Top 10 Movies of 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy10. “Guardians of the Galaxy”

I love when a filmmaker uses a soundtrack or film score as a leading character. Much like Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” James Gunn uses the soundtrack as a leading character that takes the audience on this incredibly epic, emotional and fun journey. I loved that the soundtrack was something the characters were experiencing as well. Chris Pratt was absolutely perfect for the role–though, my favorite performances were from actors off-screen! Bradley Cooper (Rocket) and Vin Diesel (Groot) did an incredible job of integrating their performances into the story while never filming ANY scenes with the other leading cast members. What’s awesome is that Vin Diesel only says roughly five words in the entire film (“I Am Groot” & “We are Groot”). When Diesel was recording his dialogue, his script had two different sections. On the left side, it said “I am Groot” and on the right side were sentences/paragraphs of what that particular version of “I am Groot” meant for that scene. That way, he was able to inflect a certain way to establish the emotion of the moment. Also, major credit to Gunn for expanding the IMAX sequences to the full IMAX screen. “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are my favorite Marvel flicks since the first “Iron Man. If I did a Top 11, “Captain America: Winter Soldier” would be number eleven. The Russo Brothers did an incredible job with that picture and I loved that that they used practical effects for a lot of the first two acts. The action sequence on the bridge is incredible. They also did a great job of bringing Black Widow up front to an awesome leading action role. I loved Johansson and Evans together!

American Sniper9. “American Sniper”

Bradley Cooper is quickly becoming one of the best actors working today! Rarely do you see an actor, who was part of a major franchise like “The Hangover,” completely shed that famous character. Cooper’s performance as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, is INCREDIBLE! Cooper was physically (he gained 40 lbs. for the role) and mentally unrecognizable. He became Chris Kyle and grabs the viewer from the first frame of the film. I loved that Clint Eastwood focused primarily on the content of Chris Kyle’s book, i.e., Kyle’s legacy, legend and struggle to balance his home life with his war life. “American Sniper” is easily Eastwood’s best film since “Mystic River.” You feel like you are right there behind the sniper rifle with Cooper. If you haven’t seen Bradley Cooper on Broadway for “The Elephant Man”, do so immediately! One of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen.

Edge of Tomorrow8. “Edge of Tomorrow”

One of the most underrated films of 2014–an incredibly fun, well-edited, acted and constructed film. Doug Liman has directed some of my favorite flicks of all time, i.e., “Go,” and “Swingers.” Cruise and Blunt have fantastic chemistry. While there was CGI when it had to be used, Blunt and Cruise also performed many of their own stunts which makes it feel so much more immersive. The film has some of the best action sequences I’ve seen all year and it was shot in 35mm, which looks gorgeous! If you’re looking to buy or rent this film now, you have look for “Live Die Repeat!”

Nightcrawler7. “Nightcrawler”

I still can’t believe that Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his extraordinary performance in “Prisoners.” Gyllenhaal has one of the most interesting careers I’ve seen from an actor. Ever since “Donnie Darko,” he has chosen some of the most fascinating and diverse roles. If you haven’t see “Zodiac,” “Prisoners,” or “Enemy,” do so immediately! “Nightcrawler” is a fascinating character study and a film that makes you think a lot about our media and the way stories are reported. The film is obviously a satire of that element but it’s hard to avoid thinking about the ideas in the real world. Gyllenhaal and co-star Rene Russo deliver two of the best and most complete performances of their respective careers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel6. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

I saw this film in March and I’m still geeking out about the different aspect ratios that Wes Anderson used. The film jumps back and forth between different decades and Anderson had the brilliant idea of showing each decade in a different aspect ratio. Anderson is one of the few filmmakers who allows the audience to appreciate his filmmaking while never losing suspension of disbelief in the story. Every single shot in the film is perfectly framed and I loved the use of miniatures. Alexandre Desplat’s score blends beautifully with the story, performances and cinematography. Watching a Wes Anderson film is like staring at a beautiful art piece for two hours.

