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Old 02-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #126
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i think the cabin in the woods poster is awesome.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:07 PM   #127
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I'm with Franklin.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #128
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Spring Breakers will win this award next year.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:24 PM   #129
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That Mondo Cabin in the Woods poster is even better.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:01 PM   #130
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Yeah, Cabin in the Woods should have won.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:06 PM   #131
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This is like Marisa Tomei all over again!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:17 AM   #132
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Best Adapted Screenplay
At the First Annual Golden Stakes the adapted screenplay category was clearly stronger than the original category, but every year since then it’s been either the original category that was clearly better or it was maybe more of an even split. This year the adapted category has finally come back to its dominant role, at least when it comes to shoe-in nominations.

Bernie: Richard Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth screenplay for Bernie (based on Hollandsworth’s own Texas Monthly article) feel like a rather modest accomplishment, but reveals a lot of interesting material beneath the surface. The film’s structure (which is a hybrid of drama and mockumentary) allows you to perceive this true story from multiple perspectives and paints an intriguing portrait of the town in which it’s set. That pays off late in the film when it becomes a quirky look what “justice” really means in such a town.

Cloud Atlas: When I heard that there was an adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas in the works I thought the people behind it were nuts. Mitchell’s novel seems to have almost been written in an attempt to defy Hollywood and any adaptation would face major challenges. Well, I guess I was wrong because the three filmmakers behind this adaptation have managed to overcome most of the obstacles a lot better than I would have thought. Not every choice they make is perfect, but I’m more than willing to honor the film based on the degree of difficulty.

Life of Pi: Speaking of adaptations seemingly unfilmable novels, David Magee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s popular novel The Life of Pi also had an uphill battle. Magee does a great job of balancing the story’s fantastical and realistic elements and also of keeping the story active even though there’s only one (human) character on screen for much of the film’s screen time. There are some story elements like the frame story that you could quibble with, but I think way they serve the film’s excellent ending makes up for it.

Lincoln: Lincoln’s status as an adapted screenplay is a little questionable (I’m willing to bet that Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln biography wasn’t the predominant source used to write it), but I’m not going to fight the classification. There’s a whole lot of complex history that Tony Kushner needed to fit into a relatively short run time while keeping everything moving really quickly. Kushner has clearly put a lot of work into this project and it shows on the screen.

The Silver Linings Playbook: I can’t say that I’d ever heard of Matthew Quick’s novel The Silver Linings Playbook before David O. Russell turned it into a film, but I can tell just by watching the movie that Russell did a lot of work to make the story his own. There are some bits here that could be said to be taken from the “romantic comedy” formula, but Russell’s screenplay works around these tropes so well that you just don’t care. It does a great job of creating characters you care about and giving them great dialogue.

And the Golden Stake goes to…
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
The Silver Linings Playbook

My mind tells me to go with Lincoln, my heart says to go with The Silver Linings Playbook and I’m going with my heart on this one. I do have some reservations if only because I’m not entirely sure that this screenplay would have worked as well with different actors and a different director, but that doesn’t change the fact that Russell doesn’t seem to screw up a single beat along the way. 
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:29 AM   #133
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Good choice. It's the one that bugs me the most in my Oscar picks...
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:55 AM   #134
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Woot!
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:58 AM   #135
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Great choice. Good call on Cloud Atlas, too.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #136
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Most Under-appreciated Film
All in all, I feel like most movies this year got credit where it was due. More so than usual anyway. Still I feel like there have been some movies that have somehow or other gotten a bad rep either from critics or audiences or both and this award is meant to give them a place to shine.

Cloud Atlas: Cloud Atlas was a bold experiment of a film, at least by the standards of 100 million dollar special effects films with large Hollywood casts. It wasn’t perfect, and some people disliked it for valid reasons, but I feel like a lot of people dismissed it out of sheer closed mindedness. I understand that a three hour film which tells six stories with cast members playing multiple roles could be a little hard for some audiences to handle, but maybe critics should be challenging them to broaden their horizons rather than indulging them in their biases.

Compliance: There’s something about this movie that pisses some people off. When it debuted at Sundance there were reportedly a number of walkouts and the press conference after the screening was… hostile. This reputation followed the movie to its main release, where it got a slightly more open minded reception from the general release critics but I still feel like it didn’t get the audience it needed. The film recreates a compelling and disturbing story and I don’t think it sparked the public debate that it should have.

Kill List: It might be different on the other side of the Atlantic, but Kill List never got a fair shake in the America simply because it had a really shaky release schedule. Rather than giving the film a real platformed release, IFC threw the film out on VOD in January (a month where no one is focusing on this kind of genre fare) and then just barely put in just ten theaters a month later. Consequently, the film never really became the center of discussion and was only seen by the most dedicated of horror fans.

Prometheus: Maybe not under-appreciated so much as ridiculously over-bashed. Granted, the film’s detractors did have legitimate reasons to be disappointed, the film has problems, but good god the way this film was nitpicked to death was disappointing. I feel like the internet has made film-goers way to sensitive to “plot holes” possibly because they need to find ways to “objectively” judge a film rather than relying on a subjective opinion (The Dark Knight Rises suffered from this trend as well).

Red Hook Summer: I think there’s something categorically unfair about the way that Steven Soderbergh has had every last experimental whim indulged by both critics and the studios while Spike Lee’s more experimental works have largely been either ignored or treated with hostility. This latest effort of his is far from perfect, but it harkens back to the kind of personal filmmaking that characterized Lee’s work in the 90s, and that was something I was more than happy to relive.

And the Golden Stake goes to…
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Cloud Atlas

I thought about giving this to Prometheus, but at least people gave that movie a chance. There’s a line in the movie Easy Rider where Jack Nicholdon’s character says that people love to “talk to you about individual freedom. But [when] they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.” That seems to be true of the film world as well, because people love to talk about making more ambitious and creative blockbusters but when someone actually makes one they’re usually greeted with hostility. The abject failure of Cloud Atlas is going to hurt the next guy who wants to do something original with a larger budget, while the free pass given to The Avengers will only encourage studios to play it safe in the future.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:12 PM   #137
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How is The Avengers safe? Marvel took C-list characters (Iron Man, Thor), a hero that alienates non-Americans, and rebooted The Hulk and crossed their fingers in hope that these series of films would lead to the big payoff. Then they hired Joss Whedon, a niche entertainment figure, to helm a lighthearted summer fare in a Post Chris Nolan world of cinema. It was a very expensive gamble. You don't see Warner Bros and FOX doing this.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #138
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Totally agree about Cloud Atlas; it's one of the movies from last year that I'm most looking forward to watching again. In fact, it nearly cracked my Top Ten list for 2012.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:41 PM   #139
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Quote:
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How is The Avengers safe? Marvel took C-list characters (Iron Man, Thor), a hero that alienates non-Americans, and rebooted The Hulk and crossed their fingers in hope that these series of films would lead to the big payoff. Then they hired Joss Whedon, a niche entertainment figure, to helm a lighthearted summer fare in a Post Chris Nolan world of cinema. It was a very expensive gamble.
The movie itself is boilerplate. It's a remake of Transformers with the robots replaced with superheros whose viability in the marketplace had already been proven by the previous films. There is nothing risky about making a CGI driven superhero movie in 2012, especially not one that is essentially the third sequel to a known hit (Iron Man) and especially not one that follows the correct formulas and panders to the audience shamelessly at every turn.

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You don't see Warner Bros and FOX doing this.
The studios which made Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi? I think they know a thing or two about taking risks.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #140
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Warner Bros didn't make Cloud Atlas. They only distributed it. Cloud Atlas was funded by dozens of European investors. But I'll give you Life of Pi. FOX doesn't generally take risks, especially under Tom Rothman, but they made an exception this time. Good for them. But, really, every expensive movie is a risk. I'm sure Disney considered John Carter a "safe" movie when they made.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #141
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Action Film of the Year
The most popular film genre has traditionally been the action film, if only because it’s the genre that aims to entertain mass audiences on the grandest scale. It’s a genre that seeks to get the blood pumping above all else and because of that it often becomes hard for an action movie compete with less adrenaline fueled fare on critics’ year end lists. That’s why I have a special award for films that seek to provide action thrills. Keep in mind, this award is meant for true action films, films which are entirely driven by action. More conventionally dramatic movies that happen to have an action/suspense scene or two will not be eligible.

The Avengers: The superhero movie is a dominant strand of the modern action film genre, and this is the film within that sub-strand that clearly pleased the most audiences. Part of the film’s draw was its snappy dialogue and famous characters, but the main attraction was of course the special effects and action scenes. Between a handful of fights with the film’s principle heroes, the attack on the flying aircraft carrier, and the climactic battle in New York, this deffinately had a lot of that.

The Dark Knight Rises: While The Avengers held it down on the CGI-driven side of the superhero genre, TDKR fits more in the lineage of the analog blockbuster, a sort of Die Hard with capes if you will. Even without the superhero angle the basic set-up of a terrorist taking over a city would easily be the makings of a good action film. Between the fights with Bane, a couple of chases, and the large scale battle scene at the end of the film, Nolan ends this trilogy on an action-packed note.

The Grey: Liam Neeson has been in “**** it, pay me” mode for the last couple years and it’s led him to become an unlikely action star. This wilderness adventure utilizes him way better than the Taken movies and gives us a different kind of action film which is slower and more contemplative than what people usually expect from a Hollywood action flick. It’s probably the least “action-packed” of the movies here, and I did consider disqualifying it, but there certainly were pulse pounding and exciting moments like the chase scene in the river and the rope crossing, so I’m allowing it.

The Raid: Hollywood is arguably the world’s action movie capital, but Asian cinema has also contributed greatly to the genre in part through its creation of the martial arts film. Hong Kong used to be the capital for this stuff, but recently film distributors have looked toward other countries like South Korea and Thailand. This film is Indonesia’s entry in the great action movie race, and it’s a wall to wall knockout which utilizes both John Woo style gun-violence and also displays of the local martial art known as Silat.

Skyfall: Alright, so I’ve made it known that I’m not this movie’s biggest fan, and find it less than thrilling both as a Bond movie and as an a film in general. However, in the grand scheme of things it is certainly above average and when weighed against a lot of this year’s lesser action movies it is at least worth short-listing. That opening scene was pretty awesome and there were some other decent action scenes elsewhere in the film like the final shootout.

And the Golden Stake goes to…
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
The Raid

Looked at strictly as a film (with characters, themes, dialogue, etc.) this is almost certainly the worst movie of all these nominees. However, this category isn’t about any of that, it’s about deciding which film works best as an action film, and in that regard this movie absolutely rules. It’s a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end and if I’m ever in the mood to see some combat I’ m much more likely to pop it into the blu-ray player than any of the other nominated films.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:56 PM   #142
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Do you find its getting harder to define a film as an action film?
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #143
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Do you find its getting harder to define a film as an action film?
Kind of, especially this year. Is Zero Dark Thirty an action film? How about Django Unchained? Cloud Atlas? Prometheus? The Hunger Games? My answer to all of those would be "no," but all of those movies have prominant action elements. Hell, two of the year's best action scenes were in Flight and Life of Pi, but those certainly aren't action movies.

I heard people calling Source Code an action movie last year as well as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, that certainly didn't make sense to me. In 2009 a lot of people called The Hurt Locker an action movie.

It used to be that action movies were easy to spot (they all involved dudes in headbands mowing people down with M60s), but now it kind of bleeds into everything.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:47 PM   #144
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Meh. I personally find The Raid to be overrated.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #145
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It used to be that action movies were easy to spot (they all involved dudes in headbands mowing people down with M60s), but now it kind of bleeds into everything.
That's because the action movie is dead...along with the comedy.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:52 AM   #146
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Do you find its getting harder to define a film as an action film?
Hollywood barely makes pure action films anymore. Ever since The Matrix and the rise of superhero movies, genre-blenders have become the norm. That being said, if you wanna see a great 2012 pure action film than look no further than Mel Gibson's Get the Gringo which is avaliable on Netflix streaming.


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Old 02-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #147
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Comedy of the Year
When it comes to horror movies and action movies I’ve been very strict about what does and doesn’t belong in the genre being examined. In the case of comedy that isn’t really an option. If there were enough good pure comedies this year I’d probably be just as strict, but there really weren’t. I had to either expand into movies that were only partly comedic or I could nominate movies like Ted and The Dictator which I didn’t even like or find funny, and I went with the former. For the record I’m looking at all of these nominees strictly from a comedic perspective and will only really be judging them based on how funny they are and how they handle their humorous sides.

21 Jump Street: Around 2007 or 2008 this category would have been filled with the Judd Apatow-style “frat” comedies that had been all the rage not too long ago. I liked those movies a lot and have been increasingly disappointed by that movement’s slow death. Pretty much the only Hollywood movie that really held that torch this year was 21 Jump Street, a film which used the basic concept of the old T.V. show and used it as a jumping off point for some pointed high school satire, some cool comedian cameos, and some quality comedic interplay between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarentino’s films have never billed themselves as comedies, but they’ve had an irreverent tone which had them walk close to the line of being an outright comedy. With Django Unchained I think he may have finally come as close as he ever will to fully crossing that line, which is ironic given that it’s tackling subject matter which most directors would only come close to with the utmost reverence and solemnity. There are a ton of laugh-lines in Django Unchained, especially when Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson are on screen.

Klown: Klown is probably the most laugh out loud funny subtitled film I’ve seen since The Dinner Game, but that’s probably not saying much because the companies that distribute foreign films usually aren’t really looking to bring movies that are simply “funny” over to our shores. They are (rightfully) more interested in bringing over film’s that are artful and sophisticated, two things that Klown is absolutely not. The film is far closer to being The Hangover than it is to being Amour, but the jokes do work even across language barriers.

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson doesn’t always make films that have you laughing uproariously, but all of his films are at their hearts comedies. Moonrise Kingdom is a good example, it has a lighthearted tone which allows for much merriment, but it doesn’t necessarily go out of its way to generate a laugh every minute. Still there are a lot of genuinely funny moments to be found here, in part because you’ve got actors like Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand playing it at eleven.

The Silver Linings Playbook: Normally when you hear the phrase “romantic comedy” you take both the promise of “romance” and “comedy” with a grain of salt. Every once in a while though, you get a film like The Silver Linings Playbook; which is both more romantic and more comedic than most movies that specialize in both. David O. Russell has an ear for local dialect and knows how to build witty banter around it, and all of the film’s actors have a good sense of comedic timing.

And the Golden Stake goes to…
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Django Unchained

God help me, I laughed the most at this movie. It wasn’t considered a comedy by the Golden Globes, and if there had been more competition from straightforward comedies I might have balked at nominating it here, but if we’re going to consider it a comedy, it’s one hell of a comedy. The fact that it makes comedy out of such grim material makes it all the more outlandish and wild.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:52 AM   #148
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The best comedy of 2012 was Silver Linings Playbook, but if we're going for funniest it would be 21 Jump Street.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:45 AM   #149
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I agree with Henri.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #150
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I agree with Henri. Though it hasn't exactly been a stellar year for comedy, truth be told.
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