Academy Award 2019: Music Nominees

Well hello there. Around this time last year, I teamed up with some really cool people to cover that year’s Academy Award nominees. And we decided to do it again, splitting the nominees between us and discussing it on our blogs. And just like last year, I am covering the music nominees, because I’ve barely seen anything nominated for an Oscar this year, and these categories are the only ones I can do from my room for free in a perfectly legal manner. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
Let’s start with the scores first. No real reason, just seems reasonable. But before we get into that, we have a comment here from the lovely Maddy of FiveThreeNinety regarding what she considers a major snub:

HOW First Man was not even nominated baffles to me the point of not being able to see the actual contenders. I was convinced that was a sure win.
Thank you, Maddy. Your thoughts are much appreciated. Now, on with the nominees!

Black Panther – Ludwid Göransson

First up we have the score for Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther”, which I haven’t seen yet. I know, weird. Still, any thoughts on the movie itself do not matter, it’s what the music is like that matters. And not gonna lie, from what I’ve heard, the score by Ludwig Göransson is pretty stellar, mixing the typical superhero brass with a lot of African percussion and woodwind, and even a little bit of interesting electronica to create one of the more unique scores within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

BlackkKlansman – Terence Blanchard

Next up is the score from the latest Spike Lee joint, “BlacKkKlansman” (that stylization really fucks up my flow). A true story about a black police detective infiltrating the KKK. So what does Blanchard bring in for the music? Well, he gives us a score that mixes somber string work, march percussion, and even a little bit of blues guitar, creating an absolutely stunning sound that seeps into the soul and just creates a sense of dread. Yeah, it’s a good one.

Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman

From composer Marc Shaiman we have the score for “Mary Poppins Returns”, the sequel to the 1964 musical classic. And it’s a fairly standard score here. Not bad in the slightest, it’s just that we’ve heard this kind of stuff before in Disney movies for god knows how long. The sung songs are a lot of fun, and the main score is easy on the ears, so the music here is just a bit of good ol’ crowd pleasing.

Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat

Next up, we have the score for Wes Anderson stop motion film “Isle of Dogs”, composed by one of my favorites, Alexandre Desplat. Mixing in a lot of Asian percussion and chorals mixed in with the occasional regular brass, strings, and piano, it makes for a fun and quirky sound that also has a nice emotional undertone.

If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell

Next up we have Nicholas Britell’s score for “If Beale Street Could Talk”, Barry Jenkins’ movie based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name. And holy fuck, this score hits hard. Somber strings, emotional piano pieces, and a general sense of sadness makes it a stunning feast for the ears. But you know what it reminds me of at times? Nick Cave’s score for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (still a mouthful), which has a similar sound. That’s not saying that “Beale Street” doesn’t stand out musically, because it really does.

And here’s a comment from Martin of Through the Silver Screen:

“Re-teaming with Barry Jenkins after his Oscar nominated work in Moonlight, Nicholas Britell did it again creating a score that was both beautiful and melancholic, capturing the joy and despair of the main characters beautifully. But by far one of the biggest snubs here was for Justin Hurwitz’s First Man score, which had it been nominated would surely have come back down to earth to win the statue. Ludwig Göransson’s wonderful work for Black Panther is also very much worthy of the gong, as it was grounded in the beauty of the continent of Africa.”

And here’s one from Nathan:

Best Original Score’s real winner (Justin Hurwitz’s First Man) inexplicably missed an Oscar nomination but Nicholas Britell’s If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous, brooding composition that enriches the film’s tenderly melancholic exploration and portrait of love. It should, and probably will, win but faces stiff competition from Black Panther.

Biggest chance of winning: Isle of Dogs.
My pick: BlacKkKlansman.

Best Original Song
And now we move on to the second half of this post, the part where we talk about the best original song nominees. So let’s do it.

All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar/Sza – Black Panther

Man, “Black Panther”, raking in the nominations. So here we have “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA (apparently pronounced Sizza). I’m not the biggest fan of the style of music that this is, but I do also think that this sounds quite good and I can see why it was nominated. So yeah, it’s pretty good.

The Place Where Lost Things Go – Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns

Remember how I said that the sung songs were the better part of the “Mary Poppins Returns” music? This still applies, because this is beautiful. The minimalist composition gives it a nice emotional tone, the lyrics are beautiful, and Emily Blunt’s singing is stunning and it really reaches into my heart. So yeah, this song is very good.

I’ll Fight – Jennifer Hudson – RBG

Not every day a documentary has a best original song. But “RBG”, a documentary about supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had it, and it’s the kind of grand, sweeping, soulful pop tune that you’d hear everywhere a few years ago. And I like thos kinds of tunes, so this kind of appeals to me. Is it the best example of this kind of song? No. But is it still a strong contender? Hell yeah.

When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings – Tim Blake Nelson/Willie Watson – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

In 2018, the Coen brothers gave us anthology western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, and that movie gave us this song. The singing for Nelson and Watson is stunning and just fits the whole quirky western singing. The small amount of instruments also gives it a small intimate feeling that just works so well for the story told in the song. It’s a charming little song that I kinda love.

Shallow – Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born

How many versions of “A Star is Born” do we have now? 46? What, only five? Okay. Anyway, this version stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and people apparently like it a lot. And this song, “Shallow” is the song from it that got an Oscar nomination. So is it good? Very. I like this sort of ballad bordering a little on rock, pop, and country, as it makes it stand out with this nice blend of the three. And “Shallow” is a damn good example of it. And now, a comment from Maddy again:

If a Star is Born doesn’t win, I will shave my head. It is one of the best original songs for film in years, and that’s saying something looking at the past few winners.

We also just got in another comment, this from Martin of Through the Silver Screen:

“Though I love “All the Stars”, nothing is stopping Lady Gaga here. Given that the Best Actress statue will likely be out of her reach, this is one award Gaga will be deservedly holding at the end of the night. The moment in ASIB when she sings “Shallow” with Cooper in the film, just sends chills down my spine. Incredible.”

And here’s a comment from Nathan:

We’re not far from the Shallow now, where Lady Gaga will ascend to the stage to collect the award for A Star Is Born. You can’t really argue against it – it’s a fantastic, stadium-worthy song – despite my personal belief that Always Remember Us This Way is the movie’s crowning achievement. I’d be equally happy for Mary Poppins Returns’ The Place Where Lost Things Go to take it on the night, although A Cover Is Not The Book or Can You Imagine That? would have taken its place on my personal ballot.

Biggest chance of winning: Shallow.
My pick: When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings.

So now we’ve gotten through all the music nominations, and I gave some of my thoughts on them. But I’d also love to hear from you guys. What are your thoughts on the music nominees for the Academy Award of 2019? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.

The cool people I collaborated with:

Plain, Simple Tom

Through the Silver Screen

FiveThreeNinety

Perks of Being Nath (who also hosted our friend Ryan, because Ryan doesn’t do his own blogging anymore).

And that’s it. Have a good one.

My Most Anticipated Movies 2018

Hello there, my friends! It is that time of the year again where I talk about my most anticipated movies of 2018. And I am aware that we’re already a week into 2018, but the movie year hasn’t really begun for me. So I am still safe in making this list. So here we go.

Just a couple of rules first.

Rule #1: My list. These are my most anticipated movies of the year. If you’re not excited for any of these or I didn’t include any that you’re excited about, then make your own list. These are MY most anticipated movies of the year. Not necessarily the ones I think will be the best, just the ones I am interested in seeing. In no particular order.

Rule #2: I will not include any late releases here. You know, those that have a limited release in like December and then come to other countries in the first quarter of the next year. So stuff like “Wind River”, “Three Billboards”, and “Shape of Water” are not included on this list (though I am excited for those too).

That’s it for rules this time. Here are my most anticipated movies of 2018.

Number 1: The Commuter.

First up we have “The Commuter”, the latest collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. I’ve enjoyed all of their previous collaboration, I find them to be enjoyable little thrillers. None of them are genuinely great movies, but I find them to be entertaining, good ways to kill two hours. And this looks to be another entertaining one form the duo. And with people like Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in the cast it’s sure to get some great acting in it.

Number 2: Deadpool 2.

I love “Deadpool”. It’s one of those movies that I was worried about, since FOX haven’t always been the kindest to the X-Movies. But I saw it and I had a blast. And “Deadpool 2” seems to be continuing what the first movie started. It looks like it will be as (if not more) insane as the first movie, while also introducing classic Deadpool allies Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz). But yeah, I’m excited.

Number 3: Black Panther.

After his awesome debut in “Captain America: Civil War”, I was excited to see Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) getting his own solo movie. Then the trailer came out, and I got even more excited because it looked badass. and with it coming out now in February, the hype is growing more and more. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be some fantastic movie, I am more than certain that it will be another cool and fun entry in the Marvel Cinematic universe.

Number 4: Avengers: Infinity War.

Yeah, I decided to go straight for the throat on this entry. The culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The big war featuring most if not all the heroes against the mighty Thanos (Josh Brolin). This looks like it will be a big and awesome action movie, but I also feel like there will be some great character moments in it, based on what came before and what this is. The hype is real.

Number 5: Ready Player One.

Here we have an interesting entry. Based on a book by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” tells the story of Wade (Tye Sheridan), a young man using a virtual reality world to try to win a competition that would grant him a lot of money. I love the book, and was scared when I heard that they were adapting it. But Spielberg has proven himself before, so I will try to be optimistic. It looks interesting, and features tons of fun easter eggs in it. So yeah, player one is ready.

Number 6: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While “Jurassic World” wasn’t anywhere near as great as “Jurassic Park” (contrary to what my original review more or less said), it was still a fun action-adventure featuring dinosaurs. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” looks to be that, but bigger, more explosive, and not as good. Not saying it will be bad (it’s on this list for a reason), but it has revealed a lot in the trailer… and a lot of it looks just… fine. Will I go see it opening week? You bet your ass, I am. But I will go in with restrained expectations.

Number 7: The Incredibles 2.

“The Incredibles” is a great movie, one of my favorites from Pixar. And Brad Bird is a good director. So I have a lot of faith that this will be good. By the way, why in the flying fuck did we get TWO “Cars” sequels before we even got ONE “Incredibles” sequel? Makes no god damn sense. But yeah, “Incredibles” is one I’m quite excited for.

Number 8: Annihilation.

Alex Garland has written some great movies. He also wrote and directed the excellent “Ex Machina”. And now we’re getting another movie that was written and directed by him. It stars Natalie Portman and is about some scientists going into some strange zone. And it looks good. I like me a solid sci-fi-thriller, and this looks like it could be such a thing.

Number 8: Pacific Rim: Uprising.

I really like “Pacific Rim”. I wouldn’t exactly call it Guillermo Del Toro’s greatest movie, but it has some interesting concepts and some damn entertaining action scenes. And while this doesn’t look like it will be as good as the first, it still looks like it could be a dumb and fun popcorn movie. And instead of Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi we seem to get John Boyega (Woo!) and Scott Eastwood (okay?). *gulp*. Please be good.

Number 9: X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

No trailer. Unproven director. Sequel to generally disliked movie. So how could I be excited for this? Honestly, I love “X-Men”. I love this franchise and I’m always excited to see new movies for this series. The X-Movies have given me hours upon hours of entertainment and I am always happy to get more.

Number 10: The New Mutants.

A horror movie set in the “X-Men” universe? Sure, why the fuck not. Could be fun. Looks like fun. Has a good cast. Yeah, I’m on board. Still confused about why horror with these mutants, and why there’s Pink Floyd in the trailer. Oh well, I’m intrigued.

Number 11: Soldado.

“Sicario” is one of my favorite movies of the last few years, so when they announced a sequel I got worried. Would they butcher it? How could they continue such a tight story? Sure, Brolin and Benicio are back, and so is the original writer… but Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins aren’t, so that had me worried. Then the trailer came out and I thought it looked okay. After some thinking, I am now even more excited about it. Do I think it’ll be better than the first? Hell no. But I think it could be a good movie.

Number 12: The Predator.

A sequel to “Predator”, written and directed by Shane Black? Hell yeah. Not only is Shane Black a damn fine writer/director, but his involvement with the original movie (he played the character Hawkins) gives him a bit more insight into this shit. And I’m just excited to see a new movie from Shane Black. He’s great.

Number 13: Ant-Man and The Wasp.

I like “Ant-Man”, it’s a really fun movie. I’m excited for the sequel. Has a good director, great cast, it’s part of the MCU… yeah, I’m excited. Moving on.

Number 14: Aquaman.

The DCEU has been… problematic to say the least. But “Wonder Woman” has proven that there can be good movies in it. And with an awesome cast and a solid director I am pretty excited for this movie. I feel like it could be fun. Did I say fun? Oh no, the DC fanboys will come after me now.

Number 15: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Sony. Sony, Sony, Sony, you unreliable idiots. Needing help from Marvel to make a good “Spider-Man” movies. What’s this? An animated “Spider-Verse” movie? Okay, I’m intrigued. It has a cool style to it (though body/facial animation looks a bit jittery). I am intrigued to see them make this. I love me a bit of superhero animation.

And that’s it for my list. There will be interesting movies that I will find out about later this year, but these are some of the ones I’m a bit more interested in right now… a lot of superhero and sci-fi stuff. I am one predictable person. But I want to hear from you, what are some of your most anticipated titles this year? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

“Black Panther” trailer!

Hello there guys, hope you’re doing well. Well, time to talk about a new trailer!

So we have gotten our first trailer for “Black Panther”, the next next next movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that would make it the MCU’s 18th movie, Jesus fucking Christ, that’s a lot of movies. Anyhow, so what’s this about then? Well, it’s about T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the new ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African country, defending his homeland as the titular Dark Feline. And that’s about all I can say. You want a full, possibly spoiler-filled disection of the trailer, go somewhere else. I just give you the news of this trailer’s existence. But you already knew about it because every person and their cat has written/vlogged about it. Still, what do I think? I’m excited. This looks badass, and Black Panther’s appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” just made me want more of the character, because Chadwick Boseman was awesome. And the cast here too is just amazing. It’s also nice to see Andy Serkis actually showing his face for once and not doing performance capture. So yeah, I’m pretty fucking excited for this movie. “Black Panther” is set to be released in February of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Black Panther”? And what did you think of his appearance in “Civil War”? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!