Wanna win an Oscar?

Oscars are almost here. People are making predictions on who’s going to win. To make well informed predictions, we need to look back at the trend. More specifically, trend for Best Actor Male. Colin Firth won for playing King George VI, Jean Dujardin for The Artist, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln  and Matthew McConaughey for playing Ron Woodroof.

Notice the trend?

Out these 4 wins, 3 were playing a real life person. Each movie based on a certain predicament in the person’s life. If we look at this year’s and last year’s best actor nominees alone, seven out of ten nominations are for characters based on real life person. That’s 70% of the nominees. This year, Michael Keaton is the odd one out for being nominated for a fictional character. Last seen in 2010, when Javier Bardem was the only one nominated for a fictional character. So I guess it’s safe to say that actors playing a real person have an upper hand at best actor nods. One of the reason could also well be that Hollywood is producing far more ‘based on true events’ stories, featuring real life persons. Maybe as audience it is interesting to see on screen what we heard about in the news perhaps, as if  to see history come to live on the big screen.

Actors winning for playing a real person isn’t a new thing, first Oscar given for the same was in 1929/ 30. Be it Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle or Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, it’s a trend far more common these days. This in a way immortalizes the crisis that the character went though, how else would we have known about Ron Woodroof’s story or King George’s vocal training. Also, what are the chances that people knew much about the legal troubles that Facebook once faced.  What’s more, Daniel Day-Lewis who holds the record for winning 3 best actor Oscars won 2 for biopics. Coming to this year’s show, people who have seen Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Steven Hawkins are raving about his fantastic performance. So his Oscar win won’t come as a surprise. Making a hat trick of Oscar-winning performances based on real person, following Day-Lewis and McConaughey, which will be a first. Also his chances of winning are increasing as he picks up best actor at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

So therefore to win an Oscar all you’ve got to do is star in a biopic, simple right?!

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Hopes For Inferno

If you are a big fan of Dan Brown’s novels featuring Robert Langdon, then chances are that you weren’t quite satisfied by big screen adaptations of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Brown’s novels are great, filled with so much information that I have to constantly search buildings, artworks or any other facts that he mentions in the story. Film adaptations however are pale in comparison, only saving grace is Tom Hanks, as the Harvard professor.

Now Rom Howard is adapting his latest novel, Inferno. Here are somethings I’d wish they’d consider.

Invest some time in script.

It’s a no brainer really, When you read any one of Brown’s novels, its pretty obvious that he has taken his time to do all the research, think of a story and write it. Inferno comes 5 years after The Lost Symbol, that’s more or less 5 years worth of research, thinking and writing up a great story. Even if Howard’s team takes half the time to write the script we’ll have a great film to watch.

Don’t change the story

Dan Brown’s avid readers come to watch the film for the story, so why alter it? Ending of Angels and Demons was slightly altered. I didn’t like it, and I’m sure many didn’t. Plus people haven’t read the novel and don’t plan to will miss out on the chance to experience the ‘real’ story.

Inferno is important

If you’ve read Inferno, you know that it comes with a very important social message about over population. World needs to hear the facts, fear the repercussions and see this story. Like Interstellar, Inferno can make you think about our actions as species. Mediocrity will kill the film and the chance for people to hear this valuable message.

Get the casting right

Women in Dan Brown’s novels are strong characters. On screen they come across somewhat that, for which I’ll blame casting. Tom Hanks is a two-time Oscar winner, anyone standing next to him on-screen will be over shadowed by his presence, let alone the fact that Robert Langdon is a genius in his field. Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra in Angels and Demons and Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu in Da Vinci Code fail in living up to the characters in the novels. Rumors are the Felicity Jones is to star opposite Hanks in Inferno, for films’ sake I hope its true. 

Be as real as possible

Last thing I want is this film to come across as a fiction. Its written realistically and should come across as real. Because only if its real, people will relate to it.

I’m sure the the makers do want to make the best film possible and as Dan Brown’s fan I want to see one. So here’s wishing for a kick ass Robert Langdon film!

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Aren’t we all saints? St. Vincent Movie Review

Spoilers Ahead. 

St. Vincent, stars not one but 3 Oscar nominees, needlessly to say that expectations are quite high. Written and directed by Theodore Melfi, it deals with an unlikely bond between a young boy, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) and his anti-social, unfriendly neighbor Vincent (Bill Murray) after he moves to a new home with his mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy). Series of events leads to Vincent having to baby-sit Oliver after school, simultaneously and coincidentally Oliver has to prepare a saints among us presentation. While all this is happening, Maggie is going through a divorce and a custody battle with her ex-husband, during which Vincent’s pregnant, stripper girlfriend, Daka (Naomi Watts) enters. While the premise is interesting, the film isn’t.

Going by the logic shown in the film, it would appear that almost all of us are saints in one way or the other. Don’t we all do what’s right, look after our partners or occasionally do someone random a favor? Well that’s exactly what Vincent does, yet is proclaimed a ‘Saint.’ Oliver chose Vincent as his saint for his school presentation, even though he takes him to horse racing where gets the 13-year-old to bet money, after which he makes him lie about winning to avoid paying money to his debtors and takes him to bar quite a few times. Oliver then be-friends Daka, who Vincent refers to as his ‘Lady of the night.’ Only good thing that comes out of that is the Oliver starts to see the saintly qualities hidden in Vincent, like him taking care of his sick wife for 8 years or teaching him to fight and break noses. These ‘saintly’ qualities pale in comparison to not so saintly things Vincent does.

We can argue against all the qualities that Oliver uses to describe Vincent as a saint in his presentation. At one point, Oliver says that Vincent took him in when he didn’t have too. Well, Vincent gets money in return for ‘taking him in,’ so why wouldn’t he. Sure, he’s been to the war that would make him, a war veteran, not a saint. In the end I was left wondering what Melfi thinks a saint actually is, does a saint bash on religion? Does he talk to a 13 year of about strippers, sex, profanity and ‘lady of the light’? Does a saint gets his pregnant girlfriend to sell prescription medicines that he stole from the hospital? At point in the film he lashes out at Oliver, telling him to stop living his life through him, that comes after Oliver and his mother took care of him while he was in the hospital. If you ask me, his hard working mother Maggie is a bigger saint that Vincent ever could hope to be.

Brilliant performances by all the actors are let down by not so good script. Melissa McCarthy is a standout for me, especially in the scene with the Oliver’s principal and teacher.  Her changes of expressions from awkward laughter to crying are seamless and leave a long-lasting impact on you. Naomi Watts is unrecognizable in the prostitute attire and a thick accent, which she pulls off with a lot of charisma. Finally Bill Murray is great as not-so-likable neighbor, for me though he is not likable at all, which says a lot about his natural performance as Vincent, he becomes and lives his on-screen persona. His Golden Globe nomination is well deserved. Debutante Jaeden Lieberher is likable as Oliver, watch out for this kid.

What bugs me even more is that this film had a lot of potential. Seeing saint-hood qualities in worst of people is an intriguing theme, yet for me it did not come across. Wish Vincent came across as more of an enriched man than he did. I wanted to see what Oliver sees in him, but I couldn’t. I’ll think twice before watching this saint on-screen. After all he does gets his stripper girlfriend pregnant while still being married to his sick wife. If that’s not enough film stars off with Vincent having sex with Daka. I’ll leave it at that.

My rating, Two Stars.

Image derived from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2170593/

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For the love of movies

I love films, I always have.

Having seen countless films, I felt a need to let my opinion out there for everyone to read. Nothing makes me more happy than having watched a good film. I feel like giggling like a little girl, want to get on the roof and scream and shout and let everyone know what I have just witnessed. Nothing gets me down as much when my expectations of a film are not met. For films, are a means of escape, indulge and to lose yourself in the world created by artists, both on and off screen. There are so many aspects through which you can critically analyse a movie, be it pre-production elements or post, but for me only one thing and only one thing matters and that is how it makes you feel. Feeling is something that can not be taught and feeling is something that people relate to. It is this that makes us unique. Movies evoke different feelings and feelings makes us.

I love films, I always will.

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