A Night to Remember: The 88th Academy Awards

Actors
L to R: Mark Rylance, Brie Larson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Alicia Vikander celebrate their Oscar wins

Last night, the 88th Academy Awards were announced at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California. The stars came out in droves to see who would be granted the new moniker, “Oscar winner”. For the first time in several years, the Oscar was unpredictable, which made for a fantastic show.

Chris Rock
The host with the most: Chris Rock

Chris Rock hosted the second annual “White People’s Choice Awards”. He spent most of the night acknowledging the fact that none of the acting nominees were minorities and that no African-American was nominated. To be perfectly frank, I was a bit worried going into the show. The issue was obviously going to be addressed, but it could have been very heavy-handed making for a difficult show. However, Rock rose to the challenge. He spent equal time both subtly shaming the Academy for its “sorority racism”, and the groups who decided that the best thing to do was boycott the Oscars. It was edgy and funny, mostly because it was very true.

ewgrab-03490
Tracy Morgan with the Danish that makes him The Danish Girl

The best part of the night, however, was when Rock showed a segment showing a variety of black actors/actresses inserted into some of the night’s nominees. Whoppi Goldberg showed up as a janitor in Joy, rightfully pissed that Jennifer Lawrence couldn’t seem to mop on live television. Leslie Jones was the bear who mauled Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. That’s what you get for not calling her back, Leo! Rock was the stranded astronaut in The Martian, but NASA couldn’t justify spending “white dollars” to bring him back from Mars. But the best of the best was when Tracy Morgan showed up in a dress playing the “Danish” girl, because he had a Danish. I fear that my downstairs neighbors thought I was being attacked since I was laughing so hard.

Leo and Oscar
Leo finally got his Oscar

For me, one of the best parts of the evening was that many of the awards were not a foregone conclusion. There were the people who were obviously going to win, like Leo and Brie Larson. However, there were just as many surprises. The biggest of the night was that Spotlight was named Best Picture. During the acceptance speech, the filmmakers made an impassioned plea for the Vatican to stop covering up sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. The Vatican was quick to congratulate the film and stated that the film was “convincing” and “not anti-Catholic”.

Obviously, Leo did take home his first Academy Award last night for his portrayal of a grunting, bear-mauled, frontiersman. He graciously thanked the makers of The Revenant as well as other shapers of his career like Martin Scorsese. The Revenant also won Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, making him the first director since Joseph L. Mankowicz in 1951 to win back-to-back directing Oscars. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won his third straight Oscar for his work on The Revenant, as well.

Larson and Oscar
Brie Larson after winning for Room

Room star Brie Larson went home with an Academy Award for Best Lead Actress. Prior to accepting the award, she hugged 9 year-old costar Jacob Tremblay and thanked him during her acceptance speech. Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl, and in a huge surprise, Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Bridge of Spies.

Oscar spread the love around last night, because the film to win the most awards was Mad Max: Fury Road. The post-apocalyptic action film walked away with awards for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design.

Girl in a River
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins for A Girl in the River

I would be remise if I did not mention one of the most heartfelt speeches of the night, which was given by the maker of the Best Documentary Short film A Girl in the River, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The subject of the documentary was honor killings in Islamic nations, and Obaid-Chinoy stated in her speech that the prime minister of Pakistan said that he will change the Pakistani law on honor killing after watching this film. Bravo.

Well, my little award show junkies, what did you think? Did you enjoy the show? Were you upset that Sly didn’t win? Are you pumped that Ex Machnia won for Visual Effects? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

-Ariadne Ansbro

The complete list of winners is below:

Nicole Rocklin
The cast and crew of Spotlight celebrate their win

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
WINNER: Spotlight

Larson and Vikander
Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
WINNER: Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
WINNER: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Vikander Oscar
Alicia Vikander

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
WINNER: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Rylance
Mark Rylance

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
WINNER: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

AGI Oscar
Alejandro G. Inarritu

Best Director
The Big Short, Adam McKay
Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller
WINNER: The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Room, Lenny Abrahamson
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy

Best Adapted Screenplay
WINNER: The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn, Nick Hornby
Carol, Phyllis Nagy
The Martian, Drew Goddard
Room, Emma Donoghue

Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies, Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina, Alex Garland
Inside Out, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
WINNER: Spotlight, Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton, Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

88th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Jonas Rivera and Pete Docter win for Inside Out

Best Animated Feature
Anomalisa
Boy and the World

WINNER: Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Documentary Feature
WINNER: Amy
Cartel Land
Look of Silence
What Happened Miss Simone
Winter on Fire

Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia
Mustang, France
WINNER: Son of Saul, Hungary
Theeb, Jordan
A War, Denmark

Moriccone
Ennio Morricone

Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies, Thomas Newman
Carol, Carter Burwell
WINNER: The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone
Sicario, Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, John Williams

Best Original Song
“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey (Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio)
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction (Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty)
“Simple Song #3,” Youth (Music and Lyric by David Lang)
“Til it Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground (Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga)
WINNER: “Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre (Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

Best Cinematography
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road

WINNER: The Revenant
Sicario

Best Film Editing
The Big Short
WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl

WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Jenny Beavan
Jenny Beavan won for Best Costume Design of Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Costume Design
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl

WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Animated Short
WINNER: Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Best Visual Effects
WINNER: Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Editing
WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Documentary Short
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

WINNER: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Best Live Action Short
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok

WINNER: Stutterer

 

 

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MoviefiedNYC’s in-your-face Oscar Predictions: Who Will and Should Win!

Oscar Predictions 2016Here we are again, just a few short days away from the 88th Academy Awards.  For those of you who are doing some final research for that office pool and want to make a truly informed prediction, the Moviefied NYC team has done all of the leg work.  Managing Editors John David West and Myrna Duarte share their predictions along with Award Season Guru Ariadne Ansbro.  Below are our picks for who will win and which of the nominees should win, cause, as we know, Oscar can be a fickle mistress.

Best Picture: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight.

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  • David: Who will win: This is one of the toughest years in recent memory to predict the winner—and I like it that way! I’m going to go with The Revenant winning, making Alejandro G. Iñárritu the first director to direct back-to-back Best Picture winners. Who Should Win: Spotlight was the most evenly excellent and riveting movie of the year.
  • Myrna: Who will and should Win: The Revenant
  • Ari: Who will Win: How is it that this is the toughest category for me to predict?!  The Big Short won the Producers Guild Award, Spotlight won the Screen Actors Guild Award, and The Revenant won the Golden Globe.  Statistically, the Producers Guild has correctly predicted the Best Picture winner in the eight of the last ten years, where as the SAGs have correctly predicted six of the last ten years. I am going to go out on a limb and say Spotlight.  To hell with statistics!  Who Should Win: For me the movie of the year was Spotlight.  Even though the audience knew exactly what the Boston Globe reports would find, this journalistic thriller still kept us rapt.

Best Director: Adam McKay, The Big Short, George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant, Lenny Abrahamson, Room, Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller directing Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller directing Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: This year’s directors are quite strong, so this is a tough one but I’m going to go with George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road. Who Should Win: I’m leaning towards Adam McKay for The Big Short.
  • Myrna: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road – Teach those whipper snappers how to make a movie George.
  • Ari: Who will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu will be the first director since Jospeh L. Mankowitz to receive back-to-back directing Oscars for The Revenant.  Who Should Win: Lenny Abrahamson somehow took a book with an extremely depressing premise and directed a hopeful story in Room.

 

Best Actor: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo, Matt Damon, The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl.

The Renevant
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Renevant
  • David: Could, should, and will Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. Missing from the nominees: Paul Dano, Love and Mercy.
  • Myrna: Leonardo DiCaprio‘s day has arrived.
  • Ari: Let’s face it, Leo is winning for his raspy voice and eating raw bison liver.  However, I really loved Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs.

 

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Carol, Brie Larson, Room, Jennifer Lawrence, Joy, Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years, Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Room
Brie Larson, Room
  • David: Who will win: This year’s Oscar for pretty blond girl goes to Brie Larson. Who should Win: Cate Blanchett, Carol. Missing from this list is Rooney Mara, Carol and Alicia VikanderThe Danish Girl.
  • Myrna: Brie Larson, RoomBecause BLar might even be cooler than JLaw and good.
  • Ari: Who will win: Brie Larson‘s heartbreaking performance as a kidnap victim will rain supreme on Oscar night. Who should win: Saoirse Ronan‘s beautiful portrayal of an Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn was the performance of the year.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Big Short, Tom Hardy, The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight, Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies,  Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Sylvester Stallone in Creed
Sylvester Stallone in Creed
  • David: Who will win: Supporting Actor category is really tough this year—and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Who Should Win: Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight, and or Mark Rylance. Possible upset: very deserving Tom Hardy for The Revenant.
  • Myrna: Sylvester Stallone, Creed but I would not mind a Rylance upset.
  • Ari: Who will win: Honestly, this is the toughest of the big categories for me.  The actor who won the SAG award was not nominated in this category and the actor who won the Golden Globe was not nominated by the Screen Actors Guild.  However, I am going to follow the party line and say that Sylvester Stallone will win for playing the underdog character that he created 40 years ago.  Who Should Win: Mark Rylance‘s nuanced performance as a Soviet spy in Bridge of Spies.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara, Carol, Rachel McAdams, Spotlight, Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl, Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs.

Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
  • David: Who will Win: This year’s Young Pretty Actress Award goes to Alicia Vikander for her excellent (lead roll) performance in The Danish Girl. Who Should Win: Kate Winslet for her (Supporting) roll Steve Jobs. Upset: Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • Myrna: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs because she is so loved but my heart belongs to Rachel McAdams, Spotlight.
  • Ari: Who will Win: Again, I am torn. This is truly a toss up between Kate Winslet and Alicia Vikander.  Winslet has won several awards for this film already, however, Vikander will probably win for the substantial role she played in The Danish Girl.   Who Should Win: Winslet was fantastic as the heart of Steve Jobs, the film and the man.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room.

The Big Short 2
Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • David: Who will and should win: The Big Short.
  • Myrna: Who will Win:  The Martian. Who Should Win: The Big Short.
  • Ari: Who will Win: The Big Short will most likely get one of its only wins of the night in the category.  Who knew watching the demise of the American housing market could be so much fun?! Who Should Win: I read Brooklyn, I loved Brooklyn, so, Brooklyn.

Best Original Screenplay: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton.

Spotlight
Spotlight
  • David: Who will and should win: Spotlight. Upset: a win for Straight Outta Compton could make things interesting.
  • Myrna: Ex Machina I ♥ Alex Garland
  • Ari: Who will and should Win: Spotlight (starting to see a trend here?)

Best Animated Feature:  Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep Movie, When Marnie Was There.

Inside out 1

  • David: Inside Out will and should Win
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Inside Out  Who Should Win: Anomalisa
  • Ari: Who will Win: Inside Out will continue Pixar’s domination of this category.  Who Should Win: Shaun the Sheep Movie was adorable!!!!  I kinda loved it.

 Best Animated Short: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Super Team, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow

worldoftomorrow4
World of Tomorrow
  • David: Who will win: Sanjay’s Super Team Who should win: World of Tomorrow
  • Myrna: World of Tomorrow hands down!
  • Ari: Who will win: World of Tomorrow Who Should Win: Bear Story. What can I say?  I like bears.

Best Cinematography: Carol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Sicario.

Carol 1
Carol
  • David: Who will win: If The Revenant wins this will three years in a row for Emmanuel Lubezki. Who Should Win: Edward Lachmann’s stylized look for Carol.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Tough category, The Revenant will win but Sicario is nipping at its heals.
  • Ari: Who will win: The Revenant will most likely win, for its use of natural light and beautiful photography.  Who Should Win: Carol was eye candy for me.  That is the true winner.

Best Costume DesignCarol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant.

The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl
  • David: Who will win: the winner is The Mad Costume Showcase  Cinderella. I kid! I think the winner will be The Danish Girl. Who should win: Mad Max for its mad-creative, found-object costume design.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Carol Who Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road‘s design is mind blowing.
  • Ari: who will and should Win: Carol’s gorgeous 1950s designs were exquisite.  I am all for this win!

Best Documentary — FeatureAmy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.

Amy 2
Amy
  • David: Who will Win: Amy.  Who Should Win: This is tough, as they were all quite good, but I have to go with The Look of Silence.
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Amy,  I loved getting to know her. Who Should Win: What Happened, Miss Simone? A woman so head of her time.
  • Ari: Who will Win: Amy will most likely win for its look into at an artist who could not handle her fame.  Who Should Win:  I really enjoyed Winter on Fire, so I will have to go with that.

Best Documentary—ShortBody Team 12, Chau Behind the Lines, Claude Lanzman, A Girl in the River, Last Day of Freedom

A Girl in the River 1
A Girl in the River
  • David: Who will win: A Girl in the River.  Who should win: The nominees in this category are all very compelling documentaries, but A Girl in the River felt immediately important, stirring, and insightful.
  • Myrna: Who will win: A Girl in the River.  Who Should Win: Body Team 12.
  • Ari: Who will and should win: A Girl in the River feels a lot like a previous winner in this category, Saving Face (2011) about women in the Islamic world whose husbands throw acid on them.  Another film which makes me appreciate all of the freedom that I have.

Best Film EditingThe Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett and Jeffry Griffin plays Chris in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises
The Big Short
  • David: Who will win: The Big Short. Who should win: The Big Short.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road 
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road will reign supreme.  Who should win: The Big Short was put together in a way that made me feel a bit like I actually understood sub-prime mortgages.  That is Oscar worthy.

Best Foreign Language FilmEmbrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, A War.

Son of Saul 3
Son of Saul
  • David: Who will win: Son of Saul.  Who should win: Son of Saul.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Son of Saul.  Who should win: Mustang.
  • Ari: Who will and totally should win: Son of Saul.

Best Live Action ShortAve Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok, Stutterer.

Shok 1
Shok
  • David: Who will win: I’m predicting Shok. Who should win: Shok.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Shok  Who should win: Day One
  • Ari: Who will win: Shok  Who should win: Stutterer, I have a soft spot for movies about characters with speech impediments.

Best Makeup and HairstylingMad Max, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared, The Revenant

Nux-Mad-Max-Fury-Road-680x478
Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, Who should win: Mad MaxIt’s insult to all the brilliant Makeup and Hairstylist that the Oscars can’t find five nominees.
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road  Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road two words, War Boys!
  • Ari: Who will and should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road had some pretty amazing makeup on every single character.  This will most likely be one of many technical awards Mad Max will win.

Best Original ScoreBridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Hateful Eight 1
The Hateful Eight
  • David: Who will Win: For sure Ennio Morricone will win his first competitive Oscar for The Hateful Eight. Who should win: Morricone!
  • Myrna: Who will Win: The Hateful Eight.  Who Should Win: Sicario
  • Ari:  Who will win: Ennio Morricone has been nominated six times since 1979 and has never won a competitive Oscar (He received an honorary Oscar in 2007).  Look for him to win for his career as opposed to just the work he did on The Hateful Eight.   Who should win: I honestly was not blown away by any of the scores this year.  I will abstain.

Best Original Song: “Earned It,” 50 Shades Of Grey, “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction, “Simple Song #3,” Youth, “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground, “Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre.

