In case anyone out there still visits this page from time to time in the hope that more content might someday appear, I’m here to say “hope no longer!”
This sounds depressing, but is actually good news. You see, while this site is closing its doors, I’m not giving up on writing about movies just yet. Instead, my movie-related writing will be appearing over at The Geek Infusion. A lot of the content that’s there right now is video game related, but I’ll be adding stuff about movies to the mix very soon.
I think this is the spot where I’m supposed to wax philosophic about what this site has meant to me over the years, but that seems a bit pretentious for a blog that only has a handful of readers at best. So instead I’ll just say thanks for those of you who visited this site, and I hope you’ll visit me at the new one!
First off, hey all. The site is not dead! Extremely rarely updated, yes. But not dead. My attentions have been occupied elsewhere.
Anyway, as you probably know, the first few months of the year are often completely awful for movies. You get the odd indie gems (like Spring, which you should all watch immediately), but they’re few and far between. Thankfully, summer is almost upon us. Blockbuster season! This means you can expect more writing about films here in the coming months.
This will be my sixth year doing Oscar predictions. Last year was more or less an average one for me, as I correctly predicted 18 of the 24 winners. My worst ever is 16, and my best is 19. Let’s see if I can finally crack that elusive 20 barrier.
Best Picture: We have a genuine two-horse race this year, as the field looks split between Boyhood and Birdman. Given the choices presented here, I would easily select The Grand Budapest Hotel. But I also think that film’s going to claim its fair share of Oscar gold elsewhere on Sunday, so I’m not too bothered.
Boyhood took home the BAFTA and the Golden Globe, as well as the Critics’ Choice Award. So you could certainly make the case it’s a shoo-in. But it’s worth noting the producer’s guild picked Birdman as their best picture. The PGA best picture winner has gone on to win the Oscar for the last seven years running.
I’m genuinely having difficulty here, but I think Birdman might pull this off. Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole for Birdman.
So, now we see where things stand. The Oscar nominations always provide great fodder because you can give with one hand (“Kudos to the Academy for nominating this under-seen indie gem!”) and take away with the other (“How could they not have noticed this other movie?!”).
I have to start with the acting categories, aka Hurray For White People!
Okay, seriously though… All white people? No David Oyelowo, no Gugu Mbatha-Raw? I don’t have the ammo to get properly worked up about this, since I haven’t yet seen Selma, or Beyond The Lights. But given the critical reaction to both films, it seems odd not to see them represented here. Issues surrounding race have dominated the headlines in the last year, so you’d think Oscar voters would’ve made sure to recognize some of the fine performances by actors of colour in 2014. Makes sense right? Apparently not.
Things have been characteristically silent around here, but I assume you’re used to that by now. I just wanted to pop in and mention that when I’m not busy neglecting to update my own website, I do on occasion take the opportunity to write elsewhere.
In addition to being mad about movies, I’m also an avid gamer. But I’ve never really tried my hand at reviewing games before, and obviously that kind of thing wouldn’t fit on this site anyway. Fortunately, my friend Matthew runs his own site geared toward the video game world, The Geek Infusion.
Awhile ago I bugged him about doing some writing and he was kind enough to let me ramble on about Far Cry 4 for a couple thousand words. So if that seems like it might be of interest, you can check out my review of the game here. And definitely read some of his stuff while you’re visiting. Unlike me, he actually updates pretty regularly.
Starry Eyes is a difficult movie to pin down. On the surface, it’s a horror story that calls to mind Ti West’s The House Of The Devil (i.e. it’s a slow burn with gradually escalating tension and an utterly insane final act). There’s perhaps more of a social commentary aspect to Starry Eyes, so on that level the screenplay feels vaguely ambitious, like it’s trying to make a point. But I’m not entirely sure how successful it is in doing so.
The story concerns an aspiring actress, Sarah (played by Alex Essoe). She winds up getting an audition for a role that could be her big break. At first it seems to go terribly. She has an incredibly awkward experience with two humourless and condescending casting agents (played by Marc Senter and Maria Olsen). But then she gets a callback, so it looks like she might have a shot at this role after all. Only in order to secure the part she has to… Ahem. Well, I’ll let you imagine.
Despite sporting paper-thin characterizations and being stuffed to the gills with clichés and unnecessary side plots, The Equalizer is a decent action thriller, and probably the best thing director Antoine Fuqua has done since he last teamed with Denzel Washington on 2001’s Training Day.
The film brings nothing new to the table, but Fuqua knows how to combine the familiar elements and push all the right buttons, while Washington performs his role as a man with “a very particular set of skills” (to borrow a phrase from a similar film) with aplomb.
Washington is Robert McCall, a man with a seemingly simple life. He lives alone, filling his days working at a hardware store and his nights reading Hemingway over dinner at a local greasy spoon. Outwardly, he’s friendly – well-liked by his co-workers and quick with a joke. But beneath the surface, he seems troubled. He shows signs (never much explored in the film) of obsessive compulsion. His life is built on routine, but the façade is fragile.
As Woody Allen movies go, Magic In The Moonlight is middling. It’s nowhere near his worst, nor does it stand with his best.
The film takes place in the twenties, where we meet Stanley (played by Colin Firth), a debunker of spiritualist frauds, who also happens to be a magician. He performs incognito as the world-famous Wei Ling Soo (who, incidentally, is a character based on a real magician, named William Ellsworth Robinson, who performed back in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds as Chung Ling Soo. Just, y’know, FYI).
One night after a show, Stanley’s longtime friend and colleague Howard (played by Simon McBurney) arrives backstage and begins to tell him about the latest spiritualist he’s met. Simon brings Stanley in when, as is the case here, he’s unable to work out how a particular medium is deceiving people. Stanley vows to expose her and the two set off immediately for the French Riviera.