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Orphan Black Recap Season 2, Episode 4, "Governed As It Were by Chance"

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Orphan Black Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Governed As It Were by Chance”

BBC

Orphan Black Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Governed As It Were by Chance”

“The spirit of man,” Francis Bacon wrote, “is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance.” Narrative perturbations abound in the latest episode of Orphan Black, breaking the stalemates of Project LEDA, Helena’s captivity, and Alison’s substance abuse as the sophomore season launches into its second act. But even as it disrupts the geometry of the central clone quartet, the grimly utilitarian “Governed As It Were by Chance” encapsulates certain of the show’s weaknesses as surely as “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” testified to its strengths.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Original Score

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Score
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Score

This year’s crop of Original Score nominees hits all the markers that we’ve come to expect. And though none of the entries are fundamentally undeserving, their collective safeness succinctly outlines the dull uniformity for which the Academy is routinely and rightly criticized. Off the bat, we can rule out perennial nominees John Williams (The Book Thief) and Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks). Each of their scores boasts impressive technical chops and lavish orchestration, but the films themselves are on the far fringe of the awards circuit and lack novelty to stand out. Joining them, though perhaps with slightly better odds, is Alexandre Desplat, whose musical tendencies and Oscar track record of late are beginning to resemble a post-Schindler’s List Williams, which would otherwise be a compliment outside the context of Williams’s two-decade-long victory drought. The simple thematic elegance Desplat brings to Philomena may leave an impression with some voters, but when we consider that the composer has done similar work for recent, higher profiles films like The King’s Speech, and hasn’t won, there’s no reason to expect his winless streak to end this year.

Grammy 2013 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

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Grammy 2013 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year
Grammy 2013 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

Here’s what we know: Awards shows have and always will be popularity contests. But in recent years, in the same way the Academy Awards have tried to boost dwindling viewership by broadening their Best Picture lineup to include more populist box-office fare, the nominees of the Grammy Awards, in Album of the Year in particular, have increasingly skewed toward the year’s biggest sellers. Two out of the last three trophies in this category have been handed to the standout sales juggernaut (Taylor Swift, Adele), and when there isn’t a nominee that stands at least several platinum plaques above the rest, voters have opted for the critical darling (Arcade Fire) and/or veteran act (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Herbie Hancock).

Poster Lab: Savages

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Poster Lab: Savages
Poster Lab: Savages

It’s probably not a good sign that the poster for Oliver Stone’s Savages makes a perfect column subject for Easter Sunday. By most evidence, this isn’t a movie that wants to be associated with jelly beans and Marshmallow Peeps; however, the egg-dye color palette of one-sheet number one would beg to differ. Cut this image along the lines that divvy it into seven slices, and you’ve got instant sleeves for the hard-boiled beauties you dunked in vinegar last night. This isn’t the first time a poster for an Oliver Stone film used vibrant hues to herald something largely dark (the ads for The Doors and Natural Born Killers went that route at one stage or another), but it is the first time the poster seems wildly out of step with what it’s selling. Yes, Blake Lively’s hippie-ish character, O, is prone to snorting coke, but that’s not exactly the sort of candy this glossy collage appears to promise.

Based on Don Winslow’s lauded 2010 novel of the same name, Savages is a crime-filled, drug-loaded drama unfolding across sun-soaked California and Mexico. Its cast? A bevy of ’90s megastars who dabbled on the pulpy fringes (John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro), and a smattering of camera-ready, pore-free, in-demand hotties (Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Emile Hirsch). On second thought, perhaps that color scheme isn’t so off the mark after all.

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions Foreign Language

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Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language
Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Foreign Language

Do we even need to talk about Dogtooth’s chances? We know it’s here by the grace of that secret cabal that saves critical favorites from the oblivion into which the category’s larger voting body hurls them, thus allowing AMPAS to save a little face when nominations are announced. We also know that most voters probably sliced off little pieces of their skin while watching the film. Yes, I’m with Eric on this: Dogtooth will probably come in fifth place like no other nominee in history has ever come in fifth place. And speaking of slicing off skin: Isn’t that the only thing that doesn’t happen to Javier Bardem’s Job-like character in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful? If not the worst film nominated for an Oscar this year, Biutiful is certainly the most depressing. It’s also the most recognizable film here, but it takes more than being popular to win an award in a category where AMPAS members are required to see all the nominees before casting their votes.

Benediction/Dissipation: The Edge of Heaven & Babel

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Benediction/Dissipation: <em>The Edge of Heaven</em> & <em>Babel</em>
Benediction/Dissipation: <em>The Edge of Heaven</em> & <em>Babel</em>

The Edge of Heaven is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year—and if that sounds like faint praise, it shouldn’t; it’s been a good year. The gracefully interwoven stories of three sets of people covers a lot of emotional ground as it shuttles between Turkey and Germany. You learn so much about its six main characters—three parents and their adult children—that, by the end of the movie, you feel almost as if they were part of your own family. It’s an amazing achievement: an intelligently structured, deeply felt, ultimately uplifting story about the power of old-fashioned virtues like kindness, foregiveness, and love.

It’s also amazingly similar to Babel, at least on paper. Both are cautionary fables for a global world, following several sets of people from distant cultures who intersect with one another in unpredictable, life-altering ways. Violence and death disrupt both stories—there’s even an accidental shooting in both of a woman by a young boy. Political disagreements quickly escalate to accusations of terrorism. Everyday people suffer, struggling with political corruption and repression in their own lands and xenophobia and alienation abroad. Lapses in communication cause crises, and so does Western imperialism.

Versus the Audience: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem & Fanboy Cinema

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Versus the Audience: <em>Alien vs. Predator: Requiem</em> & Fanboy Cinema
Versus the Audience: <em>Alien vs. Predator: Requiem</em> & Fanboy Cinema

Though it probably amounts to the equivalent of cinematic racism, I can’t stand fanboys, and this comes at least in part from having formerly been one. Anyone who knew me during the summer of 2003 must surely recall my gung-ho Matrix sequel attitude, an outpouring of adolescent enthusiasm that I can only hope will never manifest itself again in a fashion even remotely similar to the shamelessness I once exhibited (defend the films, yes; dress up as Neo for the midnight premiere, no). In this mindset, be it for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or even the broader, artier bases of David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, liking a film/film series isn’t so much a matter of taste (that indefinable beast of burden that reflects as much as it obscures) as it is a religion one defends blindly, nationalism for the cinephile. Hence Kevin Smith’s juvenile (albeit intentionally self-aware, thus self-critical) pitting of his beloved Star Wars against Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations (sorry, Silent Bob, but the ring is mightier than the ’saber), and countless similar confrontations that go utterly nowhere. Question even one hair on Frodo’s left foot, and it’s off to the stocks for the newfound heretic.

Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Picture

Anyone who has followed this year’s Oscar race for Best Picture knows that the stats above are not meant as a joke. An intelligent case, pro and con, can be made for every single one of these films. Letters from Iwo Jima has the intelligence, grace, and prestige, but it’s told in a foreign tongue (a deterrent for those who claim to care about movies but really don’t) and enters the race having made very little money and without a DGA nomination, though a case could be made that Clint Eastwood failed to make that cut with his peers when his two war films split nomination votes. Stephen Frears’s The Queen lacks for passion, but there is something to be said about a film whose banal TV-ness offends no one except for elk. The Departed is a film fans of Martin Scorsese can be proud of without back-bending excuses, but there is still the fact that half its cast gets shot in the head at close range. (The Best Picture polls being conducted on the home pages of this site and The Film Experience would suggest the film is way out in the lead, but when cinephilles are your core demographic it’s easy to chalk up results like these to wishful thinking.) Little Miss Sunshine, a film whose only offense is the ridiculous fondnesssome seem tohave for it, won both the SAG ensemble award and the PGA prize, but there’s still the fact that comedies rarely win here and that Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris weren’t nominated in the directing category. Babel, a film that desperately wants to give the illusion of import, has kept people busy connecting its spurious dots for months now, but there is still a considerable amount of people who have seen through the gas it emits. The closest thing to an epic in the category, Babel may not inspire the same intense affection and loathing people have for Crash, but its epic-scale tapestry of interconnected stories should appeal to voters feeling a little global this year. Also, if there is one precedent that’s impossible to ignore it’s the fact that Oscar has a history of rewarding the very worst film in this category.

Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Editing
Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Editing

Three days ago, Oscar sluts across the Internet let out a collective groan when the American Cinema Editors gave one of their Best Edited Feature prizes to Thelma Schoonmaker (The Departed) and Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise (Babel). Because Oscar history tells us that the winner of this award aligns often with the winner of the top prize, we were hoping for ACE to shed some light on what may be the tightest Best Picture race ever. Now we’re left to pick a name out of a hat just like everyone else. We were ready to predict this one for United 93, simply because it’s easy to see why people would confuse the heart-skipping unease Paul Greengrass’s dubious creation rouses through its exploitation of our collective consciousness for something that was made in the editing room, but ACE’s recent decision has made us want to turn elsewhere. We still think United 93 could win, but Oscar also has a history of honoring pictures that weave more intricate Altmanesque tapestries of human misery. This should be to the advantage of The Departed, the best edited film in this category, except Schoonmaker is not in the business of cutting between a child masturbating and a gun being fired into the air—the sort of gassy hackwork that more explicitly begs for (and often gets) this award. Given the monstrosity that won last year and the lengths Babel goes to in order to make something out of nothing, we’ll give the Mirrione-Crise team the edge.

Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions Original Score

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Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Original Score
Oscar 2007 Winner Predictions: Original Score

To hear some tell it, Alexandre Desplat is just about the finest thing to happen to motion picture scoring since Bernard Herrmann or Franz Waxman, the sensualist who will redeem the most (in most cases rightly) denigrated of orchestral literature from John Williams or James Horner. Lucky for Desplat, he doesn’t have to face either of them down this year. The slate that Golden Globe-winner Desplat has to defeat contains but one Oscar-ubiquitous white elephant composer (Thomas Newman) and one composer who would probably be nominated a lot more often if it weren’t for his knack for selecting extremely Oscar-unfriendly projects (Philip Glass, who should’ve kicked Alan Menken’s ass in 1992 with Candyman but for Oscar’s narrow taste standing in the way). While Newman’s current total of eight nominations without a win can’t be completely ignored, The Good German certainly can. If he had been included for Little Children, he might’ve had a better shot, if for no other reason than he was one of the few people in the crew not performing variations on American Beauty. Glass’s score marks his third nomination. Even though his tacky ostinatos did as much to keep Notes on a Scandal walking that fine line between class and trash, it’s hard to imagine it playing well on Borders’ P.A. systems as do Desplat’s regal albeit icy themes (or Glass’s own nominated score for The Hours)—I can’t tell you how many times I found myself paging through an issue of Adbusters, The Believer, or Instinct while “Overture to Ennis Fucking Jack Nasty” twanged from the overhead speakers. Brokeback Mountain’s Gustavo Santaolalla may have won just last year, but I don’t think anyone would deny that the only thing he rehashed for his Babel score was that charango (well, that and his piece “Iguazu,” previously used in The Insider). More damaging to his chances is the fact that González-Iñárritu climaxes and closes his film with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s far-more-memorable “Bibo No Aozora,” written previously but which I will forevermore refer to as “Romance from Nympho Japanese Schoolgirl Being Embraced By Distant Father While Naked On Highrise Penthouse Deck.”