Thursday, January 26, 2017

Who Should Win the Goddamn Oscar for Best Picture!!?

The Oscar nominations were announced a few days ago. This means, it's time for the All Things Kevyn Best Picture Oscar Poll. That's right gang! You get to pick your favourite from the nine nominees! Will your vote go the modern day musical La La Land, or maybe to the indie drama Moonlight? Howzabout the Mel Gibson war movie Hacksaw Ridge or the shoot-em up Hell or High Water!? Maybe you liked the play-to-screen Fences the best! Maybe Lion or Hidden Figures is your choice.. Maybe the melancholy melodrama Manchester by the Sea is more your speed. Maybe the sci-fi extravaganza Arrival? Whatever your choice, you can make it right here!

Of course, many of you may not have seen all the films yet, so there is time. The poll will run until Thursday, February 23rd, with the winners being officially announced the following day, and the Oscar ceremony that Sunday (with my predictions that Saturday). So, you can vote now or you can wait until you have seen more of the films. Whatever floats your boat. You may even be able to vote more than once (but let's just keep that our little secret, huh?). And remember, this poll isn't to predict the outcome (all signs point to La La Land on that one) but which film you like the most.

All one need do, is head on over to the top of the sidebar (right there, to your left) and get your vote on. For all you mobile users, you may have to flip over to the web version of the blog, to get that aforementioned vote on. Oh, and tell all your friends to get their vote on too. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Oscar Nominations (and My Predix Results)

Well, it was a pretty standard morning in Oscar Nomination Land...otherwise known as La La Land. Granted, the awards were announced in a different manner than normal (with awkward intros in a two-part pre-recorded video montage), but the results were still very predictable. Out of the 44 nominations I predicted (the Big 8 categories), I picked 39 correctly. That is an 89% success rate, which is about average for me. I picked all nine Best Picture nominees, as well as acing both Best Actor and Supporting Actress, while missing just one in each of the other categories.

As for the nominations themselves (it's not ALL about me), La La Land was the big winner (as expected by pretty much everyone) and garnered a record tying 14 nominations, placing it up there with All About Eve (a much better film) and Titanic (a much lesser film) for the most nominations ever. Hell, it even got a Costume Design nod, which contemporary films very rarely do. Needless to say, it is the frontrunner to win the top award come Oscar Night. The only real surprise (I think) was the Supporting Actor nod for Nocturnal Animals' Michael Shannon. Not that Shannon doesn't deserve the nod, he most certainly does. In fact, this is a film that deserved much more than this one lone nomination. But hey, even Shannon was not that much of a surprise. One could say Mel Gibson's Best Director nod for Hacksaw Ridge, or the exclusion of Amy Adams in the Best Actress category, even though Arrival was given eight other nominations, including Director and Best Picture even, were bigger surprises. 

Oh, and I joked around in my predictions about Deadpool sneaking in there, but alas, he did not. I did honestly expect at least a visual effects or sound editing nod tossed it's way, but that did not happen. What did happen was a big turnaround from last year's lily white Oscars, where not a single person of color was nominated in any major category. This year we have seven actors of color getting nods (two of whom I think will win their categories), a director of color, and three BP nominees about the African American experience in America. This is at least a step toward equality in Hollywood. A small step, but a step nonetheless.

Anyhoo, here is a link to the full list of nominees! That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


Monday, January 23, 2017

So, Here are My Oscar Nomination Predictions...

Hey gang, it's about that time again. The Oscar nominations are being announced in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, so here are my predictions for said nominations. The big winner is expected to be La La Land, with probably at least 12 nominations, and the possibility of tying the record of 14 even. Yeah, I enjoyed the film very much, and it did make my top ten list (spoiler alert...coming next week), but Best Picture? Well, it is the kind of film Hollywood likes, so it won't be a surprise. Anyway, another big winner tomorrow will most likely be Moonlight, the one film that could feasibly snatch the eventual Oscar away from La La Land. Other probable big winners tomorrow, include Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, Fences, and Lion. But enough rambling, here are my predictions!

BEST PICTURE

1. La La Land 
2. Moonlight
3. Manchester by the Sea
4. Arrival
5. Lion
6. Hacksaw Ridge
7. Hidden Figures
8. Hell or High Water
9. Fences
10. Silence

Possible spoilers: Loving or Nocturnal Animals

Wishful Thinking: The Lobster

As we can nowadays get anywhere between five and ten nominations in the top category, it is a hard one to predict. At least once you get past the top six or seven. But here we go anyway. I do believe the top six are sure fire nominees. After that, who knows. Hidden Figures has lost steam lately, as has Hell or High Water and Fences, and Silence, though a gorgeous and passionate film, has seemingly not caught on with voters. But hey, here they are anyway. We'll see how many films they nominate. The recent years, say it will be nine once again, so Fences or Silence may be out. Wouldn't it be funny if Deadpool snuck in there? Ha! And hey, whatever happened to the sure thing that was Birth of a Nation?

