The Fishman Cometh: The Shape of Water wins Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards!

Winners

Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney, and Gary Oldman

It went off without a hitch!  This year, the Best Picture winner was Guillermo del Toro’s love story from the Black Lagoon, The Shape of Water.  We’re sure.  We checked the envelope.  Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were on hand again this year to present the big award as a do-over from last year’s infamous envelope gaffe.  The Shape of Water was the big winner of the night, picking up four awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Guillermo del Toro), Best Original Score, and Best Production Design.

McDormand -Oscars
Frances McDormand calling the female nominees to rise

 

The awards were spread around evenly to the Best Picture nominees, with the exception of Lady Bird. Greta Gerwig’s coming of age story set in 2002 Sacramento was nominated for five Oscars, and it did not win any. The people of the Internet are displeased. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won awards for Sam Rockwell as Best Supporting Actor and Frances McDormand as Best Actress.  McDormand gave a rousing speech asking all of the nominated females in all of the categories to stand up and be recognized.  She then challenged the studio heads and production companies to set a meeting with these women to tell their stories.

 

Peele - Oscars
Jordan Peele celebrating his Oscar win with presenter Nicole Kidman

Gary Oldman won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.  Oldman received a standing ovation from his peers as he walked to the stage to accept his award.  As is customary, he thanked his wife, his children, and mentioned his mother who will be 99 later this year. One interesting note: Oldman was previously married to another of the night’s nominee’s, Phantom Thread’s Lesley Manville. Allison Janney picked up the award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in I, Tonya, and thanked her avian costar for his help on the film.  Jordan Peele made history as the first African-American to win the award for Best Original Screenplay for his film Get Out.  I will admit, I was hoping that he would accept the film by doing his President Obama impression. Overall, the big prizes of the night went to the frontrunners.  The only surprises were that Icarus won for Best Documentary Feature and Blade Runner 2049 won the award for Best Cinematography.

Del Toro - Oscars
Guillermo del Toro

The other big winner of the night was Mexican and South American culture.  The Pixar animated film about Dia de los Muertos, Coco, won awards for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”). Mexican director Guillermo del Toro won the award for Best Director, as well.  The phrase “Viva la Mexico” was uttered more times than in any other Oscar telecast.  The winner of the Best Foreign Language Film was A Fantastic Woman from Chile, the first time Chile has won in this category and only its second nomination. This was Hollywood’s way of telling President Donald Trump where he could stick his wall.

Jet Ski
Helen Mirren on a Jet Ski with costume designer Mark Bridges

Ultimately, the show was a bit of a dud.  Jimmy Kimmel’s opening was bland and safe.  The only thing slightly edgy he said was the Oscar was the perfect man because in a post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood, a man who can keep his hands to himself and doesn’t have a penis is the best kind of man.  Other than that, it was highly unmemorable.  Throughout the show, things seemed to get progressively worse.  He decided to take a field trip with a group if 10-15 A list stars to the movie theater across the street.  The idea was to show the movie-going public the industry’s appreciation.  Like last year’s tourists who walked into the Dolby Theater, the bit fell flat and lasted far too long.  Kimmel also tried a bit where his 9 year-old self met the cast of Star Wars.  It was the most awkward two minutes of the show.  One ongoing gag that did work was the fact that Kimmel tried to get the night’s winners to keep their acceptance speeches short and sweet by telling them that the shortest speech would receive a Jet Ski.  Helen Mirren even came out to be the Price is Right-esque model and show it off while it spun around on a platform.  The winner of the Jet Ski, Mark Bridges, the costume designer of Phantom Thread with a speech that was 29 seconds long.

