Monday, March 16, 2015

Dream Girl

So here's my latest short film, Dream Girl. Give it a watch, and I hope you like it!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Frozen Fever

Yeah, I may have watched the new Cinderella solely to see the short Frozen Fever that was attached before it. And yeah, I may have snuck into another theater and watched it again on my way out, too. What of it?

That main movie it came attached to, however, isn't quite something you'll see me readily trying to revisit a second time anytime soon. In fact, it's actually pretty insulting that a short for a film as progressive as Frozen was placed in front of the regressive likes of this barf inducingly insincere tripe.

And yet, at the same time, it's also sorta funny that they placed an animated short in front of it at all, seeing as Cinderella is clearly desperate to be an animated film itself (the 1950 Disney animated film, specifically), making this movie completely and entirely pointless on top of everything else. But to be honest, and I can't believe I'm about to say this, seeing as I don't think it's a good movie either, but if you're in the mood for a new, live action take on Disney's Cinderella, you're probably better off checking out Into the Woods, which is a recommendation that actually sorta hurts me to make (in fact, one might say that such a recommendation leaves me in agony).

But no, anyways, moving right along, while the new Cinderella may certainly not be worth sticking around for after the fact, Frozen Fever was well worth the matinee price of admission on it's own. It's a simple little story, where Elsa is trying to throw a party for Anna on her birthday, to make up for all her less enjoyable ones she had growing up, and to ensure that the day is the perfect day. And it really just made me love her character all the more, seeing a more relatably thoughtful and sentimental side to her that I felt really added some nice layers to her person.

As the day goes along, we're accompanied by a catchy little tune that feels right at home in the Frozen world, and Elsa even dons a new green dress for the occasion.

Speaking of which, good as she looks in blue, I think green may really be more her color. I've always felt that her coronation attire from the first movie was an underrated look for her, and damn does she look great in green here.

But as the story progresses, we see that Elsa may actually be coming down with a cold, hence the short's title. And I actually loved where this aspect lead to (though her line that "a cold never bothered me anyway" did feel a bit too pandering), as it ultimately gave us what may well be the most amazing thing I've seen in a theater this year so far. And yeah, I know it's still early in the year to be making such statements, but seriously, seeing Elsa stumble around singing in a drunken-like state was just a special kind of magic to behold! (And I demand gifs, stat.)

Anyways, as Elsa grows more and more sick, sneezing through her song, every sneeze produces these cute little mini-snowmen that just sorta scream merchandising cash grab. I guarantee you'll be able to pick up your very own plushies for these little guys soon enough, assuming you can't already.

And speaking on just how hugely marketable a franchise Frozen has become, yesterday the news also broke that a Frozen sequel is officially in the works. Now, my instant reaction to this was to refer people to my recent post concerning the prospect of a Dredd sequel for my similar thoughts on the manner, basically that, while I loved the first movie, and a sequel could very well end up being good, I don't actually think it's a necessary route to go.

And to an extent, I still feel that way now. Yet, on the other hand, purely from a business standpoint, I honestly can't blame Disney too badly for cashing in on such a massive runaway success. And if nothing else, I do find it pretty interesting that, assuming the sequel is done by Disney Animation Studios, Frozen 2 will actually mark only the second time that the studio has ever released an official canonical sequel, with the only other example being The Rescuers Down Under (unless of course the 2011 Winnie the Pooh counts as a sequel, in which case the new Frozen would still only be the third).

But anyways, I also really can't complain too badly, as I'm arguably precisely the kinda person who's a part of the problem in the first place, because I know I'm gonna inevitably get swept right up into all of the hype as its release date approaches. But speaking of that hype, I still find myself coming across so many people commenting how Frozen is such an "over-hyped" movie, and so many people walk away disappointed from it as a result of their over-inflated expectations, which I've come to find a bit of a shame.

