Monday, 25 February 2013

Oscars 2013 Nominees and Winners

I really enjoyed this years Oscars I was a little unsure on how Seth Macfarlane would do, but I do think he didn't do too bad. I laughed a lot actualy. I thought the random Shatner bit was a little weird, and not funny, but I liked the general gist of the skit. I thought his other jokes throughout the night were pretty hilarious, and his musical numbers were great. I really liked that this year had a theme of appreciating the music. There were some really great performances, and surprise guests to remind us how much the music really matters. Here are my thoughts on the big winners last night;


Best Picture



Amour
Argo
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty


I was so excited that Argo won! Such a great film. Honestly, I think my vote would have been for Django Unchained, definitely my favorite of the choices, but Argo definitely deserved it as well!







Actor In A Leading Role


-  Bradley Cooper
"Silver Linings Playbook"
- Daniel Day-Lewis
"Lincoln"
- Hugh Jackman
"Les Misérables"
- Joaquin Phoenix
"The Master"
- Denzel Washington
"Flight"

Definitely 100% deserved. I think everyone would have died of shock if Daniel hadn't have won. 

Actress In A Leading Role

- Jessica Chastain
 "Zero Dark Thirty"
- Jennifer Lawrence
 "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Emmanuelle Riva
 "Amour"
- Quvenzhané Wallis
 "Beasts Of The Southern Wild"
- Naomi Watts
 "The Impossible"


I think this was the category that I was most unsure about. Although, not overly surprising, and Jennifer Lawrence definitely deserved it, I really wasn't sure if it would go to JLaw or Jessica Chastain. I'm happy it went to Jennifer though, I really like how she doesn't take herself too seriously. 




Actor In A Supporting Role

-Alan Arkin
"Argo"
- Robert De Niro
"Silver Linings Playbook"
- Philip Seymour Hoffman
"The Master"
-  Lee Jones
"Lincoln"
- Christoph Waltz
"Django Unchained"

So happy about this one. Lots of great performances this year, but Christoph was my fave. 


Actress In A Supporting Role:

- Amy Adams
"The Master"
- Sally Field
"Lincoln"
- Anne Hathaway
"Les Misérables"
- Helen Hunt
"The Sessions"
- Jacki Weaver
"Silver Linings Playbook"

A well-deserved win for Anne, despite some oddly bad reviews of her performance, she really made the film. Loved every minute of it.





Animated Feature Film

Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band Of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

I've only seen 2 of these, Brave and Wreck-It Ralph, but Brave really is such a sweet inspiring story for young girls. It was also gorgeous, so I think I did deserve the Oscar.


Directing 

- Michael Haneke
"Amour"
- Benh Zeitlin
"Beasts Of The Southern Wild"
- Ang Lee
"Life Of Pi"
- Steven Spielberg
"Lincoln"
- David O. Russell
"Silver Linings Playbook"

I actually haven't seen Life of Pi yet, but its obviously getting big awards, so I guess I should get on that. Ang Lee is a great director, so bravo to him.




Documentary (Feature)

5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How To Survive A Plague
The Invisible War
Searching For Sugar Man


I've only seen "How To Survive A Plague" and "The Invisible War", so I have no idea how good this film is. What I can say is that the two films that I just mentioned were absolutely amazing documentaries, focusing on very important issues that needed to be recognized so if this films beat it, it must be a seriously fantastic documentary. 




Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

- Chris Terrio
"Argo"
- Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
"Beasts Of The Southern Wild"
- David Magee
"Life Of Pi"
- Tony Kushner
"Lincoln"
- David O. Russell
"Silver Linings Playbook"

Writing isn't one of the awards that most people think about, and the writers aren't normally known names unless they are also directors. Chris Terrio did a great job on this screenplay and his speech is really nice as well.


Writing (Original Screenplay) 

- Michael Haneke
"Amour"
- Quentin Tarantino
"Django Unchained"
- John Gatins 
"Flight"
- Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola 
"Moonrise Kingdom"
- Mark Boal
"Zero Dark Thirty"

I think of all of the categories and winners last night, this one I was most excited about. I absolutely loved this film, and I'm so glad the genius of Quentin Tarantino was recognized. I adored this movie beyond words. Such great writing. 


Music (Original Song)

-"Before My Time" From "Chasing Ice"
(Music and Lyrics: J. Ralph)
-"Everybody Needs A Best Friend" From "Ted"
(Music: Walter Murphy; Lyrics: Seth Macfarlane)
-"Pi's Lullaby" From "Life Of Pi"
(Music: Mychael Danna; Lyrics: Bombay Jayashri)
-"Skyfall" From "Skyfall"
(Music and Lyrics: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
-"Suddenly" From "Les Misérables"
(Music: Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)



I'm so happy for Adele, at this point she's won almost every award possible. She's so talented and this has been such a great year for her and she looks great after having her baby.





Roasted Chicken and Vegetables


Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Thought it was time to do another recipe for my blog. This time I'm going to do one of my new favorites, Roasted Chicken and Vegetables. Its actually extremely easy, only takes about 10 minutes prep time and 45 minutes cooking time! It seems like a lot of ingredients but I actually have it all in my house already, great for all kinds of recipes. Basil and Rosemary are always important to have lying around.


Ingredients:
- 1 casserole dish with a cover
- 1/3 cup broccoli
- 1/4 cup onions(tiny chunks)
- baby red potatoes (depends on serving number)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- basil
- rosemary
- salt & pepper
- olive oil
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (as many as you like)
- Clubhouse Chicken Spice



Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them in the bottom of the casserole dish. I generally put about 10 or so in, however many it takes to fill the bottom of the dish. Cut up broccoli and onions to taste and put in with potatoes, I don't like to put too much onion, but I love some good broccoli. Also add the garlic, salt and pepper, basil and rosemary to taste. I really have no idea how much olive oil to tell you to add, I just add enough so that all of the potatoes and vegetables are covered. Mix everything together so its all blended nicely.  Place chicken breasts on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with chicken spice to taste. Put in oven for 45 minutes. When done, take out and enjoy!


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kiwi Film Review: Top 10 Actresses


This list might actually have been the easiest to rank surprisingly. Although, on this one I went more for talent over favouritism. Technically my favorite actress would probably be Carey Mulligan, but is she actually the best actress in the world? No, probably not. So, here it is my list of Top 10 Actresses.


10.) Jennifer Lawrence
I'm SO glad that she had already been nominated for an Oscar before doing The Hunger Games so that she doesn't get put into the same trap as Kristen Stewart. And then of course having Silver Linings Playbook released the same year and having all of these awards under her belt now have definitely cemented her as a legitimate actress in the worlds eyes. So far in her fairly short career she's been in such films as Winter's Bone, X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games, and Silver Linings Playbook. She's also signed on to do another X-Men film and the next two Hunger Games movies. In the last 2 years she's been nominated for 2 Oscars, nominated for a Golden Globe, and won a Golden Globe. Heck, by to night she could have won one of those Oscar noms. She has made me extremely excited for the new generation of talent that are now up and coming. She's had some truly amazing performances so far with many more to come! 
Check out my Hunger Games review HERE
Check out my Silver Linings Playbook review HERE.

9.) Rooney Mara
Like Jennifer Lawrence, Mara has also had a short but impressive career so far. So far I've seen her in primarily intense roles, and boy can she handle them. Her performance in last years The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo landed her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress In A Leading Role. She's signed on to do The Girl Who Played With Fire probably sometime next year. She also played a small role in The Social Network, I couldn't believe it was the same girl the first time I saw Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Most recently she was in the thriller Side Effects. Another great Steven Soderbergh film. She has also been in Nightmare On Elm Street and Youth in Revolt. Despite her amazing acting abilities, I'd really like her to branch out and do something a little different to show her full acting range, but I think it was smart of her to get her foot in as a "legitimate actress" before doing a simple rom-com. Can't wait to see what she has next!

8.) Jessica Chastain
And here I thought 2011 was a big year for Chastian, obviously the joke was on me as I had no idea what she had coming in 2012 with Zero Dark Thirty. I remembered seeing her and loving her in a bunch of films last year and she really stood out to me, which is why I think she deserves the Oscar this year. Last year she was in The Debt, Tree Of Life, and The Help, all of which were really fantastic films, and she was nominated for her role in The Help, so at least she was recognized. Some of her other films include; Take Shelter, Coriolanus, Lawless and Mama. I haven't seen all of these, but I absolutely loved Lawless. She's done a great job at getting a ton of different kinds of films in which she plays a pretty distinctly different character in each film. Looking forward to seeing how she does tonight!
Check out my Tree Of Life review HERE
Check out my Zero Dark Thirty review HERE

7.) Keira Knightly
Despite the fact that she is definitely most famous for her role in Pirates of the Caribbean, Keira is definitely the queen of period films, and she definitely knows how to find some insanely romantic films. I think I've loved almost every film she's ever been in, and she's been in some classics. Some of her films include; Bend It Like Beckham, three Pirates Of the Caribbean films, Pride & Prejudice, Love Actually, King Arthur, Domino, Atonement, The Duchess, Never Let Me Go, A Dangerous Method, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, and most recently Ana Karenina. She was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Pride & Prejudice, and a Golden Globe for Atonement.  She's a really great actress and I always love waiting to see what she's coming out with next. I haven't seen Ana Karenina yet, but I hope to see it soon. 
Check out my review for Never Let Me Go HERE

6.) Carey Mulligan
I just adore Carey Mulligan. I think she's done some very interesting work, and I enjoy just about everything I've ever seen her in. She's acted with some very strong and famous  people but always manages to hold her own. I think she's finally becoming a household name, and I really fell like she deserves that. She started her career strongly when she appeared in Pride & Prejudice. Since then she's appeared in The Greatest, An Education, Public Enemies, Brothers, Never Let Me Go, Drive, and Shame. I'm extremely excited for her upcoming film The Great Gatsby, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and from the trailers I've seen so far it seems like its going to be a very impressive film. She was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance in An Education. Honestly, if you've missed any of the films I've listed you need to watch them immediately. An Education and Never Let Me Go are some of my favorite films for sure. 
Check out my review for Never Let Me Go HERE
Check out my review for An Education HERE


5.) Natalie Portman
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Natalie Portman. Her performance in V for Vendetta pretty much cemented me as a fan for life. She's appeared in a rather wide variety of films including; Léon: The Professional, Where the Heart Is, Anywhere But Here, Star Wars,  Garden State, Closer, V for Vendetta, The Other Boleyn Girl, New York, I Love You, Brothers, Black Swan, No Strings Attached, and Thor. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for Anywhere But Here, Won a Golden Globe for Closer (and was also nominated for an Oscar for that movie), and won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her role in Black Swan, a truly breathtaking performance that everyone should witness at least once, no matter how truly uncomfortable it is. Natalie took a year off to raise her baby, but she's got a few films coming out this year, so I'm excited to see what she's got for us. 
Check out my review of Thor HERE.

4.) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet is obviously best known for her role in Titanic, but she's been in many fantastic films that have garnered her man nominations and wins in her career. She always takes risks, always chooses interesting films and never stops surprising her audience. Some of her films include; Heavenly Creatures, Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, Titanic, Iris, The Life of David Gale, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Little Children, The Reader, The Holiday, Revolutionary Road, Carnage, and Contagion. She's been nominated for Oscars for Sense and Sensibility, Titanic, Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Little Children, finally winning in 2009 for The Reader. Some of my personal favorites of hers are TitanicThe Life of David Gale, Finding Neverland and The Reader. 
I'm excited to see what she has going on next, and I plan to pretend that Movie 43 happened for her sake.
Check out my review for Titanic HERE



3.) Helen Mirren
I'm sure that I'm going to leave out some big films that she has been in because they were so much before my time that I genuinely wouldn't know them, sorry Helen. I think she might be best known for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. She's been in such films as; Excalibur, The Pledge, Calendar Girls, Raising Helen, The Madness of King George, Gosford ParkHitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Inkheart, State of Play, The Last Station, Red, The Debt, The Tempest, Arthur, and most recently Hitchcock. Mirren has been nominated for 3 Oscars for The Madness of King George, Gosford Park, and The Last Station, and won the Oscar for The Queen. I really love Helen, I've seen her in a few interviews now, and she's always so charming and hilarious. Very Sassy. 

Check out my review for The Queen HERE.


2.) Cate Blanchette
When I think of Cate Blanchette I just think of grace and elegance. She is such a beautiful lady, and I'm a huge fan. I would assume that her most famous role would be as Galadriel in The Lord Of The Rings franchise, but for people who haven't seen those films (aka crazy people) I have no idea. She's had some really impressive performances in some fantastic films including; Elizabeth, Pushing Tin, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Gift, The Shipping News, Heaven, Veronica Guerin, The Missing, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Aviator, Babel, The Good German, Notes On A Scandal, I'm Not There, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Robin Hood, Hannah, and most recently The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That probably seems like quite a lot of movies to have listed, but I wanted to make sure to include all of the ones I've enjoyed her in.
Check out my review for The Queen HERE



1.) Meryl Streep
Pretty sure there was no other option but Meryl as #1. She has been in an unbelieveable number of amazing films for the last 30 years. Here are just a few of her most well-known films; The Deer Hunter, Manhattan, Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie's Choice, Silkwood, Out of Africa, Marvin's Room, Adaptation, The Hours, The Manchurian Candidate, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Prime, The Devil Wears Prada, Dark Matter, Rendition, Lions For Lambs, Mamma Mia, Doubt, Julie & Julia, It's Complicated, and The Iron Lady. Meryl has been nominated for an astonishing SEVENTEEN Oscars and won for 3 of those performances, for Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie's Choice, and The Iron Lady. I definitely have not seen all of these, but I've seen enough, and a variety to really appreciate her talent. She really seems like one of the most kind and wonderful people on the planet. She just seems so grounded and like someone I'd like to have a meal with. I'm positive whatever she does with the rest of her life, I will be a fan of. 




Well, thats it folks. Looking forward to seeing what happens at the Academy Awards tonight. This year has a very impressive list of films and performances, and I'm sure it will be a really interesting show to watch. Can't wait to see how Seth MacFarlane does as host! Come back next Sunday to see next week's list! 

Honourable Mentions: Sandra Bullock, Emmy Rossum, Anne Hathaway, Hilary Swank, Helena Bonham Carter, Annette Bening, Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore, Tilda Swinton.





Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kiwi Film Review: Top 10 Actors

Surprisingly this is the list that so far has taken me the longest to decide. All of these actors are top notch actors, including the ones in the honourable mentions list. All of these actors have either won Oscars themselves or have been in Oscar winning movies. I still feel bad about not being able to fit a couple of people in the Top 10 so please check out the honourable mentions as well.



10.) Daniel Day-Lewis
Oh Daniel, what a treasure he is. The first movie I saw him in was Gangs of New York and I fell in love with him, funny I know because he's a total bad-guy and it not attractive at all, but I just knew, he was amazing. Later I saw There Will Be Blood, In The Name Of The Father, and most recently, Lincoln. However, I think he is most famous for My Left Foot for which he won an Oscar. So far he's won the Golden Globe and BAFTA for his performance in Lincoln, and I'm pretty confident he'll be winning the Oscar as well. I'd watch any movie he was in, he is magnificent, and I think he's one of the greatest character actors of our time.

Check out my review for Lincoln HERE




9.) Leonardo DiCaprio
Surprisingly I like Leo before Titanic, he was in Growing Pains which just so happened to be one of my favorite TV shows growing up. However, the love came when Titanic was released. Funny enough, I was far too young to actually see it then, but because of the huge Leo frenzy I saw him everywhere. I remember once I heard that a bunch of the stars were coming into St. John's because they were heading out to see the location of where the Titanic actually sunk. I just so happened to be out here and begged my parents to bring me to the harbour to see the love of my life, and they did so, unfortunately I saw no one, and he wasn't even one of the cast members coming in. Very disappointing. Little did I know that I would grow to hugely respect his amazing talent. The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Inception, Shutter Island, Catch Me If You Can, Body Of Lies, and most recently in Django Unchained. I'm also extremely excited about his next role in The Great Gatsby.
Check out my review for Django Unchained HERE



8.) Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon has had a pretty diverse career, I think the film he's probably best known for is Footloose, but the films I love him in were actually ones that I hadn't heard of until I found them in the $5 bin at Walmart. My favorites of his are Mystic River, Sleepers, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, X-Men First Class. Stir of Echoes was also pretty good. He's in a new TV show called The Following that came out this month. Theres only been a few episodes but so far its very good. The thing I like about Kevin Bacon is that he can play both a hero and a villain amazingly well. I mean, he's one of the most horrifying people of all time in Sleepers, but in films like Footloose and Apollo 13 he's the great guy. Sleepers and Mystic River are such awesome movies, if you haven't seen them yet, please do so ASAP.

Check out my review for Mystic River HERE.




7.) Edward Norton
Edward Norton is an awesome actor. He has been in such masterpieces as Fight Club, American History X, Primal Fear,  Red Dragon, The Painted Vail, and The Illusionist. He also played Bruce Banner/Hulk in the last Hulk movie (not including The Avengers). Chances are he normally doesn't come to mind when thinking about your favorite actors, but seriously just look at that list and tell me he doesn't deserve the number 7 spot on this list? Between Fight Club, American History X and Primal Fear, I just listed some of my favorite films. All of them would definitely be in my top 25. If you haven't seen these, especially the first 3 or 4, do it now because you're very much missing out.





6.) Sean Penn
Where do I begin with this Oscar winning actor? His first big hit was Fast Times at Ridgemont High as the classic character, Spicoli. Looking at his list of works there was actually a pretty big gap between that film, and another film I've even heard of. I don't think its until Dead Man Walking that I see another film I've heard of, and I haven't even seen that one. I think the role that made him a household name was his role as Sam Dawson in I Am Sam, one of the saddest movies of all time. After that we have 21 Grams, Mystic River, The Interpreter, Milk, Fair Game, The Tree Of Life, and most recently Gangster Squad. He has won 2 Oscars for Actor in a Leading Role for Mystic River and Milk. He has also been nominated for I Am Sam, Sweet and Lowdown and Dead Man Walking.
Check out my review for Mystic River HERE.




5.) Gary Oldman
Like Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman is an amazing character actor. I think his most famous roles would be as Officer Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy, or Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films. However, he has had many successful films including JFK, Dracula, Léon the Professional, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Lawless. Somehow even with that insane list of performances, he's only been nominate for one Oscar for his role as George Smiley in in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 
Check out my review for The Dark Knight Rises HERE



4.) Christian Bale
Christian Bale is definitely best known for his role as Batman, but I don't know if most people are aware of just how fantastic of an actor he is. He is known for his intense method acting. He lost 63 pounds for his role in The Machinist, and went down to 121 pounds for The Fighter. His earliest hit was when he was a child in Empire of the Sun, then Newsies. A few years later he was in the well known period film Little Women. Since then he has been in such amazing films as American Psycho, The Machinist, Batman BeginsThe Prestige, 3:10 To Yuma, I'm Not There, The Dark KnightTerminator Salvation, Public EnemiesThe Fighter (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) and The Dark Knight RisesI really think that The Dark Knight trilogy has been mostly under-appreciated. Granted, I am biased because I love them so much, but I can't believe none of them have gotten a best picture nomination at the Oscars. 
Check out my Dark Knight Rises review HERE.



3.) Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe quickly became one of my favorite actors after seeing A Beautiful Mind, but he's been in other amazing films that helped me put him at number 3. L.A Confidential, Gladiator, Master and Commander, Cinderella Man, The Insider3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Body of Lies, State of Play, The Next 3 Days, and most recently Les Misérables. He has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Insider and A Beautiful Mind, and won for Gladiator. I'm sure these will not be his final nominations, as I'm sure he has a few more amazing films to come. He's actually visited Newfoundland a number of times, so it is my life dream to see him in a coffee shop someday down town. I think I would die of joy if that happens.
Check out my Top 10 Films Of All Time list HERE



2.) Tom Hanks
I think Tom Hanks is one of those people who you just can't not like. He just seems like such a great guy, and he's even more talented then nice somehow. Its pretty amazing considering how many amazing films he has under his belt, most people would let the amount of success he's had go to their heads, but not good ole' Tom.  Some of his biggest hits include Big, Turner & Hootch,  Sleepless In Seattle, You've Got Mail, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Toy Story, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, The Polar Express, The Da Vinci Code, and his most famous film Forrest Gump. He was also in Cloud Atlas last fall which made my Top 10 Films of 2012 list. He has won Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role two years in a row (1994 and 1995) for his roles in Forrest Gump and Philadelphia. As surprising as it is, he's made many more films then I have listed, thats just a condense list of his most well known films. This man has made some amazing, heartwarming, and life altering films. Do yourself a favor and look up his acceptance speeches for both of his Oscars, an unbelieveably amazing man who definitely deserves the #2 spot on this list.
Check out my Top 10 Films of 2012 list HERE
Check out my Cloud Atlas review HERE

1.) Kevin Spacey
I adore Kevin Spacey. He has such an unusual but impressive career. Spacey has been in such movies as The Usual Suspects, Se7en, A Time To Kill, L.A Confidential, American Beauty, K-PAX, Pay It Forward, The Shipping NewsThe Life of David Gale, Superman Returns, 21, Moon, Margin Call, Horrible Bosses, and currently he's in the original Netflix show House Of Cards which is currently a pretty big hit. He's won two Academy Awards, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Usual Suspects 1996, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for American Beauty in 2000. American Beauty reached #2 on my Top 10  Films Of All Time list, and if I'd had a top 20 I think another 2 or 3 of his would have inched their way on there as well. I really love this guy, when I found out that he had been in The Shipping News (filmed here in Newfoundland), I was so excited to know that he knew where it was. I will watch any film that he's in, and I can't wait to see what he has next, and the next season of House of Cards!
Check out my Top 10 Films Of All Time list HERE



Honourable Mentions: Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Colin Firth, Robin Williams, Sam Rockwell, Christoph Waltz, Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins.




Monday, 11 February 2013

Kiwi Film Design: Django Unchained


IMDB: 8.6/10 (Top 250 #39)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Roger Ebert: 4/4 stars

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino

Release Date: 25 December 2012
Described By IMDB as "With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner."


Well, the Oscar nominations came out today, so I thought I should finally get around to writing my review for this film, and what a film it was.

I enjoyed every moment of this film, all 2hours and 45 minutes of it. Clearly thats a long time, but it honestly doesn't seem long or drawn out at any time. There's constantly action, and just quirky, interesting things going on. I actually feel incredibly bad for it because of the number of fantastic movies that came out this year. I mean, there are aways a handful of great movies every year, but I think this years Oscar nominees are all deserving, which I haven't been able to say with 100% honesty in the past. I really think this film deserves an Oscar for best picture, but I just know that Lincoln or Argo is going to win, and I think they both deserve it as well, so its a complicated feeling that I have. I think it is astounding that this film has already made it to number 39 on the IMDB Top 250 list. Unreal. I went to see this film twice in theatres and I would definitely go back again.


The acting in this film was absolutely breathtaking, best ensemble acting I've seen in a very long time. Dr. King Shultz(Christoph Waltz) commands the screen from the first moment he appears from the darkness with his wacky tooth cart. His badass-ness isn't questioned for a single moment in this film, and I think thats great. Waltz has already won a Golden Globe for his performance, and just last night also won the BAFTA for his role as Dr. Shultz as well. Very well deserved, but I think that a couple of people are going quite unnoticed. I sort of feel bad for Jamie Foxx because I think if I was in this film I would have assumed that this would have been my next Oscar film, and he hasn't even been nominated. I think this is definitely one of his best performances that I've seen for sure. I do wish he'd gotten a bit more recognition, but I think everyone is aware of how great a job he's done in this film. Then theres Leonardo DiCaprio, just wow. I thought he did such a great job in this film, you really couldn't help but absolutely dispise him. I thought our introduction to him was absolutely genius, it perfectly sets up how you're supposed to feel about him, and Mandingo fighting is enough to make anyone sick. He's totally awful throughout the rest of the film, and its perfect. Finally Samuel L. Jackson really proved himself to me in this one. In all honesty, I can't think of many films he's been in that haven't had the 'Snakes on a Plane" vibe so it was nice for me to see him in something that he's really done well. I think on a different year he also could have deserved an award, but not this year. His character Stephen is really as bad as you can get. He's an African-American who is on the white, slave-owner's side. I don't want to give too much away, but his final scene is pretty damn epic.

The soundtrack was really great and fit the movie perfectly. Tarantino really has a way of capturing that in his films. Most of the songs he uses has no business being in his films as they don't even begin to fit the time or setting of the film, but its ok, because it totally fits the emotion he's trying to portray. The song "Django" was stuck in my head for a week after seeing this film. its just so good. I'm trying to do this review with as few spoilers as I possibly can but its going to be hard. I'll be sure to put up an alert if I feel one coming on.  

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors, and I don't even fully enjoy all of his movies as I have enjoyed this one and Inglorious Basterds, but I think its important to have people with imaginations as wild as Quentin's in the directing world. You really never know what you're going to get, and I think this one really blew everyone away. The writing, as always from Tarantino, was fantastic. Intense but funny at the same time. There were so many great lines and I think he really gave the actors an amazing tool to build their characters around. The love story he built was really fantastic, and it was a fantastic fountain for this film to be built on. The love that Django(Foxx) had for Broomhilda(Kerry Washington) is something to be admired.


Tarantino's cameo in this film is short and sweet, I think he was the only actor who really sucked, but his *spoiler alert* death is one for the ages. I mean, who wouldn't want to write their own *spoiler alert* death in a film? I think everyone on earth would. So hilarious, and I think thats the most interesting thing about this film. Its such a serious and important topic, but there are just some absolutely hilarious moments in it. "You silver-tongued devil you."

The controversy of this film is absolutely ridiculous. This film is not offensive in any way. This shows the true horror and torture that was slavery in the United States, and if you can't accept your history, then you aren't much of patriots in my mind. The other controversy with Quentin Tarantino about the film promoting violence, I don't think thats true at all. I don't think that revenge is the answer for anything, but in this time/world where all they knew was being tortured, I think that this would have been the ultimate fantasy for a newly freed slave in the 1860s. I don't think theres anything wrong with giving it to them. Its a movie, and Tarantino is all about alternate endings (ie Inglorious Basterds which completely re-wrote history.)

I am giving this film a 10/10. No joke, I think this film will go down as one of my favorite films of all time. Amazing, go see it right now. 




Kiwi Film Review: Zero Dark Thirty



IMDB: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Roger Ebert: 3/4 stars

Staring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, James Gandolfini
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
Written By: Mark Boal


Release Date: 11 January 2012
Described by IMDB as: "Maya is a CIA operative whose first experience is in the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on the 11th September 2001. She is a reluctant participant in extreme duress applied to the detainees, but believes that the truth may only be obtained through such tactics. For several years, she is single-minded in her pursuit of leads to uncover the whereabouts of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is confident Bin Laden is where she says he is."


I'm really not a fan of movies that are very pro-american propaganda, but I really didn't mind this one. This was actually one of the most intense movies I've seen in a very long time, more specifically the last half hour or so  when they actually get to the compound where Osama Bin Ladin was. I think the fact that you know he dies at the end is even more intense then if you didn't because you're just waiting for that moment when they find and kill him. 

Its been a few weeks since I saw the film so I'm sure there are quite a few things I'm going to have forgotten about it, but I will try my best. I think that there is a pretty good chance of Jessica Chastain winning the Oscar this year for Best Actress in a Leading Role. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic in Silver Linings Playbook and, she might have some competition in Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of a Southern Wild because everyone  likes to give awards to children, but I think that Chastain has a definite shot. All of the acting in this film was fantastic. I really didn't know who most of the actors in this film, but they were great. The emotions from the prisoners were fantastic. You really got the feeling that they were being tortured.

The conflict that comes with enjoying this film is the torture. There has been a lot of uproar about it all over the media, and I think the reasons are valid. I think that this movie definitely portrays torture, especially water-boarding and sleep depravation. I think the fact that they changed some stuff, or maybe have even gotten some party completely wrong is a big problem for people. For most films based on true events it doesn't matter, but since the Iraq war is still going on, this brings up a pretty big issue for most people. Especially with all of the debates over drone strikes these days, it all links together as a pretty big moral debate. I totally agree with all of this, especially since at one point they are clearly angered by the fact that Obama has put a ban on torture, leaving them with less options in how to obtain information. However, the information that helps them find the messenger wasn't really torture, it was then giving him food and letting him outside. Granted, that wouldn't have worked if they hadn't been torturing him for months, but still.

I think the cinematography and directing were also fantastic in this film. Although most of it was pretty grim-looking, it was still beautifully shot. The whole sequence with them flying into the camp where Osama Bin Ladin is hiding was beautiful and you really felt the suspense  but not as much as when they actually got in there. It wasn't just that you were waiting to see where Bin Ladin was, it was also how they were filming it. It was dark so you couldn't see much. I think the way they chose to show him when they had shot him was smart, they showed used bits and pieces of his face at a time, never really showing the injury, but showing enough of his face for anyone who'd seen a picture of him before to know it was him. I thought it was smart, because I'm sure this film is causing enough rage within the Taliban as it is, they definitely would have lost it if they had shown the deformed-mutilated head of their former leader. My opinion was the same for when Obama didn't release pictures of his dead body when they got him in real life. I know he was a bad dude, but they would just be horribly disrespectful to people who cared about him. No one should have to see their loved one in that way, even if they are a terrorist.

 I honestly don't know how much of this film was true, or elaborated, or just fully made up so I can't really comment on the political accuracy of this film, but I can say that as a film on its own I thought it was fantastic. As I said before it was one of the most intense and heart-pounding films I've ever seen. Its hard to look past inaccuracies, I know, but if you don't know every detail of the Iraq war, or the details of the Seal Team 6 mission, you should perfectly enjoy this film. Unless you just don't appreciate good films, I surprisingly do know people like this. One person told me once that she didn't Precious because "there wasn't enough story."

I'm going to give this film a 8.3/10. Super good, I'd definitely see it again. I'd even buy it on Blu Ray(and we all know how expensive that can be.)