Monday, February 24, 2014

Best of 2013, part 5: My Dream Oscar Ballot

Alright, here's the end of the list madness. This post is basically just a way of summing everything up and putting it into one neat little package. So I'll just list the nominees in alphabetical order, sans commentary, with the winners in bold. For added hours of fun, I'll put an asterisk next to the nominees which overlap with the Oscar nominations. Funny story: I think the Oscar noms were a pretty good crowd this year, and yet I don't think there's ever been so little overlap between their choices and mine as this year. Funny how these things shake out.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Best of 2013, part 4: craft categories

Commence with the weeping and lamentation, for today marks the last big list-dump before I go crawl back into my cave and blog-hibernate for another year. It's a tough blow, I'm sure, but we'll get through it together. Today, we're going to spend a little time showing some love for all the elements that go into making a movie great but never make anyone famous: the craft categories, aka where the cool kids are at.

Before we get going, here's handy guide to the categories, in case you want to know what I'm talking about:

Art Direction: Production design: creating, designing, and building the world in which the movie takes place. Generally associated with set-building, but also stretches to conceptual aspects
Costume Design: ...The design of the costumes.

Visual Effects: Special Effects. CGI, models, etc.
Film Editing: Editing the movie: cutting in some places, lengthening in others. Generally responsible for the rhythm of a film, as well as keeping continuity and making sense of the plot.
Cinematography: In layman's terms, how pretty the movie is. Screen composition, lighting, camera techniques, etc.
Original Score: Music composed for the film itself.
Sound Mixing: Blending the four film sound elements (dialogue, sound effects, ambient noise, music) to create a coherent overall mix.
Sound Effects Editing: creating the sound elements and sound effects heard in the film.
Original Song: Songs written specifically for the film.

Moving right along, then...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Best of 2013, part 3: Acting

Once more into the breach, dear friends (hey there, Henry V! I was wondering when you'd show up). It's a funny thing, acting--it's the most visible and easily praised aspect of movies by average-joe viewers like us, and yet I find it more difficult to say something compelling about acting than just about anything else. Want me to talk about sound editing? I'll do it and I'll like it. Get me to talk about movie stars and crying scenes and such though, and suddenly I clam up like a big clammy clam. So we're gonna try anyway and see what happens, but I apologize if my use of adverbs gets a little...irresponsible. That happens sometimes.
Note--I'll try to include youtube clips of the performances where I can, but no guarantees.

Check it out after the jump!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Best of 2013, part 2: Directing/Screenplays

Welcome back! Mind you, I say 'welcome back' knowing full well that yesterday's post probably left most of you in a deep, deep coma, so this 'welcome back' is mostly hypothetical. But welcome back anyway, dear viewers who have yet to succumb to the acute brain trauma caused by reading these things. As a bit of an olive branch and/or act of mercy, today's post will be much shorter. We'll keep it to three categories--directing and screenplays. Commence with the rejoicing after the jump!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Best of 2013, Part 1: Top 20, Zen Awards

Hey guys, remember last year? That one with the Zack Snyder movie about the flying alien with the cape? Yeah. That year happened. And I know that most of us have already giddily skipped to on to 2014, visions of Endless Love and The Lego Movie dancing in our heads. And that's ok, but I'm just not there yet. Maybe it's a by-product of setting your movie calendar by the Oscars (which happen next weekend), but for me, the 2013 film year is still going strong. Which is basically how I'm going to justify my not posting any kind of "best of" list until near the end of February. But hey, I've been busy, and have also been waiting for a couple films to open/come out on DVD so I could catch them before trying to make this list. Well that failed, at any rate (sorry, Blue is the Warmest Color and The Wind Rises--if you wanted the dubious internet honor of being on my blog, you shouldn't have waited until next weekend to find your way to my face).

So here we go. Now, I'm just going to start off by enthusiastically slapping the decaying remains of a long-dead horse and saying that 2013 was an utterly ridiculous year for movies (in a good way). There are things that could have easily taken the #1 spot in other years that didn't make it into my top 10. And the warm feels that I've got for my top 10 are just totally, over-the-top preposterous. Movie years like this make me want to start dancing and never stop (except to watch movies, because seriously, who dances in a movie theater). I'm going to try for a top 20, but even that is going to exclude some movies that I really wish I could talk about more. So if you want to talk about any movie, ever, just say the word and I will drown you in a never-ending torrent of opinion. The Internet, folks--that's what it's here for. If you stick around past the top 20, you'll get my annual silly awards--just as much fun, and a whole lot less work than trying to read me waxing poetic about the glowing devil penises in Post Tenebras Lux. So I know the top 20 is work, but stick around until the end and hopefully you'll find a few giggles.

Check it out after the jump!