Saturday, 26 September 2009


So after getting the latest "Greatest Hits" package 'Celebration' by her Madgesty I was struck with how many great singles were missing ('Angel', 'Keep It Together', 'Rescue Me', 'Human Nature', 'I'll Remember' 'This Used to Be My Playground', 'Drowned World', 'What It Feels Like For a Girl', ect ect)

It struck me how a greatest hits package by Madonna should really be something amazing. ALL the hits, a remix CD and a B-sides and great album tracks package. And if you are writing new tracks ('Revolver', 'Celebration') they have to be as good, if not better than, 'Justify My Love', and 'Rescue me' - these new ones don't even hold a candle.

Even this well known rarity is better than those.

Perhaps I should do a blog-a-thon where we all come up with our own Madonna Greatest Hits packages? Thoughts?


At first I thought I was going to be a horror film, but no, it is a romantic comedy starring everyone who has ever worked in Hollywood.

Friday, 25 September 2009

There are no words

More contenders?

Disgrace’ currently has a 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while ‘Amreeka’ has 86%.
Both of these film are not on Oscars radar at all – surprising considering the reviews the leads of each film are getting.

John Malkovich has been getting ‘awards worthy’ reviews for his performance as a post Apartheid South African professor who has disgraced himself with a student. This flim and performance were not even on my radar, perhaps because the film is so small. It has a IMDB release year of 2008 so am not sure if it opened in L.A. or New York then (which would disqualify it for 2009 Oscar race).
Even the negative reviews all seem to single out Malkovich, and it is about time that he appeared back on the awards circuit.

Also getting wonderful reviews for her work is Nisreen Faour in 'Amreeka', who plays Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. The film is getting solid reviews since its Sundance run, especially for Faour who is said to be an extremely likeable and loving character. Roger Ebert said:
" 'Amreeka' is a heartwarming film, not a political dirge. Much of this warmth comes from the actress Nisreen Faour. To see her in action is to smile. Some people are blessed with being quickly likable…….. When this woman smiles, you want it to be on you.”
Sure it is not saying she is the be-all and end-all of acting, but likeable can go a very very long way.

It will be very interesting to see how each film performs.


How have I not heard of this?

My word, has my radar for all things ultra queer gone off? I did eat subway last night, which I am sure if affecting me in ways that will have long term repercussions.

Apparently There is a movie musical being made about a burlesque club owner on Sunset Boulevard who takes a young girl under her wing- with most likely the same results we have seen a million times (unless they go all ‘All About Eve’ on us)

So far so dull – apart from the burlesque part.

What is interesting is that Stanley Tucci has signed on as the Club Manager. The protégée is going to be played by Christina Aguilera (oh God, I was just reminded of this - BRILLIANT!!) and the club owner is none other than Cher.

It is like some bizarre dream - with extra sequins and minge – I cannot wait.

Apparently Susannah Grant who wrote ‘Erin Brockovich’ is polishing the script. Oh goody, music, sequins, minge and swearing. Sign me up (minus the minge - obviously).

Let’s just hope that Christina has gained some weight and they do not decide to do her up as in the ‘Lady Marmalade’ video for ‘Moulin Rouge!’.
She kind of looked like some kind of deranged stick insect whore with really big hair.

That 'Barbie' movie

So Universal is going to make a Barbie movie.
The producer of ‘Julie and Julia’ is behind the film, and this will be her first major screen outing (if you don’t count ‘Toy Story 2”).
There are so many ways this film can go, complete kiddie fair where either Barbie learns a lesson (hair straighteners damage, peroxide burns, having your ribs removed for such a tiny waist hurts), or Barbie falls in love – Awweeeeee.

I would love to see something a little left of centre, for after all, this is Barbie…..she is ridiculous if you really think about her. She is no Lisa Lionheart.

Perhaps a premise where Barbie enters the real world and, instead of being worshipped by hordes of little girls and (ahem) boys – not me! (he lies), she is instead mocked for her nylon hair and inability to put her feet flat.
She tries to cheer herself up shopping, but is disheartened by the fact that none of the clothes in the stores fit her hips and her non existent waist.
She has to buy ultra stretchy shirts from the children’s department which do not come in glitter, sequins or fur and she is forced to buy an extra long poncho.
Things go horribly wrong when she has her first physical. At first the Dr. is perplexed by her lack of nipples and belly button, then when the vaginal and rectal exam takes place, he immediately places her into a research lab and to be studied for the rest of her life.

Or perhaps they can now combine the ‘Masters of the Universe’ movie that Sony has picked up.

Barbie escapes from the research facilty and ends up in Eternia somehow (falls down a manhole - love that term *tee hee*) and must battle with He-Man to get to the castle to find the Sorceress who is held captive by Skeletor, free her so she can transform Barbie into a real girl (and at least a size 6).

At this point Barbie and He-Man have fallen in love – she has developed a fetish for big steroid muscle men with page boy haircuts.
However with her new nipplelatas and va jay jay, she suddenly begins to get urges, and poor genital-less He-Man can’t deliver, plus she has a competitor for He-Man’s affection. Cue bitch fight with Teela.

All ready for a very dramatic sequel I say. Will He-Man get his junk or instead choose a life of climaxless rubbing with Teela? Will Barbie be able to deal with her new man being a strong hunk of testosterone one minute and nerdy muscle queen the next who insists of wearing pink, which is HER signature colour (Damn you Shelby!!)?

On a personal note, I used to make my friends Barbie new clothes out of curtain fabric sample books.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Predicting blind

So what are the films that we have heard nothing about?

There are still those major contenders that are on everyones list, but there have been no real reviews of, not even test screening reviews on Ain’t it Cool News (who for some reason have not even mentioned ‘Precious’ at all – not their thing I guesss). We have that test screening review/s from The Film Experience for ‘Nine’ that sounded promising (or not, depending on how you look at it)

These are the films:
‘Everybody’s Fine’
‘The Lovely Bones’
‘The Princess and the Frog’
‘The Tree of Life’
‘Within the Whirlwind’
‘Where the Wild Things Are’
Is it possible to tell which of these is most at risk? Do we have a hunch at what film is going to do exceptionally well and what is going to suffer?
No, we can’t, but I have a hunch.

Why do I get that feeling that ‘Amelia’ is going to not go down that well at all. It will be one of those respected films that never catches on in the awards race. I am not even thinking Hilary Swank will get a nomination this year. It certainly looks epic enough, but epics that are not LOVED only get nominated if directed by Martin Scorsese.
I do not know enough about ‘Everybody’s Fine’ to even comment about it’s chances. My gut is it will not amount to much. Perhaps some acting, but still, my gut says no.
Last year we had not one but two Clint Eastwood films out, and only ‘Changeling’ got an Oscar love. Perhaps, with only one film, all the attention will be on awarding him there. I am thinking this should go over well and get at least three of the top categories (Picture, Actor, Director) but then again it could all go horribly wrong…or be delayed.
Never rule out Peter Jackson – which is now the rule. Will the combination of LOTR effects and ‘Heavenly Creatures’ story get him in? Who can say? This is the most unknown of the films. The trailer did not blow us away, so we can’t really say either way. It could be a masterpiece or a well intentioned failure. It could be met with a universal “WOWZER!” or a “meh”. My gut is it will garner enough great reviews that the ‘mehs’ will not affect it from getting a BP nom.

‘The Princess and the Frog’ is a film I am most interested in seeing how it is received.
Does Disney still have it’s mojo or not?
I have a feeling this may be a fantastic return to form for 2d animation – at least I hope it will be. I yearn to sit in a cinema and feel like a 7 year old again and the feeling I got from the trailer is it will do just that. If it is as good as it should be, it could find its way into the BP category.
With all Malik films, you can trust they will involve nature and be glorious to look at. People either love them or not. For some reason the casting of Brad Pitt does not lend me hope – is it only me who finds him a very boring actor to watch? Even in comedies he bores me a little.
If ‘Within the Whirlwind’ is to go anywhere it will be a nomination for its lead actress Emily Watson. There is no advance word on the film at all – nothing – zippo. Once can imagine that Watson will be wonderful (she always is) but it needs to be released first. My hunch is, like so many great performances, she will be praised, but ignored for the big awards.

And finally we have the film that I think will be the biggest surpise.
I have this little tiny voice in me that tells me this is going to be a wonderful film that will be a huge critical hit, and possibly commercial. If ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ fails I will be so disappointed on so many levels.
It has taken forever to make, and the trailer actually almost made me cry with anticipation. I also think Spike Jonze is a wonderful director with actors (he has only two feature films under his belt - both have got acting nominations) so perhaps Catherine Keener could be a factor this year. I think it may just make it into the BP race.
This, Like ‘Precious’ are my most anticipated films of the year. At least I know the critical consensus on the latter.

Which of these do you think will flop and which will soar?

Lee Daniels

I am so going to try my best to get tickets to see ‘Precious’ at the London Film Festival so that when I talk about it, at least I would have seen it.
I completely get the ridiculousness of blogging rabidly about a film I have yet to see, and I seriously hope to rectify that very very soon.

Anyway I just wanted to bring you attention to this wonderful article/interview over at The Envelope which looks at Director Lee Daniels.
If he is nominated he will be the first black and openly gay man nominated for Best Director.
The article gives a little insight. I have read a few reviews/pieces about the film that say that the abuse shown is a little too much – as though it doesn’t happen (pick up a paper y’all).
I have never seen someone get shot, but I’m sure as sh*t it happens.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Career change

Why is the most successful of the ‘Friends’ still playing various versions of Rachel?

Since she wowed critics in 2002 with ‘The Good Girl’ we have been waiting to see what her next step would be to challenge her acting chops.

Would she go seriously dramatic or take on a complex role in a lighter movie?
Would she take supporting roles to perfect her style?

Then we have the following answer.
These are the films that she has done since then:
‘Bruce Almighty’, ‘Along Came Polly’, ‘Rumor Has It’, ‘The Break-Up’, ‘Management’, ‘Marley & Me’, ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, ‘Love Happens’.
Rom Com-errific………Not
Her only side steps were the not well received thriller, ‘Derailed’ and the ensemble character study ‘Friends With Money’.

I am not saying she is not good at what she does, but she needs to stretch. Perhaps it is a confidence thing, as she does not seem to my eyes as someone brimming over with confidence.
Whatever her reasons for not breaking away you can tell she has what it takes. Even in the light and frothy rom coms you can see a depth she tries to bring to her roles, even if the script does not allow for it.

Next up she is staring in ‘The Bounty’ about an assassin hired to kill his ex-wife – another comedy. Then ‘The Baster’ – you can guess what that is about. The only thing on her current IMDB that sounds interesting is ‘The Goree Girls’ a musical about country western singers in prison – or something.

I would love to see her take on a really unlikable role. A real vile bitch. One of those women who come from old money who treat people like crap. Do what Sandra Bullock did in ‘Crash’ (Bullocks section was the only part of the film that held interest for me) and leave the charisma behind and channel your inner Leona Helmsly honey.

Or so something with a little more depth:


Every year, when the Awards season kicks off, there is always a backlash for a film or performer.
Before, when we had five best picture nominees, there was always that one that got a growing group of vocal people decrying it a fraud that should not be in the race.

If we look at it year by year, for the past few, perhaps there is a pattern.

Last year we had it for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. The latter was understandable. ‘Button’ was just a rather dull film in the end. It was so epic and so beautiful, but there was not a lot of substance to it after thinking on it for some time. It is a forgotten picture (every year there is that one nominee that years later you can never remember).
But for ‘Slumdog’ the backlash seemed a little meaner.
Sure the film had huge flaws, and even I was not a fan of it in terms of it being one of the years best, but the negative criticism was very loud, just as the praise was really loud. It was a little movie that somehow caught on and went on to succeed. Not even the film makers expected it, I mean at one point it was going to go straight to DVD.
But it didn’t and went on to win a slew of Oscars.

In 2007 there was a huge backlash for ‘Juno’.
At first everyone loved it.
But against the very serious other four best picture nominations, it seemed out of place.
Again, it was a small little indie film that really caught on strong.
As the buzz from the festivals grew and grew so did the anticipation for the film, and remarkably it delivered.
Then when it got a BP nomination, it was suddenly too slight.
It was being criticized for what made the film so different, its dialogue, and the web was a-flush with people getting very upset that this film was considered one of the years best.

In 2006 ‘Babel’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ got the brunt. ‘Babel’ because it was to some a great film, but to most it was mediocre (again, I had to look it up as I had forgotten it was nominated).
‘Sunshine’ on the other hand was another little Sundance film that managed to hit something with people.
Through word of mouth it became a box office success, and even the critics were on its side, praising the performances, the direction and the screen writing.
Then it was nominated for Best Picture.
Suddenly it was to slight, and not Best Picture material, the premise was silly and the screenplay not particularly original.
What changed? Was there a resentment because if was a ‘little’ film? Was the back lash comedy driven?

Finally in 2005 we had black Sunday. Yes there was a backlash against ‘Brokeback Mountian’ but more so against ‘Crash’. ‘Brokeback’ had mainly to do with inner Hollywood homophobia (cheers Ernest Borgnine – thanks for your bigotry).
‘Crash’ on the other hand was different. It started off on the festival circuit, very very small. A few important people got behind the film (which had been gathering ‘ok’ reviews – current metacritic score is 69) and its ‘race’ card was played hard. It became a loved film on it’s festival run and word of mouth caught on.
Then it was nominated for Best Picture.
The main backlash had to do with the fact it was not a well reviewed film, and its success in the awards was thought to do with racial guilt and the fact EVERYONE was in the film (actors make up the biggest voting branch in the Academy).
There was also the threat it played to the beloved ‘Brokeback’ that added to the hysteria of hate.

Perhaps people do not really like things that come from nothing getting all the glory. In each case the film with the biggest backlash was also the film with the biggest struggle to get the nomination. It was also the film that had played the festival circuit and garnered word of mouth with no real advance buzz based on the talent involved.

What does this mean? Do we, as humans, really love to build something up only to relish tearing it down? Well history has answered that for me.
We do.

And I see a couple of contenders for backlash already emerging.
The most obvious for this is ‘Precious’ and it has already started. Mainly from critics who feel it did not deserve the ‘Audience’ award at Toronto.
It makes me laugh that a critic would complain about who got an ‘Audience’ award. Isn’t that what ‘Critics’ awards are for, to give them their say? (and in return…we bloggers complain at their choices – which leads to the obvious,….we need to band together and for a ‘Blogger’ award – but that is another post entirely)

It seems to me that this film in particular has had a huge uphill battle to even be thought of as an awards contender:
It is a small film.
It is by a director on his second outing.
There are no big names attached, aside from Mariah - which means nothing in terms of ‘acting’.
It is a film about abuse.
It is a film about the poor.
It is the story of a obese girls.
The talent involved in predominantly black (I hate the term 'black film' as if someone who is not 'black' wouldn't enjoy it).
Nothing about it screams “Awards contender”. Yet it is, against the odds, and now people are going to tear it down. Is it fair? God no, but this is Hollywood, and that is how things are done.

What needs to happen first and foremost is Oprah needs reign it in a little with the hype machine.
Too much hype can kill any movie.
Tyler Perry and her need to let the film catch on by itself.
It is already a highly anticipated film for many people…let that be enough for now, then when it opens do your cast and crew interview on your show Oprah honey and get more seats in the cinema.

Also there are a few other contenders who should expect a backlash as well.
‘Up in the Air’ – I have read a few “What is all the fuss about” rumblings from people.
‘Bright Star’ is unanimous about the talent of Abbie Cornish, but there are those that see it as ‘unaffecting’.

Although I do not see it being as strong as it will be for ‘Precious’. What I will be curious about is when it begins, how will the race card be played? If at all.

Since there are 10 Best Picture nominees this will open others up to scrutiny. If there is a small indie comedy film in the mix, along with ‘Precious’ we know two things. Small drama films that manage to make their way into the mix as nominees win Best Picture, and small comedy films that do get Original Screenplay.

Let the backlash begin.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


I mean, this had me in stitches.

You know it is slightly true. JD always steals BP thunder. There can only be one extremely pretty boy with talent, even if they worship at the foot of one director.

Prediction updates

Michelle should be shocked. I have finally given in and added her to my predictions as I have attempted to do my post Toronto prediction updates.
Michelle has been guiding me, giving me inside scoop, and promising to hook me up with a dinner with Madonna only if I add her to my predictions.

It is tough to call this predicting gig.
You look at a list of five, and it looks likely.
Then you completely change it and it seems unlikely, then you second guess yourself. Then you try and picture the nominations being announced, and the red carpet to see what makes sense.
The you try and pretend you are announcing the nominees on the night. How will Sean Penn sound saying "Gabourey Sibide for Precious", or will he say "Gabby Sibide" or will he not say that name at all?

Then finally you just look at the reviews and then you do the scary and try and put yourself in the Academy's shoes (I pick Liam Neeson - His should fit).

I have attempted to update the Best Picture category. It looks silly, and I am scraping to put in 20 nominees (I like to double the contenders as much as possible). This new 10 nominee list is really giving me a lot more work to do. It takes forever and takes up a lot of space on my blog!

Then I went over the Best Actor and had no one I really wanted to take out, so added three more contenders just for sh*ts and giggles.

Then finally made my way to Best Actress and decided to scrap Audrey Tatou (it was never going happen) and instead stick another foreign language performance that has gotten raves, but in a small film.

I need a vermouth on the rocks.

Mini Review – A catch up.

I have realised that not only is my movie reviewing not very good, I find it really difficult to review a film – I hate going over the plot again when everyone knows what goes on) plus I am just not the best writer. I will leave the reviewing to José as he is SO much better.
Perhaps I should just make the reviews as short and sweet as possible.

‘Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces)’

Almodåvar does it again.
Beautiful, absorbing, funny and sad. What cinema should be.
People have said it is his most main stream, but it still weaves his unique magic.
Penélope Cruz proves once again what an absorbing actress she is, you cannot take your eyes off her. Blanca Portillo again adds wonderful support.
One of his best.

Grade - A-

‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’

Ridiculous and dumb, with nothing new to say.
However it does manage to bring a smile to your face and Isla Fischer is such a good comedic actress that you can forgive the rest of the cast and the screenplay that seemed to only care about getting female seats in the cinema and not about realism - then again the book was pretty much the same. Plus those moving mannequins were far too creepy to tempt anyone into a shop.

Grade – C-


Dark and disturbing and an absolute joy to look at.
The detail in every scene capture the imagination like no other film in recent years.
Nice to see an animated film not afraid to go to a place where nightmares come from.
The voice cast was all superb (who knew Terri Hatcher had it in her?).
One of the years best.

Grade – A-


Julia and Clive have some sexy fun.
The dialogue sparks and the two stars are obviously having a lot of fun.
The supporting cast too is a joy with Giamatti and Wilkenson chewing the scenery brilliantly.
A nice intelligent espionage film to break up the summer.

Grade - B

‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’

I did go and see it, and remember enjoying it at the time, but for the life of me I have no idea what on earth happened in this.
Seriously, I have no idea.
There was a cave, and Zidler was there, but everything is cloudy.
I can't even remember Maggie Smith....was she there?
I will give it the generic grade I give to all the Harry films.

Grade – B-

‘The Hurt Locker’

This was one intense film.
Masterfully directed by Katheryn Bigelow and acted by Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie.
A deeply affective look at the Iraq war, that even though never overtly tries for sentiment, never the less gets under your skin.
Do not watch it if you have a heart condition, it is serious edge of your seat stuff.

Grade – A-

‘Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’

Silly silly movie.
Yet it made me smile and made my sexy man laugh like a child...we are talking constant grin and constant giggling.
Watching him watching the movies was hysterical.
We are talking pure child like joy.
Although I am not a fan of the Ice Age films at all, for sentimental reasons I will give it a:

Grade – C+

‘Star Trek’

Exciting, fun and intelligent spin on an old classic.
‘Star Trek’ has been re-invented and I may actually become a trekkie – possibly.
Not as exciting for me as another of the summers big sci-fi films, but enough to restore the faith that there are directors out there who care more about story then they do about action.
You know who you are.

Grade - B


Oh my God…talk about too much sexual tension and brooding.
It is like Buffy and Angel without the humour - or Spike and Drucilla to spice things up.
Still it was a good adaptation and for a Sunday afternoon movie, it entertained me.

What more can you ask really?
Plus Patterson is a bit of a dish. My insides feel all wrong in saying that now.

Grade – C+


I fully applaud the effort that went into making this. It is faithful and epic in scope. Just a shame so much time was spent on the look and effects of the film instead of the actors developing the characters, who are what make the story so great. If you do not believe they exist your whole connection to the film is gone.
Jackie Earle Haley and Billy Crudup take acting honours – if only this was broken into two films.

Grade - C

X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

If during what is supposed to be an intense dramatic scene at the beginning of a film, you burst into laughter, then all hope is gone.
This was a poor effort.
Snooze worthy to be honest.
They only thing keeping me awake was the eye candy and there just wasn't enough nudity to keep me from giving it a better grade.

Grade - D

Monday, 21 September 2009

Mini Review – ‘Away We Go’

When expecting a child, you rarely see a couple so well adjusted as Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolf) . Their main worry is where do they want to raise their child.
They travel across America visiting various friends, all who give an example (albeit slightly extreme ones) of parenting techniques.

We get the following:

The selfishness of Burts Parents, Gloria and Jerry (played by Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara) who are not sticking around to see the birth of their grandchild so they can move to Belgium,

The crude and drunken Lily who is a monster of a wife and mother, and would come across totally one dimensional if not for Allison Janney injecting her with a sadness beneath her brash humour. You laugh with her, even though you are appalled.

The hippy feminist who likes to breast feed other peoples children, let her young son watch her have sex, and hates strollers. Played far too over the top by Maggie Gyllenhaal who appears to want the audience to hate her.

The two hip parents with an adopted brood who love each other so much. They seem like the perfect couple but you learn of the paid that nearly breaks them.

Finally we meet Burts brother whose wife has upped and left him with a young daughter. He worries about how she will manage growing up being ht girl who’s mother left. The effect divorce has, and how it can shape children in ways not many parents consider is voiced eloquently by Burts broken brother.
These latter two stories are the part of the film that had the biggest emotional punch.

This is about belonging. How the family we came from and the families around us shape us into who we want to be, for ourselves, our partner and our children. It is about the complexity and joy of being part of a family even if it just ends up being a family of two or three.
The story is anchored by the two leads. Krasinski is wonderful and walks away with some of the films biggest laughs, but it is Rudolph who captured my heart in this. Her Verona is a woman who is trying to balance the pain of her past with the joy of present and the uncertainty of her future. It is one of the unsung performances of 2009.

