9/16 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Scientists vouch for ‘Contagion,’ Refn breaks down ‘Drive,’ Toronto takeaways

Posted by · 7:46 am · September 16th, 2011

• Scientists say “Contagion” is for real. [Associated Press] • James Rocchi talks “The Ides of March” with Best Supporting Actress hopeful Evan Rachel Wood. [MSN Movies] • Nicolas Winding Refn breaks down a scene from “Drive.” [Arts Beat]

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REVIEW: “The Ides of March” (***)

Posted by · 7:14 am · August 31st, 2011

Venice Film Festival “I’m not a Christian. I’m not an atheist. I’m not a Muslim. I’m not Jewish. I believe in the American constitution,” intones a spiffily-suited and even fresher-faced-than-usual Ryan Gosling as the opening line of “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s crisp, diverting and typically (even overly) studious political thriller. Standing at the […]

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Better and better

Posted by · 8:34 am · February 26th, 2010

Two weeks ago, Kris expressed his (and, well, pretty much everyone’s) excitement over Todd Haynes’s HBO reimagining of “Mildred Pierce,” with Kate Winslet stepping into Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning shoes in the title role. Today, The Playlist passes on two further reasons to anticipate the project, namely Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood. The latter, in […]

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The Great Performances: 2003

Posted by · 9:14 am · December 4th, 2009

There is little doubt in my mind I am going to take some heat this week, so let’s kick it off right away with my belief that Sean Penn deserved his Best Actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” a performance of overwhelming ferocity and staggering emotional power. Yes, I too loved Bill Murray in “Lost in […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 actors under 30

Posted by · 10:39 am · October 6th, 2009

I wrote recently about how this year’s Best Actress race seems to ushering in a striking new wave of young talent, from the elfin throwback charm of Carey Mulligan to the rawer screen presence of Gabourey Sidibe, while a range of youthful names, from the long-hyped Abbie Cornish to the out-of-nowhere Katie Jarvis, have been […]

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‘Whatever Works’ poster

Posted by · 2:07 am · May 7th, 2009

The sexy, teasingly framed artwork for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” was one of my favorite posters of 2008. Suffice to say I cannot offer similar approval of this dreary new one-sheet for “Whatever Works.” Just how much time did they spend on it? And at no point did anyone on the design team meekly suggest, “Hey, […]

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Mixed-to-positive notices for ‘Whatever Works’

Posted by · 5:09 pm · April 23rd, 2009

Even with the success of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” having partially righted the course of Woody Allen’s career, I can’t help holding my breath when the reviews roll in for his latest effort. Few auteurs inspire more haphazard uses of the term “return to form” (roughly applied to anything that doesn’t go completely off the rails […]

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Is Clarkson one to watch for ‘Whatever Works?’

Posted by · 3:57 am · April 3rd, 2009

As Penélope Cruz, Dianne Wiest, Mira Sorvino and assorted nominees over the years can attest, if you’re an actress hungry for some awards attention, you can do a lot worse than take a supporting role in an (at least) halfway decent Woody Allen film. (Unless, of course, you’re Scarlett Johansson, who’s still holding an IOU […]

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REVIEW: “The Wrestler” (***1/2)

Posted by · 7:42 am · November 7th, 2008

AFI Fest Darren Aronofsky went back to the drawing board on “The Wrestler,” a film that wallows in nuance, spearheaded by a performance of grace and subtle charisma. After “The Fountain” failed to catch on in any meaningful way (though this viewer considered it one of the best films of 2006), the director ravaged by […]

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Yes, but what about the ladies?

Posted by · 6:58 am · September 9th, 2008

Mickey Rourke is on an unstoppable course toward a Best Actor nomination for his performance in “The Wrestler.”  Universal acclaim for the film has yet to hit a speed bump and by and large, folks are on board for this apparent tour de force. But there are at least two other performances in the film […]

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TORONTO: ‘Che,’ ‘The Wrestler’

Posted by · 11:03 pm · September 8th, 2008

Two masterpieces, one right after the other.  This was the day I had been waiting for.  I caught Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” today, all four hours and 20 minutes of it.  It’s a glorious achievement from a brilliant mind, one of the few directors who seeks to challenge himself constantly.  “Che” is audacious and bold filmmaking […]

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