Oscar Picks 2011 — it’s not too late!!

The Oscars start in 3 hours, 48 minutes, and 14 seconds at 8 PM on ABC. I figured I might as well post my picks for the main awards! I wanted to write a much more in-depth post about them all, but alas I am running out of time!!

Best Picture:
The King’s Speech

This year’s best picture nominees were some amazing movies. And this year is really the first year I’ve seen almost all the movies in the Oscars, so it’s the first year I can say that and mean it. My second pick would probably be The Social Network, then Inception, then 127 Hours, then Toy Story 3, then True Grit, then Black Swan, etc. The Social Network was pretty amazing, and I think it should win for some other awards I will mention later, but I really don’t think it deserves to win over The King’s Speech. The King’s Speech was just an amazing movie. A moving story with awesome direction, cinematography, and some of the best acting I’ve ever seen, it deserves the Best Picture Academy Award.

Lead Actor:
Colin Firth

This one is kinda a given. Anyone who saw King’s Speech knows Colin Firth’s almost assured the award this year (plus he’s already won every other best actor award from basically every other award show). My second pick would be Jesse Eisenberg. No one could have pulled off Mark Zuckerberg’s character within the story so convincingly. And the constant babble of stuck-up dialogue was pretty amazing. Who would’ve thought that kid in Zombieland would be getting a Best Actor Oscar nomination that soon? My next pick would be James Franco. While I’m not a big fan of his acting, he did pretty great in 127 Hours.

Supporting Actor:
Geoffrey Rush

He. Was. Amazing. He almost outshone Colin Firth, and that’s really saying something! He was perfect, and he deserves it. I’ve heard a lot of talk about Christian Bale, however. I never saw The Fighter, so I can’t speak for it, but I would also love it if Christian Bale got some recognition.

Lead Actress:
Natalie Portman

My money’s on her. Not actually that much to say about this category. I liked Black Swan a lot, but I didn’t love it like some people did. I thought it was a little overrated in terms of what people said about it. However, Natalie Portman did a fantastic job getting into the role and performing it. In fact it was scary seeing her that skinny! Oh yeah, plus she’s awesome.

Supporting Actress:
Helena Bonham Carter

Honestly this one I chose simply because of how much I loved The King’s Speech. She did great in it, and totally is able to stand alongside Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush on stage and on camera. However, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about Melissa Leo from The Fighter. Though I almost want Hailee Steinfeld to win, because she did so amazingly great in True Grit. Ah, what the heck, who I really want to win is Chloë Grace Moretz! Too bad she’s not nominated…

Best Animated Film:
Toy Story 3

This is a given, and if anything else beats it I’m going to be extremely angry.

Art Direction:
Alice in Wonderland

Yes, I know. I really want to choose Inception or Harry Potter since they both were so cool artistically. Even The King’s Speech had great direction here. I guess True Grit did as well, I just didn’t notice it. I thought Alice in Wonderland was good. Not amazing, just really good. But dang that movie LOOKED amazing. It was so cool to watch! Therefore it should win.

Cinematography:
The King’s Speech

This one left me torn for a while. The Social Network would be my second choice, it looked so great. And there were a few scenes in particular that just really put it on a different level of great camerawork. However, in the end The King’s Speech won out for me. It was such a pretty film to watch. Every shot worked perfectly together, and you could almost take a still frame from any moment in the film to make a portrait out of it. And it would also probably perfectly represent the entire movie. The colors were beautiful, the depth of field with the wide-angle lenses gave everything a different sense of life. And the way all the characters were placed within each individual shot was just perfection. Each character is slightly off-center, almost in the corner of the frame at times. It really conveys the sense of loneliness, seclusion, fear of inability, and awkwardness the movie gives without ever actually looking awkward. Perfection! Also I’d like to say I’m super glad Christopher Nolan’s long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister is getting some recognition here.

