Saturday, 6 February 2010

'Heartless' Trailer

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, intriguing.

Friday, 5 February 2010

"The Oscar will open to you like a magnificent vagina."

Sadly Rosemary Harris could only muster a feeble 6% for her performance in 'Tom & Viv'.

Likewise, future Oscar winner Helen Mirren was only able to get 11% for 'The Madness of King George'

In a tie for second place are two actresses who I always hope will have more great roles then they currently do. Uma Thurman for 'Pulp Fiction' and the delightful Jennifer Tilly in 'Bullets over Broadway' with 22%. Still not enough to oust the winner and Tilly's co-star.

So it is no Surprise that Dianne Wiest won this poll with 39% of the vote, I mean of course, Helen Sinclair won the poll, and she is the Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress in 1994, and everyone loves her in this.

Let is celebrate two time Oscar winner Wiest, and wish her a plethora of juicy supporting role yet to come. Still this role is by far her most quotable.
"She's perky all right. She makes you want to sneak up behind her with a pillow and suffocate her."

"Please forgive me. My pedicurist had a stroke. She fell forward onto the orange stick and plunged it into my toe. It required bandaging."

"I'm still a star. I never play frumps or virgins."

Now lets look to 1995. The Nominees were:

Susan Sarandon - 'Dead Man Walking'
Elisabeth Shue - 'Leaving Las Vegas'
Sharon Stone - 'Casino'
Meryl Streep - 'The Bridges of Madison County'
Emma Thompson - 'Sense and Sensibility'

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Oringinal Song

And the vocally vocal nominees are:
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett


Love it. She really would make a fantastic winner, such a shame they hardly ever reward individual performance anymore. I say when Bullock is deserving for a single performance....give it to her. She has it in her, she was (IMHO) the best thing in 'Crash'.

However this totally brightened my day. Can you imagine.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Original Score

And the mood setting nominees are:
“Avatar” James Horner

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat

“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer

“Up” Michael Giacchino

Now - VOTE!!!

Oscar - The Snubbed, but Oh So Deserving Performances

Dr. Bloom

Orlando Bloom has been a little quiet of late, especially since he burst on the scene wearing pointy ears and shooting arrows in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. Well now he has a few films coming out this year 'The Cross', 'Main Street', Sindance film 'Sympathy for Delicious' and now he has been cast in 'The Good Doctor' where he plays a Doctor medicating a girl to keep him in the hospital to boost his self esteem. Sounds creepy and a bit of a stretch for the actor used to playing nice guys or hero's.

Also cast is Michael Pena, Troy Garity, Courtney Ford, Taraji P. Henson, Rob Morrow and the great JK Simmons. Most exciting is the films writer. John Enbom who is most famous for writing the wonderful series 'Veronica Mars' which could give a clue to the Hitchcockian leaning of the film.

Mini Review - 'Invictus'

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

That is the poem 'Invictus' by William Ernest Henley, which inspired Nelson Mandela to keep going after being imprisoned for 27 years. A lovely poem that does inspire, sadly a little more than the film it is named after.
Clint Eastwood directs the story of newly appointed President Mandela, trying to unite the black and white South Africans through the game of rugby, with respect if not restraint for the sentimental.
Morgan Freeman does a good job, but never really does more than give a good impression, instead the actor brings his usual gravitas to the performance, which is enough to create the emotional impact needed.
Matt Damon is not given a lot to do, but his accent is good.
The most interesting part of the story is the relationship between the black and white security guards, which should have been explored a little more as it was an interesting look at a country facing a new era.
This was a strong effort for Eastwood, but still have nothing new to say, and did not explore the complexities of the post Apartheid era enough to resonate.

Grade - B-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Best Picture Nominees - by the numbers

From Meta Critic - because Rotten Tomatoes is too slow. 10 years of Best Picture nominees. In this new decade we have hit an all time low. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I love it when records are broken.
94 - The Hurt Locker
94 - LOTR: The Return of the King
94 - Sideways
93 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
92 - There Will Be Blood
92 - LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
91 - The Queen
91 - No Country for Old Men
90 - Gosford Park
89 - Lost in Translation
89 - Letters from Iwo Jima
88 - Up
88 - LOTR: The Two Towers
88 - Capote
87 - Brokeback Mountain
86 - Million Dollar Baby
86 - The Departed
86 - Slumdog Millionaire
86 - Traffic
86 - In The Bedroom
85 - An Education
85 - The Pianist
85 - Atonement
84 - Avatar
84 - Mystic River
84 - Milk
83 - Up in the Air
82 - Chicago
82 - Michael Clayton
81 - District 9
81 - The Hours
81 - Master and Commander
81 - Juno
80 - Good Night and Good Luck
80 - Litle Miss Sunshine
80 - Frost/Nixon
79 - Precious
79 - A Serious Man
77 - The Aviator
74 - Munich
73 - Ray
73 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
73 - Erin Brockovich
72 - Gangs of New York
72 - Seabiscuit
72 - A Beautiful Mind
69 - Inglourious Basterds
69 - Crash
69 - Babel
67 - Finding Neverland
66 - Moulin Rouge!
64 - Chocolat
64 - Gladiator
58 - The Reader
53 - The Blind Side

Stating the obvious but...