Gone Girl5. “Gone Girl”

For the record, I did NOT read the book before seeing this film. I did this on purpose because I wanted to experience David Fincher brilliance without knowing any story points. I sat in a dark theatre with my jaw dropping and tears flowing from sheer shock of all the twists and turns. I hadn’t experienced a level of excitement like that in a long time. The film reminded me why I loved going to the movies. Fincher is one of the few filmmakers I love who shoots digitally. The look of his films are completely original. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score is absolute perfection and I love that Fincher uses it as a leading character just as he did in “The Social Network.” Rosamund Pike delivers the best performance I’ve seen this year from an actress. Her transformation and overall screen presence is breathtaking. Also, Tyler Perry was fantastic–a great turn and an excellent casting choice. Neil Patrick Harris had to shoot his death sequence thirty-seven times! Fincher had thirty-seven beds, sheets and carpets that the filmmakers would roll in and out of the room for each take! There were two removable walls to move everything in and out!

Whiplash4. “Whiplash”

One of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. I know this is a strange comparison, but J.K. Simmons’ character reminded of the shark in “Jaws.” Every single time Simmons was on-camera, I was scared out of my mind. I had no idea what he was going to do and that unpredictability freaked me out! I know this year’s Best Actor category is really tight, but I would love to see Miles Teller get some love. Simmons is clearly the best aspect of the film, but Teller helps him be the best and really carries the film well. The brilliance of Simmons is that you can feel his presence even when he is not in a scene. The same went for Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Hopkins was only in that film for 16 minutes yet he feels like he’s in the entire movie. Keep in mind that Hopkins won Best Actor for that performance, not supporting. I want to use this space real quick to mention two other performances that I loved this year. Neither “Foxcatcher” nor “The Theory of Everything” are in my Top 10 films of 2014 but they both contain two of my favorite performances of the year. Sure, Steve Carell is brilliant in “Foxcatcher,” but I really feel that Channing Tatum is the breakout performance. Incredibly subtle and internal. For “The Theory of Everything,” Eddie Redmayne is INCREDIBLE as Stephen Hawking. Redmayne had to shoot the film out of order. He would get to set and in the morning, shoot his sequences as Hawking in the wheelchair. Then, an hour later, he would be back to running around as Hawking at age 18. Then, an hour later, he would be walking around on the sticks. The fact that Redmyane had to jump in and out of all those different parts of Hawking’s life is just incredible!

Birdman3. “Birdman”

I remember seeing “Amores Perros” in 2000 and being blown away, emotionally, to the point where I couldn’t speak when it ended. That feeling was multiplied by a thousand when I saw “21 Grams.” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is one of the best filmmakers working today and has directed his best film to date with “Birdman.” Though it is difficult not to make comparisons to Michael Keaton and his “Batman” movies, the film was apparently written by Inarritu after going through a mid-life crisis when turning fifty. Keaton, as well as Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Amy Ryan, are all incredible, but the real star of this film is Emmanuel Lubezki. Lubezki already changed the game with his incredible cinematography on “Gravity,” but he really took his craft to a whole new level with “Birdman.” The film is shot and edited to look like one continuous shot for almost two hours. Sure, this has been done before. There have been movies that have actually achieved one continuous shot without any edits. Lubezki achieved it through trick continuous shots, meaning that there are edits which are covered up. Remember the classic Hitchcock movie, “Rope?” Since Hitchcock was shooting on film in the 1940s, if he wanted to do an extremely long take, he would have to move the camera to black area to cut the camera without the audience knowing. Therefore, he could zoom in on a black jacket or some object, cut the camera and you would never know. With all that said, Inarritu allows the audience to appreciate this incredible filmmaking technique while never losing their suspension of disbelief in the story. I have to mention Antonio Sanchez’s incredible score. I love the percussion angle and it’s absolutely ludicrous that Sanchez has been deemed ineligible to be nominated for an Oscar. RIDICULOUS!

Boyhood2. “Boyhood”

A cinematic masterpiece that is equally masterful in concept as it is in execution! Richard Linklater’s film could have easily been a gimmick but he never let the concept overpower the incredible story, themes and emotions. I just sat there having my mind blown by the performances while also appreciating this incredible concept. I still can’t believe that Ellar Coltrane had no contract. He could have walked away after year eleven without any issues! The fact that Linklater would meet with the cast a few days each year, for twelve years, is just mind-blowing to me. The beauty of the film is Linklater’s subtlety. I loved that he didn’t post “Year one,” or “Year eleven” on screen. It was all done through music and visuals. You would hear a Britney Spears song or a Coldplay song and know what year it was. You would see the Presidential election signs and know what year you were in. Plus, you are watching the actors get older as the film progresses. Patricia Arquette deserves Best Supporting Actress for her incredible performance and mainly because of the ending sequence. Arquette will always be one of my favorite actors because she stars in my favorite movie of all time, “True Romance.”

Interstellar1. “Interstellar”

I don’t even know where to begin with this film. I saw “Interrstellar” FOUR TIMES in 70mm IMAX and I want to go one more time before it leaves. When I was eight years old, I remember sitting on a couch, in between my parents, watching “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” An amazing feeling came over me that changed my entire life. It was the exact moment I fell in love with cinema and how films are made. I just sat there in awe by what James Cameron had done and I wanted to know how he did it, just like someone who wants to know how a magic trick is done. 22 years later, that same feeling came over me again when watching “Interstellar.” The film is easily Christopher Nolan’s most complete, ambitious, masterful and emotional film to date. The fact that Nolan used no green screen is still blowing my mind. Nolan believes in practical effects and built fifty-foot spacecrafts and then projected images of space on huge screens so that the actors could look at the windows and see what we were seeing. That created an extreme level of immersion that I hadn’t felt before. I’ve always loved Nolan’s films (“The Dark Knight,” “Inception”), but I always felt they lacked emotional engagement. This was the first time I cried, real tears, in a Christopher Nolan film. The sequence when McConaughey watches the twenty-three years of footage is one of the most emotional sequences of the year. Nolan purposefully kept that footage from Matthew McConaughey until the day the scene was filmed. What we see on camera is the first time the actor saw the footage. I love that the reaction is completely genuine. Nolan is the rare filmmaker that still shoots on FILM! I can’t tell you how incredible that is and how much better film looks over digital. It’s hard to describe it, but NOTHING can replace the grainy, cinematic and beautiful look of film. I’ll take multiple cigarette burns any day of the week over a pristine digital print. Not only does Nolan shoot on film, he also shoots 70mm FILM for a good portion of his movies. The beauty of seeing the film in a 70mm IMAX theatre is watching the film jump from the 35mm moments to the 70mm moments. It’s gorgeous to see and something that is fading quickly, unfortunately. There’s a reason why some of the greatest filmmakers of our time are still shooting on film (i,e., Nolan, Scorsese, J.J. Abrams, Wright, Tarantino, etc.). “Interstellar” is a perfect example of a film that requires multiple viewings. I’ve seen it four times and still haven’t fully grasped everything. That’s the beauty of it, though! If you try to fully understand it, you are going to get discouraged. It’s a film that should be experienced. Let it take you away. Also, can someone please nominate Bill Irwin for Best Supporting Actor for playing TARS? Irwin played TARS practically through puppeteering. INCREDIBLE! Last but not least, I have to mention Hans Zimmer’s EPIC and MOST AMBITIOUS score of his career. Nolan allows the score to be a leading character, so much so that it covers some of the dialogue. Zimmer wrote parts of the score before Nolan even told him the genre of the movie! The use of church organs is beyond epic and must be experienced in a massive theatre. “Interstellar” is one of the best films I’ve seen in years. The flick gave me real tears and Nerd Tears!

Worst Film Of the Year: “Winter’s Tale”

Most Disappointing Film of the Year: “Godzilla”

Most Underrated Movie Of The Year: “Snowpiercer”

Most Suprisingly Awesome Flick: “John Wick”

Kevin McCarthy Apologizes For Movie Mix-Up

Dear Friends,

Unfortunately, I made a mistake yesterday during my Oscar movie segment on “Fox & Friends.”

I mixed up my movies. I was discussing the category of Best Picture and saying that, out of the nine nominated films, you should at least see the following three: “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle.” I proceeded to say that “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” were the front-runners, but to not count out “American Hustle.”

I don’t read a teleprompter when I’m on “Fox & Friends,” and here’s where I made the mistake. My original talking points for “American Hustle” were focused around the votes splitting between “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” and how “American Hustle” won the SAG award for Best Ensemble. From there, I started talking about how “American Hustle” was produced by Harvey Weinstein and that he’s the best campaigner in the industry.

Unfortunately, I was confusing “American Hustle” with “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was a major Oscar contender last year with the same director (David O. Russell) and two of the same cast members (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence). I made the Harvey Weinstein argument last year when I talked about “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Please accept my apology for the on-air mix-up. The correction would be that Harvey Weinstein had NOTHING to do with “American Hustle.”

