Women of the 2016 Oscars

With the 2016 Academy Awards over, there’s a lot of buzz going around the Internet. There’s a lot to talk about though: from the obvious for who won or didn’t win, to the big subject of why the #OscarsSoWhite. And while those are great subjects to discuss, I want to shine a focus on the women of the 2016 Oscars.

Historically, women have not gotten a lot of recognition for their achievements, especially in cinema. And with the Oscars, women are never nearly as recognized for their movie involvement as they should be. Women on the red carpet seem to only be seen for their dresses or their supporting roles to men, not for their individual successes. And this is so upsetting to see happen.

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And while we’re still a ways away from giving women their equal due, the 2016 Oscars saw a great step forward. The Oscars this year saw 8 women win an award. While two of those are the obligatory actress nominations, this is still a great year for women in cinema and something that I was glad to see.

Sara Bennett took home an Oscar for her visual effects work on Ex Machina. And in fact, this marks the first time a woman supervisor in VFX won an Oscar. Progress like this is something I love to see happen in our society.

VFX aren’t the only effects that saw women win; two women actually won for best makeup. Elka Wardega and Lesley Vanderwalt both won (alongside Damien Martin) for Best Makeup on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Fury Road actually gave way to many a women to win at the Oscars. First of all, Fury Road is a female-driven story (pun intended) and a strong, socially connected story at thatFury Road saw Lisa Thompson win for Best Production Design, Jenny Beavan win Best Costume Design, and Margaret Sixel win for Best Editing. It was amazing to see that Fury Road made so many women important to the film. It gave these women great opportunities to win.

      

And while there were only 8 women who won Oscars, women still had a larger role this year. Stories about women, like Mad Max: Fury Road, came to the forefronts this year. These were strong, gripping stories. Stories about sexual assault and rape, empowerment, child struggles, and more.

Brie Larson won Best Actress for her role in Rooma story about a woman and her son living a captive life because of a kidnapper. Inside Out won Best Animated Film, whose protagonist is an 11 year old girl going through depression (and other emotional journeys).

Brie Larson Wins 2016 Oscar for Best Actress for Room| Academy Awards, Oscars 2016       

The Oscars also recognized documentaries about women: Amy, a biography of the late Amy Winehouse, and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. Not to mention sexual assault coming under the spotlight as Vice President Joe Biden came out to introduce Lady Gaga. During performance, Gaga brought out both male and female survivors of sexual assault.

While it did not win, Carol a film about a lesbian romance, was nominated for Best Cinematography. Brooklyn, another movie starring a female protagonist, also did not win but was nominated for Best Picture.

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This is a great step forward for the women in cinema, and hopefully a trend we see more of. I was happy to see that women were getting more focus in something so staggeringly male. This was a great year for women in the Oscars.

Women have a big part in cinema and they deserve to see this kind of recognition. And while the Academy Awards still have a long way to go before being equal for all, seeing so many women in the limelight is a glimmer of hope for us.

For more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

2016 Oscars: Who’s Nominated & Who I Want to Win

The 88th Academy Awards is only a day away; tomorrow, February 28th, will premiere the 2016 Oscars. With them so close, I want to give you guys a rundown of the nominees. I don’t have an opinion on every nominee, so I will offer my thoughts on who I want to win to the categories I have an opinion about.

And be sure to come back to Cinemaniacs for my reaction to the Oscars! Leave comments below for your Oscar predictions and who you want to win.

Best Picture

My Pick: Mad Max: Fury Road

Why: While The Revenant is shot beautifully and truly harrowing, Fury Road takes my win. It’s the first movie in a long while that I regret not watching in IMAX 3D. Fury Road takes itself into a large scale, with expansive shots and massively sweeping environments. For those who haven’t seen it, there is a scene where our protagonists drive into a (literally) mountain-high sandstorm. And the movie shows the intimidating difference in heights. But it doesn’t stop there; we see these characters drive through this devastating storm while lightning rains down and sand assaults them. It’s not only breathtaking but it gives you a sense of just how large this world is.

 

Actor in a Leading Role

My Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio

Why: I have to give it to DiCaprio for this one. Not only is he long deserving of one, but the work he put into The Revenant is just astounding. His performance in The Revenant is gripping and does drive in his character’s need for revenge. But it’s what he did during shooting that really earns him this Oscar. DiCaprio endured harsh, bitter colds for the 9 months of shooting; from the Canadian wilderness to the snows of Argentina. Not only that, but he actually ate a raw bison liver and stood in a freezing river to eat a raw fish. And while the sleeping-in-a-horse scene wasn’t entirely real, it still makes for astounding acting.

Cinematography

My Pick: Mad Max: Fury Road

Why: As I mentioned earlier, Fury Road had just breathtaking shots and gorgeous visuals. The setting of the Mad Max series is a post-apocalyptic world filled with deserts and sand. Yet in this desert world, there are vibrant colors; bright blue skies, ranges of oranges and red, murky blacks, and stark whites. The cinematography of Fury Road is still a personal favorite of mine.

Directing

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

My Pick: The Revenant

Why: The Revenant I chose for directing because its director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, chose to shoot the movie mainly in natural lighting. It was a tough decision, but it allowed him to take beautiful, organic scenes for his movie. But this also made it so the shooting had to be done in harshly cold environments. Though in the end, the hard work definitely paid off.

Film Editing

My Pick: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Why: The Force Awakens takes my pick here because of the editing done on the movie and the dichotomy chosen for its scenes. The differences between the light and dark sides of the Force was clear yet subtle, as were with the characters.  The scene with Kylo Ren and Han had amazing use of shadows and red lighting (You know the one if you’ve seen it. I can’t say without major spoilers though.). Not to mention the clash between Finn and Rey with Kylo; the editing here was strong too: a glowing blue versus an evil red. Scenes and shots were also cut together very well throughout the movie.

Actress in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Animated Feature Film

Costume Design

  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Documentary (Feature)

Documentary (Short Subject)

Foreign Language Film

Makeup and Hairstyling

Music (Original Score)

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Music (Original Song)

Production Design

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Short Film (Animated)

Short Film (Live Action)

Sound Editing

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Mixing

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Visual Effects

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

Writing (Original Screenplay)

 

Ghostbusters: Key Lime Slimes & Ecto-Coolers

Ghostbusters will be seeing a third installment this year, with a revitalized, all-female reboot of the series. In celebration for the movie, Hostees will be giving us a ghoulishly slime filled new twinkie! This information comes to us from the ENM Sales’ Twitter.

Appropriately named Key Lime Slime, the new twinkies will be a limited edition, ooze filled delight. Interestingly enough, the expiration date (on the box) says April 7, 2016. No official release date has been given for the movie themed snacks, but there’s a possibility we’ll be seeing them before April.

But that’s not the only Ghostbusters themed food we’ll be getting. To help wash down your ectoplasmic twinkies is a nice, cool can of Ecto-Cooler Hi-C.

A new Ecto-Cooler Hi-C can as seen in a listing on eBay

The above picture is just that, a picture off of Ebay from seller Rkv-ent. It was sold as a “super rare Ghostbusters collectible”. The can ended selling for $400 and is no longer available. However, Coca-Cola last year had re-registered the trademark for this drink.

Back in 1987, the same Ecto-Cooler drink was sold in tandem with the original 1984 Ghostbusters. There is a big possibility we we will be getting a re-release of the movie inspired drink in the following months.And of course as the movie gets closer and closer, more marketing for it will be released.

The new, all-female Ghostbusters will be releasing this summer on July 15 , 2016. With actors such as Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris Hemsworth. The first official trailer drops March 3rd, but until then we have a teaser trailer to check out.

For more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Keanu Reeves Discusses Exposed with IGN

In a recent interview with IGN, Keanu Reeves spoke out about his role in his latest movie, Exposed.  Exposed aired in the U.S. on January 22nd, but is only now releasing in the UK on February 26h; it is also being released on demand on the same day. IGN is a media entertainment website that provides news for video games, TV, movies, and technology.

Exposed is about Detective Scott Gablan, played by Reeves, investigating the death of his partner. Originally titled Daughter of God, the movie was written and directed by Declan Dale. The movie, however, was ill received by critics and viewers. But as it turns out, the movie was not as it was intended to be.

The article shows the interview between IGN and Reeves about his thoughts about the film. The interview opens with asking Reeves about his initial appeal to the movie and why he signed up for it. Reeves goes on to say how the character of Gablan intrigued him:

“I liked this kind of defeated person. This man who is down in the job, he’s separated from his kid, his wife, his partner dead. But as he tries to survive and figure out what’s happened, I really responded to the struggle of the script.”

The film in fact went into a state of creative differences with its studio, LionsgateExposed was originally called Daughter of God because the original script called for it to be a “surreal bi-lingual drama”. One that would focus on the heavy topics of child abuse, police violence, violence against women, and mass incarceration.

However, Lionsgate thought they were signing up for a crime thriller starring Keanu Reeves, not an intense drama. Lionsgate went on to cut out a lot material, such as cutting out a secondary protagonist and solely focusing on Reeve’s character. This creative difference made director Gee Malik Linton change his name on the film to the pseudonym of Declan Dale.

Reeves in his interview tells his thought about this whole situation. While he does think the movie keeps its form in a way, the theatrical release he feels is much different than what Reeves thought he would be doing.

” I think it’s certainly not as realised – a lot of the Spanish is different, some of the other world has been diminished.  …Maybe its intention certainly is not as fully realised as the director had hoped.”

Reeves also goes on to say how he was upset to see Linton take his name off the film; he describes it as being “tough, and a tragedy”.

“…the cut that’s showing of the movie is orientated much more towards, not really the suspense elements of it, but the studio’s kind of releasing it as this sort of cop thriller. And it’s definitely not that.”

IGN also asks Reeves about his upcoming work in The Neon Demon and The Bad BatchExposed will be releasing on demand on February 26th; you can check out the trailer here. For more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs.

The Witch’s Chilling Release

The Witch (stylized as The VVitch) saw its theatrical release last night on February 19th, and it has been met with glowing reviews and critical acclaim. It was first introduced at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category.

The Witch is a new horror film directed and written by Robert Eggers. In fact, this movie marks his directorial debut. The movie takes place in 1630s England, following a Puritan family who just got banished due to a conflict of beliefs. The family consists of William, his wife Katherine, daughter Thomasin, their son Caleb, and fraternal twins Mercy and Jonas.

Worry, malice, and despair arise when their newly birthed son, Samuel, is found missing. Thomasin, who was in charge of watching Samuel, is blamed for this. Trust between the family quickly breaks, and tensions rise. The family soon suspects witchcraft might be the cause of the family’s troubles.

I personally love horror films, and the success that The Witch is receiving makes me only that much more excited to watch this movie. And honestly, there hasn’t been a good scary movie about witches since The Blair Witch Project. Reviewers praise the movie for its chilling atmosphere and great, organic immersion into its time period.

Not only that, but the rising feeling of unease and doubt of what is or isn’t true only adds to the movie’s appeal. It is a movie filled with dark tones and terrifying scenery. All filmed with natural lighting, creeping shadows, and naturally unfolding long shots.

The Witch is already in theaters worldwide. Check out the trailer here if you haven’t already. And be sure to come back to Cinemaniacs for more movie goodness!

Deadpool Easter Eggs

If you haven’t seen Deadpool, then look away! Spoilers will follow. This is just a small list of the many Easter Eggs peppered through the Deadpool movie. In fact, Fox’s record breaking movie has over 100 Easter Eggs. But that’s too many for me to list here, so I’ll just name a few of my favorites.

“And please don’t make the supersuit green.”

When Wade Wilson is being rolled into Ajax’s torturing operating room, he shouts “And please don’t make the supersuit green. Or animated!” This is a jab at Ryan Reynold’s last superhero venture as Hal Jordan, in the Green Lantern movie

The movie was regarded as terrible and was ill received by fans and critics. Receiving an aggregate score of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, a very visible gripe about the movie was Hal’s suit being completely CGI including his face mask. Something Deadpool takes no shame in making fun of.

There’s actually a Green Lantern nod before this in the first few minutes of the movie. In the wallet of one of the henchmen Deadpool kills, there is a picture of Reynolds’ Green Lantern.

A prized possession

Deadpool’s first theatrical appearance was actually in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where they absolutely botched the character. In fact, that’s one of the reasons people don’t like the film (among many others). And Deadpool’s newest iteration takes no hesitance in ripping on the movie.

Numerous times throughout the movie, Wade is threatened to “have his lips sewn shut“, or that his “lips are sealed”. But why stop there?  When Wade talks about taking his prized possession with him, he grabs a little toy of Deadpool’s incarnation in X-Men Origins, complete with a sewn mouth and a giant sword jutting out of his hand. Thankfully Wade throws the toy away to grab his WHAM! music collection (the true prized possession).

McAvoy or Stewart?

When Colossus finally grabs Deadpool, he drags him off to bring to the X-Men mansion. To this Deadpool asks, in an appropriately meta fashion, whether they’re bringing him to “McAvoy or Stewart” and claiming how these new timelines are so hard to follow.

This is a jab at the existing X-Men movie franchise, where Patrick Stewart plays the older version of Charles Xavier and James McAvoy plays the younger version in the newer trilogy. Not to mention the various plot holes and retcons within the franchise.

Bob

In the last act of the movie, Deadpool beats up a couple of Ajax’s henchmen. Among them, he notices one person in particular: a former special forces soldier and good friend to Wade in the past, Bob.

Bob is actually a recurring character in the Deadpool comics and is an agent of the villainous organization, HYDRA. However, the movie omits that information since HYDRA is currently under Marvel Studios’ rights. Nevertheless, Deadpool makes homage to the old friend.

You’re still here?

 

In the post-credits scene Deadpool comes out dressed in a nightgown, over his red suit, comes out in a very similar fashion to the post-credits scene of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Very much like Matthew Broderick’s performance, Deadpool asks us why we’re still here after the movie ended.

He tells us to shoo away, before telling us some very worthwhile info. He speaks of how a second Deadpool movie is being developed and that it will include Cable. Fans of Deadpool know Cable as Scott Summers’ and Jean Grey’s child from the future, and frequent partner to Deadpool.

That’s just a few of my favorite Easter Eggs throughout the Deadpool movie! Now I couldn’t get to all of them. But if you’re still curious, I recommend you check out this video of the over 100 Easter Eggs. What was your favorite Easter Egg? Leave a comment below, and be sure to come back to Cinemaniacs for more movie goodness!

My Deadpool Experience

This is going to be a bit of a personal post, but I wanted to share a little of my  movie-going experience last night. I saw Deadpool for Valentine’s Day, and oh it was just as spectacular as I hoped it would be.

For obvious reasons, I don’t have any pictures of the actual movie. But the wait until was exciting for me, and the building anticipation only made the payoff that much more sweet.

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My friends and I actually got to the theater an hour early. But it turned out to be a good decision, because that theater filled up quickly. We were lucky enough to get a whole row to ourselves; the auditorium was packed within minutes of letting us in.

The movie itself was just simply amazing. Quirky and charming, yet crass and bloody. Deadpool hits the ground running, with amazing one-liners, and hilarious dialogue and interactions. The movie uses its R-rating masterfully, with jokes that don’t dwell too long on the crass. In fact, the best jokes were the ones that made fun of pop culture or used Deadpool’s weird mannerisms.

And then there’s the action scenes: well shot, great visuals, and exhilarating fights. While not too heavy on the superpowers, the movie instead lends itself to great one-on-one fist fights, clashing swords, and creative gun shots.

I came out of the theater actually jumping with joy. I loved it, and I am more than willing to watch it a second time in theaters. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it; a personal 10/10! If you have seen it, share your comments here about the movie!

If you’re interested in more Deadpool, come back here to Cinemaniacs for an upcoming list of Deadpool easter eggs.

 

 

Movies to watch this Valentine’s Day!

If you haven’t checked what movies are out right now, then you’ve come to the right place! There’s some solid movies out this week, and many worth checking out. A little bit for everyone really, especially with Valentine’s tomorrow. Single? Got a hot date? Or just on a family outing? No matter your case, there’s always a movie for you!

Deadpool

Yes the movie that’s meant to revitalize the classic comic book character on the big screen. And oh boy, what a thrill ride it is! Critics are already giving it high reviews and praising it for it’s accurate representation of the character (at least this time around). And Fox Studios has already greenlit a sequel!

Deadpool himself is a very iconic Marvel comic book antihero with a heart of gold who frequently breaks the fourth wall. He’s a mutant (ala X-men) with the power of regeneration and healing, with some amazing fighting, sword, and gun skills. His first theatrical appearance was in the not so good X-men Origins: Wolverine, where they botched Deadpool horrendously.

The current movie looks to right that wrong. Ryan Reynolds reprises his role as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool. The movie serves as an origin movie for the character, as he struggles with cancer and looks to save his significant other. Just in time to be the Valentine’s Day blockbuster hit. I myself will be watching this tomorrow on Valentine’s and oh am I ecstatic! If you haven’t already, check out the trailer here.

How to be Single

For those of you wanting to celebrate the single life, then this movie is for you! Alice, played by Fifty Shades of Grey’s Dakota Johnson, dumps her long-term boyfriend to move to NYC and live the single life. While working as a paralegal she meets her coworker, Robin (played by Pitch Perfect’s Rebel Wilson). She’s a wild party animal,  who Alice befriends to join in her partying.

Robin introduces Dakota to the party life. Drinks, parties, and meaningless flings! What else can you ask for when you’re single? Two other women join their voracious partying: Alice’s sister Meg (played by Leslie Mann) and serial dater Lucy (played by Alison Brie). And a few male character are thrown into that nux as well.

The movie, which got mixed reviews, was received as a rather progressive movie. The happy ending for the single life isn’t to end up with someone, but help reassure people that being single is alright. Check out the trailer here!

Kung Fu Panda 3

Yes that’s right, Kung Fu Panda is back. It’s been out for a few weeks now, but it’s still around for Valentine’s. And a good movie to go on a family outing to, especially for the kids. Just some good, wholesome fun.

Jack Black returns to his role as Po, the dragon warrior. This time around, Po meets his long lost father and must train a village of clumsy pandas into martial arts fighters. Together they must take on the villainous Kai (played by Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons), a supernatural fighter who has the power to steal others’ energy.

If you’re looking for just a fun, innocent movie to watch then this is the one for you! Check out the trailer here.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

A movie that no one really expected for Valentine’s, but still looks to please. While not the best reviewed by critics, it still looks to be some good zombie fun. Definitely a movie to watch if you like zombie movies, or classical literature!

Based on the novel by the same name, the movie is exactly what you think it to be. A crazy mashup of the classic Pride and Prejudice with zombies thrown into the mix. It’s set in 19th century  England, where a zombie plague has turned the area into a warzone. Our protagonists here are Elizabeth Bennet (played by Lily James) and Colonel Darcy (played by Sam Riley).

The two meet at a ball, but don’t particularly like each other. But of course zombies ensue, so our two heroes will begrudgingly band together to kill the zombie hoards and save their friends. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer!

 

There you have it guys, some good movies to check out this Valentine’s Day! And whether you’re on your own (nothing wrong with that!) or bringing your special someone, do the right thing and go to the movies.  There’s always something to watch! Happy Valentine’s everyone!