 

Moreno

Saint and Walken

The best part of the show was seeing Oscar winners of the past present several of the awards.  1954’s Best Supporting Actress winner for On The Waterfront, Eva Marie Saint presented the award for Best Costume Design, 1961’s Best Supporting Actress winner for West Side Story, Rita Morano (wearing the same dress that she wore to the Oscars when she won in 1962) presented the award for Best Foreign Language Film, and 1978’s Best Supporting Actor winner for The Deer Hunter, Christopher Walken presented the award for Best Original Score.  Due to allegations of sexual harassment, last year’s Best Actor winner, Casey Affleck declined the Academy’s invitation to present the award for Best Actress this year.  Instead, the award for Best Actress was presented by two-time Best Actress winner for The Accused and Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster and the Best Actress winner for Silver Liniings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence.  Not to be outdone, the Best Actor award was not presented by last year’s winner Emma Stone. It was instead presented by Hollywood royalty Jane Fonda (Best Actress winner for Klute and Coming Home) and Helen Mirren (Best Actress winner for The Queen).  Stone was given the honor of presenting the award for Best Director.

 

That’s it; I officially declare the 2017/2018 Awards Season closed!  What did you think of the show?  Were you hoping for a surprise ending like last year’s best picture mess-up?  Did you like Jimmy Kimmel?  Weren’t Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish the best part of the show?  Let us know what you think!  Leave us a comment below or contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

-Ariadne Ansbro

 

Full list of winners:

Shape of Water Oscar
The cast and crew of The Shape of Water

BEST PICTURE
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
WINNER: The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Oldman - Oscar
Gary Oldman

BEST ACTOR
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

BEST ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

BEST DIRECTOR
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Janney - Oscars
Allison Janney

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
WINNER: Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Ivory
James Ivory wins for Call Me By Your Name

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
WINNER: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory

The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
WINNER: The Shape of Water

CINEMATOGRAPHY
WINNER: Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Visual Effects
The visual effects team from Blade Runner 2049

VISUAL EFFECTS
WINNER: Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

COSTUME DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
WINNER: Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

SOUND EDITING
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049

WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

SOUND MIXING
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
WINNER: Dear Basketball

Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
WINNER: The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Desplat - Oscars
Alexandre Desplat wins for The Shape of Water

ORIGINAL SCORE
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
WINNER: The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

FILM EDITING
Baby Driver
WINNER: Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
WINNER:
 Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul

Wonder

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
WINNER: A Fantastic Woman, Chile
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Edith and Eddie
WINNER: Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
WINNER: Icarus
Last Man in Aleppo
Strong Island

Remember me
“Remember Me” from Coco

ORIGINAL SONG
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Mystery of Love,” Call Me By Your Name
WINNER: “Remember Me,” Coco
“Stand Up For Something,” Marshall
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
WINNER: Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

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MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017

Here it is, better late than never, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017. It was not a banner year for great movies but once the last quarter arrived, September through December ultimately redeemed 2017 and proved to be an ok year at the movies!        Here are the Ten Best of 2017 as seen by John David West:

1. Dunkirk


Witnessing Christopher Nolan’s latest experiment with time was initially frustrating, but ultimately mind-blowing. It was a unique cinematic experience making for a refreshing departure from the sappy Hollywood war film—or any predictable narrative, plot-driven movie. Nolan takes viewers through a turning point of WWII with an immersive experience on land, sea, and air, revealing the soldiers’ confusion, fear, and drive to survive. Their experience is the viewer’s experience and is historic and important from a cinematic perspective. Hans Zimmer’s score is equally effective as are incredible visuals by Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar).

2. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is at the top of his game with this beautifully conceived fairytale for adults. With exquisite art direction, fluid cinematography by Dan Laustsen, a dreamy score by Alexandre Desplat (The Tree of Life), and a strong performance by Sally Hawkins; the world that del Turo has created makes this film stand out as one of the most unique movies of 2017. One can’t help but think of the 1955 classic B-movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but this m/animal has more depth and love. And there’s a Good versus Evil element, with Good represented by characters on the margins of society.

3. Phantom Thread


Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a quiet mood piece that is beautifully styled, and artistically stylized. It’s lovely to look at, thanks to Anderson’s careful attention to detail in every shot. The cinematography—by Anderson himself—brings viewers in close contact with the fabric and feel of dresses as the characters make them. The score by Jonny Greenwood equally matches the lush visual textures seen on screen. This is a film involving three people: dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), and Reynolds’ lover, Alma (Vicky Krieps). All actors are as exquisite as the other elements of this film and delicately funny.

