Articles, Blog

2014 Oscars: All Best Picture Reviews #JPMN

You know, I’ve always wanted to star in an
Oscar-nominated feature… and after carefully reviewing all nine of this year’s Best Picture
nominees… I think I discovered a sure-fire formula to grab that little gold statue. So
here goes… Sir, we’ve just received your lab results.
// Was this med-school drop-out an accredited physician? Absolutely not! // I’m sorry, but
I’m afraid you’ve tested positive for AIDS. Also, you’re being sold into slavery tomorrow.
// Nooo…. // *It’s okay Jon, I still love you.* This is Movie Night! Hello and welcome to the fourth annual Movie
Night Oscar Special, I’m your host, Jonathan Paula. As with previous installments, this
is the biggest and most ambitious project I produce each year – so if you enjoy any
or all of it, please LIKE this video, add it to your favorites, or share it on social
media. And it goes without saying, don’t be afraid to leave a comment or two, as I always,
I will be reading them all. Let’s get down to business though… this year’s group of
contenders is a familiar lot of unambitious movies. Of the nine nominees for “Best Picture”,
six are based on true events, five are period pieces, and only a couple actually impressed
me. Tonight, we’ll be examining each of them, followed by my predictions for which ones
I think will win during the 86th Annual Academy Awards that air live on March 2nd on ABC.
Beginning in alpha-numerical order, let’s review “12 Years A Slave”. Produced on a budget of $20 million by director
Steve McQueen – this historical adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir of the same
name has grossed over $90 in profit since its November 8, 2013 release. Filmed on location
around historic antebellum plantations in Louisiana, we follow the heartbreakingly painful
true story of Northup, a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. After
declaring, “I don’t want to survive. I want to live”, he suffers through is captivity…
constantly hoping for salvation. Chiwetel Ejiofor is positively remarkable as the imprisoned,
but well-educated slave, deservedly earning an Oscar-nomination. Even if playing a beaten
down slave is sort of a “gimme”-role. A long time character actor, it’s great to see Ejiofor
truly shine in a lead role that explores the depths of perseverance, and refusing to be
victimized. Meanwhile, Michael Fassbender is extraordinarily evil as the violent slave-owner,
taunting his “property” just for sport. The breakout performer here though is Lupita Nyong’o.
Although she doesn’t have much screen time in her film debut, she bears her soul in the
picture’s centerpiece: a single, unbroken, five-minute shot that has her being whipped
against a post, constantly crying out in pain. It’s an unsettling sequence that’s masterfully
filmed from a hand-held camera, aided by Hans Zimmer’s moody score. Extremely talented individuals
like Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Brat Pitt, and Paul Dano are relegated to criminally
minor roles. The slow-moving 131-minute film shows us that even the polite white people
are still ignorant racists. Littered with uncomfortable, but period-accurate language,
the lush land of the deep south is vividly brought to life with beautiful cinematography
and impeccable costumes and art-design. One major flaw, is that outside of its title – the
film does a poor job of indicating the passage of time. We never see evidence that Ejiofor
was enslaved beyond a season or two. Objectively, I can’t deny that this film is extremely well-made,
but remove the “kidnapping twist”, and this R-rated story is an extremely familiar one
– drawing many parallels to “Roots”, “Shawshank Redemption”, and “Glory” – and in each instance,
the original did it better. When the depressing, bittersweet ending finally arrives, this picture
left me applauding the artistry of those involved, but otherwise indifferent. “12 Years A Slave”,
“Derivative story, but wonderfully presented.” Here are your thoughts now from the YouTube
comments. A NINE and a SEVEN for “12 Years A Slave”.
You felt the depiction was brilliant, especially the acting and subject matter, rating this
an AWESOME. Technically speaking, I completely agree… I just can’t shake the feeling that
this story, these performances, have all been done before. I’ll give it a strong COOL. Our
second film is “American Hustle”. This David O. Russel crime-comedy-drama film
was released on December 13, 2013, and quickly quintupled its $40 million dollar budget.
Inventively narrated by two separate characters, the sprawling 138-minute plot is loosely based
on the FBI “ABSCAM” operation of the late 1970’s, as we follow a pair of con-artists
forced to cooperate with the elaborate scheme. Including Russell’s previous effort, “Silver
Linings Playbook” this R-rated picture is only the 15th in history to receive acting
nominations in all four categories. And indeed, the performance of the colorfully dressed
leads really is the main attraction here, with the director even rebuffing criticisms
about the largely improvised story, “I hate plots. I am all about characters, that’s it.”
Unfortunately, that’s also the movie’s biggest weakness: the haphazard narrative has too
many moving parts, and is far more convoluted that it needs to be. Gaining over 40-pounds
for the role, and adopting a bad comb-over, Christian Bale is totally seamless in the
lead. Practically falling out of her low-cut dresses, the beautiful Amy Adams contributes
a delicate and varied performance, aggressively complaining to Bale that, “You’re nothing
to me until you’re everything.” Complete with an unsightly perm, Bradley Cooper is a perfect
foil for the bickering couple, energizing the plot with his amusing charisma. Jeremy
Renner plays a slick, but honest politician while Jennifer Lawrence is featured in a few
powerful scenes as Bale’s unpredictable Jersey housewife. She is as incredible, and gorgeous
as ever – making everyone around her that much better, especially in a funny sc ene
where warns against the dangers of Bale’s new “science oven”. In
a rare dramatic role, stand-up comedian Louis
C.K. works perfectly alongside his nominated co-stars. However, the great Michael Pena
is absolutely wasted in his minor role, as are the talents of another big-name actor
who has a surprise cameo. The costumes, editing, and camera work are all top-notch, but the
film’s inconsistent tone eliminates any tension in the confusing plot. Danny Elfman’s original
score takes a backseat to the 70’s-era pop sounds of Chicago, Steely Dan, and even an
Arabic version of “White Rabbit” – that bolster many scenes. Repeatedly focusing on themes
of lies, deceit, and what we “want to believe”, this picture is worth watching for the characters,
but it’s ultimately an underwhelming experience. “American Hustle”, “Incredible acting doesn’t
outshine problems.” Here are some of your comments now. Here’s our scores for “American Hustle”, an
EIGHT and a SIX. While many agreed the plot was overly involved, you absolutely loved
the acting, grading this a GREAT. I was very disappointed by this picture. With a tighter-script,
and a more sensible ending, this might have been worthy of its ten nominations. Sadly,
it’s overrated, I thought it was GOOD. Our third film tonight is one we’ve already reviewed,
but here again – if only for completion’s sake – are my thoughts on “Captain Phillips”. Based on the true events of a 2009-hihacking
at sea in the Indian Ocean, this picture has already quadrupled its $55 million dollar
budget, and scored six Academy Award nominations, following its October 11, 2013 release. Veteran
A-lister Tom Hanks stars in the title role of this suspenseful 134-minute picture directed
by the talented Paul Greengrass. Hanks brings his absolute best, showcasing a marvelous
performance that’ll having you rooting for him the whole way – especially in his finale
scene, where his emotions are pushed to the brink, overcome with shock at his circumstances.
Sticking to what he’s known for, Greengrass relies heavily on a handheld cinéma vérité
style, which works well to illicit a documentary-feeling, but becomes noticeably claustrophobic by the
picture’s end. Another trademark is populating the cast with no name participants, and this
film includes a breakout role from Barkad Abdi as the lead pirate, who sternly warns
Hanks after taking over his cargo ship, “I’m the captain now”. His nominated performance
is not only terrifying, and believable, it also manages to be relatable. The remainder
of the cast is largely inconsequential, including Catherine Keener, who is featured as Hanks’
wife, but is gone after only three minutes of screen time. Breathlessly tense throughout,
the adversarial relationship between Adbi and Hanks showcases all the cunning strategy
of a chess match, with each player positioning himself to come out on top. The subtle score from Henry Jackman is used sparingly,
instead dropping out entirely to allow for the actor’s own anxiety to carry each scene,
especially during the stressful bridge-takeover sequence. Although it takes a while to really
get going, and many portions are repetitive, if for no other reason than historical accuracy,
the movie is – thankfully, incredibly realistic – with production taking place on an actual
container ship, on the open ocean, with actual Somali actors playing the pirates. The PG-13
rated experience doesn’t make any political statements about the heroism or sensibility
of the massive rescue operation, nor does it ever escape the small physical confines
of its story, leaving everything feeling very immediate, but unfinished. However, as a believable
and dramatic thriller, it certainly accomplishes. “Captain Phillips”, “Captivating portrayal
of harrowing events.” Here are some of your thoughts now from the comments. A double EIGHT for “Captain Phillips”, while
praise was obviously unanimous for Hanks’ outstanding performance, criticism over the
