Sunday, December 24, 2006

Emily Blunt is fabulous.

So if you need some cheering up, like I do, just watch:

LOVE her. And love how annoyed she is by the interview. She tries to hide it, but she hates him. It's golden.

"We wish you a merry Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas, and a messed up new blog." ARGH

Hey there, readers.

So I just switched to Blogger Beta and the new template editing system, and I'm very frustrated with it. It destroyed my whole sidebar (that I JUST MADE) and I'm not sure how to get it back, and the new template screwed up the formatting on every one of my posts with pictures. I don't know if anyone else is this way, but I am meticulous in lining up the text with the pictures so that it looks all professional and pretty, and blogger makes you insert pictures in weird ways, so you have to be very precise to make them look right, and the new template is just slightly off, so ALL the lining up was thrown off, and all my posts now look stupid.

Plus, they make you sign in to blogger AND to google now any time you want to do anything, and I can't stand it. Is anyone else upset about the new blogger!?? I sure as hell am. I assume it'll be better once I get used to it, but right now I hate it like Renée Zellweger.

That's actually a great analogy. Note to both blogger and Renée Zellweger: YOU WERE FINE BEFORE. Go back to how you were before. You both ruined yourselves when you got caught up in your own hype.

So anyway, I'll probably be taking a break from posting while I deal with holidays and grad schools and decide whether it's even worth trying to fix all this. I might just leave the crappy posts as they are and start from here doing it the new way. But god knows what I'll do about the sidebar... sighhhhh...

But anyway, yay for the new title. Go me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mid-december oscar updates

The oscar charts have been revamped after the fallout of critics awards and globe noms (locks are in bold). Here are my new charts for best...



Friday, December 15, 2006

Random thoughts of the day: SEVERAL

1. Could Sacha Baron Cohen be nominated for Borat? I think there's a tight 7-man race that he's part of.

2. See, I knew United wasn't a lock for anything.

3. I think Babel will win best picture - drama. I mean, why not?

4. Could Dreamgirls miss in best director now and thus become a non-issue in the best picture race? The globes were supposed to be the Girls' home turf.

5. Could Will Smith miss in best actor now that his film is being dismissed by the critics? Leads aren't usually nommed for bad movies.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Golden Globe noms + my predictions

For the record, I really did post these BEFORE the nomination announcement, so I get whatever credit is due. The titles listed are my predictions; actuals are in bold:

The Departed
Little Children
The Queen
United 93
alt. Flags of Our Fathers & The Last King of Scotland

...and the shocker was: Bobby

I thought Bobby was done... especially since the HFPA didn't even nominate the similar Crash here last year. Oh well. Glad my Little Children hunch was right, though... Kate is now in it for the long haul.

And doesn't it look like Babel might actually win this? It is really the HFPA's kind of thing...

The Devil Wears Prada
Little Miss Sunshine
A Prairie Home Companion
alt. Stranger Than Fiction & Thank You For Smoking

So Prairie got snubbed. Oh well. Other than that, it went as expected, except that Dreamgirls and Sunshine both have FAR less support than we all thought. Dreamgirls will still take it, but perhaps not in a runaway, as was previously thought.

BEST ACTOR - DRAMA (4/5=80%)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed)
Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)
Peter O'Toole (Venus)
Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happiness)
Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
alt. Ken Watanabe (Letters from Iwo Jima) & Hugh Jackman (The Fountain)

...and the shocker was: Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond.

Not that shocking, I guess. I thought of predicting him, but double nominations at the globes are quite rare. This probably helps his chances with oscar, since I don't think they're going anywhere near Blood Diamond and the double nom only gives him more visibility. Too bad Gosling and all the other potential 5th slotters got snubbed here.

It's still O'Toole vs. Whitaker. Smith seems to be out of the running for the win (will he even be nominated now that his film's tanking with critics? hmm...).

Penélope Cruz (Volver)
Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal)
Nicole Kidman (Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus)
Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Kate Winslet (Little Children)
alt. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby) & Cate Blanchett (The Good German)

Not surprised by the Maggie inclusion. It seems that they COULD in fact resist voting for Kidman again, and instead went with the hip young thing (it is a bit weird and unnerving though that the HFPA have abandoned artsy Nicole but stayed firmly behind dingbat Renée). But it's all kind of moot anyway, since Streep has that spot reserved at the oscars.

I assume this race is Mirren's to lose. Could she lose it? (*cough*CRUZ*cough*)

Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat)
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)
Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking)
Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction)
Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)
alt. Gael Garcia Bernal (The Science of Sleep) & Richard Griffiths (The History Boys)

...and the shocker was: Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots).

And WHAT a shock. I figured if someone unexpected would sneak in, it would be Bernal for his lovely work in Gondry's Science of Sleep. And I figured that if that happened (not that I thought it would), it would be at the expense of "been there, done that" Depp and not "look how much cooler I am than you" Foxx. I am SHOCKED beyond shocked that Foxx missed here. It could just be distaste for him personally... or it could be that they just don't really love Dreamgirls that much. Probably both. How unexpected...

This award will go to Cohen, btw. His only real competition was snubbed.

Annette Bening (Running With Scissors)
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Beyoncé Knowles (Dreamgirls)
Catherine O'Hara (For Your Consideration)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
alt. Renée Zellweger (Miss Potter) & Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page)

...and the shocker was: Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine).

OK, I assume the Collette nod is just because they wanted to throw her a bone. She IS after all great and always underrated by everyone. But I didn't realize she was even being considered for this category. It's very strange to see her put here instead of Breslin (the heart of the film). Not surprised by anyone else, though... even the god-awful Renée. And I thought the Cinderella Man snub meant they were over her...

It's Beyoncé vs. Streep for the win. And NO, it's not all locked up. I'll be on the edge of my seat when they call this one. Go, Streep, go! Please don't let it be 1991 all over again.

Bill Condon (Dreamgirls)
Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima)
Paul Greengrass (United 93)
Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu (Babel)
Martin Scorcese (The Departed)
alt. Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers) & Stephen Frears (The Queen)

No real shock inclusions here, but one SHOCK exclusion in Bill Condon. I can't believe they passed him over. This is really bad news for Dreamgirls. If he can get snubbed here, he can most definitely be snubbed for oscar. It's the musical curse (I don't get this particular curse at all, though, since musicals are arguably the most challenging of film genres to direct).

It's Clint vs. Clint vs. Marty here... I expect Marty to win it mostly because Clint should cancel himself out.

The Departed
Little Children
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen
alt. Letters from Iwo Jima & Volver

...and the shocker was: Notes on a Scandal.

OK, it's not really a shocker - they did after all nominate Marber for Closer - but I'm still a bit surprised it's here. I almost had it as an alternate, but then thought one of the foreign films had a better shot. Ah well. Happy to see Little Children make the cut here. In fact, I think it could win it... but really, this one could go anywhere...

Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)
Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
Jack Nicholson (The Departed)
Brad Pitt (Babel)
Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)
alt. Bill Nighy (Notes on a Scandal) & Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)

BINGO. This is where I get to brag. The shocker to many was Mark Wahlberg but I totally saw it coming. It's an all-movie-star lineup. I had a feeling that's how they'd go. Tough to say how this translates into oscar, though. I don't think Affleck or Wahlberg will make it that far. And of course Pitt's had some trouble, too... but the big globe boost for Babel will help him.

Here's hoping Wahlberg siphons off some of Jack's votes and hands this award to Eddie Murphy.

Adriana Barazza (Babel)
Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)
Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
alt. Vera Farmiga (The Departed) & Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)

Two words: EMILY. BLUNT. I'm SO happy for Emily Blunt. I still can't believe it. Can she get nominated for an oscar? I sure hope so (though I have my doubts). Barazza and Kikuchi are both looking very good for nominations now... and Hudson of course for the win. Dreamgirls as a whole hasn't done that well, though, and it looks like Noni Rose will get nowhere near the shortlist.

It actually looks like this could be the oscar lineup, give or take the two Little Miss Sunshine girls and a still-very-possible Vera Farmiga. Blunt will most likely fall to one of them, or to someone else I'm not thinking of. But please please PLEASE pray she doesn't.

The Fountain
Letters from Iwo Jima
Notes on a Scandal
The Painted Veil
The Queen
alt. Apocalypto & Little Children

...and the shockers are: Babel, Nomad and The DaVinci Code.

OK, so Babel is not that shocking. I actually haven't seen it, so maybe I don't realize how great the score is. I left it out mostly just cause I didn't see Babel getting 7 noms and becoming the nomination frontrunner (!!!). It sure showed me. I also almost predicted DaVinci Code but alas, I changed my mind. Nomad is the only one I totally didn't see coming (who knows what that film even is???).

The irony here is that I got two of the unexpected noms (Veil, Fountain) and then missed all the rest... but really, there were no "expected" noms in this category. Very cool category.

And just how happy am I about The Fountain??? ECSTATIC. My second favorite surprise nom of the day. And I predicted it. Yay!

Casino Royale ("You Know My Name")
Dreamgirls ("Listen")
Dreamgirls ("Love You I Do")
An Inconvenient Truth ("I Need to Wake Up")
Little Miss Sunshine ("Til The End of Time")
alt. Dreamgirls ("Patience") & Borat ("O Kazakhstan")

...and the rest of the category was:
Bobby ("Never Gonna Break My Faith")
Happy Feet ("Song of the Heart")
Home of the Brave ("Try Not to Remember")
The Pursuit of Happyness ("A Father's Way")

Whatever. I was way off. But this category is stupid. These songs all sound stupid. I suppose I should've known the Bobby song would make it, but the others? What up wit' dat? And the snubbing of Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up?" Criminal.

Thankfully, oscar often differs strikingly in this category. It's choices are usually far better.

Letters from Iwo Jima
The Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth
alt. Days of Glory & Curse of the Golden Flower

5/5 here. Yeah, I rule.

I expect Glory and Flower to replace Letters and Apocalypto at the oscars. Very competitive foreign field this year. That's awesome.

But I expect the globe in any case to go to Letters.

Happy Feet
Monster House
Over the Hedge
A Scanner Darkly
alt. Flushed Away & The Ant Bully

They only picked three, but I got those three. It's just a coincidence that they were the first three I listed (alphabetical, you know), but they would've been my first three picks anyway... in that order, even.

Anyway... WOW.

#1: Ejiofor gets in for Kinky Boots over Foxx for Dreamgirls. Whaa--?
#2: Collette instead of Breslin in lead. Totally random and crazy.
#3: Nomad for best score. What is this movie???
#4: Condon gets snubbed for Dreamgirls. That's major.
and lastly... (that's #5 in shockingness but #1 in awesomeness):
#omgYES: EMILY BLUNT gets in for The Devil Wears Prada.
YES!!! I am happy as all get-out for her... but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised.

Did MUCH better than expected: Babel, Bobby
Did MUCH worse than expected: Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine
TOTALLY shut out: United 93 (I knew it was no "lock")
FINALLY got some traction: Little Children (I knew it would)
COOLEST surprise nom: Emily Blunt (sweeeeet)
DUMBEST surprise nom: Bobby (I thought it was dead)

My overall prediction rate: 50/68=73.5% (not too bad)

Thoughts? Comments? Reactions? Gushing praise at my prediction skills? (I really didn't do THAT well)

Lots of food for thought here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

BFCA nominees & reactions

OK, so...


Blood Diamond
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Children
Little Miss Sunshine
Notes on a Scandal
The Queen
United 93

Interesting. Babel continues to do well, but not too well, with these lists. Hard to say how much momentum it has. Diamond shouldn't be here. Little Children really needed this, and I'm glad it got it. Notes is getting more actual best picture play than I thought it would... seemed (like Iris, Eyre's last oscar film) to be all about the performances. United also makes good here, and strengthens its case for an oscar nod (but a lock? please.)

Condon, Dreamgirls
Eastwood, Letters
Frears, Queen
Greengrass, United
Scorcese, Departed

Looking quite likely as the oscar lineup, and possibly the best pic lineup as well. I still have this nagging feeling that Frears will be replaced by someone, but if Queen continues to win critics' awards and does well at the globes, I'll have to abandon that notion. All in all, this seems like a good lineup to me, though I've only seen 2 of the films (I'm seeing Queen tomorrow).

DiCaprio, Diamond
DiCaprio, Departed
Gosling, Half Nelson
O'Toole, Venus
Smith, Pursuit of Happyness
Whitaker, Last King of Scotland

So Leo's nominated twice. I think his oscar nom (if it happens) will be for Departed, but they need to get a proper campaign going, stat. If Diamond continues to do this inexplicably well, then vote splitting could be an issue. Still, this could be the lineup (with only one Leo, of course). The ones to look out for are Cohen and Watanabe. I think one of them will displace one of these guys (probably Watanabe). Peter, Ryan, Will and Leo are all vulnerable for different reasons. I still wish Hugh Jackman could get some traction, but alas, it is not happening.

Cruz, Volver
Dench, Notes
Mirren, Queen
Streep, Prada
Winslet, Children

That sound you hear is the sound of these nominees locking in for oscar. This will be the lineup, folks. Notice how this is (quite conspicuously) the ONLY top category with only five nominess. Why? They probably didn't believe in Blanchett, Bening, or Beyoncé enough to even give them a 6th spot. These are our five nominees... unless something changes drastically. And since Mirren is winning every precursor award, it looks like nothing will.

