Monday, March 11, 2013

Movie Review - Oz: The Great and Powerful (PG)

In the movie Oz: The Great and Powerful, we learn the story of how the Wizard of Oz came to be (Note: the movie has nothing to do with Wicked). Disney tackled a prequel for one of the most famous movies ever, and they did fantastic. The first 20 minutes of the movie was in black and white, which was a nice touch. Oz explains everything you were wondering. Why did the munchkins fall for a fake wizard? What was the story behind the witch that died under Dorothy's house at the very beginning of The Wizard of Oz? Why is the Wicked Witch of the West so sensitive to water (Actually, we never do learn that)? Although the movie is very predictable, it's still entertaining for kids and adults alike. But, it could have been a lot better. While it's still worth seeing in theaters, Oz: The Great and Powerful falls a bit short of the Disney standard. The humor in the movie had everyone in the theater chuckling more than laughing (kind of like reading a joke online and not actually laughing but thinking in your head that it was really funny). I enjoyed the movie for what it was. A simple prequel to The Wizard of Oz that had amazing visuals.

Note to parents: Disney stepped a bit over the line with the jump-scares and frightening images with this movie. Might be too intense for kids under 10.

★★★✯☆

Oz: The Great and Powerful on Rotten Tomatoes
Oz: The Great and Powerful on IMDB
Get tickets here.




Friday, February 22, 2013

Movies' Biggest Night


On February 24, 2013, movie lovers across the nation will gather around their televisions once again for The Oscars, the biggest night in Hollywood. For its 85th annual awards, The Academy has nominated 53 features and short films in 24 categories. Many films, short films, and actors have received numerous and well deserved nominations for their excellence in 2012, and The Academy will recognize the best of the best. 

This year’s Best Picture nominees include box office hits such as Les Mis√©rables, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Argo, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty, but more often than not the most popular movies of the year never win Best Picture. If box office revenue determined Best Picture, Marvel’s The Avengers would win by a huge margin as it made over 600 million dollars and made more money than any other movie released in 2012. Yet The Avengers only received one nomination for Best Visual Effects.

According to various websites and discussion forums online, either Lincoln or Argo will win Best Picture. Most of the time The Academy does not award Best Picture to a film unless its director was also nominated for Best Director. Ben Affleck (director of Argo) did not receive a nomination for Best Director, whereas Stephen Spielberg (director of Lincoln), did. Also, Lincoln received more Oscar nominations than any other film this year. 

Many speculate that Daniel Day-Lewis (from Lincoln) will win Best Actor in a Leading Role. In fact, he has already taken the title twice before in 1990 and 2008 for his performances in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood, respectively. To confirm suspicion, he has already won 16 “Best Actor” or similar awards outside of The Oscars for his phenomenal portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.

Daniel Day-Lewis
Quvenzhan√© Wallis, who played Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild (nominated for Best Picture and three other awards), is the youngest ever actress (just 9 years old) nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She gave an incredible performance in Beasts at just six years old. When asked “If you had caused the end of the world, what would you do?” Wallis answered “I would try to fix it; I would go to bed on time and brush my teeth.”

Nominees for Best Animated Feature are Brave, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-it-Ralph, and Frankenweenie, but The Academy missed a key gem from 2012’s animation lineup. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a film that made nearly twice as much money as ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Frankenweenie combined, did not receive a single nomination. Although The Lorax contained beautiful animation, great music, and stellar voice talent, The Academy did not recognize this wonderful film.

Paperman, a short film that Disney released theatrically before every screening of Wreck-it-Ralph, received a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Short Film. It has an odd animation style, which made it very intriguing. Disney blended computer animation with two-dimensional pencil animation beautifully. This film deserves an Oscar for its ability to communicate raw emotion and deep thoughts with animated characters and no dialogue in just over six minutes. 

Paperman
February 24 should provide an ample amount of entertainment to movie lovers across the nation. This past year contained some of the greatest films ever made, and The Oscars will recognize the ones that have put themselves on the top of the totem pole.