A David Ayer film that isn't complete garbage? Say it isn't so...

Set in the waning days of World War II, a rag-tag group of Allied soldiers led by Staff Sergeant Collier (Brad Pitt) push through Germany with their trusty tank: 'Fury'. The well-worn crew include the usual war tropes; the religious one: "Bible" Swan, (Shia LaBeouf) the non-white one: "Gordo" Garcia, (Michael Pena) the angry one: "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal) and the new soldier assigned to the group: Norman (Logan Lerman).

The group are assigned with other tanks on various missions through Germany in an attempt to help the Allied forces make their way through hostile territory. Wedged in between scenes of graphic violence, we are treated to Norman having trouble acclimating to life in the war. He is treated as a grunt among the others in the group and, being in the war for a short period of time, has yet to experience the ugliness that war offers.

After starting rough, with forced dialogue and a struggle to get the film in motion, Fury eventually settles in with standard war tropes. Collier is hardened from his years in combat, yet struggles with the fact the violence he sees and participates in is tearing him apart. Norman is paired with "Gordo" on the front guns of 'Fury' and acts as Norman's, and the audience's, narrator in explaining what to do in the tank. "Coon-Ass" is there to antagonize Norman while "Bible" provides comfort via various religious passages.

All the steps for making a solid war movie are here, and the script follows them step-by-step. Beyond trying to make the film even grittier than past war movies, the film feels very safe and does not take many chances with the opportunities presented. With the script setup, you can pretty much telegraph each action/plot beat way before the film presents it to you. The moment that stands out most regarding the script needing to move on is after a dining scene with the 'Fury' crew and 2 female civilians. Once the scene with the females feels like it has been stretched as far as it can, all of a sudden the script moves the 'Fury' crew to their next mission.

The script continues to let down the audience even when we get to the climax of the film; seemingly ripped out of Saving Private Ryan's script. The 'Fury' crew are outgunned and outnumbered when trying to preserve a section of Germany. With these odds stacked against them, they refuse to let the Germans pass without a fight. As this battle rages on, you can pretty much guess in order how the casualties will flow. Not to ruin the film, but at least some of the 'Fury' crew do not make it out alive.

And speaking of the ending, the resolution of the film feels so false. David Ayer spends the entirety of the film showcasing the dark elements of the film. Anyone can and will die. Yet, the last scene completely falsifies what was set up before it. I understand what David Ayer was trying, but I feel that 'Fury' did not earn the ending it wanted.

Even with that, 'Fury' as a whole is a solid film, filled with enough action to satisfy most of the persons wanting to see the film. The directing is solid and the cast provides enough pull to make 'Fury' worth a viewing.




Director Bennett Miller continues his streak of films based on a true story with Foxcatcher.

Based off the true story, Foxcatcher tells the tale of Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestlers Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and his younger brother Mark (Channing Tatum). One day, Mark is contacted by John du Pont (Steve Carrell) about training a group of wrestlers for the 1987 World Wrestling Championship and the 1988 Olympic Games. After living in the shadow of his older brother, Mark decides to take the opportunity in an attempt to separate himself from Dave.

Moving onto John's property and working under the name: Team Foxcatcher, Mark excels at training the wrestlers recruited and beginning to feel the confidence he lacked while training with Dave. John, as coach, begins to feel he is creating something special that can live up to his mother: Jean's, (Vanessa Redgrave) high, yet cold standards.

Having John and Mark on the same property, though, proves troublesome to each other as we see both characters and their insecurities arise. As John and Mark deal with their personal lives, the drive for winning at wrestling begins to suffer. John senses that Mark is not strong enough to handle what he wants and begins a pursuit to coax Dave onto his compound in an attempt to return the wrestling team to John's high standards.

Having seen Bennett Miller's past 2 films: Capote and Moneyball, this film follows in the same tradition I have regarding his past films. Performances are splendid, yet the films are somewhat hollow. This is not a knock on Foxcatcher or films prior, but Bennett Miller seems to really know how to get solid performances out of his actors, yet struggles to find a way to incorporate a solid story with the acting.

Speaking of the acting, the three leads are able to handily bolster the material. With Mark Schultz, Channing Tatum is tasked with anchoring the film as he is the primary focus for the first half of the story. I wasn't entirely sold on his performance as he mainly lacks any empathy and holds the audience at bay while projecting a tough exterior. The tough exterior, though, really doesn't come through as each character, and the audience, can easily see the cracks in Mark's foundation.

