Oscars’ Biggest Snubs — 2014 Edition

snubs1Sometimes, it’s an honor just to be nominated for an Academy Award — and sometimes being passed over is a snub!

These are the most egregious errors on the part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, in order of outrageousness and indefensibility, from brain-meltingly inexplicable to bemusedly obtuse — according to me, at least.

Best Picture:
  American Hustle
 • Captain Phillips
 • Dallas Buyers Club
 • Gravity
 • Her
 • Nebraska
 • Philomena
 • 12 Years a Slave
 • The Wolf of Wall Street

Snubbed: Inside Llewyn Davis. On the surface, this story of a struggling folk musician in 1961 New York is just a small and quirky film, but the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) have crafted yet another idiosyncratic movie about a particularly peculiar fellow moving through a world he barely comprehends — Llewyn Davis is a purist who refuses to compromise even one iota to claim the fame he desperately desires but which dangles just beyond his reach.
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New “Oz” Trailer Not So Great and Powerful

The newest trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful has, ironically, dampened my enthusiasm for this movie. I really am not sure if I am going to bother with seeing it in a theater. I was originally on this fence, but then this July trailer persuaded me to get excited for the March 2013 release.  But after seeing this clip, I’m back on that fence.

Sure, it appears well-made, but it just don’t look very engaging from the scenes glimpsed here. There’s something… off about everything I see. Even the gorgeous Mila Kunis doesn’t feel quite right. I’m not eager to watch James Franco‘s small-time hustler Oscar Diggs try to save a magic land with wizard powers he doesn’t have.

Oz: the Great and Powerful Trailer

One upcoming movie that definitely was nowhere near my radar was Oz: The Great and Powerful. But it is now.

Directed by Sam Raimi (who took up this fantasy project after deciding to scuttle Spider-Man 4), the movie has an impressive cast: Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Spencer and James Franco. The… well, let’s call him… eccentric… Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small-time carnival hustler who is swept to the magical land of Oz by a tornado. There, instead of new sheep to fleece, he encounters three witches and must find the kernal of good within himself and become a great and powerful wizard for real.

The story sounds rather pedestrian to me, but what captured my attention was this terrific trailer. I love the black-and-white opening and the switch to color when Oscar lands in Oz. Hmmm, it reminds me of something, but what?

Look for OTGAP on March 8, 2013

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

It was with great trepidation that I approached Rise of the Planet of the Apes; I had no wish to see another junky reimagining of a classic property with dodgy CGI apes replacing John Chambers’ legendary makeup from the original series. I also was wary of its apparently Luddite anti-science agenda. However, in a clear case of “monkey see, monkey do,” I decided to check it out anyway, since everybody else was seeing it. And I am glad I did.

The greatest advantage Rise of the Planet of the Apes has in its arsenal is that the audience thinks it knows where the movie is going – so the filmmakers do their best to upend expectations, zagging instead of zigging, and cloaking the larger story by distracting viewers with the more intimate, engaging tale of Caesar the intelligent chimpanzee and his handler/father, Will Rodman.
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Soap Opera Weekly: 1/11/10

I really enjoyed seeing GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Lucky and Dominic work together as they rooted through Franco’s workshop, trying to figure out his twisted plan. “We’re gonna have to go through this like cops,” Lucky declared. And that’s just what they did. They shared knowledge and brainstormed ideas like a couple of intelligent guys — a couple of smart police officers.

It’s rare to see GH make the good guys look good, so Dom and Lucky made the most of it. If this were a nighttime procedural, the boys would have cracked the whole case right there, but at least they were able to make some positive inroads. Going to the station, Dominic was even willing to put his secret identity on the line to save Lulu. Now that’s a hero! They talked through the problem of figuring out where he might be hiding hostages, and put it together logically and believably. Kudos to the guys for recognizing that Franco might not limit his re-creations to just the corpses.

It’s too bad the PCPD CSU neglected to pull any prints off Joey Limbo’s body. Franco was not wearing gloves and would be in the system as a result of his 2003 arrest — so a lot of strife could have been avoided. But hey, we can’t have everything.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: 12/22/09

Apparently, GENERAL HOSPITAL’s James Franco is synonymous with Christmas trees. Who needs Santa Claus? Fresh off a sketch on this week’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in which he played the operator of a Christmas tree lot who was a little too…er, attached to his trees (if you consider naming and french-kissing a scotch pine “too attached”), came Monday’s GH, when Franco (the character) visited Port Charles’ only all-night Xmas tree lot. Turns out staying open until midnight made terrific business sense, because it appeared that nearly everyone in town waited until after-hours to go tree-shopping. (Note to GH: It gets cold in Buffalo, N.Y., region after dark!) Carly even brought infant Josslyn out — without a hat! — for some last-minute…er, sprucing up. There, Carly ran into Franco, who was eyeing the exact same tree, and challenged her to a coin flip (with a two-headed coin) over who would get to buy it. He ultimately relented — perhaps out of concern for Josslyn’s bald pate in the chill night air. (He did warn Carly not to take her daughter for granted.)

The tree lot was also good for family therapy: Robin and Patrick got into a spat over the size of his tree — which sent interested observer Lisa fleeing back to the relative calm of the hospital — until they agreed to compromise. Meanwhile, Luke and Lucky used the search for the perfect pine as an excuse to feel each other out and snipe over Christmas plans. Luke wasn’t sure if he was staying in town for the holiday — but he was certain he wasn’t calling Laura for her birthday! Clearly the Quartermaines were the only sane ones — since Monica and Tracy were already arguing over the decorations, they clearly must have shopped before nightfall!

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: 12/21/09

Well, it certainly could have been worse. And the promotional spots made it seem like it could have been much worse. I’m talking about James Franco‘s gig as host of this week’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. That one promo in which Fred Armisen slapped Franco after he copped to being on GENERAL HOSPITAL made me cringe, playing as it did off the most broad, stereotypical impressions of soaps. So I was a little nervous tuning in to the actual broadcast.

But it wasn’t quite as bad as all that. Franco grinned broadly and cracked a couple of jokes, then admitted he’s now on a soap opera — but that part isn’t a joke, it’s really true. The clip he showed, in which Franco (the character) tries to seduce Maxie with that lurid line about her panties already being halfway down her thighs was guaranteed to elicit “Whooo’s” from the SNL audience. Franco (the actor) “explained” that each year he randomly picks a few career suggestions from fans to follow and, well, last year’s suggestion was to do a soap opera. Okay, that’s pretty funny, if we’re being honest and open-minded. Franco demonstrated by pulling a couple of new cards for 2010 from a tumbler. (“Do another Spider-Man movie,” indeed!)

Surprisingly (and thankfully), that monologue bit was it for mentions of Franco’s soap career! The rest of the show was the usual frantic hit-or-miss bid for chuckles. And, well, I don’t want to take any shots at another genre after chiding SNL…

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: 11/20/09

First impressions of GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Franco, as portrayed by movie star James Franco? Cautiously optimistic. Franco the actor did not have a chance to really do much beyond act all shadowy and mysterious. But Franco the character does seem really twisted — like someone out of one of those lurid prime-time procedurals. Okay, so he’s an artist, but that doesn’t make it right that he likes to play with corpses — and live girls playing dead bodies.

Was I the only one a little creeped out when Kate was instructing Maxie to do whatever is necessary to land the reclusive artist Franco for a Crimson photo shoot? Now, Kate is always very demanding, but the way she noted that Franco had been a recluse in recent years and how Maxie is such a pretty and perky blonde…well, it seemed clear that Kate was urging Maxie to seduce him. Too bad it looks like Franco’s idea of foreplay may just be to have Maxie lie in a chalk body outline. (Maxie is an “open-minded” chick, but that might be too much even for her.) Still, once she gets a gander at exactly how “facially challenged” he is, who knows what she would say?

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com