For Your Weekend: Catch Up Before the Oscars


The Oscars don’t start until Sunday night. You still have time to catch plenty of movies that have been nominated! Here are some of the ones you can still find.

I’ve included mostly movies with Best Picture and/or acting nominations. See the Oscars’ website for a full list – there are some technical-category nominees around, too.

Still In Theaters – Some more than others, check your local listings.
– American Sniper
– Birdman
– The Imitation Game
– Into the Woods
– Selma
– Still Alice
– Theory of Everything
– Whiplash
– Some theaters – I’ve seen AMCs – are also showing roundups this weekend of all the nominated shorts.

On DVD – Check stores, online stores, OnDemand services, RedBox or your local library.
– Boyhood
– The Boxtrolls (animated feature nominee)
– Gone Girl
– The Grand Budapest Hotel
– How to Train Your Dragon 2 (animated feature nominee)
– The Judge

Streaming On Netflix
– Ida (foreign language nominee)
– Virunga (documentary nominee)

What am I missing? If you’ve seen anything else out somewhere, please comment! Happy viewing!


Oscar Project 2015: Best Picture Roundup


The 2015 Academy Awards are upon us! With just under a week to spare, I’ve finally seen all eight Best Picture nominees. It was a good year, overall — there wasn’t really anything that blew me away as much as past years’ winners, like “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist,” but in general, I enjoyed most of the nominees. I didn’t quite stay on top of things in terms of posting as I saw each film, so instead, here’s my roundup of all eight of them. They’re not really in any particular order — the last two are my bottom two, and I put my bet for Best Picture (though not necessarily my pick, if that makes sense), but I waffle on my rankings of the rest.

Friendly reminder: I am not a professional movie critic? I’m just a person who likes movies and the Oscars. You’ll see various comments about things like acting and pacing and camera work, but for the most part, I’ve evaluated these movies on how much I enjoyed them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them, too — please feel free to comment away!

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True/False 2014: Private Violence


Domestic violence against women is something we see in the news unfortunately often — women killed by their husbands, beaten by their boyfriends, attacked by their exes. But for all the headlines, how much do we actually talk about it? How many people hear about a “domestic disturbance” and dismiss it, thinking, “Oh, that’s between them, it’s not anyone else’s business”? How many ask the wrong questions — “What did she to do make him so mad?” or “Why didn’t she just leave?” — instead of asking, “Why does this terrible abuse continue to happen?”

Private Violence, directed by Cynthia Hill, brings domestic violence out of other people’s houses and right onto your screen, where you have to face it. And it’s powerful. It’s so powerful.

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True/False 2014: Jodorowsky’s Dune


After seeing Jodorowsky’s Dune, here’s what I know about director Alejandro Jodorowsky: He’s a little crazy, he has an amazing imagination, and he’s not afraid to chase exactly what he wants.

Throughout the documentary, which was directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky tells several stories about recruiting people for his dream adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel Dune. Most of them go something like this:

I saw that man’s work, and I knew, he is the one! So I called his agent [or encountered him at a party, or chased him down at a restaurant] and said I wanted him for the movie. And he said yes.

Artists. Writers. Pink Floyd. Salvador Dalí. Orson Welles. Whoever Jodorowsky wants, Jodorowsky gets.

Unfortunately, because of financial problems, Jodorowsky never actually got his movie. But this documentary doesn’t give the story a sad ending. As the True/False host said while introducing Jodorowsky’s Dune, it’s about a failed movie, but it feels like it’s about an artistic triumph.

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Oscar Project 2014: Final Thoughts


Because things got crazy for me around Oscar night — film festivals! birthdays! papers! cookies! — I never got around to posting my Oscar predictions. The closest I got was a last-minute Tweet about my top-category picks.

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Oscar Project 2014: ‘Nebraska’


Last year, I trekked to Columbia’s Ragtag Cinema after a snowstorm to see my final Oscar nominee of the year, “Amour,” a sad movie about an old couple. I really didn’t like it, I thought it was depressing and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

So I was wary when, last week, I trekked to Ragtag after a snowstorm to see my final Oscar nominee of the year, “Nebraska,” a movie about a guy and his aging father that I assumed would be sad because it’s filmed in black and white (logical, I know). I thought I was headed for an unfortunate case of repeated history.

Nope! Very wrong. Parts of Nebraska were sad, yes, but it was also very funny and very clever, and I enjoyed it a lot.

To me, at its heart, Nebraska was a movie about family, and about people and the relationships between them. It’s about how people affect one another’s lives and what people will do for one another. I loved watching all the lines play out, between father and son, brother and brother, old business partners, crazy distant relatives, the works. And none of it felt fake, either; they all felt like real people, vaguely familiar.

Before the movie started, the Ragtag worker said that “Nebraska” was a  “Midwestern” film, and I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. But as I watched, I understood. If you’re from the Midwest, I think you’ll get it, too.

Parts of “Nebraska” made me laugh; parts made me uncomfortable. There were a lot of emotions involved throughout the film, and — this is a stupid thing to say, forgive me — but at the end I felt pretty warm inside. Not warm and fuzzy, just, you know, warm.

Best lines: Any time the mother, Kate (June Squibb), opened her mouth. Gracious.

My verdict: Enjoyed. Would highly recommend and watch again, though probably not buy.

Oscar-nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Leading, Bruce Dern), Best Actress (Supporting, June Squibb), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Writing (Original Screenplay).

Rookie Opinion: I’d love to see June Squibb win, because I liked her character a lot. Bruce Dern was also wonderful, but Best Actor is (I think) the hardest race this year, so I doubt he’ll get that. I don’t know much about cinematography, but I thought this film was lovely; being up against “Gravity” is probably bad, though. For screenplay, I’d put this and “Her” in my top two. And I don’t think Director or Picture will happen. But “Nebraska” was great! It was so great. This is such a strong year.

*~*COMING SOON*~* This was my last Best Picture nominee! I’m 9 for 9. I will eventually have predictions, but probably not until closer to March 2. I’m still judging. Stay tuned.