4. Call Me by Your Name

Is this the annual pretentious film appealing only to lovers of high art, beauty, language, and the finer things in life that elevate us? Those elements are all there in a multi-linguistic script that is balanced and restrained, thanks to Luca Guadagnino’s measured direction. The film’s elements are indeed beautiful (the “Somewhere in northern Italy” location, the actors, and the soundtrack), but above all, the film’s subject is universally relatable. No matter whom you love, the pain of love and loss sticks with you long after the film’s credits end—and what’s portrayed behind those final credits makes the film devastating and unforgettable.

5. I, Tonya

Movie snobs beware, Tonya Harding is the subject of a narrative film and it’s funny and campy, it winks at its audience in a faux documentary style, it’s a tragic comedy about a comically tragic event, and it’s damn good. When I first heard about I, Tonya, I thought, “oh hell yes, this will be a hoot to watch,” a hoot in the campy Lifetime movie sense—certainly not in the Academy Award level sense! Margo Robbie kills it as Tonya. We are with her—elevated with joy—when she triple axels her way to the top of the podium at the US Championships, and we feel the pain of a too harsh sentencing when she’s stripped of her US figure skating rights and never allowed to skate again. One can’t help but think, “Jesus, at least let her skate in an animal suit in Ice Capades; she’s not a child molester or a drug kingpin—it’s just ice-skating after all!” Allison Janney also kills as Tonya’s monstrous mother. For a film about a kooky moment in sports history that centers on a bunch of foolhardy “Boobs,” it’s impressive how moving I, Tanya is.

6. Get Out

get-out 2

Jordan Peele brilliantly takes the anxiety felt by American minorities and submerges it into a thriller to capture today’s racial tension. This multilayered horror, sometimes-comedy draws on the ever-present U.S. issues of black and white racial tensions and the legacies of American slavery. Peele makes us question where all the racists suddenly came from when Trump became President, folks who were previously silenced and muzzled by political correctness. Get Out is not only a good horror film—a difficult achievement in itself—it’s a film that will be remembered as an important movie that reflects the time in which it was made.

7. Florida Project

Florida Project 2

Sean Baker’s latest social-realistic film introduces viewers to another set of enigmatic characters who live on the fringe of society. Halley (Bria Vinaite) and her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) survive on the edge of homelessness in a motel called the Magic Castle, near Disney World. The exterior of the motel is a vibrant cheap purple, and this creates a delightfully colorful world in contrast to occupants’ poverty, but at the same time reflects the children’s joyous summertime play. The film easily brings back memories of those days of childhood wonder, regardless of one’s economic status or what neighborhood you grew up in. Their world contrasts sharply to Disney’s with its pricy fun far out of financial reach to many. Too obvious a metaphor? Perhaps, but watching these characters live makes the film remarkable.  Florida Project doesn’t have a deeply complicated plot and the mother doesn’t have a traditional character arc whereby she learns and grows—she’s a tragic figure. Above all Brooklynn Prince, whose naturalness infuses Florida Project with energy and charm, makes you want to keep watching her—and everyone—live and behave in their world.

8. Faces Places

Faces Places 5

At 89 years old Agnès Varda—a legend of the French New Wave—is still making movies, and this time she’s found sweet perfection as she teams up with 35 year old photographer, JR. Together they make for the most unlikely duo to entertain audiences in years. Faces Places is a road movie that travels through rural France and shows us the extraordinary beauty of seemingly ordinary people. And the movie may make a historic stamp on cinema when the father of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, makes the mother of the French New Wave cry—he doesn’t even appear in the movie and yet Goddard is still affecting cinema.

9. Good Time

Good Time 1

Who is that scruffy skinny actor so full of energy? Why it’s Robert Pattinson! He plays the worst brother a sibling could be cursed with, especially one who is mentally disabled. After a bank robbery that goes really bad, Connie’s (Robert Pattinson younger brother Nick (Benny Safdie one-half of the film’s brother directors) ends up in prison. Good Time has been compared to Martin Scorsese’s 1985 Tribeca odyssey After Hours. The comparison is certainly fair, only this NYC odyssey pushes it to full-throttle taking viewers in a rapid fire pace through Manhattan and God knows which borough of New York City.

