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"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 Vanity Fair Hollywood Cover

(Photo: Vanity Fair)
Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, the Hollywood cover issue of Vanity Fair has arrived, as it does every February. Featuring the top actresses of Hollywood, many of them who have been nominated for Oscars, past and present. From left to right, the wonderful women include Jane Fonda, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling, Brie Larson, Rachel Weisz, Lupita Nyong'o, Alicia Vikander, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Helen Mirren, Saoirse Ronan and Diane Keaton. What do you think of this gorgeous cover? Anybody missing? 

New Photos: Ghostbusters Reboot

Now, we've all heard enough on the new Ghostbusters reboot by Paul Feig to get us all excited. But, I have to say, these new photos of the Ghostbusters cast make me want to watch the trailer RIGHT. NOW.

Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates
Paranormal researcher, supernatural scientist, entity trapper

Kristin Wigg as Erin Gilbert
Particle physicist, academic firebrand, spectral warrior
Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann
Nuclear engineer, munitions expert, proton wrangler
Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan
Ghost tracker, municipal historian, metaphysical commando
Chris Hemsworth as Kevin
Telecommunications expert, reception services technician, unemployed actor
(Photos: Official Website)

The new stills give us some more info on the new characters and the roles they'll play in the new film. Chris Hemsworth's role as the Ghostbuster's receptionist is already becoming my favourite thing about the movie. The good news, according to Feig, is that the trailer is due to drop this month. So it shouldn't be long now. Ghostbusters hits theatres this summer, July 15, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

They're here, the 2016 Oscar Nominations are announced!

 
Second to Oscar day, the most exciting time of the year is when the nominations are announced. It's my anticipated days of the new year. This new tradition of dividing the nominations into two segments is growing on me. The first sections (mostly the tech noms) are announced by two directors, today it was Ang Lee and Guillermo del Toro. The second section (the real deal, y'all) was announced by a scruffy John Kransinki (Hi, Jim!) and Academy President Cheryl Isaacs Boone. As soon as the nominations were announced, wave of delight and outrage started online. So without further adieu, here are the complete nominations for 2016 below

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR


The Big Short: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
Bridge of Spies: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
Brooklyn: Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
Mad Max: Fury Road: Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
The Martian: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
The Revenant: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
Room: Ed Guiney, Producers
Spotlight: Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

My take: Just like last year, the best picture nominations totals eight.The Revenant leads the pack with 12. I'm already bracing myself for the inevitable, the unpredictability of this year. There's no clear frontrunner and I truly believe it's anyone's year. It all matters on momentum and just how that particular Oscar voter was feeling that day. That said, I'm delighted to see Room, The Big Short and The Revenant land the big nominations. It's good to see The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road, two films that did extremely well at the box office make it to the top eight. This exclusive club is open to the blockbusters occasionally. I haven't gotten the chance to see Brooklyn or Spotlight yet. Time to rectify that soon.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Bryan Cranston in Trumbo
Matt Damon in The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl

My take: The big story in this category remains that will the Academy ever see DiCaprio worthy of winning the gold statue or will Redmayne make like Tom Hanks and score himself a second consecutive Oscar. I say, don't count out the formidable Byran Cranston, whom I'm sure could teach these young 'uns a lesson.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


Christian Bale in The Big Short
Tom Hardy in The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight
Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone in Creed
 
My take: Two first-timers, a previous winner and a three-time nominee, they all got nothing on the sentimental favorite Stallone who's back playing Rocky Balboa. The first real lock of 2016.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett in Carol
Brie Larson in Room
Jennifer Lawrence in Joy
Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn
 
My take: I'm always chiding the Academy for not recognizing young talent and here, three young actresses have virtually taken over the category. Cate Blanchett is looking to get into the same league  as Meryl Streep with her third win, if only the Academy can resist the charms of Jennifer Lawrence (nominated for all three of her films with David O. Russell). But the real winner is Charlotte Rampling, I'm so pleased her performance was honored. It'd be too much to ask that she would win.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara in Carol
Rachel McAdams in Spotlight
Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs

My take: Kate Winslet might have just won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress but for the big race, I do think it's between Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander, even though theirs are not supporting performances. The lead actress category was so crowded this year that it spilled over to the supporting. A sneaky way, but effective nonetheless.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR


Anomalisa: Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
Boy and the World: Alê Abreu
Inside Out:  Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Tomm Moore and Paul Young
When Marnie was There: Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

My take: Last year, this category scored a big upset when Big Hero 6 won. Will this year be the same? Pixar's Inside Out was so critically acclaimed this year that I thought it might sneak into Best Picture. It definitely looks to be the frontrunner here but I wouldn't count out Anomalisa or the films from Aardman and Studio Ghibli - Shaun the Sheep Movie and When Marnie was There.


ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Carol: Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight: Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road: John Seale
The Revenant: Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario: Roger Deakins

My take: Keeping my fingers crossed that this is year Roger Deakins finally, finally wins. But the rest of the films in this category were gorgeously shot. Still hoping for a Deakins win. 

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

Carol: Sandy Powell
Cinderella: Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl: Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road: Jenny Beavan
The Revenant:  Jacqueline West

My take: The amazing Sandy Powell made Cate Blanchett look absolutely stunning onscreen in both Carol and Cinderella but the characters in Mad Max were so damn unique (and numbering in hundreds).

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

The Big Short: Adam McKay
Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller
The Revenant: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Room: Lenny Abrahamson
Spotlight: Tom McCarthy

My take: Surprising not seeing Ridley Scott here but last year's winner Iñárritu makes a strong presence this year again. Great seeing funnyman McKay in the mix as well.
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE



Amy: Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land: Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence:Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone?: Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Winter's Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom: Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

My take: I'm relieved that this year I have a head start and have seen two of the nominated documentaries, Amy and Cartel Land. Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence has had the most buzz around it. I personally really enjoyed Amy.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT


Body Team 12: David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, beyond the Lines: Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah: Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom: Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

My take: It's homework time on these shorts, though I do recognize a previous nominee, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

The Big Short: Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road: Margaret Sixel
The Revenant: Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight: Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

My take: Ah, finally a technical category where the number of women matches up to the men.Very, very pleased to see Sixel and JJ Abrams's longtime editors Brandon and Markey being honored here. The icing on the cake would be if they won.
 
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR



Embrace of the Serpent:Colombia
Mustang: France
Son of Saul: Hungary
Theeb: Jordan
A War: Denmark

My take: Aaaand just like last year, I haven't seen a single foreign film from the category. Shameful!

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

My take: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared (of which i know nothing) could make history as the longest title to win an Oscar. But the real question is which Tom Hardy film is winning the makeup Oscar?


ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Bridge of Spies: Thomas Newman
Carol: Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight: Ennio Morricone
Sicario: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: John Williams

My take: Musical maestros Morricone and Williams are turning back the clock with their nominations. Williams is already the most nominated music director ever, but I have a feeling this category can bring a shocker come Oscar night.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)


Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio 
Manta Ray from Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
Simple Song #3 from Youth
Music and Lyric by David Lang 
Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
Writing’s On The Wall from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

My take: I'm dismayed with the selection this year. What happened Academy? Also, Fifty Shades of Grey is an Oscar nominee. smh


ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN


Bridge of Spies Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
The Revenant Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

My take: From Mars to Amsterdam to colonial America, these film's sets had it all.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM


Bear Story Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Prologue Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
Sanjay’s Super Team Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
We Can’t Live without Cosmos Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow Don Hertzfeldt

My take: Yay for Sanjay's Super Team! For the rest of the nominees, time to start reading up on them.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM


Ave Maria: Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
Day One: Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut): Patrick Vollrath
Shok: Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer: Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

My take: Reading time!

