Friday, November 30, 2007

Presenting one of the best scenes of the year (or "Why I love Youtube")

Satellite Award Nominations announced

They're certainly better than the Independent Spirit Award nominees...

Julie Christie, "Away From Her" (Lionsgate)
Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart" (Paramount Vantage)
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Tilda Swinton, "Stephanie Daley" (Regent Releasing)
Keira Knightly, "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Laura Linney, "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)

Thank goodness this set of awards got Marion Cotillard put in the right category. Nice to see that Laura Linney got in too.

Denzel Washington, "American Gangster" (Universal Pictures)
Josh Brolin, "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
Christian Bale, "Rescue Dawn" (MGM)
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
Frank Langella, "Starting Out in the Evening" (Roadside Attractions)
Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent Pictures)

Langella, Bale, and Brolin are all surprises here. Glad that Mortensen and Jones got in. I have no idea who this will go to though...

Katherine Heigl, "Knocked Up" (Universal Pictures)
Amy Adams, "Enchanted" (Walt Disney Pictures)
Ellen Page, "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
Emily Mortimer, "Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM)
Nicole Kidman, "Margot at the Wedding" (Paramount Vantage)
Cate Blanchett, "Im Not There" (The Weinstein Company)

*sigh* I'm glad Kidman is nominated, but couldn't they just kick out Jolie and stick Kidman in drama? Also surprising is the placement of Cate Blanchett in lead (same goes for Emily Mortimer). Ellen Page and Amy Adams are great choices, but Katherine Heigl's slot should've gone to Keri Russell (this is a first class example of how box office can help someone get nominated).

Richard Gere, "The Hoax" (Miramax Films)
Seth Rogen, "Knocked Up" (Universal Pictures)
Ben Kingsley, "You Kill Me" (IFC Films)
Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM)
Clive Owen, "Shoot 'Em Up" (New Line Cinema)
Don Cheadle, "Talk to Me" (Focus Features)

Yay for Gosling, but what the hell is Clive Owen doing in there for "Shoot Em Up" (a movie described as "gleefully trashy")?

Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Emmanuelle Seigner, "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax Films)
Taraji P. Henson, "Talk to Me" (Focus Features)
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster" (Universal Pictures)

Yay for Tilda Swinton and Saoirse Ronan! However, unlike many, I don't understand all the love for Ruby Dee's performance in American Gangster. Emmanuelle Seigner is also really surprising, seeing as all the acting buzz was so wholly dedicated to Her Majesty Marion Cotillard.

Jeff Daniels, "The Lookout" (Miramax Films)
Brian Cox, "Zodiac" (Paramount Pictures)
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Ben Foster, "3:10 To Yuma" (Lionsgate)
Javier Bardem, "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jessie James" (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Amazing. My top three personal Supp. Actor noms (Affleck, Bardem, Wilkinson) are ALL HERE! The inclusion of Ben Foster is great as well, but Brian Cox for Zodiac is puzzling. He was brought in for roughly...2 scenes, and then he was gone.....

"The Lookout" (Miramax Films)
"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (ThinkFilm)
"Away From Her" (Lionsgate)
"Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
"No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
"3:10 To Yuma" (Lionsgate)

Hopefully No Country For Old Men will take the award, but "Devil" could surprise. Interesting choice in 3:10 to Yuma...

"Hairspray" (New Line Cinema)
"Juno"(Fox Searchlight)
"Shoot 'Em Up" (New Line Cinema)
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM)
"Knocked Up" (Universal Pictures)

Again, what the hell is with Shoot 'Em Up and Knocked up? Waitress and Once should be in there.

"Ten Canoes" Australia (Palm Pictures)
"Offside Iran" (Sony Pictures Classics)
"La Vie En Rose" France (Picturehouse Entertainment)
"Lust, Caution" China (Focus Features)
"4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days" Romania (IFC Films)
"The Orphanage" Spain (Picturehouse Entertainment)
"Margot at the Wedding" (Paramount Vantage)

Margot at the Wedding is foreign language (the awards are American based so...)? This has to be a typo of some sort.

"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics)
"The Simpsons Movie" (Twentieth Century Fox)
"The Golden" Compass (New Line Cinema)
""Ratatouille"" (Buena Vista Pictures)
"300" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
"Beowulf" (Paramount Pictures)

Very interesting in that it's not just "animated" but also mixed media. Ratatouille and Persepolis have plenty of critical support, while "Simpsons" has sentimentality going for it. Beowulf was a big step forward but it's box office hasn't been as big as "300" and with "The Golden Compass" arriving in Dec and fresh on everyone's minds (not to mention that it features a huge amount of near seamless human-cgi interaction), could knock Beowulf down.

"The King Of Kong" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
"The 11th Hour Warner" (Independent Pictures)
"Sicko" (Lionsgate)
"No End In Sight" (Magnolia Pictures)
"Darfur Now Warner" (Independent Pictures)
"Lake Of Fire" (ThinkFilm)

Ang Lee, "Lust, Caution" (Focus Features)
Olivier Dahan, "La Vie En Rose" (Picture House Entertainment)
David Cronenberg, "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
Sidney Lumet, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (ThinkFilm)
Sarah Polley, "Away From Her" (Lionsgate)

Dahan is a surprise, considering direction was the weakest aspect of LVER. Hopefully it'll go to the Coens.

Scott Frank, "The Lookout" (Miramax Films)
Diablo Cody, "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
Kelly Masterson, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (ThinkFilm)
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Nancy Oliver,"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM)
Steven Knight, "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Diablo Cody is a almost a lock, and if not her, the other first time writer: Tony Gilroy.

James Vanderbilt, "Zodiac" (Paramount Pictures)
Christopher Hampton, "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax Films)
David Benioff, "The Kite Runner" (Paramount Vantage)
Sarah Polley, "Away From Her" (Lionsgate)
Wang Hui Ling, James Schamus, "Lust, Caution" (Focus Features)

probably between "No Country" and Atonement.

