Eighth Grade (2018)

Eighth Grade is the debut film from Bo Burnham. This is a great new film which is a coming of age story set today, Spoilers to follow.

in the film we follow Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) in her final week of the eighth grade, she posts motivational videos on YouTube about confidence and self-image, which barely get any views. At school she gets the “Most Quiet” superlative from her classmates and they all get a time capsule they made in their first week of middle school. On her way home she gets invited to a classmate’s party, she the popular girl in class, and her mom invited Kayla. Mark (Josh Hamilton), Kayla’s single father struggles to connect with Kayla as she is constantly on social media and suggest she go to the party to put herself out there. However she just doesn’t fit in, what will happen to her

The film is a nice update on the coming of age stories as teens today live a large portion of their lives on social media of various forms from YouTube to Snapchat and Instagram, the problems are similar to the one we all had back in eighth grade. It is a unique look into the aspect of the world that seems to be overlooked by those in Hollywood, as they are currently rebooting the 90s for better of worse.

Eighth Grade is a film that everyone should give a chance especially if you know someone in that age range. It has some Oscar buzz as well so perhaps it’s worth a shot for that reason as well.

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Oscars News

If you want some dumb ideas to make the Oscars more enjoyable take a look at this message from the Academy about these updates. The Hollywood Reporter and many other have posted stories about this and the comments have not been great anywhere.  There will be three important changes

First off the Oscars will only be 3 hours long, no longer will all the awards be televised but it seems like that they will be going the way of the Tony Awards where the minor awards (mostly technical) are boiled down to who won and a boiled down speech from them.

Second the introduction of a new award for Most Popular Film/Best Popular film. Since they expanded the Best Picture nominations back to 10 hoping to get “popular films” to be in the Best Picture race none of the popular films have managed to win. So the big Blockbuster films will finally be getting an award that deems one of those the best. Now what will classify as a ‘popular film’ hasn’t been decided. This would be a sort of renewal of the ‘Most unique and Artistic Picture Award’ and ‘Outstanding Picture ‘ from the very first Academy Awards, with the popular on winning Outstanding. This new award will be added in the 91th Annual Academy Awards.

Third, the 92nd Oscars will be earlier in February the move is intended to make it more exciting as currently the awards are the last given out so there are few surprises to have. This will be the Oscars in 2020.

Reactions:

The first one makes sense it seems that the Oscars just drag on and on, but perhaps if we didn’t have the forced banter and got rid of some of the monologue and other bits that the host whomever they are does year after year that could speed it up as well. Sure, Hollywood want to make it seem relatable to the general public but will this it could turn into the Tony Awards where it is a huge showcase for the musicals and less so the plays. The Oscars has run over three hours for the past 45 years so what’s the problem now we’ve got 3 more awards and we barely show the honorary Oscars besides acknowledging them in their seats. Most people watch it for the awards, In Memoriam, and don’t care about the “silly stuff” inbetween. The other idea I have would be to brand everything on the Red Carpet Show turning that into like one giant commercial and then having fewer commercial breaks during the broadcast of the actual Oscars.

Two the Best Popular film sure if we want to be awarding the mediocrity of the film industry go ahead and get a whole lot more comic book movies and big blockbusters. I would think that it would be great if they went back to 5 nominations for both of these Best Picture awards. Some have pointed out that this will become another Oscar that Disney will pick up every year along with the Animated Feature. Sure, it is great that they are awarding films that people may have seen but they used to do this without needing a special award.

Three: This is the best news that has come out putting the Oscars in the middle of the Award season will make it so that there might actually be some surprises that happen during the Oscars.

Oscars recap

Alright, there were some big surprises notably Jordan Peele winning Best Original Screenplay and Shape of Water taking home Best Picture. These weren’t seismic changes as both had previously won awards in their respective categories at other awards shows. So out of the big awards that I guessed those 13 from Saturday I got nine right. Missing those Best Documentary and Foreign Language films aren’t that big of a surprise as I had not seen any of the films. There were some cool moments in general one Bil Keane’s son Glen (Billy in Family Circus) picked up an Oscar for Dear Basketball with Kobe Bryant. Dunkirk picked up most of the technical awards (Sound(editing and mixing), make up and editing). Phantom Thread picked up the award that we all though it was going to get Costume Design. Blade Runner 2049 won Cinematography and Visual Effects.

I really liked how they took moments to honor the military and the average movie fan during the show as well.

90th Academy Awards Predictions

Alright, on Sunday the 90th Oscar Ceremony will take place in LA so here are my predictions although it seems that there are so many front runners having won the other awards this year.

