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Archive for December 14th, 2010

The nominations have been announced for the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards. It was my intension to write an article regarding my thoughts on the nominated movies. As is often the case the UK is so far behind in realising some of these movies I haven’t seen enough to make an informed decision. Instead here are the nominations (movies only – not TV).

Key RED = I haven’t seen the movie: GREEN = The movie/actor I would vote for.  As you will notice there are a lot of movie I haven’t seen so my choices may change as I see them.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Burlesque
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Red
  • The Tourist

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
  • Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
  • James Franco for 127 Hours
  • Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
  • Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Nominees:Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice
  • Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman for Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Johnny Depp for The Tourist
  • Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
  • Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Version
  • Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs
  • Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (a close second)
  • Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
  • Angelina Jolie for The Tourist
  • Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right
  • Emma Stone for Easy A

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

  • Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
  • Jeremy Renner for The Town
  • Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

  • Amy Adams for The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech
  • Mila Kunis for Black Swan
  • Melissa Leo for The Fighter
  • Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom

Best Director

  • Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
  • David Fincher for The Social Network
  • Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
  • Christopher Nolan for Inception
  • David O. Russell for The Fighter

Best Screenplay

  • 127 Hours: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
  • Inception: Christopher Nolan
  • The Kids Are All Right: Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
  • The King’s Speech: David Seidler
  • The Social Network: Aaron Sorkin

Best Original Score

  • 127 Hours: A.R. Rahman
  • Alice in Wonderland: Danny Elfman
  • Inception: Hans Zimmer
  • The King’s Speech: Alexandre Desplat
  • The Social Network: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Best Animated Film

  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Biutiful
  • I Am Love
  • The Concert
  • The Edge
  • In a Better World

Winners to be announced on Sunday, January 16th 2011 just nine days before the Oscar nominations are announced.

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Review Catch-Up

The American

Gunsmith/assassin Jack (George Clooney) travels from Sweden to a small Italian town to lie low, whist there he is given a job that he decides will be his last. Although not looking for relationships or conections he soon forms a bond with an elderly priest, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and a prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido).

The marketing for the movie makes it look like a James Bond/Jason Bourne type thriller, but this is a very different beast. With a slow pace and sense of melancholy running through the movie as Jack works through an existential crisis this is a million miles away from the hitmen lying low movie In Bruges (2008) that the synopsis makes it sound like. It is equally as far removed from Jim Jarmusch’s esoteric The Limits of Control (2009). It does share the thoughtful, reflective ideals of Jim Jarmusch’s movie but is much more accessible. The uses of language (both English and Italian) is concise to a point of being almost economical pushing the viewers focus onto the stunning photography. You get the opportunity to appreciate this as the camera is often kept still, the complete antithesis of the frenzy of Bourne. Mixed up in the loneliness and melancholy the ominous inevitability of Jack’s path is blended with a sense or at least glimmer of hope.

A well made, well acted movie that is both enjoyable and rewarding but not one that will appeal to everyone.

Four Stars out of Five

 

  

* * * * *

 

Machete

At 66 years old Danny Trejo finally gets his first and possibly only starring role: Mexican Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) is betrayed by his boss who is in the pocket of druglord Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal) and left for dead. We catch up with him living illegally as a day worker in Texas where he gets involved in a converted story involving US Senator (Robert De Niro) and illegal immigrants. To put it simply and quote the original Grindhouse trailer “They soon realised, they just fucked with the wrong Mexican”

Although it has been suggested that Robert Rodriguez has had a script kicking around since the mid 90’s this movie really started life as a fake trailer as part of the Grindhouse project two years ago. The first notable thing about the movie is the incredible cast, Danny Trejo gets two leading ladies in the shape of Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. The movie also features Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan all in prominent parts, also lookout for B movie legend and Rodriguez regular Tom Savini. It isn’t fair to comment on the acting in a movie like this as it is intentionally hammy and tongue-in-cheek. The person who comes out of it best is probably Michelle Rodriguez; please give her, her own Grindhouse movie! The action is brutal and violent, the humour is dark and sometimes sick. The most surprising thing about the movie is the overt story of racial politics, this is a little intrusive at times but actually very welcome at others.

It is an easy movie to be dismissive of, this is unfair. For me it is a better movie than Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse movie Planet Terror. Like the real Grindhouse and exploitation movies of the 70’s it is disposable pulp but tremendous fun pulp. In the unlikely event of a Machete II I for one would be happy.

Four Stars out of Five.

 

 

* * * * *

 

The Tourist

Elise (Angelina Jolie) is under surveillance, the police are looking for her lover Alexander Pearce, as is Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff) the gangster he stole a large sum of money from. When she receives a note from Pearce telling her to catch a train to Venice and pickup a man of similar height and build to him it confirms suspicions that he has undergone plastic surgery to changed his identity. The van she chooses is Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), an American maths teacher on vacation. Unsurprisingly as they reach Venice the police and Shaw aren’t far behind.

An innocent man on the run after a case of mistaken identify meets a beautiful and mysterious woman on a train. Put simply it is one of the best films ever made, obviously I am talking about Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and not The Tourist. The final reveal is very similar to that of a much better movie from a few years ago (I won’t mention the name to avoid giving the plot away. But that is the problem, there isn’t much to give away, through all the twists, turns, reveals and reversals of the plot, there really isn’t that much going on and there aren’t any surprises.

It lacks the mayhem of the similarly themed Knight and Day from earlier in the year but in some ways it is better for that. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie make a strange leading couple, they are great on their own but really lack any chemistry together, this is the real detriment of the movie.

Three Stars out of Five

 

* * * * *

London Boulevard

Mitchell (Colin Farrell) gets out of prison and is determined not to go back. Old friend (Ben Chaplin) and Mob boss Mr Gant (Ray Winstone) have other ideas. A chance encounter with Penny (Ophelia Lovibond – only a bit part in this movie but look out for this girl she has star potential) leads to a job as handyman and minder for fragile and reclusive movie star Charlotte (Keira Knightley). Even with his newfound employment going straight isn’t going to be easy when everyone around him expects him to be a gangster.

The story is surprisingly simple but well constructed and paced letting the characters drive the story forward. The performances are all excellent with Colin Farrell giving a great performance again proving himself a likeable and charismatic leading man with great comic timing. Keira Knightley is perfectly cast and totally believable. Ray Winstone lends a little gravity with real gangster-movie credentials. But for the second time this year David Thewlis is the person to be watching as he steals every scene he is in.  Also listen out for a great soundtrack.

The only real flaw of the movie is that it really offers nothing new to the genre, most things it does or has to say were already done better in Layer Cake. This also makes it predicable. That said it is never boring so still worth watching.

Three Stars out of Five

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