Category Archives: up

Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2010

First up on the agenda is the wild number of films up for the best Picture Oscar. The Academy is rather transparent in this ploy. Open it up to some super-popular blockbusters and maybe more folks will be interested, root for their favorites and tune in. Ratings equal money, awards for accomplishments be damned – this is America after all.

No matter how many hope for their favorite ‘popular’ movie, it’s probably not going to win. That’s just not how the Academy works, thankfully. It’s how their publicity people work, but not the Academy. Yeah, Up and Avatar are in the mix, but no one’s voting for them over The Hurt Locker or Precious, trust me.

And there are important oversights this year. Most notable is Sam Rockwell with his acting tour de force in Moon. Oh yeah, I forgot, with rare exception, the Oscars are only for films that came out in the last two months of the year. Oh well, the ‘rules’ eliminated that one, but what about Anthony Mackie in The Hurt Locker? He acts the ass off Jeremy Renner who is nominated.

And I bet Julia Roberts is steaming that Sandra Bullock cleaned up this year with roles that Roberts turned down, and may even win an Oscar for one. I really hope Julia is on hand for candid reaction shots Sunday night.

Nothing for Watchmen. Wow. I’m really surprised, especially after the way the Academy kissed the butt of one of the worst superhero movies ever, The Dark Knight last year. You’d think they’d have a little something for one of the best. And speaking of genre films – where was Ponyo? Not in foreign or animated. Damn.

Well, enough rambling and bitching. Here are my picks – and let’s keep in mind, these are who I think will win, not who should win…

Best animated film – As much as I’d like to see The Princess and the Frog take it, it’s Up all the way. It’s easily one of the best films in some time. Of course, had Ponyo been here, it would have won.

Best documentary – I think the politically correct Academy will bow to the Health Nazis this year and give it to Food, Inc.

Best song – This one depends on other awards I think. If Jeff Bridges doesn’t get best actor, they’ll give it to “The Weary Kind” to make up for it. And if Up doesn’t get best animated it will take the song here, probably with “Down in New Orleans.” My bet is “New Orleans.”

Best original score – I’m a huge Michael Giacchino fan so my heart leans toward his score for Up but I also think Hans Zimmer’s Sherlock Holmes blows it away. Why wasn’t Giacchino’s Star Trek nominated? That was the best soundtrack of the year easily.

And as much as I’m tempted to pull a Bill Murray from the classic days of “Saturday Night Live,” I do think these categories matter…

Best supporting actor – This is between Christoph Waltz’ chilling Nazi in Inglourious Basterds and the ever-talented Stanley Tucci. I think the Academy will count Tarantino against Waltz and give it to Tucci. Not the way it should be, but the way it will be.

Best supporting actress – No question, if we can’t have the Nazi villain as a winner, we’ll take the evil mother. Mo’Nique is a definite here.

Best actress – I think that Gabourey Sidibe has good odds, but I also think this may be Sandra Bullock’s year.

Best actor – It’s between Jeremy Renner and Jeff Bridges, although it might go to Morgan Freeman for body of work. Renner is young and it’s about time for Bridges. My money is on Jeff Bridges.

Best picture – The Hurt Locker. It’s a hell of a film, powerful, well acted, and brilliantly shot. Kathryn Bigelow deserves it.

Best director – James Cameron, for Avatar. It’s a hard call, but he’ll get it for advancements in film and special effects. But then again, if that were actually how things worked, the Wachowski brothers are owed a few direction Oscars for Speed Racer and the Matrix trilogy. But who says these things are fair. And if I’m right on these first two awards, it should be a happy night in the Cameron/Bigelow household.

There you go, folks, place your bets. See you late Sunday night!

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2010 Oscar Nominations

The Academy Award nominations for this year were announced this morning. You can view them here.

A couple weeks back, I posted some of my guesses about what would be nominated at my Twitter. I was right on with a few and dead wrong with a few – and of course there are some outright exclusions and some WTFs that made it.

I’ll post my thoughts later. For the moment, though, enjoy the nominations…

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Toy Story 3 – Trailer

This was one of the highlights of seeing Up, seeing this trailer for Toy Story 3.

It opens June 18, 2010.

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Up

There’s not really a lot I can say about this one other than wow. Up isn’t my favorite movie so far this year, but it’s right ‘up’ there with Star Trek and Watchmen, and that’s just a matter of my own personal taste, not quality. Trust me, Up is easily the best movie so far this year.

My only quibble might be that it’s not as family or kid-friendly as it might seem from the commercials and previews. There is much much more to this tale than an old man in a flying house lifted by balloons. It’s high adventure, it’s great fun – and it has its dark moments. For every Skunk and Flower there has to be the hunter that kills Bambi’s mom. Up has its share. This is not a bad thing, but it should serve as a heads ‘up’ to parents and others too sensitive or politically correct. Me, I thought the film was wonderful.

There is an amazing and heart-wrenching and nearly wordless sequence early on detailing the life of the main character and his wife that I believe is some of the best cinematic storytelling ever, period, on a par with what Orson Welles did in the 1940s or Steven Spielberg in the 1970s. It’s beautiful. This is not just any summer film, folks. And the score is by Michael Giacchino, quickly becoming my favorite all-time composer. Highly recommended.

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NYCC 2009 Day Two


Let’s talk a bit about NYC cabbies. They are insane. NASCAR, demolition derby, even stunt drivers have nothing on these guys. Even have a bus an inch away from you in the back seat of a cab, on either side? I have, and while speeding. Insane I say!

The trip back to Javitz this morning wasn’t as exciting as the previous day’s but I did see three Starbucks each on the corner of three consecutive blocks, on the same side. Not quite Lewis Black’s end of the world paradox, but still, scary.

We had a bit of an emergency when The Bride arrived late last night. She realized had forgotten her con ticket way back in south Jersey. Props to the staff of NYCC for handling the situation in a quick and friendly manner. So far the staff here has been pretty amazing, a vast difference from some other cons I’ve attended.

First stop was to say hi to Fat Momma, the runner-up in the first season of Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” The Bride had met her at previous cons but I had not. She’s a very nice lady and we chatted about the Broadway shows she had seen since in town – “Wicked” was good, “Shrek” bad. We also got a signed pic and a copy of her new book from Esteem Comics.

Next stop on the autograph parade was Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor. He was overheard to say he quite enjoyed the new series of “Doctor Who” and loved that they had thousands of Daleks. Very friendly. Said hello to actor Robert Culp, hell of a nice guy. He was selling scripts of some of the episodes of “I Spy” that he had written, some of the better ones I might add. Next to him was his partner in “The Greatest American Hero,” William Katt. I told him how much I enjoyed seeing him recently in The Man from Earth and he signed a copy of the GAH comic for me. And don’t forget to check out the motion comic for iPhone as well.

After a lunch of a wonderful Javitz ratdog cooked in the smoky essence of chicken kabobs, it was off the to the packed-to-the-walls Cup O’ Joe panel. In attendance, besides Joe Quesada of course, were Brian Michael Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, Jim McCann and publisher Dan Buckley. Dan Slott was also seen sitting in the audience off to the side with the rest of us.

There was Ultimate announcements. The line is being canceled and restarted as “Ultimate Comics.” Same characters, same continuity, so I’m really unsure of what the real difference is. There will be four monthlies in the line. Ultimate Spider-Man will have a new #1 written by Bendis and drawn by new regular artist David LaFuente. After a time jump in the continuity it will feature new characters, a new status quo and maybe someone new in the costume. That old gag again. Ultimate Avengers will be by Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco.

Then the room was open for questions. Bendis said that Jessica Jones will remain a supporting cast member of New Avengers but not a member of the New Avengers. An Alias mini with Miichael Gaydos is coming maybe next year and “asses will be bitten.” Ahem, it was also announced that current Ultimate Spidey artist Stuart Immonen will moving on to be regular artist on NA after issue #55. Wiccan will also be appearing and the line-up will stay as it is for a while, even though it seemed to take Bendis a minute to count down everyone on the current team.

Dan Slott was called up out of the audience at one point, and he sarcastically mentioned being thrilled seeing himself unshaved on the mini-jumbotron in the room. Interesting that the question he was brought up to answer was one of continuity – Norman Osborn knowing (or not knowing) who Spider-Man was. Slott seems to be the go-to guy for fixing continuity. Witness his current handling of the Scarlet Witch in Mighty Avengers. Oh, and the Normie/Spidey thing will be coming up soon by Slott in Amazing Spider-Man.

Publisher Dan Buckley took on the question of the price increase at Marvel and actually gave a pretty logical and honest answer in easy to understand terms. They are raising the prices on the popular titles so they won’t have to raise them across the board, and holding off as long as they can. I don’t like it, but I appreciate the honest answer.

Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis tackled a question concerning a problem I have voiced in my reviews at Avengers Forever on more than one occasion – why covers don’t always reflect what’s on the inside of the book. The fan asking felt cheated by a recent Avengers issue that was a Secret Invasion tie-in with Hawkeye on the cover but not inside. The answer was that the covers were homages to classic covers and specifically were not meant to depict what was inside. They just laughed it off saying Hawkeye was not a draw for a cover anyway. Hmmm, I’d buy a comic with Hawkeye on the cover. Anyone else out there?

Other than a few more hints from Bendis that the Spider-Woman series was going to be digital, and that Echo would be appearing in it, that was about it for this Cup O’ Joe. I went searching for HeroClix after that, only to find one vendor with any sort of selection. On my travails through the con floor I came across Anthony Tollin, comics colorist and probably the world’s foremost authority on The Shadow, and from him I bought my prize purchase of the con. The Shadow: Partners in Peril, love it , love it.

Never underestimate the drawing power of even a partial Pixar film. The showing of the first fifty minutes of Up filled the IGN Theatre to capacity and turned away many folks, my Bride and me included. And the line to get in started well over an hour beforehand.

At that point we were pretty beat and decided to call it a night. Steering this back around to NYC cabbies again, it took almost an hour to flag down a real cab. There were dozens of gypsy cabs but we turned all of them away. How is this legal? It’s like some guy has a car and decides to pick strangers up and name his price. What got me is the amount of con folk who got into these gypsy cabs. I hope none of them end up in ditches come tomorrow morning.

Today’s quotes both come from Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada: “Squirrel Girl stores my nuts for the winter” and “Let’s hear it for whoring.”

Super Bowl Aftermath: Movie Previews

Here’s the rundown (or at least my rundown) on the 2009 Super Bowl movie previews…

First we got another look at J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek

Now I’m sure the commercials in 3-D were good, as was the movie preview and it looks like the movie itself will be a lot of fun, but – has anyone been able to find those special 3-D glasses? I know I haven’t and I think I’ll need them for “Chuck” tonight as well…