Going out with a bang: the best films of 2009

Posted by · 12:35 pm · December 14th, 2009

I’ve often been asked throughout the latter part of 2009 why I should have the gall to consider it the best year of film product in a decade. It’s such a subjective circumstance that, of course, the only answer is, “I liked a lot of movies.” That’s not enough for most. Hard and fast evidence […]

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Thoughts on the Oscar doc list

Posted by · 12:23 pm · November 19th, 2009

Perhaps inevitably, the bulk of online chatter about the Best Documentary Feature shortlist unveiled yesterday focused less on the films that made it, and more on those that didn’t. It’s par for the course for the Academy’s documentary branch to ignore a major title or two, but even by their severe standards, the list of […]

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AMPAS announces doc feature short list, ‘Anvil,’ ‘Capitalism’ snubbed

Posted by · 3:51 pm · November 18th, 2009

You can check out the full press release here.  The list of 15 competing titles as follows: • “The Beaches of Agnes,” Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris) • “Burma VJ,” Anders Østergaard, director (Magic Hour Films) • “The Cove,” Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society) • “Every Little Step,” James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, […]

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LONDON: Exploding girls on trains

Posted by · 4:00 pm · October 25th, 2009

Not my most successful day at the London Film Festival today, as a communication error kept me out of the fest’s final “Samson and Delilah” screening — vexing partly because it leaves a significant gap in the collective review I had planned to do of multiple foreign Oscar contenders next week, but more simply because […]

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10/6 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:41 am · October 6th, 2009

• Steve Pond asks five important questions about the expanded Best Picture category.  #1, #3 and #5 have been covered at length in this space.  #2 is philosophical and worth considering.  #4 is a practical issue at hand, I imagine. [The Odds] • On set with the Coens directing “A Serious Man.” [MakingOf] • Nicolas […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: ‘Zombie’ lands at the top

Posted by · 12:46 pm · October 4th, 2009

Fox may not be able to get teens excited about horror comedy but Sony sure can as “Zombieland” debuted with an impressive $25 million and the number one spot.The studio  makes a killing off these types of relatively low budget genre titles (“Obsessed”, “Lakeview Terrace”) and you have to hand it to the marketing department […]

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10/2 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:04 am · October 2nd, 2009

• Maurice Sendak’s one nit-pick with the adaptation of his “Where the Wild Things Are.” I agree with him. [io9] • Capturing the miniature worlds of the film. [Los Angeles Times] • Adding a new dimension to Woody and Buzz Lightyear. [New York Times]

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SUNDAY CENTS: Great ‘Balls’ on fire

Posted by · 10:57 am · September 27th, 2009

America lined up for seconds as “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” topped the box office for the second weekend in a row, dropping only 19% to $24.6 million. That’s a fantastic hold for the only family film out in the market and makes $100 million a very real possibility, if not a formality. It […]

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“Solipsism” and Moore on Maher

Posted by · 2:26 pm · September 26th, 2009

Last night, on Maher, [Michael Moore] talked about wanting to make a movie that was so outrageously honest that no studio would ever fund another one of his movies. Epic Fail, Mike. There is not a single thing exposed in the body of Capitalism: A Love Story that Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, David Letterman, and […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Making the 10 work for you

Posted by · 9:01 am · September 23rd, 2009

*This is the first installment of “The Long Shot,” a new weekly Oscar column from Guy Lodge here at In Contention. At some point last week, I snapped at a commenter for rather benignly suggesting that, with the clarity granted certain contenders by the festival season, we could now call 7 of the newly expanded […]

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9/23 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:51 am · September 23rd, 2009

• Hugh Jackman speaks out on his Emmy win and whether he’d return as Oscar host. [Vulture] • “A Serious Man,” Colin Firth the big winners in a Toronto critics poll. [indieWIRE] • Mary Pilon sits down with activist and star of “The Cove,” Ric O’Barry. [Speakeasy]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 3 — ‘A Serious Man,’ business in Toronto and unacquired hopefuls

Posted by · 12:18 pm · September 18th, 2009

The third installment of Oscar Talk lands as Toronto winds down and, seemingly, the season’s biggest questions are being answered. Or are they? I’m joined by Anne Thompson of indieWIRE as always and we discussed the following: • The Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man,” Anne’s thoughts, my thoughts, the Coens doing Woody, etc. • The […]

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Michael Moore does Leno

Posted by · 5:31 pm · September 16th, 2009

Speaking of which, thoughts on the new show?

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WEEKLY WRAP: Festivals, festivals and festivals

Posted by · 3:29 am · September 12th, 2009

• After weeks of hype, “Up in the Air” landed in Telluride, and delivered. (And finally got a trailer too.) • Meanwhile, as some compare director Jason Reitman to Billy Wilder, we interviewed him at the festival. • We also got chatty with possible awards contenders Paul Schneider and Venice prize-winner Mark Boal. • On […]

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Michael Moore sticks foot in mouth

Posted by · 7:39 am · September 9th, 2009

I recently had a conversation with someone about Michael Moore and why he has a dicey professional reputation, and the answer — not to put the filmmaker on the couch — was interesting.  Here’s Moore, making money hand over fist yet crying out against the evils of capitalism and the greed of corporatism.  Perhaps it […]

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SHORT TAKE: “The Informant!” (***)

Posted by · 5:00 am · September 7th, 2009

Venice Film Festival That jaunty exclamation mark handily sets the tone for Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant!,” a flip, frisky entertainment that may well represent the year’s most audacious feat of adaptation. Of course, the trailer already (and unavoidably) pulled the covers from the film’s biggest trick: that writer Scott Z. Burns (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) has […]

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REVIEW: “Capitalism: A Love Story” (***)

Posted by · 4:16 pm · September 5th, 2009

Venice Film Festival It was well before Michael Moore dropped an extensive archive-footage chunk of a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech into the last reel of “Capitalism: A Love Story” that the following thought entered my head, but the appearance of FDR and his homespun common sense crystallized it: Michael Moore is this generation’s Frank Capra. […]

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The Gurus line up for another year

Posted by · 6:34 am · September 3rd, 2009

Over at Movie City News, David Poland has amassed the fifth annual Gurus o’ Gold prognosticating collective (including yours truly once again) and asked for a list of 15 films with the brightest pre-Toronto Best Picture profile.  We also were asked to indicate dark horse underdog actors and actresses, which yielded some interesting results (though […]

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