The Revenant: Film Review

maxresdefaultAnd the Oscar goes to…Leonardo DiCaprio!

That is the initial thought I had as I walked out of the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood a few weeks ago after watching the beautifully-shot film “The Revenant” directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as frontiersman Hugh Glass who is mauled by a bear, then left for dead by members of his own hunting team including Fitzgerald (played wonderfully by Tom Hardy). Glass, motivated by the love he had for his late wife and son, undertakes a 200-mile journey to seek revenge from the man who killed his son and betrayed him: Fitzgerald (played wonderfully by Tom Hardy). The journey that this film showcases is a story of love and redemption.

Let’s start off with the film’s centerpiece: Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio has blown away audiences for decades now showing us the in-depth, emotional, and challenging roles that he can transform into. And his performance as Glass is no different. The journey and the pain and torture DiCaprio endures throughout the film seems to show how far he can go to win an Oscar. Although he rarely speaks in the film, you certainly feel the agony, suffering, and determination that DiCaprio has in pursuit of Fitzgerald. DiCaprio simply gives it his all in going the distance to achieve revenge. The obstacles and attacks he suffers throughout the film seems to be representative of his real-life hardship of winning an Oscar. However, come February, I believe he will finally earn it for his outstanding portrayal.

Hardy also delivers a wonderful supporting performance of the winking devil, hot head Fitzgerald who kills Glass’s son. Although it may seem Hardy has gone too far into his character by being inaudible at time in his deep southern accent, it is astonishing to watch him perform as the cruel, evil antagonist who is set out on getting rid of Glass. Hardy definitely has a chance of scoring a Best Supporting Actor nomination but may be overlooked as this is seen as Leo’s triumphant film.

Lastly, the direction and cinematography are absolutely beautiful. Alejandro films this picture with such delicacy capturing the horror and bloodiness of the attacks throughout the film between the natives and hunters. He didn’t film this with one continuous shot like he did with his Oscar winning film “Birdman” however there are occasional moments where you do see extended shots depicting the stunning scenery and marvelous natural light usage. This is especially shown in the opening attack scene as Glass’s group is boarding the boat to leave the area. Emanuel Lubezki also re-joins Alejandro after working on Birdman. Lubezki’s photography in this film is simply art work. Every frame is perfect and breathtaking. The natural lighting is very powerful and crisp. The frequent upward camera angles toward the trees are alluring and fascinating. Lubezki has won the Best Cinematography Oscar twice in a row for “Gravity” in 2014 and “Birdman” in 2015. He is a lock yet again in 2016 for his top-notch work in “The Revenant”.

Overall, The Revenant is a beautifully-crafted period film from all aspects. The production design, costume design, cinematography, and direction truly come together to delver an epic tour-de-force story on an adventure seeking redemption. But the true success in this film is Leonardo DiCaprio who delivers a performance in which the entertainment industry and audiences across the world are all thinking: It is finally his time to win an Academy Award.
I give this film a B.

Review: Inside Out

Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy and Anger in “Inside Out”

I recently saw the newest Disney-Pixar film INSIDE OUT. After a lackluster past few years of Pixar films (Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University), I feared that its days of creating animated classics were over. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and The Incredibles are just a few of he many films Pixar has produced hat elevated the company to being a rock-star production company for animated film. With the last really GREAT Pixar movie being Toy Story 3 (which came out five years ago), I had somewhat low expectations for Inside Out. Walking out from the movie, all I can say is “Pixar is back, and better than ever!” Inside Out features especially great voice work from Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith. Their voices fit their emotions perfectly as Joy and Sadness, respectfully. The chemistry that Poehler and Smith share in the film is perfection. The writing is also superb and with Pete Doctor writing the script (who also did UP, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Wall-E) how could you not expect it to be anything short of greatness. The writing is funny, clever, and, above all, smart. The psychological accuracies that Doctor put into the script and made sure got verified are key factors that make you respect the story line and plot. Pixar has always been different from other animated films. Pixar films transcend generations, appealing to young and old alike with the emotional themes and universally appreciated stories. Pixar has always managed to send out powerful, moving, and heartwarming messages that can be understood by anyone, no matter what age and that is what this film does. There are several tear-jerking moments with many laugh out loud moments in between. It’s a perfect balance of funny and emotion. I know that there any still many more animated films that will come out throughout the next few months, including another Pixar film The Good Dinosaur, but for now, I am predicting that Inside Out will win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film. And I hope it will. I was just incredibly moved by this film. Stupendous work. A

Film Review: Irrational Man

Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone in the Woody Allen film “Irrational Man”

Hello readers, it’s Max! Sorry about the long hiatus. I’ve been extremely busy the past few months juggling work and school, but now that summer is upon us we can expect to see many more posts here on Max On The Red Carpet! There have been many wonderful, mesmerizing films that have been released so far this year. Some of these films include, but are not limited to: Inside Out, Jurassic World, Dope and Mad Max:Fury Road. However yesterday, I got invited to a screening (that basically kicked off the 2016 awards race, so early!) of the new Woody Allen mystery comedy IRRATIONAL MAN starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey. Phoenix plays philosophy professor Abe Lucas who is at rock bottom emotionally, unable to find any meaning or joy in life. Soon after arriving to teach at a small town college, Abe gets involved with two women: Rita Richards (Parker Posey), a lonely professor who wants him to rescue her from her unhappy marriage; and Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), his best student, who becomes his closest friend. Jill finds Abe’s tortured, artistic personality and exotic past irresistible. Even as Abe displays signs of mental imbalance, Jill’s fascination with him only grows. Still, when she tries to make their relationship a romantic one, he rebuffs her. Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger’s conversation and become drawn in. Once Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.

While the film does have a suspenseful, mysterious story line that entices you, as the audience, to keep watching, it is too slight to stand with Woody Allen’s finer works such as Blue Jasmine and Annie Hall. The film showcases expected great writing from Woody Allen, well-paced editing, and solid performances from Stone, Phoenix, and Posey however there is nothing in this film that exceeded my expectations. Bottom Line: The film is intriguing with dark humor and great performances, but it is likely that it will not be remembered as one of Woody Allen’s best films when we look at his filmography years from now. Grade: C-

My 87th ACADEMY AWARDS PREDICTIONS

The 87th Academy Awards will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris

The big day has arrived! In just a few hours, we will find out the winners of the 87th annual Academy Awards! From Birdman to Boyhood to Selma to Whiplash, it has been an exceptional year in film. Below are my predictions on what will win, could win and should win!

BEST PICTURE
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

WILL WIN: BOYHOOD
COULD WIN: BIRDMAN
SHOULD WIN: BOYHOOD

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carrell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

WILL WIN: EDDIE REDMAYNE
COULD WIN: MICHAEL KEATON
SHOULD WIN: MICHAEL KEATON

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

WILL WIN: JULIANNE MOORE
COULD WIN: ROSAMUND PIKE
SHOULD WIN: JULIANNE MOORE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

WILL WIN: J.K. SIMMONS
COULD WIN: EDWARD NORTON
SHOULD WIN: J.K. SIMMONS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

WILL WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE
COULD WIN: EMMA STONE
SHOULD WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE

BEST DIRECTOR
Alejando G. Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morton Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

WILL WIN: ALEJANDRO G INARRITU
COULD WIN: RICHARD LINKLATER
SHOULD WIN:RICHARD LINKLATER

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

WILL WIN: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
COULD WIN: BIRDMAN
SHOULD WIN: NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

WILL WIN: THE IMITATION GAME
COULD WIN: WHIPLASH
SHOULD WIN: WHIPLASH

SAG Awards Predictions!

The 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast on TNT and TBS on January 25, 2015

The 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards will begin in just a couple hours and I’m ready to reveal my FINAL SAG Awards predictions! From Birdman to Boyhood and The Theory of Everything to Foxcatcher, 2014 was an exceptional year in acting. Check out my predictions below!

