Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blu-Ray Wish List

With the ludicrous format war long behind us and PS3's helping convince a larger share of the public to try Blu-Rays, it's time to move past being wowed by the quality. Instead, the time is ripe for whining about what films are not yet available in the latest high-def format of choice in America.

Here are some films that I would buy in a heartbeat on Blu. It's not just that they're great films, but most if not all of them are visually interesting pictures that would actually be worth the asking price (especially since most of them I already own in standard format). It should also be noted that some of these films may be rumored to be hitting shelves in the near future, but if there's no definite date set then I'm keeping them on the list.

And finally...

Feel free to post some of your own BD wishes in the Comments section. Perhaps you will mention something I have forgotten.


- 400 Blows, The (1959, dir. Francois Truffaut)
- 8 1/2
(1963, dir. Federico Fellini)
- Alien (1979, dir. Ridley Scott)
- Aliens
(1986, dir. James Cameron)
- Amelie
(2001, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
- Apocalypse Now (1979, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
- Batman (1989, dir. Tim Burton)
- Big Lebowski, The
(1998, dir. Joel Coen)
- Boogie Nights
(1997, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
- Chinatown
(1974, dir. Roman Polanski)
- Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles)
- Conspirators of Pleasure (1996, dir. Jan Svankmajer)
- Do the Right Thing
(1989, dir. Spike Lee)
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
(1982, dir. Steven Spielberg) - the original version, please
- Fallen Angels (1995, dir. Wong Kar-Wai)
- Fight Club (1999, dir. David Fincher)
- Graduate, The (1967, dir. Mike Nichols)
- Heavenly Creatures
(1994, dir. Peter Jackson)
- In the Mood for Love
(2000, dir. Wong Kar-Wai)
- Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The
(2001-2003, dir. Peter Jackson)
- Manhattan
(1979, dir. Woody Allen)
- McCabe & Mrs. Miller
(1971, dir. Robert Altman)
- Microcosmos
- Midnight Cowboy (1969, dir. John Schlesinger)
- Miller's Crossing
(1990, dir. Joel Coen)
- Mulholland Dr.
(2001, dir. David Lynch)
- Pulp Fiction
(1994, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
- Raising Arizona
(1987, dir. Joel Coen)
- Requiem for a Dream
(2000, dir. Darren Aronofsky)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968, dir. Roman Polanski)
- Silence of the Lambs, The
(1991, dir. Jonathan Demme)
- Star Wars Trilogy
- Titanic
(1997, dir. James Cameron)
- Trainspotting
(1996, dir. Danny Boyle)


- Bambi
- Fantasia
- PIXAR (every film they've made)
- Princess Mononoke
(1997, dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
- Spirited Away
(2001, dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

- Preferably every season available of the show listed.

- Lost
- Sopranos, The

- Wire, The
(I'm not even sure how much better this show will look, but it's probably the greatest TV show ever made and a personal favorite of mine)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oscar Season, Vol. 1: What to Watch/Early Predictions

If you're anything like me (skinny and atypically handsome), you get excited about Oscar season whether the truly deserving films are recognized or not. Each year I find myself pleased by some of the Academy's choices and baffled by many others. However, I have not missed a ceremony in nearly 20 years.

2008 has not been a terribly great year for American cinema, even if you factor in that I haven't yet seen some of the smaller releases from earlier in the year. Having only moved to a cinephile-friendly part of Texas recently, I am trying my best to catch up on all those missed opportunities via trips to the local video store. As more Oscar hopefuls begin to find their way to the nearby multiplexes, I'll be sure to see most of the front-runners...even though this year has been financially difficult.

So, with little over two months between now and the announcement of the nominations, what films should you try and see before making bets with your friends and co-workers? While I'll be writing more in-depth analyses of the films and their chances as the season progresses, I decided to go ahead and lay out the likely candidates in the major categories. If your favorite film didn't make the cut, don't despair. Rarely do the very best films in a given year nab any major (or even minor) nominations.

Note to Reader: All likely candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Front-runners will not be declared until the next installment of my Oscar Season series. And I realize that some of the categories have many possibilities listed, but keep in mind that I'm not trying to fully predict the winners this early in the game. I'm just giving the reader a decent guide to preparing themselves for upcoming nominations. I'll whittle the choices down considerably in the next installment of this Oscar series.

Best Picture

- Australia
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- The Dark Knight
- Doubt
- Frost/Nixon
- Gran Torino
- Milk
- The Reader
- Revolutionary Road
- Slumdog Millionaire
- The Wrestler

Best Director

- Boyle, Danny (
Slumdog Millionaire)
- Burhman, Baz (
- Demme, Jonathan (
Rachel Getting Married)
- Fincher, David (
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
- Howard, Ron (
- Mendes, Sam (
Revolutionary Road)
- Nolan, Christopher (
The Dark Knight)
- Van Sant, Gus (

Best Actor

- Brolin, Josh (W.)
- Del Toro, Benicio (Che)
- DiCaprio, Leonardo (Revolutionary Road)
- Jackman, Hugh (Australia)
- Jenkins, Richard (The Visitor)
- Langella, Frank (Frost/Nixon)
- Patel, Dev (Slumdog Millionaire)
- Penn, Sean (Milk)
- Pitt, Brad (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
- Rourke, Mickey (The Wrestler)

Best Actress

- Blanchett, Cate (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
- Hathaway, Anne (Rachel Getting Married)
- Hawkins, Sally (Happy-Go-Lucky)
- Jolie, Angelina (Changeling)
- Kidman, Nicole (Australia)
- Streep, Meryl (Doubt)
- Thomas, Kristin Scott (I've Loved You So Long)
- Winslet, Kate (The Reader)
- Winslet, Kate (Revolutionary Road)

Best Supporting Actor

- Brolin, Josh (Milk)
- Downey Jr., Robert (Tropic Thunder)
- Hoffman, Phillip Seymour (Doubt)
- Ledger, Heath (The Dark Knight)
- Schreiber, Liev (Defiance)
- Shannon, Michael (Revolutionary Road)
- Sheen, Michael (Frost/Nixon)

Best Supporting Actress

- Abbass, Hiam (The Visitor)
- Cruz, Penelope (Vicky Christina Barcelona)
- Davis, Viola (Doubt)
- DeWitt, Rosemarie (Rachel Getting Married)
- Morton, Samantha (Synecdoche, New York)
- Pinto, Frieda (Slumdog Millionaire)
- Tomei, Marisa (The Wrestler)
- Winger, Debra (Rachel Getting Married)

Best Original Screenplay

- Australia
- Gran Torino
- Happy-Go-Lucky
- Milk
- Rachel Getting Married
- Synecdoche, New York
- Vicky Christina Barcelona
- The Visitor
- The Wrestler

Best Adapted Screenplay

- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Doubt
- Frost/Nixon
- The Reader
- Revolutionary Road
- Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Film

- Wall-E (the contest's only current shoo-in)

Well, that's it for now. Keep checking back as I update these choices and add a few more categories (namely Documentary and Foreign Language Film).