Posts Tagged 'leonardo dicaprio'

The 2016 Biggie Awards (and My Top 10 & Bottom 5 of 2015)

The 27th Annual Biggie Awards

for achievements in film for the year 2015

2015. Goddamn. “Weird” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

In my view, this was the weakest year overall for movies since 2009, where I only “loved” 14 movies. In 2015, as of this writing, I added 17 films to my Love List. For perspective, since I’ve started tracking these things in 1997, this is only the third year where I didn’t love at least 20 movies. I didn’t love anything in 2015 until early May when Avengers: Age of Ultron opened, and even that was a disappointment compared to its predecessor.

This was not a year like 2000 (Gladiator), 2003 (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) or 2012 (Lincoln) where a single film dominated the year while also facing stiff competition (Gladiator fended off The Patriot, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon AND Traffic, ROTK is the most awarded film in Biggies history, but still had to face Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World AND The Last Samurai– which would have been the Best Picture winner in most other years, while Lincoln had to battle Zero Dark Thirty). The closest comp I can come up with is 2011, when Drive snuck in out of nowhere to take Best Picture in a wide open field. Drive would’ve been crushed had it come out the same year as There Will Be Blood or Titanic, but it happened to arrive in a mediocre year and was able to edge out the victory. Fast forward to now, and I don’t even know if there was a 2015 film as good as Drive. As a result, this is probably the most winnable year in Biggies history for “great but not masterful” movies, which is simultaneously really fun and disappointing by default. As I post this, I honestly haven’t decided what I think the best movie of 2015 was.

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Review: 86th ACADEMY AWARDS

Oscars poster 2014
I have to say I really enjoyed the 86th Academy Awards. Moreso than most years. I think the primary reason is because there wasn’t a single result that I absolutely hated. Of course there were things I disagreed with, but there wasn’t anything this year that made me want to go on a killing spree, which is rare. The show was very light-hearted and had a really positive vibe. It seemed like it would have been really fun to have been there. That’s not always the case. People seemed genuinely happy for every winner and nominee, and there were very few instances where it seemed like most of the crowd didn’t give a shit about what was happening on stage.

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The 2014 Biggie Awards (& The 25 Movies from 2013 That You Should’ve Seen)

The 25th Annual Biggie Awards

aka The Biggies

celebrating achievements in cinema for the year 2013

First off, this is me patting myself on the back for 25 years of recognizing excellence in film. It’s pretty cool to hit a milestone like that. I’ve been doing these awards since I was 17 years old, aka half of my life. I started in 1997 with awards for that year’s amazing roster of movies, but eventually I retroactively went back and did my awards from 1989 forward. Why 1989? Well, basically it was so I could recognize Glory (one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time) as my first Best Picture winner. What other reason do I need? I take this very seriously, and I’m proud of the legacy I’ve been able to build here, even if that legacy exists only in my own mind. Hopefully that pride shows in how much time and care I put into this post every year.

Gatsby - glass raise“Happy 25th anniversary, Old Sport.”
Thanks, Gatsby!

As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, for those interested, here are all of my previous Best Picture winners, with the Oscars’ Best Picture winner that year in parentheses for comparison:

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Review: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Catching Fire poster

Hunger Games Yay

The Hungers Games: Catching Fire has arrived in theaters as the most anticipated studio film probably since The Avengers last year, and with Christopher Nolan‘s Batman series wrapped up, The Hunger Games may now be the most popular active movie franchise in America. In the U.S. at least, it’s bigger than any of Marvel’s individual franchises (including Iron Man). It’s bigger than Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s bigger than The Hobbit. It’s bigger than Transformers. It’s bigger than Bond or Star Trek or X-Men or Spider-Man or anything from Pixar. In fact, the first Hunger Games grossed more in the U.S. than any of the Harry Potter movies. And it’s outgrossed these movies without the use of 3D surcharges. Remarkable. I don’t pretend to know why any of this is true, but as Bill Belichick would say, it is what it is.

