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The Oscar 2015 Nominations Are In!

 

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This year’s Oscar nominations were announced earlier today by the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, actor Chris Pine and directors JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron in a 2 part broadcast for the first time ever, revealing the nominations in all 24 categories. Leading the noms are Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel which both have 9 nods whilst the Brits have been nominated in the major categories.

The Hollywood ceremony will be held on Sunday 22nd February. Here are your nominees…

 

Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Actor:

Steve Carell,  Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

 

Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

JK Simmons, Whiplash

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, Birdman

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

 

Best Cinematography:

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ida

Mr Turner

Unbroken

 

Best Director:

Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nightcrawler

 

Best Animated Feature Film:

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

 

For the full lineup of nominations click here

Rio 2 – Meet the Fanny Pack

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Back in 2011, we were introduced to the colourful, vibrant, musical event set in the US where Blu (Jessie Eisenberg) a “companion” to pet store owner Linda (Leslie Mann) was the sole surviving Blue Macaw. With his human like instincts and way of living finds himself wound up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he must find the other only living Macaw Jewel (Anne Hathaway) so they can re-populate their species. This became one of the most memorable bird stories told onscreen with a fun and loving journey which also introduced us to characters such as Nico, Pedro, Rafael and Luiz, to mention a few.

Back on the screen 3 years later (with the huge coincidence that the FIFA World Cup is also based in Brazil this year) Blu & Jewel are back with not only a family of 5 but also the rest of the fun loving gang on an adventure to the Amazon where they have discovered more of their kind (Unbeknown to the fact that it’s Jewel’s family running the place).

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With Andy Garcia voicing Jewel’s stern father, this is actually reminiscent to the whole Robert De Niro Meet the Parents vibe but with Jesse Eisenberg stepping in for Ben Stiller and Bruno Mars as Owen Wilson. Not only is it a reunion, but the story also bares the important endangerment of the Amazon rainforest. Humans are heading in to cut down trees, forcing the tenants to evacuate and become practically homeless (yes I am still talking about the birds and other animals that live there).  So it’s up to Blu and the crew to stand their ground and save what could potentially be their home.

Blu really has a super hard time with not only trying to impress his father in law and save the Amazon, but he’s also got Nigel (remember him?) hot on his trail. With a short reminder served in a flash back sequence, Nigel lost his feathers so has now become a flightless bird. The absence of his wings hasn’t stopped him though, oh no, he’s got himself two sidekicks. A silent anteater named Charlie and a very chatty poisonous frog, Gabbi, voiced by Kristin Chenoweth who is besotted in love with him. Nigel pops up here and there during the film and never gives a dull moment. He’s a real character that you love to hate. He holds so much charisma and character, you just can’t help but to enjoy every second he’s on screen and misses him when he’s not, but not too much though as Blu holds his scenes well. He hasn’t changed one bit. He’s still the same nervously awkward, quick worded, intelligent Macaw we fell in love with in Rio. He also brings along with him (and is attached like a feather on a bird) a fanny Pack with human resources like tic tacks, a knife, GPS tracker, a toilet roll and much more. His awkwardness is just hilarious and something to look forward to. But with all the “wrongs” he occurs, he still has a huge heart with good intentions, especially when it comes to his family.

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In a slight competition, we have Roberto (Bruno Mars) also known as “The Bird” on the scene, an old flame for Jewel. He’s got the looks, he’s got the brawn, and he’s also got the voice. What more could a girl ask for? He’s even got hair! Well, its feathers but it looks like hair.

Rio 2 is great in 3D. It really enhances the visuals adding depth to the characters and the Amazon. It felt like you could stick your hand through the screen and hold a bird. Visually, Blue Sky has really stepped up their game. One thing that stood out was the bird’s feathers. It really looked realistic being all full and feathery with that slight fluff around the neck area. Not only did it look great, but the movements of the characters were fantastic. Watching the birds all up in the air dancing, twirling and flying about really was beautiful. The amount of work that must have gone into that to get it perfect should be applauded.

Rio wouldn’t be Rio without an awesome soundtrack. Songs from Jamie Foxx, Will.I.Am, Bruno Mars, Janelle Manae, Jemaine Clement and others make the Rio experience even better. With scores from the first and second, Rio 2 is an adventure not to be missed.

4 out of 5 stars

It’s About Time The Oscars Revamped Their Categories

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

 

As we are gearing up for the end of 2013, a lot of talk has been going around about one of the best times for film makers and movie goers, Awards Season.

With not much justice, the Oscars will always be the biggest award of the night. Everyone wants to be holding that golden statue giving a speech up on stage and getting rushed off by the sound of music, adding a few tears here and there. But not everyone gets the chance to have this moment, not because they haven’t won, but for the mere fact that the category just doesn’t exist.

The Oscars is a huge event with tonnes of categories, from the biggest on screen, to the smallest behind closed doors, but it’s about time they revamped the categories and not expect the ceremony to just carry itself. Here are 3 categories they are definitely missing that should be added to the line-up…

 

 Best Stunt:

With the light of Jason Statham having a say in a Vanity Fair interview, he’s definitely got it spot on. Stunt men/women and Co-ordinators should be recognised for the hard work they put into making these awesome stunts in film. It is quite unfair how an actor in front of a green screen can win an Oscar for their performance, whilst the stunt men who actually pulled of the stunt lay low on the sideline without a credit. Yes there are some actors who pull of their own stunts so fair enough, they could be nominated too. But those guys out there risking their lives to make the actor look good and give us that breathless feeling when their falling off somewhere really do need more credit for the amazing work they do.

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Best Voice Actor:

We’re living in an age now where CGI is like second nature in a film with non human characters included. Whether it’s an animation of just live action with CGI inserted, voice actors should be getting a bit more attention when it comes to awards. There are already award categories for these special effects etc but to voice over a character does take quite a lot of skill. It’s not as simple as saying a line from a script. It’s just the same as normal acting, if not a bit more difficult because natural body language is absent as we can’t see the person, so why not? Most of the time, it’s the voice of a character that brings it to life rather than the way it looks. With the technology of Motion Capture suits, sometimes it’s the actors actually acting out these characters, quite like video games. So it really is a lot of work and great imagination.

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Best Trailer:

Now for a lot of us, a trailer is the key to whether you go to watch a film or not. It’s the main source of research for a film. Yes there are reviews etc but they all have the reviewer’s opinion, so a trailer is just perfect because it’s neutral. A trailer isn’t just put together by splicing a few bits of a film together; it’s a huge part of the film’s marketing, so it has to engage the audience. There are a lot of trailers out there that deserve an award. Think about the trailers you’ve watched this past year, some even looked better than the film turned out to be, why? Because the editors know what the audiences want to see. But really there are a lot of trailers out there that make you watch it more than once and the people behind these trailers also deserve some credit.

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So what do you think? What categories would you like to see in the Oscars?

 

Where’s the Harm in CG-animation? – Video Game Adaptations

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It seems after much debate and not much success with live action adaptations of video games, the universe has finally seen sense and is broadening their heights and opening their minds to the future of CG-animated adaptations. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before, but now it’s becoming a tiny trend and hopefully more will follow.

The Resident Evil franchise should be very proud of them selves because their CG-animated movies are really good. You get so much more out of them and they follow the game franchise, literally, but not just by turning the game step by step into a film, but by becoming part of the game. For example, the most recent Resident Evil CG-A feature, Resident Evil: Damnation, takes place before the latest game, Resident Evil 6, where Leon S. Kennedy has to investigate the rumours of Bio Organic Weapons (B.O.W.s) and it also ties in with Ada Wong’s story which is a campaign to be unlocked in Resident Evil 6 once you’ve completed the other three. It’s quite like the Final Fantasy franchise. However, the live action films of Resident Evil don’t coincide with the video game at all, purely for the main reason that the main character Alice isn’t even a character in the game franchise and the main characters from the franchise are usually absent in the film. The films however are at an ok standard, but compared to the CG-A ones, they are quite a disappointment. The CG-A versions should definitely get more recognition.

2010 saw an ok attempt at turning Tekken into a live action flick, however there were many flaws with the characters, the absence of crucial characters from the video game and an ok story line. 2011 saw a better attempt at Tekken, however, it was a CG-A version. Tekken: Blood Vengeance had more potential and proves that the franchise could actually really go far in the world of CG-A.

The big news that has been announced in the past couple of weeks has been the release date for an animated Ratchet and Clank movie (2015) and the production of a Heavenly Sword CG-animated film. With this news, it only gives hope that more will follow in the foot steps of Rainmaker Entertainment and dish out some more of these exciting creations.

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One film idea that has been in circulation since 2011 was the idea of an Uncharted film. To be honest, an Uncharted film would be “totes amazeballs” however, live action would simply spoil it. Nathan Drake is such an iconic character, quite like Lara Croft (and we all remember how that went down) it would be very hard to accept someone literally standing in for the actual character (and Nolan North). Rumours were floating around that Mark Wahlberg was the one to take on the role of Drake (as he is the action hero type). As much as Wahlberg is a fantastic actor in his own right, this role just isn’t for him. His personality and voice alone would cause problems with the role (and the fans of the franchise would give it a right slating… you know what we’re like). A new candidate has arrived on the scene recently in the name of Bradley Cooper. This makes much more sense in terms of physical appearance, personality etc and could possibly have a better hit with audiences (Angelina Jolie had the characteristics for Lara Croft, yet still the film was so-so). He also has the look of the bad boy-Brit Harry Flynn, so he could possibly just take any role (although he’d need to put on a strong “correct” Brit accent to pull it off). Yet still in this case, CG-animation would be perfect for Uncharted. We would have the original characters and a fun adventure. The video game series feels like a film anyways so why not just make it into a feature length film? It would just tick all the boxes you could think of and it’s the best option. Yes Please!

The future of CG-animated films are beginning to get a bit more recognition and by getting more people to spread the word, there’s more of a chance these flicks will at least get a theatrical release rather than just a straight to DVD and Blu Ray release.

2013 Animated Features Preview

With Dreamworks’ ‘The Croods’ setting the bar for 2013’s future animated features, here’s a little preview of what’s instore for the rest of the year. Featuring mostly sequels and a couple of brand new franchises, this list looks very promising, with huge names filling in for the voice cast.

Despicable Me 2

Starring: Steve Carell, Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove and Steve Coogan.

More hilarious minions, Gru, the girls, more weapons and new characters return for what can only be one of the funniest animated films out this year. The first was brilliant in its own right, what will part two have installed for us?

Monsters University

Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina and Sean P. Hayes.

Another sequel, coming from Disney’s Pixar, Monsters University goes back to the early years of when Mike and Sulley were at university, but they weren’t best friends just yet.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers

Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews and James Caan.

The first instalment saw Flint Lockwood make this crazy machine that turned the weather into food. This time around, he’s working at the Live Corp Company, but is then forced to quickly leave because his old school machine is still working and is concocting weird food-animal type hybrids, hence the awesome title ‘Revenge of the Leftovers’.

Epic

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Amanda Seyfried, Pitbull, Beyonce, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell and Christoph Waltz.

After the great success of Rio and the Ice Age franchise, Blue Sky has pulled out of the bag a brand new animation. Epic follows the story of a teenage girl who finds herself transported into a deep forest where a battle between the good and evil is occurring. This leads her to pull together a group of great characters to save not only their world, but ours.

Turbo

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez and Maya Rudolph.

A normal garden snail has a huge dream of becoming the fastest snail in the world and to win the Indy 500, however after a freak accident, his dreams may just be about to come true.

Planes

Starring: Dane Cook, Jon Cryer, Priyanka Chopra and Carlso Alazraqui.

Not a Pixar film, but still in the Disney franchise, Planes is a spin off to Pixar’s ‘Cars’, but obviously this time about Planes. This follows a young crop duster called Dusty who dreams about competing in a famous aerial race, however, he’s afraid of heights… funny right?

The Smurfs 2

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Alan Cumming, Christina Ricci, Katy Perry and Hank Azaria.

After their awesome success, The Smurfs are back with another adventure to keep us entertained. Smurfette has been kidnapped by Gargamel because of her knowledge about a spell that can turn his newest, evil creation, the Naughties, into real Smurfs. The Smurfs must team up with their human friends to try and rescue her before she becomes a member of the Naughties.

Frozen

Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Johnathan Groff.

Disney has had this under the covers for a while, not releasing much about it either (no trailer as of yet) but is set to be released sometime at the end of the year. Frozen is about a mountain climber and a young girl named Anna who are making the journey through the snow and dangerous cliffs to get to the Snow Queen to make her end the awful winter prophecy that has taken over their kingdom.

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