Could Woody Allen be a surprise Best Director nominee?

Posted by · 8:25 am · December 15th, 2008

In 1994, Woody Allen’s masterful “Bullets Over Broadway” was not really on anyone’s charts as a potential Oscar nominee. A very funny film about a playwright who enlists a gangster to help him bring life and reality to his play, it was one of Allen’s best works with hysterically funny performances from John Cusack, the […]

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9/30 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:40 am · September 30th, 2008

• Mark Olsen reports on the first U.S. screening of German foreign film Oscar entry “The Baader-Meinhof Complex.” [The Big Picture] • Jeffrey Wells passes along a note from an exhibitor acquaintance who thinks “Milk” is a home run, but “Frost/Nixon” is a bit stale. [Hollywood Elsewhere] • Then he picks the five likely Best […]

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Best Original Screenplay: beyond the obvious

Posted by · 8:11 am · September 21st, 2008

Everyone has a favourite Oscar category, and Best Original Screenplay is mine. It’s partly because I’m a screenwriter myself, so I feel a little more invested in the outcome. My evaluation of the category often comes down to the question: “Which screenplay do I most wish I’d written first?” More importantly, however, it’s the category […]

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Ken Turan’s video review of ‘Vicky’

Posted by · 1:34 pm · August 15th, 2008

Huh? I just came across this at Awards Daily, but it seems that Kenneth Turan is doing video reviews now. The first one (well, the first one I’ve seen, anyway) is for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Turan liked the film, though he considers it “only sporadically entertaining.” But the real story here has to […]

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Woody through the years

Posted by · 9:31 am · August 8th, 2008

He may be the finest American screenwriter of the last 40 years, having redefined the romantic comedy, explored relationships with a biting audacity and authenticity, provided women with marvelous roles,  and like all great writers, exposed a portion of his soul on screen. Now in his 70s, Woody Allen seems poised to once again become […]

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REVIEW: “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (***1/2)

Posted by · 2:27 pm · August 5th, 2008

It is difficult to argue against the notion that filmmaker Woody Allen has been showing signs of tiresome decline. Successes have been few and far between for a number of years, while his recent failures pale next to the interesting missteps of his early career. His work has become, more often than not, a paint-by-numbers […]

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POLL: Which recently off-his-game director do you expect to hit paydirt this Oscar season?

Posted by · 2:14 pm · August 4th, 2008

It’s been a couple of weeks since we introduced a new sidebar poll — tons going on, apologies. But suffice it to say, “The Dark Knight” beat out eight other highly regarded comic book films to be the readers’ choice for best all-time in the genre. No shock there, though it took more votes than […]

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RIP Charles H. Joffe

Posted by · 6:01 am · July 15th, 2008

We sure are losing a lot of valuable talents this year. You have probably already heard about the passing of Charles H. Joffe, the veteran comic manager best known as Woody Allen’s longtime producer, and the co-winner of the 1977 Best Picture Oscar for “Annie Hall.” (Not as well known is that he guided the […]

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Sight & Sound weighs in on Cannes

Posted by · 5:15 am · June 9th, 2008

OK, so Cannes is old news, but for me it’s never really over until Sight & Sound prints its annual Cannes review – for my money, the British magazine offers the most expansive and thoughtful coverage of the festival around. It’s not available online, but it’s worth grabbing a copy if you can. Meanwhile, I’ve […]

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Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

Posted by · 11:31 am · May 29th, 2008

Trained as an actor at Sanford Meisner’s famed Neighborhood Playhouse — the stomping grounds of Robert Duvall — Sydney Pollack connected to actors because he was one of them…and a damned fine one at that. In fact, his comedy “Tootsie” is not only the greatest American comedy ever made, it is also the greatest study […]

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As Cannes winds down, TIFF looms…

Posted by · 9:35 am · May 23rd, 2008

With Cannes on the downswing, it becomes time to to start making preparations for the annual Toronto International Film Festival, for which screening announcements begin next month. I have been covering Toronto for more than 15 years and can safely say it is Christmas to a film critic. Each September I move into the Delta […]

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Whew…

Posted by · 3:32 am · May 18th, 2008

I’m sure I’m not the only one who heaved a sigh of relief after reading some of the reviews of Woody Allen’s latest, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which recently premiered out of competition at Cannes. The consensus appears to be that the film, while unlikely to enter the canon of his greatest, is an attractive, frothy […]

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Oscarweb Round-up (Week of 5/12)

Posted by · 6:16 pm · May 15th, 2008

Reintroducing the Oscarweb Round-ups you probably caught at Red Carpet District last season, I thought it might be worth it to try it on a weekly basis here at In Contention — until the daily onslaught hits us again in a few months. –Peter Debruge writes up the Student Academy Award winners. [Thompson on Hollywood] […]

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Sean Penn might be the greatest living actor

Posted by · 6:29 am · May 7th, 2008

After writing my piece on the recent Best Actor winners and non-winners I was rather shocked at the number of comments on Sean Penn’s astounding performance in “Mystic River,” a performance I believe to rank with the best of Brando, Duvall, Nicholson and De Niro. I love debate, I love to talk film, and best […]

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Kudos season starts here: Cannes lineup is out

Posted by · 12:24 pm · April 23rd, 2008

So Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob has revealed the lineup for this year’s competition… and it’s a doozy. Suffice to say that next month we’ll have some clarity on at least three of the titles being talked up for next year’s derby, all from formidable Oscar champs – Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York,” Clint […]

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REVIEW: “Match Point” (**1/2)

Posted by · 9:19 pm · November 29th, 2005

The problem with Woody Allen’s most recent effort, the multi-lauded Cannes favorite “Match Point” is that we’ve seen it all before. The writer/director has approached the exact same territory before albeit on this side of the pond. But deeper than that, it seems the extremely positive critical reception has more to do with a longing […]

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