Monday, January 31, 2011

17th Screen Actors Guild Award Winners Movie Categories - Complete List

Screen Actors Guild presented its Actor® statuette for the outstanding motion picture and primetime television performances of 2010 at the “17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards” in ceremonies held Sunday, Jan. 30, at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.

Morgan Freeman also presented Ernest Borgnine with Screen Actors Guild’s highest honor, the 47th Annual Life Achievement Award. Just before Freeman presented the award, Tim Conway introduced a filmed tribute to Borgnine.

17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Winners Movie Categories:

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI - "THE KING’S SPEECH" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
NATALIE PORTMAN / Nina Sayers – “BLACK SWAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
CHRISTIAN BALE / Dicky Eklund – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
MELISSA LEO / Alice Ward – “THE FIGHTER” (Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (Primary cast members each get Actor trophy)
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

ANTHONY ANDREWS / Stanley Baldwin
HELENA BONHAM CARTER / Queen Elizabeth
JENNIFER EHLE / Myrtle Logue
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI
MICHAEL GAMBON / King George V
DEREK JACOBI / Archbishop Cosmo Lang
GUY PEARCE / King Edward VIII
GEOFFREY RUSH / Lionel Logue
TIMOTHY SPALL / Winston Churchill

SAG HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
INCEPTION (Warner Bros. Pictures)

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Screen Actors Guild Awards 47th Annual Life Achievement Award
Ernest Borgnine

17th Screen Actors Guild Awards Television Category Winners - Complete List

The complete list of recipients of the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® in the television categories:

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
AL PACINO / Jack Kevorkian – “YOU DON’T KNOW JACK” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
CLAIRE DANES / Temple Grandin – “TEMPLE GRANDIN” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
STEVE BUSCEMI / Nucky Thompson – “BOARDWALK EMPIRE” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick – “THE GOOD WIFE” (CBS)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - “30 ROCK” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
BETTY WHITE / Elka Ostrovsky – “HOT IN CLEVELAND” (TV Land)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)

GREG ANTONACCI / Johnny Torrio
STEVE BUSCEMI / Nucky Thompson
DABNEY COLEMAN / Commodore Louis Kaestner
PAZ DE LA HUERTA / Lucy Danzinger
STEPHEN GRAHAM / Al Capone
ANTHONY LACIURA / Eddie Kessler
KELLY MACDONALD / Margaret Schroeder
GRETCHEN MOL / Gillian Darmody
ALEKSA PALLADINO / Angela Darmody
VINCENT PIAZZA / Lucky Luciano
MICHAEL PITT / Jimmy Darmody
MICHAEL SHANNON / Agent Nelson Van Alden
PAUL SPARKS / Mickey Doyle
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Arnold Rothstein
ERIK WEINER / Agent Sebso
SHEA WHIGHAM / Sheriff Elias Thompson

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
MODERN FAMILY (ABC)

JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell Pritchett
NOLAN GOULD / Luke Dunphy
SARAH HYLAND / Haley Dunphy
ED O’NEILL / Jay Pritchett
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny Delgado
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron Tucker
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
ARIEL WINTER / Alex Dunphy

SAG HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
TRUE BLOOD (HBO)

NOTE: The "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Awards" go to the primary cast members.
 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Directors Guild Awards Friend "The King's Speech"

The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2010 were announced last night (Sat. Jan. 29th).  The big news:  Tom Hooper won the DGA's "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film" for The King's Speech.  The awards were handed out at the 63rd Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Grand Ballroom in Los Angeles.  For a complete list of winners and nominees, please visit the DGA site.

The Directors Guild Awards Winners:

Best Feature Film: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

Best Documentary: Charles Ferguson, Inside Job

Dramatic Series: Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire

Comedy Series: Michael Spiller, Modern Family, Halloween Episode

TV Movie/Miniseries: Mick Jackson, Temple Grandin
 
The winner of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally served as a near-perfect barometer for predicting the winner of the best director Oscar. Only six times since the DGA Award's inception in 1948 has the winner not gone on to receive the Academy Award for Best Director.
 
Here are the six DGA winners who did NOT win the best director Oscar the same year (with the Oscar winner in parenthesis):
 
1968: Anthony Harvey for The Lion in Winter (Carol Reed-Oliver!)
1972: Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather (Bob Fosse-Cabaret)
1985: Steven Spielberg for The Color Purple (Sydney Pollack-Out of Africa)
1995: Ron Howard for Apollo 13 (Mel Gibson-Braveheart)
2000: Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Steven Soderbergh-Traffic)
2002: Rob Marshall for Chicago (Roman Polanski-The Pianist)

2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations Complete List

Tonight is the Screen Actors Guild Awards.  Now, that The King's Speech has won both the Producers Guild and (last night) Directors Guild Awards, all eyes will be on the winner of "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture," the Screen Actors Guild's (SGA) version of a best picture award.  A win by The King's Speech more likely than not means that this film will win the best picture Academy Award:

2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominees:


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Black Swan (2010)
The Fighter (2010)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Social Network (2010)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges for True Grit
Robert Duvall for Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Colin Firth for The King's Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Hilary Swank for Conviction

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale for The Fighter
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech
Mila Kunis for Black Swan
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
"30 Rock" (2006)
"Glee" (2009)
"Hot in Cleveland" (2010)
"Modern Family" (2009)
"The Office" (2005)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
"Boardwalk Empire" (2009)
"The Closer" (2005)
"Dexter" (2006)
"The Good Wife" (2009)
"Mad Men" (2007)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock"
Ty Burrell for "Modern Family"
Steve Carell for "The Office"
Chris Colfer for "Glee"
Ed O'Neill for "Modern Family"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey for "30 Rock"
Jane Lynch for "Glee"
Sofía Vergara for "Modern Family"
Betty White for "Hot in Cleveland"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi for "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter"
Jon Hamm for "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D."

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Glenn Close for "Damages"
Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss for "Mad Men"
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
John Goodman for You Don't Know Jack
Al Pacino for You Don't Know Jack
Dennis Quaid for The Special Relationship
Édgar Ramírez for "Carlos"
Patrick Stewart for Macbeth

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Claire Danes for Temple Grandin
Catherine O'Hara for Temple Grandin
Julia Ormond for Temple Grandin
Winona Ryder for When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story
Susan Sarandon for You Don't Know Jack

SAG Honors for Stunt Ensembles

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Green Zone
Inception
Robin Hood

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
Burn Notice
CSI: NY
Dexter
Southland
True Blood

47th Life Achievement Award:
Ernest Borgnine

2001 Oscar Nominee "U-571" Great Historical Fiction for Men



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 111 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

U-571 (2000)
Running time: 116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for war violence
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow
WRITERS: Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery, and David Ayer; from a story by Jonathan Mostow
PRODUCERS: Dino De Laurentiis and Martha De Laurentiis
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Wood
EDITOR: Wayne Wahrman
2001 Academy Award winner

DRAMA/WAR/HISTORICAL/THRILLER

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, David Keith, Jake Weber, Jack Noseworthy, Tom Guiry, Will Estes, Erik Palladino, Dave Power, Thomas Kretschmann, and Terrence “T.C.” Carson

It’s 1942, and Nazi Germany is decisively winning the Atlantic war. Their Enigma encoding device makes their ciphering system unbreakable, so the Allies cannot decipher Nazi messages they intercept. When the German submarine U-571 becomes adrift in the North Atlantic, Naval Command sends an American sub masquerading as a German sub to intercept U-571, in hopes of capturing the German’s sub Enigma machine. After disaster strikes, Lt. Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey) and the survivors commandeer U-571 and race for safety with a German warship right behind them.

