Sunday, January 31, 2010

Video of the Week (it's been a while, hasn't it?): Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen of Lebowski"

She WON!!!

I really hope this doesn't somehow jinx Bigelow or the film's Oscar chances (DGA winners don't have the best track record as far as matching Best Picture winners). If the Academy follows through, (besides the assured nominations) not only will it be a huge triumph for Bigelow herself, but for women directors everywhere. A lot of people complain that Sofia Coppola should have been the first woman to win (for Lost in Translation), but to me Bigelow's film is on such a different level, and would so wholly deserve to be given the label of "best motion picture of 2009", that for her to possibly double the honor by becoming the first female best director winner would only make the victory sweeter (that, and I've never found Lost in Translation to be anything more than "good"). Congratulations to Ms. Bigelow and her extraordinary film, as well as the other DGA winners (it's about time ABC's hilarious "Modern Family" won something).

Source: Reuters/Yahoo Movies

LOS ANGELES - Kathryn Bigelow and "The Hurt Locker" became official awards-season front-runners Saturday after Bigelow won the top prize from the Directors Guild of America.

The 58-year-old filmmaker is the first woman to win the guild's top honor, which positions her and the film as shoe-ins for the Academy Awards. The DGA boasts that its winner has gone on to win the Oscar all but six times since 1948.

"This is the most incredible moment of my life," Bigelow said backstage. She downplayed her gender, saying, "I suppose I like to think of myself as a filmmaker."

Still, she was the only nominated director who earned accolades for her physique as well as her filmmaking. Bigelow was up against Quentin Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds," Jason Reitman for "Up in the Air," Lee Daniels for "Precious" and her ex-husband James Cameron for "Avatar."

"Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner called Bigelow "a warrior, my champion and the most fortunate actor's director."

Tarantino praised her as "queen of directors." He said his fellow nominees have been spending so much time together, they have become "like a superstar rock band and we're going to go on tour together."

Clutching a shiny medallion as a souvenir of his DGA nomination, Tarantino said, "I don't give a (expletive) who wins, I am so happy to have this."

Daniels said the nominated directors, who have seen each other regularly throughout Hollywood's awards season, are "like a support group" for one another.

"We have each other's backs," he said.

He told Bigelow, "You are bold. You are brave. You are gutsy."

Reitman told the winning director that he grew up watching her films.

"You are more than a great director, you are one of the greats," he said. "I'm in awe of you, too."

Cameron praised his competitors as "truly excellent and brilliant filmmakers."

Bigelow said just being nominated for the Directors Guild honor is "kind of the pinnacle for the already wild ride 'The Hurt Locker' has put me on."

The four-hour affair at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel drew a spate of celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Jon Cryer, Cheryl Hines and Jason Bateman. All but Jolie served as presenters during Saturday's ceremony.

Carl Reiner hosted the event recognizing achievements in directing, as he has for 22 years.

"Modern Family" won the top honor for television comedy for its pilot, directed by Jason Winer.

"I want to thank the DGA for validating the Napoleon complex I've had ever since I was a smaller boy," the diminutive director said.

The drama prize went to "Mad Men" and director Lesli Linka Glatter. Ross Katz was honored for the HBO movie "Taking Chance." Louie Psihoyos' film "The Cove" won the documentary award.

"The film plays like a prequel to 'Avatar,' only it's real and set in the present," Psihoyos said.

Cher presented Norman Jewison with the guild's Lifetime Achievement Award for his career in film.

"The studio heads maybe have all the power, but we've got the glory," he said. "And when you receive the lifetime achievement award like this, it makes you very nervous, like maybe you're going to fall off the perch or something."

The 83-year-old filmmaker accepted the award surrounded by his family, including his four grandchildren.

Cher said she would have gone to the moon to present Jewison with the honor.

"He has changed my life," said Cher, who starred in "Moonstruck," Jewison's 1987 hit. "I love him so much."

Roger Goodman was presented the guild's lifetime achievement award in news direction. Disney chief Robert Iger and Warner Bros. chief Barry Meyer were granted honorary life memberships in the guild.

Among other guild winners:

• Reality programming: Craig Borders, "Hong Kong Bridge."

• Children's programs: Allison Liddi-Brown, "Princess Protection Program."

• Daytime serials: Christopher Goutman, "As the World Turns: Once Upon a Time."

• Commercials: Tom Kuntz.

Among Hollywood's many honors leading up to the Academy Awards, the Directors Guild prizes have one of the best track records for predicting eventual Oscar winners.

Academy Award nominations will be announced Tuesday.


On the Net:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sundance Film Festival Winners announced

Source: Reuters

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - "Winter's Bone," a stark tale of a young woman trying to keep her family together, and Afghanistan war documentary "Restrepo" won top awards at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday,

"Winter's Bone" earned two prizes, best drama film by the Sundance jury of industry professionals and screenwriting for co-writer and director Debra Granik at the top U.S. gathering for independent movies.

"Restrepo," which tells of a year in the life of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, earned the jury prize for best documentary for filmmakers Sebastian Junger (author of "The Perfect Storm") and Tim Hetherington.

"This country's in a very painful moment, we're in the middle of two wars," Junger said on stage, accepting his award. "If our movie can help this country understand how to go forward, we would be incredibly honored by that."

Sundance, backed by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute for film, kicks off the year for movies made outside Hollywood's major studios, and hits here are often among the most-watched in theaters that show low-budget, art and foreign movies.

"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" was a big winner in 2009 and earned critical acclaim and box office success in theaters, and Sundance has helped launch the careers of directors such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino.

While "Winter's Bone" and "Restrepo" took home top honors from the Sundance juries, audiences also get to vote for their favorites at the festival, which ends on January 31.


Audiences voted "happythankyoumoreplease" best drama film. From first-time director and actor Josh Radnor, who stars in U.S. television comedy "How I Met Your Mother," it tells of six young New Yorkers dealing with life, love and friendship.

"I think my movie is rebellious," Radnor said on stage, echoing a theme of this year's festival about edgy filmmaking. "It's about people saying 'no' to cynicism and 'yes' to love."

Audiences voted Davis Guggenheim's ("An Inconvenient Truth") documentary, "Waiting for Superman," their favorite non-fiction film. "Superman" is a look at the crumbling U.S. educational system and what can be done to fix it.

U.S. dramatic film directing honors went to Eric Mendelsohn with "3 Backyards," a trio of tales about three people -- a businessman, housewife and young girl -- who find their lives change on a seemingly normal autumn day.

Among documentaries, Leon Gast was named best director for "Smash His Camera," a look at the life and career of paparazzi Ron Galella, and the editing award went to Penelope Falk for "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work", a look at the comedienne

Australia's, "Animal Kingdom," was named best dramatic film by the Sundance jury. It tells of an armed robber on the run from a gang of renegade detectives. The audience award for best drama went to "Contracorriente," set in a Peruvian village and tells of a young married fisherman in love with a gay painter.

The jury prize winner for documentary was Denmark's "The Red Chapel," about an unscrupulous journalist, and the audience trophy went to environmental film "Wasteland," backed by filmmakers in the United Kingdom and Brazil, about a Brazilian artist who creates images of people using materials from where they live.

(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Richard Attenborough Award Winners (UK Film Critcs)

I'm not sure if I even remember posting these awards last year (??????), but I can't say that I'm displeased with the winners aside from Cameron. I'm surprised that of all places, the UK gave Up its first (?) Best Picture award of the season, and OH MY GOD SAM ROCKWELL ACTUALLY WON SOMETHING!!!! Now there's something to celebrate."It's about damn time!"

Film of the Year: “Up”
Director of the Year: James Cameron, “Avatar”
Actor of the Year: Sam Rockwell, “Moon”
Actress of the Year: Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Screenwriter of the Year: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”
Rising Star of the Year: Carey Mulligan


British Film of the Year: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Film Score of the Year: Nicholas Hooper, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Best New Filmmaker: Duncan Jones, “Moon”
Best Use of UK Locations: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Denver Society of Film Critics Winners

The Denver Film Critics Society is proud to announce the winners of the DFCS Awards for the 2009-2010 season.

Best Film:

* The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow

A Serious Man, directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman
Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams

Best Actor:

* Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air
Viggo Mortensen, The Road
Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Best Actress:

* Carey Mulligan, An Education

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star

Best Director:

* Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Duncan Jones, Moon
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Best Supporting Actor:

* Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles

Best Supporting Actress:

* Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Julianne Moore, A Single Man

Best Acting Ensemble:

* Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Star Trek

George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Danny R. McBride, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, Up in the Air
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, The Hurt Locker
Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, J. K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly, I Love You, Man

Best Original Screenplay:

* Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Michael H. Weber, Scott Neudstadter, (500) Days of Summer
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay:

* Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, based on the novel by Walter Kirn, Up in the Air

Geoffrey Fletcher, based on the novel by Sapphire, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Scott Cooper, based on the novel by Thomas Cobb, Crazy Heart
Scott Z. Burns, based on the novel by Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant

Best Colorado Film:

* Ink, directed by Jamin Winans

The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardener, directed by Daniel Junge

Best Documentary:

* The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos

Anvil! The Story of Anvil, directed by Sacha Gervasi
Best Worst Movie, directed by Michael Stephenson
Good Hair, directed by Jeff Stilson

Best Foreign Language Film:

* Thirst, directed by Chan-wook Park

Sin Nombre, directed by Cary Jôji Fukunaga
Summer Hours, directed by Olivier Assayas
Revanche, directed by Götz Spielmann

Best Original Song:

* The Weary Kind, Crazy Heart: Performed by Ryan Bingham (Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett)

Winter, Brothers: Performed by U2 (Bono and The Edge)
(I Want You to) Come Home, Everybody’s Fine : Performed by Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney)
Other Father Song, Coraline: Performed by They Might Be Giants (John Flansburgh and John Linnell)

Best Original Score:

* Michael Giacchino, Star Trek

Brian Eno, The Lovely Bones
Elliot Goldenthal, Public Enemies
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant

Oscar Meter: Up
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan
Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Best Original Song: "The Weary Kind"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An early review of Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood"

These things can always end of up being fake, but with movies often holding test screenings earlier and earlier, it shouldn't come as a surprise that there has been at least one for what hopes to be one of the first blockbusters of the summer movie season. I'm quite excited for this film, and to hear it be compared to Gladiator and the lesser-but-still-good Kingdom of Heaven makes me happy; I love period action films, and for this one to start off with some solid early (real?) buzz is encouraging.


Hey just got back from the "Robin Hood" screening here in Las Vegas.

The most surprising thing about “Robin Hood” isn't really so surprising at all: Ridley Scott has made a variation on “Gladiator” that switches out swords and sandals for bows and arrows. Russell Crowe is back in fighting form (looks like he lost an entire person since “State of Play”) and takes his place where he belongs, playing a hero square in the middle of a big period action epic, bellowing orders, galloping on horseback and just generally kicking ass.

Forget the green tights, pulling on the sheriff version of “Robin Hood.” This is a dirty, brutal, muscular, serious origin story that introduces the characters we've seen in movies and read in books that only meets up with the familiar story literally in the last scene.

The story here is about an archer from the Crusades who assumes the identity of a fellow soldier who died on the field. Robin returns home to England and discovers a secret he never knew about his past which puts him on a path to help his country from a despotic king (btw, don’t know who plays King John but he’s awesome). The first two-thirds of the movie are about Robin figuring out his destiny and rallying the people together against King John’s thugs and the usual cast of characters starts to come together: the Merry Men, a tough Maid Marian (I don’t understand how Sienna Miller was ever supposed to play this role), the Sheriff of Nottingham, Friar Tuck.

The last third is an extended action sequence set at the edge of the sea as Robin and his countrymen face off against the invading French navy attempting to land and take over Britain. This is pure “Gladiator”/”Kingdom of Heaven” Ridley Scott with a lot of hand-to-hand combat. There’s another nice surprise: there doesn’t seem to be much of a reliance on computer imagery outside of that French navy. This is action on a huge scale made the old-fashioned way: armies of thousands, swords clanging off each other, arrows shooting through bodies, ships crashing on shore all staged right there on the beach, not in a computer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SS Col. Hans Landa is a..


a Schemer...

a Cold-blooded murderer...

And now...

a Defender of Good Literature.

Well, 1 out of 4 isn't too bad...right?

Enough is enough: This "Bright Star" snubbing must cease!

Quite a while ago, there was a little movie called Bright Star directed Jane Campion, and starring Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, and Paul Schneider (he of The Assassination of Jesse James and TV's "Parks and Recreation"), that was supposed to play a decent part in the 09-010 Awards Season. The reviews were generally quite positive, and deservedly so. And then something weird happened...and not the good kind of weird: Bright Star got the biggest of middle fingers. Since the National Board of Review kicked off awards season in early December, Jane Campion's small gem of a film has been snubbed is just about every way, barely making it onto the BAFTA longlists before it was left out in the cold on the official nominations. Cornish, who rightfully earned herself best-in-show reviews, has been particularly hurt by all of this. This should have been the performance that let the world know that she could lead a film, even though she's done it before (Somersault). "Why", is the question we're left with, and for the life of me the best answer I can come up with doesn't seem to fully answer the problem: campaigning. For some reason, either due to lack of faith or funds, the studio behind the film didn't campaign the film enough. Yes, there are For Your Consideration ads (beautiful ads, might I add), but there was never any sense that the film was being given special screenings to put it back into people's minds, or for those who missed it in regular theaters. The same could also be said for Duncan Jones' Moon, though at least that film and its star, Sam Rockwell, have show up in a few places (BAFTA). It's a shame, because with 10 Best Picture nominees, this film would have had a decent shot of making it in, and Cornish would be playing a solid role in the Best Actress race. I mean AT LEAST it could have had a role in the artistic categories! Costume design? Art direction? Cinematography!? Original Score? It's a mad mad mad mad mad mad (mad mad mad) world out there.

Italian and American posters for "I am Love (Io Sono L'amore)" starring Tilda Swinton

I remember hearing about this film a while ago (there were rumors at the end of the summer that it might receive an 09 release) and that what little word there was on it was good (though I didn't know it was Italian). Now the film is at Sundance, and appears to be going over quite well, especially for the very non-Italian Tilda Swinton, who I would gladly watch read the phone book. Nathaniel Rogers of The Film Experience was quite kind to it in his post this afternoon, though apparently he wasn't feeling well enough to write a full review (let's hope he feels better soon!). From his description, it sounded (not plot wise, however) similar to A Single Man, which was filled with beautiful sights and sounds, as well as good performances. IMDb gives the following premise:

"A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. The film follows the fall of the haute bourgeoisie due to the forces of passion and unconditional love."

Vague, but that can often work (A Single Man doesn't have much of an action driven plot, and that turned out wonderfully). No US release date has been set, and I have yet to find a trailer, but needless to say, this one is slowly creeping up higher on my Must See of 2010 list.

"The Lovely Bones" - REVIEW

Contrary to general consensus, Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel, "The Lovely Bones", is not a disaster. What it is, is a disheveled, unfocused film with a good, perhaps even great film buried inside.
The film is the story of 14 year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan of Atonement), who is murdered one day on her way home from school. The murderer: neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci). The problem: The only people who know about Harvey's role in Susie's murder are Susie herself, and the audience. Susie somewhat watches down and narrates the several years that follow her murder from a strange place between earth and heaven (such a place was not in the book; Susie merely narrated from some vague purgatory). It's here where the problems begin, and good lord there are problems. The in-between land where Susie spends most of the film, despite being occasionally mesmerizing, beautiful, and/or intense, often feels superfluous, even if it does give Ronan more to do than sit and narrate. It also introduces a small but irritating character named Holly, who I won't describe because seeing her in the film is painful enough (not the character herself, perse, but her dialogue and the actress who plays her). She's not the only one: Mark Wahlberg as Susie's father feels totally miscast (the original choice was Ryan Gosling) with his line delivery in too high a pitch and a distracting "look at me I'm acting" expression that calls to mind his performance in The Happening (for those who haven't seen that film, that is NOT a compliment). Susan Sarandon is fine as a boozing, smoking grandmother, but her character is mostly used to odd effect, particularly in a scene where she cleans (or tries to clean) the Salmon house while the parents are away (presented in one of the most bizarre, inappropriately jovial montages I've seen in a while). I understand the desire to inject a little levity into the otherwise dour and intense proceedings, but there's a limit. Rachel Weisz, as Susie's mother, gets stuck with a totally thankless role, as does Christian Ashdale as her spiritually "gifted" (?) little brother. Of the Salmon clan still among the living, only Rose Mclver, as Susie's sister Lindsey, gets anything of interest to do, and does a fine job with what she has (plot-forwarding table scraps). This brings us to the final two puzzle pieces: Ronan and Tucci. Much has been made of Tucci's role (he was the only part of the film to ever have strong pre-release buzz), and it could have been a masterful performance, but on the whole the role is characterized more by creepy shots and moody lighting/editing; Jackson's attempts at "showing" somehow come off more as "telling". Tucci does shine a little in the unbearably tense build up to Susie's murder, though again, much of it is also due to the lighting and editing. Ronan is in a slightly different boat. She gets plenty to do in her pseudo-heaven, but due to the rest of the film, bizarre tonal shifts and all, the performance feels like a promise of greatness, instead of actual greatness. She gets the emotions down, but thanks to the overabundance of visual effects wizardry feels distant.
That said, the film does have its small pleasures; enough to make me believe that had Jackson simply picked one tone and stuck with it, he could have had a brilliant film. Like I said, the build up to Susie's murder is really intense, as is a heaven sequence where she's wanders into a mysterious white bathroom, with Tucci lying naked in a bathtub like some monster waiting under a bridge (I was briefly reminded of the Pale Man sequence in Pan's Labyrinth). The visual effects for the most part are dazzling, like in a scene where Susie runs along a beach filled with ships crashing onto the shore. There's also Brian Eno's score...well, most of it. It's very atmospheric and at times haunting, mesmerizing even, but in a handful of scenes it wanders astray, like when Wahlberg is accidentally mistaken for someone else and attacked, the speakers suddenly pour out electric guitar music that is both ugly and distracting.
So where does that leave us at the end of the day? A really strange place, is where. Jackson knows how to command your attention, but what he gives us is too inconsistent, too scatterbrained, to fully resonate, in addition to doing a disservice to the actors involved. The film itself may be beautiful to look at, but at its core The Lovely Bones is really just a mess in need of a clearer vision.

Grade: C

Costume Designers Guild Nominees

Overall a very strong set of nominees, though the lack of nominations for Inglourious Basterds or Bright Star confuses and irritates me, respectively. However, it is nice to see that Nine isn't going the route of Australia in terms of artistic/tech mentions due to (undeservedly) "meh" reception. Now if only Cotillard can sneak into supporting actress next Tuesday...*crosses fingers*


Avatar(Mayes C. Rubeo, Deborah Lynn Scott)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Monique Prudhomme)
Star Trek (Michael Kaplan)

(500) Days of Summer (Hope Hanafin)
Bruno (Jason Alper)
Crazy Heart (Doug Hall)
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (Marina Draghici)
Up in the Air (Danny Glicker)

Coco Before Channel (Catherine Leterrier)
Julie & Julia (Ann Roth)
Nine (Colleen Atwood)
Sherlock Holmes (Jenny Beavan)
The Young Victoria (Sandy Powell)

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Avatar 2" is on the way

Maybe now we won't have to wait 12 years for James Cameron's next film. That would sure be nice. Although knowing him, I'm sure he'll find a way to reinvent the wheel yet again and we won't see Pandora again until at least the middle of the new decade.

Source: Unknown
King of the Box Office James Cameron Talks Avatar 2
Today 8:58 AM PST by Breanne L. Heldman and Megan Masters

Mark Fellman/Twentieth Century Fox

The numbers don't lie—moviegoers are loving Avatar just as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press.

So it would stand to reason that a sequel to James Cameron's opus is in the works, right?


"We always planned on continuing the world and continuing the characters," the director told E! News at the Producers Guild of America Awards Sunday night. "In fact, that was part of the original pitch to 20th Century Fox."

All the necessary elements, he says, are already in place.

"We're going to spend a lot of money building this world and all these digital characters and digital plants and trees and mountains and so on, and then once we've got it, we've got it. It's not like it's a practical set that when you build it, you have to tear it down and you're left with a big pile of lumber out behind the studio. We have all that stuff so we can go again."

But don't start lining up at the theaters just yet. There's a long way to go before Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington turn blue again.

"We just have to come up with a great story, which we haven't done yet," Cameron says. "I have a rough story, but you need to make a script, so that might take some time. Don't start going to buy your tickets."

So, since he's already topped himself once, is he aiming to do it again?

"Oh yeah, we have a plan in place already for how to break these records," he says sarcastically. "Are you kidding?! This is so random that this is happening. There's no way to have predicted this."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

EDIT (now it's official): Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new (or should I say "old"?) King

As of January 24, 2010, Avatar is the new highest grossing film of all time, topping another James Cameron epic, Titanic. Maybe it's time to finally bow down and admit that Mr. Cameron actually is the King of the World; two Billion-Dollar Babies isn't exactly a small achievement. I guess this is the reward Mr. Cameron gets for reinventing the technological wheel every time he makes a movie.

Source: AP

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Titanic" just hit an iceberg named "Avatar."

James Cameron's sci-fi spectacular replaced his maritime melodrama as the biggest international release of all time during the weekend and is on the verge of claiming its worldwide crown, which also includes North American receipts, distributor 20th Century Fox said Sunday.

The News Corp-owned studio said "Avatar" has sold $1.841 billion worth of tickets worldwide during its unbroken six-week reign, and was a day or so away from surpassing the seemingly insurmountable $1.843 billion racked up by "Titanic" in 1997-1998.

The international portion stands at $1.288 billion, eclipsing the $1.242 billion haul of "Titanic."

In North America, "Avatar" may have to wait up to two weeks to sink the $601 million total of "Titanic," Fox said. Moviegoers in the United States and Canada have chipped in $552.8 million, enough to replace 2008's "The Dark Knight" ($533 million) as the second-biggest movie of all time.

Data are not adjusted for inflation, and "Avatar" ticket sales got an additional boost from premium pricing for 3-D screenings. Imax Corp said its big-screen engagements have sold a record $134 million worth of tickets worldwide.

The biggest movie of all time in North America -- adjusted for inflation -- is 1939's "Gone with the Wind," with sales of almost $1.5 billion, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo. "Avatar" ranks No. 26 by that measure.


During the latest weekend, "Avatar" earned $36 million in North America and $107 million from 111 international markets, far outpacing other offerings.

It led the field in at least 29 foreign markets, including France ($123 million to date), China ($102 million), Germany ($96 million), Russia ($95 million) and Britain ($93 million).

In North America, "Avatar" was trailed by the new supernatural action thriller "Legion" at No. 2 with $18.2 million, while the Denzel Washington drama "The Book of Eli" slipped to No. 3 with $17 million in its second weekend.

"Legion," released by Sony Corp's Screen Gems budget label, cost about $25 million to make, and played primarily to men, the studio said. Paul Bettany, Lucas Black and Tyrese Gibson star in the tale of an of-the-way diner that becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race.

"Eli," a similarly themed apocalyptic drama released by Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. Pictures on behalf of independent producer Alcon Entertainment, has earned $62 million after 10 days.

Two other films opened in the top-10: Fox's Dwayne Johnson family film "The Tooth Fairy" at No. 4 with a promising $14.5 million, and the Harrison Ford medical drama "Extraordinary Measures" at No. 7 with a disappointing $7 million.

"Extraordinary Measures" is the debut release of CBS Corp's CBS Films, which said its fact-based storyline about a father trying to save the lives of his children made it a tough sell. Older audiences in the Midwest and mountain areas were the primary demographic, the studio said.

Fox said "Tooth Fairy" played well across the board, despite or because of its depiction of former wrestler Johnson, a.k.a. "The Rock" in a tutu and wings.

"It's a very sweet, wonderful message movie," said Chris Aronson, Fox's senior vice-president of domestic distribution.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

"The Hurt Locker" wins the Producers Guild of America Award!!!

The 09-010 Best Picture race has become even more interesting. With Up in the Air surprisingly fading as a BP front runner, we're now faced with three likely candidates, each of them wildly different from each other: James Cameron's sci-fi spectacle Avatar (Golden Globe - Best Drama), Tarantino's WWII spaghetti western Inglourious Basterds (SAG Award - Best Ensemble Cast), and Kathryn Bigelow's gritty bomb-squad thriller.

Source: AP

LOS ANGELES - "The Hurt Locker" scored the top film award from the Producers Guild of America, building new momentum for the Iraq war drama in the expanded Oscar race for best picture.

The film about a risk-taking bomb disposal technician beat out such celebrated nominees as "Avatar," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Up in the Air" Sunday night.

"The Hurt Locker" also bested the films "Star Trek," "District 9," "An Education," "Invictus," "Up" and "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire" at the Producer Guild Awards in Hollywood.

The awards were the latest kudofest in the run-up to the Academy Awards in March.

The Full List of Winners:

Source: Yahoo!Movies/AP


The Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
"The Hurt Locker"
Kathryn Bigelow
Mark Boal
Nicolas Chartier
Greg Shapiro

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Jonas Rivera

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
"The Cove"
Fisher Stevens
Paula DuPre Pesmen

The Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television -- Comedy
"30 Rock"
Lorne Michaels
Tina Fey
Marci Klein
David Miner
Robert Carlock
Jeff Richmond
Don Scardino
Jerry Kupfer

The Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television -- Drama
"Mad Men"
Matthew Weiner
Scott Hornbacher
Lisa Albert
Andre & Maria Jacquemetton

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Non-Fiction Television
"60 Minutes"
Jeff Fager

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment and Competition Television
"The Colbert Report"
Stephen T. Colbert, DFA
Jon Stewart
Allison Silverman
Richard Dahm
Meredith Bennett
Tom Purcell

The David L. Wolper Producer of the Year Award in Long-Form Television
"Grey Gardens"
Lucy Barzun Donnelly
Rachael Horovitz
Michael Sucsy
David Coatsworth


Milestone Award
Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertaiment
Amy Pascal, co-chairman, SPE

Norman Lear Achievement in Television
Mark Burnett

David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures
John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios

Vanguard Award
Joss Whedon

The Stanley Kramer Award
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Quick thoughts on "The Blind Side"

- The best female lead performance of the year? Hell, this isn't even Bullock's own best performance! That would be Infamous.

- It's actually not a terrible movie, and Bullock's accent isn't as over the top as I expected it to be.

- That said, there are plenty of aspects that are either A) cliched or B) bland. The young kid, while occasionally funny, is mostly annoying and just mugs his way through the whole film, and Quinton Aaron, who plays Mike Oher, is pretty lifeless (on the other end of the spectrum, Tim McGraw is actually...a halfway decent actor. Who would've guessed that?).

- Bullock is good in the role, but it's written in such an obvious way that she's rarely given a moment to be either really showy or deep and subtle.

- That said, Bullock, and the film as a whole, is totally likeable, though I'm still not sure how this film managed to make $234 million (to date); what exactly kept pulling people in? I know it's about a football star, but there isn't a whole lot of football in it...

Grade: C/C+

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SAG Award Winners!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture


Other Nominees:

Nine (2009)

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Like I said in the post below, I would have been happy with any of these, seeing as this is supposed to be an ensemble cast award. Good pick, though The Hurt Locker would have made me a hair happier.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role


Other Nominees:

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008) not want. Everyone except Freeman would have made me leap, especially Firth. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case. I'll just have to pray for an upset on Oscar night.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role


Other Nominees:

Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009)

Wow, didn't (entirely) see this one coming, though I knew it was between her and Streep. It's official: Sandra Bullock is now the frontrunner for Best Actress.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Other Nominees:

Penélope Cruz for Nine (2009)

Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Now one step closer. The only interesting thing in both this category and Best Supporting Actor is to see who else gets nominated.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


"Glee" (2009)

Other Nominees:

"30 Rock" (2006)

Not the best of the bunch, but not unexpected.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series


"Mad Men" (2007)

Other Nominees:

"Dexter" (2006)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series


Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)

Other Nominees:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006)

I'm so glad that Fey of all people broke Collete's winning streak; good for her.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series


Other Nominees:

Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" (2007)

Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries


Kevin Bacon for Taking Chance (2009) (TV)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries


Other Nominees:

Ruby Dee for America (2009) (TV)

Jessica Lange for Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

SAG Predictions

Tonight are the SAGs, and we all know what that means: the actors are coming!! I actually love the SAGs because I think it's fun to see who ONLY the actors think should win. Actually that's the fun of all of the guild awards. So, who will and should take home an Actor tonight? Let's take a look.

To see the nominees: CLICK

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Will Win: Inglourious Basterds
Should Win: Any of them

Yup. I said any of them. Why? Because this is an award for the CAST, not the film itself as is sometimes thought (like Slumdog Millionaire last year). Precious and Nine, neither of which are in my top 10, are as worthy as the other three because their casts worked well, whether in small parts or large. That said, Basterds seems like the most likely winner, with such a wide array of roles, though any of the others has a legitimate shot at winning tonight.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win: Jeff Bridges
Should Win: Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, or George Clooney

Bridges may be the sentimental favorite, and his win at the Globes help boost his profile, but I'd be ecstatic if any of the three alternates took it for their superior work in all around superior films. Still, it'll be hard for the SAG to ignore Bridges' four previous Oscar nominations, and more if they saw more in his work in Crazy Heart more than I did, his will be the name read off of the envelope.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Carey Mulligan or Gabourey Sidibe

Remember when Helen Mirren was actually in contention for this award? Yeah, that's probably the one contender that we can cross off. Other than that, everyone else here is a viable contender. The Globes may have fawned over Sandra Bullock, but the actors branch will be ready to push Streep one step closer to obtaining her third Oscar. However, I'd rather they give the award to someone younger, as either Sidibe or Mulligan would be a better choice. It's a shame these two breakout performances are being smothered by two veterans gunning for a first and third oscar.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Will and Should Win: Christoph Waltz

He's dominated all season, and this will be just one more trophy to add to his mantle place.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Mo'Nique
Should Win: Mo'nique or Anna Kendrick

Again, she's dominated awards season, though her personality could "get in the way" for whatever reason. If she loses this award, then she could be in trouble on Oscar night. If she wins, she ought to start writing an acceptance speech.

"Crazy Heart" - REVIEW

Given the consensuses of this current Oscar season, one would expect the following summary, "Well, anytime there's singing, the screen is on fire, but everything else is a rotten mess", to apply to Rob Marshall's Nine. However, I have to say that it's much more applicable to the Jeff Bridges Oscar vehicle Crazy Heart, whose trailer boasts having Bridges in "the role of a lifetime" (not a quote from a critic; just a statement). Sadly, while The Dude's latest film has a slew of nicely sung music, its story is poorly strung together, giving all of the wrong aspects too much time.
Bridges plays Bad Blake, a top country star on the downward slope of his career; he drinks and smokes constantly, and travels from town to town in a car that should have been sent to the junkyard 10 years ago. While on a stop in Santa Fe, he becomes involved with a reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal, still forgoing a bra) and her young son, as he slowly comes to realize what he needs to do to get his career (and himself) back on track. If it sounds like Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, only music-oriented...that's exactly what it is! Yes folks, Scott Cooper's debut film, while certainly not exactly a ripoff (it's based on a novel), is basically a musical version of The Wrestler, and as my intro indicates, I'm not a fan. Really, the biggest problems are the structure and the writing. There's nothing inherently wrong with the dialogue, but the characters are totally overwritten. We know Bad Blake is a drinker and a smoker who appears conflicted over whether he wants to restart his career or just retire, but we never get any insight as to why. There's a mini-subplot about a son he fathered and hasn't seen in two decades, but it's resolved in a single phone call and...yeah...that's it. Then there's the relationship between Blake's former protege Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell, masking his accent perfectly) which obviously turn some wrong turns in years past...but again, we never given information, nor given details with which to draw our own conclusions; their relationship just sits there. And later, when Blake checks himself into rehab, it just happens. We see him at his first meeting, and then it cuts to his friend (Robert Duvall) picking him up as he is released from rehab. GAAAAAH! What is going on here? This has to be some of the weakest time structuring in a movie in a while, and the underwritten roles, and in turn the underwhelming performances, don't make it any better. But what stings the most, has to be the acclaim that this film and Mr. Bridges has picked up. Why aren't more people calling this film out and making a bigger point about its weaknesses? Considering that the writing undermines the central performance, there isn't much to write home about concerning anyone. The only strength the film has are the songs, particularly the original song "The Weary Kind," played over the end and the credits. Those are the moments when the film finds its groove, but with everything else so shoddily put together, you'd be better off just downloading the song from iTunes, as its the only thing about Crazy Heart that deserves any awards recognition.

Grade: C

Thursday, January 21, 2010

So, remember that movie "Creation"?

Apparently it opens tomorrow in NY/LA. Talk about random. Well, goodbye 2010 Oscar chances. The reviews have been pretty mixed, but it certainly looked nice, boasted a fine cast, and looked like it had beautiful production values. And of course there's the wonderful subject matter. I remember Anne Thompson labeling the film as a bit of a drag, which surprises me given the story and central conflict. Was it really that much of a misfire? I'll know in a few weeks time unless it never expands due to poor box office.

The BAFTA Nominations are here!

In general, a very nice set of nominees, though there's an obvious bias towards smaller British films that haven't yet made it stateside. I'm disappointed by the lack of nominations for Nine in the artistic categories save for makeup, and the lack of a nomination for Marion Cotillard, though not entirely surprising, is still saddening. That said, there are a number of surprises on here that I'm quite happy about, even though others still leave me mystified.

AVATAR James Cameron, Jon Landau
AN EDUCATION Amanda Posey, Finola Dwyer
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness
UP IN THE AIR Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, Daniel Dubiecki

I never expected BAFTA to go crazy for Precious aside from acting, but apparently they're quite fond of it. The inclusion of An Education isn't a surprise, given its stellar acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. It's nice to see The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air here too; if either of those films wins, I'd be happy.

AN EDUCATION Amanda Posey, Finola Dwyer, Lone Scherfig, Nick Hornby
FISH TANK Kees Kasander, Nick Laws, Andrea Arnold
IN THE LOOP Kevin Loader, Adam Tandy, Armando Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche
MOON Stuart Fenegan, Trudie Styler, Duncan Jones, Nathan Parker
NOWHERE BOY Kevin Loader, Douglas Rae, Robert Bernstein, Sam Taylor-Wood, Matt Greenhalgh

I love the mention for In the Loop, a film which I actually liked more on a second viewing. It truly is a brilliant satire and I hope that this recognition translates into an Oscar nomination or two.

Mugabe and the White African
ERAN CREEVY Writer/Director – Shifty
STUART HAZELDINE Writer/Director – Exam
DUNCAN JONES Director – Moon
SAM TAYLOR-WOOD Director – Nowhere Boy

AVATAR James Cameron
DISTRICT 9 Neill Blomkamp
AN EDUCATION Lone Scherfig
THE HURT LOCKER Kathryn Bigelow

A bit surprised that Tarantino's film didn't make it in to the top five over Precious, but at least he's being acknowledged. The inclusion of District 9's Neill Blomkamp makes me happy as well, since I consider his to be the superior work of sci-fi film-making.

