Sunday, February 9, 2014

2014 Academy Award Picks!

The Oscars are soon upon us, and I have selected finally who I WANT to win the top prize this year! Anyone familiar with me knows that as per usual the pics below are not who I THINK will win, but who I want to win. Imagine I was a member of the Academy, and this was my voting ballot.

I am posting this later than usual, this is simply because I had some serious catch-up to do in January, and though I have not seen every nominated film on this list, I have seen enough and am confident enough in my selections to go ahead and make my selections.


Best motion picture of the year
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Achievement in directing
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actress in a leading role.
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role.
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”"
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill, “Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Adapted Screenplay
“Before Midnight”
“Captain Phillips”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Original Screenplay
“American Hustle”
“Blue Jasmine”
“Dallas Buyers Club”

Achievement in cinematography
“The Grandmaster”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”

Achievement in costume design
“American Hustle”
“The Grandmaster”
“The Great Gatsby”
“The Invisible Woman”
“12 Years a Slave”

Achievement in film editing
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“12 Years a Slave”

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”
“The Lone Ranger”

Original score
“The Book Thief”
“Saving Mr. Banks”

Best music (original song)
“Alone yet, not alone” from “Alone, Yet Not Alone”
“Happy” from DM2
“Let it Go” from “Frozen”
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Achievement in production design
“American Hustle”
“The Great Gatsby”
“12 Years a Slave”

Achievement in sound editing
“All is Lost”
“Captain Phillips”
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
“Lone Survivor”

Achievement in sound mixing
“Captain Phillips”
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“Lone Survivor”

Achievement in visual effects
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
“Iron Man 3″
“The Lone Ranger”
“Star Trek: Into Darkness”

Best foreign language film of the year
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium)
“The Hunt” (Denmark)
“The Great Beauty” (Italy)
“The Missing Picture” (Cambodia)
“Omar” (Palestine)

Best animated feature film of the year
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2″
“Ernest and Celestine”
“The Wind Rises”

Best documentary feature
“The Act of Killing”
“Cutie and the Boxer”
“Dirty Wars”
“The Square”
“20 Feet From Stardom”

Sunday, January 5, 2014


When the credits began to role after Accident concluded I will admit I didn’t know how to feel. I was pretty sure I had just watched a pretty great Hong Kong thriller, but wasn’t sure how much I actually liked it. After taking some time to absorb what I had watched I realized that I did in fact like it quite a bit, my initial reaction was caused by the film itself, which had just managed to take me on a mental journey that I wasn’t expecting. And it did so by taking me on this journey through a very specific perspective of the events that occurred.  Accident is not a very long film, in clocks in just under 90 minutes, but what it manages to do in that short amount of time is much more then may two hour of more thrillers ever did.

Louis Koo and Richie Ren star, and Pou-Soi Cheang (most notably of Dog Bite Dog fame) directs Accident, which opens with what appears to be an average rush hour nightmare in Hong Kong when a damsel in distress gets a flat tire and manages to block traffic. This seemly ordinary incident will soon very carefully lead to a series of accidents that will leave someone dead on a sidewalk. This is the masterwork of ‘the Brain” played by Koo, who works with a select group of close associates; ‘Fatty’ played by Suet lam (oh did I mention Johnnie To produced the film?), ‘Woman’ played by Michelle Ye, and ‘Uncle’ played by the absolutely great Shui-fan Fung. Together they are essentially a squad of assassins, but they work in a very specifically way. They are paid to kill their target by planning out an accidental death scenario that will leave their target checked off, but look like such an accident as to not need any further Police investigation.  To do so they must be absolutely perfect in their execution, this may very well lead to weeks of delays until the timing is precise and to perfection.

After the opening job, one of the crew makes what appears to be a minor slip up, but when viewed through the eyes of The Brain is in fact a major compromise and he believes any kind of mistake like that could bring down their entire operation. He also suspects there are other operations like theirs that are always watching, and could strike at any moment. It isn’t long until all his fears are realized when a tragic turn of events during an operation leads The Brain to believe that someone has targeted him. He is suddenly driven into a mad state of paranoia and may end up taking everyone else with him.

Accident is a very intelligent thriller that is shown very carefully through the same perspective as the Brains character. It pulls and twists us in the same way, and allows the viewer to question and suspect the same things he is. This is where the film really shows its strength, and gives the viewer a pretty memorable experience. If told from an outside perspective it would not have had remotely the same impact. It’s a solid film, filled with superb acting from the entire cast. Louis Koo is always a great lead, and can really carry a film on his shoulders.

As I stated before this is a pretty short film, and though it manages to do a lot with its time, I do feel time is also its greatest weakness. I really think it needed to establish The Brains crew more in the beginning of the film. Before the major events start to snap into motion there was not enough time given to show and express their craft, or allow us to really get any kind of attachment to their intricate workings. This I feel would have helped strengthen the later events even further.

Accident is well worth a watch, it may not really leave much desire for a re watch any time soon after, but it’s definitely a film that will always be most memorable on its first viewing. Though going back and watching a second time might not be a bad idea, as I am sure there will be plenty of specific details that could be picked up, or perhaps that perspective may shift and the events as a whole could be seen from an entirely different angle. That is always a sign of a well crafted film.

-Jeff Wildman

A Clerks II Review Lost to the Ages has Been Uncovered

I was looking through my computer and I found this, a Clerks II review? I have no idea why I wrote it. Perhaps I just wrote it for fun. Either way I thought I would toss it up here and give it a new found sense of purpose. So, enjoy I guess. I edited it a small bit to correct some awful spelling and grammar errors, but otherwise its as amateurish as they day I wrote it. (PS: I really really loved Clerks II back then, still do, but perhaps not as much as I did then)

(July 22, 2006)
I can honestly say I had one of the best theatrical experiences of my life when I saw Clerks II. I have never been to a movie that had an audience so actively involved (I will also mention the theater was completely filled, even the very front where people will leave for a refund before sitting). There were several rounds of applause throughout the film, and the laughter was so loud at times that there were pieces of dialogue missed. And once the credits hit, the cheering and applause started once again. This was the biggest applause I have ever seen in a theater. At times I laughed the hardest I ever have at a movie theater.

Clerks II opens up very similar to the original, in black and white as well. We see Dante pull up to the Quick Stop and unlock the gate. Only to find the store completely engulfed in flames. He closes the gate. Then he opens it again. Now we see him through the perspective in the store looking out, where the film perfectly morphs into color and takes off.

So after, we jump to a year later, and now Dante and Randal are working at a Mooby's, and its Dante's last day before he moves to Florida to marry his girlfriend (played by Smiths wife.) The film takes place throughout this day, and what a day. We also get introduced to two new characters. Rosario Dawson plays the restaurant manager. In addition is a great new character Elias. A very religious virgin teenager who also happens to LOVE Transformers and Lord of the Rings (There is a scene which Randal is debating his point of how crappy LOTR's is to Elias and an equally obsessed customer that is one of the films two best moments. The other I cannot repeat.). Clerks II also has some appearances by most of Smiths regulars, including a very quick cameo by Ben Affleck, and a slightly longer and more important appearance by Jason Lee (It looks like he walked off the set of "Earl" to make his appearance).

The pacing of Clerks II is great, and the humor and emotion are very well blended. There are some great dramatic moments that are quickly interrupted by something hilarious, sometimes subtle, other times less subtle. And a dance number . . .ABC!

As a long time Kevin Smith fan, I think he may have done some of his best work with Clerks II. It's quite different than the original, and is something some hard-core fans of the first may have to take with a grain or two of salt.


Films Watched in 2013

2013 was a strange year for movie watching, and by strange I mean I really didn't watch many at all.  It was all for good reason as my son was born in early February, and from that point on and for most of the duration of the year my life was a busy one, and the time to watch movies, and go to the theater was slim. Granted my reason for such a short list goes beyond just my busy life, there was a good amount of free time spread through out the many evenings and sleepy afternoons of the year that was devoted to revisiting television series in their entirety that could have been used to watch movies. 

Up until about the last month or so this had also been a very dull year for new film releases, and a very mediocre and empty summer.(made up for by an extremely fantastic and busy fall that I am currently struggling to catch up on). We made a few trips to the drive in and was able to catch a few summer releases, but very few left a lasting impression. January was my strongest month, and in it I was able to see some absolutely amazing older films for a first watch, The Conversation, Harold and Maude, and Cinema Paradiso being my two favorite first time watched on this year! Then finally December was another strong month to help bookend this year with a lot of great rewatches, and a few really great first time watches. Only God Forgives and The Place Beyond the Pines will be making a return when I get my Top 10 list completed.


-First Time Watch

Watched in Theatre:
(01/02) Django Unchained
(01/13) Vertigo
(01/15) Silver Linings Playbook
(05/05) Iron Man 3
(05/30) Star Trek: Into Darkness
(06/03) The Place Beyond the Pines
(06/25) Man of Steel
(08/01) The Wolverine
(10/03) Rush
(11/23) The Hunger games: Catching Fire
(12/28) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Watched at Home:
(01/01) Premium Rush
(01/01) Trouble with the Curve
(01/01) Arbitrage
(01/01) Looper
(01/03) Unforgiven
(01/04) Jackie Brown
(01/04) Doomsday Clock
(01/04) Amazing Spiderman
(01/04) Moneyball
(01/06) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
(01/07) The Conversation
(01/09) Driving Miss. Daisy
(01/11) Armageddon
(01/12) Category 7: The End of the World
(01/13) Take this Waltz
(01/13) Brave
(01/13) Super 8
(01/14) Bang the Drum Slowly
(01/16) Harold and Maude
(01/16) True Grit
(01/18) The Words
(01/18) Collateral
(01/19) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
(01/19) Friends with Kids
(01/19) Moonrise Kingdom
(01/20) The Mission
(01/21) Cinema Paradiso
(01/21) Darjeeling Limited
(01/22) Rushmore
(01/22) Changing Lanes
(01/24) The Rainmaker
(01/25) Good Will Hunting
(01/26) The Town
(01/26) The Other Guys
(01/27) For Love of the Game
(01/29) Field of Dreams
(01/29) Sleepers
(01/31) Hoosiers