Dario Marianelli, "Atonement" (Focus Features)
James Newton Howard, "The Lookout" (Miramax Films)
Michael Giacchino, "Ratatouille" (Buena Vista Pictures)
Alberto Iglesias, "The Kite Runner" (Paramount Vantage)
Howard Shore, "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
Nick Cave, "The Assassination of Jesse James" (Warner Bros. Pictures)

glad to see Howard Shore and Nick Cave in their along with Marianelli (who will probably win with no trouble).

"Do You Feel Me"/Diane Warren, "American Gangster" (Universal Pictures)
"If You Want Me"/Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, "Once" (Fox Searchlight)
"Come So Far"/Marc Shaiman, "Hairspray" (New Line Cinema)
"Rise"/Eddie Vedder, "Into The Wild" (Paramount Vantage)
"Grace Is Gone"/Clint Eastwood & Carole Bayer Sager, "Grace Is Gone" (The Weinstein Company)
"Lyra"/Kate Bush, "The Golden Compass" (New Line Cinema)

I'm glad Once is nominated, but they picked the wrong song. Come So Far would be a good choice though. As much as I can't wait to see "Compass" I've listened to the original song, and it's pretty "blah".

Harris Savides, "Zodiac" (Paramount Pictures)
Robert Elswit, "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage)
Bruno Delbonnel, "Across The Universe" (Revolution Studios)
Janusz Kaminski, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax Films)
Roger Deakins, "The Assassination Of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Henry Braham, "The Golden Compass" (New Line Cinema)

Talk about a tough category. All of these are so different and so striking. I'd be happy with anyone them.

Scott Farrar, "Transformers" (Paramount Pictures)
Michael Fink, "The Golden Compass" (New Line Cinema)
Chris Watts, Grant Freckelton, Derek Wentworth, Daniel Leduc, "300" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Peter Chiang, Charlie Noble, David Vickery, Mattias Lindahl, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal Pictures)
Thomas Schelesny, Matt Jacobs, Tom Gibbons, "Enchanted" (Walt Disney Pictures)
Jerome Chen, Sean Phillips, Kenn McDonald, Michael Lantieri, "Beowulf" (Paramount Pictures)

Enchanted won't win, and neither will "Bourne". Transformers is probably still in the lead, but with "Golden Compass" arriving, the complexity of the effects could win over voters.

Pietro Scalia, "American Gangster" (Universal Pictures)
Jill Savitt, "The Lookout" (Miramax)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "No Country For Old Men" (Miramax)
Richard Marizy, "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Christopher Rouse, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal Pictures)
Ronald Sanders, "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Again, the choice of La Vie En Rose is suprising. American Gangster and No Country are both plenty deserving.

Mike Prestwood-Smith, Mark Taylor, Glenn Freemantle, "The Golden Compass" (New Line Cinema)
Nikolas Javelle, Jean-Paul Hurier, "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Christopher Boyes, Paul Massey, Lee Orloff, George Watters II, "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End" (Buena Vista Pictures)
Scott Heckler, Eric Norris, Derek Vanderhorst, "300" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Karen Baker Landers, Kirk Francis, Per Hallberg, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal Pictures)
Tod Maitland, Skip Lievsay, Rick Kline, Jeremy Peirson, "I Am Legend" (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Guy Dyas, David Allday, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal Pictures)
Patricia Norris, Martin Gendron, Troy Sizemore, "The Assassination Of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Dennis Davenport, David Gropman, "Hairspray" (New Line Cinema)
Mark Tildesley, "Sunshine" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Gary Freeman, Stephen Morahan, Denis Schnegg, David Allday, Matthew Gray, Charles Wood, "Amazing Grace" (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Mark Friedberg, Peter Rogness, "Across the Universe" (Revolution Studios)

What the...Amazing Grace? Harry Potter 5, Pirates 3, and Golden Compass would all be better picks.

Alexandra Byrne, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal Pictures)
Yvonne Blake, "Goya's Ghosts" (Samuel Goldwyn Pictures)
Marit Allen, "La Vie En Rose" (Picturehouse Entertainment)
Rita Ryack, "Hairspray" (New Line Cinema)
Jenny Beavan, "Amazing Grace" (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Jacqueline Durran, "Antonement" (Focus Features)

Again, Amazing Grace is an odd choice, as is La Vie En Rose. Goya's Ghosts is perhaps the strangest seeing as it flopped. "Elizabeth" should swipe this award and if not that, then Atonement.

"Jane Eyre" (BBC/WGBH)
"The Starter Wife" (USA Network)
"The Company" (TNT)
"Five Days" (HBO)
"The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" (BBC/Kudos Productions)

"The Wind And The Willows, Masterpiece Theater" (PBS/BBC)
"Mitch Alboms For One More Day"(ABC)
"Longford" (HBO/Channel 4)
"Life Support" (HBO)
"The Trial Of Tony Blair" (Channel 4)
"Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" (HBO)

Ruth Wilson, "Jane Eyre" (PBS/WGBH)
Ellen Burstyn, "Mitch Alboms For One More Day" (ABC)
Samantha Morton, "Longford" (HBO/Channel 4)
Queen Latifah, "Life Support" (HBO)
Debra Messing, "The Starter Wife" (USA Network)
Sharon Small, "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" (PBS/BBC)

Toby Stephens, "Jane Eyre" (BBC)
Jim Broadbent, "Longford" (HBO/Channel 4)
Robert Lindsay, "The Trial Of Tony Blair" (Channel 4)
Aidan Quinn, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" (HBO)
David Oyelowo, "Five Days" (HBO)
Tom Selleck, "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" (CBS)

Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty" (ABC)
Judy Davis, "The Starter Wife" (USA Network)
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
Jamie Pressly, "My Name Is Earl" (NBC)
Polly Bergen, "Desperate Housewives" (ABC)
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers and Sisters" (ABC)

Andy Serkis, "Longford" (HBO/Channel 4)
Michael Emerson, "Lost" (ABC)
Masi Oka, "Heroes" (NBC)
Justin Kirk, "Weeds" (Showtime)
T.R. Knight, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
Harry Dean Stanton, "Big Love" (HBO)
G. David Zayas, "Dexter" (Showtime)

"The Riches" (FX Network)
"Dexter" (Showtime)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"Friday Night Lights" (NBC)
"Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
"Brothers and Sisters" (ABC)

