The writing shines in dense and rewarding ‘Moneyball’

Posted by · 11:53 am · September 13th, 2011

Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” is a tightly constructed piece of work, thematically layered, rich in substance, hard work from two of the best writers in the business clearly evident. And the last thing it is is a sports movie. The film is about so much. It’s a David vs. Goliath story of changing the status quo. […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly […]

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REVIEW: “The Ides of March” (***)

Posted by · 7:14 am · August 31st, 2011

Venice Film Festival “I’m not a Christian. I’m not an atheist. I’m not a Muslim. I’m not Jewish. I believe in the American constitution,” intones a spiffily-suited and even fresher-faced-than-usual Ryan Gosling as the opening line of “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s crisp, diverting and typically (even overly) studious political thriller. Standing at the […]

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TIFF: ‘Brighton,’ ‘Rabbit,’ ‘Debt,’ ‘Whistleblower,’ ‘Boating’ reactions

Posted by · 9:15 am · September 14th, 2010

A quick round-up this morning.  First, we already offered some reactions to Rowan Joffe’s “Brighton Rock,” which is still looking for a distributor.  But things aren’t looking great for awards prospects should it land a buyer, as Movieline’s Michelle Orange says the film “extends the Graham Green adaptation curse.” Meanwhile, John Madden’s “The Debt” could […]

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9/14 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 9:11 am · September 14th, 2010

• Ben Affleck discusses “The Town” across the pond. [Daily Telegraph] • The Best Picture race begins to take shape for Sasha Stone. [Awards Daily] • Michael Cieply talks to Kevin Spacey about his work as “Casino Jack” and his involvement with “The Social Network.” [New York Times]

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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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12/3 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:38 am · December 3rd, 2009

• Donna Freydkin talks “Brothers” and  transitioning to an adult role with Natalie Portman. [USA Today] • Laura M. Holson talks to Tom Ford and others about the former Gucci creative director’s feature film debut, “A Single Man.” [New York Times] • Roger Ebert four-stars “Up in the Air.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

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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: 1999

Posted by · 9:18 pm · November 7th, 2009

1999 was a strange year.  And it’s hard to believe a full decade has slipped past since.  There were some great award-winning performances, to be sure, but there seemed to be just as many not nominated that certainly should have been. Ten years later, I remain stunned that Reese Witherspoon was not nominated for her […]

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Briefly, on ‘Pirate Radio’

Posted by · 1:00 pm · October 6th, 2009

I don’t know why, but this “Pirate Radio” trailer (which has been around a while) is really doing it for me.  I saw it yesterday before a screening of “Zombieland.” And how long before Philip Seymour Hoffman completes his trilogy of rock types?  He knocked Lester Bangs out of the park in “Almost Famous” and […]

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EDINBURGH: Animated pleasures

Posted by · 1:25 pm · June 17th, 2009

Today’s Edinburgh talk may have centered on festival opener “Away We Go” (more on that to come), but the day’s real delight was “Mary and Max” (***1/2), an alternately disarming and disconcerting feature debut from claymation maestro Adam Elliot, who won a 2003 Academy Award for his short “Harvey Krumpet,” and carries that film’s decidedly […]

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Stay cool

Posted by · 4:16 pm · March 27th, 2009

Over a month after Sean Penn defeated Mickey Rourke in what was possibly the tightest acting race in recent memory, Cinematical’s Jeffrey Anderson has come up with an interesting take on how the outcome may actually benefit Rourke, and indeed “The Wrestler.” In short, he says, losing the Oscar allows them to retain their edge: […]

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2/11 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:45 am · February 11th, 2009

• The first Oscar promo pic of Hugh Jackman. [Just Jared] • David Steinberg writes up Johnny Carson’s Oscar hosting legacy. [Los Angeles Times Magazine] • David Carr ponders the lead actress race. [The Carpetbagger] • Tom O’Neil conveys a case for Amy Adams in “Doubt.” [Gold Derby] • Dave Karger needs Oscar campaigns to […]

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INTERVIEW: Amy Adams

Posted by · 11:42 am · January 14th, 2009

Amy Adams has arrived.  No “doubt” about it. Sunday she was sitting at a table with Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and John Patrick Shanley at the Hollywood Foriegn Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, one of five nods the film received. Surrounded by major artists such as Ron […]

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1/12 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 6:31 am · January 12th, 2009

• Jeffrey Wells responds to last night’s Golden Globe Awards. [Hollywood Elsewhere] • David Carr gets some choice quotes from twofer victor Kate Winslet in the press room. [The Carpetbagger] • Guy Adams, meanwhile, comments on the actress’s “downbeat” role choices. [The Independent] • Karina Longworth’s eight Globe moments that transcended cynicism. [Spout Blog] • […]

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The Streep question

Posted by · 10:53 am · November 28th, 2008

Will she be nominated for a performance Todd McCarthy and even our own Kris Tapley found underwhelming? Of course she will, because all due respect to both, they are wrong. I finally saw “Doubt” this week, and as other critics are making clear, Streep does some of her best work in the film. Whether or […]

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Looking for comedy in the awards world

Posted by · 4:12 pm · November 16th, 2008

Over at his OscarWatch column, Dave Karger recently asked a question that has been bothering me for some time regarding this year’s awards race. Namely, how the hell are the Golden Globes going to fill out the ballot in the Comedy/Musical races? Best Actress looks solid enough. So far, we have two clear-cut frontrunners — […]

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“I have doubts!”

Posted by · 1:31 pm · November 4th, 2008

To bring it back to Oscar talk for a moment, the first curiosity is that people are still talking about the film when asked to refrain from doing so until an actual print is shown, but that aside, Dave Karger presents the case again (to back up his top 3 assertion in the recent issue […]

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