The Hunting Ground
The Hunting Ground
  • David: Who will win: The Oscars love to award a pop stars, so this year it will go to Lady Gaga, Diane Warren for “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground. It’s been a good year so far for Gaga! Who Should Win: Gaga!
  • Myrna: Who will Win: “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction. Who should win: “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction.
  • Ari: Who will Win: “Til It Happens to You”, The Hunting Ground.  I am sure that the Academy will continue its trend of awarding superstars with Oscars in this category (see Adele, Eminem, Three 6 Mafia).  Congrats, Lady Gaga.    Who Should Win: “Writing’s on the Wall”, Spectre.  Hey, it was the only thing good to come out of Spectre.

Best Production DesignBridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant.

Mad Max @
Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Myrna: Who will and should:  Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road  Who should Win: Creating the terrain of Mars in The Martian was pretty incredible.  I really wish that the film would receive accolades for that, however, it won’t.

Best Sound EditingMad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Mad Max 2
Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will and should win: Seems like a no-brainer to me, Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road will continue to rake in the technical awards.  Who should win: I think that The Martian should see some love in this category.

Best Sound Mixing: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Mad Max 3
Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: it’s going to be a tech sweep for Mad Max: Fury Road, and it should be that way!
  • Myrna: Who will win:  The Revenant. Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road, again who should Win: The Martian.

Best Visual EffectsEx Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ex-Machina
Ex-Machina
  • David: Who will Win: This could be the one chance for Star Wars: The Force AwakensWho Should Win: Ex Machina.
  • Myrna: Who will win:  The Revenant  Who should win: Ex Machina
  • Ari: Who will win:  I am pretty sure that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will walk away with this one. Who should win: Ex-Machina was so cool!!!!!  This is a category where cool should win!

The 88th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, February 28 on ABC. Join MoviefiedNYC for live streaming at @MoviefiedNYC

 

MoviefiedNYC Best Movies of 2015

It’s finally on, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2015. The year proved to be a pretty good year for movies, a good year for women in film, a good year for LGBT movies, and a very good year for testosterone-induced action films with depth, craft, and fun! It was, indeed, a fun year at the movies! Here are the Ten Best of 2015 as seen by Myrna Duarte and John David West. 

John David’s Best

1. Spotlight

Spotlight 1Spotlight is one of those rare films that seems to have the right balance of everything excellent: direction (Tom McCarthy), dialogue, and a believable ensemble cast —I could be convinced that Keaton, Ruffalo, McAdams are still all working on their next piece at the Boston Globe. Spotlight is not an epic cinematic feature that begs to be seen on the biggest screen in town, but it’s simply great storytelling—and captivating cinema, a complete film. More than anything it’s downright riveting. You know what’s going to happen, yet you are sucked in and moved, disturbed, angered, scared, and above all amused.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad MaxWhat is it about Mad Max: Fury Road that hit all the right notes? It’s a dystopian, blow-things-up, action flick, adrenaline rush, jaw dropping with a capital J film—my best friend, recently reminded me of how I looked (jaw dropped happy) as she sat next to me as we experienced Mad Max in the theater. Beyond the breathtaking live stunts, richly textured score, awe-inspiring cinematography, and solid performances (Charlize Theron proves again that she’s one of the best—and baddest—out there), it’s a emotionally stirring film, an odyssey that has more going on than just a wild car chase—it has authenticity that is palpable: real cars, real people doing real stunts, sparse talking and more showing. Director George Miller lets the visual medium of film be almost exclusively that.

3. The Big Short

The Big Short 1Who would’ve thought that Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligation could be so funny, sexy, and maddening? Director, Adam McKay (Anchor Man) manages to take the nearly impossible job of turning Michael Lewis’ (Money Ball) non-fiction book on the rise and fall of the 2008 U.S. Housing market and a group of guys who saw it coming and made millions. The Big Short is a stylized, caffeine-with-a-Red-Bull-chaser induced trip. It’s a lesson in economics with the help of such unlikely celebs as Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez along with economist Richard Thaler; it’s also a laugh-out-loud, knee-slapper (if you like economics, wit, and irony) comedy; it’s a director’s showcase and it’s a well acted ensemble piece thanks to some great material, and superb performances by Steve Carell and Christian Bale; it’s a disturbing exposé on the excessive predatory greed, corruption and unfairness (only one person served time for fraud) that leaves you sad to know that such injustice is accepted, but it also leaves you with a bit of hope. This is the type of film that in thirty years and beyond could serve as a time capsule and a symbol of the greedy corrupt Turn of the Millennium. But beyond the moral commentary of capitalistic greed, The Big Short is an entertaining movie with much to enjoy.

4. Carol

Carol 2 In typical 1950s tradition Carol, brilliantly played by Cate Blanchett, lives in a world where everything is seemingly perfect, ordered, and definitely stylish. All is as it should be or at least it appears so on the surface, as Carol conceals the secret of her sexuality. She is accommodated more than one might expect, as her husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) is aware of her past relationships with women. Todd Haynes has explored this world before, in the luscious Douglas Sirk homage, Far From Heaven (2002), a film filled with colorful autumn-rich wide-angle shots. Carol is a bit more subdued, honest, and quite cold. Rather than wide vibrant shots, Carol is filled with isolating close-ups, notably of faces, toys, and shiny vintage 1950s cars; and it’s a cold lonely winter that fills the screen. Perhaps this is not the most inviting world for the viewer, but Blanchett’s brilliance for conveying great depth without saying a word is evident in the film’s final shot, a simple yet impactful, delicate moment that lives far beyond the playtime of this movie.

5. The Revenant

The Revenant 3Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is back, proving that he is one of today’s top directors. Inarritu changes the pace from last year’s constantly moving, one-long-continuous shot Birdman with its manic modern Midtown Broadway theater setting to a slower, harsh, cold Rocky Mountains setting of 1820’s Wyoming. This time the central character isn’t fighting for his career against egotistical actors and cruel theater critic but against the forces of nature—mainly a bear.  While the bear attack in The Revenant is significant in this film; Inarritu’s direction is exceptional and Leonardo DiCaprio is, as always, compelling.  The cinematography by Birdman’s Emmanuel Lubezki is spot on (despite one distracting moment of “look! I’m being artistic with my cross cuts!”). The sense of location, time, and temperature are consistently effective. One could sit in a 90-degree theater and feel the sting of frostbite while watching this movie.

6. Son of Saul

Son of Saul 2Directed by László Nemes and featuring Géza Röhrig as Saul. Nemes’ first feature film is a powerful and unique look at the horrors of Auschwitz. Shot in 35mm, in academy ratio, with shallow focus, and long tracking shots; Son of Saul provides an immersive human experience that sticks with you long after the film is over.

7. Güeros

Gueros 1Director Alonso Ruizpalacios’ first feature-length film, Güeros, is part road movie, part social-historical inquiry, and part quest film that explores youth in the early days of the 1999 National University strike in Mexico City—a city shown as both a complicated character (friend and foe), and a place to drive around without purpose.  A partial shout-out to French New Wave and photographer and documentarian Robert Frank, Güeros is beautifully filmed in black and white, using 4:3 aspect ratio, which embellishes it with the look and feel of a photograph that’s brought to life and infused with poetry, humor, and idleness.

It’s safe to say that Ruizpalacio is a daring new voice in Mexican cinema; he dares to shoot in “artsy” black and white, break the fourth wall, and frequently submerge the narrative to allow the cinematic moments to breathe. This is the stuff that repels financiers, but it’s also the stuff that elevates the art of cinema and satisfies those of us who like a bit of meta, silence and poetry in our films.

8. Inside Out

Inside out 1Pixar, once again, takes viewers—young and old—into a surprising world of unexpected imagination. Inside the head of a young girl, we come to know her various feelings through anthropomorphized emotions that are not only brilliantly realized and entertaining, but also comforting—in the sense of, “hey, I have those same struggles as well.”  While there’s a lot for kids to enjoy in Inside Out, it often felt like a movie for adults, and how satisfying it is for we flawed humans.

9. Brooklyn

bosbrooklynBrooklyn is kind of a perfect little movie. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking happening in Nick Hornby’s script. It’s a common story, Irish immigrant girl who enters New York City through Ellis Island, falls in love with an Italian-American boy, and then returns to her home in Ireland where things—once not so promising—have improved for her. It felt like the making of America, a tale from any random immigrant who passed through Ellis Island. With the pitch perfect performances by Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen, and carefully paced direction by John Crowley, Brooklyn is across the board fine filmmaking.

10. The Martian

the-martian-TIF_RSS_0001_fr_n_left-1001R_rgbDirected by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, The Martian is based on Andy Weir’s best selling book of the same name, Matt Damon plays astronaut and botanist Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars and thought as dead when the crew encounter a violent sandstorm and are forced to abandon their mission and make an emergency lift off from the red planet.

The Martian is both a crowd-pleasing movie and a smart science fiction film. It’s action packed fun and gorgeous to watch, and arouse thoughts like “come on NASA, let’s get back into space travel” —perhaps The Martian will inspire future missions to Mars astronauts and scientists. Unlike Gravity, Drew Goddard’s script succeeds in making the events plausible. The movie is packed with interesting science facts that don’t feel jarringly expositional, perhaps due to the comedic script and Damon’s charismatic performance. Ridley Scott succeeds in weaving a complicated story that is, at times visually poetic, at other times hilarious, but always consistently engaging. His use of 3D is subtle and thankfully not distracting by being annoyingly self-aware. It sometimes comes dangerously close to having moments of schmaltzy Hollywood-feel-goodness (a few too many shots of cheering crowds in the control room and on the streets), and many characters are rather one-dimensional, but once you get past that The Martian is just elegant, fun, filmmaking.

It was a good year, here are a few more honorable mentions:
Tangerine
Amy
Love and Mercy
Steve Jobs
Ex-Machina
Room

Myrna’s Best

1. Mad Max Fury Road

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Mad Max Fury Road is undeniably one of the great cinematic triumphs of the year and more visceral than any other picture in 2015, veteran director George Miller’s old-school post-apocalyptic spectacle dazzles the eye, this visual treasure represents a director at the top of his game unleashing a feverish and voracious film. Tom Hardy certainly delivers as the new Mad Max, Charlize Theron (Imperator Furiosa), with few words delivers a dazzling performance but it is Nicholas Holt (Nux) as a War Boy that is the heart and tortured soul of the story.

