Saturday, January 31, 2009

Australia Stamps, or How where the hell is Kylie?



Or was this an Academy Award Winners Only Postage Club?

Needless to say, this is fine as long as someone informs me Ms Minogue has already been immortalized down under in some postal form.

PS. Why does Ms Kidman look so old in her pic? That hair is doing nothing for her. Even Geoffrey looks better (gladly her Satine pic is dazzling).
PS2. Can we please invite Mr Crowe back into the A-list and avoid shutting him out of all movie awardage ceremonies? Sure, he's a firecracker, but - and not to quote Britney - he makes it hot!
PS3. Is it just me or are the Elizabeth pic and the Blanchett pic showcasing the same facial expression?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dorys 2008, or How here's the best according to moi

An annual tradition begins. 

The guilds may have spoken (yelling quite loudly SLUMDOG!), the Oscars may have read out loud some names (BUTTON! SLUMDOG!NOT-BATMAN!), StinkyLulu gave out the Lulus, J.D. has the Chloes, Nat's working on the  Film Bitch Awards and I figured: why not join the crowd and say what I thought was the best in film for the year? And so the Dorys (read: Door-ees, get it?) were born.

There are 9 Categories in all (Oscar's Big 8 + Ensemble)


Outstanding Motion Picture
In Bruges
I've Loved You So Long
Milk
Revolutionary Road
Wall‧E

Outstanding Direction
Darren Aronosfky (The Wrestler)
Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
Andrew Stanton (Wall‧E)
Gus Van Sant (Milk)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Ben Burt (Wall‧E)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road)
Colin Farrel (In Bruges)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Nicole Kidman (Australia)
Natalie Portman (The Other Boleyn Girl)
Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've Loved You So Long)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Emile Hirsch (Milk)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Michelle Williams (Synecdoche New York)

Outstanding Adapted Screenplay
David Hare (The Reader)
Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road)
Christopher Nolan, Johnathan Nolan & David Goyer (The Dark Knight)
John Patrick Shanley (Doubt)
Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond (Wendy and Lucy)

Outstanding Original Screenplay
Philip Claudel (I've Loved You So Long)
Dustin Lance Black (Milk)
Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)
Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter (Wall‧E)
Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Burn After Reading
The Dark Knight
Milk 
Revolutionary Road
Rachel Getting Married


7 Noms
Revolutionary Road

6 Noms
Milk

5 Noms
The Dark Knight

4 Noms
The Wrestler
Wall‧E

3 Noms
In Bruges
I've Loved You So Long

2 Noms
Burn After Reading
Rachel Getting Married

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meryl on 30 Rock?! or How my mind just exploded!!

PICTURE
THIS
ON

30 ROCK!

Hilarious won't begin to describe it!!!

The Wrestler, or How the women shine in Aronofsky's film

The Wrestler
Directed by Darren Aronosfky
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

Who knew the "visionary" director of such films like Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain had a gritty Jersey wrestling movie in him? Well, he did and to say it is a gut-wrenching experience is probably an understatement (I'll confess that I shut my eyes for most of the crazy wrestling scenes) but when out of the rink, Rourke, Tomei and Wood offer a trio of down to earth performances that light up the screen amid the violent and blood-ridden scenes Aronosfky offers us throughout. A

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Reader, or How 2008 is really Kate's year

The Reader
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Written by David Hare
Starring: Kate Winslet, David Kross, Ralph Fiennes, & Lena Olin.

When I finished watching The Reader, I was exhausted. It's an emotionally draining experience. Take that as you will. Daldry and Hare have crafted not much of an emotional roller coaster as much as a carefully executed moral minefield - peppered with enough sex (and sexual tension) to last you a lifetime. 

While it seems the film's off-screen stories (Rudin vs Weinstein, rushed post-production, allegedly knocking TDK from its BP and Best Director noms at the Oscars, being now deemed 'That Holocaust Movie'...) I think Daldry's film is a wonder of a film, albeit one that seems to be poised to divide its audience, much in the same way it does so for its characters. The film centers around a taboo romance between an older woman and a fifteen year old that, while lasting only one summer, changes both their lives forever. 

It's also a thinking person's film. Those wishing to get any emotional schmaltz out of this sex/guilt ridden story will not be rewarded. Daldry and Hare craft more questions than answers, more conundrums than emotional payoffs and the way to understand this is to explore Winslet's unflinching performance of Hannah. She doesn't go for sympathy, and her ice-cold performance is at once puzzling but altogether appropriate in that really the film is constructed around wanting to know what/why Hannah is doing but you have to give props to a film that doesn't cheat itself out for a teary sappy ending. A-

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kung Fu Panda, or How Everything I Know I Learnt from Animation






Everything I Know, I Learnt from Animation
(2008 Academy Award Nominee) Kung Fu Panda

Other than the maxim "There is no secret ingredient" the greatest thing Kung Fu Panda taught me was to marvel at Dustin Hoffman's thespian skills. Sure we all know his apex was in the 1980s what with Kramer vs Kramer, Rain Man and Tootsie, but lately? Supporting roles haven't really showcased his work, and his leading men have been MIA except for that Magorium film - anyone watch it? So, with this and Last Chance Harvey Dustin shows us why he's one of the best. Especially since the rest of the voicework in this film (Angelina I'm talking to you!) seems so phoned-in.

He does comedy. Really working the slapstick and the snarkiness:

He goes all sad and down when his friend dies:

He works the intimidation factor even though he's a) tiny and b) a red panda.

He even does his own stunts!

But more importantly (cause y'know that since Shakespeare's time they loved this), he gets a death scene and nails it:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wall‧E, or How Everything I Know I Learnt from Animation







Everything I know I Learnt From Animation
(MULTIPLE 2008 Academy Award Nominee) Wall‧E

Sure, the Academy left off both TDK and PIXAR's gem of a movie of their Best Picture lineup, but at least it gave it a hat tip in the way of a record 6 nominations for an Animated Film (tying that other Animated film that DID crop up in the Best Picture lineup, Beauty and the Beast). And nomination or no nomination it won't tarnish the technical wizardry of Stanton & co. And so I give you,

Top Ten Things the 'Little Robot That Could' Taught Me.

- If you want your movie to look and sound gorgeous, hire Roger Deakins and Thomas Newman (see also: Revolutionary Road):

- Years from now, sporks will still confound the world:

- Barbra and her legacy will outlive us all:

- Spying on girls with guns never has a happy ending:

- Only one of you needs to be conscious for a date to be successful:

- OCD is not restricted to humans:

- Be friendly to whoever you meet. It always comes in handy:

- My name (Manuel) makes for a great punchline:

- Somebody always gets left behind...

- Nothing beats the spark of romance:

What did Wall‧E teach you?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bolt, or How Everything I know I learnt from Animation







Everything I know I learnt from Animation
(2008 Academy Award Nominee) Bolt

- New Yorkers are neurotic.

- LA LA Land is full of starf*kers.

- Middle America is populated with dumb people.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Predictions, or How we'll see about everything tomorrow

Jan 22 UPDATE: Huh, Is Daldry the new Eastwood? Or is Harvey back to form?
In terms of predix, I did okay nailing all nominees in 3 different categories (Supp. Actor, Visual Effects & Editing) - and missing just the Winslet film in Best Actress. Also: Wanted, wtf?
62.5/84 = 74 %

Tallies:
Ben Button: 13
Slumdog: 10
TDK: 8
Milk: 8
Wall-E: 6
F/N: 5
Doubt: 5
Reader: 4
Rev Road: 3

Jan 21 BORING:
Let's hope the Academy surprises us tomorrow morning and don't go all MilkSlumdogBenjamin/NixonKnight in EVERY available category. That said, I am hoping for a Wall-E BP nod. Watch me be wrong.


Best Picture (4/5)

Frost/Nixon (B)
Wall-E (A+)
Milk (A)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (C+)
Slumdog Millionaire (A+)
The Reader

Wishful thinking: Revolutionary Road (A)
Alternate: The Dark Knight (A+)

Best Director (4/5)

Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon - B)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight - A+)
Gus Van Sant (Milk - A)
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire - A+)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)

Wishful thinking: Andrew Stanton (Wall-E - A+)
Alternate: Darren Aronosfky (The Wrestler)

Best Lead Actor (3/5)

Sean Penn (Milk - A)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon - B)
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road - A)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Brad Pitt (Curious Case of Benjamin Button - C+)
Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)

Wishful thinking: No Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Alternate: Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)

Best Lead Actress (4.5/5)

Meryl Streep (Doubt - A-)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road - A) (The Reader)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married - A)
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky - A-)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling - C+)

Wishful thinking: Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've Loved You So long - A+)
Alternate: Angelina Jolie (Changeling - C+)

Best Supporting Actor (5/5)

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight - A+)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt - A-)
Josh Brolin (Milk - A)
Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road - A)

Wishful thinking: Emile Hirsch (Milk - A)
Alternate: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire - A+)

Best Supporting Actress (4/5)

Viola Davis (Doubt - A-)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona - A)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - C+)
Amy Adams (Doubt - A-)

Wishful thinking: Kathy Bates (Revolutionary Road - A)
Alternate: Amy Adams (Doubt - A-)

Best Original Screenplay  (2/5)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (A)
Milk (A)
Rachel Getting Married (A)
Wall-E (A+)
The Wrestler
Frozen River
In Bruges
Happy-Go-Lucky (A-)

Wishful thinking: Burn After Reading (A-)
Alternate: Happy Go-Lucky (A-)

Best Adapted Screenplay (4/5)

Curious Case of Benjamin Button (C+)
Doubt (A-)
Slumdog Millionaire (A+)
The Reader
Revolutionary Road (A)
Frost/Nixon (B)

Wishful thinking: The Dark Knight (A+)
Alternate: Frost/Nixon (B)

Rest of 'em (except for Song, Doc and Foreign - cause really I hate shooting in the dark):

Best Animated Feature Film (2/3)

Kung Fu Panda
WALL•E
Waltz with Bashir
Bolt

Best Art Direction (3/5)

Milk
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Revolutionary Road 
The Reader
The Duchess
The Dark Knight

Best Cinematography (3/5)

Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
Changeling
The Reader

Best Costume Design (4/5)

Australia
Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road
Milk

Best Editing (5/5)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Slumdog Millionaire
Milk

Best Original Score (4/5)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL•E
Defiance

Best Make-Up (2/3)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Sound Mixing (3/5)

The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
Quantum of Solace
WALL•E
Wanted
Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Sound Editing (3/5)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Quantum of Solace
WALL•E
Wanted
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Visual Effects (3/3)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Ben Lyons, or How can someone shut him up?!


Seriously.

Thankfully, I'm not alone.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

500 Days of Summer or How is this what indie rom-coms look like now?

I am getting very excited about this movie, and I don't know why. The two stars have never really been my thing but the quirky premise and this teaser trailer have me enthralled. But I'm thinking this might just be a bit too emo, indie, Sundancey even for my own good.



In Maddow's words: talk me down!

Friday, January 16, 2009

30 Rock, or How "Puerto Rican doesn't sound right"

This show will never cease to amuse me.


Jack: It's not because you're a... I'm sorry. What... do you call... yourself ?
Elisa: A Puerto-Rican.
Jack: No, I know you can say that but what do I call you?
Elisa: Puerto-Rican.
Jack: Wow. That does not sound right.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

United States of Tara, or How Toni's a hoot!

United States of Tara
Written by Diablo Cody
Starring: Toni Collette, John Corbett, Rosemarie DeWitt, Brie Larson & Keir Gilchrist.

If you love Toni you'll tune in so instead of trying to praise this (albeit uneven) Diablo Cody penned pilot, I'll just highlight what I loved:

"I can't deal with this right now..."

"Cougar crossing!"

"It tastes homo-made."

"You're not going to the gun range. That's our guy thing, that's three."

Rosemarie DeWitt or How I'm Seeing Double


Rosemarie DeWitt deals with a troublesome sister:
(It's Toni - she has multiple personality disorder!)

Rosemarie DeWitt deals with a troublesome sister:
(It's Anne, she's got crazy hair and thinks she's Sheba!)