Saturday, 12 January 2008

Best Picture could do A LOT worse

Prediction Updates

I have finally updated my Oscar predictions. This race is infuriating, so much so that I have become rather lethargic in doing all my updates. I am still holding on to a few hopes with the nominations (mainly "Atonement" to push through) but still thinking as logically as possible. Has a picture ever gone on to be nominated for Best Picture without the DGA, WGA, SAG or Eddie? No. But Babe only had the WGA going in. Fingers crossed!

Here is hoping for a little miracle.

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay

Oh Dear Diane

I mean you have had a strange career with HUGE peaks and valleys.

Not thinking this will be a peak. Especially since the powers that be just gave us an abridged film with this trailer. No point in seeing it now. Usually I hate it when a trailer does this, but usually it is for a crap film so it actually saves me the tickets price.

Friday, 11 January 2008

This is the way we score our films.

A friend once asked my how I score my films. Well I do this by firstly thinking about the movie for a good long while. then I give it a mark out of 100. this is based on everything from story, acting, direction, the subject, and that little gut instinct that makes you like a film.
Then I give it an over all grade. this is broken down like so:

00 - 30 = F
31 - 37 = D-
38 - 44 = D
45 - 50 = D+
51 - 56 = C-
57 - 62 = C
63 - 68 = C+
69 - 74 = B-
75 - 80 = B
81 - 86 = B+
87 - 92 = A-
93 - 99 = A
100 = A+

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Writers Guild Nominations

And here they are:


JUNO, Written by Diablo Cody, Fox Searchlight

MICHAEL CLAYTON, Written by Tony Gilroy, Warner Bros. Pictures

THE SAVAGES, Written by Tamara Jenkins, Fox Searchlight

KNOCKED UP, Written by Judd Apatow, Universal Pictures

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Written by Nancy Oliver, MGM


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy, Miramax

THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, Based on the Novel Oil by Upton Sinclair, Paramount Vantage

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, Screenplay by Ronald Harwood, Based on the Book by Jean-Dominique Bauby,

INTO THE WILD, Screenplay by Sean Penn, Based on the Book by Jon Krakauer, Paramount Vantage

ZODIAC, Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Based on the Book by Robert Graysmith, Paramount Pictures


THE CAMDEN 28, Written by Anthony Giacchino, First Run Features

NANKING, Screenplay by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman & Elisabeth Bentley, Story by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman, THINKFilm

NO END IN SIGHT, Written by Charles Ferguson, Magnolia Pictures

THE RAPE OF EUROPA, Written by Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen, Menemsha Films

SICKO, Written by Michael Moore, Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, Written by Alex Gibney, THINKFilm

I have no idea what has happened. Perhaps this is pure Academy rebellion. Perhaps because "Atonement" is all packaged up to be a prestige film they have decided, in unison, to ignore it regardless of the fact that the film is superb.
I am a little disgusted and appalled at this snub. This was the one area I felt for sure it would be nominated.
Bunch of bastards.

Is it me or have alot of reviews mentioned that "Into The Wild" had a rather weak screenplay in comparison? I guess this is the film to beat.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

What make a performance too small to be ‘supporting”?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Mainly because there is so much talk about how weak the Best Supporting Actress race for the Oscar is.
At first I would tend to agree, I mean in the so called ‘rules’ of supporting work, it should be over ten minutes, under a half hour and definitely be memorable.

We all know the rules do not work this way. In some cases the screen time creeps over the half hour mark and ventures into lead, when that happens it all depends on who is the biggest star in the film as to who goes supporting.
Catherine Zeta Jones was basically a co-lead, but Renee was the bigger star. Same with Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder (at time of nomination) and on and on. There are cases where the categories are switched, usually for child actors or new comers.

Take “The Killing Fields” . Haing S. Ngor (pictured) was a non actor in the film, but was by far on the screen for a good majority of the film. Sam Waterston was a star, had less screen time, but got the lead nomination while Ngor got Supporting (and the win)
Perhaps it had as much to do with race as it did with celebrity status, Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx in “Collateral” anyone.

Sometimes a co-lead will get bumped to supporting for the simple reason that they will have more of a chance of a win there, Jennifer Connelly in “A Beautiful Mind” is a great example, and one that will forever piss me off.

Julianne Moore (pictured with Toni Collette) and Nicole Kidman is an interesting example. Julianne had more screen time in “The Hours” but was pushed to supporting while Nicole was in lead.
Some people think that Nicole was only pushed because she had more chance of winning in the lead category. I say the movie was about Kidman’s character, so she was the subject and therefore lead.
Another example is Rachel Griffiths and Emily Watson in “Hilary and Jackie”. The film was about them both, but Jackie du Pre was the celebrity, so Watson was in lead, and Griffiths in supporting. Personally I feel there is nothing wrong with this strategy.

The other thought on the Nicole Kidman/Julianne Moore and Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx situation is that both Moore and Foxx were locks for lead nominations, and to be greedy they (or the studio) put them into supporting so they wouldn’t cancel each other out, and had a better shot at a win (Foxx won, Moore did not). This also pisses me off no end.

This I understand. I get the logic (sort of, if you can call greed and status logic). What I, however, do not get is when people say your performance is too small to be nominated.
If you support the lead actors and you bring something to the film why does the fact you only had 7 minutes make you not eligible?

Vanessa Redgrave, Ruby Dee and Samantha Morton were or are in the race, but people are saying their roles are too small. There are no small roles if you can do something with them.

Take Morton who was given , like, 4 lines of dialogue in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” get what she does with that time is phenomenal. She creates a fully three dimensional character in a single scene. Not only that, but she makes you feel sympathy for one of the films villains. She certainly did more with her time on screen that Julia did in “Charlie Wilson’s War” and Jules had loads of snappy dialogue to play (fumble) with.

Ruby Dee gives a film bordering on snooze worthy a much need jolt of emotion and spark, and Redgrave ends the film giving it it’s emotional punctuation. Should these actors not be considered for awards consideration because of time?

I just does not seem fair.

I have loads of other films to see yet, and will no doubt face these questions again. I just wish I knew why. Going back a bit, good as Moore was in “The Hours” her part was completely stolen by Toni Collette in a role considered too small to be awards worthy. By what bunch of f*cking twats I would like to know.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Mini Review - Two for Tuesday


American Gangster

"The Departed" light. I actually thought a true story would be much more riveting. I guess Ridley Scott is no Scorsese. There are many, many admirable things about the movie. The Screenplay in interesting and the dialogue is snappy. The acting (on the whole) is excellent, it just seemed a little lackluster.

All the praise I have read about this film has heaped most of the acting kudos on Denzel Washington. No doubt the man has charisma, but my word did he seem to not be invested in this performance. Frank Lucas should have been feared, and you should have seen why he was feared. In one scene Denzel walks up to a rival in a busy street, pulls a gun, aims it at his head and pulls the trigger, with nary an emotion. This is supposed to give chills to the audience, and we are supposed to see him as ruthless. In Washingtons hands he is a bore.

Crowe on the Other hand is sensational. No wonder people say he is a great actor. He makes his character more complex, brave and intellegent than anyone with the name Richie Roberts deserves.

However the acting prize goes to a woman with very little screentime, but who give the entire movie a much needed jolt of spark, energy, drama and emotion. Ruby Dee gives what I love in a supporting performance, one you miss when not on screen and you wish had more to do. However what she does in her little time in the film is deliver a master class in depth and acting.
She will be on my ballot.

American Gangster C
Ruby Dee A-

Review Two:

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Oh dear.

Well firstly this is not a bad movie. If you had never seen Elizabeth I you would think this a good film. I have seen the aforementioned mini series so I do not think this a good film. Historical inaccuracies aside, this is just far to grand and pantomime for me to take seriously.
The dialogue is cheesy and just plain absurd and the direction is just sloppy. There is no real build up of the drama, and scenes change both look and emotion at the drop of a hat.

That being said there are a few pluses. The costumes are the best, most outlandish costumes since "The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" and the cinematography is the most creative and eye popping (thank you CGI) in some time. This film is beautiful to look at.

And although I hate to say it, Cate is very good in the role (but not nearly as amazing as Helen Mirren was in the previously mentioned masterpiece), but she plays the role like it is supposed to be iconic which was rather distracting. The heavy handed and grandiose dialogue weights her down a bit.

The best in show, when it comes to performance (unsurprising to those who read my blog, but non-the-less true) is Samantha Morton who is given far too little screen time and far too little to do. She takes these small moments and creates something gigantic. She give Mary flesh and bones, and a full range of emotions that all ring true. When she discovers the outcome of her plot she knocks Blanchette out of the acting ring with the complex and wide range of emotions that run through her. I was absolutely stunned by what she was able to accomplish in this scene.
It seems she, out of everyone involved in this overwrought production, was able to find truth.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age C
Samantha Morton A

Mini Review - Charlie Wilson's War

Well Aaron Sorkin must be a little pissed off. The man wrote a zingy crackling script that deserved so much better than it got.
Sure the direction is fine (nothing outstanding) but for some reason I felt a complete and utter disconnect from the film.

Tom Hanks was fantastic as Charlie Wilson, and is both humorous and sympathetic in the role. The women who play his various staff members are all memorable, especially Amy adams who decides to go for understated with depth in her characterization of Charlie's aid. Her scenes at the refugee camp ring with a truth that had been absent from the film.

Philip Seymour Hoffman has been completely overly praised for his scene chewing in this. He never seems like a real person, just a series of mumbled quips.

And now for Julia. My god was her hair distracting. The woman was almost unwatchable in this. Not her fault, but she is not capable of playing this part, it is not organic at all. She looks completely uncomfortable in this. If ever there was a role Nicole could play it was this.

Good attempt, but I expected much better. C

The Directors Guild Announce nominees!

And they are:

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Sean Penn, Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This is a very very strong list, however the absence of Joe Wright name for "Atonement" is a slap in the face to film making. Then again none of these films are what you would call dusty and Wright directed an old fashioned movie in an old fashioned way. Perhaps it is just far too British, or perhaps it does not feel important enough to reward.

I guess I should not really bitch about this though, it has been a great year for movies and this is a strong list (from what I have heard). Yay for movies!!

The BFCA announce winners

And a collective YAWN is heard around the world.


Best Picture: No Country for Old Men
Best Director: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away From Her
Best Documentary: Sicko
Best Family Film: Enchanted
Best Animated Film: Ratatouille
Best Foreign Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Best Song: "Once" - Falling Slowly
Best Composer: Johnny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood (sweet)
Best Comedy: Juno
Best Young Actor: Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, The Kite Runner
Best Young Actress: Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray.
Best Screenplay: Diablo Cody, Juno
Best Ensemble: Hairspray

As much as I love "Hairspray" Saiorse should have won young actress.

Guess they really do not like "Atonement" in the ole U.S. of A. Pity