Judging by Meta Critic scores there is only one obvious and undeniable W.T.F. Inclusion:
84 - “Avatar”
53 - “The Blind Side”
81 - “District 9”
85 - “An Education”
94 - “The Hurt Locker”
69 - “Inglourious Basterds”
79 - “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
79 - “A Serious Man”
88 - “Up”
83 - “Up in the Air”
An Rotten Tomatoes says the same thing
82 - “Avatar”
70 - “The Blind Side”
90 - “District 9”
94 - “An Education”
97 - “The Hurt Locker”
89 - “Inglourious Basterds”
91 - “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
87 - “A Serious Man”
98 - “Up”
90 - “Up in the Air”

"I am so glad the Oscars are becoming more like the Peoples Choice Awards".

Oscar Nominations

Best Picture

* “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
* “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
* “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
* “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
* “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
* “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
* “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
* “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
* “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role

* Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
* George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
* Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
* Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
* Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

* Matt Damon in “Invictus”
* Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
* Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
* Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
* Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

* Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
* Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
* Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
* Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
* Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

* Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
* Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
* Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
* Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
* Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

* “Coraline” Henry Selick
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
* “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
* “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
* “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

* “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
* “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
* “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
* “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray


* “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
* “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
* “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
* “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
* “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

* “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
* “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
* “Nine” Colleen Atwood
* “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell


* “Avatar” James Cameron
* “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
* “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
* “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)

* “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
* “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
* “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
* “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
* “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

* “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
* “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
* “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
* “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
* “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

* “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
* “District 9” Julian Clarke
* “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
* “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

* “Ajami” Israel
* “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
* “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
* “Un Prophète” France
* “The White Ribbon” Germany


* “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
* “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
* “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

* “Avatar” James Horner
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
* “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
* “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
* “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

* “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
* “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
* “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Short Film (Animated)

* “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
* “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
* “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
* “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
* “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

* “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
* “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
* “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
* “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
* “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
* “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
* “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
* “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
* “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
* “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
* “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

* “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
* “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
* “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

* “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
* “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
* “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
* “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

* “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
* “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
* “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
* “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
* “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Mini Review 'Brothers'

I saw the original - much better.
This remake did not have the intensity of the first, or the believability of the performances.
I never felt any of the emotions (grief, fear, anger, redemption) which made the original so powerful. Perhaps it was the age of the actors that lead to the lack of power.
Sam Shepard as the father and Bailey Madison as the daughter were the casting highlights.

Much has been made of the intensity of Tobey Maguires performance as Capt. Sam Cahill. He reminded me a little bit of Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' at the end when he becomes his cartoon self and gets dipped.

Sometimes great films just need to be left alone and people need to start reading subtitles.
Love the poster though.

Grade - C

Edgar Sawtelle

'Jarhead' and 'Apollo 13' writer, William Broyles Jr., is going to adapt 'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle' by David Wroblewski for the big screen.
The premise reads:
"Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes--the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain--create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic."
This screams heart warming prestige movie all over it. Like a combination of 'Into The Wild', 'The Incredible Journey' and 'Witness'. No one has been cast and no director has been announced yet, so jumping the gun, but should they be good, we could be looking at a mighty big film.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Mini Review - 'Nine'

So you gather the cream of the crop to make a movie version of the Musical 'Nine'.
You cast Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren to play the parts, Anthony Minghella to write and what do you end up with?
A we bit of a miss opportunity (actually a mess, but trying to be nice)

Firstly director Rob Marshall is not that good of a director.
The story is all over the place, choppily edited together into a series of musings with songs.
The lighting is unflattering.
The songs, aside from 'Be Italian' do not capture any energy.
You waste Kidman, Hudson, Dench and Loren (Fergie makes more of an impact that all of them combined). And then all you are left with is Day Lewis, Cotillard and Cruz to save the day, and they nearly do.
Sadly You do not care about Day Lewis's Guido, a self obsessed, self destructive brat (however the performance is very good).
Cruz is sexy, funny and in the end very vulnerable, yet not given enough development time (not her fault at all) for us to really understand her motivations, or to really care.
All that is left is Cotillard as the wife to inject some much needed sense of humanity in these messy proceedings, and boy does she. Sadly the film is not about her, and for most of the film you are sitting there willing her to come back.

Grade - D+

My Little Oscar Predictions

Here is where I go crazy and try to add some interest in the proceedings. I will be SO wrong, but it is fun isn't it?
Best Original Screenplay

'Inglourious Basterds'
'The Hurt Locker'
'(500) Days Of Summer'
'A Serious Man'

Nothing special or unusual here. Just going with my gut here.

Best Adapted Screenplay

'Fantastic Mr Fox'
'Julie & Julia'
'Up In The Air'
'Where the Wild Thing Are'

I have this nagging feeling that there may be more love for 'Julie & Julia' and 'Wild Things' then previously hinted at.

Best Supporting Actress

Mo'Nique - 'Precious'
Melanie Lauret - 'Inglourious Basterds'
Marion Cotillard - 'Nine'
Anna Kendrick - 'Up In The Air'
Samantha Morton - 'The Messenger'

This is all mainly wishful thinking, but I have a hard time swallowing people being so enraptured in the 'Up in the Air' girls.

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz - 'Inglourious Basterds'
Woody Harrelson - 'The Messenger'
Christopher Plummer - 'The Last Station'
Christian McKay - 'Me and Orson Welles'
Stanley Tucci - 'Julie & Julia'

Again, wishful thinking, but I would like to see them reward his better performance.

Best Actress

Meryl Streep - 'Julie & Julia'
Sandra Bullock - 'The Blind Side'
Carey Mulligan - 'An Education'
Gabourey Sidibe - 'Precious'
Saoirse Ronan - 'The Lovely Bones'

Bored, need a shake up. Was going to ignore Bullock for shits and giggles, but I know that is not going to happen.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges - 'Crazy Heart'
George Clooney - 'Up in the Air'
Colin Firth - 'A Single Man'
Morgan Freeman - 'Invictus'
Viggo Mortensen - 'The Road'

have had a nagging feeling about Renner for a while, so decided to give Viggo a slip in - really want Sharlto Copley in here though.

Best Animated FIlm

'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'
'Fantastic Mr Fox'

What the hey.

Best Foreign Film

'Un Prophete'
'The White Ribbon'
'Samson & Delilah'
'Letters to Father Jacob'
'About Elly'

Sad about no 'Broken Embraces'.

Best Director

Katherine Bigelow - 'The Hurt Locker'
James Cameron - 'Avatar'
Quentin Tarantino ' Inglourious Basterds'
Lee Daniels - 'Precious'
Neil Bolmkamp - 'District 9'

Meh, just some guess work....will not happen but one likes to pretend.

Best Picture

'The Hurt Locker'
'Up in the Air'
'Inglourious Basterds'
'An Education'
'District 9'
'Where the Wild Things Are'

Anything can happen here. It is going to be interesting

'Losers' Trailer

Looks like it is going to be fun.


These are awards I never really care about, ever since Madonna was not nominated for anything for the 'Like a Prayer' album (aside from 'Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical' - WTF!).
The only thing I really care about is the performances, and now the fashion. Namely - Lady GaGa.

Just WOW

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Hollywood Murderer?

I just picked up my latest issue of Empire Magazine which I eagerly wait for every month. I flicked through it, reading the reviews and articles when I came across the article 'Touch of Evil?' written by Simon Braund.

Basically it looks at the little investigation made by Mary Pacios a childhood friend of Elizabeth Short who would later come to notoriety as The Black Dahlia. Pacios wrote a book looking at how one of the greatest actor/directors of all time may have been the murderer of Short. Could Orson Welles have done it?

Probably not, but the story is so captivating that my little mind went racing. If you get a chance to read the article, or the book, please do so. It may be fiction or it may be on to something, but what it is or isn't does not matter - in the end it is completely fascinating.

Mini Review - 'Bright Star'

Jane Campion directs this movie like a poem itself.
The rhythms, the pauses whilst you absorb the words, and the melodic verse.
The Story of Fanny Brawne and John Keats is as romantic as they get.
However, in this film it seems only one side of the equation feels to me like a true love.
That is the love Keats has for Fanny.

Fanny seems so selfish in her need to be with him, at whatever cost. She throws fits of anguish that come across more as temper tantrums. These do not seem to gel with the confident and together woman we have seen before.

So much praise has been heaped on Abby Cornish for this role, and in her quieter moments she shows the promise of a great actress (The movement of her eyes to give her words extra meaning was a joy to behold) but she seems forced when having to emote. Her feelings for Keats never feels like love, but rather a childlike obsession.

Paul Schneider as the man who tried to come between Fanny and John is delightful, however the horrid Scottish accent is far too distracting from the performance.
The true acting revelation of the film is Ben Whishaw as Keats. You perfectly understand why he falls for Fanny and how this giving of himself affects his so deeply. She is his muse, and through Whishaws eyes you feel his creative soul awaking with inspiration. It is a shame then that Cornish doesn't meet this level, as it throws off kilter what could have been the love film of the year.

Grade - B

Let's Hear it for the Girls!

Katherine Bigelow won the DGA for 'The Hurt Locker'. The first woman to do so.