Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

full trailer for "Get Smart"

some jokes fell flat, but overall, it looks like humorous summer fun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Best reactions from Oscar night...


Julie: I hate you Marion, but I hate Helen Mirren even more.

Laura: I feel like a proud parent....even though.....we're not related....YAY!

Ellen: honest to blog, she was for shiz the best one.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Best and Worst of the 2007 Oscars

The Best:

- Tilda Swinton becomes the surprise Best Supporting Actress winner! (take that Ruby Dee)

- Sweeney Todd wins Best Art Direction!

- The Golden Compass steals Transformers Visual Effects Oscar! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

- "Falling Slowly" wins Best Original Song!!!

- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly goes home empty handed

- Away From Her goes home empty handed

Classiest Moment: Jon Stewart lets Marketa Irglova give an acceptance speech for best song after she was cut off at the podium.


- The Coens take home 3 Oscars: Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay

- "Remember the dog in No Country for Old Men? Yeah, that was Cate Blanchett too. She is AMAZING". - Jon Stewart

- Cate Blanchett explodes into applause when Marion Cotillard wins best actress

Best Camera Moment: Cate Blanchett grimaces after her clip from "Elizabeth 2" is shown. She clearly understood that she didn't deserve the nomination at all. Good for her.

Best Joke: "Nominated tonight is the film "Away From Her". It's the incredible story of a woman who begins to forget her husband. Hillary Clinton called it the feel-good movie of the year." - Jon Stewart

- Javier Bardem gives the last part of his acceptance speech in Spanish.

- Tilda Swinton teasing George Clooney.

- Original Screenplay Winner Diablo Cody (Juno) manages to hold back the tears until the last half second of her speech.

- Helen Mirren opening the envelope before all the Nominee Clips were finished playing, allowing her to spit out the winner barely a second after the camera cut back to her.

- Ruby Dee looking mega-pissed off as she loses Best Supporting Actress (at least she clapped).

- Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen arguing over which of them gave off a "Halle Berry vibe".

- Julie Christie faking a smile as she loses best actress.

The Bad:
honestly, I didn't think anything was truly terrible....this is the best I can do......

- The Bourne Ultimatum wins best editing over No Country for Old Men's near perfect editing.

- what does Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana have to do with movies? Has she officially taken over the world?

- Kristen Chenowetch botches "That's How You Know" as she performs the Original Song Nominee.

- the opening animated segment was a cheap rehash (and obvious indicator of the small amount of time to prepare) of the opening for the 78th Oscars.

- that one area near one of the podiums: Colin Farrell, John Travolta, and Penelope Cruz (and maybe others) almost tripped and fell on their faces.

- Wow, this overwrought gospel song from "August Rush" really, really sucks.

- Cameron

The In-Between:

- Nicole Kidman's bizarre necklace, which contained 7, 625 diamonds. Diamonds are a girl's best friend indeed....

- Jon Stewart trying to be uber hip by including "jokes" involving the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii.

Biggest Missed Opportunity: The chance to have Heidi Klum announce Best Costume design by telling the nominees, "Your OWT, You're OWT....You're EEN!"

The 80th Academy Award WINNERS

for those who missed out on all the awards goodness

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men

Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will be Blood

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Best Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men

Best Original Screenplay: Juno

Best Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Cinematography: There Will be Blood

Best Art Direction: Sweeney Todd

Best Costume Design: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Best Original Score: Dario Marianelli - Atonement

Best Original Song: "Falling Slowly" - Once

Best Makeup: La Vie en Rose

Best Visual Effects: The Golden Compass

Best Sound Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Sound Mixing: The Bourne Ultimatum

and with that, we bid awards season 2007 goodbye.....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My picks (from the nominees) for the Academy Awards

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men
also OK: There Will be Blood
awkward/indifferent: Juno
Not OK with: Atonement, Michael Clayton

Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Also OK: Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will be Blood
awkward/indifferent: Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Not OK: Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton/Jason Reitman - Juno

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will be Blood
also OK: Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd or Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah
awkward/indifferent: Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises
Not OK with: George Clooney - Michael Clayton

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
also OK: Ellen Page - Juno
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: Julie Christie - Away From Her, Laura Linney - The Savages, Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Histrionic Succubus

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
also OK: Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James
awkward/indifferent: Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton, Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Not OK with: Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
also OK: Saoirse Ronan - Atonement, Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: Ruby Dee - American Gangster, Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody - Juno
also OK: Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: Ratatouille, The Savages, Lars and the Real Girl

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Coens - No Country for Old Men
also OK: Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will be Blood
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Atonement, Away from Her

Best Cinematography: The Assassination of Jesse James
also OK: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Atonement
awkward/indifferent: No Country, There Will be Blood
Not OK with: none

Best Editing: No Country for Old Men
also OK: none
awkward/indifferent: Into the Wild, There Will be Blood, The Bourne Ultimatum
Not OK with: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Art Direction/Set Design: Sweeney Todd
also OK: The Golden Compass
awkward/indifferent: Atonement, There Will be Blood
Not OK with: American Gangster (WHY IS THIS NOMINATED?)