Costume Design:
Alice in Wonderland

I really don’t know who’s going to win this one. My bet is The King’s Speech, but I wanted to award my own fake-Oscar to Tim Burton’s movie. I do this simply because Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter is one of the weirdestly-cool character’s I’ve ever seen on screen. Seriously, I didn’t actually love Alice in Wonderland that much, and I’m surprised I’ve awarded it two Oscars already. However, I think it’s the most impressive and most original of the lot here. After Alice I’d choose The King’s Speech. Everything was perfectly period and looked absolutely natural.

Directing:
Tom Hooper

Nothing, not even Colin Firth, could have worked so well in this film if it hadn’t been for Tom Hooper’s weird style of directing. He’s had some experience doing historical dramas with his pretty amazing John Adams series on HBO, but even that can’t compare to The King’s Speech. The era surrounding World War II is such a popular setting for movies and video games it’s long-since grown dull and pretty boring. Tom Hooper came along and wove a new, touching, intriguing story which really breathed new life into the entire era of history. However, I’ve also gotta give props to David Fincher’s work on The Social Network. It was also outstanding. He made a compelling, entertaining movie out of Facebook! Once it sinks in how crazy and weird that is, you’ll start to appreciate the film even more.

Film Editing:
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter – The Social Network

Wow. This film would have fallen flat on it’s face if it hadn’t been for the amazing editing team of Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter. I mean really, this film is almost constant quips, backtalk, and smart alecky babble by Jesse Eisenberg. Then later it turns into constant babble by Justin Timberlake. The perfect editing and cuts here were not just important, they were absolutely necessary. After The Social Network I would choose The King’s Speech, which was pretty great in this respect as well.

Original Score:
Hans Zimmer

I really want this to win. The soundtrack here is quite possibly the most epic thing I’ve heard in years, and I’m pretty sure it blew-out a few theater’s speakers. My personal second choice would be Alexandre Desplat’s score for The King’s Speech. However, I think the soundtrack for The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross would be more likely to win. Both of these movies’ scores were amazingly atmospheric, I just happen to like the happier sound of The King’s Speech. The opening scene from The Social Network is, however, one of the most perfect scenes in terms of music and filming I’ve ever seen. In fact now that I think about it, I might like it more! Yeah, I take that back. Now Social Network wins.

Re-thought Original Score Winner:
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network

Visual Effects:
Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb – Inception

My second choice here would be Alice in Wonderland, followed by Harry Potter. This should probably be the one category, if any, the Alice should win in. However, Inception was mind-blowingly awesome, and it should actually just win everything on this list.

Adapted Screenplay:
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

This is a hard one. I want Toy Story 3 to win here, simply because Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich did the impossible. They took what was a perfect ending with Toy Story 2 and not only continued it, but made it even better! In fact, the ending to Toy Story 3 is the way the series always should have ended. It was better than perfect, it was beautiful. However, 127 Hours was also very well adapted. It had to be in order to not be boring. But as I mentioned earlier, The Social Network took Facebook and made an exciting movie about it.

Original Screenplay:
Christopher Nolan

Ohhhh this had better win! Christopher Nolan spent over 10 years writing Inception, and it’s fully apparent. It’s one of the most original ideas I’ve ever even heard of. It’s one of those ideas that’s so simple yet so complex, and it was written into one amazing movie. Some people complain about “not getting the whole Cobb/Mal creepy relationship,” but I loved it and thought it fit perfectly into the film. Honorable mention goes to The King’s Speech.


And there you go! We’ll have to wait and see who wins tonight!

Happy Trails,
Sam.

Inspirational text: “Easy/Lucky/Free” by Bright Eyes

This week’s inspiring bit of video/sound is actually one of my favorite songs ever written. It’s “Easy/Lucky/Free” by Bright Eyes. The video itself is fine, but it’s really the music I’m interested in here. Bright Eyes is a great indie/folkish band headed by Conor Oberst. I don’t like everything Bright Eyes’ discography has to offer, but what Conor gets right, he does so amazingly. He’s been writing music since he was 13, and it really shows. What makes his music so great isn’t the guitars or background sound, but the lyrics. They’re full of passion, originality, poetic imagery, and are just in general beautiful to listen to. They make you think. They’re great brainfood! There’s a deep sense of poetic originality to his songs I often try (and fail) to imitate with my own works. This song in particular.

