In Contention

9/19 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Toronto Oscar bounces, threads in ‘Drive,’ adaptng le Carre

Posted by · 8:54 am · September 19th, 2011

• Anne Thompson talks “Rampart” with writer/director Oren Moverman. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Greg Ellwood ponders who got an Oscar bounce out of Toronto. [Awards Campaign] • Simon Kinnear on the clothing designs of “Drive.” [Clothes on Film]

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Moverman’s expressive ‘Rampart’ offers tour de force performance from Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 8:26 am · September 14th, 2011

Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” is absolutely fantastic. Top to bottom, it’s a considerable directorial achievement, and an exciting, brazen departure from his excellent 2009 debut, “The Messenger.” The film — from an original screenplay by James Ellroy, re-written by Moverman — uses the 1999 Los Angeles Police Department Rampart corruption scandal as a frame, a state […]

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Mixed reaction to Moverman’s ‘Rampart’ in Toronto, some measured praise for Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 6:04 pm · September 11th, 2011

One of the more anticipated Toronto bows, for me, is Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” follow-up, “Rampart.” I was a big fan of his last effort and have been intrigued by the possibility of Woody Harrelson bubbling up in the Best Actor race (assuming a studio bites on the film). But things aren’t looking stellar for […]

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Oren Moverman, Kurt Cobain and the biopic

Posted by · 12:42 pm · July 19th, 2010

One of my favorite current film writers, Ryan Gilbey, has an excellent piece in today’s Guardian on the subject of biopics — in particular, on the rise of the postmodern biopic in the face of Hollywood’s increasingly tepid stabs at the form. It’s a good read, but far better is the unabridged version of the […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Posted by · 11:54 am · March 5th, 2010

Best Original Screenplay: 2009’s most difficult category to predict. Why? Certainly not because of each contender’s merits (when does that ever come into play with the Academy). No, this field is a hair-puller because you have a vibrant, likable personality up against the Best Picture frontrunner, always a recipe for a close race (and, sometimes, […]

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2/23 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:59 am · February 23rd, 2010

• Peter Knegt chats with Best Actor nominee Jeremy Renner. [indieWIRE] • Oscar party kits, anyone? With bingo! [Oscars.org] • “The Messenger” writers and Oscar nominees Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon on their process. [MTV Movies Blog]

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1/14 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:03 am · January 14th, 2010

• Buzz Aldrin, Willie Nelson and more comment on the accuracy of a number of the season’s contenders. [Variety] • Peter Jackson and Stanley Tucci talk “The Lovely Bones.” [FearNet] • Brooks Barnes Q&As “The Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal. [The Carpetbagger]

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INTERVIEW: Ben Foster

Posted by · 5:18 pm · December 8th, 2009

Ben Foster became an actor I knew I would watch for a long time during an episode of the now canceled TV drama “Boston Public.” Foster was cast as a high school student dying of cancer and had an extraordinary monologue about wanting a Christmas with no crying, with no tears; he wanted his last […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Original players

Posted by · 2:44 pm · November 16th, 2009

When I had the unmitigated gall last week to project a set of winners for this year’s Oscar race, I was a bit startled at how easy Mark Boal’s script for “The Hurt Locker” slid into the Best Original Screenplay slot.  Looking over the landscape of contenders in the category, it’s a little obvious why […]

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Oren Moverman talks ‘The Messenger’

Posted by · 8:20 am · November 12th, 2009

One of these days I’m going to be getting Woody Harrelson on the horn to talk about his riveting work in Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger,” but schedules haven’t dovetailed precisely enough yet.  I don’t mind saying I’m eager, because it’s one of the year’s best films. The New Yorker’s David Denby has called the film […]

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11/10 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:55 am · November 10th, 2009

• Deborah Sontag talks “The Messenger” with Oren Moverman, Woody Harrelson, etc. [New York Times] • Roger Ebert sits down with the fast-becoming new “it” girl, Gabourey Sidibe. [Chicago Sun-Times] • With movies still to be seen in 2009, Noah Forrest pegs “25th Hour” as the decade’s best.  Brave choice.  I’m a fan. [Movie City […]

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REVIEW: “The Messenger” (***1/2)

Posted by · 3:38 pm · October 9th, 2009

There is a film that succeeds as a cerebral drama, concerned with the impact of war on the individual, free of the genre’s typical tropes and remarkably fresh as a result.  And believe it or not, I’m not talking about “The Hurt Locker.” Of course, it is unfair to Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” to so […]

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