Time for the Golden Statue! 2013 Oscar Selections.

It is time to present my golden statues! I will be watching The 85th Academy Awards, and doing some live tweeting @jwfyler. I cannot promise it will be any good.
I am following up with last year’s format and just giving my opinion in the list categories. My predicting abilities are not great, so my point of view is a better option for me to present. My person taste and emotional reaction play a big part in my choices, keep that in mind as you read below.

Sound Mixing
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

With the vocals being recorded live on set using live piano accompaniments, this sounded amazing. It was a challenging task that was executed flawlessly.


Sound Editing
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Just the sound of the guns firing alone, should win. But the sound of the bullets hitting metal, the helicopter noise, and the lack of score in that raid scene, really elevate this movie to another level.


Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

One of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen. The CGI and the location shots are indecipherable. Wonderful on the silver screen.


Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

This movie had the opportunity to drag before picking up in the final minutes, but it avoided being boring. A lot of that is Jessica Chastain, but the way it was edited and paced played a big part in the story progression.


Makeup & Hairstyling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Not a real stand out here, except that the dwarves were pretty great, no surprise. Good job, Weta Workshop.


Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Since Prometheus and Holy Motors were not nominated, I would give this to the most beautiful Bond movie.


Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

The texture of realism was extremely believable. It felt authentic, though I am no style historian.


Foreign Language Film
A Royal Affair
War Witch

It was based on actual events, it was funny and moving, plus it was all about marketing an ideal. That makes it a pretty great movie, when executed this well. Plus, Gael Garcia Bernel is great as per usual.


Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

I saw all five of these movies. I only found 3 worthy of actual contemplation. Of those three, Searching for Sugar Man has the deepest emotional impact. A wonderful story that is completely organic and serendipitous, that has a great ending to boot. This story is not contrived or politically slanted, which means it isn’t weighed down with bull shit. Should win, without a doubt.


Animated Feature Film
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

I loved this movie. I think it was marketed completely wrong and perhaps attracted the wrong preconceived notions. It is not the typical “Disney Princess Movie”; it also didn’t try to be. It is a great family story, specifically about mothers and daughters. ParaNorman was pretty good and a better version of the dull Frankenweenie. The Pirates! And Wreck-It Ralph win for the most fun, and felt like a throwback to the animated movies I loved as a kid.


Music (Original Score)
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi

The Skyfall soundtrack was sweeping and exciting. More so than the others, in my opinion. This is not strong opinion, but I had to pick one.


Music (Original Song)
Before My Time
Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend
Pi’s Lullaby
Life of Pi
Les Misérables                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Just picked Ted because I thought the song was funny, but also meant something very important to the characters. Suddenly is a close second.


Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

I loved how this movie was an emotional struggle and kind of depressing, until the very end. It was well written, and all the characters were appropriately fleshed out. I have not read the source material, but this screenplay was great.


Writing (Original Screenplay)
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

I will nearly always pick Charlie Kaufman or Wes Anderson. I admit it. That said, I do think this screenplay by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, is their best yet. It is in their familiar style and taste, but seems almost less goofy. They write children very well, and obviously still remember being kids.


Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams
Sally Field
Anne Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Jacki Weaver

Not impressed in this category, yet again. Hathaway got the biggest emotional response from me, and I think this is her best role to date.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin
Robert De Niro
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Tommy Lee Jones
Christoph Waltz

I did not particularly like The Master, but PSH was outstanding. I loved him Capote, but this felt like it fit him superbly. He made it easy to forget about him as an actor, and he never attempted to steal the show.


Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain
Jennifer Lawrence
Emmanuelle Riva
Quvenzhané Wallis
Naomi Watts

Jessica Chastain was the best, easily. Naomi Watts was fantastic, but The Impossible did not solely hinge on her role. The others were quite good, but nothing that really stood out to me at first glance. Jennifer Lawrence continues to make the smart career moves.


Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper
Daniel Day-Lewis
Hugh Jackman
Joaquin Phoenix
Denzel Washington

No doubt about this one. DDL was a great Lincoln, but I have seen a lot of great impressions of the 16th president. Denzel sold me the alcoholic, the addict. It wasn’t an abrasive performance or even sad, it was extremely interesting and felt so real. It moved me. The other three were really good too, but Cooper and Phoenix were more products of good writing. Jackman was great, but I didn’t really care for the movie.


Michael Haneke
Benh Zeitlin
Ang Lee
Steven Spielberg
David O. Russell

Again I reference the emotional journey of this movie from beginning to end, just fantastic. I think Ben Affleck or Katherine Bigelow should win, but they aren’t nominated. That is dumb. But of the rest, who are left, Russell created a realism that had heart and it looked great.

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

This is really hard and I could give it to Argo, SLP, or Django Unchained. When all said and done, I was the most surprised and impressed with Zero Dark Thirty. It was 2.5 hours of espionage, terrorism, and office work that felt like a burning wick in a Mission Impossible opening scene. When it came to the raid, I bought it. It felt actual and real, more so than I have seen since Black Hawk Down. It was intense, but not because of the action, because of what that event meant to the world, this country, and to me as an American.


I’m never gonna see a merman. Top 5 Favorite Films of 2012

I saw 30% of all the movies released theatrically this year. I say this to put this list into context, and to show my complete lack of any expertise. My three blockbusters did not disappoint: The Avengers is probably the most fun I have ever had at the movies (it was my childhood dreams come true), Prometheus was a visual masterpiece (hopefully Scott will make more genre features), and The Dark Knight Rises was a satisfactory conclusion to Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Two other movies that made a ton of money, but got panned by critics were The Amazing Spider-Man, which I think is the second best Spidey movie, and Skyfall, which was so much better than Quantum of Solace, a lot of people dubbed it the greatest Bond movie (it’s actually Casino Royale).

Before I get into the list, I want to drop five comedies that I think you should check out. These movies were not only funny, but had heart and brains:
1. 21 Jump Street – ignore what you think about this from marketing, hilarious.
2. Seven Psychopaths – Absolutely hysterical, plus it has the best cast of any movie this year.
3. Sleepwalk With Me – An unexpected journey into the brilliant mind of Mike Birbiglia.
4. Safety Not Guaranteed – Almost made the Top 5 list. Science Fiction, Comedy, Romance, plus a “wam-bang finish”
5. This is 40 – I love Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Apatow knows how to make an awkward moment super funny.

Now, the list. Remember, these are my favorite. They are not necessarily the best.

5. Looper – Rian Johnson is a magnificent storyteller. This movie was ambitious as it was inventive. It had a very realistic impression that made it easy to ignore some of the plot holes. I am partial to Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. The three of them were great in this movie about choices, time travel, and love. While I did not like it as much as Brick, it made me think and left an impact on me. I am eagerly anticipating revisiting this film and hope that Johnson makes more in the genre.

4. The Cabin in the Woods – This “genre-bender” was so unexpected; I didn’t even get to see it in theaters. Luckily I went in without knowing much about it. That is the way to see this movie. If you don’t like horror, fine, this is not a horror. Just a great movie that is fun, and interesting, and does not fit into any stereotype of any characters or plots. Joss Whedon’s finger prints are all over this. I guarantee this will become a yearly viewing every October.

3. Django Unchained – The older Tarantino gets, the less he embellishes himself in his movies. Both Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are perfectly executed. Django was well-paced, fun, violent, and was a great “western”. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz had a chemistry that oozed off the screen and the show was stolen by Leonardo DiCaprio’s psychotic villain. While I do not believe that Reservoir Dogs has stood the test of time, I believe this movie shows that QT has fully matured and become a completely realized and capable director and writer. I want to see more and more.

2. Cloud Atlas – This is a movie that I ear-marked as “suspicious”. I was interested in seeing the latest from The Matrix creators, The Wachowskis. The first trailers looked kind of cool, and the closer the release date got, the less interested I became. Then I saw the movie and was not immediately moved. It was not until the second viewing that I started analyzing and thinking and feeling what the movie was about. This is a movie to be experienced multiple times, each time learning more about yourself and the story. The visuals were unsurprisingly stunning, the score was fantastic, and the acting was superb. This is one of the most ambitious movies ever made, therefore it has imperfections. But there are so many layers and emotions to be uncovered in this film, that the journey is the most important thing. It delivers beyond hope in that regard. This movie can change the way you look at big budget studio films.