I've touched on this in past posts before, but generally speaking, while I do understand that sentiment, I also sorta wish more people would be willing to put either mass hype or hatred for a given movie aside and go into a film with more of an open mind, and to accept it for what it is. And as it concerns Frozen, I'll readily admit that it's not a perfect movie, by any means. And yet, even so, I still think the movie is brilliant and beautiful and wonderful all the same, with its imperfections just being a part of its charm. In fact, I tried to make this argument before in my silly, shameless Queen Elsa Compilation post, but it only hit me a few hours after publishing that post that the movie itself even addresses its own very imperfect state with the song "Fixer Upper". She's a bit of a fixer upper, indeed! And it's little things like this that I just love more and more about this film.

So yeah, anyways, the news of this sequel is bound to induce groans among the many haters of this franchise, and I gotta admit that I let out a bit of a groan of my own as well, though for entirely different reasons. But really, who am I trying to kid, we all know that I'm bound to catch that Frozen Fever (sorry), and I'm so gonna be there opening day. I just hope at this point that it actually turns out good. And if Frozen Fever is anything to go by, then that may very well end up being the case. But for now, if you do get a chance to see the new short and you're already a fan, then you'll likely end up enjoying it quite a bit. It's got plenty of fan-fare, and keeps things fresh enough in its brief runtime to make for a nice, fun little romp for fans, so check it out if you can.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

I usually don't pay the general critical consensus on a movie much mind, as many of my favorite movies have been panned by critics. So I went into this thing with an open mind, thinking it looked genuinely interesting based on trailers and such, and having enjoyed most of the Wachowski siblings' other movies. However, sadly, it would appear that the critics are right on the mark about this one. Jupiter Ascending is nothing more than a steaming piece of dog shit.

Reportedly, when this played at a recent film festival, there were a lot of walkouts from this movie, and I gotta say that I can completely understand, because my god was this movie hard to sit through. I can't even recall the last time I was so antsy at the theater, just praying for it to roll credits already.

And I can't even tell you why I bothered to stick it through to the end. Maybe just to see if it would ever get better? After all, there were two specific exchanges between its stars (Mila Kunis as Jupiter and Channing Tatum as some sort of human/dog hybrid person thing) that I especially enjoyed, and that happened back to back. The first involved a joke where Jupiter wanted some privacy to change her clothes, alluding to a weird scenario from earlier in the movie, and which had some nice comedic timing from Tatum. This was then followed up with another nice little moment between the two and a joke about Jupiter loving dogs, which actually got a good chuckle out of me.

It was around this time that the film started to give me some hope of perhaps having a bit of a turnaround, and I was open for it to wind up being perhaps something decent after all. However, immediately following these two moments, we're then sent on a tedious montage segment of sorts in which our characters keep running back and forth between legal departments to try and make Jupiter's royal heritage official. And after this little departure finally wraps up, Jupiter cracks a joke about never complaining about having to go to the DMV after having gone through all of that, and I couldn't help but agree more. I would gladly visit the DMV over sitting through this shitty movie again any day.

I mentioned the previous scene as being tedious, and really, that word can be used to describe most everything else in this god forsaken thing, not the least of which would be the action scenes. I swear, they just drag on and on and on, and they're so sloppily pieced together, with so much going on so quickly that you can never really register quite what's happening, which isn't aided at all by the fact that they're all so god damn boring that I found my mind wandering against my will constantly. It is very possible that the action scenes in this movie are the absolute most mind numbing and incompetent action sequences that I have ever seen in any movie. Ever.

And the writing, god, lines such as "You're my own personal Jesus Christ" from The Matrix are subtle compared to some of the schlock we get here. The freaking aliens flat out name drop Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, for those of you in the audience too dumb to pick up on some of the "inspirations" (god does using this word to in any way describe this movie make me cringe) behind this plot. And wooden delivery of lines such as a commander telling Channing Tatum to "aim true" will just leave you sighing and rolling your eyes in agony.

But god damn, there's so many stupid and pointless aspects to this movie, I don't even know where to begin. Maybe with the damn bees...

... which is how we initially discover that Jupiter is really of space royalty, by the fact that she can apparently control them. Except, after this initial scene, they literally do nothing else with the bees. No, really, nothing at all. They never return again, they're just randomly there to randomly deus ex machina Jupiter to royalty, and just as randomly disappear for the remainder of the movie. Seriously, why give this girl the power to control bees, and then proceed to do exactly nothing with that?! What is the point?! And this isn't even a one-off occurrence, as the movie introduces several seemingly important characters and plot elements all throughout, only to then completely abandon them without any sort of resolution.

But returning to our royal heroine, Jupiter is also just about the most useless character around, playing the damsel in distress who Channing Tatum has to race to save at the very last second, shit, I forget how many times throughout the entire course of this thing. I mean, not only is this movie a redundancy of just about any other sci-fi flick or space opera you may have seen, it's a fucking redundancy of itself!

Speaking on those other sci-fi flicks for a second, hell, have you seen any of them? Any other sci-fi movie ever? Well then good, then you should be well prepared for what to expect from this movie in terms of its visuals, because this just looks like an absolute mish-mash of every sci-fi movie out there, with some of the least inspired designs this side of the galaxy. The god damn Green Lantern movie (another movie I'd much rather watch again than this) had more inspired character designs and locales than what's seen in this dump heap of science fiction rejects.

And then the movie contradicts itself by having Channing Tatum literally riding a spaceship from the outside to another planet. This was dumb as hell, sure, but from this happening, we should at least be able to ascertain that surely this means Tatum's character can breath and survive in space, right? Except, no, that's not right, because later on, when he's ejected from a ship into the vacuum of space, he desperately scrambles to fit himself into a spacesuit so that he doesn't suffocate and/or freeze to death. Er, 'kay, way to keep consistent there, guys.

And don't even get me started on freaking Eddie Redmayne's character. I'm not even gonna blame that on the actor, though, that comes squarely down to some truly shit direction with what they gave to him, having him speak in "ominous" (emphasis on the quotations there) whispers, only to burst out into screams at absolute random. It was a level of over-the-top that wasn't even entertaining to watch, just groan inducing, like you couldn't believe that you were actually seeing this shit play out like it was. Unbelievable.

Oh yeah, and Sean Bean doesn't even die. I swear, only the worst movies like Silent Hill: Revelation and this shit actually let Sean Bean live. I mean, really, what the hell, how do you fuck that up?

Okay, I might not be too serious about that last offense, but as for the rest of this thing, well, let's just say that I had the urge to chuck my drink at the screen on so many occasions throughout, because this movie was just infuriating. There were no stakes to be had at all, because the movie gives you no reason to give a shit about anything, despite the mountains of expository lines being spewed out at any given moment. No, the only thing this movie gave me was a god damn headache.

If I'm being fair, I should admit that the lead performances from Kunis and Tatum were perfectly fine for the most part, and the sound design was pretty admirable as well. But honestly, that's about all the praise I really have to give this thing, which really has nothing else going for it at all. And after coming off such a strong year for science fiction movies last year, to have to start off the new year with this, well, it's a little disheartening, to say the absolute least.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I don't want to see a Dredd sequel

I love the movie Dredd, and I still think that it was the best movie released in 2012, hands down. That said, and contrary to popular opinion for fans of this flick, I have no desire to see a sequel to this movie.

I felt that Dredd was a perfectly fine film on its own, and one that really doesn't require a sequel. It gets in, it does its thing and tells us a complete story, and it gets out in satisfying fashion. Now, I'm not saying that a sequel to this movie would inherently be a bad thing or anything, just that it feels an unnecessary direction to go.

With so many movies these days being pointlessly split up into multi-parters or drawn out tirelessly with sequel after sequel, I've found myself growing more and more appreciative of the stand-alone movie. Not everything has to be a series, and not every good movie needs a sequel. I'm perfectly fine with letting a good movie stand on its own, and quite frankly, I'd kinda like to see more of that.

