Tag Archives: Oscars

The Gospel of Gekko, Wall Street and other stories told on film… #film #greedisgood

23 Jan

Greed

To celebrate not only last weeks release but also triumph at the box office, for the new Scorsese flick The Wolf of Wall Street, I thought I’d take a quick look down the road of all things Wall Street, and in essence I came to one big conclusion… Greed is Good!

Well, Gordon Gekko may have not necessarily been right but he was certainly on to something. As made clear by the recently revealed 2014 Academy Awards nominees the concept of greed remains a relevant (and prevalent!) topic in film. The reason being that we can all relate, on some level, to feelings of avarice. It’s not as if we must hold those feelings on any intimate level, but it’s merely the fact that money, more often than not, is seen as the solution to, and the reason for so many problems.

And in just the past seven years alone, there have been a number of notable films that dive headfirst into the topic to expose and investigate each and every part of it. A majority of these have been nominated for Oscars in the past and they’re now still available for you to view on either Blu-ray/DVD or through on-demand video services. One of them, the great American Gangster, is featured on the growing (and rather unique) Picturebox, where a panel of movie buffs handpicks the choices and rotates them every two months or so. This allows for a constantly fresh stream of films, which means other picks on this list should show up on there soon.

Now, here are seven movies about greed from the past seven years.

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There Will Be Blood (2007)– This best film nominee brilliantly portrayed goldminer Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) conversion to the oil business—and the immense lust for greed that came with it. All you have to do is remember the once-popular phrase “I drink your milkshake!”, which Plainview growled to make it clear that he would stop at nothing to take down every other oil man in Southern California.

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American Gangster (2007)– As is the case with any film of this ilk, American Gangster deftly examines greed through the activities of a crime lord and the police. It’s an gripping, true-to-life look at how avarice can lead to corruption (the cops) and inevitable downfalls (Denzel Washington’s Frank Lucas) in 1970s Harlem, New York.

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – Greed serves as the driving force behind this Oscar winner through the juxtaposed lives of two brothers. One (Salim) sees money as the be-all, end-all solution and constantly chases it, no matter what. The other (Jamal) is fueled more by love. As you may guess, this leads to two very different outcomes for the siblings, with Salim struggling to overcome his feelings of avarice brought on by poverty.

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The Social Network (2010)– Rather than stick to greed in the purely monetary sense, the Social Network explores it through an unwavering desire to be accepted. That right there is the downfall of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), who pushes away and pulls in everyone he can in his endless quest to fit in. It becomes clear that he doesn’t mind the money, either, but it’s not all about the bottom line.

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              Margin Call (2011)– In looking at the financial crisis that slammed the U.S. in 2007 and 2008, this slept-on indie film takes on the greed that spurred said issues. In particular, it presents a long night at the start of the crisis and how one investment banking firm “dealt” with it. The only downside is that Margin Call could have better presented how everyone else (the rest of the world) was impacted.

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American Hustle (2013)– In the context of this film, the subject of avarice deals more with ambition and the desire to capture the “American dream” of success and wealth. But the “hard work” done by the movie’s protagonists (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) is conning everyone they can, in particular the also-greedy politicians they are trying to take down with the FBI.

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The Wolf of Wall Street  (2014)– As the trailers have shown you, Martin Scorcese’s latest is all about living in excess after amassing millions through working on Wall Street. That overindulgence leads to more than money, though, as sex and drugs also play a major role. It’s basically a crash course in Greed 101.

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Giving 2014 a film focus @thereeldeal2014 #gonein60secs #film #movie #news #cinema

17 Jan

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Hello everyone,

Well its been a busy start to 2014 for me, I’ve brought together some of my favourite people and my favourite subject to develop a brand new film show for YouTube called The Reel. Its launching in February, but we wanted to start getting some of the content out there, including a very quick round up of the weeks hottest films that will be hitting the cinema every weekend.

So, introducing the pilot episode of Gone in 60 Seconds, our top tips to watch at the cinema this weekend. As it is a pilot episode please forgive the couple of technical hitches that have been happening (mainly the sound) but regardless of this you get the gist, so it would be great to see what you all think.

If you like this please do share it, follow our brand new Twitter handle @thereeldeal2014 and subscribe to the channel on YouTube. We want to create something fun for all you film fans out there, so hoping that this could be the start of something great! Stay tuned, wish us luck and please, do send me your thoughts and suggestions.

The Oscar Nominations ARE OUT! Here they are! #oscars2014 #film #awards #cinema

16 Jan

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The road to the Oscars has officially been paved! Not the most surprising list of nominees but great to see the predicted big hitters present in full force. Gravity and American Hustle are leading the way with 10 nominations, followed hotly by Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Its great to see a couple of surprises such as Her being nominated for Best Picture, and very little for Inside Lleywn Davis but hey! You can’t win them all. Also fab from the Brits with Sally Hawkins and the team behind Philomena picking up some nominations, so lets hope that they truly dominate on 2nd March 2014.