1. Moonrise Kingdom – I have been a vocal supporter of Wes Anderson since I saw Rushmore. I love every one of his movies; this may make me extremely biased. I love The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited more than The Royal Tenenbaums. This may make me a “hipster” and it most definitely makes me a blind supporter. I do not care; Moonrise Kingdom was such an amazing movie! It had that awesome 60s atmosphere with the best cast Anderson has put together yet. It was about children, without watering them down and making them “cute”. It had depth and meaning and if you cannot relate to any of the characters, you probably don’t have a soul. I am not quite ready for this to dethrone Rushmore as my favorite Wes Anderson film, but it is close.

You may be asking where Lincoln and The Master fit. They don’t. I thought Lincoln was really interesting, but we all knew how it was going to end, and it felt like a History Channel special. I had extremely high hopes for The Master; I really liked all of P.T. Anderson’s previous films. I think There Will Be Blood is one of the best movies ever made, it had emotional weight. The Master was interesting, and the actors were phenomenal, but I never felt strong emotions about the characters or the story. This may be a fault of mine and not the director.

I also hated Killing Them Softly. Brad Pitt was good, but the movie was bland and nearly put me to sleep.

Honorable Mentions:
Chronicle – out of left field! Great movie.
Dredd – one of the best pure and brutal action movies made in a long time. Inspired by, but not too much like The Raid.
The Comedy – not a true comedy, but Tim and Eric are brilliant.

Other movies I liked:
Zero Dark Thirty, Holy Motors, Argo, Ruby Sparks, Flight, The Grey, Your Sister’s Sister, Lawless, Life of Pi.

Kinky Wizards: Top 5 favorite albums of 2012

Metric-synthetica5. Synthetica – Metric. I have liked most of what Metric has put out since I first heard “Black Sheep” in Scott Pilgrim. The heavy beats, Emily Haines’ beautiful voice, electronic over lay, etc. is a great package. This album takes a step beyond what was done on Fantasies and other works. It not only has the synthesizers and passion of your typical Metric record, but the song writing is the best yet. Listen to the lyrics and they are not angry or sad or happy, they are introspective with something to say about youth in North America and where these generations are going. Great stuff.

Suggested tracks: Speed the Collapse, Breathing Underwater, Clone.



220px-Celebration_Rock4. Celebration Rock – Japandroids. I am late to this band. This album is so good; I may not listen to their first one. I loved the feeling of nostalgia mixed with modern awareness, what does that mean? Imagine if Who’s Next was written and came out today. It is heavily influenced by that classic The Who album, but it has a sensibility about current adolescence. Japandroids understand what young people are thinking, but also know that all teenagers are self involved and will get over it. I love the raw love of classic rock that oozes from this album; I will listen to it over and over again.

Suggested tracks: Adrenaline Nightshift, Continuous Thunder, Younger Us.



220px-Transcendental_Youth3. Transcendental Youth – The Mountain Goats.  I just discovered TMG this year, it’s an awesome feeling to find a massive backlog of a band that you really enjoy. The vocals and emotion timed with radical swings in music make for some of the best listening in modern music. Transcendental Youth is no exception. It starts out with a song about Amy Winehouse and “all the Amy Winehouse’s in the world”, simple, sweet, and sad all at the same time. They are a little older guys, but they a so connected to the world of music and the culture that every day people come in contact with. They understand your feelings, and they can put words to it. Plus this album has a killer close in title track.

Suggested tracks: Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1, Cry for Judas, Harlem Roulette, Transcendental Youth.


Put-Your-Back-N2-It2. Put Your Back N 2 It – Perfume Genius. This is the album I have listened to the most this year. I love it from beginning to end. Mike Hadreas is a breath of fresh air to me. His music is hypnotic and his vocals are haunting. He is so open and honest with his feeling and his being and he is sharing it with everyone who will listen. I listened to this album all the way through twice before looking him up and watching his videos, dude is a pure talent who shows his vulnerability while grabbing you by the hand leading you through the pain. I haven’t really absorbed his other work yet, but this album really connected to me on a deep emotional level. I hope I get to see him live someday.

Suggested tracks: Hood, Dark Parts, No Tear.


cloud-nothings-album-cover-attack-on-memory.11. Attack on Memory – Cloud Nothings. As much as I enjoyed PG, this album was the most fun, rocking, potential classic of anything else I listened to this year. It transported me to younger days and made me want to pull out my guitar and jam. I believe the best albums make you want to take action. This one did that. Shadows of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Zounds are obvious. It just bangs and rises, then floats down. From beginning to end it is steering-wheel-bashing goodness. I look forward to listening to this again, and to what Cloud Nothings will do next.

Suggested tracks: Stay Useless, Wasted Days, No Sentiment, Cut You.


Honorable Mention:

Hands of Glory – Andrew Bird

Reign of Terror – Sleigh Bells

Port of Morrow – The Shins

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II – Earth

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Excelsior! Top 5 Favorite Comic Book Heroes


31 one sentence letter box reviews for the 31 movies I watched this October

Black Christmas (1974)

“The original slasher film and still one of the most satisfying.”


Blood Creek (2009)

“Fassbender, Cavill, Nazis, the occult, gore, awesomeness.”


The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

“Not only a great genre flick, but one of the best movies of the year!”


Dead Alive (1992)

“Peter Jackson came onto the scene is a blaze of blood, guts, and ridiculousness.”


Dead Girl (2009)

“An unexpected gem and a truly disturbing look into the teenage male psyche.”


Dead Ringers (1988)

“Wikipedia lied…not a horror…but still creepy Cronenberg.”


Drag Me to Hell (2009)

“Sam Raimi’s return to the genre and it’s great!”


Evil Dead 2 (1987)

“Incredible, but I still prefer The Evil Dead.”


Ghostbusters (1984)

“80s comedy at its best, Bill Murray is a god.”


Halloween (1978)

“Defined a genre and set the bar to almost unreachable heights.”


Halloween 2 (1981)

“Hands down, one of the best slasher sequels ever made!”


Hellraiser (1987)

“Introduced a generation to absolute terror and the makeup is fantastic!”


Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)

“Picks up where the first left off, then adds amazing lore!”


Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth (1992)

“Kind of a cheesy revisit to a dying franchise.”


Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

“Science fiction meets historical fiction, and they make an okay movie with some cool special effects.”


Haute Tension [High Tension] (2003)

“French slasher with great murder sequences, but a plot twist full of holes.”


I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

“Absurd rape horror that almost makes you laugh, not good.”


Kill List (2011)

“A pretty good movie, but not ‘the scariest movie of the year’ as advertised.”


Lawnmower man (1992)

“The idea still stands up, somewhat, even if the technology doesn’t.”


Lo (2009)

“A wonderfully minimalist Faustian tale that took me completely by surprise.”


Misery (1990)

“King, Goldman, Reiner, Caan, Bates, perfectly unsettling!”


Pandorum (2009)

“An alright story completely redeemed by the acting of Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid.”


Silver Bullet (1985)

“Worst Stephen King adaptation ever, and Gary Busy has always been a nutjob.”


Slither (2006)

“Not as great as everyone said back then, no wonder it never gained cult status.”


The Collector (2009)

“Better than every mainstream horror of the last 3 years, find and watch this movie!”


The Dead Zone (1983)

“This creepy adaption of King, is one of the best, plus… the scissors!”


The Faculty (1998)

“Without a doubt the best of the late 90s teen horror movies!”


The Shining (1980)

“A masterpiece!…still”


The Strangers (2008)

“The first 40 minutes are the most stressful of my life, the end left something to be desired.”


V/H/S (2012)

“Somewhat inventive with some great moments, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”


Wolf creek (2005)

“Not sure about the hype. it just didn’t have any effect on me…at all.”

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‘Moonrise Kingdom’: Wes Anderson’s animated take on the film’s imaginary books — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO | Inside Movies Mobile | EW.com


“If you dream the proper dreams,and share the myths with people, they will want to grow up to be like you.”


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