OFF THE CARPET: Kicking the tires on the circuit

Posted by · 8:42 am · November 29th, 2010

On the precipice of December, the season feels at once stale and fresh. We’re in the post-Thanksgiving food coma paradox that hits every year. But things are going to start heating up real soon. The last two films out of the gate, “TRON Legacy” and “True Grit” (both ironically starring Jeff Bridges), have already started […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘127 Hours’ dissent, BIFA nods, interviews

Posted by · 5:10 am · November 6th, 2010

• Guy didn’t much care for “127 Hours.” That got you talking. • Happily, Kris did, and got talking to director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. • The British Independent Film Award nominations threw some surprises into the mix, handing scads of noms to “The King’s Speech”… and “Kick-Ass.” • Chad’s Life Without Oscar […]

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INTERVIEW: Patricia Clarkson

Posted by · 8:26 pm · November 5th, 2010

“I’m going to bring back the letter,” a flustered Patricia Clarkson announces as she makes her way to our lunch table, ever-so-slightly rain-mussed but otherwise immaculate in black and cream, a jaunty matching fedora astride her familiar blonde mane. “I’m never late. I blame email for this. I’m only just getting acquainted with it.” She […]

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‘How I Ended This Summer’ takes top prize at London fest

Posted by · 6:39 pm · October 27th, 2010

“We chose our winner last night,” London Film Festival jury president Patricia Clarkson told me yesterday, an evasive  smile on our face, as we eased into our lunchtime interview. (More on that in a few days.) “I’m very pleased with it — it’s a wonderful film.” Naturally, my fellow lunch guest, Daily Telegraph critic Tim […]

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London fest honors Boyle, announces award shortlist

Posted by · 6:49 am · September 29th, 2010

The 2010 London Film Festival only kicks off in two weeks’ time, but with press screenings having started on Monday, I’m already feeling the festival spirit. (Those of you who follow my Twitter feed may have noticed some 140-character reviews trickling through.) Without a major world premiere like “Frost/Nixon” or “Fantastic Mr. Fox” in this […]

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REVIEW: “Shutter Island” (**1/2)

Posted by · 8:54 pm · February 13th, 2010

Berlin International Film Festival (EDIT: Star rating adjusted upon consideration.) To filch an aphorism from Mike Skinner, “Shutter Island” represents of continuation of Martin Scorsese’s decade-long quest to find the hardest way to make an easy living. If that sounds like a jab, it’s not. Since the self-amusing personal statements of “Kundun” and “Bringing Out […]

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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: 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 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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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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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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‘Whatever Works’ trailer

Posted by · 11:55 am · May 8th, 2009

Well, it certainly works for me — it’s been a while since a trailer made me laugh out loud. Larry David’s and Woody Allen’s respective brands of neurosis seem to mesh together nicely, while Evan Rachel Wood looks unexpectedly comfortable doing the guileless simpleton thing. Patricia Clarkson is obviously having a good time too. I’m […]

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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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SANTA BARBARA: Writers talk writing, Cruz walks the red carpet

Posted by · 11:38 am · January 25th, 2009

Yesterday was another busy event day for the Santa Barbara fest.  It was a shame the Director’s Panel was canceled, but participant Andrew Stanton switched gears to join Robert Knott (“Appaloosa”), Tom McCarthy (“The Visitor”) and Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) for an Anne Thompson-moderated discussion on their work at the keyboard this year. It was […]

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Adapting Philip Roth

Posted by · 10:05 am · October 7th, 2008

The author’s novels have suffered a tough road to the screen.

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‘Elegy’ the second film to go out to AMPAS

Posted by · 2:05 pm · October 1st, 2008

Screeners of Isabel Coixet’s “Elegy” are set to go out to Academy members this week, fresh on the heels of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Frozen River,” which went out over the weekend. Key pushes for the film are Best Actor (Ben Kingsley),  Penélope Cruz (Best Actress), Dennis Hopper (Best Supporting Actor), Patricia Clarkson (Best Supporting Actress) […]

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