My Oscar Predications!

Finally, the Oscar nominees have been announced! This begins the road and the speculation to the Academy Awards and who might take home the coveted statues come that night. So I will run through the nominees for most of the categories, excluding the ones where I can’t really say much as I have not seen the films, and give you my take on who I want to win, who I think will win, and a possible dark horse choice.

Adapted Screenplay

  1. Arrival
  2. Fences
  3. Hidden Figures
  4. Lion
  5. Moonlight
  • Who I want to win – Moonlight
  • Who I think will win – Moonlight
  • Dark Horse – Arrival

Original Screenplay:

  1. Hell or High Water
  2. La La Land
  3. The Lobster
  4. Manchester by the Sea
  5. 20th Century Women
  • Who I want to win – La La Land
  • Who I think will win – La La Land
  • Dark Horse – The Lobster

Visusal Effects:

  1. Deepwater Horizon
  2. Doctor Strange
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Kubo and the Two Strings
  5. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story
  • Who I want to win – Rouge One
  • Who I think will win – The Jungle Book
  • Dark Horse – Doctor Strange

Original Song:

  1. Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
  2. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls
  3. City of Stars – La La Land
  4. The Empty Chair – Jim: The James Foley Story
  5. How Far I’ll Go – Moana
  • Who I want to win – Audition
  • Who I think will win – City of Stars
  • Dark Horse – How Far I’ll Go

Original Score:

  1. Jackie – Mica Levi
  2. La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
  3. Lion – Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
  4. Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
  5. Passengers – Thomas Newman
  • Who I want to win – La La Land
  • Who I think will win – La La Land
  • Dark Horse – Jackie

Cinematography:

  1. Arrival – Bradford Young
  2. La La Land -Linus Sandgren
  3. Lion – Greig Fraser
  4. Moonlight – James Laxton
  5. Silence – Rodrigo Prieto
  • Who I want to win – La La Land
  • Who I think will win – La La Land
  • Dark Horse – Arrival

Animated Feature Film:

  1. Kubo and the Two Strings
  2. Moana
  3. My Life As A Zucchini
  4. The Red Turtle
  5. Zootopia
  • Who I want to win – Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Who I think will win – Zootopia
  • Dark Horse – Moana

Actor in a Supporting Role:

  1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
  2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
  3. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
  4. Dev Patel – Lion
  5. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
  • Who I want to win – Mahershala Ali
  • Who I think will win – Michael Shannon
  • Dark Horse – Jeff Bridges

Actress in a Supporting Role:

  1. Viola Davis – Fences
  2. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  3. Nicole Kidman – Lion
  4. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
  5. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
  • Who I want to win – Viola Davis
  • Who I think will win – Viola Davis
  • Dark Horse – Naomie Harris or Michelle Williams

Directing:

  1. Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
  2. Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson
  3. La La Land – Damien Chazelle
  4. Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
  5. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
  • Who I want to win – Damien Chazelle
  • Who I think will win – Damien Chazelle
  • Dark Horse – Barry Jenkins

Actor in a Leading Role:

  1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  2. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
  5. Denzel Washington – Fences
  • Who I want to win – Andrew Garfield
  • Who I think will win – Casey Affleck
  • Dark Horse – Denzel Washington

Actress in a Leading Role

  1. Isabelle Huppert – Elle
  2. Ruth Negga – Loving
  3. Natalie Portman – Jackie
  4. Emma Stone – La La Land
  5. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Who I want to win – Emma Stone
  • Who I think will win – Isabelle Huppert
  • Dark Horse – Natalie Portman

Best Picture:

  1. Arrival
  2. Fences
  3. Hacksaw Ridge
  4. Hell or High Water
  5. Hidden Figures
  6. La La Land
  7. Lion
  8. Manchester by the Sea
  9. Moonlight
  • Who I want to win – La La land
  • Who I think will win – La La Land
  • Dark Horse – Moonlight

 

 

 

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Split Review

Trying to overcome years of horrific backlash and ridicule and criticism of his films, M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film, Split, attempts to reverse his curse. Split tells the story of a man named Kevin (James McAvoy) who has multiple personalities, 23 to be precise, and his abduction of 3 teenage girls. M. Night began his filmmaking career with incredible success, but soon after his downfall beckoned, and in turn became somewhat of a joke to movie fans. After having watched Split, I can say that he has made an enjoyable movie and better yet, a good one.

When the first bit of information came out about this movie, it was soon after the initial resurgence of M. Night with his horror movie, The Visit. After I saw the first trailer for Split, I can’t lie I was very much interested in the story that was being presented. I know just how good Shyamalan can be when he makes a good thriller, and that is what I hoped he would do with Split. Thankfully, he delivered, and really surprised me with what he made. This movie was definitely not one of my most anticipated of the year, but after having heard the initial reactions to the movie, I was extremely intrigued to see what I thought of it.

M. Night directed this movie really, really well. The man is very talented, and he proves he can compose shots well, and tell a good story. Not only did he direct the film, he also wrote the screenplay, which was pretty solid. It definitely was a lot deeper than what was presented in the trailers, and of course, there was the typical Shyamalan twist (which I will not give away) and it all worked really well. Nothing felt too overly convenient or out of place, which is one of the biggest criticisms of Shyamalan’s other movies. Everything about the screenplay flowed well and at a good pace which kept me invested in the overall movie. The use of score, or no score what so ever helped give a lot more meaning to what was being presented on the screen. This is the Shamaylan that we all knew from The Sixth Sense and Signs not from Avatar or After Earth.

Aside from M. Night’s directing and writing, the one thing I feel truly made Split it was is the absolutely spectacular performances by James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. Starting with Taylor-Joy, this girl is a total revelation. At only 20 years of age, she has already proved what a talented actress she is and the energy she brings to the screen. Her breakout role was the acclaimed horror movie, The Witch, that was released last year. So far in her very young career, I am getting shades of Jennifer Lawernce who also sprang into the spotlight in her early 20’s. This girl is going to get places and will get cast in a lot of major roles down the road. I mean she already won the Gotham Independent Film Award for breakthrough actor, so soon enough we might see her at the Oscar’s. Alongside Anya Taylor-Joy was the true heart of this movie, James McAvoy. Through McAvoy, this movie becomes something else, something that really gets’s you invested in the story. I was totally invested in his character and how he functioned given his multiple personalities. This is honestly one of the better performances in his career, and he has had a very solid one as of now. The way he was able to transform into these completely different characters all together was extremely impressive and blew me away. Sadly, it being so early in the year, I think his performance in Split probably will not get him any Oscar consideration in the year to come, but he might be deserving.

Some thing’s I was not a huge fan of was the interaction between the other girls and Taylor-Joy’s character. I saw the need for them but at the same time felt they could have been done without. Also, the character of Dr. Karen Flethcer (Betty Buckley) had some interesting confrontations with McAvoy’s character but again felt those scenes were totally washed away by everything else in the movie.

Of course being an M. Night movie there has to be a twist. He has become synonymous with twist reveals and blowing the minds of his audiences. Well, Split is no exception, I will not give away the reveal since this contains no spoilers, but keep an eye out for the incredible reveal that M. Night includes that really ties this movie together as much more than what originally expected.

As a whole, Split was a very enjoyable and well-told thriller, combined with some incredible on-screen performances by the actors involved. This film really brings back some credit to M. Night Shyamalan’s career and is up there as one of his best films. It is a story that is extremely psychologically driven, but at the same time has some familiar tones and beats to it, which make it very satisfying when it ends.

Rating – 7.5/10

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017

Happy New Year’s everyone! Now that 2016 is done and dusted it is time to look ahead into 2017 and the new movies that are lined up for us to see and enjoy and get excited about. So in this post, I will bring you my and my good friend PopcornOnCouch’s top 10 most anticipated movies of 2017!

Fernando (Express Film):

Honorable Mentions: Movies I am definitely looking forward to (in no particular order), just couldn’t sneak onto my top 10 list!

  •  The Dark Tower
  • Alien: Covenant
  • John Wick: Chapter 2
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Wonder Woman

10. Power Rangers

This might be the strangest movie on my list, but for me, I cannot wait for Power Rangers. I grew up watching Power Rangers and am a huge fan of most of the series which came after the original. The one thing that really propelled me to be even more excited for this movie was the shockingly fantastic trailer for it. The look and tone they are going for seem way different than the original, which is very much needed if it is to make the transition to the big screen. The cast has impressed me so far with their excited for this movie, plus having Elizabeth Banks and Byran Cranston being a part of this movie is not a bad thing.

9. Justice League

On many lists, this movie will be much higher for most anticipated. Sadly for me, based on a lot of things relating to the DCEU, it comes in at number 9, that being said it is on my list! Justice League is a huge feat and all the characters involved are iconic, so yes I am excited to see Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Flash, and most likely at some point Superman com together in a movie. Now, the performance of Warner Bros. and DC has not impressed me at all, but from the trailer for Justice League, it seems they are trying to right the ship that so far has been headed straight for an iceberg.

8. Beauty and the Beast

The next Disney live-action movie is the remaking of the classic animated movie Beauty and the Beast. This movie looks outstanding and seeing what Disney has done with Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon, this seems like the next one on the list of live-action remakes to impress the hell out of audiences. The cast of this movie is picture perfect and the feel of the live-action transition is awesome.

7. Thor: Ragnarok

The third Thor movie in the MCU comes in at no. 7 in my list and for good reasons. So far we have not seen any footage of this movie unless you were a select few who were at comic-con and got to see some footage and supposedly it was fantastic. This, along with everyone involved in this movie from the director, Taika Waititi, to the concept of Thor and Hulk together with some Planet Hulk inspiration makes me salivate with excitement.

6. Logan

This might be the last time we see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and man, I am excited. This is gonna be a rated-R movie with Wolverine, you can’t get better than that. After seeing that killer trailer, my expectations went even higher! This movie might pull at our heart-strings, were going to get some kick ass action and you know Wolverine is going out as a badass.

5. War for the Planet of the Apes

We saw the rise, we witness their dawn, now it’s time for war. War for the Planet of the Apes seems to be the perfect ending to what is hopefully going to be one of the best trilogies ever. The trailer we got to see was one of the best trailers of the year and really showed us what this potential final movie will bring us. Woody Harrelson seems menacing, Andy Serkis is continuing to bring his masterful skills playing Cesar, and Matt Reeves returns to direct this installment. The final thing I want to say is….apes on tanks!

4. Dunkirk

As most great filmmakers continue through their career they expand their filmography and dabble in different genres. Now Christopher Nolan is tackling a war film, and this seems perfect! He is one of my favorite directors and seeing his work in sci-fi and how well he has performed, seeing him branch out and do a war film is exactly what I want to see. I am also a WWII junkie and seeing this particular story is something I am extremely interested in. Additionally, the cast which includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance blows me away with how much talent is involved. This seems like a film right up my alley so it comes in at number 3.

3. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Swinging in at number 2 is, of course, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Ever since we were introduced to this new Spider-Man played by Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War, I wanted to see what he can do in a solo movie. Just from the small amount of time we see him in Civil War, I knew this was possibly the best on screen Spider-Man we have gotten yet. The first trailer just added to my excitement as it was the perfect blend of a classic John Hughes movie with that awesome Marvel feel we know and love.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Any other year this movie would be number 1, but this year it comes in at number 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The first Guardians movie totally shocked me and it became one of my favorite Marvel movies. I love seeing this team work together and everything that has been shown to us seems absolutely amazing! James Gunn comes back to direct, the team reunites, plus the addition of Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone! The trailer made me laugh uncontrollably and was one of my favorite trailers I have ever seen. This movie is going to be bigger than the last one. It is going to be an epic space opera, sci-fi adventure, and it is going to be epic. Baby Groot!

1. Star Wars Episode 8

Of course at number 1 is Star Wars Episode 8. This was always going to be my most anticipated movie as I am a huge Star Wars fan, and I cannot wait to see this saga continue. Now after Force Awakens and Rogue One, I am totally convinced Episode 8 will be outstanding. Even though we haven’t seen any footage or even know what the actual title is, Episode 8 is lining up to be something extremely special. You have Rian Johnson directing so you know it is going to be different than anything we have seen. We get to see all the new characters we fell in love with come back and some returning ones. It is going to be hard to see this movie and know that Carrie Fisher has passed away, but seeing Leia on screen is going to be something special. We’re going to get new characters played by Laura Dern and Benecio Del Toro. And finally, after so many years we are going to see Luke Skywalker again in full force. I cannot wait to see this movie and December couldn’t get here any faster.

Popcorn On Couch:

Honourable Mentions:

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • John Wick 2
  • Tulip Fever
  • Kong Skull Island

10. Thor: Ragnarok

The Thor films have been decent, not as strong as the other films in the MCU but they haven’t been terrible. However, I have a feeling Thor: Ragnarok may be the best film in the Thor franchise. They have managed to round up a great cast for this film, it seems like they are going all out for the third installment, which has gotten me very excited for Thor: Ragnarok.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

I really enjoyed Guardians Of The Galaxy it was an unexpected surprise, didn’t think it would be so good. Lately, Marvel has just been killing it, releasing great superhero movies consistently. So I’m excited to see what they have in store for the sequel of Guardians Of The Galaxy, plus Baby Groot looks really cool.

8. Free Fire

Free Fire is a film I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while, it has a great cast, an interesting story and it stars Brie Larson, a great actress who I’ve been looking forward to seeing in more films.

7. Split

James McAvoy is a very talented actor, in Split, we get to see him play a man with 23 different personalities which I’m sure he’ll nail. Although M Night Shyamalan’s recent films have been disappointing, but Split looks promising. With a gripping premise and a capable lead like James McAvoy, Split has my attention and I look forward to watching it.

6. Lego: Batman

When doing my most anticipated movies list, an animated film must make the cut. For me The Lego Batman Movie is an animated film I’m really looking forward to. I loved the Lego movie, it was funny, sweet and entertaining and I’ hoping to get something similar from The Lego Batman.

5. Ghost in the Shell

I don’t know much about this upcoming film except that Scarlett Johansson is the lead and is a remake of a popular anime film, which is enough to get me very excited. I usually love Sci-fi films, but sometimes big blockbuster Sci-Fi films don’t deliver as they are more focused on the visuals rather than the story, but I’m hoping this isn’t the case with Ghost In The Shell.

4. Dunkirk

The war film Dunkirk has a strong cast including Tom Hardy who is one of my favorite actors. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan, who has never disappointed, it will be interesting to see his direction on a war film.

3. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Ever since seeing Tom Holland as Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War, I’ve been very excited to see his stand alone film. Only from seeing his appearance in Civil War, I think he may be the best on-screen portrayal of Spiderman. One of my favorite superheroes is Spiderman so I look forward to seeing the film.

2. Blade Runner 2049

I haven’t seen the original Blade Runner film yet, but ever since Blade Runner 2049 was announced, I’ve been anticipating its release. Many sequels that are released 20 years after the original film usually don’t deliver. But Blade Runner 2049 has a director like Denis Villeneuve who has just been making amazing films, and he keeps getting better. Also, Ryan Gosling & Harrison Ford have been announced to star in the sequel, so really excited to see this film.

1. Star Wars Episode 8

I’m not the biggest star wars fan, but I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens and ever since then, I’ve just been waiting for the next one. In episode 7, the cast was superb, there was humor and amazing Visual effects, if episode 8 is as good or even better than The Force Awakens, we’ll have another excellent film added to the franchise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popcorn On Couch 2016 Film Award Winners List

Best Drama: Arrival

My pick for best drama is Arrival. Hands down on of the best films of the year, Arrival brings together the best of what cinema has to offer with a combination of brilliant acting, directing, and a beautiful screenplay. Arrival encapsulates the genre of drama and gives it its own unique meaning through the magician-like skills of Denis Villeneuve directing and creating what I believe is a modern masterpiece.

Best Comedy: Deadpool

Comedies are one of the most difficult types of movies to critique as not only do they have to be solid films, but also have a separate goal which is to make you laugh. The one movie that made me laugh uncontrollably this year was hands down, Deadpool. From the opening credits all the way to the post-credit scene, Deadpool is full of laughs and does not have a dull moment whatsoever. Not only was this movie hilarious, it was a great overall movie and a real surprise.

Best Romance: The Lobster

Romance films can sometimes be the most cliched filled stories ever told. There are countless iterations of different classic stories and teen dramas out there, so my pick for the best romance film is quite different, The Lobster. Such an original story mixed with great acting and cinematography. Great love story and a really nice film if you’re into very strange films.

Best Action Film: The Magnificent Seven

Although I do not think The Magnificent Seven is the best film from the ones nominated, in my opinion, it is the best action movie of the year. This film has a kickass cast and they came to play. Antoine Fuqua directed this movie with such grit and awesome action sequences that left me speechless and wanting more.

Best Coming of Age: Sing Street

For such a small film with almost zero known actors, Sing Street proved to be one of the best movies of the year. To me, this film is an amazing coming of age tale of a kid who just wants to play music and find love. You really see who the all the characters develop, especially the main character, and it is beautiful and you fall in love with the story right away.

Best Animated: Kubo and the Two Strings

In a year jam-packed with solid animated movies from Disney, Pixar, and Seth Rogen, what I thought was the best animated film of the year was Kubo and the Two Strings. Coming from Laika, a studio known for its stop-motion animation, Kubo combines beautiful storytelling with beautiful animation. It has an epic feel to it and took me through an awesome adventure with its characters ending with a heartwarming finish.

Best Biography: Sully

Clint Eastwood recently has been very hit or miss for many people, but this year he hit a home run with Sully. It was amazing to see how such a traumatic event like the miracle on the Hudson played out and truly affected Sully in the days following and what he had to go through. This was made easy by both Eastwood and Tom Hanks playing their respective parts directing and acting.

Best Comic-Book Adaptation: Captain America: Civil War

Hands down the best comic-book movie of the year was Captian America: Civil War. Although other comic-book movies did surprise me more, Civil War was able to take what we love about Marvel movies and completely increase the stakes by a thousand. With a movie so jammed with characters, it was impeccable how they managed to handle them all perfectly while still having it be a Captain America movie. Everything in the movie worked and all I got to say is that airport scene!

Best Horror: Don’t Breathe

This year also brought us many great horror movies, but the one that topped the others was Don’t Breathe. With such a fresh premise and great acting and directing, this movie was able to bring shivers down one’s spine and really give a sense of suspense. Now I know never to mess with blind people.

Best Thriller: Nocturnal Animals

From all the nominees, this was the last one I saw, but ended up being my favorite! This film was so intense and made me tense up multiple times. The acting was a big contributor to that from Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and especially Aaron Taylor-Johnson who totally creeped me out. This was a really good film and a fantastic thriller.

Best Sci-Fi: Arrival

When a movie can beat Star Wars, you know it is a fantastic movie. Arrival is a beautiful, mesmerizing, and just straight up fantastic film! Denis Villeneuve is a masterful director and does such an amazing job with this movie, one of the best of his career, if not the best. All the acting was incredible and the story itself was something so different, and it totally left me with my jaw dropped, I loved everything about this movie.

Best Foreign Language: Train to Busan

Combining action, cinematography, and great characters, Train to Busan is an incredibly fun movie. With a premise that seems unoriginal, it is able to do so much and really capture what a zombie outbreak would do to people. It was intense and made me care about its characters every step of the way.

Best Live Action: The Jungle Book

Hands down the best live action adaptation this year was the Jungle Book. This took the original animated Disney film and actually elevated it and made it better. It also pioneered this new technology of hyper-realistic visuals with its live-action animals.

Best Sequel: Star Trek: Beyond

The third in the new Star Trek series, this film did something the other two did not and really captured the feel of old Star Trek. While the other two were not loved by many Trek fans, this movie grabbed the hearts of many fans and delivered and a sequel better than the last.

Best Remake/Reboot: The Jungle Book

Hands down the best remake this year was the Jungle Book. This took the original animated Disney film and actually elevated it and made it better. It also pioneered this new technology of hyper-realistic visuals with its live-action animals.

Best Netflix Original: The Fundamentals of Caring

This movie was a real surprise and one which I believe is truly underrated. It is a very heart-warming story with solid acting by the whole cast and really made me smile and laugh throughout the movie.

Best Indie: Sing Street

Being one of my favorite films of the year, Sing Street is a complete indie film. It is small in scale and feel but has a huge heart and a great story. Everything from the directing, acting, and music made me totally fall in love with this movie.

Best Visually Stunning: Doctor Strange

This movie took a giant leap in terms of visual effects. From now on, no big major motion picture should be hindered by special effects or CGI because Doctor Strange has set the bar for what great special effects should be. This film is visually breathtaking due to its insane special effects and weird angles and dimensions. This film took my breath away with its visuals.

Best Movie with a Message: Arrival

One of the greatest things about Arrival is its story and the message it tells. This message is the real crutch of the movie and makes it what it is. Through the directing and acting, this message is conveyed beautifully and really makes you think once the film ends and to me those are the best types of movies.

Best Unusual Film: Swiss Army Man

When you hear about a movie or see a trailer, you don’t typically expect to see a farting dead corpse being at the center of it. Well, Swiss Army Man is about that and its relationship with another man, and boy does this film surprise! I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this film for its different and crazy story, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Best Guilty Pleasure: WarCraft

Many of the films that were nominated for this category were bad, but the one that stands out to me is WarCraft. The main reason is because I am familiar with the lore of the movie, and it was enjoyable to see things from the game come to life and see this story play out. Granted it is not a good movie and I see why it got such poor reviews, but to me it is fun and enjoyable and for sure a guilty pleasure.