length, and familiar hostage-scenario theme resulting in you rating this a GREAT. I have
to agree… definitely an enjoyable time, I too thought it was GREAT. Now for tonight’s
poll question: what’s your pick for 2013’s “Best Picture”? Leave your response as a comment
below. Next up, let’s review, “Dallas Buyers Club”. Grossing over $30 million against its meager
$5 million dollar budget, this biographical drama film quickly wowed audiences after its
November 1, 2013 release. Based on the true story of an AIDS patient turned pharmaceutical
drug smuggler, the original screenplay by Craig Borten had been kicked around Hollywood
for the better half of two decades before director Jean-Marc Vallée was finally able
to get it finished. Following the turbulent life of a homophobic rodeo cowboy diagnosed
with AIDS, the 116-minute story is a fascinating look at the struggles faced by HIV-stricken
individuals during the 1980’s. The R-rated film is anchored by a landmark performance
from Matthew McConaughey, who physically transformed himself for the part – and truly gives it
his all, especially when he accepts his terminal illness, screaming to himself in an empty
car. But later, it’s his determination that makes him a powerful figure worth rooting
for, defending risky decisions by yelling, ” I prefer to die with my boots on.” Following
years of shamlazty-rom-coms, it’s great to see this talented actor finally get a vehicle
where he can really showcase his immensely emotional talent – his best actor nomination
is very well-deserved. Alongside him in a marvelous supporting-role is an unrecognizable
Jared Leto as a caring transgender woman that becomes an unlikely ally to McConaughey. The always pretty Jennifer
Garner is a welcome addition to the cast as well, acting as a more rational observer to
the proceedings. Expertly filmed almost entirely with handheld cameras, sans traditional lighting
setups… this cheaply produced picture is as realistic as they get… the actors, environments,
and diegetic sound pair together perfectly. Exploring concepts of life, and fighting against
the system, this is an inspiring story that remains interesting without ever surprising.
“Dallas Buyers Club”, a “Sensitive, but dignified portrayal of survival.” Here now are some
of your thoughts from the YouTube comments. Our final scores… a double GREAT. While
I feel like something was missing here to truly put it over the top, the acting was
obviously top-shelf. We both rated this an EIGHT. Now for a shortened version of my earlier
review of “Gravity”. Earning nearly three-quarters of a billion
dollars, this 3D-sci-fi epic would become the eight-highest grossing film of the year,
following its October 4, 2013 release. The extremely ambitious action thriller is
the latest effort from visionary director Alfonso Cuarón. Using every bit of its $100-million
dollar budget, this stunning space epic opens with a single, 12-minute shot that defies
cinematic conventions — bringing to life perhaps the most impressive shot in film history.
Things quickly turn ugly when the dynamically unbroken scene is interrupted by an incoming
debris field that threatens the astronaut’s lives. George Clooney remains cool and collected
during the terrifying ordeal, sarcastically quipping to his fellow astronauts that they
have, “Clear skies with a chance of satellite debris”. Meanwhile, Sandra Bullock does a
magnificent job exhibiting a figurative roller coaster of emotions, scoring her a well-served
Oscar-nod. Virtually helpless in the deep void of space, the rookie mission specialist
silently prays to herself during an pivotal point for the picture. Unfolding in near-real-time,
this is a completely immersive and visceral experience, especially when tensions are heightened
during foggy POV shots, inside Bullock’s claustrophobic helmet. Tensions remain high, as a the perfectly
paced 90-minute adventure isn’t the type of story where a ‘happy ending’ is guaranteed.
Utilizing brand new technology specifically built for this picture, the PG-13 rated drama
is the most visually stunning movie since “Avatar”, and equally as groundbreaking. The
effects aren’t only seamless and realistic, they’re captivating and artistic as well…
resulting in an absolutely gorgeous experience. Composer Steven Price lends an inspirational
and nail-biting original score that swells in intensity at all the right moments. Although
the narrative perpetually flirts with the implausible, it is never outright unbelievable,
maintaining an almost nonstop sense of danger and urgency throughout. A realistic, exciting,
and gripping journey certainly worth watching again, “Gravity” is a “Visual masterpiece,
with outstanding thrills.” Now let’s see what you had to say about this space epic in the
YouTube comments. A NINE and a TEN for “Gravity”… while there
was across-the-board praise for the remarkable visuals, there were some criticisms, from