Best picture

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Best director

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O Russell, American Hustle

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best actor

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best actress

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best supporting actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best supporting actress

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Best animated feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

Frozen

The Wind Rises

Best foreign language film

The Broken Circle Breakdown

The Great Beauty

The Hunt

The Missing Picture

Omar

The Golden Globes, winners, losers and a few surprises! #film #awards #hollywood

13 Jan

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Well what a night it was last night. The first really big milestone (which most of the world is interested in – probably more because of the fashion than the film sadly!)  in the road to the Oscars. There were some expected big winners – Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave picking up the coveted Best Film award, Jennifer Lawrence scooping Best Supporting Actress, putting her front of the queue for an Oscar second year in a row, Cate Blanchette for her tour de force masterpiece in Blue Jasmine and Leonardo Di Caprio for his outstanding performance as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (this picked up Best Actor in the Musical or Comedy section). It was also great to see Alfonso Cuaron picking up the Best Director award for the technically astonishing Gravity, the only other real contender to pip Steve McQueen to the Oscar post later this year – that will be an interesting race!Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 11.11.25

There were however a few surprises – which were totally deserved if not initially predicted. Firstly Matthew McConaughey picked up Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, something I thought was slightly missed off the BAFTA radar, but to be fair is going to be released in February so its understandable why its not yet nominated on this side of the pond, never the less greatly recognised in Hollywood and makes the Oscars race that little bit more unpredictable. I was however hoping for Chiwetel Ejiofor to scoop the Best Dramatic Actor award for 12 Years A Slave, and also something for Michael Fassbender in a supporting category, but they were both content supporting their director as he, rather unprepared and breathlessly accepted the Best Film win (as if he was really THAT surprised!) Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 11.07.41

Anyway, win, lose, it looked like a fantastic night with American Hustle doing very well and some of our homegrown talent being recognised across the pond – Idris you did very well!!!

What did you think of the Award winners, happy? Surprised? Annoyed? Let me know in the comments below, but for now, I’ll leave you with the full list of winners including the TV categories too (well done Breaking Bad and Michael Douglas for Behind the Candelabra!)

Film

Best Drama – 12 Years a Slave
Best Comedy/Musical – American Hustle
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama): Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical): Leonardo DiCaprio –The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama): Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical): Amy Adams –American Hustle
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:  Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:  Jennifer Lawrence –American Hustle
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze – Her
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty
Best Animated Film: Frozen
Best Score: Alex Ebert – All Is Lost
Best Song: “Ordinary Love” – Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

TV

Best TV Series (Drama): Breaking Bad
Best TV Series (Comedy): Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama): Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama): Robin Wright – House of Cards
Best Actor in a TV Series (Comedy): Andy Samberg – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actor in a TV Series (Comedy): Amy Poehler – Parks And Recreation
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie: Behind The Candelabra
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Michael Douglas – Behind The Candelabra
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Elisabeth Moss – Top Of The Lake
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie: Jon Voight – Ray Donovan
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie: Jacqueline Bisset – Dancing On The Edge

What did you watch at the weekend? It really should have been this! #Gravity

11 Nov

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In space no one can hear you scream, or cry or even contact you…worst case scenario right? Well that’s what Sandra Bullock found in the electrifying Gravity which premiered at the London Film Festival and is now on general release. From its outset, the film follows a very simple storyline, however Director Alfonso Cuaron manages to create something truly magical with the use of brand new technology, which took four and a half years to perfect, and shoot, and boy was it worth it!

The story follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) who is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.56.37

From the moment the film starts, as an audience member you feel like you’re out there with them. My advice if you’re planning on catching a showing, is that it would be best to definitely sit as close to the screen as possible, or even better, catch it in IMAX format so you can feel completely absorbed, which makes the cinematic experience even more powerful. The genius element behind Gravity is that every movement feels weightless, and the camera panning is so seamless its like there is a crew out in space with them at all times. Cuaron most definitely has thought of every detail, and although the performances (particularly Sandra Bullock) are brilliant, it’s not the powerful acting that you walk away from feeling captivated by, it’s the thought of…how did they film that? To be honest, if I hadn’t have dug a little detail for clarification, and you told me it was shot in space, judging by the quality I’d be inclined to believe you – yes readers, Gravity is that good!

The 3D element is used in a subtle yet powerful way. The odd bits of debris that come hurtling towards you are not over used, but timed perfectly, as by that point, you’re probably on your second or third anxiety attack! With the 3D element, the depth in which Cuaron demonstrates space is amplified, and helps to make you feel claustrophobic in ironically the most open space in the universe, yet again proving that every element of this film has been plotted and explored extensively.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.58.43

It’s with little doubt that Sandra Bullock should lead the way at awards season, her performance, or should I say for the majority solo performance, is commanding, compassionate and determined. Her dance skills also came into play with demonstrating weightlessness within the various space capsules she eventually finds herself in, and judging by the way she pulls them off, that would have taken months of preparation and provides beautiful shots. On the other hand, George Clooney plays a brilliant supporting role as a cool and calm mentor to the rookie throughout.

The third element, which helps viewers truly absorb this film, is the sound design. It’s very rare that the audio elements can affect one in a way quite like this, but from the outset Glenn Freemantle’s inventive sound mix. From the opening credits the design is so over powering you feel it rattle in your chest only to then be faced with the vast universe and silence – its mind blowing how deeply this affects you from the outset, but very much sets the scene in a way never really been seen or heard before.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.59.40

So its not a question of whether or not you should bother to see Gravity or not, its more a question of how best to see it. The film has had the nod of authenticity from Buzz Aldrin and hailed as the greatest space movie ever made by James Cameron, so if you need clarification as to whether or not this is worth spending your hard earned cash on, then those testimonies should hopefully be enough. Undoubtedly there will be some sort of meteor storm around the Oscars and general award season and it will be very hard to find a competitor to pip Cuaron and his team to the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography and Sound.

5 Stars.

Wreck-It Ralph’s 8 Bit Lane hits Brick Lane…

17 Jan

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So yesterday I managed to catch a screener of the Oscar nominated animated film Wreck-It Ralph. It was absolutely fantastic and well worth the praise it’s currently getting. I’m writing a review on the film in more detail shortly, but I wanted to share with you the genius marketing campaign Disney has produced for the film.

Last weekend in London’s Brick Lane, Disney transformed the streets into an 80’s computer game in this incredibly clever installation. Check out the video below to see how it was all done!

8 Bit Lane also showcased the world’s first Blipp-able building using Blippar’s visual discovery app. When Wreck-It Ralph fans ‘Blipped’ The Nicelanders house on the wall, the house emerged in 3D and they were invited to play a game featuring Ralph himself.

A little bit about the film itself….

“Wreck-It Ralph” takes moviegoers on a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in which Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly)—tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the “good guy” star of their game—sets off on a quest to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

“Wreck-It Ralph” features cameos from both classic and modern real-life games. Lending their voices, among others, are Roger Craig Smith (Ezio from franchise “Assassin’s Creed”) as Sonic the Hedgehog, and from “Street Fighter”—Reuben Langdon (“Street Fighter”) as Ken, Kyle Hebert (“Street Fighter”) as Ryu, and Gerald Rivers (“Street Fighter”) as M. Bison.

Great work Disney, and everyone, when Wreck-It Ralph hits cinema screens, I urge you to go watch, it is  fab!

 

The BAFTA EE Rising Star Awards – why you should be excited for the nominees

7 Jan

 

The shortlist has just been announced and now it’s in your hands to vote for your top newcomer to the world of film.

To help you make up your mind, here’s a little bit about each fantastic nominee…

 

Elizabeth Olsen.

Probably for the last twenty years she’s been known as the little sister to the extremely famous Olsen Twins and their numerous franchises. But, Elizabeth diligently stayed in school, she studied at the Tisch School of the Arts, and despite some smaller roles in the past, burst on to the scene at  the end of 2011 in the critically acclaimed Martha Macy May Marlene. Some would say she was robbed of an Oscar nod for her performance, but that hasn’t stopped her throughout 2012, other films such as Liberal Arts have been well received by critics and 2013 will be a big year for her with two films eagerly anticipated – Very Good Girls, with Dakota Fanning and the Western remake of Oldboy with Josh Brolin.

 

Andrea Riseborough

Working her way up the ladder with smaller parts in Made in Dagenham and Never Let Me Go, RADA graduate Andrea Riseborough has also starred in the ill-received remake of Brighton Rock and the even more ill-received W.E. (Madonna’s dire directorial outing). Although these have dive bombed at the box office, these film failures have been nothing to do with Riseborough’s talent, which resonates on-screen. She brings an air of old school talent, charm and dedication, from her early parts as Margaret Thatcher in The Long Walk to Finchley to her latest outing – Shadow Dancer, where she managed to pick up a well deserved BIFA prize for Best Actress. It’s clear that if she wins this award or not, Riseborough will have an exciting career ahead.

 

Juno Temple

Heralding from a film family, Juno Temple has managed to steadily work in a wide variety of films, from Killer Joe to The Dark Knight Rises (blink and you’ll miss her as Selina Kyle’s sidekick). Starting off as a child actress, as she’s got older she’s received critical acclaim for roles in films such as Atonement and Notes on a Scandal. Ever diverse Juno Temple is clearly an actress who likes to challenge herself and with American dark fantasy thriller Horns coming out later this year and also starring Daniel Radcliffe, it looks like 2013 is going to be very exciting for this actress.

 

Suraj Sharma

If you were going to be cast in one film to launch your career, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was most certainly the pick of the bunch. Chosen over thousands of other hopefuls, nineteen year old Suraj Sharma commands the seas and a Bengal tiger in this epic tale of a boy lost at sea. Very few people could have played the part so well, and for a newcomer, he deserves all the praise he’s going to get for this film. Outstanding performance.

 

Alicia Vikander

Very few people can steel the show from Keira Knightley, but in Anna Karenina, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander does just that. Vikander’s Kitty is so genuine, sweet and compassionate towards Domhnall Gleeson’s Levin that she is easily the best thing about this film. Her next international film outing will be in The Seventh Son, opposite Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges and its pretty clear that she’ll quickly be making a name for herself outside of her native Sweden in the months to come.

The BAFTA Awards takes place on the 10th February so make sure you follow @bafta to find out more details on how to cast your all important vote.