Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The List Hero's Favourite Christmas Films

1.    It's A Wonderful Life  (1946)

Produced and directed by Frank Capra, and based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written byPhilip Van Doren Stern, the film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angelClarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and the contributions he has made to his community.

2.    Home Alone  (1990)
About an 8-year old boy named Kevin who wakes up one day to discover he is the only one left in the family home (his family are en route to Paris for a family vacation). While his parents realize their mistake and scramble to get back to the US, a pair of thieves attempt to rob the family home and Kevin is forced to hold them back with a collection of homemade booby traps.

3.    Elf   (2003)

On Christmas Eve, a baby crawls into Santa Claus' (Ed Asner) sack at an orphanage. Santa unwittingly takes the baby back to the North Pole, where it is decided that Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) will raise him. The baby, named Buddy (Will Ferrell), is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause Papa Elf to tell him the truth. 

4.    The Nightmare Before Christmas  (1993)

stop motion fantasy film directed byHenry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from "Halloween Town" who opens a portal to "Christmas Town". 

5.  Batman Returns  (1992)

Set around Christmas time, Batman Returns is directed by Tim Burton, and is the sequel to Burton's Batman (1989), and features Michael Keaton reprising the title role, with Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Best Picture Nominations Predictions

As awards season develops, there are certain films that kick up a bit more buzz than others.  So, with 2 months to go until the Academy Awards, here is my prediction for the top gong, 'Best Picture', nominations.  Despite the fact that I haven't seen some of these flicks, there are clear indications as to which films are valued by the critics. Some of my favourites are not fancied, so they get a special mention at the bottom.

My prediction:

1.  The Social Network (probable winner)
List Hero rating:  4 stars
Great cast, great script, great director, and a very interesting story.

2.  Inception
List Hero rating:  5 stars
Original idea, phenomenal effects, and a superb ensemble cast.

3.  Toy Story 3
List Hero rating:  5 stars
A beautifully animated, emotional farewell, with a few twists along the way.

4.  The Kids Are All Right
List Hero rating:  4 stars
An original and light-hearted twist on mixed up family troubles.

5.  Winter's Bone
List Hero rating:  4 stars
The film is pretty dark and is held up by a very strong performance from its cast, particularly lead actress Jennifer Lawrence (pictured below).

6.  Black Swan
List Hero rating:  5 stars
Psychological drama with a gorgeous soundtrack and a personal best performance from Natalie Portman.  

7.  The Fighter
List Hero rating:  Not seen

8.  127 Hours
List Hero rating:  Not seen

9.  The King's Speech
List Hero rating:  Not seen

10.  Rabbit Hole
List Hero rating:  Not seen

Films that I enjoyed, but won't get nominations:

-  Shutter Island
List Hero rating:  5 stars
A thrilling Scorsese picture, but not seen as his strongest (and was released way back in February) so won't be nominated.

-  Greenberg
List Hero rating:  5 stars
Ben Stiller (pictured below) gives a fantastic straight performance as an awkward outsider.  The character development in Noah Baumbach's movie is excellent but their doesn't appear to be enough buzz around to get a nod.

-  The Town
List Hero rating:  4 stars
An excellent, exciting movie, with great performances (particularly from Jeremy Renner).  However, it's fairly predictable and Ben Affleck isn't a big favourite with the academy (yet).

-  Despicable Me
List Hero rating:  4 stars
The humour is mainly aimed at children but this has an original plot, and a really emotional finale, but it's unlikely that two animated movies will be nominated - and Toy Story 3 is not going to budge.

-  Cemetry Junction
List Hero rating:  4 stars
Funny, touching, and has a great cast, but not big enough in the states to get a nomination.