Thanks for reading the site and watching the reviews,

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin’s Oscar Rant Plus 2014 Oscar Predictions

Alfred Hitchcock NEVER WON an Oscar for Best Director. Stanley Kubrick NEVER WON an Oscar for Best Director. “Shakespeare in Love” won Best Picture over “Saving Private Ryan.” Leonardo DiCaprio and Gary Oldman have NEVER won an Oscar. Oldman was only nominated once! Martin Scorsese didn’t win Best Director or Best Picture until “The Departed” (Did the Academy not see “Taxi Driver”, “Raging Bull”, “Casino” or a little film called “Goodfellas”?) The list goes on…

This random rant is a little late but I needed to vent. It still blows my mind how out of touch the Academy Awards really are. This year alone, they failed to nominate some of the greatest performances I’ve seen from actors in years!

First of all, how do you NOT nominate Michael B. Jordan for his incredible, emotional and gripping performance in “Fruitvale Station”. I cried throughout the entire ending credits of that film. I sat in that theatre as an emotional mess. His performance was flawless and I was completely immersed in the story.

Did the Academy see the last five minutes of “Captain Phillips”?!? That is arguably the greatest acting I’ve ever seen from Tom Hanks. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a raw, vulnerable and emotional performance from an actor. As much as I loved Christian Bale and Bruce Dern, I think they should have been replaced by Michael B. Jordan and Tom Hanks!

Don’t even get me started on Emma Thompson’s snub! “Saving Mr. Banks” was easily one of the best films of 2013. Thompson carried that entire film and her character arc was incredible!

What about Sam Rockwell in one of the best films of 2013; “The Way Way Back”! When is the Academy going to recognize him?! Did they even see “Moon”? The ping pong scene?! Even Steve Carell deserves recognition for “The Way Way Back”.

On a positive note, The Academy did nominate “The Wolf Of Wall Street” and Leonardo DiCaprio. Even though DiCaprio deserves it, he won’t win. The award will go to Matthew McConaughey for his incredible performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” (Though, I’d like to see Chiwetel Ejiofor (he was amazing!) win if we are taking DiCaprio out completely).

Still hoping for a “Gravity” Best Picture win and a DiCaprio Best Actor Win. Knowing the Academy though, that would be nearly impossible!

My Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
Will Win: “12 Years A Slave”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Best Actor
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey “Dallas Buyers Club”
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Best Actress
Will Win: Cate Blanchett “Blue Jasmine”
Should Win: Sandra Bullock “Gravity”

Supporting Actor
Will Win: Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club”
Should Win: Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club”

Supporting Actress
Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o “12 Years A Slave”
Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o “12 Years A Slave”

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron “Gravity”
Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron “Gravity”

Animated Feature
Will Win: “Frozen”
Should Win: “Frozen”

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki “Gravity”
Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki “Gravity”

Costume Design
Will Win: “American Hustle”
Should Win: “The Great Gatsby”

Documentary Feature
Will Win: “The Act Of Killing”
Should Win: “The Act of Killing”

Documentary Short Subject
Will Win: “Facing Fear”

Will Win: “Gravity”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Foreign Language Film
Will Win: “The Broken Circle Breakdown”

Will Win: “Dallas Buyers Club”
Should Win: “Bad Grandpa”

Film Score
Will Win: Steven Price “Gravity”
Should Win: Steven Price “Gravity”

Will Win: “Frozen”
Should Win: “Frozen”

Production Design
Will Win: “Gravity”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Short Film (Animated)
Will Win: “Feral”

Short Film (Live Action)
Will Win: “Helium”

Sound Editing
Will Win: “Gravity”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Sound Mixing
Will Win: “Gravity”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Visual Effects
Will Win: “Gravity”
Should Win: “Gravity”

Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: “12 Years A Slave”
Should Win: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Original Screenplay
Will Win: “Her”
Should Win: “Her”

Thanks for reading!
– Kevin

Kevin McCarthy’s Top 15 Films of 2013

2013 has been one of the most incredible years for cinema that I’ve seen in a long time. Out of the 138 films I watched in 2013, I gave four 5/5 ratings to films that will remain favorites of mine for years to come. It is such a joy, each day, to be able to do film reviews. I grew up loving films so much and it’s such an honor to be able to share my thoughts with you. I just want to thank you for following my crazy adventures. I hope you have a wonderful New Year and I’ll see you at the movies in 2014!

Here are my top 15 favorite films of 2013.

