladder and they were able to neutralise a twenty-man crew on a huge cargo ship.  And then, they took on not one, not two, but three US Navy ships.  I couldn't help but root for them a little, and hope they would make it out.  So well done.

But, it's still a rah-rah-Go-America movie with Tom Hanks playing every other role you've ever seen him in.  So, I can only really give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  Still a good movie.  Just not Oscar-calibre.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Now Playing: Philomena

Jadek and I set up a an unlikely double header: Philomena and Captain Phillips.  We are often guided by cinema availability more than appropriate viewings.  So, on a Saturday afternoon, after a delicious sushi lunch, we settled in.

First up: Philomena.  This is a movie I wouldn't have watched in the theatre - I would have preferred to watch this at home, with PJs and a cup of tea.  (if you can make tea happen with this, you should).  Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are a great pairing.  His quick wit and sharp tongue bleeds through the entire script; her gracious charm and character depth kept the entire story on an even keel.  It was actually quite riveting, as we were swept up in their journey along with them.  We didn't know - would she find him? what would he be like? Would they have a life together or would there have been too many years separating them?  It's a quietly impactful film, which deals with large issues of oppression and institutionalised corruption, but with a gentle hand.  I rather liked it and was surprised that I could laugh when dealing with things like stolen babies and indentured labour.

Watch it.  I think you'll like it.  4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Now Playing: 12 Years a Slave

I have to admit, I put off watching 12 Years a Slave as long as I could. I don't why I did - I knew it was going to be well done and I knew it was a front-runner for awards season.  I just... I don't know, I guess I worried that once I watched it, I would be spoiled for all others?

Poppets.  It was good.  I mean, everything was good - acting, directing, scripting, costumes... all of it.  I expected all of that.  What I didn't expect was to feel doubt.  I mean, I know it happened.  I don't doubt the veracity of history.  But it's just so crazy that you could be walking around free one day and in chains the next.  And I guess what happened was I started leaving the movie and thinking about how this still happens today, all over the world, especially to young women.  And maybe it was that train of thought that distracted me throughout the actual viewing.  None of that was the movie's fault though.  In fact, maybe that's one of its strengths, to tell a story so far removed from most of our experiences and still remain very relevant to us, today.

As I said, it was incredibly solid, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o doing amazing work.  The script also did a great job capturing the nuances of Yankee English and the southern drawl from the 1800's.  All very, very well done. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Now Playing: I, Frankenstein

It's not like we needed a dsitraction movie, but having watched five of nine Oscar Noms, Jadek and I decided on a palate cleanser.

I, Frankenstein (brought to you by the same people from the Underworld franchise, which I enjoy) had some potential.  Excellent source material, depth in casting, and CGI tech that's never been better.  I'm the kind of person that really likes when you take a classic and "reveal" other aspects.  But somehow, it didn't quite come together.  I think it maybe because of two big (bad) choices:

1) Casting Bill Nighy as the bad guy.  Again.  You know, I love Mr. Nighy, I really do, but he can't be the bad guy for every gritty fantasy world.  And he's already been a badass vampire.  (In a testament to his acting abilities, I think Mr. Nighy played the demon-prince role perfectly, with a balanced mix of detachment and cruelty.  It just seems like lazy casting, though.)

2) The demon make-up is completely uninspired, looking like a mild upgrade from the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I really expected much much more.  And the choice of gargoyles?  Okay - but aside from making the choice of gargoylke-as-good-guy, they did nothing with them.. 

I didn't expect much and I got even less.  So not worth it.  1 out of 5 stars; solely for the acting, with  Aaron Eckhart, Miranda Otto, and Bill Nighy doing the best they can with what they're given. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Now Playing: Her

(I've been busy watching seven Oscar noms and two distraction movies so now I'm super behind in reviews.  As a result - we get hundred-word reviews.  Let's face it - all Oscar noms are worth watching - you don't need me to tell you that, poppets.)

Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson’s voice, is an ode to the lonely void modern day humans who tend to fill with technology.  Well-acted and surprisingly engaging for a film that spends a lot of time of one-person conversations.  I’m not sure about Best Picture, but I can see why it received a Best Actor nomination.

The premise is really intriguing too and very believable, despite it being about AI evolving into sentience. and the technology makes me want to live in that near-future of seemingly low crime and fairly satisfying employment.  Should you watch it?  Of course!  and I think it would translate very well to the small screen,  4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Now Playing: Dallas Buyers Club

Matt McConaughey… when did he grow up?  Dallas Buyers Club has some of the best character performances I’ve seen in quite some time.  McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof and Jared Leto’s Rayon were truly a revelation – what these two men did to their bodies (they must have been on a subsistence diet for at least a month) is one thing; it was their expressions and emotion that took it to another level.  Leto was almost unrecognisable!  Everything (his walk, his voice, his makeup, his stature) was just perfect.

The story was compelling too and one that I think I knew, but didn’t really understand.  The privatisation of our health is such a disturbing trend.  I found it fascinating that things like “buyers’ clubs” could even exist, without it being outright illegal.  I have always found the North American pharma-industry to be unnecessarily biased against homeopathy.  DBC illustrates how Big Pharma hates things like vitamins and peptides, because they’re fairly accessible and easily made into generics.  Can plants and vitamins cure cancer?  No.  But can they make people more comfortable?  If the answer is even sometimes yes, what’s the problem?

Since the duration of the movies takes place in the late 80’s, there’s a parallel story about the AIDS epidemic and the societal implications of such a disease.  The cast of characters playing out that drama is also compelling.

All in all, a great movie.  4 out 5 stars.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Now Playing: American Hustle

Next up:American Hustle.  So, this is my favourite contender, thus far.  The acting - with all four categories covered (poor  Jeremy Renner, left out in the cold) by Bale, Adams, Cooper, and Lawrence - is just stellar.  Really incisive.  I'm amazed by the ability that Bale has to completely transform himself.  He's pretty distinctive, with his nose-mole, his lisp, and his funny jawline.  And yet, I see no Batman or Machinist or American Psycho.  Impressive. 

The storytelling is gripping, too, with twists and turns and laughs along the way.  You really don't know where you or the characters will end up.  I can't think of a flaw in this perfectly-paced movie, so I'm going out on a limb: 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Now Playing: The Wolf of Wall Street

Getting down to Oscar business!

First up is Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, a sordid tale of greed, excess, and filthy lucre that only could have happened in real life.  If it had been made up, people would have said that it was too over-the-top. At the helm: Leonardo DiCaprio, who left everything on the screen.  I'm not sure there was anything else he could have done to sell this character.  The ensemble cast is good too, with Jonah Hill being surprisingly grown-up, but they're all after-thoughts.  It's worth watching for Leo alone. 

It is a bit long in the tooth, clocking in at 180 minutes; and while there may be enough nudity, laughs, and suspence to get you  through it, you may feel the need to shower directly afterward.  4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Oscar noms

Poppets.  I cannot even tell you how far behind I am in getting through the 2014 Oscar Nominations.  Granted, a significant portion of the list only came out in the last month, but still.  The good news is that there's a lot of overlap between all the major categories.  Without further ado:

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity (the ONLY picture I've watched...sad)
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

And I'll need to watch Blue Jasmine and August: Osage County to cover off the Best Actress category.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Now Playing: 47 Ronin

Keanu Reeves made a movie.  If you know me at all, you know he's the star attraction at the Man Farm.  So, of course, I watched it.  And you know what?  It was decent.  I could have done without the Courtly Love story, but the action was good and the story was actually well-told.  It also had Rinko Kikuchi playing a deliciously evil witch.  She was fun and the melding of dress with dragon was quite beautiful.  Halloween costume!  Should you watch it?  Probably not unless you like either Keanu or Kung-Fu.  Fortunately, I like both.  An easy 3 out of 5 stars.