And the winners should be…. 2011 Oscar Predictions (Matt’s Picks)

Best Picture

The Social Network
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
Winter’s Bone
The Kids Are All Right
Inception
Toy Story 3
The Fighter
True Grit

Should Win I’d be the most happy with Social Network, Black Swan, or The Kids Are All Right.  There’s no real Blind Side this year, but The King’s Speech is the least deserving… and it’s also one of the front-runners.
Will Win: The Social Network has a real shot, but so does The King’s Speech. Many have already handed it to King George, but I’m leaning toward King Zuckerberg.
Snubbed: There’s really no Blind Side this year among the nominees. However, over The King’s Speech I would’ve nominated The Ghost Writer, Enter the Void, White Material, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Splice or I Am Love.


Best Director

Tom Hooper- The King’s Speech
Darren Aronofsky- Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen- True Grit
David Fincher- The Social Network
David O. Russell- The Fighter

Should Win: Aronofsky.  His direction on Black Swan was the best thing about the movie, which is saying a lot.  Fincher is also great, but so many other elements of Social Network would’ve worked on their own if not as well.  You can’t really say that about Black Swan.
Will Win: Fincher.  Even if The Social Network doesn’t walk away with the night’s biggest trophy, this one is a pretty safe bet.
Snubbed: Yes, yes, Christopher Nolan deserved a nomination  for Inception here over Tom Hooper, but don’t forget Danny Boyle.  His direction on 127 Hours was impeccable and his movie was better than both Inception and The King’s Speech.   I’d also throw in Lisa Cholodenko’s low-key genius in The Kid’s Are All Right, Gasper Noe’s hallucinatory brilliance in Enter the Void, Roman Polanski’s artful storytelling in The Ghost Writer and the mesmerizing work of Claire Denis in White Material.

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Communication breakdown: always the same?

According to the two front-runners for this year’s Best Picture Oscar, The King’s Speech and The Social Network, communication is not half the battle: it’s the entire war.  These two very different seeming movies actually speak mounds about our fear to speak. 

The Social Network is the more obvious with this, taking a dark, rapid-fire look into how one outcast started an online empire simply because he couldn’t fit into the real world.  Mark Zuckerberg, as many may have noticed on his recent Saturday Night Live appearance, has trouble in real life.  The way Jesse Eisenberg portrays him, his brain seems backed up because he can’t talk fast enough, emitting sentences in short, machine gun-like bursts.

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Eleven movies to watch for in ’11

Sure, there will be plenty of crap released this year just like any other.  We all have another delightful Transformers installment to look forward to in the summer, and the coming winter months are when Hollywood dumps its crap that wouldn’t make money during prime Christmas season.  So, while the award contenders from last year and the buzz-kills duke it out in January and February, here are our picks for what to watch for the rest of the year.

The Tree of Life (May 27)– Terrence Malick has made some of the most visually stunning movies ever to grace the screen.  Film-wise, he hasn’t made as many as other auteurs his age, but his mark is no less indelible.  With The Tree of Life, he will most likely twist audience expectation for what a “summer blockbuster” with A-list stars is.  Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are headlining in this tale about a young boy in the 50s who “witnesses the loss of innocence.”  The hypnotic trailer is almost as vague as that description, but infinitely more beautiful.  It draws you in without ruining it.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (December 21)- Fresh off his hot streak with The Social Network, David Fincher attempts to Americanize the already explosively popular book series and its Swedish film adaptations.  It will be hard for him to do worse than the original Dragon Tattoo movie, which captured the atmosphere but gutted the story of Stieg Larssonn’s original.  The story, about a hacker and a disgraced journalist teaming up to hunt down a serial killer, is the perfect fit for Fincher.  Here’s hoping Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are also up for the dark twists and brooding revelations.

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If they were in television… David Fincher

Notable films: The Social Network, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, and Se7en.

Famous for: Dark, beautiful visuals, perfectionism, masculine codes of honor, violence as a part of human DNA, social outcasts, and using famous actors in unexpected ways.

Hypothetical title: Blackout

Hypothetical premise: The show follows a career man plagued by boredom.  On his routine walk home from work one day, he stumbles on the aftermath of a brutal assault against a woman.  He becomes weirdly obsessed with the case when the police shove it aside, and as she lays in a coma in the hospital, he takes it upon himself to uncover what happened to her.  After discovering she was a journalist hot on the trail of a violent secret society that has infiltrated every crack of the local government, he begins to realize that he’ll need her help to uncover all the intricacies of the plot.  The woman wakes up from her coma, only to be abducted 20 minutes after being back on the streets.  As the season reaches its conclusion, the man tracks down the woman, only to discover that she leads the society, and that the assault was an attempt by a vigilante to remove her from power.

Cross between: Zodiac, Fight Club, Blue Velvet, and Sin City.

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REVIEW: The Social Network


The Social Network
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer

There are girls playing PlayStation in the next room, and you’re uploading internet code.  Such are the ways of kings in the 21st century, and one of the keenest insights made in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

As you probably know by now, this is “The Facebook Movie.”  It’s also a potent drama, fueled by stories and themes as ancient as both stories and themes.  Betrayal, identity, and the nature of friendship are all at the core of Aaron Sorkin’s stunning screenplay.  The Sorkin/Fincher pairing, however unlikely, pays off in spades.

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TRAILER: The Social Network

The Social Network
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, and Justin Timberlake

There’s always that early fall movie that gets ridiculously good reviews.  Last year it was Precious, and this year it looks like David Fincher’s Facebook exposé The Social Network.  Already hailed as a classic by publications as diverse as Rolling Stone and Film Comment, it looks to be yet another “movie of the moment,” much like Up in the Air. It’s hard pressed to make that kind of judgment until the movie actually comes out, but the trailer itself doesn’t speak this highly of the movie.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Fight Club

Image courtesy of Deep Focus

Fight Club
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Jim Uhls (screenplay), Chuck Palahniuk (novel)
Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meatloaf

Beloved the world over by high school and college males of all ages as a philosophical masterpiece, David Fincher’s Fight Club has continuously stayed on cinema’s cerebrum ever since it became a cult hit on DVD.   Do I dare challenge the consensus that this film isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?  I almost feel obligated to.

For starters, these so-called philosophical musings.  Is a movie that promotes fighting back against a society that questions your manhood really something we should be promoting?  Isn’t that what has gotten us involved in every single conflict since the dawn of time?  What most consider unique in this film is actually just the same old masculinity complex American males are expected to suffer from.

As critic Lisa Schwarzbaum put it in her initial negative review of the film,

The giant international furnishings chain IKEA is responsible for many consumer-based phenomena, among them our docile acceptance of cheap, hinged desk lamps that droop like spent lilies. But I hadn’t realized that overexposure to IKEA results in limp penises, too, until I saw Fight Club.

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