2014 Academy Award Predictions

I’ve been dealing with a new job, a new puppy and my upcoming wedding, but it doesn’t mean I’m out on The Academy Awards, I still have a pretty good idea at what and who will win, and who will be left in the cold.

The 2013/2014 Oscar season has seemed like the longest one in a long while, serious Oscar talk seemed to have started back in August, when Lee Daniels’ The Butler opened. The race took on a lot of steam when Gravity was released in October, and didn’t let up from that point on. 
I’ll do my best to predict which films and actors will win, but many categories aren’t all that easy to predict. While some categories like Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor are sure locks, the Best Picture race and lead actor category could go almost anywhere. 
Buckle up, bear with me, and let’s dig into the mess that is this years Oscar nominees… and my predictions:
Best Picture

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street

My Thoughts: 12 Years a Slave has been the front runner for a while now, while Gravity and American Hustle have done their best to try and bring it down. Although there has been chatter about some, in my opinion stupid, Academy voters who won’t watch 12 Years a Slave because of it’s brutality. I Think 12YAS still has enough punch in it to win. 

Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave
Could Win: Gravity
Should be Here: All is Lost, Short Term 12

Best Actor

Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

My Thoughts: It’s the tightest trace, and the hardest category to predict this year. McConaughey, Ejiofor, and DiCaprio seem to be neck in neck, and they’re all deserving. Personally, I think this is the year DiCaprio should win, The Wolf of Wall Street is probably one of his best movies, if not his best, and shouldn’t we celebrate an actor at his best? Instead of 10 years later, for some mediocre movie, because we feel bad we didn’t give it to him previously? 
Will Win: Mattew McConaughey
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio 
Could Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Should be Here: Rober Redford (All is Lost), Mad Mikkelson (The Hunt), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Oscaar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station
Best Actress

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

My Thoughts: This category isn’t hard to predict at all, Cate Blanchett has it in the bag, and she deserves it. Amy Adams, her only real competition, is definitely deserving of an Oscar, but not this time. I think Adams still had her best performance in her. 
Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Should Win: Cate Blanchett
Could Win: Amy Adams
Should be Here: Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color), Bernice Bejo (The Past), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha
Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

My Thoughts: Jared better have his speech ready! In a fairly weak year for Best Supporting Actor, Jared Leto shines as the transgender AIDS patient Rayon. His only competition, Michael Fassbender, hasn’t had the buzz Leto has, and probably can’t secure a win. 
Will Win: Jared Leto
Should Win: Jared Leto
Could Win: Michael Fassbender
Should be Here: Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners), Thomas Bo Larsen (The Hunt
Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

My Thoughts: My thoughts and prayers are with Lupita Nyong’o here, even if I get every other prediction wrong, and Lupita wins, I’ll still be happy. If she loses, and the undeserving Jennifer Lawrence takes the prize, I will be furious. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jennifer Lawrence, but her role in American Hustle was out of place, and not nearly as good as 12 Years a Slaves Patsy. 
Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Could Win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should be Here: Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Scarlett Johansson (Her
Best Director

Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

My Thoughts: All the boys here are deserving (except maybe Alexander Payne) but it’s either Alfonso Cuarón or Steve McQueen who will win the gold. I think I’m rooting for McQueen a tiny bit more than  Cuarón, but I’ll be happy if either of these newcomers win. 
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Should Win: Steve McQueen
Could Win: Steve McQueen 
Should be Here: Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), J.C. Chandor (All is Lost), Spike Jonze (Her
Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)
Will Win: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Should Win: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave
Could Win: Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Original Screenplay

David O. Russell and Eric Singer (American Hustle)
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
Spike Jonze (Her)
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)

Will Win: Spike Jonze (Her)
Should Win: Spike Jonze (Her
Could Win: David O. Russell and Eric Singer (American Hustle)
Best Foreign Film

Denmark, The Hunt
Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown
Italy, The Great Beauty
Palestine, Omar
Cambodia, The Missing Picture

Will Win: The Great Beauty
Should Win: The Hunt
Could Win: The Hunt

Best Documentary Feature

20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
Dirty Wars
The Square
Cutie and the Boxer 

Will Win: 20 Feet From Stardom

Should Win: The Act of Killing
Could Win: The Act of Killing
Should be here: Blackfish, Stories We Tell

Best Animated Feature

The Wind Rises
Despicable Me 2

The Croods
Ernest & Celestine

Will Win: Frozen
Should Win: Frozen
Could Win: The Wind Rises
Should be here: Turbo, Monsters University

Film Editing

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave

Will Win: Gravity 
Should Win: Gravity
Could Win: American Hustle
Should be here: Her

Best Song
“Alone Yet Not Alone” (Alone Yet Not Alone)
“Happy” (Despicable Me 2)
Let It Go” (Frozen)

“The Moon Song” (Her)
“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Will Win: 

Let It Go” (Frozen)

Should Win: 

“Let It Go” (Frozen)

Could Win: 

“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Should be here: Anything from Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Original Score

John Williams (The Book Thief)
Steven Price (Gravity)
Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)

Will Win: Steven Price (Gravity)
Should Win: Steven Price (Gravity)

Could Win: Alexandre Desplat (Philomena

Best Cinematography

Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Roger Deakins (Prisoners)
Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)

Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)

Could Win: Roger Deakins (Prisoners)

Costume Design

American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years A Slave 

Will Win: American Hustle

Should Win: American Hustle

Could Win: The Great Gatsby

Makeup and Hairstyling

The Lone Ranger
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club
Should Win: Dallas Buyers Club
Could Win: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Production Design

American Hustle
The Great Gatsby

12 Years a Slave

Will Win: The Great Gatsby
Should Win: The Great Gatsby
Could Win: American Hustle

Sound Editing

All is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Will Win: Gravity 
Should Win: All is Lost

Could Win: Captain Phillips 
Should be here: Rush

Sound Mixing

Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Inside Llewyn Davis

Will Win: Gravity 
Should Win: Gravity
Could Win: Lone Survivor
Should be here: Rush

Visual Effects

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Will Win: Gravity 
Should Win: Gravity
Could Win: Gravity

Short Film, Live Action
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Will Win: Helium
Should Win: Helium
Could Win: The Voorman Problem

Short Film, Animated
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Room on the Broom

Will Win: Get a Horse!
Should Win: Mr. Hublot
Could Win: Mr. Hublot

Documentary Short Subject
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Will Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Should Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Could Win: Karama Has No Walls

Thanks for Reading,
Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

The Worst Movies of 2013

A bad movie is not something to be happy about; a bad movie means money gone to waste, missed opportunity and a chink in the armor that is an actor’s career. I have hope for every movie I see, even if I know it’s going to be bad from the trailer, it’s good to go in with an open mind and try your best to appreciate what’s on screen. 

When you see over 130 movies a year, you’re bound to see a bad movie, sometimes a really bad movie. My biggest pet peeve this time of year is When critics release their Worst Movies of the year and put movies on it that weren’t really bad, just actually disappointing. So, I’ll be making my “Most Disappointing Movies of 2013” and I’m actually excited to share that list. \
There were some movies that barely missed my list, for example: Disney’s “Planes“, the Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy failure “Admission“, Roland Emmerich’s silly White House Action movie “White House Down, and the good setup, but poor follow through horror movie “The Purge“. 
But for now, let’s revel in and be sad about these ten failures in 2013 movie making. 
10. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Directed By: John M. Chu
Starring: Dawyne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Jonathan Pryce, RZA, Byung-Hun Lee, and Bruce Willis
There were some good action movies this year, But this is not one of them (Look for my upcoming “Best Action films of 2013”). G.I. Joe Retaliation falls under the category of “Unnecessary sequel”, the first was a critical punching bag and not memorable in the least. 

What makes it so bad?: Repetitive action, lacking a story and unmemorable characters makes G.I. Joe: Retaliation slightly more forgettable than the first. Also, no one kills of Channing Tatum 10 minutes into a movie. 
Anything good?: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tries his best as always and there are a few action scenes that will keep you marginally entertained. 

