Monday, January 31, 2011

I love this movie review :)

"Waiting for Forever" as awkward as its title
By Sheri Linden

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Mistaking arrested development for enlightened innocence, "Waiting for Forever" is an indigestible hash of whimsy, drama, romance and, for good measure, crime.

There's hardly a believable moment in this story of a childlike nonconformist and his sideways crab-crawl toward the love of his life. Beyond the tried-and-true "follow your heart," the takeaway from the misbegotten mush might be that jugglers are people too -- a cri de coeur not likely to drum up much anticipation after the film bows Friday via Freestyle Releasing.

The emotionally wounded naif at the center of the story, Will (Tom Sturridge), is a wandering street performer who's meant to be purer and more evolved than the ordinary toilers of the mundane ole material world. He dresses in pajamas and bowler, speaks haltingly, with a faraway glint in his eye, and is unconcerned with career or possessions. In obvious contrast to all this gentle eccentricity is Will's brother, Jim (Scott Mechlowicz), a banker -- what else? -- who dares to question Will's mental health.

Filmgoers will do likewise, especially when it becomes clear that Will hasn't exactly been wandering aimlessly. He's been tracking his childhood sweetheart around the country -- not following or stalking, he assures her at one point, but "going where you are." As the story opens, Will is hitchhiking to his Pennsylvania hometown, having learned that Emma (Rachel Bilson of The O.C.) is visiting her ailing father.

The difficult realities awaiting the beloved-from-afar Emma, now a TV star, at least offer respite from an unfulfilling career and a mangled relationship with her jealous boyfriend ("The Vampire Diaries'" Matthew Davis). As her desperately lighthearted mother and take-no-prisoners father, Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins offer a glimpse of another film, one with grownups in it. Mechlowicz's Jim, and Jaime King, as his wife, do what they can to inject some conflicted emotion into their roles. The rest of the supporting performances range from tolerable to cringe-inducing.

The central love story is impossible to care about, with Bilson's Emma barely two-dimensional. Brit Sturridge -- who will play Carlo Marx, the Allen Ginsberg character, in "On the Road" -- brings an apt fey quality to Will. But the supposed free spirit is a deeply problematic construction in the first place, lacking the necessary depth to make his personality disorder (not Asperger's; he's a preternaturally gifted reader of other people's moods) look like the special gift it's meant to be.

In lieu of well-developed characters and strong dialogue, Steve Adams lards his screenplay with backstory that does little to make the present-day action less ludicrous. The story veers from one implausible situation to the next, even taking a bizarre turn into policier territory, for all of a minute, with a bad-cop cameo by director James Keach.

Behind the camera, Keach opts at times for a fable-like tone, with postcard-America visuals from cameraman Matthew Irving. Utah locations might not convince as small-town Pennsylvania, but they offer a scrubbed and wholesome vision that suits the story's make-believe aspects. The proportions are all wrong, though, in the mix of flat-footed whimsy and unrealistic realism.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Social Network's dominance is over :(

After Tom Hooper's shocking win over David Fincher last night at the Director Guild awards ceremony, the British monarchy tale "The King Speech" has officially taken the frontrunner crown from early favorite "The Social Network" after tonight's coronation of "King's Speech" by the SAG with two trophies, Best Actor for Colin Firth and the prestigious Best Ensemble Cast...

For someone like me who has been a passionate supporter of this masterful contemporary morality tale on the creation of Facebook, this change of tides is rather disappointing. The numerous awards that "The Social Network" has received from critics may have turned off a lot of Hollywood insiders who probably cannot accept being told by critics what the best movie of the year was.

I like "The King's Speech" (it is among my ten favorite movies of the year, see ) and it rightfully deserves all the awards it has received and i do not question at all the choices made by the PGA, DGA and SAG groups - that's what makes Oscar-watching such a fun activity every winter...

But my pick to win best picture and best director at the Oscars at this stage is still "The Social Network". I cannot accept being unfriended by David Fincher and the cast :)

Complete list of winners at annual SAG Awards

Best Actor: Colin Firth, "The King's Speech."
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, "Black Swan."
Best Supporting actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter."
Best Supporting actress: Melissa Leo, "The Fighter."
Best Ensemble Cast: "The King's Speech."
Best Stunt Ensemble: "Inception."
Best Actor in a movie or miniseries: Al Pacino, "You Don't Know Jack."
Best Actress in a movie or miniseries: Claire Danes, "Temple Grandin."
Best Actor in a drama series: Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire."
Best Actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife."
Best Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock."
Best Actress in a comedy series: Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland."
Best Drama series cast: "Boardwalk Empire."
Best Comedy series cast: "Modern Family."
Best Stunt ensemble: "True Blood."
Life Achievement: Ernest Borgnine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Justin Timberlake interview

The naughty, funny side of Justin
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated January 28, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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Justin Timberlake stars as Boo Boo Bear in Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon classic Yogi Bear. Below: With Dan Aykroyd who voices Yogi (bottom right)| Zoom
LOS ANGELES, CA — Parents, don’t let your kids listen to Justin Timberlake’s music if they are below 10 or 12.

It was music superstar Justin Timberlake himself who half-jokingly sent this plea after he shared a funny anecdote of his encounters with several parents who approached him and told him how much their daughters adored him.

“In recent years, after my last album came out in 2006,” he recounted, “I’ve had parents come up to me and say, ‘My kids listen to your music. My daughter really loves Sexy Back!’ And I say, Oh, great! How old is your daughter? And I was expecting they will say, like, they went to NYU or something but instead they say, ‘Oh, she’s nine.’ And I felt really bad as a person. I thought that was very irresponsible of that parent — my music is explicit!”

But those encounters are not the reason why he has not released another album since then. The singer has been busy with other stuff besides singing and touring. He’s been busy making movies.

He has made eight movies in four years, including his critically-acclaimed turn as the notorious Sean Parker, the millionaire founder of the music-sharing website Napster, in the Oscar-nominated film The Social Network.

The Grammy-winning performer may not be singing a lot these days but that doesn’t mean he has completely ignored his fans, particularly those young girls who like listening to his sexy voice. He stars as Boo Boo Bear in the cute Warner Bros. adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon classic Yogi Bear.

In Yogi Bear , Justin voices the part of Boo Boo while veteran comic Dan Aykroyd provides the voice of Yogi. Yogi and Boo Boo are two gregarious brown bears who enjoy stealing picnic baskets from visitors of Jellystone Park, to the great dismay of their friendly nemesis, park ranger Smith. The park is losing visitors each year and when the town mayor decides to sell the park, Yogi, Boo Boo and ranger Smith realize they must work together to save it and preserve their home. But can they do it when all Yogi wants is to steal picnic baskets?

This live-action 3D movie offers all the excitement and adventure every kid who grew up with Yogi and Boo Boo expect. But beyond all the fun of seeing Yogi and Boo Boo set up ridiculous traps to steal picnic baskets, there is a wonderful message on how, individually, we can help preserve our environment and cultivate a harmonious relationship with nature. And this relevant theme is what attracted Justin to do the movie.

“I think Yogi and Boo Boo are iconic characters and I grew up with them,” Justin said. “I grew up behind a state park and my parents influenced upon me the importance of nature and our surroundings and I thought this was a cool message.”

The star was in crutches and was limping when he met with the international press one morning in the early part of December last year during the junket of this movie. He suffered a calf injury while performing a stunt for another movie he was making.

“I grew up with that mindset. The more we find out about the age of technology, the more it makes us aware that there are other things in the world we have to offset that with. I think it’s a great message for kids that there are things out there beyond the 14 inches you are sitting too close to your laptops.”

The actor, though visibly hurt, was in jovial mood that morning. Even if he had to be interrupted three times by what turned out to be false fire alarms that went off inside the Beverly Hilton, he remained his affable self and continued being funny and sometimes naughty during the interview.

Asked by a lady journalist if he shares any similarities with his character, Justin responded, “Well, I like to wear bow ties. I like the color blue, and I am also furry in places,” before catching himself and saying, “I’m sorry.”

He added, “What was so fun to play this character was Dan and I came and we recorded together.”

Justin provided his voice in the third Shrek movie so the experience was no longer new to him.

“A lot of times, when you are doing an animated movie, you just come by yourself and you say a bunch of lines a thousand different ways and they use what they think is best for the movie.”

“But having the opportunity to work with Dan at the same time we were standing across, looking at each other and saying these lines, it felt almost like we were workshopping the characters a lot. Yogi and Boo Boo are really a duo and we wanted to build on the chemistry of that. If Yogi was larger than life, boisterous and hilarious, we felt it will be funny to make Boo Boo very dry and stone-faced in his approach to always reminding Yogi of his absurdity.”

“So I would say maybe the dryness, I guess, would be something that we have in common and also I didn’t hit my growth spurt until late in my life so I was short for a large portion of it.”

And no sooner after he said that the first of the three false fire alarms sounded off. And we had nearly five minutes of mindless but fun conversation after that. Ana Faris, who is co-starring with Justin and Dan, suggested at one point that we all head to the bar until the fire is put out.

(Yogi Bear is currently showing in theaters nationwide.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reactions to Oscar nominations...

Here's a compilation of quotes by AP from various nominees to this year's Oscars...

Reactions to nominations for the 83rd annual Academy Awards:

"Menopause and a nomination, it's great for the hormones." — Helena Bonham Carter, nominated for best supporting actress for "The King's Speech."

"Currently celebrating with my colleagues 3 feet above the ground. Not used to this much joy, or this much champagne at this hour." — Colin Firth, e-mailing his reaction to his best actor nomination for "The King's Speech."

"I'm going to work (laughing). Which is always good. That's a great celebration. When you're an actor, going to work is the best way to celebrate." — Amy Adams, on her best supporting actress nomination for "The Fighter."

"I can't stop smiling, my face hurts! It still hasn't really even kicked in, because it's a bit overwhelming to really be able to process what just happened." — Jeremy Renner, nominated for best supporting actor for "The Town."

"I was building Legos with my son and lost track of the time. Then the phone started ringing and I realized it must be good news. I'm incredibly touched and humbled. I grew up watching the awards and never thought this would be my reality." — Director Darren Aronofsky, nominated for "Black Swan."

"My dog woke me up. My dog like had some sixth sense. And I knew that it would be good if my phone was ringing and not as good if my phone wasn't ringing. So my phone started to ring shortly after my dog woke me up." — David O. Russell, on learning of his best director nomination for "The Fighter."

"This nomination is a win for marriage equality and that is the most I could hope for." — Mark Ruffalo, nominated for best supporting actor for "The Kids Are All Right."

"I had a restless night last night. I woke up and my Internet and TV and everything went out right when the awards were being announced. I noticed my phone wasn't ringing and I thought, "Uh-oh." And then all was well in the end." — Trent Reznor, nominated for best original score for "The Social Network."

"It's really a huge honor to have been nominated in a non-English speaking performance." — Javier Bardem, nominated as best actor for "Biutiful."

"I'm elated to the point of euphoria. I feel like I'm in a walking dream. I'm so relieved that all those millions of Australians that wanted me to get this nomination aren't disappointed. Happy Australia Day." — Jacki Weaver, nominated for best supporting actress for "Animal Kingdom."

