Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman...

I got the news from Everything Oscar. Rest in peace. I must admit, the only film of his I've seen is Fanny and Alexander, but that was enough to show me that he was an incredible talent. My condolences to his family.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie in Review

As you know if you read the blog frequently, The Simpsons Movie was my most anticipated movie ever. It seemed impossible to live up to my expectations, as The Simpsons is my favorite television series of all time, and I consider even the horrifically underrated seasons 11-17 phenomenal. Well, it turned out that the movie version of my beloved program was not only as good as the show, but even a little bit better. It featured all of my favorite characters (except, lamentably, Mrs. Krabappel, who has some screen time, but never talks. Oh well. Just another reason to buy the DVD and see the deleted scenes), a surprisingly good plot and voice-over work that should qualify for Oscar nominations, mostly from Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta. I am still shocked that the film lived up to my huge expectations. The plot is truly the best kept Hollywood secret since the ending to The Sixth Sense, and hopefully this will draw back viewers who left the show several years ago. I can easily see this making my end-of-the-year list. A

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Simpsons Movie: Hit or Miss?

Hit. I saw an advanced screening and it was great. I'm not going to write much more because I'm sure Brian will want to give a full review. I give it an A-. Definitely is not a shame to the series.

New MPAA Ratings

From BoxOfficeMojo:

Great World of Sound
Magn. 9/14/07 R language
The Band's Visit
SPC TBD PG-13 brief strong language
The Nines
NM 8/31/07 R language, some drug content and sexuality
Feel the Noise BMG 10/5/07 PG-13 sensuality and innuendos, violence, some drug use and language
Fat Girls
Reg. Sep 2007 R strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, language and some drug/alcohol use - all involving teens
The Kite Runner
ParV 11/2/07 PG-13 strong thematic material including the rape of a child, violence and brief strong language
Trick 'r Treat
WB 2008 R horror violence, some sexuality/nudity and langauge
30 Days of Night
Sony 10/19/07 R strong horror violence and language
The Bourne Ultimatum
Action Thriller
Uni. 8/3/07 PG-13 violence and intense sequences of action

The PG-13 rating for The Kite Runner surprised me quite a bit. I thought it would be R.

Predictions: Round Four (Best Picture)

1. Charlie Wilson's War-The leaked script has been praised, and the cast and crew make it look like solid Oscar bait. We've been predicting this since March, and it's looking more and more likely all the time.

2. The Kite Runner-While adaptations of popular novels haven't been doing so well lately, the subject matter here is just too baity to resist.

3. There Will be Blood-I'm having some second thoughts about this one, but if Daniel Day-Lewis is in it, it's very likely that the Academy will embrace it.

4. The Savages-The festival darling will be hard to ignore if it ends up with reviews as good as they've been so far, and solid box office numbers.

5. Atonement-It all depends on what the Venice Film Festival thinks.

6. The Golden Age-The trailer looks very meaty, and Cate Blanchett has had a solid record with AMPAS for a long time. I just don't think that it'll make it very far.

7. Sweeney Todd-I'm losing my confidence in this one...

8. American Gangster-You know what I'm gonna say...

9. Lions for Lambs-This one looks likely to fail as well.

10. Ratatouille-I guess I got swept away with the acclaim, and didn't recognize that this doesn't stand a chance.

11. Margot at the Wedding-I think The Savages has a better chance. This should do great in Best Supporting Actress, though.

12. The Simpsons Movie-Kidding! But the reviews have been very good, and I just wanted to remind everyone how excited I am for tomorrow.

13. Hairspray-Too light and teen-ish for the Academy, but it could easily pick up some Golden Globe nods.

14. No Country for Old Men-I think this will get honored in Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, but Best Picture still seems like a long shot.

15. The Valley of Elah-The trailer looks very good and Oscar friendly, but I don't think it will succeed; especially not in this category.

16. The Other Boleyn Girl-Looks more unlikely than ever now.

17. I'm Not There-Too artsy for the Academy, and I still think the project will fail as a whole.

18. Eastern Promises-The trailer looks like an action movie rather than an Oscar bait.

19. Youth Without Youth-Not only do I think this won't succeed, but I also think that it won't find a distributor until next year.

20. 3:10 to Yuma-I personally thought the trailer was unimpressive, and I sense bad reviews.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


"A clever and spirited big-screen version of its better-known small-screen cousin."-The Hollywood Reporter

"Clever, cutting and irrepressible, The Simpsons Movie hits the big screen with all the humour and panache we have come to expect from the series"-Urban Cinefile

"Put simply, if somebody had to make a Simpsons movie, this is pretty much what it should be -- clever, irreverent, satirical and outfitted with a larger-than-22-minutes plot."-Variety

"The Simpsons Movie does not feel at sea on the big screen and, crucially, it is very funny."-Time Out

Turns out naming this my most anticipated movie ever turned out. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes so far. We'll see in 1 day, 11 hours and 11 minutes if it's worth the wait. Your thoughts?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

On Second Thought...

I'm raising my grade for "Hairspray" from an A- to a flat-out A. I'm still smiling and anxious to see it again. Good sign, no?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hairspray in Review

If you read the blog regularly, you will know that Hairspray is my 2nd most anticipated movie of the year. And, even with my unrealistically high standards, Hairspray manages to impress; and very much so. It is the first movie this summer to not disappoint me (let's hope that The Simpsons Movie will be the 2nd next week)

I have not had this much fun in a theater in ages. The movie is just as upbeat, entertaining and gloriously corny as the show, but is wise in that it changes some things. First off, the ending. I don't want to give out any spoilers, but this movie is not quite as predictable as you may think. Second, the performances from Nikki Blonsky and Michelle Pfeiffer were 100% nomination worthy. Blonsky has acting skills to match those of her pipes, which is really saying something. Pfeiffer plays Velma Von Tussle, a stage mother determined to bring our plus size heroine--and integration--down. Most actresses would have seen this role as an opportunity to be a silly and dopey comic villain. Pfeiffer, however, focuses entirely on being the biggest bitch she can be, and as a result, we think she is worse than Hitler (which only makes us root for the protagonist more). And, finally, this movie is nothing but light-hearted, toe-tapping, lip-synch inducing musical fun. It is very rare for a movie to make you smile. Not because it is funny (though there is an abundance of laughs in this film), but because it makes you feel great. Had it not been for a great performance but bad vocal from Amanda Bynes and, more importantly, a thoroughly annoying performance and vocal from John Travolta (though some of his deliveries are quite amusing), I would have given this an A. But, it falls just below at an A-.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Call Me Crazy...

...but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Ratatouille will become the second animated film after Beauty and the Beast to get a Best Picture nomination. After The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Shrek got buzz for a nomination but didn't quite make the cut, I think the Academy is overdue for recognizing a computer animated film in the Best Picture category. And what better film to break through the ice than with Ratatouille; the film buzzed as Pixar(the Academy's favorite studio)'s best? My predix desperately need to be updated, so I'll do that now. Here goes...

1. Charlie Wilson's War
2. The Kite Runner
3. There Will be Blood
4. The Savages
5. Ratatouille

1. Marc Forster-The Kite Runner
2. Mike Nichols-Charlie Wilson's War
3. Paul Thomas Anderson-There Will be Blood
4. Tim Burton-Sweeney Todd
5. Robert Redford-Lions for Lambs

1. Joaquin Phoenix-Reservation Road
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman-The Savages
3. Daniel Day-Lewis-There Will be Blood
4. Johnny Depp-Sweeney Todd
5. James McAvoy-Atonement

1. Laura Linney-The Savages
2. Angelina Jolie-A Mighty Heart
3. Norah Jones-My Blueberry Nights
4. Julie Christie-Away From Her
5. Helena Bonham Carter-Sweeney Todd

1. Javier Bardem-No Country for Old Men
2. Tom Wilkinson-Michael Clayton
3. Mark Ruffalo-Reservation Road
4. Philip Bosco-The Savages
5. Shaun Tomb-The Kite Runner

