March 29, 2007
Greetings from the Gulf

Hello all. Glad to see Gerard keeping the fire lit around here. I thought I'd drop a quick line from Apalachocola, Florida, about 60 miles east of Panama City Beach. The first two weeks of my heavy-duty road trip have been splendid.

Yes, I am alive, and no, I haven't thought about Oscar...too much. The only film I've seen is "300," which was a feast and brilliant on a number of high levels while cunningly successful on a number of lower ones. The rest I'll have to catch up on here and there, but for the most part, the road is and has been my domain.

Oh, I did stop into the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin to see a flick and grab a bite. The film was "The Great Duel" ("Il Grande Duello") with Lee van Cleef being a badass. Tarantino lifted the score for the anime sequence in "Kill Bill: Vol. One." The course served was, of course - spaghetti. Great theater. It's going under renovations next month, I hear.

I'll drop a line again in the future. Mind the hall monitor in my absence...

March 27, 2007
My Anticipated Crafts Achievement

The tech geek in me has to get out in the off season. It goes without saying that I can't wait to see what Gassner (production design), Myers (costume design) and Desplat (music) come up with for "The Golden Compass." And "Spider-Man 3" ought to have spectacular sound work and visual effects.

But if I had to name ONE achievement I am most curious about, it is Darius Khondji's cinematography for "My Blueberry Nights." We all know Wong Kar-Wai's films are gorgeously shot. How will it work on his first American feature? Khondji is a uniquely talented D.P., which is what this opportunity calls for in my opinion.

So, what can't you wait to see?

March 20, 2007
Most Anticipated Performance

If you had to name ONE performance you were most curious about this year, what would it be?

Mine? Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood."

The world needs more Day-Lewis.

March 13, 2007
Year-in-Advance Predix (what a world)

I must say I admire Kris for getting out, every year, with his year-in-advance predictions the day after the Oscars. Hardly anything official from the studios has come out and there are so many variables surrounding films that might not even make it out. (I must say I admire Johnny Depp for halting production on "Sweeney Todd" to be with his sick daughter - but even so, it's creating a troubled shoot already.)

All things considered, I just can't say that I can form a set of predictions. Don't get me wrong - it's fun. It's just that every time I try, my mind begins to reel. (So whoever wins Nat's Actress prediction contest has my full-hearted admiration.)

Again, making a full set of predictions is something I don't have the energy for; by summer time, we tend to have somewhat of a better idea of what's to come. So I'm going to play things a little different by merely predicting the one nominee in each category I'm most confident about. These are not winner predictions, just those I'd rank as most likely to be nominated from this vantage point:
Picture: "Charlie Wilson's War" (though I have major reservations)
Director: Mike Nichols - "Charlie Wilson's War"
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
Actress: Julie Christie - "Away from Her"
Supporting Actor: James McAvoy - "Atonement"
Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep (in something)
Original Screenplay: "Margot at the Wedding"
Adapted Screenplay: "Reservation Road"
Art Direction: "His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass"
Cinematography: "There Will Be Blood"
Costume Design: "The Other Boleyn Girl"
Film Editing: "Charlie Wilson's War"
Makeup: "Sweeney Todd"
Music - Original Score: "His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass"
Music - Original Song: ummm..."Enchanted"?
Sound Editing: "Spider-Man 3"
Sound Mixing: "Spider-Man 3"
Visual Effects: "Spider-Man 3"
Animated Feature: "Ratatouille"
Foreign-Language Film: "Lust, Caution"

Now watch three quarters of them not make it.

March 12, 2007
Enjoying this break.

"300"'s box office performance this weekend truly awakened me to how massive this summer is going to be. The public loves a blockbuster. And we just got over the craziness of awards season (fun but still exhausting).

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the world of cinema and I'll pop up with a blog entry here and there as Kris takes his vacation. But seriously...breaking for two months of the year is actually nice when one stops and thinks about it.

March 02, 2007
Wicked Toys

Caught "Wicked" last night at the Pantages here in Los Angeles, so in honor of the show's fifth open-ended run in this neck of the woods: