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2012 Oscar Nominees are up!

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Apple’s Predictions:

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“Moneyball”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2″
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“Anonymous”
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“W.E.”

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Best Achievement in Film Editing
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“The Iron Lady”

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
“Pentecost”
“Raju”
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“Drive”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Orion’s Predictions: (in depth analysis to follow)

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“Moneyball”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2″
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“Anonymous”
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“W.E.”

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Best Achievement in Film Editing
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“The Iron Lady”

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
“Pentecost”
“Raju”
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“Drive”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Can’t wait for Deathly Hallows II: 96% on RT!

Orion and I will be at the theatre this time tomorrow!  So excited!

So excited for X-Men: First Class! 97% @ RT.

I am so freaking excited for this.  And it even looks good.  Midnight showing, anyone?

(Jennifer Lawrence, Ree from Winter’s Bone, is young Mystique.  WTH?)

Categories: Snap Judgment

Celebrity doppelganger escapes intra-movie limitations to inter-movie world!

Friends with Benefits = No Strings Attached.  Mila Kunis = Natalie Portman = celebrity doppelganger – (http://appleandorion.com/2010/12/05/mila-kunis%E2%80%99-celebrity-doppelganger-is-natalie-portman-on-%E2%80%98were-swans%E2%80%99-in-%E2%80%9Cblack-swan%E2%80%9D/) – did I say it or what?

Categories: Previews, Snap Judgment

On iPhone Games (Also, Tiny Wings tips/tutorial!)

Taking another break from the typical movie review, I’d like to bring you guys an iPhone App review!  I mostly used my phone for reading news at first, but have since progressed into less and less productive use of this excellent mobile device.  Among the games that I have played and enjoyed are: Sushi Cat, Flood-It!, Paper Ninja, Charmed, Cat Physics, Mega Jump, and iJewels.  But there have been several extraordinary games, and I’d like to share them with you.  (I’ve also included a Tiny Wings Tips section at the bottom of this review!)

Among the level-based games, I think the best definitely have to be Cut the Rope, Trainyard, and Angry Birds.  Of these, Angry Birds is the most famous, yet I fail to see why.  One simply drags a bird back in a slingshot, and launches it forwards to knock over structures and destroy evil green pigs.  It uses good physics-based motions, includes an assortment of different powered birds, and has a lot of levels.  Actually, I thought Angry Birds was kind of boring.

Usually, these level-based games have some sort of a smaller, free version that people test before buying the full version of the game, even when the full version is usually only $0.99 itself.  Trainyard is a notable exception, in that its free Trainyard Express has levels that are unique from the full game.  I think Trainyard has been my favorite puzzle game so far – one guy developed it in his spare time, see the story here (http://struct.ca/2010/the-story-so-far/).  It employs an excellent puzzle system set in a trainyard, where one has to lead colored trains into colored boxes.  Sounds simple, but Trainyard can get really hard, really fast.  The levels are especially well-designed, teaching the user the tricks of the trade, and then immediately putting them to the test.

Lastly among these, Cut the Rope is an adorable game.  A little monster named Om Nom arrives on your doorstep, and you must feed it candy!  This game really uses the multitouch abilities of the iPhone in an intuitive way, cutting ropes to let candy drop.  The levels are simple, well-designed, and most importantly, super cute!  Among the variety of attributes that arise in later levels, my favorite have got to be portal-esque socks, where the candy goes in one sock and shoots out the other, momentum conserved (as in Portal).  Cut the Rope’s updates sometimes include new levels, so the game never stops growing.

Among the progression-based games, my favorites have definitely been Doodle Jump and Tiny Wings.  These both have simple, intuitive gameplay, based on innovative use of the iPhone’s controls.  Doodle Jump is a tilt-based game similar to Orisinal’s Winterbells, where you play a little green doodlebug that jumps from platform to platform.  Along the way, difficulty increases as platforms move and vanish, and monsters appear.  There are a nice variety of maps and powerups, along with several achievements, which help feed the addiction.

And lastly, my newest addiction is Tiny Wings.  This game is ridiculously cute and sweet – the description states, “You have always dreamed of flying – but your wings are tiny.  Luckily the world is full of beautiful hills.”  That’s the premise behind Tiny Wings – using hills to build momentum in order to “fly.”  This game has cute music, although the bird sounds kind of like a Furby, and the hills change colors every day.  There are also nest upgrades and different islands, but I think Tiny Wings could definitely use some more features.  Since this is only version 1 though, I’m sure we can expect to see a lot more from Andreas Illiger soon.

Here is the trailer for Tiny Wings.  It is pretty damn adorable.

Now, as promised, TINY WINGS TIPS/TUTORIAL/WALKTHROUGH!  I’ve only had the game for four days, but I’ve fallen in love with it.  I’m currently at a high score of ~150,000 and working on upgrading my nest from x24 (update: now on the last objective set, x26! Update2: beat all objectives!).  Last I checked, international high scores were high 200,000s, so if I keep at it, maybe there’s hope!  Anyway, here’s my advice:

First, read the HELP section to learn the rules!  This way, you’ll know how many points you get for everything, and what to aim for!  Of course, these points will be multiplied depending on your nest.

The goal is to get as far as you can before the sun sets.  Each time you fly across the ocean to a new island, you fly faster than the sun, and so it appears like time is turning back.  If you find you are running out of time, try to get to the next island for a little boost in time!

To get perfect slides, aim to have the bird hit the ground on the downhill part, slide through the bottom valley, and leave the ground while heading uphill.  (See white splotchy line in picture.)

  • You have to land from the air and end in the air in order to qualify for a perfect slide, thus, you cannot get a perfect slide if you stay on the ground from hill to hill.  You have to fly over at least one hill/valley and then land in order for it to count.

Fever mode is key to getting a high score.  After three perfect slides, the bird will go into fever mode, and star sparkles will stream from his tail.  During this time, which will continue as long as perfect slides are made, your score will be doubled.

  • Since score is computed by distance, it is especially important to get into fever mode at the end of one island – the score from entire distance of the ocean between islands will be doubled.

Upgrade your nest!  Check the objectives on the main screen to see what you need to do in order to get to the next nest.  This is key in obtaining a high score, because each nest multiples your score by some number, and better nests have higher multipliers!

  • This is not hard if you focus on the objectives, but objectives rarely happen of their own accord, so make sure to actively accomplish them!
  • This will also improve your game in general; Orion told me a study about how people will plateau their typing speeds, and break past the plateau through focusing on improving little details.

Additional sources of score include coins, speedcoins, and cloud touches.

  • I would ignore coins unless you need them for a nest upgrade; it is much better to maintain a smooth momentum than to nab a few coins.
  • Cloud touches (aka all the goals for one nest upgrade) are good, and are easily achieved right at the beginning of a new island, because of all the momentum accumulated flying over the ocean.  Cloud touches are also easier with small, steep/deep hills, because of the upward elevation.  Blue speedcoins can help cloud touches as well.
  • Blue speedcoins will help you go faster, but I also wouldn’t suggest going for them unless they happen to be on your way.

Specific nest up advice:

  • “Get 200 coins”  - this is hard if you don’t focus on it.  I can go many games without getting 200 coins; the trick is to go slowly.  Especially at the end of each island, the long string of coins is easy to miss if you’re going too quickly.

  • “Get 10 perfect slides on island 1″ – this sounds hard at first, but there are a lot of hills on island 1.  The trick to this objective is to not sail high off the ground.  The ideal movement is to get one perfect slide, fly over one valley, and then bring the bird back down right away for another perfect slide; basically, try to hit every other valley perfectly.  Quickly tapping the screen rather than pressing/holding is a good technique to slow down the bird’s movement.
  • “Get to 4th island without a perfect slide” (to upgrade to Nest x26) – this might sound ridiculous at first, but turned out to be surprisingly easy.  Since a slide only counts as a ‘perfect slide’ if the bird flies over a hill before landing, as long as you stay close to the ground, you won’t get any perfect slides.  Try to tap or hold right after you get to the top of a hill, so you end up gliding up and down the hills at a reasonable speed, but never actually fly off the ground.
  • “34 seconds in fever mode” (for Nest x26) – I got stuck on this for a while; I was originally trying to get all of islands 1 and 2 in fever mode, and would restart the game if I messed up.  However, I actually ended up getting it at the end of island 4 and the beginning of island 5, which has a lot of small and regular hills (see above image for example).  This objective is all about time, not distance, so go as slow as you can by tapping the screen (as opposed to pressing and holding).  Tapping gives you more control, changing the bird’s speed bit by bit rather than all of a sudden.  Also, if you’re tapping, as long as you land somewhere before the valley, you will likely get a perfect slide.

Good luck, and have fun beating all your friends!  If you have any questions or suggestions for this tips page, let me know in the comments!

Oscar Turnouts!

February 27, 2011 1 comment

Aaand the Oscars are over!  Here are the night’s results, with bolded movies predicted by either Apple or Orion.

Overall, Apple got 10 correct, and Orion got 9 correct.  See original prediction posts for correct ones.

1. Best Picture: “The King’s Speech.”
2. Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech.”
3. Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan.”
4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter.”
5. Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter.”
6. Directing: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech.” (Apple – I seriously thought David Fincher was going to take this one home.  As it was, “Social Network” barely got anything.)
7. Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World,” Denmark.
8. Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network.”
9. Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech.” (Orion – not “Inception”?)
10. Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3.”
11. Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland.”
12. Cinematography: “Inception.”
13. Sound Mixing: “Inception.”
14. Sound Editing: “Inception.”
15. Original Score: “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
16. Original Song: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” Randy Newman.
17. Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland.”
18. Documentary Feature: “Inside Job.”
19. Documentary (short subject): “Strangers No More.”
20. Film Editing: “The Social Network.”
21. Makeup: “The Wolfman.”
22. Animated Short Film: “The Lost Thing.”
23. Live Action Short Film: “God of Love.”
24. Visual Effects: “Inception.”

Together, 13/24.  We missed a lot of the shorts, as well as the more specific categories.  Next year, everyone, next year!

Categories: Misc, Snap Judgment

Apple’s Oscar Predictions:

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Update: Bolded ones correct.

Come Sunday night, thanks to a great idea by J, we will be watching the Oscars!  But this will be no ordinary Oscar-watching get-together, as we will have our pride and alcohol tolerance on the line.  The game goes like this: put up predictions for the big categories.  IF (prediction=true) {be happy} ELSE {take a shot!}.

Here are my predictions, based on personal movie experience, awards so far, and also the online critic mood.  (Nominations can be found here.)

  • Best picture: The King’s Speech (though maybe The Social Network?)
  • Best Actor: Colin Firth
  • Best Actress: Natalie Portman
  • Supporting Actor: Christian Bale
  • Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
  • Original Screenplay: Inception
  • Best Animated: Toy Story 3
  • Original Score: The Social Network
  • Original Song: Tangled
  • Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
  • Cinematography: True Grit
  • Costume: The King’s Speech
  • Makeup: The Wolfman
  • Sound Editing: Tron
  • Sound Mixing: The Social Network
  • Visual Effects: Alice in Wonderland
  • Best Documentary: Inside Job
  • Short Documentary: The Warriors of Qiugang
  • Film Editing: Black Swan
  • Best Foreign: Biutiful
  • Best animated short: Day & Night
  • Best Live Short: Wish 143

Then again, last year I totally thought that either James Cameron or “Avatar” had to take home one of the two big awards, if not both.  What do you guys think?

Categories: Misc, Snap Judgment

Golden Globes 2010 Nominations

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

If you haven’t already, check out the Golden Globes Nominations for this year:  http://www.goldenglobes.org/nominations/

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen all of these, but we still have our predictions (or rather, hopes)…what do you guys think?

Orion: One category I’m looking closely at (as is everyone else, I’m sure) is the Best Motion Picture – Drama category.  With Black Swan, Inception, and Social Network all nominated, this is a field of heavy-weight contenders.  I have to lean towards Black Swan, simply because of the strength of the actors and actresses involved, however it is possible that Natalie Portman will win Best Performance and Black Swan itself fail to make the cut.  I’m also looking at the Comedy/Musical category, in the hopes that Red makes it through.

Apple: I really want Jeremy Renner to win Best Supporting for The Town – he was great.  But he’s up against Geoffrey Rush from The King’s Speech and Christian Bale from “The Fighter”, so it’ll be hard to say.  I also am looking forward to seeing the winner of Best Animated – there’s Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, and Toy Story 3.  Although I didn’t like it, I’m sure Inception will take something home.  Last year had so many good movies…I know this year was great because of Waffle Reviews’ fantastic debut, but I’m not sure even about the Best Picture nominees.  Which do you think will win?

Categories: Snap Judgment

Carey Mulligan is Daisy???

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In case you didn’t hear, Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) is making a version of The Great Gatsby.  Here’s the lineup so far:

Gatsby – Leonardo DiCaprio

Daisy – Carey Mulligan (???)

I’m excited about Leo’s casting, but Carey Mulligan?  Does anyone else think this is weird?

Categories: Snap Judgment

Hypnosis, sleight of hand, and straight-up reading: The Mentalist

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

A detective police version of House, Patrick Jane stars as the lead in this spunky, unexpected crime-drama.  For a while, Jane pretended to be a psychic, but we learn in the first episode that he has since renounced this profession.  Following the murder of his family by serial killer “Red John”, Jane joins the CBI, relatively little-known California Bureau of Investigation.  He puts his skills to closing cases, and along the way, gets in all sorts of interesting scraps. The dynamic between Jane and his colleague, Teresa Lisbon, is especially interesting.  She is responsible for ‘keeping him in line’, and in return, he will ‘keep closing cases’.

I haven’t appreciated a TV show like this since “Law and Order”.  I’m not one for following longitudinal stories, especially ones that move slowly (like “Battlestar Galactica”), but true episode-based shows, like this, are great.  They echo Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes short stories, which I have always loved.  (Do these also echo back to “Criminal Intent”?)  The stories are sharp, and there is almost always an unexpected ending, which is a lot of fun.

I was on the computer when the show was on, but kept stopping my work to watch; this is certainly indicative of something.  It is like a mix of “Castle” (but with a more interesting lead, sorry Nathan Fillion) and “House” (but not as bitter).  My prediction (it’s a little late, considering the show has just been renewed for a third season) is that it will keep being renewed, for at least two more seasons.

Best regards,

Apple; http://appleandorion.com

Categories: Snap Judgment
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