Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Final Oscar Predictions

So here we go kids. My annual attempt at predicting the Oscars. Sure, there has been a lot of controversy over this year's rather lily white nominations, and rightfully so (where are the deserving nominations for Anthony P. Jordan in Creed, Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, or Spike Lee for directing Chi-Raq!!??), but these are the nominees (until the Academy gains a bit of diversity in its membership), and these are my predictions. Have at 'em!

Best Picture
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Spotlight or The Big Short
Should Win: The Revenant

For awhile, it looked as if Spotlight was going to run away with this award, then The Big Short gained steam, and looked like it would take the big prize. Personally, I think these two socially relevant films, which are basically the same damn film, will cancel each other out, and the more cinematic film, The Revenant, will take home the prize. Then again, wins for either Spotlight or The Big Short are more in line with the Academy's penchant for giving awards to good, but basically mediocre films, a la The King's Speech or Argo. A win for Mad Max could be a fun surprise though.

Best Director
Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarittu for The Revenant
Could Win: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu for The Revenant

Before the nominations were announced, I thought Ridley Scott was a shoo-in for the Oscar, but when he was left out of the announcement, I had to throw in with a different horse. That horse is the Mexican auteur, Inarittu. But can he really pull it of two years in a row? If I am right, and Inarittu does win, that will make him just the third person to win back to back directing Oscars (after John Ford and Joe Mankiewicz), and the first guy to do it in 65 years, and if his film wins as well, he will be the very first director to have back to back Best Picture wins. Oh, and with Alfonso Cuaron's victory three years ago, an Inarittu win would make it three consecutive Mexican victories in the category. At least there is some diversity here. Oh, and let's not count out George Miller...just in case the Academy doesn't want to award a back to back Oscar here.

Best Actor
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Could Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (come on!)
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Let's face it gang, this is Leo DiCaprio's award. I've never been a huge Leo fan, finding him good, but never great. In The Revenant, he is better than I have ever seen him before. Then again, the power of the direction makes this the great film it is, but still Leo does come through, and will finally get his Oscar. In another year, either Fassbender as Jobs or Cranston as Trumbo could walk away with this award, but not this year.

Best Actress
Will Win: Brie Larson in Room
Could Win: Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years (but doubtful)
Should Win: Cate Blanchett in Carol

Nearly as a big a shoo-in as Leo, Brie Larson's turn in the little indie film that could (and did) will win the young actress her first (of several?) Oscars. Personally, I would like to see the great Cate win her second Oscar, but that probably is not going to happen, Brie is a deserving victor though. Anyway, let's get on with the predictions, as the other two acting categories, and screenplay s a swell, are as big of shoo-ins as the lead categories.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Sly Stallone in Creed
Could Win: Sly Stallone in Creed (shoo-in)
Should Win: Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
Could Win: Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Spotlight
Could Win: Straight Outta Compton
Should Win: Ex Machina

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Big Short
Could Win: Room or Carol
Should Win: Carol

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Inside Out
Could Win: Anomalisa
Should Win: Anomalisa

Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Amy
Could Win: What Happened, Miss Simone?
Should Win: Amy

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Son of Saul
Could Win: Mustang (but doubtful}
Should Win: Embrace of the Serpant

Best Cinematography
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Carol or Mad Max (but probably not)
Should Win: The Hateful Eight

Best Production Design
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Martian
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Big Short (kind of a two way race)
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Carol (maybe a longshot, but what the hey)
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road or Cinderella
Should Win: Carol

Best Make-Up & Hairstyling
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Score
Will Win: The Hateful Eight
Could Win: Carol or Star Wars (but unlikely)
Should Win: The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song
Will Win: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
Could Win: Writings on the Wall from Spectre
Should Win: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground (It's Gaga!!)

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road (two way race, really)
Should Win: The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road (two way race, really)
Should Win: The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant (that damn bear!)
Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Animated Short
Will Win: Bear Story
Could Win: Sanjay's Super Team
Should Win: We Can't Live Without Cosmos

Best Live Action Short
Will Win: Shok
Could Win: Shutterer
Should Win: ?????

Best Documentary Short
Will Win: A Girl in the River
Could Win: Body Team 12
Should Win: ?????

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The 10 Best Walking Dead Characters Not Named Daryl Dixon

Let's face it kids, if we were to do a poll of all the fans of the AMC TV hit, The Walking Dead, approximately 99 and 44/100ths percent of them would vote for Daryl Dixon as their number one zombie apocalypse survivor. Okay, perhaps that is a bit high of a percentage, but you get my drift. Daryl is the be all and end all of The Walking Dead. Which is rather ironic considering he is the one major character of the show that has never been in the comic book from which the show is adapted. So, basically this list is going to be a list of those Walking Dead characters who invariably come in second, third, fourth, and so on, to one Mr. Daryl Dixon. Anyhoo, before we get started, I would like to shout out a big ole "I'm sorry!" to Tyreese, Dale, T-Dog, Sasha, Little Lizzie, Morgan, and especially Beth. Sorry guys, even you, Eugene, but I had to make the cut somewhere. And to Lori and Andrea - I never really liked you guys all that much anyway. And yes, once Negan finally makes his television debut later this season, I may have to update this list, So let's get on with the list. Oh, and for those of you that still haven't seen the show (are there really any of you out there still!?) there be spoilers a-plenty ahead. So you've been warned.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

10. Shane

Yeah, he's a gigantic asshole, but he did kick some major ass in his time on the show. Sure, he shot Otis in the leg and left him as walker bait, but hey, I would have done the same thing. His number one goal was save Carl, and if he didn't make it back to the farm, Carl would have died. Okay, he tried to kill Rick because he wanted to have Lori all to himself, and that was a real dick move, but the guy did protect Lori while Rick was off having a nap, and maybe he deserved the little sumpin' sumpin' he got from the gal. Okay, maybe not, but he did kick a lot of ass, and got that whole barn situation taken care of. Now am I the only one who thinks Judith looks a lot like Shane?

9. Carl

Yeah, I know, I know. At first this obnoxious little brat was everyone's number one choice for most "I-hope-he-gets-killed-soon" character, myself included. But ya know what? The little shit kinda grows on ya. At least he grew on me. I mean, this kid has been through a lot. He had to kill his own mom, and he had to take care of his dad when he was seeing ghosts. Carl has deserved his rise in respectability. Hell, he even had the balls to hit on Beth. Going from idiot child to real live ass-kicking member of the group in season 3, Carl is now old enough (and un-obnoxious enough) to make this list, and maybe even get some soon. Hey, and he loves pudding too.

8. Glenn & Maggie, aka Gleggie

The hottest couple in the Zombie Apocalypse should rightfully share a spot here - plus it's a great way to sneak in a top eleven. Glenn was fun and all that before hooking up with the farmer's hot daughter (he did save Rick's ass in the first episode), but after their tryst in the pharmacy, he became that much cooler, and together these guys are enough to give everyone hope for the future. Their search to find each other after the prison went down, and everyone was separated, is a quest for the proverbial ages. Maggie and Glenn (a couple so hot that they even get their own Bennifer-esque portmanteau) are both kick-ass on their own (remember when Glenn was tied to that chair and took down that walker, or when everyone was sick and Mags was cuttin' down walkers left and right?) but together - they fucking rock!

7. The Governor

The poor guy just wanted to keep his little girl safe. Michonne had no reason to do what she did. The Governor's a good guy. He built a community where he kept people safe. Well except for when he stabbed Milton and left Andrea for dead, or when he pitted brother against brother in a ring of walkers, or when he attacked the prison...twice. Okay, who the hell am I kidding? The guy is an out and out psychopath, but isn't that why we love the guy? No? Well, it's why I love the guy. He is an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo, and I wouldn't want him any other way. Well, he was an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo. Now he's just walker meat.

6. Abraham

You want tough? Well, I got just the guy for you. Abraham takes no guff from no one, be it the living or the dead. With that handlebar mustache and flat-top hairstyle, all those oily muscles, and all those guns (arms and arms, alike), Abraham is one bad-ass mofo. Yeah, he took it a bit hard when he found out Eugene was lying to them all (though Eugene has since redeemed himself) but when he went into that construction site horde of walkers to single-handedly rescue a fallen comrade, well that was fucking bad-ass to the nth degree, man! Plus, it appears that Abraham is one of the few people still able to get sex during the Zombie Apocalypse.

5. Hershel

In the early episodes it was wizened old Dale that acted as the moral center of the show (though he was kind of a douche at times), but after he got gutted like a goddamn fish, the group needed a new moral compass on which to rely, and that guy became old Reverend Hershel Greene. Sure, at first Hershel was in a big ole bag of denial, but after the barn incident, and the ensuing chaos that sprung up from that, as well as losing his leg (oh man), Hershel changed his tune and became one of the most important people in the group. An importance that was emphasized by his daring to go into the quarantined and infested prison cell block. Even after losing his head (man, oh man) it was the memory of Hershel that helped many of the splintered survivors carry on. Hell, even Daryl called him one tough sonofabitch. Didjya ever notice that if you were to combine the eye-patched Governor and the peg-legged Hershel, you would have mighty fine zombie killin' pirate. .

4. Rick

Okay, he's a born leader, but sometimes the guy gets a little, shall we say, distracted by the ghost of his dead wife. And maybe sometimes he falls into a coma, and misses the entire beginning of the zombie apocalypse. And then sometimes he falls into another coma (or something like that) and has to be taken care of by his son. And sometimes he gets in shouting matches with a one-eyed sociopath, and ends up causing his whole group to lose their comfy prison home. And then sometimes he stupidly befriends an obvious whack-a-doodle he finds living in the woods, with her boyfriend's head in a bag. And sometimes he wastes day after day being a farmer instead of the leader he was born to be. Okay, maybe he isn't that great of a leader after all. No seriously, he actually is a really good leader, with or without his gigantic beard of terror!

3. Michonne

One of the biggest ass-kickers on the show has just got to be the lady with the dreads, the katana blade, and a coupla armless, jawless walkers in chains. One of the most popular characters in both the comics and the TV show, Michonne is the balls-out samurai of the zombie apocalypse, and she gave the governor that kick-ass piratey eye-patch by putting that aforementioned katana blade through his little girl's undead head. This bitch is bad, baby! Do not mess with this lady! She will kick your ass! Hey, and she collects comic books for Carl too. How cool is that?

2. Merle

Come on people! Ya know ya love some Merle Dixon. Ya know ya do. Yeah, he may have been a redneck racist who would just as soon kill ya as look atchya, but when the chips were down, he was a good guy to have at your back. This one-handed mofo (hey, we could combine him with the Guv and Hersh, to make the ultimate Walking Dead pirate!) not only saved his brother's life, but also came to the rescue of Rick and the others when it came down to it all. Yeah, yeah, he beat the living crap outta Glenn, and then tied him to a chair and let a walker loose on him, but hey, he's a good guy. Right? He did go out a hero though. So there. And to be honest, I think Merle is actually my favourite Dixon brother.

1. Carol

Sure, when dirty deeds need done, ya get Daryl Dixon to do 'em. But when Daryl ain't around, the best place to go is to good ole Carol. She started out as an abused wife, then became a grieving mother, then sometime around there, she turned into a kick-as warrior woman who would do anything that needed to be done, in order to protect those she loved and cared for. It's kill or be killed for Carol Peletier, and this guy wouldn't want it any other way. Hell, she single-handedly saved the entire group from the clutches of the Termites, and then did it again when the Wolves attacked Alexandria.. She deserves to be on this list, and in the number one spot at that. And she makes great cookies too. I just wouldn't ask her to babysit.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, February 12, 2016

All Things Kevyn Proudly Endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States of America

Now I usually don't bring politics into this blog. I mean, it is a blog about pop culture, not politics. But every once and a while, it does sneak into my blogging, and today is one of those once and a whiles. You see, since newspaper do these things, I thought I would as well. So, without further ado, please allow me to state that I, as a blogger, writer, artist, photographer, and all-around pop culturist, and in turn, the blog known as All Things Kevyn, proudly endorse and support Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of these United States of America. I hold no ill will toward Senator Bernie Sanders, as he is a noble candidate, and I would vote for him if he were to get the Democratic nomination (especially over such opponents as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump}, but it is Hillary Clinton who I think would make the better Commandor-in-Chief. The better world leader. She is the right woman for the job.

There ya go. Short and to the point. An official political endorsement. Now we can move on to more pressing matters such as the new Deadpool movie or the return of The Walking Dead or my upcoming Oscar predictions. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, February 8, 2016

My 10 Fave Films of 2015

I may be a bit late in finally compiling and releasing my annual top ten list, but here it is. Better late than never, as they, whomever they happen to be, like to say. But enough is enough. Let the wait end now. Here is my list.

1. The Hateful Eight - So, I think that anyone who knows anything about your humble ole narrator here, is not even close to being surprised at my choice for the best film of 2015. In this critic's mind, Tarantino can do no wrong. Well, at least he has yet to do any wrong. I know QT has many a detractor out there in the cinema loving community (he's sort of a love him or hate him kinda guy) but those people can just suck it. Okay, seriously, from a critical standpoint, The Hateful Eight is what we in the biz call a masterpiece - and that is a word I do not use lightly. The auteur's third best film, after Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds, this 70mm parlour piece western is a gorgeous and succulent film, replete with Tarantino's deft dialogue-heavy style. Simply brilliant, and well deserving of the title, Best Film of 2015.

2. The Revenant - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu took home the Oscar last year for his film Birdman. This year he may do it again for The Revenant. A richly succulent work of art, Inarritu's film, probably taking the top spot in any Tarantino-less year, tells the rather brutal story of one man's struggle to survive unbelievable hardships, in order to find the man who murdered his son. Leo DiCaprio is better here than he ever has been, and the same goes for the villainous Tom Hardy. Perhaps, with its bitterness and harsh reality, the film is not everyone's tastes, but it works damn well for this critic.

3. Carol - Todd Haynes has made beautiful films before, so there should be no surprise that he has done it again, and this time he brought the great Cate Blanchett along for the ride. Probably Haynes' best film aside from Far From Heaven or I'm Not There, Carol tells the so-called forbidden story of sapphic love in 1952 America, and does it with stunning beauty, both exterior and interior. 

4. Ex Machina - Here is a film that was overlooked by many this year (though we critics loved it). A tiny sci-fi film about artificial intelligence, written and directed by Alex Garland, the guy who wrote the novel The Beach, and did the screenplays for 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, The film stars Oscar Isaac (ya know, Poe from Star Wars, and one of the best damn actors working today), Domhnall Glesson (ya know, General Hux in Star Wars, and Bill Weasley in Harry Potter), and Alicia Vikander (an actual Oscar nominee this year, for The Danish Girl). Trust me, ya'll wanna see this one.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road - The big surprise hit of 2015. Whoulda thunk it, that George Miller would make another Mad Max film, thirty years after the last one in the series, and the damn thing ends up being the best one of 'em all!? Well, that is exactly what Fury Road is! A pure adrenaline rush of a motion picture, whose motion almost never stops. And now Miller is poised to maybe win the best director Oscar. Take note Michael Bay and Jimmy Cameron, this is how you make a blockbuster that matters

6. Chi-Raq - With all the controversy over the lack of diversity at the Oscars, and the snubbing of a film like Straight Outta Compton (see a few spots down on this list), this Spike Lee Joint gets little said about it. A hip hop musical version of the Greek comedy Lysistrata, that is done in almost complete rhyming verse, and tells the story of gang life in Chicago, should be up for Best Picture and Best Director, at the very least. Granted, I don't have an Oscar vote, but if I did, Lee's best film in over a decade, would get some of them.

7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - I have been waiting for more than thirty years for Han and Leia and Luke to return to the big screen, and finally that time has come. J.J. Abrams, through his use of filming in 35mm, has made this new film look more like the originals, and less like those digitized glossy messes we called prequels. Combine that with the nostalgia of seeing childhood heroes back in the swing of things (at least, for me and my fellow Gen Xers), and a vibrant array of newcomers (more Poe in the next film, btw), and you have one hell of a film. It may not be the original, but this film comes a lot closer than any of those damn prequels could ever dream of coming.

8. Straight Outta Compton - This sometimes brutal, sometimes charming, sometimes infuriating, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes laugh out loud funny (bye Felicia!) film about the uprising of old school hip hoppers NWA, may have been snubbed at the lily-white Oscars (it's only nomination is for the three white guys who wrote the screenplay) but I won't snub it here at All Things Kevyn. 

9. The Martian - Granted, when compared to the likes of Blade Runner or Alien, or even American Gangster or Thelma & Louise, The Martian may seem a bit on the lighter side of Ridley Scott's ouevre, but it is still a solid film, filled with a bunch of equally solid performances, and highlighted by Matt Damon's lead. A fun, beautifully shot film, and hey, even lesser Ridley Scott is better than many a director's best work. So there.

10. Room - 2015's beautifully nightmarish little film that could. This tiny indie film, currently nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Picture, jumps right into the tragic story of a kidnap victim and her young son, who knows of nothing outside of the room he and his mother are kept in by their captor. Brie Larson's performance as the mother is a brilliant turn, only upstaged by 8 year old Jacob Tremblay as her bewildered son. It may sound cliche to call Room, a haunting film, but damn if it isn't.

So there ya go kids. The best films of 2015. Sorry again, for the tardiness. Now on to 2016. For now...that's it gang. See ya 'round the web.