Thursday, March 11, 2010


So the Oscars are over...I was definitely way off on my predictions, some that I'm glad about and some that I'm not. I like that The Hurt Locker upset Avatar all night, but I really didn't think either film deserved the hype that they got. The Hurt Locker is perhaps more deserving of the awards that it received, but I definitely wasn't blown away by it. The award that ticked me off the most was Best Original Screenplay. There's no way that The Hurt Locker should have won over Inglourious Basterds. The dialogue in Tarantino's movie was brilliant, creative, intense and definitely should have won that award.

But anyway, what's done is done. Another year, another new selection of films to see. If you're like me and you enjoy reading/watching upcoming releases and deciding what you think, you may want to invest in those predictions. Now you can with, the Hollywood Stock Exchange. It's exactly what you would guess it is: you can buy shares of not only films, but also TV shows and actors themselves. For example, you can already buy shares of Avatar 2 (symbol AVAT2) for $242.04. Iron Man 2 (symbol IRNM2) is currently going for $367.69. You may want to jump onto Tron Legacy, which is currently at $168.65, but I'd guess that'll at least double in the coming months. Unfortunately, however, this site doesn't run on real money but on "Hollywood Dollars," which are basically worthless. I'm hoping this changes eventually. Regardless, it could be fun.

You can sign up for free and get $2,000,000 to invest they say, the rest is up to you. I like the concept and might jump on eventually. As for you, don't blame me if you lose all your fake money on buying shares of Gary Busey.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Predictions

This Sunday is the broadcast of the 82nd Oscars, the premiere award event for film, presented this year by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. It will be the first year in a long time that there are 10 nominations for best film and I've seen all of them except Up in the Air. Based on the 9 I've seen, I think this has been a great year in film to bring back 10 nominations. It's safe to say that, like it or not, Avatar, with its 9 nominations, will probably clean up. I just hope it doesn't cast a shadow over the other deserving nominations.

Here are my predictions for who/what will win in this year's categories:

- Best Picture: Avatar. Most people are thinking it's between this and The Hurt Locker but I think District 9 should get more credit here. Because it was freakin' awesome. What they should do is make an exception and enter director Kathryn Bigelow's Point Break instead of The Hurt Locker and just let it win everything.

- Actor in a Leading Role: Tough call here...especially since I haven't seen any of these films yet. I'm between Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth and Morgan Freeman. Interestingly, both Bridges and Freeman have been nominated 5 times between leading and supporting role...Freeman has won once for supporting...and this is Colin Firth's first nomination. Based on that, I'm narrowing it down to between Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth and saying that Colin Firth wins it.

- Actor in a Supporting Role: Another tough call since I've only seen one of these films (Inglorious Basterds). Christoph Waltz was fantastic in that role and I'd love to see him win but I'm thinking this goes to either Matt Damon or Woody Harrelson. Damon has one win under his belt for writing Good Will Hunting and I'm thinking he's picking up his second here.

- Actress in a Leading Role: I've seen all of these roles except Helen Mirren's. Sandra Bullock was surprisingly good in The Blind Side but it's easy to be surprised considering her past acting gigs. Meryl Streep did an amazing job as Julia Child but I'm going out on a limb and saying that Carey Mulligan steals this one.

- Actress in a Supporting Role: I've only seen one of these roles: Mo'Nique in Precious. And she deserves this win. I think she'll take it.

- Animated Feature Film: Don't yell at me, but I think Up is a little bit overrated. That said, it's the only nomination I've seen and considering all the buzz about it, it's safe to say that it will win.

- Art Direction: Avatar

- Cinematography: The Hurt Locker

- Costume Design: Straight up guess on this one, but it seems whenever there's a Victorian-era British nominee, it I'll say The Young Victoria.

- Directing: Here's the tough call of the night...James Cameron or Kathryn Bigelow? I'm hoping Kathryn Bigelow but thinking it will be James Cameron.

- Documentary Feature: I've seen 2 of these, The Cove and Food Inc. I'd be happy seeing either of them win but think that considering the lengths that the crew went to in The Cove, that it should win.

- Film Editing: District 9 deserves to win something and I think this is probably the one it could take.

- Music (Original Score): Avatar

- Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker

- Sound Mixing: Avatar

- Visual Effects: Avatar

- Writing (Adapted Screenplay): I'm torn here. I like Nick Hornby's writing style (An Education) but I don't think it will win here. District 9 is one hell of a screenplay but I'm thinking Up in the Air might steal it.

- Writing (Original Screenplay): Give it to Tarantino!! Personal favorite aside, Tarantino knows how to write dialogue and I think he'll take this one unless the Academy gets all snooty about his violence. We'll see.

Enjoy the show...let me know if you agree/disagree.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 2010 Movies

Well it's Oscar season. Nominees are preparing speeches, picking our their outfits and if you're James Cameron, probably clearing off some shelf space. But I'll get to my Oscar picks tomorrow. For now, I'd like to dive into the new films coming out this month. There's a rather eclectic collection of films coming out this month and here are my impressions...

What to see:

Alice in Wonderland (Mar. 5) - The release of the month. People have been excited about this for a long time and rightly so because Tim Burton and a hallucinogenic-like fairytale go together like (cue the Forrest Gump voice) peas and carrots. Stoners across the country are preparing for their minds to be blown as this movie is being released in 3D. I have to admit that Johnny Depp as a kooky character (like in Willy Wonka) is a little weird to me but I trust the judgment of the long-associated pair of Depp and Burton.

Green Zone (Mar. 12) - At first, I thought this might be part of the Bourne series since it's Matt Damon playing a Jason Bourne-like character and it's directed by Paul Greengrass who directed those movies. But it's not. Nonetheless, the two have obviously worked well together in the rogue agent action setting. I won't rush to the theater for this one but I'm sure it'll be entertaining.

Greenberg (Mar. 19) - [Insert corny "green" subliminal St. Pat's Day joke] Yes, another similar sounding film but certainly much different. The first thing that attracted me to this comedy starring Ben Stiller was that it's written and directed by a brilliantly talented man named Noah Baumbach, who wrote such films as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Squid & The Whale and the recent Fantastic Mr. Fox (obviously a friend/partner of Wes Anderson). In the same style, this looks like another dry, intelligent comedy about Ben Stiller figuring out what to do with his life. Plus the music is done by James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Mar. 19) - Can't say much about this because I haven't read the book yet but it's been a hugely popular bestseller from the late author Stieg Larsson, who left this as the first in a trilogy of books.

The Runaways
(Mar. 19) - I'd be a little more hesitant about this film, based on the all-female rock group that formed in the 70's and grew in popularity despite their lack of a y chromosome, however, this film received good reviews at Sundance and personally, I'd hate to see a film based on a rock group fail. Apparently Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning have great performances and best of all, it's directed by artist Floria Sigismondi who has created such dark works as the video for Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People."

On the fence:

She's Out of My League (Mar. 12) - It's just really hard to tell how a comedy will do based on trailers these days. Based on seeing this trailer, I'd say it'll bomb. However, it's written by the 2 guys who wrote Sex Drive, which I also thought looked dumb when I saw the trailer but turned out to be pretty funny. I'll wait for DVD on this one.

Hot Tub Time Machine (Mar. 26) - See above...written by the same guys. Between the two, I guess I'd vote for this one. It'd be difficult to top this as the dumbest movie title of the year but I'm really pulling for Craig Robinson because he's funny as hell but hasn't had a breakthrough lead role yet.

Repo Men (Mar. 19) - Not sure if this has any relation to Repo Man starring Emilio Estevez. Haven't read much about this release in general actually. What I do know is that the director and writers don't have a lot under their belt so it's hard to judge how Jude Law and Forest Whitaker will team up. However, RZA is in the cast so that's automatic points right there. Plus, they've put out some pretty sweet posters for this film (click right).

No Thanks:

Brooklyn's Finest - Believe me, I'd love for Wesley Snipes to get back on the scene with a bang, but I don't think it'll happen despite the fact that he's accompanied by Don Cheadle, Richard Gere and Ethan Hawke. It's directed by Antoine Fuqua, of Training Day fame. Training Day was decent, but definitely overrated and it's been the highlight of his directing career (his other films include Tears of the Sun, King Arthur and Shooter).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I came across this website via NPR. Codeorgan was developed by a creative British marketing company called DLKW. The site allows you to enter any URL and through an algorithm, processes the body code of the site into music. Pretty slick idea.

The music is composed of three parts: key, synth and drums. The keys are in a pentatonic scale, depending on the most common letter of the source code that is part of the A-G musical scale: major scale if that number is even, minor if it's odd (so for example, if you have 164 E's on the body source of your site, it will process that into a major pentatonic scale). 10 synthesizer effects are available and this program chooses one based on the amount of content on the particular site. Thirdly, there are also 10 different drum loops and those are chosen based on the ratio of all letters to the number of letters in the musical scale.

This is one of those sites that you can find yourself playing around with for an hour. Some sites sound horrid; some are interesting. This blog sounds kind of like a broken grandfather clock with a drum beat (though that will inevitably change once I post this). It'd be interesting to intentionally create a page based on the algorithm in order to produce good music. If anyone plays with this and finds a cool site to use, please leave the site in the comments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MLB 2K10 Challenge

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to training in less than 18 hours; football fans are strung out across the country in serious withdrawal, waiting for the baseball season to start.

Meanwhile, gamers across the country are training for the inevitable pulled muscles, carpal tunnel development and getting ready to stay glued to their TVs come March 2nd...but for good reason. On March 2nd, MLB 2K10 is released for Xbox 360 and PS3. Many gamers have either reserved a copy or will certainly try to get their hands on a copy and start playing right away, striving to pitch a perfect game.

So what's the good reason you ask? 2K Sports, the creator of the game, is offering 1 million bones to the first person to pitch a perfect game in the game before May 2nd. Yes...$1,000,000. Gamers posted videos on YouTube last year of their perfect game performances with MLB 2K9, but this year's edition has upped the ante on pitching control and feel.

So you've gotta think...considering how many hours serious gamers dedicate to playing video games even without extreme incentives such as this, the perfect game must be virtually impossible to achieve if this company is offering such a bold contest. Well apparently that's not the case...2K Sports has essentially put aside a million dollars in anticipation of the winner. Chris Snyder, director of marketing even said "I would be shocked if someone doesn't get it."

Game on people. More info here.