Affleck, Hollywoodland
Arkin, Sunshine
Beach, Flags
Hounsou, Diamond
Murphy, Dreamgirls
Nicholson, Departed
Pitt, Babel

So yeah, that picture is what Brad looked like when he got the news (you might notice he's not a nominee). People must really not love this performance very much, if Beach can get a nod over him here when Flags, even here, is quite dead. And I continue to wonder just how much support Hounsou really has. I should see Blood Diamond to get an idea of how good this performance really is. Affleck, I think, will get a globe nod, but will falter with SAG and oscar, since his film has died. Of these six, it seems that Murphy, Nicholson and Arkin are IN, Beach is OUT (sorry, stick a fork in him, he's done), and Affleck and Hounsou are iffy. Pitt and Sheen will likely be fighting for those two spots (and it's tough to imagine either not getting one). And Jackie Earle Haley is still possible (as I've maintained in my charts all along).

Barraza, Babel
Blanchett, Notes
Hudson, Dreamgirls
Kikuchi, Babel
Thompson, Stranger
O'Hara, FYC

Interesting. Barazza and Kikuchi both scored here, but could they do so in a field of 5? Probably, since Thompson is out, I think. The perf, however pleasant, just wasn't that special, and neither was the film around it. Blanchett and Hudson are in, it seems, with Hudson a lock for the win. Breslin didn't make it here (as I expected she wouldn't), but that might not mean much, since she has her own category. Now we'll have to wait till SAG to see if she can really compete with these women (she is going lead at the globes). O'Hara remains something of a wild card. I think her chances are good, but I really don't know what I'm basing that on - I haven't even seen her film. One notable thing is the absence of Farmiga; if she fails to make the globe list, too, then it's safe to say she probably won't be swept along with The Departed.

The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
A Prairie Home Companion

Departed, Dreamgirls, and Sunshine will undoubtedly be in the SAG race as well. Babel is also looking strong for recognition there. Could the 5th spot go to United? I have my doubts. But if the actors like the film in general, then they'll vote for it; it is after all a great ensemble film (p.s. an actress who was in United 93 and had small parts in lots of other things came to my seminar the other week, OMG!). Bobby and Prairie seem out of the hunt for awards play at this point, but maybe not. Who knows. And Little Children, widely praised for its acting, could still show up here as well.

Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Arriaga, Babel
Field & Perrota, Little Children
Helm, Stranger Than Fiction
Monahan, The Departed
Morgan, The Queen

Remove Stranger and this is probably the globe screenplay lineup. Unless they don't remove it (shudders; I really hope that screenplay doesn't get an oscar nod). All of these look good for screenplay oscar nods as well (with the exception, perhaps, of Stranger... please). The drama for me is all about which of these will WIN the best screenplay globe; I could see it going to almost any of them.

Flushed Away
Happy Feet
Monster House
Over the Hedge

Probably the oscar lineup.

Probably Feet will win.

Days of Glory
Letters from Iwo Jima
Pan's Labyrinth

I assume this is a Volver vs. Letters smackdown. I also assume Letters will win this award, along with all the other foreign film awards it's allowed into. Sigh.

An Inconvenient Truth
Shut Up and Sing!
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Who Killed the Electric Car?

Go, Al Gore, go!!! I assume this will be the first of many statues for Truth. Please let it win the oscar. It's so good, and so worthy of attention. I don't know what the other oscar nominees will be, and frankly, I don't care. I just want the global warming movie to win.

Akeelah and the Bee
Charlotte's Web
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

I wonder what will win this award. One first assumes, "Pirates. Done." ...but first of all, is it even really a family film? I guess they think so, but whatever. And also, it wasn't very well reviewed. Up against family classic stalwarts like Charlotte's Web and Lassie, it could lose. But it probably won't. Whatever.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
The Devil Wears Prada
For Your Consideration
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You For Smoking

I wonder what will win THIS one. I suppose Borat is the obvious choice, especially is "best comedy" = "funniest"... but they could give it to Little Miss Sunshine as a consolation prize for losing the big one (it's the only Best Pic nominee here)... or they could also just go with all-around goodness and mainstream appeal and choose Prada. It's probably Borat vs. Sunshine, and LMS has to win somewhere...doesn't it?

Elizabeth I
The Librarian
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
The Ron Clark Story
When the Levees Broke

Hmm. Elizabeth I won the emmy and will probably win this... especially given the year-long Mirren love fest. But they could go all topical and pick Levees. Edge: Elizabeth

Oh whatever. One thing I will say is that I'm wondering who will win these... these were all very very good child/teen performances, and it's hard to pick one from each. Probably Dano and Breslin, but that's just cause they're from the most lauded film. Maybe little boy Smith and Breslin. It's really impossible to know.

OK, I'm done now. I don't want to type anymore. But those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Random thought of the day: UNITED 93's best picture chances

I just wanted to mention that I've heard several comments now on various sites declaring United 93 a "lock" or "looking very strong" for a best picture nod.

Excuse me!?

It's won a few critics' awards, yes. It's made some top ten lists, yes. It's left World Trade Center in the dust, yes. But none of this = best picture.

Critics' awards won by United 93:
Best picture: NYFCC
Best director: LAFCA

Critics' awards won by Mulholland Dr.:
Best picture: NYFCC
Best director: LAFCA
(at this time in 2001)

And we know what happened with THAT one.

United is now looking very good for the lone director spot, but a "lock" for best picture? Please. I'll believe it when I see it.

I DO want it to happen... but it won't.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Critics' awards predictions, actuals and reactions

Alright. Here we go:

NYFCC (my predictions; correct ones in bold)
Picture: United 93 (alt. Letters from Iwo Jima)
Director: Paul Greengrass, United 93 (alt. Clint Eastwood)
Actor: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson (alt. Ken Watanabe, Letters)
Actress: Penélope Cruz, Volver (alt. Kate Winslet, Little Children)
Supporting Actress: Carmen Maura, Volver (alt. Barazza or Kikuchi, Babel)
Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley, LC (Kazunari Ninomiya, Letters)
Screenplay: Todd F. & Tom P., Little Children (alt. Almodóvar, Volver)
Foreign Film: Volver (alt. Letters from Iwo Jima)

I got best picture right. I rock. Director went to Marty again, though (Greengrass wasn't even a runner-up)... seems to be a trend... even when they pick something as unique and director-dependent as United, they give best director to Marty. I say he wins he oscar, even if Letters wins best picture.

Actor and actress went to Mirren and Whitaker again (boring... I thought NY would be more interesting than that), though my prediction, Gosling, was the runner-up. Interestingly, Dench seems to be the one coming closest to Mirren in the critics' awards, so maybe she'll be the biggest threat for oscar, too? She's as due in her own way as Kate and Meryl.

In a shocker, JHud takes supporting actress. This award was the LAST one I thought we'd see her win, oscar or no oscar. I mean, it's the NYFCC! If she can win them over, I think she's deaded for the little golden guy. The other supporting award went to my prediction, Jackie Earle Haley. Yay! Maybe now he can sneak into the oscar race...

In other news, The Queen seems to be the screenplay favorite, rather than either of the Little films. Will it take best original screenplay? We'll see.

LAFCA (my predictions; correct ones in bold)
Picture: Letters from Iwo Jima (alt. The Departed)
Director: Martin Scorcese, The Departed (alt. Clint Eastwood)
Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland (alt. Leo DiCaprio)
Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen (alt. Penélope Cruz, Volver)
Supporting Actor: Jack, The Departed (alt. Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls)
Supporting Actress: Catherine O'Hara, FYC (alt. Barazza or Kikuchi, Babel)
Screenplay: Todd & Tom, Little Children (alt. Almodóvar, Volver)
Foreign Film: Volver (alt. Letters from Iwo Jima)
New Generation: Jennifer Hudson (alt. Shareeka Epps)

I got THIS best picture right, too. I ROCK. But they gave director to Greengrass over Marty (while NY awarded Marty over Greengrass). I flipped the two in my predictions... and really that would've made more sense, but whatever.

Mirren and Whitaker again. Yawn. Though the tie with Sacha Baron Cohen is very cool, and gives him a leg up in other races. I say he wins the comedy globe (easily) but still doesn't get nommed for the oscar.

Supporting actor goes to Sheen from Queen (very good for him), while someone named Luminita Gheorghiu wins supporting actress. Good for her! You know you're great when you win an award absolutely out of the blue, and with a name like that.

And screenplay goes to The Queen again. Hmm...

Boston (my predictions; correct ones in bold)
Picture: The Departed ("it will win... it's about Boston"... and look, it did.)
Director: Marty, The Departed ("he'll win," I said... and look, he did.)
Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed (alt. Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson)
Actress: Annette Bening, Running with Scissors (alt. Mirren, The Queen)
Supporting Actor: Nicholson, The Departed (alt. Wahlberg, The Departed)
Supporting Actress: JHud, Dreamgirls (alt. Catherine O'Hara, FYC)
Screenplay: William Monahan, The Departed (alt. Little Children)
Foreign: Volver (alt. Letters from Iwo Jima)

Yes, I got THIS one, too. I ROCK, yes? But this was easy. Departed takes pic, director, screenplay and supporting actor, as I predicted (though the latter win was in fact for Wahlberg... I had a hunch that might happen).

Whitaker and Mirren AGAIN. Seriously. What is up?? SOMEONE else needs win something. This is BORING. Anyway, supporting actress goes to Shareeka Epps, who is not the black female breakthrough performer I predicted, but fine. Good for her.

And has anyone else noticed that Jack (Nicholson, that is) has not been winning these? I kinda thought he would. But that's fine by me; I wasn't bowled over by his performance in The Departed, and I don't want him winning a fourth oscar for it. Maybe this means he won't.

AFI Top Ten (my predictions; correct ones in bold)
Children of Men
The Departed
Flags of Our Fathers
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Children
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen
United 93

Strangely, Flags, Departed, Queen and both the Children films are chucked in favor of Borat, Prada, Half Nelson, Happy Feet and Inside Man. Well, the Children films I'm not shocked about, but the others, especially Departed were supposed to be there. Oh well! Crazy AFI. It is strange that The Queen in particular seems to have VERY uneven support; it flat-out misses the AFI and NBR lists, but wins a bunch of LAFCA awards and is best picture from the NYFCO. Odd.

And seriously, Happy Feet and Inside Man??? If you say so...

Anyway, check in later for BFCA reactions. That is just too much for me to do right now.

Friday, December 08, 2006

There's a pretty sweet sale on

...if anyone's interested. Lots of DVDs are half off.

I just bought Gosford Park, Mulholland Dr., Far From Heaven and Lost in Translation for $8 each. Merry Christmas to me!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I got my copy of Notes on a Scandal in the mail today.

The book, that is.

It's a real page turner. Delicious sly, bitter and British. I love it. I expect to have finished it by the time I see the movie, without even making that an explicit goal. It's just really really fun to read.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

OMG, the NBR is crazy!

Scroll down or follow the link to my NBR predictions page, now updated with the actual results, and reactions.

Quite the kickoff, this was.

OMG, Mary Cheney is pregnant!

This is just too funny.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The NBR announces tomorrow!

You can scroll down a bit or just follow this link to see my updated, final predictions. I'm sticking with my out-of-left field Little Children pick, cause it's ballsy and I think it might just happen, even if no one sees it coming. I took Dreamgirls out of the alternate position because I think it'll be #2 or #3 no matter what beats it. Dreamgirls is just too predictable. And it doesn't need their help. Little Children does... a lot.

People are saying The Queen will probably take it, and that makes sense, so I've listed it as my alternate. People say it's already a lock, but it's not SO lockish that the NBR couldn't claim responsibility for giving it its start. So giving it best picture seems like something they'd totally do. But I am going balls-out with Little Children.

My feeling is that either Mirren will take best actress OR Cruz will take actress and The Queen will take best picture. I also think The Departed will win either picture, director, or ensemble. I'm betting director. And if Little Children doesn't take picture (and most people think it won't), then it'll take adapted screenplay. The NBR are all about spreading the wealth.

Anyway, I'm WAAAAY overthinking this. We'll just see what happens tomorrow.

But if Little Children does take it, then I am officially awesome. I'm just sayin'... I called it first...

Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette, a serious study of absurdity

"This is ridiculous."
-Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst)

"This, madame, is Versailles."
-La Comptesse de Noailles (Judy Davis)

In this exchange between Davis' comptesse and Dunst's young dauphine, the absurdity of their situation is confronted head on. Yes, it is ridiculous to watch an army of servants bow down to watch a girl rise from slumber. But it's great fun to watch on film.

Sofia Coppola's biopic of the doomed French queen is a breath of fresh air. It takes itself seriously in all the right ways, but has a great sense of humor about its subject. I love films that take a bygone era and expoit its lavish excesses for contemporary entertainment (it is of course far more pleasant to watch films about this era than it was to live it firsthand), but this film goes a step further: it comes clean about its own inability to represent the times, and thus comes as close as it can to succeeding. In Sofia Coppola's kind of period film, not everyone speaks with British accents, only the architecture (not the music) is Baroque, and people are allowed to look silly. Often.

Coppola even encourages the silliness... but gently at first, easing us into the film's clash of styles. The title of the first song, "Natural's Not In It," might tip off some viewers to the director's unique sensibility. "This is 'Gang of Four,'" she posits (over the credits). "This is 17th century France," a moment later. "And this is 17th century France to 'Gang of Four'," finally. Watch the cinematic sparks fly.

It saddens me that so many seem unable to see past the surface-level strangeness of the approach to the cinematic poetry within. This was as engrossed I'd ever been in a period film. Yes, traditional direction works much of the time (Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Queen Margot) but often proves stultifying, too (Maurice, Finding Neverland). And sometimes, attempts at adhering to preconceived norms result in lots of unintentional silliness (Memoirs of a Geisha). In any case, even "traditional" period films generally succeed due to some degree of edginess, and knowing this, Coppola doesn't bother holding back. She goes all-out for emotional truth, and her film is all the richer for it.

Many had reservations about the casting of Dunst as Marie (and even I had reservations about Schwartzman as Louis XVI), but they both prove quite right for their parts. Dunst, I think, is a solid actress, and has just the right vibe for this role. Her screen persona exudes a paradoxical pairing of girlishness and womanhood, silliness and mystery. Here, she clicks instantly as the porcelain-doll dauphine, a strange blend of regality and cluelessness. Her delicate features fit in perfectly with the period, while at the same time feeling contemporary (Dunst seems quite at home in any time period, from Baroque to Roaring Twenties to Now, and is also quite beautiful, despite the haters; more on Kirsten's virtues here). And Schwartzman's "lost and befuddled" quality works for his character as well.

Dunst's Marie is the audience's entry point into the film. Through her naive, 80s-music-addled psyche, we see various family members, authority figures, distant husbands, and catty court royals, as she attempts to maneuver through a system she doesn't understand, and is powerless to control. We follow Marie through various travails including marital woes, trouble with conception, motherhood, a torrid affair, and eventually, the storming of her palace by an angry mob. Along the way, we're treated to sumptuous sets and costumes, gorgeous cinematography, and perfectly calibrated 80's music. Lance Accord silences any critics of his "fuzzy" lensing of Coppola's Lost in Translation; his work here is crisp and beautiful. And the soundtrack is a delight; it gets us into the head of Marie-Antoinette far better than any stuffy score could. In fact, I don't recall much instrumental score anywhere (though there's usually plenty of it in films like this), but it's not missed. "New Order" and "The Strokes" are just fine.

The decision to end the film before Marie-Antoinette's execution could be seen as a copout, but since it didn't begin with her birth either, the omission is perfectly defensible. This is a slice-of-life biopic (my favorite kind!), not a trip from womb to tomb. We certainly get the impression by the end that no happy times lie ahead. That everyone knows what is ahead for Marie does not necessitate that we all see it.

Some slight pacing issues aside, Marie-Antoinette is impeccably made, deliciously sending up the reverie of the French court, while taking taking the plight of its queen quite seriously. If it comes off as shallow at times, if we feel that we never fully come to know the characters, that is intentional, for they never get to know themselves. We see Marie's life as she herself did. One wonders what might've become of Marie if she'd had the freedom to pursue her own interests, her own loves... to marry the man she wanted... to even discover what she wanted... to have the chance to be something other than a teenage queen. If so, the story of her life might have been more satisfying. As is, however, it's a fascinating study of the absurdity and aloofness of royal life.

Many a critic has dismissed the film as visually appealing fluff, balked at Coppola's merging of contemporary pop and period finery. But in their dismissal, they confuse shallow filmmaking with the portrayal of a shallow world. This film knows what it's doing and does it extremely well. It makes art out of life's absurdity.

"This is ridiculous," the critics claim.

"This," says Sofia, "is film."

Show 'em how it's done, Sofia.

Verdict: "Criminally underrated."

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada DVD review preview

So, I have been contacted by someone at a marketing org who would like me to do a DVD review of The Devil Wears Prada on the blog, in order to help publicize it. How flattering!

A proper review of the film (which I never really did), as well a review of the DVD features, will be up in the near future. Plus I get to see the DVD before everyone else. Nice.

This film truly was one of the breakout success stories and major sleeper hits of the year, and deservedly so. It grossed more than $120 million at the U.S. box office and more than $300 million (and counting) worldwide... all from a relatively small budget of $35 million. And it's sure to make a bundle on DVD as well.

I hope someone gave Meryl a big bonus.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Final chart update before precursors

Here they are. Best...



*Why is no one discussing??? People are usually all over the oscar charts...

So I finally saw The Departed and The Prestige.

I don't really feel like discussing these much, but I think I should discuss them anyway.

Two fall treats from acclaimed directors.
Two pairs of hot men at odds.
Two dangerous trades (crime & magic).
Two good but not great films.

I enjoyed both of these, but haven't thought about either much since watching them. Both are very slickly made, but seem to be after no more than entertainment value. Great popcorn flicks both, but I'm not sure why the latter is being hailed as Scorcese's second coming. Yes, now he's back to making gansters flicks, but is this really that much better than The Aviator?

At first I actually thought I liked The Prestige more, but then it faded even faster in the memory. For all I'm generally bored by cops n' robbers flicks, there's no denying that The Departed is one of the best. Great editing and action set pieces, top-notch ensemble work, and at least one pretty great performance (DiCaprio) make it hard to dismiss, though all the "fuck you, you queer" stuff had me bored and a little annoyed (I'm just not into the masculine swagger, even when it's being sent up for laughs).

Also, Vera Farmiga's character isn't exactly brilliant as the film's sole representative of the female species. Nathaniel said it best: "Her character makes little sense. Well played, but well written?" And I don't see the big deal with Jack Nicholson's perf. I didn't find him all that scary, even if he was a big mob moss who could have you bumped off in less than an instant. He was just being Jack (his Warren Schmidt was much more impressive). And I'm not a huge Damon fan; I found his perf fine, but not hugely memorable. For my money, DiCaprio's best in show here by a mile. I worry that in his career at large, Leo's focusing too much on brooding and earnestness (he always seems to be trying so hard to be a "guy's guy"), but his earnest brooding is great here. Very compelling and sympathetic (to DiCaprio's credit, I really disliked the ending).

Basically, I thought the film was quite well-made, but I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. It is indeed very pulpy. I'm surprised it's been so highly praised, but not surprised it's done so well commercially. It's a very commercial film. I'd like to see nods for Scorcese and DiCaprio (in some category or another), and of course for the editing, but I can take or leave the rest. I'm not so keen on the inevitable Nicholson nom. I really don't see what's so special about this perf.

In other news, I'm not really mad they're promoting everyone as supporting. While think Leo and Matt were the two leads, it was essentially an ensemble piece; I wouldn't think of a supporting nod for DiCaprio as fraudulent. In fact, I'd welcome a nod for him there over Jack.

Anyway, The Prestige...

I enjoyed watching it a lot. I would watch Bale and Jackman do anything (seriously); 2 hours of them couldn't possibly be boring. The production values were stunning, the film had lots of atmosphere, and everyone in the cast was quite good (even Johannson, though promoting her for BEST ACTRESS seems kind of stupid). But the film has the same weakness that Memento had for me. At the end of the day, these films feel more like intellectual exercises than heartfelt pieces of storytelling. Everyone got so caught up in Memento's crazy-specific time-bending exercises, but I just didn't find myself caring that much. Same here with the mystery element, and final "twist" ending. I appreciate the care that went it to plotting all this out, but that care didn't make me care for any more the characters or the story, which, in the end, seem curiously "flat."

Again, it was great fun to watch. During the film, I was transfixed, and very much enjoying it. But afterward, it didn't linger in the memory at all. I only briefly wanted to go back and figure out all I'd missed. In an hour or so, I just thought "eh, whatever". I did appreciate the themes of showmanship and how theatre and film in general share that element of "mystery" with magic acts, and loved how that was brought out more in the end. But on the whole, Nolan's approach, precisely measured as it is, doesn't fully reflect the roundedness of life, that sense of wonder and excitement that great films capture and have you going back again and again to re-experience. For that, see Almodovar's Volver. Still, I'm very open to different readings of this film. Maybe I should see it again. Verdict, for now:

The Departed:

"Good, but I didn't love it."

The Prestige:

"Good, but a little stilted."

Friday, December 01, 2006

My blog needs a new name... or... "Bastion... save us!"

Hey all.

So I'm thinking of giving the blog a new name. Now that I actually post a lot (I'm not saying it'll always stay that way, but for now I am) and seem to have a bit of a readership (small but loyal), I want my blog to seem like a "real" blog, and that seems to require a snazzy name.

As I recall, Glenn's blog morphed a while back from "Glenn's Movie Forum" to "Stale Popcorn." The new name seemed to signify a change in the blog's overall feel and aura of respectability; with Glenn's name out of the title, it was no longer "Glenn's blog" and was instead "that cool blog about movies and stuff."

So I've concluded that the a blog with the name "Adam's Inner Life" is just kind of... silly. And not worth reading regularly, linking to, etc. So it's changing. And I decided I wanted the new name to be the title of a Rufus Wainwright song. Because Rufus is awesome, and his songs have great titles.

Here are a few I'm considering (UPDATED with fewer choices):

One Man Guy (cause I am)
Rebel Prince (cause people seem to like it)
Crumb By Crumb (one of my favorite of his songs)
Matinée Idol (the current frontrunner and most subject-appropriate title)

If you read the blog (you don't have to be someone who comments regularly), please contribute a vote or shout-out for a name you'd like it to have. Please, don't be shy. I want to know who reads me! ...if anyone. So, yeah.

This change will likely come over winter break, when I have lots of time, along with a new sidebar, my switch to blogger beta, and lots of general blog refurbishment. I still keep putting that off, but really have been meaning to do it.

Anyway, thanks for reading, if you do! And please help me decide on a name. Like The Neverending Story's Childlike Empress, my blog is dying as "the nothing" slowly eats away at it... but all it needs is a new name.

"Bastion... save us...!"