Grade B+

The New Contenders

Out of Toronto we always get a slew of new acting contenders who enter the Oscar race. Some are actually serious threats, while others, brilliant though they may be, are usually wishful thinking.

It is time to weed out the serious contenders from the not so much.

When Rob Nelson on Variety opened his review for Don Roos ‘Love and Other Impossible Pursuits with; “Natalie Portman delivers an utterly fearless performance” you take notice, especially when The Hollywood Reporter agrees.
Other have not liked the unsympathetic character, instead giving acting kudos to Roos regular Lisa Kudrow.
Portman is a previous nominee which helps, but her character is not likeable which hurts. Unlikable roles do not win Oscars, you either have to be a bad but saved, good, or a villain.
As for Kudrow, if they didn’t nominate her for her brilliant performance in Roos ‘The Opposite of Sex’ then I doubt they will for this

Never rule out Ed Norton, right? Well wrong, especially of late. The Academy seem to have turned their nose up at the actor. In ‘Leaves of Grass’ (a horrible title) he plays twins and is supposed to save the film. His performance alone seemed to keep reviewer after reviewer from walking out, falling asleep or starting to knit.
Can a dual role in a not so great film actually be considered for a nomination?
Well it has been 10 years since his last one, despite some very award worthy performances.

Julianne Moore needs to win an Oscar. She is apparently back to her best in Atom Egoyans ‘Chloe’ where she plays a woman suspicious of her husbands fidelity. However people going in drawn by the lure of Egoyan and Moores names, left extremely impressed by the performance of Amanda Seyfried’s call girl. The Academy love their whores.
The reviews of the film were not enough to push it into the years best, but it could have luck elsewhere.

Rodrigo Garcia wrote and directed ‘Mother and Child’ which has gotten very favourable reviews. Most of the reviews are singling out Annette Bening in the lead role with others supporting Naomi Watts steely turn. Then there is Samuel L Jackson who is getting praise for his unprecedented restraint.

If Bening makes it in, then we could face another re-match with Hilary Swank (please God no re: Swank).
Steely does not usually win awards, unless there is an emotional turn around, so Watts looks like a long shot.
Jackson will need major critical boost to make people forget the last 15 years of his various extreme performances.

Jared Leto – ‘Mr. Nobody’ yep, you heard me correct. Apparently he shows off his acting talent and makes the future scenes soar . However others were not so taken with him or the film

Neil Jordan goes into real lyrical form with his Colin Farrell starrer ‘Ondine’. While the film is gathering reviews more of the ‘sweet and nice’ side of favourable, Farrell is getting very good reviews. This is probably not the film to bring him to the Academy, but it is a step in the right direction.

‘Get Low’ sees three giants on the screen. Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray are all getting great notices, but it is Duvall who is hogging most of the praise. When Duvall gets praise, watch out, the race can easily get shaken up. Murray is getting some very good notices as well, as is Spacek. The film needs to be seriously loved for it to garner 2 or more acting nominations though. Also I am not sure if it even has a distributor yet.

Michael Douglas’s performance in ‘Solitary Man’ has gotten people saying it is his best performance in years. The whole cast is supposed to be great, but Douglas is front and centre.
The problem is, aside from winning an Oscar for ‘Wall Street’ over 20 years ago, Douglas has never been nominated again. He has come close, but there was no cigar. This role, of a man going through a late life crisis while disappointing those he loves should do well with critics, but how will the various Awards bodies react? Men can do unlikeable more so than women can.

Clive Owen has always been on my radar for ‘The Boys are Back’. The response to the film was positive with most people singling out his sensitive portrayal of a newly widowed father raising his boys. It should pull at heart strings, but do the Academy really like their men sensitive?

‘A Serious Man’ has gotten to Coen Brothers some of the best reviews for a comedy file. A lot of the credit goes to Michael Stuhlbarg, the unknown actor who is getting best in show notices. Unknown seems to work better for women however.

Best of getting a nomination

Lead Actor: Robert Duvall, Clive Owen, Michael Douglas
Supporting Actor: Bill Murray
Lead Actress: Annette Bening, Natalie Portman
Supporting Actress: Amanda Seyfried

What do you think?

‘Precious’ poster 3

The poster designs for this film are all truly unique and beautiful. I am in awe.

Mini Review – ‘Julie & Julia’

Just as every other critic has said I sat in the theatre drumming my fingers waiting for the Julie portion of our entertainment to end and bring us back to the Julia.
Amy Adams is sweet and charming, but Meryl had the juiciest and most interesting half of the film.

And boy did Meryl step up to the challenge. So much more than a bio pic, Meryl decided not to go for a full on copy, but instead gave her own interpretation of the larger than life French Chef which allows her to breath. It is a fully realized performance, her pain at being childless is subtle but comes across as real pain.
Hopefully this will ensure her yet another Oscar nomination, but a win is not so certain.
Her chemistry with everyone is completely natural, but the real joy was watching her interact with Stanley Tucci who plays her husband. Together they create a loving and perfectly believable film couple without a whiff of sentimentality.

Even director Nora Ephron has held back on the slushiness she usually goes for, which definitely makes the Amy Adams portion goes down a little easier.
All in all ‘Julie and Julia’ is a brilliant film when Meryl is on the screen. When she is off it is merely very good.

Grade: B

There is a God

What wonderful news to wake me up on a miserable London Monday morning.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

'Precious' Wins Toronto

So the juggernaut, of sorts, continues. To be honest, with the films that were shown I was surprised (pleasantly so) that it was able to beat out the competition.
This goes to show that this is much more than just a 'black' film (which a lot of people have said will hinder it in terms of awards and seats in the cinema) and for that I am deliriously happy. Call it the 'Obama' effect or what ever you like.

Some people are already raining on the films parade. Eric Kohn of The Wraphas said:
"Its triumph is a rather conventional one, considering the acclaim that this movie has developed since its Sundance premiere back in January. Lionsgate bought the movie and managed to secure endorsements from Tyler Perry and Oprah, both of whom walked the red carpet at the movie's Toronto premiere a few days ago.

Is it possible that audiences were manipulated into voting en masse by the presence of these showbiz giants? Maybe, although that shouldn't detract from the merits of "Precious" as a flashy shot of dramatic intensity. Expect this movie to continue to hog the spotlight as it careens toward a November 6 release date"
It is reporting like this that infuriates me. 'Precious' won the AUDIENCE award, not the pretentious critic award. If the Audience felt strongly enough watching the movie and decided to vote for it, who is anyone to argue. At the end of that that is what cinema is for - the audience.

To also say it won because of Oprah Winfery being in the spot light is also ridiculous. If anything, big celebrities hogging the spot light on this film will hinder it. Oprah and Tyler Perry came in as producers/presenters after the film was complete. They are just there to make sure this film, which is a tough sell, is seen.
Oprah has the power to get people into movie seats. Sure she should scale it back a little and make sure the focus of the film is not on her and Perry but on director Lee Daniels, writer Sapphire and the actors.

Whatever the critics have to say (and let's face it, whenever a film starts getting traction they is always that loud nag who comes along to sh*t all over it - it happened last year with 'Slumdog Millionaire' and it happens every year) doesn't really matter in the end, it is how it makes people think.
Some people have been saying the film is cold, well the book wasn't a big ole bear hug either. I am glad sentimentality has been left on the side and brutal honestly has been added instead.

Not everyone is going to love the film, and it is in danger of over hyping itself, but look at the bigger picture. This film was made and miraculously is winning big awards. This is a film that appears to be speaking strongly to people in a personal way, so who is so self important that they are going to argue with how someone feels.

Congratulations Lee Daniels, Geoffrey, Sapphire, Gabby, Mariah, Mo'Nique and Paula. Your movie is connecting with people, not everyone, but enough to get attention, which is all you can ever ask.