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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Cahill’

Three years to the day after my first ever post (incidentally about the upcoming Oscars) I am here to announce the 1st Annual Groovers Movie Awards. No nominations, just winners. Ten categories, most of which are the same or similar to those in other awards. The award itself named the “Dom” is modelled after a Dom Pérignon bottle (you need to watch Fandango to understand the relevance) and will remain virtual unless Moët want to step in as a sponsor me.

Best Movie:

The Artist: A virtually silent black and white movie with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio about the end of the silent movie era doesn’t sound very exciting. The result is totally stunning, charming and funny. The overwhelming favourite for the pest picture Oscar. 

Best Director:

Martin Scorsese for Hugo: Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema is a stunning film beautifully made and even achieving the seemingly impossible task of making 3D work. 

Best Actress:

Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin: Missing out to Meryl Streep at the BAFTAs and completely overlooked by the Oscars, Tilda Swinton was my only contender for best actress.

Best Actor:

Brendan Gleeson for The Guard: Missing out to Jean Dujardin for The Artist in Golden Globes and pretty much overlooked by other awards, Brendan Gleeson reminded us what a great actor he is.

Best Screenplay:

Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear for We Need to Talk About Kevin: Notable not only for how well written it is, but for what a tough job it must have been given the unusual structure of the source novel.

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Skin I live in: Winner of the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language but not submitted for the equivalent Oscar (Spain chose to submit the as yet not released in the UK, Black Bread) sees Auteur Pedro Almodóvar at his bizarre best.

Best Documentary:

Senna: Not only the best documentary of the year, but the best documentary I have seen in many years.

Best Looking Movie:

Melancholia: An amalgam of many awards including Cinematography, Production Design and Art Direction. Melancholia wins the award for being the most beautiful looking movie of the year.

Movie Stars of the year:

Best actor and actress awards age given for the for individual outstanding performances but the movie star of the year award is given for an outstanding performances in multiple films in a year:

Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Tree of Life, The Debt, Take Shelter)

Michael Fassbender (Shame, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre)

Fandango Award:

Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. It gives its name to this award for the best breakout filmmakers of the year. The award is shared between two movies that interestingly were both co-written by their director and star:

Nick Damici and Jim Mickle for Stake Land

Mike Cahill and Brit Marling for Another Earth

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Driving home from a party promising young student Rhoda (Brit Marling) hears a radio DJ describe a new earth like planet that has been discovered. She is distracted by the sight of the planet and causes an accident killing the family of music professor John Burroughs (William Mapother – cousin of Tom Cruise). After being released from prison four years later, Rhoda is looking for direction and redemption in her meagre existence and in her menial job. She is also in pursuit of a place on the first flight to “Earth 2” for reasons that are not clear to her.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a sci-fi movie, the new planet is always there in the background and in the thoughts of the characters but just as in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia this is a movie about people. Taking successful and ambitious characters and breaking them creates an interesting dynamic that defines the tone of the film. Its hard to make a compelling movie if the audience dislikes or has no connection the main protagonist, but how do you make a connection with a character whose selfish and careless actions have had such an effect? Rhoda is isolated from society and her family, but the isolation is self imposed, as if she feels the enforced exile of her prison sentence was inadequate. We follow Rhoda throughout the movie, she is in just about every scene, with this exposure we are forced to explore the psychology of the character and her actions. With this, we see her crime and her search for redemption, the camera, and with it us the audience are both accuser and conscience for her actions and her character, this is how we feel for her.

All of this would have fallen flat with anything less than a strong central performance, however this movie is elevated by a stunning performance by Brit Marling, who wrote the movie along with (first time) director Mike Cahill. I don’t know if the film has the profile to be an Oscar contender, but it really should. Debuting at the Sundance Film Festival and being picked up by Fox Searchlight, it is an independent movie with a growing profile.

It is easy to draw comparisons with other movies like Melancholia, Rabbit Hole and even Journey to the Far Side of the Sun but this is very much its own movie whose meaning and message are open to interpretation, it is all the better for it. Whatever your thoughts I hope you agree that it is an engaging movie made by people who love what they are doing, most notably Brit Marling who is surly destined for stardom. 

Four Stars out of Five

★★★★

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