All posts tagged: oscars

My Ranking of the Best Picture Nominees

Here’s my ranking of this year’s Best Picture nominations – from my least favorite to favorite. 8. American Sniper Beyond the fact that I did not like American Sniper from a social and political standpoint, I also thought it was poorly assembled and lacked substantial character development. It basically felt like 134 minutes of Clint Eastwood shoving his personal opinions on contemporary American war culture down my throat, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. The performances were good, but the lackluster script really didn’t provide the actors with the opportunity to do more than just be good. 7. Boyhood I will admit that Boyhood was a spectacular experiment in filmmaking, but in my opinion, it fell short. Read more about my thoughts on Linklater’s film in ‘Boyhood’: In Defense of my Dissenting Opinion. 6. The Theory of Everything The Theory of Everything provides an intimate look at the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde Hawking. It’s a very slick film – with crisp visuals and sensational performances. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking is spectacularly convincing and Felicity Jones’ performance is subtle and honest. Despite …

Thoughts on Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’

If you spend any time on the internet (and you obviously do) you’ve probably heard all about Alfonso Cuarón’s visual masterpiece, Gravity. At one point over the weekend ‘Gravity’ was the top trending hashtag on Twitter. It premiered on Friday and earned over 55.5 million in theaters, taking the number one spot at the box office. I opted to see it in XD & 3-D, but if there was an IMAX nearby I would have gone in a heartbeat. After a few days to think about the movie separate from the overwhelmingly positive opinions of others, I’ve determined that Gravity is not a typical film but rather an engrossing visceral experience. Co-written, co-produced, co-edited and directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, astronauts who are left drifting in space after a massive accident and must work together in order to survive. In a large, dark, and chilly theater, it’s nearly impossible not to find find yourself completely immersed in the story – free from any ounce …

Women in Film: Costume Designer Colleen Atwood

Colleen Atwood has had a long and exciting career as a costume designer for some of Hollywood’s most beloved films (including, the actual film Beloved). With three Oscar wins and ten nominations, Atwood has established herself as one of the most acclaimed designers in the history of the craft. “Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth-it really does establish who they are.” “As a designer, you have to solve a lot of problems. Even though people are wearing clothes that are supposed to look beautiful, they’ll have to do all kinds of things.” Fun Facts: Colleen Atwood was born in Yakima, Washington in 1948. She studied art at Cornish College of Arts and New York University. Her first movie gig was as a production assistant on the film Ragtime. Her career breakthrough occurred when she met  Tim Burton. She has been involved with over 50 films to date. She was the lead costume designer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey between 2005 & 2006. She has designed …

‘Short Term 12’ – A Must See Film

Short Term 12 is a devastatingly beautiful examination of vulnerability and hardship. Written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film stars Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., and Kaitlyn Dever. Grace (Larson) is a supervisor at a facility for at-risk teens. She is strong and insistent, yet flexible and nurturing. Her long-time boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (Gallagher Jr.), is equally as compassionate and resilient. Each teen at the facility has their own troubling story and their own ways of coping. Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield, deals with his emotions by writing and rapping, while Jayden (Dever) writes stories and draws. As the film progresses it becomes clear that Grace has many problems of her own, and her way of coping is to help others. Amazingly written and wonderfully acted, Short Term 12 exemplifies how a stellar cast and intriguing story can create something that’s truly one of a kind. I could review Short Term 12 in-depth, and go on and on about why I love it. But instead I ask that you see it for yourself. It’s really that …

Women in Media

As a woman in hopes of someday working in the film or TV industry, women and media (both their roles within the story-world and behind the camera) have interested me for many years. Now that I’ve graduated, it has become even more important. As I continue to read about film, TV, and upcoming premieres, I can’t help but notice that women are completely underrepresented. Every movie I’m looking forward to seeing this fall is about men, starring men, written by men, and directed by men. And most TV shows follow suit. What’s unfortunate is that women are outnumbered in significant roles both on-screen and off, from the make-up chairs to the editing suits. Though there are amazingly talented women within the industry, the playing field is far from equal. Consider this: Ever since the 1970s, the gap between how many women attend college in the US and how many men do has continued to grow in favor of the women. But despite the fact that more women pursue higher education than their male counterparts, we have yet …

Review of ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

This week I wrote a review of Lee Daniels’ The Butler for Critics Associated. Read it here, or check out the the original. Inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, a butler who served the White House for 34 years until retiring in 1986, Lee Daniels and co-writer Danny Strong present a powerful story about the complexities of the civil rights movement in the United States. Lee Daniels’ The Butler features an abundance of famous actors including Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a strong-willed butler who is proud to serve his country, and Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines, his persistent and loyal wife. A plethora of other well-known actors grace the screen including Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, and Jane Fonda. In three tumultuous decades Cecil serves eight Presidents and experiences the civil rights movement from both a political and social perspective. Gaines has two sons, both of which have completely distinct visions of racial equality and the ways in which to achieve it. Charlie, played by …