31 December 2007

The Movie-A-Thon Update

Crossing off Margot at the Wedding. Oh . . . and my local indie video store had the Korean Secret Sunshine DVD, but I couldn't get the audio to work. I'm pissed, but what are you gonna do?

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
There Will Be Blood
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
Starting Out in the Evening
I'm Not There
The Savages
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Orphanage

On to the main event: how is Margot at the Wedding? First off, Nicole Kidman is fantastic. It's easy to forget how good she can be when you're watching year after year of her in crappy remakes and bizarre missteps, but she really creates a great character here. Margot is bitchy, manipulative, neurotic yet completely self-deluded, indecisive, damaged, and self involved. At this time of year, it's refreshing to see an actress play a fictional human being rather than a used up singer with a receding hair line or . . . a used up male singer in a world of black and white. Kidman manages to retain watchability in every scene, even when her character's actions cause you to cringe. In the last scene, when her sister's words about her are proven true, the look of triumph on her face doesn't ring true, but it's not supposed to. Margot is still self deluded, and Baumbach allows the film to end with the audience keenly aware of it.

As for the rest of the film, it is not on as consistent a level of film making as The Kite Runner, but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed this less. Whereas The Kite Runner operated at a constant level of 'good', Margot at the Wedding takes more risks and, at the very least, goes into very uncomfortable places. Because of this, all the great moments of the film (Margot climbs a tree, the croquet game)are coupled with elements that, for whatever reason, don't seem to quite fit (the redneck neighbors, the babysitter).

Jack Black . . . I get what he was going for and understand why he was cast. I do (Baumbach wanted a Sandler/Ferrell type of performance), but I just don't think he was up for it 100%. There were too many scenes near the end of the film in which I was just not sure whether I was supposed to find his misery funny. I wasn't alone. My theater was full of nervous titters during these scenes, as if most people couldn't figure it out either. I don't know if this was due to Black's performance, the screenplay, or both. Jennifer Jason Leigh was Jennifer Jason Leigh, meaning she was good. She delivered a fine performance, and I was not at all surprised by this. It's Jennifer Jason Leigh so I expect as much.

One other quibble: What's with the shaky cam? Is this an action movie? I kept expecting to see Jason Bourne jump out of the ocean and punch Nicole Kidman in the throat. I'll give you the last few scenes (it seemed to suit those a bit better), but what was the point?

So, did I enjoy the movie? Yes and no. Part of it may have been that the relationship between Margot and her son IS my mom and my brother, and the character of Margot's son IS my brother 3 years ago. Dreams of becoming a singer, semi-depressed, odd, spotty hygiene practices . . . that IS him at that age. He even has the exact same hair style my brother has today. It's only a matter of time before the kid is playing in bars with a bunch of recovering alcoholics, wearing a leather headband, and arguing with Margot about his lifestyle. I mean, the characters were more . . . New England than my family, but it still hit close to home. So . . . no, I wouldn't call it enjoyable to watch people screw with each other for 90 minutes, but I would call it interesting. THANK YOU Noah Baumbach for telling a linear story that goes from point A to point B without starting in the middle of the story and having Jennifer Jason Leigh REMEMBER the entire plot while staring out of a window or something.

Overall, Margot at the Wedding is a film that is either working well or not really at all. At times, it can feel like Baumbach is just interested in complaining about what a shit childhood he had (I mean, he must have), but he doesn't have so much contempt for Margot that he robs her of anything compelling to say or do. You get the impression that, if given the chance, he would never choose to spend time with these people in real life, but he can't really escape them either. They're part of him, whether he likes it or not.

Worst Interview Ever

Apparently, John Cusack is NOT Kevin Spacey.

Happy New Year!

Bad ass.

Well . . . Knock Me Over With a Feather!

Daniel Day Lewis won the poll by a landslide.

29 December 2007

The BIG Movie-A-Thon Update

I decided I would do a big post, just giving my thoughts about all the movies I missed that I'm trying to absorb over the holidays. Right now, my MUST SEE list is down to:

(Crossing off Sweeney Todd, The Kite Runner, Enchanted, and The Diving Bell and The Butterfly)

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Margot at the Wedding
There Will Be Blood
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
Starting Out in the Evening
I'm Not There
The Savages
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Orphanage

It may seem like an impossible task. However, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead has checked out of theatres, Lars and the Real Girl is no where to be found, and Gone Baby Gone is just that. Oh . . . and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days isn't being released here until February or something.