(02/01) Coach Carter
(02/02) Groundhog Day
(02/03) The Help
(02/03) Amistad
(02/05) Flight
(02/07) Away we Go
(02/12) Silent Hill Revelation
(02/19) ARGO

(03/02) Down to Earth
(03/05) Red Dawn
(03/06) Wreck-it Ralph
(03/15) Seven Psychopaths
(03/17) Life as we Know it
(03/22) Gone baby Gone
(03/27) Reservoir Dogs

(04/03) Django Unchained
(04/13) Inglorious Basterds
(04/20) Green Lantern

(05/01) Silver Linings Playbook
(05/11) The Avengers
(05/11) Baby Mama

(06/04) Shut Up Little Man
(06/07) The Place Beyond the Pines
(06/08) About a Boy
(06/15) Oz The Great and Powerful
(06/16) That Guy…From that Thing
(06/21) Gangster Squad
(06/23) Art and Copy

(07/31) 42

(08/03) Lawless
(08/07) Zodiac
(08/19) Finding Nemo
(08/29) The Great Debaters
(08/31) The Mask
(09/01) CleanFlicks
(09/02) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(09/02) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt 1
(09/04) Three Men and a Baby
(09/05) Three Men and a Little Lady
(09/05) Now you See Me
(09/07) Pain and Gain
(09/14) World War Z
(09/20) Safe House
(09/20) Olympus has Fallen
(09/27) This is the End
(09/29) Identity Theft

(10/04) Scream
(10/06) Halloween
(10/10) Carrie
(10/11) The Evil Dead
(10/17) Childs Play
(10/17) Curse of Chucky
(10/18) The Cabin in the Woods
(10/20) Drag Me to Hell
(10/24) Ghostbusters
(10/24) Halloween 2
(10/26) The Conjuring
(10/26) Paranormal Activity 4
(10/27) Village of the Damned
(10/30) Mama
(10/31) Insidious

(11/02) Halloween
(11/02) Breakdown
(11/06) Hangover II
(11/09) Hangover Part 3
(11/16) Somewhere Between
(11/22) Josie and the Pussycats
(11/26) ELF
(11/26) Were the Millers
(11/29) Miracle on 34th Street
(11/30) Fred Claus
(12/01) Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer
(12/01) Jingle All the Way
(12/01) Four Christmases
(12/04) The Family Man
(12/06) Christmas with the Kranks
(12/10) The Santa Clause
(12/11) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt. 1
(12/13) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt. 2
(12/14) The Worlds End
(12/15) The Internship
(12/16) Star Trek Into Darkness
(12/18) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
(12/18) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(12/19) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(12/20) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(12/21) It’s a Wonderful Life
(12/22) After Hours
(12/24) Christmas Vacation
(12/25) Die Hard
(12/25) ELF
(12/25) Shooter
(12/26) The Great Gatsby
(12/27) Jobs
(12/29) Don Jon
(12/30) Only God Forgives

Watched Elsewhere:
(01/17) Taken 2
(03/29) Parental Guidance
(07/06) Independence Day
(09/22) Taxi Driver
(09/22) Dazed and Confused
(10/12) The Flintstones
(10/13) White men Can’t Jump
(10/13) Bedtime Stories
(12/21) ELF

First Time Watched: 73
Rewatch: 79
Total: 154

January Total: 42
February Total: 8
March Total: 8
April Total: 3
May Total: 5
June Total: 9
July Total: 2
August Total: 6
September Total: 14
October Total: 18
November Total: 11
December Total: 27
2007 Total: 388
2008 Total: 298
2009 Total: 315
2010 Total: 338
2011 Total: 310
2012 Total: 329

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Golden Globes Film Picks

It's that time of year again, AWARDS SEASON is upon us, and I am as excited as ever! This year however is going to be different, a great deal of the nominated films I have not seen. So that alone makes my selections all the more challenging, so this year I will do things a bit different than I did last, I will only pick who I want to see win. This means some of these selections will be based on me simply being a fan of the nominee in question, or the nominated film being one I am eagerly wanting to see. The 2014 Golden Globe ceremony airs on January 12, just over a week from when this is being written. So if I do happen to watch some of these unseen nominated films, I will edit my selections leading up to the awards show airing, otherwise here you have it, my 2014 Golden Globes picks that I WANT to win(highlighted in Red) , not necessarily who I THINK will win...

Best Motion Picture, Drama
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julia Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Spike Jonze ,Her
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle

Best Foreign-Language Film
Blue Is the Warmest Colour (France)
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises

Best Animated Feature Film
The Croods
Despicable Me 2

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
"Atlas," The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
"Let It Go," Frozen
"Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
"Please, Mr. Kennedy," Inside Llewyn Davis
"Sweeter Than Fiction," One Chance

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Alex Ebert, All Is Love
Alex Eves, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave