Sunday, July 27, 2008

Could Melissa Leo End up a Contender?

AwardsDaily has been doing a bit of profiling on Melissa Leo, who stars in the upcoming "Frozen River." They posted a review from the New York Times, which read:

But the biggest thrill for many fans will be watching Ms. Leo perform with enough room to explore one of the complicated, surprising women she’s so good at sketching in smaller roles. Ray is vulnerable to life’s punches, but she’s no sentimental construct. For one thing she’s a bigot, though not overtly — at least toward most of the people she and Lila shovel into the trunk of her car. But she’s furious at having to transport a Pakistani couple she suspects of being Muslim terrorists and soothes her conscience by treating them horribly. At the same time she embodies the almost invisible heroism of someone continually pecked at by poverty. She not only keeps going, but her dogged problem-solving concentration also makes it clear that the thought of quitting doesn’t enter her mind.

There’s also the weird pleasure of seeing how bad Ms. Leo is willing to look for the camera. Ray is old and haggard before her time, her gullied face framed by terrible hair, crimped and dyed a harsh, aging red with bangs that coil wormlike across her forehead but telegraph the message: I’m still trying.

I saw Frozen River at the LA Film Festival, and the film, supporting player Misty Upham, and especially Melissa Leo were simply terrific. While I have my doubts about her chances (will there even be enough money for a campaign?), I can tell you that she certainly deserves the nomination. Here's to hoping she gets it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Predix Revamp

The Dark Knight

Anyways, we need this desperately. Here we go...

1. Changeling (it's Changeling and not The Exchange. For now at least. And I'm not sure if I see this winning, but I really can't select a frontrunner right now...)
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. The Road
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
5. Doubt (it kills me not to include Dark Knight, but I think it'll fall short here)

1. David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I guess...)
2. Clint Eastwood - Changeling
3. John Hillcoat - The Road
4. Woody Allen - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
5. Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight

1. Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
2. Viggo Mortensen - The Road
3. Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. Benicio del Toro - Che
5. Leonardo DiCaprio - Revolutionary Road

1. Meryl Streep - Doubt
2. Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road
3. Angelina Jolie - Changeling
4. Cate Blanchett - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky

1. Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight (if there's any justice in the world)
2. Robert Downey, Jr. - The Soloist
3. Liev Schreiber - Defiance
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
5. John Malkovich - Burn After Reading

1. Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Viola Davis - Doubt
4. Samantha Morton - Synecdoche, New York
5. Frances McDormand - Burn After Reading (I don't know...)

1. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Changeling
4. Burn After Reading
5. Synecdoche, New York

1. Doubt
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. The Road
4. Frost/Nixon
5. The Dark Knight

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Dark Knight: In Review

I've had the wonderful opportunity to watch an early screening of my most anticipated film of the year, the sequel to Christopher Nolan's rebirth of the Batman franchise in IMAX and I must tell you, if you have a movie theatre showing this film in your city with the IMAX experience, you should offer yourself the ride because it is a spectacle meant for the biggest screen.
For everybody who were waiting to see Heath Ledger as the Joker, we witness the work of a great actor. He brings so much poise and charisma to a role so complex in its own, it is mesmerizing to watch him steal every scene he is involved in. Nolan brilliantly directs both Ledger and Bale so that we may understand that these two characters are completely opposite in the simple view of good and evil, but both of them are driven and flawed in their own ways by their beliefs, their morals and their flaws. It is not that they need or complete each other like ying and yang, but they chose different paths based on their nightmares of the past.
The film is complete with spectacular visual effects, wild car chases and fist fights but even though the movie is loud with explosions, the true power rests within the dialogue and the characters who are faced with great dilemmas throughout the film. Rachel (Gyllenhaal easing her way successfully into replacing Holmes) must choose which man she will stand by, Lucius must decide whether to help Batman find the Joker by spying on everybody, Alfred must decide whether to give an important letter to Bruce from Rachel and we must stop on Harvey Dent for a minute.
Aaron Eckhart gives a fantastic performance as Harvey because he goes through the most horrible transformation. As a district attorney, he becomes the savior of Gotham Bruce Wayne aspires to be, what he cannot do as Batman by bringing criminals to justice the legitimate way, hence his dubbed White Knight nickname. Unfortunately, the price for doing right in Gotham is putting his neck up for grabs by the thugs out to get him. It is a beautiful thing to watch him become Two-Face, as he goes from a charming and responsible man to a mad driven character who only looks at the ugly sides of people and situations on a path of destruction.
This film is an improvement on past Batman films because it reminds us how even though superheroes are put here to protect us, they are also deeply human and complex and we cannot see things in black and white because that is not the way of the world or the human being. It is something we rarely witness on film in a superhero flick, perhaps because people expect a lot of action and needn't ask to understand these characters, but it is important to understand their actions. Iron Man earlier this summer gave us a hero terribly flawed in his actions but understands the ways of his errors and rised up to save people. Here, Bruce Wayne becomes Batman to protect the people, but he uses justice by taking the law in his own hands and is blamed for his actions (or inactions) when people are harmed. For that he is an outcast, doomed to be alone, but in the final action of the film, we understand why he really is a hero: it is not because he is labeled the outcast, but because he chooses to be, to stand by what he believes is right.
There is some hype as to whether this film should be considered for Best Picture (yes, I've read this on the Net), but I think people should remember this film as it is: one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Heath Ledger will get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal (I'd have to wait to January after seeing all the other upcoming films before deciding whether or not he should win), it should get a nom for Cinematography as well. On the maybe side, Original Score as well as the Sound categories, but we're still a long way from the announcements. I encourage you to see this film very much.
Rating : 4/4

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hiatus (Again)

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates recently, but the movie world has been pretty idle for the past few days. Anyways, I'm going on vacation this week, and I'll be back on July 18. See you then.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still [2008] - OFFICIAL TRAILER

I don't know about you, but at the end of the trailer, it doesn't seem like a happy choice. Anyways, I have a feeling this film will not surpass the original, but a December release is interesting nontheless. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Road: Poster?

I'm not sure at all if this is a real poster or if it's fan made (the lack of Kodi Smit-McPhee's name from the poster leads me to think it's fake...but who knows?) , but I thought I'd post it. Whether it's real or not, I just wanted to remind our readers how excited I am for the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's stunning novel.