February 23, 2012

Why aren't you watching The Vampire Diaries?

“There’s no such thing as a bad idea, just poorly executed awesome ones.”

-Damon Salvatore

February 22, 2012

Something to keep in mind when making your Oscar picks.

Via Lindy West:

A Los Angeles Times study found that academy voters are markedly less diverse than the moviegoing public, and even more monolithic than many in the film industry may suspect. Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, the Times found. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%. Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.

Oscar winner Jack Palance = it all makes sense now.

February 10, 2012

My Oscar Predictions 2012

Geez, when did the Best Picture category get so glutted? I think I agree with most of Roger Ebert's predictions this year. (Though you'll note that I also predict the possible upset where applicable.) Ebert predicts The Artist for Best Picture, which is a perfectly rational guess, based on it's performance at the preceeding award shows. However, I do not have that much faith in the Academy. I think The Artist will be too avant-garde for their sensibilities, and they'll choose The Help, just like they chose Crash, and Forrest Gump. Because sometimes, the Academy is just dumb.

Best PictureExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
The Artist
The Descendants
The HelpThe Tree of Life
War Horse

Leading ActorBrad Pitt (Moneyball)
Demian Bichir (A Better Life)
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
My heart says "George Clooney!" because... well, why wouldn't your heart cry out for him? But Jean Dujardin is likely the sure bet, especially if the voter didn't choose his movie for Best Picture. Can you say 'consolation prize'?

Leading ActressGlenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Viola Davis (The Help)
For the love of all that is holy, Academy, do not screw this up. Do not give yet another freaking award to a tepid Meryl Streep movie.

Supporting ActorChristopher Plummer (Beginners)Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
If it doesn't go Plummer's way (though he's old, and the Academy loves that shit), look for Nick Nolte for the upset.
Supporting ActressBerenice Bejo (The Artist)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy could be the upset here, and with good reason. Though Octavia had the more serious performance, and that always has the edge.

Animated FeatureA Cat in Paris
& Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

Hugo (Martin Scorsese)Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Again, I break with Ebert. The Academy loves them some freakin' Scorsese (drink!). Though, this is also another consolation prize award, and they may choose to give it to Terrence Malick, because Tree of Life won't be picking up a single other statue.

Screenplay (Adapted)The DescendantsHugo
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Though Moneyball could be the upset here.

Screenplay (Original)The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight in ParisA Separation

Documentary FeatureHell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: PurgatoryPina

And just in case you're curious, I'm also calling A Separation for the Foreign Language Film.

February 09, 2012

January Reads: 40 Books for 2012

#1: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Fifteen year-old Frankie is a sophomore at a prestigious prep school who went from ugly duckling to swan over the Summer. She’s acquired a hot senior boyfriend Matthew, and been accepted into his group of friends - except for the secret meetings that Matthew doesn’t tell her about. Frankie manages to infiltrate the secret club and lead them into their best pranks ever, without their knowledge. Everyone in my book club loved this book, so I expected to like it better. But I wanted Frankie to be more invested in her own life, instead of trying to find acceptance from a secret boys club. It was good, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

#2: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Sixteen year-old Hazel has been living with terminal cancer for three years. Her life is centered around her parents and her trashy reality shows, and the oxygen tank she has to lug everywhere she goes, until she meets amputee and cancer survivor Augustus Waters at her teen cancer group. I don’t want to give too much away, but the truth is, I have a hard time talking about this book. It’s an incredibly emotional experience, and it stays with you for a really long time. Two days after finishing it, I broke down in tears at a stoplight. It’s not just the best John Green book, it may be the best book ever. My favorite review, from Forever Young Adult: Augustus Waters is MAGIC.

#3: Something Wikkid This Way Comes: A Novella by Nicole Peeler – Capitola, Shar, and Moo, the #1 ladies detective agency from Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Legacy gets their own story. They’re hired to investigate cult-like disappearances at a girls’ Catholic school. This was a light mystery, that I read in one evening on my Kindle for iPhone app. I wasn’t especially attached to the characters. I think the thing that works best about the Jane True series for me is Jane True herself, who is sadly absent from this story.