In fact, as I’ve said, this is one of my favorite songs ever written. I feel the thoughts and words in it are beautiful, and the poetry just perfectly ambiguous enough for one to take away many different interpretations. Is he talking about death? Grief? War? Love? All of the above? I’d also like to say my favorite lyric in the song is:

Sometimes I worry that I’ve lost the plot, my twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts. I never really dreamed of heaven much until we put him in the ground.

I really think that’s a beautiful lyric. As are the rest! In fact it’s the sort of line one would expect in Shakespeare, or some other great work of literature, not in mainstream music. That’s why this inspires me. Enjoy!

Happy Trails,
Sam.

This is February?

I am currently sitting in front of my fan with the window open, trying to cool down from my run I just came back from. It’s still hot. It’s over 70 degrees outside right now. This is not February. This can only be evidence some alternate, opposite-seasoned universe colliding with our own! Seriously, what’s going on!? I mean, I’ve got… hm… oh, wait, here… the lolcats can explain this so much better than I ever could:

And I can’t really explain it any better than that. However, let me say I am not complaining that I want the cold weather back. It wasn’t going to snow anymore, so the cold weather can just die for all I care. In fact, I LOVE the current weather! Here’s hoping my friends wanna go disc golfing tomorrow! Woot!

Happy Trails,
Sam.


PS – I also found this lovely picture while trying to find the lovely WTFcat above:

A statue of Robocop for Detroit

This is quite possibly one of the greatest/funniest things I’ve ever heard. Basically Detroit is getting a statue of Robocop erected. You can see the official page and read the full detailed story at their official page or their donation site, but I’m going to overview the now viral tale below.

Basically Monday last week (February 7), @MT (some random guy living in MA) tweeted at @MayorDaveBing (Detroit Mayor) a simple statement. The mayor then responded:

The best Robocop tweet-versation ever

I’d first like to state that Mayor Bing’s tweet was hilarious in it’s dry response.

And of course, with the internet being the way it is and such, a Facebook event was quickly created, along with an official donation website. And here we are nine days later. Within NINE days the Robocop statue project has already passed it’s $50,000 goal. That’s amazing, and a testament to the awesomeness of some people!

Granted, one of my first thoughts was “Seriously? They couldn’t have put that $50,000 to better use somewhere else? Clean water for some third-world country or such?” Then I thought about it more. And I began to laugh. Because it’s so stupid that it might just be the greatest thing ever!! Also apparently most of the donations were $1. That’s just awesome. A Robocop statue. Now I have a reason to visit Detroit!

Happy Trails,
Sam.


(PS – This news is also ironic because I recently got Robocop and have yet to watch it. But now I definitely will. See, this statue is great! It’ll boost movie sales as well as tourism)

Inspirational text: “Doorways” by Radical Face

I love film. I love music. These two things probably inspire me more than anything. I’m in a band and also produce videos with my friends and love to write scripts. So what if there could be some sort of crazy mixture of these two amazing mediums into one??
Well that, my friends, is what is called a “music video”.

Whenever I write music or work on some video project, I need some inspiration. So I’ve decided to start posting videos or songs every week. Just something that I find at the time is really inspiring me, and probably a little description as to why. This week it’s one of these fusions of music and video.

Now onto the video and reason I love it:

This first video is a music video for “Doorways” by Radical Face. If you’ve never heard of Radical Face, go listen to his stuff! His name is Ben Cooper, he’s also a member of Electric President if you’ve heard of them. Radical Face is his solo gig, and by far my favorite. “Ghost” is an amazing album. The entire thing is made with real noises, and according to his site some of the tracks (Welcome Home in particular) have over 100 layers of sound on them. It all adds up to an incredibly catchy, bombastic, acoustic sound that is just great. It’s also a refreshing departure from the synth-induced noise of Ke$ha, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Bieber, and whatever other “noise” the radio is generating these days. This song, “Doorways” is off his newest EP. It’s not his most impressive or full-sounding song, but it’s a great track nonetheless.

Ben’s big not only into music but also art and photography, so this video was made by Ben, himself, and his good friend Mark Hubbard. The kids in it are his own children and those of friends and family. The video coupled with the song I think takes a really great look at childhood and what innocence is, how you look at the world as a child. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but that’s what I read when I watch the video. And that’s why it’s inspiring to me. Enjoy!



Happy Trails,
Sam.

Series 2 Android collectibles are awesome!

Okay so there’s this company called “Dzyplastic” which makes little Android collectible figures. AND I WANT ONE! The Series 1 collectibles are already out and sellin like hotcakes on crack, and they’re coming out with a Series 2. If you know what’s good for you, if you truly love me, you will get me one. Send it to me. (no seriously if anyone out there wants to get one for me, email me at chasinglilly@aol.com and I will message you my mailing address!) These things look sweet, and I can’t wait to have one!

Series 1 of the cute little things

This Android is racing somewhere for some reason. I guess...

Doh! Look! It's a cute little cupcake!

Happy Trails,
Sam.

[via Dzyplastic Blog]

Nintendo 3DS problems and praises forever and ever but never sometimes maybe?

So the big two portable contenders have finally revealed their game plans for the next generation of portable handhelds. In short I’m both happy and annoyed with both.

In terms of the Nintendo 3DS I’m of course super stoked, 3D games and movies without glasses, actual online support, it looks great! There are three problems I see right now with it. One big problem: (ookay, not that important at all, just annoying) I read in an interview Satoru Iwata stated the 3DS would not include an “achievements” or “trophy” system like the PS3, Xbox, and upcoming Sony NGP do, because he thinks trophies are arbitrary and pointless. I say “SO WHAT?” Getting trophies is fun, and it’s a great way to show off whatever it is you’ve done. From a developer standpoint, it also adds a lot of replay value. I, of course, tweeted Nintendo of America about this but have received no reply (nor am I expecting to).

that guy who said that thing about the trophies, then refused to answer me on Twitter

The second problem is a completely crappy launch lineup. There’s no killer app on opening day, and so far none of the games shown truly take advantage of the 3D as an important gameplay element. Maybe that’s because the 3DS has a dial to turn the 3D up or down, and developers can’t control if the player has the 3D on or not. No matter what it is, the only really good game coming out at launch is Street Fighter IV. I’m not even sure the two Resident Evil games will be coming out at launch. Zelda OoT isn’t coming out for a few weeks, and I probably won’t be getting Nintendogs this time around, even though they did add in cats… This is disappointing, and has caused some people to compare the 3DS launch to the Gamecube’s. However the comparison is pointless. The Nintendo DS, PS2, and PS3 all had pretty lackluster starts themselves, and look what happened with them.

the romantic tension is building, no?

The last and final potential problem is this: 3D Images Make Millions Sick, Yet Tech Companies Push On. That’s an article from Fox News but I’m sure you’ve all heard someone who claims “3D movies make me nauseous” or the sort. I’ve heard some people around the web claiming this “could kill the 3DS, because it will make everyone sick.” Now… that’s just dumb. The 3DS has a slider on it you can turn down (or off) the 3D effect anytime you want. So the 3DS could survive even if not a single 3D mode was used.

there. you believe me now?

Now MSNBC feels in their vast intelligence there are actually “5 Reasons Why Nintendo Is Doomed“. To be honest I didn’t feel the article made any good points, and certainly didn’t make me think Nintendo has anything to be afraid of. However, the cool Nintendo fan-blog Infendo posted a rebuttal entitled “5 reasons Nintendo is not doomed” if you want to look into that stuff. It made me chuckle at MSNBC, at least.

Nintendo’s made a pretty huge gamble here, but I think it’ll all pay off.

Happy Trails,
Sam.



PS — IGN also posted an article about what they love and hate about the 3DS, go check it out!

Thanks, y’all!

This month (February) marks the one year anniversary of ChasingLilly.net! Zowie, gang! This is far out! Thank you all for coming and reading my little stories, and for cringing through my painful attempts at comedic value! I suppose thanks also goes to Jim Groom. In the past, before his DS106 class, my past blogs were pretty lame and I didn’t care much.

Oh, and thanks for 400 views last month :-) That’s pretty sweet, and the most I’ve had in all 12 months here on this interweb area!

yes, yes it is!

I’ve got a few posts in the works. I’m going to be posting my Oscar predictions, and I’m also going to be commenting on the newly revealed Android specs. I’ll also talk about the newly announced “Sony NGP” which is going up against the Nintendo 3DS in the coming months. My friend (and self-professed Sony geek) Will already wrote up a post on the NGP, so I’ll get my thoughts up soon.

I’m also FINALLY thinking about a new blog design. Not that the awesomeness of my LOST design won’t ever be coming back, I just like to Photoshop! Thanks again!

Happy Trails,
Sam.

Trailer 2 dissection – the characters part 2

And now, the epic conclusion to part one of my character dissection

Before we begin, I must warn you that this post contains more giant picture than any other blog post I have ever made. If the sight of large images of people causes fear, severe amnesia, cramps, baby lumps, or general vomitous confusion, STOP READING NOW. If you are okay with obnoxious pictures placed by a lone Hunger Games blogger just — *sobbing* — trying to make points, please continue…!

I present to you: Cinna. The super awesome *spoiler! don’t read!* secret-double-agent- *end of the long spoiler section* -also-stylist-man-o-combos! I always particularly liked his character in the books. He was the only sane part of the Capitol. He was the calm, normal looking voice of reason for Katniss. While everyone else had crazy hair and body changes, he only had golden eye-liner. And let’s be honest, that was probably just so he could blend in. He was the one who knew everything. He was the one who knew his fate, accepted it, and sacrificed himself. He was awesome. On a side note, I think Lenny Kravitz was a good choice! Weirdly enough, I also pictured Read the rest of this entry »

Blog helping

I’ve been helping some people with their blogs lately. The three I’m specifically mentioning here are Will, Billy, and my mom.

Will really liked my LOST theme I did here for my blog, so I told him a while back that I’d make him a Fringe theme for his blog. He’s a bit of a “fair-weather blogger” (all credit and royalties for that just-coined phrase you can give to me personally), but lately he’s been pretty good about posting. He posted his lengthy review of the LOST video game, Via Domus (Will’s right, it’s so terrible), some stuff about McGrimmys, and even some of his favorite videos. With all this text flowing forth from his fingers, I figured it was time to upgrade his theme. You can go check it out at http://www.violentblue.net/willmccarry/! It’s pretty snazzy, and is obviously Fringe-based.

A portion of Will's theme

My mom was having problems putting up posts. She got a fancy new iPad for Christmas and has since been blogging from it about her experiences at work at Hancock Fabric. Some pretty interesting and funny stuff happens there, so go check it out. Thankfully I got her blog all sorted out! You can check her blog out at http://renerodgers.wordpress.com/.

Of my friends I pestered to blog, Billy was my last holdout. I even hacked him up his own awesomely/obnoxiously cool theme to try and coax him into posting. After nearly a year, he finally called me yesterday and asked me for his user info! Horray! He put up his first post today and he tells me he has a few more he’s cooking up, so go check his “Blog of Wonders” out at http://www.violentblue.net/billybacci/

Happy Trails,
Sam.