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A timeline of all of the superhero movies in the works…

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Oscar Talk 2015: Best Original Song

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Welcome to Oscar Talk 2015 in which I’ll be discussing what’s on the radar to win gold at the Academy Awards in February 2015. 

You can click on other categories at the links below. 

Best Sound Mixing

Best Sound Editing

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Best Production Design

Best Costume Design

Best Visual Effects

Best Animated Feature

The Category: Best Original Song

This category is such a crab shoot. First, anywhere from two to five songs can be nominated. Secondly, anything and I mean anything can be nominated. Instead of picking individual songs, below are movies in which they can be nominated for original song.

(in order of release)

The LEGO Movie

Arguable THE most popular movie song of the year so far is “Everything is Awesome”, the opening song in the surprise blockbuster hit The LEGO Movie. However, the lack of star power behind the song and the early release date can hurt its chances. 

Muppets Most Wanted

Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords won in this category for the first Muppets movie and he may make a valiant return this year. With multiple entries like “I’ll Get You What You Want”, “The Big House” and “Interrogation Song” among others, we may have a strong contender here. 

Noah

The Academy tends to go for dramatic music from serious films. If that’s the case this year, than Noah has a shot with its song “Mercy Is”, sung by Patti Smith. But the lack of buzz surrounding the song will sink its chances. 

Rio 2

Rio 2 may not have been the strongest animated film of the year, but it has a powerhouse of music behind it. The musically-gifted cast includes Anne Hathaway, Brumo Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monae, Jemaine Clement, Rita Moreno, and will. i. am. Some of the songs that this film will push include “What Is Love”, “Beautiful Creatures” and “Poisonous Love”. Plus, an Oscar nomination for the first film is good ammo for campaigning. 

The Fault in Our Stars

One of the very few realistic chances The Fault in Our Stars can score any nominations is in this category. Some songs up for contention are Ed Sheeran’s “All of the Stars”, Grouplove’s “Let Me In” and Birdy’s “Not About Angels”. Unfortunately, the Academy usually doesn’t honor teen melodramas, but they could have a change of heart with this box office hit. 

Begin Again

John Carney, the writer/director behind the Oscar-winning musical drama Once, makes a return this year with Begin Again. Songs like “Lost Stars” and “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home” will compete, but it sure helps to have the talents of Adam Levine, Keira Knightley and Cee-Lo Green on your side. This could be the frontrunner. 

The Giver

Definitely one of the longshots this year is The Giver, which underperformed with critics and at the box office despite the Oscar-winning cast. However, OneRepublic is the film’s only shot at the Oscars this year with their song “Ordinary Human”. I wouldn’t hold your breath though.

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls may have stronger odds for Best Animated Feature, it can still put up a fight in this category. “The Boxtrolls Song” is the likely candidate, but the film also has “Little Boxes” and “Some Kids” from the talents of Loch Lomond”. 

The Book of Life

According to critics, The Book of Life is style over substance, which could hurt its chances for Best Animated Feature, but it still has okay chances in this category! From “I Love You Too Much” to “The Apology Song”, this music-filled movie does have a decent shot. 

Beyond The Lights

A latecomer that’s eligible in this category is the musical drama Beyond The Lights. Although it has a handful of songs to campaign for, this film has absolutely no buzz. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

What will be the highest-grossing film of the season, Mockingjay Part 1 will have a tough time scoring a nomination due to the franchise’s zero-nomination track record. However, Lorde was recruited to perform its single “Yellow Flicker Beat” along with other artists as Charli XCX and The Lumineers. But don’t get your hopes up. 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit will surely make a splash in the craft categories, and Best Original Song could be one of them. With the song “There and Back Again”, this is one battle this film can win. 

OSCAR BREAKDOWN

Locked In:

N/A

Great Odds:

The LEGO Movie

Muppets Most Wanted

Begin Again

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Fair Chances:

Noah

Rio 2

The Fault in Our Stars

The Book of Life

Biggest Stretches:

The Giver

The Boxtrolls

Beyond The Lights

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Posted 3 days ago

Whiplash - This Year’s Black Swan

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Intensity is difficult to master in film. Well, it could be easy with car chases, shootouts, and explosions. But what if you take that all away? Better yet, how does intensity happen in an indie drama?

Whiplash found the answer. 

The story is fairly simple. A young man named Andrew Neyman (rising star Miles Teller) aspiring to become the next great jazz drummer. Newly enrolled in a cutthroat music conservatory in New York City, he is discovered early on by a highly-respected instructor Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who is the conductor of the school’s top jazz ensemble. Impressed with his skills, Fletcher extends an invite to Andrew to join his top-level class. At this point, Andrew does not realize what kind of hellish experience he was about to face. 

Andrew finds out quickly that Fletcher is not only a perfectionist, he’s a bully. What his mentor calls pushing his students towards greatness is simply physical and mental torment, whether it’s him throwing chairs at his musicians or calling them names or even making people cry. He specifically pushes Andrew towards the edge of sanity as Andrew literally puts blood, sweat, and tears into pleasing his instructor. 

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Andrew’s dedication to drumming begins to consume his personal life. Once close to his father (played by Mad About You's Paul Reiser), he has become alienated. And his musical passion takes a toll on his relationship with Nicole (Glee's Melissa Benoist). To call his obsession unhealthy is an understatement. 

Two big factors go into the film’s intensity, the first being the performances of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. 

Miles Teller has emerged as one of Hollywood’s up-and-comers. His breakthrough film was playing Willard in the Footloose remake and shortly after appearing in teen comedies like Project X and 21 & Over. Then his career skyrocketed after starring in 2013’s romantic drama The Spectacular Now and since has landed him in two franchises, Divergent and the Fantastic Four reboot. However, this is Teller’s best work to date. Judging by his performance, you can tell how dedicated Teller was to the film. He’s painfully heartbreaking as a kid who wants to achieve his dream, no matter what it takes. 

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In nearly his 30-year-long career, J.K. Simmons has never been better as he steps up as one of this year’s greatest movie villains. Terrence is more than mean and loud. He’s manipulative, complex, and absolutely terrifying. You may know him from the Spider-Man movies or his many stints on television (Law & Order, Oz, and The Closer just to name a few), but don’t be surprised if you know him as an Oscar-winner as he will definitely be nominated and will likely win for his performance.

The second factor that builds the film’s intensity is the editing. Tom Cross skillfully cuts to the beat of the drums and masterfully incorporates the others when playing together. Sometimes it’s so much to take in, it literally feels like whiplash. Truly exhilarating. 

Young writer/director Damien Chazelle is best known for writing horror flicks The Last Exorcism Part II and last year’s Grand Piano, has honed his craft as he is clearly a force to reckon with. Like Black Swan, Whiplash digs up the brutal intensity that can be found in such a beautiful artform. Anyone who has love for music or movies alike should seek out this film. Whiplash is like nothing else in theaters and it deservers a standing ovation.

Posted 4 days ago

The official poster of Tim Burton’s Big Eyes!

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Frank Langella is joining the cast of The Americans!

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This Is Where I Leave You - The Biggest Waste of Talent. Ever.

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olymphant, Debra Monk, Ben Schwartz, Abigail Spencer, and Dax Shepard star in the dysfunctional family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You. It’s absolutely a shame to have all of this talent come together for such a subpar film. 

A death in the Altman family brings them together. There’s Judd (Bateman), who recently quit his job after he discovered that his wife was cheating on him with his boss (Spencer and Shepard), Wendy (Fey), who’s not-so-happily married with two kids, Paul (Stoll), who’s struggling to have a baby with his wife Annie (Hahn), and Phillip (Driver), the free-spirited man-child accompanied by his therapist-girlfriend Tracy (Britton), all return to their childhood home where they are told by their mother Hillary (Fonda) that their father’s dying wish was for them to sit shiva, a Jewish custom where immediate family members mourn together for seven days. As Hillary words it, they’re all “grounded”. 

There’s lots of tension between them all. For starters, Judd dated Annie before she ended up with Paul. Paul, who now runs the family business,  is refusing to let Phillip be a partner. Hillary made a career for herself my making her family’s dirty laundry the subject of her best-selling book. 

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Look, I’m all for dysfunctional families, but This is Where I Leave You brings nothing new to the table. Actually, it hits many of the generic character types and plot points that we see over and over again. Moreover, it seems like these people are messed up just for the sake of being messed up and not for the purpose of telling a good story. Judd, who appears to be the most level-headed member of the family (which doesn’t say much), says he’s embarrassed whenever the Altmans get unwanted public attention yet he actively participates in that embarrassment.

Everyone does a fine job. Rose Byrne in particular is enjoyable as Judd’s childhood love interest who never left their hometown and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) offers some laughs as their highly-passionate rabbi. 

Director Shawn Levy (Real Steel, The Internship, the Night at the Museum movies) and writer Jonathan Tropper, who wrote the book its based on, were definitely trying to capture the energy of last year’s August: Osage County. Despite getting an all-star cast, the generic, melodramatic storytelling holds the film back. Even August had more laughs than this. 

This is Where I Leave You should be grateful for landing the cast it did because they made watching this film bearable.  

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We have our Flash!