9. Hell Baby
Directed By: Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
Starring: Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Alex Berg, Paul Sheer, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
The Good news? You probably haven’t had a chance to see this indie-horror/comedy unless you caught it on Netflix one night, I feel bad for you. Hell Baby is a senseless, offensively unfunny movie, it relies on childish humor and raunchy moments we’ve seen before. If it makes you laugh, you may feel bad for laughing. 

What makes it so bad? A comedy that’s not funny? You’ve already lost any fan. Wait? Was it supposed to be scary? 
Anything Good? Rob Corddry is a sweet, funny guy, you root for him but he isn’t given anything to work with.

8. The Lone Ranger
Directed by: Gore Verbinski 
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, and Barry Pepper
You would think audiences would get something good when you put Pirates director and Johnny Depp back together, with likeable newcomer Armie Hammer and a $250 million dollar budget. But who really asked for a big budgeted remake of the 1930’s radio show? 

What makes it so bad? Depp’s doing an offensive Native American accent and he takes center stage, but the movie’s called “The Lone Ranger”. 
The action is insipid, many plot points feel shoehorned in, especially Helena Bonham’s gun-legged character. The tone and pacing are horrible, one moment its humor, then action, then horror, war drama, revenge flick, and an odd (almost incest) romance to top it off. Lone Ranger’s bloated and forgettable script makes for a movie that might entertain kids, but parents will roll their eyes quickly. 
Anything Good? I love the gorgeous newcomer Ruth Wilson, Armie Hammer is great and he deserves better, and this might be one of the best, and scariest performances by the always great, William Fichtner. 

7. The Big Wedding
Directed by: Justin Zackham 
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, and Robin Williams
This movie proves a lot of this: Robert DeNiro will take any script thrown his way. Katherine Heigl is in bad movies. Robin Williams stopped trying a while ago. Amanda Seyfried has added one more really bad movie to her list of bad movies (Lovelace, Gone, In Time, Epic, Little Red Riding Hood, and Letters to Juliet).

What makes it so bad? It’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s completely humorless. It relies on almost every romantic comedy cliché in the book, and it tarnishes the careers of some great actors (DeNiro, Keaton, Sarandon, Williams).  The Big Wedding is a Big Disaster. 
Anything Good? I might have laughed once or twice, but if I did, it was too forgettable to remember. 

6. After Earth
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Jaden Smith, Will Smith
It’s hard to believe a movie that looked so good in the trailers, starring Will Smith and his son, and directed by Shyamalan could be so terrible. I’ve liked a lot of Shyamalan career, even The Happening, and I’ve been hoping for a comeback, not a complete turn in the opposite direction. 

What makes it so boring bad? Three major things: 1. After Earth is actually boring, for a story that seemed like such an interesting idea beforehand, is ruined by a lousy script. 2. You’ve never seen tension so forced and predictable, it’s actually sad. 3. Jaden Smith was a poor choice, anyone else would have been more suitable, maybe someone who could act? 
Anything Good? Decent Graphics… 

5. R.I.P.D. 
Directed by: Robert Schwentke 
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, and Kevin Bacon
I love Men in Black, and I didn’t think we needed Men in Black 3, but I ended up loving it. Then, I saw this and thought it was a sequel or a bad imitation, I was wrong. R.I.P.D. is its own movie, based on a graphic novel, but plays out a lot like the Men in Black Series. 

What makes it so bad? This movies is the opposite of smart, you can feel your IQ levels drop as you partake in the baboonery on the screen. There is about one funny joke in the whole movie, and R.I.P.D. is so predictable you can turn it off whenever you want and know the end. 
Anything Good? Well, Jeff Bridges is great as always, he’s basically doing the whole Rooster Cogburn thing again, but we’ll take it. 

4. The Host
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Frances Fisher, Jake Abel, Max Irons, and William Hurt
For a long time this was number one on my list, but somehow I saw three movies worse than The Host. I think The Host was trying to be a new Twilight, that was the conversation surrounding it anyway, but why would you set your sights on that? I’m probably not the target audience for this type of movie, but it is a long, boring, and painful experience to get through. 

What makes it so bad? I’ve heard from people that I actually respect, that the book isn’t terrible. It actually seems like an interesting story, so why is the script so terrible? Dialogue is dropped like a clumsy hammer, love stories seem fake and brutally lame, and Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt are almost sleepwalking through their roles. I think Jake Abel and Max Irons were the two love interests in the movie, I can’t even remember seeing as every character was less interesting than a Walker from The Walking Dead. 
Anything Good? I think Diane Kruger tries(?) but it doesn’t work, if you’re looking for something along the same lines, but good, see Beautiful Creatures. 

3. Scary Movie 5
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Simon Rex, Molly Shannon, Sarah Hyland, Katt Williams, Jerry O’Connell, and more
I’ll be the first to admit, I really enjoyed Scary Movie 1, 3 and some of 3, as the sequels and spin-offs blew out of control, my hatred for the whole franchise has grown. Now, we’re given Scary Movie 5, a movie with outdated jokes about outdated movies, with outdated actors. 

What makes it so bad? It’s virtually laugh free, with stupidity and adolescent humor around every corner. The movie is full of every D-list celebrity we love to hate, and they all know they’re in a movie equal to a pile of cow shit. 
Anything Good? Not really. 

2. Movie 43
Directed by: 11 people, produced by the Peter Farrelly and Charles Wessler
Starring: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Anna Farris, Emma Stone, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant,  Terrence Howard and a lot more. 
The actual back story of this movie is more interesting than the movie itself. Movie 43 is stupid, and there really isn’t another word for it. It’s comprised of several different sketches, all directed and starring different people. Movie 43 was so bad, I thought it might have been the video from “The Ring” and was worried I would die 7 days later.

What makes it so bad? Many of the skits contained in the film are offensive, over the top stupid and completely silly. You feel bad for the A-list stars trudging through the offensive shit they’ve been handed. It’s all just a sad, sad mistake, which should be wiped clean from movie history. 
Anything Good? The skit, with Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant, on date start doing playing truth or dare, it gets out of hand and gets pretty while. I’ll admit to cracking up during this skit, and it’s the only reason it isn’t my number one. 

1. Grown Ups 2
Directed by: Dennis Dugan 
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swarsdon, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin and Steve Buscemi 
Adam Sandler, the 90’s were so good to you, even the early 2000’s were decent to you, you should have quit well before 2010. Now we have this shit. I’ll be honest here, the first Grown Ups was decent, and it had an interesting dynamic with the guys and their wives, something almost wholesome and family friendly about it, with some bits of humor. Grown Ups 2 erases any of that and offers up a steaming pile of manure in its place. 

What makes it (#1) bad? For starters, I didn’t laugh at all, not even a smirk or a smile. I couldn’t find one iota of humor in this pile of garbage. I had to keep myself from turning the movie off several times, I don’t know why I didn’t turn it off, maybe for this list, maybe to see if it got any better. The characters in Grown Ups 2 are so incredibly stupid, it’s sad to think that a writer would write characters in this sort of fashion. Nick Swarsdon should never be in a movie again, he’s the least funny thing to happen to comedy since Carrot Top. Throw in some sexism, no script and Taylor Lautner, and you’ve got yourself the worst movie of 2013. 
Anything good? Steve Buscemi is in this, they make the poor guy dress up as Flavor Flav, which is… interesting? 
Runner Up: I had to turn off “A Good Day to Die Hard” after 20 minutes, because I was so bored, and so uninterested and it was ruining my views on the great, previous installments. 
Final Thoughts: As I always say, there may have been worst movies in 2013 than my ten listed above, but I can’t see everything. 
You can find my “Top Ten Movies of 2013″ List by clicking here. Reading it might make you feel a little better after reading this article. 

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

Follow Me on Twitter: Click Here!!! or @Mitchydaily

*I do not own the pictures in this article, they are owned by their respective companies.

Top Ten Movies of 2013

At the beginning of 2013, I started this list, when I had seen a film that could be a contender for my top ten, I added it. By August, my list was miserable and I was almost ready to write of the entire year. My list contained the likes of This is the End, World War Z, and Fast and Furious 6, Good movies for sure, but they didn’t quite seem like regular Top Ten films.

Many of 2013’s best films came out very late in the year, December was jam packed with Oscar contenders. Although, unsurprisingly, many of the best movies from 2013 were smaller, didn’t get a wide release, thus forcing me to wait until late in the year when they were released on DVD/Blu-ray.

Well now it’s January, I’ve seen over 130 movies from 2013, and I feel (almost) comfortable about my Top Ten list. I still marginally doubt myself; I haven’t seen Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, or Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. As always, foreign films like The Great Beauty (Rome), and Documentaries like The Act of Killing have been hard to see, but I plan on seeing them all. If for some reason I see a movie that I feel very passionate about, I will update my Top Ten. I don’t see it happening, but it may.
When it comes down to it, I don’t get paid for what I do. I do this because I am very passionate about movies, and I love every minute of it. This is my way of celebrating the best movies from the year, and letting people know what they should see, if they get the chance. As 2014 unfolds, I will be constantly uncovering 2013, with different lists like The Worst Movies of 2013″, (Available by clicking) and the top ten movies from genres such as Action, comedy and more. Stay tuned for that.
I want to remind everyone that these are the best movies of 2013 “In my Opinion”. I shouldn’t have to say that, seeing as it’s my blog and everything is my opinion. These are the movies that will stick with me for a very long time. 
So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Movies of 2013:

10. Lone Survivor
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Whalberg, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Alexander Ludwig and Eric Bana

 2013 had many great true stories, Saving Mr. Banks, Fruitvale Station, Rush, Captain Phillips and more, Lone Survivor is one that will stick with me for many years to come. Lone Survivor tells the true story of the four man Navy Seal team that went into Afghanistan in 2005 to track the whereabouts of Taliban leader Ahmed Shah. 

Lone Survivor is an incredible story that showcases the bravery and patriotism of four Navy seals. The movie is two hours long, and an hour and a half of that is pure and tense action. The war scenes depicted in the film rivals the battle sequences in movies like Saving Private Ryan, but one thing I can say with confidence is that there are sequences in Lone Survivor you haven’t seen in a movie before.

9. Frozen

Directed by: Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
With the Voice Talents of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, and Alan Tudyk

Last year it was Wreck it Ralph, This year it’s Frozen. Disney is back on top and I couldn’t be more delighted. What sets Frozen apart from other animated movies is its catchy music, emotional story and an ending that gets away from Disney’s habit of making it a man that saves the day. 

Frozen also has one of the most memorable animated characters in years, a talking snowman, voiced by Josh Gad, that is uproariously hilarious. I left the theatre humming the songs, and I still find myself singing “Do you wanna build a Snowman?”

8. Her
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Chris Patt and the voice of Scarlett Johansson 

Her is, by a long shot, the most thought provoking, unique and interesting movies of 2013. I haven’t found myself contemplating a movies theme and asking myself so many “What ifs?” in an extremely long time. 

Her is the story of Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), who develops a relationship with his new operating system (Johansson). Her is set in a very interesting, not so distant future, but the problems and themes the movie addresses pertain to our own lives, in the present. Her is smart; Jonze’s script is a revelation. 

7. The Spectacular Now
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bob Odenkirk and Kyle Chandler

At one point, before making this list and seeing everything else on said list, The Spectacular Now was my number one, and I didn’t think it would change. I’ve never dealt with alcoholism, and even if you haven’t The Spectacular Now will show you firsthand what it can be like. How it can affect the people in your life, and it what it can do to the person dealing with the disease. 

The Spectacular Now is an excellent love story and one that is exceedingly emotional and heartbreaking. It is a story so real and well-acted, especially by Woodley and Teller, you feel as if you are friends with these characters. I left the theatre with a heavy heart, and I knew I had just seen a marvelous movie I would remember forever.

6. Short Term 12
Directed by: Destin Cretton
Starring: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, Raimi Malek

Short Term 12 tells the story of Grace, played by Brie Larson, tasked with the impossible duty of running a foster care facility for at-risk kids. Grace’s Co-worker/boyfriend, her troubled past and years of experience is no match for these kids who need more help than she can give. 

The movie is about the kids in this facility, but it’s really about Grace, her troubled past and her unpredictable future, and how it all intertwines with the lives of the troubled kids she cares so much for. Brie Larson gives a spectacular, award worthy performance in an extremely heart-wrenching story. 

5. Enough Said
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener 
Starring: James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, and Ben Falcone 

Enough Said may be the most surprising movie of 2013; I threw it on one night, expecting regular romantic-comedy fair; That’s not what I got. Enough Said is hilarious, incredibly sweet and wonderfully true to life, and on top of it all, Gandolfini and Dreyfus give the most touching performances of their careers. 

Writer and director, Nicole Holofcener, weaves a few stories together, touching on relationships, parenthood, marriage, and more, with truthfulness and comedy. This is a movie I will re-watch several times, with a big smile. 

4. All is Lost
Directed by: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford

All is Lost is a gripping tale of survival, Redford plays an unnamed character stuck at sea after his sailboat crashes into a shipping container on the Indian ocean. It’s just Redford and the sea, but the entire movie is a white-knuckled thrill ride. 

Redford gives the performance of his career, you don’t know his story, you don’t know why he’s out on the Ocean all alone, but you empathize for this man. Redford utters very few lines, there is no narration, it’s a fairly quiet movie, but Redford’s face says so much. All is lost is an incredibly well made movie, with a great score; it’s a survival story like no other. 

3. Gravity
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Cuarón made Children of Men, one of my favourite movies of all time. So, Gravity has been one of my most anticipated movies of all time, and I was not disappointed. Gravity came out early on in the year, and people raved about it, they immediately called it “a masterpiece”, they pushed it into overrated status. So now, those same people calling it a masterpiece have turned against it, almost to the point where they hate it. It’s a vicious cycle and I absolutely hate what’s happened to this movie. 

Gravity is unquestionably astounding, I saw it in theatres twice and I can’t wait to own it so I can watch it again. Cuarón has made a movie worth they hype, it’s astounding, exciting, breathtaking and just incredible. Gravity is a Visual Masterpiece, something so incredible to watch that you’re immersed into the world. On top of it all, Bullock’s performance is astonishing. If it weren’t for Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine, Bullock could have had all the awards, and deserved them. 

2. The Hunt (Jagten)
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lasse foggelstrom and Annika Wedderkop

I had a chance to watch The Hunt early on in the year, I forget who suggested it, but I’m glad this movie crossed my path. The Hunt tells the story of Lucas, a kindergarten teacher, recently divorced and trying to maintain a relationship with his son. His entire life is turned upside down when he is wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour with one of his kindergarten students. 

The Hunt is extremely tense; director Thomas Vinterberg presents a situation and doesn’t shy away from unfolding the story, as truthful as possible. The Hunt is extremely well acted by the entire cast, especially by Mikkelsen who is as deserving of an Oscar as anyone else in the best actor category this year. 

1. 12 Years a Slave
Directed by: Steve McQueen 
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, and Benedict Cumberbatch

12 Years a slave, is without a doubt, the best movie of 2013. I haven’t seen a movie so perfect in an incredibly long time; Steve McQueen could quit directing right now and know he’s made the best movie of his career. 12 Years a Slave tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor) who is sold into slavery, even though he is a free man. 

12 Years a Slave is raw and realistic, it doesn’t shy away from showing its audience the harshness of slavery. For two hours we watch Solomon Northup as he makes his way through the world of slavery, all the while it’s almost unbelievable that this is a true story. 12 Years a Slave has it right on every level, cinematography, production design, score, and of course, the acting. Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o are all the most deserving of an Academy Award, as they give performances like no other. 

