Daily Streaming Guide: April 3rd Edition

Today’s Streaming Guide focuses on an Oscar nominated period drama that is available for viewing via Hulu:

1998’s Gods and Monsters is responsible for introducing many American filmgoers to the work of Ian McKellen before he became a household name shortly thereafter with the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises. He’s cast as director James Whale, most known for his horror classics Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Set in the 1950s, Whale is aging and medically fragile and under the care of Lynn Redgrave’s nurse. Brendan Fraser (in rare dramatic work) costars as a young gardener who befriends Whale and is the object of his affection.

Monsters deservedly garnered Academy nominations for McKellen and Redgrave and won Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s worthy of a look.

That does it for now, folks! Until next time…

The Good Liar Movie Review

Bill Condon’s The Good Liar gathers British acting royalty, but is not a crowning achievement compared to the career highlights of the principals involved. We have Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren in a twisty con artist tale based on a Nicholas Searle novel.

The film tests the limits of whether having these two leads is good enough. For a decent portion of the running time, the answer is yes. McKellen is Roy Courtnay, who successfully bilks investors out of millions along with partner Vincent (Jim Carter). His latest conquest is The Rich Widow Con and that’s Mirren’s Betty McLeish. Roy’s got patience when it comes to lifting her bank account. He attempts to ingratiate himself to her only grandson (Russell Tovey). Roy soon moves into Betty’s drab home. Past victims of his grifts are on his trail. And there’s a bit of mystery whether their partnership will move beyond platonic.

In its first half, The Good Liar is a concoction as bubbly as the wine Betty enjoys during their first date after meeting online. It is a humorous opening credits touch as they chat on the computer. Roy checks the box for non-smoker as he puffs away on a cigarette. Betty claims not to be a drinker with glass in hand. With these two master thespians bouncing dialogue off one another, it’s often a treat. On the other hand, we aren’t seeing anything unseen in the genre before with the exception of the age of the performers involved.

When flashbacks to Roy and Betty’s pasts come into play later, the pic loses its frothy charms and becomes far more serious and considerably more absurd at the same time. I am not confident that the plot mechanisms that rocket into overdrive in the latter portion hold up on close inspection. It’s telling that some of the reveals aren’t worth racking the brain about. There’s no doubt that McKellen and Mirren’s interplay is fun for awhile. When their story ventures into more weighty subjects, it doesn’t feel earned delving into them.

**1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Cats

Yes, readers, the words Oscar and Cats are in the same post title, so get on board! Truthfully, this shouldn’t be surprising at all. The adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical comes from director Tom Hooper. His last three films (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables, The Danish Girl) garnered a total of 24 nominations and 8 wins, including Speech nabbing Best Picture. Each one of them gave us one acting winner – Colin Firth in Speech, Anne Hathaway in Miserables, and Alicia Vikander for Danish. 

So to say Cats had potential awards pedigree is not an understatement. Had being the objective term. One day before its release, the review embargo is up. Note to everyone: Oscar contenders don’t lapse their embargo 24 hours before release.

This has proven accurate as the Rotten Tomatoes score for Cats is currently… 19%. Some reviews are of a mixed nature while others are deeming it an unmitigated disaster. Weeks ago, the prospect of a Jennifer Hudson nod in Supporting Actress seemed at least feasible. There will be no second nomination for the Dreamgirls winner.

That said, Cats is definitely contending in one race. Earlier this week, the Academy released their shortlist for Visual Effects nominees. Ten pictures were named and this is one of them. This seems potentially amusing as a number of reviews say the visual look is ugly and garish. I don’t expect this to make the final five and I foresee chatter as to how this got on the shortlist over material like Ad Astra and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Could this show up in other races like Production Design or Makeup and Hairstyling? That seems like a reach.

The one category where Cats did seem like a genuine player was Best Original Song via “Beautiful Ghosts”. That track is sung by costar Taylor Swift and it seemed like a good excuse for the Academy to get her on the stage. Surprisingly, “Ghosts” was excluded from the 15 finalists that were also named this week.

I’ve ended dozens and dozens of these Oscar Watch posts with “My Oscar Watch posts will continue…”. Indeed they will. However, this appears to be the final one of 2019. Have no fear as the Sundance Film Festival is around the corner in January and there’s always Oscar bait at that event. Therefore, my Oscar Watch posts will continue… in 2020. And in the meantime, my predictions for this year’s Academy nominees will continue as well.

Cats Box Office Prediction

One of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time gets the big budget screen treatment next weekend with the unleashing of Cats. The rendering of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work comes from the Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech Tom Hooper, who also made the Les Miserables adaptation in 2012. Performers donning the fur include James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and Francesca Howard.

When the Cats trailer was posted a few months back, it was greeted with a certain amount of derision. Even with that negative buzz and a review embargo that doesn’t lapse until right before its release, these musicals with hefty price tags have shown their muscle before during the holiday season.

In 2017, The Greatest Showman was met with mixed reviews. Its $8.8 million opening on the same pre Christmas weekend was a disappointment, but it legged out to an amazing $174 million domestically. Five years back, Into the Woods took in a joyous $45 million over its extended Christmas rollout.

This is not expected to reach the highs of Woods or lows of Showman out of the gate. Competition is fierce with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiering on the same day. That said, Universal Pictures has perhaps smartly scheduled this as counter programming for female and older crowds. On the other hand, Bombshell (also out next Friday) is searching for the same audience.

I believe this manages low to mid teens haul for starters as it hopes for positive word-of-mouth afterwards and nine lives of profitability in subsequent frames.

Cats opening weekend prediction: $14.5 million

For my Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker prediction, click here:


For my Bombshell prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: The Good Liar

Pairing Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren together is a potential recipe for awards attention success and that’s happening next weekend with the release of The Good Liar. The thriller comes from Bill Condon, who directed McKellen to one of his two Oscar nods in Gods and Monsters. Mirren has received four Academy recognitions with a win in 2006 for The Queen.

The thriller casts McKellen as a con artist attempting to swindle Mirren’s wealthy widow. Reviews are out and while they’re decent (71% on Rotten Tomatoes), the picture is highly unlikely to be much of a box office success and awards chatter is very quiet. While the two leads are garnering praise for their work, both the lead Actor and Actress categories are already filled with more legitimate contenders.

Bottom line: the truth is that The Good Liar will come up empty-handed come nominations time. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Good Liar Box Office Prediction

A sir and a dame team up for the thriller The Good Liar next weekend with hopes to bring in a mature audience. Ian McKellen is the con artist to Helen Mirren’s rich widow. Bill Condon, who directed McKellen to an Oscar nod in 1998’s Gods and Monsters, serves behind the camera. The supporting cast includes Russell Tovey and Jim Carter.

Liar looks to bring in a Downton Abbey crowd looking for something a bit more devilish. Awards buzz would help and Liar appears unlikely to achieve it. Reviews are mixed with a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of 55%. There’s also adult competition in the form of Ford v Ferrari, which should have the pole position for the weekend.

I believe this will fail to achieve a double digits start for the royal talent involved.

The Good Liar opening weekend prediction: $6 million

For my Ford v Ferrari prediction, click here:


For my Charlie’s Angels prediction, click here:


2019 Oscar Predictions: October 17th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions this Thursday brings a whole lot of changes in that I’m  including every category covering feature films! Additionally, there’s now only 15 listed possibilities in Best Picture and ten in all other races.

For this format, my projections show The Irishman garnering the most nominations with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917, and Marriage Story not far behind. Besides the cosmetic changes, here’s what else has transpired in the past seven days:

  • Bombshell, the true life of Fox News and the downfall of Roger Ailes, had its first industry screenings. The film immediately vaulted itself into contention in Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay (as well as Makeup & Hairstyling).
  • My inclusion of Bombshell in Best Picture means The Farewell has been taken out with The Two Popes and Joker as other on the bubble entries.
  • Not only does Charlize Theron’s work in Bombshell enter my Best Actress projections, but she comes in at #2. That drops Cynthia Erivo in Harriet out of the top five for the first time.
  • Margot Robbie’s performance in the picture puts her in and she bumps… Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 
  • In non Bombshell news, South Korean import Parasite had the best per screen average of 2019 in limited release. It’s the best reviewed movie of the year and its numbers game improves in Picture and Director this week.


Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 6)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

5. 1917 (PR: 4)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

9. Bombshell (PR: 18)

10. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Farewell (PR: 8)

12. Little Women (PR: 12)

13. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 11)

14. Waves (PR: 13)

15. Richard Jewell (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Pain and Glory 


Just Mercy 

A Hidden Life 


The Report 


The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Ad Astra 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 4)

3. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 3)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

8. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 7)

9. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 13)

10. Jay Roach, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes 

Greta Gerwig, Little Women 

Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life

Todd Phillips, Joker

Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell


Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

7. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

8. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 7)

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

10. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy 

Ian McKellen, The Good Liar 

Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters 

Brad Pitt, Ad Astra 

Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 7)

3. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 6)

7. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Isabelle Huppert, Frankie

Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart 

Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts 

Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell

Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell


Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

4. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 6)

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 7)

8. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 9)

9. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 13)

10. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Sterling K. Brown, Waves

Alan Alda, Marriage Story 

Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy 

Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit 

Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 12)

4. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 3)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 6)

7. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

8. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 9)

9. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit 

Jennifer Hudson, Cats

Nicole Kidman, Bombshell 

Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory 

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name 


Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Little Women (PR: 6)

7. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

8. Judy (PR: 7)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 


Toy Story 4



Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Bombshell (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: 8)

8. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

9. Booksmart (PR: 9)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

The Report

Honey Boy 

Dolemite Is My Name 

Knives Out 



Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite 

2. Pain and Glory 

3. Atlantics 

4. Les Miserables 

5. Monos

Other Possibilities:

6. Those Who Remained 

7. Beanpole

8. And Then We Danced 

9. Papicha

10. The Traitor 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4

2. Frozen II

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

4. Missing Link

5. Weathering with You

Other Possibilities:

6. I Lost My Body

7. Abominable 

8. Klaus

9. Funan 

10. Okko’s Inn 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Apollo 11

2. American Factory 

3. Maiden

4. One Child Nation

5. The Cave

Other Possibilities:

6. The Biggest Little Farm

7. The Edge of Democracy 

8. Aquarela

9. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese 

10. Knock Down the House 


Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. The Irishman 

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

4. Parasite 

5. The Lighthouse 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. Ford v Ferrari

8. Marriage Story 

9. Joker

10. Jojo Rabbit 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Downton Abbey 

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. Little Women

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Rocketman 

Other Possibilities:

6. Judy

7. The Irishman 

8. Aladdin 

9. 1917

10. Jojo Rabbit 


Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. 1917

4. Ford v Ferrari

5. Marriage Story 

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite 

7. Jojo Rabbit 

8. Joker

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

10. Ad Astra 


Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Bombshell

3. Judy

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Little Women 

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8. The Aeronauts 

9. Rocketman 

10. Cats


Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Little Women 

4. Marriage Story 

5. Jojo Rabbit 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Ford v Ferrari 

8. A Hidden Life 

9. Joker

10. Waves 


Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

2. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman 

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet 

4. “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from Toy Story 4

5. “Speechless” from Aladdin 

Other Possibilities:

6. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

7. “Spirit” from The Lion King 

8. “One Little Soldier” from Bombshell 

9. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn 

10. “Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

2. 1917

3. Jojo Rabbit 

4. The Irishman 

5. Little Women

Other Possibilities:

6. Cats

7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

8. Ford v Ferrari

9. Aladdin

10. Downton Abbey 


Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Ford v Ferrari

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman

5. Avengers: Endgame 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. The Irishman 

8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

9. Cats

10. The Lion King 


Predicted Nominees:

1. Ford v Ferrari

2. 1917

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman 

5. Ad Astra 

Other Possibilities:

6. Avengers: Endgame 

7. Cats

8. The Irishman 

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

10. The Lion King 


Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Avengers: Endgame 

4. The Lion King 

5. Alita: Battle Angel 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Gemini Man 

8. Ad Astra 

9. 1917

10. Godzilla: King of the Monsters 

So here’s I have the nominations playing out as far as numbers with each film:

10 Nominations 

The Irishman 

9 Nominations 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8 Nominations 

1917, Marriage Story 

5 Nominations 

Bombshell, Ford v Ferrari, Little Women, Parasite

4 Nominations 

Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes 

3 Nominations 

The Farewell, Joker

2 Nominations 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Avengers: Endgame, Dolemite Is My Name, Frozen II, Judy, Toy Story 4

1 Nomination

Ad Astra, Aladdin, Alita: Battle Angel, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, The Cave, Downton Abbey, Harriet, Hustlers, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Les Miserables, The Lighthouse, The Lion King, Maiden, Missing Link, Monos, One Child Nation, Pain and Glory, The Report, Weathering with You