U-571 is woefully inaccurate history. Apparently, the British Royal Navy was the first to capture the Enigma machine, and did so before the United States entered World War II. History aside, U-571 is a rousing old-fashioned submarine movie that keeps up the edge-of-the-seat suspense from start to finish. The performances are good, but the movie’s success as a thriller-at-sea is mainly because of director Jonathan Mostow and his creative crew: cinematographer, editor, sound and sound editing, etc. If only this effort had gone into making a historical accurate movie, but cinema doesn’t owe history the courtesy of being accurate. On its own terms, U-571 is a rousing sea-going adventure and an excellent “movie for guys who love movies.”

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
2001 Academy Awards: 1 win for “Best Sound Editing” (Jon Johnson); 1 nomination for “Best Sound” (Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, Rick Kline, and Ivan Sharrock)

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Walt Disney Studios Celebrates Multiple 2011 Oscar Nominations

The Walt Disney Studios Celebrates 12 Oscar® Nominations for Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and More

Disney•Pixar animated film earns Best Picture nomination for second straight year

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Walt Disney Studios is proud to announce its 2010 films have earned 12 Oscar® nominations. Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced five nominations for Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3, including for the coveted title of Best Picture; three for Alice in Wonderland, and one each for Day & Night, Tangled, The Tempest and TRON: Legacy.

“2010 was a banner year for The Walt Disney Studios, and we are thrilled that the Academy has chosen to recognize both our animated blockbusters Toy Story 3 and Tangled and our live-action hits Alice in Wonderland and TRON: Legacy for their artistry, technical achievements and storytelling,” said Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

Toy Story 3 marks only the third time in history that Academy members have honored an animated film in the Best Picture category. It also earned a nomination for Adapted Screenplay – making it the fourth consecutive screenplay nomination for a Disney•Pixar film. The Toy Story trilogy’s tally of Oscar nominations now stands at nine.

Commenting on the announcement, John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, said, “To have Toy Story 3 represented in the Best Picture category is a great honor, and a fitting tribute to director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla Anderson, screenwriter Michael Arndt, and all of the talented people at Pixar, who worked so hard to live up to and exceed the standards and expectations of Toy Story fans and moviegoers all over the world.”

A summary of nominations for The Walt Disney Studios is as follows:

Toy Story 3
Best Motion Picture of the Year - Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) A Pixar Production: Darla K. Anderson, Producer
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year - Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney): Lee Unkrich
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) – “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney):  Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
Achievement in Sound Editing - Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney): Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Adapted Screenplay - Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney): Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

Alice in Wonderland
Art Direction - Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney): Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
Achievement in Costume Design - Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney): Colleen Atwood
Achievement in Visual Effects - Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney): Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips

Day & Night
Best Animated Short Film - Day & Night (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production: Teddy Newton

Tangled
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) – “I See the Light” from Tangled (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Glenn Slater

The Tempest
Achievement in Costume Design - The Tempest (Touchstone): Sandy Powell

TRON: Legacy
Achievement in Sound Editing - TRON: Legacy (Walt Disney): Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague

2001 Oscar Nominee "The Emperor's New Groove" Plays a Looney Tune



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Running time: 78 minutes; MPAA – G
DIRECTOR: Mark Dindal
WRITERS: David Reynolds; from a story by Chris Williams and Mark Dindal with Roger Allers and Matthew Jacobs
PRODUCER: Randy Fullmer
EDITORS: Tom Finan and Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
Academy Award nominee

ANIMATION/COMEDY/ADVENTURE/FAMILY

Starring: (voices) David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick, Kellyann Kelso, Eli Russell Linnetz, Stephen J. Anderson, Bob Bergen, Rodger Bumpass, and Tom Jones

In a once-upon-a-time, Disney storybook version of the Incan Empire, Emperor Kuzco (voice of David Spade) is a selfish and childish monarch who rules over his kingdom as if it were his personal play land. However, Yzma (Eartha Kitt), the vengeful priestess who was his advisor before he fired her, turns Kuzco into a llama, but Yzma’s co-conspirator, Kronk (Patrick Warburton), fails to properly dispose of llama Kuzco. Pacha (John Goodman), a gentle llama herder, inadvertently rescues Kuzco, who had actually planned on razing Pacha’s hillside home to build a summer palace. Pacha, while trying to teach him the value of friendship and selflessness, goes on a jungle adventure to help Kuzco regain both his humanity and his throne.

The Emperor’s New Groove certainly isn’t a Disney animated classic on the level of Bambi or Beauty and the Beast (but then what is), but it is something the company can do very well – produce delightful and funny family entertainment. Its wacky brand of comedy and self-knowingly sarcasm brings to life what is initially a painfully slow and clunky film. In spite of a shake start the film becomes a slapstick comedy about two buddies racing to reach a goal before their clownish, but relentless pursuers stop them. This is the kind of a funny animal fable Disney does well, one that emphasizes lots of life lessons for the young ‘uns (and many adults certainly could do to learn those lessons well).  In a way, this is also like a feature-length version of a Warner Bros. Looney Tune cartoon.

The film features wonderful background illustrations of a fanciful version of the Andes and the Incan Empire. Lush jungle backdrops, imaginative sets and art direction, colorful costumes, and appealing character designs are a winning combination. Two things, however, really sell this film. First, the character animation and film direction maintain and lively pace and engages the viewers with an ever changing situation. This is truly a jungle adventure as the scenery changes creating sort of an edge-of-your-seat comedy caper.

Secondly, the voice acting is quite good. David Spade can be a little grating, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the self-absorbed Kuzco. John Goodman is fine as usual playing the wise and gentle older fellow with his deep and rich-sounding voice. Patrick Warburton’s rumbling tones are always welcome. The big surprise here is Earth Kitt’s voice performance as Yzma, as she deftly mixes comic menace and casual asides that make Yzma a grand villainness in the great Disney tradition of wicked witches and wily women of magic.

The Emperor’s New Groove will delight the kids and appeal to their parents, as well as adults who like hand-drawn animated feature films. While this isn’t a great Disney animated film, The Emperor’s New Groove, as a second tier Disney cartoon, is a better hand-drawn animated film than cartoons produced by other American studios.

7 of 10
B+

NOTES:
2001 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Music, Original Song” (Sting-composer/lyricist and David Hartley-composer for the song "My Funny Friend and Me")

2001 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress” (Eartha Kitt)

2001 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Sting and David Hartley for the song "My Funny Friend and Me")

Monday, January 30, 2006

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Anna!

You're 5 now, so I guess you aren't a baby anymore, but you'll always be your uncle's baby.

In "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" Michael Douglas is Still King



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 9 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Running time: 133 minutes (2 hours, 13 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements
DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone
WRITERS: Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff (based upon characters created by Stanley Weiser and Oliver Stone)
PRODUCER: Edward R. Pressman, Eric Kopeloff, and Oliver Stone
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Prieto (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: David Brenner and Julie Monroe
Golden Globe nominee

DRAMA

Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Vanessa Ferlito, John Buffalo Mailer, Eli Wallach, Austin Pendleton, Oliver Stone and Charlie Sheen

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, a film from Oliver Stone, is a sequel to Stone’s 1987 movie, Wall Street. Money Never Sleeps is set 23 years after the original and revolves around the 2008 financial crisis. It focuses on a young trader working to unite a legendary Wall Street figure with his daughter, the trader’s girlfriend. As good as it is, however, the new film does not resonate the way the original did.

The film opens in 2001 with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), the Wall Street titan of the first film, being released from federal prison after serving eight years for insider trading and securities fraud. Jumping seven years later, the film shifts focus to Jacob “Jake” Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a trader at Keller Zabel, a major Wall Street investment bank. Jake is trying to raise 100 million dollars to fund a fusion research project. Keller Zabel, however, is in trouble, and the firm’s managing director, Louis Zabel (Frank Langella), who is also Jake’s mentor, goes down with his firm.

In the aftermath, Jake proposes to his girlfriend, Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan), Gordon Gekko’s daughter. Jake also meets Gordon and retries to reunite him with Winnie, who wants nothing to do with her father. Behind Winnie’s back, Jake and Gekko plot revenge against Bretton James (Josh Brolin). The CEO of investment firm Churchill Schwartz, James helped bring down Keller Zabel. Gekko also has a score to settle, but Jake is about to learn how troublesome Gekko is to friend and foe alike.

The original Wall Street was about power, insiders, information, influence, and greed. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is about lying, cheating, and a monstrous form of greed that will eat and/or destroy everything around it, regardless of the damage done or even potential harm done to itself. With that kind of subject matter, Money Never Sleeps should be a better film than it is. It is certainly a good film, with excellent performances, but it never reaches its potential.

Neither the film’s writers nor Stone, its director, seem able to distinguish what Money Never Sleeps’ focus is supposed to be. Is it about Jake and Gekko or Jake versus Bretton James or Jake and Gekko versus Bretton? Is it about Jake trying to reunite Gekko with his estranged daughter, Winnie? The film tries all these plots and storylines, but mostly leaves them with unsatisfying and/or half-done resolutions.

Where as the first film had the central conflict of Douglas’ Gordon Gekko versus Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox (who makes a cameo in the new film), Money Never Sleeps lacks a strong central conflict. The first film dealt with insider trading, giving the audience clear details into how this illegal practice works. Because the bugaboo of the new film is the confusing matter of derivatives, the screenplay avoids the details, and the movie suffers for it.

The performances are all good. Shia LaBeouf is surprising and holds his own against Michael Douglas, affirming that the young actor can be a leading man. Douglas gets better with age, and he has been good for longer than LaBeouf has been alive. It is easy to forget how capable Douglas is of being subtle, as he gives Gekko more layers than the viewer can count.

Watching Douglas, it becomes obvious that even if the new movie is about the new players on Wall Street, the movie loves the smartest, most dangerous, and most enigmatic player, Gordon Gekko. One of the reasons that Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is good is because it has the strongest element from the first film, Gekko. Despite its strengths, the new film cannot come up with anything of its own that is as memorable as Gordon Gekko.

7 of 10
B+

NOTES:
2011 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Michael Douglas)

Friday, January 28, 2011


It's Our Anniversary! Negromancer Blogger at 1-Year-Old

Yep, it's one year since Negromancer returned as blog, and I'm luvin' it.  I find it way more functional than the old site that I ran through Earthlink.  For one thing, it's easier to get feedback from readers.  I also still have hundreds of old movie reviews to post, so the site will have fresh (sort of) content at least everyday.

I want to thank everyone who visits and also thank those who have donated.  I would do this even if no one visited, but having visitors certainly does make things happier.  Best wishes, everyone!

2001 Oscar Nominee "The Cell" Finds Power in Vincent D'Onofrio



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 175 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Cell (2000)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for bizarre violence and sexual images, nudity, and language
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh
WRITER: Mark Protosevich
PRODUCERS: Julie Caro and Eric McLeod
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Paul Laufer
EDITORS: Robert Duffy and Paul Rubell
Academy Award nominee

THRILLER/SCI-FI/HORROR

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dylan Baker, Jake Weber, James Gammon, Colton James, and Jake Thomas

I never liked music video director Tarsem’s video for rock band R.E.M.’s fondly remembered single, “Losing My Religion,” – pretentious video for a pretentious song. However, I have a little more tolerance for Tarsem Singh (his full name) because of his movie, The Cell. In the film, science can send one person’s consciousness into the mind of another person. That scenario allows Tarsem to create wonderfully colorful and bizarre images that would make for a nice music video, but that also work in the context of a film narrative.

Carl Rudolph Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio) is a serial killer, but before he can kill his latest victim, he has a seizure related to schizophrenia that puts him in a coma from which he will not recover. FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) knows from studying the evidence in Carl’s house that they have less than two days to find the latest victim before she drowns in a cell (or chamber) Carl has rigged to flood via a time release device. But where is the cell?

Enter pyschotherapist Catherine Dean (Jennifer Lopez). She is the only person with experience entering the mind of another human being, so Agent Novak convinces her to journey into Stargher’s mind to communicate with him in hopes that he will reveal the whereabouts of his latest victim to Catherine. However, Catherine has never entered the mind of someone she hadn’t studied. When she enters Stargher’s mind, Catherine finds a world of revulsion and hyper bizarre images. Before long she meets Stargher’s idealized version of himself, a powerful, cross-dressing, behemoth emperor of a strange land, who captures and traps Catherine in his mind.

No doubt, The Cell was released in hopes of attracting the same audience that liked the mind-bending trip of The Matrix’s shifting realities. The Cell isn’t anywhere nearly as good as The Matrix, but it’s a convincing thriller; Tarsem also creates a real sense that the clock is ticking while they search for Stargher’s latest victim. The bizarre landscapes and visuals within Stargher’s mind are intriguing and, with a few exceptions, both visually striking and appealing.

Sometimes, it all seems a little silly, but the journey into Stargher’s mind and the Stargher character are the entire film. Jennifer Lopez’s acting is quite bad in this film; she shows no emotion or life for that matter. There is little or nothing there; she’s an empty vessel. Vince Vaughn is just as bad, if not worse. He’s not acting; he’s pretending and doing a bad job of it.

Vincent D’Onofrio, who always seems willing to put himself through the contortions of makeup or to jump through emotional hoops, gives the performance that saves this film. He has a great film presence, especially when he plays the heavy or plays a bad guy. There’s an air of menace about him, or better yet, he always looks like he’s about to go postal. So everything that is scary and thrilling about this movie goes through him, and luckily Tarsem just happened to notice that.

5 of 10
C+

NOTES:
2001 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Makeup” (Michèle Burke and Edouard F. Henriques)


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Paramount Pictures Celebrates 2011 Academy Award Nominations

PARAMOUNT EARNS A RECORD 20 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS, INCLUDING TWO BEST PICTURE NOMINATIONS FOR “TRUE GRIT” AND “THE FIGHTER”

“True Grit” received a total 10 nominations, while “The Fighter” received 7

HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 25, 2011) - Paramount Pictures received a total of 20 Academy Award nominations this morning, following the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announcement of the best films of 2010.

“On behalf of everyone at Paramount, we are incredibly proud of the recognition our films received today from the Academy. The tremendous and continued success that each film has achieved is deeply gratifying and is a testament to the extraordinary work of all of the artists involved,” said Brad Grey, Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO.

TRUE GRIT received a total of 10 Academy Award nominations, including for Picture, Directing for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Adapted Screenplay, Actor for Jeff Bridges, Best Supporting Actress for Hailee Steinfeld, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Cinematography and Art Direction.

The Fighter received a total of 7 Academy Award nominations, including for Picture, Directing for David O. Russell, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress for Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, Supporting Actor for Christian Bale and Editing.

The hit movie from DreamWorks Animation HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON received 2 nominations, including for Best Animated Film of the Year and Original Score for composer John Powell.


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

2001 Oscar Nominee "The Contender" Contends Until the End



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Contender (2000)
Running time: 126 minutes (2 hours, 6 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sexual content and language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Rod Lurie
PRODUCERS: Willi Baer, Marc Frydman, James Spies, and Douglas Urbanski
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Denis Maloney
EDITOR: Michael Jablow
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA

Starring: Joan Allen, Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliot, William L. Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall, Mike Binder, Robin Thomas, Kathryn Morris, and Mariel Hemingway

After the Vice President of the United States dies, President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) selects Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen, Pleasantville), a Democrat who switched parties, as his nominee to replace the deceased VP. During the confirmation hearings before Congress, a combative rival, Rep. Sheldon “Shelly” Runyon (Gary Oldman) begins leaking lurid stories about Sen. Hanson’s wild past as a sexually promiscuous college student.

Runyon prefers a popular governor, Jack Hathaway (William L. Peterson, TV’s “C. S. I.: Crime Scene Investigation”), as the new VP instead of Sen. Hanson. With an eager young congressman, Rep. Reginald Webster (Christian Slater), at his beck and call, Runyon turns the hearings into his bully pulpit. As Sen. Hanson struggles with the decision to defend herself and answer the horrid charges, investigations into her past by rival interests unearth a mound of increasingly sensational stories.

The Contender could have been a boring Capitol Hill whodunit, but it saves the boring for the end. For most of its length, the film is actually a bracing thriller that gives a fly on the wall view of how nasty and petty our nation’s leaders can be. Writer/director Rod Lurie creates a fascinating, edge of your seat thriller that burns slowly and then explodes with each new shocking revelation. You can hardly take your eyes from the screen, but the film loses its bite, as it gets closer to the end.

It is as if all the air just blows out of the film. Luckily, the cast is game, and they save the film’s ending. When The Contender gets too preachy, it’s blessed to have good actors who can make even talking heads interesting. Joan Allen is what she always is – good. Her strange, subtle beauty gives her a look that makes you sympathetic to her; of course, she has much experience playing the put upon woman in such films as Nixon and The Crucible. Bridges is well liked and respected amongst his peers because he’s a craftsman and an artist. He pulls a trick on the viewer. For most of this film, you can think of President Jackson as a phony, but he sneaks in a broader view of the character that can have you shaking your head. Clearly, President Jackson is not what he seems to be and more than what he seems to be. Gary Oldman is good, even in this unsexy role for an actor who transformed many of the characters he played into sexy, charming rogues. He’s nothing but convincing as the low rent, thuggish nerd, Rep. Runyon.

If for nothing else, a political thriller with a cast of very good actors is worth watching, and The Contender is occasionally quite exciting, even if it limps to the ending.

5 of 10
B-

NOTES:
2001 Academy Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jeff Bridges) and “Best Actress in a Leading Role” (Joan Allen)

2001 Golden Globes: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Jeff Bridges) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Joan Allen)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paramount Pictures Announces Sundance Film Purchase

PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND INDIAN PAINTBRUSH ACQUIRE WORLDWIDE RIGHTS OUT OF SUNDANCE FOR “LIKE CRAZY”

HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 23, 2011) - Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush announced today the worldwide acquisition of LIKE CRAZY for Paramount Pictures to release in 2011. The Super Crispy Entertainment production from co-writer and director Drake Doremus (“Douchebag”), producers Jonathan Schwartz (“The Way Back,” “Douchebag,” “Funny Games”) and Andrea Sperling (“Kaboom,” “Sympathy For Delicious”) of Super Crispy Entertainment, and executive producers Audrey and Zygi Wilf had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday.

Starring Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek,” and “Terminator Salvation”), Felicity Jones (“The Tempest”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“Winters Bone”), LIKE CRAZY was written by Doremus and Ben York Jones (“Douchebag”). The story follows a British college student who falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa. Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum said of the movie “Young love has rarely been so palpable or looked so real,” while Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said “Like Crazy" brings a compelling intimacy and heart-stopping delicacy to showing the push and pull of love, longing and regret.”

Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group and Matt Brodlie, Senior VP of Productions and Acquisitions for Paramount, along with Indian Paintbrush’s President of Production Mark Roybal negotiated for the rights with the film’s reps Rich Klubeck and David Flynn from UTA, along with Schwartz and Doremus' attorney Lawrence Kopeikin from Morris Yorn.

Said Goodman, “Along with our partners at Indian Paintbrush, we are extremely pleased to be a part of such a great movie, and look forward to working with Drake, Jonathan, Andrea and a tremendous cast of actors.”

A spokesperson for Indian Paintbrush added, "Drake is a brilliant filmmaker, who has crafted a fresh, iconic film. With Paramount's unrivaled production and marketing teams, Drake, Jonathan, Andrea and their amazing cast are in great hands to share this jewel of a film with the world."

"Paramount and Indian Paintbrush’s passion and commitment towards the film is incredibly exciting," said Super Crispy Entertainment President and producer Jonathan Schwartz.


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

Happy B'Day, David Strathairn: Good Night, and Good Luck. (2006 Oscar Nominee)



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 172 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) – B&W
Running time: 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes)
MPAA – PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: George Clooney
WRITER/PRODUCER: Grant Heslov
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit
EDITOR: Stephen Mirrione
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/HISTORY with elements of Film-Noir and thriller

Starring: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Frank Langella, Jeff Daniels, Ray Wise, Thomas McCarthy (as Tom McCarthy), Matt Ross, Tate Donovan, Reed Diamond, Robert John Burke, Grant Heslov, Rose Abdoo, Alex Borstein, and Dianne Reeves

The 1950’s were the early days of broadcast journalism, and those early days witnessed a real-life conflict between famed journalist and television newsman, Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). McCarthy charged that Americans with communist sympathies or some who were outright communists had infiltrated the American government and were a threat to national security. Sen. McCarthy’s detractors called his mission to discover these communist sympathizers as a “witch-hunt.” Murrow believed, as did many others, that Sen. McCarthy’s tactics themselves were un-American, as people were convicted, fired from their jobs, publicly humiliated, and otherwise damaged on the basis of here-say evidence. HUAC didn’t necessarily allow people they accused of being communists to see the evidence against them, nor were the accused allowed to face their accusers.

Murrow, who worked for the CBS news division, decided that people should know about the way Senator McCarthy and HUAC operated and was determined to enlighten the viewing public. Murrow and his staff, headed by his producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney) in the newsroom, examined the lies, misinformation, and scare-mongering tactics perpetrated by Sen. McCarthy during his witch-hunts. In doing so, Murrow and Friendly had to defy both their corporate bosses, exemplified in this film as William Paley (Played Frank Langella, William Samuel Paley founded the Columbia Broadcasting System and led CBS until his death in 1990). Murrow also had to defy the broadcast sponsors of his television news show, See It Now, in this case, aluminum giant, Alcoa. Ed Murrow and Sen. McCarthy’s feud went very public and ugly when the senator accused Murrow of being a communist, but in that climate of fear and fear of government reprisal against them, the CBS news crew continued their reporting on Sen. McCarthy and HUAC, an effort that would be historic and monumental. This is a dramatization or fictional account of those real events.

There is sure to be debate about George Clooney’s debut directorial effort, Good Night, and Good Luck., and Clooney’s is a Hollywood liberal (“liberal” is a dirty word, the term “Hollywood liberal” is a double slur). However, Good Night, and Good Luck. (the title is the phrase the real Ed Murrow used at the end of his TV broadcasts) is a message film, a warning from recent American history as a cautionary tale, and an attempt at film art. As a message film, Good Night may be preaching to the converted. As a warning from the past, it is indeed a riveting cautionary tale. Clooney and his co-writer Grant Heslov emphasize in this tale that while many Americans disagreed with Sen. McCarthy’s activities, many either remained silent hoping he’d go away or said nothing for fear that McCarthy and his supporters would smear them with the accusation of being communists.

It clear (to me, at least) that Clooney thinks that early in this new century, too many Americans disagree with the practices of both the current Presidential administration and the right-leaning and outright right wing media that supports it, and those citizens are silent out of fear, apathy, or, even worse, ignorance. Still, Clooney doesn’t want the film’s obvious detractors accusing him of playing fast and loose with history. No actor portrays Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s in Good Night; he (in a sense) plays himself via archival film footage of HUAC sessions and a few filmed interviews. So Sen. McCarthy can hang himself rather than have the screenwriters Heslov and Clooney do it through a fictional representation of the senator played by an actor.

Thanks for the lesson, George, but is your film any good? Good Night, and Good Luck. is damn good. Clooney presents this film almost as if it were a stage drama, with the stage being the office floor in which the CBS news division prepares its broadcasts. The film only occasionally strays from this womb of determined journalists – a few trips to William Paley’s office and once in a barroom. Good Night is stylish and mannered. Shot in high contrast black and white film (They reportedly shot on color film on a grayscale set, then color-corrected in post-production.), it has a nourish feel. Both dreamlike and mysterious, like a Val Newton horror flick (say Cat People), Good Night is a look into the workplace of men who believe in the principals of their profession and will fight anyone, no matter how powerful, to report the news the way they think it should be. Hell, they’re not shy about editorializing when they think its necessary.

The film remains true to its tagline, “we will not walk in fear of one another,” as the script engages the protagonists against a largely mysterious and unseen enemy who would terrorize the American public with the fear of being publicly ruined if they question the self-appointed judges. In the fact, the choice of using Sen. McCarthy not as an actor, but as an ethereal and ghostly specter living in old film footage adds to the sense of menace the senator is supposed to furnish. Murrow and crew aren’t just fighting a man, they’re fighting a larger thing, an atmosphere of threat with which the journalists must grapple using words and ideas.

The performances in this film are good, but not great, with the exception being David Strathairn as Ed Murrow. Silent and contemplative, Murrow’s mind is always working on the struggle against fear and tyranny – we see that in his acting. In Strathairn, we also see Murrow tackle the big picture (the witch-hunts) and take on a specific villain (McCarthy the ringleader). We can see the pain in Strathairn’s Murrow when he must stay the course, although a friend needs his help in a meaningless side skirmish, but when Clooney and Heslov have Murrow make that choice, that choice makes him seem like a brave man.

Good Night, and Good Luck. is a fine film – all so very well put together, Clooney gives us the candy coating of singer Dianne Reeves (backed by the band that performs with George's aunt, Rosemary Clooney) providing mood establishing jazz interludes. It’s the sweet course of a very good meal.

9 of 10
A+

Saturday, November 12, 2005

NOTES:
2006 Academy Awards: 6 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Grant Heslov), “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (James D. Bissell-art director and Jan Pascale-set decorator), “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Robert Elswit), “Best Achievement in Directing” (George Clooney), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (David Strathairn), “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (George Clooney and Grant Heslov)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 6 nominations: “Best Editing” (Stephen Mirrione), “Best Film” (Grant Heslov), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (David Strathairn), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (George Clooney), “Best Screenplay – Original” (George Clooney and Grant Heslov), and “David Lean Award for Direction” (George Clooney)

2006 Golden Globes: 4 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (George Clooney), “Best Motion Picture – Drama” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (David Strathairn), and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (George Clooney and Grant Heslov)


Why "Toy Story 3" is Nominated for "Adapted Screenplay Oscar" and Not "Original Screenplay"

I've seen this question asked around the Internet quite a bit.  Screenplays for sequels are considered adaptations because they are based on the original story or, in this case, film.  Toy Story 3 uses characters featured in Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and it is, of course, a sequel.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Oscar Nominations Complete List

Earlier today, I posted the 83rd Academy Award nominations, but I made each category a separate post.  Well, here is the complete list as one long post.

Best Picture
“Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
“The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
“Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
“The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
“The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
“127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
“The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
“Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
“True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Directing
“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” David O. Russell
“The King's Speech” Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” David Fincher
“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Animated Feature Film
“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland” Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Inception” Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
“The King's Speech” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
“True Grit” Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Cinematography
“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
“Inception” Wally Pfister
“The King's Speech” Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” Roger Deakins

Costume Design
“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King's Speech” Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” Sandy Powell
“True Grit” Mary Zophres

Documentary (Feature)
“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)
“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Film Editing
“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” Pamela Martin
“The King's Speech” Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours” Jon Harris
“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful” Mexico
“Dogtooth” Greece
“In a Better World” Denmark
“Incendies” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria

Makeup
“Barney's Version” Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
“Inception” Hans Zimmer
“The King's Speech” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Short Film (Animated)
“Day & Night” Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
“Let's Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Confession” Tanel Toom
“The Crush” Michael Creagh
“God of Love” Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Sound Editing
“Inception” Richard King
“Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
“Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
“Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger

Sound Mixing
“Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
“The King's Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
“Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
“The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
“Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
“Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
“Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
“The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
“Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
“True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

The awards will be handed out Sunday, February 27, 2011 and broadcast on ABC.

http://www.oscar.org/

Review: "Takers" Brings Heat



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 8 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Takers (2010)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity
DIRECTOR: John Luessenhop
WRITERS: Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, and Avery Duff
PRODUCERS: Jason Geter, William Packer, and Tip “T.I.” Harris
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Barrett (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Armen Minasian

CRIME/DRAMA/ACTION

Starring: Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, T.I., Jay Hernandez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Zoe Saldana, Steve Harris, Gaius Charles, Johnathan Schaech, and Glynn Turman

Arriving in theatres last August 2010, Takers is an ensemble crime drama that focuses on a seasoned team of professional bank robbers and the hard-nosed detective that is hunting them. Though not great, Takers is nonetheless an exciting little heist movie that manages to walk its own way, while showing its influences.

Gordon Cozier (Idris Elba), John Rahway (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and brothers Jake Attica (Michael Ealy) and Jesse Attica (Chris Brown) are a highly-organized team of bank robbers. They describe themselves a “takers,” because they see something they want and they take it. After shocking Los Angeles with their latest heist, they plan to lead a life of luxury for a long time before taking on their next job.

They get a surprise, however, from former team member, Dalonte Rivers A.KA. Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris). Caught in a previous robbery five years earlier, Ghost received an early release from prison and is on parole. Claiming he harbors no ill will towards his former teammates, Ghost convinces them that now is the right time to strike an armored car carrying $20 million. The “takers” carefully plot out their strategy and draw nearer to the day of the heist, but their activities have brought a reckless, rule-breaking police officer named Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) closer to learning their identities. As Welles and his partner, Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez), get closer, things get crazy and new players move into the game.

Early on in the film, I recognized Takers as a sort of urban contemporary take on Michael Mann’s influential heist flick, Heat (1995), but Takers isn’t the complex and insightful character study that Mann’s film is. Takers’ characters are either shallow (John, A.J.), potential poorly executed (Ghost), or well-developed, but shorted on time (Jack Welles, Gordon Cozier).

Takers moves quickly and has a cool, slick visual manner befitting an L.A. crime film. Gripping set pieces open the film, straddle the film’s middle, and close the film, all of which make this work very well as an action movie. Takers is a thrill to watch. It’s a shame that the writing on the character side isn’t stronger, because that is pretty much what keeps Takers from being an exceptional action and crime film. Still, Takers is better than most recent crime films, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel or even a prequel.

7 of 10
B+

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


2011 Oscar Nominations: Best Picture

Best Picture

“Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers

“The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers

“Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers

“The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers

“The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers

“127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers

“The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers

“Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer

“True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers

“Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

2011 Oscar Nominations: Best Director

Directing

“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky

“The Fighter” David O. Russell

“The King's Speech” Tom Hooper

“The Social Network” David Fincher

“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

2011 Oscar Nominations: Lead Actress

Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”

Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”

Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”

Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”

Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

2011 Oscar Nominations: Supporting Actress

Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams in “The Fighter”

Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”

Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”

Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”

Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

2011 Oscar Nominations: Lead Actor

Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”

Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”

Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”

Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”

James Franco in “127 Hours”

2011 Oscar Nominations: Supporting Actor

Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale in “The Fighter”

John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”

Jeremy Renner in “The Town”

Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”

Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech”

2011 Oscar Nominations: Animated Feature Film

Animated Feature Film

“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet

“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich
 

2011 Oscar Nominations: Art Direction

Art Direction

“Alice in Wonderland”

Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

“Inception”

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat

“The King's Speech”

Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr

“True Grit”

Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

2011 Oscar Nominations: Cinematography

Cinematography

“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique

“Inception” Wally Pfister

“The King's Speech” Danny Cohen

“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth

“True Grit” Roger Deakins

2011 Oscar Nominations: Costume Design

Costume Design

“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood

“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi

“The King's Speech” Jenny Beavan

“The Tempest” Sandy Powell

“True Grit” Mary Zophres

2011 Oscar Nominations: Documentary Feature

Documentary (Feature)

“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz

“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic

“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

2011 Oscar Nominations: Documentary Short Subject

Documentary (Short Subject)

“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined

“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined

“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger

“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

2011 Oscar Nominations: Film Editing

Film Editing

“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum

“The Fighter” Pamela Martin

“The King's Speech” Tariq Anwar

“127 Hours” Jon Harris

“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

2011 Oscar Nominations: Foreign Language Film

Foreign Language Film


“Biutiful” Mexico

“Dogtooth” Greece

“In a Better World” Denmark

“Incendies” Canada

“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria

2011 Oscar Nominations: Makeup

Makeup


“Barney's Version” Adrien Morot

“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

2011 Oscar Nominations: Original Score

Music (Original Score)


“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell

“Inception” Hans Zimmer

“The King's Speech” Alexandre Desplat

“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman

“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

2011 Oscar Nominations: Original Song

Music (Original Song)


“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater

“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

2011 Oscar Nominations: Animated Short Film

Short Film (Animated)

“Day & Night” Teddy Newton

“The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang

“Let's Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe

“The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois

2011 Oscar Nominations: Live Action Short Film

Short Film (Live Action)


“The Confession” Tanel Toom

“The Crush” Michael Creagh

“God of Love” Luke Matheny

“Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt

“Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

2011 Oscar Nominations: Sound Editing

Sound Editing


“Inception” Richard King

“Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers

“Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague

“True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey

“Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger

2011 Oscar Nominations: Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing


“Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

“The King's Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley

“Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin

“The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten

“True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

2011 Oscar Nominations: Visual Effects

Visual Effects


“Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi

“Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell

“Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

“Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

2011 Oscar Nominations: Adapted Screenplay

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

“The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

“Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

“True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

“Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

2011 Oscar Nominations: Original Screenplay

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh

“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;

Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson

“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan

“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg

“The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

Monday, January 24, 2011

31st Annual Razzie Award Nominations List

The Golden Rasberry Award or "Razzie" is an award given in recognition of the worst in film.  The Razzie has been given out since 1981 and usually corresponds with the Academy Awards by one day.  Like the Academy Awards, the Razzie's focus in on Hollywood films, movies produced by the major and semi-major studios.  The Oscars go to best films from the major players, and the Razzies go to the worst from the big studios.

After much searching, I found the list of this year's nominess at Shockya.

31st Razzie Awards nominations for 2010:

WORST PICTURE:
The Bounty Hunter
The Last Airbender
Sex and the City 2
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Vampires Suck

WORST DIRECTOR:
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer / Vampires Suck
Michael Patrick King / Sex and The City 2
M. Night Shyamalan / The Last Airbender
David Slade / Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Sylvester Stallone / The Expendables

WORST ACTOR:
Jack Black / Gulliver’s Travels
Gerard Butler /The Bounty Hunter
Ashton Kutcher / Killers and Valentine’s Day
Taylor Lautner / Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Valentine’s Day
Robert Pattinson / Remember Me and Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST ACTRESS:
Jennifer Aniston / The Bounty Hunter and The Switch
Mylie Cyrus / The Last Song
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon / Sex & the City 2
Megan Fox / Jonah Hex
Kristen Stewart / Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Jessica Alba / The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete and Valentine’s Day
Cher / Burlesque
Liza Minnelli / Sex & the City 2
Nicola Peltz / The Last Airbender
Barbra Streisand / Little Fockers

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Billy Ray Cyrus / The Spy Next Door
George Lopez / Marmaduke, The Spy Next Door and Valentine’s Day
Dev Patel / The Last Airbender
Jackson Rathbone / The Last Airbender and Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Rob Schneider / Grown Ups

WORST EYE-GOUGING MIS-USE Of 3-D:
Cats & Dogs 2: Revenge of Kitty Galore
Clash of the Titans
The Last Airbender
Nutcracker 3-D
Saw 3-D (aka Saw VII)

WORST SCREEN COUPLE / WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLE:
Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler / The Bounty Hunter
Josh Brolin’s Face and Megan Fox’s Accent / Jonah Hex
The Entire Cast of The Last Airbender
The Entire Cast of Sex & The City 2
The Entire Cast of Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST SCREENPLAY:
The Last Airbender, Written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko
Little Fockers, Written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on Characters Created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke
Sex & the City 2, Written by Michael Patrick King, Based on the TV Series Created by Darren Star
Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
Vampires Suck, Written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer

WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL:
Clash Of The Titans
The Last Airbender
Sex & The City 2
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Vampires Suck

http://www.razzies.com/
 

Planet of the Apes: Razzie Winner for Worst Remake - It's Not So Bad



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 2 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Planet of the Apes (2001)
Running time:  119 minutes (1 hour, 59 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some sequences of action/violence
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton
WRITERS: William Broyles, Jr., Lawrence Konner, and Mark D. Rosenthal (based upon the novel by Pierre Boulle)
PRODUCER: Richard D. Zanuck
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Chris Lebenzon
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman
BAFTA Award nominee

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/THRILLER with elements of adventure

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari, and (uncredited) Charlton Heston

When Captain Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) leaves the safety of a United States Air Force space station, he is on an unauthorized mission to save his favorite chimp. He enters some kind of electro-magnetic storm, and his space pod crashes on an uncharted planet.