The roles that sell the film are Steve Carrell's performance as John and Mark Ruffalo as Dave. Steve Carrell becomes almost unrecognizable under his makeup while playing billionaire John du Pont. The way Carrell plays John, though, is with sadness and empathy. John is not a bad man, thought treated as one by his mother. The script provides no favors as we are only able to scratch John's surface. Thankfully, Carrell steps up to elevate the material. You may not be able to sympathize with John, but you can certainly understand why he is the way he is.

Mark Ruffalo is the true standout of the film as the Mark's older and caring brother, Dave. Even though the role is not showy, Ruffalo is able to project a warmth over the character and never loses focus on what matters most to him: family. Even when Mark and Dave begin to fall out, Dave still has Mark's best interests at hand and is skeptical that John has Mark's best interests at hand also. In true form, Mark Ruffalo can take even the simplest material and make wonders of it.

With three solid performances, Foxcatcher is a few steps above Moneyball and Capote. Now if Bennett Miller were able to find a script to go along with the performances he gets out of each film, he could be a continuous threat come awards season.



American Sniper

The yearly Clint Eastwood-Oscar bait freight train rolls right along through the end of 2014.

Based on the book of the same name, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a good ol' Texas boy who, along with his younger brother, are taught tough lessons by their father; Chris in particular, doing a good job of hunting with his dad. While performing rodeos in Texas, Chris attracts the attention of Taya Renae; (Sienna Miller) both hitting it off immediately. Early into their relationship, Chris decides to give up on the rodeo gig and enlists for the Navy SEALs.

Alternating between the multiple tours of duty overseas and his ever-increasingly troubled home life, director Clint Eastwood never gives the film time to establish either story the film is trying to tell. While in Iraq, Chris is teamed with a group of soldiers, yet none of them are able to be properly set-up in an attempt to distinguish one from another. Some of these soldiers die, yet you never really feel the loss that Chris does because the audience has never been given the proper time to be invested with Chris' core group of soldiers.

When not continuing on with his kill-count, Chris and Taya's relationship strains further and further as they become an ever-growing family. Yet, when at home, the and the trouble Chris has with being a normal civilian never rings true as their is no angst; just Chris not being able to handle his time away from military duty. The tension that should be in these scenes falls flat as, instead of watching someone deteriorate before our eyes, it instead feels like an afterthought that Chris just can't handle a normal life anymore. This is not a knock on either Bradley Cooper or Sienna Miller, as I felt both did a solid job.

The script, adapted by Jason Hall, does not allow the film to take any chances nor allow us to invest with anybody in the film besides Chris and, to a lesser extent, Taya. Not having read the book, the script feels very rudimentary in its pacing; choosing to play safe and not take any chances either when: Chris is in Iraq or at home. The typical cliches are there, including: making difficult decisions when sniping, not wanting to leave the war, trouble adapting back home, etc. The actual story behind Chris Kyle is more interesting than the script provided. I'm sure not too many liberties were taken with the source material, but the script could have taken a less cliched route.

As with most Clint Eastwood films he has directed, the film is established well and tight in the overall narrative. Even though the film feels tight, what American Sniper really lacked was tension. Everything from the opening sequence where Chris has to decide if he is going to kill a mother and child to the climax in a sandstorm felt derived of tension. If anything, I expected Clint Eastwood to deliver some white-knuckle moments with the sniping scenes, yet I never sat on the edge of my seat. As stated on the wonderful Karina's review, "A definite cinema watch, but it is by no means a classic".

The movie itself is not terrible, yet is not great either. It's very middle of the road, and with a story like this and the talent involved, being middle of the road may be worse than being terrible.


Oh yeah, and there's the fake baby too...


Drive Hard

John Cusack's e-cig and Thomas Jane's hair battle for supremacy in the "action/comedy" Drive Hard. I put action and comedy in quotes because that is what the movie pretends to offer you, yet fails to deliver on either account.

Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) is a former race car driver who now lives in Australia with his annoying wife and daughter. Hating what his life has become, and refusing to take an office job, Peter works as a driving instructor. One day, Peter is hired to teach Simon Keller (John Cusack) the skills of driving. Not all is as it seems, though, as Simon robs a bank and brings Peter along as his accomplice. Using Peter's skills as a former race car driver, Simon enlists Peter's help to get Simon from the bank to his escape.