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Damian Chazelle for La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
3. Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
4. Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
5. Garth Davis for Lion

Possible Spoiler: Marty Scorsese for Silence

Wishful Thinking: Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

The top four are virtual locks, with number five, an almost sure thing. I would love to see Scorsese sneak in, but it isn't looking very promising in that avenue. As for the Oscar itself, if Chazelle were to win, he will become the youngest Best Director winner ever, and if Jenkins were to win, he will become the first African American to take the award.

BEST ACTRESS

1. Emma Stone in La La Land
2. Natalie Portman in Jackie
3. Isabelle Huppert in Elle
4. Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Amy Adams in Arrival

Possible Spoiler: Annette Bening in 20th Century Women or Ruth Negga in Loving

This looks like a pretty set bunch of nominees. I suppose one of the spoilers could leap in there, but somewhat unlikely. The real race comes to the Oscar itself. For so long, Stone has been the frontrunner, but suddenly this is a three way race between her and Portman and Huppert.

BEST ACTOR

1. Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington in Fences
3. Ryan Gosling in La La Land
4. Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge
5. Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic

Possible Spoiler: Joel Edgerton in Loving

No Way in Hell, but Wouldn't it be Awesome: Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

This is a six-way race. I cannot fathom another possibility of someone sneaking in there. When the Oscar is given out, it is going to be great to watch Casey Affleck, probably the best actor of his generation, win his first Oscar. Sure, Denzel could take the prize, but I think this is Casey's year. And, please take notice to no previous mention of Tom Hanks in Sully. Wasn't he the front runner a few months back? Oh well.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Viola Davis in Fences
2. Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea
3. Naomi Harris in Moonlight
4. Nicole Kidman in Lion
5. Octavia Spenser in Hidden Figures

Possible Spoilers: Um...nobody really. Okay, maybe Greta Gerwig in 20th Century Women

An almost sure 5-way set of locks. Yeah, Gerwig could sneak in, but it looks unlikely. Then again, this awards season has been filled with surprises, so who knows? The big thing about this category though, is the fact that it may have three African American nominations, and possibly a winner in Davis. After last year's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this is a major step in equality in Hollywood. Okay, not actual equality (the country seems to be leaning the other direction these days) but it is at least a step for the Academy.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
2. Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water
3. Dev Patel in Lion
4. Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea

Possible Spoiler (and I would love it): Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animals

Another category of five almost perfect locks. I would enjoy seeing Taylor-Johnson getting a nod. Nocturnal Animals is one of the best films of 2016 (spoiler alert again...my belated Top Ten is coming next week) and I would love to see some love for it around these parts. Hey, and speaking of which, howzabout a surprise nod for Taylor-Johnson's costar, Michael Shannon?

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Manchester by the Sea
2. La La Land
3. Hell or High Water
4. The Lobster
5. Captain Fantastic

Other possibilities: Zootopia and/or Jackie and/or 20th Century Women

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. Moonlight
2. Fences
3. Arrival
4. Lion
5. Nocturnal Animals

Other possibilities: Hidden Figures and/or Elle and/or Toni Erdmann

Ultra Spoiler: Deadpool

Finally, a coupla categories where I can put both The Lobster and Nocturnal Animals in there, and not just out of wishful thing. Actually, it could just be wishful thinking after all, since the writing categories tend to have the most surprises of the main categories. Of course then, there is always that damn ultra spoiler. Who knows?

Well, I'm a-gonna stop there. Let's leave all the technical categories to the fates (and just say I had a perfect score on predicting them). I'll be back tomorrow, with my reactions to the nominees, and to show off how well I did in predicting said nominees.

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







Friday, January 20, 2017

Here Are Some Things I Believe In, or to Put it in a Slightly More Grammatically Proper Way, Some Things In Which I Believe

So, since today (the Trump Inauguration is happening as I type these words) is a dark day in my nation's history, I thought I would post a rather positive piece for ya'll to read. Well, at least as positive as one can be on this wicked day. So here ya go. Have at it. Here are some things in which I believe...

I believe that Pluto is, and always will be, a planet.
I believe that Hello Kitty is a kitty, and not a little girl.
I believe that Han shot first!
I believe in Bigfoot, aliens, and ghosts.
I believe the Loch Ness Monster is not actually a monster.
I believe in all those things that go bump in the night!
I believe in Zimmerman
I believe in Father Christmas
I believe in Michael Brown
I believe Oswald did NOT act alone
I believe Jack Ruby was a patsy's patsy
I believe in this post
I believe this post is stoopid
I believe in the right for everyone to get married
I believe people should be able to use whichever bathroom they so desire
I believe Han shot first (did I already say this one?)
I believe Donald Trump has always been a repugnant human being
I believe in Kennedy
I believe in Chubby Checker
I believe in Yoko and Me
I believe in Miracles
I believe that time is non-linear
I believe the future can affect the past
I believe in the wibbly-wobbly and the timey-wimey
I believe in The Doctor
I believe I am The Doctor
I believe there is a cure for AIDS
I believe in Area 51
I believe our Government hides things from us
I believe there are aliens amongst us
I believe I may be one of them (but please don't tell anyone else)
I believe the Truth is Out There
I believe in Mulder and (sometimes) Scully
I believe Marisa Tomei deserved her Oscar for My Cousin Vinney
I believe Marisa Tomei deserves anything she wants
I believe in the ghost of Rutherford B. Hayes
I believe in the Ghost of Xmas Past
I believe in The Plastic Ono Band
I believe Leonard Peltier is innocent
I believe Charlie Manson was railroaded
I believe the Rosenbergs were heroes
I believe we should all look for the union label
I believe the record companies should fuck off
I believe Andy Kaufman is still alive
I believe in Prince
I believe in Bowie
I believe in Absurdism
I believe in Dada
I believe in Gaga
I believe in the Mother Monster
I believe Black Lives Matter
I believe I benefit from white privilege
I believe most white people do not believe they do too
I believe in the holy spirit of Huey Lewis & the News
I believe in Hot Chocolate
I believe in Marriage Equality
I believe homophobes are assholes
I believe the cornfields of Kansas are exploding
I believe the nuclear codes are in the wrong hands
I believe war is a for-profit industry
I believe prisons are too
I believe Seinfeld is the greatest comedy in TV history
I believe there is nothing wrong with that
I believe the New York Times said god is dead
I believe dinosaurs are going to make a comeback
I believe sexy never left (Prince said that)
I believe Marilou Henner is an underrated genius
I believe that last statement was just a joke
I believe in the Rebel Alliance
I believe Order 66 was bullshit
I believe in the all-encompasing power of Alec Baldwin
I believe Tina Fey is one of the sexiest women on TV
I believe Dorothy Parker was wrong about that whole glasses quip
I believe in Barbara Feldon
I believe in cats and dogs
I believe in the awesomeness of Dr. Peter Venkman
I believe that Han shot first! Did I mention that one already?
I believe Joan Crawford never beat her kids with wire hangers!
I believe Michael Jackson never touched those children!!
and
I believe we will all get through this terrible time (sorta)....

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My 10 Favourite TV Shows of 2016

So here we are again. That inevitable end of the year look back at the best, or favourites, if you will, shows of the year. As TV, or what we still archaically call TV,  evolves, so does my annual list. As the best of TV moves away from the networks. and towards cable and pay TV, and even non TV outlets such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, my list does the same. Two years ago, my top ten had two network shows still hanging on. Last year, there was just the one network hanger-on. This year, this list? Not a single network show is left. Sure, there are a handful in the runners-up section, but none on the list proper. What does this mean? I suppose it means the networks all suck. Anyhoo, without any further annoying ado, here are my choices for the best shows of 2016.

1. Stranger Things (Netflix) - Blending together the essence of everything from Stephen King to Steven Spielberg to John Carpenter to Predator and The Goonies and just about every other sci-fi/horror/fantasy moment from the 1980's, this fun and strange little eighties period piece is the perfect nostalgic, loving creature for this Gen Xer. Oh yeah, and it also happens to be a brilliant take on the tricks and tropes of genre film and television, and is designed and filmed (and very well at that) to look like a movie made in 1983. Oh yeah, and it has Winona Ryder too. What more does a grown-up sci-fi loving 80's teen need?

2. Mr. Robot (USA) - This was the surprise hit of 2015 (at least a surprise in my mind), and with it's second season, it got even better. Even darker and deeper down the rabbit hole we went. Rami Malek is a cerebral sensation here, accompanied by some of the sharpest writing on television, and a visual presence that reminds one of Kubrick doing The Matrix, with a tinge of Fight Club. Oh yeah, and it has Christian Slater too. Look at that, Winona and Christian in the top two spots.

3. Atlanta (FX) - I love things that are uncategorizable, and Atlanta is definitely one of those things. Part half hour comedy, part drama or even tragicomedy, part semi-autobiographical narrative, and part self-deprecating satire, Donald Glover's auteuresque cinematic small screen creation plays at almost as many tropes as the actor-writer-director's last effort, Community. Sometimes quite meta (one episode played out as a talk show within a show, complete with hilarious fake commercials mixed in with the real ads) and sometimes quite tragically real, Atlanta was the new shining light of cable television.

4. Game of Thrones (HBO) - This cult favourite show will only be around for two more seasons, and shortened seasons at that, but for this list, we are only talking about season six, and what a season it was, with the season finale rivaling the show's classic Red Wedding in brutality...hell, surpassing it even. This season spent it's entirety, bringing loose ends together, to shape up for the aforementioned final seasons, and the inevitable sharing of the Iron Throne by Daenerys and Jon Snow (spoiler alert...well, at least my prediction), and something like that could have killed a show's creative forces, but it only managed to make the damn hing even better, And that final episode (again), wow indeed.

5. The Get Down (Netflix) - Imagine if Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee, two people who will probably never collaborate, collaborated in the creation of the re-creation of the creation of Hip-Hop. If you did that, you would probably imagine something as cool and funky as The Get Down. Set in The Bronx of 1977, this Netflix series, actually directed by Baz Luhrmann, blends reality with fiction, as we are introduced to the fictitious kids of The Bronx, the kids that will help build the Hip-Hop world, and real life Hip-Hop pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc. Blend the lush Lurhmannesque visuals and funkadelic music, with the underworld intrigue and seventies martial arts vibe, and you can certainly imagine one hell of  show. But no need to imagine such a thing...just go watch the damn thing.

6. Documentary Now! (IFC) - Originally created on SNL, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyers, bring the mockumentary genre to IFC. Inspired by This is Spinal Tap, this show, which is introduced by a very serious Miss Helen Mirren (to give it faux gravitas), takes on parodies of famous docs such as Grey Gardens, Salesman, and The Thin Blue Line. The desire to make everything as real as possible, in their take on Nanook of the North, they even took the time to use the actual camera used to film the 1922 movie. This desire for reality, combined with sharp satire, and mocking comedy, makes this one of the best shows of the year.

7. Better Call Saul (AMC) - Breaking Bad may be one of the greatest TV shows ever created, so when this prequel debuted in 2015, I had my doubts. I mean, how could they live up to such a great show? Well, ya know what? They did. They goddamn did! And then came season two this past year, and they managed to get even better. Bob Odenkirk digs deeper down into the depths of Jimmy McGill, nee Saul Goodman, than he ever did before. A brilliantly subversive show that may even get better with the upcoming season three.

8. Westworld (HBO) - Taking a cue from, but not acting as a remake of, the 1973 Michael Crichton film, this astounding HBO series reaches further and further down the rabbit hole of it's own insanity, and surprises at every turn. Westworld is the most watched first season of any HBO show ever...and this is a network that has given us The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and True Detective. And it's worthy of such success. The writing and directing and acting is all wonderful, and Thandie Newton is the highlight of it all. I cannot wait until the second season....even if that wait is going to go on until 2018 sometime.

9. The Walking Dead (AMC) - I don't know of any major critic who has ever placed this show on their annual best of lists, as it seems to be regularly overlooked (and at all the awards shows as well), and it almost seems as if you cannot be a cool and aloof critic if you like the show. But hey, I never claimed to be all that cool, nor have I ever played at being aloof, so here it is. Granted, last year this show was number two on the list, and the year before, it was in the number one spot, and now it has dipped to 9th place, but this is not a dig at it's quality, especially since this past year's addition of the character of Negan has breathed new life (ironically enough), but just at how many great shows are being made these days. Nonetheless, here it is.

10. Veep (HBO) - With the political ups and downs of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' title character, and (spoilerish alert) the ever-increasingly misnamed show, I really have no idea where this show is going to go in season six, but that is a ponderment for 2017. This past season may have been the best one so far. The straight-up funniest show currently on TV (thanks to the elongated hiatus of Louis), Veep is the closest thing this list has to an actual situation comedy. Brilliant and warped and fast-paced, quick-witted and featuring some of the best comedic performances on television. Veep is better than ever. Now, let's see what we get in season six.

And, if I were to make it a top 20 list (in no particular order): Better Things (FX); The Americans (FX); Bojack Horseman (Netflix); The Night Of (HBO); Orange is the New Black (Netflix); Baskets (FX); Horace and Pete (Hulu); Silicon Valley (HBO); Halt and Catch Fire (AMC); and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX).

And a bunch of runners-up, again in no particular order: Modern Family (ABC); Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW); Archer (FX); Transparent (Amazon); The Flash (CW); UnREAL (Lifetime); Fleabag (Amazon); Doctor Who (BBC); Supergirl (CBS/CW); Last Week with John Oliver (HBO); Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS); American Horror Story: Roanoke (FX); House of Cards (Netflix); Empire (Fox); The Outsiders (WGN); You're the Worst (FXX); Penny Dreadful (Showtime); Jessica Jones (Netflix); Master of None (Netflix); Insecure (HBO); The Night Manager (HBO); Gotham (Fox); and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix).

So there ya'll go. My choices for the 43 best shows on so-called TV.

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