The Oscar-winning Boston Movie

Posted by · 10:17 am · February 26th, 2011

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “Shutter Island” by Dennis Lehane

Posted by · 1:20 pm · July 9th, 2009

Deep into Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel noir “Shutter Island,” there’s a wonderfully telling exchange between the two central characters. Reflecting on the gothic heights to which their situation has spiralled, one observes, “It’s all a bit Grand Guignol, don’t you think?” His partner’s reply: “I don’t know what the fuck that means.” Ostensibly a nod […]

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The new millennium Oscars?

Posted by · 9:53 am · January 18th, 2009

Looking back over the previous Oscar winners for Best Picture since 2000, the start of a new century (and a new millennium), I find myself wondering sometimes what the hell the Academy was thinking.  It’s no secret I disagree with the Academy a lot, but I can also admit that when they get it right, […]

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Kevin Bacon makes the rounds

Posted by · 9:08 am · January 9th, 2009

As “Frost/Nixon” continues to pop up as a formidable guild contender this awards season, I must say, despite my personal appreciation for the effective drama, I’m a little surprised.  It isn’t the expert craftsmanship of “Slumdog Millionaire” or the creative explosion of “Synecdoche, New York,” obviously, but it is a solid, well-constructed piece of work […]

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Sean Penn on course for Oscar #2, and he deserves it

Posted by · 7:36 am · December 14th, 2008

With two of the major critics awards won, actor Sean Penn seems to be headed for his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his brilliant work in “Milk.” Penn’s work through the 1980s and 1990s defined him as one of the greatest actors of his generation (if not the best) and certainly on the […]

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Remembering cinema’s Bush years

Posted by · 5:20 pm · November 3rd, 2008

As the world prepares to bid farewell to George W. Bush following tomorrow’s election, I came across an apt article in the new edition of Sight and Sound, in which critic Michael Atkinson evaluates how the Bush presidency affected American film, and how the period might be interpreted by future film historians. As always with […]

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Is Dennis Lehane the new Jane Austen?

Posted by · 5:28 am · June 17th, 2008

Okay, perhaps not. Maybe more like the new Elmore Leonard. But the quintessential Boston writer is clearly Hollywood’s favourite author du jour. After the adaptations of “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone” reignited the careers of Clint Eastwood and Ben Affleck, respectively, it seems the studios are snapping up his titles faster than he can write them. I hardly need to […]

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Sean Penn might be the greatest living actor

Posted by · 6:29 am · May 7th, 2008

After writing my piece on the recent Best Actor winners and non-winners I was rather shocked at the number of comments on Sean Penn’s astounding performance in “Mystic River,” a performance I believe to rank with the best of Brando, Duvall, Nicholson and De Niro. I love debate, I love to talk film, and best […]

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Best actor contenders join an eclectic list of recent winners

Posted by · 7:16 am · May 6th, 2008

Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Frank Langella seem to be the names bandied about for Oscar consideration this year, which would place them in some impressive company of nominees and winners these last 20 years. Of course, that said, there have also been some bizarre choices for the Best Actor award, which has often […]

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Clint Eastwood — anything he does grabs Oscar’s attention

Posted by · 8:13 am · May 5th, 2008

Let me begin with something very personal, something I prefer not to do in this column. Movies have not mattered much this past week, as my wife of 18 years, the love of my life was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. This Thursday we journey to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto to allow the finest […]

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Actors winning Best Director — always deserved?

Posted by · 6:51 am · May 1st, 2008

Of course not. Quite often the Academy gets behind an actor for the simple reason they pulled of the film without screwing too much up. How else can one explain Mel Gibson’s win for “Braveheart” but failure to be nominated for his masterpiece “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto,” easily two of the finest […]

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