1. Jennifer Jason Leigh-Margot at the Wedding
2. Susan Sarandon-In the Valley of Elah
3. Julia Roberts-Charlie Wilson's War
4. Mira Sorvino-Reservation Road
5. Tilda Swinton-Michael Clayton

1. The Savages
2. Ratatouille
3. Margot at the Wedding
4. In the Valley of Elah
5. Across the Universe

1. The Kite Runner
2. Charlie Wilson's War
3. Reservation Road
4. Sweeney Todd
5. There Will be Blood

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Well, now that my final vacation of the year is over, I have 4 weeks of absolutely nothing. Except, of course, movie watching. A couple of points of business I wanted to cover...

-Saw Harry Potter last night. It was good. Probably not the best of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban is hard to beat), however, did anyone else think Imelda Staunton was magnificent?

-This seems to be a year where the most anticipated films (all the three-quels, that is) turn out to be flops, while underhyped films (Knocked Up, Ratatouille) turn out to be the must-see's of the season. Interesting.

-When seeing Harry Potter, I saw the trailer for Across the Universe. Though I've already seen it several times, this time really sparked something. It looks amazing.

-And, lastly...The Simpsons Movie opens in less than 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Don't Forget!

First of all, I saw Evening last night. It was the funniest movie of the year thus far. That's the problem. However, Mamie Gummer was fantastic, somehow managing to take this god awful script and turn it into something real. However, every other element about the film is headed for my worst of the year awards.

Now, this post is to all the Academy members out there. Listening? Good. As many have been doing, I want to remind the Academy about the quality films released in the first half of the year, so that they will remember to recognize them come January. I understand that there's no chance in hell that that will happen, but I just want to do my part, lol. Here goes...


-This incredibly smart, funny and touching is my favorite film of the year so far. The movie takes the seemingly unoriginal plotline "an unhappily married woman discovers she's pregnant" and turns it into something heartwarming and irresistable.

The Namesake-While I realize there's absolutely no chance that this will get any Oscar nods anywhere, myself and critics alike have recognized that this is simply a great movie. And, although my letter grade for this film has been lowered from an "A" to an "A-", I still adore it.

Away From Her-Even though the raves for Julie Christie's performance may be strong enough to last her till winter, I still think it's unlikely. And while Christie is collecting all the buzz for her fantastic performance (even though I think that it is a supporting role, and that Gordon Pinsent upstages her), I would love to see the screenplay or something rewarded, too.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Performance That Changed my Life is...

This is my entry for All About My Movies' blogathon.


How did it "change my life?" A better question is "how did it not?" This performance, combined with the superb writing and directing, not only make for my 4th favorite film of all time, but also for a life-changing experience.

What makes this "life changing" is that it teaches the hardest lesson a film can teach: love. A very common moral, but the execution is anything but commmon. The famed ending where Rick leaves Ilsa is, on the surface, the unhappy ending everyone talks about. But a truly open-minded viewer would recognize that this is the happiest ending possible. Had Ilsa stayed in Casablanca with Rick, it would only be prolonging misery for both of them. Rick would either be prosecuted, be a fugitive or be killed, and Ilsa would suffer the same fate. But Rick, being farsighted, recognizes that. Love, he teaches us, is not the deisre to be with someone. It is wanting someone to be happy and safe at any cost. I have yet to see a film convey that message so powerfully.

Of course, the above sounds like it is describing the film and the character itself. However, I wouldn't have begun to pick up on those concepts had it not been for Mr. Bogart's understanding of them. Most actors would see the classic line "we'll always have Paris" as meaning "I'll never forget you." Bogart, however, sees it (properly) as meaning "I'll miss you, but I know we can't be together." That delivery alone is enough to impact the viewer. His other fantastic work in the film is icing on the cake. Delicious icing, might I add.

Humphrey Bogart's performance in the timeless classic "Casablanca" is my pick as the performance that changed my life, by teaching me and the world what love and doing the right thing really is. His remarkably understated, simply phenomenal performance is one of the key elements in making "Casablanca" legendary. And what an element it is...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Number 2

Jack Nicholson