Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Abduction" is a Broken Star Vehicle for Taylor Lautner

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 9 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Abduction (2011)
Running time: 106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, brief language, some sexual content and teen partying
DIRECTOR: John Singleton
WRITERS: Shawn Christensen
PRODUCERS: Doug Davison, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Dan Lautner, Roy Lee, and Lee Stollman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Menzies Jr. (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Bruce Cannon
COMPOSER: Edward Shearmur

ACTION/DRAMA/MYSTERY/THRILLER

Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Michael Nyqvist, Denzel Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Antonique Smith, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Dermot Mulroney

Abduction is a 2011 action thriller starring Taylor Lautner, currently best known for his portrayal of Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga film series. The film is about a teenager who sets out to discover who he really is after discovering a baby picture of himself on a missing persons website. Abduction is also the first feature film that John Singleton has directed in six years.

Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) is an ordinary teenager who lives with his parents, Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Maria (Maria Bello). Nathan partners with longtime friend, Karen Murphy (Lily Collins), for a high school sociology project. One night while doing research on the Internet, Nathan and Karen discover a baby photo that resembles Nathan on a missing persons website.

The website also has an age-progression program that allows users to see what the child would look like when he is older. When he ages the photo of the baby who is named Steven Price, Nathan is shocked to see a picture of someone who looks exactly like he does. Then, an innocent call to that missing persons website leads to the end of the life Nathan knows. Now, he and Karen are on the run, as shadowy figures chase Nathan, insisting that he has information they want. And some of them are willing to kill for it.

Abduction tries to be several things: a suspenseful character drama, an action chase movie, a lost identity mystery, and an international espionage thriller. As any one of the four, the film is weak. As all of them together, Abduction is still weak. The premise: a high school boy discovers his picture on a missing persons website, is interesting and has real-world implications. However, that premise ends up being just a tease because Abduction wants to be an espionage thriller with international implications, but it mostly ends up being a middling action movie.

Taylor Lautner is not a terrible actor, but he doesn’t accomplish much here that would make people think that he is a good actor. Watching this, I could tell that Lautner is sincere and is making an effort to be good and to make people buy into his character and the obstacles and dangers Nathan faces. In the first half of the film, his efforts come across as overacting. In the second half of this film, Lautner really sells, especially when Nathan is forced to directly confront a character that is trying to kill him.

In early 1992, John Singleton earned two Oscar nominations for his debut film, Boyz n the Hood (1991). I am actually saddened that 20 years later, Singleton has directed a film that seems like nothing more than a straight-to-DVD version of The Bourne Identity. Still, I have to give Lautner credit for his efforts, which is why I’m giving Abduction what I consider to be a generous grade.

5 of 10
C+

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ed

I know that you have had some difficult times lately, but you should still have a birthday shout out.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy B'day, Gene Hackman: Runaway Jury

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 32 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Runaway Jury (2003)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, language, and thematic elements
DIRECTOR: Gary Fleder
WRITERS: Brian Koppelman and David Levien, Rick Cleveland, and Matthew Chapman (based upon the novel by John Grisham)
PRODUCER: Christopher Mankiewicz, and Gary Fleder
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit, A.S.C.
EDITOR: William Steinkamp, A.C.E. and Jeff Williams

DRAMA/THRILLER

Starring: John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Bruce Davison, Bruce McGill, Jeremy Piven, Nick Searcy, Joanna Going, Stanley Anderson, Cliff Curtis, Jennifer Beals, and Bill Nunn with Orlando Jones and (uncredited) Dylan McDermott

Runaway Jury is a 2003 legal drama/thriller from director Gary Fleder. The film is based on the 1996 novel, The Runaway Jury, by author John Grisham.

Set in New Orleans, Runaway Jury is the story of a mysterious man named Nicholas Easter (John Cusack), who talks his way onto the jury of a landmark civil case against a gun manufacturer and attempts to influence the verdict by manipulating the other jurors. Meanwhile, on the outside, Easter’s girlfriend, Marlee (Rachel Weisz) runs a game to swindle the two lawyers involved in the case into paying her 10 million dollars if they want the verdict friendly to their clients.

Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) is a torts lawyer who represents the plaintiff, Celeste Wood (Joanna Going), the widow of Jacob Wood (Dylan McDermott), who was killed in a shooting rampage at brokerage firm. She believes the gun manufacturer knew that the killer bought the gun from a store that was careless and ignored gun laws. Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) is a jury consultant for the defense. Fitch is almost superhuman in the way he is able to discover the pasts of jurors, examine their beliefs and mindsets, and find out who can be bought, bribed, or blackmailed. His war with Nick Easter and Marlee drives the trial to the brink of ruin for a breathtaking finale.

Runaway Jury is the latest film adapted from a bestseller by John Grisham, author of books such as The Firm and A Time to Kill, both of which were adapted into films. The novel’s original premise was about a civil action against big tobacco, but the gun industry, also a target of big lawsuits, may have seemed like an easier sell to moviegoers, as guns are a lightening rod and divider of the American public. However, the film really doesn’t turn on a change of litigants. The best thing this film has going for it is the trio of John Cusack, Gene Hackman, and Rachel Weisz because they put the drama and thrills in this film. Dustin Hoffman is good, but he seems like the odd man out. His one good chance to chew up the scenery with Hackman is decidedly one-sided with Hackman eating his lunch. Anyone seeing this movie will clearly understand what power Hackman radiates. His star power and acting ability is worlds better than most other actors. An actor in a film with him has got to bring serious game, or Hackman will sweep him away. I so loved Hackman’s performance here that I wanted to have a baby for him.

Parts of Runaway Jury certainly test the bounds of belief and reality, but this is a great legal drama even if stuff happens in this film that no judge would allow to go on in his courtroom. And I say that knowing that most judges ain’t worth crap and are as crooked as a devil in gambling parlor. Runaway Jury is wonderful entertainment, and if you turn your reasoning down a little, it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

7 of 10
B+

"The Help" Cleans Up at 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is an American labor union that represents film and television performers worldwide. Most people probably know SAG for the various actors’ strikes or for the Screen Actors Guild Award, which SAG uses to honor outstanding performances by its members. The first SAG Awards ceremony was held in February 1995 (for films released in 1994).

The big winner last night was the 2011 hit movie, The Help.  It won two acting awards and the top prize, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" (or Best Ensemble-Film), which is something of an upset.  Going into last night, The Artist, had to be at least a slight favorite because it has won the top prize from most film critics organizations, and it won the top prize at the Golden Globes and from both the Directors and Producers Guilds.  However, in the previous 17 years of the SAG Awards, only 9 "Best Ensemble" winners have also won the best picture Oscar.  Last year's Best Ensemble SAG winner, The King's Speech, did win the Oscar.

The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were presented on Jan. 29, 2012 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and aired live on TBS and TNT.

18th Annual SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® Winners (for the year 2011):

FILM

BEST ENSEMBLE
"The Help" (Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel)

BEST ACTOR
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis, "The Help"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

BEST STUNT ENSEMBLE
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

TELEVISION

BEST DRAMA ENSEMBLE
"Boardwalk Empire" (Steve Buscemi; Dominic Chianese; Robert Clohessy; Dabney Coleman; Charlie Cox; Josie Gallina; Lucy Gallina; Stephen Graham; Jack Huston; Anthony Laciura; Heather Lind; Kelly MacDonald; Declan McTigue; Rory McTigue; Gretchen Mol; Brady Noon; Connor Noon; Kevin O'Rourke; Aleksa Palladino; Jacqueline Pennewill; Vincent Piazza; Michael Pitt; Michael Shannon; Paul Sparks; Michael Stuhlbarg; Peter Van Wagner; Shea Whigham; Michael Kenneth Williams; Anatol Yusef)

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story"

BEST COMEDY ENSEMBLE
"Modern Family" (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons; Julie Bowen; Ty Burrell; Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Nolan Gould; Sarah Hyland; Ed O'Neill; Rico Rodriguez II; Eric Stonestreet; Sofia Vergara; Ariel Winter)

BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS
Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland"

BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTOR
Paul Giamatti, "Too Big to Fail"

BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTRESS
Kate Winslet, "Mildred Pierce"

BEST TV STUNT ENSEMBLE
"Game of Thrones"

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Screen Actors Guild Awards 48th Annual Life Achievement Award:
Mary Tyler Moore

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marvel Assembles "The Avengers" on Twitter for Global Chat

“Marvel’s The Avengers” Assemble on Twitter

Marvel Studios Sponsors Global Twitter Chat with Director and Cast for Fans around the World

Participants Get Tease of “Marvel’s The Avengers” 30-Second Super Bowl Spot and Chance to Win Prizes

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marvel Studios announced today that they will be sponsoring a Global Twitter Chat on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 11 a.m. (PST) with cast members and the director of their highly anticipated action-adventure “Marvel’s The Avengers,” opening in theaters on May 4, 2012. The 30-minute live tweeting event features writer/director Joss Whedon and cast members Tom Hiddleston and Clark Gregg.

Fans around the world will be able to participate in the Q&A on Twitter by using the @Avengers handle and the #Avengers hashtag. Participating fans will have the opportunity to see a 10-second tease of the 30-second Super Bowl spot that will air during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 on NBC. They will also have a chance to answer “Avengers” trivia for a chance to win “Avengers” prize packs.

International fans will be able to submit questions for the talent in their native language through a global translation tool provided by Ortsbo.com. The chat will be moderated by Marvel’s @Agent_M.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson, and written and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures. The film is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Follow @Avengers on Twitter for more details.

Directors Guild Chooses Michel Hazanavicius of "The Artist"

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is the entertainment labor union that represents film and television directors. The DGA gives out the Directors Guild of America Award each year to honor outstanding achievement.

The winner of the DGA Award for “Feature Film” usually wins the best director Oscar. As of last year, only six DGA winners in the “Feature Film” category have not also won the best director Oscar. The last time this happened was for the year 2002. Rob Marshall was the DGA choice for Chicago. The Oscar went to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.

The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2011 (as wellas the recipients of the Guild's 2012 Career Achievement Awards) were announced Saturday night (Jan. 28th). Michel Hazanavicius won the DGA's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Artist, which seems to be the latest step the film is taking on its way to Oscar glory.

The 64th Annual DGA Awards Dinner was held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles.  There were many other categories, but I'm only concerned with the winners in the two film categories.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film:
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS
The Artist
(The Weinstein Company)

Mr. Hazanavicius’ Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Antoine De Cazotte
Production Manager (FR): Ségoléne Fleury
First Assistant Director (FR): James Canal
First Assistant Director (US): David Cluck
Second Assistant Directo (US): Dave Paige
Second Second Assistant Directors: Karla Strum, Ricky Robinson

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
JAMES MARSH
Project Nim
Red Box Films, Passion Pictures, HBO Documentary Films, Roadside Attractions, BBC Films, UK Film Council

This was Mr. Marsh’s second DGA Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category for Man on Wire in 2008.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominatons - Film Categories

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is an American labor union that represents film and television performers worldwide. Most people probably know SAG for the various actors’ strikes or for the Screen Actors Guild Award, which SAG uses to honor outstanding performances by its members. The first SAG Awards ceremony was held in February 1995 (for films released in 1994).

The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on Jan. 29, 2012 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air live on TBS and TNT.

18th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINATIONS (for the year 2011):

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DEMIÁN BICHIR / Carlos Galindo - “A BETTER LIFE” (Summit Entertainment)
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King - "THE DESCENDANTS” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. Edgar Hoover - "J. EDGAR" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - "THE ARTIST" (The Weinstein Company)
BRAD PITT / Billy Beane - "MONEYBALL" (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE / Albert Nobbs - "ALBERT NOBBS” (Roadside Attractions)
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / Margaret Thatcher - “THE IRON LADY” (The Weinstein Company)
TILDA SWINTON / Eva - “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Marilyn Monroe - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN” (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
KENNETH BRANAGH / Sir Laurence Olivier - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN” (The Weinstein Company)
ARMIE HAMMER / Clyde Tolson - "J. EDGAR" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JONAH HILL / Peter Brand - "MONEYBALL" (Columbia Pictures)
NICK NOLTE / Paddy Conlon - “WARRIOR” (Lionsgate)
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Hal - “BEGINNERS” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy - "THE ARTIST" (The Weinstein Company)
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan - “BRIDESMAIDS” (Universal Pictures)
JANET McTEER / Hubert Page - "ALBERT NOBBS” (Roadside Attractions)
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

1. THE ARTIST (The Weinstein Company):
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy
JAMES CROMWELL / Clifton
JEAN DUJARDIN / George
JOHN GOODMAN / Al Zimmer
PENELOPE ANN MILLER / Doris

2. BRIDESMAIDS (Universal Pictures):
ROSE BYRNE / Helen
JILL CLAYBURGH / Annie’s Mom
ELLIE KEMPER / Becca
MATT LUCAS / Gil
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan
WENDI McLENDON-COVEY / Rita
CHRIS O’DOWD / Rhodes
MAYA RUDOLPH / Lillian
KRISTEN WIIG / Annie

3. THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight Pictures):
BEAU BRIDGES / Cousin Hugh
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King
ROBERT FORSTER / Scott Thorson
JUDY GREER / Julie Speer
MATTHEW LILLARD / Brian Speer
SHAILENE WOODLEY / Alexandra King

4. THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures):
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD / Hilly Holbrook
ALLISON JANNEY / Charlotte Phelan
CHRIS LOWELL / Stuart Whitworth
AHNA O’REILLY / Elizabeth Leefolt
SISSY SPACEK / Missus Walters
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson
MARY STEENBURGEN / Elaine Stein
EMMA STONE / Skeeter Phelan
CICELY TYSON / Constantine Jefferson
MIKE VOGEL / Johnny Foote

5. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Sony Pictures Classics):
KATHY BATES / Gertrude Stein
ADRIEN BRODY / Salvador Dali
CARLA BRUNI / Museum Guide
MARION COTILLARD / Adriana
RACHEL McADAMS / Inez
MICHAEL SHEEN / Paul
OWEN WILSON / Gil

SAG HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES:

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
1. THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
2. COWBOYS & ALIENS (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
3. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (WARNER BROS. PICTURES)
4. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
5. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (20TH CENTURY FOX)

2012 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations: Primetime TV Categories

The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on Jan. 29, 2012 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air live on TBS and TNT.

18th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINATIONS (for the year 2011):

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
LAURENCE FISHBURNE / Thurgood Marshall - “THURGOOD” (HBO)
PAUL GIAMATTI / Ben Bernanke - “TOO BIG TO FAIL” (HBO)
GREG KINNEAR / Jack Kennedy - “THE KENNEDYS” (REELZ CHANNEL)
GUY PEARCE / Monty Beragon - “MILDRED PIERCE“ (HBO)
JAMES WOODS / Richard Fuld - “TOO BIG TO FAIL” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
DIANE LANE / Pat Loud - “CINEMA VERITE” (HBO)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham - “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)
EMILY WATSON / Janet Leach - “APPROPRIATE ADULT” (Sundance Channel)
BETTY WHITE / Caroline Thomas - “HALLMARK HALL OF FAME: THE LOST VALENTINE” (CBS)
KATE WINSLET / Mildred Pierce - “MILDRED PIERCE” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
PATRICK J. ADAMS / Mike Ross - “SUITS” (USA)
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson - “BOARDWALK EMPIRE” (HBO)
KYLE CHANDLER / Eric Taylor - “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS” (DirecTV)
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White - “BREAKING BAD” (AMC)
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan - “DEXTER” (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
KATHY BATES / Harriet Korn - “HARRY’S LAW” (NBC)
GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes - “DAMAGES” (DirecTV)
JESSICA LANGE / Constance - “AMERICAN HORROR STORY” (FX)
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick - “THE GOOD WIFE” (CBS)
KYRA SEDGWICK / Dept. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson - “THE CLOSER” (TNT)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - “30 ROCK” (NBC)
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy - “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott - “THE OFFICE” (NBC)
JON CRYER / Alan Harper - “TWO AND A HALF MEN” (CBS)
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron Tucker - “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy - “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton - “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - “30 ROCK” (NBC)
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett - “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)
BETTY WHITE / Elka Ostrovsky - “HOT IN CLEVELAND” (TV Land)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:

1. BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson
DOMINIC CHIANESE / Leander Cephas Whitlock
ROBERT CLOHESSY / Ward Boss Jim Neary
DABNEY COLEMAN / Commodore Louis Kaestner
CHARLIE COX / Owen Sleater
JOSIE & LUCY GALLINA / Emily Schroeder
STEPHEN GRAHAM / Al Capone
JACK HUSTON / Richard Harrow
ANTHONY LACIURA / Eddie Kessler
HEATHER LIND / Katy
KELLY MACDONALD / Margaret Schroeder
RORY & DECLAN McTIGUE / Teddy Schroeder
GRETCHEN MOL / Gillian Darmody
BRADY & CONNOR NOON/ Tommy Darmody
KEVIN O’ROURKE / Mayor Edward Bader
ALEKSA PALLADINO / Angela Darmody
JACQUELINE PENNEWILL / Lilian
VINCENT PIAZZA / Lucky Luciano
MICHAEL PITT / Jimmy Darmody
MICHAEL SHANNON / Agent Nelson Van Alden
PAUL SPARKS / Mickey Doyle
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Arnold Rothstein
PETER VAN WAGNER / Isaac “Icky” Ginsburg
SHEA WHIGHAM / Sheriff Elias Thompson
MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS / Chalky White
ANATOL YUSEF / Meyer Lansky

2. BREAKING BAD (AMC)
JONATHAN BANKS / Mike
BETSY BRANDT / Marie Schrader
RAY CAMPBELL / Tyrus Kitt
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White
GIANCARLO ESPOSITO / Gus Fring
ANNA GUNN / Skyler White
RJ MITTE / Walter White, Jr.
DEAN NORRIS / Hank Schrader
BOB ODENKIRK / Saul Goodman
AARON PAUL / Jesse Pinkman

3. DEXTER (Showtime)
BILLY BROWN / Chicago Mike
JENNIFER CARPENTER / Debra Morgan
JOSH COOKE / Louis
AIMEE GARCIA / Jamie Batista
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan
COLIN HANKS / Travis Marshall
DESMOND HARRINGTON / Joey Quinn
RYA KIHLSTEDT / Michelle
C.S. LEE / Vince Masuka
EDWARD JAMES OLMOS / Professor Gellar
JAMES REMAR / Harry Morgan
LAUREN VELEZ / Lt. Maria LaGuerta
DAVID ZAYAS / Sgt. Angel Batista

4. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
AMRITA ACHARIA / Irri
MARK ADDY / King Robert Baratheon
ALFIE ALLEN / Theon Greyjoy
JOSEF ALTIN / Pypar
SEAN BEAN / Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark
SUSAN BROWN / Septa Mordane
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU / Ser Jaime Lannister
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
RON DONACHIE / Ser Rodrik Cassel
MICHELLE FAIRLEY / Lady Catelyn Stark
JEROME FLYNN / Bronn
ELYES GABEL / Rakharo
AIDAN GILLEN / “Littlefinger” Petyr Baelish
JACK GLEESON / Joffrey Baratheon
IAIN GLEN / Ser Jorah Mormont
JULIAN GLOVER / Grand Maester Pycelle
KIT HARINGTON / Jon Snow
LENA HEADEY / Queen Cersei Lannister
ISAAC HEMPSTEAD WRIGHT / Bran Stark
CONLETH HILL / Lord Varys
RICHARD MADDEN / Robb Stark
JASON MOMOA / Khal Drogo
RORY McCANN / Sandor Clegane
IAN McELHINNEY / Barristan Selmy
LUKE McEWAN / Rast
ROXANNE McKEE / Doreah
DAR SALIM / Qotho
MARK STANLEY / Grenn
DONALD SUMPTER / Maester Luwin
SOPHIE TURNER / Sansa Stark
MAISIE WILLIAMS / Arya Stark

5. THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
CHRISTINE BARANSKI / Diane Lockhart
JOSH CHARLES / Will Gardner
ALAN CUMMING / Eli Gold
MATT CZUCHRY / Cary Agos
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick
CHRIS NOTH / Peter Florrick
ARCHIE PANJABI / Kalinda Sharma
GRAHAM PHILLIPS / Zach Florrick
MAKENZIE VEGA / Grace Florrick

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:

1. 30 ROCK (NBC)
SCOTT ADSIT / Pete Hornberger
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy
KATRINA BOWDEN / Cerie
KEVIN BROWN / Dotcom
GRIZZ CHAPMAN / Grizz
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER / Frank Rossitano
JANE KRAKOWSKI / Jenna Maroney
JOHN LUTZ / Lutz
JACK MCBRAYER / Kenneth Parcell
TRACY MORGAN / Tracy Jordan
KEITH POWELL / Toofer

2. THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler
KALEY CUOCO / Penny
JOHNNY GALECKI / Leonard Hofstadter
SIMON HELBERG / Howard Wolowitz
KUNAL NAYYAR / Rajesh Koothrappali
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper
MELISSA RAUCH / Bernadette Rostenkowski

3. GLEE (FOX)
DIANNA AGRON / Quinn Fabray
CHRIS COLFER / Kurt Hummel
DARREN CRISS / Blaine Anderson
ASHLEY FINK / Lauren Zizes
DOT MARIE JONES / Coach Beiste
JANE LYNCH / Sue Sylvester
JAYMA MAYS / Emma Pillsbury
KEVIN McHALE / Artie Abrams
LEA MICHELE / Rachel Berry
CORY MONTEITH / Finn Hudson
HEATHER MORRIS / Brittany Pierce
MATTHEW MORRISON / Will Schuester
MIKE O’MALLEY / Burt Hummel
CHORD OVERSTREET / Sam Evans
LAUREN POTTER / Becky Johnson
AMBER RILEY / Mercedes Jones
NAYA RIVERA / Santana Lopez
MARK SALLING / Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman
HARRY SHUM, JR. / Mike Chang
IQBAL THEBA / Principal Figgins
JENNA USHKOWITZ / Tina Cohen-Chang

4. MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
AUBREY ANDERSON-EMMONS / Lily
JULIE BOWEN / Claire
TY BURRELL / Phil
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell
NOLAN GOULD / Luke
SARAH HYLAND / Haley
ED O’NEILL / Jay
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria
ARIEL WINTER / Alex

5. THE OFFICE (NBC)
LESLIE DAVID BAKER / Stanley Hudson
BRIAN BAUMGARTNER / Kevin Malone
CREED BRATTON / Creed Bratton
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott
JENNA FISCHER / Pam Beesly Halpert
KATE FLANNERY / Meredith Palmer
ED HELMS / Andy Bernard
MINDY KALING / Kelly Kapoor
ELLIE KEMPER / Erin Hannon
ANGELA KINSEY / Angela Martin
JOHN KRASINSKI / Jim Halpert
PAUL LIEBERSTEIN / Toby Flenderson
B.J. NOVAK / Ryan Howard
OSCAR NUÑEZ / Oscar Martinez
CRAIG ROBINSON / Daryll Philbin
JAMES SPADER / Robert California
PHYLLIS SMITH / Phyllis Lapin-Vance
RAINN WILSON / Dwight Schrute
ZACH WOODS / Gabe Lewis

SAG HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES:

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
1. DEXTER (SHOWTIME)
2. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
3. SOUTHLAND (TNT)
4. SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA (STARZ)
5. TRUE BLOOD (HBO)

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Screen Actors Guild Awards 48th Annual Life Achievement Award:
MARY TYLER MOORE

Happy Birthday, Anna Victoria!

You are 6-years-old already.  I can't believe it.  Where has the time gone?  Have a great one and kiss an Angry Bird for me.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Negromancer (Blog Version)

Two years ago, I relaunched my former website, Negromancer.com, as a blog on Google Blogger.  I had toyed with the idea of turning Negromancer into a blog for years, and after shutting down the site in May 2007, I toyed with the idea of restarting it as a blog for at least a year.

Thank you for making my decision to blog worth every minute of it.  Now, let's pop some imaginary bottles of Krissy.

Oscars Rule Brad Pitt Not Valid Producer on "The Tree of Life"

[So an executive committee has determined that four of the five individuals credited as the producers of best picture nominee, The Tree of Life, (directed by Terrence Malick) are valid and are thus eligible to receive the nomination that producers get in the best picture category.  The one left out is Brad Pitt, who is not completely left out.  He is one of the nominated producers of Moneyball.  Pitt was also ruled not a valid producer back in 2007 for The Departed, which went on to win as best picture of 2006.  In that case, I think he actually was not a valid producer.  Anyway, the Oscar press release about this matter:]

Producer Credits Determined for 2011 Best Picture Nominee

Beverly Hills, CA (January 27, 2012) – Producer credits for 84th Academy Awards® Best Picture nominee "The Tree of Life" have been determined by the Producers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The official nominees for the film are Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill.

Academy rules allow for no more than three producers to be nominated and to potentially receive Oscar® statuettes. The executive committee called a meeting to determine if "The Tree of Life" represented a "rare and extraordinary circumstance," as described by the rules, and if any additional producer would be eligible. The committee determined that Green, Pohlad, Gardner and Hill functioned as genuine producers of the film and would be cited in the nomination.

Producers for the eight other motion pictures nominated in the Best Picture category – "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "The Help," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball" and "War Horse" – were announced on January 24 and remain unchanged.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Real Steel" Has Real Heart

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 8 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Real Steel (2011)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some violence, intense action and brief language
DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
WRITERS: John Gatins; from a story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven (based upon Richard Matheson’s short story "Steel")
PRODUCERS: Shawn Levy, Susan Montford, and Don Murphy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mauro Fiore
EDITOR: Dean Zimmerman
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman

SCI-FI/DRAMA/FAMILY with elements of action and sports

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand, Hope Davis, James Rebhorn, Karl Yune, and Olga Fonda

Real Steel is a 2011 science fiction boxing drama from director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum), and Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis are among this film’s executive producers. Real Steel’s screenplay is based upon Richard Matheson’s short story, “Steel,” which was also adapted into a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone. Although the film’s boxing sequences offer plenty of action, Real Steel’s heart is a gripping father/son story that will jerk a few tears from some viewers (as it did with me).

The film is set in the near future, the year 2020. By then, robot boxing has replaced human boxing as a top sport. Charles “Charlie” Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer turned robot boxing promoter. Charlie’s most recent robot boxer, a robot named “Ambush,” is destroyed in a fight, and his erstwhile partner/girlfriend, Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly), thinks that it is time for Charlie to make a change. Then, Charlie’s life takes a stunning turn. He learns that his ex-girlfriend has died, and that means he must show up in court to decide the custody of his 11-year-old son, Max (Dakota Goyo), whom Charlie has not seen in a decade.

Max’s Aunt Debra (Hope Davis) and her wealthy husband, Marvin (James Rebhorn), want custody of Max, which Charlie is more than happy to give. Charlie makes a $100,000 deal with Marvin that would have Charlie keep Max over the summer. Charlie and his estranged son are at odds; then, Max discovers a second generation robot, called Atom. Suddenly, Max has dreams of the Real Steel Championship, but can an old boxer and an old robot climb up from the bottom of the heap?

I would not describe Real Steel as a robot version of the Oscar-winning film, Rocky, although Atom the robot is also a little guy/underdog in a world of elite boxers. Real Steel is about a father-son conflict, and before there can be hope of reconciliation, the screenplay makes father and son fight their way back to each other. I honestly bought this film’s conceit that Charlie and Max might not ultimately make it. Yes, the loser father reunited with his chip-on-shoulder son has been done to death in Hollywood films, but when done right, as it is here, it seems so fresh and new. Real Steel is exceptionally well-written because it makes the characters really work for that happy ending, while also offering science fiction/action set pieces that had me jumping out of my seat and cheering on the heroes.

Director Shawn Levy gets everything right. The character drama has excellent character and drama, and the sci-fi is fantastic. As the father, Charlie, and as the son, Max, Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo, respectively, carry this film in way that seems effortless. They may not be Oscar-worthy, but they’re close. Although I’m a big fan of Hugh Jackman, I ignored Real Steel when it was first released to theatres. I was so wrong, but now I can do right with my Real Steel movie review by recommending it.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2012 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, and Swen Gillberg)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Louisiana Film Studio "Moonbot Studios" Gets Oscar Nomination

[Editor's note: Last year, I was excited to discover that there is a computer animation studio located in Louisiana.  I wish them the best, so, of course, I was happy to learn that the studio received an Academy Award nomination earlier this week.]

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” Nominated for Best Animated Short in 2011 Oscars

Moonbot Studios’ first original animated short film moves ahead in race for Academy Award

SHREVEPORT, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moonbot Studios announced today that its animated short film, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, is one of five animated short films that will be considered for outstanding film achievements of 2011 in the 84th Academy Awards®, which take place on February 26, 2012. The newly opened Moonbot Studios is based in Shreveport, Louisiana and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is the company’s first released animation project.

Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques, including miniatures, computer animation, and 2D animation, award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce and co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals.

“’The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ overwhelms me every time I watch it and it is exactly the kind of film I want to be a part of helping discover every year,” said Michael Rabehl, programming director of Cinequest. “It is a story that completely entertains and simultaneously focuses on the strength of its characters and story to reach our minds and our hearts. It’s an incredible visual journey that must be seen by everyone.”

“We made Morris Lessmore with passion, sweat and every nickel we could rub together,” said William Joyce, managing creative partner of Moonbot Studios. “To see it embraced by the Academy is the biggest smile imaginable.”

In tandem with the film, Moonbot Studios also created a best-selling, interactive “Morris Lessmore” iPad App available on iTunes for $4.99 in the App Store. Moonbot is also working on a hard copy book version of the story with Simon & Schuster that is due out in late 2012.

“‘Morris Lessmore’ has paved the way for a whole new class of storytelling,” said Brandon Oldenburg, co-founder of Moonbot Studios. “We envision a future where stories transcend boundaries between traditional film and written text to transform the art of storytelling into a seamless multimedia experience.”

Film Awards Won by “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” - To date, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” film has drummed up fans all over the world taking home the following awards:

Cinequest Film Fest: Best Animated Short
Cleveland International Film Festival: Best Animated Short Film Award
Florida Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Short Film
Nashville Film Festival: Special Jury Prize for Imaginative Storytelling
Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award Palm Springs International ShortFest: Audience Favorite Award
SIGGRAPH: Best in Show
Rhode Island International Film Fest: Grand Prize Winner
Burbank International Film Fest: Curator’s Choice Awards
Tacoma Film Festival: Best Animated Film
Austin Film Festival: Best Animated Short and Audience Award Winner
Chicago International Children’s Film Fest: 1st Adult Jury Prize and 2nd Children’s Jury Prize in the Animated Shorts category
Traverse City Film Fest: Best Short Film for Kids

What People Are Saying About “Morris Lessmore”

"It was a pleasure and an honor to have ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,’ as part of the 2011 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Chosen as Best-in-Show out of roughly 1,000 submissions, by the 2011 Computer Animation Festival Jury, ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ was a beautiful story, wrapped in an elegant package of visually stunning animation. " – Joshua Grow, Program Director, 2012 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival

“We were delighted to present this moving, inventive film as part of the 2011 Chicago International Children's Film Festival. The artistry of its animation and its clever use of film references created a depth of setting and character, opening eyes to a love of literature for the Chicago children who became part of the wondrous journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” – Ann Vikstrom, Programming Director, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

Academy Award Details
Forty-four films originally qualified in the animated short category and the winner of the top five will be announced live at The 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


About Moonbot Studios
Founded in 2010, Moonbot Studios is an animation and storytelling company based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Moonbot Studios was co-founded by award-winning artists and filmmakers William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and veteran film producer Lampton Enochs. Moonbot Studios’ philosophy is to develop our stories as books, interactive applications, games with a compelling emotional narrative and exciting visual aesthetics. For more information, visit www.moonbotstudios.com, interact with them on Twitter @moonbotstudios, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moonbotstudios or on their blog at moonbotstudios.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oscar-Nominated "Rango" Returns in Limited Engagement

PARAMOUNT TO RE-RELEASE ACADEMY AWARD®-NOMINATED “RANGO” BEGINNING THIS FRIDAY, JANUARY 27th

The now Academy Award®-nominated Rango, from director Gore Verbinski and starring the voice of Johnny Depp, saddles up for a one week limited engagement at the ArcLight Hollywood beginning this Friday, January 27th. The original animated comedy-adventure from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies a Blind Wing/GK Films Production that takes moviegoers for a hilarious and heartfelt walk in the Wild West, was this morning nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film.

Rango is the winner of the National Board of Review and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Animated Feature, while top critics’ groups around the country have declared Rango the Best Animated Film of 2011, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

The incomparable Johnny Depp voices Rango, a chameleon living as an ordinary family pet who dreams of being a fearless hero and is challenged to become just that when he inadvertently becomes the sheriff of a lawless desert town called Dirt. Story by John Logan, Gore Verbinski, and James Ward Byrkit, Written by John Logan, Directed by Gore Verbinski, the visionary behind the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Rango delighted audiences of all ages, earning more than $230 million worldwide. The film also features the voices of Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant.


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

The Ides of March movie review

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 7 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Ides of March (2011)
Running time: 101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – R for pervasive language
DIRECTOR: George Clooney
WRITERS: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon (based upon Beau Willimon’s play “Farragut North”)
PRODUCERS: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Brian Oliver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phedon Papamichael
EDITOR: Stephen Mirrione
COMPOSER: Alexandre Desplat
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/POLITICS with elements of a thriller

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Max Minghella

The Ides of March is a 2011 political drama directed by George Clooney. The film is based on the 2008 play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon, who also co-wrote the screenplay for this film adaptation. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the film’s executive producers, and his production company, Appian Way Productions, is one of this film’s financial backers. The Ides of March is kind of a thriller, but it doesn’t really work as a thriller. The best moments are when the film puts two characters together in a clash or test of wills.

The film focuses on Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling), the Junior Campaign Manager for a Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). Morris’ campaign is competing in the Democratic primary, and the latest battleground is the state of Ohio, where Morris battles the other Democratic presidential candidate, Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman. Both campaigns are also attempting to win the endorsement of U.S. Senator Franklin Thompson (Jeffrey Wright), D-North Carolina.

Meyers is doing well at his job, but he gets involved in two troublesome situations. First, he holds a secret meeting with Pullman’s Campaign Manager, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti). Then, he becomes embroiled in drama with a Morris campaign intern, Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood). One entanglement could ruin Meyers, but the other has the potential to destroy the Morris campaign.

The Ides of March feels restrained to me. The entire movie simmers like a dish that needs to boil-over, but doesn’t know how or when to do it. The best moments in the film are when two characters clash. The best confrontations feature Meyers and Senior Campaign Manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) or Meyers and Molly Stearns. There is one major test of wills between Meyers and his boss, Mike Morris (who is Governor of Pennsylvania), and another between Meyers and Sen. Thompson. Both occur in the film’s last act, but these moments made me realize that this movie should have had more scenes featuring Meyers, Morris, and Thompson in some combination. It is as if the best stuff is happening off-camera.

Honestly, I can recommend The Ides of March to people that enjoy watching particular members of this cast act in dramas, especially Gosling and Clooney. I think people who like political dramas will like this, although they should not expect this to be humorous or satirical (at least not in an obvious way). Although it has an electrifying second half, The Ides of March isn’t as good or as visceral as it could be.

7 of 10
B+

NOTES:
2012 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published” (George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon)

2012 BAFTA Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Adapted Screenplay” (Beau Willimon, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov) and “Best Supporting Actor” (Philip Seymour Hoffman)

2012 Golden Globes: 4 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (George Clooney), “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Ryan Gosling), and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, and George Clooney)

2012 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Jeffrey Wright)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Producers Guild of America Names "The Artist" Best Picture

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced this year’s winning motion picture and television productions at the 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 21, 2012.  The Artist, a black and white, silent film, won the Producer's Guild's version of a best picture award.  Back in December when The Artist started winning critics' awards, I thought, "No way will it win the best picture Oscar."  Now, it seems inevitable that it will win.

The PGA also honored several individuals with tribute awards:  Leslie Moonves (Milestone Award), Steven Spielberg (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), Don Mischer (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Stan Lee (Vanguard Award).  Angeline Jolie's directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, received The Stanley Kramer Award.

As for The 2012 Producers Guild competitive categories, I'm only listing the film categories, but you can go here to see the complete list, including the television categories.

The theatrical motion picture nominees and winners (denoted by an *) are:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

*THE ARTIST
Producer: Thomas Langmann

BRIDESMAIDS
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

THE DESCENDANTS
Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

THE HELP
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

HUGO
Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

THE IDES OF MARCH
Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

MONEYBALL
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

WAR HORSE
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

*THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

CARS 2
Producer: Denise Ream

KUNG FU PANDA 2
Producer: Melissa Cobb

PUSS IN BOOTS
Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou

RANGO
Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

*BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Producers: Debra Koffler, Frank Mele, Edward Parks, Michael Rapaport

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK
Producer: Philip Gefter

PROJECT NIM
Producer: Simon Chinn

SENNA
Producer: James Gay-Rees

THE UNION
Producers: Cameron Crowe, Michelle Panek

Happy B'day, Tobe Hopper: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 65 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Running minutes: 83 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes)
MPAA – R
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Tobe Hopper
WRITERS: Kim Henkel and Tobe Hopper
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Pearl
EDITOR: Larry Carroll and Sallye Richardson
COMPOSERS: Wayne Bell and Tobe Hooper

HORROR/THRILLER

Starring: Marilyn Burns, Allen Dazinger, Paul A. Purtain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan, and Ed Guinn with John Laroquette (narrator)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 horror film directed by Tobe Hopper. Filmmakers such as Ridley Scott and Rob Zombie have cited this independent film as being an influence on their work. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most famous and infamous American horror movies ever made. It spawned two direct sequels, a prequel, and a 2003 hit remake.

The film follows a group of young people (or hippies, depending upon your point of view), traveling through Texas by van in the 1970’s, when they encounter a family of murderous cannibals. Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her brother, Franklin (Paul A. Purtain), visit their grandfather’s grave after hearing news about vandalism and grave robbing at the cemetery. Three friends have accompanied the Hardestys on this trip, which becomes weird when they pick up a hitchhiker who turns violent. While looking for gas, things get worse, and these young people must fight a chainsaw wielding, masked manic – known as Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) for their lives.

The film (itself based on the Ed Gein murder, upon which Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is based) has spawned many urban legends, most built around the idea that there are people in Texas selling delicious barbeque made out of human flesh in roadside quick stops and shacks. View the film carefully, and it’s easy to see why. Hooper’s direction is brilliant, and it is a shame Hopper’s career never quite reached the heights that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre promised.

The film is documentary-like, but also has a dreamlike quality that is very effective. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie is often like a nightmare that’s over quickly, but while you’re experiencing it, the nightmare seems to go on forever. Its jarring finale not only furthers the idea that this is a bad dream, but it also makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre seem like a fairy tale. It’s like a really nasty Grimm Brothers story of careless and naughty youth who are so oblivious to nature and so focused on their own wants that they ignore the sense of evil and foreboding around them.

Hooper really had a solid vision for his crew and the assisting filmmakers. The shots, editing, lighting, and music go a long way into creating the sense of dread and psychological horror in the film. The cast is mostly inspired and never slacks up, which allows the level of intensity and fear to keep increasing as the film narrative unfolds. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is unsettling, frightening, and just plain freakish, but it’s also funny and has some odd moments of satire and social commentary.

8 of 10
A

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Motion Picture of the Year

Best Motion Picture of the Year Nominees:

(There are 9 best picture nominees this year.)

The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann

The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin

The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan

Hugo (2011): Graham King, Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

The Tree of Life (2011): Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill

War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Directing

Best Achievement in Directing Nominees:

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)

Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)

Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)

Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:

Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)

George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)

Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)

Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Nominees:

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)

Viola Davis for The Help (2011)

Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)

Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)

Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)

Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)

Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees:

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)

Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)

Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)

Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)

Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo

Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor

Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen

A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Nominees:

The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Hugo (2011): John Logan

The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon

Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Nominees:

A Cat in Paris (2010): Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli

Chico & Rita (2010): Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Jennifer Yuh

Puss in Boots (2011): Chris Miller

Rango (2011): Gore Verbinski

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year Nominees:

Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam (Belgium)

Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar (Israel)

In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland (Poland)

Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau (Canada)

A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Cinematography Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Jeff Cronenweth

Hugo (2011): Robert Richardson

The Tree of Life (2011): Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse (2011): Janusz Kaminski

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Editing

Best Achievement in Editing Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants (2011): Kevin Tent

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

Hugo (2011): Thelma Schoonmaker

Moneyball (2011): Christopher Tellefsen

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Art Direction

Best Achievement in Art Direction Nominees:

The Artist (2011): Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan

Hugo (2011): Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris (2011): Anne Seibel, Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse (2011): Rick Carter, Lee Sandales

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Costume Design Nominees:

Anonymous (2011): Lisy Christl

The Artist (2011): Mark Bridges

Hugo (2011): Sandy Powell

Jane Eyre (2011): Michael O'Connor

W.E. (2011): Arianne Phillips

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Makeup

Best Achievement in Makeup Nominees:

Albert Nobbs (2011): Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, Matthew W. Mungle

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin

The Iron Lady (2011): Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score Nominees:

The Adventures of Tintin (2011): John Williams

The Artist (2011): Ludovic Bource

Hugo (2011): Howard Shore

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Alberto Iglesias

War Horse (2011): John Williams

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song Nominees:

The Muppets (2011): Bret McKenzie ("Man or Muppet")

Rio (2011): Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett ("Real in Rio")

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing Nominees:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson

Hugo (2011): Tom Fleischman, John Midgley

Moneyball (2011): Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin

War Horse (2011): Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Best Achievement in Sound Editing Nominees:

Drive (2011): Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Ren Klyce

Hugo (2011): Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl

War Horse (2011): Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Best Achievement in Visual Effects Nominees:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson

Hugo (2011/II): Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning

Real Steel (2011): Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, Swen Gillberg

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Documentary, Features

Best Documentary, Features Nominees:

Hell and Back Again (2011): Danfung Dennis, Mike Lerner

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011): Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011): Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Pina (2011): Wim Wenders, Gian-Piero Ringel

Undefeated (2011): Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Rich Middlemas

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Best Documentary, Short Subjects Nominees:

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (2011): Robin Fryday, Gail Dolgin

God Is the Bigger Elvis: Rebecca Cammisa, Julie Anderson

Incident in New Baghdad (2011): James Spione

Saving Face (2011/II): Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011): Lucy Walker, Kira Carstensen

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Short Film, Animated

Best Short Film, Animated Nominees:

Dimanche (2011): Patrick Doyon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011): William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg

La Luna (2011): Enrico Casarosa (Pixar)

A Morning Stroll (2011): Grant Orchard, Sue Goffe

Wild Life (2011): Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

2012 Academy Award Nominations: Best Short Film, Live Action

Best Short Film, Live Action Nominees:

Pentecost (2011): Peter McDonald

Raju (2011): Max Zähle, Stefan Gieren

The Shore: Terry George

Time Freak (2011): Andrew Bowler, Gigi Causey

Tuba Atlantic (2010): Hallvar Witzø

Monday, January 23, 2012

"The Tree of Life" is a Spacey Family Odyssey

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 6 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Tree of Life (2011)
Running time: 139 minutes (2 hours, 19 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some thematic material
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick
PRODUCERS: Sarah Green, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill, Brad Pitt and William Pohlad
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Emmanuel Lubezki
EDITORS: Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, and Mark Yoshikawa
COMPOSER: Alexandre Desplat

DRAMA/HISTORICAL

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan, and Kameron Vaughn

The Tree of Life is a 2011 family drama written and directed by Terrence Malick. In the film, the origin of the universe and life on Earth plays side-by-side with the memories of a middle-aged man having a spiritual crisis.

Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn), an architect, is unhappy, a lost soul in the modern world. While watching the planting of a tree, Jack’s mind drifts through his memories of life as a teenager in the 1950s. His family lived in a sprawling neighborhood in Waco, Texas. There was his father, Mr. O’Brien (Brad Pitt), and his mother, Mrs. O’Brien (Jessica Chastain), and two younger brothers, R.L. (Laramie Eppler) and Steve (Tye Sheridan).

When he reaches adolescence, Young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is faced with a conflict. He must choose between accepting grace or nature, as embodied by each of his parents. Jack’s mother, Mrs. O’Brien believes in grace, which is gentle, nurturing, and authoritative. Mr. O’Brien embodies nature and is strict and authoritarian. Mr. O’Brien, who easily loses his temper, believes that you have to take what you want and also that his wife’s emphasis on love is foolish. Mrs. O’Brien teaches her children that the world is a place of wonder. Through his memories, a kind of trip through time to the past, Jack will try to reconcile his complicated relationship with his father. He also hopes to return something precious that is lost to his mother. Also, various scenes concerning the dawn of the universe and the formation of the Earth play out between scenes of the O’Briens.

In some ways, The Tree of Life is an experimental film, particularly in the way that Malick uses literal visuals in an abstract way to tell a story about the meaning of life and about the reconciliation of parent and child. The juxtaposition of both the universe and Earth’s past and future vividly recall Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, the way The Tree of Life’s special effects are created (without computer-generated imagery or CGI) is reminiscent of the special effects in 2001.

Malick’s film is both ambitious and humble in that he attempts to encompass all of existence, but channels that through the infinitesimal lives of flawed people. Those characters cannot come up with the big answers, but through love there is reconciliation and, if not answers, then, there is understanding of the relationships most precious to us.

The Tree of Life is an impressionistic story, and the viewer will have to pick and choose through images and colors to decipher the family drama at the center of the film. And this is a real family story, full of startling conflicts and ugly battles. There is, however, convergence and peace and love and beauty. The cast has to receive a lot of credit for their work; these moving, layered performances bring the literal to this often fantastic film. The trio that brings the O’Brien boys to life: Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan, gives performances of complexity and profundity that are rarely seen in young actors – even among those that have received Academy Award nominations.

The Tree of Life can be perplexing and achingly slow. Malick also needed to put more emotion on screen and could have made more of the film a conventional narrative. Still, The Tree of Life is moving and deeply spiritual and also more ambitious than most films that star actors of the caliber of Sean Penn and Brad Pitt.

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
2011 Cannes Film Festival: 1 win: “Palme d'Or” (Terrence Malick)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Latest Naruto Shippuden Anime Straight from Japan to Hulu

VIZ MEDIA BRINGS NARUTO SHIPPUDEN ANIME TO HULU PLUS SUBSCRIBERS THE SAME DAY AFTER BROADCAST DEBUT IN JAPAN

Latest Action-Packed Ninja Adventures Straight From Japan To Stream For Fans Beginning With Episode 245

VIZ Media has announced the simulcast of the latest episodes of the anime series NARUTO SHIPPUDEN on the Hulu Plus subscription service (www.hulu.com/plus). Beginning January 19th, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to simulcast the latest episode of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN in high-definition just an hour after broadcast debut in Japan. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Episode 245 (rated TV-14, subtitled) and new episodes will be broadcast weekly.

Users of the free, ad-supported Hulu service will also be able to catch the new NARUTO SHIPPUDEN segments one week after their initial run on Hulu Plus; the episodes will also be available on the company’s own VIZAnime.com site.

In the latest NARUTO SHIPPUDEN adventure, Naruto begins his training to control the power of a Tailed Beast with Killer Bee as his new master. In order to do so, one must fight with the Tailed Beast’s head on and absorb its chakra, converting it into one’s own power. Using the key entrusted to him by Jiraiya, Naruto unlocks the seal to release Nine Tails, and the battle between the two begins.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens. The manga and anime series (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN rated ‘T+’ for older teens), depicting the adventures of ninja-in-training Uzumaki Naruto, is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across the Americas, and Europe The NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animated series are co-productions of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

In the NARUTO manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks – except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well he remains the same. But pride isn’t necessarily becoming of a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

More information on NARUTO SHIPPUDEN is available at http://www.naruto.com/.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Underworld: Awakening" Not Quite Awake

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Running time: 88 minutes (1 hour, 28 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence and gore, and for some language
DIRECTOR: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
WRITERS: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, and Allison Burnett; from a story by Len Wiseman (based upon characters created by Kevin Grevioux and Danny McBride and Len Wiseman)
PRODUCERS: Len Wiseman, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, and Richard Wright
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Scott Kevan
EDITOR: Jeff McEvoy
COMPOSER: Paul Haslinger

FANTASY/ACTION/HORROR with elements of sci-fi

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance, and Kris Holden-Reid with Wes Bentley

Underworld: Awakening is a 2012 action horror film and is the fourth movie in the Underworld film franchise. Awakening is a direct sequel to the second installment, Underworld: Evolution (2006).

Six months after the events depicted in Evolution, humans discovered the existence of vampires and Lycans and began a war to eradicate the two races. Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the vampire Death Dealer, was captured and imprisoned in cryogenic suspension (put on ice, so to speak) during this war. She awakens 12 years later and manages to escape from Antigen, the facility where she was imprisoned. Selene has returned to a world that believes that vampires and Lycans are no more, but is this true?

Selene discovers that another test subject escaped from Antigen, a girl named Eve (India Eisley) who has a shocking connection to Selene. Now, the Death Dealer must protect Eve from the head scientist at Antigen, Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), who wants to experiment on Eve. Selene allies with a young vampire named David (Theo James), but his father, Thomas (Charles Dance), considers Selene and Eve a danger to his coven. Meanwhile, Detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy), a human, has inadvertently discovered a conspiracy that threatens both humans and vampires.

First, I must admit that Underworld: Awakening is now the least of the four Underworld films. I say “least” instead of “worst” because I like this franchise, and the movie isn’t that bad. Truthfully, though, the first half of Awakening is a disaster; it’s as if a director had a big budget and still produced a cheesy, sci-fi horror flick destined for a Saturday night premiere on the Syfy channel. In the second half, when the screenplay unleashes Selene and allows her to be the ass-kicking Death Dealer we all know and love, then, the film comes to life and manages a decent finish.

Two other things of note: Awakening takes the mayhem and violence of this series to new heights, even for a franchise about werewolves and vampires. There is a level of gore here that will make even some hardened veterans of science fiction/fantasy/horror violence catch their breath. Secondly, the supporting characters are entirely wasted. What is the point of even having Michael Ealy’s Detective Sebastian in the movie; did the producers/studio just want a black guy in the movie? The character is actually good and has potential, but like the others, he is under-utilized.

Underworld: Awakening is actually something of a rebirth of the franchise, as it essentially starts the story on a fresh path. That’s not why this movie is a misfire. Underworld: Awakening is simply half a decent movie that has to drag along a really bad other half.

5 of 10
C+

Sunday, January 22, 2012

43rd NAACP Image Awards Nominations Announced

The NAACP Image Award an award bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The award honors outstanding achievements by people of color in film, television, music, and literature. The awards are voted on by members of the NAACP.

The 43rd NAACP Image Awards winners will be announced in a ceremony, February 17, 2012 and broadcast live on NBC.

MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES

Outstanding Motion Picture
• "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)
• "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• "The First Grader" (National Geographic Entertainment)
• "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)
• "Tower Heist" (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
• Eddie Murphy - "Tower Heist" (Universal Pictures)
• Laurence Fishburne - "Contagion" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Laz Alonso - "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)
• Oliver Litondo - "The First Grader" (National Geographic Entertainment)
• Vin Diesel - "Fast Five" (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
• Adepero Oduye - "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• Emma Stone - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)
• Paula Patton - "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)
• Viola Davis - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)
• Zoë Saldana - "Colombiana" (TriStar Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
• Anthony Mackie - "The Adjustment Bureau" (Universal Pictures)
• Charles Parnell - "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• Don Cheadle - "The Guard" (Sony Pictures Classics)
• Jeffrey Wright - "The Ides of March" (Columbia Pictures)
• Mike Epps - "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
• Bryce Dallas Howard - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)
• Cicely Tyson - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)
• Kim Wayans - "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• Maya Rudolph - "Bridesmaids" (Universal Pictures)
• Octavia Spencer - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
• "I Will Follow" (AFFRM)
• "Kinyarwanda" (AFFRM)
• "MOOZ-lum" (AFFRM)
• "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• "The First Grader" (National Geographic Entertainment)

Outstanding Foreign Motion Picture
• "A Separation" (Sony Pictures Classics)
• "Attack the Block" (Screen Gems)
• "In the Land of Blood and Honey" (FilmDistrict)
• "Le Havre" (Janus Films)
• "Life, Above All" (Sony Pictures Classics)

DOCUMENTARY

Outstanding Documentary - (Theatrical or Television)
• "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" (Sony Pictures Classics)
• "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" (Submarine Deluxe)
• "Sing Your Song" (HBO Documentary Films)
• "The Rescuers" (Michael King Productions)
• "Thunder Soul" (Roadside Attractions)

WRITING (for film)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture - (Theatrical or Television)
• Alrick Brown - "Kinyarwanda" (AFFRM)
• Ann Peacock - "The First Grader" (National Geographic Entertainment)
• Dee Rees - "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• Elizabeth Hunter, Arlene Gibbs - "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)
• Tate Taylor - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)

DIRECTING (for film)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture - (Theatrical or Television)
• Alrick Brown - "Kinyarwanda" (AFFRM)
• Angelina Jolie - "In the Land of Blood and Honey" (FilmDistrict)
• Dee Rees - "Pariah" (Focus Features)
• Salim Akil - "Jumping the Broom" (TriStar Pictures)
• Tate Taylor - "The Help" (DreamWorks Pictures/Participant Media/Touchstone Pictures)

43rd NAACP Image Awards Nominations: TV Categories

The 43rd NAACP Image Awards winners will be announced in a ceremony, February 17, 2012 and broadcast live on NBC.

TELEVISION CATEGORIES


Outstanding Comedy Series
• "Love That Girl!" (TV One)
• "Modern Family" (ABC)
• "Reed Between the Lines" (BET)
• "The Game" (BET)
• "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
• Dulé Hill - "Psych" (USA Network)
• Malcolm-Jamal Warner - "Reed Between the Lines" (BET)
• Phil Morris - "Love That Girl!" (TV One)
• Pooch Hall - "The Game" (BET)
• Terry Crews - "Are We There Yet?" (TBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
• Tatyana Ali - "Love That Girl!" (TV One)
• Tia Mowry-Hardrict - "The Game" (BET)
• Tracee Ellis Ross - "Reed Between the Lines" (BET)
• Vanessa Williams - "Desperate Housewives" (ABC)
• Wendy Raquel Robinson - "The Game" (BET)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
• Craig Robinson - "The Office" (NBC)
• Damon Wayans, Jr. - "Happy Endings" (ABC)
• J.B. Smoove - "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
• Nick Cannon - "Up All Night" (NBC)
• Tracy Morgan - "30 Rock" (NBC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
• Amber Riley - "Glee" (FOX)
• Gabourey Sidibe - "The Big C" (Showtime)
• Keshia Knight Pulliam - "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)
• Maya Rudolph - "Up All Night" (NBC)
• Sofia Vergara - "Modern Family" (ABC)

Outstanding Drama Series
• "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
• "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
• "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC)
• "The Good Wife" (CBS)
• "Treme" (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
• Andre Braugher - "Men of A Certain Age" (TNT)
• Hill Harper - "CSI: NY" (CBS)
• L.L. Cool J - "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS)
• Taye Diggs - "Private Practice" (ABC)
• Wendell Pierce - "Treme" (HBO)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
• Chandra Wilson - "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
• Khandi Alexander - "Treme" (HBO)
• Regina King - "SouthLAnd" (TNT)
• Sandra Oh - "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
• Taraji P. Henson - "Person of Interest" (CBS)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
• Corey Reynolds - "The Closer" (TNT)
• Ice T - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC)
• James Pickens, Jr. - "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
• Nelsan Ellis - "True Blood" (HBO)
• Omar Epps - "House M.D." (FOX)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
• Alfre Woodard - "Memphis Beat" (TNT)
• Anika Noni Rose - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC)
• Archie Panjabi - "The Good Wife" (CBS)
• Diahann Carroll - "White Collar" (USA Network)
• Loretta Devine - "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)

Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
• "Five" (Lifetime Movie Network)
• "Hallmark Hall of Fame, Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith" (ABC)
• "Luther" (BBC America)
• "The Least Among You" (Showtime)
• "Thurgood" (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
• Esai Morales - "We Have Your Husband" (Lifetime)
• Idris Elba - "Luther" (BBC America)
• Laurence Fishburne - "Thurgood" (HBO)
• Louis Gossett, Jr. - "The Least Among You" (Showtime)
• Samuel L. Jackson - "The Sunset Limited " (HBO)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
• Anika Noni Rose - "Hallmark Hall of Fame, Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith" (ABC)
• Jenifer Lewis - "Five" (Lifetime Movie Network)
• Rosario Dawson - "Five" (Lifetime Movie Network)
• Taraji P. Henson - "Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story" (Lifetime)
• Tracee Ellis Ross - "Five" (Lifetime Movie Network)

Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series
• Aaron D. Spears - "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS)
• Bryton James - "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
• Emerson Brooks - "All My Children" (ABC)
• James Reynolds - "Days of Our Lives" (NBC)
• Texas Battle - "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series
• Christel Khalil - "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
• Julia Pace Mitchell - "The Young & the Restless" (CBS)
• Tatyana Ali - "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
• Tonya Lee Williams - "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
• Yvette Freeman - "The Bold and the Beautiful" (CBS)

Outstanding News/ Information - (Series or Special)
• "BET News Exclusive: The President Answers Black America" (BET)
• "Judge Mathis" (Syndicated)
• "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (HBO)
• "Unsung" (TV One)
• "Washington Watch with Roland Martin" (TV One)

Outstanding Talk Series
• "Anderson" (Syndicated)
• "Oprah's Lifeclass" (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
• "The Doctors" (Syndicated)
• "The View" (ABC)
• "The Wendy Williams Show" (Syndicated)

Outstanding Reality Series
• "All-American Muslim" (TLC)
• "American Idol" (FOX)
• "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC)
• "Sunday Best" (BET)
• "Tia & Tamera" (Style Network)

Outstanding Variety Series or Special
• "2011 BET Awards" (BET)
• "Black Girls Rock!" (BET)
• "Oprah Presents: Master Class" (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
• "Prince! Behind the Symbol" (The Africa Channel)
• "UNCF An Evening of Stars Tribute to Chaka Khan" (BET)

Outstanding Children’s Program
• "A.N.T. Farm" (Disney Channel)
• "Dora The Explorer" (Nickelodeon)
• "Go, Diego! Go!" (Nickelodeon)
• "I Can Be President: A Kid’s-Eye View" (HBO)
• "My Family Tree" (Disney Channel)

Outstanding Performance in a Youth/ Children’s Program - (Series or Special)
• China Anne McClain - "A.N.T. Farm" (Disney Channel)
• Keke Palmer - "True Jackson, VP" (Nickelodeon)
• Lance Robertson - "Yo Gabba Gabba" (Nickelodeon)
• Leon Thomas III - "Victorious" (Nickelodeon)
• Zendaya Coleman - "Shake It Up" (Disney Channel)

DIRECTING (for television)


Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
• Jay Chandrasekhar - "Happy Endings" - The Girl with the David Tattoo (ABC)
• Kevin Hooks - "Drop Dead Diva" - Mother's Day (Lifetime)
• Leonard R. Garner Jr. - "Rules of Engagement" - The Set Up (CBS)
• Miguel Arteta - "How to Make It in America" - Mofongo (HBO)
• Salim Akil - "The Game" - Parachutes/Beach Chairs (BET)

Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series
• Ernest Dickerson - "Treme" - Do Watcha Wanna (HBO)
• Ken Whittingham - "Parenthood" - Opening Night (NBC)
• Kevin Sullivan - "NCIS" - Tell-All (CBS)
• Paris Barclay - "Sons of Anarchy" - Out (FX Network)
• Seith Mann - "Dexter" - Get Gellar (Showtime)

WRITING (for television)

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
• Arthur Harris - "Reed Between the Lines" - Let's Talk About Ms. Helen's Son Part 1 (BET)
• Prentice Penny - "Happy Endings" - The Girl with the David Tattoo (ABC)
• Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil - "The Game" - Parachutes....Beach Chairs (BET)
• Vali Chandrasekaran - "30 Rock" - It's Never Too Late For Now (NBC)
• Vince Cheung, Ben Montanio - "Wizards of Waverly Place" - Wizards vs. Angels (Disney Channel)

Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series
• Cheo Hodari Coker - "SouthLAnd" - Punching Water (TNT)
• Janine Sherman Barrois - "Criminal Minds" - The Bittersweet Science (CBS)
• Lolis Eric Elie - "Treme" - Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues? (HBO)
• Pam Veasey - "Ringer" - Oh Gawd, There's Two of Them? (The CW)
• Zoanne Clack - "Grey's Anatomy" - I Will Survive (ABC)

43rd NAACP Image Awards Nominations: Music Categories

The 43rd NAACP Image Awards winners will be announced in a ceremony, February 17, 2012 and broadcast live on NBC.

RECORDING CATEGORIES

Outstanding New Artist
• Committed (Epic)
• Diggy Simmons (Atlantic Records)
• Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. (Columbia Records)
• Mindless Behavior (Streamline/Conjunction/Interscope Records)
• Wynter Gordon (Big Beat/Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Male Artist
• Anthony Hamilton (RCA Records)
• Bruno Mars (Elektra Records)
• Cee Lo Green (Elektra Records)
• Chris Brown (Jive Records)
• Common (Warner Bros. Records)

Outstanding Female Artist
• Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
• Jennifer Hudson (Arista Records)
• Jill Scott (Warner Bros. Records)
• Ledisi (Verve Forecast)
• Mary J. Blige (Geffen)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration
• Boyz II Men (Benchmark Entertainment/MSM Music Group)
• Cee Lo Green feat. Melanie Fiona (Elektra Records)
• Mary J. Blige feat. Drake (Geffen)
• Sounds of Blackness (Malaco Music Group)
• The Roots (Island Def Jam Music Group)

Outstanding Jazz Album
• "Chano y Dizzy" - Terence Blanchard and Poncho Sanchez (Concord Music Group Inc.)
• "Friends" - Stanley Jordan (Mack Avenue Records)
• "Guitar Man" - George Benson (Concord Jazz)
• "Legacy" - Gerald Wilson (Mack Avenue Records)
• "Road Show Vol. 2" - Sonny Rollins (Emarcy)

Outstanding Gospel Album - (Traditional or Contemporary)
• "Becoming" - Yolanda Adams (N House Music Group)
• "Church on the Moon" - Deitrick Haddon (Verity Gospel Music Group)
• "Hello Fear" - Kirk Franklin (Verity Gospel Music Group)
• "Something Big" - Mary Mary (Columbia Records)
• "The Journey" - Andraé Crouch (RiverPhlo Entertainment)

Outstanding World Music Album
• "Afrodiaspora" - Susana Baca (Luaka Bop)
• "Carnival Fever" - Brother B (King Chero Records)
• "Live at 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival" - Boukman Eksperyans (MunckMix, Inc.)
• "Sounds of Blackness" - Sounds of Blackness (Malaco Music Group)
• "The First Grader" - Alex Heffes (Varese Sarabande)

Outstanding Music Video
• "25/8" - Mary J. Blige (Geffen)
• "Hear My Call" - Jill Scott (Warner Bros. Records)
• "I Was Here" - Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
• "Someone Like You" - Adele (Columbia Records)
• "Where You At" - Jennifer Hudson (Arista Records)

Outstanding Song
• "Best Thing I Never Had" - Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
• "Fool for You feat. Melanie Fiona" - Cee Lo Green (Elektra Records)
• "I Smile" - Kirk Franklin (Verity Gospel Music Group)
• "So In Love feat. Anthony Hamilton" - Jill Scott (Warner Bros. Records)
• "Someone Like You" - Adele (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Album
• "4" - Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
• "F.A.M.E" - Chris Brown (Jive Records)
• "I Remember Me" - Jennifer Hudson (Arista Records)
• "Lasers" - Lupe Fiasco (1st & 15th/Atlantic Records)
• "The Light of the Sun" - Jill Scott (Warner Bros. Records)