Here, take a look at this:

That sums up the move. Thomas Jane's "hair" and the constant puffing of John Cusack's e-cig.

There is no action or laughs to be had in this complete misfire. If there was a budget, most of it went to either ensuring that Thomas Jane's hair was as wild as they could make it or keeping John Cusack's e-cig filled with whatever flavor the actor wanted.

As I recently put out my Top 10 Worst Films of 2014, you saw that this masterwork proudly graced number 6. Thomas Jane's overacting and John Cusack's complete lack of interest along with horrible direction and a script that just glosses over how Simon robs the bank completely torpedoes this film.

And let's not forget about John Cusack's Twitter response to this film when asked by me if the e-cig was written into the script: "We really didn't use any of the script".

Honestly, what else is there to say?


Gone Girl

As much as I love David Fincher, in some ways, Gone Girl seems to be a parody of everything that has made him a great director.

Coming home on their wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds the house in shambles and his wife Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) is assigned to the case and begins to suspect Nick of Amy's disappearance and possible murder.

Through a series of flashbacks, we see how Nick and Amy's relationship went from a blossoming romance to a hate-filled marriage. Amy was the author of a series of popular children's books based off a character named "Amazing Amy". Due to the popularity of the character and book series, the missing person's case brings a lot of media coverage down onto Nick. With the media and police bearing down on Nick, every move he makes becomes scrutinized. Nick eventually teams up with lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) in an attempt to clear his name and help try to find out what happened to his wife.

The plot about Gone Girl has to remain simple and to the point as there is a lot more going on under the surface and might ruin the film to those who have yet to see it. The layers of complexity are intriguing, but about halfway through the film, the story's focus shifts away from Nick and the film began to lose my interest. This detour is not bad, and I completely understand why, but it is much less interesting than the main focus of the story.

Once this narrative shift begins, the film itself feels more choppy and disjointed. Parts of the second half are very entertaining while others left me checking my watch. I have not read the book, so I went in to this film with a clean slate. I'm not sure if that was better or worse, but the film itself is solid, if unspectacular. The disappointment with the film, I feel, is that David Fincher is much better than the material he is using. Since "The Social Network", it feels almost as if he is on auto pilot and using all the tropes that worked for him in the past and is not pushing himself as he had prior with this film and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

Gone Girl is a solid film, but in the David Fincher catalog, it is sorely lacking.



Telling the story of a child growing up, director Richard Linklater provides the audience a glimpse into the life Mason Evans, Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows from boyhood to adulthood. Beginning with Mason Jr. as a six-year old and continuing onward through the beginnings of college, Mason Jr. experiences all the joys, anxieties and letdowns each child experiences within their life. Does a film that provides you with a fly-on-the-wall type experience deserve best picture as it seems positioned to win? No.

That's not a knock on the film as it is well-acted (for the most part) and provides the viewer with a sense of realism by not adding in unwanted plot developments. Instead, Richard Linklater lets the story play out in an almost natural fashion as Mason Jr. continues to grow. The problem is, there really never seems to be any conflict at stake. Mason Jr.'s mom Olivia Evans (Patricia Arquette) is a single mom who has been raising Mason Jr. and his sister Samantha Evans (Lorelei Linklater) after divorcing their father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke).

Mason Sr. begins the story as a man who loves his toys and is not the father he should be to either child while Olivia seems to be getting her life in order. Olivia then begins to have relationships with stereotypical "bad fathers" while Mason Sr. begins to get his life in order. In the middle of this, Mason Jr. struggles with Olivia's choices for a male figure in the house while also dealing with struggling to conform within the boundaries of what life expects from him.

Shooting a film over a 12 year period is a Herculian task and Richard Linklater should be applauded for attempting such a difficult task and being able to keep all the same actors over the period of time. The male characters that Olivia attracts become your cliched trope of wrong choices: the alcoholic, abusing husband or the strict, military-type who disapproves that Mason Jr. does not want to follow in his shoes. These characters seem to be the only sense of conflict that Mason Jr. encounters, but are so stereotypical that it takes away from the naturalistic feel that Richard Linklater is trying to establish.

