THE SHAPE OF WATER Dominates 90th Annual Academy Award Nominations

 

The Shape of Water, director Guillermo det Toro’s “fish out of water” love story, led all nominees when the nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning, receiving thirteen, including Best Picture and both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for del Toro.

 

Other films with many nominations include Dunkirk (8),  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7), Phantom Thread (6) and Lady Bird (5).  All of those films were nominated in the
Best Picture category.  Other Best Picture nominees:  Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out and The Post.

 

Director Christopher Nolan finally earned his first nomination in the Best Director category for his work on Dunkirk.  Joining him are del Toro, Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread).

 

Best Actor nominees are Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq).  Missing from this list, in my opinion, is James Franco, whose work in The Disaster Artist, was nothing short of brilliant.

 

For Best Supporting Actor, the nominees are Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) and Sam
Rockwell (Three Billboards).  This is Rockwell’s first nomination.  All of the other actors in this category have been nominated before, with Plummer winning the award for Beginners.  If he wins, I’m curious if Plummer will thank Kevin Spacey, who he replaced in the film.

 

Best Actress nods went to Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Meryl Streep (The Post). Amazingly, this is Streep’s 20th Academy Award nomination, giving her eight more than 2nd place legends Katherine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson.

 

Best Supporting Actress nominees are Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water). Again, in my opinion, this list is missing Holly Hunter, who was so good in The Big Sick.

 

Speaking of multiple nominations, congratulations to composer John Williams, who earned his 51st nomination for his score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

 

For a complete list of nominations, click HERE

 

The 90th Annual Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 4th

OSCAR images copyright AMPAAS

Win Passes to the Kansas City Premiere of “The Shape of Water”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with our friends at Fox Searchlight to give (50) of our readers and a guest the opportunity to be among the first to see director Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, “The Shape of Water.”

The screening will be on Monday, December 11, 2017 and will be held at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza Theatre.  The screening will begin at 7:00 pm

All you have do do is click HERE

The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway is ended.  Good luck!

 

 

 

Blu-ray Review “Hell or High Water”

Actors: Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster, Katy Mixon, Kevin Rankin
Directors: David Mackenzie
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Hell Or High Water” easily has some of the best performances of the year. In fact, this film easily nudged itself in my top films of 2016…YES it is that good. Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster together are GOLD! Bridges is hysterical and steals the show. Foster delivers yet another outstanding performance for the underrated actor, who was also fantastic in “Warcraft” this year. Of course, let’s not forget Chris Pine who once again shows off his acting chops. Lastly, props should go out to Gil Birmingham, who hasn’t gotten enough credit from this film because he was amazing also and put up with Jeff Bridges’ character, which was a challenge. Overall, this is a fun, action packed, slow burn drama that I highly recommend you do not miss!

Official Premise: Toby is a divorced father who’s trying to make a better life for his son. His brother Tanner is an ex-convict with a short temper and a loose trigger finger. Together, they plan a series of heists against the bank that’s about to foreclose on their family ranch. Standing in their way is Marcus, a Texas Ranger who’s only weeks away from retirement. As the siblings plot their final robbery, they must also prepare for a showdown with a crafty lawman who’s not ready to ride off into the sunset.

In the Blu-ray combo pack also comes with a DVD of the film as well as a digital HD copy. The Blu-ray 1080p transfer is gorgeous showing off the beauty of Texas and the DTS-Master Audio 5.1 track nails the score and the music by Nick Cave. There are three decent featurettes included, the first is “Enemies Forever: The Characters of Hell or High Water”, which features the cast dicussing their roles. The next is “Visualizing the Heart of America”, which discusses the shooting locations for the film. Last one “Damaged Heroes: The Performances of Hell or High Water” reviews with the cast/crew about our leads and how they nailed their characters. Also included is the Red Carpet Premiere footage as well as a Filmmaker Q&A that is working checking out for sure.

Film Review “The Water Diviner”

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jai Courtney and Olga Kurylenko
Directed by: Russell Crowe
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 51 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Here’s a little trivia for you. What do these people all have in common: Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson and Ron Howard? The answer is that they are all well-known actors who have won an Oscar for directing. If Hollywood thought like me, this list could also include Paul Newman, Rob Reiner, Barbra Streisand and Penny Marshall. It should already include Ben Affleck and I wouldn’t be surprised if it one day includes George Clooney. I mention all this because there is a very good chance another name could join this group soon: Russell Crowe.

Turkey, 1915. As the incredibly brutal Battle of Gallipoli rages on, the Turkish troops, led by Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan) prepare for their assault on the invading Australian forces. As they charge towards the sea they are shocked to find no resistance. As they overrun the barricades they see that the Aussies have withdrawn. History will tell us that the Australian army lost over 10,000 people here; the Turks 17,000. But it will take a father’s love to begin to give all of those lost souls some sense of peace.

Brilliant in every way, “The Water Diviner” has already been honored in its native country, winning three Australian Academy Awards, including Best Picture out of a total of eight nominations. Incredibly Russell Crowe’s direction went un-nominated. There was a time many years ago when Crowe would have gone out, got pissed and kicked some asses for this slight. And I would have been right beside him! Like Kevin Costner with “Dances with Wolves,” he has taken a prime piece of history and woven it into an epic piece of storytelling. Crowe plays Joshua Connor, a farmer whose three sons went off to battle and never came home. As the countryside is quite dry (we learn that sometimes it doesn’t rain for YEARS at a time), Connor often spends his days with divining rods, looking for a place to sink his next well. It has been four years since the wars ended and Connor’s wife still grieves. She also is in disbelief, insisting that Connor go into the boy’s room before bed and read to them. To appease her, he does, and it’s heartbreaking to watch this father surrounded by three empty beds trying to get through “The Arabian Nights.”

After another family tragedy Connor sets off to Turkey in the hopes of finding his sons bodies and having them buried at home. When he arrives in Istanbul he is greeted by a young lad named Orhan (Dylan Georgiades) who leads him to a hotel run by his mother, Ayshe (Kurylenko). Her husband has also not returned from battle but she refuses to accept his death, instead stressing to her son (and herself) that he is just “away.” This is unsettling to her brother-in-law, who feels he has a duty to take her as a wife and raise his brother’s son as his own. After some red-tape cutting, Connor finds himself in the battle zone, where British troops are constantly digging up new skeletons. Joining the British in this expedition is Major Hasan and his trusted assistant, Cemal (Cem Yilmaz). Learning when the boys died, the Major leads Connor to a section of beach that stretches for miles. When the officers are questioned by others why they should change everything (they’re method of operations) for one father who can’t stay put Major Hasan replies, “because he is the only father who came looking.”

As an actor, Crowe has seldom been better. His devotion to family, his bonding with young Orhan, the growing respect and admiration he has for Orhan’s mother (and she for him) is evident in every frame. As Ayshe, Kurylenko is strong and brave, refusing to give up her husband’s memory. Erdogan and Yilmaz and also excellent, allowing just a bit of decency to creep through their military ethic. Technically, the film is beautifully done. The photography, both during the battle scenes and later, when taking in the beautiful Turkish countryside, is outstanding. Production values are top notch all around and the musical score, by David Hirshfelder (“Shine,” the recent “John Doe: Vigilante”) helps provide the right emotional cues. “The Water Diviner” is a first rate classic that’s sure to be remembered come Oscar time.

Product Review “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Z-Line Water Tower Washout Playset”


I wish they cool toys like this when I was a kid. With the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Z-Line Water Tower Washout Playset” you can literally build a city and then use your “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” character to zip-Line from wall to wall. It is pretty cool once you get it all setup and going. I have been a fan of the TMNT since the 80’s and I have a two year old daughter and we bought really enjoyed this!

This does not come with any “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” figures but it will most with any of the new Turtles figures or even the old ones as well. I tested my old 1980’s Michaelangelo and it worked perfectly. The directions were easy to put this together, if you are wondering how it holds on the wall, don’t worry there are no screws involved. It is held by 3M tape, which could work well or not well due to your texture on your wall.

The Water Tower Washout is not the only playset available either. There are three other playsets available including a Window Wipeout Playset; Billboard Breakout Playset and Fire Escape Free Fall Playset. These are connectable so you can wire up the entire room with these Z-Lines. Some parents might not dig this too much but I totally think it would be awesome to have the whole room as a Z-line obstacle course.

Here is what is included in the box: Water Tower Play set, 4 Command Strips from 3M, 4 wall clips, 1 gargoyle launcher, 1 C-Clamp, 2 tension cylinders, 2 Z-line pulleys, 1 two-hand handle, 1 one hand handle, 2 48″ Zip-line, 1 72″ Zip Line, 1 Angle Gauge. It definitely requires some parent’s assembly but once it is up and ready. It is very easy to manage and use. Also priced very well, this is a great product for any fan of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, young or old.

DVD Review “Minds in the Water”

Starring: Dave Rastovich, Isabel Lucas
Directed by: Justin Krumb
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Saltwater Collective
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Running Time: 86 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Prior to finding this film, I was well aware of pro surfer Dave Rastovich and his career.  He is not just your typical surfer though he is also a an activist and embarked on a mission to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans that they all share and also to inspire change. This film is nothing short of inspiring.  It is not force fed to “save the oceans etc”. It really shows the love that Dave has for the water and it’s inhabitants. This five-year journey spans all of the world from Australia to the Galapagos to Tonga to California to Alaska and Japan. Like I said it really feels like an adventure and hopefully this will get people to realize what is happening and make a stand.  Even though, I have know about Dave prior to this film, I have have a new respect for him and his passion is infectious.

Official Premise: “Minds in the Water” documents the journey of traveling professional surfer Dave Rastovich, From an ocean minded admirer to an ocean activist. Through the charismatic journey of Dave’s life witness an adventure spanning the globe from Australia and the Galapagos to Tonga, Alaska and Japan. See first hand how one surfer’s quest to protect dolphins and whales has blossomed into a movement of like minds. Minds In The Water message: if ocean minded people are to pass on a sustainable culture, then they must become responsible stewards of their coastal environment.

This award winning documentary not only tells the story of Pro soul surfer Dave Rastovich but also has appearances from Hayden Panettiere, Isabel Lucas, Howie Cooke, Chris Del Moro, and Captain Paul Watson.  There is also some great tunes included from by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, and Xavier Rudd. Definitely a very chill soundtrack to relax to.  I see this film being revisited very often just to experience the vibe and it’s message.  The film is executive producer and directed by Justin Krumb, who is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker and the founder and president of The Saltwater Collective and RoughCuts Productions.  He is the perfect fit for this film and does a wonderful job leading and directing this doc. Highly recommend for not just surfers but everyone who cares about these very important issues.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.mindsinthewater.com/
OFFICIAL TRAILER ON YOUTUBE: