Posts Tagged ‘Midnight in Paris’

Take a Look at Netflix’s First Drama Series “House of Cards”

November 15, 2012

Netflix is getting into the original programming game in a big way. Along with streaming your favorite movies and tv shows, the service premieres its first drama series House of Cards in February. The political thriller stars Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as a U.S. Congressman hell-bent on conquering Washington D.C. Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee Robin Wright plays his wife while SAG nominees Kate Mara (Brokeback Mountain) and Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris) co-star. The series, directed by Oscar nominee David Fincher (The Social Network), will stream all 13 episodes beginning on February 1st and judging from the trailer, Cards looks pretty fantastic. I expect it to make a big splash for Netflix as well as factoring into the Emmy race in September. Take a look at the trailer below and see if you want to play with this deck of Cards

House of Cards trailer

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It’s all about Hollywood as The Artist, Hugo and Meryl dominate the Oscars

February 27, 2012

It was a clear message heard round the Kodak (what will they change the name to?) theatre in Hollywood tonight as Hollywood honored the movies at the Oscars:  if it was about movie-making or starred our very own movie queen, it won. The Artist and Hugo, both films that are essentially love letters to movie-making, each won 5 awards while Meryl Streep, the most lauded and iconic actress of our time finally won her 3rd Oscar for her amazing work in The Iron Lady. Yes, she only has three! Despite 17 nominations, she hadn’t won since Sophie’s Choice 29 years ago, and she was arguably the most deserving winner of the night. (No disrespect to the tremendously lovely Viola Davis by the way. I swear you will get your Oscar one day!)… Speaking of deserving winners, Christopher Plummer and Ocatvia Spencer finished their dominated awards season runs picking up the Supporting Actor honors for Beginners and The Help. WIth his win, Plummer became the oldest acting winner in history at the tender age of 82!… Best Actor went to Jean Dujardin (over heavily favored George Clooney) whose film The Artist also picked up Best Picture, Director, Costume Design and Score. Hugo’s 5 wins were in the technical categories while one big surprise was the Best Editing win for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For more on all the winners and the delightful if a bit subdued broadcast hosted by Billy Crystal, head here. (Big props to the ladies of Bridesmaids and Tina Fey for bringing us the funniest moments by the way). And check out all the winners below… And let me just say I am so incredibly happy for Streep! She gave the best, classiest speech of the night and I’m just thrilled she finally won. Congrats Meryl!!!!

2012 Academy Award Winners:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Director: Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Best Cinematography: Hugo
Best Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Art Direction: Hugo
Best Costume Design: The Artist
Best Makeup: The Iron Lady
Best Original Score: The Artist     
Best Original Song: “Man or a Muppet” (The Muppets)
Best Sound Editing: Hugo
Best Sound Mixing: Hugo
Best Visual Effects: Hugo

Best Documentary: Undefeated
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Animated Film: Rango
Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Best Live Action Short Film: The Shore
Best Documentary Short Subject: Saving Face

Most Wins~
The Artist: 5
Hugo: 5
The Iron Lady: 2

My Big Bold 2012 Oscar Winner Predictions

February 23, 2012

Ok, enough with the Grammys, Globes and SAG Awards, the grand daddy of them all is here: the Academy Awards. This Sunday is the big day with the supreme Oscar host Billy Crystal returning to preside over the big day. With Crystal in command, we know the show will be hilarious, but will there be any surprises? Well, the top two acting races are just that, races between two deserving candidates. So, we could have upsets and some serious excitement. With that said, can anyone stop The Artist from sweeping? Well, take a look at my big bold Oscar winner predictions below and see.

My Big Bold 2012 Oscar Winner Predictions:

Best Picture:
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse
Will & Should win: The Artist
spoiler: Hugo
~ my sentimental fave: The Help

Best Director:
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Michael Hazanvicius (The Artist), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Will & Should win: Michael Hazanavicius
~spoiler: Martin Scorsese

Best Actor:
Demian Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Will & Should win: Jean Dujardin
~spoiler: George Clooney
* This is a super tight race and it will be close between Clooney and Dujardin. How neat would it be if the wonderful and truly deserving Bichir pulled a surprise upset here? It’s not gonna happen, but it would be lovely to see.

Best Actress:
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Will & Should win: Meryl Streep
~spoiler: Viola Davis
* ok, I’m going out on a big limb here. Conventional wisdom and smart money is on Davis (who was wonderful and would be a deserving winner). However, if you’ve seen The Iron Lady, you can’t deny Streep should win. She also hasn’t won in 30 years. Hello people!

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Will & Should win: Christopher Plummer
~spoiler: Max Von Sydow

Best Supporting Actress:
Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Will & Should win: Octavia Spencer
~spoiler: Melissa McCarthy

Best Original Screenplay:
The Artist, Bridesmaids, Margin Call, Midnight in Paris, A Separation
Will win: Midnight in Paris
Should win: Bridesmaids
~spoiler: The Artist

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Descendants, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Will Win: Moneyball
~spoiler: The Descendants
* This one will be close. I feel like they may throw a bone to The Descendants here, but I’m keeping my money on the better screenplay for Moneyball. Plus it has more overall nominations indicating wider support within the academy.

Best Cinematography:
The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, The Tree of Life, War Horse
Will win: The Tree of Life
Should win: War Horse (yes, I loved the movie, what of it?)
~spoiler: The Artist (they love some black and white)

Best Editing:
The Artist, The Descendants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball
Will win: The Artist
Should win: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
~Spoiler: Hugo

Best Animated Film:
A Cat in Paris, Chico and Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango
Will & Should win: Rango

Best Foreign Film:
Bullhead, Footnote, In Darkness, Monsieur Lahzar, A Separation
Will & Should win: A Separation
~spoiler: In Darkness

Best Original Score:
The Adventures of Tin Tin, The Artist, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse
Will & Should win: The Artist

Best Original Song:
“Man or a Muppet” (The Muppets), “Real in Rio” (Rio)
Will & Should win: “Man or a Muppet” (this would be the first ever win for a Muppet movie!)
* PS- this category is a disaster. Due to their strict rules, a ton of great and deserving songs by Mary J. Blige (The Help), Elton John (Gnomeo & Juliet), Madonna (W.E.), Pink (Happy Feet 2) and more didn’t make the cut. Blargh!

Best Art Direction:
The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, War Horse
Will win: Hugo
Should win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
~spoiler: The Artist

Best Costume Design:
Anonymous, The Artist, Hugo, Jane Eyre, W.E.
Will win: The Artist
Should win: W.E.
~spoiler: W.E.

Best Makeup:
Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, The Iron Lady
Will & Should win: The Iron Lady
~spoiler: Harry Potter

Best Sound Editing:
Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse
Will win: Hugo
Should win: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Sound Mixing:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, War Horse
Will win: Hugo
Should win: War Horse
~spoiler: Transformers

Visual Effects:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Real Steel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Will win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Should win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 (hello the Harry Potter franchise has never won an Oscar!)
~spoiler: Harry Potter

Best Documentary:
Hell and Back Again, If a Tree Falls, Paradise Lost 3, Pina, Undefeated
Will win: Undefeated
Should win: Pina
~spoiler: Paradise Lost 3
* this one is a super tight race… My first instinct is for Pina to win (and it’s the most interesting, but also the most experimental). Then, I was thinking Undefeated plays into the emotions of the academy and has a bigger profile, so it may win. It’s a real tossup with the well-known Paradise Lost series in the mix as well.

* for the shorts, shoot me an email.

Midnight in Paris, Breaking Bad, Modern Family and Homeland have the Write Stuff at the WGA Awards

February 20, 2012

Ok, yes, that pun in the title for this article was pretty bad, but I couldn’t help myself. You see writing can be fun! That’s a fact I’m sure the winners of last night’s Writers Guild Awards would agree on as the wordsmiths honored their own. Woody Allen picked up another kudo for Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris while The Descendants won Adapted Screenplay. On the TV front Modern Family, Breaking Bad and Homeland all picked up multiple awards. Check out all the big winners below, and for more on these awards, head to the WGA site here.

2012 WGA Award Winners~
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Midnight in Paris, written by Woody Allen
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY The Descendants, screenplay by by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY Better This World, written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega
DRAMA SERIES Breaking Bad, written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett
COMEDY SERIES Modern Family, written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
NEW SERIES Homeland, written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm
EPISODIC DRAMA “Box Cutter” (Breaking Bad), written by Vince Gilligan; “The Good Soldier” (Homeland), written by Henry Bromell
EPISODIC COMEDY “Caught in the Act” (Modern Family), Written by Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman
LONG FORM – “Cinema Verite,” written by David Seltzer
LONG FORM ADAPTED – “Too Big to Fail,” written by Peter Gould, Based on the book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin
ANIMATION “Homer the Father” (The Simpsons), written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY – The Colbert Report, writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Jay Katsir, Barry Julien, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Central
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS After the Academy Awards, Head Writers: Gary Greenberg, Molly McNearney; Writers: Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, John N. Huss, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jonathan Kimmel, Jacob Lentz, Danny Ricker, Richard G. Rosner
DAYTIME DRAMA General Hospital, written by Meg Bennett, Nathan Fissell, David Goldschmid, Robert Guza, Jr., Karen Harris, Elizabeth Korte, Mary Sue Price, Michele Val Jean, Susan Wald, Tracey Thomson.

A Few Thoughts on today’s Oscar Nominations…

January 24, 2012

This morning Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) announced this year’s contenders and as always we saw the front runners like The Artist and Hugo grab headlines. However, we also saw some shocking snubs and some interesting inclusions. I already posted the full nominee list, so let’s take a look at a few thoughts I have on those who will be contending for this year’s Oscar.

Favorite Nomination: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)… I was so happy to see her included in this hilarious film. She gave a wonderfully hysterical performance that had way more layers than you might expect. Comedy needs more representation at the Oscars, so this is a nice start. (Also kudos to Kristin Wiig and her Oscar nominated script for the film).

Best Surprise: Rooney Mara and all the love for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This fantastic film nabbed 5 nods in total. I just wish it was up for Best Pic and Director (David Fincher).
Biggest Snub: Michael Fassbender (Shame)… apparently his great performance may have been overlooked by his hot nekkid body? Or he cancelled himself out with other great turns in A Dangerous Method and Jane Eyre.

Other Big Snubs:
Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar)… looks like academy members really didn’t like this film, which is a shame because Leo was great
Armie Hammer (J. Edgar)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)… another film that may have been too dark and unlikable to get it’s great star a nod.
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Drive in all other categories (except sound)
Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and Young Adult… apparently this acerbic dark comedy just didn’t resonate with Oscar voters. I’m sad, cuz it was a good flick.
Steven Spielberg (War Horse) for Director
Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Alan Rickman (Harry Potter) both proved its hard to get nominated for big popcorn action films… oh and motion capture performances may never get nominated.
Elizabeth Olsen and Martha Marcy May Marlene… this great indie introduced us to a major acting star in Olsen and still got bupkiss
50/50 and Joseph Gordon Levitt… another great indie that should’ve gotten some love
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 in all big categories…. why oh why couldn’t this amazing franchise ever pull out a Best Pic nom? Especially when the final installment was clearly one of the best films of the year.

More Snubs: Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus), Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Ides of March), The Adventures of Tin Tin (in Animated film), Carey Mulligan (Shame), the casts of The Ides of March and Midnight in Paris, Beginners for Screenplay and Director (Mike Mills)

~ And a Big Boo to the voters for dissing The Help for Screenplay, Score, Song, Costume Design and Director… That wonderful film should’ve had 9 noms, not just 4.