Before long, he is running through the jungle with a back of wild humans, chased by half glimpsed pursuers. A group of talking apes led by General Thade (Tim Roth) capture Davidson and the humans. Ari (Helena Bonham-Carter) buys Davidson because his intelligence and demeanor piques her interest. He convinces her to follow him on a quest to find his shipmates whom he believes are on the planet in search of him. However, a deeper mystery resides in the desert heart of their destination.

Directed by one of cinema’s finest visual stylists, Tim Burton, Planet of the Apes, the 2001 remake of the 1968 classic is noisy spectacle that is not without some nice moments. Burton has admitted to not knowing a good script when he sees one, but when he inadvertently gets one, he makes good movies (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow). When he gets a troubled piece of writing, the audience writhes in pain at the cinematic potential clumsily handled before their eyes (Batman Returns); this one falls somewhere in the middle.

The script is a simple cat and mouse chase story with a battle scene thrown late into the movie for a faux epic aura. Here and there are smatterings of issues of freedom, slavery, intelligence, friendship and betrayal, but the smart stuff doesn’t get in the way of the fun, dumb stuff – fist fights, gunfire and explosions. Burton expertly wields the story and creates a nearly two-hour movie that feels much shorter. It is a “lite” affair meant to entertain by keeping the protagonists in a constant state of discomfort and definite sense of entertainment.

The acting is mostly adequate professional work. Ms. Bonham-Carter creates the illusion that her character Ari has quite a bit of depth, more so than with which the action movie script can deal; there’s not too much time for character in many action movies. Michael Clarke Duncan as Thade’s right hand man-ape, Colonel Attar, is wonderfully convincing as an officer and as a leader of soldiers. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Krull, the disgraced soldier, is equally compelling; between Attar and Krull is some interesting back-story that would have greatly embellished the movie had that story been give a chance. But this is a summer bang-bang.

Planet of the Apes wastes the talented Roth, who can portray layered, multi-dimensional villains (such as the vile Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy, which earned him an Oscar nomination) behind a heavy costume. Here, the mask hides that which truly makes Roth’s gifts work, his face of a thousand expressions – exaggerated and otherwise. This is no criticism of the fantastic work of makeup effects artist Rick Baker. Once again, he uncannily delivers brilliant work. However, the glare from Baker’s skills dim the light of Roth’s thespian talents.

Light fare for sure, Planet of the Apes’ massive box office success is a surprise. But it’s clear and linear movie and it properly strings the audience along until it’s pitiable ending. By then, one gets the feeling that this entire exercise was merely the testing ground for a long lasting franchise similar to the franchise birthed from the original.

Still, the magic is in what Burton does. This is a very entertaining movie and remains so even as one tries to poke holes in it. One can hold the same light up to Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Sleepy Hollow and find all manner of ridiculousness, but they remain fun films, always ready to be popped into a VCR or DVD player and become a filling midnight video snack.

Planet of the Apes is like that and it pretty much delivers on being the vacuous treat it started out to be. Not much of a goal, but a goal attained, more or less.

6 of 10
B

NOTES:
2002 BAFTA Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Costume Design” (Colleen Atwood) and “Best Make Up/Hair” (Rick Baker, Toni G, and Kazuhiro Tsuji)

2002 Razzie Awards: 3 wins: “Worst Remake or Sequel,” “Worst Supporting Actor” (Charlton Heston), and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Estella Warren)


Saddam Hussein Novel Inspires Upcoming Sacha Baron Cohen Film

SACHA BARON COHEN’S NEXT COMEDY “THE DICTATOR” TO OPEN WORLDWIDE ON MAY 11, 2012

Larry Charles Comes Aboard To Direct, And Scott Rudin To Produce

HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 20, 2011) - Paramount Pictures announced today that Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy The Dictator will be released worldwide on May 11, 2012. The studio also announced that Larry Charles (“Borat”, “Bruno”) has come aboard to direct.

The film tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. It is inspired by the best selling novel "Zabibah and The King" by Saddam Hussein.

Producing alongside Baron Cohen are Scott Rudin, Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel. The project marks the first collaboration for Rudin (“The Social Network,” “True Grit”) and Baron Cohen, while Berg, Schaffer and Mandel (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) join him as screenwriters on the movie. The movie is the latest collaboration between Baron Cohen and Charles, who previously worked together on “Borat” as well as “Bruno”. Dan Mazer (“Borat” “Bruno”), Ant Hines ("Borat" "Bruno") and Peter Baynham (“Borat”) will serve as executive producers, reuniting the rest of the Academy Award®-nominated and Golden Globe winning “Borat” team. Todd Schulman ("Borat" “Bruno”) is co-producing under Baron Cohen’s Four By Two Films banner.

Larry Charles, Sacha Baron Cohen and David Mandel are repped by WME. Dan Mazer, Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer are repped by UTA.

About Paramount Pictures CorporationParamount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.


Razzie Worst Picture Winner? "Gigli" is Not that Bad



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 120 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Gigli (2003)
Running time: 121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – R for sexual content, pervasive language and brief strong violence
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Martin Brest
PRODUCERS: Martin Brest and Casey Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit
EDITOR: Julie Monroe and Billy Weber
Razzie Award winner

CRIME/DRAMA/ROMANCE

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha, Lenny Venito, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and Lanie Kazan

A little more than half way through the year 2003, Martin Brest's (Beverly Hills Cop, Scent of a Woman) Gigli may be the worst reviewed movie of the year, but it is by no means the worst movie I’ve seen this year. Thus far, that would be the dreadful Legally Blonde sequel. Gigli is entertaining and has enough raunchy comedy that I would recommend it to anyone who can stomach something like Pulp Fiction or it’s Baby Gap version, Go. Anyone who is a fan of Affleck or Ms. Lopez shouldn’t miss this for the world. It’s not a matter of the film being that bad, considering that many people will give anything a shot, especially once a movie is on home video, Gigli pretty much runs with the pack in terms of quality (or lack thereof).

Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) is a lowly thug with a penchant for delivering the pain when his mob boss Louis (Lenny Venito) demands it. He’s assigned to kidnap Brian (Justin Bartha), the mentally retarded brother of powerful federal prosecutor. Louis doesn’t trust Gigli not to screw up the job, so he sends in Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), another contract specialist, to watch over Larry. After some initial hard feelings, Larry falls for Ricki, but when she promptly informs him that she is gay, Gigli realizes that it may be a hard road to travel before he gets in her drawers.

More than anything, I think Gigli’s problems lie in Martin Brest’s script. I don’t at all mind the lewd and crude humor and scenes or the idiosyncratic characters. What I do mind is that Brest’s assumes that all the odd bits should make up for what is essentially a lightweight tale of star-crossed lovers and offbeat characters. In a sense, Gigli and Ricki should easily fall in love – after a period of struggling to accept each other’s oddities, of course. Instead the love story simply stumbles around its own plot twists: Ricki’s gay; she might be interested in men; she thinks Gigli’s in the closet; she really likes him, but she’s just not ready for a man.

Granted that there might be real life situations like this, but drama, art, and fiction should give the audience the payoff that real life will not. Even a love story about two polar opposites is supposed to deliver on the fact that this mismatched pair will eventually match up. Now, one of those “complex, art, awards season” films might get away with keeping the nothing-in-common lovers apart, but Gigli is, regardless of Brest’s intentions, throwaway entertainment. After all, a smart intelligent, Academy Award-genre film doesn’t rely on a mentally handicapped man singing rude rap songs or saying things like, “when my penis sneezes” for laughs.

