Review - The Orphan

I'll admit when I'm wrong. I was one of those people that went into this movie thinking I've seen it before. Technically, I have, the creepy kid, the few cheap scares, Vera Famiga having another crazy child. (anyone see 2007's "Joshua"?) The last hour of this film changed my mind and it's the reason I rank it up there with my favorites of the "creepy kid" genre.

'The Orphan' revolves around a copy played by Famiga and personal favorite Peter Sarsgaard. After the stillborn birth of their last child they decide to adopt, they already have 2 children. Dan (the always talented Jimmy Bennet) and nearly deaf Max (Aryana Engineer) they adopt little Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) she's a sweet, well-mannered Russian girl who loves music and dressing like a china doll. Complete with ribbons she always wears in her hair and around her neck. She seems sweet enough, but then curious things start happening around Esther.

The reason I enjoyed this film so much was because it takes you some place you think you've been before than totally changes it. The acting (which isn't always the best in horror films) really helped this one. Sarsgaard is great as always, I only wish that he would've been given more to do. Famiga is a talented actress and she shows it. The three children were great as well. I've always enjoyed Jimmy Bennet, from 'The Hearts Decietful Above All Things" to "South of Pico" to "Star Trek". The kid has obvious talent. Little Engineer was great as well, but who I was most impressed with was Fuhrman. Having only seen her in 'Hounddog' (Remember, that Dakota Fanning movie everyone prematurely freaked out about) I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought she nailed the Russian accent, although I know some thought it was over the top. She was just as good as the other kids playing sinister children (Linda Blair, Daveigh Chase, Harvey Stephens, Patty MacCormick, etc) She carried the movie on her little shoulders.

This is the only horror movie to open wide since May's "Drag me to Hell" and I think you should see it. I promise it's not just "same old same old" this movie has something special.

Recommended: Yes. 3/3 stars.

Memorable Quote: "I don't think Mommy likes me very much. It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own." Esther - Isabelle Fuhrman (Just because that quote got everyone in a tiff because they thought it might actually scare people away from adopting.

DVD Review: The Edge of Love

'The Edge of Love' is a British indie starring Keira Knightly, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys. The story revolves around the relationships of these for people.

Rhys is Dylan Thomas, a poet and a childhood friend of Vera (Knightly). When he and his wife Caitlin (Miller) move to London they eventually end up staying with Vera, who has a gig as a singer in the railway station. William (Murphy) is an army captain nearly off to war who meets Vera and eventually convinces her to marry him. With William off to war Dylan, Vera and Caitlin move to Wales. Dylan's poems aren't really selling, and it's often Vera who has to step in and help her friends financially.

The film is an intense study of relationships. First the marriage between Dylan and Caitlin. At first they seem normal, they have a son, but Dylan still has an obvious affection for Vera who was his friend and first love. Then, there is the relationship between Vera and William. He courts her, and at first she's not interested. After they say "I Do" and William returns from war their relationship is tested greatly. The most important relationship in this film however, is the one between Vera and Caitlin. Vera did not know Dylan had a wife at the beginning of the film, it is almost as if the woman forced themselves to start liking each other. Eventually they become best friends and it's their bond that seemingly holds everything together.

When this film was still in production and it was called "The Best Time of our Lives" (a better title in my opinion) Lindsay Lohan was attached to play Caitlin, and she famously dropped out days before filming began. I couldn't see Lindsay in this role at all, and I'm glad they went with Miller. Although her Irish accent in this film comes and goes, she brings a lot of life to this picture. Knightly is wonderful as always, though as many times as she says "come back to me" I wondered if maybe this script took one too many things away from 'Atonement'. Cillian Murphy is not in it nearly enough but is a joy when he is.

Recommended: Yes 3/5 stars.

Memorable Quote: You have a raindrop running down your cheek, just like a tear. - William Killick (Cillian Murphy)

Emmy Nominees!

These are the Emmy nominees for the major categories. The winners will be announced on September 20th. Personally I have to say I'm so stoked to see that Jim Parsons was nominated in Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for 'The Big Bang Theory'. That show is absolutely brilliant, as is Parsons. Great to see South Park back in the animated category for 'Margaritaville'. That was a very smart episode. I'm also shocked to see that Family Guy managed to get themselves in the Comedy Series category! Good for them! (although I'll admit I find South Park way funnier..) Only gripe, where is 'Rescue Me'? That show should've been nominated for it's acting and it's writing. Denis Leary is one of the best guys on TV, and 'Rescue Me' continues to be one of the most interesting shows. It's a shame.



Outstanding Comedy Series
Nominees:"Entourage" (2004)

"Family Guy" (1999)

"The Flight of the Conchords" (2007)

"How I Met Your Mother" (2005)

"The Office" (2005)

"30 Rock" (2006)

"Weeds" (2005)

Outstanding Drama Series
Nominees:"Big Love" (2006)

"Breaking Bad" (2008)

"Damages" (2007)

"Dexter" (2006)

"House M.D." (2004)

"Lost" (2004)

"Mad Men" (2007)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Nominees:Coco Chanel (2008) (TV)

Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

Into the Storm (2009) (TV)

Prayers for Bobby (2009) (TV)

Taking Chance (2009)

Outstanding Miniseries
Nominees:"Generation Kill" (2008)

"Little Dorrit" (2008)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominees:Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006)

Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005)

Jemaine Clement for "The Flight of the Conchords" (2007)

Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory" (2007)

Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" (2002)

Charlie Sheen for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Nominees:Simon Baker for "The Mentalist" (2008)

Gabriel Byrne for "In Treatment" (2008)

Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" (2008)

Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" (2006)

Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" (2007)

Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:Kevin Bacon for Taking Chance (2009)

Kenneth Branagh for "Wallander" (2008)

Brendan Gleeson for Into the Storm (2009) (TV)

Kevin Kline for "Great Performances: Cyrano de Bergerac (#37.8)" (2008)

Ian McKellen for King Lear (2008) (TV)

Kiefer Sutherland for 24: Redemption (2008) (TV)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominees:Christina Applegate for "Samantha Who?" (2007)

Toni Collette for "United States of Tara" (2009)

Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006)

Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds" (2005)

Sarah Silverman for "The Sarah Silverman Program." (2007)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Nominees:Glenn Close for "Damages" (2007)

Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006)

Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)

Holly Hunter for "Saving Grace" (2007)

Elisabeth Moss for "Mad Men" (2007)

Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:Drew Barrymore for Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

Jessica Lange for Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

Shirley MacLaine for Coco Chanel (2008) (TV)

Sigourney Weaver for Prayers for Bobby (2009) (TV)

Chandra Wilson for Accidental Friendship (2008) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominees:Jon Cryer for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)

Kevin Dillon for "Entourage" (2004)

Neil Patrick Harris for "How I Met Your Mother" (2005)

Jack McBrayer for "30 Rock" (2006)

Tracy Morgan for "30 Rock" (2006)

Rainn Wilson for "The Office" (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominees:Christian Clemenson for "Boston Legal" (2004)

Michael Emerson for "Lost" (2004)

William Hurt for "Damages" (2007)

Aaron Paul for "Breaking Bad" (2008)

William Shatner for "Boston Legal" (2004)

John Slattery for "Mad Men" (2007)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:Len Cariou for Into the Storm (2009) (TV)

Tom Courtenay for "Little Dorrit" (2008)

Ken Howard for Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

Bob Newhart for The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008) (TV)

Andy Serkis for "Little Dorrit" (2008)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominees:Kristin Chenoweth for "Pushing Daisies" (2007)

Jane Krakowski for "30 Rock" (2006)

Elizabeth Perkins for "Weeds" (2005)

Amy Poehler for "Saturday Night Live" (1975)

Kristen Wiig for "Saturday Night Live" (1975)

Vanessa Williams for "Ugly Betty" (2006)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominees:Rose Byrne for "Damages" (2007)

Hope Davis for "In Treatment" (2008)

Cherry Jones for "24" (2001)

Sandra Oh for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)

Dianne Wiest for "In Treatment" (2008)

Chandra Wilson for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:Shohreh Aghdashloo for "House of Saddam" (2008)

Marcia Gay Harden for The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (2009) (TV)

Janet McTeer for Into the Storm (2009) (TV)

Jeanne Tripplehorn for Grey Gardens (2009) (TV)

Cicely Tyson for Relative Stranger (2009) (TV)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
Nominees:"The Colbert Report" (2005)

"The Daily Show" (1996)

"Late Show with David Letterman" (1993)

"Real Time with Bill Maher" (2003)

"Saturday Night Live" (1975)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Nominees:"The Amazing Race" (2001)

"American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (2002)

"Dancing with the Stars" (2005/I)

"Project Runway" (2005)

"Top Chef" (2006)

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality - Competition Program
Nominees:Tom Bergeron for "Dancing with the Stars" (2005/I)

Phil Keoghan for "The Amazing Race" (2001)

Heidi Klum for "Project Runway" (2005)

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio for "Top Chef" (2006)

Jeff Probst for "Survivor" (2000)

Ryan Seacrest for "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (2002)

Outstanding Reality Program
Nominees:"Antiques Roadshow" (1997)

"Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" (2004)

"Dirty Jobs" (2005)

"Intervention" (2005)

"Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" (2005)

"MythBusters" (2003)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Nominees:Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger - London, New York, Johannesburg (2008) (TV)

Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch (2009) (TV)

Ricky Gervais: Out of England - The Stand-Up Special (2008) (TV)

The 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honors (2008) (TV)

Will Ferrell: You're Welcome America - A Final Night with George W Bush (2009) (TV)

Outstanding Animated Program (for programming less than one hour)
American Dad • Sixteen-Hundred Candles • FOX • 20th Century Fox / Underdog / Fuzzy Door

Robot Chicken • Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II • Cartoon Network • ShadowMachine

South Park • Margaritaville • Comedy Central • Central Productions

The Simpsons • Gone Maggie Gone • FOX • Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television

Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or more)
Afro Samurai: Resurrection • Spike TV • A Studio Gonzo Production in Association with Spike TV and UppiTV

Destination Imagination (Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends) • Cartoon Network • Cartoon Network Studios

Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Being a huge Harry Potter fan I always have to except the fact that the movies are not going to be the same as the book. It's impossible to fit every detail, and to take the film for what it's worth and look past that. I loved the Half Blood Prince, but I'm still having trouble getting over a few things.

David Yates is back to direct, which is great. 'The Order of the Phoenix' was my favorite book until Deathly Hallows came out, and is my favorite of all the Potter movies. However the horrid screen writer Steve Kloves (who did not pen the screen play for OotP) is back and there starts my first problem. It's obvious which characters Kloves likes to write about and which ones he doesn't. Characters like Ron (Rupert Grint) get the put on the back burner and characters like Hermione (Emma Watson) go center stage. In this film there is far to much Harry/Hermione going on. It's no secret to anyone that's read the books that *spoiler* Ron and Hermione get together in the end, and while there are plenty of subtle hints towards that in this film, it ends with Harry and Hermione holding hands...why? There's always plenty of closeness with Harry and Hermione when Kloves is around and I find it to be a bit un-canon. And slightly annoying. Which brings me to my next point. A few things the film left out that they probably shouldn't.

1) Dumbledore's funeral: That was an important ending, mourning the most powerful wizard that ever lived. Reading it in the book was one thing because not only does Ron hold Hermione for the first time, but Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) breaks off his relationship with Ginny (Bonnie Wright) because he doesn't want her to be a target. Those were important plot points leading in to Deathly Hallows and they were left out, probably for viewers that have never read the books so that they don't get confused. I don't think the movies should be made for those people, they should be made for the book fans who read through all the stories to be surprised by the endings. (We didn't know Barty Crouch was Mad Eye Moody in 'Goblet of Fire' but the viewers did right away) Then that brings me to the relationship with Harry/Ginny and their hyped up "kiss" that took place in the room of requirements rather than the Gryffindor common room after a game of quittich. I understand certain things need to be changed for the film. For example, it's Luna that finds Harry on the train at the beginning of the film instead of Tonks, I can see why changes like that are made. But Ginny and Harry's kiss seemed to quick and less special without Ginny winning the Quittich match and Harry spontaneously kissing her in front of all his classmates. Now Ginny is the instigator, and she's that way for the entire film. I understand that they want to cut the quittich scenes because they are hard to shoot, but did we really need the "attack of the burrow" scene that wasn't in the book and added absolutely nothing to the script? I would've much rather seen the kiss as it should've been and/or Dumbledore's funeral. My last thing is Snape. Alan Rickman is brilliant as Snape, and I loved him more and more in this film, but as Harry is chasing him away from Hogwarts he merely admits to being the Half Blood Prince without any explaination of where the name came from. He also does not advise Harry to "close his mind" when he is yelling spells at him. That is a very important part of Deathly Hallows because it foreshadows who Snape really is. Leaving that out was absurd, it was only a few lines of very important dialogue.

I may sound like I'm totally bashing the film, but really I loved it. Those were just the 3 things that bothered me with it. I have way good things to say than bad. The acting was top notch. It's great to see the actors really grow with their roles. Grint and Radcliffe are spot on, and for once I could almost stand Watson's normally horrid portrayal of Hermione. Rickman as I stated before was perfect, as was Tom Felton who plays Draco. We've never really gotten a chance to see Tom's acting as an adult. The last few films he's just had a few lines of dialogue but this film he takes center stage, and it's wonderful to watch him play torn Draco. Michael Gambon as Dumbledore was my favorite. The scene with Harry finding the horcruxes was just as depressing as it was reading in the books. His death had the same effect in the film as it did on paper. I loved how the inferi looked. I loved the special affects, even the subtle things, like Romilda's valentine to Harry with the floating heart bubbles. It was funny, lots of innuendos that had my theater laughing, and it was just as dark as the last. One of my fears going in was that Sectremspecta was going to be so toned down, but it wasn't. I'm not sure how exactly this film got a PG rating, but it must have just missed PG13 with the blood.

Overall: I loved it. It was worth seeing the midnight showing and being tired all the next day at work. Of course as a book fan I have my gripes, but the good always over shines the bad in Harry Potter. Yes, I'm upset that Steve Kloves is back as the screen writer, but hopefully he doesn't butcher Deathly Hallows. Now onto the year wait for part 1. It's going to be a long one. It's interesting to see that Harry Potter broke 'The Dark Knight's' record for midnight openings bring in $22.2 mil. I wasn't expecting TDK's record to be broken so soon, but really..who's going to stop Harry Potter? Deathly Hallows will be interesting. I've already started my countdown.

Recommended: Yes 4/5 stars.

Memorable Quote: "So did you and Ginny do it then?" - Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)

Review: Bruno

Sacha Baron Cohen is back with one of his famous characters of 'Da Ali G Show' fame. This time, with a very flamboyant, very gay Austrian fashionista by the name of Bruno.

Universal Pictures did a good job of marketing this and making everyone remember that this guy is the one that did "Borat" in 2006. Everything from the film's tag line to the TV spots mentioned it's previous film which ended up being a commercial hit and even won Cohen the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a comedy and gave one of the most hilarious exception speeches I've ever heard. While Borat may have been the most amusing of the two, Bruno does not disappoint.

We follow Bruno in this documentary style film as he's booted from fashion week in Italy and decides to go to American to be "a celebrity". We see him as he tries to interview stars (he gets a very awkward one with Paula Abdul) pitches he's tv show and manages to completely freak out Ron Paul. He adopts an African child since many stars before him 'have one', wreaks havoc on a talk show in Dallas and attempts to become straight by seeing a gay exorcist type doctor. Not to mention getting an interview with a real terrorist..you gotta hand it to Baron Cohen.

The thing I love about 'Bruno' is it truly shows you the dark side of America, how homophobic some people are, how ridiculous they are. A cage fight in Arkansas being the perfect example of how one simple act of affection can turn a crowd into a riot.

Bruno is an important film like Borat before it, it's definitely not short on laughs or shock value. However, after 'Borat' it makes you wonder was exactly is staged and what isn't.

Recommended: Yes 4/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "Well I should be strapped to a 6'4 Norwegian with a PhD in sucking dick" - Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen)

Review: Public Enemies

Michael Mann's film about notorious bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and his crimes during the depression era. This film boasts a talented cast (Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard) great cinematography and a hell of a lot of shooting sequenes.

The story follows Dillinger and his crew as they rob banks across the Midwest during the 1930's. After breaking out of prisons (more than once) and wooing a beautiful girl, Billie Freschette (Cotillard), Dillinger and Co. continue their streak as nearly untouchable thieves. Melvin Purvis (Bale) is assigned to catch public enemy # 1. They use new methods (tracing Dillinger's purchases, listening in on phone calls) to get closer and closer to him, only to watch him slip away each time.

The film is a great game of "Cat and Mouse" with lots of shootings and chase scenes. Sometimes they can get a bit overwhelming, but the actors are so good at playing their characters it makes up for it.

Depp is fantastic as Dillinger, he gives him a deeper side showing his affection for Billie, and how he views his "job". He makes Dillinger relatable, and even though he's technically the villain, you root for him throughout the entire film. Bale is great at Purvis as well and he gets extra kudos for that flawless accent. There really isn't anyone better than Bale when it comes to capturing accents. French actress Cotillard does well with her English accent as well. However not all the characters are developed as well as Dillinger, and it doesn't help the story when not everyone is familiar with their backgrounds.

All and all, they made a good film. Some characters lack depth, sometimes the shootings get a little old, but overall the film is good. The cinematography was top notch, as were the costumes, music, etc. They did a great job of capturing the 30's.

Recommended: Yes 3.5/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "There is absolutely NOTHING I want to do in Indiana" - John Dillinger (Johnny Depp)

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

How you will respond to this film depends on the idea you have of it going in. If you want to see robots fighting, lots of neat CGI, and the ridiculously hot Megan Fox, then you'll love it. If your looking for an intriguing plot, then..this isn't for you.

I loved the first Trasformers and I enjoyed the second. I know a lot of people would disagree but I take it for what it's worth. The cars transforming into the Autobots/Decepticons was always my favorite part to watch, and you get to see a lot of that. While its at times hard to tell what Robot is hitting the other (i.e Optimus Prime battling Megatron in the forest was one huge mind f*ck considering all you could see was metal) I wasn't expecting a great plot, and thank God my expectations were low because this one was all over the place.

The film starts 2 years later, with Sam (the always capable Shia LeBouef) heading off to college. His girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) is not following him, but they will still remain in a long distance relationship. A lot of the plot centers around those two arguing over who will say "I love you" first, which starts off as cute then gets downright cheesy. Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and crew are now part of NEST, an elite military force that uses the Autobots help and hunts down whatever Decepticons are left. We saw Starscream escape in the last film, now under control, he helps the Decepticons once again rage war on earth. They free Megatron and are now under the orders of The Fallen. They target Sam, who had a piece of the cube still on his sweatshirt from the first film. He holds the key to the Decepticon's reign over earth.

It all sounds interesting but is thrown together badly. This film definitely had a lot more humor andmore swearing than the last film, which is fine. But the plot had more questions than answers.

Why all of a sudden can't Bumblebee talk again, after he talked to Sam at the end of the last film. (Isn't that Rachet's job to fix him?)

Didn't the military invent special bullets to fire against the Robots in the first time? If so..why aren't they using them now?

Why doesn't Mikaela ever get dirty? I mean, their rolling around in dust in the desert and there's not a spot on her! Director Michael Bay makes it painful obvious that Fox is only there to be hot, but as a movie goer I want more from her than to just stand there looking good. Maybe she can act? Cant we give her a chance?

The first film is obviously superior, if you want to see some neat graphics and CGI then this film is for you. If you want to look deeper than that..then well..see it anyways, at least it's a good popcorn movie!

Recommended: Yes

3/5

Memorable Quote: "What exactly are you letting happen to your leg right now" - Sam (Shia LeBeouf)

A note about the posts below.

Just letting everyone know about the posts below, I know the dates seem "a bit late". I've just copied and pasted some of my older reviews from the site that used to host them. I'm not going to be changing site again after this one. Just wanted to point out that I didn't review all of those films, and all the major award ceremonies all in one day :)

Review: The Watchmen

The long wait is finally here for Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen”. and It was definitely worth the wait.

“Watchmen” follows a group of masked vigilantes in an alternate reality. It’s 1985, Richard Nixon is still president. The USA won the Vietnam war, and everyone is paranoid that the US will have a nuclear war with the USSR. The film starts with The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) being murdered. Rorschach (the great Jackie Earl Haley) thinks someone is attacking all of the “Watchmen” a 2nd generation of masked vigilantes that have been outlawed and shunned by the crowd in the 70’s. The film introduces them to us, gives us their back story, and we watch as it all unfolds.

“Watchmen” is one of the best graphic novels ever written. Many people have been waiting for his movie, and have built up the hype. For me, I didn’t hype it up. “Watchmen” was one long comic, how they were going to include everything was beyond me. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie is nearly 3 hours long, and they still rushed the ending and some of the side stories, instead of ruining the film, I understood. They screenwriters did a great job of trying their best to stay faithful to the novel. The shots of the film were great, and often very close to the novel. The movie focused a bit more on it’s fights then the book did, but that’s cinema for you. They need to keep your attention right? As if Dr. Manhatten’s giant blue dong doesn’t already do that for you.

The acting in very hit and miss. You have Jackie Earl Haley and Patrick Wilson who are phenomenal. Malin Ackerman who needs some obvious work, and Billy Crudup and Matthew Goode were dare I say, boring? The most interesting character to me has always been Rorschach. Both in the novel and in the film, Haley does a great job with him. The special effects were great and even though the film was long it moved at a quick pace. I for one am interested in this director’s cut that is supposed to be coming out. Not to mention it has a killer soundtrack.

One thing I’d like to point out is that this film is rated R for a reason. I was surprised on how many stupid parents brought their small children to this flick. Did the R rating for violence, language and nudity just slip by them? This isn’t a flick for Kids, people. Wait til “Race to Witch Mountain”



Recommended: Yes 4.5/5

Memorable Quote: “I’m not locked in here with you…You’re locked in here with ME” - Rorschach - Jackie Earl Haley

Oscar Winners

What a night for the 81st Academy Awards. There were so many memorable moments. Heath Ledger winning his much deserved Oscar! James Franco mispronouncing “Spielzuegland” and Seth Rogan’s signature laugh following, Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, and Freida Pinto’s beautiful gowns. Danny Boyle’s “tigger” impression while excepting his Best Director statue, and Ben Stiller’s hilarious (yet mean) impression of Joaquin Phoenix. Robert DeNiro’s remark “how for all those years did Sean Penn get away with playing straight men!” Anne Hathaway’s genuine smile when Kate Winslet finally won Best Actress. Sean Penn beating out Mickey Rourke (I knew it would be a close race, but I definetly didn’t expect Penn to win) Screen writer Dustin Lance Black’s inspirational speech he gave when he won Best Original Screenplay. And last but not least, Slumdog Millionaire winning Best Picture.

Although the musical numbers seemed very awkward, it’s nice to see how talented our host Hugh Jackman really is.

Now I’m sure all of you are currently trying to download Best Original Song winner “Jai Ho” on itunes (guilty) Here are the list of the winners:



Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Christian Colson


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Sean Penn for Milk (2008/I)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)
Best Achievement in Directing
Winner: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Winner: Okuribito (2008)(Japan)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - A.R. Rahman, Sampooran Singh Gulzar(”Jai Ho”)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - A.R. Rahman
Best Achievement in Editing
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Chris Dickens
Best Achievement in Sound
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Winner: The Dark Knight (2008) - Richard King
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Winner: Smile Pinki (2008) - Megan Mylan
Best Documentary, Features
Winner: Man on Wire (2008) - James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)
Best Short Film, Live Action
Winner: Spielzeugland (2007) - Jochen Alexander Freydank
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Achievement in Makeup
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Greg Cannom
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Winner: The Duchess (2008) - Michael O’Connor
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
Best Short Film, Animated
Winner: Maison en petits cubes, La (2008) - Kunio Katô
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Winner: WALL·E (2008) - Andrew Stanton
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Simon Beaufoy
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: Milk (2008/I) - Dustin Lance Black
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Independent Spirit Award Winners

Best Feature
WINNER
The Wrestler (2008): Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

Other Nominees:
Ballast (2008): Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh

Frozen River (2008): Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae

Rachel Getting Married (2008): Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, Marc E. Platt

Wendy and Lucy (2008): Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani

Best Female Lead
WINNER
Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)

Other Nominees:
Summer Bishil for Nothing Is Private (2007)

Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Tarra Riggs for Ballast (2008)

Michelle Williams for Wendy and Lucy (2008)

Best Male Lead
WINNER
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

Other Nominees:
Javier Bardem for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Richard Jenkins for The Visitor (2007/I)

Sean Penn for Milk (2008/I)

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Best Supporting Female
WINNER
Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Other Nominees:
Rosemarie DeWitt for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Rosie Perez for The Take (2007)

Misty Upham for Frozen River (2008)

Debra Winger for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Best Supporting Male
WINNER
James Franco for Milk (2008/I)

Other Nominees:
Anthony Mackie for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Charlie McDermott for Frozen River (2008)

JimMyron Ross for Ballast (2008)

Haaz Sleiman for The Visitor (2007/I)

Best Director
WINNER
Thomas McCarthy for The Visitor (2007/I)

Other Nominees:
Ramin Bahrani for Chop Shop (2007)

Jonathan Demme for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Lance Hammer for Ballast (2008)

Courtney Hunt for Frozen River (2008)

Best Screenplay
WINNER
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008): Woody Allen

Other Nominees:
Padre Nuestro (2007): Christopher Zalla

Savage Grace (2007): Howard A. Rodman

Sugar (2008/I): Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Synecdoche, New York (2008): Charlie Kaufman

Best First Screenplay
WINNER
Milk (2008/I): Dustin Lance Black

Other Nominees:
Ballast (2008): Lance Hammer

Frozen River (2008): Courtney Hunt

Rachel Getting Married (2008): Jenny Lumet

The Wackness (2008): Jonathan Levine

Best Cinematography
WINNER
The Wrestler (2008): Maryse Alberti

Other Nominees:
Ballast (2008): Lol Crawley

Chop Shop (2007): Michael Simmonds

Medicine for Melancholy (2008): James Laxton

Milk (2008/I): Harris Savides

Best First Feature
WINNER
Synecdoche, New York (2008): Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Sidney Kimmel

Other Nominees:
Afterschool (2008): Antonio Campos, T. Sean Durkin, Josh Mond

Medicine for Melancholy (2008): Barry Jenkins, Justin Barber

Padre Nuestro (2007): Christopher Zalla, Per Melita, Ben Odell

Sleep Dealer (2008): Alex Rivera, Anthony Bregman

Best Foreign Film
WINNER
Entre les murs (2008): Laurent Cantet(France)

Other Nominees:
Gomorra (2008): Matteo Garrone(Italy)

Hunger (2008): Steve McQueen(UK/Ireland)

Graine et le mulet, La (2007): Abdel Kechiche(France)

Stellet licht (2007): Carlos Reygadas(Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany)

Best Documentary
WINNER
Man on Wire (2008): James Marsh

Other Nominees:
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon (2008): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath

Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog

The Order of Myths (2008): Margaret Brown

Up the Yangtze (2007): Yung Chang

John Cassavetes Award
WINNER
In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007): Alex Holdridge, Seth Caplan, Scoot McNairy

Other Nominees:
Prince of Broadway (2008): Sean Baker, Darren Dean

The Signal (2007/I): David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry, Alexander Motlagh

Take Out (2004): Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou

Turn the River (2007): Chris Eigeman, Ami Armstrong

Truer Than Fiction Award
WINNER
The Order of Myths (2008): Margaret Brown

Other Nominees:
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008): Sacha Gervasi

Loot (2008): Darius Marder

Someone to Watch Award
WINNER
Lynn Shelton for My Effortless Brilliance (2008)

Other Nominees:
Barry Jenkins for Medicine for Melancholy (2008)

Nina Paley for Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

Producers Award
WINNER
Heather Rae for Frozen River (2008), Ibid (2008)

Other Nominees:
Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy for Treeless Mountain (2008), I’ll Come Running (2008)

Jason Orans for Goodbye Solo (2008), Year of the Fish (2007)

Review: Friday The 13th.

One of my favorite critics, Matt Singer over at IFC joked about starting a petition to rename this film “He’s Right Behind You, Moron”. That title fits this movie very well, but as far as slasher movies go. This one is actually quite decent.

I sometimes have to remind myself that these movies are meant to scare people, to me, the average slasher film is hilarious. Occasionally jumpy (mostly due to loud noises) and interesting special effects. The stupidity of the teenagers in these films are always astounding, running up the stairs instead of out the front door, no cell phone signal (although the first camper’s GPS worked just fine) the obligatory boob shot (in this case, nearly every female onscreen is topless at some point in this film) and the underlining racial slur, (Am I the only one that noticed that while the Asian teen is being murdered in the woodshed, his friend comes out to find him armed with a wok?)

Yes, the new “Friday the 13th” has all the cliches of the slasher film, but still manages to be some what interesting. The movie is not a full on remake (as hopefully most of you know the original killer was Jason’s mother, and Jason didn’t have his hockey mask til the 3rd film) An interesting approach is shown from young Jason’s point of view back in 1980 at Camp Crystal Lake. He witnesses his mother’s death, and goes on a killing spree. The film starts out with 5 teenagers going on a Camping trip, although their real motive is to find some marijuana that is supposedly growing nearby and sell it. After offing the campers, we are shown 6 more teens that are spending the weekend at a lake cabin near Camp Crystal Lake, we are also introduced to the brother of one of the missing campers who crosses paths with our ill-fated hooligans.

The only likeable character in the movie for me was Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), Aaron Yoo and Arlen Escarpeta come in as close seconds, but are mainly just there for comic relief. I personally hope I never run across Travis Van Winkle (bad boy Trent) in a film ever again. Half of the dialouge out of this guy’s mouth generated a lot of laughs in the audience (and a lot of those were at times they weren’t supposed to be funny) The acting in these movies isn’t supposed to be top notch, in fact it sort of helps play up to the stupidity of the teens in the film, but that was definitely pushing it. There was lots of blood (and boobs), the deaths were unique and gory, there were plenty of laughs, and the ending was totally predictable: Your typical slasher flick in a nutshell.

I for one, after seeing every ‘Friday The 13th Film’ ever made am beginning to sympathize with Jason. He had a good reason to start killing people (The counselors weren’t watching him when he drowned, they killed his mother, people are trespassing on his property, and probably trying to steal *his* weed.) It’s hard not to cheer Jason on.

Recommended: Only if you are a hardcore Slasher fan, or want a good laugh. It’s definitely one of the better “Friday The 13th” films.

Memorable Quote: “Where are you, gun?” - Trent (Travis Van Winkle)

Review: Taken

“Taken” centers around Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), a former spy or “protector” for the US government who has recently retired to spend more time with his 17 year old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) Kim lives with her mother and stepfather, and rarely gets to see Bryan. Kim is invited to spend part of the summer with her friend Amanda in France, her mother immediately says yes, while Bryan is not comfortable with the situation. He eventually gives in, under the condition Kim calls him every day he’s there. Kim and Amanda meet someone at the airport who shares a cab ride home, while Kim is on the phone with Brian 4 men swarm in the house and kidnap them. Bryan traces the phone call and immediately gets a flight to France. After learning his daughter has been kidnapped by sex traffickers, Brian only has roughly 96 hours before he loses her for good.

When I first found out this movie was rated PG13 I was almost disappointed. I didn’t think it could possibly be as “badass” as the ‘Die Hard’ films or others of that genre. After seeing it I’m glad it was PG13. The violence was effective, but not over the top. The sex trafficking theme was kept relatively tame. No nudity, nothing is really shown. The film chose not to exploit that, which was a smart thing to do. The always wonderful Liam Neeson is totally believable as a former spy who can kick a lot of ass. My only problem with this film was that the character development wasn’t that great (except for Bryan). His daughter came off as bratty, and could’ve been a bit more thankful considering what her father just went through to get her back. Also *spoiler alert* they didn’t seem to sad upon returning back to the states considering her friend Amanda was murdered. I understand the film probably would’ve been a bit too long had they gone into things like this, but that bothered me a little bit.

The film has great action scenes, and it tackles the very taboo subjects of human trafficking. Neeson is a good lead, and believable spy. You leave this film wishing you defend yourself the way that he does.

Recommended: Yes 3.5/5

Memorable Quote: “You don’t remember me? We spoke on the phone yesterday…I told you I would find you” - Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson)

Review: The Reader

All the fuss about Kate Winslet’s performance immediately made me want to see this film. Being a huge Kate fan, this film is definitely one of her best,



“The Reader” is about a young man named Michael Berg (David Kross). When Michael was 15, he had an affair with a much older woman named Hanna (Kate Winslet) over the course of one summer. Hanna took care of him when he was ill, and in turn he read to her. She loved to be read to, then one day she disappears. We’re taken a few years later, when Michael is a law student. He attends the trial of former Nazi war criminals, one of them being Hanna. Now that’s he knows her big secret he’s torn on whether to save her or not. He has valuable information that could keep her away from jail, but will she want to admit it? The story is told by the adult Michael (now played by Ralph Fiennes) Who is recalling this story 18 years later.

The Reader is a great film, very smart, the acting is top notch, and it was a pleasant surprise to see it nominated for ‘Best Picture’ at this years Academy Awards. Winslet being nominated for ‘Best Actress’ is a plus. She already has 5 nominations, and she truly deserves this one. She was toted as ‘Best Supporting Actress” for most of the year, so it was a little surprising to change her to the lead actress category, but it’s probably for the better. The ending caught me a bit by surprise, but I don’t think it could’ve ended any other way.

Recommended: Yes 5/5

Memorable Quote: “It doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what I feel. The dead are still dead.” -Hanna (Kate Winslet)

Review: The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke makes a comeback in this gritty drama about a retired professional wrestler trying to have a normal life

What drew me to this movie first was that many professional wrestling company's (Particularly Vince McMahon’s WWE) weren’t that impressed at first. This movie exposes a lot of what went on backstage at a wrestling show in the 80’s and probably the 90’s. They were quick to say that wrestling has changed, which I’m sure it has with all the drug policies they have intact now. But apparently they saw the publicity this film was getting. (and possibly took a note from their rival, TNA Impact who were never against it), now WWE airs tv spots for this film during their shows. This film is truly Rourke’s “comeback” from being a star in the 80’s, to a so so boxer, to this. His performance is amazing (as our his co-stars Tomei and Wood) and he’s completely passable as a beat up old wrestler. Some compare this performance with real life wrestler, Mick Foley. That isn’t fair. Foley is nothing like Robinson, and the comparisons some people have made either didn’t get the point of this film, or have never witnessed the career of the amazing Foley.

Randy 'The Ram' Robinson is fairly close to being a has been. He's old, not in the shape he used to be. He abuses steroids and lives alone in a trailer park. He tries to get close to his adult daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) but he always manages to mess it up. He works in a grocery story and does indie events when he can. He think he's got one match left in him. So when he's offered to fight his old rival 'The Ayatollah" he jumps at the chance. He meets a stripper by the name of Cassidy and becomes infatuated with her, but she realizes his path.

Being a life long wrestling fan, the movie felt very real to me. I obviously don't know all of the "behind the scenes" things that happen at wrestling events, but just seeing shots of the wrestlers talking about how they will be setting up their matches was great to see. The only issue I had with the film was it's bland ending. It builds everything up then goes nowhere with it. Still, it's a must see on the casts' performances alone. Rourke, Tomei and Wood are at the top of their game.

Recommended? Yes 4/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "I just don't want you to hate me.." - The Ram (Mickey Rourke)

Review: Gran Torino.

Clint Eastwood is at his best directing and staring in this film about racism, gangs, and live after war.


Gran Torino




Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a Korean war vet who recently lost his wife. He doesn’t get along with his sons (or anyone else for that matter) and refuses to move out of his old neighborhood which is now mainly occupied by people of different races, and is on a bad side of town. He gets new Hmoung neighbors, and after ignoring them for the most part until the boy, Thao (Bee Vang) tries to steal his prized 73′ Gran Torino under pressure of his cousin’s gang. Thao’s family pushes him to make it up to Walt, and Walt befriends Thao’s younger sister, Sue (Ahney Her). Walt becomes interested in the Hmoung culture, feels drawn to protect them when a pushy gang starts to mess with them.

For those of you familiar with ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’ or the “Dirty Harry” series it’s great to see a badass Eastwood back. The film is full of racial slurs against everyone, but most come off as a joke from our main character. The acting on the teenager’s parts is not great but is not terrible either. Both Her and Vang, in their first film roles look promising. and I hope to see them in the future. Especially Het as our lead female who plays Sue as a strong, yet lovable smartass, and who we really feel pain for towards the end of the film.

The film is shot wonderfully, and gives us a good look at the gang scene in present day Detroit. Eastwood gives a wonderful performance and the film gives an interesting message. A very good script indeed.

Recommended: Yes 4.5/5

Memorable Quote: “Get off my lawn!” - Walk Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) His facial expression is what makes this quote.

Also if you are bored, you can make a drinking game out of this film. Take a drink every time someone in this movie says a racial slur. Trust me..it gets interesting. :)

Golden Globe WINNERS

*Britt’s blog on the Golden Globes is below*


Best Motion Picture - Drama
WINNER
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Other Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Frost/Nixon (2008)

The Reader (2008)

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Other Nominees:
Burn After Reading (2008)

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

In Bruges (2008)

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
WINNER
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

Other Nominees:
Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road (2008)

Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Sean Penn for Milk (2008)

Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
WINNER
Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road (2008)

Other Nominees:
Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Angelina Jolie for Changeling (2008)

Meryl Streep for Doubt (2008)

Kristin Scott Thomas for Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (2008)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
Colin Farrell for In Bruges (2008)

Other Nominees:
Javier Bardem for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

James Franco for Pineapple Express (2008)

Brendan Gleeson for In Bruges (2008)

Dustin Hoffman for Last Chance Harvey (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Other Nominees:
Rebecca Hall for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Frances McDormand for Burn After Reading (2008)

Meryl Streep for Mamma Mia! (2008)

Emma Thompson for Last Chance Harvey (2008)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
WINNER
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

Other Nominees:
Tom Cruise for Tropic Thunder (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder (2008)

Ralph Fiennes for The Duchess (2008)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
WINNER
Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)

Other Nominees:
Amy Adams for Doubt (2008)

Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Viola Davis for Doubt (2008)

Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler (2008)

Best Director - Motion Picture
WINNER
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Other Nominees:
Stephen Daldry for The Reader (2008)

David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Sam Mendes for Revolutionary Road (2008)

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
WINNER
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

Other Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Roth, Robin Swicord

Doubt (2008): John Patrick Shanley

Frost/Nixon (2008): Peter Morgan

The Reader (2008): David Hare

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
WINNER
The Wrestler (2008)(”The Wrestler”)

Other Nominees:
Bolt (2008)(”I Thought I Lost You”)

Cadillac Records (2008)(”Once in a Lifetime”)

Gran Torino (2008)(”Gran Torino”)

WALL·E (2008)(”Down to Earth”)

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
WINNER
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman

Other Nominees:
Changeling (2008): Clint Eastwood

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat

Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard

Frost/Nixon (2008): Hans Zimmer

Best Animated Film
WINNER
WALL·E (2008)

Other Nominees:
Bolt (2008)

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER
Vals Im Bashir (2008)

Other Nominees:
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008)

Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (2008)

Gomorra (2008)

Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (2008)

Best Television Series - Drama
WINNER
“Mad Men” (2007)

Other Nominees:
“Dexter” (2006)

“House M.D.” (2004)

“In Treatment” (2008)

“True Blood” (2007)

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
“30 Rock” (2006)

Other Nominees:
“Californication” (2007)

“Entourage” (2004)

“The Office” (2005)

“Weeds” (2005)

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER
“John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Bernard and Doris (2007)

“Cranford” (2007)

A Raisin in the Sun (2008) (TV)

Recount (2008) (TV)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER
Paul Giamatti for “John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Ralph Fiennes for Bernard and Doris (2007)

Kevin Spacey for Recount (2008) (TV)

Kiefer Sutherland for 24: Redemption (2008) (TV)

Tom Wilkinson for Recount (2008) (TV)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER
Laura Linney for “John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Judi Dench for “Cranford” (2007)

Catherine Keener for An American Crime (2007)

Shirley MacLaine for Coco Chanel (2008) (TV)

Susan Sarandon for Bernard and Doris (2007)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
Alec Baldwin for “30 Rock” (2006)

Other Nominees:
Steve Carell for “The Office” (2005)

Kevin Connolly for “Entourage” (2004)

David Duchovny for “Californication” (2007)

Tony Shalhoub for “Monk” (2002)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
WINNER
Tina Fey for “30 Rock” (2006)

Other Nominees:
Christina Applegate for “Samantha Who?” (2007)

America Ferrera for “Ugly Betty” (2006)

Debra Messing for “The Starter Wife” (2008)

Mary-Louise Parker for “Weeds” (2005)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
WINNER
Gabriel Byrne for “In Treatment” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Michael C. Hall for “Dexter” (2006)

Jon Hamm for “Mad Men” (2007)

Hugh Laurie for “House M.D.” (2004)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers for “The Tudors” (2007)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
WINNER
Anna Paquin for “True Blood” (2007)

Other Nominees:
Sally Field for “Brothers & Sisters” (2006)

Mariska Hargitay for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999)

January Jones for “Mad Men” (2007)

Kyra Sedgwick for “The Closer” (2005)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER
Tom Wilkinson for “John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Neil Patrick Harris for “How I Met Your Mother” (2005)

Denis Leary for Recount (2008) (TV)

Jeremy Piven for “Entourage” (2004)

Blair Underwood for “In Treatment” (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
WINNER
Laura Dern for Recount (2008) (TV)

Other Nominees:
Eileen Atkins for “Cranford” (2007)

Melissa George for “In Treatment” (2008)

Rachel Griffiths for “Brothers & Sisters” (2006)

Dianne Wiest for “In Treatment” (2008)



Britt’s 2 cents.

First off…yay Heath Ledger! Yay Anna Paquin! Yay Tina Fey! and Yay Kate Winslet! This was a pretty unpredictable Globes in my opinion, I found myself being surprised more then being spot on when it came to the winners of each category. This was a very interesting telecast, and offered alot to blog about. Here are my hits and misses of the eveing. Whether it be someone’s speech, facial expression, wardrobe or how they acted on the red carpet, things definet stood out.

Hits:

Slumdog Millionare - This little indie that could took home 4 Globes last night including the coveted Best Picture. Danny Boyle has done some great films in the past (28 Days Later, Trainspotting) so it’s great to see him take home the best director trophy as well. Now, the last time the GG’s gave away Best Picture to a film that actually took home the Best Picture Oscar was in 2003 for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. GG’s are known to show love to certain films that the Oscars like to turn a cold shoulder to, (see Atonement) But let’s hope this film continues it’s impressive streak right on to the Oscars. Extra points go to star Freida Pinto and her beautiful dress!

Kate Winslet - After being nominated 5 times before she FINALLY won….twice! Her speeches were so heartfelt and humble. Forgetting crabby Angelina Jolie’s name was pretty damn funny as well.

Heath Ledger - What a great way to honor the late Heath Ledger awarding him his much deserving Best Supporting Actor. Demi Moore looked like she was about to cry when she announced his name, and director Christopher Nolan gave a great speech when excepting his award. The Camera panned to fellow nominees Robert Downey Jr, Tom Cruise and Ralph Fiennes..and they didn’t look the least bit disappointed. They looked like they were proud after a clip of Heath’s Joker was shown. Great sportsmanship

Darren Aronofsky - The director of ‘The Wrestler’ flipping off his star Mickey Rourke when he mentioned him in his speech..not blowing him a kiss or waiving, but flipping him the freaking bird! Awesome.

Speaking of awesome, how about Tina Fey’s awesome acceptance speech for Best Actress in a TV comedy? Telling all her internet haters to “suck it”. She deserves an award just for saying that, and she’s probably the only person that could get away with it..and seriously, who hates Tina Fey? Really.

Misses

Miley Cyrus - Sticking your toungue out when the camera pans to you after announcing your nomination? That seemed a little immature. You should be proud that you were nominated, and show some respect..kudos to the eye rolling when the Jonas Brothers were on stage, at least that was some what amusing.

Speaking of which… The Jonas Brothers have got to be the most overrated band in history. They seemed so out of place at the Golden Globes with their tight pants and abstance of annoying, shrieking female tweens. I try to be understanding, I mean..I too was once a tweener who was obssessed with Hanson back in my day, but Hanson, Nsync, BSB…they never had two back to back tours, then a movie, then a tv show, then another movie..sorry girls, that’s a little to much Jonas for me. I’d rather them be off my television.

Zac Efron should stick to acting and singing instead of presenting. He looked like he was just staring at himself in the monitor rather than present his category. At least Hayden Panieterre looked lovely.

Dustin Hoffman - Way to look like an asshole while Emma Thompson is up there making jokes! His reaction to her “we come at a discounted rate” joke was just mean.

The crowd snearing at Sascha Baron Cohen for making a joke about Guy Ritchie. - Apparently I’m in the minority here, because I thought it was funny.

Renee Zellwegger’s Dress -wtf? That’s literally all I can say..

Kristin Scott Thomas - Maybe not everyone noticed this, but Joe Fatone interviewed her on the red carpet before the Globes and she could not have been more cold. She came off as so stuck up that I wasn’t too disappointed when neither she, nor her film “I’ve Loved You So Long” went home empty handed.

Independent Spirit Award Nominees

Best Feature

Rachel Getting Married
Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, Marc Platt

The Wrestler
Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

Wendy and Lucy
Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani

Ballast
Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh

Frozen River
Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae
Best Director

Tom McCarthy
The Visitor

Jonathan Demme
Rachel Getting Married

Courtney Hunt
Frozen River

Ramin Bahrani
Chop Shop

Lance Hammer
Ballast
Best First Feature

Afterschool
Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Josh Mond

Medicine for Melancholy
Barry Jenkins, Justin Barber

Synecdoche, New York
Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel

Sleep Dealer
Alex Rivera, Anthony Bregman

Sangre De Mi Sangre
Christopher Zalla, Per Melita, Benjamin Odell
John Cassavetes Award

Prince of Broadway
Sean Baker, Darren Dean

Take Out
Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou

The Signal
David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry, Alexander Motlagh

Turn the River
Chris Eigeman, Ami Armstrong

In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Alex Holdridge, Seth Caplan, Scoot McNairy
Best Screenplay

Woody Allen
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Sugar

Charlie Kaufman
Synecdoche, New York

Howard A. Rodman
Savage Grace

Christopher Zalla
Sangre De Mi Sangre
Best First Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black
Milk

Lance Hammer
Ballast

Courtney Hunt
Frozen River

Jonathan Levine
The Wackness

Jenny Lumet
Rachel Getting Married
Best Female Lead

Summer Bishil
Towelhead

Anne Hathaway
Rachel Getting Married

Melissa Leo
Frozen River

Tarra Riggs
Ballast

Michelle Williams
Wendy and Lucy
Best Male Lead

Javier Bardem
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Richard Jenkins
The Visitor

Sean Penn
Milk

Jeremy Renner
The Hurt Locker

Mickey Rourke
The Wrestler
Best Supporting Female

Penélope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Rosemarie DeWitt
Rachel Getting Married

Rosie Perez
The Take

Misty Upham
Frozen River

Debra Winger
Rachel Getting Married
Best Supporting Male

James Franco
Milk

Anthony Mackie
The Hurt Locker

Charlie McDermott
Frozen River

JimMyron Ross
Ballast

Haaz Sleiman
The Visitor
Best Foreign Film

The Class
Laurent Cantet

Gomorra
Matteo Garrone

Secret of the Grain
Abdellatif Kechiche

Hunger
Steve McQueen

Silent Light
Carlos Reygadas
Best Documentary

The Order of Myths
Margaret Brown

Up the Yangtze
Yung Chang

Encounters at the End of the World
Werner Herzog

The Betrayal
Ellen Kuras & Thavisouk Phrasavath

Man on Wire
James Marsh
Best Cinematography

Maryse Alberti
The Wrestler

Lol Crawley
Ballast

James Laxton
Medicine for Melancholy

Harris Savides
Milk

Michael Simmonds
Chop Shop
Robert Altman Award

Charlie Kaufman (Director), Jeanne McCarthy (Casting Director), Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Williams
Synecdoche, New York
Piaget Producers Award

Heather Rae
Frozen River

Jason Orans
Goodbye Solo, Year of the Fish

Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy
Treeless Mountain, I’ll Come Running
Acura Someone to Watch Award

Lynn Shelton
My Effortless Brilliance

Nina Paley
Sita Sings the Blues

Barry Jenkins
Medicine for Melancholy
Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award

Darius Marder
Loot

Sacha Gervasi
Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Margaret Brown
The Order of Myths

Review: Role Models

You know when you see previews of some comedies and you wonder if they put all the funny parts in the previews? That was my first impression of ‘Role Models’ when I saw it’s trailer, but nonetheless I was a fan of many of the actors in the film so I gave it a shot. I’m happy to admit that I was totally off and this is probably one of the funniest movies I have seen all year.



‘Role Models’ is about two energy drink salesmen, Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) who end up with community service after disturbing the peace and damaging school property…all in a fit of rage by Danny after his girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks) breaks up with him. They are sent to a “Big brother little brother” type center run by Gayle (the absolutely hilarious Jane Lynch) Danny is paired with Augie Farks (Christoper Mintz-Plasse) a socially awkward teenager obsessed with medieval role play, but ignored by his not-so-loving parents. and Wheeler is paired with Ronny(Bobbe’e J. Thompson), an out of control ten year old with a vulgar vocabulary. Can they survive the community service? Or will they mess up and be sent to jail?

‘Role Models’ manages to be more then just one liners and actually be a touching film. Sure, it has plenty of hilarious jokes, mostly from Thompson and Scott but it has a touching center. Mintz-Plasse could’ve easily took a page from ‘Superbad’ co-star Michael Cera’s book and played a different variation of the same character. But he doesn’t, I didn’t sense a single bit of McLovin in Augie Farks, sure they were both nerds, but Mintz-Plasses makes Augie a genuine kid, and not smooth nerd-extraordinaire like McLovin. Scott and Rudd have great chemistry together as our leads, and Rudd who co-wrote the film is definitely a staple in the future of comedy. This is what I love about this “Apatow related” films. They’re R-rated dialogue seems more real, they’re never short on the laughs, yet the characters could easily be real people you work with or went to school with. This is what makes ‘Role Models’ one of the best comedies of the year, it’s funny and sincere.

Considering I saw this and the arguably disastrous ‘Twilight’ (yes, I didn’t like it. True to the story, yet I never realized how ridiculous some of the scenes were until they played out on screen) in the same weekend. I definitely know which one I’d recommend first, and it’s not Stephanie Meyer’s novel we all love.

Recommended: Yes

4/5

Memorable Quote: “Basically what I’m asking is if I can hang out with your 10 year old boy after I get out of prison?” - Wheeler (Seann William Scott)

Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Director Kevin Smith takes a break from his “View Askewuniverse” to bring us this equally wonderful film. “Zach and Miri Make a Porno”. Smith ran into a bit of trouble during the marketing of the film. It was first slapped with an NC-17 rating, which was later appealed to an R. While I’m sure the NC17 rated content will be in the DVD, I found it a bit unfair that they tried so hard to give it such a harsh rating. They also rejected the first poster, deeming it “too sexual”, Smith drew up a stick figure poster instead. Being a long time Kevin Smith fan, I was rather bothered by all of this at first. I wanted to see my Kevin Smith movie, and I wanted to see it the way he wanted his fans to see it. Needless to say after all the rukus I was still very pleased with the flick I saw.



Great (platonic) friends Zach (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are running short on cash. After nearly all of their utilities are turned off at their apartment they come up with the brilliant? idea to make a porno for some extra cash. At their high school reunion they run into a former classmate Bobby (Brandon Routh) who happens to be dating a porn star Brandon (Justin Long). This sparks an idea, and Zack and Miri rally up their friends and hold auditions for their porno "Star Whores". After an unfortunate accident involving the storage shed with all their costumes and equipment burning down, they are forced to film the flick in the Coffee shop where Zack works.

This film was hilarious, and had some brilliant gags, but the ending is almost too lovey-dovey for the movie. Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogan have awesome chemistry, but the fact that this movie does a complete 180 from gross out comedy to romance throws it off a little. However it doesn't take away from the whole film, but it does hurt it a bit.


Recommended: Yes

3/5

Memorable Quote - Is that too dirty? How about “penis”? Is “penis” okay? - Zack (Seth Rogen)

Review: Changeling

Angelina Jolie is such a tabloid target. She’s in every magazine you read, people constantly talk about her private life (her loads of kids), her humanitarian work (complete globe trotter) that people forget the reason we all know who she is. Her ACTING. And by all means, shes fantastic at it.

Jolie has done a lot of great action movies where the effects and cool angles are focused on more than the actors themselves. (i.e Tomb Raider, Wanted) “Changeling” is a perfect example of why Jolie is such a capable actress. It allows her to dive deep into a troubled character, and really lets us feel said character’s emotions. Jolie has shown us this before, her Oscar winning turn in ‘Girl Interupted” and also in “A Mighty Heart”.

“Changeling” is set in the 1920’s and is about a woman named Christine Collins, who’s 9 year old son goes missing after she leaves him home alone. Months later the LAPD returns the boy to her, only Christine knows its not her son. There are obvious signs, this boy is shorter and not cirumsized, she pleads to the LAPD to admit their mistake. The deem her crazy, and one of the few people to come to her aid is Gustav Briegelb (John Malkovich), a reverend and activist.

Clint Eastood is an amazing director in my opinion, and what he’s done with this film is great. The costumes are spot on with the time era and the acting is great all around. (Especially a bit part played by uber-talented Oscar Nominee Amy Ryan) The ending is interesting, and doesn’t disappoint. This film is based on a true story, so some people may already know how it ends, but if you can, put off reading about it until after seeing the film, then check it out. It’s a remarkable and sad story. I see this as a serious Oscar contender, and I’m campaigning Eddie Alderson (Sanford) for best supporting actor for sure. That young lad had some heavy stuff to do in this film, and he (and the entire cast) were amazing. The first 45 minutes of this film are truly frustrating due to the bogus answers the police give Christine, but it’s so compelling. It draws you in,


Recommended: Yes

4.5/5

Memorable Quote: Stop calling me that! I’m not your mother! I want my son back! - Christine (Angelina Jolie)

Review: Appaloosa

Ed Harris directed, starred, wrote and co-produced this film. Clearly he put a lot of hours and hard work into this. He casted talented leads like his ‘A History of Violence’ co star Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, Lord of the Rings) Renee Zellweger (Chicago, Cold Mountain) and Jeremy Irons (Earagon, Lolita). The acting is top notch, but a weak script and lack of climax makes what would be a stellar movie fall a little short.


appaloosa


Appaloosa begins with two men, Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Mortensen) who have been asked to police a small town called “Appaloosa” that has been terrorized by a rancher, Braggs (Irons). Cole is obviously the head man, with Hitch being the more intelligent sidekick that carries around an 8mm rifle throughout the entire film. They re-write the laws and take control of the town, while Cole falls for a young lady named, Ally (Zelweger). They arrest Braggs and prepare to take him to be hanged only to have Bragg’s men kidnap Ally and demand that they turn Braggs free. They work together to recapture Braggs, deal with Ally’s wondering eye (among other things) and restore the town they have promised to protect.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mortensen, but never a fan of westerns. He was my main reason for seeing this film, and while I thought he was wonderful I left the theatre wondering what exactly was the point of the film I just saw. The lack of character development is one thing, but the script lacks a viable climax. It’s almost as if it comes and goes to quickly. The director establishes a small back story for Cole and Hitch but then goes nowhere with it. At the end of the film we’re wondering what is going on inside our lead character’s mind, but we have not been told enough about him to answer those questions. Harris is a tremendous actor, but the screenplay of this script is lacking.

Recommended: Only if you are die hard fans of the actors.

3/5

Memorable Quote: Ally: Why, I’m so embarrassed that you saw me in the nude - Everret: No miss Ally, it was my pleasure! Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger

Review: The Secret Life of Bees

Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ follows young Lilly Owens (the fabulous Dakota Fanning) as she runs away with her nanny/friend Rosalene (Oscar winner: Jennifer Hudson). Lily is trying to escape her abusive father and her troubled past. They stumble upon a family of bee keepers, August, May and June (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes and Sophie Okonedo) They take them in and teach them the ways of bee keeping, and also teach them lessons in life and love.



“Bees” in terms of a novel made into a film is one of the best in my opinion. Alot of people had a problem with Dakota Fanning playing Lily Owens when it was first annoced, however she’s darkened her hair and grown up a little bit, she’s exactly how I pictured Lily years ago when I read the novel. Fanning is great as always, as are the supporting cast, including Paul Bettney as T. Ray Owens, Lily’s father.

This film tries hard not to come off has just another “chick flick”, it’s a tear jerker, definetly. But it’s also so much more than that. It’s honest, close to the book, and the acting is fantastic. The actors really dig deep into the emotions of their characters, and the cinematography is beautiful.

Recommened: Yes, and not just for females.

Memorable Quote: “Nobody is unloveable” - August Boatwright (Queen Latifah)

Review: The Life Before Her Eyes

Now on DVD. I came across ‘The Life Before Her Eyes’ awhile ago when it went by the working title ‘In Bloom’, and trust me the new title makes A LOT more sense for this film.



The film stars Uma Thurman as Diana, and the always fabulous Evan Rachel Wood as the younger version. Younger Diana goes through a traumatic “Columbine” type incident at her high school, as an adult she cannot forget what happened, and the film shows us how she goes on with her everyday life in the aftermath. Now at first it plays out a little like a Lifetime film, except with better acting. But it’s the ending of this film that throws you, and some people’s initial feeling (like mine) was anger, but then you realize how original that it is, and if it had ended the way you thought it would, it would be just another lifetime movie.

Yes, there is a twist in the end, I won’t tell you because it will literally ruin the entire movie, but what I do advise you to do if you watch this film is to pay close attention to detail, it helps explain the ending more. The acting in the film is top notch. Evan Rachel Wood can do no wrong, she’s absolutely flawless in everything I’ve seen her in (which is literally almost every movie she’s made) Uma Thurman is also great as the elder Diane, but Eva Amurri, who plays Younger Diana’s friend Maureen is the one that steals the show with her sweet innocence.

Recommended: Yes, for a mom and daughter flick, or soothing chick flick. The film’s first half drags a bit, and repeated flashbacks can get a little redundant, but overall it’s a very watchable film.

3/5

Memorable Quote: “I don’t believe it, that the heart is the strongest muscle. In my case…it isn’t” - Young Diana (Evan Rachel Wood)

R

Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

This flick is based on a book, but one thing I recommend doing before seeing this film if you’ve read the novel is to remember, they are two totally different things. I actually think that’s a wise decision for any movie that’s based on a book. The book is obviously going to be more detailed, so respect the fact that the film will be different. In which this case, it is.

Nick (Michael Cera) has just been dumped by his longtime girlfriend. He is the only straight person in a queercore band ‘The Jerkoffs’. He goes out to New York City’s crazy underground music scene and meets Norah (Kat Dennings) and her extremely intoxicated friend, Caroline (Ari Graynor). Thus begins one electric night of chasing Caroline, trying to find their favorite band’s secret concert and bonding over their love of music.

This movie was enjoyable (and has one heck of a soundtrack) but in a way, mostly due to Michael Cera’s performance it tries a bit to hard to come off as an “indie” movie. I know it’s an odd label, and I for one usually don’t like to label things, but when Michael Cera is incapable of playing anyone else but himself. (He’s lovable yes, but you’ve seen this in Juno, Superbad and Arrested Development) It almost comes off as this years wanna be ‘Juno’. Now I give this film some slack, it was a book and a good book too, but a lot of people are going to compare it to ‘Juno’ for the sheer fact that Cera’s character is nearly the same. It’s quite obvious this film is aimed for the younger “hipper” kids of today. It almost shoves the “oh, I’m so indie” vibe down your throat at times but the film is very enjoyable, has lots of gags (including one very gross one involving a piece of gum) and does give you that warm fuzzy feeling when you leave. Yes, it’s a romantic comedy, but it’s different from all the rest. My only issue with the film, is that it's supposedly centered around kids that love music. Nick and Norah have ONE conversation about the bands they like (and said conversation also produces one of the most annoying lines of dialogue I've heard in a long time. "Why are they called The Cure? They should be called...The Cause!". We don't see the band that our main characters try so hard to find throughout the entire film. If we would've gotten to see "Where's Fluffy?" It would've been better. If Nick and Norah had more conversations involving music, it would've been better. Since you know, music is supposedly what makes this bond so strong.

The acting was great, I’ve always enjoyed Kat Dennings, from her bit parts in ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ and ‘Down in the Valley’ to ‘Charlie Barlett’. I love her look, and I hope she sticks around. Also Ari Graynor is absolutely hilarious as Caroline. I’ve only seen Ari in ‘An American Crime’, a case study on the real life Sylvia Likens, and Ari gave a great performance. I look forward to seeing her in more films as well. Michael Cera, while I enjoy him I hope he doesn’t end up like Jon Heder and playing the same character over and over again, because that’s where it looks like he’s headed, and I really hope it doesn’t end up that way. The kid has talent.

Recommended? Yes. (and go buy the soundtrack!)

3.5/5 stars.

Memorable Quote - “Is that a….turkey sandwich?” - Caroline (Ari Graynor)

Review: Hounddog

I chose to see this film because Dakota Fanning is always a capable actress, and also as a little "fuck you" to all those idiots that freaked out about the films rape scene before even seeing the movie.

‘Hounddog’ infamously premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival an became known as ‘The Dakota Fanning rape movie” A ridiculous title that has nothing to do with what Hounddog is really about.

‘Hounddog’ follows a precious girl, Lewellen (Dakota Fanning) during the 1960’s in the deep south. She lives with her uncaring, crazy father (David Morse) and her Grannie (Piper Laurie). She lives in poverty, her father doesn’t care, she finds comfort in the songs of Elvis Presley. She’d do just about anything to meet him, stuck on the dream that he will take her away and make her into a famous singer. She’s cruelly tricked into thinking she’s got tickets, which leads to her being withdrawn, and not the charismatic girl she used to be.

I can start off by saying this film is not good, but its not the terrible piece of exploitation crap that many people have made it out to be. Fanning gives an amazing performance. She carries the entire film on her shoulders and once again proves that she is one of the best (if not THE best) young actresses out there. Her performance reminds me a lot of Jodie Foster’s in ‘Taxi Driver’. Which I know a lot of critic’s have compared it to. And I agree, this was a brave performance. But back to the film, while it’s beautifully shot the script is lacking and cliched. The talents of Fanning, Morse and Robin Wright Penn to great with what they have, but this isn’t a 5 star classic movie. It may not be the best, but it does not deserve all the backlash from this supposedly exploitative rape scene that takes place in the middle of the film. *SPOILER* alert. The scene is literally 10 seconds long and only shows a few shots of Fanning’s face in between lighting strikes. It’s handled tastefully, there’s no nudity (Like many anti groups previously stated) The Director (Deborah Kampmeier) does it artfully.

I encourage people not to believe the hype. All those people that started petitions to stop this film that they know nothing about is ridiculous. and I truly think that those people are of the lowest form. The only reason they are making a big deal out of this is because Dakota Fanning is a well known actress. They didn’t freak out over releases of films such as “Bastard out of Carolina” or “Fat Girl” but the fact that Fanning is so well known they make it a big deal. This just proves how great of an actress Fanning is, and this proves that she will be around for awhile in the acting world. I’m no fan of rape scenes in films. In fact, I usually automatically hate a film for having distasteful scenes. but this isn’t distasteful, it fits with the plot, and really. It’s not a big deal.

For everyone. Chill out, and have an open mind. Thank you for reading my review/rant

3/5 Stars

Memorable Quote - “I want to help Lewellen” - Stranger Lady (Robin Wright Penn)

Review: Towelhead

Towelhead” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year under the name, ‘Nothing is Private’, a name that both the writer, director, and cast weren’t too found of.


After a slight uproar due to the film’s sensitive content, it was renamed “Towelhead”, like the original script, and also the novel by Alicia Erian.

Towelhead follows a young Arab-American girl, Jashira (Summer Bishil) who is coming of age during the Gulf War. She’s sent to live with her strict father, Rifat (Peter Macdissi) by her not so caring mother Gail (Maria Bello). Jashira struggles with racism, growing up, and her relationships with her uncaring, older boyfriend, and her neighbors, (Played by Aaron Eackhart and Toni Collette).

I had high expectations for this film, especially since so many people lashed out at it last year. I became intrigued, and needless to say this movie did not let me down. It is hard to watch at times, but Director Alan Ball (who wrote the screenplay for my personal favorite movie, American Beauty) films this beautifully, and tastefully. The cast is great all around, I suspect great things for Summer Bishil, she is definitely one to watch.

4/5 Stars. Acting, and story are great all around.

Memorable Quote: "Now he probably thinks I love Sadaam! - Rifat (Peter Macdissi)

Review: Choke

Hey all, I recently took a trip to Minneapolis, MN to see some great flicks and the always wonderful Indie Lagoon theaters. Enjoy, and comment please



“Choke” is a film based on a novel of the same name written by Chuck Palahnuik, who also wrote ‘Fight Club’. “Choke” follows Victor (Sam Rockwall). He’s a sex addict, he attends meetings with his fellow addict/co worker/best friend Denny (Brad William Henke). In the morning he works at an 18th century tourist spot where he and Denny constantly are getting in trouble for breaking character. By night, he fakes choking at up-scale restaurants so that people can ’save’ him. Once they’ve done that they feel responsible for Victor’s life and send him money, which he uses to keep his Alzheimer’s inflicted mother Ida(Angelica Huston) in a fancy nursing home. As his mother gets worse, he forms a relationship with a doctor, Paige (Kelly MacDonald) who thinks she can save her. Their whirlwind journey starts there as Victor attempts to help save his mother, and also learn more about his past, which is shown in flashbacks throughout the film.

I went to “Choke” with absolutely no expectations. I liked ‘Fight Club’ but I didn’t know too much about ‘Choke’ and I was presently surprised. ‘Choke’ was funny, witty, and never boring. Choke is rated R, and does have a lot of sexual content throughout. Sam Rockwall was very entertaining as the lead, and Kelly MacDonald continues to impress me. I must admit I only recognized her form ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’, but she’s truly an amazing actress and I look forward to seeing more of her work. I definitely recommend this film. Its a great comedy, and to be honest I’d look out for it during awards season this year.

4/5 Stars
Memorable Quote - “You, you are going to ruin everything. But of course, I don’t know that yet” - Victor. (Sam Rockwall)

2008 Emmy WINNERS

Here is a list of winners from TV’s biggest night! I’m personally glad that 30 Rock picked up so many awards, because that’s a great show. My only disappointment was Denis Leary not winning Best Supporting Actor for Recount

Outstanding Comedy Series
WINNER
“30 Rock” (2006)

Other Nominees:
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000)

“Entourage” (2004)

“The Office” (2005)

“Two and a Half Men” (2003)

Outstanding Drama Series
WINNER
“Mad Men” (2007)

Other Nominees:
“Boston Legal” (2004)

“Damages” (2007)

“Dexter” (2006)

“House M.D.” (2004)

“Lost” (2004)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
WINNER
Recount (2008) (TV)

Other Nominees:
Bernard and Doris (2007)

“Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (#3.0)” (2007)

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (2008) (TV)

A Raisin in the Sun (2008) (TV)

Outstanding Miniseries
WINNER
“John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
The Andromeda Strain (2008) (TV)

“Cranford” (2007)

“Tin Man” (2007)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
WINNER
Alec Baldwin
for “30 Rock” (2006)

Other Nominees:
Steve Carell
for “The Office” (2005)

Lee Pace
for “Pushing Daisies” (2007)

Tony Shalhoub
for “Monk” (2002)

Charlie Sheen
for “Two and a Half Men” (2003)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
WINNER
Bryan Cranston
for “Breaking Bad” (2008)
Other Nominees:

Gabriel Byrne
for “In Treatment” (2008)

Michael C. Hall
for “Dexter” (2006)

Jon Hamm
for “Mad Men” (2007)

Hugh Laurie
for “House M.D.” (2004)

James Spader
for “Boston Legal” (2004)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER
Paul Giamatti
for “John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:
Ralph Fiennes
for Bernard and Doris (2007)

Ricky Gervais
for “Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (#3.0)” (2007)

Kevin Spacey
for Recount (2008) (TV)

Tom Wilkinson
for Recount (2008) (TV)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
WINNER
Tina Fey
for “30 Rock” (2006)
Other Nominees:

Christina Applegate
for “Samantha Who?” (2007)

America Ferrera
for “Ugly Betty” (2006)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
for “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (2006)

Mary-Louise Parker
for “Weeds” (2005)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
WINNER
Glenn Close
for “Damages” (2007)
Other Nominees:

Sally Field
for “Brothers & Sisters” (2006)

Mariska Hargitay
for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999)

Holly Hunter
for “Saving Grace” (2007)

Kyra Sedgwick
for “The Closer” (2005)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER
Laura Linney
for “John Adams” (2008)
Other Nominees:

Judi Dench
for “Cranford” (2007)

Catherine Keener
for An American Crime (2007)

Phylicia Rashad
for A Raisin in the Sun (2008) (TV)

Susan Sarandon
for Bernard and Doris (2007)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
WINNERJeremy Piven for “Entourage” (2004)

Other Nominees:Jon Cryer for “Two and a Half Men” (2003)

Kevin Dillon for “Entourage” (2004)

Neil Patrick Harris for “How I Met Your Mother” (2005)

Rainn Wilson for “The Office” (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
WINNERZeljko Ivanek for “Damages” (2007)

Other Nominees:Ted Danson for “Damages” (2007)

Michael Emerson for “Lost” (2004)

William Shatner for “Boston Legal” (2004)

John Slattery for “Mad Men” (2007)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNERTom Wilkinson for “John Adams” (2008)

Other Nominees:Bob Balaban for Recount (2008) (TV)

Stephen Dillane for “John Adams” (2008)

Denis Leary for Recount (2008) (TV)

David Morse for “John Adams” (2008)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
WINNERJean Smart for “Samantha Who?” (2007)

Other Nominees:Kristin Chenoweth for “Pushing Daisies” (2007)

Amy Poehler for “Saturday Night Live” (1975)

Holland Taylor for “Two and a Half Men” (2003)

Vanessa Williams for “Ugly Betty” (2006)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
WINNERDianne Wiest for “In Treatment” (2008)

Other Nominees:Candice Bergen for “Boston Legal” (2004)

Rachel Griffiths for “Brothers & Sisters” (2006)

Sandra Oh for “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005)

Chandra Wilson for “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNEREileen Atkins for “Cranford” (2007)

Other Nominees:Laura Dern for Recount (2008) (TV)

Ashley Jensen for “Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (#3.0)” (2007)

Audra McDonald for A Raisin in the Sun (2008) (TV)

Alfre Woodard for Pictures of Hollis Woods (2007) (TV)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
WINNER”The Daily Show” (1996)

Other Nominees:”The Colbert Report” (2005)

“Late Show with David Letterman” (1993)

“Real Time with Bill Maher” (2003)

“Saturday Night Live” (1975)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
WINNER”The Amazing Race” (2001)

Other Nominees:”American Idol: The Search for a Superstar” (2002)

“Dancing with the Stars” (2005/I)

“Project Runway” (2005)

“Top Chef” (2006)

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality - Competition Program
WINNERJeff Probst for “Survivor” (2000)

Other Nominees:Tom Bergeron for “Dancing with the Stars” (2005/I)

Heidi Klum for “Project Runway” (2005)

Howie Mandel for “Deal or No Deal” (2005)

Ryan Seacrest for “American Idol: The Search for a Superstar” (2002)

Outstanding Reality Program
WINNER”Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” (2005)

Other Nominees:”Antiques Roadshow” (1997)

“Dirty Jobs” (2005)

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2003)

“Intervention” (2005)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
WINNERMr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)

Other Nominees:Bill Maher: The Decider (2007) (TV)

George Carlin… It’s Bad for Ya! (2008) (TV)

“Great Performances: James Taylor: One Man Band” (2008)

Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell (2007) (TV)

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (2007) (TV

Review: Tropic Thunder

There have been a lot of comedies this summer that have been very “hit and miss”. Only two comedies in my opinion stand out from the rest. They would have to be “Pineapple Express” and the topic of my review “Tropic Thunder”



The entire point of Tropic Thunder is a satire on the ways of Hollywood. and Director/Writer/Actor Ben Stiller is spot on. While some of the Hollywood inside jokes may go over a few people’s heads. The rest are spot on, hilarious, and hit very close to home.

The plot is a movie within a movie. Action Star Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) Funny man Jeff Portney (Jack Black) 5 time Acedemy Award Winner Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) and rapper turned actor Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) are just a few of the stars set to film ‘Tropic Thunder’, a big budget Vietnam war movie. Through an outrageous turn of events, the actors are thrown into the jungle in the middle of a real war between drug lords. The Naive actors don’t realize this, they are being told that they will shoot the film “guerella style” with hidden cameras planted throughout the jungle.

This movie faced a lot of controversy. First, Downey Jr. plays a blonde haired, blue-eyed Australian playing an African American man, but surprisingly that wasn’t what people were talking about. It was the fact that Stiller takes a stab at mentally disabled people with the subplot “Simple Jack”, a film that Tugg Speedman made while trying to break into dramatic acting, but according to Kirk Lazarus. “You never go full retard” because the Academy doesn’t recognize that. Also don’t miss plenty of hysterical celebrity cameos from Tobey McGuire, Lance Bass, and fun supporting bits by Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise

Controversial? Not in my opinion. This film was funny, it was clever, and it was something different. Everyone who made a big deal out of this film needs to calm down.

4/5 stars

Memorable Quote: “I don’t read the script, the script reads me!” - Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.)

Review: Burn after Reading.

Fresh off their Oscar winning film ‘No Country for Old Men’, Joel and Ethan Coen go back to their off-beat comedic ways with ‘Burn After Reading’. For those of you who have followed the Coens with films such as ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘Raising Arizona’ you will be pleased that they have decided to go back to that genre, however where they scored with their previous films they tend to miss with this one.

The film starts out with Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) being demoted from his job with the CIA, he ultimately decides to quit and write a memoir about his life, which doesn’t set to well with his uptight wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton), who unbeknownst to him is having an affair with Harry, (George Clooney) while his wife is out promoting the children’s books that she writes. As Oz and Katie’s marriage grows further apart, she begins to sort out their financials (including much of Oz’s CIA info). She puts them on a disc to give to her lawyer.

The Lawyer ultimately loses this disc at her local gym and it falls in the hands of two not so bright gym employees, Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Brad Pitt). They see it as something much bigger, and plan to blackmail Osbourne so that they can get ransom and pay for the cosmetic surgery that Linda so desperately feels she needs. This is where all the chaos starts as all these characters become intertwined.

The Coen Bros have always been good at throwing us curve balls, which is why I will not go any further into the plot as it’s impossible not to give away any spoilers. My only problem with this film is while it has great intentions, it falls short with some uninteresting characters. Chad and Linda are by far the most interesting, and McDormand and Pitt give the best performances in the film. Chad who’s a gym freak that rides his bike to work, swears like a sailor and prefers his gym gear to suits an ties, and Linda, an insecure single who wants surgery to look better and dates online. She eventually finds Harry (Clooney) online, which besides a hilarious midnight phone call to Osbourne is how the characters come together.

The cast is great, lots of Oscar winners/nominees (and a lovely little part by the always enjoyable JK Simmons) but the script fails to grab anyone’s attention until 30 minutes into the movie, an while the ending might be a surprise to most it is a typical Coen ending. Which in this case is getting rather old. It has some interesting parts, but the majority of the film you may be wondering how people could actually be so clueless.

3 out of 5 Stars.

Memorable Quote from film: “Osbourne Cox…we have….your sh*t” - Chad, as played by Brad Pitt