Tag Archives: Best Director

Trailer Thursday: “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”

Every year around this time you hear some art house hipster complaining that the Independent Spirit Awards have somehow “gone Hollywood.” And while I can see how some people might think that — especially considering how much overlap there is these days between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars — actually, many of the films celebrated at the Spirit Awards are as freaking weird and independent as they come.

This year, there were two movies that got me excited enough to think about actually paying (!) to see them in a theatre. I know, shocking, huh? The first one was writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, well, kind of had me at B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western. So cool!

And the second movie was Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. Starring Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as a young Japanese woman on a quest to find buried treasure in the frozen American heartland, the movie looks just as cool as the concept sounds.

Scoring two Spirit Award nominations this season, one for Best Director (David Zellner) and a Best Actress nod for Kikuchi, Kumiko opens next month in select theatres and I, for one, cannot wait to see it. So, check out the badass trailer below and let me know what you think!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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Oscar Nominees 2012

As usual, I’m way too tired to write too much about this year’s crop of Oscar nominees at the moment, but, I do want credit for staying up to watch the nominations again, so, here’s my three minute break down of what I think. Major kudos to Gary Oldman for receiving his first ever Oscar nomination this morning for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. Yep, that’s right, the dude has been robbed year after year since he started his amazing career, so, even if I haven’t seen the movie, here’s to you, Mr. Oldman! Rock on!

Also very excited to see Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt, not to mention the writers and producers all make the cut for “Moneyball”, which, as you may remember, I freaking loved! Also loved “The Descendants”, so, congrats to Alexander Payne for his writing, directing and producing nominations. I’m praying he takes home at least one of the three Oscars he’s nominated for this year. Also thrilled to see George Clooney nominated for Best Actor, even if it was totally expected. Less thrilled to see him nominated again for his so-so script for “The Ides of March”, which was kind of a major snooze.

And speaking of Best Screenplay, WTF, man? “Margin Call”? I had to look that shit up, seriously, I was like, what the hell movie is that? Then I remembered: “Oh, that’s that TV movie looking crap with Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto and Simon Baker.” Now, in the movie’s defense, I have not seen it it, so, it might be a freaking masterpiece, but, all I see it as right now is the movie that stole nominations from “The Tree of Life” and “Young Adult” among others, so, as usual, the Academy fudges up the screenplay nominations.

Ah well, at least “The Help” scored a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination…oh wait…IT DIDN’T! So, you know what that means? That means that Tate Taylor, the writer/director of the movie that scored three acting nominations and a Best Picture nod didn’t get nominated for shit. I’m sorry, but, that’s gotta sting. And if you ask me, his nomination was stolen by the senseless star-fucker of a nomination for “The Ides of March”. But the Academy does this every freaking year…if an actor writes a script, they get nominated. And sometimes, they even win. Grrr…it’s like blonde actresses at the Golden Globes all over again!

Was also very excited to see Woody Allen get some love for “Midnight in Paris”, still not my favorite of his films, but, I’ll never complain when the Woodman scores a nomination. And I think his screenplay nod for “Paris” makes him the most-nominated screenwriter in Academy history, which is very cool. He was head-to-head with my other man, Billy Wilder for a few years, but, I think he’s finally surpassed him. So, good on you, Woody!

And finally, I am really over the moon happy for my man Terrence Malick for scoring a directing and Best Picture nomination for “The Tree of Life”. Those two nods almost make up for the fact that the movie was totally robbed in the technical categories like sound and visual effects. Thankfully, it made the cut in the cinematography category, and hopefully, that is where it will bring home some serious gold for the long-overlooked Emmanuel Lubezki!

Oh, and one more thing before I fade off to sleep…“War Horse” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for Best Picture? Are you fucking kidding me? Urgh…if there was ever a case for keeping the nods down to five again, those two klunkers should be Exhibit A. Yikes…I mean, if you really wanna show some balls, nominate “Bridesmaids” or something else exciting at least. Jeez…the only good thing about their inclusion in the Best Picture race is that I’ve seen them both and for the first time since they bumped up the nominations to ten, I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees this year. So, there’s that.

Oh, and one more one more thing…how cool is it that Melissa McCarthy scored a Best Supporting Actress nod for a comedy?! That is so rad. Kudos also to the “Bridesmaids” writers for their Best Screenplay nod as well. Comedy is always overlooked at the Oscars, so, any time it can sneak in is cool with me. OK, I’m done. Love to hear what y’all think of the nominees, so, comment away…

Oh, and, if you ask me, “Hugo” is seriously overrated. I am totally stunned that it scored the most nominations. Seriously…wow. To see the full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

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