10. mother!

mother! 2

Without a doubt mother! is the most polarizing film of the year. It pissed a lot of people off, made others laugh, and inspired endless “WTF” text messages upon its release. Once the allegory is clear, mother! sends your mind spinning. It’s an apocalyptic, biblical tale that layers on elements of war, invasion, and climate change, resulting in an experience that is disturbing, maddening, and sits with you for days. Michelle Pfeiffer delivers one of her best performances in years, and Jennifer Lawrence (this year’s Razzie nominee for worst actress), is well cast in one of her best role since Winter’s Bone.

Honorable Mention:

Blade Runner 21. Bladerunner 2049
2. Lady Bird
3. Coco
4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
5. Mudbound

Movie-Still Monday: The Book of Life

The Book of Life (2014)

From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. The Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, The Book of Life encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.
Written by 20th Century Fox

   
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The Cabinet of Curiosities and I: A Love Story

I have long since loved the work of Guillermo del Toro. For me, there is no other director that can do what he does. He is far more than a film director: he is a magician and an architect, designing fantastically immersive worlds that appeal to the child in us all. I remember being about thirteen years old when I first watched Pan’s Labyrinth, and I recall how it felt—like falling in love. He is horror personified.

And now, del Toro has given us perhaps his greatest gift yet, The Cabinet of Curiosities. It’s like Christmas Morning. This epic book—Bible, rather—is a personal tour around the mind of del Toro, from the man himself. From concept ideas that never came to fruition to the foundations of the films we know and love today, this treasure trove is insightful and awe-inspiring. The book includes a Burtonesque development of his creatures, beginning with sketches and messily-written notes in Spanish. His grotesque drawings burn with color and jump off the page like the ramblings of a madman. While it certainly cannot be said that del Toro is definitively sane, this book is evidence of his sharpness and prolific understanding of film. Quite frankly, it is not an overstatement to suggest a similarity to this and Da Vinci’s notebooks. We see his feral and ferocious curiosity and imagination in all these intimate notes, from his beginning works in his native Spanish like Cronos or The Devil’s Backbone to the modern blockbusters, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the Hellboy franchise.

Familiar images from Hellboy in his journal
“Biology is Horror.”[1] At the root of all of del Toro’s work is the idea that we are a grotesque species. Gil Grissom (yes, from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, please don’t judge me) famously said, “We stop looking for monsters under our beds when we realise that they are inside us all.” A statement that del Toro takes to heart. His understanding of the human condition, and the cruelty and horror that we are all capable of, is exactly what makes his films so touching—that behind the elaborate disguises and horrific makeup the real monsters are in his human characters. You see it in The Devil’s Backbone (fear not, I won’t spoil) and again in Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro is about so much more than horror and fantasy, for he does not seek to entertain us with a fairy spectacle. Instead, he asks us to look inside ourselves and ask if we really are any better.
 

Details of the book, illustrating the home of Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth

This publication makes del Toro very vulnerable: often artists prefer to defend themselves against the intrusion on their work or process, but instead del Toro invites us in, and I feel humbled and, honestly, a little unworthy of it all. The book in its whole is tough to process—I first read it as a picture book. But if you buckle down and invest time to look at the interviews and additional material, you realise that his ability to transform his audience isn’t why we love him: it is because he has the greatest respect and awe for what he does, and is quite noticeably never satisfied with the work. And you instantly understand why his work is, for a lack of a better word, astounding.
—Lottie Abrahams 


The museum of Cabinet of Curiosities

Pacific Rim review by George Bell

“If I was still 8 I would have shit my pants.”