Minnie Driver, "The Riches" (FX Network)
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" (TNT)
Ellen Pompeo, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" (ABC)
Jeanne Tripplehorn, "Big Love" (HBO)
Glenn Close, "Damages" (FX Network)

Eddie Izzard, "The Riches" (FX Network)
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" (Showtime)
James Woods, "Shark" (NBC)
Hugh Laurie, "House" (Fox)
Bill Paxton, "Big Love" (HBO)
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me" (FX Network)

"Ugly Betty" (ABC)
"Flight Of The Concords" (HBO)
"Extras" (HBO)
"Chuck" (NBC)
"Weeds" (Showtime)
"Pushing Daisies" (ABC)

America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" (ABC)
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" (NBC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures Of Old Christine" (CBS)
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" (ABC)
Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies" (ABC)
Patricia Heaton, "Back to You" (Fox)

Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies" (ABC)
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" (NBC)
Steve Carell, "The Office" (NBC)
Stephen Colbert, "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)
Ricky Gervais, "Extras" (HBO)
Zachary Levi, "Chuck" (NBC)


"Mad Men"


"Before The Devil Knows You're Dead"

Kathy Bates

Dennis Muren

Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

US Catholic Bishops ENDORSE "The Golden Compass" is impressive. Of their commentary/review (they also liked the film a lot), these two paragraphs really stood out for me:

"To the extent ... that Lyra and her allies are taking a stand on behalf
of free will in opposition to the coercive force of the Magisterium,
they are of course acting entirely in harmony with Catholic teaching.
The heroism and self-sacrifice that they demonstrate provide appropriate
moral lessons for viewers."

"Is Pullman trying to undermine anyone's belief in God? Leaving the
books aside, and focusing on what has ended up on-screen, the script can
reasonably be interpreted in the broadest sense as an appeal against the
abuse of political power. Will seeing this film inspire teens to read
the books, which many have found problematic? Rather than banning the
movie or books, parents might instead take the opportunity to talk
through any thorny philosophical issues with their teens."

ah, and somewhere, Bill Donahue (head of the Catholic League) is crying himself to sleep.

Full Review

Nicole Kidman - Nomination for Best Supporting Actress?

obviously it's a fantasy film so that won't help her any, but with 3 of the Supp. Actress slots wide open (the other two are going to Cate Blanchett and Saorise Ronan without a doubt) it's possible that good box office could be just enough to push her into the top five. Just look at the reception so far:

"This is the very best sort of part for her: statuesque, elegant, seductive, with a hint of cold steel. In many ways, it's her juiciest character since the sociopathic meteorologist in To Die For."
"it certainly looks wonderful, with epic dash and a terrific central performance from Nicole Kidman, who may come to dominate our children's nightmares the way Robert Helpmann's Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang once did ours."
- peter bradshaw (the guardian)

"Absolutely stunning in the role of Mrs. Coulter, Kidman shines immediately as the seductive beauty with obviously torn emotions. A woman with enough solid charm to win a staring match with the Master of Jordan College deserves, as she explains later, to have no one controlling what she does."
"Happily appearing on screen for an abundantly beautiful time, actress Nicole Kidman shrugged off early reports of owning a flop and demonstrated all that is charm in her portrayal of Mrs. Coulter."
- erica fetterman

"Nicole Kidman’s Mrs Coulter- beautifully sinister, she carries the role with the poise and inimitability of a master of her art. The sexual energy she radiates in her opening scene was subtly introduced, yet clearly apparent. The mood swings that are almost synonymous with Coulter’s character are perfectly implemented"
- david jones

"This injection of a greatly experienced actress into the fray is doubtless the icing of an excellent cake, her performance as the ruthless Marisa is nothing short of five-star. She has the steel and the sweetness of Mrs. Coulter, and she switches to the correct aura exactly on cue. "
- graham lord

"It's actually quite hard for me to tell whether or not I like the movie. Some bits of it were amazing. I had been quite happy when Kidman was cast as Mrs. Coulter; I was pleased as I felt she could play the role competently. I was wrong. Kidman's Mrs. Coulter was not just competent, she was just about perfect, far better than I thought possible. "
- edward miles

"Hollywood Reporter" and "Variety"

and, like almost EVERY MOVIE, they disagree. Variety's is negative (though not scathing), a surprisingly gives Kidman her first review that isn't glowing (though it seems his problem is more with the way the character is written). Hollywood Reporter is much more positive, only citing that some characters pop up a bit too suddenly (ie: the "jumpy editing" problem) but overall the film is a success.


Hollywood Reporter

this changes the tally to 9 good vs 3 bad

new Sweeney Todd trailer

well they certainly aren't holding back on the blood...(just wait until you get to the end)

Why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is run by idiots:

"Charlie Wilson's War," "The Savages," "Margot at the Wedding," "Juno," "Darjeeling Limited," "Waitress" and "Lars and the Real Girl" will compete in the comedy/musical categories at the Golden Globes, according to decrees made by the eligibility committee of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. All of those films have a mix of comedic and dramatic elements so there was speculation that they might be classified as dramas.

In the TV races, some series that straddled classification have been decided, too: "Pushing Daisies," "Californication," "Chuck," "Psych," "Samantha Who" and "Reaper" will compete as comedies.

In the race for best animated feature: "Bee Movie," "Beowulf," "Happily N'ever After," "Meet the Robinsons," "Ratatouille," "Shrek the Third," "The Simpson's Movie," "Surf's Up," and "TMNT."

Sixty-one movies have landed in the category for best foreign-language film. (Among the foreign titles is "La Vie en Rose," whose star, Marion Cotillard, will compete in the race for best comedy/musical actress.)

