The Great Performances: 2002

Posted by · 9:45 am · November 27th, 2009

2002 was probably one of the greatest years for performance excellence in film history, from leading actor right through all the supporting players. They could have easily nominated 10 actors in each of the four acting categories, and still missed some. Though Adrien Brody won the Oscar for “The Pianist,” which was a huge shock, […]

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David Poland’s Oscar underdogs … where are the ladies?

Posted by · 1:50 pm · November 13th, 2009

For those of you bored of reading the same ever-narrowing list of names in the assorted Oscar-speculation pieces across the web, David Poland’s latest column is a slight breath of fresh air. Decrying the fact that many pundits are making ludicrous long-shot calls like “This Is It” for Best Picture, while ignoring more deserving contenders […]

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The Great Performances: 1997

Posted by · 8:03 am · October 23rd, 2009

1997 was a great year for actors, but a tough year for Oscar; how do you choose when there are so many deserving nominees? It’s that age-old issue that some award-worthy performances are going to be left out, which though unfair and sad, is very much part of the Academy Awards and frankly what makes […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Minority report

Posted by · 5:49 pm · October 15th, 2009

When the Academy Awards roll around in March, it will have been precisely two decades since the unlikely figure of Kim Basinger blasted Academy voters’ conservatism on air at the 1989 ceremony, with specific regard to their sidelining of “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee’s groundbreaking study of urban interracial tension. “We’ve got five great […]

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‘Burning Plain’ is Arriaga at his best

Posted by · 7:57 am · August 6th, 2009

Last night I caught Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” and like Guy, I’m having trouble settling my thoughts on the piece.  I suppose our combined ponderings will have to serve as the film’s review here at In Contention, but unlike Guy’s relatively reserved recommendation, I have to say I wholeheartedly endorse it as perhaps Arriaga’s […]

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What a difference two decades makes

Posted by · 6:24 pm · April 21st, 2009

When I caught Gregor Jordan’s “The Informers” at the Santa Barbara Film Festival earlier this year, I had one of those “Hey, neat-o” moments when I noticed both Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger were part of the film’s ensemble.  Granted, the two never share the screen and each part is minuscule, but it was a […]

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Thoughts on ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 10:12 am · April 5th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to review Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut ever since I saw it two weeks ago, but for some reason, my thoughts on the film just won’t settle into place. It’s not a case of the film being particularly challenging or impenetrable — it’s Arriaga’s most structurally simple work to date, and arguably his […]

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‘L.A. Confidential’ gets a deluxe DVD release

Posted by · 10:06 am · September 19th, 2008

One of the greatest experiences I have ever had at a Toronto festival was the North American premiere of Curtis Hanson’s “L.A. Confidential,” which was instantly declared a masterpiece and one of the great film noirs in movie history. Dark and entertaining with a twisting and turning narrative that keep viewers guessing throughout, the film […]

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‘Plain’ brings buzz for Theron

Posted by · 2:41 am · August 30th, 2008

I’ve already said how high my hopes are for “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from one of the most interesting screenwriters in the business, Guillermo Arriaga. Now the reviews are trickling in, and they’re — predictably — mixed. Variety, as is often the case these days, provides the major buzzkill, dismissing it as “an […]

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First look at ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 12:34 am · August 14th, 2008

As I mentioned in my Venice preview, “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from screenwriter extraordinaire Guillermo Arriaga, is one of my most anticipated titles of the year. Now a new series of images from the film has been revealed – check them out here. Not much to be gleaned from them that you hadn’t […]

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Venice puts cinema ahead of stars

Posted by · 10:24 am · July 30th, 2008

There are some major surprises in the competition lineup for next month’s Venice Film Festival, not the least of which are the global flavour and soberness of the lineup itself. In previous years, the Lido has proved a launchpad for starry, surefire awards vehicles (“Atonement” and “Michael Clayton” both made successful bows there last year, […]

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Batman through the years

Posted by · 9:42 am · July 12th, 2008

Dominic Wells of The Times has written a cross-section of Batman as seen on film through the past five decades.  I can’t believe I didn’t know this was being written under my nose. He takes us back to the serials of the mid-to-late 1940s and into the “Pow!” and “Bam!” psychedeliq of the 1960s TV […]

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