PGCMAs: Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay (2014)

Posted: February 13, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash: This is a very straight-forward movie that doesn’t have any major twists. Instead, the script for Whiplash finds its strength in deep characterization and a thorough understanding of the environment the film depicts. Chazelle has said the film is based on his own experiences in a jazz band and this certainly feels legit. More importantly, the two main characters feel very fleshed out.

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler: Part of what makes Nightcrawler so special is the novelty of exploring a career never shown on film. I never thought about where news stations get their footage, but this shows it’s actually an interesting world. The characters are also strong with the dynamic between Lou and Nina being particularly rewarding. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Foreign Film, Biggest Surprise, and Most Underrated (2014)

Posted: February 12, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winning film; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film

I should probably note that there are a handful of films I wanted to see but was not able to for this award, like Winter Sleep and Force Majeure. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, but it did allow for some smaller films to get in.

Gloria: This is a character study of a middle-aged woman trying to find some level of love and happiness in the later years of her life. Occasionally dramatic and occasionally funny, this is an entertaining little movie and while I’m unsure of how much attention this may have got had it been in English, but it’s a decent watch.

Ida: A black and white film about a Polish nun’s identity crisis in the wake of World War Two is about as art house as foreign cinema gets. Despite what could be an intimidating pedigree, this is actually a pretty accessible film with beautiful cinematography and a very engaging exploration of guilt and identity. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Comedy, Horror Film, and Action Film (2014)

Posted: February 10, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Comedy

Birdman: Birdman may not be quite as comedic as the trailer would suggest, but the film certainly walks the fine line between comedy and drama. Much of the humour comes from Keaton’s performance, but the script is also full of witty lines and Alejandro González Iñárritu proves to be surprisingly playful with the material.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: This has got all of the classic Wes Anderson humour. The visual style, the child-like innocence, quirky characters, and clever dialogue. However the film adds a new element for Anderson; profanity. There’s a surprising amount of cursing and Anderson weaves it into the rest of his dialogue seamlessly. It makes for an often hilarious mix. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Cameo and Best Villain (2014)

Posted: February 9, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Cameo

Most people define cameos as a famous actor or character making a very brief appearance, which is usually only one scene at the most. My definition is a bit more flexible. The described appearances still count, but I’m mostly looking at any actor or actress who provides a memorable turn in a role which is not quite substantial enough to be a supporting role.

Lindsay Duncan, Birdman: Critic Tabatha Dickinson is barely in Birdman, but in two short scenes Lindsay Duncan turns her into a very hateable villain. She’s out to destroy Riggan Thomson, and is able to pry on his insecurities with just a few words.

Anna Paquin, X-Men: Days of Future Past: I put Paquin’s name down, but really, this represents all of the cameos during a certain section of the film and what they mean, Paquin’s name was just the least-spoilery. Without giving away too much, I’ll only say this was a very powerful moment for fans. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor (2014)

Posted: February 8, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood: Patricia Arquette hasn’t really done anything substantial in a long time, but god damn did she re-establish herself with Boyhood. Arquette’s performance as the struggling single mother is very honest and she delivers some of the film’s most heart breaking moments. It’s also very satisfying to see her go from a struggling young woman to a seasoned professional, albeit still with doubts.

Carmen Ejogo, Selma: This is actually Carmen Ejogo’s second time playing Coretta Scott King as she previously tacked the role in the TV film Boycott. I can’t speak for her performance in that film, but she is fantastic in Selma as a wife who needs to be supporting and loving, but also concerned over what her husband’s work is doing to the family. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Poster and Best Trailer (2014)

Posted: February 8, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Poster

Godzilla: Godzilla had a lot of great posters, but my personal favourite is this one which shows Godzilla’s shape formed in the smoke coming from the back of the city. It’s an awesome image which speaks to the destructive force that Godzilla is.

Inherent Vice: Inherent Vice also had tons of great posters and if this one didn’t exist I’m sure I would have nominated another one. The psychedelic colours are great, the image of all the characters spilling out of Doc’s head captures the film well. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Musical Performance and Best Score (2014)

Posted: February 6, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Musical Performance

This a new award where I honour performances of songs by the characters on film. These can be covers, or original works. It’s worth noting that I’m more focused on the role of each performance in the film more than the musical integrity itself.

“Caravan”, Whiplash: This is a climactic moment of Whiplash, where Andrew really unleashes his talents as a drummer. We see glimmers of this throughout the film, but this is the first time we really see him cut loose. The scene is blisteringly well-edited and a poignant moment between Andrew and his instructor Fletcher.

“Firework”, The Interview: Katy Perry’s “Firework” is a stupid song, but it is used to good comedic effect three times in The Interview. My favourite moment was during the titular interview when Dave Skylark sings this to show Kim Jong-un’s true colours. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Soundtrack and Best Use of Source Music (2014)

Posted: February 5, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Soundtrack

I introduced this award last year, but I’ve made some key tweaks. While last year I just looked at all non-score music from a film, but this year the focus is strictly on source music. Any music written specifically for the film is ineligible, hence why you won’t see something like Begin Again here.

Boyhood: In addition to the historical events which play roles throughout, Boyhood uses music as its primary time marker. A lot of the songs subtly indicate the approximate time frame of events, while other song choices help inform character moments. More often than not, these moments are diegetic, but every so often Linklater uses some non-diegetic music to underscore scenes poignantly.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The record-breaking soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of the most discussed aspects of the film and for good reason. This collection of 70s pop hits proved the perfect match for the film’s lighthearted and adventurous tone and certain song choices make for some of the film’s best jokes. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Visual Effects, Cinematography, and Editing (2014)

Posted: February 4, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: I would hesitate to call the effects in Rise of the Planet of the Apes ground-breaking, but everyone was pretty shocked by how good the CGI looked. Dawn lacks that same sense of surprise, but the effects are just as great here. The filmmakers are also pushing the limits of the tech with a lot more mo-cap performances and outdoor shooting.

Godzilla:  Godzilla himself is obviously a prime example of special effects and the King of the Monsters looks great. The CGI rendering is pretty good, what is even more impressive is the sense of scale given to the monster. The other monsters look great as well, and the city destruction is pretty well-realized.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The fact that a CGI racoon and tree spend the entire movie walking around normal people and it doesn’t look stupid is a testament to the film’s strong effects. There are also a lot of spaceships and high caliber battles which make use of some very strong digital effects. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Art Direction, Make-Up, and Costume Design (2014)

Posted: February 3, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014

Best Art Direction

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: This is one of the more minimalist nominees, but it achieves its goals very well. The ape village constructed in the jungle is really well-realized and the visual of a desolate city slowly being overrun by wild life looks great while also playing into the themes of the film nicely.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson is known for building his own quirky worlds and this is one of the biggest examples of this. Many of the sets here have a 1930s/40s feel, while still having a unique flair that’s all their own. The titular hotel is an especially fun locale. Read the rest of this entry »