Archive for Opinion

22 Feb 2012

2012 Oscar Predictions

1 Comment Opinion, Oscars

At long last, here are my 2012 Oscar predictions for who will win, as well as my thoughts on who should actually win. If your gut is telling you otherwise or you are outraged that one of your favorite nominees might get shut-out this Sunday, post your thoughts in the comment section below!

Best Picture

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse
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22 Sep 2011

So the Oscars changed the Best Picture nomination rules again. Who cares?

No Comments Opinion, Oscars

Relevance is a fleeting term to the Academy

Most people are not comfortable with change. Consistency means reliability and assurance. If the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is one thing, it is not consistent. In fact, they are actually quite fickle.

This can be seen in their latest change to the Best Picture nomination process. Just two years after changing the rules to allow 10 movies to be nominated, the group has once again altered the process to allow anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees each year. Basically, instead of the top 10 vote getters receiving a nomination, a film has to have at least 5 percent of the first place votes to be recognized.
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01 Jan 2011

The Top 10 Movies of 2010

2 Comments Opinion, Published Work

In my seven years of film critiquing, I have found the even numbered year’s much more fruitful in the production of quality of films over commonplace studio garbage. 2010, while not as memorable as ‘08 or ‘06, showed slight improvement over 2009’s batch. While last year was highlighted by such upbeat films as “Up,” “(500) Days of Summer” and “Bruno,” this year saw movies with a much darker tone take center stage.

Whether it was certain broad social conditions or just my attempt to embrace emo a bit more than usual, this year’s Top 10, no matter the common theme, ranks among the best of the past decade. Read more

24 Aug 2010

Insight's Summer Movie Awards

No Comments Opinion, Published Work

There and gone. Many can relate that to M. Night Shyamalan’s career, but really it’s a better description of our now extinct summer break. While many might have spent their fleeting summer days floating the Truckee, plumping up at barbeques, or re-discovering a hatred for endless road work, I made the Reno cinema scene my bitch. Or maybe it was vice-versa…

No matter the case, Hollywood stuck to tradition by releasing an abundance of throwaway action flicks, with a few quality pictures sprinkled in between. So to follow suit, I will also mimic a Hollywood tradition by handing out awards to the best and worst movies of the past three months.

"Make up your mind you stupid top!" Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Best Movie – “Inception”

Not since director Christopher Nolan’s last film two years ago (“The Dark Knight” anybody?) has a film not only been able to live up to expectations, but literally sodomize those expectations into submission. Deftly blending an intricate and always captivating story with masterfully choreographed action sequences, “Inception” is the king of summer blockbusters. Mix in some fine performances from Leo and company, with yet another epic score from master “bass” composer Hans Zimmer, and you’ve got yourself the best movie that the Oscars probably won’t recognize this year.

Worst Movie – “The Last Airbender”

The Last Airbreaker. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

I almost feel guilty of a serious offense for mentioning Mr. Shyamalan twice in the same article. If you thought “The Happening” was bad, take comfort in knowing it is laughably bad. “The Last Airbender,” not so much. With dialogue seemingly written by 5th grader (not of the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” breed) and acting as stiff as Conan O Brien’s hair, even Mr. Hankey would say this movie stinks.

Best Sequel/Remake/Adaptation – “Toy Story 3”

In their third outing, Woody, Buzz and the rest of the plastic gang bring us along for their most emotional and exciting adventure yet. Maintaining its dominance as the studio with the biggest heart, Pixar delivers its most mature film to date in the finale to its most cherished franchise. Hearts will race during the daycare escape sequences, guts will burst with laughter when Buzz turns Flamingo dancer and tears will flow during Andy’s college goodbyes.

