The Great Performances: 2005

Posted by · 5:07 pm · December 18th, 2009

2005 was the year of Heath Ledger’s beautiful, moving performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” which I saw for the first time in Toronto.  It instantly became the talk of the festival, and the film became the one to beat for the Academy Award. Ledger was astonishing as the taciturn cowboy who is more surprised than anybody […]

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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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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 LONG SHOT: The more you know

Posted by · 5:57 pm · December 2nd, 2009

Here’s something I’ll bet a lot of you wouldn’t have guessed: once upon a time, when my pants were short and my South African accent heavy, I was a very good Oscar pundit. I won every pool going. I beat the lame TV critics’ guesses and laughed in their televised faces. When that got old, […]

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The Great Performances: 2000

Posted by · 7:14 pm · November 13th, 2009

Michael Douglas was robbed. The already Oscar-christened actor gave a career-best performance in 2000 in Curtis Hanson’s “Wonder Boys,” but he got no love from the Academy. Worse, his performance was easily among the five best of the year and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actor prize. That having been said, I […]

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The Great Performances: 1998

Posted by · 2:03 pm · October 30th, 2009

For all my bitching about Roberto Benigni winning Best Actor in 1998 for his incessant mugging in “Life is Beautiful,” I was also thrilled the Academy watched enough films and paid enough attention to realize that Edward Norton was deserving for his magnetic turn as a neo-Nazi who sees the light in “American History X.” […]

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Bad things come to those who wait

Posted by · 1:22 am · August 1st, 2009

It’s so often these days that we see poorly cut trailers for otherwise high-pedigree films that we tend to brush them aside. “Well, it has to be better than that,” we say. Refreshingly, however, this trailer for Richard Eyre’s romantic thriller “The Other Man,” due for a late-September release after gathering dust since last year’s […]

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Oscar nominations that made me cheer

Posted by · 3:37 pm · November 16th, 2008

Over the years I have been watching and studying the Oscars in earnest, since about 1974 (age 13).  It has always been a nice surprise when an unexpected actor, director or film made the cut to the final five.  It’s a special kind of high. I remember reacting with surprise and genuine happiness when Giancarlo […]

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LONDON: ‘Tony Manero,’ ‘The Other Man,’ ‘Awaydays,’ ‘Seamstresses’

Posted by · 5:39 pm · October 22nd, 2008

Before I continue my roundup of films from the last few days of the London Film Festival, I received an email asking why I haven’t mentioned such major festival titles as “Rachel Getting Married” and “Religulous.” There is little point in me reviewing titles that have already opened in the States (and which Kris has […]

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Seven-minute ‘Other Man’ preview/trailer/thing

Posted by · 6:59 am · August 20th, 2008

Richard Eyre’s latest hasn’t landed domestic distribution yet, but it could be a great vehicle for stars Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Antonio Banderas and Romola Garai. UPDATE (5:04 p.m.): As it turns out, the footage that was in this space was a promo reel meant for distributors, not for audiences.  It’s been yanked from YouTube, […]

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TIFF keeps ’em coming

Posted by · 1:40 pm · July 17th, 2008

More announcements out of the press office from Toronto today. Great to hear that the first of the potential Oscar films is coming, Ed Harris’s “Appaloosa,” with Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger and Harris starring. Harris’s last directorial effort “Pollock” opened here and went all the way to Oscar night, winning Best Supporting Actress for Marcia […]

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John Adams rides off into the sunset

Posted by · 12:22 am · April 21st, 2008

Well I held back on talking about HBO’s “John Adams” after viewing the second episode last month, but now that it’s over, allow me to speak up on what has become a very popular mini-series event. I was happy to see that the Alien and Sedition Acts finally made an appearance last week, albeit a […]

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Bryony…again?

Posted by · 2:07 pm · April 6th, 2008

I was doing some quick research today into a few titles I neglected to mention in February’s year in advance Oscar column and came across a weird little instance. It seems Romola Garai is set to portray a character by the name of Bryony in Richard Eyre’s upcoming “The Other Man,” opposite Liam Neeson, Laura […]

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HBO’s “John Adams”

Posted by · 7:24 pm · March 16th, 2008

I must say, I’m slightly agitated by the approach HBO’s latest mini-series, “John Adams,” seems to be taking. Granted one cannot build a 7-part event around a hero too clearly flawed, but the fact remains that Adams wasn’t exactly the most noble of our founding fathers. Being a journalist, I can’t personally celebrate he of […]

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