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Mini Reviews: THE GREAT GATSBY, PAIN & GAIN, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

As 2013 continues to slog along, I continue to wait for a truly great film to be released. On my nomination ballot for next year’s Biggie Awards, I still don’t have any movies under consideration for Best Picture, Director, or either screenplay categories. At this point, 2013 is looking a lot like 2009. Hopefully that changes in the coming weeks. Is Star Trek Into Darkness as good as J.J. Abrams‘ first Trek outing? Will Man of Steel live up to the fast-rising expectations? Please, movie gods, let’s hope so.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on 3 recent flicks that I’ve seen, none of which rocked my socks, but all of which are worthy of comment. Minor SPOILERS ahead.

great_gatsby_ver15

After being delayed 6 months from its original release, The Great Gatsby finally opened last week to a surprisingly strong $50 million weekend. The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who may be hit or miss, but one thing’s for sure; he’s a visionary, and I can appreciate that. His last film, 2008’s Australia, was a huge disappointment, but I’m a big fan of Romeo + Juliet (which began young Leonardo DiCaprio‘s meteoric rise as a heartthrob) and Moulin Rouge!, one of the best (and easily the most original) musicals of the last 20 years. He’s very much a love-him or hate-him kind of director, because his visual and editorial style is very IN YOUR FACE. In fact, I despised Moulin Rouge! after the first time I saw it- even going so far as to tell people it was one of the worst movies I’d ever seen, but for whatever reason, I gave it a second chance and “got it” the second time. Summed up, The Great Gatsby is very much a Baz Luhrmann film.

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The 2013 Biggie Awards (& My Top 10 of 2012)

The 24th Annual Biggie Awards

aka The Biggies

for achievements in film for the year 2012

I’ll be the first to admit I had unfair expectations for 2012. Given the impressive roster of movies on tap, I predicted as early as April of 2011 that 2012 would be the best year in movies since 2000, which I consider to be the best year for movies in my lifetime. In the end, it wasn’t quite the year I wanted it to be, but it was still quite a year. Actually, by my official tally of new entries on my “Movies I Love” list, this was the best year for movies since 2007. I “loved” 24 movies in 2012 (for comparison, 2000 holds the record with 31). What I liked most about 2012 was that it had a lot of variety, as I think you’ll see reflected here in my nominees.

We’ll get into most of the specific films in the descriptions under each category, but there are a few things I want to mention up front.

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Biggie’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2013

As the final few films of 2012 finish their awards season roll out, it’s time to look to the future – the near future. Overall, I think 2013 has a lot of potential, but maybe not as much potential as 2012 had (and failed to live up to). You can find lists like this on almost every big movie site, but as always, I will claim that mine might be a little more interesting and provide a lot more insight into the year ahead than the short lists the other blogs throw together. Yes, most of my choices are big budget mainstream entertainments. I feel no shame in that. That’s where my tastes run. These are the kind of movies that made me fall in love with the movies. Those are the movies I want to make. I’d rather a slick, well-funded studio film be great than a tiny budget independent film. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get into this.

Note: In case you’re YouTube illiterate, click on the links at the top of any of these trailers to watch the trailer full-size and in HD on YouTube. I know this is complicated, but you can dooo eeeet!

10. TIE: THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (3/29) & ONLY GOD FORGIVES (TBD)

This is how much I now respect Ryan Gosling. After an unbearable full calendar year without him gracing our movie screens (and our hearts), The Gosling returns guns blazing in 2013 with no fewer than 4 new films; these two, a currently untitled Terrence Malick movie (that I’m sure will have plenty of fascinating introspective narration!) and of course Gangster Squad, which was delayed from its original 2012 release after the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings. But it’s Pines and Forgives I’m most interested in, if only because they reunite The Gosling with the directors of Blue Valentine (one of the most truthful relationship movies I’ve ever seen) and Drive (the best film of 2011), respectively. Those directors would be Derek Cianfrance and Nicolas Winding Refn. It helps that both these projects also have very interesting plots, which I just assume to be true if The Gosling has blessed a film with his presence. But seriously, no actor is making better choices than this man right now, and I look for that streak to continue throughout 2013 with these new projects. [Place Beyond the Pines IMDb] [Only God Forgives IMDb]

only_god_forgives_ryan_goslingWhat have they done to him?!

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