A friend of mine recently said those words to me about Pacific Rim, and I think that just about sums it up. If I was still that little kid screaming “Thundercats, ho!” in my back yard while swinging around a plastic sword, or playing with my Ninja Turtles action figures, I would have absolutely loved Pacific Rim. As it stands, I don’t have any desire to ever see it again. That’s not to say there aren’t fun things about it here and there, but I just wasn’t very impressed by much of anything on-screen. There’s tons of spectacle without a lot to propel it, and when the spectacle itself isn’t very, well, spectacular, there’s not much left to consider praise-worthy or even interesting.

Pacific Rim is about humanity building giant mechs to combat an alien infestation originating from a crack in the ocean floor. These aliens take the form of building-sized behemoths (Kaiju in Japanese) with seemingly one goal in mind: to kill everything. As a response, trained pilots operate mechs, called Jaegers, and proceed to punch a lot of monsters in the face. One even gets punched with a rocket elbow to the jaw (their technical term, not mine). Basically, in order to fully enjoy this movie, you have to be on board with only caring about monstrous creatures fighting humans inside totally impractical robot suits of armor.

Speaking of the humans inside the armor, Pacific Rim comes this close to making me care about any of them. Charlie Hunnam does a decent enough job of playing Raleigh Becket, the protagonist everyone is supposed to root for, and Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is every bit the commanding officer you’d expect to see running an operation like the Jaeger program. The problem with just about every character, though, is how clichéd they are. Let’s see, there’s the hero with emotional baggage brought back for one last hurrah; the rookie sidekick who’s still rough around the edges but you know will come through in the end; the asshole top jock who thinks he owns the place and has it out for the hero; and last but not least, the oddball scientific guy(s) who seem like a better fit working at Google rather than a military post dealing with end-of-the-world scenarios. The rehashed nature of the characters hurts the story by not allowing any creativity or surprises to break up the monotony, which is too bad, because there are a couple of people who deserve some kudos for their work.

Charlie Day and Burn Gorman play Dr. Newton Geiszler and Gottlieb, respectively, and they’re by far the best part of Pacific Rim. The almost homoerotic nature of the relationship between the two research partners is endearing, I must say, and just about everything out of their mouths is comedic gold. I think I’d have enjoyed the whole thing a lot more if they were the main characters, but I won’t hold my breath for that spin-off. An Amazon or Netflix original, maybe?

As for the spectacle I mentioned, there’s no escaping it. Almost every frame is littered with CGI robots and/or monsters with that oh-so-nice, watery sheen to them, and when they do battle, it’s…really boring, actually. I can appreciate the hoards of people who love kaiju movies and the old Godzilla monster fests, but I don’t count myself as one of them. I’m not above watching the occasional big lizard dude gnaw on an oversized, gross moth, but it’s not my preferred slice of cinema. So, while I won’t totally disregard the merits of this kind of thing, it nevertheless makes for a lot of repetitive, meandering bouts of waiting for the mech pilot to bust out the one move he should have used half-an-hour ago. Case in point, one of the Jaegers has a huge sword that can be erected at will, but nobody ever seems to remember to use it until the mech is about to literally be jettisoned into space. Another mech has, like, four spinning blades on every arm, and I don’t even think a single kill was registered with them. Seriously? Four built-in, spinning blades of doom and all it does with them is flash them around and sort of slice a monster on the arm and chest? All I’m saying is that a little forethought and awareness could have saved a lot of the hassle, guys.

One thing that’s sorely missing from Pacific Rim is the usually-indelible impression Guillermo del Toro tends to leave on me, and most glaringly absent is any creativity with the monster designs. One of them totally reminds me of the Sammael creature from Hellboy; another one is just a big gorilla; and yet another one is basically a hammerhead shark. Maybe I’m missing something here, but all of that seems pretty lame to me. I want the old del Toro charm, such as, oh…the entirety of Pan’s Labyrinth, where everything feels amazing and fresh even though the loose premise has been done before. It’s also extremely dark, and while monsters taking over the world à la The Mistisn’t exactly puffy material, the goofiness of the mechs’ presence alone counters however serious it’s trying to be.

The generic nature of Pacific Rim knocks it down several pegs in my eyes. While I appreciate Charlie Day and Burn Gorman’s antics, as well as some of the down-time inside Jaeger headquarters (including a totally useless-but-fun martial arts demonstration), it isn’t enough for me to give the whole movie a pass. This is one I don’t think I’ll be watching again, and while I have no doubt Pacific Rim will have its supporters, I still expect more from the director of the aforementioned Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, and more. The rocket elbow wasn’t a bad idea, though.


–George Bell

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Pacific Rim – Why, Guillermo Del Toro, Why?

The other day, I was reading a review of Pain & Gain (I forget where, or I’d link to it), and it said something pretty interesting. Basically, if a “respected” director were to make a movie like Pain & Gain, everyone would be praising him or her for being bold, daring, brave, etc. Or at least that’s the contention, and it’s one that I don’t fully buy into. Speaking for myself, I don’t care who made Pain & Gain; I don’t respect artistic visions that use horrible tragedies to make money, and I especially don’t respect the ones that want you to laugh along with characters on-screen when their real-life counterparts tortured and murdered innocent people. How does this tie in to Pacific Rim? I went a bit off the rails talking about Bay’s latest un-masterpiece, but it’s the point about people having different reactions to a movie depending on who directed it that I want to address. Would people be as excited for Pacific Rim if Guillermo Del Toro wasn’t behind the camera? Click through for the trailer and why I’m not terribly impressed with what I’ve seen so far.


I’ll start off by saying I understand certain people will be drawn to this without reservation. If I were into the kinds of anime that feature mechs and giant robot battles, I would probably want to be in the theater day one. But since that’s not my bag, I’m left to contemplate just how much Pacific Rim will have going for it outside of crazy-ass visuals.

This is the first time I’ve ever been even remotely hesitant about a Guillermo Del Toro movie. As far as I’m concerned, everything from Cronos to Hellboy II is varying degrees of brilliant, with special nods to Mimic and Pan’s Labyrinth. But this time, it seems like he’s going for all style and no substance. I know I’m basing this off of a trailer, but that’s all I have to go on at this point. Don’t get me wrong, though; Del Toro’s direction will probably make Pacific Rim as good as it could possibly be. For comparison, I thought Battleship could have been a lot worse without Peter Berg helming it. As is, it’s kind of boring and has an awful main character, but it wasn’t the laughing stock I predicted it to be.

The point, though, is that I don’t care who directed Pacific Rim. It could be Guillermo Del Toro, Roland Emmerich, or Uwe Boll, and my reaction would be the same: Meh. The article I mentioned above is a bit on the cynical side and seems to think that people latch on to certain directors and won’t let go no matter what. That may be true for some, but I refuse to believe that more discerning and honest viewers would give a director a pass based on his previous work. Prometheus is a great example of another movie by a well-respected director that I just couldn’t get behind. I was stoked as all hell beforehand, but once I saw it, I was utterly disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed with Pacific Rim, since I’m pretty sure I have a handle on what to expect, but I’m still sad that Del Toro chose to do this instead of something more along the lines of Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m not saying I want all of his movies to be dark and/or depressing, but I like his work best when there are characters and themes worth investing my time in.

Twitter love for Pacific Rim
So, what do you think? Are you excited for Pacific Rim based solely on the trailer, the director, or a combination of both? What if Del Toro wasn’t behind it? Would you then be more or less interested? 
George Bell 

Read more of George’s work on:
http://www.knightsofmarsroundtable.wordpress.com
Pacific Rim – Why, Guillermo Del Toro, Why? was published courtesy of Knights of Mars Roundtable


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Media For Lunch: Mama and the short that inspired it.

Your entertainment fix in 15 minutes or less. 

Guillermo Del Toro, producer on Mama, was inspired to turn the film into a full length feature based on the very short film of the same name directed by Andres Muschietti. In anticipation of the upcoming release of the film, here is the 2 minute short complete with an introduction from Del Toro who explains his desire to produce this movie.

Short that inspired Mama

Plot: Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.

Mama – Trailer


Five years ago, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished from their suburban neighborhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.

As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all alone? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.

Mama opens in theaters on January 18, 2013.
Source: Joblo, Youtube

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