"I've wanted to make films since I was 12 years old, so this is sort of like a childhood dream come true, getting nominated for an Oscar. It's amazing." — Tom Hooper, Oscar-nominated director of "The King's Speech."

"As an Australian, I'm as excited to be recognized and honored by the Academy as my character must have been when his London speech-therapy business flourished when the future king of England happened to pop by one day." — Geoffrey Rush, best supporting actor nominee for "The King's Speech."

"I think that what resonated is that it's not a timely story, I think what resonated is that it is a timeless story, one with themes as old as storytelling itself: of friendship and loyalty, of betrayal, power, class, jealousy. These are things that Aeschylus would have written about or Shakespeare would have written about. And it's just lucky for me that neither of those guys were available so I got to write about it." — Aaron Sorkin, nominated for best adapted screenplay for "The Social Network."

"It's not really a survival story about one guy trapped by a rock. It's about everybody (sitting) in the cinema and the things they ever have to overcome and how their connections to other people, their friends and families, the rest of the world out there, is what gets you through the bad times." — Simon Beaufoy, nominated with Danny Boyle for best adapted screenplay for "127 Hours."

"I don't mean to sound like disavowing the film in any way, but it's like are they sure?!" — Debra Granik, an Oscar nominee for best adapted screenplay for "Winter's Bone."

"Well, you just sort of sit there a little stunned at first, and slowly the realization creeps over you and it's, 'Oh my goodness gracious.' This is something I hardly dared dream about over the years and yet it seems to be coming true. I hope the alarm clock doesn't ring and wake me up." — David Seidler, nominated for best original screenplay for "The King's Speech."

"I tried to act all cool and sleep through it and my dreams woke me up four times, and finally I just accepted the fact that I really cared and I got up and I watched it online." — Stuart Blumberg, nominated for best original screenplay for "The Kids Are All Right."

"I kept having strange dreams that I was back in like the turn of the century, wearing top hats and things like that, and they were announcing the nominees and they were like, 'No, you weren't nominated,' and I was like, 'Ahhh,' and I was so disappointed, and yet I had to go out and solve a mystery afterwards. It was very strange." — Chris Sanders, co-writer and co-director of the Oscar-nominated animated film "How to Train Your Dragon."

"It's always very nice, a nice thing. It always does make me feel better but only for a few hours." — Randy Newman, who has been nominated for more than a dozen Oscars, this year for the song "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3."

"Ten seems like an awful lot. We don't want to take anyone else's." — Joel and Ethan Coen, reacting to the 10 Oscar nominations for their film, "True Grit."

"What an extraordinary journey this film has taken me on! 'Rabbit Hole' has been a labor of love and I'm so thankful to John Cameron Mitchell, David Lindsay-Abaire and the brilliant cast. This nomination reflects all of the heart and soul that these people have put into it and I can't thank them enough." — Nicole Kidman, nominated for best actress for "Rabbit Hole."

"I'm celebrating with the people who helped get me there — you and your colleagues in the various forms of press and media that have long witnessed my work and long written and spoken beautiful things about it and really, truly helped me get to this day. Everyone asks about celebrations and glasses of champagne. That I get the opportunity to talk to all of you and say: 'We did it! This is awesome! Look at us now!'" — Melissa Leo, nominated for best supporting actress for "The Fighter."

"Really, for me, the trick is very much to get out of my own way. Just let the characters sing what needs to be sung and let the score inform the story. I think people appreciate that." — Composer Alan Menken, winner of eight Academy Awards for best song or score, earned his 19th nomination for writing the music for the song "I See the Light" from the animated film "Tangled."

"There is a very deep emotion in this film — that's why it's so successful all over the world. ... The audience is moved and thrilled by this so human story. There's not many movies that can do that." — Composer Alexandre Desplat, nominated for best original score for "The King's Speech."

"For 'Tangled,' it's one of those moments where music and visual and story and character all come together at this one moment. It's a pretty compelling case for why songs make films better." — Lyricist Glenn Slater, nominated with Alan Menken for the song "I See the Light" from the animated film "Tangled."

"If you get six nominations, including best picture and best actor — I'd go see that movie. So I think it's enormously important for the film." — Christian Colson, one of the producers of "127 Hours" on its six nominations.
"I'm just hoping that maybe I can get into a party now. I doubt I will be able to though. Us producers, no one recognizes us." — Dana Brunetti, one of the producers of "The Social Network."

AP Entertainment Writers Sandy Cohen, Derrik J. Lang and Mark Kennedy, and Associated Press Writer John Rogers contributed to this package.

83rd Oscar nominations are in!

Quick thoughts. I expected "The King's Speech" to top the noms but by not this many. No nomination for Chris Nolan's work in "Inception"? No nomination for Julianne Moore? Nothing for Andrew Garfield? Julia Roberts' campaign for Javier Bardem paid off in the Best Actor category. 10 nominations for "True Grit"? Hmm...

All that said, my best picture pick is still "The Social Network".

Here now is the complete list of nominees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

2010 Oscar noms in less than 11 hours!

At 5:30 AM tomorrow morning, the Academy will announce their 2010 nominations for the 83rd Oscars.

The weekend upset at the PGAs, "The King's Speech" winning over the de facto Oscar winner "The Social Network", will not have any immediate effect on the make-up of the nominees.

My prediction from two days ago will largely be the same except for a couple of changes in the acting categories:

My latest prediction in the 8 major categories:

Picture: The Social Network, Inception, The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, 127 Days, Winter's Bone, The Kids are All Right

Director: David Fincher (The Social Network), Darren Arronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Actor: Colin Firth, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges

Actress: Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, Geoffrey Rush, Andrew Garfield, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Helena Bonham-Carter, Hailee Steinfeld, Mila Kunis (my original predix had Lesley Manville)

Original Screenplay: Inception, The Fighter, Black Swan, The King's Speech, The Kids are All Right

Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, True Grit, The Town, 127 Hours, Winter's Bone

Other predix:

8+ nominations - The King's Speech
7+ nominations - The Social Network, The Fighter, Inception
5+ nominations - Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, True Grit

My fingers are crossed! :)

The Razzies are here!

`Twilight,' `Airbender' lead Razzies with 9 noms
Mon Jan 24, 2:18 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – Vampires, werewolves and airbenders lead the pack at the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof that hands out prizes for the year's worst films.

The blockbuster supernatural tale "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and the action fantasy "The Last Airbender" tied for the most nominations Monday with nine each, including worst picture.

Also nominated for worst picture are Jennifer Aniston's action comedy "The Bounty Hunter," Sarah Jessica Parker's romantic romp "Sex and the City 2" and the "Twilight" parody "Vampires Suck."

"Twilight" star Kristen Stewart had a worst-actress nomination for her role as a teen caught in a love triangle involving her vampire boyfriend (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf pal (Taylor Lautner). Pattinson and Lautner both were nominated for worst actor.

Razzies founder John Wilson said that though "Vampires Suck" was a "Twilight" spoof, "Eclipse" actually was funnier to watch.

"I know people who are into `Twilight' who take it totally seriously and they're very vociferous," Wilson said. "Those of us who are not `Twi-hards', we don't get it. I don't actually know any teenage girls who have had to make the choice between a werewolf and a vampire."

"The Last Airbender" was adapted from the animated TV series about a young hero with the power to reunite feuding nations of people who can control air, water, fire and earth. "Last Airbender" filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan received Razzie nominations for worst director and screenplay.

"All of this gobbledygook language about airbenders and fire benders and water benders," Wilson said. "You feel like you're on a bender watching the movie. It's completely illogical."

The Razzies lineup was announced a day before Oscar nominations come out. Razzie winners, chosen by the group's roughly 600 voters, will be announced Feb. 26, the night before the Oscars.

Three Oscar-winning divas are among nominees for worst supporting actress — Cher for the song-and-dance tale "Burlesque," Liza Minnelli for "Sex and the City 2" and Barbra Streisand for the comedy sequel "Little Fockers."

Jackson Rathbone had a supporting-actor nomination for roles in both "The Last Airbender" and "Eclipse." Dev Patel and Nicola Peltz also had supporting nominations for "Last Airbender."

The entire casts of "Eclipse" and "Last Airbender" were among nominees for worst screen couple or ensemble.

"Last Airbender" also was chosen for worst eye-gouging misuse of 3-D, a special category to mark Hollywood's current craze for shooting in three dimensions or converting 2-D movies to 3-D. The other 3-D nominees are "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," "Clash of the Titans," "The Nutcracker in 3-D" and "Saw 3D."

Along with worst-actress contenders Stewart and Aniston, the four "gal pals" in "Sex and the City 2" — Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon — shared a nomination. Also up for worst-actress are Miley Cyrus for the teen drama "The Last Song" and Megan Fox for the action flop "Jonah Hex."

Cyrus' father, Billy Ray Cyrus, had a supporting-actor nomination for ""The Spy Next Door."

Joining Pattinson and Lautner in the worst-actor category are Jack Black for the fantasy comedy "Gulliver's Travels," Gerard Butler for "The Bounty Hunter" and Ashton Kutcher for the action comedy "Killers" and the romance "Valentine's Day."


Sunday, January 23, 2011

An upset at the PGAs!

Oscar-favorite "The Social Network" was upset by "The King's Speech" at the PGAs tonight. This makes for an interesting Oscar night. Just when it was apparent that the Facebook movie was going to easily take the Oscar statuette on February 25th, the PGAs decided the make it more difficult for Oscarwatchers to call the probable winner this early.

The SAG should give a clear picture when they hold their awards show a couple of weeks from now.

If "The Social Network" doesn't win the Oscar after sweeping all the awards this winter, don't be surprised if I blame the Golden Globes for putting the curse on this David Fincher masterpiece.

Here's the report from AP on tonight's event:
'The King's Speech' is top film at producer awards
40 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – "The King's Speech" claimed the crown for best film at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday, knocking off Golden Globes best drama winner and presumed Oscar front-runner "The Social Network."

The film also beat out nominees "127 Hours," "Black Swan," "Inception," "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "The Town," "Toy Story 3," and "True Grit."

The PGA awards, hosted by filmmaker Judd Apatow at the Beverly Hilton, are part of the steady stream of ceremonies leading up to the Academy Awards.

"The Social Network," which stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, appeared to be on the fast track to a best picture Oscar after dominating honors from top critics groups and winning the Golden Globe last week.

But Saturday's win solidified a spot as an Academy Award contender for "The King's Speech," which features Golden Globe best actor winner Colin Firth playing Queen Elizabeth II's father, George VI, as he tries to overcome a debilitating stammer.

The Producers Guild followed the lead of the Oscars last year and doubled its best-picture field to 10 movies.

In other PGA categories, Pixar's "Toy Story 3" won for best animated feature and the chronicle of modern education "Waiting for Superman" took top documentary honors.

On the television side, AMC's "Mad Men" won for best drama series for the third straight year, and ABC's "Modern Family" won best comedy, beating out previous two-time winner "30 Rock."

HBO's "The Pacific" won for best TV movie or miniseries, and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" won for top live entertainment or reality show.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Producers Guild awards 2010 winners tonight...

The PGA will announce their selection for best picture of 2010 tonight.

Here are this year's nominees:
"127 Hours"
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King's Speech"
"The Social Network"
"The Town"
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit."

My prediction: "The Social Network". If there's an upset, look for "The Fighter."

The PGA winner has matched the Oscar for best picture 12 times in the last two decades.

1990: "Dances with Wolves"
1991: "The Silence of the Lambs"
*1992: PGA: "The Crying Game;" Oscars: "Unforgiven"
1993: "Schindler's List"
1994: "Forrest Gump"
*1995: PGA: "Apollo 13;" Oscars: "Braveheart"
1996: "The English Patient"
1997: "Titanic"
*1998: PGA: "Saving Private Ryan;" Oscars: "Shakespeare in Love"
1999: "American Beauty"
2000: "Gladiator"
*2001: PGA: "Moulin Rouge!;" Oscars: "A Beautiful Mind"
2002: "Chicago"
2003: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
*2004: PGA: "The Aviator;" Oscars: "Million Dollar Baby"
*2005: PGA: "Brokeback Mountain;" Oscars: "Crash"
*2006: PGA: "Little Miss Sunshine;" Oscars: "The Departed"
2007: "No Country for Old Men"
2008: "Slumdog Millionaire"
2009: "The Hurt Locker"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oscar noms predix...

In only three days, the Academy will announce their 2010 nominations for the 83rd Oscars.

Oscarwatchers will once again lose sleep as they struggle to get up at 5 in the morning to catch Monique and the Academy president reveal the lucky nominees.

Consider the following prediction a heads-up of the probable names that you will be hearing on Tuesday morning in the 8 major categories:

Picture: Social Network, Inception, King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, 127 Days, Winter's Bone, The Kids are All Right

Director: Fincher (Social Network), Arronofsky (Black Swan), Russell (The Fighter), Nolan (Inception), Tom Hooper (King's Speech)

Actor: Colin Firth, James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges

Actress: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, Geoffrey Rush, Andrew Garfield, Mark Ruffallo, Jeremy Renner

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Helena Bonham-Carter, Hailee Steinfeld, Leslie Manville

Original Screenplay: Inception, The Fighter, Black Swan, King's Speech, The Kids are All Right

Adapted Screenplay: Social Network, True Grit, The Town, 127 Hours, Winter's Bone

Other predix:

8+ nominations - The King's Speech
7+ nominations - The Social Network, The Fighter, Inception
5+ nominations - Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, True Grit

See you Tuesday! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ricky Gervais remains unrepentant...

Ricky Gervais says did nothing wrong at Globes gala

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Comedian Ricky Gervais said he did nothing wrong while hosting Hollywood's Golden Globes ceremony, and was merely "confronting the elephant in the room" with his controversial jokes about bad movies and stars in rehab.

The British comic, best-known for creating the TV series "The Office", was widely criticized for having a "mean-spirited" attitude when he hosted the Golden Globe awards dinner on Sunday in a live telecast.

But he told Piers Morgan in a television interview: "I don't think I did anything wrong. I honestly, you know those were like jibes at these people and I'm sure they've got a sense of humor."

Gervais denied he was mocking the room full of A-list movie and TV stars with his jokes about Scientology, bad behavior, and the organizers of the event -- the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

"I'm confronting the elephant in the room. They hired me -- like I'm going to go out there and not talk about the issues in their industry?" Gervais said.

"Don't forget, I've got to be an outsider there. I mustn't come out there as everyone's mate and schmooze. That's nauseating. I've got to come out there and I've got to roast them," he told Morgan.

The full interview is due to be broadcast on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" show on Thursday.

Gervais said he had made it a condition of taking the Golden Globes job that he could say whatever he liked. Wanting to be liked or second-guessing his remarks meant "you're finished as a comedian," he added.

Gervais said on Tuesday he would not host the Golden Globes again after doing it for two straight years. "I think twice is enough," he told celebrity website

(Editing by Zorianna Kit)

Rejoice, Roger Ebert is back!!!

Roger Ebert returns with new PBS review show
By CARYN ROUSSEAU, Associated Press Caryn Rousseau, Associated Press

CHICAGO – Roger Ebert is returning to the small screen.

The famous film critic stopped appearing on television movie review shows in 2006 when cancer surgery left him unable to speak. But now he has his own segment on a new program, "Ebert Presents at the Movies." The weekly show debuts Friday on public television stations nationwide.

The show is necessary in today's entertainment world, Ebert says.

"Can you think of another TV show that deals with the movies as movies instead of as celebrity showcases?" Ebert says during an interview with The Associated Press at the Chicago television studio where the show is produced. His laptop computer speaks his typed answers.

"We don't praise everything," he says.

The show will feature co-hosts Christy Lemire of The Associated Press and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Ebert will use his computer voice for the segment "Roger's Office," which he says will focus on "reviews and rants."

The new show will be produced at Chicago's WTTW, where Ebert and Gene Siskel started taping "Sneak Previews" 35 years ago. The pair's iconic "two thumbs" (up or down) reviews became one of the most recognizable judgments in film criticism — and they'll be featured on the new show.

Ebert, 68, appeared with a series of co-hosts after Siskel died in 1999. A year later, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper joined him. Ebert had to leave television in 2006 when he had a cancerous growth removed from his salivary gland and later had emergency surgery after a blood vessel burst near the site of the operation.

He also had cancer surgery three times before the June operation — once in 2002 to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid gland and twice on his salivary gland the next year.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Sun-Times film critic says planning for the new show started in 2006 when he "was flat on my back. We had business meetings in the hospital."

But the meetings, says wife and co-producer Chaz Ebert, weren't top priority.

"The most important thing in the hospital was getting well," she says. "But it did give him something to look forward to, something to get out of that bed for and truth be told, there were some days when I could not have foreseen a day like this happening."

The day of the show's first full dress rehearsal is an emotional one for Chaz Ebert. She gets teary-eyed and says she sent thank you notes to everyone who helped the couple.

"Today would not be taking place if it were not for Chaz," Ebert says. "And you know that's right."

"And it would not be taking place if it were not for your indomitable spirit," she answers back. "And you know that's right, because people would have understood totally if you decided never to do any of this again."

But he did — and Chaz Ebert says her husband is as passionate about the show now as he was when he started sitting in the balcony with Siskel 35 years ago.

"I think that's a real accomplishment because when you've been doing something for 35 years sometimes people become jaded or they become bored with it," she says. "But this show means as much to him today as it did when he first did it."

Roger Ebert says viewers should look to the show for "the same thing they should get from a good critic — ideas about how better to invest two hours of their lives."

Ebert selected Lemire and Vishnevetsky, he says, because he was looking for reviewers who were intelligent, funny and articulate. The pair of young reviewers will sit in red movie theater seats as they debate films.

"He truly cares about the legacy," Lemire, 38, said. "He's put a lot of faith in us, which is humbling. He's also made it easy to step into those feet and be our best."

The show's opening montage runs through pictures of Siskel and Ebert throughout the years before cutting to Lemire who tells viewers, "Welcome to 'Ebert Presents at the Movies' and welcome back to the balcony."

Vishnevetsky, 24, said he hopes to expose movie-goers to films of which they may not have heard, but also prompt discussion.

"What we can do and what we really should strive to do is engage in a discourse with what's going on in movies," Vishnevetsky said. "The show itself should almost form a conversation."

Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, said he's not surprised that despite challenges the Eberts have reinvented the show.

"His voice, by whatever means, is always current and greatly revered," Moskal said. "And it speaks volumes about the high regard that audiences and filmmakers have for him."

It's a legacy Ebert considers as well.

"This all started in this building in that studio in January 1976, maybe to the day," Ebert says. "What a long, strange journey it has been."

9 films make the 2010 Oscar Foreign Film shortlist

The Academy announced today that nine movies have been selected for final consideration before the 83rd Oscar noms are announced on Tuesday.

From a field of 66 entries, the nine lucky movies are:

Algeria's "Hors la Loi" ("Outside the Law")
Canada's "Incendies"
Denmark's "In a Better World"
Greece's "Dogtooth"
Japan's "Confessions"
Mexico's "Biutiful"
South Africa's "Life, Above All"
Spain's "Tambien la Lluvia" ("Even the Rain")
Sweden's "Simple Simon"

The Philippines' entry "Noy" didn't make the shortlist and so did the Cannes-winning Thai entry "Uncle Boonme..."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LA Times' Patrick Goldstein's take on the Globes debacle...

Gervais, De Niro give Golden Globes all the respect award deserves
Los Angeles Times
Published Monday, Jan. 17, 2011)

LOS ANGELES -- For years, Hollywood has had a sham marriage with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a motley group of little-known international journalists and critics. The group inspires open contempt among showbiz publicists obligated to tolerate what they describe as petulant and often vindictive behavior in return for the cachet and commercial benefits that come with a Golden Globes nomination.

The organization has left itself open to ridicule time and time again, most recently this past year when, not long after Sony helped pay to take HFPA members to Las Vegas to see a Cher concert, they gave a number of Globes nominations to "Burlesque," a Sony film co-starring Cher that was panned by critics everywhere.

On Sunday night, Ricky Gervais and Robert De Niro set politeness and decorum aside, and viewers across America were treated to a Golden Globes show worth watching. Not because the awards actually mean something, but because this was a bit of showbiz history in the making: a public breakdown in the carefully cultivated but thoroughly cynical "see no evil, speak no evil" relationship that Hollywood has with the HFPA.

Despite the extensive hand-wringing in the past week about the need for more civil discourse in America, Gervais came out swinging in his opening monologue, when he managed to bash Charlie Sheen and "The Tourist," plus Cher and Tom Cruise, though, slyly, not by name, although pretty much everyone in the Western world knew whom he was talking about. Then Gervais whupped the HFPA upside the head too, joking about the Golden Globes group taking bribes and, later, when he introduced the organization's president, quipping that "I just had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth in. It was messy."

To say that heads were spinning in Hollywood would be an understatement. When I talked to someone Monday morning who was at the awards, they said that people literally gasped when Gervais made his barbed reference to Cruise. "There's a difference between being funny and being mean-spirited," the executive said. "His whole act verged on the tabloid. It's one thing to make people laugh. It's another thing to make them feel so uncomfortable."

But for me, what was really mind-blowing about the night wasn't just Gervais' open hostility toward the Hollywood Foreign Press. After all, if you're going to joke about Robert Downey Jr. going to prison and the Betty Ford Clinic, why not have some derisive fun with the people who actually paid you to be their MC?

No, when it came to biting the hand that feeds you, Gervais was topped by Robert De Niro, who in the course of accepting a lifetime achievement award from the HFPA made it abundantly clear that he had little regard for the organization either, actually comparing them to a scrum of illegal immigrant waiters.

It all came off a little too rude for most people, who assumed that if you were going to put on a tuxedo and show up at an awards ceremony, you might as well treat the ceremony with a little respect.

But in fact, for 364 days out of the year, showbiz insiders, from studio heads to personal publicists, laugh out loud at the shenanigans of HFPA members. Then when it comes to the group's actual awards show, they are shocked, shocked and double-shocked that Gervais would make nasty cracks about them when everyone who privately disses the group has gone to the trouble to publicly treat the Globes as a necessary stepping stone toward Oscar glory.

Talk about cognitive dissonance. In fairness, there is plenty of blame to pass around, since the media, my own paper included, is also guilty of largely treating the awards as a serious headline event even while running periodic exposes about the group. (Gervais' cracks about the HFPA taking bribes were an allusion to a recent series of allegations about bad behavior, including bribes in a recent lawsuit filed by the group's former publicist. The HFPA says the suit is "without merit.")

De Niro certainly doesn't get off the hook so easily either. If he really thinks the HFPA is worthy of ridicule, then why accept a lifetime achievement award that would surely have little heft coming from such a bunch of knuckleheads?

Ditto for Gervais, who you can bet is quickly cashing the HFPA's check for his night's work. And who knows what the HFPA is thinking, since it knew full well ahead of time that Gervais had promised to push the envelope as far as would be allowed on network TV, even getting away with perhaps the dirtiest joke ever seen outside of a Comedy Central roast about Hugh Hefner and his new twentysomething fiancee.

I think Gervais only went too far when he trashed people who weren't on hand to defend themselves. When Downey took umbrage at yet another joke about his drug-addled past, he ably returned serve, getting in a zinger about Gervais' "mean-spirited" remarks. And then, true to the evening's uncomfortable comic spirit, he went on to introduce the women up for a best actress award by describing his imaginary sexual encounters with them. He was funny, but when it comes to objectifying women, was Downey really any less rude than Gervais?

That's what made the show so fascinating. Unlike the Oscars, which are invariably respectful to all concerned, the Globes were like a horror movie where the villain was able to create mayhem by taking advantage of the guilty secret lurking in the victims' subconscious. The Globes are Hollywood's guilty little secret and Gervais, a born comic provocateur, had a field day making nasty fun of the gap between appearances and reality.

After everything was said and done, all the stars acted like getting a trophy from the HFPA was like winning a Nobel Prize, while Gervais acted like being paid to host the awards was like taking money to strip at a third-rate gentlemen's club. I mean, who's fooling whom?

Patrick Goldstein:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Amy Poehler's top ten saddest movies

1) The Champ (1979)
2) Terms of Endearment (1983)
3) The Final Scene of the British Office Christmas Special (2003)
4) Places in the Heart (1984)
5) Hoosiers (1986)
6) Dumb and Dumber (1994)
7) In America (2002)/The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
8) Pretty in Pink (1986)
9) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
10) You Can Count on Me (2000)

Just thinking of ‘You Can Count on Me’ chokes me up already…
Amy’s list has also inspired me to come up with my own list… later…

For more on Amy’s list, follow the link below:

King's Speech leads BAFTA noms with 14!

Best Film: "Black Swan," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "True Grit"

Best British Film: "127 Hours," "Another Year," "Four Lions," "The King's Speech," "Made in Dagenham"

Best Director: David Fincher, "The Social Network"; Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"; Danny Boyle, "127 Hours"; Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"; Christopher Nolan, "Inception"

Best Leading Actor: Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours"

Best Leading Actress: Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"; Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are All Right"; Natalie Portman, "Black Swan," Noomi Rapace, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"; Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter"; Andrew Garfield, "The Social Network"; Pete Postlethwaite, "The Town"; Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"; Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "The Fighter"; Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"; Barbara Hershey, "Black Swan"; Lesley Manville, "Another Year"; Miranda Richardson, "Made in Dagenham

Rising Star Award (voted by the public): Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Tom Hardy, Aaron Johnson, Emma Stone

Best Original Screenplay: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," Inception," The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech"

Best Adapted Screenplay: "127 Hours," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"; "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit"

Best Film Not in the English Language: "Biutiful," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "I Am Love," "Of Gods and Men," "The Secret in Their Eyes"

Best Animated Film: "Despicable Me," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Toy Story 3"

Globe Winners! Globe Winners!

The Globes made great choices but their awards seem to lose more prestige as the years go by. Sure, their shows are still star-filled and more glamorous than ever but if i were to judge how the host and some of the award recipients took their globe wins, the group needs to reevaluate their nomination process and create an appearance of independence more.

And Ricky Gervais should not be invited ever. He should not be allowed within 1000 feet of the Beverly Hilton again. He brought shame to himself by the callous jokes and insult-filled ribs he lobbed at the organizers and the stars in attendance Sunday night... He was so mean!

I also didn't like Robert De Niro's acceptance speech. Maybe he was trying to be funny but he was not. Sorry.

Here are the movie winners. Forget TV, Globes do not follow a certain pattern and Katey Sagal for best actress??? hmm...

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Social Network

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Natalie Portman - Black Swan 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Colin Firth - The King's Speech

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
The Kids Are All Right

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy           
Paul Giamatti - Barney's Version           

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Melissa Leo - The Fighter           

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture           
Christian Bale - The Fighter

Best Animated Feature Film           
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film           
In a Better World           

Best Director - Motion Picture           
David Fincher - The Social Network

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture           
The Social Network

Best Original Score - Motion Picture           
The Social Network

Best Original Song - Motion Picture           
"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" - Burlesque 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My ten favorite movies of 2010

First, this caveat: I haven't seen yet the following movies which generated a lot of critical acclaim and made the top ten of most critics’ lists and thus were not included when I made my selection.

a) 127 Hours – Danny Boyle’s follow-up to “Slumdog Millionaire” had a short run in the theater chain near my place and I totally missed it by a day.
b) Buried – This Ryan Reynolds thriller was buried in the very few theaters it was screened at.
c) Another Year – Mike Leigh's another purported masterpiece has yet to go wide -- and may not go wide after all, sadly -- and I will just have to wait for the DVD release.
d) Animal Kingdom – Great reviews but was already gone from theaters when buzz about this small Aussie crime drama started gaining ground.
e) Rabbit Hole – This Nicole Kidman drama may not be released locally and I do not want to drive 50 miles to catch it.
f) Somewhere – Sofia Coppola’s Venice grand prize winner is not showing locally.
g) Blue Valentine – Great reviews but the stylized camerawork I see in the trailer is turning me off.
h) Never Let Me Go – The movie was gone from theaters before I realized it was already showing. Too bad!