THE HANGOVER Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
A SERIOUS MAN Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
UP Bob Peterson, Pete Docter

The Hangover couldn't look more out of place sitting next to these other excellent nominees. If there was one country that I never figured would go for the film in any form, it was the British; apparently they're full of surprises this year. This will most likely go to Tarantino, but Boal and the Coens could win also. Actually, anything but The Hangover has a shot at this category.

DISTRICT 9 Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
IN THE LOOP Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
UP IN THE AIR Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Another screenplay nomination for District 9 another smile on my face. A major nomination for In the Loop's screenplay, another massive smile on my face.

BROKEN EMBRACES Agustín Almodóvar, Pedro Almodóvar
COCO BEFORE CHANEL Carole Scotta, Caroline Benjo, Philippe Carcassonne, Anne Fontaine
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Carl Molinder, John Nordling, Tomas Alfredson
A PROPHET Pascale Caucheteux, Marco Chergui, Alix Raynaud, Jacques Audiard
THE WHITE RIBBON Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Margaret Menegoz, Michael Haneke

For Americans, Let the Right One In was eligible for 2008, but its inclusion here only makes for a much stronger lineup.

CORALINE Henry Selick
UP Pete Docter

ANDY SERKIS Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Four likely contenders, and a British performance unseen by most is how this category breaks down. Renner in particular gains the most from this nomination, seeing as it's not just critics groups who are willing to recognize him, but major award organizations as well (except those star-whores at the HFPA).

SAOIRSE RONAN The Lovely Bones
GABOUREY SIDIBE Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
MERYL STREEP Julie & Julia
AUDREY TAUTOU Coco Before Chanel

Tatou has no chance at the Oscar nomination, but aside from her and Ronan, everyone else here is a likely nominee. The absence of Sandra Bullock sends a strong message, however, and means that Streep is one step closer to finally winning her third Oscar. Oh, and no nomination for Abbie Cornish? Screw you, BAFTAs.

ALEC BALDWIN It’s Complicated
CHRISTIAN McKAY Me and Orson Welles
STANLEY TUCCI The Lovely Bones
CHRISTOPH WALTZ Inglourious Basterds

The lack of Peter Capaldi disheartens me, but it's nice to see Alfred Molina get a little something after nearly vanishing from the Supporting Actor race. Waltz should take this no problem, even with surprise candidates like Christian McKay and Alec Baldwin.

VERA FARMIGA Up in the Air
MO’NIQUE Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Three likely nominees (2 of them locks), and two British performances that no one else has seen. Again, I wish Cotillard could have been nominated here, as it would have been a nice indicator that she still has a shot at the nomination. Call me crazy, but I have this weird feeling that Anna Kendrick will win this one. I don't really have any "evidence" but...that's just the vibe I'm getting.

AVATAR James Horner
CRAZY HEART T-Bone Burnett, Stephen Bruton
FANTASTIC MR FOX Alexandre Desplat
SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL Chaz Jankel
UP Michael Giacchino

Not crazy about this lineup. Horner's score is epic but pretty generic, Desplat's work in Fox is far from his best. My problem is that there were so many scores that (under the assumption that the music was eligible) should be in here: The Road, A Single Man, Moon, Broken Embraces...

AVATAR Mauro Fiore
DISTRICT 9 Trent Opaloch
THE ROAD Javier Aguirresarobe

Well it's nice to see The Road get something, even if it did have that scene where the color correction was a bit off. None of these are bad nominees, though I'm not sure District 9's high point was its camera work.

AVATAR Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron
DISTRICT 9 Julian Clarke
THE HURT LOCKER Bob Murawski, Chris Innis
UP IN THE AIR Dana E. Glauberman

Now THIS is a good set of nominees. Avatar may have been long, but it did hold your attention the whole way through, as did Basterds, while The Hurt Locker's naturalistic tension owes a lot to the way the bomb diffusions and shoot-outs were put together. District 9 beautifully moved between regular storytelling and faux-documentary, while Up in the Air kept a story about economic trouble light on its feet, never once allowing it to drag, even in its weightier moments.

AVATAR Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair
DISTRICT 9 Philip Ivey, Guy Poltgieter
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds Wasco

BRIGHT STAR Janet Patterson
COCO BEFORE CHANEL Catherine Leterrier
AN EDUCATION Odile Dicks-Mireaux
A SINGLE MAN Arianne Phillips

An Education over Cheri, Nine, or Harry Potter 6? Meh. Maybe Bright Star can pull a win here?

AVATAR Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson, Addison Teague
THE HURT LOCKER Ray Beckett, Paul N. J. Ottosson, Craig Stauffer
STAR TREK Peter J. Devlin, Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Mark Stoeckinger, Ben Burtt
UP Tom Myers, Michael Silvers, Michael Semanick

AVATAR Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones
DISTRICT 9 Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, Matt Aitken
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE John Richardson, Tim Burke, Tim Alexander, Nicolas Aithadi
THE HURT LOCKER Richard Stutsman
STAR TREK Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton

COCO BEFORE CHANEL Thi Thanh Tu Nguyen, Jane Milon
AN EDUCATION Lizzie Yianni Georgiou
NINE Peter ‘Swords’ King

THE GRUFFALO Michael Rose, Martin Pope, Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
MOTHER OF MANY Sally Arthur, Emma Lazenby

14 Asitha Ameresekere
I DO AIR James Bolton, Martina Amati
JADE Samm Haillay, Daniel Elliott
MIXTAPE Luti Fagbenle, Luke Snellin
OFF SEASON Jacob Jaffke, Jonathan van Tulleken

THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)

Oscar Meter: Up
- Picture: District 9 (not nominated for the BAFTA, but they don't have 10 nominees this year)
- Actor: Jeremy Renner
- Actress: Meryl Streep (for the win), Gabourey Sidibe
- Supporting Actor: Alfred Molina
- Adapted Screenplay: District 9

Oscar Meter: Down
- Director: Lee Daniels
- Actor: Morgan Freeman
- Actress: Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren
- Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Matt Damon
- Supporting Actress: Marion Cotillard, Melanie Laurent

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Teaser poster for Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer"

International Cinephile Society Nominees

Now THESE are some nominees! I haven't seem everything, but what I have seen is generally terrific, and I absolutely LOVE the fact that the ICS nominated Peter Capaldi AND Abbie Cornish AND Tilda Swinton; it's about time. That said, the snubbing of Nine in the art/tech categories is lame.

• 35 Shots of Rum
• Bright Star
• District 9
• Fantastic Mr. Fox
• The Hurt Locker
• Inglourious Basterds
• A Serious Man
• Tokyo Sonata
• Up In The Air
• The White Ribbon

• Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
• Neill Blomkamp – District 9
• Ethan & Joel Coen – A Serious Man
• Michael Haneke – The White Ribbon
• Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

• 35 Shots of Rum
• The Beaches of Agnès
• Broken Embraces
• The Headless Woman
• Lorna’s Silence
• O’Horten
• Ponyo
• Still Walking
• Summer Hours
• Tokyo Sonata
• The White Ribbon

• Sharlto Copley – District 9
• Colin Firth – A Single Man
• Joaquin Phoenix – Two Lovers
• Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker
• Michael Stuhlbarg – A Serious Man

• Abbie Cornish – Bright Star
• Catalina Saavedra – The Maid
• Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
• Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia
Tilda Swinton – Julia

• Peter Capaldi – In the Loop
• Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker
• Christian McKay – Me and Orson Welles
• Jérémie Renier – Lorna’s Silence
• Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

• Penelope Cruz – Broken Embraces
• Vera Farmiga – Up In The Air
• Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds
• Melanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds
• Mo’Nique – Precious

• 35 Shots of Rum – Claire Denis & Jean-Pol Fargeau
• The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
• Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
• A Serious Man – Ethan & Joel Coen
• Summer Hours – Olivier Assayas
• The White Ribbon – Michael Haneke

• District 9 – Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
• Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach
• In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche
• A Single Man – Tom Ford & David Scearce
• Up in the Air – Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner
• Where the Wild Things Are – Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers

• Antichrist – Anthony Dod Mantle
• Bright Star – Greig Fraser
• Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
• A Serious Man – Roger Deakins
• The White Ribbon – Christian Berger

• Broken Embraces – José Salcedo
• District 9 – Julian Clarker
• The Hurt Locker – Chris Innis & Bob Murawski
• Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
• A Serious Man – Roderick Jaynes

• Avatar – Rick Carter & Robert Stromberg
• Fantastic Mr. Fox – Nelson Lowry
• Inglourious Basterds – David Wasco
• A Serious Man – Jess Gonchor
• A Single Man – Dan Bishop

• Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
• Ponyo – Joe Hisaishi
• A Single Man – Abel Korzeniowski
• Star Trek – Michael Giacchino
• Up – Michael Giacchino

• In the Loop
• Inglourious Basterds
• A Serious Man
• Summer Hours
• The White Ribbon

• Coraline
• Fantastic Mr. Fox
• Mary and Max
• Ponyo
• Up

• Anvil! The Story of Anvil
• The Beaches of Agnès
• The Cove
• Of Time and the City
• The September Issue

How does this make you feel?

Because personally, I think it's pretty epic, and worth posting just for its absolute awesomeness. I can't wait for March 5th. I never picked Helena Bonham Carter as a boot person, thought, and is it just me, or does her head almost seem too small? It's supposed to be three times larger than her normal head (maybe Ms. Carter simply has a small noggin?).

Nine remaining contenders for Best Foreign Language Film revealed


  • Argentina, El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Juan Jose Campanella, director
  • Australia, Samson & Delilah, Warwick Thornton, director
  • Bulgaria, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner, Stephan Komandarev, director
  • France, Un Prophète, Jacques Audiard, director
  • Germany, The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, director
  • Israel, Ajami, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, directors;
  • Kazakhstan, Kelin, Ermek Tursunov, director
  • The Netherlands, Winter in Wartime, Martin Koolhoven, director
  • Peru, The Milk of Sorrow, Claudia Llosa, director.
I'm pretty surprised that the likes of The Maid (Chile) and Broken Embraces (Spain) aren't still in contention, though they may have had eligibility issues. Right now The White Ribbon is still poised to take the award, but I've heard nothing but good things about A Prophet, which I'm dying to see.

Teaser trailer and clip from "Buried" starring Ryan Reynolds

The teaser is certainly intriguing, but the clip is worrisome. First, why is the coffin so damn big? If there's something bigger going on, then we'll just have to wait and see. The camera work (if all of it is like that) was getting on my nerves a little. 90 minutes of a spinning camera isn't something I want to sit through. The film will premiere at Sundance and has yet to find a distributor. I'm interested to see what the early response is like.

Synopsis: Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. citizen working as a contract driver in Iraq. After a swift and sudden attack on his convoy, he awakens to find himself buried alive inside a coffin with nothing more than a lighter, a cell phone, and little memory of how he ended up there. Faced with limited oxygen and unlimited panic, Paul finds himself in a tension-filled race against time to escape this claustrophobic deathtrap before it’s too late.

4 Clips from "Howl" starring James Franco, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn, and Mary Louise Parker

Unfortunately the sound is out of sync on the second clip, but the film looks interesting. With only a running time of 86 minutes, it'll have to make its points in a crisp, effective manner with little room for narrative flab.

More info from

Every Sundance, there are always a few movies everyone is talking about before the Festival. You know…the ones with buzz. One of the movies at this year’s Fest that people are talking about is Howl. The reason…it’s filled with an all star cast consisting of James Franco, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn, Treat Williams, Bob Balaban, Alessandro Nivola, Mary Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels. Also, you’ve got Franco playing a young Allen Ginsberg and as the synopsis says, “it’s a legal drama, a character study and an animated trip into the magic and madness of the modern world.”

With Sundance set to begin later this week, we’ve landed the first footage from Howl and it’s four clips from the film. If you’d like a sneak peak at one of the big films from this year’s Fest…take a look. Also, the film plays this Thursday night in Park City, so reviews will be everywhere on Friday.