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2013 Sundance Film Festival Preview

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Features | 3 comments

Last year’s Sundance Film Festival was an amazing experience in which I saw 22 films in one week; you can read my complete 2012 Sundance Film Festival Wrap-Up article here.  This year, our group shall be there for a few more days to get in almost the entire festival (Jan. 17-27).  The 2013 Program Guide features countless promising films and panel discussions.  It should be another wonderful, albeit cold and sleep-deprived, experience in Park City, Utah.  Keep an eye on The Modern Allegory’s Twitter account and/or Facebook page for brief updates throughout the festival, and eventually a 2013 Wrap-Up article and reviews for each screening will be posted.

I divided up this wrap-up article into two main sections: 1) my tentative schedule, and 2) other notable films – the second section is on PAGE 2.  In the first section, I pre-ranked the films I plan to see, then I list out my tentative schedule with brief synopses and reviews.  The listings have links to the film’s Sundance page and its IMDB page (the title link sends you to the film’s IMDB page; the Sundance link will be provided at the end of each review snippet). I haven’t heard or read much about the World Cinema or Documentary categories, so most of my tentative schedule is with U.S. Dramatic Competition films, Premieres, Short Film Programs, and Midnight at Park City movies (I’m sure by the middle of the Festival we’ll hear about what international and documentary features are buzzing and worth seeing).

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2012 Sundance Film Festival Wrap-Up

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 in Features | 0 comments

7 days, 22 film screenings and an average of 4 hours of sleep per night – My 2012 Sundance Film Festival experience in a nutshell. It was an amazing we

ek at the world’s premier independent film festival in Park City, Utah, the place to be for Hollywood producers, filmmakers and stars (both industry veterans and up-and-comers) for two cold weeks in January each year. The festival has almost around-the-clock screenings of a variety of movies: dramas, genre flicks, documentaries, experimental films, and shorts (most of which are premieres). After each screening, the director and other filmmakers, sometimes cast members, take the stage for a short but insightful Q&A session. Fortunately many of my classmates and I got to catch several of the award winners (full list here). It was an unforgettable experience and one I hope to return to on numerous occasions in the future.

I divided up this wrap-up article into three main sections: 1) the films I saw, 2) the films I wanted to see or thought about seeing, and 3) the films I heard were good or interesting – the second and third sections are on PAGE 2. I also ranked the films I saw and listed their brief summaries in the order in which I saw them. The listings have links to my full reviews for each respective film. Many of the movies do not have specific release dates yet, but I will update the post as need be.

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84th Annual Academy Awards Nominations, Predictions, and Pre-Ceremony Analysis (UPDATED with results)

Posted by on Feb 25, 2012 in Features | Comments Off

The 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 26, 2012.  Billy Crystal returns to host the presentation for the ninth time (second only to Bob Hope’s 19 ceremonies).  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), largely comprised of filmmaking professionals and executives who vote on the Oscars, announced this year’s nominations on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. To view previous years’ nominees, winners, and analysis, click here.

Included below is the list of Oscar nominees. I roughly ranked the nominees in order of how likely they are to win in their respective categories, NOT in order of my preferences.  Most categories include a “Will win, contender(s), dark horse(s), should win, and snubs/who’s missing?” short list.  Below each category, I have written some thoughts, notes, and perspectives (under some categories) regarding the nominees’ chances, histories, and which are my favorites.

Also, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! – Please vote as if you were an AMPAS member and casting your own ballot, regardless of my predictions and what you think will win. Vote for what/who you think is the best in each category.

* I shall update this post after the awards presentation to highlight the winners (in red). *

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The Odds of Victory for The Hunger Games (2012) & An Assessment of Its Proclaimed PG-13 Rating

Posted by on Jul 28, 2011 in Features | 0 comments

With the Harry Potter film franchise completed and The Twilight Saga concluding in November 2012, movie studios have been scrambling to produce the next big, and most importantly profitable, series of adaptations.  They have had a largely disappointing past half-decade given that adaptations like The Golden Compass (2007), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and The Chronicles of Narnia films have failed to generate universal appeal and/or massive box-office success, though the latter two have been popular and lucrative enough to warrant sequels but lack the increasing dividends of Harry Potteror Twilight let alone the triumph of the essentially perfect Lord of the Rings film trilogy.  Just recall how many carbon copies come out in the years following such hugely successful films, whether they involve ancient/medieval wars or magic.  A few films have managed to rise above others, such as the Bourne series (which will continue next year with The Bourne Legacy), but even that solid franchise is less commercial and its target audience is not so widespread.  Despite a number of mediocre to flat-out-flop adaptations, studios still seek out the next gold mine to pack theaters and sell millions of dollars worth of merchandise that would make the economic recession seem almost nonexistent.  However, for the most part studios have yet to find suitable successors to the tent-pole franchises.

Enter The Hunger Games (2012).  Suzanne Collins’s vastly popular young adult novels The Hunger Games Trilogy have been green-lit into four films, the first of which will appear in theaters March 23, 2012.  The source material has all the elements necessary to become a successful film trilogy, but will all audiences, not just the fan-base of readers largely consisting of teenagers, find the movies entertaining and compelling?  Given the assertion that the film will be PG-13 and the fairly inappropriate comparison to the Twilight Saga, I am not entirely sure the filmmakers have the best approach for adapting the books.  Still, The Hunger Games has a great amount of potential that could reach all audiences and turn out to be not only a victorious adaptation but also a gripping film that stands on its own.

NOTE: I have read the novels.  Moreover, you don’t have to read the books before you read this editorial.  While the fans of the books will understand certain insights better, spoilers will be kept to a minimum for the uninitiated.

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Reflections on the Villains of "The Dark Knight Rises" & the Prospects of a Christopher Nolan 007 Movie

Posted by on Jan 22, 2011 in Features | 0 comments

Everyone is abuzz with either praise or criticism regarding the latest news for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Ever since The Dark Knight (2008) people have wondered and debated whether Nolan would recast the Joker, but he quickly dismissed any casting rumors. In addition, many fans considered the Riddler to be the next prime villain to enter Nolan’s Batman-universe, but he rejected that choice as well as the false rumor that Two Face is still alive. So then that left Catwoman and a handful of other notable villains already portrayed in former Batman movies including the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Bane. Some people believed Nolan would bring in other less prominent villains, such as Dr. Hugo Strange, Black Mask, Clayface, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, and Talia al-Ghul, or even create new ones. Everyone understands that Nolan’s Batman is in a more gritty, realistic world than Tim Burton’s dark one or Joel Schumacher’s fantastical one. Thus, many people believed Nolan would prefer villains without super-human powers. In the end, though, Deadline.com reported that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman in the Batman universe, and Tom Hardy, who joined the A-list cast a few months ago, will actually be Bane in the trilogy-ending movie. Here I shall make my considerations regarding the news and what this means for the film.

Also, later in the post you may vote on what you think of the casting and villain choices for the film.

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The 61st Annual American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Awards (UPDATED WITH RESULTS)

Posted by on Jan 15, 2011 in Features | 0 comments

Many people debate when/where movies are really “made.” Screenwriters will claim that the writing process is the most important part in making a movie; where else do a film’s story, characters, and plot develop? They are probably right in making such a claim. On the other hand, the auteur theory declares that directors are the true artists (responsible for imbuing their visions and style onto the script), and, in that sense, the direction they take while shooting the film is the pivotal part of the movie-making process. However, the most often overlooked part of filmmaking is the post-production process, specifically editing a film. Editors integrate all the other aspects of the filmmaking process; they actually put the movie together. And in some ways, editors even create the story when they choose what (and how much) footage to include and cut. Also, they are instrumental in creating a film’s pace and “feel.” Editing is a fundamental factor in leaving an effect on audiences. Like screenwriters, editors generally receive limited coverage and renown compared to directors, but they deserve to be recognized and awarded for their skills, laborious efforts, and accomplishments.

Regrettably absent from the list of Golden Globe categories are editing ones. (You can see my 68th Annual Golden Globes nominees and analysis post HERE). However, other awards systems, such as the Academy Awards, present editing awards. The American Cinema Editors (ACE) recently released their nominations for this year’s (2010) best film editing awards, officially known as the “ACE Eddie Awards,” which can also be found HERE. The presentation/ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 19, 2011. You can vote on this year’s best edited film at the bottom of the post.

Interestingly, the ACE Eddie Awards “is considered an integral precursor” to determining the Oscar for Best Picture. Deadline.com noted the connection: “No film has won Best Picture at the Oscars without also having received at least a Best Editing nomination since Ordinary People in 1981.” This may have to do to the fact that many of the ACE members are also members of the Academy of Motion-Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) who is responsible for the Oscars. This dynamic does not bode well for True Grit, Winter’s Bone, and other Oscar Best Picture hopefuls or dark horses since they did not garner Best Editing nominations. Continue reading to find out what films actually received nominations…

Winners are highlighted in red.*

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The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards – Nominees & Pre-Ceremony Analysis (UPDATED with results)

Posted by on Jan 15, 2011 in Features | 0 comments

Another year has passed, and the awards season is upon us. It is a time to recognize and honor the year’s best films, filmmakers and productions. The Academy Awards (or informally known as the Oscars) are the premier awards, which will presented by the Academy of Motion-Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on February 27, 2011. The Golden Globes, though, are probably the second most distinguished (For a list of all film awards, including festivals, click HERE). Most of them include a set of similar prizes but each one also contains unique rewards or titles. The Golden Globes involve awards regarding both motion pictures and television (TV) series. However, just because a film or filmmaker wins the Golden Globe does not necessarily mean that it or he/she will win the Oscar too; for example, in 2009 James Cameron’s Avatar won the GG but lost to his ex-wife’s, Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker at the Academy Awards and Mickey Rourke won the GG Best Actor for The Wrestler in 2008 but lost to Sean Penn (Milk) at the Oscars. Remember that dynamic as you read through my predictions and see/hear about the actual results.

The 68th annual Golden Globe awards ceremony will be broadcast live on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 8 PM EST and hosted by British comedian-actor Ricky Gervais. (If you would like to know more about the 68th Golden Globe Awards timeline, including various balloting and announcement dates, click HERE). The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), or those responsible for voting for the Golden Globes, announced this year’s nominations on December 14, 2010.

Included below is a list of nominations for all of the motion-picture categories (with the exception of the Best Original Song category). For a full list of all the Golden Globe categories and nominees (including TV series), click HERE. I ranked the nominees in order of how likely they are to win in their respective categories, NOT in order of my preferences. Nonetheless, I have written some thoughts, notes, and perspectives (under some categories) regarding the nominees’ chances, histories, and which are my favorites. Enjoy!

* The winners in each category are followed by an asterisk and appear red.

 


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Making the Case for "The Dark Knight Rises" Title

Posted by on Oct 27, 2010 in Features | 2 comments

While the new title for Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to his Batman trilogy is a bit repetitive and underwhelming on the surface, I am withholding my disapproval for it. Here I shall make a case for the title’s value.

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