BEST CAST

  • BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • BOYHOOD (IFC Films)
  • THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
  • THE IMITATION GAME (The Weinstein Company)
  • THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus Features)

WILL WIN: BIRDMAN

SHOULD WIN: BOYHOOD

BEST ACTOR

  • STEVE CARELL  – “FOXCATCHER”
  • BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH – “THE IMITATION GAME”
  • JAKE GYLLENHAAL – “NIGHTCRAWLER”
  • MICHAEL KEATON – “BIRDMAN”
  • EDDIE REDMAYNE – “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

WILL WIN: MICHAEL KEATON

SHOULD WIN: MICHAEL KEATON

BEST ACTRESS

  • JENNIFER ANISTON – “CAKE”
  • FELICITY JONES – “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”
  • JULIANNE MOORE – “STILL ALICE”
  • ROSAMUND PIKE – “GONE GIRL”
  • REESE WITHERSPOON – “WILD”

WILL WIN: JULIANNE MOORE

SHOULD WIN: JULIANNE MOORE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • ROBERT DUVALL – “THE JUDGE”
  • ETHAN HAWKE – “BOYHOOD”
  • EDWARD NORTON – “BIRDMAN”
  • MARK RUFFALO – “FOXCATCHER”
  • J.K. SIMMONS – “WHIPLASH”

WILL WIN: J.K. SIMMONS

SHOULD WIN: J.K. SIMMONS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • PATRICIA ARQUETTE – “BOYHOOD”
  • KEIRA KNIGHTLEY – “THE IMITATION GAME”
  • EMMA STONE – “BIRDMAN”
  • MERYL STREEP – “INTO THE WOODS”
  • NAOMI WATTS – “ST. VINCENT”

WILL WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE

SHOULD WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE

2015 Oscar Nominations Predictions

The 87th Academy Awards will be telecast live on February 22, 2015

The day is almost here! Tomorrow, January 15 at 5:30am the 87th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills! And or the first time in Oscar Nomination announcement history, all 24 Oscar categories will be telecast LIVE. You can watch the Oscar Nominations unveiled LIVE here on MAX ON THE RED CARPET tomorrow at 5:30am. The live feed video will be posted later tonight. The presenters for the nomination announcement include Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron, J.J. Abrams, and Chris Pine, who will be joined with Academy President Cheryl Boone-Isaacs. We’ve been on a crazy awards journey so far, with so many outstanding films and performances vying for a limited number of spots. However, with my research and analysis, I’m ready to make my FINAL Oscar nomination predictions for tomorrow! Here they are:
BEST PICTURE

  • Boyhood
  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Selma
  • Nightcrawler
  • Whiplash
  • American Sniper
  • Gone Girl

ALTERNATES: Foxcatcher, Into the Woods

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Richard Linklater “Boyhood”
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu “Birdman”
  • Wes Anderon “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Clint Eastwood “American Sniper”
  • David Fincher “Gone Girl”

ALTERNATES: Morten Tyldum “The Imitation Game”, Ava DuVernay “Selma”, Damien Chazelle “Whiplash”

BEST ACTOR

  • Michael Keaton “Birdman”
  • Eddie Redmayne “The Theory of Everything”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch “The Imitation Game”
  • David Oyelowo “Selma”
  • Jake Gyllenhaal “Nightcrawler”

ALTERNATES: Ralph Fiennes “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Bradley Cooper “American Sniper”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Julianne Moore “Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike “Gone Girl”
  • Felicity Jones “The Theory of Everything”
  • Reese Witherspoon “Wild”
  • Jennifer Aniston “Cake”

ALTERNATES: Amy Adams “Big Eyes”, Marion Cotillard “Two Days, One Night”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • J.K. Simmons “Whiplash”
  • Edward Norton “Birdman”
  • Ethan Hawke “Boyhood”
  • Mark Ruffalo “Foxcatcher”
  • Steve Carell “Foxcatcher”

ALTERNATES: Robert Duvall “The Judge”, Christoph Waltz “Big Eyes”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette “Boyhood”
  • Emma Stone “Birdman”
  • Meryl Streep “Into the Woods”
  • Keira Knightley “The Imitation Game”
  • Renee Russo “Nightcrawler”

ALTERNATES: Jessica Chastain “A Most Violent Year”, Laura Dern “Wild”