Once again, the committee that decides the Golden Globe nominees has placed a biopic of a singer (La Vie en Rose) and its star in the Musical or Comedy category where it doesn't belong. For those who remember, they made the same mistake with the films "Ray" (2004) and "Walk the Line" (2005) along with their respective performances from Jamie Foxx, Joaquin Phoenix, and Reese Witherspoon. Now this means that the likes of Keri Russel and Amy Adams are going to be totally screwed out of a possible win. Also, Margot at the Wedding is no comedy. Noah Baumbach's comedic appeal (yes, some people find his films intentionally hilarious) is too much of an inside joke for those who understand what his characters are going through. It's not "smart humor" or "elevated humor"'s isolationist humor. Put the damn film and everyone involved in competetion for drama. Best Actress in a Drama was already going to be pretty dull without Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman, now it's shaping up to be flat out dreary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Early tally: majority of Golden Compass reviews are good!

so far reviews have come from these sources

The Bad:
The London Times
Time Out (never, ever heard of it)

The Good:
The Sun
Emmanuel Levy
Fox News (which is.....surprising...)
The Daily Mail
The Telegraph
The Guardian
This Is London

Though yes, more negative reviews will eventually arrive, all signs point to a generally good consensus on the film. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Emmanuel Levy's Review of The Golden Compass

so, the first major US critic has a review and it's....good *whew*! He gives the film "B" and says that the original ideas and good characters outweigh the flaws in the direction and editing. He also says the film is lifted by "uniformly high level acting" and that Dakota Blue Richards (Lyra) does a really good job (fyi, he's read the books and loves them).

Emmanuel Levy's Review


Sweeney Todd clips

wow, Depp actually sounds pretty good in the clip where he's singing to the razor blade. I just wish we could here Bonham Carter sing a bit.

5 new Golden Compass clips!

I couldn't find them on youtube, so here's the link to the whole collection of them. I just hope your computer has better speakers than mine...I could barely make out what was being said...(that aside, it looks great)

5 new clips

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Golden Compass TV Ads 8 and 9

8 is pretty good, and the much hated "just let them try and stop us" line of dialogue actually doesn't sound that bad.

9.....well # 9 is just flat out great.

4 Golden Compass clips.

And my favorite....

The Guardian gives The Golden Compass 4/5 stars! YAY!

Looks like critics who haven't read the book (ie: most of them) seem to like the film better than those who have (The London Times writer gave it 2/5 and praised some aspects but said it couldn't live up to the magic of the books). If the praise the reviewer bestows on Nicole Kidman is echoed in other reviews, her chances at getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination are going to skyrocket.

The Guardian reviews The Golden Compass

Independent Spirit Award Nominess! (with commentary)

Best Feature Film:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Kilik
I'm Not There
Producers: Christine Vachon, John Sloss, John Goldwyn, James D. Stern
Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, MAaon Novick, Russell Smith
A Mighty Heart
Producers: Dede Gardner, Andrew Eaton, Brad Pitt
Paranoid Park
Producers: Neil Kopp, David Cress why isn't "Waitress" in here? I understand Once is out b/c it's a foreign film, but Waitress was surely better than that Oscar begging "A Mighty Heart"...bleh. Glad to see "Diving Bell" and Juno get mentioned, but I'm stunned that "The Savages" got snubbed.

Best First Feature
2 Days in Paris
Director: Julie Delpy
Producers: Julie Delpy, Christophe Mazodier, Thierry Potok
Great World of Sound
Director Craig Zobel
Producers: Melissa Palmer, David Gordon Green, Richard Wright, Craig Zobel
The Lookout
Director: Scott Frank
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes
Rocket Science
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Sean Welch
Director: Rajnesh Domalpalli
Producer Latha R. Domalapalli

Best Screenplay
Ronald Harwood- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Tamara Jenkins - The Savages
Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner - Starting Out in the Evening
Adrienne Shelly - Waitress
Mike White - Year of the Dog

Thank goodness Waitress and Savages got in here.

Best Female Lead
Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart
Sienna Miller - Interview
Ellen Page- Juno
Parker Posey -Broken English
Wei Tang - Lust Caution

Yay for Ellen Page and Parker Posey, but Jolie? Oscar begging at its worst. And where in the world are Nicole Kidman for "Margot" and Laura Linney for "Savages"?

Best Supporting Female
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Anna Kendrick - Rocket Science
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Margot at the Wedding
Tamara Podemski - Four Sheets to the Wind
Marisa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Blanchett's taking this one. The only one standing in her way is Jennifer Jason-Leigh.

Best Cinematography
Mott Hupful - The Savages
Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Milton Kam - Vanaja
Mihai Malaimare, Jr. - Youth Without Youth
Rodrigo Prieto - Lust, Caution

Best Foreign Film
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 3 Days (Romania)
Director: Cristian Mungiu

The Band's Visit (Israel)
Director: Eran Koirin

Lady Chatterley (France)
Director: Pascale Ferran

Once (Ireland)
Director: John Carney

Persepolis (France)
Director: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi

Hopfeully it'll go to Once, and if not that Persepolis.

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award
Ramin Bahrani
Director of Chop Shop

Lee Isaac Chung
Director of Munyurangabo

Ronnie Bronstein
Director of Frownland

Axium Producers Award
Anne Clements
Producer of Ping Pong Playa and Quinceanera

Alexis Ferris
Producer of Cthulhu and Police Beat

Neil Kopp
Producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy

Best Director
Todd Haynes
I'm Not There

Tamara Jenkins
The Savages

Jason Reitman

Julian Schnabel
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Gus Van Sant
Paranoid Park

It'll be Todd Haynes or Julian Schnabel with Gus Van Sant as the dark horse.

John Cassavetes Award
August Evening
Writer/Director: Chris Eska
Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

Owl and the Sparrow
Writer/Director: Stephane Gauger
Producers: Nguyen Van Quen, Doan Nhat Nam, Stephane Gauger

The Pool
Director: Chris Smith
Producer: Kate Noble
Writers: Chris Smith & Randy Russell

Quiet City
Director: Aaron Katz
Producers: Brendan McFadden, Ben Stambler
Writers: Aaron Katz, Erin Fisher, Cris Lankenau

Shotgun Stories
Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols
Producers: David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat, Jeff Nichols

Best First Screenplay
Jeffrey Blitz
Rocket Science

Zoe Cassavetes
Broken English

Diablo Cody

Kelly Masterson
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

John Orloff
A Mighty Heart

Yech, another nomination for A Mighty Heart? Please, PLEASE let this go to Juno.

