Penn on Malick, part deux

Posted by · 4:25 am · August 22nd, 2011

I originally posted this in the previous comment thread, but since the web seems to have latched onto this story, I think it’s worth highlighting more prominently. The media is determined to interpret Sean Penn’s fairly reasoned personal reservations about “The Tree of Life” as some kind of ego-driven attack — but before everyone starts […]

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Sean Penn bitch-slaps ‘Tree of Life’

Posted by · 10:41 am · August 21st, 2011

It seems actor Sean Penn is still upset about the fact that so much of his performance in “The Tree of Life” was left on the cutting room floor. I guess he and Adrian Brody can drown their woes in a few down at the pub. Said the actor to French magazine Le Figaro: I […]

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Diving back into ‘The Tree of Life’ (SPOILERS)

Posted by · 1:51 pm · May 27th, 2011

If you’ve been fortunate enough to catch Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” in its limited release already, don’t forget to tell us your thoughts in the reactions thread. I’ve written about the film at length once (during a lunch break at jury duty downtown after sleeping on it). Guy reviewed it in full out […]

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CANNES: What will win… and what should

Posted by · 7:14 pm · May 21st, 2011

It’s a funny thing. For 10 days at Cannes, the Croisette hums with stimulating discussion and debate about movies; for the final two, all that chatter dissolves into a single blunt question: “What will win the Palme d’Or?” It’s a little like the Oscars, except without the initial stage of stimulating discussion and debate about […]

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REVIEW: “The Tree of Life” (***)

Posted by · 4:51 am · May 16th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Landscape has always been character in the films of Terrence Malick. The even, rolling fields of “Days of Heaven,” the sweatily green hill ladders of “The Thin Red Line,” even the dry-toast mesa of “Badlands”: all expansive, overwhelming environments that dictate the behavior of the films’ human occupants through sheer force of […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘This Must Be the Place’

Posted by · 5:02 pm · May 9th, 2011

The director: Paolo Sorrentino (Italy) The talent: Sean Penn (a Best Actor winner at Cannes back in 1997 for “She’s So Lovely”) pops up in his second film of the Competition, though this time in a clear lead role. Frances McDormand makes it two Oscar-winners on board, while the eccentric supporting cast includes Harry Dean […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 6:30 am · May 6th, 2011

The director: Terrence Malick (USA) The talent: Do you need reminding by this point? The Competition’s most high-profile film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain; the name I’m most pleased to see in the supporting cast, meanwhile, is Irish stalwart Fiona Shaw. The technical crew is, obviously, first-class: DP Emmanuel Lubezki, […]

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First still of Sean Penn in ‘This Must Be the Place’

Posted by · 1:18 pm · April 14th, 2011

Or “Bigger, Better, Faster, More: The Linda Perry Story.” Paolo Sorrentino’s latest, due to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes next month, stars the two-time Oscar champ as a rock star turned Nazi hunter. Bernardo Bertolucci (due to receive an honorary Palme at the fest, by the by) reportedly describes the film (if not […]

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Sean Penn to receive PGA’s Stanley Kramer Award

Posted by · 9:31 am · January 6th, 2011

The press release, in part: The Producers Guild of America (PGA), announced today that Sean Penn will be honored with the 2011 Stanley Kramer Award. The award will be presented to Penn at the 22nd Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 22nd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The Stanley Kramer […]

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Penn going supporting for ‘Fair Game?’

Posted by · 12:53 pm · October 27th, 2010

Scott Feinberg is reporting that Sean Penn, who gives a rather wonderful performance in Doug Liman’s “Fair Game” with much more meat on its bones than Naomi Watts’s somewhat internalized work, will be pushed in the supporting category rather than lead. Uh…why?  First and foremost, I’d consider this a lead performance, but whatever, category fraud […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Leading men in the spotlight

Posted by · 10:14 am · October 25th, 2010

About a year ago I took to examining the 2009 Best Actor race.  The frontrunners for five slots seemed to be, in order, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Viggo Mortensen and Robert De Niro. A day later press members received their first invites to “Crazy Heart” screenings and were notified […]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 37 — The early year forgotten, Michael Douglas’s dueling Oscar campaigns, the animated feature race and more

Posted by · 8:55 am · October 22nd, 2010

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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SHORT TAKE: “Fair Game” (***)

Posted by · 11:17 am · May 20th, 2010

Cannes Film Festival The presence of Doug Liman’s name in the Cannes competition lineup has inspired many an unkind crack from an idle critic — this writer couldn’t resist a couple himself. There can’t have been many filmmakers to enter that lofty club immediately after a film as uniformly reviled as “Jumper,” an inept high-concept […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 Oscar nominee fields

Posted by · 12:47 pm · January 26th, 2010

In exactly one week’s time, we’ll have a brand new list of Oscar nominations to pore over, pick apart and eventually file away in our subconscious with the other 81 editions of this annual collective. For Oscar geeks, nomination day is in many ways more exciting than the ceremony itself, celebrating a broader spectrum of […]

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The Great Performances: 2004

Posted by · 6:35 pm · December 11th, 2009

In Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” Paul Giamatti gave the best performance by an actor in 2004, so said the New York Film Critics Circle, and how right they were.  So why, why, why was the actor denied an Oscar nomination?  Granted, it was a strong year, but his work was at the top of that heap […]

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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 LONG SHOT: The more you know

Posted by · 5:57 pm · December 2nd, 2009

Here’s something I’ll bet a lot of you wouldn’t have guessed: once upon a time, when my pants were short and my South African accent heavy, I was a very good Oscar pundit. I won every pool going. I beat the lame TV critics’ guesses and laughed in their televised faces. When that got old, […]

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Risk addiction

Posted by · 1:18 pm · November 30th, 2009

After some initial resistance, I’m getting chattier on Twitter lately. Yesterday, in a “best of 2000s” frame of mind, an enjoyable back-and-forth with some of you started after I idly asked which actor or actress has had the greatest decade on film. The suggestions came in thick and fast, some mathematically going by awards stats, […]

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