2. Spotlight

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Spotlight is an elegant and smart portrayal of the journalistic craft addressing one of the most unspeakable criminal conspiracies in modern history, with a remarkable cast, whom are worthy of award consideration. It wasn’t a few people, not even a large group of people — it was a global hierarchical organization bearing down with the full force of its power and influence, to cover up violent attacks on children for decades, perpetuating the horror story. Spotlight never turns away from ugly truths, demanding accountability, calling for immediacy and emotional turmoil at every step.

3. The Revenant

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Leonardo DiCaprio could finally take home an Oscar for his lead performance, in this survival and revenge western. What appears to be man against nature truly becomes man against man (Tom Hardy), with nature as man’s ally in his quest for survival. The cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity, Birdman and Children of Men) is exquisite, hands-down the year’s best. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu has created such an immersive experience out of The Revenant that you can almost feel the sense of chill on your skin and the danger that lurks around every corner of in the woods.

4. Ex Machina

Ex-Machina

Ex Machina is evocative, almost mesmerizing. In this, director Alex Garland’s debut film, he never underestimates the viewer delivering an intelligent, entertaining and disturbing film. Previously Garland had been better known for his a screenplays (28 Days Later, Sunshine, The Beach and Ex Machina). Handsomely filmed with striking art direction, sharp cinematography, Ex Machina is a simple yet disturbing story that leaves you perplexed and fascinated.

5. Chi Raq

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Spike Lee, one of the most important film makers working today, delivers the only film this year addressing one of the most important social issues facing our nation. Gun violence, and the link between policing and racism that still pollutes our culture and justice system, are challenged head-on with honesty and satire. Radically artistic, featuring one of the best soundtracks of the year it looks and sounds unlike anything else you’ll see all year. A marvelous picture filled with fantastic performances, the indie film everyone to want and love, about issues everyone insists they care about and want to solve. Yet here it is, and how many award voters or viewers are giving it the attention it deserves? That’s a question we might ask about the real issues it addresses, also.

6. Tangerine

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The fact that Tangerine was shot entirely on a beefed up iPhone is forgotten before we reach the end of the first scene. The film takes us on a hectic journey through a gritty Los Angeles as we follow phenomenal and flawed characters on an insane day that you feel they will just wake up and do all over again. Fueled by spicy performances that overflow with energy, Tangerine is a bittersweet tale built on a powerful sense of empathy and affection.

7. Sicario

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Sicario, the film by the French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is a sizzling thriller about the drug trade that combines skilled action and suspense with the other emotional and moral ramifications of violence. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and Villeneuve’s collaboration here is great with a story and setting defined by dry desert tones, cheap buildings, and vast dusty blue skies. Sicario’s web of compelling characters, its muscular style and top of the line cast, truly delivers a surprising cartel thriller.

8. Diary of a Teenage Girl

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Director Marielle Heller’s debut film is one of the most astute films yet about that harrowing journey we all make through those awkward years. Adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s 2002 novel about a 15-year-old’s coming of age in the swinging San Francisco of the 1970s. The film is gently radical not because it dares to threaten us so much but because it doesn’t. This is a story of small power plays, big feelings and huge moments, told via intimate gestures. Bel Powley (Minnie) offers a breakout performance, Alexander Skarsgård, the boyfriend (Monroe), and Kristen Wiig, the mom (Charlotte) deliver subtle engaging performances. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is honest, bold and pulls no punches, it’s wonderful.

9. Amy

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The sparkling and tragic life of the London-born singer, Amy Winehouse unfolds before you in every song she wrote and now it plays out in the documentary by filmmaker Asif Kapadia. The film is edited together from footage both private and public of the indomitable Winehouse, with the recollections of family, friends and colleagues playing over the images. The way the film tells it, first this seemingly harmless man stole Amy’s heart, ironically inspiring her best music, then he stole her soul by introducing her to hard drugs. Relentless media scrutiny is also shown to have played its part in her downfall and in many ways makes us all complicit in her death. Amy pays tribute to a great performer, leaving little doubt that she possessed one of the great jazz voices of our time.

10. Inside Out 

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Inside Out (I’m pretty close to calling it a Pixar masterpiece) hits home the most with those in possession of their own emotionally conflicted preteen and those us of who are still very in touch with that inner preteen of our own. Young Riley and her family are moving, and inside her head we meet the five primary emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger that show us how Riley is dealing with it.  The film is a hilarious and creative take on the human being thought process. Joy and Sadness go on an adventure deep inside the mind; but we get a nice sampling of all five throughout the story. Amy Poehler and Lewis Black stand out as Joy and Anger respectively; but the crew working together really make the story tick. It’s more than just a return to form for Pixar; Inside Out  might be one the best films they’ve ever made.

Honorable Mentions:

World of Tomorrow – the BEST 17 minutes you will spend.

White God – I’m still disturbed by this film.

What We Do in the Shadows – “Werewolves NOT Swear-wolves!”

Movie-Still Monday: The Revenant

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The Revenant – 2016 Golden Globe winner for Best Picture, Drama. Check back this Thursday to see if The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio, and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu are listed among the names of this years Oscar nominees.