the plot to the scientific accuracy of the film, bringing your overall average down to
an AWESOME. Hardly a flawless film… but easily one of the best I’ve seen in ages,
I thought it was simply AMAZING. More than halfway done now, let’s review “Her”. This intriguing Spike Jonze sci-fi romantic
drama was released on December 18, 2013, and has since grossed nearly $30 million. The
slow-paced, 126-minute story shares the quirky life of Joaquin Phoenix… a peculiar individual
living in an idealized version of the not-too-distant future who falls in love with a talking, learning,
and sophisticated operating system, played by the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson.
As Phoenix spends a majority of his time basically talking to himself, the weight of the picture’s
success rests squarely on his ability to carry a scene: and fortunately, he’s able to do
so quite well. And while we never get to see that bombshell body of hers, Johansson is
appropriately incredible opposite him, poignantly reflecting on their lives before they met,
“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.” Really though, her programming is so advanced
that there’s no awkwardness between them – and since their relationship is never really challenged
by society, either from a moral or legal standpoint: the only thing that sets this picture apart
from traditional romance narratives is that Scarlett is without physical form. Once you
get past the unconventional circumstances of a man carrying on a relationship with a
computer… the story actually becomes pretty familiar, and honestly – boring. While Phoenix
confides to co-star Amy Adams that he’s uncertain his relationship is real, missing are the
ethical dilemmas normally associated with artificial intelligence – and nothing original
ever develops from the unique setup. The R-rated drama is filmed with slow, static shots, and
it’s depiction of the future is shaded with an uncharacteristically warm filter. A quiet
and somber score provided by the accomplished rock band Arcade Fire, makes the picture all
the more beautiful and intimate as it winds from one scene to the next. With Shanghai
unashamedly standing in for a futuristic Los Angeles, Jonze paints a welcoming and utopian
version of society that is as intriguing to watch unfold as it is believable. More importantly,
the subtle environment, utilized with minimal special effects shots, never overshadows to
the emotional story playing out front and center. While it may not be for everyone,
this is a delicate and nuanced experience that weakens over time. “Her”, “Poetic exploration
of conventional identities.” Strong opinions on this one, so lets read some of your reviews
now. Looks like I was outvoted on this one, you
scored “Her” a NINE, whereas I gave it a SIX. You applauded the sci-fi twist on an original
romance story, as well as the excellent acting, scoring this an AWESOME. Despite the masterful
artistry of all those involved, I didn’t feel like there was anything truly powerful or
even new here. I thought it was GOOD. Now, a friendly reminder to subscribe to the Movie
Night Archive channel for an organized library of all our past reviews, and my exclusive
trailer commentaries – this week I reviewed the new “Guardians Of The Galaxy” teaser.
Our seventh review tonight will be for “Nebraska”. This 115-minute comedy drama film by director
Alexander Payne made only a few million in profit over its $12-million dollar budget
following its November 15, 2013 release. 77-year-old Bruce Dern and SNL-alumni Will Forte star
as a father and son pair who embark on a curious road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim
a non-existent sweepstakes prize. For reasons that are never adequately explained in the
R-rated story, they take an almost week-long pit stop in Dern’s old childhood neighborhood
in the fictional town of Hawthrone, that later morphs into a sort impromptu family reunion.
From here, the interesting, but frosty dynamic of the father-son relationship is put on hold
while other quirky characters from Dern’s life float in and out of the story. As an
old wandering drunk with few aspirations, Dern is fantastic bringing his stubborn character
to life while still keeping his emotions buried inside – and was nominated for his efforts.
In his first substantial role since 2010’s criminally underrated flop, “MacGruber”, Forte
constantly surprises with the depth and range of his talent; perfectly portraying a loving
son who is conflicted between pride and disappointment for his aging father. A particularly somber
moment arrives late when Forte is explaining his father’s condition, despondently admitting,
“He just believes what people tell him.” The feisty June Squibb, the gravely Stacy Keach,
and an amusing Bob Odenkirk round out the core group of supporting players with equally
believable, if much smaller performances. Reportedly seeking an “iconic, archetypal
look”, Payne artistically filmed in black and white, and having recently traveled to