~While I’m complaining, I just have to say yuck to all the nods for The Tree of Life. Oy vey!

Other nice inclusions:
~Demian Bichir (A Better Life)… this wonderful performance in this small indie broke through with a SAG nod and he made the list today. I’m thrilled.
~Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)… can you believe this is his first nomination? I just wish it was for a better film.
~Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Max Von Sydow... I’m so happy one of my fave films of the year finally got some love. And I was kinda shocked to see it among the 9 nominees for Best Picture.
~Moneyball grabbed more noms that The Descendants, hehe….
~W.E. got into costume design. Yes, a film by Madonna got an Oscar nod. (I just wish her Golden Globe winning song “Masterpiece” had been eligible)

Speaking of Best Song….
What the heck is wrong with that category? By having a ridiculously difficult rule of the songs needing to rate 8.5 or higher by the music branch (out of 10), only 2 songs made the cut… And the one from The Muppets wasn’t even the best song from that film…
Look at all the snubbed songs that should’ve gotten mentioned:
“Life’s a Happy Song” (The Muppets)
“Pictures in My Head” (The Muppets)
“Bridge of Light” (Happy Feet 2) by P!nk
“Hello Hello” (Gnomeo & Juliet) by Elton John
“The Living Proof” (The Help) by Mary J. Blige
“Lay Down Your Head” (Albert Nobbs) by Glenn Close, etc

So, there are just a few thoughts for you… Now, let’s see who is gonna win… I’d say The Artist is still out in front despite Hugo landing the most noms…. I still have hope for The Help too.. and Meryl better win… With that said, what are your favorite noms? And who is the worst snub? Sound off below and watch for more on the Oscars in the weeks ahead.

David Fincher and his “Dragon Tattoo” Break into the DGA Nominations

January 9, 2012

This awards season has seen a few films emerge as Oscar front-runners. Among them are The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Hugo and The Descendants. And the directors of all four of those films were nominated for the DGA Award this morning. However, the fifth nominee was a little bit of a surprise: David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have to say, while pundits are surprised, I am not. His film was my second fave of the year and I think it’s going to be a big Oscar player. I’m going out on a limb and saying the film and Fincher will both be in the Oscar race when nominations are announced in a few weeks. (I wouldn’t count out the film’s star, Rooney Mara, either. As audiences continue to find this film, they all love it)…. But the question is can Fincher win? I don’t know about that. I’d say it’s Scorcesse vs. Hazanavicius. Anywho, take a look at the nominees below and watch for the winner to be announced on January 28th in a ceremony hosted by Kelsey Grammar.

2012 Directors Guild Award Feature Film Nominees:

Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris (his 5th nomination)
David Fincher: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (3rd nom, 1 previous win for a commercial)
Michael Hazanavicius: The Artist (1st nom)
Alexander Payne: The Descendants (2nd nom)
Martin Scorcesse: Hugo (9th nom, 2 wins)

Woody Allen marks his 20th Bid with the Writers Guild Nominations

January 5, 2012

Woody Allen is a writing machine. The iconic filmmaker grabbed his 20th nomination this morning for this year’s Writers Guild Awards. His nod for Midnight in Paris could be his 5th win. However, he’ll have to fight off those plucky Bridesmaids, a man fighting cancer (50/50), down on his luck coach (Win Win), and an alcoholic mean girl (Young Adult). Missing from the list are presumed Oscar front runners The Artist and Beginners who were inelligible to compete due to strict WGA rules about scripts being written under Guild guidelines…. In the Adapted Screenplay race, front runners Moneyball, The Help and The Descendants will face off against Hugo and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… Among the big films that were snubbed despite being eligible were J. Edgar, War Horse, The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Take a look at all the nominees below.

