February 2014


Best Group Selfie – which actors do you recognize?

Did you miss the 2014 Oscars on TV? Had no idea of this year’s critically-acclaimed films? Any of these nominated movies worth your time? You only know the one in space with Sandra Bullock? Don’t worry, onomeister is here to help you get educated with all the movies that were nominated for Best Picture that are worth your precious viewing time. With this knowledge, you will be able to debate with your work colleagues at the next water-cooler meeting!

Best Picture nominees:

  • Gravity – In 2013, Spielberg’s Lincoln garnered the most nominations. This year, it is Oscar-winning Best Director Alfonso Cuarón‘s epic space flick (it tied with American Hustle with 10 nominations, and Gravity ultimately won the most awards with seven). If you like thrilling heart-pumping action and have not seen this yet, it is one of those must-see action movies of all time! Unlike Apollo 13, this one has less “Rah, rah, USA” and more about how to survive if you get stuck in space with little chance of staying alive. I cannot wait to watch this again on HD blu-ray!
    • Didya know: The opening scene is a single continuous shot lasting 12 minutes long.
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Captain Phillips – From the director that made the Bourne Ultimatum & Supremacy, comes this real life portrayal of the 2009 hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. This is not just another movie about a true-to-life event, director Paul Greengrass and actor Tom Hanks recreate this action thriller and both did a great job. Oh, and the bad guy was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
    • Interesting Fact: Since the 2009 attack of the ship, other pirates have attempted to hijack the same container ship four times, failing each try.
    • HIGH recommedation (if you are an action fan)
  • American Hustle – Wow, it has only been a year since Silver Linings Playbook and the same director (David O. Russell) is at the top again! This 70’s mob film you will want to see just for its acting and its all-star cast. The plot, however, is either ‘loved it’ or ‘hated it’: The casual movie-goers found it boring, but the critics loved the character development and the all-star acting. Basically, don’t expect Goodfellas.
    • Funny Fact: Robert De Niro (in a small uncredited role) did not recognize Christian Bale on the set even after they were introduced to each other, and had to ask the director who he was.
    • MEDIUM recommendation (HIGH if you like all-star casts)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street – Why does it seems that every movie that Leonardo DiCaprio does is highly-acclaimed? (he’s been in seven Best Picture nominated movies, and his third Best Actor nomination) This Martin Scorcese-directed film is based on a real-life securities fraud that occurred in the 1990s. Many have said that this is DiCaprio’s best performance ever, and that this is Scorcese’s best film since Goodfellas (Warning: this film is definitely not for the timid due to strong sexual content and drug references).
    • Fun Fact: Watch for the kissing scene between DiCaprio and Joanna Lumley (who plays a grandma hustler) – DiCaprio was so nervous that it took 27 takes to get it just right.
    • HIGH recommendation (VERY HIGH if you are a Scorcese fan)
  • Dallas Buyers Club – Wow, Matthew McConaughey comes out of nowhere and steals the show (and a Best Actor Oscar!), as well as Best Supporting Actor nod to Jared Leto. Now everyone will want to watch this to see what the fuss was all about. McConaughey is a hustler who works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he himself is also diagnosed with the disease.
    • Interesting Fact: The script was shopped around since the 90s, rewritten 10 times, and rejected 87 times by various studios.
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Nebraska – About an old alcoholic father who travels from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to collect a million dollar lottery win. Many say Bruce Dern gave the performance of his life as the father. This film is slow paced which may turn off some viewers but a very character-driven movie so worth watching for the acting.
    • Best Scene: Don’t spoil yourself by watching the hilarious scene before the movie: The cemetary scene with the complaining wife.
    • MEDIUM recommendation
  • Her – Oscar-nominated  Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely divorcee who falls in love with a futuristic operating system. A very interesting love story based in the near future, this film won Best Original Screenplay for Spike Jonze (who also was nominated for Best Director in 2000 for Being John Malkovich)
    • Interesting Fact: The voice of “OS1” is none other than Scarlett Johansson (no, not Apple’s Siri).
    • HIGH recommendation
  • Philomena – Nominated for four Oscars, a heart-wrenching story based on true events about good versus evil where a mother, Philomena, searches for her son who had been taken by Irish nuns decades ago. Be ready, this film is an emotional roller-coaster.
    • Interesting Fact: Judi Dench, after this Best Actress nomination, has now scored seven acting nominations, all of which have come since she turned 63. No one else has scored anywhere near as many after the age of 60.
    • MEDIUM recommendation
  • 12 Years A Slave – The ultimate winner of this year’s Oscars’ Best Picture, and for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o, this film is a must-see if you are a movie fan. A film based on a true story about slavery in pre-American Civil War, many have used ‘epic’ and ‘tour-de-force’ to describe it. Be ready, this film is dark and will rip your heart out. Watch for Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and Paul Giamatti to appear.
    • Funny Fact: Taran Killam often impersonates Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live comedy skits. Though both actors appear in this film, they never meet or work together in the film.
    • VERY HIGH recommendation

Flickr… so awesome. So many amazing photos… I just went through wangjianshe‘s photo collection of 2000+ photos and found some breathtaking shots to share with you!  This beautiful rural area is in southern China called the Guizhou Province. I would love to visit this place for not only photography but also for their ethnic food – their cuisine is a spicy Szechuan!





photo credits: wangjianshe (no photo-editing done!)