12 Years a Slave is THE BEST movie of 2013, and possibly the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I sat in the theatre for the entirety of the film, most of the time with my mouth agape at the horrors and absolute cinematic masterpiece unfolding upon the screen in front of me. I had to sit in my seat for all of the credits in near shock, and for fear that I had forgotten how to use my legs. While we should never forget about the horrors and tragedy of slavery, another movie on the subject seems redundant as nothing could live up to the phenomenal 12 Years a Slave. 

The Next Ten:
11. Before Midnight                          12. Mud
13. American Hustle                        14. Dallas Buyers Club
15. World War Z                               16. Captain Phillips
17. The Place Beyond the Pines     18. Rush
19. The Conjuring                             20. Beautiful Creatures

Click for The Worst Movies of 2013″

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

Follow Me on Twitter: Click Here!!! or @Mitchydaily

*I do not own the pictures in this article, they are owned by their respective companies. 

Predicting the Oscar Nominations

Predicting the Oscar Nominations

Thursday morning, January 16th, 8:30 AM EST (5:30 AM PST), the suspense is over. The Academy Awards will be announcing the nominations, in anticipation of their ceremony, on March 2nd. 
I’ve never predicted the nominations before, only the winners, but I feel as if I have a good idea where the nominations will fall when Chris Hemsworth and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the nominations. 
My nominations will be in order, the first spot I predict will be the best bet, then 2, 3, 4 etc. will get less and less positive. 
Best Picture Nominees: 
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. American Hustle
4. Her
5. Captain Phillips
6. Wolf of Wall Street
7. Nebraska
8. Dallas Buyers Club
Predicting no more than 8 nominees, but if their were…
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
10. Saving Mr. Banks
Could Be: Blue Jasmine, Philomena, Fruitvale Station
The Producers Guild Awards and the Writers Guild awards both snubbed Inside Llewyn Davis, so many critics think that the same will happen with the Oscars. I have a hard time thinking that they would snub such a good film from the Coens, but all signs seem to point towards it happening. Many assume that Wolf of Wall Street won’t make the cut, but I can hardly see that happening, even with all the controversy surrounding the movie. 
Best Director:
1. Alfonso Cuaron – “Gravity”
2. Steve McQueen – “12 Years a Slave”
3. David O. Russell – “American Hustle” 
4. Paul Greengrass – “Captain Phillips” 
5. Martin Scorsese – “Wolf of Wall Street” 
Could Be: Alexander Payne “Nebraska”, Spike Jonze “Her” 
I could see this category being exactly as predicted, the most unsure person here is Scorsese, but he’s got a decent chance. 
Best Actor:
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor – “12 Years a Slave” 
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – “Wolf of Wall Street” 
3. Matthew McConaughey – “Dallas Buyers Club” 
4. Tom Hanks – “Captain Phillips” 
5. Bruce Dern – “Nebraska” 
Could Be: Robert Redford “All is Lost”, Christian Bale “American Hustle” Oscar Isaac “Inside Llewyn Davis”, Michael B. Jordan – “Fruitvale” 
This is the hardest category to predict, the academy could completely boycott Wolf of Wall Street and not give DiCaprio a nomination. They could also switch up Bruce Dern and Robert Redford, but I don’t think they can do both. I think Christian Bale should be up their also, but I wouldn’t know where to put him… maybe in Hanks’ spot? 
Best Actress: 
1. Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
2. Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”
3. Amy Adams – “American Hustle”
4. Judi Dench – “Philomena”
5. Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”
Could Be: Meryl Streep “August: Osage County”, Julia Louis-Dreyfus “Enough Said” 
That 5th spot is a battle between Streep and Thompson, I hope it goes to Thompson, therefore I’m predicting Thompson will get it. I’m probably wrong. 
Best Supporting Actor: 
1. Jared Leto – “Dallas Buyers Club”
2. Michael Fassbender – “12 Years a Slave” 
3. Barkhad Abdi – “Captain Phillips”
4. Bradley Cooper – “American Hustle” 
5. James Gandolfini – “Enough Said” 
Could Be: Daniel Bruhl – “Rush”, Jonah Hill – “Wolf of Wall Street” 
The only one I don’t like up there is Cooper, I don’t think he’s really all that deserving, especially against Bruhl in Rush, who did a fantastic job. Gandolfini is in that five spot because I can’t think of anyone else, and the big guy deserves it. 
Best Supporting Actress: 
1. Lupita Nyong’o – “12 Years a Slave” 
2. Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle” 
3. June Squibb – “Nebraska”
4. Julia Roberts – “August: Osage County” 
5. Oprah Winfrey – “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” 
Could be: Sally Hawkins – “Blue Jasmine”, Octavia Spencer – “Fruitvale Station” 
Honestly, Oprah deserves a nomination, more than Julia Roberts. Seriously. 
Best Animated Feature Film: 
1. Frozen 
2. The Croods 
3. Monsters University 
4. Despicable Me 2
5. The Wind Rises
Could Be: Turbo
I am a big fan of the underrated Turbo, and not a big fan of The Croods and Despicable me 2, but I can only predict, I can’t vote.

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

The 71st Golden Globes: Predictions and Winners (updated)

by Mitchell Burns

The 71st Golden Globes are tonight, Sunday, January 12th 2014, at 8pm EST. I am excited. Two of my favourite comedians (and women) in the world, are hosting! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who did a terrific job hosting last years Golden Globes, are back! 
The Golden Globes are the less serious, but more fun version of the Oscars. To put it in perspective, The Oscars are Dennis Quaid, and The Golden Globes are Randy Quaid. Even though they’re a little more silly, many of the winners at the Globes will most likely go on to win that precious Oscar. 
I’ve made my predictions on who might win the movie categories, and I think they’re pretty solid, although many categories are anyones game. Gravity and 12 Years a Slave seem to be the frontrunners in most categories, and the acting categories are all very tight races. I’ve also included the nominees in the TV categories, even though I’m pretty much useless at predicting those. (Parks and Rec. all the way!)
I’ll be watching live, keeping score and live tweeting over at @mitchydaily. For now, here are my predictions:

This has been updated with the winners of the Golden Globe movie awards, my final score for the night was 10/14 or 71%, a pass at least. The Winners are in Red. 

“12 Years a Slave”
“Captain Phillips”
My ThoughtsThe Best Motion Picture – Drama category is a tight race, between two movies:  12 Years a Slave and Gravity. The other three don’t stand a chance. American Hustle and Her might have given them a little grief and they may at the Oscars, but for now it’s most likely going to be 12 Years a Slave. Although, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Gravity take it.

Will Win:  12 Years a Slave
Should Win: 12 Years a Slave
Could Win:  Gravity
Who should be here: Short Term 12/Before Midnight
Winner – 12 Years a Slave

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”
Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”
My Thoughts:The only one who could give Cate Blanchett any trouble in this category is Sandra Bullock, but the most deserving is Blanchett. Her immensely stunning performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine should win every award across the board. Winslet should just stay home….

Will Win:  Cate Blanchett
Should Win: Cate Blanchett
Could Win:  Sandra Bullock
Who should be here: Brie Larson – Short Term 12
Winner – Cate Blanchett

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”
My Thoughts:This is a tight race; I honestly don’t even know who I’m rooting for. I would root for either Chiwetel Ejiofor or Robert Redford, but only slightly more than McConaughey. Hanks and Elba are pretty much out, although they did give great performances.

Will Win:  Chiwetel Ejiofor
Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Could Win:  Matthew McConaughey
Who should be here: Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station
Winner – Matthew Mcconaughey

“American Hustle”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
My Thoughts:To call any of these movies comedies or musicals is a stretch, American Hustle is probably the funniest of the bunch, but I would still label it as a drama. Inside Llewyn Davis is definitely music heavy, but calling it a musical isn’t right, and it’s definitely not a comedy.  It’s a tough category to predict, but since I’m forcing myself to, I would say…

Will Win:  American Hustle
Should Win: Her
Could Win:  Her
Who should be here: Enough Said or Saving Mr. Banks
Winner – American Hustle

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
My Thoughts:I love the nominees in this category, everyone here is deserving of the Golden globe. August: Osage County hasn’t been treated as nicely as expected by critics, but Streep’s performance is still amazing. Streep seems the likely contender, although Adams could win it this time. By the way… August: Osage County is not a comedy or a musical, maybe a very, very, very dark comedy.

Will Win:  Amy Adams
Should Win: Any of them!
Could Win:  Meryl Streep
Who should be here:  Lake Bell – In a World…
Winner – Amy Adams

Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”
My Thoughts:Sadly, this is not the movie DiCaprio deserves to win for, I would rather see it go to Christian Bale or Oscar Isaac. Although, anyone of these gentlemen could win and know that they deserved it, I just believe that DiCaprio has had much better roles that were more deserving than Wolf of Wall Street.

Will Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio
Should Win: Christian Bale
Could Win: Christian Bale
Who should be here:  James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Winner – Leonardo DiCaprio

“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2″
My Thoughts:Frozen should, and probably will, win this hands down. The Croods wasn’t that great, and Despicable Me 2 wasn’t good in my opinion, and Frozen is amazing. Turbo and Monsters University were much better movies than The Croods or Despicable Me 2.

Will Win:  Frozen
Should Win:  Frozen
Could Win: Frozen
Who should be here:  Turbo and Monsters University
Winner – Frozen

“Blue is the Warmest Color”
“The Great Beauty”
“The Hunt”
“The Past”
“The Wind Rises”
My Thoughts:I’ve yet to see The Great Beauty and The Wind Rises, but I think they are the least likely to win. The race is between Blue is the Warmest Color and The Past, although I think The Hunt is better than any movie in this category. The Past will probably win, Blue is the Warmest Color and its lesbian sex scenes may turn off many voters.

Will Win:  The Past
Should Win: The Hunt
Could Win: Blue is the Warmest Color
Winner – The Great Beauty

Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
My Thoughts:I see HFPA giving this award to Jennifer Lawrence, her performance in Hustle was great, but nowhere near as outstanding as newcomer Lupita Nyong’o. Hawkins, Roberts and Squibb are deserving but probably don’t stand a chance.

Will Win:  Jennifer Lawrence
Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Could Win: Lupita Nyong’o
Who should be here:  Melonie Diaz or Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station
Winner – Jennifer Lawrence

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Brühl, “Rush”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
My Thoughts:Supporting Actor is a tight and exciting race, a win by any five of these nominees would please me. It may be the toughest category to predict, Jared Leto is probably the frontrunner here, but Bradley Cooper could undeservedly scoop it up.

Will Win:  Jared Leto
Should Win: Daniel Brühl
Could Win: Bradley Cooper
Who should be here:  John Goodman – Inside Llewyn Davis or Matthew McConaughey – Mud or Jeremy Renner – American Hustle
Winner – Jared Leto

Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
My Thoughts:I think what Cuarón did with Gravity was spectacular, their are not any technical categories at the Globes, so if Gravity doesn’t win anything else, Director is where it should win. McQueen is Cuaróns biggest threat.

Will Win:  Alfonso Cuarón
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could Win: Steve McQueen
Who should be here: J.C. Chandor – All is Lost
Winner – Alfonso Cuarón

Spike Jonze, “Her”
Bob Nelson, “Nebraska”
Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan, “Philomena”
John Ridley, “12 Years A Slave”
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
My Thoughts:The most deserving in the Best Screenplay category is most likely Spike Jonze, his script for Her is filled to the brim with witty, insightful dialogue, and his script is almost pitch perfect. 12 Years a Slave seems to be everyone’s rival at the Golden Globes tonight, and it’s no different here.

Will Win:  Spike Jonze – Her
Should Win: Spike Jonze – Her
Could Win: John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Who should be here: Destin Cretton (Short Term 12), Nicole Holofcener (Enough said) and Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)
Winner – Spike Jonze 


Alex Ebert, “All Is Lost”
Alex Heffes, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”
Steven Price, “Gravity”
John Williams, “The Book Thief”
Hans Zimmer, “12 Years A Slave”
My Thoughts:The best score of the year is Steven Price’s Gravity score. I think the HFPA will recognize it but Hans Zimmer may scoop it up for 12 Years a Slave.

Will Win:  Steven Price – Gravity
Should Win: Steven Price – Gravity
Could Win: Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave
Winner – Alex Ebert “All is Lost” 

“Atlas,” “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – Coldplay

“Let It Go,” “Frozen” – Idina Menzel

“Ordinary Love,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” – U2

“Please Mr. Kennedy,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Sweeter Than Fiction,” “One Chance” – Taylor Swift 
My Thoughts:I think there were better songs in Inside Llewyn Davis, but to most viewers “Please Mr. Kennedy” will be the most memorable. I think the HFPA will award Inside Llewyn Davis here, as it seems it probably won’t win anywhere else, but I think Frozen’s “Let it go” is most deserving.

Will Win:  Please Mr. Kennedy – Inside Llewyn Davis
Should Win: Let it go – Frozen
Could Win: Let it go – Frozen
Who should be here: I See Fire – Ed Sheeran (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), The Moon Song (Her), For the Time Being – Edie Brickell (The Way, Way Back)
Winner – Ordinary Love

The Television Awards
I don’t watch enough TV to impart my wisdom on this category, your guess at the winners is probably as good as mine. I’m pretty sure Breaking Bad should sweep the drama awards though, and hopefully ANYTHING else can beat Modern Family, Parks and Recreation is easily the best comedy on TV now. Girls or Brooklyn Nine-Nine could win as well and I would be happy.
Below is a complete list of the Golden Globe Television Awards, without my predictions because I am clueless!

“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Good Wife”
“House Of Cards”
“Masters Of Sex”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is The New Black”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House Of Cards”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Modern Family”
“Parks & Recreation”
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Behind The Candelabra”
“Dancing on the Edge”
“Top of the Lake”
“White Queen”
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Rebecca Ferguson, “White Queen”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”
Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”
Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
Janet McTeer, “White Queen”
Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”
Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns

Director: Peter Jackson                      

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug

The Dwarves: Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown.

Based on the Book(s) by: J.R.R. Tolkien

I say “based on the books” because when Peter Jackson decided to make the 300+ page novel The Hobbit into a movie trilogy he decided to pull from other works that J.R.R. Tolkien had written. These other novels or works, also known as the Appendices, expanded on parts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The Appendices expands on portions from The Hobbit, portions where Gandalf leaves the dwarves to attend to other concerns in the world of Middle Earth. Many of these concerns actually turn out to be precursors to Saurons return, and the beginning to the events that take place in The Lord of the Rings.

Before I get ahead of myself, I must say that I am an unabashed Lord of the Rings (LOTR) lover, I’ve read all three of the books, and The Hobbit, and I’ve watched the movies a dozen times, they’re amazing. I’ve been excited for the possibility of a Hobbit movie since the credits for The Return of the King Rolled. 