Best Male Lead
Pedro Castaneda
August Evening

Don Cheadle
Talk to Me

Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Savages

Tony Leung
Lust, Caution

Frank Langella
Starting Out in the Evening

Yay for Hoffman.

Best Supporting Male
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Talk to Me

Marcus Carl Franklin
I'm Not there

Kene Holliday
Great World of Sound

Irfan Khan
The Namesake

Steve Zahn
Rescue Dawn

A tough one. Kene Holliday definitely isn't winning but all the others have pretty decent chances.

Best Documentary
Crazy Love
Director: Dan Klores

Lake of Fire
Director: Tony Kaye

Manufactured Landscapes
Director: Jennifer Baichwal

The Monastery
Director: Pernille Rose Gronkjaer

The Prisoner Or: How I Planner To Kill Tony Blair
Directors: Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker

Robert Altman Award
I'm Not There
Director: Todd Haynes
Casting Director Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood

Axium Truer than Fiction Award
Laura Dunn
Director of The Unforeseen

Gary Hustwit
Director of Helvetica

John Maringouin
Director of Running Stumbled


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I haven't seen it, and Love in the Time of Cholera already has 2 awards from me

both of these being, obviously, music related.

Love in the Time of Cholera Score by Antonio Pinto and Shakira - Grade: B+/A-

Nominations: Best Original Score - Antonio Pinto (#1 WINNER), Best Original Song - Despedida by Shakira(#1 WINNER), Best Original Song - Hay Amores by Shakira(#3)

Enchanted - short review

- the film is probably better suited to those who grew up with the classic Disney films seeing as its references/spoofs of them are incredibly light and gentle.

- Amy Adams is absolutely wonderful (she even looks like a Disney princess) and with the right campaign she could get an Oscar nomination (as of now she's a LOCK for a Golden Globe nomination).

- Has the best musical sequence of the year (one set in Central Park).

- Even though I enjoyed it, it's a little bit too light weight and might have benefited from a handful of sharper jokes.

Grade: B+

Current Nominations:
Best Actress - Amy Adams (#4), Best Original Song - How Does She Know? (#4)

Number of 2007 Films seen: 40

Last Week in TV: Nov 12-16

Boston Legal: B+

The Office: B+

30 Rock: A+

Scrubs: B+

Ugly Betty: B

Project Runway: they kicked off the right person, but good lord they screwed up choosing the winner...

Another "Golden Compass" review and it's generally comforting

This is from Bridge To The, which could more or less be described as "His Dark Material"'s most official website. They say that the performances are surprisingly good, but they think that at times there could have been a tad more coherence between scenes. However in the end (well...actually they summarize in the beginning...) the say that the film as a whole is very enjoyable. Since the site would probably have a tendency to be somewhat more "purist" in approach, I think it will be easier for me to enjoy the film.

The Review!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beowulf - REVIEW

Ah yes, I broke down and saw it. I've now seen three movies this Thanksgiving week and each one has been weaker than the one before it. Now, I've heard that seeing Beowulf in 3-D is really amazing, but I was only able to find a normal showing so that's what I'll be commenting on. To make things easier, I'll split the review into 4 sections: 1 for each part of the story, and a final one for general statements/wrap up blah blah blee.

Part 1 - Grendel: The weakest part of the film. Ignoring the innacurate portrayals of the Danes and what not, there was a general feel of trashiness to this whole segment. Though Grendel is pretty creep-tacular in appearence, it's hilarious everytime he speaks because you can't understand anything. When he was trying to tell his mother that "beowulf tore off his arm" it comes out like "mmmrrrrskuuuuuuuuuuuwaaaaaaaaaaaaa jskdsuuuuuuuaswsuueuususa!!" Also, as Beowulf is fighting Grendel, he fights him naked. This in itself is not bad, and could actually implied from reading the poem, but where the film goes wrong is having conveniently placed objects always there to block out Beowulf's "privates" like something out of an Austin Powers movie.....except Austin Powers was intentionally funny. Also hilarious is the way Beowulf acts like a love sick puppy around Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn) as she sings a toned down version of the film's original song. Also, John Malkovich needs to go take acting lessons again. Terrible line delivery.

Part 2 - Grendel's Mother: Angelina doesn't have too much time on screen, so her bizarre Russian accent doesn't seem as ludicrous as it was in "Alexander". But it is in this segment that the whole motion capture technique first falters. As Grendel's Mother slowly circles around Beowulf and trying to seduce him there are times when the face lacks almost all resemblence to Angelina. However, this segment does start off with some nice camera work as we see (from a first person view) Grendel's Mother fly over to the Danes' meadhall and slink around. Some nice music from Alan Silvestri's score also helps the scene with Beowulf and Grendel's Mother.

Part 3 - The Fire Dragon: the best part of the film despite how wildly it deviates from the poem. The dragon is pretty cool and has a great design. However, the motion capture concept falters again because as Beowulf is hanging onto the dragon's back there's no tension or excitement, because the scene (and pretty much the whole movie) feels like a really lengthy cutscene in a videogame. However I can't deny that I felt just a little bit sad when Beowulf bites the dust at the end and saves his kingdom and yada yada yada. Oh, but that final wildly innacurate...

Subsection A - The Credits: nothing special except we get bombarded with the full version of the film's original song ("A Hero Comes Home" performed by Idina Menzel of "Wicked"fame). The song is like an overwrought 80's pop ballad to end all overwrought 80's pop ballads. If this gets nominated for the Original Song Oscar, I'm hitting mute when it gets performed. Christ it's awful.

Part 4: Overall, the "groundbreaking animation" is impressive, but it hasn't come far enough to make us feel like this are people who can really "feel". Mr. Zemeckis makes some nice choices with the angles in certain shots, but the script tries a bit too hard to be hip and Beowulf often comes off like a bad imitation of Gerard Butler's King Leonidas from "300" (he was a much better yeller). A noble effort, but sadly a rather disconnected one that never really gets your pulse going like it should.

Grade: C+

Nominations: NONE

Number of 2007 films seen: 39

Another "Golden Compass" review and it's more positive!!

unfortunately, I don't have the review itself (in a day or so hopefully) but someone on the IMDb message boards saw it in a Spanish Magazine. Here's what the user said about the magazine's comments on the movie!!

"I have read an spanish magazine "Imagenes" and they comment like if they have seen it. They like it, and they say the best is the cgi because it's really realistic, you don't realise you are viewing "cartoon". And the bad think for the magazine is the violence!! They say the there is no necessity for this story to be so violen, they say the film show "Disagreeable scenes". They say Witz have tone the film for a teen/adutl view and absolutely not for children.!! But they say the film it's really new, a fresh air to the fantastic cinema, they love it. (apart for the violence).The best think for them is the part SPOILER........

when Lyra is to be separeted from her daemon. And they also say the city of London is really great, diferent, mystic and another caracther to the story.. They also say they have done a complicated story, not for childre, that is difficult to understand, which I thing is great.

So, I thing it's very good news. I have to say the magazine is well respected in spain..."


Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Batch of Official "For Your Consideration" Posters Arrive!!!

These are just some of my favorites. The rest can be found HERE. Click on the pictures to see much bigger versions:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

first review for The Golden Compass

the reviewer seems to like the movie overall, but he just seems surprised that big stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig have such limited screen time (she is supporting and Craig's character doesn't have many scenes in the book in the first place). Obviously he hasn't read the book but that's okay. He also says that Dakota Blue Richards is good as Lyra but that she sometimes falters with the Cockney accent. He also says that some of the dialogue is a bit stilted but he gives good marks to the production values, the special effects, Sam Elliot (yay!!!), and even director Chris Weitz who he says "proves he can handle big CGI sequences". I still take this review with a grain of salt though because The Telegraph also gave Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a mixed review while I thought it was flat out fantastic. Let's hope the same is true here.

The Telegraph's Review

No Country for Old Men - REVIEW

Well, I think I've found my "Pan's Labyrinth" of the year!! My #1 most anticipated film from a few posts back has become my #1 film of the year and stands a good chance of staying there (or at least in the top 5). I have no shame about declaring No Country for Old Men the best film of the year, and also one of the best of the decade. The story, set in West Texas, begins with a lone man, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), finding a host of empty trucks, bloody corpses, and most importantly, and satchel full of money. For the next two hours, we get to watch as he is pursued by forces good (Tommy Lee Jones' Sherriff), ambiguous (Woody Harrelson) and evil (Javier Bardem). And when I say evil, I mean EVIL. Javier Bardem in the role of Mexican pyscho Anton Chigurh is AMAZING. His first scene involves him escaping arrest. He manages to bring his handcuffed hands infront of him so he can use the binding chain to strangle the poor cop who takes him to jail. This could have been enough, but then the camera cuts from the struggling feet to Chigurh's face, which suggests that he is having an exhilarating, almost sexual experience. He then leaves, grabs his air tank and pressure "thingy" (which he uses to blow holes in people's heads). He eventually comes to know that the money is missing; let the chase begin. And if there's one thing directors Joel and Ethan Coen are good at, it's pacing. In "Fargo" set in the cold north, they slowed things down. Now that we're in sunblasted West Texas the speed increases and the film's editing, like that of Pan's Labyrinth, isn't necessarily the fastest out there, but it's perfect. No scene goes too long and everything moves at the right pace. It's not necessarily an action movie, but it's the closest the Coens have ever come to anything like that. The film is also helped by fantastic dialogue, brilliantly adapted from Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel (also by the Coens) and parts are surprisingly funny. Josh Brolin is solid as the central character, but he's more of a device around which the plot happens. The film is also effective in that it's entertainment. Tommy Lee Jones is very good here (though not as good as his tremedous work in "In the Valley of Elah") but it's Bardem who runs away with the whole damn show. Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald has several brief scenes as Brolin's wife, and does an amazing job of covering up her native accent with a Texan drawl. Everyone works together beautifully and the film is gripping from start to finish. Though there may some mild philosophical discussions throughout the film, the movie tells a story, and doesn't have some important social issue to address or shove down our throats. It's an Oscar caliber film, that's completely fictional. Wow, isn't that refreshing?

**Also interesting to note is that there is no background music in the entire film. There is some quiet music played over the credits by Carter Burwell (who composed the the score for 06's "Fur" and deserved to WIN), but that's it.

Grade: A (leaning towards A+...we'll see...)

Current Nominations: Best Picture (#1 WINNER), Best Director - Joel and Ethan Coen (#1 WINNER), Best Supporting Actor - Javier Bardem (#1 WINNER), Best Adapted Screenplay (#1 WINNER), Best Editing (#1 WINNER), Best Sound (#2)

Margot at the Wedding - REVIEW

Noah Baumbach is a tricky writer/director to figure out. His latest films, The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Margot at the Wedding (2007) are very similar: both feature intensely unlikeable characters, story lines driven by the characters rather than plot setups, and both have been misleading billed as "dysfunctional family comedy-dramas". Now, for Lars and the Real Girl, the style of film making was so charming that even if you went in expecting a laugh out loud comedy, you didn't leave disappointed. Margot is different because, like "Squid", it is so very real in its portrayal of unlikeable and dysfunctional people, and it spends all of its time de-constructing them (painfully) for us to watch. The simple premise is this: short story author Margot Zeller (Nicole Kidman) goes with her prepubescent son Claude to visit her more free spirited sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her soon to be husband Malcolm (Jack Black). After that, there's no real plot, but rather just a sequence of loosely connected events that show how screwed up this family is, and what miserable people they are. That's where it gets real. There's no weird older relative or cliched gay brother to lighten things up or provide running gags. The "comedy" that MATW pulls off is little more than things that make you barely grin and go "ha" under your breath. Where the film does succeed however, is as a portrait of a realistic (warning, may be a bit too real for anyone who has known people like Margot...) family that just can't seem to click with each other. The chief cause of this is Margot, who is not only neurotic, but as we continue to watch, unstable. In one scene she compliments her young son and only scenes later she quietly tells him how he "used to be rounder but smarter looking. Now your face is thinner but you look dumber" (okay, that's not the exact quote...I'm sure the real thing sounded a lot harsher). Sometimes its horrifyingly obvious as in the example above, and other times its quick as a flash. In one scene with Malcolm, Margot is in the middle of a conversation about Pauline when she opens the refrigerator, pulls out a bottle of wine, and takes time to quip "doesn't anyone ever fill the ice trays in this house?" under her breath. Margot is an incredibly unlikeable character, and Nicole Kidman brilliantly digs into the role. She isn't trying to make Margot sympathetic, but rather show us what an unstable mess she is. Margot does love her son, but she's been too abused in childhood (as revealed in some early scenes) and can only be a parent the way her horrible father was to she and her sisters. Months ago, most of the acting buzz for this film was centered around Jason-Leigh, before slowly shifting to Kidman. After seeing the film, this shift is completely reasonable. In all her despicable acts, Margot is still a fascinating train wreck to watch in motion as she struggles (but often succumbs to) against the overwhelming amount of darkness in her. However, Mr. Baumbach does lose points for a error in the film's final act: he tries to make EVERYONE (sans the two principle kids and John Turturro) just as messy and wretched. Leigh and Black's characters were never people we were really rooting for, but geez, lay off already. This realism can be harsh as I said earlier and I have no trouble understanding why someone would hate this film the way I hated "Squid" (my parents and I each had drastically different thoughts on the film which is reeeeeeally rare). But for those who can stomach it for whatever reason, the film is a slice of life that puts elements A, B, and C into a room and lets them all collide with no direction whatsoever; we just observe the results.

Grade: A- (surprised? Yeah, me too.....)

Current Nominations: Best Leading Actress - Nicole Kidman (#2), Best Original Screenplay (#4).

No Country For Old Men and Margot at the Wedding break into my top 10!

The Best Movies of 2007 as of November 3rd, 2007

  1. No Country for Old Men A+
  2. In the Valley of Elah A
  3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford A
  4. Waitress A
  5. Once A
  6. Zodiac A
  7. Lars and the Real Girl A-
  8. Michael Clayton A-
  9. Margot at the Wedding A-
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix A-

Best of the Rest:

American Gangster B+
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End B+
Eastern Promises B+
cross the Universe B+
Hot Fuzz B+
La Vie En Rose B+
Elizabeth: The Golden Age B+
Away From Her B+
3:10 to Yuma B+
Hairspray B+
The Simpsons Movie B+
The Brave One B+
The Bourne Ultimatum B+
Breach B+
Knocked Up B+
Fay Grim B+
300 B+
Ocean’s 13 B+

Number of 2007 releases seen: 38

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)- TRAILER Premiere

Well, considering the really negative press surrounding this movie, it doesn't look terrible. It looks kind of like Elizabeth: The Golden Age on a smaller scale....

Starring: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johannson, Eric Bana, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diving Bell and the Butterfly TRAILER

I've probably watched this a zillion times already. I just thought I should share...

Hilarious sketch from VH1's "Acceptable TV" - LEGAL LAW!

New TV Spot CONFIRMS PG-13 rating for The Golden Compass! WOOO!!

5 more TV spots for The Golden Compass were unveiled today, with the last 3 having a nice piece of news: the film is rated PG-13 for "sequences of fantasy violence". *whew* Now, TGC isn't as "action-y" as say, The Lord of the Rings, but it does have its fair share of action scenes, which all deserve to have justice done to them. A PG-13 rating should ensure this seeing as it allows for a much higher level of violence that would be necessary for the big polar bear fight near the film's end. It's nice to see that the film hasn't been turned into another Narnia, or worse, Eragon *shudder*. Anyways, here's the best of the tv spots that features "rated PG-13" stuck on at the end.

The only weird thing about these ads is that New Line obviously wants to try and make the movie feels accessible, so the marketing (though not the structure of the film) has been altered into the "the quest for powerful object x." However, it's perfectly fine seeing as in one of the other spots (it might have been 3, 4, or 5..maybe 7...) we can hear Mrs. Coulter mentioning "the authority" which is good news for anyone fretting that religion had been completely wiped from the story (it never was completely removed, just toned down a notch).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Next Bond Girl finally cast for Bond 22

I like. I like very much. I doubt she'll be able to match the intelligence and wit that Eva Green brought to Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, but she's certainly beautiful, who ever the hell she is.

Next Bond Girl is...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Narcissa Malfoy cast for "Half Blood Prince"

Narcissa Malfoy role goes to Helen McCrory

they could have done better. Kristin Scott Thomas, Naomi Watts, or Nicole Kidman would have been much better choices. Observe, the proper mix of not just talent, but also beauty necessary to play Narcissa:

Goodfellas (1990) - REVIEW

Wow, talk about "overrated". Goodfellas may be considered a classic, but I found it to be just another bloody gangster move. Though many die hard Scorcese fans would disagree, I think that his 2006 Oscar winner The Departed was a much better film. Though Goodfellas' first 45 minutes or so are incredibly entertaining, it drags through most of the middle, presenting niothing new or terribly interesting. Just lots and lots of shouting, swearing, and blood. Ray Liotta is fine as the central character, but there's something unfortunately bland about him in this role. Well, that's what we have colorful supporting characters for, right? Yes, but not here. Joe Pesci, who I loved in My Cousin Vinny, is just annoying while Robert De Niro doesn't get that much time to really..y'know...act (though he plays himself very well). Many complain that Goodfellas shouldn't have lost the best picture oscar to Dances with Wolves (not seen). After seeing Goodfellas though, I don't understand all the love it gets and I still give BP of 1990 to Edward Scissorhands.

Grade: B-/C+

Nominations: Best Supporting Actress - Lorraine Bracco (#1)

Move over Jennifer Hudson

this video may look fake, but it's real (or it's the best lip-syncing ever done..). One of the most amazing things I've ever seen...

15 Year old girl from the Philippines sings "And I'm Telling You"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Random: My 15 Favorite Movies ever

15. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - why this one over the likes of To Kill a Mockingbird, A Beautiful Mind, and One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest? Because it never should have been as good as it was. Action packed, clever, and flat out hilarious with a "wink wink" sense of humor, this was the perfect way to reinvent the pirate movie. Along with Johnny Depp's outstanding performance, the film is highlighted by scenery chewing performance from Geoffrey Rush, a fantastic and energetic score, and cleverly staged fight scenes (specifically, one set in a blacksmith's shop).

14. Edward Scissorhands (1990) - delightful and whimsical, this is Tim Burton at his best. Though he doesn't get much time to speak, Johnny Depp is marvelous in the title role and wonderfully backed up by Diane Wiest, Wynona Ryder, and Alan Arkin. Though parts get a tad out of hand near the very end, the final scene so perfectly ties the opening together that it's forgivable.

13. Chinatown (1974) - what starts off rather sluggishly develops into an explosive labyrinthine masterpiece. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are excellent and Roman Polanski's direction and the script are nothing short of perfection.

12. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - One of the most armrest-clenching, gasp inducing conclusions I've ever seen. Top notch work all around. That's funny, now I have a strange craving for fava beans.....

11. LA Confidential (1997) - The "Chinatown" of the neo-noir era. The entire cast is brilliant and the film is constantly gripping as the mystery gets deeper and deeper with all its little twists and turns.

10. Big Fish (2003) - Edward Scissorhands may be more iconic Burton, but as a whole I find Big Fish somewhat more satisfying. Even though the film is adapted from a novel, Burton never loses his signature touches, and he brilliantly blends them into the context of the film to create a story of life, love, death, and humor.

9. Network (1976) - what makes Network so brilliant is how it's just as (if not more) relevant today than it was back in '76. The best satire on the American media ever put on the silver screen; sharp observation, humor, and the right touches of the over-the-top.

8. Pulp Fiction (1994) - one of the most iconic movies of all time, and deservedly so. Despite running close to 3 hrs, the film is constantly engrossing. Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary's script is pure brilliance, especially in the inane little exchanges between Travolta and Jackson's characters. Some of the best dialogue (as well as some of the best swearing) in history. And of course, there's that trademark Tarantino style of telling things out of order, put to good (if not entirely necessary) effect.

7. Moulin Rouge! (2001) - proof that it's not necessarily how good your story is, but how well you tell something that's been done to death. One of the definitive love/hate movies of all time, this makes me love it even more. From the gorgeous production values, to the fantastic incorporation of modern music into turn-of-the-century Paris, this is one acid trip of a musical. Two of my favorite moments of brilliance: 1) Ewan McGregor's "Elephant Love Medley" which seamlessly fuses together lyrics from over a dozen famous love songs into a new melody and 2) El Tango De Roxanne, a latin infused reworking of the song by The Police; absolutely haunting.

6. To Die For (1995) - a spectacular satire on ambition run amok. The entire cast is great, but ultimately, it's Nicole Kidman's movie, and she's flat out brilliant. The little facial expressions, the line delivery, and the utter shallowness of Suzanne Stone are all there all the time. The script (based loosely on a true story) is so beyond perfect; no words are wasted, especially on Kidman's character. Because of this, Kidman is completely imersed in her character 100% of the time, with no room for "lazy lines" of dialogue. But what's really brilliant about her performance, is the way she makes Suzanne a mystery: is she really smart, or is she just dumb with lots of ambition? Or is she just self absorbed and self advancing? It's a good thing Kidman nails this so perfectly because she practically is the movie; there are no other leads in sight. However, in the end it's not a lead, but a supporting character who ties the whole film together in the film's final, poetic scene.

5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001 - 2003) - one of the most sweeping, masterful achievements in all of cinema. Good acting, stunning production values, and one hell of an adaptation help JRR Tolkien's literary masterpiece spring vividly to life in one of the greatest stories ever told. But what's really impressive about Peter Jackson's film trilogy, is how it is so many things at once: an movie that's accessible to the average movie goer, a great epic, a strong drama, a fantasy, the list goes on.

4. Citizen Kane (1941) - cliche, I know, but hell, I can't help it if I thought it lived up to the hype. Anyway, what makes CK such a great movie is that despite how old it is, it's so ahead of its time that with a few tweaks it would feel like a mystery/drama that would come out in modern times. Few "classics" (I'm looking at you "Godfather") age this gracefully.

3. American Beauty (1999) - though AB was Sam Mendes' directorial debut, it feels like the work of an accomplished master director. So perfectly executed with the right mix of mystery, emotional suspense, and dark comedy, as well as visually stunning (the scenes with the rose petals), it's a modern classic. The entire cast turns in great performances even down to the smallest role (Allison Janney, so incredibly bleak). Few movies grab me within the first five minutes, and this is one of them.

2. Life is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) (1998) - Sorry Schindler's List, but this is the best Holocaust movie ever made. Instead of skipping straight to the usual "it was grim" method, LIB takes a different route. It's first half is one of the most charming romances ever made, brilliantly infused with slap-stick humor. Seeing such love and beauty makes it that much more affecting when the central family is taken off to a Nazi work camp, where the father tries to convince his son that the whole situation is nothing more than a gigantic game. What helps the film be even more affecting is Nicola Piovani's score, the BEST FILM MUSIC IN HISTORY. Heartbreaking, romantic, and unspeakably beautiful, the music is a key part of the film itself that helps it succeed even more in telling a Holocaust story in a different (and risky) way.

1. Amadeus (1984) - the greatest movie about music and its creation ever made. Though it seems like an odd thing to do, director Milos Forman's (One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest) decision to have the characters speak in a decidedly American way helps provide a sharp observation into the lives of composes like Mozart and Beethoven: that they were very much the rock stars of their time. F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce (who, quite hilariously, turns Mozart into a complete ass) give fantastic performances. Abraham's Salieri is a respectful man who wants nothing more than to write great music, but can't quite keep up with Mozart, who despite being a boor, has "God's gift". One scene demonstrates this as it flips between Salieri working hard on a piece of music as Mozart does nothing more than try on various powdered wigs and giggle. The operas are also done justice by the amazing set design (the best is easily the Queen of the Night scene) . The film's depiction of the relationship between Salieri and Mozart may be somewhat untrue, but that doesn't stop the film from telling a great story.