ALWAYS KEEPING AN EYE ON HOLLYWOOD!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

JOHNNY CHAZZ' TURN: THE FALL/ WINTER FILMS... A GLANCE FORWARD

JOHNNY CHAZZ: Last year around this time I began to discuss how pleased I was that the Summer movies were in our rear view mirror and the focus on Fall and Winter films had begun. I also gave our readers a serious glimpse into the future with my prediction of “The Artist” as quite possibly winning for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in March 6 months later, which it did. Hence, this week’s topic – a glance forward at the films of this Fall / Winter which could make a serious run at the top prize at next year's Academy Awards.
Director Paul Anderson offers an intriguing film coming this fall starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”) titled “THE MASTER”, a fictional account of a cult leader during the 1950’s. Anderson has delivered other outstanding productions in the past such as “Magnolia”, “Boogie Nights” and “There Will Be Blood” and he turns it up another notch higher with a film this year that could make a serious run for the coveted Best Picture nomination.. It appears as though this will be a seductive film in all senses and one that focuses on the power of the cult organization with respect to leadership, obedience, power, love, hate and more. This film promises to be impacting and should be in the forefront of film lovers all the way to the red carpet.                   
The official trailer for Paul Anderson's THE MASTER

Ben Affleck will receive praise for his upcoming film “ARGO” this year, but it already promises to appear overrated. Mercifully, we leave the Boston area in an Affleck film (“Gone Baby Gone”, “The Town”) to focus on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Here is our “Middle-East” token film of the year and Affleck brings in John Goodman as his good-luck charm for a run at the top award next March. The film may be of some intrigue, but this critic is not going to rush to the box office with the herd of other film goers.
There has been quite a bit of talk about “LINCOLN” coming this Fall. This Spielberg film focuses on the life and times of President Lincoln and the issue of slavery being abolished in America. Daniel-Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones highlight the cast (heck, Sally Field even makes a return for a role here) and the film appears to have some real potential – at least on the surface. What is key to remember is that looking over the list of recent Spielberg films (past 15 years), there is very little that has been offered which could make a serious run at the Academy Award. This one may be over-hyped and fall short as well. Still, it may be worth a look on the big screen.

Comedies are rarely taken seriously at the awards, but “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” could make a mild bid for the top prize. A decent cast with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro are in the spotlight here in a film that appears to fall into the “Comedy / Drama” genre and guarantees to have a feel-good ending. Generally that is a recipe for disaster and probably will be the downfall for this film again this year. This looks like the top Fall “date movie” in a sense.
After piecing together the outstanding “Cache” in 2005, Michael Hanecke returns this Fall with a film titled “AMOUR”. The story focuses on a pair of musicians who are in the eighties and dealing with internal family issues. An award winner at the Palme D’Or, this one should be taken seriously at least at this point in time, but with a little-known cast and a fairly low budget, the Academy may see this one as being too “artsy” and “well-crafted” for its’ own good.

“BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD” is another film that will make its mark this Fall. Set in the Southern Delta, the film appears to move from realism to fantasy as our protagonist (a six-year old girl – Quvenzhane Wallis) begins to encounter pre-historic beasts in a possible dream-state…yet that is to be determined. The film does appear somewhat original and creative, but is this really something that the Academy is going to vote for? Doubtful, but it may be in the running longer than we think.
The 2012 trailer for BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

With a cast of Melissa Leo and Denzel Washington, “FLIGHT” appears to be a promising possibility this Fall. The concern here is: When was the last time Denzel Washington was involved in an Academy Award winning film? The film focuses on the accounts underlying an airliner crash. Robert Zemeckis (“Back To The Future”) directs here and that is certainly a plus. John Goodman and Don Cheadle also add to a fairly strong cast in a film that I do believe many film-goers will enjoy. As an Academy Award winner? Doubtful – but it does have a chance to make some noise in the upcoming months.
The intense trailer for Robert Zemickis' FLIGHT

At first glance “THE SESSIONS” looks like an immediate write-off with the strict involvement of Helen Hunt. The film is directed by Ben Lewin who has produced very little in the past – absolutely nothing noteworthy of Academy attention – thus, that does not bode well. Still, the film appears to offer some tear-jerking moments and that always scores points in Hollywood and with audiences. Additionally, the subject material is quite serious and if the script is strong enough and the performances can take that script to another level, this film could be a live long shot to make noise at the awards. Keep an eye on this possible surprise this year.

I was quite shocked to see the cast line-up for “MOONRISE KINGDOM” – a Wes Anderson film that is being released in the upcoming months. The likes of Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray and Harvey Keitel are all present along with Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. This is indeed a formidable cast, but is it overkill? The film is a simply love story set on the East Coast during the 1960’s. The film promises to be in the running for the “Cinematography” award this coming March and the screenplay may also be considered as well as the Direction. This one is a grab-bag, and it will take a viewing on the big screen before any serious commentary can be made. It looks like hit or miss at this point.
Director Tarantino plants a seed this Fall with “DJANGO UNCHAINED” starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson. A slavery-focused film mirroring a couple of others this fall will guarantee it’s acceptance by movie goers. Additionally, audiences have actually accepted DiCaprio as a tremendous actor and a household name which is quite sad in the eyes of this critic. His films as well as his acting talents are vastly overstated and his versatility remains in question. Jamie Foxx is also a pass-on for this critic and a poor choice for any role in a film. So, sounds like I am beating this film down, does it not? It looks like we, as an audience, are going to be forced to visit every plantation I exchange for “Django’s” freedom. Foxx looks ridiculous in this role and the film appears to have some comedic and funky Tarantino-like elements incorporated into a film that deals with a subject that in no way should be treated that way. The film dominates us with anger, resentment and violence which appears to be way over the top in this feature and could easily be its’ demise at the Awards.

There are indeed other films such as “The Teleportation Accident”, “The Trouble with the Curve”, "Life of Pi", "The Great Gatsby" and “Hyde Park on Hudson” which will receive some hype and attention at the box offices this Fall.

Point being, we have once again arrive at the time of year where real films begin to surface yet again – and mercifully so. The concern however at this point is that the films this Fall really look quite weak at on the surface, thus a series of trips to the theater is the only method of ironing this all out.

Johnny Chazz’s early prediction: “THE MASTER” for Best Picture, 2013.
Your thoughts on the upcoming films this Fall / Winter, Jer?
JER: It was extremely saddening to say that the Summer films of 2012 were, for lack of better wording, pathetic! Anything that was worth seeing came out in the early months and the films weren’t spread- over evenly throughout the classic Summer- months’ run. It is also equally saddening to state that the three BEST films of the Summer were of the comic book persuasion. Before I go further, let me define “saddening” in this context... it would seem as if imagination could only be derived from the pulp print and not from creative imaginations that didn’t involve grounded super- heroes. The three I refer to were: THE AVENGERS, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and the fantastic DARK KNIGHT RISES. These are bound to receive some technical Award recognition. However, JOHNNY CHAZZ wants my thoughts on the Fall/ Winter films in general... as JC focused on the potential Academy Award favorites exclusively, my choices will be on both the entertaining AND potential Award-nominated selections.... here we go!
SKYFALL: Daniel Craig returns as James Bond 007 in the 23rd installment of Ian Fleming’s ever- popular secret agent series. This time round, Bond’s loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as something from her past comes back to haunt her. Britain’s M16 comes under attack and it is up to 007 find and destroy the threat… no matter what the cost may be. Craig’s take on Bond has breathed a refreshing sense of life into the character, making him more believable for the new generation of high- adrenaline action and thrills! To add a new level of creepiness, Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) will portray the baddie Raoul Silva. Ralph Fiennes (SCHINDLER’S LIST) and Albert Finney (BIG FISH) rounds- out the cast. Sam Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY) takes the helm as director, bringing in some highlighted dramatic moments while balancing out the rush commonly known in a Bond film. The film is slated for a November 9th release in the U.S.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: Nothing less can be expected from director Peter Jackson who directed the ever- successful THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy as he returns back to the Shire in this prequel that started it all. Based on the best- selling novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, THE HOBBIT, we meet up with a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he swept away on a journey presented to him by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen returns). Bilbo is asked to accompany thirteen dwarfs on a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Perils and danger awaits them along the paths as Bilbo makes his way through the Goblin tunnels to confront the one creature that would change his life forever… Gollum (Andy Serkis also returns). It is then that Gollum introduces Bilbo to the ‘precious’ ring that will haunt him for years to come. Even though this is the pre- story to the sacred trilogy, there are returning cast members reprising their roles including Elijah Wood (Frodo), Ian Holm (Old Bilbo), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond). The magic is slated to begin on December 14th.
LINCOLN: Excuse me, Mr. JOHNNY CHAZZ, but I will beg to differ on your remarks on the quality of films presented by director Steven Spielberg within the last 15 years as you stated. Films like AMISTAD, MUNICH, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and last year’s WAR HORSE were all either nominated or contenders for Best Picture nominations alone and all within those 15 years that you mentioned. Now that I got that bit of business taken care of, let’s talk LINCOLN. I believe that Daniel Day Lewis is a fine actor and it is well about time that he returns back to the silver screen with a worthy Oscar- potential role. The early critical word is that he is a shoe- in for a nomination and the film has all of the appearances of the classic dramatic Spielberg flair we have come to expect from him within the last 15 years. The drama and time period reminds me of AMISTAD, the war sequences are equal parts SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and WAR HORSE with the acting caliber and cast of any fine Spielberg production. This film will take a number of nominations without any doubt. Slated to begin on November 16th.  
See the moving trailer for Speilberg's LINCOLN

CLOUD ATLAS: The best thing to keep in mind before watching this anticipated film comes from its caption: “Everything Is Connected.” With that in mind, welcome to the world directed by three: Tom Tykwer (RUN LOLA RUN) and Lana (formally Larry) and Andy Washowski (both of who directed THE MATRIX and V FOR VENDETTA). Imagine a tie- in of past present and future storylines that include an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific, letters from a composer to a friend, a thriller about a murder within a nuclear power plant, a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea and a tribe living in post- apocalyptic Hawaii. An interesting side note is that most of the actors taken on various roles for the different story lines. For example, Tom Hanks plays four different roles, Halle Berry takes on three, and Hugh Grant presents two. Rounding out the all- star cast are Hugo Weaving (THE MATRIX) and Susan Sarandon (THELMA AND LOUISE). The film is slated as a Drama/ Mystery/ Sci- fi mash. The connection is slated to begin on October 26th.
Enjoy the mind- bending world of CLOUD ATLAS


ZERO DARK THIRTY: Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal return from their 2008 Best Picture THE HURT LOCKER collaboration with another military controversially- based production. The story focuses on the decade- long mission to find Al- Qaeda’s terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. The story primarily gears towards the Navy Seal Team 6 that terminated bin Laden on May 6, 2011. The Academy may find themselves being favorable to Bigelow and her film, considering the subject matter and the issues that are being recognized within an election year! We could see some possible nominations come forth. Slated for December 19th.
LES MISERABLES: Talk about a Christmas present! Broadway musical fans are rejoicing with the long- awaited adaptation of the hit smash show! Based on Victor Hugo’s novel, the film is set in 19th- century France in which paroled prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) breaks his parole to create a new life for himself. Following closely behind is the persistent Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) while both men find themselves in the backdrop of the French June Rebellion. Director Tom Hooper is the best choice to navigate this period piece. Considering his eye for European history from his previous works, including HBO’s JOHN ADAMS and the Academy Award Best Picture winner THE KING’S SPEECH, Hooper is also innovating a brand new approach to the movie musical that has never been attempted before. Usually, the actors record their singing months before the movie begins filming and all of those tracks are played back during the making of the film and the actor ‘lip-syncs’ to their recordings. Hooper has devised a way of actually recording the actors to sing ‘live’ at the same time that they are being filmed. A pianist actually accompanied them while they sang. The actor was then allowed to set the tempo- or pace and the piano would be replaced with a 70- piece orchestra. Bringing both their acting and singing talents are Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier) and Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier. Slated for a December 25th release.
A great "first look" at the live singing for LES MISERABLES
JOHNNY CHAZZ probably already covered everything that can be said of THE MASTER, DJANGO UNCHAINED and FLIGHT… which are all films I am very interested in seeing as well.
I think it is rather bold for JOHNNY CHAZZ to just come right out and make an early prediction by stating that THE MASTER will win the Academy Award for Best Picture. That now put me into a predicament! However, I am probably torn between a couple of films at this time. I can, undoubtedly guess that both LINCOLN and ZERO DARK THIRTY will be nominated. I can probably narrow it down by saying that maybe one of them might win the coveted prize. So, I will say that LINCOLN is my prediction to win Best Picture! The dark horse might be LES MISERABLES….remember that just a few years back no one thought CHICAGO would walk away with the Best Picture award… and it did! Could it happen again?
What are some the films you are looking forward to for the Fall/ Winter season? How do you feel about the films we covered and do either agree or disagree with our comments? As always, we invite your comments and views and we always reply back!
Stay tuned and come back and visit us on Wednesday October 10, 2012 when JER returns with another interesting take on the world of cinema! Thank you for stopping by!
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8 comments:

  1. hello again Cinema Counterpt: I have blogged here before around 3 times andfound the topic interesting this week. I do have to say that Chazz makes a bold choice with 'Master but I do remember his choice of 'The Artist last year 6 months before the awards. Also, I also think that Spielbergs movies in the last 10 to 15 years have pretty much gone downhill and 'Munich and 'AI really did not compare to the stuff he did in the 1980s. 'Lincoln will also be popular. I cannot agree with the 007 movie or Clouds Atlas having any chance to be recocgnized in the Academy awards this year. I read the blog whenever I get the chance and always enjoy it. (Gerald - Astoria,Oregon)

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    1. Hello again Gerald! We always look forward to hearing what you have to say and we appreciate your comments and feedback! JER had mentioned that his choice of films wwere not all going t ofall under the possiblity of Oscar nominations, whereas the choices made mixed both the fun and the serious of the year- end. It is understood that 007 will not be considered for Best Picture...but, there might be a technical Award here and there it might get a nom for.
      Thanks again and please keep checking back with us!

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  2. TELEPORTATION INCIDENT AND BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD - these are some very good selection for the awards and could do really well in a lot of categories. THE MASTER is one that could also surprise a lot of people but the story line is a little distrubing. I do agree that the summer movies are not good at all and this is the best time of year for everyone to rush out and watch as many high quality movies and films as they can. *Jenn, WA

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    1. Hi Jenn and thanks for checking in with us. To agree with, all three of us will state that the Summer films 'ain't what they used to be' and that we are ALL looking forward to the upcoming films of the season. THE MASTER is gonna be a tough one...the feedback is that the acting is great but that the dialog and plot is either weak or too bizarre to get. We'll just have to wait and see what the Academy thinks!
      Thanks agian for your comments and stop by as often as you like!

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  3. Sorry but there is no, no, no way that Cloud Atlas and Skyfall will have a chance to win the academy award thius year. The Hobbit also will never win an award at the show this year - no chance.These movies are really for young and simple minds and when the awards night comes, they have no chance in a million. I have been reading up on your blog since you guys started this and it seems like critic Chaz is on target with a lot of things especialy his prediction of The Artist last year 6 months before the prizes were given. That was really impressive. No disrespect meant to Jer who seems to know al lot about movies, but Chaz does seem to know what films are of a higher status. (GLENN, FLA))

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  4. Hi Glenn, this is JER and none taken on the disrespect aspect...I think some of our readers are missing MY point of view. CHAZZ is leaning more on the films he feels will or might have a chance at Academy Award status...I didn't! I merely wanted to bring to the attention to our readers of the many films coming out this Fall/ Winter season. Much respect given to my "counterpart" and yes, he does know his FLIX very much so!

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  5. Hi Cinema blog. This is my first post but I love movies so much and did like what you both thought would be contenders for this years academy awards. I always appreictate movie and film recommendations especially from people who actually know what they are talking about. I have heard mixed reviews on 'The Master' and have heard that Les Miserables' 'Argo and 'The Sessions are supposed to be pretty good. Thank you.

    Donald - MO

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  6. Thanks for checking us out here at CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT! I hope you take a few minutes to take a look at some of our previous posts, as I think you will find other interesting and informative posts as well! We hope you will stop by often and we look forward to other comments you send to us! We'll always answer back!

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