That’s the problem, I was excited about the possibility of A (1) Hobbit movie.  
The First Hobbit movie wasn’t terrible; I actually included it in my Top 20 movies of 2012, a choice I now regret. My nostalgia overruled my taste in good movies, I was just so happy to be back in Middle Earth that I loved the movie, even with all of its flaws and … walking. In my defense, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Stayed (mostly) true to its source material. 
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug immediately starts off on the wrong foot; a flashback to Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield’s first meeting. Like many of the unnecessary scenes scattered throughout this movie, this scene is implanted into the script to do nothing but waste time. It’s a scene that might have been halfway interesting as a deleted scene on the extended edition Blu-ray. 
TH: DoS jumps immediately to where we last left our hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, and his dwarven companions, along with Gandalf the Grey. The group is traveling to The Misty Mountain in order for the dwarves to reclaim their homeland, which was taken from them years ago by an evil dragon named Smaug. The group is being chased by orcs, and now a bear. Gandalf leads the group to the home of Beorn, a character I very much enjoyed from the novel. Unfortunately, even with all of the movies fabricated storylines and missteps, they couldn’t even take the time to make Beorn an interesting character like he is in the novel. Instead, we’re left with a rushed subplot that barely has a place in the movie. 
This movie is so excited to move onto its next storyline, it barely gives us time to breath with the ones we remember. In no time at all the group, excluding Gandalf who has run off to deal with some pre-LOTR issues, arrives at Mirkwood. In the novel The Hobbit we are introduced to the Elven King Thranduil, who happens to be the father of Legolas, our favorite elf from LOTR. So, obviously, Legolas is introduced in the movie The Hobbit as a major character, aiding Bilbo and the Dwarves on their journey. I am a big fan of Legolas, and it’s honestly great to see him here again, but he’s never mentioned in the novel. It’s also never, ever mentioned that Legolas met Bilbo previously; you think it would come up once or twice during the trip to destroy the one ring with Frodo, Bilbo’s nephew? 
Alas, I rest. With Legolas we are introduced to another new character, Tauriel, played by a personal favorite of mine, Evangeline Lilly. With the introduction of her character comes the inclusion of some unnecessary, borderline bad story choices; for example, a love triangle involving her, Legolas and one of the dwarves! That’s exactly what we LOTR fans were asking for, more twilight with or Middle Earth. 
I will not delve into the plot much more, only to say that we spend an unnecessary amount of time in Laketown, to the point where I was bored. When we finally get to meet Smaug, it’s tense and exciting, and very reminiscent of Bilbo’s meeting with Smaug in the novel. Then… They ruin it… by adding stuff. The Smaug sequences, and maybe some of the barrel moments, are really the only scenes in the movie that immersed me completely; the rest of the movie seems to lack any tension at all. 
Yes, the films major, major flaw is the addition of plot, to an already wonderful story. The choice to turn this book into a three part movie was a terrible one. 

The film has some redeeming qualities; it’s just as beautiful as LOTR ever was. Peter Jackson has a great vision for the world of middle earth, and every detail is wonderfully imagined. Many of the scenes you imagined in your head while reading the classic novel are thrust upon the screen like its projecting straight from your mind. 

The acting is great; Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage all do a fabulous job. Cumberbatch does a bang up job as the voice of Smaug, and if there was a voice acting awards category, Scarlet Johansson would have some stiff competition (for her voice work in Spike Jonze’s new film Her). Many critics are faulting the movie for its poor character development of the dwarves, beyond Thorin Oakenshield; we don’t get to know the other 12 dwarves very well. I will support the movie here, and say that I barely got to know any of them even from reading the novel. It’s thirteen characters, who all have very similar names and look very much alike, I can’t fault the movie too much for that. Besides, the actors portraying the 13 dwarves all do a swell job. I think my fiancée like the movie a whole lot more thanks to the very plump, red bearded dwarf, who made her laugh constantly.

I enjoy the foreshadowing of LOTR, and if I was to ever watch all six movies in a row (Doubtful), it would play out very nicely in the grand scheme of things. Reading the Hobbit I often wondered why Gandalf was leaving, what he was doing, why he was being so mysterious and it’s very interesting for a fan like me to learn these things. 

While I can see people’s enjoyment of these movies, I can’t idly sit by and be happy with what Jackson has done to this franchise I hold so very dear to my heart. It saddens me to think that people are comparing Peter Jackson to the likes of George Lucas and his Star Wars prequel misstep. Jackson has nothing but a deep, deep love for Tolkien and Middle Earth, and you can see it on screen, but he wants to give us too much. Jackson is so immersed at this point that he can only assume that more is better, and it’s not. He wants to spoon feed us as much as possible, when we can only be fed so much.

There is a lot of good in this movie (and the first), but as a whole it’s not a good film. Once all three movies are out, and someone makes a 3-4 hour edit, I will watch that and I’m sure I will love it. 

My Grade:  C-

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

Frozen Review

Frozen (2013)
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns

Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee                         
Starring the Voice Talents of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, and Alan Tudyk

In the last decade Pixar has been making huge waves, with Finding Nemo, Up, Wall-E, Toy Story 3, etc. Audiences clamored for Pixar, turning out in droves and eating up anything Pixar had to offer. Disney may own Pixar, but its different people/studios working on separate movies entirely. 

So, while audiences packed the theatres for the Pixar movies, Disney fell by the wayside. I know of many people who completely dismissed Disney, talking greatly of Pixar and trashing its owners, Disney. 

When the last time a true Walt Disney animated movie was was truly bad? 
Wreck-it Ralph? 
Winnie the Pooh? 
The Princess and the Frog?
All Good movies! 
Meet the Robinsons…Chicken Little…Home on the Range… Okay… You lost me Disney. It looks like that string of bad movies made way for Pixar to take its place, and people to dismiss Disney’s main animated artery all together. I don’t think anyone would call any of those five Disney movies listed above bad movies, I happen to LOVE three of them! Well if you’ve dismissed Disney, or if a video game hero, Winnie the pooh or Rapunzel just aren’t your thing, I have just the movie for you…
Frozen opens with some gorgeous animation as men cut ice chunks out of a frozen lake, our male lead Kristoff (Glee’s Jonathan Groff) is just a youngster and so is his pet adorable pet reindeer, Sven. As the men sing, we’re transferred to the castle of Arendelle, where the king and Queen of Arendelle are sleeping. The king and Queens youngest daughter Anna is waking her older sister, Elsa, to come play. We learn that Elsa has magical powers; her powers allow her to control ice and snow. While the daughters play that night, Elsa accidently hits Anna in the head with a dash of her magic. 
Her parents quickly rush an unconscious Anna to some nearby trolls, the trolls are able to help Anna but they advise the king and queen to keep Elsa’s magic from everyone, including her sister. The king and queen have no choice but to lock their poor daughter in her room, away from everyone. 
Thirteen years later and Elsa (Idina Menzel) is to become queen, it’s her coronation ceremony and everyone is invited from all over. For the first time in thirteen years the gates to the castle are open-ended, guests are welcomed in to usher in the new queen. Anna (Kristen Bell) is excited to have people around, but above all, excited to see and spend time with her sister. Elsa is nervous, because her powers are almost uncontrollable, and she can’t let anyone know. 
Things go terribly wrong, and Elsa accidently unleashes a frozen winter upon the town of Arendelle, and she hides away into the mountains. It’s up to Anna, with the help of her new fiancé Hans (Santino Fontana), Kristoff and Sven, and a talking snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad), to battle the cold, find her sister and try to put an end to this sudden winter. 
I said it above, and I’ll say it again, the animation in Frozen is outstanding. It has a nostalgia feeling of the classics, but the animation can stand up to anything Pixar has to offer, it’s beautiful. 
I didn’t realize Frozen was such a musical, its musical moments harken back to the days of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Having Broadway master Idina Menzel, from Broadways Wicked and Rent and TV’s Glee, doing the voice of Elsa is a huge bonus, she is a powerhouse. Idina isn’t the only Broadway talent on hand, Josh Gad (The Book of Mormon), Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening) and Santino Fontana (Billy Elliot the Musical) all sing their hearts out. Although, it was Kristen Bell who surprised me, she sings a few songs, and she sings them quite well. 
I haven’t seen such developed animated characters in quite some time, Anna and Elsa are two very different sisters, both with interesting personalities. Frozen would most definitely pass the Bechdel test, ten times over. 
The humor in Frozen is woven in perfectly, it’s not pushed on us to strong, and it’s never weak. The filmmakers decision to save the hilarious snowman Olaf for about the halfway mark was timed perfectly; we have reindeer Sven to wet our appetite until Olaf shows up. The movies funny, but like most Disney movies, it’s sweet and emotional. Frozen has a few messages that kids (and parents) can take away from this movie. 
Frozen is occasionally disjointed and scattered, it has repetitive moments and it almost borders on chaos at one point. I was convinced the movie was going to lose it in the final act; everything I had loved about the movie would be flushed down the toilet with the last half hour. Suddenly, in a surprise twist, the movie pulls it together and exceeded my expectations. I can’t explain in spoiler free detail at this moment, but the last act of the movie won me over completely. Frozen not only shot up a few grade points, but will most likely make my top ten movies of 2013. 

