CINEJABBER: Find a happy place

Posted by · 12:27 pm · January 22nd, 2011

Catch up with the idea behind these weekend posts here.

Three more days.  And then it’ll be five more weeks.  This season is unrelenting.

It’s also more of a mud-slinging affair behind the scenes than I’m used to.  At least people are more vocal about the mud-slinging than normal (because let’s face it, Oscar campaigns are a bit dirty by necessity).  All eyes are pointed toward inevitability, and inevitability so seemingly secure that it would actually be an embarrassment for the frontrunner to come up short at this point.

But I’m not going to talk about that.  I’ll save that mumbo-jumbo for the Oscar columns.  Cinejabber is for solace.  And brain leakage.  So let’s see…

I’ve been pushing through my final predictions and have to say the most troubling categories are below-the-line areas, as usual.  Best Original Score is the biggest head-scratcher, while Best Costume Design is a little troubling, too.  But I’m inching toward that place of, “Screw it, that looks good enough.”

Santa Barbara is on the way next week, which I frankly treat as a bit of a vacation despite the tributes and catch-up screenings and general day-to-day work.  It’s good to disconnect from La-La Land for a week or two.  And Roger Durling and company have put together a typically handsome program.  Things get started Friday for Annette Bening’s American Riviera Award presentation.

More important: Anybody played Donkey Kong Country Returns?  FUN!

Anyway, any last minute jitters in the calm before Tuesday’s storm?  And late lines of logic to put forth vis a vis predictions?  Anything else on your mind?  You know the drill.  Open thread.  Have at it.

(I should probably note, since apparently a number of readers somehow miss it when I respond to the same question over and over again in the comments sections of numerous posts, that the top 10 shots column will come when it comes.  Sorry, I just don’t have a specific date.  I never do.  But it’s never come before late January or early February, so just be surprised by it when it lands and STOP ASKING ME ABOUT IT.  Okie dokie?  By season’s end, if nothing else.)

[Photo: Nintendo]

→ 45 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Cinejabber

45 responses so far

  • 1 1-22-2011 at 12:58 pm

    Andrej said...

    I only own a DS, and I mostly play Ultimate Mortal Kombat on it. The CPU is extremely broken, but it’s all quick, classic fun anyways. Elite Beat Agents, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword and GTA: Chinatown Wars are all pretty damn good games as well.

    Can’t wait to see Ace Attorney vs. Professor Layton in action on the 3ds! ☺

    Movie-related… I caught up with Rabbit Hole yesterday. Nicole Kidman kinda reminded me of Marcia Cross’s character in Desperate Housewives, but it’s still a decent movie, if a bit soap-operaish.

  • 2 1-22-2011 at 1:00 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Kris, I have a few video game suggestions for you. The first is Mass Effect 2, which just came to the PS3. It is quite honestly the most cinematic and epic game I’ve ever played, and the most personal gaming experience out there. Don’t worry if you’ve never played the first game, the game comes with an interactive comic that details the events of the first game and lets you make key character choices that actually affect how the second game plays out, and you can always make different initial key choices that will change your game experience. Also, there’s a really interesting twist by the end in that since your team is going on a suicide mission, anyone in your team, including you, can permanently die by the end, which, of course will affect how the campaign in the 3rd game, which comes out this fall, will play out. I HIGHLY recommend giving this game a spin, it’s incredibly immersive and, again, very cinematic. Give it a look. Also, if you like survival horror, Dead Space 2 is out next week. Give those a look if you get a chance.

  • 3 1-22-2011 at 1:10 pm

    Jake D said...

    I keep on thinking (hoping?) that Ghost Writer is going to pop up in strange places. Adapted Screenplay? Score? Director? Editing? (If only!)

    And everyone seems so certain of the 11 this year, but didn’t we have twelve or so in the mix last year? And didn’t that NOT include The Blind Side? I just don’t think it’s actually going to line up as neatly as we think. If Conviction had done better at the box office…

  • 4 1-22-2011 at 1:23 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    I watched “High and Low,” some damn good Kurosawa filmmaking there’s a remake in the works but I think it’s in development hell. I’ll definitely look forward to it if it ever gets made – the movie isn’t one of Kurosawa’s masterpieces like “Rashomon” or “Seven Samurai,” and it could use some improvement.