Best Picture:  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Best Actor: Garry Oldman as Churchill in Darkest Hour
Best Actress: Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell as Officer Jason Dixon in Three Billboards
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney as LaVona Golden in I, Tonya
Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory for Call Me by Your Name
Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards
Best Animated (Disney/Pixar) Film: It’s Coco this year.
Best Score: Alexandre Desplat for Shape of Water

As for the tougher ones
Best Song: Hope it’s that song from Coco
Best Foreign Language film: This is one of those shots in the dark The Insult? from Lebanon
Best Documentary: Another shot in the dark Faces Places

Those technical awards and short film awards well those are categories that most people don’t really care about so

2017 in film

On Monday the Razzie nominations came out and on Tuesday the Oscar nominations came out. These awards will honor  the Best and Worst in film in 2017. We will start with the Best.

Oscars
Best Picture we have nine nominees and they as follows, with a brief plot overview of sorts.

Call Me by Your Name
 – coming of age in the 80s gay romance, Drama
Darkest Hour
 – The early days of Winston Churchill in WWII
Dunkirk
 – The Battle of Dunkirk evacuation
Get Out
 – A black man visits the family of his white girlfriend at their home, the housekeeper and groundskeeper are black and act strangely.
Lady Bird – Coming of age in the 2000s daughter/mother relationship. Comedy
Phantom Thread
 – London’s couture world in the 1950s
The Post
 – The struggles to publish The Pentagon Papers by The Washington Post
The Shape of Water
 – A mute custodian befriends a secret merman at a top secret government facility in Baltimore in the 60s
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
 – A mother who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter’s unsolved murder, it’s a black comedy.

 

One of the best things about the awards in general this year is there are going to be many first time winners. All of the Directors, 4 of the five Supporting actors/actresses, and 3 of the five best actors and actresses. It will be hard to predict the Best Foreign film since the film that won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice is not nominated. Coco should win Disney/Pixar yet another Animated Feature Oscar.

On to the worst The 38th Golden Raspberry Awards. It’s been a rough year in film as there have been a bunch of poorly received films. For Worst film it is between Baywatch, The Emoji Movie, Fifty Shades Darker, The Mummy and the latest Transformers movie. This is a four horse race, sure Baywatch was a bad film but it wasn’t/isn’t the worst. The Mummy seemingly killed the whole Universal Monster movie universe, Fifty Shades was unfortunate and so was Transformers.

 

Oscars and Razzies Recap

Well, it was a fairly uneventful Oscar night as about all the projected winners those that had already won all the other awards took home an Oscar as well. La La Land was the big winner of the night taking home 6 of the 14 awards. The biggest surprise of the night was Moonlight taking home Best Picture and it was for a surprise for everyone as La La Land was announced and then it turned out that Moonlight was the real winner. Viola Davis with her win became the most recent to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting (Emmy, Oscar, and Tony), is only the 23rd person to do so and the first African American to do it. Lin-Manuel Miranda will have to wait another year or two to get his EGOT, but now we’ve got to add Pasek and Paul to this list as it seems like Dear Evan Hansen has a chance to win them a couple Tony awards come June. The OJ Simpson documentary won an Oscar and seems like the odd on favorite to bring home an Emmy as well. Disney got another Animated Feature Oscar for Zootopia.

On Saturday at the Razzies there was also a bit of a shocker as Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party took home the big award (Worst Picture, Director, Actor, Actress) and the suspected Batman v Superman movie won almost everything else.

Oscar/Razzie Predictions

This is going to be a tough one to predict this year as I haven’t seen many of these movies, but thanks to all the other award shows it’s a bit easier. The Golden Raspberry Awards are handed out on Saturday before the Oscars are handed out on Sunday

For the Razzies it seems likely that Batman v Superman will be taking home a bunch of awards but it won’t be a sweep since there were like three women and none were very important in the film.

On to the Oscars: Will it be a La La Land sweep as many people are predicting since it’s another film about Hollywood being so amazing and they like to award these masturbatory films about themselves as seen with Argo and The Artist.

Best Picture: La La Land or It could also be one of the films about actual people like Hacksaw Ridge or Hidden Figures, however it’ll be La La Land.
Director: The guy who Directed La La Land has won this award at every other award show so Damien Chazelle is the best guess here.
Actor: This is going to Casey Affleck, although Denzel Washington could sneak in and win it.
Actress: Emma Stone might win but it might go to Natalie Portman or even Isabella Huppert it seems likely a new actress will win it.
Supporting Actor: It’s a two horse race Dev Patel took home the BAFTA but Mahershala Ali won the SAG. This is one of the harder categories to pick.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
Animated: Once again Disney seems to have this locked up it looks like Zootopia will bring home the award over Moana.
Song: City of Stars from La La Land has won the other awards for best song but who really knows will they just give it to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s song from Moana so he can EGOT or will he have to wait another year or two.

Oscar Nominations

It’s that time of year already. This year we have some diversity in the nominations. Meryl picked up nomination number 20, La La Land got 14 nominations and Viola Davis become the first African American woman with three nominations. That’s some pretty cool stuff going on here.

Best Picture: or Film I didn’t see this year.

Arrival: Science fiction film about linguistics.
Fences: Denzel Washington’s first step into August Wilson’s Century Cycle this is set in the 50s.
Hacksaw Ridge: Biopic about that conscientious objector, Desmond Doss who refused a weapon during WWII
Hell or High Water: a Crime\heist Western
Hidden Figures: Biopic about the female African American NASA engineers who help get us into space.
La La Land: a musical about the wonders of Hollywood and falling in love.
Lion:  sort of a biopic about that Indian child who got lost and adopted by Australian and then went to find his family.
Manchester by the Sea: Amazon’s first Oscar Nomination, Casey Affleck’s attempt to make us forget about his brother.
Moonlight: It’s sort of like Boyhood, as it is a story about a boy growing up to become a man, but it explore life and masculinity of African American men.Best Animated Film: Here we have a surprise as Pixar is not nominated at all. Disney’s Zootopia and Moana go for it against Kubo and two films I’ve never heard of The Red Turtle and My life as a Courgette.Lin-Manuel Miranda is on his way to an EGOT with a nomination in Best Song, he is up against two songs from La La Land, City of Stars which won the Golden Globe and Audition (The Fools who Dream), a song from Jim: The James Foley Story by Sting and that song by Justin Timberlake from Trolls. Although it seems like Miranda is facing an uphill climb here but perhaps Hollywood would be nice for once and let a kid from Washington Heights win an Oscar but it not I’m sure there are going to be more chances for him to take home an Oscar in the future.
The biggest surprise of the whole list has to be ESPN’s OJ Simpson miniseries making it as a Documentary feature and there is still a chance for it to pick up an Emmy nomination when those come out.  It was released in select theaters in LA and New York so it qualifies for an Oscar.

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant or the movie that got Leo his Oscar. It is based on the story of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who was left for dead but found his way back to society. The movie itself differs a bit from the actual events but that was a long time ago.

This film itself wasn’t that spectacular as for the majority of it the film is heavy breathing and maybe a fog of breathe on the screen. Sure the story is alright and Leonardo DiCaprio did go through a whole lot to get the film made but was his acting in this picture the most brilliant of the year or was it just because Leo needed to have an Oscar. The film also won for Best Actor and Best Cinematography this is the second time in a row for Alejandro G. Iñárritu as Director and the third in a row for Emmanuel Lubezki for Cinematography. Revenant looks amazing and the story is alright but it just seemed to take forever for anything to happen. Sort of how Tarantino’s latest movie The Hateful Eight was, it looked amazing but the story wasn’t that great.

The Little Prince (2015)

The film The Little Prince is based on the novella Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. If you haven’t read it yet, take the time and go read it now. After I read it the first time I found the movie musical version made in 1974 with music and lyrics by Lerner and Lowe it’s weird to say the least. So I was highly anticipating the release of the film from the first time I saw a trailer as it has a unique look to it. Spoilers to follow

The story begins within a framing device of a workaholic mom and her daughter move in next door to an old aviator, and the mom pressures her to succeed in life even though she is so young. Planning every single moment life down to the minute, the daughter is lonely. After the move into a new house the aviator next door try to fly his plane and the propeller flies off and into their house.  That evening while the daughter is studying in comes a paper airplane on which the story of the Little Prince is written. This begins the main story as the Aviator is the one who wrote the story. These story section of the film are unique as they are stop motion and it seems like it’s made of paper most of the time which I think make it like they just popped out from the book. So we get bits of his story of the Little Prince mixed in with the girl. It takes a beloved story and adds some more to it and makes it better in the end.

If you are a fan of animation this is something you need to check out. It is available on Netflix in the US and I believe on Blu-Ray/DVD around the globe. It won the Cesar (French Oscars) for Best Animated Film in 2015. It is a shame that no major distributor in the US wanted to release it since it is a whole lot better than some other animated films I’ve seen recently.