Best Costume Design: Sweeney Todd
also OK: Elizabeth: The Golden Age, La Vie En Rose, Across the Universe
awkward/indifferent: Atonement
Not OK with: none

Best Makeup: La Vie En Rose
also OK: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: Norbit

Best Original Score: Dario Marianelli - Atonement
Not Ok with: everything else

Best Original Song: Falling Slowly - Once
also OK: That's how you know - Enchanted
awkward/indifferent: So Close - Enchanted, Happy Working Song - Enchanted
Not OK with: Raise it Up - August Rush

Best Sound Mixing (or maybe it's just "Sound" this year): No Country for Old Men
also OK: The Bourne Ultimatum, 3:10 to Yuma, Transformers
awkward/indifferent: Ratatouille
Not OK with: none

Best Sound Editing: No Country for Old Men
also OK: The Bourne Ultimatum, Transformers
awkward/indifferent: Ratatouille, There Will be Blood
Not OK with: none

Best Visual Effects: The Golden Compass
also OK: Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Transformers
awkward/indifferent: none
Not OK with: none

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's Time! The Official "Not All Texans Ride Horses to School" Film Awards!

While I've shown you my awards for 2006, 2005, and 2001 (and I'll get around to 02-04 soon), this is the first set of awards given out during the actual awards season for the particular year. 2007 has to be one of the best years (perhaps the best) for film this decade. The startling diversity, the originality, and the mix of new writers/directors/performers and old pros all bringing their A-game. If you want to refresh you memory of the nominees, the click HERE. Filled with breathtaking performances, and stunning technical and artistic aspects as well, 2007 ranks among the best of them. From murderous barbers, to beleagured queens, to troubled singers (no, not Amy Winehouse), to traitors, sarcastic teens, a deranged killer with an even more deranged haircut, shapeshifting daemons, and a spaceship sent to reignite our Sun, "Not All Texans Ride Horses to School" is (sincerely this time) proud to present....

The "Texan" Awards
For Excellence in Film for the year 2007
the only award that doubles as a drinking device...

Best Tagline:
"There's more than one way to lose a killer..." - Zodiac

Best Poster:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Trailer:
No Country for Old Men(click)

Most Unfairly Overlooked(TIE)


Breakthrough Female:
Ellen Page - Juno

Breakthrough Male:
Edward Sanders - Sweeney Todd

Best Acting Duo:
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter - Sweeney Todd

Performer of the Year:
Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose

Best Animated Film:
The Simpsons Movie

Best Sound Editing:
The Golden Compass

Best Sound Mixing:
The Golden Compass

Best Visual Effects (TIE!!)

The Golden Compass

Best Makeup:
La Vie en Rose

Best Foreign Language Film:

4 Months, 3 Days, 2 Weeks (Romania)

Best Original Song:"Falling Slowly" - Once

Best Costume Design:
Sweeney Todd

Best Art Direction:
Sweeney Todd

Best Editing:
No Country for Old Men

Best Original Score:
Dario Marianelli - Atonement

Best Cinematography:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Best Ensemble Cast:
Sweeney Todd

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men

Best Original Screenplay:

Julie Delpy - 2 Days in Paris

Best Actress in a Limited Role:
Helena Bonham Carter - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Best Actor in a Limited Role:
Sam Elliot - The Golden Compass

Best Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There

Best Supporting Actor:
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will be Blood

Best Director (TIE!!!)
Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men


Tim Burton - Sweeney Todd

and the big one...


Best Picture 2007:
No Country for Old Men

The 12 Most Overrated things from 2007

I've been doing a lot of "top ten lists" and "who I would have given the Oscars to in year 20XX", but there's that other aspect of film that needs to be looked at too: the bad and the ugly. Well, maybe not the ugly, but certainly those that were given praise that didn't really deserve any at all. In fact, seeing as 2007 was an unusually strong year in film, there were also an greater number of overrated things in film. "Not All Texans Ride Horses to School" is proud to present,

"Midnight in the Garden of Unwarranted Praise"

12. Transformers. A bunch of big robots beating the crap out of each other at 100 miles per hour. Sound exciting, right? Maybe, if that had been in more of this summer's most overrated blockbuster. Unfortunately, Michael Bay's bloated film spends way too much time gradually introducing the robots one at a time, and giving us character development (in a Michael Bay film? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA). Then when the crazy cool robots finally arrive they have to be part of the most obvious product placement in any film from last year (every single one lands by a GM dealership and disguises itself as a GM car). But before we can get to the really amazing robot-on-robot fight scenes (and they were spectacular) we have to go through more phony character development, the most drawn out (and improbable) scene of the year (complete with a masturbation joke! Funny! Oh wait..not really), and an unbelievably over the top John Turturro (not to mention that Jon Voight plays the president who happens to be really good with a shotgun......yeah.....sure...).

11. Max Von Sydow in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". There's really nothing wrong with giving awards recognition to short performances, but the praise being attributed to this legendary actor is absolutely preposterous. He sits for two scenes, and cries in one. Is any of it remotely moving? Hardly (though part of this plays into another member of this list).

10. Michelle Pfeiffer's "comeback". I have nothing against Michelle Pfeiffer. I like her a lot as an actress. What I don't like is the way critics fawned over her returned to the screen as though they were the greatest performances since Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice. Just because an actress is "having a blast with the role" doesn't mean they're doing a great job. While Pfeiffer was good in Hairspray as racist bitch Velma VonTussle, by the end of the movie, all she was doing was look on with various looks of shock as black dancers invaded her all white dancing program. Then comes the other crime of the critics: lavishing praise on her other villainous turn in Stardust. Yeah, I could see it too: she was having fun, but it wasn't all that special. She snarled, she sneered, she cast hexes on people, she looked gorgeous, and then Robert DeNiro easily stole the show in his 10 minutes of screen time. Oh, and then there's the third part of Pfeiffer's "comeback": a little romantic comedy titled "I Could Never be Your Woman" co starring Paul Rudd and Atonement wunderkind Saoirse Ronan. Don't remember hearing about it? There's a reason; it went straight to DVD. Some comeback...

9. Stardust. Going back to out last delinquent, was everything with Michelle Pfeiffer in it just automatically earning mostly favorable reviews?I know "The Golden Compass" wasn't the perfect fantasy film by a mile, but how did it only earn 42% good reviews while Stardust's clunky storytelling, Princess Bride wannabee storyline, plain acting, and third rate special effects earn 75% positive reviews? Again, Golden Compass wasn't perfect but it's visuals were first rate, it's artistic aspects were stunning, and the acting was first rate from everyone, even from the talking polar bear. Stardust just had DeNiro playing a tranny pirate captain and Claire Danes looking more like a horse than ever before. What is going on!?

8. Team Judd Apatow. AKA the actors and directors and producers associated with "The 40 Year Old Virgin", "Knocked Up", "Superbad", "Walk Hard", and the upcoming "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". If there's one thing I hate, it's when critics read more into films than they should, and they seem to be doing it with just about everything Apatow directs or produces. These aren't "raunchy comedies with hearts of gold"....they're just raunchy comedies that barely tiptoe into slightly more grown up themes...but they hardly take great leaps. Let's face it, Knocked Up and Superbad were funny; gross and profane, but funny. However, they were also way too long, with unnecessary drama, poor editing, and at times sloppily written (instead of just moving on to the next scene, they often forced as many swear words as possible into a scene just to get to the next joke. Lame). As much as I like John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer, I can't help but say that I was a little relived that Team Apatow took a hit when "Walk Hard" tanked in December. The trailer for "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" also seems pretty lame, so let's hope the flash in the pan that is Apatow is already on its way out the door.

7. Atonement's Green Dress: I will be furious is Atonement wins best costume design at tomorrow's Oscars. "But they were so AMAZING!" you shout back in defiance. No actually...just one of them was, and it's causing unnecessary hoopla. I am of course referring to the (stunning) green dress that Keira Knightley wears in the first third of the movie. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this became the next "Kate Winslet Titanic dress" where all the teenage girls think "If I wear a dress like this to the prom, I'm sure I'll be the ONLY one wearing it!" I'm sorry, but one dress is not enough for an Oscar. There are tons of worthier nominees/choices: La Vie En Rose (which after re-watching, does in fact have very good costumes), Sweeney Todd (please let this win!!!), Elizabeth: The Golden Age, not to mention those featured in Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and The Golden Compass. It's just one dress, Academy. One gorgeous dress, but still, one dress.

6. Motion Capture Animation (Beowulf). As I said in my Beowulf review back in November, this technology, though impressive, has not come far enough for audiences to establish true connections with the vaguely wax-like characters on screen. If I wanted to see that, I'd go play a video game and watch all the cut-scenes with the snazzy graphics (many of which look better than Beowulf). Please Robert Zemeckis, hold off on your motion capture for just a little longer, let the technology get better (give it to the Japanese for a few years and I'm sure they'll do WONDERS with it), and then try again. As for now, motion capture is nothing more than a failed experiment that people insist on using over and over again for no real reason other than to look "innovative".

5. The Dunkirk Tracking Shot - Atonement. Part of the reason I loved Joe Wright's 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice were the multiple dream like tracking shots. So why do I look upon his "epic" tracking shot along the French beach in Atonement with disdain? Simple: because it has no purpose other than to show off. In P&P, Mr. Wright's tracking shots served a purpose. The opening one followed Lizzy as she went through her house and gave us glimpses of her parents and siblings; another one at a dance was used to set up a joke at Mr. Darcy's expense, and so on. In Atonement's not-so-swoon-worthy shot, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy, who also received unnecessary praise for doing nothing too special) walks from point A, up to point B only to turn around and walk all the way back to point A before moving on to point C. So in truth, the "epic shot" only moves the character about 50 feet from the starting point. Had Robbie kept going past point B towards something further away (I would have loved to have seen him walking by the run down ferris wheel in the background), then I might feel differently, but Wright's lone tracking shot broke the flow of Atonement's already lesser second half, as Wright simple tried to show off. On a smaller note, I also can't stand to hear Atonement described as a "Sweeping Romance", as though it's some sort of epic. Y'know, because England and Northern France are just sooooooooo far away.......

4. Julie Christie - Away From Her. Apparently it doesn't matter how good your performance was, just as long as you manage to do a good (though not great) job and happen to be old and British. There's nothing bad about Julie Christie's performance, but there's nothing truly monumental (ie: award worthy) either. She already has an Oscar, so why is the Academy (and just about everyone else) so insistent on giving her an undeserved award? All I can say is that I hope "Away From Her" stays Away from Oscars.

3. George Clooney in Michael Clayton. Come on George, isn't it enough to have one undeserved Oscar? And why must you always play the "whistleblower" who sees something going wrong and tries to do something about it. Funny. That sounds an awful lot Perhaps your biggest failure, George (can I call you George?) was how you so desperately tried to be subtle by communicating emotions through low key facial movements. The problem is that your face isn't nearly as expressive as you think it is. You may have gotten a great deal of the acting praise for attempting (and failing) to be somewhat different, but there's a reason Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton acted circles around you in Michael Clayton.

2. Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart. Speaking of overrated performances, this one has to take the cake. While she was fine for most of the movie (perhaps even good), near the end, everything spiraled out of control with a breakdown scene that was almost funny. Here's a tip for all aspiring actors: when your character has a breakdown scene where they wail and cry, try not to make said wailing and crying sound like a hyena having an orgasm (don't ask). It doesn't help much when your crying sound exactly like the grunts of pain while giving birth at the end of the movie either. It's amazing that she's been nominated for so many awards while other worthy performances (Helena Bonham Carter, Nicole Kidman, Keri Russell, Amy Adams, etc...) were overlooked. Also, WHERE WERE ALL THE FAIR SKINNED BLACK ACTRESSES WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYING THIS ROLE!?

and the "winner" is, without question...


1. Ronald Harwood's screenplay for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. What wasn't to like about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? The directing and cinematography were unique and stunning, the acting was perfectly fine, and the music choices were great. So where did this film go so wrong? The answer lies in one of the key elements of filmaking: the script. "The Pianist" scribe Ronald Harwood's adaptation of Jean Dominique Bauby's memoir has to be the biggest (and most overrated) failure of last year. Why doesn't it work? Because it takes such a human story and examines it rather objectively, almost as if this is a documentary (though I've seen some pretty moving documentaries). Instead of giving us a chance to invest in Jean-Do, we're presented with strange flashbacks, and don't seen him have his stroke until near the END OF THE FILM. Whatever happened to the days when we told stories in a linear fashion? Was there something wrong with that? Christ. But anways, congratulations Mr. Harwood, you singlehandedly destroyed what could have been one of the most engrossing and moving films of the year. Instead, you turned it into the most overrated film of 2007. Now I just hope you don't go and screw up "Australia" since I hear you wrote the script for that as well.