Tag Archive: Snowpiercer


My Oscars 2015

The 87th Academy Awards are taking place this Sunday and it’s easily the biggest night of the year that Hollywood has to offer. Some great talent is sure to be honored, but I’m also sure that the Academy will fail to honor some of the more worthy individuals. Since I am not a member of the Academy and can’t actually choose who gets to take home the gold on Sunday, I decided to create my own awards. They may not be quite as prestigious as the Oscars, but maybe some of this year’s nominees will appreciate the praise that I’m giving them. Agree with my choices? What categories would you do differently? Let me know in the comments below!

Best Director

Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

David Fincher – Gone Girl

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher

Denis Villeneuve – Enemy

Best Actor

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

Tom Hardy – Locke

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Scarlett Johannson – Under the Skin

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Shailene Woodley – The Fault in our Stars

Best Supporting Actor

Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Carrie Coon – Gone Girl

Rene Russo – Nightcrawler

Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

Naomi Watts – Birdman

Best Original Screenplay

Calvary – John Michael McDonagh

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness

Locke – Steven Knight

Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

Whiplash – Damien Chazelle

Best Adapted Screenplay

Enemy – Javier Gullón

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson

Under the Skin – Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer

Wild – Nick Hornby

Best Cinematography

Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki

Enemy – Nicolas Bolduc

Foxcatcher – Greig Fraser

Gone Girl – Jeff Cronenweth

Interstellar – Hoyte Van Hoytema

Best Original Score

Enemy – Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans

Godzilla – Alexandre Desplat

Gone Girl – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Interstellar – Hans Zimmer

The Theory of Everything – Jóhann Jóhannsson

Best Original Song

“Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie

“Glory” from Selma

“I’ll get you what you Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)” from Muppets Most Wanted

“Split the Difference” from Boyhood

“Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

 

Best Editing

Boyhood – Sandra Adair

Gone Girl – Kirk Baxter

Interstellar – Lee Smith

The Raid 2 – Gareth Evans

Whiplash – Tom Cross

Best Production Design

Exodus: Gods and Kings – Arthur Max

Foxcatcher – Jess Gonchor

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen

Interstellar – Nathan Crowley

Snowpiercer – Ondrej Nekvasil

Best Sound

The Babadook – Frank Lipson

Edge of Tomorrow – James Boyle and Dominic Gibbs

Fury – Paul N.J. Ottosson

Godzilla – Erik Aadahl, David Alvarez and Ethan Van der Ryn

Interstellar – Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten and Richard King

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow

Godzilla

Guardians of the Galaxy

Interstellar

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Snowpiercer – Movie Review

It’s scary to think that humans may one day go extinct. We’re just as mortal as any other animal and thinking that we’ll be here until the end of time is foolish. So when our species begins to dwindle, how will we try to survive? According to Joon-ho Bong’s film Snowpiercer, the answer lies on a massive train that never stops, hurtling through a barren wasteland of snow and ice. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Bong’s film adaptation does a fine job of setting up a unique sci-fi premise and filling it with ideas and themes that remain relevant today. Where the film falters is its weak direction of action sequences and its generally uninteresting first half. Had it not been for a great final hour, this could have been a total dud, but as it stands, it’s a very minor success.

In an attempt to stop global warming, a cooling chemical is released into Earth’s atmosphere.  The chemical ends up being far stronger than expected and sends the planet into another ice age. Nearly all life on Earth is extinguished, except for a select few who managed to secure a ticket on an unstoppable train. Now, the remaining survivors are separated by class, with the richest people in the front of the train and the poorest people in the back. Curtis (Chris Evans) has been living in the back of the train for 17 years and he’s finally had enough. With help from his friend Edgar (Jamie Bell), his mentor named Gilliam (John Hurt) and Namgoong (Song Kang-ho), a specialist who designed all the security on the train, Curtis unites all the members of the tail section and ignites a revolt. But one of the leaders of the train, Mason (Tilda Swinton), will do whatever she can to stop them from reaching the train’s engine.

With a great premise and a strong cast, Snowpiercer should have been dynamite from the start, but its first half is pretty rough. Not only do the back cars of the train remain uninteresting and almost indistinguishable from one another, but the time spent with the characters is equally dull. When the action finally hits, it’s occasionally difficult to follow, a result of Bong’s reliance on shaky camerawork to mask poorly choreographed sequences. A scene where Mason’s henchmen turn out the lights on the train and attempt to kill the revolt with the help of night vision goggles should have been exciting, but it ends up feeling like a chore to sit through. The visual effects in the film are also pretty terrible; anytime the outside of the train is shown, it’s clear to see that it’s all bad CGI. Because of this, there’s no excitement when we watch the train burst through large chunks of ice on the track. When something is so obviously fake, it takes you out of the moment and ruins what could have otherwise been a great scene.

But once the remaining members of the revolt exit the back of the train, things pick up greatly. Suddenly, each train car is unique and completely different from the one before it and it’s fascinating to watch how the rich people on this train live. We walk through a garden, an aquarium equipped with a sushi bar, a classroom and even a nightclub. The stark contrast between the front and back of the train helps elevate the social commentary that’s present in the film and it would not have been possible without the mesmerizing production design from Ondrej Nekvasil. Even the action sequences in the film’s second half are more entertaining, even though some of them don’t make a lot of sense given the context of the room that they’re in and the people fighting.

There’s such a huge difference in quality between the two halves of this film that I almost wonder if it was done intentionally. Obviously, the back train cars aren’t meant to look as luxurious or interesting as the cars in the front, but that doesn’t explain the poorly directed action sequence or generally uninteresting character developments that bog down the opening of the film. If there’s one thing here that’s consistent, it’s Tilda Swinton’s performance. As Mason, Swinton concocts such a unique monster that you can’t take your eyes off of her, even though you despise her. Her character is definitely exaggerated for effect, but it’s also believable that someone like this would emerge as a leader in this type of social hierarchy. The hierarchy that exists in the train is clearly a metaphor for the class divide that is present today, so it’s fairly interesting to think about where your social status would place you on the train. These ideas are interesting, so it’s a shame that some of the material surrounding these ideas falls flat. But even though Snowpiercer is littered with problems, it’s still a train worth taking.

Snowpiercer receives 2.5/4