MoviefiedNYC’s Favorite Posters 2015

Poster PicMonkey Collage

Deciding to go to a movie involves many factors. You could be going to see the work of your favorite actor, screen writer, director and then sometimes, there it is, it catches you by surprise, the movie poster. It has been more than one poster that has peaked my curiosity enough to see a film I might not thought of twice. Below are our choices for our favorites of 2015 and  remember: we judge only by the poster, not the film itself!

 

iris
Iris

 

joy
Joy

 

kumiko_the_treasure_hunter
Kumiko The Treasure Hunter

 

lobster
The Lobster

 

macbeth_ver5
Macbeth

 

mad_max_fury_road_ver7
Mad Max Fury Road

 

maps_to_the_stars
Map to the Stars

 

martian
The Martian
red_army_ver2
Red Army
revenant
The Revenant
tour
The End of the Tour
voices
The Voices

Opening this Weekend: December 23

D23 PicMonkey Collage

Santa,  Can I see finally go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Yes, Davidcito you can!

With the juggernaut that is Star Wars VII opening this month it is almost easy to miss other movies, that are no slouches by the way, also opening in December. Studios deliver their films with anticipation of discovering which are serious Oscar contenders (Joy, The Revenant and Concussion), surprises like Anomalisa and Youth, and not to mention a few we are looking forward ( The Big Short, Chi-Raq and The World of Kanako).  So whether you choose to checkout that indie movie you’ve heard so much about, or the latest big studio release, don’t forget to click on the movie title below to view the trailer. We want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you head to the theater.
-Myrna E. Duarte

December 23 (Wednesday)

45 Years (Limited)

45years

Stars:  Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James

Directed By: Andrew Haigh

Synopsis: In the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary, a couple receive an unexpected letter which contains potentially life changing news.

Our Two Cents: The trailer alone delivers powerhouse performances.

Where to Invade Next (Limited)

where-to-invade-next-movie

Stars: Krista Kiuru, Michael Moore, Tim Walker |

Directed By: Michael Moore

Synopsis: To learn what the USA can gain from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

Our Two Cents: I’m looking forward to this, always down for a good Michael Moore doc.

December 25 (Christmas)

Concussion

concussion

Stars: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin 

Directed By: Peter Landseman

Synopsis: In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

Our Two Cents:  Looking forward to seeing Smith bring his A game.

Daddy’s Home

Daddy

Stars:  Linda Cardellini, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell

Directed By: Sean Anders

Synopsis: A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.

Our Two Cents: Not even the trailer looks funny.

Joy

Joy 1

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro 

Directed By: David O. Russell

Synopsis: Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

Our Two Cents: Lawrence plays Joy Mangano, a young single mother of three who becomes a successful businesswoman after inventing the Miracle Mop. This looks like it may even be better than David O. Russell’s past few films, I’m in. 

Point Break

point b 2

Stars: Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, Édgar Ramírez

Directed By: Ericson Core

Synopsis: A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. Point Break is inspired by the classic 1991 hit.

Our Two Cents: Can’t I just watch the original Point Break?

The Hateful Eight (Limited)

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Stars: Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Synopsis: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?

Our Two Cents: Excited to find out what tricks Tarantino has up his sleeve.

The Revenant (Limited)

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Stars: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson

Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Synopsis: In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.

Our Two Cents:  This trailer looks stellar! Don’t miss this.

December 30 (Wednesday)

Anomalisa (Limited)

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Stars: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

Directed By: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Synopsis: A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.

Our Two Cents: Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated film co-directed by the genius Charlie Kaufman and animator Duke Johnson and looks absolutely delicious to me. 

MoviefiedNYC Opening in December

PicMonkey Collage Dec

Santa,  Can I see finally go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Yes, Davidcito you can!

With the juggernaut that is Star Wars VII opening this month it is almost easy to miss other movies, that are no slouches by the way, also opening in December. Studios deliver their films with anticipation of discovering which are serious Oscar contenders (Joy, The Revenant and Concussion), surprises like Anomalisa and Youth, and not to mention a few we are looking forward ( The Big Short, Chi-Raq and The World of Kanako).  So whether you choose to checkout that indie movie you’ve heard so much about, or the latest big studio release, don’t forget to click on the movie title below to view the trailer. We want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you head to the theater.
-Myrna E. Duarte

December 4

Krampus

krampus-movie-6

Stars: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner |

Directed By: Michael Dougherty

Synopsis: A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.

Our Two Cents: Fun! A little horror for the “most wonderful time of the year” .

Chi-Raq (Limited)

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Stars: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes |

Directed By: Spike Lee

Synopsis: A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago.

Our Two Cents: Described as a modern adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, but it’s actually a look at the violence and murders in Chicago.  I’m there Mr. Lee!

The Lady in the Van (Limited)

The-Lady-In-The-Van-Review

Stars: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Dominic Cooper

Directed By: Nicholas Hytner

Synopsis: A man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her car that’s parked in his driveway.

Our Two Cents: Looks charming and life-affirming.

Life (Limited)

Life

Stars: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Peter Lucas

Directed By: Anton Corbijn

Synopsis: A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

Our Two Cents: Gotta say the trailer did not grab me. Looked a bit lifeless.

Macbeth (Limited)

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Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan

Directed By: Justin Kurzel

Synopsis: Macbeth, a Thane of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Our Two Cents:  Macbeth looks like my kind of Shakespeare movie. Dark, gritty, and captivating.

The World of Kanako (Limited)

The World of Kanako (1)

Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Nana Komatsu, Satoshi Tsumabuki

Directed By: Tetsuya Nakashima

Synopsis: As former detective Akikazu searches for his missing daughter, Kanako, he soon learns she has a mysterious secret life.

Our Two Cents: This ultra violent Japanese thriller is definitely bringing something fresh and new to the genre.  

Youth (Limited)

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Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz |

Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Synopsis: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

Our Two Cents: From the director of The Great Beauty, this trailer starts out looking like a fun indie comedy, then becomes something very poetic in the second half. I can’t wait to see it!

December 11

In the Heart of the Sea

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Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson 

Directed By: Ron Howard

Synopsis: Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.

Our Two Cents: Hemsworth vs the legendary white whale,  I am curious to see how he does.

American Hero (Limited)

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Stars: Stephen Dorff, Eddie Griffin, Bill Billions 

Directed By: Nick Love

Synopsis: Melvin, a reluctant Superhero, lives only for crime, women and drugs – until he realizes that the only way he will ever get to see his estranged son is to go straight and fulfill his potential as a crime fighter.

Our Two Cents: Hancock? Super?  Chronicle?

The Big Short (Limited)

Screen grab of youtube video 'The Big Short Trailer (2015) ? Paramount Pictures' Web to Watch - Greed is not so good in the first trailer for The Big Short. Based on Michael Lewis’s best-selling book, the movie stars Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell as four outsiders who make a big bet against the banks and the American economy. The movie, directed by Adam McKay, is set for a wide release on Dec. 23. youtube.com/Paramount [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling 

Directed By: Adam McKay

Synopsis: Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.

Our Two Cents: Looks like it might be a fun sort of caper movie.

The Dark Horse (Limited)

11099_28923_The-Dark-Horse

Stars: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrance 

Directed By: James Napier Robertson

Synopsis: An emotionally charged and inspiring drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own adversities – finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children in his community.

Our Two Cents: Looks beautiful and touching.

Don Verdean (Limited)

Don-Verdean-Movie-2015

Stars: Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement

Directed By: Jared Hess

Synopsis: A self-professed biblical archaeologist who has fallen on hard times starts to bend the truth in order to continue inspiring the faithful.

Our Two Cents: Not sure about this, though I do always enjoy a Sam Rockwell performance.

December 18

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-The-Road-Chip-Trailer-2-3

Stars: Christina Applegate, Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris

Directed By: Walt Becker

Synopsis: Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.

Our Two Cents: AAAALVIN!

Sisters

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Stars:  Amy Poehler, John Cena, Madison Davenport

Directed By: James Moore

Synopsis: Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

Our Two Cents: Poehler and Fey together is always hopeful but this just doesn’t look that good at all.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (3D)

finn-star-wars-force-awakens

Stars: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher

Directed By: J.J. Abrams

Synopsis: A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Our Two Cents: What can I say about the most anticipated film of the last year or more…I’m in! 

Son of Saul (Limited)

son of saul

Stars: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn

Directed By: László Nemes

Synopsis: In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Our Two Cents: Compelling.

December 23 (Wednesday)

45 Years (Limited)

45years

Stars:  Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James

Directed By: Andrew Haigh

Synopsis: In the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary, a couple receive an unexpected letter which contains potentially life changing news.

Our Two Cents: The trailer alone delivers powerhouse performances.

Where to Invade Next (Limited)

where-to-invade-next-movie

Stars: Krista Kiuru, Michael Moore, Tim Walker |

Directed By: Michael Moore

Synopsis: To learn what the USA can gain from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

Our Two Cents: I’m looking forward to this, always down for a good Michael Moore doc.

December 25 (Christmas)

Concussion

concussion

Stars: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin 

Directed By: Peter Landseman

Synopsis: In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

Our Two Cents:  Looking forward to seeing Smith bring his A game.

Daddy’s Home

Daddy

Stars:  Linda Cardellini, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell

Directed By: Sean Anders

Synopsis: A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.

Our Two Cents: Not even the trailer looks funny.

Joy

Joy 1

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro 

Directed By: David O. Russell

Synopsis: Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

Our Two Cents: Lawrence plays Joy Mangano, a young single mother of three who becomes a successful businesswoman after inventing the Miracle Mop. This looks like it may even be better than David O. Russell’s past few films, I’m in. 

Point Break

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Stars: Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, Édgar Ramírez

Directed By: Ericson Core

Synopsis: A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. Point Break is inspired by the classic 1991 hit.

Our Two Cents: Can’t I just watch the original Point Break?

The Hateful Eight (Limited)

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Stars: Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Synopsis: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?

Our Two Cents: Excited to find out what tricks Tarantino has up his sleeve.

The Revenant (Limited)

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Stars: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson

Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Synopsis: In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.

Our Two Cents:  This trailer looks stellar! Don’t miss this.

December 30 (Wednesday)

Anomalisa (Limited)

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Stars: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

Directed By: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Synopsis: A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.

Our Two Cents: Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated film co-directed by the genius Charlie Kaufman and animator Duke Johnson and looks absolutely delicious to me.