DiCaprio and Eastwood team for Hoover biopic

Posted by · 6:13 pm · June 17th, 2010

After three consecutive duds (in my book, anyway), Clint Eastwood will have to work hard to earn my anticipation again — harder, certainly, than dipping into the biopic well once more — but he sure gets full marks for persistence. Undeterred by his recent strike-outs with the Academy, he continues to assemble the most on-paper […]

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DGA on the way

Posted by · 8:51 am · January 6th, 2010

Tomorrow the Directors Guild of America will chime in with its list of nominees for the 2009-2010 film awards season.  Long considered to be the best “predictor” of the Oscar game (as in, the DGA winner typically wins the Oscar for Best Director, and Best Director often matches up with Best Picture), this guild’s shenanigans […]

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‘Hurt Locker,’ ‘Basterds’ crack Cahiers du Cinéma list

Posted by · 8:10 am · December 16th, 2009

All cinéastes know that the annual Top 10 issued by Cahiers du Cinéma is pretty much the ne plus ultra of critics’ lists. The legendary French film magazine has taste that veers from the rigorously auteurist (recent list-toppers include “Redacted,” “Tropical Malady” and “Paranoid Park”) to the frankly perverse (“Lady in the Water” made the […]

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The Great Performances: 2004

Posted by · 6:35 pm · December 11th, 2009

In Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” Paul Giamatti gave the best performance by an actor in 2004, so said the New York Film Critics Circle, and how right they were.  So why, why, why was the actor denied an Oscar nomination?  Granted, it was a strong year, but his work was at the top of that heap […]

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12/8 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 9:59 am · December 8th, 2009

• Reed Johnson sits down with “Invictus” director Clint Eastwood and star Morgan Freeman. [Los Angeles Times] • Eric D. Snider digs into the different perspectives on what makes a decade’s end. [Eric D. Snider] • Noah Forrest stumps for some low-lying contenders that need the help. [Movie City News]

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12/1 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 9:35 am · December 1st, 2009

• Pete Hammond reports on a last minute surge to get “Iron Cross,” Roy Scheider’s final film, into Oscar contention. [Notes on a Season] • Gregory Ellwood takes note of the season’s box office champs so far: “Inglourious Basterds” and “Up.” [Awards Campaign] • Geoff Boucher talks to “Avatar” composer James Horner. [Hero Complex]

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Risk addiction

Posted by · 1:18 pm · November 30th, 2009

After some initial resistance, I’m getting chattier on Twitter lately. Yesterday, in a “best of 2000s” frame of mind, an enjoyable back-and-forth with some of you started after I idly asked which actor or actress has had the greatest decade on film. The suggestions came in thick and fast, some mathematically going by awards stats, […]

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REVIEW: “Invictus” (**)

Posted by · 8:41 am · November 30th, 2009

There’s really no arguing the fact that South Africa’s victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup was an inspirational moment of collaborative triumph for a country healing the wounds of the past.  The occasion was an against-all-odds statement of progress and togetherness.  It announced to the world that a nation had chosen to look to […]

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Ansen gets first word on ‘Invictus’

Posted by · 11:08 am · November 26th, 2009

Apparently unfazed by embargos, Newsweek’s David Ansen has posted a short, mixed-to-positive review of “Invictus,” the meat of which is here: Invictus is not a biopic; nor does it take us deep inside any of its characters—Eastwood views Mandela from a respectful middle distance. It’s about strategic inspiration. We witness a politician at the top […]

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11/19 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:01 am · November 19th, 2009

• Michael Cieply writes up “Crazy Heart” from the angle that Paramount has “embarrassed” itself for passing on the film once upon a time, but apparently that early cut was “unwatchable,” so, you know, cut some slack. [New York Times] • Clint Eastwood — set to grace one of five GQ covers next month — […]

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Hollywood, Johannesburg

Posted by · 12:36 pm · November 9th, 2009

In January 2005, exactly one week after I left my birth town of Johannesburg to study film in the brighter lights of London, Darrell James Roodt’s earnest AIDS drama “Yesterday” became South Africa’s first Oscar nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Only a month later, the rather better “uCarmen eKhayelitsha” took the Golden […]

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‘Invictus’ trailer

Posted by · 5:05 pm · October 27th, 2009

Apple has exclusively debuted the first trailer for Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus,” and when you get around the initial akward shock of Morgan Freeman’s accent, work around the oddly structured but still somehow streamlined nature of the trailer, read the writing on the wall, etc., I think it becomes clear pretty quick what we all, rightly […]

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10/23 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:52 am · October 23rd, 2009

• Pete Hammond follows up on the Academy’s foreign screenings, plus more. [Notes on a Season] • Like me, Steven Zeitchik senses a little “Slumdog” in “Precious.” [Risky Business] • David Poland catches some intriguing similarities between the recently released “Invictus” and a number of other posters from Eastwood flicks. [The Hot Blog]

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‘Invictus’ poster

Posted by · 11:49 am · October 22nd, 2009

(Courtesy: Yahoo! Movies)

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The Great Performances: 1995

Posted by · 4:06 pm · October 10th, 2009

Based on some of the comments I received last week regarding my article on great acting, I took the suggestion of a young lady and am kicking off a series of articles, one per week, that will explore the best performances ofeach year, beginning today with 1995.  So let’s go back and work our way […]

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On acting

Posted by · 10:11 am · October 2nd, 2009

What constitutes a great performance?  What makes it something that puts it head and shoulders above the rest?  What does an artist do to go to that level of art and achieve something that is both extraordinary and rare? Does the Academy, or rather the branch that nominates the actors, look as closely at performance […]

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6/11 Web Round-up

Posted by · 11:39 am · June 11th, 2009

• Nathaniel Rogers and Katey Rich offer an early rundown of the best of 2009 thus far. [The Film Experience] • Breaking down the world premieres at the Edinburgh Film Festival, which yours truly will be covering. [Screen International] • Shia LaBeouf calls the “Transformers” sequel “literally the biggest movie ever made.” What a shame […]

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “Playing the Enemy” by John Carlin

Posted by · 11:42 am · June 10th, 2009

There are few things as antithetical to great drama as an unmitigated hero, a character rendered almost inhuman by unfailing nobleness and valor. In fiction and non-fiction alike, we are inevitably more compelled by the flawed and conflicted of our kind – whether in lurid warts-and-all celebrity biographies or more subtly probing character studies. In […]

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