2012 Writers Guild Film Award Nominees:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“50/50,” Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment
“Bridesmaids,” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios
“Midnight in Paris,” Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
“Win Win,” Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight
“Young Adult,” Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants,” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures
“The Help,” Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures
“Hugo,” Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures
“Moneyball,” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
“Better This World,” Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures
“Nostalgia for the Light,” Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films
“Pina,” Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects
“Position Among the Stars,” Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films
“Senna,” Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency

The Top Ten Film Ensemble Casts of 2012

December 30, 2011

We all know that it takes a village to make a great movie and luckily, 2012 had its share of wonderfully talented ensembles that made for some fantastic films. So, I decided to compile my own list of what I consider the best ensembles, top to bottom, of films over the last year. As a SAG voter, I will get to choose between the casts of The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Help, Midnight in Paris and The Descendants for Best Ensemble. Interestingly, only 2 of those films make my list… and I wonder if you can guess which ones… With that said, take a look at my choices for the Best Casts of 2012.

First Honorable Mentions…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: a fierce and ferocious Rooney Mara, a sexy and introspective Daniel Craig, a creepy fantastic Stellan Skarsgaard plus solid support from Robin Wright, Joely Richardson, Christopher Plummer and more

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen’s best film in years gave us Owen Wilson‘s best performance everywhere plus a luminous Marion Cottilard and a strong group of vets like Kathy Bates, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, Kurt Fuller, Allison Pill and Corey Stoll

My Week with Marilyn: while Michelle Williams is deservedly gaining the most applause for her brilliant turn as Marilyn Monroe, the rest of the cast was tremendous starting with likely Oscar nominee Kenneth Branaugh and then Eddie Redmayne, Julia Ormond, Emma Watson, Toby Jones, Dominic Purcell and Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench

Now onto the top tier…

Top Ten Film Ensembles of 2012:

10: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: while I didn’t love the film, the cast was pretty flawless. Gary Oldman’s stoic and simmering lead agent anchored a cast of great Brits including Benedict Cumberpatch (my have in the film), Toby Jones (again), Christian McKay, Tom hardy, Cirian Hinds and Oscar winner Colin Firth.
http://www.youtube.com/user/tinkertailormovie?v=VW-F1H-Nonk&feature=pyv&ad=15309858702&kw=tinker%20tailor%20soldier%20spy%20trailer

9. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: with a wonderful central performance from newcomer Thomas Horn and some beautiful work from Oscar winner Sandra Bullock and Oscar nominee Viola Davis, this 9/11 tribute film really socked me in the gut. Plus Max Von Sydow, Jeffrey Wright, John Goodman, Zoe Caldwell and Tom Hanks were great, not to mention a ton of small character actors that gave weight and authenticity to New York City. (This is something the film did great unlike The Descendants which cast non-actors for authenticity reasons in Hawaii and it backfired by taking you out of the scene with their poor performances).

8. 50/50: I sure hope this hilarious and heartbreaking film gets some Oscar traction next month because it deserves it. Joseph Gordon Levitt (a Golden Globe nominee) would make my final five Best Actor contenders for his triumphant performance as a young man fighting cancer. Plus the film gave us Seth Rogan’s best performance ever and great turns by Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Phillip Baker Hall, Matt Frewer and Independent Spirit nominee Anjelica Huston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ90H5HCgCw

7. The Ides of March: this political thriller had so many great elements~ a great script, strong direction and a pitch perfect cast led by Golden Globe nominee Ryan Gosling. Standouts in the supporting cast for me were Phillip Seymour Hoffman and a surprisingly great Evan Rachel Wood. Also delivering nice turns were the always reliable Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and director/star George Clooney.

6. Rampart: this dark and edgy thriller gave us a no holds barred brilliant turn by Woody Harrelson as a mess of a corrupt cop. But it also gave us a magnificent supporting cast with Brie Larson, Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon and an especially dynamic Robin Wright as the women mixed up in his life. Plus there was Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Audra MacDonald, Ned Beatty, and Ice Cube.

5. Crazy Stupid Love: the best romantic comedy of the year was hilarious, original and refreshing and boasted a flawless ensemble of cinema pros like Steve Carrell, Marisa Tomei (again), Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Emma Stone and the sexiest man on film in all of 2012, Ryan Gosling.

4. Margin Call: in this fast paced and fascinating thriller about the financial crisis of the past few years, it was hard to pick just who stood out the most. I’d give Oscar winner Kevin Spacey the slight edge, but hey it also featured Demi Moore’s best work in ages and a wily and wonderfully corrupt Jeremy Irons… not to mention Zachary Quinto showed strong leading man potential, Penn Badgely in his best role to date, and great work from Paul Bettany, Mary McDonnell, Simon Baker and Stanley Tucci.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2: the final chapter in the Harry Potter franchise was by far the best. The film was magnificent on every level and the cast was just perfect. They all rose to the occasion and we will miss them tremendously. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Gint all grew into wonderful actors over the year and I’m sure the great supporting cast of talents like Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Jason Isaacs, Julie Walters and every British luminary around helped inform their performances. But I have to single out Alan Rickman’s Oscar worthy turn as Snape as the film’s highlight. Seriously, nominate him now Academy voters!

2. Bridesmaids: the funniest movie of the year also gave us one of the best female ensembles in ages. Golden Globe nominee Kristin Wiig was a terrific ring leader for this riotous crew including Emmy nominee Rose Byrne, Wendi McLoven-Covey, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper and the standout~ SAG nominee, and soon to be Oscar nominee if you ask me, Melissa McCarthy. There were a few other funny guys in it too I have to recognize~ Jon Hamm, Chris O’Dowd, and Ben Falcone. Cant wait for a sequel!

1. The Help: I don’t think it’s a surprise that this incredibly talented and transcendent group of women are at the top of the list. (Hey, when was the last time two primarily female ensembles anchored two of the best movies of the year? Fantastic!… and it’s about time…) Led by surefire Oscar nominees Viola Davis (heartbreaking and resplendent), Octavia Spencer (fiery, hilarious and explosive) and Jessica Chastain (who gave a million amazing performances this year), the women in this film left an indelible mark. I mean you could also make a case for nominating Emma Stone (again), Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek and wondrously evil Bryce Dallas Howard. You know which film is getting my vote for the SAG Best Ensemble!

The Artist and Take Shelter face off at the Independent Spirit Awards

November 29, 2011

The award races are coming fast and furious today as the Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced this morning (after last night’s Gotham Awards and this afternoon’s NYC Critic’s Choice winners announcement). Leading the way are the big Oscar contender The Artist and the little dramatic film Take Shelter with 5 nominations apiece. Just behind with 4 bids are Drive, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Beginners and The Descendants. Interestingly, the star of The Descendants and supposed Oscar front-runner George Clooney was snubbed as were other likely contenders Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) and Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris). Take a look at all the nominees below and head to the Indie Spirit website here for more info on the show which honors the best in independent cinema (and films made in America for less than $20 million~ hence The Tree of Life was not eligible). Watch for the trophies to be handed out in early February the day before the Oscars.

2012 Independent Spirit Award Nominees:

Best Feature
The Artist
Beginners
The Descendants
Drive
50/50
Take Shelter

Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose, Think of Me
Rachael Harris, Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye, Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Male Lead
Demián Bichir, A Better Life
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Ryan Gosling, Drive
Woody Harrelson, Rampart
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston, 50/50
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana, Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks, Drive
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist 
Mike Mills, Beginners
Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Mike Mills, Beginners
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, The Descendants
Joseph Cedar, Footnote
Tom McCarthy, Win Win

Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill & Brit Marling, Another Earth
Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids
Will Reiser, 50/50
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Patrick deWitt, Terri

