Entries filed in: 'Featured'

‘Doubt’ leads with five SAG noms

Posted by · 7:54 am · December 18th, 2008

(Apologies for the delay getting these up this morning.  I had technical difficulties signing in and had to scoot shortly after the announcement.  Here are the belated nominees with commentary.) The Screen Actors Guild didn’t have much up its sleeve this morning for its heavily anticipated nominations announcement.  No left-field zingers, no “3:10 to Yuma” […]

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INTERVIEW: Matteo Garrone

Posted by · 11:39 am · December 17th, 2008

In a year that hasn’t exactly wanted for strong European cinema, Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” ranks as one of its most staggering offerings — as reflected by its well-deserved placing on Kris’s top 10 list yesterday. A brutal, multi-stranded portrait of daily life within Naples’s notorious Camorra crime syndicate, it brings a keen sociologist’s eye to […]

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If I had a ballot

Posted by · 9:26 am · December 17th, 2008

(Note: Because I’ve been getting some correspondence of confusion, let it be known that categories such as Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary contain films released in the U.S. in 2008 that I consider the best of those fields, regardless of Academy rules and regulations regarding country submissions and peripheral qualifications.  This is more […]

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New to DVD, the real Frost/Nixon Watergate interviews

Posted by · 8:46 am · December 16th, 2008

As Ron Howard’s “Frost/Nixon” continues to step up during the film awards season this year, it might be worth noting that Liberation Entertainment has gone to the trouble of putting together a hell of a study guide: “Frost/Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews,” currently available on DVD. Patching together the Watergate portion of Sir David Frost’s […]

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Runnin’ on empty: the best films of 2008

Posted by · 9:25 am · December 15th, 2008

Just to say it once more, because I’ve certainly brought it up enough, 2008 was not a good year for film-goers. That’s an incredibly subjective quip, of course, but I certainly found myself struggling with the level of quality on display with each and every screening, the oasis of the Oscar season ultimately proving to […]

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Could Woody Allen be a surprise Best Director nominee?

Posted by · 8:25 am · December 15th, 2008

In 1994, Woody Allen’s masterful “Bullets Over Broadway” was not really on anyone’s charts as a potential Oscar nominee. A very funny film about a playwright who enlists a gangster to help him bring life and reality to his play, it was one of Allen’s best works with hysterically funny performances from John Cusack, the […]

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AFI list a blend of commercial and independent cinema

Posted by · 1:56 pm · December 14th, 2008

The American Film Institute has unveiled its schizophrenic list of the top 10 films of the year, and it’s a strangely delightful mixture of populist choices and more fringe contenders. The appearance of “Iron Man” is as interesting as “Wendy and Lucy” popping up, but I don’t think this collective will do much to help […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Gleaning the guilds

Posted by · 8:51 am · December 14th, 2008

It’s been three weeks since the last “Tech Support” column. For that, my apologies. In the meantime, we’ve had Thanksgiving, the NBR, the LAFCA, the NYFCC, the BFCA and the Golden Globes to keep us entertained. The Screen Actors Guild is the first guild to announce its nominees and will do so next week. Between […]

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Sean Penn on course for Oscar #2, and he deserves it

Posted by · 7:36 am · December 14th, 2008

With two of the major critics awards won, actor Sean Penn seems to be headed for his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his brilliant work in “Milk.” Penn’s work through the 1980s and 1990s defined him as one of the greatest actors of his generation (if not the best) and certainly on the […]

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15 films vie for visual effects recognition

Posted by · 7:41 pm · December 12th, 2008

A little late to the party on this.  Been out, so, apologies.  But it looks like AMPAS has narrowed the Best Visual Effects field to 15 contenders, as follows: “Australia” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” “Cloverfield” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” “The Dark Knight” “The Day the Earth Stood Still” “Hancock” “Hellboy II: […]

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INTERVIEW: ‘Man on Wire’ director James Marsh

Posted by · 11:42 am · December 12th, 2008

It’s a rare achievement, but through the ups and downs the last fortnight’s precursors, one film has failed to miss a beat, landing gongs from the New York, Los Angeles and Washington critics, as well as the NBR and the British Independents, not to mention Indie Spirit and BFCA nominations. That film would be “Man […]

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Hugh Jackman named Oscar host

Posted by · 10:21 am · December 12th, 2008

The news is out — the Australian thesp and “Sexiest Man Alive” will host February’s 81st Academy Awards. And why not? He’s charismatic, well-liked by all, a bona fide movie star and a genuine showman who has proved his mettle at this short of thing before by hosting the Tony Awards (and winning an Emmy […]

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Golden Globes: the nominees react

Posted by · 12:00 pm · December 11th, 2008

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association tipped its collective hat to a number of the season’s hopeful contenders this morning, so it’s time to hear some reactions. Generally, a piece such as this is bound to consist of a bunch of gushing, perhaps even boilerplate gratitude from the nominees. And one certainly couldn’t fault them for […]

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HFPA goes its own way, ‘Milk’ snubbed, ‘Button,’ ‘Frost’ and ‘Doubt’ lead with five noms each

Posted by · 5:15 am · December 11th, 2008

Best nominations of the morning: Tom Cruise, Best Supporting Actor in “Tropic Thunder” and James Franco, Best Actor, “Pineapple Express.”  I’m also happy to see some love for Rebecca Hall.  Nice. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as they tend to do, went their own way this morning with a list of nominations that will certainly […]

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INTERVIEW: Sally Hawkins

Posted by · 10:30 am · December 10th, 2008

“We didn’t necessarily set out to create someone as perpetually sunny as Poppy,” says Sally Hawkins of her radiant performance in Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which is currently making waves in the awards race. “But Mike was very dismissive of doing anything maudlin or moody with this project. So the optimism came early on for her. […]

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‘Milk,’ ‘Happy’ win big with NYFCC

Posted by · 9:03 am · December 10th, 2008

The Best Picture victory for “Milk” is going to be the lede for most people as far as today’s New York Film Critics Circle awards is concerned, but the bigger story is “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which finds itself right back in the thick of the Oscar conversation. The group handed Mike Leigh and Sally Hawkins honors for […]

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LAFCA gives Best Picture to ‘WALL-E’

Posted by · 1:38 pm · December 9th, 2008

Shocking.  “WALL-E” is officially the most overrated film of the year, but that having been said, this is one hell of a ballsy move on the part of the L.A. film critics (whose vote came down a lot earlier than I expected). I correctly anticipated a Sally Hawkins victory in the lead actress category, which […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 ‘right actor, wrong film’ Oscars

Posted by · 12:35 pm · December 9th, 2008

As we head into the thick of awards season, one of the biggest “will-they-won’t-they” questions about this year’s Academy Awards concerns one of their most favored sons, Clint Eastwood. Specifically: despite wildly polarized responses to the film, and a widespread perception that he has already been amply rewarded in other categories, can Eastwood ride the […]

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