Thursday, September 26, 2013

Movie review: 'Rush' Runs on Empty

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl portray dueling F1 racers John Hunt and Niki Lauda in 'Rush'. (Universal Pictures)

In their first collaboration since the Oscar-nominated "Frost/Nixon" in 2008, director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan team up for an action movie of sorts. Their first effort was a political power struggle, this time it's the feud between the top two Formula One racers in the 1976 season; James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

The two drivers couldn't be more different. Hunt is a somewhat privileged English guy who likes the partying lifestyle and the ladies (one of the first scenes is him having sex with a nurse after being treated for fighting over another man's woman). Lauda, from a wealthy Austrian family of bankers, is a more shut-in personality. He doesn't like parties, he's disciplined, and he takes the world of racing very seriously.

Naturally, this makes a great premise for Morgan whose writing often deals with two opposites going head-to-head in some sort of battle (see "The Queen," "The Last King of Scotland," "Longford," etc.).

The story of Hunt and Lauda's feud would be largely unknown to those that don't follow the world of racing, which is a shame because it was probably one of the best sports feuds of the '70s, if not of all time. When the movie starts we see them preparing for the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nüburgring, the race that almost killed Lauda, and it was a boring way to introduce two people who don't like each other. It even shows it in the trailer and TV spots.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Creative Arts Emmy Predictions

Yes, it's Emmy time, and time for the television academy to hand out Emmys in 81 categories in the Creative Arts Primetime Emmys - or as Kathy Griffin famously called them, The Shmemmys. Awarding the best in fields most people don't care about including hairstyling, sound mixing and choreography, they can add to a program's overall Emmy total in addition to the main broadcast. (Variety show "Saturday Night Live" has been nominated 124 times in part to these below the belt categories)

FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum" and HBO's "Game of  Thrones" lead the pack with 12 nominations each in the creative fields. "Saturday Night Live" received 11 nominations.

The following are predictions that broken up into different fields (acting, cinematography, music, etc.).

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series- Bob Newhart, "The Big Bang Theory"
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series- Elaine Stritch, "30 Rock"
Guest Actor in a Drama Series- Michael J. Fox, "The Good Wife"
Guest Actress in a Drama Series- Jane Fonda, "The Newsroom"
Voice-over performance- Lily Tomlin, "An Apology to Elephants"

Art DirectionMulti-camera series- "Hot I Met Your Mother"
Single-camera series- "Game of Thrones"
Miniseries or movie- "American Horror Story: Asylum" Episode- Welcome to Briarcliff
Variety or nonfiction program- London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Comedy series- "Veep"
Drama series- "House of Cards"
Miniseries, movie or a special- "Behind the Candelabra"

"So You Think You Can Dance" 

Multi-camera series- "How I Met Your Mother"
Single-camera series- "Game of Thrones"
Miniseries or movie- "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Nonfiction programming- "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God"
Reality programming- "Deadliest Catch"

Series- "The Borgias"
Miniseries, movie or a special- "Killing Lincoln"

Single-camera (comedy)- "Louie"
Single-camera (drama)- "Breaking Bad" Episode:"Dead Freight"
Multi-camera (comedy)- "How I Met Your Mother"
Miniseries or movie- "Behind The Candelabra"
Short-Form Segments And Variety Specials- London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
Nonfiction programming- "Crossfire Hurricane"
Reality programming- "The Amazing Race"

Single-camera series-"Downton Abbey"
Multi-camera series or special-"Dancing With the Stars"
Miniseries or movie- "American Horror Story: Asylum"

Lighting Design/Direction
Variety series- "Saturday Night Live"
Variety special- London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Main Title Design

Single-camera series (non-prosthetic)- "Once Upon a Time"
Multi-camera series or special (non-prosthetic)- "Saturday Night Live"
Miniseries Or A Movie (non-prosthetic)- "Behind the Candelabra"
Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special- "Behind the Candelabra" 

Composition for a series (original dramatic score)- "Downton Abbey"
Composition for a miniseries, movie or special (original dramatic score)- "World Without End"
Music direction- "The Kennedy Center Honors"
Original music and lyrics- If I Had Time from the "66th Annual Tony Awards"
Main title theme music- "House of Cards"