Along with that, the feeling that there really is no struggle for any of the characters leads (at least to me) a question of why I should watch. There really is no struggle and Mason Jr. is going to follow his own path no matter what gets in his way. The story moves along and may only glimpse some other conflict that Mason Jr. may be up against; then decides to skip ahead in time and we witness that Mason Jr. is continuing with his path in life. It feels like a "greatest hits" of someone's life instead of a full-length album. Yes, most of the beats are hit, but the film never made me feel fully-invested into Mason Jr's struggle with growing up.

There are plenty of things to enjoy about the film; Patricia Arquette and, especially, Ethan Hawke are really good in the film. I did appreciate the story line between these two characters and how they were handled. Ethan Hawke's character, for me, flowed most naturally and brought the film to life whenever his character appeared on screen. Patricia Arquette had a bit more a a typical Oscar-bait role as someone who tries her best, yet never seems to get what she wants. Multiple scenes of crying follow, yet her acting saves this character from being your typical "wife who chooses the wrong paths" type.

The last thing that should be mentioned is whether this film deserves Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Yes, the film was a daunting task and Richard Linklater deserves credit for that. The problem is, I think the people voting are confusing technical achievement with what film is best. Just because it took 12 years to complete this film, shouldn't automatically make the film a front runner for best picture. The film lacks conflict and at times just seems to meander. Yes, life is like that, but that doesn't make the film great. A film like Hoop Dreams did basically the same thing (only better), yet wasn't nominated for Best Picture.

If Boyhood wins Best Picture, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but I hope "best" and "technical achievement" aren't being confused when voting by the Academy happens.



The List: Top 10 Worst Films of 2014

Trying to play catch-up, I present to you my worst of the worst for the year of 2014. I wasn't able to get a lot of reviews up for the year, so maybe these shorter versions; summing up the crap being listed, might make up for it.

10. The Monuments Men

A movie that should work just based off talent alone, but is completely misguided in every way. Star/Director George Clooney assembles a cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman and tells a true tale about men who are tasked with recovering fine arts for preservation during World War II before they are destroyed by the Germans. A really solid idea wasted on a horrendous script that doesn't know what genre it wants to be and wastes the opportunity to tell a fascinating true tale.

9. A Million Ways to Die in the West

Already not being a fan of "Ted", and watching trailers and commercials that did not make me laugh, I had a strong feeling that this film was going to be a chore to sit through. And I'm happy to report, that "A Million Ways to Die in the West" didn't disappoint. Seth MacFarlane proves once again why he is not leading actor material, as he makes a Western film with current day sensibilities. Gross-out jokes fall flat, cameos add nothing and the talents of Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron and Giovanni Ribisi (among others) just stands around with their talents completely thrown aside.

8. RoboCop

The definition of a bad remake. Removing all of the interesting parts of the original, brilliant RoboCop and replacing the satire with Samuel L. Jackson ham-fisting you with his satire and giving you generic, boring Joel Kinnaman as RoboCop. Stripping away all the good elements and adding nothing of interest will only ensure your movie will cement itself in history as the terrible remake of a classic film.

7. Transcendence

And speaking of wasting talent, we come to The Lawnmower Man Transcendence. Johnny Depp plays a scientist who wants to live forever in cyberspace. I really hated this movie. Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Rebecca Hall can all try to hide this film from their resume while Johnny Depp will be forgiven after his next outing as Jack Sparrow.

6. Drive Hard

John Cusack's e-cig and Thomas Jane's hair star in this wannabe action/comedy that is neither full of action or laughs. Not that this has anything to do with the film itself, but it took me longer to find a poster that would work on this site than to type this information about it. Almost as if the site didn't want anything to do with this film. Also, this is from John Cusack on his Twitter when asked by me: "Was it your choice to use an e-cig in Drive Hard or was it already written into the script?" John Cusack reply: "We really didn't use any of the script". That should tell you all you need to know about Drive Hard.

5. Rage

What would a worst of the year list be without Nicolas Cage making an appearance? A bad movie with no redeeming "fun factor". Nicolas Cage's daughter is murdered, he sets out and administers his..."RAGE"! Ugh, his hair, as usual, is its own character but none of the other characters make even the slightest impression and once the movie is over, you kinda hate yourself for wasting your valuable time on it.

4. I, Frankenstein

Any end of the year list has to include a film from the notorious dumping ground of films known as: January. My vote goes to this boring, Underworld-wannabe with Aaron Eckhart phoning in his performance as the most boring version of Frankenstein's Creature yet. And when your film can't even reach the bland, boring levels of the Underworld franchise, that should tell you something.

3. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Fuck Michael Bay and this abomination! Almost 3 hours long? 3! Too much time has been wasted just powering through this film that I wont waste another second on it.

2. Bad Words

Even though I enjoy Jason Bateman overall, this knocked him down a few pegs for me. Everything about this movie missed its intended marks. While discovering a loophole in a spelling bee contest, Bateman's character is determined to beat all the other kids and win. Not just the dumb idea, but the cliched reasoning behind the film along with a character that the audience can't sympathize with makes this film arduous to sit through. This films complete failure shows how hard it is to make a good dark comedy.

1. Left Behind

Ah, Nicolas Cage and his hair returning to the list to claim the top spot! Based on the hilariously awful film trilogy, Nicolas Cage slumps to new lows as a pilot in the middle of the Rapture. Cheap effects, wooden acting and no sense of fun torpedo this film. If director Vic Armstrong had let Nicolas Cage off his leash, this could have had some camp factor. Alas, he film is so solemn and serious that one cannot even enjoy how bad this film truly is. And if you can't laugh at yourself, you make Left Behind.

Another year, another crop of bad films. Nicolas Cage continues to be a staple on my list as do expensive films for no reason. The one thing I am happy to report is that most of these films were either box office bombs or so bad that they didn't even bother with releasing the film to theaters. Now, if everyone could stop seeing Michael Bay's Transformers saga, then the world might be a better place.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards: Nominations & Thoughts

Today brought us the nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards and I thought I'd throw out a few opinions. Now unfortunately, I have not had the time to see everything so this is just my opinion of films I've seen and what I would have chosen or gotten rid of in my opinion.

As "Selma" has only been released for a short period of time, I haven't seen it, but I don't understand how a film gets nominated for Best Picture yet only has one other nomination (Best Original Song at that). Most people seem to love the film, so it is surprising that it ONLY got 2 nominations. Along with that, American Sniper really didn't seem to have as much momentum as some of Clint Eastwood's past Academy Award contenders. At least it seems like a step above Clint's past failed Oscar bait: J. Edgar, Changeling or Flags of our Fathers.

A lot of this year's nominees, though, really didn't fail to surprise. The front runners prior to the nominations are still the front runners. Boyhood still seems to be the leading horse with Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel close on its heels. I am especially glad that Grand Budapest Hotel has been able to keep its award momentum up, especially since it opened in March. Birdman, my favorite film of 2014, tied for the most nominations with nine. Hopefully, Birdman will walk away with some gold, come Oscar night.

I think the biggest snub of this year's nominees belongs to The Lego Movie. Granted, I haven't even seen it, but the fact that the film was loved by critics and audiences alike--on top of being one of the biggest hits of the year; seemed almost like a shoo-in for Best Animated Film. Not even seeing the film, I could sense after seeing the nominees, that the lack of The Lego Movie being omitted was a huge snub.

Overall, in my opinion, this year's nominees fell in line close to where I would have predicted. The fun part will be when the awards are handed out as a lot of the films nominated this year, I did enjoy.

Go, Michael Keaton!

Best Picture
"American Sniper"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"The Theory of Everything"
Best Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"
Best Actor
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton, "BIrdman"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"
Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
Laura Dern, "Wild"
Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone, "Birdman"
Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"
Best Adapted Screenplay
"American Sniper" (Jason Hall)
"The Imitation Game" (Graham Moore)
"Inherent Vice" (Paul Thomas Anderson)
"The Theory of Everything" (Anthony McCarten)
"Whiplash" (Damien Chazelle)
Best Original Screenplay
"Birdman" (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo)
"Boyhood" (Richard Linklater)
"Foxcatcher" (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman)
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guiness)
"Nightcrawler" (Dan Gilroy)
Best Cinematography
"Birdman" (Emmanuel Lubezki)
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Robert D. Yeoman)
"Ida" (Ryszard Lenczweski; Lukasz Zal)
"Mr. Turner" (Dick Pope)
"Unbroken" (Roger Deakins)
Best Costume Design
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Milena Canonero)
"Inherent Vice" (Mark Bridges)
"Into the Woods" (Colleen Atwood)
"Mr. Turner" (Jacqueline Durran)
"Maleficent" (Anna B. Sheppard)
Best Film Editing
"American Sniper" (Joel Cox, Gary Roach)
"Boyhood" (Sandra Adair)
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Barney Pilling)
"The Imitation Game" (William Goldenberg)
"Whiplash" (Tom Cross)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
Best Music (Original Score)
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Alexandre Desplat)
"The Imitation Game" (Alexandre Desplat)
"Interstellar" (Hans Zimmer)
"Mr. Turner" (Gary Yershon)
"The Theory of Everything" (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
Best Music (Original Song)
"Lost Stars" from "Begin Again"
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me"
"Everything is Awesome" from "The LEGO Movie"
"Glory" from "Selma"
"Grateful" from "Beyond the Lights"
Best Production Design
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Adam Stockhausen; Anna Pinnock)
"The Imitation Game" (Maria Djurkovic; Tatiana Macdonald)
"Interstellar" (Nathan Crowley; Gary Fettis, Paul Healy)
"Into the Woods" (Dennis Gassner; Anna Pinnock)
"Mr. Turner" (Suzie Davies; Charlotte Watts)
Best Sound Editing
"American Sniper"
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
Best Sound Mixing
"American Sniper"
Best Visual Effects
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
"X-Men: Days of Future Past"
Best Animated Feature Film
"Big Hero 6"
"The Boxtrolls"
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"
"Song of the Sea"
"The Tale of Princess Kaguya"
Best Foreign Language Film
"Wild Tales" (Damián Szifrón; Argentina)
"Tangerines" (Zaza Urushadze; Estonia)
"Timbuktu" (Abderrahmane Sissako; Mauritania)
"Ida" (Pawel Pawlikowski; Poland)
"Leviathan" (Andrey Zvyagintsev; Russia)
Best Documentary Feature
"Finding Vivian Mayer"
"Last Days in Vietnam"
"The Salt of the Earth"
Best Documentary (Short Subject)
"Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"
"Our Curse"
"The Reaper"
"White Earth"
Best Short Film (Animated)
"The Bigger Picture"
"The Dam Keeper"
"Me and My Moulton"
"A Single Life"
Best Short Film (Live Action)
"Boogaloo and Graham"
"Butter Lamp"
"The Phone Call"

Left Behind

Ahahaha, oh, man. I take multiple months off and my triumphant return is this? Maybe it's best I stayed away.

Anyway, the "big budget", and I use the term loosely, remake of the Kirk Cameron trilogy based off the religious books beginning with the same name inspired by the ultimate book of fairy tales: the Bible, stars Nicolas Cage and his hair as Rayford Steele, (!) a pilot on a transatlantic flight when the Rapture begins. Ray's wife, Irene (Lea Thompson) has become invested in Christianity which separates the two. Ray's daughter Chole (Cassi Thomson) has flown in for Ray's birthday, but unbeknownst to her, Ray is booking it to Europe for a fling with a flight attendant and average tickets to a U2 concert.

Also hanging around is Cameron "Buck" Williams (Chad Michael Murray) who takes an interest in Chole but decides to board with Ray. While midway through the flight, some adults and all children go missing; leaving clothes and all personal possessions behind. On the ground, Chloe experiences the same dilemma including her now-missing mother (apparently Lea Thompson's check cleared).

A bunch of bad special effects and stilted dialogue scenes later, the film ends. There really isn't much to say about this film. Everyone involved has less than zero interest and the film is inept in delivering any sense of mystery or care about the characters. The biggest sin, though, might be the fact that this film can't even be enjoyed on a "so bad it's good" level. Director Vic Armstrong provides no sense of joy or fun to the proceedings and instead treats this film with the tone of an ethics professor lecturing. Even Nicolas Cage's hair decided to leave its sense of fun at home.

All the bad things you heard about this film are true.


The Change-Up

No, not that shitty movie that no one remembers (well, except me) and should have been set on fire and buried. The site that I have neglected for many-a months will be going through some changes. Yes, you'll still be getting my lame movie reviews way after the films have opened with my mundane typing skills. Besides that, though, I will be doing a side project that is a little more personal to me. Odds are, this will be a complete train wreck, but it's my train wreck.