Sunday, January 31, 2010

FotM: Hello, Oscar people, listen to me and I shall tell you things you know not of . . .

The Academy Award nominations are all about the snubs. Let's face it, the revelation (and subsequent analysis/rehash/blogger heaven) of what hasn't been nominated for an Oscar is often times much more interesting than what has received the coveted nod for the most prestigous honor the American film industy can bestow. There's no doubt that Tuesday's announcement will start the conversation afresh.

I know that nothing I write here will influence the nominations one bit, for two reasons.

Reason #1: No member of the Academy reads this blog.
Reason #2: The voting closed a week ago.

That said, Watchmen is one flick that I think deserves to be recognized by the Academy, even though I'm nearly positive it won't. The look of the film is spectacular. Creating Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's dark, dreary world was no easy feat, and and merits a nomination for Best Art Direction for Francois Audouy, Helen Jarvis, & James Steuart.

The single biggest thing that I hope for, even though it's a hope against hope, is that the Academy will recognize Jackie Earl Haley's portrayal of Rorschach with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Look, Rorschach is special. If you get the chance to be Rorschach and you're crap, there will be thousands of people calling out for the immediate loss of your salary, if not your imminent demise. Rorschach isn't a hero with easily defined motives and a neat set of "powers." I think he's as close to a fully realized flesh and blood person as a superhero can be.

I seem to remember Alan Moore once saying that his goal with the character was to explore what it would be like if someone like Batman lived in the real world, and that he would probably be a psychopath. In a role that could have easily been butchered, Haley isn't just good. He's great. He captures the essence of the character in a way that feels so wonderfully right. In a story made up of archetypical "heroes" dealing with nothing less than the loss of heroism and morality in a cruel world, Haley brings Rorschach's bleeding heart and anguished mind to cruel, beautiful life.

While we're at it, could we swap out Star Trek's probable Best Picture nomination for a nod for Watchmen? I'm just saying . . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

THE DEATH OF A GIANT!


For those of you not paying attention the world of independent film took another HUGE blow yesterday. After over 30 years of being in business Miramax Films was shut down. What many would argue was the most influential independent film studio of all time, the one that quite literally redefined the world of independent film and for all intents and purposes put it on the map is no more. While many things, both positive and negative can be said about Miramax, like all good funerals I’m choosing to focus on only the positives at the moment.

Founded in 1979 by Harvey and Bob Weinstein Miramax Films slowly, over the course of three decades completely changed the face of cinema. If it weren’t for Miramax films the average John Q. Public wouldn’t even know what an independent film is. Without Miramax Films the world of movies may have never been graced with the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Billy Bob Thornton, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, David O. Russell, Baz Luhrman and too many others to name. If it weren’t for Miramax Films you might still have giant Oscar prestige pictures along the lines of BRAVEHEART and FORREST GUMP instead of the smaller, more intimate pictures that seem to dominate the nominations now a days.

One could literally write a book about all that Harvey and Bob’s little upstart company did to the world of cinema and since someone already kind of did (Peter Biskind’s brilliant Down and Dirty Pictures) I’m not going belabor the point. I just felt that it was more than appropriate to chime in and acknowledge the passing of one the most influential company’s in Hollywood over the last 30 years. While one could argue that Miramax Films, nor the Weinstein’s have been the quite the same since they parted ways several years ago it’s all but impossible not to recognize the unmistakable swath they carved through the history of cinema. To really drive that point home here are just SOME of the films that most likely would have never seen the light of day if weren’t for this trail blazing company.

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE,
MY LEFT FOOT
THE CRYING GAME
THE PIANO
PULP FICTION
SLING BLADE
CLERKS
SWINGERS
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
GOOD WILL HUNTING
STRICTLY BALLROOM
CHICAGO
CITY OF GOD
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

I could keep going but I’m afraid to do so might only further sadden me at the loss of this giant of the film industry. I’m really not sure if any singular event in Hollywood at the moment better defines the current nightmare that is the independent film market and I intend on posting something in the very near future that really takes a closer look at the trend. For now however I want to mourn this industry’s loss while looking back and acknowledging all the greatness Miramax brought to us. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see another company like it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A KILLER 1, 2 PUNCH!!!


AVATAR raked in another $36 million dollars this weekend to remain at the top of the box-office heap for the sixth week in a row. Take into account what the film has brought in overseas and Cameron has quite literally outdone himself. AVATAR is now the world wide number one grossing movie of all time. The only record yet to fall is TITANIC’s domestic gross but AVATAR is only about $50 million away so it’s really only a matter of time.

On this site we try not to get too much into box-office grosses yet this is the second time we’ll have talked about AVATAR in this fashion and its simply because, how could you not? I remember Megan and I discussing that it would take nothing short of a miracle for AVATAR to make its ridiculously gigantic budget back and how this could very well be the film that forced Cameron to reign in his VERY expensive visions, at least a little bit. Obviously nothing could be further from the truth.

James Cameron has now made the two highest grossing movies of all time. Between TITANIC and AVATAR alone he’s made close to $3 billion dollars if not more. At this point the sky’s the limit for him. No one will tell him no, and why should they?

I am utterly convinced Cameron’s next movie will be filmed in real, honest to God outer space. His characters will fire fully operational, working laser guns and it will star the reanimated corpses of Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley and Gandhi. Of course they will be fighting actual dinosaurs brought to life via the technology Michael Crichton postulated about in JURASSIC PARK. Think I’m crazy? Right now any studio in Hollywood would drown their first born in a tub filled with dolphin sweat and angel tears, while allowing Conan O’Brien to beat Jay Leno and every moronic NBC executive within an inch of their life with the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet if Cameron wanted. Cameron has proven that you really can still draw insane amounts of people to the theatre, multiple times. That may not make him the “King of the World”, but it sure as heck makes him the King of Hollywood. I stand in awe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"I'll take one for 'Mindless,' please."

Roger Ebert is back at the Sundance Film Festival after a 3 year absence. Because he's there and we're not, I'd highly recommend you keep an eye on his blog for updates direct from Colorado, unless you've already discovered it for yourself. Roger Ebert's Journal is one of the finest blogs I've found on the web, and his readers are the type of insightful, intelligent folks that should be the envy of any publication, web-based or otherwise.

This is something he wrote in his first entry from Sundance. It rang true, and I wanted to share it with you.

"When you're here it's easy to lose sight of the real world of "Avatar" and "Sherlock Holmes." The town is jammed. The screenings are packed. The Park Record observes that parking has become as hard to find as tickets. It's said that financing has dried up. That audiences don't hunger for intelligent films. And yet all these films got made. They will all get seen. The word will go forth from this time and place that some of them were wonderful. And in all but a few cases, the market won't care. Average American moviegoers cheerfully buy tickets to movies they expect will be junk. But confront them with something that might be great and they start looking all alarmed."

This is terribly sad and, unfortunately, far too true.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SPIDER-MAN SPINS A NEW WEBB!!!


I love Sam Raimi and I loved what he did with the first two SPIDER-MAN films but HATED everything about the third one so I can’t say I’m all that upset that he decided to leave the franchise behind. As more and more came out it sounded like Sony was trying to pigeon-hole him into making a movie he didn’t want to make just like with SPIDER-MAN 3 and that could only end in disaster. Honestly I’m REAL skeptical about what’s going on with the franchise and the idea that they’re already talking about rebooting it and that they seem more concerned with a release date than the final film, but at least a faint glimmer of hope has emerged amongst all the insanity.

It was announced today that Marc Webb will be taking over the reigns of the franchise. This is a name that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to a lot of people and nor should it because the guy has only directed one movie. That one movie however was 500 DAYS OF SUMMER a film that I have fallen head over heels in love with. A SPIDER-MAN film needs to balance equal parts drama, humor, angst, fun and conflict and 500 DAYS OF SUMMER did all that and more.

Mind you this will only be Webb’s second feature film and there are hundreds of millions of dollars riding on it so there’s a pretty good chance the studio is going to walk all over him and we’ll get something more along the lines of WOLVERINE than say IRON MAN, but you never know. Webb’s shown he’s got the goods and while I would have loved to have seen Sony hand over the reigns to Joss Whedon ,who without the shadow of a doubt would make the single greatest SPIDER-MAN movie ever, they could have done a lot worse than Webb. Here’s hoping he can salvage this mess and turn in something truly remarkable. If you don’t think he has it in him then I HIGHLY recommend checking out 500 DAYS OF SUMMER and you’ll see my hope may not be so misplaced after all. And no matter what it could be worse. They could have hired Brett Ratner!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Did I just see what I think I saw?


If you are a Christian I can not recommend THE BOOK OF ELI enough. Don’t read too much about it, don’t listen to other people just go see it and if at all possible bring your non-Christian friends with you! Guaranteed you’ll sit there the entire time wondering HOW this kind of movie got made in Hollywood and afterwards it could lead to some pretty darn interesting discussions with your less religious friends. Make no mistake, this movie is not for everyone and after this weekend it will die fast but that shouldn’t in any way dissuade you from seeing this movie. I am blown away that such a movie exists and if you consider yourself religious you will be too. I think I’ll have more to say about this one later on but I don’t want to spoil anything so for now please just take my word for it and SEE THIS MOVIE!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 in Review

It's that time, folks. I figured that, instead of writing something up, I'd rather tell you directly, face-to-screen style. I've got 3 categories: 2009's best films, 2009's films on the backburner, and the worst film of 2009.

Best of 2009

video

Films on the Backburner

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The Worst Film of 2009

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Leave a comment. You're bound to have some thoughts on my list, one way or another. (wink)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"I think you just became my personal hero!"... Mr. Bond!


Okay, you remember how a few months ago I threw up a post about how cool I thought it would be if Kathryn Bigelow directed the next James Bond movie? Well, guess what? She’s not, but the person that they’ve just signed on to helm the 23rd entry of the franchise just caused this movie to pretty much jump to the very top of my list of movies I want to see RIGHT NOW! I know this is going to sound like some weird pipe dream, like something a bunch of basement dwelling fanboys came up with in a Cheetos induced coma but I swear to you its not. I mean Hollywood Reporter was the one that broke the story. Not only will the next James Bond movie be written by the same crack team that churned out the screenplays for the last two brilliant installments plus the addition of Peter Morgan (The genius behind THE QUEEN, FROST / NIXON, etc.) to the bunch, but now comes word that Sam Mendes is going to direct the film! Yeah, you heard me right, Sam “Freaking” Mendes, the dude that directed REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, JARHEAD, ROAD TO PERDITION and won an Oscar for a little film called AMERICAN BEAUTY!!!

My hat is off to the producers behind the Bond franchise. Up until they rebooted the franchise a few years ago the character and the franchise were very much in danger of becoming completely irrelevant in the face of such modern day action heroes as Jason Bourne and the like. In just two movies Daniel Craig and everyone else involved erased all doubt that James Bond still owns the genre and with this latest bit of news it’s obvious they have every intention of keeping it that way. There’s no way this Bond film won’t be jaw dropping, just no possible way!

Monday, January 4, 2010

THE BEST FILMS OF 2009!!!

So this is it! The final thing I’ll write about 2009. This is THE LIST, the one that I start compiling in my mind and argue with myself about from the moment I see the first new movie of any given year. Every year I swear to myself that I’m going to limit this list to ONLY the top 10 films of the year and every year I end up breaking that promise. Sadly this year is no different. What follows is my list of the 20 best films I saw in 2009. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on some of them and if you think there should only be 10 on this list than lop off 20-11. Either way I’m sure you’ll agree or disagree and more than anything else find some of my picks… interesting and that’s the whole point. I can’t wait to see how my partners’ lists shake out but until then this is mine. So no more yakking, let’s do this thing.

2O. DRAG ME TO HELL: Fun, lots of pure, unadulterated fun. Gross, silly, disturbing and everything I could have hoped for in a return to the Horror genre by Sam Raimi. PLEASE, PLEASE bring this level of energy and fun to SPIDER-MAN 4!

19. THE SOLOIST: This should have been released in time for Oscar consideration last year. Instead this beautiful gem of a movie was buried early this year and that’s a shame.

18. THE HANGOVER: An epic, iconic, instant comedy classic. Not the funniest movie of the year, but close and probably the one that will be the most remembered due to its guaranteed repeat viewings at college campuses and bachelor parties everywhere.

17. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: Probably the best HARRY POTTER film yet. The only reason it’s not higher on this list is because it’s only part of a much larger, epic story. Having said that, as someone that’s read the books, this may be one of the single greatest film adaptations of all time. I don’t know how Steve Cloves did it, but he did and God bless him for it.

16. MOON: On repeat viewings this could very well jump way higher on this list. As it is, after just one viewing all those months ago I can easily say this is one of the best sci-fi films of the last 5 or 10 years. 2009 was a great year for sci-fi and this is just one of several sterling examples.

15. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: Remember how much I loved this movie when it first came out? Remember my hyperbole filled rave review? Well, all that holds true and I’m just as surprised as you are to see this wind up as only number 15 on my list, but that just goes to show how great the rest of the movies on this list are. Regardless I still hold that this film is an utter masterpiece and I’m still in awe.

14. FANTASTIC MR. FOX: Why does this beat out WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE? Quality wise they’re both equally brilliant but at the end of the day this film is just more fun. Given the choice I know I’ll watch this film more than Spike Jonze’s opus just because this movie made me laugh out loud multiple times and thrill to the way Wes Anderson was somehow able to perfectly adapt his style to a stop-animated family film, yet still make it a quintessential Wes Anderson movie without sacrificing anything for any sort of audience that might be interested in viewing the film. It’s no feint praise when I say this film has leap-frogged to right behind RUSMORE as my second favorite Wes Anderson movie of all time.

13. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG: Watching this movie made me feel like I was a little kid again. Throughout the entire running time I could have sworn it was the late 80’s / early 90’s and that I was smack dab in the middle of the second golden age of Disney animation. It’s been a long, dark winter for hand-drawn animation but with this magical and enchanting bit of joy Disney announced that the reports of hand-drawn animation’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

12. ZOMBIELAND: In my opinion the next two films on this list are easily the two funniest movies of the year and if I had to pick a winner in the laughs department between the two ZOMBIELAND would probably be it. For my money this is an instant horror-comedy classic that while not quite as good SHAUN OF THE DEAD or AN AMERICA WEREWOLF IN LONDON still stands as a worthy successor. Mark my words this film will be teamed with SHAUN OF THE DEAD on innumerable midnight movie double-bills for years to come and rightly so, if for nothing other than one of the single greatest cameos in history of film alone.

11. OBSERVE AND REPORT: From the moment I saw this film way back in April I knew it was going to wind up on this list. Please, please, please believe me when I say this is not just some “R” rated version of PAUL BLART: MALL COP. One reviewer basically described this movie as a comedic version of TAXI DRIVER and while I’m not sure that’s the perfect way to sum up the movie it’s still the most fitting description I’ve heard yet. I have never seen a comedy quite like this movie and I’ve never seen an audience respond to a comedy quite like they did to this one. Make no bones about it, this movie is hilarious. You’ll laugh out loud, you’ll cheer and root for Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen turning in easily the best, most nuanced and genuinely unique performance of his career) and then when all is said and done, as you’re walking out of the theatre you’ll realize you maybe shouldn’t have. I promise you this film is brilliant, it’s unlike any comedy you’ve seen in recent memory, its dark, subversive, poignant and disturbing. After only two films writer / director Jody Hill has proven he is a force to be reckoned with and I’m completely convinced he’ll be a director that develops a cult following ala Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne. I think I can safely say this because after OBSERVE AND REPORT I know I’ll see anything the man touches.

10. SHERLOCK HOLMES: I had a big stupid grin on my face throughout the entire length of this movie. I had an absolute ball with this movie, so much so that the idiot seated next to me thought I was having too much fun with it and asked me to tone it down. I admit I enjoyed explaining to him such a thing wouldn’t happen, but that’s a story for another time. For my money this is the single best and yes, most faithful adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character that’s ever been committed to film. Yes, even more faithful and loveable than THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE and that’s saying something. I can’t wait to see where they go with this franchise because I’ll sure as heck be along for the ride.

9. 500 DAYS OF SUMMER: I saw this movie about a week and a half ago and I still can’t get it out of my head. I am MADLY in love with this flick and I’m fairly certain if I had more time go gestate on it and watch it again (Which guaranteed I will multiple times) this movie would probably jump even higher up this list. The tag line for this movie sums it up perfectly, “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.” This movie has it all, a great script, brilliant direction and a pair of leads that you will instantly fall in love with. This movie is truly magical and an absolute blessing for film fans everywhere, I simply can’t recommend it enough.

8. THE HURT LOCKER: There’s a reason this film is winning all the awards and accolades it has been, the movie really is THAT good! Kathryn Bigelow has churned out a pulse-pounding, nerve rattling, edge of your seat thriller that also adeptly delves into the minds and fractured psyches of the kind of men that live to put themselves in the kind of harm’s way that you and I would run screaming from. This movie works on every level and that’s why it’s really the first movie about the war in Iraq to connect with people in such a big way, and deservedly so.

7. AVATAR: I don’t think I can sum up my thoughts on this film any better than I already did in the blurb I wrote for Adam’s post about our mutual love for this film. As such I’m going to plagiarize myself and just run that blurb again.

“Twelve years is a long time to wait for anything but James Cameron has made it more than worth the wait. AVATAR is unlike anything you have ever seen before, it’ll dazzle your senses, melt your eyeballs and pin you to your seat. It immerses you in a world up until now you only thought you could see in your dreams. In short AVATAR is the reason they make movie theatres. If you want to see the future of film making converge with the best that modern story telling has to offer, get your butt to a theatre NOW!”

6. THE BROTHERS BLOOM: I love this movie so much I don’t even know where to begin. It works as a great con / heist film, a love story, a family drama. – you name it this film does it in spades. There were very few better written or directed films this year and the entire cast was spot-on, pitch perfect. After only two films Rian Johnson has proven he is for sure the real deal and I can’t wait to see what he has hidden up his sleeve next.

5. UP IN THE AIR: When it comes to this film I’ve said it all already. This movie deserves to win Best Picture. It deserves to sweep every award imaginable because it really is that brilliant, that poignant and best of all that topical. No other film that was released over the past 12 months better summed up 2009 and perhaps even the preceding years before it. I already consider this film a classic and I think in time everyone else will as well.

4. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS: Now that I’ve had time to give it more thought there’s not a doubt in my mind that this is my favorite Quentin Tarantino film yet. This is his masterpiece, the opus that he’s been working towards since he blazed onto the scene way back in 1992 with RESERVOIR DOGS. There is nothing about this film that I’m not madly, deeply in love with. This is darn near a perfect film, heck it probably is a perfect film and like the other 5 films that round out the top of this list, an instant classic.

3. DISTRICT 9: Easily the most original science fiction film of the year and perhaps the most original science fiction film since THE MATRIX, if not before that. Over the course of 112 minutes Neill Blomkamp proved he is a force to be reckoned with and Sharlto Copley proved he may be one of the greatest undiscovered talents of this new century. This is the kind of science fiction film we need A LOT more of, sharp, edgy, provocative, scary, thrilling and action packed all at the same time. In any other year this film would be at the very top of my list.

2. UP: Hand’s down the best movie of the year. It’s not my favorite (It was just barely beaten out by the number one film) which is why it comes in at the number 2 spot but trust me there was no better crafted film to hit the big screen in 2009 than UP. I’m not the kind of guy that gets emotional at movies. It just doesn’t happen, I’m weirdly wired so while most of the time I realize I should be having an emotional reaction I very rarely actually have one. Well UP turned me into a blubbering little girl. No joke this brilliant piece of cinema brought me to the point of tears 4 TIMES the first time I watched. I kept hoping it was a fluke but I’ve had the same, exact emotional reaction on subsequent viewings as well. I don’t think any scene in any movie in the last 5 years has struck me as hard as when Carl discovers what Ellie put in their “Adventure Journal”. There’s a pretty good chance that because of the new 10 nominee way of doing things this year with the Oscars that this film might actually get nominated for Best Picture and while I don’t think it has a chance of winning if by some miracle it did then one could honestly say the Oscars chose right and THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR was rewarded.

1. STAR TREK: So after all that high praise why is UP only my number 2 movie of the year? Simply because I can’t remember the last time I had as much fun watching a movie as I did watching STAR TREK. You’ve heard me raving about this film all year long so it should really come as no surprise that this film tops my list. I love this movie so much there is no way I can ever adequately explain it in words. STAR TREK is the kind of movie that inspired me to be a writer and make movies in the first place. From the moment it starts until the moment it ends J.J. Abrams rollicking reboot of a long thought dead franchise is an absolute ball. I saw this movie 5 times in the theatre and I’ve watched it at least 3 more times since it came out on DVD. This movie makes me happy, it thrills me and excites me and it reminds me why I love this medium so much. Does it have the emotional resonance of something like UP or UP IN THE AIR? Heck no! But what it does have is loads of very smart, very well made, popcorn munching fun, enough for 10 movies. Hands down STAR TREK is one of the most entertaining films I’ve ever seen and without a doubt more than any other film this year it is the one I will find myself revisiting the most. That is why amongst all of the other truly brilliant, ground breaking, CLASSIC films that came out this year it still stands heads and shoulders above them all as my favorite!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

If I Gave Out Awards! (2009 Edition)

What follows is pretty simple. If I were to pick the Oscar nominations – and some of the categories this is what they would look like. In my humble opinion this is the very best that 2009 had to offered based on what I was able to see last year. In years past I would have declared what I think should win each category but upon review a lot of these selections were so different, so unique from one another it was hard to pit them against each other. Also I decided to keep things brief I’m not going to explain my selections (At least not for this part) I’m just going to list them. Should you agree, disagree, want clarification or to yell at me, then please feel free to do so in the comments section. Without further ado here we go. This is the best of the best of 2009 at least on an individual list. My “Best Films of the Year” list will be next. So let’s get to this shall we? Oh and please note I tried to list everything alphabetically, at least as best as I could.

BEST DIRECTOR:

J.J. Abrams – STAR TREK
Kathryn Bigelow – THE HURT LOCKER
Neill Blomkamp – DISTRICT 9
Jason Reitman – UP IN THE AIR
Quentin Tarantino – INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

BEST SCREENPLAY:
Since the Academy has 2 categories of 5 each I’m selecting 10 (okay actually 11 because well, I just couldn’t make up my mind). It may also be that because I’m a screenwriter I’m a little biased.

Rian Johnson – THE BROTHERS BLOOM
Neil Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell – DISTRICT 9
Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach – FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Steve Cloves – HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
Quentin Tarantino – INGLRORIOUS BASTERDS
Jody Hill – OBSERVE AND REPORT
Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg – SHERLOCK HOLMES
Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof – STAR TREK
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson – UP
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner – UP IN THE AIR
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber – 500 DAYS OF SUMMER

BEST ACTOR:

Sharlto Copley – DISTRICT 9
George Clooney – UP IN THE AIR
Robert Downey Jr. – SHERLOCK HOLMES
Chris Pine – STAR TREK
Sam Rockwell – MOON

BEST ACTRESS:
Zooey Deschanel – 500 DAYS OF SUMMER
Vera Farmiga – UP IN THE AIR
Katie Featherston – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Melanie Laurent – INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
Zoe Saldana – AVATAR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Jamie Foxx – THE SOLOIST
Zach Galifianakis – THE HANGOVER
Jackie Earle Haley – WATCHMEN
Karl Urban – STAR TREK
Christopher Waltz – INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Anna Kendrick – UP IN THE AIR
Diane Kruger – INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
Zoe Saldana – STAR TREK
Emma Watson – HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
Rachel Weisz – THE BROTHERS BLOOM

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
From this point on the name thing gets complicated so I’m just listing the movies.

THE BROTHERS BLOOM
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
STAR TREK
UP IN THE AIR
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

BEST EDITING:

DISTRICT 9
THE HURT LOCKER
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
STAR TREK
500 DAYS OF SUMMER

BEST SCORE:

AVATAR
DUPLICITY
SHERLOCK HOLMES
STAR TREK
UP

BEST SOUNDTRACK:

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
WHIP IT
500 DAYS OF SUMMER

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

AVATAR
SHERLOCK HOLMES
STAR TREK
WATCHMEN
UP

BEST SOUND:

AVATAR
DISTRICT 9
MOON
STAR TREK
UP

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS:

AVATAR
DISTRICT 9
STAR TREK
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

THE BROTHERS BLOOM
SHERLOCK HOLMES
STAR TREK
UP IN THE AIR
WATCHMEN

BEST MAKE-UP:

DISTRICT 9
DRAG ME TO HELL
MOON
WATCHMEN
ZOMBIELAND

BEST CHEMISTRY:
It doesn’t have to be romantic chemistry. This is for who had the best give and take, the best pairings onscreen in 2009.

Nicholas D’Agasto and Eric Christian Olsen – FIRED UP
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law – SHERLOCK HOLMES
The entire cast – STAR TREK
Carl, Ellie (Yes, even though she’s dead) and Russell - UP
George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick – UP IN THE AIR

MOST FUN I HEAD AT A THEATRE IN 2009:

STAR TREK midnight IMAX screening

BEST REASON TO GO TO A MOVIE THEATRE IN 2009:

AVATAR

WORST REASONS TO GO TO A MOVIE THEATRE IN 2009:

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON

HONORABLE MENTION:

Anton Yelchin – The dude channeled Checkov and Kyle Reese PERFECTLY and 2009 was also the same year I caught him in CHARLIE BARTLETT (2007) and NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU. Trust me the kid’s gonna be huge!

Next up, my favorite films of 2009. Stay tuned…

It's That Time Again!!!

2009 was a hell of a year! Take what you want from that. On a personal level I’m not sure I’ve ever had a year like the one that just passed. While many of my friends and family were going through some pretty major “life stuff” Megan and I achieved a lifelong goal of completing a feature length movie. Right now amongst the 600+ movies I own sits a DVD containing a movie I wrote, my sister directed and that we produced together. A movie we actually screened in a theatre for scores of people, one that we have and are submitting to countless film festivals. No matter how you slice it that’s a hell of a thing.

This last year also saw me write and photograph a children’s book and take multiple meetings with multiple people about another script of mine that may HOPEFULLY get made. On top of all that I got deeply involved with some of the politics and inner-workings of the County of Orange, worked on a church plant and spent more time in the doctor’s office than at any point in my life due to a respiratory infection at the beginning of the year and a pretty gnarly, completely unknown, very frustrating ailment afflicting me now.

Through all that and SO much more I was still able to see over 50 of the films that were released in 2009 as well as multiple classics and older films. While I wish that number were higher, weekends up in LA doing post-production on END (The aforementioned movie Megan and I made), trips to the doctors office and lots of other things ultimately did impact how often I made it to the theatre. Even then I can’t complain too much because if you think about it I still averaged at least 1 new movie a week for the entire year.

Of course this is all preamble to warn you that it’s that time of year again. It’s the beginning of 2010 so it’s time for me (And I would assume everyone else that contributes to this blog) to look back at the year that was. This is the first of several posts you’ll see from me dissecting the year in film circa 2009.

Because of everything that went on in my life (And those around me) it gave me some interesting perspectives on some of the films you’ll see me talk about. The reason I mentioned completing a movie of my own wasn’t to gloat (Well okay, maybe a little) its so that you would understand doing such a thing really gave me an appreciation for certain aspects of film making that until now I only knew on an academic level. For instance through the long, arduous process of getting our movie finished I discovered I am very much NOT a post-production kind of guy so my appreciation for the people that handle that end of any movie sky-rocketed.

It should also be noted that sadly there are a lot of movies that I still really want to see that I haven’t been able to check out yet. Normally I hold off on this sort of list until Oscar time but by then if feels like I’m just dragging everything out and that there’s really no point in posting anything because the dead horse has been beaten enough already. This year, I decided to simply talk about what I was able to see in the 2009 calendar year. As such there are some glaring omissions that I’m sure might have made my list had I been able see them. Off the top of my head I have a feeling THE LOVELY BONES, A SIMPLE MAN, A SINGLE MAN, AN EDUCATION, NINE, CRAZY HEART, THE LAST STATION, IT’S COMPLICATED, INVICTUS, THE ROAD, PRECIOUS and a whole host of others may deserve some recognition, but I’m working with what I’ve got so just go with me.

Before I sign off I do want to say one more thing. 2009 was a kick-ass year for movies. I’m sorry but it was. I don’t know where exactly it ranks amongst years past yet but at least in terms of genre cinema… wow, simply wow! The last year of the decade was a banner year for sci-fi and funny enough family entertainment as I’m sure you’ll see reflected in my next few posts. What the year lacked in great in dramas it more than made up for in movies that you know… most people actually watch. Here’s hoping we’ll see at least a little more of the same in 2010. Stay tuned…

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year and all that jazz . . .

Well, it's 2010, and we're all still here. Here at the blog, we'd like to wish all of you a happy, prosperous, and healthy new year. 2009 was a record year for us, seeing a growth from 29 posts in 2008 to 150 posts. That's a growth rate of 417%. Eat your heart out, James Cameron!

We did some extensive blogging regarding our picks for the best films of the decade, so just in case you missed it, you can find Chris' here, here, and here, Adam's here, and Megan's here.

Additionally, Manohla Dargis' Floating In the Digital Experience is a must-read.

So, all the best to you in 2010, and don't forget to let us know if there's anything that you would like to see on the blog in the future. Happy New Year!