Robert De Niro

Awesome: Travis Bickle With A Fake British Accent

Posted by Matthew on November 13, 2014
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Robert De Niro / Travis Bickle / Taxi Driver

For now reason at all, here’s Robert De Niro at a 2009 awards ceremony reciting lines from Taxi Driver in a fake British Accent.

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Review: Last Vegas

Posted by Matthew on November 11, 2013
Movies, Reviews / 2 Comments

Last Vegas

What do you get when you put four amazing, ageing actors in a movie where they play best friends reuniting for a part in Last Vegas? You get a movie that offer few surprises but more than a few big laughs.

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Grudge Match Trailer: Old Rocky vs. Old Jake LaMotta in Grumpy Old Men III

Posted by Matthew on September 13, 2013
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Grudge Match

Speaking of Sylvester Stallone, remember watching the Grumpy Old Men movies and wishing that they would just start punching one another instead of playing pranks? No, me either, but someone did and here comes Grumpy Old Men III: Grudge Match, in which Stallone and Robert De Niro play aging boxers who come out of retirement to have one last fight. Let’s watch!

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Last Vegas Poster + Trailer

Posted by Matthew on August 27, 2013
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Last Vegas

Last Vegas is a movie that has kind of passed me by so far. It looks like it’s basically The Hangover but for people my dad’s age. That’s kind of ok though. Here’s a trailer and a poster.

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The Family Trailer Looks Like A Nice Homage to Mafia Movies

Posted by Matthew on June 04, 2013
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The Family

So let me get this straight: Robert de Niro is starring in a film about a former mobster now in witness protection with his family, who are obviously dysfunctional, and is directed by Luc Besson and executive produced by Marton Scorcese?

Yeah, I’m down with that. Let’s watch.

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Screen Actors Guild Award Winners and Reactions

Posted by Matthew on January 29, 2013
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Screen Actors Guild Awards

The 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were this past weekend. I know I’m a few days late but here’s a quick roundup of the winners for movies and some thoughts to go with them.

Note: I’m not going to talk about the TV awards, but the coles notes version is this: Hooray for Kevin Costner, Bryan Cranston and Alec Baldwin.

Winners shown in bold a the top of each list.
You can read the full list of winners here.

Screen Actors Guild 49th Annual Life Achievement Award

  • Dick Van Dyke

I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke movies my parents had recorded off the television so this makes me smile.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln as Abraham Lincoln
  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook as Pat Solitano
  • John Hawkes – The Sessions as Mark O’Brien
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables as Jean Valjean
  • Denzel Washington – Flight as Whip Whitaker

This isn’t a surprise to me in the slightest. Say what you will about Lincoln but Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing playing the man. At this point I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win the Oscar.

It’s nice to see John Hawkes get the nod for The Sessions as well.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook as Tiffany Maxwell
  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty as Maya
  • Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone as Stéphanie
  • Helen Mirren – Hitchcock as Alma Reville
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible as Maria Bennett

At this point Jennifer Lawrence has won the Golden Globe and the SAG award for playing Tiffany Maxwell. The Oscar is now hers to lose if it wasn’t already and I think that’s how it’s going to go. I’d love to see Jessica Chastain win because I preferred Zero Dark Thirty to Silver Linings Playbook and I think that Maya was a far more complex character to play, but Tiffany is exactly the kind of quirky, loveable, bird with a broken wing but still independent and strong, feel good, cliche character that people love.

That’s not to say Lawrence isn’t an amazing actress or that she wasn’t amazing in the film, because she was and this is one of those parts designed to win Oscars.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln as Thaddeus Stevens
  • Alan Arkin – Argo as Lester Siegel
  • Javier Bardem – Skyfall as Raoul Silva
  • Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook as Pat Solitano Sr.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master as Lancaster Dodd

Nice to see Tommy Lee Jones take home the trophy. Also cool to see Javier Bardem get the nod for his roll in Skyfall. He was brilliant as Silva and thats not the type of roll that usually gets recognized.

This is going to make the Oscar race in this category a little more interesting. Alan Arkin already took home the Golden Globe and everyone who’s nominated (swap out Javier Bardem for Christoph Waltz and its the same list) had already won to this one is anyone’s game.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables as Fantine
  • Sally Field – Lincoln as Mary Todd Lincoln
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions as Cheryl Cohen-Greene
  • Nicole Kidman – The Paperboy as Charlotte Bless
  • Maggie Smith – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as Muriel Donnelly

No surprises here. Anne Hathaway has already taken home all the awards for this role. If she doesn’t win all the awards that are left I will be incredibly surprised.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Argo – Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Denham, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, John Goodman, Scoot McNairy, and Chris Messina
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Penelope Wilton
  • Les Misérables – Isabelle Allen, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Daniel Huttlestone, Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Tveit, Colm Wilkinson
  • Lincoln – Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, David Strathairn
  • Silver Linings Playbook – Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Anupam Kher, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver

In a year where Lincoln, a timely political story about America’s most beloved president came out I didn’t see this happening but Argo has now won the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for best picture.

It’s well deserved. It’s a brilliantly crafted film from start to finish and I’m glad to see it getting all the recognition it deserves.

It’ll be interesting next month to see if it takes home the Oscar as well, since Ben Affleck isn’t nominated for best director. That might end up being this years big “wtf” moment.

Conclusions

Awards Season this year has been interesting so far. The films I thought would be a lock haven’t been winning and the ones I thought were entirely deserving but would get passed over have. The ladies categories are pretty much locked in for the Oscars at this point I assume, but the gentlemen’s categories as well as the best picture and director categories are up in the air as far as I can tell.

I like the SAG awards as well because you get films like Skyfall, which is a great film and completely overlooked by the Oscars and the Golden Globes, getting recognition from their peers. Make no mistake Skyfall was one of last years must-see movies but it’s no surprise that it’s only up for technical Oscars.

Make all the jokes you want about millionaires giving each other statues, but I enjoy watching great films win accolades (and Simon and I will be live blogging The Oscars on 24th Feb. while they air).

What are your guys thoughts on the matter? Do you agree with the wins here? How do you think the Oscars are going to play out?

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Quick Thoughts on Les Misérables, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook

Posted by Matthew on January 18, 2013
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I was meant to have seen a new movie this week but I’m on vacation and things got out of hand so I did not (yet).

Because I’m on vacation though I have seen a boat load of movies and thought I’d briefly talk about some of the ones I have seen, specifically the three I watched which are nominated for best picture at this years Oscars.

Les Misérables

Les Misérables

I can see why Les Misérables is nominated for all the awards. It’s a big budget production of one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Hugh Jackman is great and Anne Hathaway is amazing as Fantine and they are both deserving of their actings nominations. The entire cast is pretty great in point of fact, with the debatable exception of Russell Crowe who while he isn’t bad does appear a bit uncomfortable throughout. Maybe that makes sense for Javert but it didn’t sit right with me.

Where the film fails for me is the directing. Sure, the film looks pretty amazing and to be honest I really like the live singing aspect –if you hadn’t heard already, everyone sang their parts live on set rather than lip syncing pre-recorded performances– as it means they had more leeway to actually act out their performances rather than match what they did before. However, a great deal of the film is shot in closeup on the performers face.

I dreamed a dream, in particular, a song that would do well by some staging/movement, is filmed with Anne Hathaway just sitting there belting it out with the camera pointed at her face. Valjean’s Soliloquy is a little better in that he gets the move around but the camera is locked on his face and he’s looking right at the camera the entire time so you don’t really get to see any of what’s going on other than his lips moving.

I think I get what director Tom Hooper was going for, trying to make it intimate, however in the end it’s weird to think that a musical with such grandiose songs is filmed in such a small way and to be honest I don’t think it really works.

Conclusion: See it. It’s worth seeing just for the singing. Oscar is Anne Hathaway’s to lose at this point, and while I respect it’s nomination for best picture I don’t think it should win. Tom Hooper isn’t nominated for best director and I am fine with that.

Argo

Argo

I like stories about heroism, but what I love about Argo is that it’s such a quiet story about heroism. No epic gun fights, no explosions, no car chases, just the constant threat of being caught.

Ben Affleck directs and stars as Tony Mendez, the man who orchestrated the rescue of 6 diplomatic officers in hiding in 1979 revolutionary Iran. The idea is to get them out by claiming they are a film crew scouting exotic locations for a Star Wars rip off called Argo.

The story is brilliant from start to finish. It mixes just the right amount of humour into the dramatic script, mostly supplied by Alan Arkin as the hollywood producer recruited to help sell the idea of the fake movie to the public.

Arkin is gold here, it’s the type of role he excels at playing. He’s nominated for an Oscar and it’s well deserved.

Affleck himself is good too, playing Mendez very reservedly, reflecting a man under stress from being responsible for these peoples lives but also going through a separation and trying to maintain a relationship with his kid.

I happen to think that Affleck is a great director as well. Yes, he’s made a lot of better acting choices lately but this is his their feature film and the third time he’s hit it out of the park.

I love spy films, but in particular a spy film that’s executed in such a way to be entirely believable with real stress and peril for the characters (even when you know how it ends) is a difficult thing to pull off.

Conclusion: Must see. Irksome that Affleck, who already won a Golden Globe for directing this, isn’t nominated for the Oscar. Make no mistake, this is a much better film that the one I’m about to talk about.

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is a good movie. Maybe even a great one, and i can see why so many people are connecting with it. It’s a fantasy story, that’s why.

This is a movie that for 2 whole acts shows us characters with real problems and then in the third act everyone lives happily ever after and everything s fine and all the problems seem to be gone.

Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress and I’m going to say right now that she deserves the Golden Golden Globe she won and the Oscar I think she will win, but this is a role tailor made to win Oscars, the slightly crazy receiving sex addict “bird with a broken wing who is just quirky enough to counteract the male leads crazy” character. Hell, it might be more tailor made than the “prostitute with a heart of gold struggling to support her child in a situation that grows ever more dire with each frame that passes” that Anne Hathaway gets to play as Fantine.

Well, maybe not, but she’s still amazing and Bradley Cooper and Robert de Niro both stand out as well. Make no mistake, they all acted the shit out of this.

It’s just that the third act is both entirely predictable and doesn’t really jive with the rest of the movie for me. It devolves from something interesting into a series of movie cliches. There is literally a point in this movie where I could have turned it off because I knew everything else that was going to happen.

I can see why people connect with this movie, but I don’t see why it’s nominated for best picture of the year.

Conclusion: Definitely see it. Worth it for Jennifer Lawrence alone even if her character is unbelievable. Just maybe don’t expect it to be as good as everyone told you it is.

Wrapping up

I’ve seen almost all the best picture nominees now and am starting to have a better idea what I think should win. More on that closer to the date in question. In the mean time, what did you guys think of these three films? Are they worthy of the nomination? Did any performances stand out? Comment below!

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2013 Oscar Nominees, Reactions, and a Few Predictions

Posted by Matthew on January 12, 2013
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It’s that time of year again: Awards Season. The Golden Globes are on this weekend and this week the nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards were announced.

My reactions to the nominations are varied, but as per usual I’m more surprised by what’s not on the list than what is.

I’m going to be up front about this too: I still haven’t seen all the films that are nominated, so my opinons here are a little skewed, so I’ll stick to talking about the ones I know (where I can).

The 2013 Oscar Nominations and my commentary thereon:

Best Picture

  • “Argo”
  • “Django Unchained”
  • “Les Miserables”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Amour”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

My initial reaction here is that they can have as many as ten nominations, they’ve nominated nine films and The Master isn’t on the list. I mean, love it or hate it, The Master is the type of film the academy usually goes all in on.

Also, and while I personally didn’t care for it, I’m a little surprised that The Dark Knight Rises isn’t on here in recognition of the trilogy that Christopher Nolan put together. I mean, they did it for Peter Jackson, why not Nolan?

I honestly don’t know what I’d pick from this list, I still haven’t seen Les Miserables, Django Unchained is amazing but Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much exactly the type of “quirky people” movie that actors love playing and love voting for, so we’ll see.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
  • Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
  • Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
  • Denzel Washington – “Flight”

I’m kind of shocked to see Bradley Cooper on this list, but then again as I mentioned before Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much the type of film the Academy goes in for. Denzel is a bit of a wild card to me, he was great in Flight but I didn’t expect to see him here.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Hugh Jackman are completely not surprising: They’re both great actors and they’re both in great films.

I have a feeling that Day-Lewis or Jackman will take this category but I actually hope for Joaquin Phoenix. The man is completely transformed for his role in The Master. His slight slur, his ability to go from calm to explosively violent in a heartbeat, and even his hunched posture, the man disappeared into Freddie Quell.

And of course the lingering question: where the hell is Jamie Foxx’s name?? Or John Hawkes? Geez!

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of Southern Wild”
  • Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”

To be fair, I haven’t seen Amour, Beasts of a Southern Wild or The Impossible yet so I have no idea who is going to take this. I do, however, love the idea that either Jessica Chastain or Jennifer Lawrence might win since I honestly think they were both robbed in the past (Chastain in The Help and Lawrence in Winter’s Bone).

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Alan Arkin – “Argo”
  • Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
  • Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
  • Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

Interesting fact: All five nominees here are Oscar winners already. Interesting Fact: Leonardo diCaprio has not won an Oscar before, was the scene stealing standout of the show in Django Unchained, and isn’t on this list.

Now, i don’t mean to demean any of these guys work but at the same time I do mean tot point out that Leonardo has been fucking robbed this year.

As to who will win? I’m pulling for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. His work in The Master is stellar and he deserves to go home with his second trophy for it.

I’m going to say something that will make me sound like a fanboy now: I think Bruce Willis should be on this list for Looper. If you don’t believe me just go watch it again and pay close attention when he goes after his first target.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams – “The Master”
  • Sally Field – “Lincoln”
  • Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
  • Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
  • Jackie Weaver – “Silver Linings Playbook”

Here’s a category where I think the younger actresses are going to battle it out. Amy Adams is phenomenal in The Master and Anne Hathaway sang “I Dreamed A Dream” on screen, live. Completely different roles to be sure, both both are great.

Not to sound like I have Django on the brain, but Kerri Washington could likely have done with a nod here. Hell, so could Emily Blunt for Looper.

Best Animated Feature

  • “Brave”
  • “Frankenweenie”
  • “ParaNorman”
  • “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
  • “Wreck-It Ralph”

Pixar has a nomination and usually that’s enough to secure themselves a win, but Brave –while great by normal standards– was just ok by Pixars usual standards.

I’d really like to see this go to Wreck-it Ralph.

Best Director

  • “Amour” – Michael Haneke
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” – Ang Lee
  • “Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

I haven’t seen enough of these to comment. Lincoln was incredibly directed but I’m not so sure about Silver Linings Playbook. Maybe David O. Russell is nominated because he probably should have won for The Fighter.

No Tarantino? No Rian Johnson? No Ben Affleck? No Kathryn Bigelow? What the hell? And what about Paul Thomas Anderson? You’re telling me that the three main actors from his film had oscar calibre performances and he had nothing to do with that? Riiiight.

And again, a little surprised to not see Christopher Nolan on this list for the same reasons I mentioned above.

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Amour” – Michael Haneke
  • “Django Unchained” – Quentin Tarantino
  • “Flight” – John Gatins
  • “Moonrise Kingdom” – Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” – Mark Boal

This is the one that Tarantino will win. I can’t see how he wouldn’t given that he was snubbed on the Best Director list. But where is Rian Johnson on this list? She should be here for the same reason Tarantino is.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Argo” – Chris Terrio
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi” – David Magee
  • “Lincoln” – Tony Kushner
  • “Silver Linings Playbook” – David O. Russell

I’ve only read the source material for one of these and I haven’t seen the movie version of it yet so I’m gonna keep my trap shut.

I’m going to wager a guess that either Silver Linings Playbook or Argo takes it.

The Rest and Closing Thoughts

That’s really it for the major categories, the rest are mostly technical. It’s nice to see that Skyfall picked up a nomination in the original song category, I loved the song and I hope either it or Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted takes it home.

It’s more than a little strange to see The Master left off the cinematography list, it’s being snubbed for best picture is one thing, it was easily the most stunningly shot film I saw in 2012.

I’m a bit sad to see that Looper was passed over entirely. It’s incredibly well written and it’s cast are are great. I know that the academy doesn’t usually go in for genre film but still. Great films deserve recognition. At least give him the screenplay nod!!

Last year I live blogged the ceremony and, barring any unforeseen circumstances I’ll be doing the same thing year, so check back here on 24th of February!

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