My Grade:  A

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona


I’ll quickly touch on two points in my brief spoilers section here: The villains, and the end. 

1. The villains were unneccessary, and luckily barely present. Hans reveals himself in the last act to be a “bad guy” , while the whole movie we have this Old, little man walking around, who acts evil but doesn’t really have any motives. Both of these “Villains” could have easily been written out of the script, the movie has a Man Vs. Nature aspect already, and the conflict betwen the sisters, there was more than enough to go on. 

2. The ending of the movie, the moment when Elsa’s love for Anna was what unfroze her, was spectacular. I was at first angered with the movies idea of Kristoff having to give Ann true loves first kiss in order to wake her up. Disney has years and years of women needing a man, or “Prince Charming”, in order to live their life, it was refreshing to see something more forward thinking and different. 

A Hijacking Review

A Hijacking (Kapringen)
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns

Director: Tobias Lindholm                         Starring: Pilou Asbeak                        Country: Denmark
                                              Soren Malling                           
                                                             Lars Vestergaard                                    
                                                                     Abdihaken Asgar                                        
                                                                                    Amalie Ihle Alstrup                                                    

A Hijacking is a Danish film, Denmark has already released one of my favorite movies of 2013 (The Hunt), I will forever keep an eye on Denmark’s future film releases. A Hijacking is 2013’s 2nd Somali pirate movie, Tom hanks’ Captain Phillips being the first, This Pirate movie being quite a bit different. 

A Hijacking tells the story of a band of Somali pirates taking over a cargo ship, the MV Rozen, and demand a ransom from the company’s CEO.  The ships cook, Mikkel, becomes our main character out of the ship’s crew, and the main character back in the offices is the companies CEO Peter. 

The story cuts back and forth between the crew of the ship, and the company that owns the container ships; this itself provides for some interesting and unique storytelling. Occasionally we are left out of high tension situations and left to guess what is happening back on the ship, we don’t even get to see the initial takeover of the MV Rozen. At first, this may cause for some frustration with the audience, me being one of them, but it’s quite clear that the filmmakers were aiming for a slow burn and it works well. 

Captain Phillips gets into the action and the tension is high right from the beginning, in A Hijacking, both the action and tension are built slowly, a little too slowly in my opinion, but it works by the end. A Hijacking feels authentic, the process of trying to save the crew of the ship seems real, it’s a lengthy process and it doesn’t make anyone out like an action hero. A hijacking seems more accurate than the events of Captain Phillips, yet Captain Phillips is the true story here. 

I can’t move on without discussing the acting in this movie, you won’t know the names of any of these actors, but their acting is marvelous. The standout in my eyes is CEO Peter, played by Soren Malling, his character starts out almost unlikeable, his actions seem selfish, but all of the changes as the situation, and his character, progress. The ships cook, played by Pilou Asbeak, is just as great of an actor, his character goes through a completely different journey than peters, you can’t help but feeling for Mikkel every step of the way. Peter and Mikkel’s wives are two completely different characters, and they both play them very well. Mikkels wife (Amalie Ihle Alstrup) is incredibly emotional, while Peter’s wife (Linda Laursen) is completely indifferent towards the emotional struggle he is experiencing. 

A Hijacking is also perfectly shot, the opening scenes before the pirates take over give us some moments on the boat that are incredibly filmed. Afterwards, it’s hard to find the beauty in board rooms or ships cargo holds, but the filming is still quite adequate, finding ways to show not too much, and not too little. 

A Hijacking has a lot to offer, if you can give it a chance, the tension builds in ways movies don’t very often offer us.

 My Grade:  A-

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns

Director: Francis Lawrence        Starring: Jennifer Lawrence    Also Starring: Donald Sutherland
                                                                    Josh Hutcherson                              Lenny Kravitz
                                                                    Liam Hemsworth                              Phillip Seymour Hoffman
                                                                    Woody Harrelson                            Stanley Tucci
                                                                    Elizabeth Banks                              Jeffrey Wright

After seeing the first Hunger Games movie, I felt underwhelmed. There were parts of the movie I enjoyed, I think they got the casting spot on, but the movie overall felt to small and it didn’t live up to the hype of the book I so much enjoyed. My overall consensus of the first movie was “It was good, but the second one will be better”. 
I knew right after the first movie that the second book would make a better movie; I think the source material of Catching Fire lends itself to the screen better. It seems as if (For once) I was right. The second installment has an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score and has made over 160 million in its first weekend, breaking the November box office record previously held by Twilight: New Moon.
Catching Fire begins with our victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) living in the victors village of District 12. They live in separate houses, but are supposed to be continuing their act of love for the cameras, and for President Snow (Donald Sutherland). The defiant act at the end of the 74th Hunger Games, where Katniss and Peeta refused to kill one another, and instead would kill themselves with poisonous berries has extremely angered President Snow. Although, the brave act has given hope too many of the districts and made them more rebellious. Katniss, and her symbol the mockingjay, has become a beacon of hope for some of the more privileged districts. 
Katniss and Peeta are forced to go on a victory tour where they will stop at each district and speak to its inhabitants about their fallen members and about winning the Hunger Games. Peeta and Katniss are instructed by President Snow to make people believe there love story, or else. When the tour causes more strife among the districts, and President Snow starts to lose control, he turns to his new head game maker, Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), for help. 
Catching Fire is a near perfect movie, and the best book adaptation I’ve seen since The Lord of The Rings trilogy.  Books create characters that will forever live in our minds, characters that we love immensely, or hate with a passion. There are numerous characters from books I’ve read over the years that I will always remember, and The Hunger Games books have many of those. In order to be successful, a book adaptation must have actors who fit the parts, and The Hunger Games and Catching Fire have that. 
Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss, and if she never plays another role again in her life, she will be remembered for this one. Lawrence embodies the character, playing her with the intensity and depth we love about the Katniss. Besides Lawrence, the other two actors who really stand out among this ensemble crowd are Stanley Tucci, playing the vibrant, purple haired, television host Caesar Flickman; and Elizabeth Banks, who plays the costumed and eccentric escort. 
Both Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, are just okay. Hemsworth isn’t given enough screen time, in this movie or the first, for us to really care about his character Gale, and the actor doesn’t add much to the role anyways. Hutcherson plays the central character Peeta, a character who I think anyone could have played, but Hutcherson does the job. Woody Harrelson is back for his role as Haymitch, and it’s just Woody Harrelson with a bad blonde wig, but I really couldn’t see anyone else in the role. 
The Newcomers, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Jena Malone as  Johanna Mason and Jeffrey Wright as Beetee are all great in their essential supporting roles. 

