Indie Gems: The Vicious Kind

Caleb Sinclaire (Adam Scott, 'Step Brothers' 'Party Down') has a lot of problems. We can see it in his face. Literally, the first shot of the film is a close up of Caleb, we see the anger in his eyes, then slowly the hurt. Then as quick as we saw it, he bottles it back up. Caleb is there to pick up his younger brother Peter (Alex Frost 'Elephant' 'Drillbit Taylor') from college to drop him off at their father's house for Thanksgiving. Caleb is bringing along his new girlfriend, Emma. (Brittany Snow 'Hairspray', 'Prom Night') We know a little bit about Caleb at this point, he obviously just got out of a relationship that didn't end well. He tries to convince Peter that his new girlfriend must be a whore "because all girls are whores". He doesn't want Peter to get hurt. When he finally meets Emma, his opinions and actions toward her start out cold, and after a few awkward run-ins he begins to secretly harbor a crush on Emma. His crush then becomes a border-line obsession. Caleb is estranged from his father (played by JK Simmons) he even refuses to drive all the way up the driveway to drop them off. So how well he be able to answer his feelings about Emma when he isn't allowed in the home?

Adam Scott really surprised me in this film. I'm used to his comedies, he was hilarious as Will Ferrell's douchey younger brother in 'Step Brothers' and he provides lots of laughs on the underrated TV series 'Party Down'. This film he's all serious with a few smart ass remarks. Caleb has lots of layers. He's a prick, yet he's troubled. He tries to be nice, then it blows up in his face. He's intriguing and yet uninviting at times. This was a damn good performance on his part. His facial expressions speak for themselves, and even though we don't warm up to Caleb's character right away, Scott makes him more likable. Brittany Snow also showed she's more than just a pretty face. She handled her part of curious and sweet Emma perfectly. JK Simmons, though his part is small is a nice touch and a familiar face. The only one that struggles is Frost, but it's not really his fault. His character is over shadowed by Caleb and Emma's. It truly is there story. Caleb's co-worker/friend is J.T (Vittorio Brahm) and he's perfect as the lovable dumb guy. He really brings a much needed "adorable" to this dark film.

This was filmed in Connecticut during the fall/winter. It's a pretty side of the US and it's nice to see that used in a film. I liked how the director played music over some parts where the characters are arguing. You can't hear what they are saying, maybe you get a few words in here and there. Their actions tell the story, while the zen music takes you along. I enjoyed the soundtrack in the film and thought it fit perfectly. What I also liked was how at the beginning of the film I was a little cold towards Caleb and how he felt for Emma, then throughout the film I began to root for it. I'm not sure if that's what the film intended, but it made the suspense of it all even better. The film is on the shorter side, about an hour and a half, but in that amount of time you get all the info you need on these characters with virtually no plot holes.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Just don't break his heart, ok?" - Caleb Sinclaire (Adam Scott)

Review: A Serious Man

Fact: This movie was one of the 10 nominated films for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Did you remember that? Neither did I. Of all of the nominated films this got the least exposure. It's just proof that the Academy loves them some Coen Brothers.

Larry Gopick (Miachel Stuhlbarg) is our not so Serious Man. He's a Jewish college professor living in the Midwest. His life is seriously out of order. We see his relationships with his boring superficial children, his wife all of a sudden wants to leave him for a more serious man and he is at odds with one of his students after giving him a bad grade. All of these things are happening to him at once and he's got several different people trying to (unsuccessfully) help him. Larry digs deeper into his religion for answers.

A lot of this film has to do with being Jewish. Which is great for the Coens because that's how they were raised. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the Jewish references in the film went over my head. I think the film has a really deep meaning, but I had a hard time concentrating on it. The film is meant to be a dark comedy and it does have it's funny bits. (Gopick's high as a kite son talking at his Bar Mitzvah is a good example)(Fred Melamed's character provided some laughs for me as well) I found the film to be slightly boring, but I got what the Coens were going for. The film is like many of their other ones: Not for everyone.

Recommended: No/Yes. There is so many different opinions on this film I'd would say everyone needs to make their own opinion about it. Like I said, I didn't care for it, but plenty of people who's reviews I trust did.

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I fucked your wife, Larry! I seriously fucked her! Sy Abelman (Fred Melamed)

Indie Gems: The Dreamers

A few years ago I went on this kick where I decided to see a bunch of NC-17 movies just because it's so hard to promote them. Most movie theaters won't show them, directors have to rely on festivals, the Internet, and word of mouth to get them noticed. While a good portion of NC-17 films are strictly marketed around sex (A Dirty Shame) some dig deeper. (Mysterious Skin) 'Dreamers' is one of those films that does. While it's got a lot of sometimes uncomfortable sexual content (it was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci for God's sake) It's actually a unique, interesting story. Shot in a beautiful way with some very talented actors.

'Dreamers' follows Matthew (Michael Pitt, 'The Last Days' 'Bully') an exchange student from California currently studying in Paris. He's a film buff, he loves the cinema and loves the french even more for it. 'Only the French would host a cinema in a palace," He remarks in the beginning of the film where he describes his favorite place to catch a film. It's spring of 1968, lots of students in Paris are rioting. During one of these said riots Matthew meets Isabelle (Eva Green 'Casino Royale' 'The Golden Compass') and her twin brother Theo. (Louis Garrel 'Actresses' 'A Beautiful Person' - all French Films) They are fellow film lovers and are drawn to the interesting exchange student. There parent's are leaving for a month, so they invite Matthew to come temporarily live with them in their parent's luxury, book filled apartment. What starts off as a friendship surrounding movies soon turns into something Matthew never expected, and certainly will never come across again.

Paris is a beautiful city, What I loved the most about this film where the little things. How cool Isabelle and Theo's loft-ish, bohemian apartment was laid out. The little game they'd play where they would act out a scene from a film and if the other did not guess correctly they would have to "take the challenge". (this game is spliced together with clips of the films they are mimicking) Matthew, Isabelle and Theo running through the Louvre in record time, the film just has a lot of beautiful little quirks about it. It gets intense at times, uncomfortable, sweet, loving, interesting, daring all in one. All the actors were very brave to take on these unconventional roles, and their careers have somewhat paid off.

Bertolucci hasn't directed anything since 'Dreamers' which is a shame. The man who is most famous for 'Last Tango in Paris' and 'The Last Emperor' has a lot to offer. I hope he does something again soon.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Other people's parents are always nicer than our own, and yet for some reason, our grandparents are always nicer than other people's." - Isabelle (Eva Green)

DVD Review: Gardens of the Night

This film was hard to watch. I found myself squirming quite a bit through the first 40 minutes. Its an uncomfortable topic, but an important one. I hope to one day be a social worker, and to help children so that they don't have to endure this. That's why this movie struck a cord with me.

'Gardens of the Night' follows a little girl named Leslie (Ryan Simpkins) on her way to school one morning. She's approached by a man she's never met looking for his dog. Right away we know where this is going. She helps the man look around for his dog, and then he takes her to school. He tells Leslie he works for her father at the water company. After school they find her again and say her family has been in an accident and that they were told to get her. She reluctantly agrees to go. This starts the downward spiral in poor Leslie's life. The two men, Alex (Tom Arnold) the instigator and his helper Frank (Kevin Zegers) Take Leslie to a house where they have another little boy named Donnie (Jermaine Scooter Smith) held there. This begins the life of child prostitution these poor children are forced to endure. It's all being told in a flashback from a now 18 year old Leslie (Gillian Jacobs) as she and Donnie (Evan Ross) now make their way around the streets, still in a life of prostitution.

Director Damian Harris was smart about how he filmed this. There's never any abuse shown, only hinted. We know what is going on, but Harris actually have a separate script to his young actors so that they didn't have to fully understand what was going on. It reminded me a lot of how Gregg Araki shot 'Mysterious Skin'. He protected his child actors, as does Harris in this film. The children give very convincing performances. They're surrounded by all this horror yet they find solace in each other. Tom Arnold is especially creepy, and Zegers is as well. It's slightly hinted that Frank was at one point in the same position Donnie and Leslie are in now. There's plenty of other familiar faces in small roles, Jeremy Sisto as a pimp, John Malkovich as a psychiatrist that Leslie talks to at a shelter, and a blink and you'll miss it appearance by Michelle Rodriguez. Jacobs and Ross show potential in their performances, but do come off a little forced at times.

The film is shot in an interesting way, it really does capture the dirtiness of living on the streets, and the way things are scene from a child's point of view. What the film doesn't do greatly is tie up it's loose ends. We never find out how exactly these children got away. They separate, we never know if they meet again. Leslie, in a very touching scene is actually re-united with her parents, then decides she doesn't fit in and leaves again. It's frustrating, but probably accurate. I couldn't imagine losing a loved one, and then find them again 10 years later. The heartache families go through when someone goes missing must be intense. That part of it really isn't explained in the film. There's many plot holes, but the overall message is the same. These things do happen, and they need to be stopped. It ruins lives, not just of those affected but by people they meet. It's like a domino effect. We want a happy ending, but we won't get it. That's just life.

Recommended: Yes, just be aware that the movie does have it's flaws.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Let's make a promise. "No matter what happens, we'll always stay together. If something happens and we're apart. We'll meet at a place" - Young Leslie (Ryan Simpkins)

Random Ramblings: Films Featuring Pro Wrestlers.

It's pretty obvious that I'm in love with movies. I'm intrigued by everything about them, but one other thing I've loved for a long time is Pro Wrestling. I've been a fan since about 1994. I mostly watched WWF, but I lived near a video store that had all the old videos so I could see what was going on before my time. Wrestling has drastically changed since I first watched it. I got used to the Hulkamania days, then when I got a bit older the 'Attitude Era' as it's known to fans started. This was truly the best time in wrestling. Nowadays WWE pushes the PG product while it's competitor TNA is trying to bring it back. I appreciate everything about wrestling, the stuff those guys and gals put their body through is ridiculous and their schedules are insane. They really are the best athletes out there, because there at it all year round. While I spend a good deal of my time poking fun at Raw (mostly at and admiring what I see on Smackdown, my two favorite things don't always mix well. I'm talking about Wrestlers in films. Wrestlers do alot of acting in the ring and in their promos. Some are naturals. For example, The Rock gives the best promos of all time and Chris Jericho is right up there with him. Some wrestlers are perfect fits on the big screen, others are not so lucky. They're out of their comfort zone, it's not their fault. I'm going to list a few films I've seen with wrestlers in them, whether it's a lead, supporting or even a cameo. Grade the flick its self. Then say a bit about them.

Let's start with the most recognizable wrestler turned actor: Dwayne "I refuse to call you anything about The Rock" Johnson.

Get Smart Grade: C. This movie had a great cast (Steve Carrell, Anne Hathaway, Alan Arkin) based on a popular TV series it had my hopes way up, but bad directly and lame script brought them down.

The Game Plan Grade: B. I took my niece to this expecting to cringe and I actually felt sort of uplifted by the end of it. It was cute.

Doom Grade: B. It gets a higher grade for The Rock saying "Semper Fi, Mother Fucker" alone. Decent for a movie based on a video game. Definitely better than 'Mortal Kombat'.

Be Cool Grade: C-. The Rock took a bit of a stretch here playing a flamboyant wannabe actor in this sequel to 'Get Shorty'. However the cast was overcrowded and the plot was all over the place. It's hard for anyone to stand out in this busy flick.

Walking Tall Grade: B+ I never saw the original (or the straight to DVD sequels starring someone else) but I actually really enjoyed this movie. When I first saw it, I had mono and I actually fell asleep, woke up about 45 mins later and still managed to enjoy it. (don't worry, i re-watched what I missed) The Rock is good in these action roles, much better than the Disney kiddie stuff we've been seeing lately.

The Rundown Grade: B+. Another good action film for The Rock, extra points are given due to the fact that Seann William Scott looks ridiculously good sans shirt.

The Scorpion King Grade: D. My dad and I went to this because The Rock was my favorite wrestler and I just had to see him even though we both hated 'The Mummy' movies. He made me apologize when it was over.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

The Condemned Grade: F. I'm sure this seemed really macho on paper, but the finished product was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's not Austin's fault at all, he was the best actor in the movie!

The Longest Yard Grade: C+. A lot of people hated this, I actually enjoyed it. Adam Sandler makes me laugh for the most part. Austin's part was small, but he was believable as a racist prison guard.

John Cena

The Marine Grade: F. I might be bias, because I'm not a John Cena fan at all. (and I wont be until he turns heel or starts being interesting) I don't remember why I even agreed to see this, but what sticks out in my mind the most was during the scene where The guy is yelling at someone on his phone, and it turns out to be his cable provider, a good portion of the audience got up and left. Funniest part of the film. Cena's got charisma, but he doesn't show a lot of it here.


Shoot 'Em Up Grade: B-. This film wasn't meant to be a comedy, but I thought it was hilarious. Christian only had a cameo as a prison guard, but he's one of my favorite wrestlers and he's got tons of talent. He could carry an entire film. If this movie teaches us anything, it's that we can do simple tasks such as running, walking, talking, eating, fucking, and carrying a baby, all while shooting at people. You stay classy, Michael Davis.


Highlander: Endgame Grade: C. He was in the film for roughly 45 seconds, nothing really memorable but Edge is awesome and the Highlander theme song is catchy.

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper.

They Live Grade: B. I love campy Horror/Sci Fi crap. This isn't a critically acclaimed film and it wasn't meant to be. It's just fun to watch.

Last to Surrender Grade: D. Roddy Piper in a badly directed kung fu movie. Enough said.

Jerry 'The King' Lawler

Man on the Moon Grade: A. Ok, so technically he was playing himself, but I'm lacking A rated films on my list. Lawler played a big part in Kaufman's life. This was just all around a good film. Great performances by all.


See No Evil Grade: D- The only reason I don't give it an F was because I was legitimately surprised that the horrible marketing campaign actually had some significance. (May 19th, the film's initial release date) May 19th was actually the air date when Kane originally found out that The Undertaker was his brother and that Paul Bearer was his father. Well done, I wonder if the writers thought of that themselves or if some internet journalist pointed it out first. Other than that the film wasn't scary and you come out feeling dirty if anything.

Triple H

Blade: Trinity Grade: C+. HHH was legit creepy in this film. Although it was the worst of the Blade films, I give it a + for 1) Ryan Reynolds has his shirt off. and 2) It provides for the following picture. How Twlight should've ended.

I thought it was funny.

Andre The Giant

The Princess Bride Grade: A. Here's a fun fact, I actually can't stand this movie. But, I appreciate it. It's well acted, directed, shot. It's endearing, it teaches lessons. It's got Andre the Giant! I can suck up my own personal taste to admire a classic.

Hulk Hogan

3 Ninjas: High Noon and Mega Mountain Grade: D. My 9 year old self probably liked it, my adult self is embarrassed. I do remember a few kids I knew didn't know who Hulk Hogan was. That was surprising to me. Didn't ever kid know about wrestling?

Mr. Nanny Grade: F. Seriously, who the hell came up with this? Director Michael Gottlieb's only other major feature was 'A Kid in King Arthur's Court' if that tells you anything.

Vladimir Koslov

The 25th Hour Grade: A. Did you know Vladimir "I have no charisma" Koslov has a cameo in this as a mobster? I didn't either until about a week ago. Still, props go to him for picking this as extra work. I love this film. The cast, the way it was shot. Everything! This is damn good film making.

Bam Bam Bigelow

Major Payne Grade: B-. The Waynes Bros are like my guilty pleasure. Well, this film, Scary Movie 1 and 2 and White Chicks anyways. I still laugh at the sight of Bigelow in this movie. Perhaps I shouldn't be admitting this?

Kevin Nash

The Punisher Grade: D. This is one of the worst Marvel films they've made. Nash's part was more of a cameo, but I forgive him for his next cameo in this film...

Grandma's Boy Grade: B. He was just a mover in this film, he's in one scene. Still, 'Grandma's Boy' was unexpectedly hilarious.

The Big Show

The Waterboy Grade: B-. He had a cameo as a wrestler on TV that makes fun of Bobby. (Adam Sandler) I'm a sucker for Sandler films. A lot of people got annoyed with Sandler's accent in the film, I didn't. Captain Insano shows no mercy.

That was fun. I love to talk about movies, but I love to talk about wrestling too. I'm getting psyched for Wrestlemania. Thanks for reading.

Indie Gems: Breakfast on Pluto

One of my favorite things about film is watching an actor, who's been moderately type-cast completely blow you away with a performance that seemingly came out of left field. Cillian Murphy did that for me. Not that I ever doubted his talents, in fact he's one of the better actors out there. When I first saw 'Breakfast on Pluto' I had only seen him in villainous roles ('Batman Begins', 'Red Eye') and of course in Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later'. So when I came across this film in a magazine I was immediately intrigued.

'Breakfast on Pluto' follows a young man named Patrick Braden. He's not your normal lad in 1970's Ireland. He's gay, he prefers to be called "Kitten" and dress up like a woman. He lives with an aunt and doesn't know his real parents. He sets off to London to escape his town that will never understand him, and also to locate his mother. He has run ins with the police, gets picked up by a Rock n Roll band and falls for the lead singer, works in the Red Light District in a peep show. He keeps his friends Charley (Ruth Negga) and Irwin (Laurence Kinlan) close. He has a few run-ins with a priest named Father Liam (Liam Neeson) that mean more than they appear. Honestly, 1970's London is no place for an Irish transvestite.

Cillian Murphy really transformed himself in this role.

He plucked his eye brows, shaved off all the hair on his body, wears tuns of make up and wigs. He does indeed look somewhat like a woman. He really gets Kitten's naive, someone distorted personality. Murphy was vastly underrated for this performance. When I did my Oscar picks for 2006 I had him as one of them and was sadly let down. Then even more let down when Felicity Huffman was nominated for her gender-bending role in 'Transamerica' ('Pluto' is far superior). She was good yes, but why play favorites. Murphy was better.

Director Neil Jordan ('The Brave One' 'Interview with a Vampire') really captures the look and feel of that era. With the bright, vibrant colors, fast takes and fitting music. They do a wonderful job of showing the beauty of London's underground scene even when it was in troubling times. It's nice to see Neeson in there as always. He may play the "older, mentor-ish" roles often, but they never get old to me. This guy is great.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "If I wasn't a transvestite terrorist, would you marry me?" - Patrick "Kitten" Braden (Cillian Murphy)

Review: A Single Man

After seeing this film, I'm incredibly pissed at it's advertising campaign.I had heard early on that the previews for this film were misleading, and I managed to avoid them. After watching it, I decided to look up it's trailers, and what I saw in the 2 minute trailer seemed like a completely different film from what I had just seen.

'A Single Man' follows an English professor (and native Brit) George (Colin Firth) as he goes about his day in the Los Angeles college where he teaches. George is reminiscing about his former lover Jim. (Matthew Goode) Jim was killed in a car crash 8 months earlier, and George hasn't gotten over it. He goes through the motions of his tedious, detailed life. He has thoughts of suicide, and we follow him on what could very well play out to be his final day. He interacts with various people. His childhood friend Charley, (Julianne Moore) Carlos (Jon Kortajarena), a Spanish immigrant and man of *ahem* many talents and Kenny (Nicholas Holdt) a student that's taken quite an interest in his professor.

First off: Tour-de-force performance from Firth, his best in his career in my opinion. He's so captivating, he gets George down to every last detail. You can see the emotion in his face and feel it in his voice. I was completely blown away by him. Julianne Moore was great as well (I forgive her for 'Next') Charley has a lot of layers, she secretly desires her best friend despite his sexual orientation and Holdt's Kenny is equally as mesmerizing.

Everything about the film fits, the cinematography, the music, the costumes. They go into detail about what kind of shirts they prefer to wear and it's never boring. Everything about this film is interesting. If you saw those trailers, ignore them and see the film for yourself. You'll be pleased.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Everyday goes by in a haze, but today I have decided will be different." - George (Colin Firth)

Review: Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton does a fine job of re-telling stories and making them a whole lot more eccentric. He's no different here than he was with 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Sweeney Todd'. He's not remaking 'Alice' but taking bits from other writings of Lewis Carroll and making it a sequel of sorts.

Alice (Mia Waskokowska) is now 19 years old. She has no memory of her previous visit to Wonderland (really?) Only vivid dreams and nightmares. She's about to be married off to someone she really doesn't care for when she spots the white rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) once again and follows him down the rabbit hole to Wonderland Underland, as it is called in the film (don't worry, the Caterpillar explains it later on in the film) Upon arrival the creatures of Underland are not entirely sure they have the right Alice. She's to help them bring down the Red Queen (The extremely annoying Helena Bonham-Carter) by slaying the Jabberwocky (the name of a creature in one of Carroll's poems) and giving the crown to the much calmer little sister, The White Queen. (Anne Hathaway) Alice doesn't want to do this at first but after getting caught up with our returning characters, The Caterpillar (Alan Rickman's sexy voice), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Matt Lucas), Bayard the dog (Timothy Spall), The March Hare (Paul Whitehouse) and of course the center of it all: The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Alice eventually steps up to the challenge of becoming their champion.

The 3D effects in this movie were almost useless, some felt blurry and others were hardly noticeable. The film would've done just fine without it, but why not get the extra $$ from the ticket prices. Burton does a good job of making Underland a colorful, obscure place. He does a lot better than say, Peter Jackson tried to do in 'The Lovely Bones', but part of the film felt like scenes that were cut from a Harry Potter film. The opening, the music, not that I mind some Potterness (hell half the cast is in this movie as well) it didn't feel new.

The cast, though fun to watch seemed a bit forced. Our Alice isn't the curious girl we met years ago, but a pouty, stern teenager who really doesn't look like she wants to be here.  Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter is way over the top, and I daresay that I actually wanted him to tone it down. (A scene involving a "futterwaken" dance is downright stupid) I love Johnny Depp, always have, always will. But it's obvious he was allowed to just run wild with this character, it just seemed a little over the top. Half Willy Wonka half Jack Sparrow. I have to reiterate what I said earlier about Helena Bonham-Carter being annoying. She's not an annoying actress (Hell, I love her as Bellatrix Lestrange) but her Red Queen's constant "Off with their head!" does get on overdrive in the second half. Anne Hathaway is amusing as the White Queen (especially the way she walks) she was my favorite and it was nice to hear familiar voices with the animated characters. Although the film goes from a Harry Potter beginning, to a Burton-middle, to Narnia battle at the end, it's still enjoyable for what it is. Not Burton's best, not his worst. It's a lot different what what I was expected, but it is by no means a bad film.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I like "big", Um" - Stayne (Crispin Glover) -- Watch the film, you'll get why I think that's so funny.--

Indie Gems: Hard Candy

Many people rave about actress Ellen Page from her work in 'Juno' and 'X-men: The Last Stand' and most recently, 'Whip It'. But how many of you Page fans have seen what I consider is her best role to date? 'Hardy Candy' is a small film that gives you a lot of different ideas. While it doesn't answer all of your questions it makes you think about them. You get to choose who you think is right or wrong.

The film starts off in a chat room. 14 year old Hayley (Ellen Page) has been flirting with a 32 year old photographer named Jeff. They are aware of each other's ages and Hayley proposes that they meet in a coffee shop. Now anyone who's ever read about Internet predators or has seen the film 'Strangeland' knows that this is a bad idea. We immediately think Hayley is going to end up in trouble. When Jeff invites her back to her places, she carefully and quickly changes the game. We, the viewers are left to decide who is right and who is wrong in this indie thriller.

I've been a huge fan of Page ever since I saw this. This film made me go out and hunt down all of her other work (She's great in 'An American Crime' and 'Mouth to Mouth' too by the way) Although Page was really 17 when she shot this, she gives Hayley so many layers its almost impossible to categorize her. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Little Children) is equally as good. There are only 5 people shown in this entire movie, with Jeff and Hayley as the main characters. They keep us engaged and guessing through out the entire film. It's shot subtly, the main setting is in and around Jeff's house. The camera stays focused on the actors more than the scenery, which is exactly what is needed.

Some didn't care for the ending, I loved it. I loved how un-apologetic the film was about not answering your questions directly. They got this idea from a group of girls in Japan that apparently lured internet predators out in the option then jumped them and beat the crap out of them. It's meant to make you think.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "It's just so easy to blame a kid, ISN'T IT?" - Hayley (Ellen Page)

Academy Award Winners!

Here is the list of this years Oscar winners! The first time since 1943 that we've had 10 Best Pic nominees. My comments will follow each category in bold.

We started off with a musical number featuring Neil Patrick Harris. He was great hosting the Emmy's late last year, but cheesey Oscar songs are only good when they involve Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in my opinion. Then we got some weird jokes by our hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Ok, I laughed at the Woody Harrelson one. Then they acknowledged nominee Christoph Waltz's role in 'Inglorious Basterds' as a Jew hunter..then they did a close up of the Coen Brothers. That was hilarious.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Other Nominees:
Matt Damon for Invictus

Woody Harrelson for The Messenger

Christopher Plummer for The Last Station

Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones

Waltz wins and says "That's an Uber Bingo." Classic, no surprises here. He deserved it. I liked the clips they showed of the other performances. It makes me want to watch 'The Lovely Bones' again. Stanley Tucci is such a creep in it!

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

WINNER:Up: Pete Docter

Other Nominees:
Coraline: Henry Selick

Fantastic Mr. Fox : Wes Anderson

The Princess and the Frog: John Musker, Ron Clements

The Secret of Kells: Tomm Moore

'Up' wins, again. No surprises here. I haven't seen 'Fantastic Mr. Fox yet, I want to. I loved 'Coraline.' I could've handled a Coraline Upset.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

WINNER:Crazy Heart: T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham("The Weary Kind")

Other Nominees:
Faubourg 36: Reinhardt Wagner, Frank Thomas("Loin de Paname")

Nine: Maury Yeston("Take It All")

The Princess and the Frog: Randy Newman("Almost There")

The Princess and the Frog: Randy Newman("Down in New Orleans")

I'm 3 for 3! Again. No surprise here. T-Bone Burnett is a very acclaimed song writer and that song fit perfectly in 'Crazy Heart.'

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

WINNER:The Hurt Locker: Mark Boal

Other Nominees:
Inglourious Basterds : Quentin Tarantino

The Messenger: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman

A Serious Man: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Up: Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy

(500) Days of Summer sbould've been nominated. I still can't believe it didn't. I was hoping for 'Basterds' to win, but The Hurt Locker is on a roll. The clip they picked up for 'Up' made me sad. Did you see that movie? The first 15 mins were friggin heart breaking. I'm still gonna hope for my Basterds Best Pic win.

Best Short Film, Animated
WINNER: Logorama: Nicolas Schmerkin

Other Nominees
:French Roast: Fabrice Joubert

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty: Nicky Phelan, Darragh O'Connell

La dama y la muerte: Javier Recio Gracia

Wallace and Gromit in 'A Matter of Loaf and Death': Nick Park

I don't have much to say about this category. I didn't see any of the shorts. Nicolas Schmerkin's speech was cute though. The shorts/Documentary people always say amusing things.

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

WINNER: Music by Prudence (2010): Roger Ross Williams, Elinor Burkett

Other Nominees:
China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province: Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill

The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner: Daniel Junge, Henry Ansbacher

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert

Królik po berlinsku: Bartosz Konopka, Anna Wydra

Hey! I saw Music By Prudence! Great for them, Roger Williams sounded really sincere, Elinor Burkett was annoying..let the man talk!!

Best Short Film, Live Action
WINNER:The New Tenants: Joachim Back, Tivi Magnusson

Other Nominees:
The Door: Juanita Wilson, James Flynn

Istället för abrakadabra: Patrik Eklund, Mathias Fjällström

Kavi: Gregg Helvey

Miracle Fish: Luke Doolan, Drew Bailey

Again, not much to say here. I didn't see the shorts. Congrats to the winners. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell Zoe Saldana is wearing

Best Achievement in Makeup
WINNER: Star Trek: Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow

Other Nominees:
Il divo: Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano

The Young Victoria: John Henry Gordon, Jenny Shircore

Whoo! Star Trek!! Loved that film, which is funny because I couldn't stand the TV series. Easy call. These Oscars have been quite predictable so far.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

WINNER: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher

Other Nominees:
District 9: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell

An Education: Nick Hornby

In the Loop: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

Up in the Air: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Wow! I picked 'Up in the Air' for the win, but I'm so happy 'Precious' won. What a remarkable film, and that speech from Geoffrey Fletcher? That's raw emotion right there.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

WINNER:Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Other Nominees:
Penélope Cruz for Nine

Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air

Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart

Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air

Monique's speech made me teary. Then they cut to whatever the hell Samuel L Jackson was doing..anyways. This was another predictable cat, but another deserving one. I never thought I'd be saying "Academy Award Winner: Monique" But after seeing 'Precious', I feels right. I'm still hoping for my TeamGabby win in Best Actress!

Best Achievement in Art Direction
WINNER: Avatar (2009): Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair

Other Nominees:
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: David Warren, Anastasia Masaro, Caroline Smith

Nine: John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Sherlock Holmes: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

The Young Victoria: Patrice Vermette, Maggie Gray

'Avatar' wins, no surprise there. My friends decided they were going to take a shot every time Avatar wins, I said I'd take one for every time it loses. So far so...sober?

Best Achievement in Costume Design

WINNER: The Young Victoria: Sandy Powell

Other Nominees:
Bright Star: Janet Patterson

Coco avant Chanel: Catherine Leterrier

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: Monique Prudhomme

Nine: Colleen Atwood

I got another one right! Young Victoria is no surprise, I was happy 'Bright Star' got a nom, because when the film first came out everyone called it "Oscar Gold", then it was forgotten. Sandy Powell's speech was snoody, but she's right about contemperary films not getting enough props.

--We saw a tribute to Horror movies in between these awards. More proof on how great they used to be (Exorcist, Carrie) and how lame they are now (Saw) But I have to say...WTF Twilight is NOT a horror movie! Shoving that in the same category as 'The Exorcist' is offensive..I'm just saying.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

WINNER:The Hurt Locker: Paul N.J. Ottosson

Other Nominees:
Avatar: Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

Inglourious Basterds: Wylie Stateman

Star Trek: Mark P. Stoeckinger, Alan Rankin

Up: Michael Silvers, Tom Myers

Another win for The Hurt Locker. I called it, and it looks like a shot for me due to Avatar losing. They started off of Morgan Freeman giving a voiceover (win) and he talked about The Dark Knight. Oh yeah, that movie that should've been nominated for 'Best Picture' last year. Way to show respect a little late, Academy.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

WINNER:The Hurt Locker: Paul N.J. Ottosson, Ray Beckett

Other Nominees:
Avatar: Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson

Inglourious Basterds: Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Mark Ulano

Star Trek: Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, Peter J. Devlin

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Geoffrey Patterson

Another Hurt Locker win. It was funny how Ottosson had to run back on stage. Another shot for me. Thanks, Southern Comfort!

Best Achievement in Cinematography

WINNER: Avatar: Mauro Fiore

Other Nominees:
Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte: Christian Berger

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Bruno Delbonnel

The Hurt Locker: Barry Ackroyd

Inglourious Basterds: Robert Richardson

Boo..another win for Avatar. I wanted Harry Potter to win because well...I love Harry Potter. Deeply.

---Now we pay tribute to those who have passed. Such a sad moment. And I think they forgot Farrah Fawcett..just like in 08 when they forgot Brad Renfro---

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

WINNER: Up: Michael Giacchino

Other Nominees:
Avatar: James Horner

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Alexandre Desplat

The Hurt Locker: Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders

Sherlock Holmes: Hans Zimmer

They played parts of all the nominated scores and had dancers. They were all great (but they couldn't fit in the Best Orig song performances?) Anyways, Based on that dance..Fantastic Mr. Fox should've won. Up had the worst dance, but still won. But that doesn't matter, it had a great score..most animated flicks do.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

WINNER: Avatar: Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andy Jones

Other Nominees:
District 9: Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, Matt Aitken

Star Trek: Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton

Easy win for Avatar. I think District 9 should've taken it. They had amazing visual on a 1/4 of Avatar's budget. Oh well, I can't deny that Avatar was visually stunning. At this point the show is going to go 30-45 mins over their timeslot. Are you surprised? I'm not. I still wish we could've seen the Best Orig song performances.

Best Documentary, Features

WINNER: The Cove (2009): Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens

Other Nominees:

Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land: Anders Østergaard, Lise Lense-Møller

Food, Inc.: Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith

Which Way Home: Rebecca Cammisa

Not surprising here, alot of people thought it was going to win. I thought Food Inc might steal...oh look. Tyler Perry

Best Achievement in Editing

WINNER: The Hurt Locker (2008): Bob Murawski, Chris Innis

Other Nominees:

Avatar: Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron

District 9: Julian Clarke

Inglourious Basterds: Sally Menke

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire: Joe Klotz

Inglorious Basters should've won...I'm just sayin'. Another win for The Hurt Locker, good for them. The winner of Editing usually wins Best Pic. Another shot for me, suck it Avatar! By the way has anyone noticed the ceiling of the Kodak Theater? With the sparkling lights..beautiful.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

WINNER:El secreto de sus ojos (Argentina)

Other Nominees:
Ajami (Israel)

Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (Germany)

Un prophète (France)

La teta asustada (Peru)

Was? Nein weisse bande?? Schade!!! Blasphemie!! Yeah, I'm German. And Bias. I can't belive White Ribbon didn't win, I jinxed myself by saying how good I was doing on my picks..Now I got 5 wrong. Es ist meine schuld.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

WINNER:Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart

ther Nominees:

George Clooney for Up in the Air

Colin Firth for A Single Man

Morgan Freeman for Invictus

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker

They brought back the 5 presenters, only instead of last year it being previous nominees it was people they had once worked with. That was classy. Tim Robbins was hilarious and feel a little embarrased for Jeremy Renner (SWAT? I bet you wan't to forget it) But Bridges winning was no surprise, he deserves it. He owned 'Crazy Heart'. I think it's his best performance to date.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

WINNER: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side

Other Nominees:
Helen Mirren for The Last Station

Carey Mulligan for An Education

Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia

Oscar Fail. The Blind Side was not that great of a movie, Sandra's performance was mediocre, but since she's "America's Sweetheart" she wins. This is alot like Julia Roberts winning for Erin Brockovich. I wanted Gaborey Sidibe to win, the predictability of all this is kinda sad. Oh well, Sandra's speech was at least touching. Glad she acknowledged her fellow nominees. She was genuinly grateful

Best Achievement in Directing

WINNER:Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker

Other Nominees:
James Cameron for Avatar

Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Jason Reitman for Up in the Air

Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds

Again, predictable but awesome for Bigelow. She deserved it. Hurt Locker is on a roll! I would've liked Daniels, Tarantino or Reitman for the win, but Bigelow is great. First female director to win an Oscar. How deserving! James Cameron is crying inside.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

WINNER: The Hurt Locker (: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro

Other Nominees:

Avatar: James Cameron, Jon Landau

The Blind Side: Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson

District 9: Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham

An Education : Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey

Inglourious Basterds: Lawrence Bender

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire: Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness

A Serious Man: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Up: Jonas Rivera

Up in the Air: Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman

Wow! I did not see that coming.. They thanked our Troops, that was nice. The 3 actors looked so happy. 

Thanks for reading!

DVD Review: Revolutionary Road

Everyone was excited for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's first film together since 1997's 'Titanic'. Who can blame them? Winslet and DiCaprio radiate chemistry. That gives this film a little something extra and separates it from the somber downer this film could've become.

Frank and April Wheeler are the ideal couple. They are beautiful, have beautiful children, live in a beautiful house on a beautiful street. On the outside of course. On the inside we see a failing marriage with April having big ideas and dreams of becoming an actress and Frank working in an office job he hates. April proposes a pipe dream of moving the family to Paris and starting over. Frank, while reluctant at first goes along, then begins to realize how impossible this scenario has become.

DiCaprio (snubbed by the Academy) and Winslet give flawless performances. They really bring out the emotions in their characters. Director Sam Mendes (Winslet's husband) does a great job telling their story, shooting the elements and really making it feel like the 1950's suburbs.

The supporting cast is pleasant. Michael Shannon (the sole acting nominee for the film at the Oscars, though he didn't win. It sort of reminds me of this year's Stanley Tucci in 'The Lovely Bones') plays a neighbor's fresh out of the Psyche ward son, who helps Frank and April come back to reality in a twisted sort of way. Their friends, Milly (Kathryn Hahn) who plays an unhappy housewife (quite like she did in 'Step Brother's only not as funny) and her husband Shep (David Horbour) who is secretly infatuated with April.

It's not meant to be a feel good movie, although it's not a complete downer either. It shows us the bad parts of marriages, but doesn't discourage us. The movie has a fine lesson in following your dreams. Don't let anything get in the way, it could be too late.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "It's ok, if I had kids I wouldn't want them around either" - John Givings (Michael Shannon)

Independent Spirit Award Winners

The Spirit Award Winners! 'Precious' dominated most of the evening and (500) Days of Summer won Best Screenplay. (they were snubbed by the Oscars for this) The Whitest Kids U'Know were there too! A plus for everyone.

Best Feature
WINNER: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Other Nominees:(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Amreeka (2009)

The Last Station (2009)

Sin nombre (2009)

Best Female Lead
WINNER: Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Other Nominees:Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy (2008)

Nisreen Faour for Amreeka (2009)

Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)

Gwyneth Paltrow for Two Lovers (2008)

Best Male Lead
WINNER: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)

Other Nominees:Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo (2008)

Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind (2009)

Best Supporting Female
WINNER: Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Other Nominees:Dina Korzun for Cold Souls (2009)

Samantha Morton for The Messenger (2009/I)

Natalie Press for Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)

Mia Wasikowska for That Evening Sun (2009)

Best Supporting Male
WINNER: Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (2009/I)

Other Nominees:Jemaine Clement for Gentlemen Broncos (2009)

Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles (2008)

Ray McKinnon for That Evening Sun (2009)

Christopher Plummer for The Last Station (2009)

Best Director
WINNER: Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

Other Nominees:Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for A Serious Man (2009)

Cary Fukunaga for Sin nombre (2009)

James Gray for Two Lovers (2008)

Michael Hoffman for The Last Station (2009)

Best Screenplay
WINNER: (500) Days of Summer (2009): Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Other Nominees:Adventureland (2009): Greg Mottola

The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman

The Last Station (2009): Michael Hoffman

The Vicious Kind (2009): Lee Toland Krieger

Best First Screenplay
WINNER: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher

Other Nominees:Amreeka (2009): Cherien Dabis

Cold Souls (2009): Sophie Barthes

Crazy Heart (2009): Scott Cooper

A Single Man (2009): Tom Ford, David Scearce

Best Cinematography
WINNER: A Serious Man (2009): Roger Deakins

Other Nominees:The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009): Peter Zeitlinger

Cold Souls (2009): Andrij Parekh

Sin nombre (2009): Adriano Goldman

Treeless Mountain (2008): Anne Misawa

Best First Feature
WINNER: Crazy Heart (2009)

Other Nominees:Easier with Practice (2009)

The Messenger (2009/I)

Paranormal Activity (2007)

A Single Man (2009)

Best Foreign Film
WINNER: An Education (2009)

Other Nominees:Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (2008)

Madeo (2009)

La nana (2009)

Un prophète (2009)

Best Documentary
WINNER: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)

Other Nominees:Food, Inc. (2008)

More Than a Game (2008)

October Country (2009)

Which Way Home (2009)

John Cassavetes Award
WINNER: Humpday (2009)

Other Nominees:Big Fan (2009)

The New Year Parade (2008)

Treeless Mountain (2008)

Zero Bridge (2008)

Truer Than Fiction Award
WINNER:45365 (2009): Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross

Other Nominees:Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009): Jessica Oreck

El general (2009): Natalia Almada

Someone to Watch Award
WINNER:Kyle Patrick Alvarez for Easier with Practice (2009)

Other Nominees:Asiel Norton for Redland (2009)

Tariq Tapa for Zero Bridge (2008)

Producers Award
WINNER:Karin Chien for Santa Mesa (2008), The Exploding Girl (2009)

Other Nominees:Larry Fessenden for I Sell the Dead (2008), The House of the Devil (2009)

Dia Sokol for Beeswax (2009), Nights and Weekends (2008)

Robert Altman Award
WINNERA Serious Man (2009)