All that said here are now my favorite movies of 2010. This is not my definitive best list but a list of those movies which really made me so excited about cinema and made me go see it twice – or five times in the case of ‘The Social Network’ – within the same year.

1) The Social Network – Saw this movie five times -- three times in theaters and twice on Blu-ray (on the same night!) This David Fincher masterpiece is a great testament to how great storytelling could transform what were seemingly simple routine mediation hearings into a powerful and thrilling expose of the greed and genius that went into the creation of the world’s most influential social networking website. Aided by a great cast, superb score and Aaron Sorkin’s incredible screenplay, “The Social Network” continues to charm and offer thrills even on your 5th viewing. The familiarity of the story generates a sense of anticipation and excitement similar to that of opening a treasured present you yourself wrapped.

2) Inception – Easily one of the most original movies of the year. This multi-layered exploration of dreams challenges the viewer to follow closely the story otherwise they will find themselves lost in some level that may not be real anymore. The classic spinning top that closed the movie is still being debated now but there’s no debating this Chris Nolan masterpiece is truly one of the year’s very best.

3) Toy Story 3 – I am not a big fan of animation but this Pixar drama of separation and letting go was so remarkably well-made that it made me cry a bucket when the inevitable ending came. It didn’t promise a happy ending but it gave the viewers some token of reassurance that every ending are marked by a new beginning. Sad, yes, but it was ultimately hopeful.

4) A Prophet – This French thriller documents the rise of a young juvenile delinquent from being a lowly convicted criminal to becoming the leader of the mafia while serving his jail sentence inside a prison that’s no less different from the real free world – from the recognizable hierarchy to the intrigues, backstabbing, assassinations and murders. This unapologetic and unbiased examination of criminal life does not impose on the viewers to make a particular opinion of the main character’s sense of morality but engages us to just look at him as a person thrust into a world where his survival may constitute what maybe considered wrong in normal, ethical society. The incredibly felt performance by Tahar Rahim as the young Arab and the somewhat familiar score by Alexander Desplat are the other plus points of this Cannes-winning film.

5) The Secret in their Eyes – This Argentine movie was last year’s Best Foreign Language winner at the Oscars. The story spans three decades and the secret is not so much about the murder mystery that was the focal point of the narrative but the unspoken and unexpressed love between two people who may have let fear get in the way of what would have been their opportunity to uncover what their hearts truly see that their eyes couldn’t say.

6) Winter’s Bone – Jennifer Lawrence delivers what is perhaps the best female performance of the year. The movie is also about secrets and the bone in the title both suggests the hardship Lawrence’s character had to go through one particular winter when his father disappeared while she, her catatonic mom, and two young siblings were being threatened by eviction from their home and the actual secret that brings a shattering conclusion to this suspenseful exploration into the backwoods of small-town America.

7) The King’s Speech – The performances are awesome. The set pieces are majestic. The musical suite towards the climax of the movie is quite moving and memorable. What else, oh yes, I have to give you a brief synopsis. It’s a real-life story based on the incredible friendship between King George VI and a speech therapist on the days leading to World War 2. The movie highlights the extraordinary courage of a reluctant heir to overcome his speech impediment if he is to become a king and rule England.

8) Black Swan – Fil-Am Matthew Libatique’s inspired camerawork helped create Natalie Portman’s disturbing but remarkable performance as a ballet dancer hounded by insecurity and her descent into madness. The story was inspired by the Swan Lake ballet and director Darren Arronofsky added to the theme of betrayal layers of insecurity and paranoia that further heightened the suspenseful nature of the narrative. The story ends quite predictably but the journey to that end was the real draw of this movie.

9) The Fighter – Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg all deliver the finest performances of their careers in this David O. Russell uncharacteristic boxing drama. It tells the story of two brothers who are both boxers and their relationship to their overbearing mother who acts as their manager. The movie has several key boxing scenes but the most powerful scenes were not those that involved actual fights but the quiet scene between the brothers when they decided they had to go apart so that the other can shine while the other can finally get the help he needs and the scene in the car when the frustrated mother cannot seem to find the way to express her anger to a son she obviously favors.  

10) The Ghost Writer – Roman Polanski’s film-making strength is in delivering simple unassuming thrillers and surprising the audience with a twist that is remarkably apparent in hindsight. The movie is a story of a ghost writer hired to polish the memoirs of a former British prime minister and the secrets he discovers that could potentially endanger his life and bring prominent people to their downfall. Skillfully adapted from a bestselling book with a cast of great actors, “The Ghost Writer” was a pleasant discovery on DVD after it had a short run in theaters in early spring of 2010.

There are also other movies I enjoyed that did not make my limited list but I would still like to mention here, but in no particular order:

Shutter Island, The Kids Are All Right, Piranha 3D (Yes, that movie!), Easy A, The Town, Unstoppable, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I did not like True Grit, in case you are wondering.

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