Friday, June 29, 2012

Oscars change rules again!

Yesterday the Academy awards announced that they were changing some rules for the 85th annual Oscars. The biggest change was that hairstylists will finally be given credit in the Makeup category, which will be renamed Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This is what the British Academy of Film & Television Arts have been doing for years as well as a number of other organizations, so it's about time the Academy caught up. Some past winners have won largely because of the hairstyling work, so it's only fair to give them credit. In addition, all branch members who've seen the seven shortlist selections will be sent a ballot to select their top three choices.
The other rule changes were mostly technical. For instance, in the Best Original Song category, the prior rule was that two songwriters could be nominated or, in extreme and evident circumstances, a third could be listed. Now, they've expanded that optional "rare and extraordinary circumstances" rule to four potential nominees.
In visual effects, the new rule guarantees that nominees will be chosen from a pool of 10 films chosen by the visual effects branch’s executive committee. Previously, the committee could put forward from seven to 10 films.
And finally, at least as far as the Academy's press release, the only other significant rules change was in the Foreign Language Film category. The change eliminates the requirement that films be exhibited in 35mm or DCP in their home countries. They still have to be submitted to the Academy that way, but this enables smaller countries whose theater systems don't have sophisticated 35mm or DCP technology to still submit their best film for consideration.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Films I saw this Week!

This week I had the chance to catch up on one movie that I had not seen from last year

We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011) starring Tilda Swinton tells the story of a mother who struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined. The film while chaotic in structure and off-putting at first is superbly put together by director Lynne Ramsay through her bold visuals and incredible script. Tilda Swinton also delivers an incredible performance that should have been nominated for the Oscars last year. John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller also contribute solid work to the film.

Conclusion: Scary and compelling, We Need to Talk about Kevin is one of the most underrated films that should be exposed to a greater audience. A

-----Francisco Salazar

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review

by Francisco Salazar 

On the heels of 2011's "Melancholia," a dark and fatalistic approach to the end of the world, Lorene Scfaria brings together for her first feature a tender, charming and bittersweet dramedy about two people meeting at the end of the world. The film which stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley tells the story of Dodge (Carell), an insurance broker who finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. After meeting his neighbor Penny (Knightley), he decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. However his plans are changed as he becomes involved with Penny.

The film deals with the theme of reconnecting with humanity. Both Penny and Dodge seek human connection as they have always lived unattached from society. On the one hand Dodge has always lived in function of his work and with an unhappy wife who cheated on him. He no longer has any connection with his mother and he has not seen or forgiven his father in 25 years. As a result he wants to be able to see his high school sweetheart Olivia, "the love of his life". On the other Penny also lives disconnected as she has always chosen boyfriends over family. She seeks to go back home and see her family in England before its to late. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Studios start unveiling their Oscar contenders!

This week a number of studios unveiled trailers to upcoming Oscar contending films. Anna Karenina,  and The Master were some of these films. Here is a look at what should be the big contenders of the season.

Anna Karenina

The Master

Django Unchained

Hyde Park Hudson

Les Miserables

The Great Gatsby

Which film are you most excited for?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rock of Ages and That's My Boy disappoint this weekend

The two new releases "That's my Boy and "Rock of Ages" failed to enlighten the box office this weekend dissappointing regardless of their star studded casts. Instead  Madagscar 3 and Prometheus continued to succeed at the Box office.Moonrise Kingdom and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continued their outstanding runs in the arthouse area. For more click here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Films I recently saw on DVD!

This weekend I had the chance to catch up with some of this year's earlier releases.

The Woman in Black (2012) starring Daniel Radcliffe is about a young lawyer traveling to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman terrorizing the locals. The film features a fine performance by Radcliffe legitimizing his acting career after Harry Potter. The filmmakers do a great job giving atmosphere with its lighting, and art direction and as a result they are easily able to create terrifying sequences with lots of urgency. However the script lacks depth and a coherent ending that ultimately disappoints.
Conclusion:The Woman in Black is an enjoyable ride that lacks depth and a coherent ending that will leave audiences unsatisfied. B-

Mirror Mirror (2012) starring Julia Roberts retells the story of Snow White and her adventure to gain the love of the Prince. Tarsem's adaptation lacks a coherent script which gives no new insight to the story and lacks any character development. The acting is uneven and the dialogue is laughable. In the visual department the film feels claustrophobic as the action takes place in four sets and the visual effects are cartoonish. The only redeemable aspects of the film are the beautiful costumes and the colorful set decoration.
Conclusion:Mirror Mirror's lack of  story and subpar acting makes for one of the worst movie experiences I have ever encountered. F   

---Francisco Salazar

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prometheus succeeds at the box office

After everyone suggested that both Prometheus and Madagascar would debut modestly both succeeded scoring 60 million and 50 million openings. Continue reading

Monday, June 4, 2012

Snow White wins the box office with $56 million

After many predicted the film would flop, Snow White and the Huntsman proved to be a huge hit scoring the fourth highest opening of the year. Moonrise Kingdom continued to succeed in the art house forum. Continuing reading 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

PIFF Day 2 Impressions and Favorite Film Selections

In case you missed our recap for Day 1, click here.

Day two of PIFF had some stronger showing than Day 1. More importantly, "Messenger" screened at the festival and we had a Q & A session.

The day was capped by a successful award ceremony which awarded three films: Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film,  and Best Short Film.

The awards went to:
Best Feature Film: "Ecstasy"
Best Animated Film: "The Game"
Best Short Film: "The Couch"

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival Day 1 Impressions

Day 1 of PIFF was a strong opening for the festival's first ever opening day. The Hollywood Theater is a gorgeous venue that seats about 300 people. We had the opportunity to attend four separate blocks and saw some very strong pieces. I will write about my favorite films on this block only. In total we saw 13 films, 2 features, and 11 shorts. In no particularly order here are the favorites of Day 1.