So far, here are some thoughts on the films I HAVE seen in my mad movie spree. I didn't really hate anything, which is nice, but I find I rarely do. I only usually see movies I think have a chance of being good, so I don't often catch an out and out bomb.

No Country for Old Men: Your opinion of this film will probably come down to whether or not you buy into the way the Coens structure and shoot the ending. After thinking about it, I did appreciate what they manged to do, challenging what would traditionally be expected from a film of a similar ilk, painting a much bleaker portrait of the world as a result. Javier Bardem may not have been the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he was chillingly intense and terrifying throughout, earning Anton Chigurh a place in movie villain infamy. Having seen a lot of desert in Texas, I appreciated the way the Coens shot the landscape (even if a lot of it was shot in New Mexico)and captured the wind swept isolation one can feel amidst the flat grounds and sparse vegetation. Kelly MacDonald, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones seem to have been ignored, in large part, due to the juggernaut that is Bardem, but each play a part in making the film what it is.

The Kite Runner: When did linear storytelling become out of fashion? When did everyone decide 50% of films should open in the chronological middle or end of the story so that a flashback is needed to fill in the gaps? No less than 5 of the films I've seen on this film binge has done this, and I'm curious as to why. Sometimes it works, as it largely does in this film, but it's just as easy to screw it up. But nevermind . . . how is the film as a whole? I would call it good. It's not great, but it's competent and well-made. The acting is good, the screenplay is good, the direction is good . . . basically, it succeeds at everything, but never excels. I did enjoy the performances of Khalid Abdalla, previously seen in Untited 93, as Amir and Homayoun Ershad as his father, even if I wasn't always invested in what their characters were doing. The young child actors did impressive considering it was their first film, but a few of the things they were asked to say sounded unlike any child I've come across. I'm on the fence about Marc Forster . . . I really enjoyed Stranger than Fiction but, as a director, I don't know that he's quite come into his own yet. There are a few leaps in logic we're asked to make near the end but, not having read the book, I couldn't say if they are hold overs or not. Still, it's a decent film worth seeing, on the big screen even if only to appreciate the beauty that can be found in the surrounding countryside.

Away From Her: From any director, this would be a skilled and assured musing on life and love. From a first time director, it's something of a miracle that it manages to be as accomplished. It's a quiet film, a beautiful film. Julie Christie is almost borderline supporting in the movie, but she does a great job of breaking our hearts again and again. When she tells her husband, 'You confuse me . . . ,' we can still sense the brave sole her husband once knew fighting to hold on. As that husband, though, it is Gordon Pinsent who our sympathies and hearts truly go out to. As the nurse at the clinic, beautifully played by Kristen Thomson, tells him, 'It's never too late to become what you might have been,' and nothing could be more true for the character. As a man still trying to atone for past acts and demonstrate his love, the sacrifices he makes for the love of his life, the woman he still sees as a radiant, radical beauty with wind swept hair, Pinsent gives life to the character laid out marvelously by Polley in her script. Perhaps the way in which the film jumps around in time detracts from the film, but not enough to deny it a reccomendation.

Enchanted: Have I mentioned how much I love Amy Adams? Because I really do, and this film is nothing if not the Amy Adams show. Usually, I'm just another kind of a cynical, jaded college student but damned if I can't help being obsessed with this girl. Played wrong, the character of Giselle could have been one of the more annoying protagonists of the year, but Amy Adams manages to play it just right, with incredible sincerity and sweetness.There was a bit of irony in there too, but not more than the film would actually support. James Marsden is a lot of fun too, and he wears tights the whole time so . . . there's that. Patrick Dempsey usually bores me, but I liked him here. I do have to give credit to the makers of the film because, really, this story would have been unwatchable if it was chock full of too many eye winks and in jokes (ala Shrek). It's a kids' film, but I left the theatre feeling pretty entertained and have been listening to 'That's How You Know' non stop.

La Vie En Rose: Does Marion Cotillard deliver the best female performance of the decade as so many are claiming? I dont know . . . who's to say, anyway? If you said yes, I could probably come up with performances I liked better, and you, in turn, might not even like those performances. There's really no point in debating the statement, since it's unprovable. So, a better question: does she give a good performance? Yes, yes she does. It's certainly . . . gimmicky at times, but, not knowing much about Edith Piaf, it's possible she was just as eccentric and strange as Cotillard plays her. There's no debating that it's a transformation, at least physically, because I've seen Marion Cotillard and she does not jut her teeth out, nor do I suspect she will look so used up at the end of her life. The scene in which she screams 'Marcel!' and wanders through her house is heartbreaking. As for the rest of the film, I didn't mind the jumping around in time as much as everyone else seemed to (it beats yet another entry into the musical biopic formula), but it eventually got to the point where it was just impossible to place who everyone was and how they fit into her life. She had a husband, but I'm still not sure who exactly he was or when he left her. Her boss was killed with her as a suspect, but I'm still not sure where that actually fit in the timeline of her life. The film throws in a truly bizarre segment about her having a child that I still can't make heads or tails of 2 weeks later.

Eastern Promises: Did this seem pretty conventional for a Cronenberg film to anyone else? Because, if it hadn't been for the naked bathhouse fight and the intense throat slitting, this really wouldn't have seemed at all like a Cronenberg flick. Viggo Mortenson is fine, as is Naomi Watts, but I wasn't exactly bowled over by either of them. Vincent Cassel was quite annoying throughout the film, but that may have just been the character who I didn't much care for. It was certainly well made, but, when the ending inevitably came, I couldn't help feeling like what I had just watched was just a better than average crime thriller. I still much prefer it over A History of Violence, though.

Juno: I 'get' the Ellen Page thing now. I really do. She's awesome in this movie, and I THINK that, if Juno MacGuff were a real person, I would want to be friends with her. Page is as great as you've heard (although everyone has mostly seen Juno already), and the scene between her and Michael Cera in the hospital at the end shows that her characterization of the title character is more than a one trick approach. JK Simmons and Alisson Janney are her parents. I mean . . . that's amazing. Do you need an excuse to see Alisson Janney in something? Jennifer Garner finally actually did a good job in a movie worth her trouble. Do I think it deserves a nomination for Best Picture? Probably not . . . but I've made no apologies for my love of Diablo Cody and seeing her at least nominated for best screenplay would suit me just fine. I do have to question the seemingly unnecessary Rainn Wilson cameo, but I really really liked most of the movie. Oh . . . and I'm keeping my eye on this Olivia Thirlby.

Into the Wild: I went in with LOW LOW expectations. I am by no means a fan of Sean Penn. As an actor, media personality, and political whatever, I find him pretty insufferable. Imagine my surprise when, after a shaky start, I started to really get into this film. Sean Penn's dedication to his own script certainly cost the film overall, and parts of it were a bit . . . over directed, but it came together quite nicely in the end thanks, in large part, to a great group of actors delivering pretty amazing performances. Emile Hirsch, Brian Dierker, Kristen Stewart, Catherine Keener, and especially Hal Holbrook are all memorable. It's always nice to be completely surprised by a film, so I give Into the Wild major points for far exceeding my expectations.

Sweeney Todd: I don't think there is anyone better suited to this material than Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter . . . I really don't. The visuals and over the top style were just perfect for the story, and the two leads were pretty much what I would have pictured. Plus, the orchestration is fantastic. What held the film back a bit, I think, has more to do with the source material than anything Burton may have done. The main problem I had was with the two young lover characters who essentially brought the film to a stand still every time they came on screen. I don't know if this was due to the actors' themselves or just the overall blandness of the characters. I suspect Burton would have cut them out almost entirely if it wouldn't have incurred the wrath of the Sondheim-nation. Overall, though, Sweeney Todd is a wicked good time and certainly worth a trip to the theatre.

Control: I was really prepared to love this film, but it never fully came together for me. That being said, it is probably one of the more beautifully photographed films of the year, and Sam Riley does quite well as Joy Division lead Ian Curtis. Casting a relative unknown was a stroke of genius because I really don't think the film would have worked as well as it did with, say, Jonathan Rhys Meyers or someone of his ilk in the lead. The story was refreshingly straight forward: it never attempted to 'explain' how he came up with songs like in 'Ray' nor did it fly around his life, throwing vignettes at the audience and hoping they stick as the makers of 'La Vie En Rose' resorted to at the end of that film. I will always call Samantha Morton one of the finest actresses working today, and this film gives me no reason to doubt, even if her character isn't much to write home about. The first 1/3 of the film is great but, once the usual rock star trajectory starts up (drugs, screaming wives, mistresses, angry band members), one can't help but feel this is just a more stylish version of what we've seen already.

Walk Hard: I dunno . . . I feel like this movie could have been a lot funnier at points. Don't get me wrong. I laughed, but not as much as I would have liked. The definite high point was the songs that worked both as parodies and songs that could have believably existed in the era of music they were aping. John C. Reilly and Jenna Fisher were on their A-game, there were some great gags . . . but it never quite became the 'Spinal Tap' or 'Airplane!' that it wanted to become. Part of this is that, for all the truly great bits (John C. Reilly aping Bob Dylan as his back up singers claim, 'It's DEEP'), there were parts that were just too broad to land on target (Jonah Hill's from another movie role as the ghost of Reilly's brother). It's a definite rental, but I don't think it's necessarily something you'd need to rush out and see.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Keeping in mind how far behind I am, I can confidently call this at least my #2 film of the year (Once is fighting for the top spot with this). It deserves pretty much every ounce of praise it's getting, and Persepolis better be a damn fine movie to justify passing this up as France's entry into the Foreign Oscar race. This is a FANTASTICALLY directed and written piece of work. Schnabel manages to take a story about a paralyzed man who communicates through blinking and turn it into the one of the most engrossing and lyrical films this year. I was surprised about how funny it was, how much I grew to love these characters. Through only what we see in their interaction with the main character, these people grow into human beings. When they leave the room, we miss them just as much as our protagonist does. The actresses in this film better appreciate Schnabel, because I doubt they'll ever be seen lovelier.

I also caught Stardust, which I was thoroughly prepared to hate, and I actually really enjoyed myself, Claire Danes and all. Oh . . . Michelle Pfeiffer is more awesome then ever, and Charlie Cox is adorable.

That is all.

Amy Adams is Jesus.

There's really no other explanation.

Despite the grossest image of cockroaches I think I've ever seen, 'Enchanted' was fun. I adore Amy Adams, now more than ever.


27 December 2007


The grand event is found here.

So, Keira and James are on AOL's Unscripted to ask each other a few questions, some of which were submitted by people like ME. AND THEY USED MY QUESTION! JAMES MCAVOY ASKED KEIRA KNIGHTLEY THE FUCKING QUESTION I SUBMITTED. This is such a weird thing to get excited about, but I'm doing it anyway.

(By the way, Will from Dallas, TX . . . thanks for asking)

25 December 2007

The Movie-a-Thon Update

Crossing off: Eastern Promises, Juno, and Walk Hard

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Margot at the Wedding
There Will Be Blood
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
The Kite Runner
Starting Out in the Evening
I'm Not There
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Savages
Sweeney Todd
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Orphanage

23 December 2007

Wong Kar Wai Knows How to End a Film

This post is a part of The Endings-Blog-A-Thon over at Joe's Movie Corner.

I would be shocked if I were the only person to mention Wong Kar Wai for this blog-a-thon. One of today's finest filmmakers, WKW has managed to create a new, distinctive visual style along with his frequent collaborator Christopher Doyle. His films are gorgeously cinematic, well-crafted and impressionistic. In what are, in my opinion, his 3 greatest films, WKW goes out with a bang, ending each movie with a beautifully realized snap shot of Hong Kong. We exit these characters' lives as a song fills the soundtrack and the camera cuts away, leaving them to continue on with their existence.

But enough talk. There's really no way of understanding the magic of these endings without seeing them.

Chungking Express

Fallen Angels

Happy Together

Here are some other great endings. They have nothing to do with Wong Kar Wai, but they do all end with music, so there ya go.

Cruel Intentions

Cinema Paradiso

The Graduate

Harold & Maude

Longer 'My Blueberry Nights' trailer


UPDATE: Movies I Still Need to See This Year

Crossing off: No Country for Old Men, La Vie en Rose, Into the Wild, Away from Her, Control

Eliminating: The Golden Compass (haven't exactly heard good things . . . )

I rented Eastern Promises, and I'm seeing Juno tomorrow. Yeah!

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Margot at the Wedding
There Will Be Blood
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
The Kite Runner
Starting Out in the Evening
I'm Not There
Walk Hard
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Savages
Eastern Promises
Sweeney Todd
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Orphanage
Secret Sunshine (Does this even have a U.S. release date yet?)

Well . . . after 2 days of air travel, I'm home!

Later Australia!

13 December 2007

Confession Time

I've had a crush on Justin Bartha ever since I got dragged to National Treasure .

AND I watched several episodes of that awful sitcom Teachers. for him.

AND I rented Failure to Launch so that I could fast forward to all the parts that involved him and Zooey Deschanel (with a few Bradley Cooper detours).

I have a sickness.

I can't help it! He's adorable.

Mamma Mia! has a trailer

Is there anything Meryl can't do? Because, if there is, I haven't found it yet.

Of course I'm seeing this. How can I pass up Stellan Skargard, Colin Firth, and Pierce Brosnan singing ABBA? Throw in Amanda Seyfried (who, along with Rachel McAdams, stole Mean Girls right out from under Lilo) in a lead role and a shirtless Dominic Cooper, and you've got me.

Just one thing: why does everyone look so orange? It's like Charlize Theron's spray tan gone bad from the 2003 Oscars all over the place.

Hey, Hollywood Foreign Press

No Once? Not even for best song? Are you kidding me? But you have PLENTY of room for Evan Rachel Wood's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

And what's all this The Great Debaters business? I can understand the snub of Into the Wild . . . you obviously just don't want Sean Penn to come to your big party. It's ok, I wouldn't either, but still. It hurts me.

On the bright side, good call on Bryce Dallas Howard. She rocked that movie.

Open Letter to Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,
If you're ever thinking of casting this:

Might I suggest a couple of alternatives:

No one is more suprised than I am that I really dug Into the Wild, partially thanks to those two. Just something to think about.


12 December 2007

Is There Anyone More Adorable than Christina Ricci?

Don't you just love the way she says, "I'm Christina Ricci . . . "? It's so adorable. I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this Speed Racer movie, I don't think I've ever actually seen the cartoon, but it's great to see her getting more big roles.

And by the way, I still haven't seen a performance by an actress I liked more this year than Ricci in Black Snake Moan.

Bad ass.

AND . . . here's Emile Hirsch being hot.

Asia Argento is Not a Vampire

I saw Tony Gatliff's film Transylvania in Melbourne last night and, despite the presence of horror princess Asia Argento, the film has absolutely nothing to do with vampires. Part travelogue and part exploration of two masochistic lost souls, this incredibly strange, surreal, lonely, music-filled journey is unlike anything I can recall seeing before. If nothing else, it proves that cinema is not dead: not every film is manufactured in pitch meetings and script workshops. This is clearly a film not overly designed to appeal to any audience at all-perhaps explaining its practically nonexistent release outside of film festivals and special retrospectives since its Cannes debut in 2006-and, for better or worse, this is no doubt the film Tony Gatliff wanted to make, directorial flourishes and all.

Asia Argento . . . she's getting there. Though not a great actress, she's earned her place in history already, I think, by sheer measure of her persona and willingness to go places few would have the balls to explore, say french kissing a dog. In terms of physicality, she's incredibly skilled in the ways she's able to use her body. She can brandish it violently, smashing herself up against a wall in a moment of ecstasy and deep sorrow, or twist it painfully and quietly into a crumpled ball of limbs and self-induced isolation. Hurling herself full force into a musical cyclone and smashing dishes with the flick of a hand, Argento is able to bring the character to life.

It is in her line readings, during scenes that call her to sell the character in words rather than physical manifestations, that Argento never quite manages to reach the point of believability required of her. Her voice often settles into an off-putting monotone that, in quiter moments, can undermine the inner complications and emotions meant to come through in what she is saying.

Aided by often remarkable shots of a countryside not normally used in film and a truly impressive collection of folk music, Transylvania is not easy an easy film to reccomend nor is it easy to dismiss as yet another self-indulgent festival film created by a director trying to force more of his vision into 100 minutes than it can support. I am unsure if the film works on every level, I suspect that it does not, but the ways in which the film both indulges in its own artistry and refuses to go out of it way to cater to the personal tastes of anyone other than its own makers are strangely admirable. Even if you don't like Transylvania, it's nice to know a film like it can be made at all.

11 December 2007

Poll Results!

According to you guys, Cotillard and Linney are in a race to win the Oscar with the duo tied with the most votes. Personally, I think it's between Cotillard and Christie.

Next up, best actor.

03 December 2007

Bud Cort . . . you sly devil!

I love Harold and Maude.

Oh . . . I couldn't NOT post the personality interview.


Now, Dave Karger is kind of a tool, and I literally had the urge to gouge his eyes out (yeah . . . I said his) everytime someone thought he was a good Ebert replacement and decided to let him be on television, but I'm not one to pass up a James McAvoy interview.


When I wasn't sending hate vibes at Dave Karger, I thought of a few things:

-Is this promoting a movie or the magazine? It's really a great coincidence that the Lobby Lounge has Entertainment Weekly magazine all over its tables.

-I want to see this movie!

-In 10 years, when one of his scripts gets turned into a movie, I'm going to see it.

-I want to see this movie!

-I really hate my internet connection . . . and Dave Karger.

02 December 2007

The Golden Compass boycotters . . .

The pictures grow when you click 'em.

If you look on Facebook, there are SO MANY groups like this. It's hilarious and tragic at the same time. I chose this one, really, because it's clear the person who started it really doesn't know anything about the books outside of a two sentence synopsis they read on the internet somewhere.

My favorite, though, has to be this one:

Read it and you'll figure out why.

01 December 2007

The (Reevaluated) Movies I Still Want to See This Year

In no particular order . . . :

No Country For Old Men
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Margot at the Wedding
There Will Be Blood
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
The Kite Runner
Starting Out in the Evening
I'm Not There
Away From Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Savages
The Golden Compass
Sweeney Todd
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Into the Wild
The Orphanage
Secret Sunshine (Does this even have a U.S. release date yet?)

I KNOW! I'm way behind. What do you want from me? I'm going to spend the entire Christmas holiday in movie theatres.

I also haven't seen American Gangster, In the Valley of Elah, Eastern Promises, or Lust, Caution, but I'm not in a particular rush to see those.

And I guess I should see La Vie en Rose at some stage but . . . eh

30 November 2007

'In Bruges' trailer

If I'd grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't . . . so it doesn't

Didn't know there were any prostitues in Bruges.

You just have to look in the right places . . . brothels are good

AND . . . I'm not gonna quote that last one except to say that Ralph Fiennes looks incredible (who knew he was funny?) and that I can already tell you people will be quoting this movie incessantly. I will be one of those people.

Hooray for Australian Cinema! (Part 2)

Peter Carstairs' September is a much better film than it has any right to be. The plot, when read as a 3 sentence synopsis, sounds like every coming-of-age tale you've ever read or seen, but this movie really is so much more. In his impressive first outing as a director, Carstairs' manages to take the story of the friendship between two boys, one white and one aboriginal, in 1968 Western Australia and use it to both critique Australia for its intolerant past and celebrate it for all its resilience and beauty.

The fields and skies of Australia have, in my admittedly limited experience, rarely been filmed as majestically or lovingly as they are here. Most of the action, wisely, takes place outdoors, in the middle of windswept fields and on the roof tops of farm houses. Every scene is full of Australia. At times, it's the film's third lead, for no scene in this film would have worked nearly as well transplanted elsewhere.

The two leads, Xavier Samuel and especially Clarence John Ryan, have the added benefit of being relatively unknown (to me, anyway) and do a fine job navigating their way through the adolescent akwardness of their characters. Mia Wasikowska, as the inevitable object of one character's affection, is filmed just as adoringly as the scenery around her and manages to leave an impression despite her relatively limited screen time.

The best performance, however, is given by Kieran Darcy-Smith as the father of Xavier Samuel's character, a man struggling to be both a realistic businessman and a progressive thinker in a situation supporting neither.

There are weak points, mainly with the adult Aboriginal characters who are too underwritten to make the film a truly balanced exercise, and a few scenes suffer from clunky historical dialog, most notably in a classroom discussion of the Apollo missions. Overall, though, the film's high points much outnumber its fumbles.

Not much more need be said about the plot. Twenty minutes in, it's doubtful you won't have already guessed where this is all going. The boys build a boxing ring for playful sparring, thus they come to blows for real near the end. One of them has a crush on a girl, thus this girl will cause a wedge between them (though maybe not in the way you expect). This is classic 'Chekhov's gun'. But, in the end, this film is really about Australia: its majesty, its history, its people.

One minor quibble: I would just like to say that never in my life have I seen a pair of bright red boxing gloves in the window of a small country grocery store. I haven't exactly visited a lot of small country grocery stores, but I would be very surprised to see them there.

Patricia Clarkson Reads the Phone Book

No, seriously . . . she does. Well, technically The Yellow Pages.

This WGA strike is bringing the funny.

29 November 2007

New (Supposed) Image Leaked from 'Avatar'

According to Ain't It Cool News, this is a conceptual image of an alien from the up-coming James Cameron sci-fi epic. It seems to match up with previously leaked images, so I'm pretty confident in believing it's legit.

Thoughts on it? As AICN points out, it's a little Angelina Jolie in Beowulf, but it's still clearly a work in progress.

EDIT: According to Entertainment Weekly, this is 100% fake. WHOOPS!

To celebrate the release of 'Enchanted'

Maybe the bestest GAP advert ever.

I suddenly want lots of wool sweaters.

Why does this man get dumped in every movie? Why? Who is Kate Bosworth to be dumping this guy, anyway? Why isn't he a leading man yet? I have SO MANY questions . . .

28 November 2007

Guess who recently followed in the footsteps of 3 drag queens!

I didn't climb King's Canyon in a gown and high heels, but I still geeked out enough to take a picture.

Well, waddya know?

Alright Adam . . . maybe it's more of a dark horse contender than I would have thought. I still don't see Best Picture happening, but it might actually be pretty good.

27 November 2007

Laura Linney is God

I know everyone has already seen this, but I'm posting it anyway. The YouTube channel actually has 10 or so more videos like this, but none are as good.

I do like the one featuring Holly Hunter, but that may just be because I love Holly Hunter.

New Poll!

So, rather than come up with predictions for who I think will win the Oscars this year, I thought it might be fun to put a poll up on the blog to determine the general consensus. First up is best actress.

Wow . . . she might actually win.

And you know what else? I'm 100% okay with that.

How weird is best actress this year, though? A virtually unknown (in the U.S.) French actress, a Disney princess, and a previous winner from a film LONG out of theaters are essentially the frontrunners.

EDIT: Guess not

26 November 2007


From Cinematical:
In just a week's time, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy will interview each other for Moviefone's Unscripted series using your questions.

If they use my questions, I might as well stop living. There will be nothing left for me to achieve.


I'm gonna post something soon . . . I swear!

20 November 2007

Amy Adams is Amazing

Q&A with Entertainment Weekly

I'm a little bit intimidated by my animated self, I have to say.


Because she was hot! [Laughs] And of course, that's what you will print.

Happy Birthday Jodie!

Celebrate by making more movies . . . please!

Otherwise, I may just have to plaster this picture all over the place.

Don't make me do it.

19 November 2007

The Writers' Strike Begins to Affect Hollywood

Via Variety
It was bound to happen eventualy. The writers' strike has begun delaying the production of large scale film projects. Here's the notable ones:

Mira Nair's Shantaram- Based on a novel by Gregory Dacid Roberts, this crime film is set to star Johnny Depp as an escaped convict reinventing himself in the criminal underbelly of Bombay and Afghanistan.

Oliver Stone's Pinkville- Always a controversial director, Stone's look at the My Lai Massacre is set to star Bruce Willis, Michael Pitt, Channing Tatum, and Woody Harrelson.

Rob Marshall's Nine- This adaptation of the Broadway musical '9' is set to star Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Sohia Loren, and Marion Cotillard.

Oh..and Ron Howard's Angels and Demons is delayed too. I can't imagine who exactly is clamoring for a sequel to the movie that somehow made Amélie herself as bland as Tom Hanks' hair was frightening, but those people will just have to wait to see another of Dan Brown's bizarrely succesful books come to the screen.

Maybe if I . . . insert dramatic pauses . . . every three words . . . people will think . . . the script isn't crap.