1) “Gravity” – A game-changing masterpiece that completely elevates the art form and a film that delivers on a technical and emotional level. The film deserves Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Special Effects and more. I can’t stand it when people tell me the story is too thin. We are dealing with a very short period of time in the character’s lives. Sandra Bullock delivers a brilliant, internally emotional, performance that easily invested me in the picture. There are many themes and metaphors throughout the film if you look deep enough. On the surface, yes, the visuals are amazing and the action is fantastic. I just found so much more to this film than the action. I love the idea of gravity being a metaphor for what pulls us home and keeps us going in life. From a visual stand-point, the film changes everything. If you watch the behind-the-scenes footage of the film to see exactly how it was made, you will be blown away. All of the breathing that Sandra Bullock did was done through acting. She would have to hyperventilate herself because she wasn’t moving as much as her character was in the movie. Cuaron did a lot with pre-visualization and having the environment move around her. I still have no idea how Cuaron was able to integrate human performances in to that 17-minute opening digital shot; so seamlessly. If you haven’t seen Cuaron’s “Children of Men” or “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, go rent those films right now. Also, if you can find “Gravity” in 3D IMAX, go out and see it immediately. I’ve seen the film five times!

2) “The Wolf of Wall Street” – Hands down, the best performance of Leonardo DiCaprio’s career. The fact that Leonardo DiCaprio has yet to win an Academy Award is beyond me. DiCaprio has proved himself, time and time again, to be one of the greatest actors of all time. His range is absolutely incredible and can be seen very vividly in “The Wolf Of Wall Street”. The film is three hours of ABSOLUTE INSANITY. Just prepare for a lot of R-Rated material. The film’s 3-hours went by so quickly. I wanted more! Keep in mind that Martin Scorsese didn’t win his first directing Oscar until “The Departed”, which was a remake of a film called “Infernal Affairs”. “The Wolf Of Wall Street” marks the 5th and best time that Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together. I can’t wait to see this film again!

3) “Saving Mr. Banks” – I love movies about movies. As with last years’ “Hitchcock”, I love learning the stories behind the scenes. This film delivers beautiful performances from Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell. Tom Hanks was born to play Walt Disney! The mark of a great actor is when the celebrity can completely disappear in the character. Both Thompson and Hanks did that here. Of course, with any film based on a true story, the director will take artistic liberties in the telling of the story. If you are looking for 100% accuracy, you would have to watch a documentary of this time period. “Saving Mr. Banks” made me simultaneously cry like a little baby and put a gigantic smile on my face.

4) “Captain Phillips” – The combination of Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks is perfection. The documentary style of shooting with the shock and brilliance of Hanks’ performance is incredible to watch. The last five minutes of this film contain some of the most incredible acting I’ve ever seen. Tom Hanks completely owned this performance and director Paul Greengrass delivers a brilliant intensity. Even though we already know the ending to the story, the film keeps you on edge. That is a key component to great filmmaking. Ben Affleck did it with “Argo” and Kathryn Bigelow did it with “Zero Dark Thirty”.

5) “The Way Way Back” – A film so great that it makes you hate Steve Carrell. How is it possible to turn one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood in to one of the most despicable characters of 2013? The film is a beautiful coming of age story with a great balance between comedy and drama. Rent this film immediately! Like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sam Rockwell is one of the most underrated actors working in Hollywood today. He deserves a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this film.

6) “Man of Steel” – Arguably the most divisive film of 2013. Snyder delivers an incredibly epic, mind-blowing, action-adventure with one of the best scores of 2013. Hans Zimmer’s music feels like a leading character as it carries us through the epic action and gorgeous effects. Henry Cavill is the perfect Superman and Clark Kent. Let’s not forget the incredible performance from Kevin Costner. Every time I watch the film, I always get teary eyed at the moment when Kevin Costner raises his hand right before his deaths sequence. I love the internal power of that moment. My biggest issue with this film was the product placement.

7) “Spring Breakers” – I would argue that this was one of the best SHOT films of 2013. Harmony Korine gorgeously blended colors, music, soundtrack and violence into a film that speaks a lot to our society. James Franco delivers his career best performance and is deserving of an Academy Award nomination. I know this film is an odd choice but it was an experience beyond belief. When you see the picture, pay attention to the incredible one-shot that Korine uses during the robbery sequence in the beginning. The car is driving around the robbery and it’s all done in one shot.

8) “Fruitvale Station” – Dear Academy Awards, please give Michael B. Jordan recognition at the show this year. I cried like a little baby at the end of this film. The performances are amazing and the story-telling is perfect. First-time director, Ryan Coogler, proves that story-telling is a director’s greatest tool.

9) “Her” – Spike Jonze has created a beautiful love story with an original idea. Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely incredible in the film. The fact that Scarlett Johansson was considered ineligible for the Golden Globes because she was doing a voice performance, is absolutely ridiculous. Voice acting and performance capture IS ACTING. What’s even crazier is that during the filming of the movie, Joaquin Phoenix was acting with actress Samantha Morton the entire time. It wasn’t until after Jonze finished shooting the film that he re-cast Morton’s part with Johansson. That proves even more that Johansson is deserving considering how natural the performance is.

10) “The Place Beyond The Pines” – One of the best acted films of 2013. A genius film about legacy that delivers beautiful performances from Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. The film deserves to be recognized by the Academy but the Oscar race is too heavy this season. The sequence with Bradley Cooper in the woods, towards the end of the film, is just insane to watch. I loved how director, Derek Cianfrance, decided to break the film up in to three VERY DISTINCT acts. The opening shot of the film with Ryan Gosling going to the motorcycle and driving in to the cage of death, is incredible to watch. The shot is a long tracking shot. See if you can notice where Gosling leaves the shot before the camera enters the cage.

11) “12 Years A Slave” – A beautifully shot, brilliantly acted and extremely well-told story that grabs and takes you in to the world of Solomon Northup; a free man who was abducted in to slavery for 12-years without being able to say goodbye to his family. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is finally getting the recognition he deserves as he takes on one of the most incredible roles of all time. Ejiofor’s performance is very internal throughout the film yet I found myself connecting with everything he was thinking. One of my favorite shots of the year is when Ejiofor is one screen and looks right in to the camera. Normally, this would break the fourth wall for an audience but for me, I felt more connected with the character. Hans Zimmer delivers, yet another, brilliant score. This film would have made my top 10 if it wasn’t for the random Brad Pitt appearance. I understand that he produced the film but his appearance felt more financial than artistic. Dropping an actor that famous in to a film, 3/4’s of the way through, completely took me out of the movie. Other than that, the film is perfect. Steve McQueen’s long shots add to the film’s intensity and the realism. “12 Years A Slave” is one of the most important films I’ve ever seen.

12) “Nebraska” – Bruce Dern is absolutely phenomenal in this film directed by Alexander Payne in gorgeous black-and-white cinemascope. Will Forte proves that he’s much more than a comedic actor. The film has a very realistic and natural vibe. The story is engaging and all performances are incredible; especially June Squibb who steals many of the films’ scenes.

13) “Dallas Buyer’s Club” – Give Jared Leto the Academy Award RIGHT NOW. Leto is one of the most talented actors working today. While he does focus a bit more on his musical career, his acting is just spectacular. He should have been nominated for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream”. Matthew Mcconaughey is unrecognizable in the role where he lost close to 50 pounds. His character arc is outstanding and deserving of an Oscar nomination.

14) “Inside Llewyn Davis” – The Coen Brothers deliver again. I grew up on “Blood Simple”, “Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Miller’s Crossing” and “Raising Arizona”. Each of their films always have that Coen Bros. vibe but are always so different. The film is helped by it’s incredible live-singing and playing. Justin Timberlake proves yet again that he can do anything. Oscar Isaacs, who was incredible in “Drive”, delivers a fantastic internal performance that drives the entire film; no pun intended. 🙂

15) “Rush” – Ron Howard has created a film that is equally as intense off the race course as it is on. Howard tells the story of the epic rivalry between two formula one drivers in the 70’s. Daniel Bruhl (“Inglorious Basterds”) is deserving of an Oscar nomination for his spot-on performance. He and Chris Hemsworth deliver fantastic chemistry. The cinematography mixed with Hans Zimmer’s incredible score make the film worth seeing. I can’t believe how much Bruhl looked like Niki Lauda!


Kevin McCarthy’s 2013 Oscar Predictions

Each year, l get all geeked out about the Oscars and almost every year, they let me down. Though, for some reason, each year I get more excited than the previous year. After watching well over 100 movies in 2012, I can’t help but feel invested in what happens on Oscar night.

I’m not the biggest sports fan on the planet but I imagine it’s the same feeling sports fans have for the Super Bowl. Ever since I was a little kid, I would always stay up late and watch the Oscars with an extreme fascination as to who would take home the major awards. Read More