2012 Best Picture Speculation

Oscar nominations come out on Thursday, January 10th. Can you believe it? We'll be talking about the best of 2012 cinema when it's actually relatively close to 2012.

 I can't wait. I wanna speculate now.

Will be nominated for Best Picture:
1) Argo
2) Django Unchained
3) Lincoln
4) Silver Linings Playbook
5) Zero Dark Thirty

Will almost definitely be nominated for Best Picture:
6) The Master
7) Les Miserables
8) Life of Pi

Stand a good chance of being nominated for Best Picture: 
 9) Amour
10) Beasts of the Southern Wild
11) End of Watch
12) The Intouchables
13) Moonrise Kingdom
14) Rust and Bone
15) The Sessions

Stand an outside chance of being nominated for Best Picture:
16) Anna Karenina
17) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
18) Flight
19) The Impossible
20) Take This Waltz

Films that I have heard as being speculated for Best Picture in various publications, but stand no chance in Hell: 
21) Bernie
22) Cloud Atlas
23) The Dark Knight Rises
24) The Hobbit
25) Looper
26) Magic Mike
27) Prometheus
28) Promised Land
29) Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
30) Seven Psychopaths
31) Skyfall
32) Trouble With the Curve


2012 - The Year of the Bow and Arrow

Every year in Hollywood there's a breakout star. This year, we had the pleasure of a resurgence. A fallen comrade who is now back to grace us with their presence once again. And he brought his old partner back with him. Ladies and gentleman, 2012 was the year of the Bow and Arrow Here are the duo's ten best performances from the past year:

10) The Campaign
This scene didn't make the final cut of the movie. I'm still counting it because it's funnier than 90% of the actual film.

9) Wrath of the Titans (Mute this video before playing)

Very clever, uploader. Blow out our speakers to distract us from the Sam Worthington bad acting.

8) Snow White and the Huntsman
Learn to listen. It saves lives.

7) Moonrise Kingdom

The actual scene takes place a little earlier, but frankly, I'm lucky I found this.

6) The Five-Year Engagement  
Man hits woman = Terrible thing.
Woman hits man = Funny thing.
Little girl hits woman in the leg with a crossbow = Very funny thing.

5) The Dark Knight Rises

If Bruce Wayne's aim was a little worse, The Dark Knight Rises would have been a much shorter film.

4) The Hobbit

Couldn't find a clip of this scene. But trust me, it's there.

3) Brave

Pixar, a mister Robin Hood is on line two, something about a plagiarism suit...

2) The Avengers

Hawkeye: Weakest member of The Avengers; still a badass.

1) The Hunger Games

Easy on the suckling pig, Seneca. You won't have any room for the berries.


Ranking the Goonies on Their Post-Goonies Careers

9) Jeff Cohen as Chunk
Despite being the most popular and memorable of the Goonies, Jeff Cohen had a spectacularly lackluster career, consisting entirely of bit parts on TV. However, he did lose a bunch of weight, freeing him from a lifetime's amount of request for Truffle Shuffles. He played college football whilst he attended business school. He followed it up with law school, and now serves as a lawyer in southern California. Also, if the internet is to be believed, he can stop bullets.

8) Kerri Green as Andy
Despite her popularity with fans, Kerri Green only had one follow-up hit post-Goonies: the teen-comedy football-flick, Lucas. After a few small roles, Green took a break from acting to attend Vassar College. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts. Since graduation, she has been working behind the scenes, managing an independent production company and writing scripts.

7) John Matuszak as Sloth
Prior to becoming a cinematic legend as Sloth, the lovable gentle giant, John Matuszak played professional football for ten years. As a defensive end, he earning himself two Super Bowl rings with the Oakland Raiders. But none of that matters, we're measuring post Goonies fame. Matuszak had a couple of small roles as his career continued, including a trio of crime films which he headlined. They were terrible, but he still headlined. Sadly, Matuszak passed away in 1989 from an overdose of the prescription drug Darvocet.

6) Jonathan Ke Quan as Data

His second-most-prominent role (the first being Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), Quan was a defacto representative of southeast Asia in 80s media. Interpret that as you will. Aside from his role as the fifth-season addition Jasper Kwong on TV's "Head of the Class," Quan graduated from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. He now works as a stunt coordinator in Hollywood, serving on films such as X-Men and The One.

5) One-Eyed Willy as Himself
One-Eyed Willy tragically died before the release of The Goonies, but that did nothing to deter his presence in Hollywood. A niche actor, Willy has taken uncredited parts in films such as Army of Darkness, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghost Rider and Hot Fuzz.

4) Corey Feldman as Mouth
The most famous of all the 1980's Coreys, Corey Feldman earned his fame in films like Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then the Hollywood curse hit him like so many other teenage stars. After a public battle with drugs, Feldman took increasingly schlocky parts. In recent years, he's exploited his personal life and reputation as a former child stars in an unbelievable level of meta.

3) Martha Plimpton as Stef
Martha Plimpton has had a rock solid career in Hollywood, taking a bevy of supporting roles in high profile films... Rather, that's what Wikipedia tells me. In actuality, I don't recognize any of her films. It's her recent work that propels her into the third spot. She's earned three Tony Award nominations in three consecutive years, an Emmy award for a guest spot on The Good Wife, and she's received massive accolades for her work on the series Raising Hope. Also, and this is just my personal opinion, she totally rocks that cropped hairstyle.

2) Sean Astin as Mikey

The Goonies was the feature film debut of Sean Astin, and what a career he's had since. His performance as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is enough to rocket him into second place. But factor in his performance as the legendary Rudy, and it's clear his career is just fantastic. He's also good in Toy Soldiers and Memphis Belle, but I don't think enough people know about their existence to warrant a mention.

1) Josh Brolin as Brand

I don't know how or when Josh Brolin broke into the A-List, but he's more than welcome to stay. Look at his filmography: No Country For Old Men, Grindhouse, Milk, True Grit, W., American Gangster. Even in crap like Jonah Hex and Men in Black 3, he brings memorable performances. He's making all the right moves and he's been reaping the rewards. Good for you, you wonderful Goonie.


So What, It's Seven Dwarves

1) Warwick Davis
Height: 3'6"

Most famous role: Either Willow Ufgood (Willow) or Professor Flitwick (Harry Potter), depending on how old you are.

Played Santa's Elf?: Yes

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: Yes

Other claims to fame: Co-founder (and namesake) of Willow Management, a talent agency that specializes in representing actors under five feet tall.

2) Danny Woodburn
Height: 4'0"

Most famous role: Mickey Abbott, Kramer's actor friend on Seinfeld

Played Santa's Elf?: Yes

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: Yes

Other claims to fame: An outspoken advocate for the rights of little people, Woodburn once wrote to Roger Ebert protesting his use of the word "midget." Unaware of the negative connotations, Ebert quickly apologized and ceased use of the word. The entire exchange can be read here.

3) Phil Fondacaro

Height: 3'6"

Most famous role: Roland; the professional Finder, stalker, and apparently totally-suitable-for-family-television hebephile from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Played Santa's Elf?: Yes

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: Yes

Other claims to fame: Shortest actor to ever portray Dracula.

4) Peter Dinklage
Height: 4'5"

Most famous role: Tyrion "The Imp" Lannister on Game of Thrones

Played Santa's Elf?: Vehemently no.

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: Yes

Other claims to fame: First little person to ever win an Emmy (2011, for his role on Game of Thrones).

5) Verne Troyer 
Height: 2'8"

Most famous role: Mini-Me, from the Austin Powers franchise

Played Santa's Elf?: No

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: No

Other claims to fame: Was the subject of a sextape featuring him and his former live-in girlfriend Ranae Shrider. After the video was leaked by Shrider to TMZ in 2008, Troyer sued TMZ for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.

6) Debbie Lee Carrington 

Height: 3'9"

Most famous role: Thumbelina, pint-sized prostitute from Total Recall

Played Santa's Elf?: Yes

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: No

Other claims to fame: Has a degree in child psychology from the University of California-Davis

7) Martin Klebba
Height: 4'1"

Most famous role: Marty, from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise

Played Santa's Elf?: Yes

Played Snow White's Dwarf?: Yes, several times.

Other claims to fame: Runs a nonprofit foundation called Coalition for Dwarf Advocacy, which gives 100% of its donations to the cause of helping little people.


Dream Movies: Argonautica

The Title: Jason and The Argonauts

The Plot:  Ancient Greece. A time of monsters, men, and the Gods who rule them. Pelias, ruler of Iolcus has received a dire warning from Apollo: a one-sandled man will end his reign as king. Enter Jason, everyman extraordinaire who's misplaced half of his sandals. In order to circumvent Apollo's prediction and maintain his rule, Pelias sends Jason on the wildest of the wild goose chases: He must find and retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece.

The Golden Fleece can be found in The Shrine of the Silver Monkey...
Poor Jason is a melancholy figure. Old enough to realize Greece is in the legendary Age of Heroes, but too young to have fought in the legendary Trojan War, and fatalistic enough to realize his lot in life is slightly less than ordinary. He always dreamed of adventure, of excitement, of exhilarating expeditions alongside icons, like Daedalus, Pericles, and his idol, Odysseus. Instead, he's stuck selling fish (or something menial) watching the world pass him by.

The Greeks didn't immortalize just anybody. You had to urn it.

Not privy to Pelias' true intentions, Jason sees the fleece-fueled snipe hunt as his one and only chance for glory, and the ancient Greek equivalent of a fanboy's dream come true. Using the desperate king's boundless resources, Jason enlists the help of every Greek hero not currently dead, exiled, or incapacitated by means of transmogrification (and according to Ovid, there were a lot).

Among the crew are the mighty Herakles, whose strength knows no boundary (and who resents being mistaken for his Roman cousin). The brave Orpheus, who has transcended to the underworld and back multiple times. The sprightly Atalanta, who slew the Calydonian Boar. The noble Perseus, who beheaded Medusa and tamed Pegasus. The determined Theseus, who escaped the clutches of the Minoan labyrinth. The knowledgeable Argus, who knows the oceans like the back of his calloused hands, and builder of the mighty ship Argos (whom he leases to Jason for a very, very reasonable rate.) Finally, there's Medea, the voice of reason, the grounded individual amongst a literal ship of fools... And there's 42 other sailors who will have to fight for screentime.
Kinda like Degrassi. Except on a boat.
Together, they are The Argonauts. They will brave treacheries far and wide, be they winged harpies, bronze giants, mystic clashing rocks, or in-fighting between the Olympians. For glory. For adventure. For redemption. For fleece. And for the truth behind Jason's actual place in the universe; how and why he was chosen for such a quest, and what it means for Iolcus, all of Greece, and the future of mankind.
Jason had a little boat, his fleece was gold as corn...

The Talent: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Love 'em or hate 'em, they are undisputed royalty in the world of film. They have the ability to balance comedy and drama like masters. The immersive worlds they create are signifiers of expert storytellers, animators and filmmakers alike. Plus their characters and expressions are bar-none the best in the business. Yeah, even better than Pixar. There, I said it.

The Appeal: Family movies, particularly of the animated variety, are by and large adaptations (I have no basis for this statistic, just go with me). And sometimes after we adapt, we re-adapt, and re-interpret, and re-imagine, and re-boot everything. And after that, it's time for a fresh source.

Greek mythology wasn't designed for the kiddies. They were tales of lust and betrayal and graphic violence. So I can understand why the myths of old are frequently adapted as big, loud, dumb action flicks (looking your way, Wrath of the Titans). But you know what? Snow White is the quintessential kiddie film, and The Brothers Grimm weren't g-rated themselves. Lots of fairy tales are deconstructed and bowdlerized beyond recognition. They made a freaking animated musical out of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with talking gargoyles. Everything is fair game.

This was satire. Then two years later, it actually happened!

As implied earlier in the plot section, I envision this film as an action/comedy. The story lends itself to it. Make Jason a little overly eager and a touch naive; foolhardy and childlike in ambition. He consistently puts his crew in peril, yet he never realizes just how his irresponsibility and inexperience factor into this. Medea is the mother-like figure who bails Jason out of his jams, then slowly evolves into the romantic interest (Kinda Freudian, but whatever). For the rest of the crew, the screenwriter can play off some shallow, appointed gimmick. Argus can be really old and borderline senile. Atalanta can be four feet tall, but every bit as strong as her shipmates. Hell, the boat talks in the original myth. You can't pass up an opportunity for humor like that.

Jason and the Argonauts has been adapted before, most notably the Ray Harryhausen version from the 60's, but it's long overdue for a fresh spin. The story of the Argonauts is the It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World of Ancient Greece. With so many different characters, you can interpret it from a dozen different angles, and it'll be different every time. It's an epic story (literally), so you'd be hard pressed to fit the story into a single movie.  Even the '63 version omits the ending. But after seeing so many interpretations of Hercules' journeys and The Odyssey, it's been a long time coming. Jason and the Argonauts is so chock-full of memorable characters, exciting scenes, and superb potential I'd love to see someone try.

Because what's childhood without a little trauma?


Coming Soon and Gone - Ice Age

Am I remembering correctly, or was this trailer before every movie for, like, 2 years? And then Ice Age came out. And it wasn't nearly as funny as the trailer itself.


R You Serious?

The MPAA, despite all its missteps, has done one thing very well: It has kept film as a business, as an art, and as an entertainment medium out of the hands of the government.

In the 1930's, The Hays Code went into effect in order to keep film deregulated. Essentially, The Hays Code was a strict ban on material that could be deemed offensive to the potential audience, including sex, drug use, foul language, and any form of racism (quite progressive, given the era.)

Before and After The Hays Code. Ruining the lives of shoulder fetishists everywhere.

But times change, and begrudgingly, so does protocol. In the 1960s, the comically outdated Hays Code was phased out in favor of the MPAA rating system, allowing for more controversial material to a willing, receptive, and most important, appropriate audience.

The rating system has changed a bunch since then, but one thing has remained constant: The R-Rating has restricted content from those under the age of 17.

Why? Because. The MPAA rating system exists to warn and alert parents of questionable content. It's censorship, but it's self-censorship. The MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners both agree this is the best possible policy. If this was not the case, the government would intervene, and force mandatory regulation. Don't believe me? Look at TV. Look at radio. The FCC's got its tentacles all over them, and they'll never break free.

National Association of Theater Owners. Good thing nobody else has that acronym.

Now let me be clear. I don't agree with censorship. But it's a necessary evil. No matter how much I bitch and moan and whine and complain, Prudence Dogood and the Lady's Auxillary of Smallburg, USA will raise a much bigger fuss. They have to do something while their casseroles are in the oven. If we restrict admission to vulgar, racy and violent films, we can literally say 'We have done everything we can.' The children are safe, and sheltered children make the best adults (it's a self-perpetuating fallacy).

Movies are not being censored. They are not being altered. They are not being butchered or outlawed. They are simply being dangled above the head of high school sophomores.

If you don't like it, make your voice heard. Not at theater, of course. There's nothing the box office clerk can do about it except you you a look of dismay. And don't rebel either. I speak from experience, there is nothing a theater usher likes better than kicking a 14 year-old out of 'Fart Academy 5.'

You're just going to do this anyways. Can't you do it in the new Dreamworks movie?

I mean it. If you ever scream at a box-office clerk over a 40 year-old, nationwide ordinance, you deserve to have your Friday night ruined. Go ice skating or something. You also deserve to have your tires slashed and your mailbox knocked over, but I have no power over that (mechanics and mailmen of America, let's make a deal...)

No, make it clear that the content of R-Rated movies is a non-issue that doesn't require an enforceable rule. That you could care less if your sixteen year-old daughter saw a provocative social drama about heroin and AIDS. That your freshman son is certainly mature enough to handle a movie about three stoners who befriend a gorilla and teach it to smoke. That if your kids are old enough to drive themselves to the theater and pay with their own credit cards, they should see a bunch of Martians ruthlessly shoot up a stranded batallion of space marines if they so desire.

Protocol has changed before to reflect a changing audience. The MPAA and NATO needs to know its time to change again.


The 2012 Halftime Report

2012, come in. Please, have a seat. Get comfy. Can I get you something to drink?

First let me clear. You're not in trouble. If you were, we wouldn't be meeting on such friendly terms. However, we do need to talk about your performance. You see, back around October of last year, we were all very very eager to have you. You had a number of great releases lined up, and we were all waiting on tenterhooks.You were going to be the biggest thing to happen to movies since 2007.

But then... you choked.

You had everything you needed, and you choked.

Let me drop this interview motif like the mockumentary structure in District 9. When I rank movies, I rank them on a scale of 1 to 5. Five being a perfectly constructed film, and One being an insult to the audience. For those who can't math, three falls right in the middle. I reserve threes for films that make no real impression. Stuff I forget immediately after leaving the theater. Stuff that has no real flaws, but no redeeming factors either. I have never had to use so many three star rankings as I have this year.

Practically everything I was anticipating being a knockout punch has been just average. The Spider-Man reboot, Prometheus, Seeking a Friend for the End of This Really Long Title, The Five-Year Engagement, John Carter, Pirates: Band of Misfits, both of the postmodern Snow White movies. All average, three star efforts.

Hell, even Pixar and Studio Ghibli. Two movie-making institutions renowned for their pursuit of excellence. Six stars between them.

Meanwhile, everything I was anticipating being just average has been dumb dumb dumb. Men In Black III: The Search for More Money, Dark Shadows, Silent House. I got into all of them for free, I still feel like I was ripped off.

2012 is not going down as being a great year for movies. That ship has sailed. But, it's not too late to cut your losses. 2012 hasn't batted a complete .000, The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods were both phenomenal. As for The Hunger Games, while I won't consider it among the greatest of sci-fi films, I will admit it was very very good.

Fangirls are no less annoying regardless if their obsession has any worth.

In addition, everyone knows the first half of a year is the bad half of the movie-going year. The movie-going year is divided into four parts:

1) January - March: Crap. Studios are focusing on awards season. A whole bunch of low-effort junk comes out because it saves mad duckets on marketing.

 2) April - July: Summer blockbuster season. every studio has one or two big BIG movies, and a bunch of flashy stuff that they're hoping will get decent returns before word of mouth causes a total lack of disinterest.

3) August - October: Risky ventures and unconventional pics. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Lots of diamonds in the rough, but mostly just rough.

4) November - December: Oscar bait, family films and any Summer Blockbuster that had problems in post.

So, maybe the mediocre first half of 2012 will be swept under the rug by a phenomenal second half. We can only hope.


If You're Wondering Who The Best Boy Is, It's Somebody's Nephew

Here are ten more opening credit sequences I really like. In case you forgot its predecessor, go here.

Again, infer nothing from their ranking or representation over other films. These are just ten I like.

1) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

What better way to get a gaggle of kids to sit down and shut up then to barrage their eyes with a cavalcade of confectionery delights? I swear, one time as a kid, I watched just this opening credits sequence because I was so insanely jealous of all that chocolate.

2) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

I could have filled this entire list with just David Fincher openings. This is his most recent, and I don't know what I like about it. It barely even fits with the rest of the film (assuming a scene exploring Lisbeth Salander's latex fetish wasn't just edited out), but it's intense, shocking, and Karen O's vocals do the Led Zeppelin classic some justice.

3) Reservoir Dogs (1992)

It's men. Walking down a street. In slow motion. Some are wearing suits, while others are not. And Stephen Wright is talking. It shouldn't be interesting, but it's the most iconic scene in the film, and arguably of the entire Tarantino filmography.

4) Superbad (2007)

Dance, white boys, dance!

5) The Third Man (1949)

While the music is only recognizable to film fanatics of the advanced tier, the score of The Third Man is thrust into prominence with an extreme close-up of a zither (a great Scrabble word, by the way). It wants your attention, and it grabs you by the lapels until it's finished.

6) Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

There was a period of time when Mike Meyers was considered an innovative comedian, and this movie was at the tail-end of that era. Already rehashing a series of joke that was featured not once, but twice in the first Austin Powers, Austin Powers 2 begins with a bawdy thrust that still evokes a smirk.

7-9) The Naked Gun (1988), The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991), The Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994)

The three Naked Gun films all feature the same joke in their opening credits, but have the decency to reinvent and rework the gags for each installment. They're just as hilarious, off-the-wall and fast-paced as the rest of the movie.

10) Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca is not completely obtuse or misleading, but it does require your full attention. It's a tight-knit science fiction film, and rewards those who make the effort to watch it multiple times. Only those who have seen the film, know the plot, and understand the character can begin to recognize what's going on in this sequence. And for those watching for the first time, they just have to make sense as best they can.


Dream Movies: Canuxploitation

Studios make movies to reach a wide audience. Filmmakers make movies to reach a specific audience. But wouldn't it be wonderful to have movies made exclusively for you? This is Dream Movies, a new feature, where I proffer the harebrained ideas for perfect movies tailor-made for me.


The Title: Stand on Guard

The Plot:  Clarke McGillicutty was a loyal Canadian and a proud serving member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During a routine investigation of something innocuous, let's say a potential lead on a missing person, Clarke discovers a band of criminals using Canada's comparatively lax stance on trade regulations to smuggle in drugs, weapons, and bacon cut from the belly of the pig instead of the back. In his attempt to uphold the law and protect the good people of Medicine Hat, or Chilliwack, or some other city that makes "Albuquerque" sound normal, he pisses off the wrong people. Alas, the corruption goes all the way to the top. Our hero finds himself a framed and wanted man, with all of Canada turning their backs on him.

Closet transvestites won't even let Clarke sing about them.

Our noble hero is alone in his efforts to clean up the streets, clear his name and stop the villains before the arbitrarily established deadline. His only ally is a sexy former YTV star, who aids in his quest, serves as the requisite love interest, and becomes the third act MacGuffin when she inevitably gets taken hostage, because that always happens to women in the third act. With his back to the wall, Clarke's only solution is to suit up and dispatch a Double Double dose of Canadian-style justice. Because after all, the mounties always get their manslaughter.

Conception for Clarke, seen holding one of the province's three guns.

The Appeal: The exploitation film subgenre is all about shock value and empowerment. The shock value is clear: rampant violence. Mounties versus criminals. Criminals versus civilians. Mounties versus other mounties. There are the standards every action movie promises; hand-to-hand combat, reckless driving and gunplay. But think of the opportunities the unique setting provides! Somebody could get beat with lacrosse sticks, slashed with a broken Molson bottle, eviscerated at a lumberjack camp, and for the grand finale, the criminal kingpin can get run over by a zamboni.

Hell, half the movie could be stock footage from the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots.

As for empowerment? Canadians always get the sort end of the pecan log. They're viewed as America's little brother and it's culture is rarely taken seriously. Canuxploitation can make The True North a force to be reckoned with. The mountie is an internationally recognized symbol of the country, and one that commands respect. Putting a pair of pistols in his gauntlets will reinforce this image. The color red is powerful and intimidating. It's the color of blood. This can be more than a coincidence.

The mounties deserve better than this.

The Talent: Jason Eisener, the guy who made Hobo With a Shotgun.

People who like this movie will never let you forget they like this movie.

Hobo With a Shotgun was a grindhouse film released in 2011, equally ridiculous as it was nonsensically bloody. While the unrestrained nature of the film was entertaining in the same sense that confectioners sugar sprinkled on a brownie sundae is delicious, it was still a freshman effort. I'd like to see him apply the skills learned, but also try some new ideas.

Basically, I want the 21st century version of this.

Eisener is a Canadian, so he's the natural choice for such an endeavour. He could insert the necessary black humour, making the whole thing satirical and self-referential without it seeming like a series of unfair jabs, or a cinematic equivalent of Weird Al Yankovic's 'Canadian Idiot.'

Real Canadians are only a third as flatulent.

I know very little about Jason Eisener; he's only made one feature film, I can't find his short films anywhere on the internet, he has no Wikipedia page, even his IMDB page consists only of a pair of photographs. But as best I can tell, Eisener is well ingrained in the world of grindhouse features and intends to make a full-fledged career out of it. Why not make this reality by fulfilling my indulgent desires?

Pictured: Literally half of everything I know about Jason Eisener


Render Me In Three Dimensions Like One of Your French Girls

The first video above is the original 1997 trailer to the film Titanic. The second is for the 2012 3D re-release.

What differences do we notice?

For starters, the second is a much simpler, pared down version. It's nearly half as long. It assumes you know the story, or are at least vaguely familiar with it. It assumes you know the characters and why they're on the boat. It assumes you know who are the leads and the fact they wind up together. They don't have to waste time establishing context, they can dive right into the good stuff.

And by "Good Stuff" I mean the memorable parts. The images seared into our collective consciousnesses that scream "James Cameron's Titanic." We have the captain, the engine room crew, the steerage dance scene, the sex scene in the old-timey car, the elderly couple preparing themselves for death in their bed, among others.

And because so many scenes were added, some of the less-memorable scenes are swept under the rug. Gone are any indicators this story is told via flashback, save for a brief three second shot of a submarine near the beginning. Gone is Billy Zane and any indicators of class struggle as a main theme, possibly a hot button issue in this current era of occupiers and 99 percenters.

What has been added? That god damn Celine Dion song. In the original, it was a brief instrumental piece among the other orchestral numbers. In the new one, it's belted out over the entire second half. And shame on the marketing team; America has just about nearly forgotten Celine Dion altogether. She's like a wart. Even if we get rid of her, she's still creeping around under the surface.

But on a less bitter note, the new trailer has a heavier emphasis on the disaster-movie qualities. It was definitely the editor's intention to feature short, punchy, exciting clips, most likely to emphasize the possibilities and grandeur of 3D. As opposed to, you know, the conversion being a completely pointless endeavor.


Oscar Predictions - 2012

Last year I got 12/24. This year, I'm going to get better than an F.

Live Action Short Film:
Winner: Time Freak
Upset: Tuba Atlantic
Dark Horse: Raju

Animated Short Film:
Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore (The writer was paid by the syllable, apparently)
Upset: La Luna
Dark Horse: Wild Life

Documentary Short:
Winner: Incident in New Baghdad
Upset: Saving Face
Dark Horse: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Documentary Feature:
This is the hardest category to predict this year. If you get this right, you must work for PriceWaterhouseCooper.
Winner: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Upset: Hell and Back Again
Dark Horse: Pina

Foreign Language Film:
Winner: A Separation
No others here. This is a lock.

Animated Feature:
Winner: Rango
Another lock. This one had the award in the bag before the nominations came out.

Winner: Harry Potter 8
Upset: The Iron Lady
Hey, remember last year how The Wolf Man won? That was weird.

Original Score:
Winner: The Artist (Original score, aside from the parts heavily borrowed from Vertigo)
Upset: The Adventures of Tintin
Dark Horse: War Horse

Original Song:
Thanks again for fucking up this category, Academy
Winner: Man or Muppet (The Muppets)

Visual Effects:
Winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Upset: Harry Potter 8
Dark Horse: Real Steel

Sound Mixing (Dialogue and Balancing):
Winner: Hugo
Upset: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Dark Horse: War Horse

Sound Editing (Foley and Effects):
Winner: Hugo
Upset: Drive
Dark Horse: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Costume Design:
Winner: The Artist (Tuxedos and fancy pants)
Upset: Jane Eyre (Petticoats and fancy pants)
Dark Horse: Hugo (Berets and fancy pants)

Art Direction:
Winner: The Artist (Come on, it's in the title)
Upset: Hugo
Dark Horse: Harry Potter 8 (It'd be a lifetime achievement award for Harry Potter.)

Winner: The Artist
Upset: The Descendants
Dark Horse: Hugo

This is where I stray from the popular opinion. I believe the majority of the Academy will stray from the surreal stylings of The Tree of Life towards something more traditional.
Winner: Hugo
Upset: The Tree of Life
Dark Horse: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Original Screenplay:
Winner: Midnight in Paris
Upset: A Separation
Dark Horse: Margin Call

Adapted Screenplay:
Winner: The Descendants
Upset: The Ides of March
Dark Horse: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Supporting Actress:
Winner: Octavia Spencer - The Help
Upset: Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Dark Horse: Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids

Supporting Actor:
Winner: Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Upset: Max Von Sydow - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Dark Horse: Jonah Hill - Moneyball

Leading Actress:
Winner: Viola Davis - The Help
Upset: Michelle Williams - My Week With Marylin
Dark Horse: Rooney Mara - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Leading Actor:
Very very close. I think Clooney will edge out Dujardin simply because of favoritism.
Winner: George Clooney - The Descendants
Upset: Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Dark Horse: Brad Pitt - Moneyball

Winner: Michel Hazanavinazavinazavinicazazinivus - The Artist
Upset: Alexander Payne - The Descendants
Dark Horse: Martin Scorsese - Hugo

Best Picture:
9th place: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
8th place: The Tree of Life
7th place: War Horse
6th place: Moneyball
5th place: The Help
4th place: Midnight in Paris
3rd place: Hugo
2nd place: The Descnedants
Winner: The Artist

EDIT: 15/24. Still weirded out how The Iron Lady got more Oscars than The Descendents.


Extremely Similar and Incredibly Close

Here's something interesting I discovered about Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. It got the Oscar nom for Best Picture because it's exactly the same as the other eight films.

Don't believe me?

It's the personal story of how one boy and his best friend were separated by an infamous act of international violence...

...Causing the young boy to lose his father in a tragic accident, establishing a mystery centered around a lock and key...

...But by using an unconventional strategy, backed by a mathematical algorithm involving normally overlooked people...

...He keeps alive the memories of his father, his enduring legacy and the impact he had on his adolescent life...

...By going on a futile journey for solace, to find answers as to why his once-perfect life has unfairly been upended...

...And Viola Davis is there, who has much bigger problems than the young, white, protagonist, but she agrees to help anyways...

...And there's a deeply depressed man, plagued by his own silence...

...But in the end, after meeting numerous interesting people, the hero learns to let go of the past and focus on his future in the city he loves.