Movie Buzz: Micmacs à Tire-Larigot (2009)

April 4, 2010

Something new from Jean-Pierre Jeunet!


Predictions for the 82nd Academy Awards

March 8, 2010

It’s almost Oscar night and here are my predictions for the winners, with runner-ups in descending order:

(Actual winners in red.)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Crazy Heart – Jeff Bridges

Invictus – Morgan Freeman
The Hurt Locker – Jeremy Renner
A Single Man – Colin Firth
Up In the Air – George Clooney

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Inglourious Basterds – Christoph Waltz

The Lovely Bones – Stanley Tucci
The Messenger – Woody Harrelson
Invictus – Matt Damon
The Last Station – Christopher Plummer

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Julie & Julia – Meryl Streep

The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock
An Education – Carey Mulligan
The Last Station – Helen Mirren
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire – Gabourney Sidibe

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire – Mo’Nique

Nine – Penélope Cruz
Crazy Heart – Maggie Gyllenhaal
Up in the Air – Vera Farmiga
Up in the Air – Anna Kendrick

Best animated feature film of the year


The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

Achievement in art direction


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Achievement in cinematography

Inglourious Basterds

The White Ribbon
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker

Achievement in costume design

Coco Before Chanel

Bright Star
The Young Victoria

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Achievement in directing

The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow

Avatar – James Cameron
Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Precious:  Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire – Lee Daniels

Achievement in film editing

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds
District 9
Precious:  Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Foreign Language Film

The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) – Germany

Ajami – Israel
The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) – Peru
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) – Argentina
Un Prophète (A Prophet) – France

Achievement in makeup

Star Trek

The Young Victoria
Il Divo

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)


Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

Crazy Heart – The Weary Kind

Nine – Take It All
Paris 36 – Loin de Padame
The Princess and the Frog – Almost There
The Princess and the Frog – Down in New Orleans

Best motion picture of the year


Inglourious Basterds
The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
The Blind Side
An Education
A Serious Man
District 9

Achievement in sound editing

The Hurt Hocker

Inglourious Basterds
Star  Trek

Achievement in sound mixing

Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen

Star Trek
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Achievement in visual effects


Star Trek
District 9

Adapted screenplay

Up in the Air

An Education
In the Loop
District 9
Precious:  Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Original screenplay

Inglourious Basterds

The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
The Messenger

Movie List, Feb 2010

February 28, 2010

Feb 2010
Recommended Movies

A Single Man (2009)
Avatar (2009)
Whale Rider (2003)

Movie List, Jan 2010

January 31, 2010

Jan 2010
Recommended Movies

Bakjwi (Thirst, 2009)
Bright Star (2009)
Brothers (2009)
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
Ded Na si Lolo (Grandpa’s Dead, 2009)
It’s Complicated (2009)
La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher, 2001)
The Lovely Bones (2009)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
Up In the Air (2009)

Predictions for the 67th Golden Globe Awards

January 18, 2010

Actual winners in red.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Inglourious Basterds

The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Up In The Air

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Carey Mulligan – An Education

Emily Blunt – The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Helen Mirren – The Last Station
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Morgan Freeman – Invictus

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
George Clooney – Up In The Air
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Tobey Maguire – Brothers

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Julie & Julia

(500) Days Of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

Sandra Bullock – The Proposal
Marion Cotillard – Nine
Julia Roberts – Duplicity
Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Daniel Day-Lewis – Nine

Matt Damon – The Informant!
Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days Of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg – A Serious Man

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Mo’nique – Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

Penélope Cruz – Nine
Vera Farmiga – Up In The Air
Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air
Julianne Moore – A Single Man

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Matt Damon – Invictus
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones

Best Animated Feature Film


Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess And The Frog

Best Foreign Language Film

Broken Embraces (Spain)

Baaria (Italy)
The Maid (La Nana) (Chile)
A Prophet (Un Prophete) (France)
The Country of France
The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band – Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte) (Germany)

Best Director – Motion Picture

Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
James Cameron – Avatar
Clint Eastwood – Invictus
Jason Reitman – Up In The Air

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner – Up In The Air

Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell – District 9
Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
Nancy Meyers – It’s Complicated

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Abel Korzeniowski – A Single Man

Michael Giacchino – Up
Marvin Hamlisch – The Informant!
James Horner – Avatar
Karen O and Carter Burwell – Where The Wild Things Are

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“I See You” – Avatar

“Cinema Italiano” – Nine
“I Want To Come Home” – Everybody’s Fine
“The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)” – Crazy Heart
“Winter” – Brothers

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Comedy Or Musical

Toni Collette – United States Of Tara (SHOWTIME)

Courteney Cox – Cougar Town (ABC)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC)
Lea Michele – Glee (FOX)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jane Lynch – Glee (FOX)

Jane Adams – Hung (HBO)
Rose Byrne – Damages (FX NETWORK)
Janet McTeer – Into The Storm (HBO)
Chloë Sevigny – Big Love (HBO)

Movie List, Dec 2009

December 31, 2009

Dec 2009
Recommended Movies

An Education (2009)
Anvil!  The Story of Anvil (2008)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Invictus (2009)
Star Trek (2009)
Taken (2009)
The Blind Side (2009)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Messenger (2009)
The Young Victoria (2009)
Tin shui wai dik yat yu ye (The Way We are, 2008)
Un Prophete (A Prophet, 2009)
Where the Wild Things are (2009)

  • To the filmmakers of today:  Your movies are nice and all, but you’ve got to lay off the shaking cameras.  You’re giving me a headache.
  • In these movies, one or two elements failed to make the movie recommendable:  2012 (2009), This is It (2009), All About Steve (2009), The Proposal (2009).

Movie List, Nov 2009

November 30, 2009

Nov 2009
Recommended Movies

500 Days of Summer (2009)
Away We Go (2009)
Black Dynamite (2009)
Broken Embraces (2009)
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Chéri (2009)
Flow:  For Love of Water (2008)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Julie and Julia (2009)
Moon (2009)
Pontypool (2008)
Precious:  Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (2009)
Shorts (2009)
The Damned United (2009)
Zombieland (2009)

  • In The Answer Man (2009), you will find well-known, established actors like Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham and Nora Dunn.  You will also be delighted by the presence of indie heartthrobs Olivia Thirlby and Kat Dennings.  What you will waste your time in is a dragging plot with no new lesson pondered or question answered.
  • Paranormal Activity (2009) is, in my guess, supposed to be scary.  It’s not.  It also does not offer any value art-wise or literature-wise.
  • Everything about Post-Grad (2009) is mediocre.  That is all you really need to know.
  • The main theme for My Sister’s Keeper (2009) is really compelling, something that may not have already been done before.  Parents engineer a child to save the life of another child.  The younger one grows up and decides she no longer wants to give her body parts for the other child.  A legal battle ensues.  On the onset this sounds a lot like a courtroom-family drama, but this particular movie focuses on the family part too much and uses the courtroom just once for a dramatic climax.  With the combination of all the known movie clichés, a unique dilemma turns into a painfully overwrought drama.  There is an interesting twist in the end, but after you have been subjected to the dragging parts that make up the whole movie, it no longer matters.
  • Fish Tank is elaborately-plotted, brilliantly acted, loaded with intelligent provocations and leaves questions lingering for its viewers to ponder for many days on end.  However, there is nothing pretty and happy about this movie, except perhaps its main character, played by the talented and beautiful Katie Jarvis.  One might argue about the most effective media of sending socially relevant messages across, that it is perhaps more affecting to read about the dismal conditions that raise the kids of today in newspapers or books or watch them in documentaries, where facts are presented as they are, than have them hidden under fictional characters and situations.  If you prefer the truth journalistically delivered to you, rather than watch some person’s imagination of it in feature films, this is not the movie for you.


Movie List, Oct 2009

October 31, 2009

Oct 2009
Recommended Movies

Food, Inc. (2008)
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Mary and Max (2009)
Up (2009)
Whatever Works (2009)

  • The Ugly Truth (2009) breaks no limits on repetition.  It’s another scalding encounter with Katherine Heigl, which makes it only a matter of time before people brand her another fetching actress who never appears in anything more resounding than nails scratching on a chalkboard.
  • The Echo (2008) is the convoluted, extra-clichéd schizophrenic twin sister of Yam Laranas’s original scare machine, Sigaw (2004).  Did you really expect that Jesse Bradford would render an enhanced version of Richard Gutierrez’s robotic acting?  Please.


Movie Review: Whatever Works (2009)

October 11, 2009

From the beginning of a Woody Allen comedy, right when the opening credits roll and the old marching band plays, you know you’re in for a treat.  This is a weathered filmmaker with 21 Academy Award nominations under his belt, three of them wins.  This year, he picks a guy who probably best resembles him at his current age and disposition in life, and a girl who probably best represents the age and maturity of women that strike his fancy.  This movie, we can expect, depicts in comedic light, the circumstances by which a guy like today’s Woody and a girl like today’s Woody’s type end up together in an interesting love affair or friendship or stalker-stalkee thing.  Or whatever works.

Our main man, Boris Yellnikoff (another Jewish character typical of Woody Allen movies, although all of the Jew in Boris ends at knish), opens up by telling us, “this is not the feel-good movie of the year”.  He says this in a menacingly assured manner, as if saying let’s trust him on this.  Rightfully so, because the story starts out as a romantic comedy, but quickly develops as character studies and eventually a thesis on relationships that people build around their personalities and those of people they choose to love and spend their lives with.

Boris is played by Larry David who shares Woody Allen’s age, obnoxiousness and receding hairline, and acts well as if he also shares his brilliant mind, as the character requires.  But compared to Woody, Larry has better height, handsomer features, a more engaging eye contact, and stronger delivery of acting lines.  What he could use, however, is a good voice and speech coach, because as you will soon learn, you don’t wanna be anywhere within ear-splitting, drool-spewing range when he opens his mouth to speak.

Evan Rachel Wood is not at all your typical blonde, but rather one of the most talented young actresses of her generation.  She acts the part of Melodie Saint Anne Celestine so accurately, that she carries with meticulous precision her New Orleans accent, her tender 21-year old charm, and her comically surprising blonde outbursts.  This is Ms. Wood’s first comedic performance, but she delivers it so resplendently that it would be shame to make this her last.

The story centers around Boris, an aging divorcé who’s decades away from his last brilliant stint as a renowned physicist, and is now just spending his retired years as New York’s crankiest chess tutor.  Boris meets Melodie, a young adventurer fresh out of Mississippi, on his doorstep after she begged for food and later for a place to sleep.  Boris reluctantly obliges by saying, “I’m too tired to prolong this brutal exchange between a bedraggled microbe and a Nobel-level thinker.”  At this point we know that there isn’t much in common about our boy (more like gramps, but you get the idea) and our girl, but that is exactly what the story attempts to explore.  The intellectual disparity between our two characters sets the platform on which comedy and romance are predicated.

As you get introduced to characters other than Boris and Melodie, you are also welcomed into the world of eccentric lovers and their eccentric relationships.  This, in Boris’s typically pessimistic words, illustrates “the search in life for something to give the illusion of meaning, to quell the panic.”  There’s old man-caretaker, man to man, threesome, extramarital.  This movie is a celebration of the many kinds and forms of love relationships, set in the fabulous Manhattan, center of one of the most romantic cities in the world.  Bible-thumping, god-fearing zealots fresh out of Mississippi are thrown in for maximum comedic effect, in Boris’s words “death by culture shock”.  You also get Henry Cavill, god’s curly-haired gift to womankind.  He starts to talk, and in the very moment he moves his pretty lips, you hear words wrapped in a coat of deep, sexy voice, and right then and there, you know what love is.

If you’ve seen the Emmy-nominated TV series The Big Bang Theory, you are perfectly aware how the blonde-genius comedic engine operates.  But this movie offers three times what you get out of The Big Bang Theory.  You get triple the age of most characters, triple the blonde-genius contrasts, triple the cultural diversity and romantic eccentricity, and you get three times the old-fashioned comedy.

“Whatever works, as long as you don’t hurt anybody.  Any way you can filch a little joy in this cruel dog-eat-dog pointless black chaos.”

It’s great to see Woody Allen back in his roots.  Once again, he delivers.

Entertaining Moments in Award Shows 2009

October 5, 2009

Some of the funniest and most entertaining moments of this year’s major awards shows.  Enjoy.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Sesame Street
36th Daytime Emmy Awards
August 30, 2009
118 Emmy Awards!

Ricky Gervais presents the award for Best Variety, Music or Comedy Series
61st Primetime Emmy Awards
September 20, 2009
Hilarious guy.

Dr. Horrible interrupts Emmy broadcast
61st Primetime Emmy Awards
September 20, 2009

Ricky Gervais presents Happy-Go-Lucky
66th Golden Globe Awards
January 11, 2009
IMO Ricky should present in every major awards show every year.

Hugh Jackman’s opening number
Academy Awards
February 22, 2009
Who knew Anne’s been hiding that voice all these years?