Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: "Red Hook Summer" Late with Its Hook

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 101 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Red Hook Summer (2012)
Running time: 121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – R for brief violence, language and a disturbing situation
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Spike Lee
WRITERS: James McBride and Spike Lee
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kerwin DeVonish
EDITOR: Hye Mee Na
COMPOSERS: Bruce Hornsby with Judith Hill and Jonathan Batiste

DRAMA

Starring: Jules Brown, Clarke Peters, Toni Lysaith, Heather Simms, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Nate Parker, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, De’Adre Aziza, Jonathan Batiste, Sincere Peters, Coleman Domingo, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

Red Hook Summer is a 2012 drama from director Spike Lee. The film follows a middle-class boy from Atlanta, spending the summer with his grandfather in Red Hook, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Thirteen-year-old Silas “Flik” Royale (Jules Brown) finds himself in Red Hook, Brooklyn. His mother, Colleen Royale (De’Adre Aziza), has sent him there to spend the summer with Flik’s grandfather (and her father), Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters). The Bishop heads Lil’ Peace of Heaven Church, a small congregation struggling with financial worries and shrinking membership.

Flik hates staying in the Red Hook housing projects, where he runs afoul of a local drug dealer named Box (Nate Parker). Still, he makes a friend in sassy teen girl, Chazz Morningstar (Toni Lysaith), and the youngsters spend their days and nights arguing about life and spiritual matters. This Red Hook summer is not free of troubles, as dark secrets suddenly come forth. Who are Bishop Richard Benjamin Broadnax and Blessing Rowe?

First, some trivia: Red Hook Summer is the first time Spike Lee has acted in one of his films since 1999’s Summer of Sam. Lee also reprises the role of Mookie, the lead character in Lee’s 1989 film, Do The Right Thing, for this movie.

Red Hook Summer is a quality film, but suffers from being uneven and rough. Spike Lee’s films are at their best when the director is being confrontational and when he can pluck nerves and tweak prevailing attitudes, conventions, and traditions, as he did in Do The Right Thing. For most of its runtime, Red Hook Summer wears its low-budget, indie production values on its sleeves, and it is less confrontational and more quarrelsome. It’s not that this film looks cheap; it just looks like every other indie drama set off the beaten path in some average, lower working class or impoverished burg/neighborhood.

Except for a few moments, some snippets of dialogue, and a soliloquy here and there, Red Hook Summer does not offer sustained fire, passion, and conflict (or obstacles). There is an explosive change with forty minutes left in the movie. Even at that point, Lee allows the film’s real drama and conflict to go unresolved or even conferred upon. Essentially, the best of Red Hook Summer does not happen until the movie’s last act. WTF, indeed! The drama is just getting started as the movie is just starting to end.

The film is rather inelegant about its most confrontational and didactic aspects and elements. The acting is often stiff, the dialogue only a little less so. Still, Red Hook Summer has something many other movies lack, a sense verisimilitude.

Watching it, the movie felt real to me. It has weight, substance, and depth, in spite of its deficiencies. Spike Lee does what he does best – get on the streets and turn those streets into burly, fleshy drama. In a landscape of big, loud, expensive movies made all the more unreal by various computer and technological enhancements, Red Hook Summer keeps it real. It is impossible to ignore, and that’s a good thing.

6 of 10
B

Monday, December 31, 2012


Oklahoma Film Critics Name "Argo" Best Film of 2012

The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle (OFCC) is the statewide group of professional film critics. OFCC members are Oklahoma-based movie critics who write for print, broadcast and online outlets that publish or post reviews of current film releases.

OFCC 2012 Film Awards:

Top 10 Films
1. “Argo.”

2. “Zero Dark Thirty.”

3. “Moonrise Kingdom.”

4. “Django Unchained.”

5. “Silver Linings Playbook.”

6. “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

7. “The Master.”

8. “Lincoln.”

9. “Looper.”

10. “Les Miserables.”


Best Film: “Argo.”

Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo.”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.”

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master.”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables.”

Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo.”

Best Animated Film: “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Best Body of Work: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Lincoln”)

Best Documentary: “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best First Feature: “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin.

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour.” (from Austria)

Best Guilty Pleasure: “21 Jump Street.”

Not-So-Obviously Worst Movie: “Prometheus.”

Obviously Worst Movie: “That’s My Boy.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Down to 9 for 5 Foreign Language Oscar Nominations

9 Foreign Language Films Vie For Oscar®

Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®. Seventy-one films had originally qualified in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director;

Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;

Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director;

Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;

France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;

Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;

Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;

Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director;

Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director.

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2012 are again being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 71 eligible films between mid-October and December 17. The group's top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 4, through Sunday, January 6, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

7 Films Compete for 3 "Best Makeup" Oscar Nominations

7 Features Advance in Race for Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar®

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup and Hairstyling category for the 85th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Hitchcock”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

“Les Misérables”

“Lincoln”

“Looper”

“Men in Black 3”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

On Saturday, January 5, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Nevada Film Critics Choose "Argo" as 2012's Best Film

The Nevada Film Critics Society (NFCS) is apparently a society of film critics who reside in Nevada and produce film reviews for print, broadcast, radio, and online.

The Nevada Film Critics Society's 2012 Awards for Achievement in Film:

Best Film - Argo

Best Actor - John Hawkes (The Sessions)

Best Actress - TIE - Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Supporting Actor - Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress - Sally Field (Lincoln)

Best Youth Performance - Tom Holland (The Impossible)

Best Director - TIE - Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Ensemble Cast - Lincoln

Best Animated Movie - Frankenweenie

Best Production Design - Les Miserables

Best Cinematography - Life Of Pi

Best Visual Effects - Life Of Pi

http://nevadafilmcriticssociety.org/

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Utah Film Critics Say "Zero Dark Thirty" the Best 2012


2012 Utah Film Critics Association winners:

Best Picture • "Zero Dark Thirty"
(runner-up: "Looper")

Directing • Wes Anderson, "Moonrise Kingdom"
(runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty")

Lead Actor • Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
(runners-up: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," and John Hawkes, "The Sessions")

Lead actress TIE • Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook," and Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Supporting Actor • Dwight Henry, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
(runner-up: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master")

Supporting Actress • Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
(runner-up: Ann Dowd, "Compliance")

Original Screenplay • Rian Johnson, "Looper"
(runner-up: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard, "The Cabin in the Woods")

Adapted Screenplay • Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
(runner-up: David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook")

Cinematography • Roger Deakins, "Skyfall"
(runner-up: Claudio Miranda, "Life of Pi")

Documentary Feature • "Indie Game: The Movie"
(runner-up: "The Invisible War")

Non-English Language Feature • "Headhunters" (from Norway)
(runner-up: "Amour" from France)

Animated Feature • "ParaNorman"
(runners-up: "Frankenweenie" and "Wreck-It Ralph")

"The Hobbit" Passes $500 Million Mark in Worldwide Box Office

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Crosses $500 Million Mark Worldwide

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has surpassed the $500 million benchmark at the worldwide box office. The joint announcement was made today by Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema; Gary Barber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios; Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures; and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

To date, the blockbuster has earned an estimated $179.7 million domestically. In addition, on the heels of its record-breaking release in Australia—the biggest Boxing Day opening of all time—“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has grossed an estimated $344 million internationally, for a staggering global total of $523.7 million, and still steadily climbing.

In making the announcement, Fellman stated, “We are extremely gratified by the response of moviegoers who love the film and, in many cases, are taking this terrifically entertaining ‘Journey’ to Middle-earth more than once. We anticipate that positive word of mouth and repeat viewings will continue to result in strong returns well into the New Year.”

Kwan Vandenberg said, “These fantastic box office numbers demonstrate that the film’s playability has no borders. Peter Jackson has created a truly global event with a film that thrills audiences in any language. Warner Bros. joins our partners at MGM and New Line in congratulating him, his cast and crew, and everyone involved in this film on this milestone.”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Pictures, is the acclaimed first film in Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson’s epic “The Hobbit” Trilogy, based on the timeless novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis.

The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” All three films in “The Hobbit” Trilogy, also including “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and the final film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

www.thehobbit.com

Happy Birthday, Debbie

You've had so many, so you know how to enjoy this day. Ha Ha

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 London Film Critics Circle Award Nominations Complete List

The London Film Critics’ Circle (if I understand correctly) is part of a larger organization, The Critics’ Circle, which makes an annual award for Services to the Arts. This circle is comprised of the five sections: dance, drama, film, music, and visual arts.

On its website, The Circle says that its aims are “to promote the art of criticism, to uphold its integrity in practice, to foster and safeguard members’ professional interests, to provide opportunities to meet, and to support the advancement of the arts.” Currently there are 430 members of the Circle, mostly from the UK, and the majority of them write regularly for national and regional newspapers and magazines. Membership is by invitation.

The 33rd annual edition London Critics' Circle Film Awards will take place on Sunday, January 20, 2013, in a ceremony held at the May Fair Hotel.

33rd (2012) CRITICS' CIRCLE FILM AWARDS NOMINATIONS (film distributor's name in parenthesis):

The Sky Movies Award: FILM OF THE YEAR
Amour (Artificial Eye)
Argo (Warners)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (StudioCanal)
Life of Pi (Fox)
The Master (Entertainment)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Amour – from Austri (Artificial Eye)
Holy Motors – from France (Artificial Eye)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – from Turkey (New Wave)
Rust and Bone – from France/Belgium (StudioCanal)
Tabu – from Portugal (New Wave)

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
The Imposter (Picturehouse/Revolver)
London: The Modern Babylon (BFI)
Nostalgia for the Light (New Wave)
The Queen of Versailles (Dogwoof)
Searching for Sugar Man (StudioCanal)

The May Fair Hotel Award: BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
Berberian Sound Studio (Artificial Eye)
The Imposter (Picturehouse/Revolver)
Les Miserables (Universal)
Sightseers (StudioCanal)
Skyfall (Sony)

The Spotlight Award: ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln (Fox)
Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables (Universal)
Mads Mikkelsen – The Hunt (Arrow)
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master (Entertainment)
Jean-Louis Trintignant – Amour (Artificial Eye)

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty (Universal)
Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone (StudioCanal)
Helen Hunt - The Sessions (Fox)
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook (Entertainment)
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour (Artificial Eye)

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Alan Arkin – Argo (Warners)
Javier Bardem – Skyfall (Sony)
Michael Fassbender – Prometheus (Fox)
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master (Entertainment)
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln (Fox)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Amy Adams – The Master (Entertainment)
Judi Dench – Skyfall (Sony)
Sally Field – Lincoln (Fox)
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables (Universal)
Isabelle Huppert – Amour (Artificial Eye)

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR – In association with Cameo Productions
Daniel Craig – Skyfall (Sony)
Charlie Creed-Miles - Wild Bill (The Works/Universal)
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln (Fox)
Toby Jones – Berberian Sound Studio (Artificial Eye)
Steve Oram – Sightseers (StudioCanal)

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Emily Blunt – Looper (eOne) and Your Sister's Sister (StudioCanal)
Judi Dench – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox) and Skyfall (Sony)
Alice Lowe – Sightseers (StudioCanal)
Helen Mirren – Hitchcock (Fox)
Andrea Riseborough – Shadow Dancer (Paramount)

YOUNG BRITISH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Samantha Barks – Les Miserables (Universal)
Fady Elsayed – My Brother the Devil (Verve)
Tom Holland – The Impossible (eOne)
Will Poulter – Wild Bill (The Works/Universal)
Jack Reynor – What Richard Did (Artificial Eye)

The American Airlines Award: DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master (Entertainment)
Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty (Universal)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (New Wave)
Michael Haneke – Amour (Artificial Eye)
Ang Lee – Life of Pi (Fox)

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master (Entertainment)
Mark Boal – Zero Dark Thirty (Universal)
Michael Haneke – Amour (Artificial Eye)
Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained (Sony)
Chris Terrio – Argo (Warners)

BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH FILM-MAKER
Ben Drew, writer/director – Ill Manors (Revolver)
Sally El Hosaini, writer/director – My Brother the Devil (Verve)
Dexter Fletcher, co-writer/director – Wild Bill (The Works/Universal)
Bart Layton, writer/director – The Imposter (Picturehouse/Revolver)
Alice Lowe & Steve Oram, writers – Sightseers (StudioCanal)

The Sky 3D Award: TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran, costumes (Universal)
Argo – William Goldenberg, film editing (Warners)
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Ben Richardson, cinematography (StudioCanal)
Berberian Sound Studio – Joakim Sundstrom & Stevie Haywood, sound design (Artificial Eye)
Holy Motors – Bernard Floch, makeup (Artificial Eye)
Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda, cinematography (Fox)
Life of Pi – Bill Westenhofer, visual effects (Fox)
The Master – Jack Fisk & David Crank, production design (Entertainment)
My Brother the Devil – David Raedeker, cinematography (Verve)
Rust and Bone – Alexandre Desplat, music (StudioCanal)

DILYS POWELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN FILM: Sponsored by PREMIER
Helena Bonham Carter

http://www.criticscircle.org.uk/

Happy Birthday, Stan Lee and Miss Teresa

Stan Lee, who is 90-years-old today, is one of the great comic book creators and publishers.  He shares his birthday with Miss Teresa Moran of the Acadiana Comic Book Shop in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Happy Birthday to both.

2012 Online Film Critics Society Award Nominations - Complete List

Founded in 1997, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) describes itself as “the largest, most respected organization for critics whose work appears primarily on the Internet.” The OFCS says that it has been the key force in establishing and raising the standards for Internet-based film journalism. Its membership consists of film reviewers, journalists and scholars based in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific Rim region.

2012 (16th Annual) Online Film Critics Society Award nominations (winners to be announced January 7, 2013):

Best Picture
Argo
Holy Motors
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director
Ben Affleck – Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master
Wes Anderson – Moonrise Kingdom
Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
Leos Carax – Holy Motors

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
John Hawkes – The Sessions
Denis Lavant – Holy Motors
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Denzel Washington – Flight

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Rachel Weisz – The Deep Blue Sea

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin – Argo
Dwight Henry – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – The Master
Ann Dowd – Compliance
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions

Best Animated Feature
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Secret World of Arrietty
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Film Not in the English Language

Amour (Austria)
Holy Motors (France)
Rust and Bone (France/Belgium)
This Is Not a Film (Iran)
The Turin Horse (Hungary)

Best Documentary
The Imposter
The Invisible War
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The Queen of Versailles
This Is Not a Film

Best Original Screenplay
The Cabin in the Woods – Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Looper – Rian Johnson
The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo – Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Cloud Atlas – Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
Cosmopolis – David Cronenberg
Lincoln – Tony Kushner

Best Editing
Argo – William Goldenberg
Cloud Atlas – Alexander Berner
The Master – Leslie Jones, Peter McNulty
Skyfall – Stuart Baird
Zero Dark Thirty – William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

Best Cinematography
Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda
Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski
The Master – Mihai Malamiare Jr.
Moonrise Kingdom – Robert D. Yeoman
Skyfall – Roger Deakins

http://www.ofcs.org/

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy B'day, Gerard Depardieu: The Return of Martin Guerre

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 43 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


Le Retour de Martin Guerre (1982)
The Return of Martin Guerre (1983) – U.S. title
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France; Language: French
Running time: 122 minutes (2 hours, 2 minutes)
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Daniel Vigne
WRITERS: Jean-Claude Carrière, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Daniel Vigne (from the novel The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: André Neau
EDITOR: Denise de Casabianca
COMPOSER: Michel Portal
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Nathalie Baye, Roger Planchon, Maurice Jacquemont, Isabelle Sadoyan, Rose Thiéry, Maurice Barrier, Stéphane Peau, Sylvie Méda, and Tchéky Karyo

The subject of this movie review is Le Retour de Martin Guerre, a 1982 French film directed by Daniel Vigne and starring Gérard Depardieu. The film was released as The Return of Martin Guerre in the United States in 1983.

Gérard Depardieu plays a man who returns home to his village after being absent for nine years. He claims to be Martin Guerre, who left as a selfish boy (Stéphane Peau) and has returned older and also more caring towards his wife, Bertrande de Rols (Nathalie Baye), whom he abandoned nearly a decade before. The villagers, especially Martin’s relatives, have their doubts as to whether this man who claims to be Martin Guerre is really who he says he is. But when Martin stakes a claim on his rightful inheritance and property, his Uncle Pierre Guerre (Maurice Barrier) makes an attempt on Martin’s life and files a formal complaint with authorities. What follows is an intense trial that must reveal all the truths.

Le Retour de Martin Guerre or The Return of Martin Guerre may not be remembered as the best of French cinema, but Daniel Vigne’s (a French television series director whose credits also include the TV series, “Highlander”) film captures its medieval French setting with stunning results. The rural atmosphere of the 16th Century village is palatable even as digital images. The costumes and sets are so convincing that they’re on the same level as the art direction and costumes in big, expensive Hollywood productions.

The actors all give bravura performances, and even Depardieu, screen hog that he is, is unable to steal the spotlight from his supporting performers, especially Roger Planchon as the justice Jean de Caros and Maurice Barrier as Martin’s uncle. I did, however, find the script a bit soft. Much of the story is told second hand, even some parts that would work better visually, and the romantic center of this film remains unrequited and oblique. But what is on the screen is so well done, so accomplished, and is as mesmerizing as the most intense mysteries and courtroom dramas that you can’t take your eyes off the screen. I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t mind reading subtitles because it’s as good as the best big Hollywood studio dramas.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
1984 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Costume Design” (Anne-Marie Marchand)

1985 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Foreign Language Film” (Daniel Vigne of France)

1983 César Awards, France: 3 wins: “Best Music-Meilleure musique” (Michel Portal), Best Original Screenplay-Meilleur scénario original et dialogues” (Jean-Claude Carrière and Daniel Vigne), and “Best Production Design-Meilleurs décors” (Alain Nègre); 1 nomination: “Most Promising Actor-Meilleur jeune espoir masculine” (Dominique Pinon)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Kill Bill: Volume 2" Gets Better with Age

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 53 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
Running time: 136 minutes; MPAA – R for violence, language and brief drug use
DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino
WRITER: Quentin Tarantino (The Bride character by Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino)
PRODUCER: Lawrence Bender
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Richardson (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Sally Menke
COMPOSER: Robert Rodriguez
Golden Globe nominee

CRIME/DRAMA with elements of Action, Martial Arts, and Thriller

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Lucy Liu, Michael Parks, Jeannie Epper, Perla Haney-Jardine, Caitlin Keats, Chris Nelson, Gordon Liu, LaTanya Richardson, and Bo Svenson

The subject of this movie review is Kill Bill: Volume 2, a 2004 crime drama and martial arts film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino. It is the second of two films that were released within several months of each other. The film follows a character called “The Bride,” who is seeking revenge against her former colleagues.

In Kill Bill: Vol. 2, the sequel or second half of Quentin Tarantino’s film, Kill Bill: Volume 1, The Bride (Uma Thurman) continues her mission of revenge against her former colleagues for killing her husband-to-be and the wedding party and for shooting and leaving her for dead. Most of all, she want her old boss, Bill (David Carradine); he fired the shot in her head that was supposed to kill her. But Bill has a secret named B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine), so will The Bride be able to handle the shock of meeting B.B.?

Where Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was a stylish martial arts movie done in lively colors with the relentlessness of a revenge movie cum video game, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is slick, crime drama – part Western and part hard-boiled novella. There’s a movie poster for a film by the late actor, Charles Bronson, used a set piece in the film, and Vol. 2 indeed has the gall of Bronson bullet ballad. Some viewers may be put off by the jarring change of pace from the first film to the second. There are very few fight scenes in 2, and they’re quite short. Only the battle between Elle Driver/California Mountain Snake (Daryl Hannah) and The Bride has the hard-edged intensity of anything near the fisticuffs of the first film.

Still, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is an example of virtuoso filmmaking and an expert homage to many well known American film genres. Vol. 2 isn’t anywhere near as fun to watch as the first, but for those viewers who have varied tastes in films and movies and who are familiar with many film styles and techniques, Vol. 2 will be exciting to watch. As all his films have been, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is ultimately worth watching because director Quentin Tarantino simply does so many interesting things. He’s that know-it-all film nerd who can actually make the great film he might say no one else can make, although Kill Bill Volume 2 isn’t that exactly the great film either.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2005 Golden Globes, USA: 2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (David Carradine) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Uma Thurman)

2005 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Original Score” (RZA)

"Kill Bill: Volume 1" Still a Killer

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 152 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux


Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
Running time: 111 minutes (1 hour, 51 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino
PRODUCER: Lawrence Bender
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Richardson (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Sally Menke
COMPOSER: The RZA
BAFTA Awards nominee

ACTION/CRIME/MARTIAL ARTS/THRILLER

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Michael Parks, James Parks, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama, Julie Dreyfus, and Chia Hui Liu

The subject of this movie review is Kill Bill: Volume 1, a 2003 martial arts and action film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino. It is the first of two films that were released within several months of each other. The film follows a character called “The Bride,” who is seeking revenge against her former colleagues.

If there was much doubt that Quentin Tarantino could still make not just good movies, but great movies, Kill Bill: Volume 1 should dispel that doubt, unless the doubters are just being contrary. That Kill Bill is one of the most violent, if not the most violent, American films ever made is very certain. Only time will tell if Kill Bill Vol. 1 is the best American action movie ever made, but it is the best and most thrilling film since James Cameron abruptly reshaped thrills and intensity of movies with Aliens.

In the film, The Bride (Uma Thurman) awakes from a coma in which she’d been in for four years. It has been four years since her fellow assassins of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad killed her husband and wedding party at a small church in Texas. Her boss, Bill (David Carradine), however, did the honor of shooting The Bride, showing no mercy even though she was late in her obvious pregnancy. Bill’s biggest mistake was that he didn’t kill her, and now The Bride is out to Kill Bill. Before Bill, she has scores to settle with two of her colleagues, Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox) and Cottonmouth, now known as O-Ren Ishi (Lucy Liu), and a Yakuza crime boss in Tokyo.

Tarantino reportedly shot so much footage for Kill Bill that he and the studio Miramax Films ultimately decided to divide the film into two parts. One of Tarantino’s signature techniques is to juxtapose time in his scripts, dividing his films into self-contained chapters that are complete little short stories on their own. Each chapter fits in quite well with the larger film story and embellishes it so very well.

Kill Bill isn’t so much about the story as it is about the technique of making film. Tarantino basically asks his audience to go along with this long homage to Asian cinema, in particular martial arts epics and crime films. He mixes film genres with varied visual styles of films, and in that his cinematographer Robert Richardson (an Academy Award winner for Oliver Stone’s JFK) ably assists. At times, Kill Bill is totally about what the film stock looks like – the colors, the lack of color, grittiness, glossiness, etc.

This is a film geek’s film – the kind of genre film a big fan of a particular genre would like to make as well as see, and Tarantino makes it so well. Kill Bill is a grand time. For fans of martial arts films who loved the elaborate fight scenes in movies like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the master fight choreographer who worked on both films, Yuen Wo-Ping, worked with Tarantino on the heart-stopping and eye-popping fights in Kill Bill.

Tarantino gets the most out of all his crew. The RZA (of hip hop act Wu-Tang Clan fame) composes a brilliant, genre-crossing, ear-bending score that recalls the sounds and tunes of classic gangster, Western, martial arts, and crime cinema classics. Shout outs also go to the art and costume departments.

Kill Bill is without a doubt great cinema about cinema, and it’s excellent entertainment. By no means perfect, it does dry up on occasion and even seems a bit long. There were also too many bits obviously thrown in to accommodate the next chapter. Still, the fault lines don’t matter because Kill Bill is so damn fine. Action movie lovers and lovers of great filmmaking cannot miss this because Kill Bill Volume 1 is that proverbial good movie about which people are always complaining Hollywood doesn’t make anymore.

9 of 10
A+

NOTES:
2004 BAFTA Awards: 5 nominations: “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music”(RZA); “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Tommy Tom, Kia Kwan, Tam Wai, Kit Leung, Hin Leung, and Jaco Wong), “Best Editing” (Sally Menke), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Uma Thurman), and “Best Sound” (Michael Minkler, Myron Nettinga, Wylie Stateman, and Mark Ulano)

2004 Black Reel Awards: 1 nominee: “Best Supporting Actress” (Vivica A. Fox)

2004 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Uma Thurman)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Negromancer

Enjoy the day and the season for family and friends... even if they make the day and the season less enjoyable.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause - Well, I Like It

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 227 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
Running time: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
MPAA – G
DIRECTOR: Michael Lembeck
WRITERS: Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (based upon characters created by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick)
PRODUCERS: Robert F. Newmyer, Brian Reilly, Jeffrey Silver, and Tim Allen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robbie Greenberg
EDITOR: David Finfer
COMPOSER: George S. Clinton

FANTASY/FAMILY/COMEDY

Starring: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Spencer Breslin, Liliana Mumy, Ann-Margret, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Art LeFleur, Aisha Tyler, Kevin Pollack, Jay Thomas, Michael Dorn, Peter Boyle, and Charlie Stewart

Walt Disney Picture’s 1994 holiday smash, The Santa Clause, was a delightful surprise. Eight years later, the 2002 sequel, The Santa Clause 2, was entertaining but didn’t have the same magic or sparkle. Four years later, Walt Disney Pictures drops The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – a riff on Frank Capra’s classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. While this new Clause doesn’t quite recapture the magic of the original flick, it certainly looks like a Christmas movie.

Christmas is approaching and Santa Claus (Tim Allen), the former Scott Calvin, not only has to get ready for delivering Christmas presents to children all over the world, but he and Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell), the former Carol Newman, are preparing for the arrival of a baby Claus. At the risk of giving away its secret location, Scott invites his in-laws, Sylvia and Bud Newman (Ann-Margret and Alan Arkin) to the North Pole to be near their daughter Carol at this special time. Scott also invites his extended family: son Charlie (Eric Lloyd), ex-wife Laura Miller (Wendy Crewson), her husband Neil (Judge Reinhold), and their daughter Lucy (Liliana Mumy) for the holidays.

Scott, however, doesn’t have much time for them, as he and head elf Curtis (Spencer Breslin) have their hands full with last minute details for Santa’s magical Christmas Eve sleigh ride. Offering his assistance at this busy time is Jack Frost (Martin Short), but Jack is chillingly envious of Santa. While Santa juggles family strife and a workload crunch, Jack is plotting to change time and take over Santa’s holiday. Who amongst his extended family will help Santa save the day?

Early in The Santa Clause 3, Allen appears listless, as well as seeming burdened by the 75-pound Santa suit he wears for the title role, but Allen springs to life when facing Martin Short as Jack Frost. A shameless ham, Short is the classic entertainer, always hungry for attention – happy as a pig in mud to get applause anywhere he can, so he’s been on TV, in movies, and on stage, as well as being an animated television character. Short gives every inch of his body to the physical performance of being a sneaky and lanky villain – twisting and hunching his body and contorting his eyes as he builds the kind of gentle bad guy that would fit perfectly on Saturday morning TV.

There’s no real edge to the rivalry between Allen and Short’s characters, but they make The Escape Clause’s unyielding holiday sentiment work. The concept and subsequent script are shallow, but it’s the stars that convince us of what the story is trying to sell. Allen and Short’s battle decides the fate of the real soul of the Christmas holidays and The Santa Clause 3 – putting up with your family and accepting your place in it.

Director Michael Lembeck, a veteran of TV comedies (and the director of The Santa Clause 2), doesn’t wow us with a virtuoso display of directing, but he knows how to sell sentiment, which TV does so well. Lembeck smartly captures all the visual splendor that Disney money can buy. It’s the technical staff: director of photography, the art director and set decorator, the costume designer, and the special effects wizards and their crew that give TSC3 its visual magic. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause looks and feels like a Christmas movie, and a glittery, colorful, and pretty Christmas flick, at that. For a little under two hours, this movie fooled me into believing that on a mild day in mid-Autumn, I was really home at the North Pole for Christmas. I can’t ask a Christmas movie for anymore than that.

6 of 10
B

Sunday, November 5, 2006

NOTES:
2007 Razzie Awards: 5 nominations: “Worst Actor” (Tim Allen – also for The Shaggy Dog-2006 and Zoom-2006), “Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment,” “Worst Prequel or Sequel,” “Worst Screen Couple” (Tim Allen and Martin Short), and “Worst Supporting Actor” (Martin Short)

Tim Allen Carries Sappy "The Santa Clause 2"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 228 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – G
DIRECTOR: Michael Lembeck
WRITERS: Don Rhymer, Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, and Ed Decter & John J. Strauss (based upon the characters created by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick)
PRODUCERS: Robert F. Newmyer, Brian Reilly, and Jeffrey Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Greenberg and Craig Haagensen
EDITORS: David Finfer and Edward A. Warschilka
COMPOSER: George S. Clinton

FANTASY/COMEDY/FAMILY

Starring: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, David Krumholtz, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Spencer Breslin, Liliana Mumy, Danielle Woodman, Art LaFleur, Aisha Tyler, Kevin Pollack, Jay Thomas, and Michael Dorn

The subject of this movie review is The Santa Clause 2, a 2002 romantic comedy, fantasy, and Christmas movie from Walt Disney Pictures. It is a sequel to the 1994 film, The Santa Clause.

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has been Santa Claus for eight years, and his elves consider him the best ever. But The Big Guy isn’t without problems. When he starts mysteriously losing weight, he learns that there is another Santa clause – Santa must have a wife. Scott has to leave the North Pole to find Mrs. Claus, or he’ll be forced to give up being Santa. Scott leaves a scheming elf named Bernard (David Krumholtz) in charge, and Bernard promptly builds a toy Santa (played by Allen in makeup) to double for the real Santa. After reading the rule book, the toy Santa comes to believe that the real Santa isn’t doing his job right, so the mechanical St. Nick starts making changes that don’t seem right.

Meanwhile, Scott discovers a second area of trouble. His son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), is in trouble in school and is also on Santa’s “naughty” list. A visit to Charlie’s school leads to a chance meeting with the lovely Principal Carol Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell), and Scott realizes she would make a great Mrs. Claus. Will Scott’s secrets, family strife, and Charlie’s misbehavior cost him a chance with Principal Newman? And can Scott return to the North Pole in time to save Christmas from his toy double?

The Santa Clause 2 is so top-heavy with maudlin sentiment that it’s almost crippled. The treat is, as always, Tim Allen in his 75-pound Santa suit or even dressed as an ordinary man trying to be a good father and just maybe a good husband. It’s Allen’s spin on Christmas comedy that makes this a worthwhile family flick.

5 of 10
B-

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Monday, December 24, 2012

"The Santa Clause" Still a Christmas Treat

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 226 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Santa Clause (1994)
Running time: 97 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
MPAA – PG
DIRECTOR: John Pasquin
WRITERS: Leo Benvenuti & Steve Rudnick
PRODUCERS: Robert Newmyer, Brian Reilly, and Jeffrey Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Walt Lloyd
EDITOR: Larry Bock
COMPOSER: Michael Convertino

COMEDY/FANTASY/FAMILY

Starring: Tim Allen, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz, Larry Brandenburg, Mary Gross, Paige Tamada, Peter Boyle, and Judith Scott

The subject of this movie review is The Santa Clause, a 1994 fantasy film, family comedy, and Christmas movie starring Tim Allen. The film follows a divorced father who must become the new Santa Claus.

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a divorced father who has found that his young son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), is reluctant want to spend Christmas with him. He’d rather be with his mom, Laura Calvin Miller (Wendy Crewson), and her new husband, Dr. Neal Miller (Judge Reinhold), a psychiatrist and a very good stepfather to Charlie. While Scott and Charlie are spending a dreary Christmas Eve together, Santa Claus arrives, and Scott accidentally kills him. Panicked and encouraged by Charlie, Scott temporarily dons Santa’s suit so that he can deliver the rest of the gifts. The snow really hits the fan when Scott discovers that there is a Santa Clause about putting on the suit. By killing Santa and donning the suit, Scott has magically recruited himself to replace the deceased St. Nick. Although he was a Scrooge, Scott finds himself growing into the role of Father Christmas, but it may cost him his relationship with Charlie.

The first 70 minutes or so of The Santa Clause are brilliant – in a goofy, affable way that makes it a charming, heart-warming, Christmas film. The screenwriters came up with a novel way to juxtapose Scott’s struggle as a father to reconnect with his son Charlie, who is disappointed in him, with Scott’s struggle to live with something he must to accept, The Santa Clause. Fatherhood and career (even one forced on him) clash and blend with surprisingly funny results. In a way, being Santa is the best thing that ever happened to Scott and Charlie’s relationship, but it could also destroy it.

The movie withers when the narrative tries to modernize Santa or rationalize Santa Claus through science, because Santa is magic – pure and simple. For instance, why would Santa need a fire-proof suit when he comes down a chimney because its magic that protects him from fire, not to mention that it’s magic that allows Santa to do his job. The ending is also too long and phony, filled with forced emotion and saccharine level sentiment.

Still, about 80% of the film is an excellent fantasy comedy, and The Santa Clause would probably make any short list as one of the great Christmas comedies. I know that I want to put it on my annual Christmas list.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, November 5, 2006

"Werewolf: The Beast Among Us" Enjoyable, But Not a Beast

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 100 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012) - video
Running time: 93 minutes (1 hour, 33 minutes)
MPAA – R for bloody violence and grisly images throughout
DIRECTOR: Louis Morneau
WRITERS: Michael Tabb, Catherine Cyran and Louis Morneau; from a story by Michael Tabb
PRODUCERS: Mike Elliott
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philip Robertson
EDITOR: Mike Jackson
COMPOSER: Michael Wandmacher

HORROR/MYSTERY

Starring: Guy Wilson, Ed Quinn, Adam Croasdell, Nia Peeples, Steven Bauer, Rachel DiPillo, Ana Ularu, Emil Hostina, Zoltan and Stephen Rea

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is a 2012 direct-to-DVD horror movie from Universal 1440 Entertainment, a production wing of Universal Pictures that seems to specialize in direct-to-DVD fantasy and action films. The film focuses on a team of werewolf hunters and the young man who wants to join them in their hunt for the monster terrorizing his village. It must also be noted that Guy Wilson, the actor playing the young would-be hunter, gives a performance that makes him stand out from the rest of this film’s cast.

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is set in the 19th century. Years after seeing his parents murdered by a werewolf, Charles (Ed Quinn) leads a band of highly-talented and skilled hunters. They take on werewolves and the wurdalek, a kind of creature humans can become when they survive werewolf attacks.

They arrive in the village of Dravicu, where large numbers of villagers have been slaughtered by a werewolf that terrorizes the area. Daniel (Guy Wilson) is a young physician-in-training apprenticed to Doc (Stephen Rea). Doc is the local medical examiner who autopsies the victims of werewolf attacks and also helps people hurt in attacks. Daniel pesters the cowboy-like Charles about joining his band of hunters, but Charles declines the eager young hunter wannabe’s offers. Neither man knows how close the beast really is to them.

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us wears its straight-to-video, B-movie rags as if those were the only clothes it knew how to wear. This movie is not really good or even bad – just sort of in the middle. I found it rather enjoyable, and I will probably watch it, or at least bits and pieces, again whenever it is on television. The CGI werewolf effects are better than I expected; although they are not as good as the effects in the Underworld franchise, they exceed the clumsy efforts in Wes Craven’s troubled werewolf flick, Cursed.

The mystery aspects of the screenplay are actually engaging; I certainly wanted to discover the identities of the culprits and uncover their plots. The characters are either good, but underutilized or are poorly developed. The potential of Charles’ cowboy thing is wasted. Stephen Rea gives minimal effort as Doc, leaving the character extraneous. As for Nia Peeples: don’t give up, girl!

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is a calling card for Guy Wilson, the young actor playing Daniel. He’s good and performs as if this is a major studio release destined for the big screen (and not straight to DVD). Wilson’s efforts hint that there may be a future star among the cast of Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.

5 of 10
C+

Sunday, December 23, 2012


"Argo" Best Pic of 2012 Says St. Louis Film Critics


2012 St. Louis Film Critics’ Awards:

Best Film: “Argo “
(runners-up: “Life of Pi” and "Lincoln")

Best Director: Ben Affleck ("Argo")
(runner-up): Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained") and Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild")

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln")
(runner-up): John Hawkes ("The Sessions")

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty")
(runner-up): Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook")

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained")
(runner-up): Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln")

Best Supporting Actress: (Tie): Ann Dowd ("Compliance") and Helen Hunt ("The Sessions")

Best Original Screenplay: "Zero Dark Thirty" (Mark Boal)
(runner-up): "Django Unchained" (Quentin Tarantino)

Best Adapted Screenplay: (Tie): "Lincoln" (Tony Kushner) and "Silver Linings Playbook" (David O. Russell)

Best Cinematography: "Skyfall" (Roger Deakins)
(runner-up): "Life of Pi" (Claudio Miranda)

Best Visual Effects: "Life of Pi"
(runner-up): “The Avengers”

Best Music: (Tie): "Django Unchained" and "Moonrise Kingdom

Best Foreign-Language Film: “The Intouchables” (France)
(runners-up): “The Fairy" and "Headhunters”

Best Documentary: “Searching for Sugar Man”
(runner-up): “Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry," "Bully" and "How To Survive A Plague"

Best Comedy: (Tie): “Moonrise Kingdom" and "Ted"

Best Animated Film: “Wreck-It Ralph”
(runner-up): “ParaNorman”

Best Art-House or Festival Film: (Tie): “Compliance" and "Safety Not Guaranteed"

Special Merit (for best scene, cinematic technique or other memorable aspect or moment) (Four-way Tie):
1. "Django Unchained" – The "bag head" bag/mask problems scene

2. "Hitchcock" – Anthony Hopkins in lobby conducting to music/audience’s reaction during "Psycho" screening

3. "The Impossible" - Opening tsunami scene

4. "The Master" – The first "processing" questioning scene between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Star Warts to Disney: Officially a Done Deal

The Walt Disney Company Completes Lucasfilm Acquisition

Deal expected to strengthen Disney’s position as a leading global provider of high-quality branded entertainment and build long-term shareholder value

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today that Disney has completed its acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family,” said Iger. “Star Wars is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time and this transaction combines that world class content with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets, which we believe will generate growth as well as significant long-term value.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, at closing Disney issued 37,076,679 shares and made a cash payment of $2,208,199,950. Based upon the closing price of Disney shares on December 21, 2012 at $50.00, the transaction has a total value of approximately $4.06 billion.

Lucasfilm’s assets include its massively popular Star Wars franchise, operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production, as well as a substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies. It operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound.

Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements relate to the expected benefits of the integration of Disney and Lucasfilm; the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other matters that are not historical fact. These statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Disney regarding future events and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Disney does not undertake any obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to developments beyond the Disney’s control, including but not limited to: changes in domestic or global economic conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; health concerns; international, political or military developments; and technological developments. Additional factors that may cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Disney for the year ended September 29, 2012, under the heading "Item 1A—Risk Factors," and in subsequent reports on Form 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Disney.

2012 St. Louis Film Critics’ Award Nominations Complete List

St. Louis Film Critics is an association of professional film critics operating in metropolitan St. Louis and adjoining areas of Missouri and Illinois. Founded in late 2004, the group’s goals (according to the website) are to serve the interests of local film critics, and to promote an appreciation for cinema both as an art form and for its societal, cultural and historical context and impact.

The eligibility requirements for a SLFC Award, according to the group’s website: a film must have been shown in the greater St. Louis area in a theater or at a film festival or series, or made available to SLFC members by screening or screener during the past year. Films opening in limited run elsewhere for Oscar qualification but which will open in the St. Louis area early in the next year are eligible.

The 2012 St. Louis Film Critics’ Award nominees are:

Best Film
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty
 
Best Director
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
 
Best Actor
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)
 
Best Actress
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
 
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin (Argo)
John Goodman (Argo)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
William H. Macy (The Sessions)
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)
 
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (The Master)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Emma Watson (Perks of Being A Wallflower)
 
Best Original Screenplay
The Cabin in the Woods (Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard) 
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola)
Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal )

Best Adapted Screenplay 
Argo (Chris Terrio)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin)
Life of Pi (David Magee)
Lincoln (Tony Kushner)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell)
 
Best Cinematography 
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Ben Richardson)
Cloud Atlas (Frank Griebe and John Toll)
Django Unchained (Robert Richardson)
Life of Pi (Claudio Miranda)
The Master (Mihai Malaimare Jr.)
Skyfall (Roger Deakins)

Best Visual Effects 
The Avengers
Cloud Atlas
Life of Pi
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman
 
Best Music 
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Not Fade Away
 
Best Foreign-Language Film 
The Fairy (from France/Belgium)
Headhunters (from Norway)
Holy Motors (from France)
The Intouchables (from France)
The Kid With A Bike (from Belgium)
 
Best Documentary 
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry
Bully
How To Survive A Plague
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Searching for Sugar Man
 
Best Animated Film 
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Comedy 
The Cabin in the Woods
Moonrise Kingdom
Seven Psychopaths
Ted
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Art-House or Festival Film (for artistic excellence in art-house cinema, limited to films that played at film festivals or film series or those that had a limited-release here, playing one or two cinemas).
 
  1. Bernie
  2. Compliance 
  3. The Fairy
  4. Safety Not Guaranteed
  5. Sleepwalk with Me
  6. Take This Waltz
 
Best Scene (favorite movie scene or sequence).
  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild – The hurricane (and Wink shooting at it)
  2. Django Unchained – The “bag head” bag/mask problems scene
  3. Flight – The plane crash
  4. Hitchcock – Anthony Hopkins in lobby conducting to music/audience’s reaction during “Psycho” shower scene
  5. The Impossible – Opening tsunami scene
  6. The Master – The first “processing” questioning scene between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NY Online Critics Anoint "Zero Dark Thirty" Best of 2012

The New York Film Critics Online is a group of Internet film critics based in New York City that meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

A complete list of 2012 honorees follows:

Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Best Debut Director: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Best Ensemble Cast: Argo

Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Best Cinematography: Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda

Best Screenplay: Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

Best Use of Music: Django Unchained – Mary Ramos

Breakthrough Performance: Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Animated Feature: Chico and Rita

Best Documentary: The Central Park Five

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour (Austria)

Happy Birthday, Joey

OMG!  Ten-years-old already?!  Have a great b'day and many, many, more.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Washington DC Critics Go "Zero Dark Thirty"

Founded in 2002, The Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) is comprised of professional DC-based film critics with affiliations in television, radio, print and the internet.

THE 2012 WAFCA AWARD WINNERS (and nominees): Voting was conducted from December 7-9, 2012:

Best Film:
Zero Dark Thirty WINNER
Argo
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) WINNER
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Tom Hooper (Les Misérables)
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) WINNER
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)

Best Actress:
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) WINNER
Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

Best Supporting Actor:
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) WINNER
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) WINNER
Amy Adams (The Master)
Samantha Barks (Les Misérables)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

Best Acting Ensemble:
Les Misérables WINNER
Argo
Lincoln
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Adapted Screenplay:
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) WINNER
Chris Terrio (Argo)
David Magee (Life of Pi)
Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Best Original Screenplay:
Rian Johnson (Looper) WINNER
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Animated Feature:
ParaNorman WINNER
Brave
Frankenweenie
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Documentary:
Bully WINNER
The Imposter
The Invisible War
The Queen of Versailles
Searching for Sugar Man

Best Foreign Language Film:
Amour (from Austria) WINNER
The Intouchables (from France)
I Wish (from Japan)
A Royal Affair (from Denmark)
Rust and Bone (from France/Belgium)

Best Art Direction:
Uli Hanisch, Hugh Bateup - Production Designers; Peter Walpole, Rebecca Alleway - Set Decorators (Cloud Atlas) WINNER

Sarah Greenwood - Production Designer; Katie Spencer - Set Decorator (Anna Karenina)
Eve Stewart - Production Designer; Anna Lynch-Robinson - Set Decorator (Les Misérables)
Rick Carter - Production Designer; Jim Erickson - Set Decorator (Lincoln)
Adam Stockhausen - Production Designer; Kris Moran - Set Decorator (Moonrise Kingdom)

Best Cinematography:
Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi) WINNER
Danny Cohen (Les Misérables)
Mihai Malaimare Jr. (The Master)
Roger Deakins (Skyfall)
Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Score:
Jonny Greenwood (The Master) WINNER
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Howard Shore (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
John Williams (Lincoln)
Alexandre Desplat (Moonrise Kingdom)

Best Youth Performance:
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) WINNER
Jared Gilman (Moonrise Kingdom)
Kara Hayward (Moonrise Kingdom)
Tom Holland (The Impossible)
Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Happy B'day, Samuel L. Jackson: Snakes on a Plane

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 183 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – R for language, a scene of sexuality and drug use, and intense horror sequences of terror and violence
DIRECTOR: David R. Ellis
WRITERS: John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez; from a story by David Dalessandro and John Heffernan
PRODUCERS: Craig Berenson, Don Granger, and Gary Levinsohn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Greenberg
EDITOR: Howard E. Smith
COMPOSER: Trevor Rabin

ACTION/HORROR/THRILLER

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander, Kenan Thompson, Keith “Blackman” Dallas, Lin Shaye, Bruce James, Sunny Mabrey, David Koechner, Bobby Cannavale, Todd Louiso, and Byron Lawson

The subject of this movie review is Snakes on a Plane, a 2006 action thriller and horror film from director, David R. Ellis (the director of two Final Destination movies). The film stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent battling hundreds of deadly snakes on a passenger plane.

If you expected a campy, cult-classic-to-be, you’re getting a good movie instead (or also):

FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) is escorting Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips), a young man who witnessed a brutal mob murder, from Hawaii to Los Angeles. However, the mobster, Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson), is determined that this never happens, so he has hundreds of poisonous snakes smuggled aboard the commercial aircraft, South Pacific Air Flight 121, in a crate timed to release its deadly cargo when Flight 121 is halfway across the Pacific. After the initial attack leaves half the passengers and the lead pilot dead, Flynn has to band the crew and survivors together in a desperate attempt to survive and land the plane at LAX.

Having sparked Internet interest since last year, Snakes on a Plane has finally arrived and it is the real deal – a B-movie that delivers. Snakes on a Plane doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it is by no means campy. It’s the kind of (relatively) low-budget action/horror/thriller that delivers breathtaking action sequences, goose flesh-raising horror, and heart-stopping thrills. The movie doesn’t have an Academy Award level script, but the concept is good, taking two things that scare many people – flying and snakes – and putting them together in a scary movie scenario. However, the script is pretty straightforward. Sam Jackson’s Neville Flynn has to get a witness to a murder from one place to another, and all he has to do is fight off mobsters and survive a Pacific flight on a wounded airplane full of aroused and aggressive snakes. Whew!

Like any good disaster movie, this script gives the film a large ensemble cast of supporting characters. Some are there to support the hero (Julianna Margulies’ Claire Miller and Kenan Thompson’s Troy). Some are there for comic relief (Thompson’s Troy, Bruce James’ Ken, and Flex Alexander’s Three G’s), and some are there just to be an obstacle to every good idea the hero or his supporters have (Gerald Plunkett’s Paul).

The two big reasons the film works so well as a kind of “popcorn” thriller is, first, director David R. Ellis. Ellis helmed the highly entertaining and grisly Final Destination 2. It was so over-the-top gruesome that it was a chill ride as much as it was a thrill ride. Ellis takes advantage of the claustrophobia of being on a plane and people’s fear of snakes. He has a variety of serpents, real and CGI, using them to kill and menace in many, many imaginative ways.

When all is said and done, reason number two that this film is good is Samuel L. Jackson, who gives this B-movie big time credibility. With his don’t-give-a-shit, don’t-give-me-shit, suffer-no-fools, no nonsense, badasssss screen persona (and apparently his real life persona), Jackson is one of the screen’s best action heroes. Only his “hue” keeps him from getting the kind of parts in mega budget action films that Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, and Bruce Willis get. Jackson always delivers, even in crappy movies, and this isn’t a crappy movie. Snakes on a Plane might sound like a cheesy concept, but cast and crew worked hard to make a good movie. Simply put, Jackson made sure they delivered.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New "Pain and Gain" Teaser Movie Poster - December 2012

Walt Disney's "Cinderella" Never Loses its Magic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 100 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


Cinderella (1950)
Running time: 72 minutes (1 hour, 12 minutes)
DIRECTORS: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske
WRITERS: William Peed, Ted Sears, Homer Brightman, Kenneth Anderson, Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, Harry Reeves, and Joe Rinaldi (based upon the story, “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault)
PRODUCER: Walt Disney
EDITOR: Donald Halliday
COMPOSERS: Paul J. Smith and Oliver Wallace
Academy Award nominee

ANIMATION/FANTASY/COMEDY/FAMILY with elements of romance

Starring: (voices) Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Helene Stanley (live action model), Rhoda Williams, Lucille Bliss, James MacDonald, Luis Van Rooten, June Foray, Clint McCauley, Lucille Williams, Don Barclay, William Phipps, and Betty Lou Gerson (narrator)

The subject of this movie review is Cinderella, a 1950 animated fantasy film from Walt Disney Productions. Based on the fairy tale “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault, it is the twelfth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

After her father dies, Cinderella (Ilene Woods), a gentle-hearted girl, faces the jealousy and spite of her wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Eleanor Audley), and her two harpy stepsisters, Drizella (Rhoda Williams) and Anastasia (Lucille Bliss). Cinderella’s friends include a half-dozen mice that do constant battle with Lady Tremaine’s malevolent cat, Lucifer (June Foray). Salvation comes when The King (Luis Van Rooten) declares a palace ball to celebrate the homecoming of his son, The Prince (William Phipps), and he decrees that every eligible maid (unmarried young woman) in the kingdom attend. However, Cinderella’s stepmother doesn’t want her to attend, but a small army of friendly mice and birds and Cinderella’s benevolent Fairy Godmother (Verna Felton) makes sure she can. This magical tale includes many tunes to which the viewer can hum along including “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” “So This is Love,” and inimitable “Bibbidy, Bobbidy-Boo.”

Cinderella was Walt Disney Feature Animation’s 12th feature film. It was, at the time, the first full-length animated feature for Disney since 1942’s Bambi, because box office and wartime cutbacks had reduced the studio’s feature film output to package films like Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free, which were made of two or more short films with bridging sequences. Also, according to animator Marc Davis, 90 percent of Cinderella was done in live action before it was animated.

Cinderella comes perhaps at the end of Disney’s “Golden Age” and the beginning of period in which its films received less critical praise. Cinderella retains some of the illustrative and technical aspects that marked Disney’s pre-WWII films (like Bambi and Fantasia) as the pinnacle of hand-drawn animated features. Cinderella’s background paintings, art direction, and sets befit a film with themes of royalty and class distinctions. Most of the animation is geared towards funny animal slapstick comedy. The scenes with the mice, birds, Lucifer the cat, and Bruno (James MacDonald) the dog, etc. reflect the sensibilities of the sketch and gag comedy prevalent in Looney Tunes cartoon shorts featuring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam. The scenes with The King and The Grand Duke (Luis Van Rooten) depend of comic timing between this comical duo, and that reflects the influence of Tex Avery’s cartoons.

The story of course is based on the fairy tale, Cinderella, primarily the version of the story told by Charles Perrault, the 17th century French author who laid the foundations for the literary genre that would be known as “fairy tales.” Disney’s version is a funny, warm-hearted romance that appeals across age categories. The voice acting plays as much a part as the animation in making Cinderella such an outstanding film. The actors make this a palatable and convincing drama when the comic half of the cast isn’t in control. The filmmakers simply do a magnificent job in bringing a film that appeals so much to the heart and to the funny bone and that dazzles with its production values.

There are so many memorable sequences. The birds and mice working in unison to make Cinderella’s dress are magical. The transformation of the animals and pumpkin into an enchanted carriage for Cinderella is a sparkling dream, and Cinderella’s dance with The Prince (who is never referred to in the film as “Prince Charming”) is certainly one of the most lyrically romantic moments in cinema history. The beauty of the animation and story combined with stellar Tin Pan Alley songs make Cinderella a true Walt Disney classic and a classic of American filmmaking.

10 of 10

NOTES:
1951 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Music, Original Song” (“Bibbidy, Bobbidy-Boo” by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston); “Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture” (Oliver Wallace and Paul J. Smith); and “Best Sound, Recording” (C.O. Slyfield)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chicago Film Critics Choose "Zero Dark Thirty" as 2012's Best

The Chicago Film Critics Association is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization that hands out the Chicago Film Critics Awards, hold critics roundtables, and takes on industry and artists’ rights issues. The parent association was founded in 1990 by film critic Sue Kiner after the successful launch of the Chicago Film Critics Awards in 1989.

2012 Chicago Film Critics Awards winners (in bold) and nominees:

Best Picture
WINNER - Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Lincoln
The Master

Best Director
WINNER - Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor
WINNER - Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Denis Lavant, Holy Motors
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
WINNER - Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor
WINNER - Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress
WINNER - Amy Adams, The Master
Emily Blunt, Looper
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Best Original Screenplay
WINNER - Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal
Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino
Looper by Rian Johnson
The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola

Best Adapted Screenplay
WINNER - Lincoln by Tony Kushner
Argo by Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER - Amour (Austria)
Holy Motors (France)
The Intouchables (France)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey)
Rust & Bone (France/Belgium)

Best Documentary
WINNER - The Invisible War
The Central Park Five
The Queen of Versailles
Searching For Sugar Man
West of Memphis

Best Animated Feature
WINNER - ParaNorman
Brave
Frankenweenie
The Secret World of Arrietty
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Cinematography
WINNER - Mihai Malaimare Jr., The Master
Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Original Score
WINNER - Jonny Greenwood, The Master
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Alexandre Desplat, Moonrise Kingdom
Alexandre Desplat, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Art Direction
WINNER - Moonrise Kingdom
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Lincoln
The Master

Best Editing
WINNER - William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor, Zero Dark Thirty
Willian Goldenberg, Argo
Alexander Berner, Cloud Atlas
Leslie Jones & Peter McNulty, The Master
Stuart Baird, Skyfall

Most Promising Performer
WINNER - Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Samantha Barks, Les Misérables
Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tom Holland, The Impossible

Most Promising Filmmaker
WINNER - Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods
Nicholas Jarecki, Arbitrage
Colin Trevorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed

Review: Streep, Jones Give "Hope Springs" Some Bounce

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 99 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Hopes Springs (2012)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality
DIRECTOR: David Frankel
WRITER: Vanessa Taylor
PRODUCERS: Todd Black and Guymon Casady
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Florian Ballhaus
EDITORS: Matt Maddox and Steven Weisberg
COMPOSER: Theodore Shapiro
Golden Globe nominee

COMEDY

Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Ben Rappaport, Marin Ireland, Patch Darragh, Brett Rice, Elisabeth Shue, and Mimi Rogers

Hope Springs is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama from director David Frankel. The film focuses on a married couple in therapy.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold Soames (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for thirty-one years. Kay believes that they are in need of help to put the spark back in their marriage. She enrolls them in an intense, week-long counseling session with Dr. Bernard Feld (Steve Carell). The couple travels to a coastal resort town in Maine where Feld’s Center for Intensive Couples Counseling is located. But Arnold isn’t cooperative, and Kay learns that the couple’s problems aren’t necessarily one-sided.

Hope Springs is interesting simply because it is a romance about old people will to talk about their lusts and sexual fantasies, or at least struggle with the implications of denying them. Heck, any movie in which Tommy Lee Jones plays a character who admits how much he wants oral sex from his wife is worth watching. Seriously, folks: there is some fine acting here. Streep and Jones create a couple in a deep rut so convincingly that I found myself feeling really sorry for them. Without being explicit, both actors construct sex scenes that are as raw and intimate as they are clumsy and forlorn. Yeah, I was invested in the Soames’ working out their marital issues.

Unfortunately, Steve Carell is reduced to being basically a talking head, although I strangely found him believable as a marriage counselor or therapist. His character always felt restrained, as if Carell was fighting to break free of some invisible bonds forced on him by the narrative. For what little he does, any good actor without Carell’s fame could have delivered the same performance Carell does.

Also, this film has a terrible soundtrack; it almost ruins the movie.

Still, I recommend this film to fans of Streep and Jones. Honestly, you won’t find acting this good, in which both characters have this level of depth, in many romance films. Hope springs that there are more movies like Hope Springs... but with a better soundtrack.

6 of 10
B

NOTES:
2013 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Meryl Streep)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Phoenix Film Critics Say "Argo" is Best Film of 2012

After showering Les Misérables with 12 nominations, the Phoenix Film Critics Society 2012 Annual Awards gives the film one win, Anne Hathaway as best supporting actress.  Argo gets "Best Picture," but "Best Director" goes to Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow.

Phoenix Film Critics Society 2012 Annual Awards winners:

Best Picture: Argo

Top Ten Films
•"Argo"
•"The Avengers"
•"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
•"Les Misérables"
•"Life of Pi"
•"Lincoln"
•"Moonrise Kingdom"
•"Silver Linings Playbook"
•"Skyfall"
•"Zero Dark T`hirty"

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow - "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis - "Lincoln"

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jessica Chastain - "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Philip Seymour Hoffman - "The Master"

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway - "Les Misérables"

Best Ensemble Acting: "Moonrise Kingdom"

Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: "Moonrise Kingdom"

Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium: "Argo"

Best Live Action Family Film: "Life of Pi"

Overlooked Film of the Year: "Safety Not Guaranteed"

Best Animated Film: "Wreck-It Ralph"

Best Foreign Language Film: "The Intouchables" (France)

Best Documentary: "Searching for Sugar Man"

Best Original Song: "Skyfall" from "Skyfall"

Best Original Score: "Skyfall"

Best Cinematography: "Life of Pi"

Best Film Editing: "Argo"

Best Production Design: "Moonrise Kingdom"

Best Costume Design: "Anna Karenina"

Best Visual Effects: "Life of Pi"

Best Stunts: "Skyfall"

Breakthrough Performance on Camera: Quvenzhané Wallis - "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera: Benh Zeitlin - "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Best Youth Performance in a Lead or Supporting Role – Male: Tom Holland - "The Impossible"

Best Youth Performance in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female: Quvenzhané Wallis - "Beasts of the Southern Wild"