But looking at just how bad movies have gotten in this regard as of late, you need look no further than the likes of The Hobbit, Harry Potter, and just about every YA series adaptation whose final film is pointlessly split into two. It's kind of a shame that this trend has caught on, because now there are so many film series that conclude so unsatisfyingly, because their final installments aren't being presented as complete stories.

I went on about this in my review of The Battle of the Five Armies, but I'll reiterate how the last two Harry Potter flicks were especially affected negatively by this. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a great film, until it suddenly ends in anticlimactic fashion, because they decided to split the story in half. And then Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is now merely the missing climax to the previous film, only without any of the set-up, making for an ultimately unfulfilling experience on its own.

And now, as I look ahead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and see that the third Avengers flick is similarly going to be split in half, I'm sorry, but this makes me really not look forward to those far off films. I mean, it really isn't that hard to tell a complete story within the confines of a typical movie run time. And if you, the filmmaker, are finding problems in this regard, then perhaps the medium you should be really working in is television.

Now sure, I understand the financial reasons behind this trend of splitting up big franchise movies, and as long as people keep paying up, then we can expect for the trend to only continue. But in the end, while the studios are making bank with this model, they're also leaving behind a legacy of incomplete movies that, on their own, just flat out do not work. Hell, just recently I finally got around to watching Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, and it was only after watching those two movies back to back that I actually felt that the story as a whole really, truly worked. Because previously, having only seen Vol. 1 separately, I honestly didn't think it was a good movie, and it really boiled down to it being an incomplete story on its own.

But going back to the Marvel Universe again, I would say that in terms of a series of films, on the whole it's done really well, and a lot of that can be attributed to how most of the individual movies within the series also work so well on their own, and in many cases don't necessarily require the other movies to make them work. But they've created a working model that a lot of studios are eager to jump on the bandwagon with, and, well, it remains to actually be seen, but just based on the information that keeps popping up on some of these copycat projects, I don't have much faith that some of these other studios will be able to mimic Marvel's success in terms of actual quality, let alone in actually allowing for their brands to truly exist on their own, removed from their given "universe".

But I digress, and though I do speak of my growing appreciation for the stand-alone movie, that's not to say that there isn't a market for movie series at all. For instance, there's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which really wouldn't work as a one-shot deal. And it's a series of movies that not only tells a full story over the course of the three films, but each film within the series feels like a complete piece of the story on its own as well, which is largely why it works on the whole so well.

Where as, on the other hand, something like The Matrix trilogy doesn't quite work, since the first part feels like a complete story that probably should have been a stand-alone, but needlessly had two sequels tacked onto it. And not only that, but the two new entries weren't even complete stories themselves either, what with Reloaded's obnoxious cliff-hanger ending.

And then, of course, there are those big franchise movies, like the Marvel flicks, that feel like they're naturally setting up future installments, hence the first of these series typically being an "origins" movie of sorts (which also just happens to be another currently over-done movie type that I'd like a breather from, but that's another rant entirely). And in such cases, these movies are being made with multiple movies in mind from the outset. Like, when you watch the first Spider-Man movie, it explicitly uses its run time to establish who this character is and how his powers work in this world, leaving room to be further explored in depth in future installments.

In fact, another recent movie that I've heard a number of people say that they would've loved to see play out as either a mini-series or something expanded like that was Interstellar. And, while I can see where those people are coming from with this mindset, I really couldn't disagree more.

Interstellar was a movie that easily could have been played out as a TV mini-series or, in the hands of a lesser filmmaker, split into a multi-part movie series. But that's one of the things I truly loved about that movie, is that it went in and told its complete story in one go, and it didn't feel the need to leave anything open to return to and revisit in a possible future installment. It was just absolutely perfect in this regard, and it gave the movie such an all around complete feeling to it that so many "open-ended" movies just lack, and it made it all the more intensely satisfying as a result.

But now we get back to Dredd, and, as with Interstellar, that's just one of the things I really appreciated about the movie. Despite being a comic book movie, it didn't feel the need to delve in an origin story for our central character, nor did it feel the need to pointlessly sequel bait itself either. It was perfectly confident in just going in and telling its full story, and leaving it at that. And I really dug that about it.

And yeah, sure, of course there's the possibility for a sequel. After all, the Dredd rip-off, The Raid (that's right, look it up, The Raid copied Dredd, not the other way around), had a phenomenal follow-up, and who's to say that Dredd wouldn't be able to follow suit? But the point I'm trying to make is that it's not a necessary route to take. There's enough series and sequels out there as it is without dropping another one on us.

That said, I do love that the movie has enough passionate fans willing to support a movie such as this. But for me personally, I like to look at my support for the movie as not being towards making more future installments of the same thing, but rather, to show support towards filmmakers willing to take similar risks in order to get their original ideas put out there, even if in this case it took utilizing an established property to do so. But that's what I support, and it's what movies these days could definitely do with just a little bit more of, is some good ol' fashioned originality.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Celebrating 10 Years of Madness!

So today marks the 10 year anniversary of This is Madness (though the 20th of this month marked the 5th anniversary of this particular incarnation of it on this site, so yay!). I first started blogging on LiveJournal 10 years ago, and I initially used it as a means to really just vent about certain things going on in my personal life at the time, and generally just goof around on it, much in the same way that I currently use Twitter nowadays. Hell, that's just how all of my friends used LiveJournal back in the day.

So there were a few "proper" blog posts at the time, but it would be a while before I really started to focus my blog and take it more seriously. And once I did, at the time, my main focus was wrestling.

I wrote in depth reviews for various wrestling events that I'd either watch on Pay Per View or attend in person, as well as write articles speculating on certain aspects of the business, and what I'd like to see happen moving forward. But then I guess I hit a point where my interest in wrestling began to wane a bit (though I do still remain a fan today, just not nearly as passionate as I was then), and it was around that time that I started going through a shift in focus with my blogging habits.

During this time I also did a lot of blogging on my personal life as well, including fabricating really bizarre stories that over-exaggerated actual events in my life for maximum comedic effect. And it was during my brief stint where I moved over to Myspace as a means of blogging where I possibly went the most over-the-top in this regard, writing out an entire weekly series chronicling the silly antics I experienced at my job at Toys R Us at the time, in an action anime/comic book inspired series called TRU ADVENTURES. My co-workers at the time got a kick out of it at least, but seeing as most of it was based on inside-jokes within the store, needless to say most everyone else was just kinda confused about the whole thing.

However, writing out that blog story did give me quite a bit of practice with narrative writing, which I only further honed during that year's NaNoWriMo (my first!), and continued to improve upon through attending writing workshops and the like until I was finally confident enough to actually publish a novel. So it's pretty cool to look back and see how my blogging has actually contributed to my other writing aspirations, but I digress, we're here to celebrate the blog, and that brings us to the next stage in my evolution of blogging.

So after almost all of my friends who frequented LiveJournal and Myspace left those sites, I was left looking for a new outlet in which to blog where people would actually be able to find it and read it. And so that's when I just decided to start up my own blog site a little over five years ago, which is the site you're currently reading on right now!

By this point, I was still in a bit in a transitional phase in terms of finding actual focus in my blogging, as can be seen in the first several posts on this site, where I clumsily jumped from talking about movies to wrestling to video games, and all within the same posts. It took me a few months, but finally I found a new sense of focus with my blogging, where, much like how I once used to discuss and review wrestling, I would now mostly be discussing and reviewing movies.

And I've been at it ever since, learning along the way and getting a little more comfortable with my particular style. And at first, it was still only friends and family who were aware of my blog's existence. But it was about a couple years into just blogging my thoughts and reviews on movies that I suddenly started gaining attention from outside sources as well, and only then realized there was a whole world of film blogs out there that I was completely oblivious to.

For a good long while I got sucked into the whole blogging community, meeting new bloggers and trying to discover new blogs and gain new readers and commenters in my efforts. But then, as I continued down this path, I eventually found myself becoming more and more stressed over my blogging activities. I found myself stressing over a lot of stupid things, such as the overall success of my blog, and I found that I was blogging for all the wrong reasons now, and it basically stopped being fun for me as a result.

So just before the turn of the year, I decided that I was going to make some changes in a number of my online activities, including my blogging, with the purpose of removing the stupid stress and bringing back the fun. So, for those of you who may have noticed, that's why I've scaled back on some things, including turning off comments for the time being, and why you may not be seeing me leaving as many comments on other blogs as well. It's not that I'm not reading your blogs anymore, mind you, just that I'm not forcing myself to feel obligated to leave a comment, as I never really have on any other non-blogging medium.

And honestly, ever since I've made even those seemingly small little changes, it's sort of amazing just how much of a difference it's made for my mindset as far as it concerns my blog as of late. And I've also noticed that I've actually been far more consistent with it at that as well, which is definitely a cool deal.

So yeah, all things considered, this celebration of blogging really couldn't have come at a better time. There's been some highs and there's been some lows, but right now, as I celebrate 10 years of blogging, I'm at a point where I feel pretty good about this whole thing, and look forward to where the Madness may continue to evolve from here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Predestination

Predestination is unlike anything that you would imagine, and is one of the most clever and most all around satisfying science fiction films that I have ever seen. It's also one of the hardest movies to talk about and really convey my feelings towards without also getting into major spoilers, but I'll give it my best shot here nonetheless!

The trailers made this out to be an interesting enough sci-fi flick involving time travel, but honestly, while that description does this movie absolutely no justice, at the same time I actually gotta give them credit for even being able to come up with a trailer that doesn't completely spoil the whole movie, because this is a movie that is very easy to slip up and accidentally give away some pretty substantial plot twists. So kudos for that, and now here's hoping I don't accidentally slip up myself.

Basically, this is a movie that is layered with ideas and thematic elements all throughout, and that come into play in surprising ways. What it presents thematically is definitely this movie's biggest strength, and it's what'll leave it sticking with you well after the fact. Predestination is a very personal movie, and it's one that touched me on a very personal level as such.

In its relatively brief hour and a half runtime, this movie tackles a lot, and it does it all so seamlessly. Everything from gender roles in society and themes dealing with identity, revenge, and the thin line that straddles between love and hatred. It's a movie that tackles self-destructive behavioral patterns, of taking responsibility for ones actions. And it's a movie ultimately about being able to love and accept oneself if you ever hope to find happiness in any other aspect of your life.

And there's even more beyond all of that if you wanna dig deeper, including some subtle subtext regarding government conspiracy theories and such. There's just so much depth to this movie. But again, even laying all of those themes out there like that really doesn't even begin to do this movie justice at all. But the way it all comes into play, how it's so meticulously and tightly interwoven through the narrative is so seamless, and so stunning to watch play out. And as the movie does play out, there's just so many genuinely surprising and satisfying plot twists, it'd make even the likes of M. Night Shyamalan jealous.

The screenplay is very cleverly written, with tons of little details in the dialogue and scenery that you'll pick up on in subsequent viewings that hint at what's really going on. Hell, I've seen this thing three times already, and each time I find myself just shaking my head in awe at the sheer amount of clever little lines and in-jokes scattered about.

And all of this amazing writing is brought to life beautifully by the outstanding performances from Sarah Snook and Ethan Hawke. Hell, Hawke's been on a bit of a roll as of late, what with both this and Boyhood last year, but I honestly believe his role in Predestination may well be his greatest acting performance to date. Absolutely incredible stuff.

Point blank, Predestination isn't your typical sci-fi flick, and it's unlike any other time travel movie that you've seen. Hell, I've read some comparisons to Looper, and while tonally I can sorta see it, even that's not quite accurate, as this movie presents quite literally the exact opposite of what Looper set out to say and do.

If I had seen this and Selma in time, I definitely could've done a proper Top 10 list to close out 2014, as both of them would've easily landed in my Top 5. And hell, I'd say Predestination is second only to Interstellar as the absolute very best movie I've seen from that year at that. I just really can't recommend this movie enough, and it's available right now on on-demand, so definitely check it out if you can. Predestination is unlike anything that you would imagine, and is one of the most clever and most all around satisfying science fiction films that I have ever seen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Maddie Awards!

So it's possible that I was a bit too preachy with my review of Selma last week, so how about we lighten the mood a little this time around. And seeing as we're right in the thick of awards season (as well as celebrating this blog's Fifth Anniversary tonight!), what better way to do that than with the return of the Maddie Awards!

Yes, that's right, This is Madness proudly brings to you the 2015 Maddie Awards, where we celebrate the brand new year in fine cinema so far! Now it's been a few years since our last Maddie Awards ceremony, but for those keeping track (i.e., me), past winners of the coveted Maddie include the likes of Season of the Witch, Contraband, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

(And I suppose that Gangster Squad also begrudgingly won it one year. Hey, just like the real awards, we can't always get 'em right, right?)

So anyways, without any further ado, let's start things off with the Maddie for Best Director. And presenting the award is past Maddie winner, Kate Beckinsale!

Looking as lovely as ever tonight, Kate! And now the Maddie for Best Director goes to...


Michael Mann - Blackhat
2015 Maddie Awards - Best Director

Michael Mann's signature style was on full display in the new action thriller, Blackhat. It was his touch that truly elevated the material on the screen, always making for quite the visual engagement. And his eye for action remains as astute as ever, as the various shoot out sequences throughout are the clear highlights of the whole movie, including one near the end that has some especially and satisfyingly surprising results. So congratulations to this year's Best Director, Michael Mann!

And up next, presenting the Maddie for Best Actor, it's previous Best Actor winner, Mark Wahlberg!

Truly, it isn't a proper January without our traditional January serving of Mark Wahlberg (though, curiously enough, this year he decided to release his typical January film, The Gambler, on Christmas). But anyways, moving right along, the Maddie for Best Actor goes to...


Chris Hemsworth - Blackhat
2015 Maddie Awards - Best Actor

Though Wahlberg may have been feeling a bit ambitious with his latest movie's release date, Hemsworth was more than up to the task of filling in the void left by Wahlberg's absence. Hemsworth brought a true sense of charisma to the role that really carried the slick new cyber thriller, Blackhat. Sure, he's not what one might typically picture when they think of your typical computer hacker, but then, this isn't your typical awards show, either! But Hemsworth certainly gives a standout performance regardless, further proving himself to be a competent action star in the process, and a worthy Maddie Award recipient.

And now, here to present the Maddie Award for Best Picture, it's none other than the man himself and former Maddie Award winner, Nic Cage!

Always a pleasure and an honor to be graced by the presence of the one and only Nic Cage! And now, the Maddie Award for Best Picture goes to...


Blackhat
2015 Maddie Awards - Best Picture

It's a sweep! Blackhat takes home all the awards tonight! And deservedly so, as it is, without a doubt, the absolute very best movie that our Maddie Award voters (i.e., me) have seen this year so far. It's a throwback to similar '90s cyber thrillers with some stylized direction and a commanding performance by its lead, with some nicely intense action sequences throughout, making for a movie that's only sometimes a little dumb and boring (but not always!).

So congratulations to our big Maddie Award winners tonight. And a big thank you to all of our viewers for joining us for this year's ceremony. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves (and aren't too bummed if your favorites didn't win), and that all of you have a safe and good night!