2008: A Cinematic Odyssey

Film Reviews and Other Pop Culture Happenings

Archive for December, 2008

Film Update – 15 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 14, 2008

Here’s a re-cap of the films I’ve seen from 2008 so far and what I think of them:

  • Jumper / F
  • High School Musical 3: Senior Year / D-
  • You Don’t Mess With the Zohan / D-
  • Rambo / D-
  • 27 Dresses / D+
  • The Incredible Hulk / C-
  • I Could Never Be Your Woman / C-
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull / C-
  • 21 / C
  • Bonneville / C+
  • Cloverfield / C+
  • Then She Found Me / B-
  • Charlie Bartlett / B-
  • Get Smart / B-
  • Religulous / B-
  • The Life Before Her Eyes / B
  • Pineapple Express / B
  • Quantum of Solace / B
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall / B
  • Be Kind Rewind / B
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day / B+
  • Wanted / B+
  • Tropic Thunder / B+
  • Kung Fu Panda / B+
  • Iron Man / B+
  • Blindness / B+
  • Funny Games / B+
  • Changeling / B+
  • Gran Torino / B+
  • [Rec] / A-
  • Burn After Reading / A-
  • In Bruges / A-
  • Happy-Go-Lucky / A-
  • Frost/Nixon / A-
  • The Reader / A-
  • Rachel Getting Married / A
  • The Wrestler / A
  • Doubt / A
  • WALL-E / A+
  • The Dark Knight / A+
  • Milk / A+
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / A+
  • Slumdog Millionaire / A+

I still need to see Revolutionary Road, I’ve Loved You So Long, Frozen River, The Visitor, Bolt, Defiance and a few others before I can sum up the year.

But for now, this is what I rate the year as a whole:

2008 / A-

A great year for film… not nearly as good as 2007, but better than most other years this decade.

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The Golden Globe Nominations Announced Today!

Posted by Jesse on December 11, 2008

This morning at 8 AM, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, along with its four celebrity presenters (Brooke Shields, Rainn Wilson, Elizabeth Banks and Terrence Howard) announced the nominees for the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

The nominees are as follows:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Eileen Atkins / “Cranford”
  • Laura Dern / Recount
  • Melissa George / “In Treatment”
  • Rachel Griffiths / “Brothers & Sisters”
  • Dianne Wiest / “In Treatment”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in  a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Neil Patrick Harris / “How I Met Your Mother”
  • Denis Leary / Recount
  • Jeremy Piven / “Entourage”
  • Blair Underwood / “In Treatment”
  • Tom Wilkinson / “John Adams”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

  • Sally Field / “Brothers & Sisters”
  • Mariska Hargitay / “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
  • January Jones / “Mad Men”
  • Anna Paquin / “True Blood”
  • Kyra Sedgwick / “The Closer”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

  • Gabriel Byrne / “In Treatment”
  • Michael C. Hall / “Dexter”
  • Jon Hamm / “Mad Men”
  • Hugh Laurie / “House M.D.”
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers / “The Tudors”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical

  • Christina Applegate / “Samantha Who?”
  • America Ferrera / “Ugly Betty”
  • Tina Fey / “30 Rock”
  • Debra Messing / “The Starter Wife”
  • Mary-Louise Parker / “Weeds”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical

  • Alec Baldwin / “30 Rock”
  • Steve Carell / “The Office”
  • Kevin Connolly / “Entourage”
  • David Duchovny / “Californication”
  • Tony Shalhoub / “Monk”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Judi Dench / “Cranford”
  • Catherine Keener / An American Crime
  • Laura Linney / “John Adams”
  • Shirley MacLaine / Coco Chanel
  • Susan Sarandon / Bernard and Doris

Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Ralph Fiennes / Bernard and Doris
  • Paul Giamatti / “John Adams”
  • Kevin Spacey / Recount
  • Kiefer Sutherland / 24: Redemption
  • Tom Wilkinson / Recount

Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Bernard and Doris
  • “Cranford”
  • “John Adams”
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • Recount

Best Television Series – Comedy/Musical

  • “Californication”
  • “Entourage”
  • “The Office”
  • “30 Rock”
  • “Weeds”

Best Television Series – Drama

  • “Dexter”
  • “House M.D.”
  • “In Treatment”
  • “Mad Men”
  • “True Blood”

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
  • Maria Larssons eviga ogonblick
  • Gomorra
  • Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve Loved You So Long)
  • Waltz with Bashir

Best Animated Film

  • Bolt
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL-E

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Clint Eastwood / Changeling
  • Alexandre Desplat / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • James Newton Howard / Defiance
  • Hans  Zimmer / Frost/Nixon
  • A.R. Rahman / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • “I Thought I Lost You” / Bolt
  • “Once in a Lifetime” / Cadillac  Records
  • “Gran Torino” / Gran Torino
  • “Down to Earth” / WALL-E
  • “The Wrestler” / The Wrestler

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Eric Roth, Robin Swicord / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • John Patrick Shanley / Doubt
  • Peter Morgan / Frost/Nixon
  • David Hare / The Reader
  • Simon Beaufoy / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Danny Boyle / Slumdog Millionaire
  • Stephen Daldry / The Reader
  • David Fincher / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Ron Howard / Frost/Nixon
  • Sam Mendes / Revolutionary Road

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

  • Amy Adams / Doubt
  • Penelope Cruz / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis / Doubt
  • Marisa Tomei / The Wrestler
  • Kate Winslet / The Reader

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

  • Tom Cruise / Tropic Thunder
  • Robert Downey Jr. / Tropic Thunder
  • Ralph Fiennes / The Duchess
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman / Doubt
  • Heath Ledger / The Dark Knight

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

  • Rebecca Hall / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Sally Hawkins / Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Frances McDormand / Burn After Reading
  • Meryl Streep / Mamma Mia!
  • Emma Thompson / Last Chance Harvey

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

  • Javier Bardem / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Colin Farrell / In Bruges
  • James Franco / The Pineapple Express
  • Brendan Gleeson / In Bruges
  • Dustin Hoffman / Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Anne Hathaway / Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie / Changeling
  • Meryl Streep / Doubt
  • Kristin Scott Thomas / Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve Loved You So Long)
  • Kate Winslet / Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Leonardo DiCaprio / Revolutionary Road
  • Frank Langella / Frost/Nixon
  • Sean Penn / Milk
  • Brad Pitt / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke / The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical

  • Burn After Reading
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • In Bruges
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • The Reader
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Slumdog Millionaire

And those are the nominations.

I think there were many snubs and many inclusions which are definitely not deserved.

But then again, the Golden Globes are all about star-power and who they can reel onto the red carpet. So I can’t say I’m surprised.

I will have more to say about the nominations later today.

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Oscar Predictions – 8 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 8, 2008

Okay, let’s get right into this. My predictions for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Animated Film will be posted here today.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL-E
  • Waltz with Bashir

Best Costume Design

  • Catherine Martin / Australia
  • Jacqueline West / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Jenny Beavan / Defiance
  • Michael O’Connor / The Duchess
  • Albert Wolsky / Revolutionary Road

Best Art Direction

  • Catherine Martin / Australia
  • Donald Graham Burt / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Nathan Crowley / The Dark Knight
  • Briggite Broch / The Reader
  • Kristi Zea / Revolutionary Road

Best Cinematography

  • Mandy Walker / Australia
  • Claudio Miranda / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Wally Pfister / The Dark Knight
  • Chris Menges / The Reader
  • Roger Deakins / Revolutionary Road

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Roth / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • John Patrick Shanley / Doubt
  • Peter Morgan / Frost/Nixon
  • Justin Haythe / Revolutionary Road
  • Simon Beaufoy / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay

  • Dustin Lance Black / Milk
  • Jenny Lumet / Rachel Getting Married
  • Woody Allen / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Andrew Stanton / WALL-E
  • Robert D. Siegel / The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actress

  • Taraji P. Henson / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Viola Davis / Doubt
  • Rosemarie DeWitt / Rachel Getting Married
  • Kate Winslet / The Reader
  • Penélope Cruz / Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor

  • Heath Ledger / The Dark Knight
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman / Doubt
  • Josh Brolin / Milk
  • James Franco / Milk
  • Michael Shannon / Revolutionary Road

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Meryl Streep / Doubt
  • Sally Hawkins / Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Anne Hathaway / Rachel Getting Married
  • Kate Winslet / Revolutionary Road

Best Actor

  • Frank Langella / Frost/Nixon
  • Clint Eastwood / Gran Torino
  • Sean Penn / Milk
  • Leonardo DiCaprio / Revolutionary Road
  • Mickey Rourke / The Wrestler

Best Director

  • David Fincher / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Christopher Nolan / The Dark Knight
  • Ron Howard / Frost/Nixon
  • Gus Van Sant / Milk
  • Danny Boyle / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • Slumdog Millionaire

Well, that’s what I have to say for now. My next predictions will come after the Golden Globe Awards are announced on Thursday, December 11th. I will review these and post updated ones in a week.

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Film Update – 8 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 8, 2008

Since I haven’t utilized this blog since July, I will take it upon me to update my top 10 of 2008, my Oscar predictions and everything else that has happened in the film world since July. At least I will try…

Here’s a point form list of what I have done relating to film since the end of July:

  • Attended the gala premiere of the film Blindness at the Toronto International Film Festival
  • Attended a screening of the film The Wrestler at the Toronto International Film Festival
  • Saw the Coen Brothers’ new film Burn After Reading in the theaters
  • Saw the disgusting sequel High School Musical 3: Senior Year in theaters
  • Attended a special presentation at my school, York University, from cinematographer Paul Sarossy. He screened one of Atom Egoyan’s films that he worked on: Where the Truth Lies.
  • Saw the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, in theaters
  • Saw Clint Eastwood’s film Changeling
  • Attended a special screening of David Fincher’s new film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at an AMC in downtown Toronto on December 3rd
  • Finally watched WALL-E on DVD

That’s pretty much all that has happened since the beginning of August. Sad, I know.

But I also have three exciting films that I will be seeing all in one day on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008. These films are: Milk, Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire.

I will post here with an even more up-to-date top 10 of 2008 list after I see those films.

But for now, this is my current top 10 of 2008:

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. WALL-E
  4. The Wrestler
  5. Changeling
  6. In Bruges
  7. Burn After Reading
  8. [Rec]
  9. Funny Games U.S.
  10. Blindness

I have to say I am pleased with this list so far… but I know [Rec], Funny Games and Blindness will not be on the list for much longer.

As for what has happened Awards-wise… the National Board of Review announced its winners on December 4th. They were as follows:

Best Picture of 2008 Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director – David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Actor – Clint Eastwood for Gran Torino

Best Actress – Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Actor – Josh Brolin for Milk

Best Supporting Actress – Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay – Nick Schenk for Gran Torino

Best Adapted Screenplay – Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign Film Mongol

Best Documentary Man on Wire

Best Animated Feature WALL-E

Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor – Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress – Viola Davis for Doubt

Best Directorial Debut – Courtney Hunt for Frozen River

Spotlight Award – Melissa Leo for Frozen River & Richard Jenkins for The Visitor

Best Ensemble Cast Doubt

Top Five Foreign Films The Edge of Heaven, Let the Right One In, Roman de Gare, A Secret, Waltz with Bashir

Top Five Documentaries American Teen, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Dear Zachary, Encounters at the End of the World, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Top Ten Independent Films Frozen River, In Bruges, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Mr. Foe, Rachel Getting Married, Snow Angels, Son of Rambow, Wendy and Lucy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Visitor

Top Ten Films Burn After Reading, Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Defiance, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Milk, WALL-E, The Wrestler

Overall, I was pleased with the winners. The ones that surprised me the most were Clint Eastwood for Best Actor and Gran Torino for Original Screenplay. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I just don’t understand the constant Eastwood love. I hope the film is great and Eastwood deserves it, otherwise I will be very angry. I also don’t quite understand why Mongol, a film nominated for the Foreign Film Oscar in 2007, won the award here for this year. Either way, the awards were all great and undoubtedly well deserved.

In my next post I will discuss my Oscar Predictions as of now.

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TIFF ’08: The Toronto International Film Festival

Posted by Jesse on December 8, 2008

On September 6th and September 13th, I attended The Toronto International Film Festival. The Festival, which started on September 5th, was full of wonderful films this year and I was lucky enough to see two of them. On September 6th, I attended the gala premiere of Fernando Meirelles’ new film Blindness. On the 13th, which was the closing day of the festvial, I attended a screening of Darren Aronofsky’s new film The Wrestler. Both of these films were great and the experience will stick with me for a long time. It was my first film festival experience, but it definitely won’t be my last.

Alice Braga in Blindness (2008)

Alice Braga in Blindness (2008)

The best part of the festival had to be seeing all of the stars walk down the red carpet at the gala premiere of Blindness. Stars like John Malkovich, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Geoffrey Rush, Evangeline Lily, Dominic Monaghan, Danny Glover, Sandra Oh and the extremely lovely Julianne Moore walked only steps in front of me down that luminous carpet. After waiting outside for a long time to get into the theatre, a friend and I took our seats in the second row and awaited the speech from director Fernando Meirelles. Once he walked out onto the stage I was in awe. He was literally six feet away from me speaking about his work on the film and how proud he was to be presenting it at the Toronto International Film Festival. Meirelles is one of my favourite directors and watching him speak with such passion about his art was really inspirational. After he spoke, he introduced his cast and had them walk out on stage. Having Julianne Moore stand only eight feet away from me is something I will never erase from my memory. She looked fantastic and I was so lucky to share the viewing of this film with its fantastic cast and director.

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008)

Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008)

The screening of The Wrestler, however, was not a gala premiere. There were no stars or director on a red carpet, but the experience was still wonderful. The film screened in one of Ryerson University’s theatres and we once again got decent seats. This film was miles better than Blindness and I was in shock over Mickey Rourke’s performance. I never knew the man could act like he did. This is a film that will, or at least should, be recognized come Oscar season.

The Film Festival experience of mine was truly memorable. I shared it with good friends and I know they won’t forget it anytime soon either. I cannot wait until next year for TIFF ’09! I will certainly be going and seeing even more films in the upcoming year.

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