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING



Mad Max: Fury Road: Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian: Oliver Tarney
The Revenant: Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Sicario: Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Matthew Wood and David Acord

My take: Yay for Star Wars! *makes lightsaber noises*

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

Bridge of Spies: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian: Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
The Revenant: Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

My take: See above.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

Ex Machina: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury Road: Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
The Martian: Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
The Revenant: Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

My take: The lone female visual effects supervisor in the category belongs to Ex Machina. Rock on sister!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Big Short: Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn: Screenplay by Nick Hornby
Carol: Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
The Martian: Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Room: Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

My take: One of the toughest categories for me. Hard to pick at this stage but delighted to see The Martian and Room here.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridge of Spies: Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina: Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out: Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight: Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton: Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

My take: #OscarSoWhite they only saw fit to nominate Straight Outta Compton in the Screenplay category. What happened to Best Picture and Score? smh again
 
The 88th annual Oscar awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will be given out on February 28, 2016.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

New Photos: Disney's Zootopia

These are a little late going up but we've got new characters stills from Disney's Zootopia featuring the voice talents of Ginnifer Godwin and Jason Bateman. Directors Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) and Byron Howard (Tangled) announced their cast of characters that will inhabit the world of Zootopia releasing in theatres next March.

(Photos: Disney)
Up first is Mayor Leodore Lionheart who believes anyone can be anything in Zootopia. Voiced by the formidable J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), let's already agree not to get on his bad side.


 Next up, we have Assistant Mayor Bellwether, the overburdened and overstressed assistant of Mayor Lionhart. This simple sheep is voiced by comedian and actress Jenny Slate (Obvious Child).

 
The Zootopia Police Department is led by Chief Bogo who has to uphold the law in the metropolis and as well as deal with the department's first bunny Judy Hopps. Idris Elba, who's got enough experience with these tough guy roles, voices his first animated character with Zootopia. He's also voicing a character in Disney's Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory.


Also part of the Zootopia PD is Officer Benjamin Clawhauser, the receptionist and a cheerful cheetah who enjoys doughnuts a little too much. Clawhauser is voiced by actor Nate Torrence.

 
The aforementioned first bunny on the police force is Judy Hopps who is determined to prove herself (despite her shady partner) on a missing mammal case. Judy is voiced by actress Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon A Time).



Judy's proud parents, Stu, a carrot farmer, and Bonnie Hopps, are delighted to see their daughter join the Zootopia Police Department. Stu and Bonnie are voiced by good friends Don Lake and Bonnie Hunt, who has been a Disney/Pixar favorite.


The story moves forward in Zootopia when Mrs. Otterton shows up at the police station looking for her missing husband. Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) voices the part of Mrs. Otterton.



When the Zootopia PD only have 48 hours to crack the case of Mr. Otterton, wily fox Nick Wilde is paired with Judy to solve it. Jason Bateman voices Nick, whose loyalties are always known.


The very untrustworthy Duke Weaselton, a smaller level crook, may sound familiar to many of you. The Disney regular (Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen) Alan Tudyk previously played the Duke of Weaselton in the monster hit, Frozen.


The fastest sloth working at the DMV? Surely you're kidding me. Nope, Flash the sloth is the speediest at the Department of Mammal Vehicles. A story artist at Disney, Raymond Persi, voices the character.


Anytime the citizens of Zootopia should need any advice, they should head to the local Zen retreat for some knowledge. Comedian and actor Tommy Chong voices the very enlightened Yak, Yax.


One of the smallest animals in Zootopia, Finnick the fennec fox, is most suspicious of everyone. Actor Tommy Lister who is 6'5" in real life voices the character.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing in the movie?





Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Celebrating 20 years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge!

(Source: Yash Raj Films)
It's been twenty years since we were invited to 'come fall in love' with Raj and Simran. The directorial debut of Aditya Chopra was the freshest thing Hindi cinema had seen. A love story about second generation British Indians, it reminded us that wherever in the world we may be, we are always Indians first.


Like most films from Yash Raj Films, there were songs in Switzerland. But Raj and Simran's first meeting, that took place in a train. And since then countless filmmakers have tried to replicate that magical meet-cute. But that's also largely due to the actor and actress who played them. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol become one of the most beloved onscreen couples of Indian cinema. They would go on to make other films together but they are forever etched in our minds as Raj and Simran.



Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) gave us more than just an iconic screen duo. A whole soundtrack full of memorable songs, numerous quotable dialogues and an ardent wish to take the Eurorail! Shah Rukh Khan's "Senorita, bade bade deshon main, aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain", grew so popular that even US President Barack Obama quoted it on his trip to India.


What's your favourite part of this iconic film? Mine's always been that scene by the river where Raj and Simran have that veiled conversation about their real feelings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Trailer: Disney's live action The Jungle Book

Hollywood studios often get ideas at the same time. How else do you explain the persisting problem of making films on the same subject by dueling film studios? Going all the way back to William Wyler's Jezebel (1938), a Bette Davis vehicle set in the American Civil War, was made to compete with Gone With the Wind (1939).  Since then, we've had films like Robin Hood and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves both come out in 1991 and more recently, Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror and Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman released in 2012. 


This time, Hollywood has Rudyard Kipling on the brain. Out today is Disney's first trailer for Jon Favreau's live action meet motion capture fantasy The Jungle Book coming out next April. Starring newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli and the voice talents of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Lupita Nyong'o, the film is more Kipling than the 1967 animated film. But wait a minute, didn't Disney already make a live-action The Jungle Book way back in 1994 starring Jason Scott Lee? Why yes, they did. But they're Disney, who's going to stop them from making another?

Meanwhile, motion capture transformation king Andy Serkis is directing his first film, Jungle Book: Origins with young Rohan Chand as Mowgli. Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander and Serkis himself will be providing the voices. Unlike Disney's The Jungle Book which only has Sethi as the lone human in the film, Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto will also be acting in the film. There's a long wait to see Jungle Book: Origins; the film is scheduled to release on October 6, 2017.



This new trailer gives us the first look of young Mowgli in action in the jungle going up against Shere Khan, Bagheera, Kaa and more. In fact, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa narrates the trailer, inviting us along with Mowgli to come over to the dark side. Favreau's film has a Lion King feel with a sprinkling of the animated classic (did you catch those few bars of 'Bare Necessity'?). The Jungle Book promises to be a grand scale adventure that will surely please fans of the original novel. One thing's for sure: The Jungle Book is going to look amazing in 3D.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Trailer: Pixar's The Good Dinosaur


We waited through having no Pixar films for two years, but this year we're rewarded with two in the same year! Inside Out has already proved to be a bittersweet delight, will The Good Dinosaur finish off the year of the dinosaur with a flair?

This new full trailer shows in detail the mysterious yet awe-inspiring world that was the planet Earth millions of years ago. Of course, The Good Dinosaur would also like you to imagine a world where the dinosaurs weren't wiped out by a massive asteroid. The trailer gives us the first proper introduction to Arlo, the young Apatosaurus whose loses his way only to make a new friend who happens to be human on his way to an adventure.

The Good Dinosaur which had a major upheaval in production also recently revealed that the voice cast underwent a change. Pixar must have obviously had massive character changes as child actor Raymond Ochoa will be voicing Arlo, Jeffrey Wright voices Arlo's father Poppa, while Frances McDormand is the only cast member who remains and will voice Arlo's mother Momma. Marcus Scribner voices Arlo's brother Buck while Steve Zahn voices Thunderclap, a pterodactyl.  AJ Buckley is T-Rex called Nash, Anna Paquin voices another T-Rex Ramsey and Sam Elliott voices the third T-Rex Butch. Finally, Arlo’s new friend, Spot, is voiced by another child actor Jack Bright.

The Good Dinosaur, directed by Peter Sohn, releases this Thanksgiving November 25, 2015. What did you think of the first full trailer of the animated film? Yay or nay?
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