Nebraska myself: I can honestly say you’re really not missing much. Honestly though,
the monochromatic presentation seems unmotivated, existing only because it can, and not because
the narrative really requires it. It’s art for the sake of art. That said, the steady
and static anamorphic shots beautifully frame the characters, and authentic locations. Although
seldom used, the slow and folksy music from Mark Orton helps underline some important
emotional moments in the picture, especially when things begin to drag during the second
act. This is a raw, even depressing slice of life adventure about two generations of
men, sharing an existential discovery about themselves. A quiet, slow-burning experience
that occasionally elicits a smile, but not one many will want to re-watch, “Nebraska”
is an “Unapologetic examination of family drama.” Let’s see what you had to say about
this film in the YouTube comments. Our scores worked out to a NINE and an EIGHT.
You gave credit to the excellent script, and acting, rating this an AWESOME. I however,
had some issues here, but since this film was so strong in other areas, I have to give
it an EIGHT. Speaking of eight… our eighth film of the evening is “Philomena” Released on November 27, 2013, this British
and French comedy-drama from director Stephen Frears has grossed over $75 million. The 95-minute
story based on Martin Sixsmith’s book, “The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee” shares the interesting
true story of an old Irish woman who searches the globe for her long-lost child she forcibly
gave up for adoption decades earlier. Earning her 7th nomination for her wonderful performance,
Judi Dench stars as the title character… an intelligent, but sometimes clueless individual
who is as sweet as she is crass. Steve Coogan is a journalist who becomes fascinated by
her plight, and agrees to write an article on her situation, while simultaneously helping
her search. Their adversarial, but cooperative relationship is the central fixture of the
production… bouncing from playful laughter to serious and contentious arguments on religion.
Dench defends her easy-going attitude by declaring, “I don’t want to hate people. I don’t wanna
be like you.” But the way her face lights up each time she learns new details about
her son is just delightful, making it easy to root for her happy ending. Where the narrative
goes from there however is unpredictable and interesting. Backed by strong and melodic
piano chords by Alexndre Desplat, the PG-13 rated film is a rewarding experience that
plays out with realism and heart. Ending with a remarkably powerful and bittersweet ending
that is both inspiring and difficult to watch. The calm and traditional production style
doesn’t do the film any favors, and while nothing really impresses, they aren’t any
big missteps here either. The briskly-paced picture explores the ideas of blind faith,
second chances, and of course – that eternal bond we all share with our mothers. A simple
idea, presented via an original and intriguing story with terrific performances, this is
an enjoyable picture I wouldn’t mind watching again. “Philomena” is a “Heartwarming and
charming human journey.” Here are some of your reviews from the YouTube comments. Our ratings for “Philomena”… an EIGHT and
an EIGHT. You loved the interplay between the leads, and it’s lighthearted approach,
scoring this a GREAT. A commendable script with some solid acting, this picture did nothing
wrong, but simply failed to truly “wow” me. I thought it was GREAT as well. And last,
but certainly not least, here’s a revised version of my earlier review for “The Wolf
Of Wall Street.” Based on the memoir of the former stockbroker
and ex-con Jordan Belfort, this dark comedy was released nationwide on Christmas Day,
2013. The fifth collaboration between acclaimed director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio,
who plays the young and ambitious Belfort – has more than tripled its $100 million dollar
budget. The involved plot follows DiCaprio as he makes
a name for himself in the security commodities business, motivating his hungry troops of
“telephone terrorists” by shouting, “I want you to deal with your problems by becoming
rich.” Hopefully the forth time will be the charm for Leo, as his nominated-performance
here is nothing short of exemplary… showcasing the full range of emotions from heartbreak
and frustration to overjoyed happiness and drugged out cluelessness. In fact, he is often
the only thing propelling the listless story from one scene to the next. The bizarre and
lively characters he meets along the way are as fascinating as they expertly acted, which
includes Oscar-nominated Jonah Hill in a delightfully amusing sidekick role, the stunningly sexy
Margot Robbie as the bickering wife, and Kyle Chandler as the straight-edged FBI agent tasked
with taking the entire circus down. Jean Dujardin, Jon Favreau, Matthew McConaughey, Rob Reiner,
and a cameo from the real Belfort also have minor roles. The R-rated sideshow of debauchery,
lavish parties, sex, drugs, nudity, and widespread stock fraud is extremely entertaining, but
also lengthy; clocking in with a three-hour runtime. Breaking the record for most F-bombs
in film history, this picture opts for popular music, in lieu of a traditional score. The
long tracking shots, intense close-ups, slow-motion, 4th-wall-breaking, and stylized editing make
every scene in this film work as effortlessly as possible. The film lacks purpose though,
moving from one ridiculous sequence to the next with little reason, like when DiCapario
gets bombed out on Quaaludes, and attempts to drive himself home. The 15-minute sequence
is undeniably hysterical, but it fails to contribute to the narrative in a meaningful
way. In small bursts, this is Leo and Marty and their absolute best… but when assembled
together, I’m not convinced this is a cohesive film worthy of a Best Picture nomination.
Ultimately, it feels exactly like the 1990 hit, “Goodfellas”, minus all the mobsters
and murder… so if you enjoyed that picture, you’d probably love this one too – I however,
won’t be clamoring to watch it again right away. “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, “Raunchy
fun, but loosely organized.” Let’s read your reviews now from the comments. “The Wolf Of Wall Street”… a TEN and an
EIGHT. Overlooking the run-time, you praised the film’s unapologetic delivery and fantastic
acting, scoring an AMAZING. While I wouldn’t say the movie ever “dragged”… it definitely
felt like it was mostly fluff, rather than substance – a tremendous effort by all those
involved, but I’m only going to give it a GREAT. Now that you’ve heard my reviews on each film,
here’s how they all stack up against each other – another selection of safe, and conventional
dramas, that seems blind to any movies released prior to Labor Day. I still have lots to watch
from 2013, and while I never expect awesome films like “Fast And Furious 6”, or “Star
Trek Into Darkness” to receive any real nominations, I was disappointed that more Oscar-friendly
pictures like The Great Gatsby, Fruitvale Station, and About Time were all but excluded.
My anti-Academy opinions asides, there are some deserving options this year, so here
are my picks and predictions in the top four categories. For “Best Actress”, I’d honestly have to award
it to Sandra Bullock for her great performance in “Gravity”. Regretfully, I haven’t seen
“Blue Jasmine” yet, but if the pre-Oscar buzz is any indication, Cate Blanchett seems poised
to pick up her second trophy. While I’d love to see Leo finally get his
much deserved Oscar in the “Best Actor” category, I feel like Matthew McConaughey had the better
performance this year. Strong competition in this category makes it a tough one to predict;
the Academy may very well agree with me… they might award it to DiCaprio if only as
a “make-up” award for all his previous snubs. Chiwetel Ejiofor played a repressed slave
though… and those types of roles seem to always win. “Best Director” is a no-brainer this year…
what Alfonso Cuarón did with “Gravity” was nothing short of groundbreaking. He’s far-and-away
my favorite here, and likely the Academy’s pick as well. For the biggest award in cinema, I have to
award “Gravity” “Best Picture” honors… easily the strongest and most awe-inspiring motion
picture I have watched in a long time. Keeping with tradition though, “12 Years A Slave”
is more likely to win… it’s a safe and conventional period piece based on a true story! And, as
we’ve discussed many times here on “Movie Night”, that makes it an Academy favorite. I hope you’re just as excited for the upcoming
Academy Awards telecast as I am, which I’ll be live-tweeting once again. Following the
broadcast, I’ll also post my thoughts and reactions in an episode of “The World According
To Jon”, so please subscribe to “Jon” to see that video when it’s released. But that does
it for tonight’s reviews and predictions – so let’s take a look at what’s currently playing
in theaters with your Tweet Critiques. If you see a new movie in theaters, Tweet
your review with the #JPMN hashtag. Next week we’ll be kicking off “action movie month”
here on Movie Night, with six consecutive weeks of reviews dedicated to that genre’s
biggest super stars. The first episode will focus on Liam Neeson, where we’ll review 1995’s
“Rob Roy”, his comeback picture, “Taken” from 2008, and the brand new “Non-Stop”. Once you’ve
seen these films, share your opinions by voting in the polls below, or by leaving a comment
review. If you’d like to watch more Movie Night reviews, check out the “related videos”
on the right, or click SUBSCRIBE to be notified of all new content, and be sure to follow
me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ for updates between episodes. Once again, my name is Jonathan
Paula, thank you for watching and listening. Until next time, have a good Movie Night!


  1. Clare Flattery Author

    Chiwetel Eljifor strongly deserves this oscar for 12 Years a slave. The scene with him stating how he will survive and overcome anything made me want to get up and slow clap him out of the theater. 

  2. rararawr619 Author

    I like trying to guess your's and the audiences' rating on each movie before you show them. I'm not to bad, I wasn't counting how many I got right but I think it was maybe 8/18

  3. HellJustFroze Author

    "*Five* word summary"

    "Sensitive, but dignified portrayal of survival"

    I think ya done goof'd, Jon.

    Unrelated note: Thanks for using my review on The Wolf of Wall Street!

  4. xTin0x Author

    Just for future reference, Jon, Cuarón's last name is pronounced Coo – "r" – on accentuating the last syllable 🙂
    Great video as always, keep it up!

  5. benway20 Author

    How can 12 Years a Slave be derivative of Shawshank Redemption and Glory when it's based on a book that was written in the 1800's? That's like saying John Carter (of Mars) is derivative of Star Wars… it can't be, because the source material pre-dates Star Wars by decades. 

  6. Tom Chambers Author

    12 Years A Slave will win best picture, not because The Academy love period pieces but because it is the best film of the year. Though the storyline may have been done before or can be related to other films, the film's style and outstanding acting and art work puts the film in an area where it shouldn't be likened to other films.

  7. UnkeLL Grga Author

    dont wanna be a hater but gravity feels a bit overrated 
    personally I think wolf of wall street and prisoners are the best one from last year , though for some reasons the academy ignored prisoners 🙁

  8. Leonardo Calabrano Author

    I was all year waiting for this video, specially lasts weeks. Happy to see it 🙂 My favourite films of the year are Gravity, Nebraska, The Hunt, Frances Ha and Short Term 12 😀 (then it comes 12YAS).

  9. Chris Fyfe Author

    If 12 years wins best picture I honestly wouldn't mind. I just don't want hustle or wolf of Wall Street to win. Too much comedy that just seemed like fluff and not that funny.

  10. avw94 Author

    Taken: Though the story is nothing new, the suspenseful and exciting action scenes and Neeson's fantastically intimidating performance carry the film beyond standard action fare. 8/10

  11. TF2Fan101 Author

    Hey, Jon. When you get around to reviewing Frozen, could you have this summary in the video?

    A solid animated movie all around, and one of the best movies I've seen in my entire life. Disney is now back on top! 10/10

  12. Hunter Spalenka Author

    Have you ever considered doing more Oscar based specials? I, for one, would love to see you take two episodes following the award show to look at other films by the Best Actor and Best Actress winners, possibly to take a look even at how they developed as an actor/actress.

  13. Popp Culture Author

    These are my 0-100 scores for each of the nominees:

    1-Her                        91
    2-Gravity                   87
    3-12 Years a Slave     86
    4-Captain Phillips       74
    5-Nebraska                69
    6-Philomena               67
    7-American Hustle      57
    8-Dallas Buyers Club  56

    I only haven't seen The Wolf of Wall Street.

  14. Alekhya Das Author

    my ratings
    • 12 Years A Slave (2013) , 8.5/10.
    • American Hustle (2013) , not seen
    • Captain Phillips (2013) —  8.5/10.
    • Dallas Buyers Club (2013) — 7/10.
    • Gravity (2013) — seen in 3D, 8/10.
    • Her (2013) — not seen
    • Nebraska (2013) — 7.5/10.
    • Philomena (2013) — not seen
    • The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) — 8/10.

  15. Nathan Gaming Author

    Even though the movie wasn't nominated, my personal movie of the year was Secret Life of Walter Mittiy. My runners up would be The Great Gatsby and Gravity. 

  16. AEEA Author

    The only problem with Gravity was the time strecth in terms of rushing the movie when the air started to run out, and slow it down when the center drama needed space.

  17. Pat Pete Author

    I have to disagree with the Gravity review. The visuals were fantastic, but the story was basically just Sandra Bullock surviving ridiculous scenarios. Characters/Acting wasn't the best either as Clooney was really corny and Bullock was okay, but didn't have much depth. When Cuaron tried to make you care for her with the daughter plot it felt very forced. Also, I don't think the acting for 12 Years A Slave deserved a 10. Paul Dano was eccentric like he is in every movie, Fassbender was generically evil, but not intimidating, and I didn't care for the main character. Totally agreed with the Wolf of Wall Street review though, DiCaprio was great!

  18. toni Engebretsen Author

    capitan philips is the  best picture iv seen but there wwas a cuple struggles iv watched it i saw it but the thing i thing is the biggest strugle is the part you showed

  19. JMSchmidtty Author

    I personally thought Her was a masterpiece.  I didn't think of it much as a utopia, as there seems to be an overreliance on technology, such as Theodore using his phone (the one before Samantha) quite often.  Also, In the film, remember, there is an entire business dedicated to writing letters for other people, which is really quite sad.  Also, unlike other films, it actually seems like its depiction of the future could actually happen.

    As for Nebraska, it was my favorite film of the year.  Alexander Payne's portrait of the midwest was incredibly familiar.  I live in the midwest, and I felt that all of the characters in the film could be my relatives.  I felt that the Black and White cinematography really complements the wide open spaces of Nebraska.

  20. Ryan Sanko Author

    I always agree with you on movies. David o Russell is crap at directing and your review is perfect and exactly what I said about the film.

  21. Debi Sunshine Author

    WoW Jogwheel,
    I'm so impressed how you take the time out from your busy schedule (I guess it is) and respond to the viewer's comments & what's even more impressive to me is the simple fact that you ANSWER their questions.
    "That is so awesome of you"!!

    I enjoyed your video.
    I give it ★★★★★

    It was very informational for me.
    For all the movies I haven't seen, well you just fulfilled my curiosity and even educated me more about the film that i expected to know.
    I hope your goal is to have your own TV show. I truly think you are that good to get paid for doing something you really enjoy doing.
    I'm LöÔking forward to hearing your opinion of the whole academy award show itself.

    Oh btw, I do have 1 small complaint tho;
    "slow down"- u talk so fast …lol…
    U have 'Ol folks tòó, like myself – try'n to catch uP :-/

  22. kowalityjesus Author

    OK I am almost positive that Jory Caron was the robot-love voice at 0:35, lol
     GREAT vid, you rock.  When you get to the top, contract a composer and some musicians, its classy.

  23. Taco1011 Author

    Well my best Picture for 2013 would have to be Gravity. The performances were amazing, the special effects were mind-blowing, the story was just everything I've ever asked for in a Sci-Fi movie, and I loved it.

  24. MrPSBSMR Author

    On your criticism of 12YAS: as Roger Ebert used to say, "it's not about what the film's about, it's about HOW it's about it".The setpieces that McQueen presents us with to talk about the institution of slavery are incredibly original (the tree hanging scene being the most glaring example). Even if, in your opinion, the narrative throughline was basic or "derivative", that shouldn't deter it from being a great movie.

    On your criticism of Captain Phillips: The two main characters are stuck with 3 other guys in a small vessel out at sea, I think "claustrophobic" was exactly what Greengrass was going for. This film succeeds due to its realism, which combined with the great story and performances makes for a thriller far above those outlandish action products we see from hollywood these days.

    I didn't see you mention Gravity's script at all. I think the dialog in act 3 along with the score which was basically just noises were the biggest problems of the film, so I wouldn't give it a 10, but I did love it.

    I think you're way too obsessed with pace. Not all films are supposed to be fast paced. "Her"'s script is incredible in how it delves into its characters and the direction is elegant and conveys the future and the humor mixed with melancholy of the characters perfectly.

    Anyway, i hope you check out more 2013 films like Blue Jasmine, Before Midnight, Blue is the Warmest Color, the Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" and A Touch of Sin. After that, I don't think you'll be clamoring for a BP nomination for Fast & Furious 6.

  25. James Rode Author

    I loved Gravity and would give that a 10, but I feel like 12 Years a Slave is the superior film. I do not feel like it being slightly similar to previous films (which is true about virtually all films) affects it's greatness at all. It's as silly as the complaints by certain people that it had less value as a film because it makes one feel bad watching it, or that it only perpetuates white-guilt.

  26. Cobalt Falcon Author

    I would like to see more fictional movies than those based on a true story. But if it is based on a true story, make it one that no one has heard of. Like Argo. Based on a true story…. few knew of the story until now. 


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