Most Ambitious Movie (that kinda sucked) – “Salt”

Angelina Jolie is the definitive female action star. We get it. The only problem is, she is also the definitive action star in a series of action blockbusters with ridiculous plots. Between “Wanted’s” ‘Loom of Fate’ and now “Salt’s” in, out, on the side, and in between country alliances, the stories have become too obscure to just be able to sit back and enjoy the ensuing chaos on screen. Not to mention that my horny college male alter ego was severely disappointed with the lack of nudity.

Least Ambitious Movie (that was actually good) – “MacGruber”

“Saturday Night Live” films are about as useful to the world as Billy Mays infomercials – they hold no relevance in your daily life, but damn are they fun to watch. In its opening song, “MacGruber” amusingly references its absurdness by singing, “Yes! He made a f*^&ing movie!” Not since “Dumb and Dumber” has a movie channeled so much stupid and shoved it in your face. Speaking of shoving, kudos for “MacGruber” star Will Forte for sticking a piece of celery up his ass to divert the bad guy’s attention. Way to serve your country soldier!

"This celery doesn't belong in my mouth..." Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Most Disturbing Movie – “Splice”

Science in general creeps me out. All of these flesh eating microorganisms and irritated bowel syndromes worry me enough, let alone the idea of gene splicing. So, at its heart, “Splice” is an intriguing and scientifically grounded movie that produces thought on basic human nature and the instability of life. On the surface though, “Splice” is a film about a couple of douche bag scientists who “screw” with genetics, creating a disfigured creature that is into incest and bestiality.  The ‘Heeby Jeebies’ don’t even begin to describe my post-movie emotions.

Other Awards/Recognitions

"GREAT SCOTT! These piranha are time traveling!" Photo courtesy of Weinstein Company.

- Funniest Movie – “The Other Guys”
- Funniest Sequence in a Movie – Furry walls and Jeffries in “Get Him to the Greek”
- Best Action Flick – “Knight and Day”
- Best Action Sequence in a Movie – Rotating hallway brawl in “Inception”
- Biggest Disappointment – “Dinner for Schmucks”
- Best Indie Flick – “Cyrus”
- Best Cameo – Christopher Lloyd as the eccentric fish ‘doc’ in “Piranha 3-D”
- Best Movie that Makes a Shout-Out to my Hometown of Winnemucca – “Love Ranch”

05 Mar 2010

Who should win? Who will win? Insight's Oscar predictions

No Comments Opinion, Oscars, Published Work

Kathryn Bigelow's "Hurt Locker" is nominated for nine Oscars. The Academy Awards will be shown 5 p.m. Sunday on ABC.Best Picture
Nominees: Avatar, The Blind SideDistrict 9An EducationThe Hurt LockerInglourious BasterdsPreciousA Serious ManUp and Up in the Air

Will Win: The Hurt Locker

- “Avatar” has everything except the story. When it comes down to it, the Academy should award the most well rounded film instead of the most revolutionary.

Side Note: With all the scandals surrounding “The Hurt Locker” over the final week of voting and the general love for “Avatar,” I would not call an “Avatar” win an upset.

Should Win: The Hurt Locker or An Education

- While “The Hurt Locker” has everything a winner should, “An Education” packed a greater emotional punch, is more relatable and, let’s face it, it’s more enjoyable.


Best Director
Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino

Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow

- With the chance to make history in becoming the first female to win the Best Director prize, as well as the fact she made one hell of a movie, voters won’t pass up the opportunity to award her.

Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow or James Cameron

- I’m not going to say that Bigelow doesn’t deserve the prize, because she does.  It’s hard to deny though that no director worked as long or as passionately on his or her movie than Cameron.


Best Actor

Nominees: Jeff Bridges “Crazy Heart,” George Clooney “Up in the Air,” Colin Firth “A Single Man,” Morgan Freeman “Invictus” and Jeremy Renner “The Hurt Locker”

Will Win: Jeff Bridges

- “Crazy Heart” is “The Wrestler” with country music replacing wrestling. Mickey Rourke lost last year. Jeff Bridges, whose role is arguably just as heartfelt and fascinating as Rourke’s, will get it this year because of weaker competition.

Should Win: Jeff Bridges

- Bridges is one cool Dude, who has deserved an Oscar for years now.
Side Note: I will always maintain that it is complete B.S. that Matt Damon didn’t get any recognition this awards season for his multi-layered and extremely quirky role in “The Informant.”


Best Actress

Nominees: Sandra Bullock “The Blind Side,” Helen Mirren “The Last Station,” Carey Mulligan “An Education,” Gabourey Sidibe “Precious” and Meryl Streep “Julie & Julia”

Will Win: Sandra Bullock

- There is a consensus among many who have spent years covering or working in the filmmaking industry that Bullock is one of the most fun and kind actors/actresses to work with. Even if she gave just a good, not great, performance, voters would love to see her win.

Should Win: Carey Mulligan

- A true victim of the Academy’s bias towards veterans. Mulligan gave one of the most inspiring and believable female performances of the last decade and it is a shame she has been left in the dust of Bullock and Streep.


Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Matt Damon “Invictus,” Woody Harrelson “The Messenger,” Christopher Plummer “The Last Station,” Stanley Tucci “The Lovely Bones” and Christoph Waltz “Inglourious Basterds”

Will Win: Christoph Waltz

- Like Heath Ledger last year and Javier Bardem the year before, no performance was as commanding and engrossing. Many will agree this category was locked up when “Basterds” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last May.

Should Win: Christoph Waltz

- To put it simply, his role was a BINGO!


Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Penelope Cruz “Nine,” Vera Farmiga “Up in the Air,” Maggie Gyllenhaal “Crazy Heart,” Anna Kendrick “Up in the Air” and Mo’Nique “Precious”

Will Win: Mo’Nique

- Like Waltz, she has won nearly every award leading up to the Oscars. Anyone upsetting her in this field would be a bigger shock than “Crash’s” surprise win in 2005. Maybe…

Should Win: Mo’Nique

- Scary as hell and believably twisted, Mo’Nique’s performance highlighted the very grim “Precious.” Its one of those performances that will haunt your dreams.


Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man and Up

Will Win: Inglourious Basterds

- For a reason that I will never understand, people love Tarantino’s writing. According to those people, (and himself in the last scene of the film) this is his masterpiece. Like Bullock, he is pretty well loved in Hollywood, so if “The Hurt Locker” doesn’t sweep, Quentin is the Academy’s go-to guy.

Should Win: The Hurt Locker

- The movie starts out with a seemingly ridiculous quote, “War is a drug.” Crack Cocaine is a drug, not a process in which countless people are killed! But I’ll be damned, that quote makes sense when the credits role. Mission accomplished.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious and Up in the Air

Will Win: Up in the Air

- Socially relevant and insightful, “Up in the Air,” is the right movie at the right time. It, like the other sure-fire bets, appears to be a lock due to its pre-Oscar success.

Should Win: An Education

- Nick Hornby’s thoughtful and heart-warming adaptation is one of those plots that allow viewers to experience the entire spectrum of human emotions during the film’s two-hour run-time.

Side Note: Like Damon in “The Informant”, it is absurd that “(500) Days of Summer’s” unique and intelligent take on modern relationships has not been recognized in its respective category.


The “Grow-a-Pair” upset pick of the night

Upset: “The Hurt Locker” winning Cinematography over “Avatar”

- So this is hardly a guarantee, but if there were 20/1 odds at the sports book on this, I would throw $20 down in a heartbeat. The obvious choice for this category is the revolutionary game-changer “Avatar,” that really does deserve any technical award Hollywood can give it. But… As seen in last year’s Oscar winning juggernaut “Slumdog Millionaire,” Academy voters can and will give their favorite nominee all the awards they can give it, even if the film isn’t generally considered the best in certain categories. That nominee could very well be “The Hurt Locker” this year, which has repeatedly been praised for its controlled and patient hand-held camerawork.