Gigli wants to be a crime drama, but it’s only superficially so. There is some and crime and some drama, but it’s almost a movie without a genre. What saves Gigli are the often-hilarious lines and scenes, even the goofy ones like, “when my penis sneezes,” or “I tell my penis ‘God bless you’ when it sneezes.” I even enjoyed Ben and Jen playing twister with this crooked love story. Ben ably rises above the material to give a very good performance, only falling short when the script utterly fails him. Jen’s character is a crock, but she tries in spite of her limitations as an actress. Lanie Kazan (in a really low down and common role), Christopher Walken and Al Pacino make the most of their cameos, and Lenny Venito and Justin Bartha give solid supporting performances.

I’d see this again, because I like it in spite of the handicapped script. When it’s funny, it’s outrageous and as raw as anything Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy could deliver in their best days. And at the oddest moments, Gigli is sad, sweet, charming, and endearing. In a season of disposable action movies, Gigli is the odd man out, and worth seeing – either in the theatre or at home.

5 of 10
C+

NOTES:
2004 Razzie Award: 6 wins: “Worst Actor” (Ben Affleck), “Worst Actress” (Jennifer Lopez), “Worst Director” (Martin Brest), “Worst Picture” (Columbia and Revolution), “Worst Screen Couple” (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez), “Worst Screenplay” (Martin Brest); 3 nominations: “Worst Supporting Actor” (Al Pacino), “Worst Supporting Actor” (Christopher Walken) and “Worst Supporting Actress” Lainie Kazan)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The King's Speech" Takes Upset Win at Producers Guild Awards

The Producers Guild of America held its Producers Guild Awards last night (Sat. Jan. 22nd), and they weren't on The Social Network's bandwagon.  The King’s Speech, the film dramatization of King George VI’s efforts to conquer his stuttering, won the PGA "Best Picture" Award.  Could this be the first bump on the road that is The Social Network's march to Oscar best picture glory?

This coming Saturday is the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and if The Social Network does not win the best ensemble award (SAG's equivalent of a best picture award), then the Oscar best picture award race is tighter than some of us think.

Anyway, until I can get the PGA press release, here is the winners' list:

Best Picture: The King’s Speech


Episodic TV, drama: Mad Men

Documentary: Waiting for Superman

Long Form TV: The Pacific

Live TV award: The Colbert Report

Animated Feature: Toy Story 3

Episodic Television Show, Comedy: Modern Family

"Failure to Launch" Flies Alright



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 175 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Failure to Launch (2006)
Running time: 97 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, and language
DIRECTOR: Tom Dey
WRITERS: Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember
PRODUCERS: Scott Rudin and Scott Aversano
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Claudio Miranda
EDITOR: Steven Rosenblum

COMEDY/ROMANCE

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Kathy Bates, and Terry Bradshaw, Tyrell Jackson Williams, Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Kate McGregor-Stewart, and Adam Alexi-Malle

Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) still lives with his parents, Sue and Al (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw), and they’re desperate to push him out of the nest. They hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), a relationship consultant. She’s a kind of professional interventionist who uses her tried-and-proved tactics to pretend to fall in love with a guy. Paula wants to make a client feel good about himself and improve his self-esteem to the point where he’s ready to live on his own. Paula, however, finds herself falling for Tripp, but what will she do if he finds out that his parents paid her to date him?

The concept behind Failure to Launch is dumb. It’s just a desperate film concoction with the specific purpose of creating one of those mismatched pair/star-crossed lovers scenarios – the kind of tale of unlikely love that audiences just love. What makes it work so well? It’s probably the cast, which itself seems mismatched, but somehow works together (and the chance to see former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in his birthday suit). Somehow through all the stupid things the characters did, through all the treacherous acts that people commit against the ones they love (the road to Hell…), and through the holes in both the concept and the plot, Failure to Launch left me humming with feel good satisfaction. It even made my cynicism smile.

6 of 10
B

Friday, August 11, 2006


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Top Notch Performances are "The Cider House Rules"



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 141 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Cider House Rules (1999)
Running time:  126 minutes (2 hours, 6 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexuality, nudity, substance abuse and some violence
DIRECTOR: Lasse Halstrom
WRITER: John Irving (based upon his novel)
PRODUCER: Richard N. Gladstein
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Stapleton (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin
Academy Award winner

DRAMA

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd, Jane Alexander, Kathy Baker, Erykah Badu, Kieran Culkin, Kate Nelligan, Heavy D, and J.K. Simmons

Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) has lived all his live in an orphanage. His de facto father, the orphanage’s lone physician and director, Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine), has trained Homer to be a doctor, learning the same things that Dr. Larch needed to be effective at the orphanage. One day, the compassionate young man decides to leave his home to see the world after meeting Candy Kendall, an unmarried, pregnant young woman (Charlize Theron), and her boyfriend, Lt. Wally Worthington (Paul Rudd). Wally gets Homer a job picking apples in his mother’s orchard with a crew of itinerant workers. Here, he meets the crew chief Mr. Arthur Rose (Delroy Lindo) and his daughter Rose Rose (singer Eryka Badu), which leads him to make the most important decisions of his young life.

Directed by Lasse Halstrom, The Cider House Rules is quite simply a beautiful, well crafted, and superbly acted film. It tugs at all the heartstrings, but the film does so by honestly dealing with emotions and decisions with which the audience can identify. More than anything, it is about making choices and sometimes having to make them when the obvious direction goes against personal beliefs. John Irving adapted his novel of the same title for the screen, and the story readily embraces the idea that a person can do something that makes life better for someone other than himself, even at the cost of personal satisfaction. This could have resulted in a film that was very dry and turned off the audience, but the director and writer weave the situation with such sincerity, grace, wit, and charm that we can’t help but see their view.

The cast is key to this because each actor helps to make his character sympathetic. When the audience sympathizes they will be open to a particular character’s ideas even if it’s counter to what they believe. And The Cider House Rules, which deals with issues of reproductive freedom, adoption, incest, rape, abortion, infidelity, certainly needs likeable characters to make the film enjoyable and not just tolerable.

Maguire is a very good actor; a pleasant young fellow with boyish good looks, he can win the viewer over. He literally carries this film on his back. He does have a kind of facial tick, something like a slight smirk, that seems to pop up at inopportune moments, but otherwise, he endows his characters with a young everyman sort of charm that is both winning and well done.

Seemingly the hardest working actor in the Western world, Michael Caine turns in one of the best performances of his career and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role. While Homer’s life seems destined to mimic Dr. Larch’s, Caine’s turn as the doctor sets the philosophical agenda for this film, and he’s more than up to the challenge.

The Cider House Rules is a very good film, and is certainly a high achievement in the pantheon of film rudely called tearjerkers. More than just another weepy, it stands out as an attempt at really conveying something about the human condition, while still being very entertaining.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2000 Academy Awards: 2 wins: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Michael Caine) and “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published” (John Irving); 5 nominations: “Best Picture” (Richard N. Gladstein), “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (David Gropman-art director and Beth A. Rubino-set decorator), “Best Director” (Lasse Hallström), “Best Editing” (Lisa Zeno Churgin) and “Best Music, Original Score” (Rachel Portman)

2000 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Michael Caine

2000 Black Reel Awards: 1 win: “Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress” (Erykah Badu); 1 nomination: “Theatrical - Best Supporting Actor” (Delroy Lindo)

2000 Golden Globes: 2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Michael Caine) and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (John Irving)