Best First Feature
Another Earth
In the Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection

John Cassavetes Award (for features under $500,000)
Bellflower
Circumstance
The Dynamiter
Hello Lonesome
Pariah

Best Documentary
An African Election
Bill Cunningham New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
We Were Here

Best Cinematography
The Artist
Bellflower
The Dynamiter
Midnight in Paris
The Off Hours

Best International Film
The Kid With A Bike
Melancholia
A Separation
Shame
Tyrannosaur

Robert Altman Award (for ensemble cast): Margin Call

Piaget Producers Award
Chad Burris, Mosquita y Mari
Sophia Lin, Take Shelter
Josh Mond, Martha Marcy May Marlene

~And now a list of the big names that were snubbed by today’s nominees….

Indie Spirit Snubs~
Best Actor race: George Clooney (The Descendants), Joseph Gordon Levitt (50/50)
Best Actress: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)… the last two films may have been inelligible~ I’ll have to check
Supporting Actor: Kenneth Branaugh (My Week with Marilyn)
Supporting Actress: Bernice Bejo (The Artist), Kim Wayans (Pariah), Robin Wright (Rampart)
Screenplay: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Director: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Picture: Midnight in Paris

Harry makes Historical Magic at the Box Office

July 18, 2011

Everyone knew it would be big, but did they know it would be this big? Well, I dare say I did when I say that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 would break all kinds of box office records. And it did. The film (which I gave a fantastic “A” grade too) cast its magical spell over the weekend to the tune of a huge $168.6 million giving it the best debut weekend ever besting The Dark Knight’s $158.4 million in 2008. It also broke the records for biggest midnight launch, biggest first day ($92 million), biggest international weekend and biggest worldwide weekend with a massive global take of $475.5 million in its first three days. Holy Harry! Now the question is how high will it go or how hard will it fall as the Potter films are notoriously front-loaded in terms of box office gross. I say the film will end up the highest grossing of the series in the U.S. and the world-beating the first Harry movie. Stay tuned… Faring well against the boy wizard were Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper which only slid 37% and 38% respectively in their second weekends and Midnight in Paris which slipped only 28% for a total of $41.7 million making it Woody Allen’s biggest grosser to date. (However it’s not it’s not the most attended Woody movie. That title still belongs to Annie Hall.) … Opening to poor results was the new Disney animated film, Winnie the Pooh, which was an afterthought for moviegoers taking in just $8 million. For more on the records and the box office, head to Box Office Mojo here and check out the new top ten below.

TW LW Title (click to view) Studio Weekend Gross % Change Theater Count / Change Average Total Gross Budget* Week #
1 N Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 WB $168,550,000 – 4,375 – $38,526 $168,550,000 – 1
2 1 Transformers: Dark of the Moon P/DW $21,250,000 -54.9% 3,917 -171 $5,425 $302,800,000 $195 3
3 2 Horrible Bosses WB (NL) $17,630,000 -37.7% 3,134 +94 $5,625 $60,002,000 $35 2
4 3 Zookeeper Sony $12,300,000 -38.7% 3,482 – $3,532 $42,352,000 $80 2
5 4 Cars 2 BV $8,344,000 -45.1% 3,249 -741 $2,568 $165,326,000 $200 4
6 N Winnie the Pooh BV $8,000,000 – 2,405 – $3,326 $8,000,000 $30 1
7 5 Bad Teacher Sony $5,200,000 -41.7% 2,659 -303 $1,956 $88,505,000 $20 4
8 6 Larry Crowne Uni. $2,573,000 -56.7% 2,287 -689 $1,125 $31,628,000 $30 3
9 7 Super 8 Par. $1,925,000 -60.2% 1,459 -833 $1,319 $122,242,000 $50 6
10 11 Midnight in Paris SPC $1,891,000 -28.2% 706 -113 $2,678 $41,793,000 $30 9