Archive for Author Jess

Are you checking movies off of your list? I’ve been working hard to check some off of mine! Over the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at every category, as well as spotlighting each film nominated for Best Picture. In the meantime, check out my tips for tracking down hard to find movies.

Waste Land – This was a previously “unattainable” documentary, but has recently popped up in a handful of theaters in major cities (LA, DC, NY). It may be playing near you!

Unstoppable – If you missed this one in theaters, it’s available on DVD and Blu Ray on Tuesday, February 15th. Netflixers, be sure to hit up your local Blockbuster or Red Box- Netflix’s restrictions on new releases means they won’t get it in time for the ceremony.

Gasland – Are you an HBO subscriber? If so, this documentary is currently available On Demand.

Wolfman – Another one for HBO subscribers, you can catch this Best Make Up nominee On Demand now.

Shorts – Keep an eye out for a theater near you playing the animated and live action shorts. In Los Angeles, they began playing at the Nuart Theater on February 11th, and the Documentary shorts will show starting February 18th.

Best Picture Showcase – Missing some of the films nominated for Best Picture? If you think you can handle it, check our AMC’s Best Picture Showcase. They offer 2 days of Best Picture nominees, as well as a 24 hour marathon of all 10 films.

Posted on February 14th, 2011 by Jess | Comments Off on 2 Weeks Til Oscar!
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It’s Oscar season everyone! With the nominations announced, now’s the time to get cracking on seeing those movies. Some people strive to see all of the Best Picture noms… some people go even further to see the the Acting, Directing, and Screenplay categories as well. But I go all out…I see everything. I try to see every last nomination from the Best Sound Editing to the Best Animated Short. I don’t always complete my goal, in fact, I’ve never finished every single category. In 2009, I came the closest I’ve ever come and saw every nominated feature except for a few in the foreign film category, and every nominated short except the documentary shorts. This year, I’m aiming to hit everything possible. Note the distinction, as there are always a few “unattainables” that I can’t possibly get to (more on those later). There are 41 feature length films nominated for Oscars this year and I’ve already seen 21 of them. It’s a good start, but I still have a ways to go. In addition, there are 15 shorts to catch and for the first time ever, a Los Angeles theater is screening the Documentary Shorts. This is huge- I’ve never seen a screening of these outside of Academy member only screenings- they’ve always been unattainables. I’m excited to knock out that category this year for the first time.

So if you’re following along or trying to catch some of these movies yourself, here’s a handy little guide to help you find them in your neighborhood:

In Mainstream Theaters – These movies should be pretty easy to find in just about any city:
Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, True Grit, Tangled, Country Strong

In Theaters, but Disappearing – These movies have been out for a while, and therefore might be harder to find. Check out the dollar theaters, or big theaters that have a lot of screens to fill:
127 Hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part One, Tron: Legacy, Unstoppable (also on DVD 2/15)

In Smaller Theaters and Art Houses – You may have to go a bit out of your way- the next town over, or maybe to a smaller theater you’ve never been to before:
Biutiful, Rabbit Hole, Blue Valentine, Another Year, The Way Back

Big Cities Only – Unless you’re within close proximity of a pretty big city, you’re probably out of luck with these:
Inside Job, The Illusionist, Barney’s Version

Available on DVD – Track it down on Netflix, or buy it in Best Buy, these should be easy to get your hands on. If you have a device that streams your Netflix Instant Queue, I’ve noted those available to stream:
Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone, The Town, Animal Kingdom, How to Train Your Dragon, Dogtooth (Netflix Instant), Alice In Wonderland (Netflix Instant), I Am Love (Netflix Instant), The Wolfman, Salt, Iron Man 2, Exit Through the Gift Shop (Netflix Instant), Gasland, Restrespo (Netflix Instant)

In Betweenies – These are awful for someone trying to complete the list. They are movies that have all but dropped out of theaters and will not be released on DVD until after the ceremony. There’s always at least one of them…this year there are 3:
Hereafter (playing in 3 theaters in AZ, FL, MI, releases on DVD 3/15), Waste Land (playing in 2 theaters in FL, releases on DVD 3/29), The Tempest (playing in 7 theaters in OR, AZ, KY, MI, OH, MA, release on DVD TBD)

Unattainable – Just as bad as the In Betweenies are the Unattainables. They are literally impossible to find if you’re not a member of the Academy, or the actual filmmaker. They almost always fall into the Foreign Film category (occasionally the Documentary category) and this year there are 3:
Incendies (US release date – 4/1), In a Better World (US release date – TBD), Outside the Law (limited release in the US in November, but no longer in any theaters, DVD release date – TBD)

There you have it- where to find (or not find, in some cases) all the nominees. This list will change every weekend as theaters scramble to get the nominated films back in their theaters. So don’t give up on movies that may not be playing in your city- they may show up yet.

I hope you’ll follow along with my reviews and updates as I make my way through this list. Good luck and happy movie going!

Posted on January 28th, 2011 by Jess | Comments Off on Countdown to the Oscars!
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In my opinion, the Best Picture showcase should be mandatory for all voting Academy members. It’s an event that really separates the men from the boys, the strong from the weak, and the hardcore filmgoers from the casual audience. Imagine 13 1/2 hours of back to back films, supposedly the best films of the year. Some only come for two or three, but not I. I dress in sweats, pack a lunch, and hunker down for all 5 films. For the second time. That’s right, the last two years I have gone into the Best Picture showcase having already seen the films. It gives me a chance to give every film an intense second scrutiny and compare them side by side. Unlike last year, this year I’m not crazy about most of the nominees. Whereas last year I had flipped for films like Michael Clayton, Juno, and No Country, this year I was just kind of excited to see Slumdog and Milk again. Having watched all five of these films back to back, I’m nowhere near convinced that these were the best films of the year. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but The Wrestler was easily the best film I saw this year. Also, I’d go so far to include The Dark Knight and WALL-E amongst the best as well. If I had my druthers, I’d replace Benjamin Button with any of these three, and possibly swap out Frost/Nixon and The Reader as well. But as I have yet to become a voting Academy member, I’ll suffice with choosing between the five nominees they’ve given me this year:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire. It’s taken home tons of awards already and tonight will be no different.

What Should Win:
Slumdog. Upon a second viewing, it got even better and I loved it the first time around. Other films didn’t hold up as well (The Reader, for one) and just can’t compare. Though I’d be happy to see an upset by Milk, which is easily second best.

Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Jess | Leave a Comment
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Phasekitty and the Oscars

Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Actress
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Editing
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Costume Design
The Duchess

Best Makeup
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Original Score
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Song
“Jai Ho” – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Sound
The Dark Knight

Best Sound Editing

Best Visual Effects
Iron Man

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Best Foreign Language Film
Waltz With Bashir

Best Documentary
Trouble the Water

Best Documentary, Short Subject
The Final Inch

Best Short Film, Animated

Best Short Film, Live Action
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Jess | Leave a Comment
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I love this category- especially when someone unexpected and deserving wins it (see Roman Polanski for The Pianist). This year is a little unusual and, I think, a little predictable as the category is identical to Best Picture:

  • Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
  • Stephen Daldry for The Reader
  • David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
  • Gus Van Sant for Milk

Danny Boyle. He has a wonderful vision and of these nominees he deserves it the most.

What Should Win:
Darren Aronofsky. Moreso than being snubbed for Best Picture, I think The Wrestler had the best direction I’ve seen this year. I really wish the Academy had done right by Aronofsky by at least giving him a nomination.

Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Jess | Leave a Comment
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This category is just so interesting this year. I’m still completely on the fence over who’s going to take it this year.

  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • In Bruges
  • Milk
  • WALL·E

Happy-Go-Lucky. It’s a bold prediction, but it’s gotten so much critical praise and Sally Hawkins really lost out on a nomination. They may want to honor it here.

What Should Win:
WALL·E. I think it’s got the most original story here, even though it has such little dialogue. I’d love to say Milk here, but I’m so weary about it being an original screenplay. It’s based on the life of a real person and there is already has a book and a documentary on the subject, so the fact that it’s an original script loses credibility in my mind.

Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Jess | Leave a Comment
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I love this category- it’s easily one of my favorites. Normally I go in having read most of the books that the movies are based on, but this year I’m a little out of my element with two plays nominated.

Slumdog Millionaire. It’s such a great film and I didn’t even realize that it was a book until it was over- a good sign of a good adaptation.

What Should Win:
Slumdog, for sure. I think there are too many inconsistencies with The Reader’s adaptation to win here. I would love it if Frost/Nixon upset this category, though.

Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Jess | Leave a Comment
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