EDINBURGH: Away they go

Posted by · 1:44 pm · June 17th, 2009

Tuesday dawned gray, gusty and rain-spattered here in Edinburgh – the kind of morning where there’s nothing for it than to bury oneself in the comforting recesses of a dark movie theater – which, handily enough, is all that I had on my agenda for today. After formulating a strategy over breakfast as to which […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Sam Mendes on Kate, Chekhov and cricket

Posted by · 1:05 pm · June 9th, 2009

Perhaps it’s telling that this recent Times interview with Sam Mendes mentions his latest film “Away We Go” in a single sentence, while focusing rather more attention on his upcoming theatrical double-bill, directing Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” and Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” for Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic in London. I have yet to see the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

6/2 Web Round-up

Posted by · 9:37 am · June 2nd, 2009

• With “The Hangover” on the way next weekend, Dave Itzkoff talks to director Todd Phillips. [New York Times] • Tom O’Neil remembers Jay Leno’s 12-year Emmy losing streak as the host exits “The Tonight Show.” [Gold Derby] • Hey, proper use of the word “exclusive” for a change (and a few days late linking).  […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

WEEKLY WRAP: ‘Antichrist’ and action

Posted by · 3:44 am · May 23rd, 2009

• Scandalising media and polarising critics, Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” emerged as the undisputed talking-point of the Cannes Film Festival. • That firestorm even managed to overshadow the Cannes debut of Quentin Tarantino’s divisive “Inglourious Basterds.” • In other news from the Croisette, “A Prophet” impressed critics, while “Taking Woodstock” took a hit. • We […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

New to DVD, ‘Revolutionary Road’ may yet be discovered for the masterpiece it is

Posted by · 10:50 am · May 22nd, 2009

When “The Wizard of Oz” was released in 1939, neither audiences or critics were particularly fond of the film and it died a rather quick death at the box office. When “Citizen Kane” was first released in theatres in 1941, audiences did not warm to it, and despite winning the New York Film Critics Circle […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

You were right, I was wrong: Guy’s final predictions

Posted by · 1:24 pm · February 21st, 2009

(Expanded thoughts and reasonings on yesterday’s list of predictions.) It’s years like 2008 when I throw my hands up and admit (albeit with great reluctance) that my family and friends have been right for the last two decades. Carla, Tom, Kim, Auntie Mavis: I give up. I am insane to care as much as I […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

TECH SUPPORT: Final predictions

Posted by · 5:27 pm · February 18th, 2009

After six months of Tech Support previews and interviews, the films have arrived, the nominations have been announced and the guilds, the critics and BAFTA have all announced their preferences.  Today we take a final look at the races before the envelopes are opened on Sunday. BEST ART DIRECTION After guild and BAFTA wins, I […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

2/18 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:08 am · February 18th, 2009

• Dave Germain digs into Oscar’s history of scene-stealers, joined this year by Viola Davis and Michael Shannon. [Associated Press] • Erika Kinetz, meanwhile, keeps at the same old “Slumdog Millionaire” story that has grown stale over the last few weeks. [Associated Press] • Ryan Adams eschews the usual “top 10 list” and instead cranks […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

In praise of Kate’s … feet?

Posted by · 5:52 am · January 31st, 2009

I’m not sure where I stand on David Thomson these days. He is surely one of the greatest film writers still at work today; few of his rivals manage such a fine balance of personal appreciation and critical insight, particularly in the area of performance. (As a prose stylist, Thomson at his best leaves Ebert […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

The angel says…

Posted by · 7:59 am · January 30th, 2009

Here is a movie from a director who had gotten typed into being a success only in x-treme cinema, set in another country, often in another language, with three sets of young, inexperienced actors playing the same kids from single-digits to 20-ish, delving into the internationalism of both human aspiration and the medium of television […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

SANTA BARBARA: Virtuosos on the march

Posted by · 11:55 pm · January 28th, 2009

Unfortunately, “Happy-Go-Lucky” star couldn’t make it to tonight’s presentation of the Virtuoso Awards at the Lobero Theatre due to surgery recovery, but Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins, Rosemarie DeWitt, Melissa Leo and Michael Shannon were on hand to talk their roles in five of the most critically acclaimed films of the year.  James Cromwell did the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Did Harvey Weinstein cost Kate the Oscar?

Posted by · 8:15 am · January 28th, 2009

For all his marketing and campaigning genius, Harvey Weinstein’s tactics have become — well, have been — a bit thuggish. In Peter Biskind’s extraordinary book “Down and Dirty Pictures,” a stunning look at the independent film world in the late 1980s and all through the 1990s, we are made privy to many of Harvey’s tantrums, eyewitness […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

After cooling off a bit…

Posted by · 11:22 am · January 23rd, 2009

Yesterday the Academy displayed just what a fractured organization they are, championing a small film like “Slumdog Millionaire,” for which I applaud them, but snubbing “The Dark Knight,” one of the best reviewed films of the year and a titan at the box office. All day I was asking, ‘How?’  All day I wondered just […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Hey, it ain’t ALL bad

Posted by · 8:25 am · January 22nd, 2009

OK, looking at the bigger picture, I’m as mortified as everyone else by this morning’s Academy Award nominations. By playing it safe in numerous areas, AMPAS voters have once more failed their art form … but more surprisingly, they have failed their audience. Kris has already touched to some extent on the most glaring injustices […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

TECH SUPPORT: Final preview special, part one

Posted by · 10:53 am · January 21st, 2009

Five months of Tech Support reach their climax on Thursday morning. This Canuck is, like the rest of the world, celebrating a new American President today. The fact remains, however, that a new set of Oscar nominees will greet us tomorrow and I can’t help but share my final thoughts on the categories. This is […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Tech Support

Best Actress: a tough call

Posted by · 9:27 am · January 17th, 2009

Rarely does the lead actress category provide more suspense than leading gentlemen and rarely is it as packed with fine performances as it is this year.  I can remember years when it was a struggle to come up with five nominees for best actress, 1975 and 1992 springing to mind.  It might have less to […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

A film that sticks — why ‘Revolutionary Road’ is a masterwork

Posted by · 2:26 pm · January 15th, 2009

GENTLE SPOILERS WITHIN — READ WITH CAUTION Fear of change, fear of risk. “If you don’t try anything, you can’t fail,” she tells him, striking at the heart of what has him so afraid of uprooting their family to Paris in the hopes of a better way of life.  Frank Wheeler is terrified of change, […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

The top 10 shots of 2008: part one

Posted by · 9:03 am · January 14th, 2009

I’m hoping to make this an annual tradition here at In Contention.  It’s no secret we have a lot of respect for below-the-line talent around these parts, but it’s nice to have a visual way of showing that appreciation.  I sat down to write this piece for the first time last year, taken by the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily