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Everything New Is Old Again: Notes on the 2012 Academy Awards Telecast PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 27 February 2012 13:34

Best Actress Meryl StreepThe first trophy handed out at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony was for Best Cinematography, a prize that I predicted would go to The Tree of Life but that instead went to Hugo. (Seriously, after his undeserved losses for 2006’s Children of Men and now the Terrence Malick film, exactly whom does Emmanuel Lubezki have to do to win an Oscar?) But that was actually my second incorrect assumption of the evening, because as soon as host Billy Crystal stepped on stage, I said to the others at my viewing party, “Here comes the standing ovation,” and the audience – despite giving the man a warm reception – remained seated. Did the crowd have a collective premonition of just how spectacularly Crystal would bomb last night?

Woodstock Options: "Wanderlust," "Act of Valor," "Tyler Perry's Good Deeds," and "Gone" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 26 February 2012 13:06

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston in WanderlustWANDERLUST

If I could pick one show-biz personality with whom I could be best buds, I’m pretty certain I’d choose David Wain, the director of Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, and the new fish-out-of-water comedy Wanderlust. Can you imagine how awesome a Wain-hosted party must be? Even if there were awkward moments, and draggy moments, and things weren’t quite as wild as you hoped, he’d still invite the likes of Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Ken Marino, Michaela Watkins, Malin Akerman, Kathryn Hahn, and Joe Lo Truglio. Whatever your qualms, wouldn’t the hilarity they provided make the experience totally worth it?

Silence Is (Gonna Be) Golden: 2012 Oscar Predictions - "Pencils Down!" Edition PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 23 February 2012 18:45

Uggie and Jean Dujardin in The Artist

[Author's note: Well, considering that these original Oscar predictions are in print, I guess I'm stuck with them, right? Au contraire! Over the 13 days since this article was originally published online, Hollywood's arts & crafts guilds announced their winners, the British Academy of Film & Television Awards (BAFTA) were handed out, and numerous prognosticators far more in-the-loop than I am have weighed in. And so I'm finally prepared to offer my absolute, final, turn-in-your-Oscar-pool-guesses-now choices, having changed my original guesses on a full seven of the 24 categories. My final picks, along with some commentary, follow the originally published predictions. And don't forget to follow my reactions to the ceremony at Let's see how awful my spelling gets as the night rolls on and I get more and more dru- ... ! Um-m-m ... . More and more excited, I mean!]

After tying my personal best two years ago, when I guessed correctly in 18 of the 24 individual Academy Award races, I experienced a rather sizable setback in 2011, amassing only 13 right. How am I feeling about my predictions this year?

Well ... I’ve certainly felt worse.

Mr. and Mr. Smith: "This Means War," "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," and "The Secret World of Arrietty" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 19 February 2012 21:45

Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, and Reese Witherspoon in This Means WarTHIS MEANS WAR

The latest instantly disposable, cinematic-junk-food entertainment by Charlie’s Angels and Terminator Salvation director McG is the romantic-comedy action thriller This Means War, and it should be said that the first half of the movie isn’t bad. It’s closer to excruciating.

The Time-Traveler Wife: "The Vow," "Safe House," and "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 12 February 2012 12:42

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in The VowTHE VOW

Even though I’m frequently annoyed, if not downright appalled, by them, I really don’t ask a lot from traditional romantic weepies. If the actors involved share more-than-sufficient chemistry, and the film provides at least a decent amount of legitimate passion and pathos – with a few good jokes thrown in to keep the proceedings human – I’ll generally feel that I’ve gotten my money’s worth. And happily, I got my money’s worth at The Vow. I’d hardly argue that director Michael Sucsy’s love-among-the-mental-ruins effort is a good movie, but despite never being as interesting as it keeps threatening to be, this audience-friendly drama fulfills its basic requirements with the utmost sincerity and even something approaching wit.

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