Wednesday, January 21, 2009

oscar nom eve

less than 12hrs from now the nominations for the 2009 academy awards will be read live here in los angeles. very exciting day for the town. now, i'm not getting my ass out of bed to See or Hear the noms read live--i'll simply pore over the list online as so many millions will upon rising--however, let my appreciation for sleep fool thee not: i am Full with anticipation.
and this is Not a great year for movies. again. certainly not as good as last year. a few real gems within the heap of mediocrity. i don't expect there will be a lot of surprises in the nominations, either. maybe two or three in the major categories. yet let my confidence in the surety of the early returns fool thee not: i am anxiously awaiting Official word.
yes, a thrilling morning awaits us--one that is to be followed by an entire Month of speculation, congratulations, and of course anxiety. and i'll be one of the many thousands in this magical town who's swimming in it all and counting down the days (and counting down the daze...). feb22 is the date to save. i'm Excited.
10hrs, 25min, and....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

visions of war

amended 1/14:
decided to try letter grades in 2009 instead of star ratings. with this change you can expect a more accurate reflection of my assessment of each film. i welcome your comments.

waltz with bashir
one of the boldest, most creative films in years in any genre. this decorated documentary's also collecting distinction in foreign, animated, screenplay, and mixed media categories. brilliantly explores the universal power & mystery of memory while translating traumatic personal experience into silver screen magic. art direction and original score are also stellar, and the back-to-reality ending devastating.
magic: A

producer edward zwick has an impressive track record with history pics--painstakingingly dissecting fascinating actual events, reshaping meaningful moments into digestible hollywood morsels. this here, however, amounts to nothing more than captivating true story filled with tired war cliches. dramatic scenes consistently feel stagey. the score is thrilling, and daniel craig is fun to watch--a natural leader. accents, although not egregious, are not so natural. if choosing between WWII pics, go see valkyrie instead.
stagey: C

Monday, January 5, 2009

best of 2008?

talking with friends over the past month or so, i became convinced that creating a Favorites list would be a cool thing to do. it would give Me a much-needed chance to reflect on the year in film, and revisit the lot before awards season, while providing you readers an easy opportunity to peruse by category the pick of the proverbial litter, plus a few stinkers.
so here it is!
now a reminder, or what you might even call a bit of a disclaimer: films listed are not what i'm labeling the Best of '08. no, instead, they are my Favorites--the ones that got me, grabbed me, touched me, moved me.... my favorite performances, on the other hand, simply Are the year's best. (take it to the bank.)
there is no preset number of listees, just a record of what really Worked. and i've picked some memorable "genres" to which i feel you're likely to favorably respond.

for a full breakdown of the Best, be sure to check back here for my oscar preview around the beginning of february. i'll give full-blown analysis of every nomination in every category, and offer my take on both who will win and who should win.
(click or copy/paste link below to see last year's predictions.)

standouts by category:

the bank job [yep, the Only one i Really liked all year; but Man, is it good!]

kung fu panda

the orphanage
the strangers

tropic thunder
role models
baby mama

the dark knight
iron man

vampire flick--
let the right one in

how i saw 'em:

others with 4 or 5 star rating (highly recommended)--
the fall
seven pounds
man on wire
the curious case of benjamin button
the edge of heaven
the wrestler
slumdog millionaire
vicky cristina barcelona
the visitor
snow angels

least favorite films of the year--
10,000 bc
in bruges
the happening
madagascar 2

standout performances:

anne hathaway (rachel getting married)
sally hawkins (happy-go-lucky)
angelina jolie (changeling)
melissa leo (frozen river)

richard jenkins (the visitor)
frank langella (frost/nixon)
sean penn (milk)
mickey rourke (the wrestler)
brad pitt (the curious case of benjamin button)

supporting actress--
emma thompson (brideshead revisited)
rosemarie dewitt (rachel getting married)
taraji p. henson (the curious case of benjamin button)
penelope cruz (vicky cristina barcelona)
viola davis (doubt)

supporting actor--
heath ledger (the dark knight)
robert downey jr. (tropic thunder)
ralph fiennes (the duchess)
eddie marsan (happy-go-lucky)
josh brolin (milk)
michael shannon (revolutionary road)
michael sheen (frost/nixon)

wow, i really hope i didn't Forget anything. if i Did, i'll make a note of it in my next post.
later this week i'll be reviewing several new releases--the first batch from the 2009 crop.