    I also watched “Dogtooth,” only because Guy has a hardon about it.

    It was okay.

  • 5 1-22-2011 at 1:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Jake: Blind Side was definitely my #12 last year. If not #11 (as the closer we got to the nods, the more it seemed like people loved the movie).

  • 6 1-22-2011 at 1:38 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I’m thinking that ‘127 Hours’ is 9th of 10 right now (most voters have seen it if Franco expectedly gets in, much guild support, much BAFTA support, and it’s Danny Boyle).

    And I think it’s a toss-up for 10th between ‘The Town’ and ‘Winter’s Bone’. Both films have some guild support (but very little), and both have ardent fans.

    Toss up. Unless something else sweeps in (Ghost Writer, Shutter Island, a soft lob somewhere).

    And I’ll repeat here. Saw ‘The Way Back’. Very impressive. Great acting; everyone has their wow moments. Superb craftsmanship. Should win for best Make-Up and be nominated for Best Sound. My only issue was that it lacks (for me) a necessary emotional crest in the end. But stellar Weir.

    Have a great weekend everyone. I’ll be perched in front of the tv early Tues. morning with coffee, a pen, paper, & my hurried thoughts, lol.

  • 7 1-22-2011 at 1:47 pm

    Tom C. said...

    Does anyone else feel as though John Hawkes might be this year’s Jackie Earl Haley? It seems like a similar vibe. Both are older actors that have put in their dues. Both of them have picked up a couple of critics awards. Both missed the BFCA and the Golden Globe, but got a surprise SAG nomination. Both are riding on a film that’s nearly a lock for both for Adapted Screenplay and Actress.

    The patterns are kind of uncanny. Even the identical coup at the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Obviously, the big difference is that Haley had something of a comeback vibe going for him as well, which might have given him an edge.

    Still, I’m not sure if anyone else is seeing this in the same light, or if it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  • 8 1-22-2011 at 1:49 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I think it’s wishful thinking. But I still expect a couple of doozy surprises. Hawkes doesn’t make my 5, but he was quite good in WB; and a nom wouldn’t be unwarranted.

  • 9 1-22-2011 at 1:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Haley had a number of precursor citations, did he not? Hawkes only seems to have SAG.

  • 10 1-22-2011 at 2:02 pm

    Hero said...

    I just got back from The Way Back and I want to cry. Why? Because a brilliant Peter Weir film is going to be lucky to see a Makeup nom. I understand release schedules and lack of campaign money intellectually, but that hasn’t stopped me from being befuddled by the lack of interest in this film. How is this movie not in the Oscar conversation for Picture and Director? And Ed Harris! Really? Something terribly wrong has happened with the world when he isn’t even in the conversation for Supporting Actor when it’s so obvious that he should comfortably be in the five.

  • 11 1-22-2011 at 2:11 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Saw “Another Year” today. As well as having the best original screenplay of the year, it will be a tragedy if Lesley Manville is not nominated. I’m uncertain how you could watch the film and not vote for her.

  • 12 1-22-2011 at 2:15 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Gah. ‘Another Year’ is the only biggeee I’ve yet to see. And I’m traveling 45 minutes tomorrow to see it. Can’t wait to see what I think of the film, Manville, et al.

  • 13 1-22-2011 at 2:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Really happy people are seeing and loving The Way Back. Indeed, the denouement feels rushed and I can’t know if it was by design or legitimately a production issue, but regardless, I’ll stand by the film.

  • 14 1-22-2011 at 2:21 pm

    Eli said...

    I know I’m extremely late to this party, but I finally caught up with The Town this week and unexpectedly loved it. To me, the film worked on a number of levels – as a great crime thriller, as an absorbing romance story, and (above all) as a fascinating study of the desire for reinvention.

    Definitely pulling for the movie and 127 Hours to grab the last two spots over Winter’s Bone (which I thought was just decent).

  • 15 1-22-2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hero said...

    Yeah. The last 5 minutes is the only weak part of the movie. And maybe it’s because I just read Into Thin Air last week, but I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see how they got over the Himalayas.

  • 16 1-22-2011 at 2:49 pm

    deeks said...

    Black Swan was finally realeased here (Ireland) yesterday and I caught it last night. Absolutely amazing. Portman was amazing but what really stood out for me was the cinematography and sound design. It all added to a totally immersive experience.

    As an aside. I came out of the 7.00 pm show and the queue was out the door for the 9.30 show. The box office performance of this film has amazed and delighted me.

    Up until now I was really rooting for a Social Network win as I loved it but I’m now firmly in the Black Swan camp. I realise it’s not going to happen but for a film this edgy to get the amount of nominations it’s probably going to get is still pretty amazing.

  • 17 1-22-2011 at 2:53 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Hero, exactly. The Himalayas and denouement (last 3 minutes or so) were really rushed. I have to think, as Kris notes, it could have been production issues. But yes, overall, fantastic epic filmmaking. :)

  • 18 1-22-2011 at 2:56 pm

    Hero said...

    The denouement is actually what’s keeping TWB behind True Grit on my personal best of the year list. A stronger ending would probably push it to the top.

  • 19 1-22-2011 at 3:25 pm

    Anthony B. said...

    Anybody catch the new Ebert Presents At the Movies?

    I thought it was pretty good. Both the hosts are charming and it looks like they have pretty good chemistry. Plus, I thought the voice cameo by Werner Herzog was cool.

    I thought it was funny that they disagreed on every movie. It should be interesting to watch in the coming weeks, to see how it develops and changes.


  • 20 1-22-2011 at 3:46 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Is that online anywhere, Anthony?

  • 21 1-22-2011 at 3:50 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Yes, I saw it.

    Off to a rocky start, but that’s not unusual with a first show. Both hosts are likable, but I do wonder whether Vishnevetsky is too young. He lack the expertise and authority I would like to see. I enjoyed the added segments as well, something they can definitely build upon in the future.

  • 22 1-22-2011 at 4:03 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’ve kept quiet on The Way Back. I think I’ll continue to do so.

  • 23 1-22-2011 at 4:24 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Alas, I think you’ve just spoken volumes.

  • 24 1-22-2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hero said...

    Guy! You make me so sad. Maybe I won’t watch Fish Tank for you after all.

  • 25 1-22-2011 at 4:41 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Saw The Way Back yesterday. Good movie even if not one of Weir’s bests, shame that the film is bombing at the box office ($375,000 opening day at over 650 theatres) even if that is expected. Pretty much done with all the 2010 movies that are “must-sees” for me, so perhaps will catch up with some I had in the maybe column like Barney’s Version or Blue Valentine, or see No Strings Attached given that I like some of the actors and the reviews weren’t as bad as I thought they may be.

    Also, I really should play DKC Returns at some point since I loved the Super Nintendo games, but to be honest Wii games usually don’t excite me and I wind up playing Xbox 360 much more.

  • 26 1-22-2011 at 4:47 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Just finished watching Animal Kingdom. What an overrated movie (the main character must be the most catatonic character since that kid in Mercury Rising). Oh, and Jacki Weaver? It makes me laugh that she’s even being considered for an Oscar nomination. One note, and not even a particularly well-done one note.

  • 27 1-22-2011 at 4:47 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Well, even at 650 theaters, how can we expect it to do very well, at all. I’ve not seen one tv spot or trailer (aside from online).

    And the new Ebert show: I like it. I liked their back & forth. But I didn’t agree with Lemire very much.

  • 28 1-22-2011 at 4:52 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Graysmith … THANK YOU. I just do not get the Animal Kingdom love, at all. So boring. No tension. I feel like I’m on another planet when hearing raves about it. But that’s just me.

    And Jacki Weaver? She seems like an absolutely LOVELY woman in real life. Her performance was fine. But what’s so incredible about standing in the background, smiling oddly, speaking in a mousy voice, kissing her sons longer than she should, & saying what the script tells her to say?

    I mean, her glassy eyed look, the cadence with which she says the chilling lines is well-delivered? But I was not affected, at all. It’s the role that’s great, not Weaver. And again, she seems like a very nice woman, and if she gets a nom, good for her, but …

    Hope no one throws things at the screen at me.

  • 29 1-22-2011 at 4:54 pm

    Hero said...

    I have no time to throw things at you–I’m still busy throwing things at Guy.

  • 30 1-22-2011 at 5:03 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Where’s the curiosity for Clint and Beyonce?

  • 31 1-22-2011 at 5:14 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Gotcha, Hero. haha And I just may join you. Don’t worry, Guy. I got a bad arm.

  • 32 1-22-2011 at 5:19 pm

    Graysmith said...


    I just had a look at Rotten Tomatoes and it’s got 96% on there, with only four negative reviews! An 8.1 average rating? Holy hell, I feel like I’m having an Armond White moment here or something.

    Most importantly, I don’t care about any of these characters, particularly not the main character who doesn’t really earn any kind of empathy or anything at all. Frankly, I would’ve been more interested in seeing a movie about Guy Pearce’s character, his character seemed to have the most life in him of all of them.

    I will definitely be here on Tuesday lamenting if Weaver gets a nomination.

  • 33 1-22-2011 at 5:21 pm

    Graysmith said...

    I think most of us are trying to forget that bit of news about Clint and Beyonce doing a movie.. But then again there’s been so many bizarre filmmaking choices in the last decade that I’m not sure anything surprises me anymore.

  • 34 1-22-2011 at 6:23 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    Thank god other people thing “Animal Kingdom” was awful. I was astonished at how boring the film was. It has one of the most interesting premises of any crime movie in the past few years but the film itself was so /dull/ – and don’t even get me started on the cardboard cutout protagonist.

  • 35 1-22-2011 at 6:26 pm

    JJ1 said...

    And that’s a bingo ^

  • 36 1-22-2011 at 6:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Thought I was the only one when I brought it up in Oscar Talk.

  • 37 1-22-2011 at 6:36 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...


    You didn’t appreciate her performance in “Cadillac Records”?

  • 38 1-22-2011 at 6:46 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Well, I saw Animal Kingdom about 2 weeks ago and was floored by how bored I was. I’ve been terrified to bring it up much here because I assumed it was well loved by all (or most all). So Kris, you brought it up in Oscar Talk and I was like “phew, ok”. And now Graysmith. It’s not like I’m happy that I didn’t like it; quite the contrary. But it’s nice to know that I didn’t lose my mind.

  • 39 1-22-2011 at 6:47 pm

    JJ1 said...

    We’ll see what Beyonce and Eastwood can muster. Cadillac Records showed me that Beyonce has ‘something’. But Eastwood, who I worship, has not been truly great in some time. Little worried.

  • 40 1-22-2011 at 6:48 pm

    James D. said...

    I thought Animal Kingdom was quite good. I have problems with the politics of the ending, and yeah the main character seemed mildly catatonic and lacked the dynamic personality the film needed, but it was an overall breath of fresh air.

  • 41 1-22-2011 at 7:13 pm

    Andrej said...

    I sorta have to join the Animal Kingdom dissapointment bandwagon. It’s not a bad story at all (it could be taken far more seriously than The Town), but it’s just not told very interestingly with such a blank slate of a protagonist. Jacki Weaver was okay, but she wasn’t around that much to be really memorable as her hype led me to believe.

    Like Graysmith, I also believe that Guy Pearce and his mustache were the most interesting characters there. Where’s all the campaign about him anyways? Ever since Memento, he’s one of the few actors that I really wish he’d get Oscar recognition soon, like Aaron Eckhart, Jim Carrey and Sally Hawkins.

    But… like I said, nice story, but a bit whatever overall. Two and a half out of five for me.

  • 42 1-22-2011 at 7:24 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...


    Clint is allowed to have dry periods. If this film must be a failure lets pray it’s an interesting non-boring one.

  • 43 1-22-2011 at 7:28 pm

    Hero said...

    But he’s been dry since Letter From Iwo Jima.

  • 44 1-22-2011 at 9:59 pm

    Tom C. said...

    In response to an earlier post, Kris, yes Haley did take a few more critics awards, I think around 5 or 6 (including the NYFCC) compared to Hawkes’ 2 (although he has been on quite a few nomination lists.

    However, there was quite a bit more critical divisiveness in ’06. The vote in the supporting race was split more over 3 or 4 candidates, rather than just Christian Bale, this year (not that he doesn’t deserve it). I have a feeling that if the voting was a little more dispersed, Hawkes would be going with a few more under his belt.

    Still, going into nomination day, the only major nom that both these individuals had under their belts was the SAG.

  • 45 6-20-2011 at 11:53 pm

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