The story itself is interesting, full of twists and turns that will shock anyone who hasn’t read the book, written by Suzanne Collins. The screenplay was adapted by two Oscar winning screenwriters, Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) and Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). The movie has a slow start, deciding it needs recap the first movie and reintroduce us to these characters. They’ve made it so that you don’t need to watch the Hunger Games, but I bet the percentage of people going to see this movie who haven’t seen the first is around 1%. The screenwriters could have shaved 15-20 minutes off the first act and the movie would be a little tighter, I could see myself re-watching Catching fire one day and almost fast forwarding through the first half-hour. 
The first hour and fifteen minutes go by at a much slower pace than the last hour and 15 minutes. That’s right, Catching fire is two and a half hours long, but you wouldn’t know it. The last half of the movie is so tense and exciting it seems to whizz by at breakneck speed until its explosive finale. If you haven’t read the book, you’re in for a real treat, and I am very jealous. 
That’s the worst part of this movie, I knew what was coming. This movie has so many twists and turns and exciting drama, but I knew it was all going to happen before it did. Why are we so excited to see our favorite books turned into films when we know the story already? Especially a movie adaptation like this that follows so closely to the book you can see the images you conjured up while reading, transfer to the screen in front of you. 
When it comes down to it, Catching Fire will be the best Hunger Games movie, the next two movies will have a hard time living up to this exciting, tense and character driven spectacle of a movie.
My Grade: A-

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns

Director: Alan Taylor     Starring: Chris Hemsworth           Also Starring: Kat Dennings
                                                        Natalie Portman                                     Stellan Skarsgard
                                                       Anthony Hopkins                                    Christopher Eccleston
                                                      Tom Hiddleston                                       Jamie Alexander
                                                      Rene Russo                                             Idris Elba

If I had to pick between a Thor, Iron Man, Captain American or The Hulk movie, I’d pick Thor in a heartbeat. Why? Because of the Strong characters and actors portraying them of course!
Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) himself is a pretty well-rounded character, interesting, heroic and funny in a fish out of water kind of way. Jane Foster is cute and quirky, but I’ll chalk that up to Natalie Portman, I don’t think the character is that interesting. Thor’s parents, Odin and Frigga, are awesome, played by two superstars, Hopkins and Russo.
Erik Slevig (Skarsgard), Heimdall (Idris Elba) and (the occasionally annoying) Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) round out the cast, but it’s Loki/Hiddleston that will always bring me back to any Marvel movie he’s in. Tom Hiddleston has helped earn Loki, the evil but debonair brother of Thor, a place in the villain hall of fame.
But how’s the movie surrounding these captivating characters? It’s entertaining; it delivers what it’s supposed to. It has Marvel written all over it, they don’t really try anything different here but why should they? Marvel knows how to keep an audience happy and I don’t see them trying anything different anytime soon.
That said, Thor: The Dark World is entertaining, exciting, thrilling and occasionally emotional, that I cannot deny. Asgard is breathtaking, the CGI, costumes, sets and props make the whole world that Thor and his family live in very appealing. Thor: works on a very strict routine: Action scene, Action scene, humorous moment (usually involving Kat Dennings), It’s not a bad method; it just gets tiring after a while, especially if you notice it early enough. It’s not as bad in this movie as it was in the first Thor; the first Thor seems almost like a different movie entirely. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s the same characters and we’ve had an Avengers in between, the difference between the first and second Thor would be quite jolting. 
Thor: The Dark World has a lot of other problems also, the humor becomes a bit much after a while, some of it becomes grating and it causes for some stupid scenes. Don’t expect much from the dialogue either, it’s just serves its purpose. Malekith, the villain played by Christopher Eccleston, is completely forgettable, his motives aren’t really all that clear nor are they very interesting. Malekith is played by a good actor, he’s creepy looking and so is his sidekick, Algrim/Kurse (Lost’s adewale akinnuoye-agbaje). It’s also frustrating that everything has to come back to earth, I love Asgard, but every Marvel movie feels as if it has to keep us grounded on earth in order for us to relate to the movie. 
One reason I really enjoyed this years The Wolverine is because it wasn’t about a superhero trying to save the entire world from utter annihilation. Another weakness of the Marvel movies is that they have to be saving the entire world from destruction, and in Thor’s case, the entire universe. Nothing ever happens on a smaller scale, and in a way that takes away from the anticipation, because the audience knows the bad guys aren’t going to win. We know that the world isn’t going to be destroyed. It also brings up a plot hole, if the entire universe is in peril, where are the Avengers? I understand not every movie can be an Avengers movie, but I don’t see Captain America, Tony Stark or Dr. Bruce Banner sitting at home in their PJ’s watching all of this go down on TV and just continue to eat popcorn. 
Allow me to harp on this movie for one more paragraph: This may be a bit spoiler-ish, if you want to skip ahead you can, but I’ll try to keep the spoilers as minimal as possible. One thing that I found frustrating is this whole Ether thing they have going on and the many coincidences they have surrounding it. It’s a complete coincidence the Jane Foster (Portman) is the one that goes through that little portal, right to where the ether is, and gets it sucked into her body. It was honestly a coincidence; I don’t see how anyone could argue differently. Then, the bad guy Malekith wakes up as soon as the ether enters Portman’s body? He has no clue where the ether is, but he’s connected to this ether somehow? Enough so that he awakens once the Ether does? It really doesn’t make sense. And I understand that Jane Foster went through that portal because the worlds were aligning, I understand the Malekith woke up because the ether went into Foster, but it’s all one HUGE coincidence. It would have been hilarious if Foster had the ether enter her body (Sounds sexual) and Malekith wake up and then he has to wait 30 years for the planets to align. 
 Also, someone explain why they wouldn’t just destroy the ether in the beginning? Why would they just put it on some completely unguarded planet?
But I digress; I’ll stop bitching, because in the end I had a lot of fun with this movie! I would definitely re-watch it with a couple friends and a couple beers and have a good time! I just can’t give Thor: The Dark World a pass, because that wouldn’t be fair, it has issues. 
If you’re a fan of past Marvel movies, you’ll enjoy Thor: The Dark World, guaranteed. 

My Grade: C

Thanks for Reading,

Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona

Spoilers below

Loki warns you of spoilers below

Well I may as well add to the conversation and touch on a few more topics that belong in spoiler territory. 
The first thing I might as well touch on is why I found Thor: The Dark World to be so emotional. The death of Frigga (Rene Russo) came as quite a shock to me. Marvel has a hard time killing off characters, and everyone’s reaction to this in the movie was interesting, Thor’s, Odin’s and Loki’s reactions all felt real and were quite interesting. 
I’m sad to see Rene Russo go, she’s a good actress and her character was underused, but I saw potential there. 
Another actor I’ll be sad to see go is Anthony Hopkins, at the end we see “Odin” sitting on the throne talking to Thor. Once Thor leaves, “Odin” transforms into his true self, Loki, who we thought was dead. I have a feeling Odin is still alive somewhere, but we don’t really know what’s going to happen with his character. As of now, a Thor 3 seems probable, but it isn’t confirmed yet. Let’s say it takes 3 to 5 years to get the next Thor movie made, assuming they well until after Avengers 2, the awesome Anthony Hopkins will be between 77 and 80. I wonder if the producers pushed for Thor 2’s ending in case Anthony Hopkins decides to retire, or he …(Knock on wood) … you know. 
Now, I liked and didn’t like the ending of Thor: The Dark World. 
What I liked: We already know that Avengers 2 will be Loki-free, so a Loki-heavy Thor 3 would be very warmly welcomed. Loki seems to finally have the throne he has coveted for so long, and I don’t see Thor allowing that to happen, so Thor 3 will probably be about Thor trying to save the throne from his brother and maybe save his father, Odin. It could make for a very interesting third installment/ 

What I didn’t like: I don’t quite understand Loki’s whole hologram thing, it’s interesting but I don’t think the creators have really explained it fully. I think the way I understand is that Frigga passed her hologram knowledge down to Loki, she taught him her ways, and they are the only two in the universe that can do that? It’s just a bit confusing. 
So did Loki actually die on that other planet? Obviously he didn’t, but it didn’t seem like he was a hologram there. The entire thing confuses me, and maybe they’ll explain it in the third installment, but for now… it just feels like a poorly drawn out scapegoat. 

As for the end credit scene(s), who cares, the first couple of movies it was exciting, now it’s just marketing. 

Thanks for reading!