Jennifer Lawrence would like to remind you she’s hot

Posted by · 7:41 am · May 31st, 2010

Assuming (and I am assuming) that the film remains in the conversation, Kris and I will be at loggerheads all season over “Winter’s Bone” — I am a fan, he is emphatically not. What we do agree on, however, is that the film’s 19-year-old star, Jennifer Lawrence, is the real deal. Actually, we agreed on […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

If I had a ballot

Posted by · 12:04 pm · December 16th, 2009

Every year I like to keep track of personal favorites throughout the Academy’s designated categories (plus one of my own addition, Best Ensemble). At the end of the year, my “if I had a ballot” post is the result. Of course, for the most part, I follow Academy designations here. If something is ruled ineligible, […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Going out with a bang: the best films of 2009

Posted by · 12:35 pm · December 14th, 2009

I’ve often been asked throughout the latter part of 2009 why I should have the gall to consider it the best year of film product in a decade. It’s such a subjective circumstance that, of course, the only answer is, “I liked a lot of movies.” That’s not enough for most. Hard and fast evidence […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

OFF THE CARPET: Let it all bleed out

Posted by · 10:57 am · November 30th, 2009

Every now and then this season, I’ve sat down and taken on the fool’s errand of deciphering what 2009, the year in film, has been “about.”  It’s silly because a given film year is the result of years and years of preparation and development, so to think a collective thematic consciousness settles in is a […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Off the Carpet

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 […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Off the Carpet

OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the leading ladies

Posted by · 9:24 am · October 5th, 2009

Now is the time when everyone begins assessing the race at its beginnings, and the gist I’m getting is that no one really knows what to write about.  Stabs at analysis end up being responses to other takes or rehashed arguments, and nothing really insightful is being brought to the table. And let’s face it.  […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Off the Carpet

9/22 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:08 am · September 22nd, 2009

• Peter Bart takes note of two of the season’s leading ladies of the Oscar circuit, unlikely rivals Jane campion and Kathryn Bigelow. [BF Deal Memo] • Eugene Hernandez on the Oscar marathon. [indieWIRE] • Bilge Ibiri compares “The Insider” to “The Informant!” [Future of Classic]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘At the Movies’ reboots

Posted by · 7:51 am · September 9th, 2009

The new iteration of “At the Movies” debuted this weekend with A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips.  The duo tackled Shane Acker’s “9,” the Sandra Bullock comedy “All About Steve,” Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain” (with a rather swift and wrong-headed assessment from b0th, I feel) and Mike Judge’s “Extract,” among others.  Here’s an online exclusive […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

8/25 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:33 am · August 25th, 2009

• Jeff Wells speaks up on the Best Actress race. [Hollywood Elsewhere] • “Black Dynamite” goes to Apparition. [Variety] • Behinds the scenes of “The Burning Plain.” [Coming Soon]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Did Michelle Monaghan just enter the Best Actress race?

Posted by · 9:11 pm · August 24th, 2009

I haven’t seen James Mottern’s “Trucker,” which had a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and was praised in many quarters, most agreeing that Michelle Monaghan’s lead performance was awards caliber. Ironically, the press release (published in part after the jump) quotes The Hollywood Reporter’s Roger Friedman front and center just a few days […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Salvaging ‘The Burning Plain’ across the pond

Posted by · 9:28 am · August 14th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the tortuous release schedule that Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut “The Burning Plain” has endured since making a respectable bow at Venice almost a year ago. The film’s buzz has fluctuated wildly over the months, but it was never softer than in March, when it opened in the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘Burning Plain’ is Arriaga at his best

Posted by · 7:57 am · August 6th, 2009

Last night I caught Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” and like Guy, I’m having trouble settling my thoughts on the piece.  I suppose our combined ponderings will have to serve as the film’s review here at In Contention, but unlike Guy’s relatively reserved recommendation, I have to say I wholeheartedly endorse it as perhaps Arriaga’s […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

8/6 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:29 am · August 6th, 2009

• Nikki Finke takes umbrage with the “Nation’s Pride” trailer being used to promote “Inglourious Basterds.” [Deadline Hollywood Daily] • Graeme McRanor sits down with “District 9” composer Clinton Shorter. [Jawbone.tv] • Top 10 movie pregnancies. [The Film Experience]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

The see-sawing ‘Burning Plain’

Posted by · 6:21 pm · August 3rd, 2009

Thanks to the reader (modestly unnamed) who sent me a reminder of the recently released U.S. trailer for Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” a film that has endured a wildly uneven buzz trajectory since debuting at Venice nearly a year ago. Hailed out the gate as a strong 2008 Oscar vehicle for Charlize Theron, despite […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘The Burning Plain’ poster

Posted by · 8:29 am · July 29th, 2009

(Courtesy: Collider)

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Thoughts on ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 10:12 am · April 5th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to review Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut ever since I saw it two weeks ago, but for some reason, my thoughts on the film just won’t settle into place. It’s not a case of the film being particularly challenging or impenetrable — it’s Arriaga’s most structurally simple work to date, and arguably his […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘Plain’ brings buzz for Theron

Posted by · 2:41 am · August 30th, 2008

I’ve already said how high my hopes are for “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from one of the most interesting screenwriters in the business, Guillermo Arriaga. Now the reviews are trickling in, and they’re — predictably — mixed. Variety, as is often the case these days, provides the major buzzkill, dismissing it as “an […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

First look at ‘The Burning Plain’

Posted by · 12:34 am · August 14th, 2008

As I mentioned in my Venice preview, “The Burning Plain,” the directorial debut from screenwriter extraordinaire Guillermo Arriaga, is one of my most anticipated titles of the year. Now a new series of images from the film has been revealed – check them out here. Not much to be gleaned from them that you hadn’t […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily