Yo, También (Me Too)

Another film that I was delaying watching as is about a man with Down’s Syndrome and imagined that film was going to be depressing. You have no idea HOW wrong I was as film is truly fantastic with great actor’s performances and a story that will melt your heart, make you understand more people with the syndrome and after watching you will feel very uplifted.

This multiple honored film tells the simple story of an university educated man that falls in love and everything (plus everyone) is against him being corresponded. Thirty-four-years-old Daniel (Pablo Pineda) recently obtained his university degree and finds his first work at the Disability Services in Seville where he notices troubled Laura (Lola Dueñas) and starts to flirt with her. But Daniel has Down’s Syndrome and people, including Laura, treat him as if he was a kid (to put it mildly soft). Slowly Laura and Daniel become friends, but Daniel wants more than friendship and everyone, including his parents, tells him not to fall for a ‘normal’ woman, to fall for a woman that also has the syndrome. But Daniel doesn’t give up and you have to watch the rest of the great (so human) story to learn what happens.

Evidently film is an exploration about being human and how a syndrome that creates particular and very visible/recognizable face and body characteristics in people, has many misconceptions as they're humans with intelligence (when developed) and needs like companionship, love, being happy, etc. But also is about “normal” people reactions toward a person with the syndrome and believe me that film is not a critique but a recount of how people react and most of all, is a very good exploration about what “normal” and normalcy are.

Most impressive is Pablo Pineda’s performance as Daniel, who actually is playing a fictionalized version of himself as he is the first student with Down syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree in real life. But he needed an actress that was as outstanding as him and Lola Dueñas gives a very impressive performance as the troubled woman with a dark past that makes her today behave as if nothing in this world is important to her. Truly amazing performances by these two actors.

Film as film is acceptable but have to recognize the great work that directors and co screenwriters, Antonio Naharro and Álvaro Pastor, did to extract such great performance from their two main actors and to create a very good screenplay with a not easy to tell story.

I highly recommend this film to audiences that enjoy strong performances with great, yet difficult, stories told in the most “normal” and refreshing way. As we know both lead actors got top acting awards at 2009 San Sebastian fest, Lola Dueñas got a Goya Award for Best Actress, film was in competition at 2010 Sundance, collected other honors in fests like Rotterdam as well as in other Spaniard fests and awards.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Camino

There are movies that you learn about them and then forget because you don’t want to watch story. This happened to me with this multiple honored film (won many Goya awards including Best Film) as story is about the Opus Dei, a not old, secret, and obscure cult-like branch in the Catholic religion. Once my mother wanted me to belong to this sect, but after a visit I gave a rotund NO and fortunately my mother respected my NO. But to my surprise film story is interesting and not so subtle, critiques the sect.

Film is based on real-events but it’s a fictional account about real Alexia Gonzalez Barros that is in process of being canonized, i.e. becoming a saint. In film Alexia becomes Camino (means Path in Enlgish) a vivacious teenager girl that gets sick with spinal cancer. Film tells how illness is consuming her until her death. After watching I started to recall how controversial this film was not only because it dared critique the Opus Dei but also because the real family didn’t wanted this film to use the girl real name or get to the screens; the main reason is that director/screenwriter Javier Fesser made the girl strong desire-to-live tied to her love for Jesus, but in film Jesus was a handsome little boy she met once at theater class. Is thanks to this change in story that film really becomes interesting and where really critiques Opus Dei, as when story shows rites of passage and bizarre behaviors everything is told in a factual not passionate way.

There was a creepy scene with Camino going to cooking lessons while teacher was preaching; creepy because that was exactly my experience during my one day visit to the infamous sect where I got “cooking” lessons. Anyway story may sound sad, but director chose to tell it in a way that is not really sad even when is about a little child dying process, so film is not a tear jerker at all.

As a film I found it average with below average actor’s performances, but the real impact of this film is the story told, especially for audiences where the Opus Dei operates which is almost all countries in the world, including the United States of America.

I recommend this film to all interested in learning something about the Opus Dei but please don’t expect much more than an interesting story.

Enjoy.

Watch trailer @MOC

ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)

I really wanted to like the top award winner at 2010 Cannes and I did. But as usually happens when you have big expectations (due to winning the award) they are not fulfilled as much as you thought it should. Film is visually excellent plus you can tell how much care was given to details; story is magical, yet very realistic, as seamlessly blends interaction between the living and the dead, plus there are other fantasy related and created moments. But I missed emotions as film while being truly mesmerizing to watch didn’t make me feel many emotions.

Maybe was due to the six reels movie has according to what Apichatpong Weerasethakul tells in an interview, where each reel has a different acting style, lighting and reference in cinema, and you can tell that there are different styles while watching film. Which is not bad, it’s just that you get distracted and pay less attention to the magical narrative. Maybe the real reason I had no time to feel emotions is that film has too many levels and watching it once is not enough to grab everything. Honestly is not until now that I’m writing about film that I think I should watch it again and surely will discover more levels which will allow me to enjoy more this masterpiece.

Film tells about a dying uncle that’s setting his affairs before departing to the other life. But also is about transformation, profound life circumstances and paths (like marvelous first story with lost buffalo), recollection of memories (and past lives), love, dreams about the future (that’s also the past), Thai politics and immigration, and ghosts/magical creatures that visit the living when they need them most. One thing this story (and film) is not, simple; yet is also not complex.

Yes this is a film where you have to forget expectations, forget that won the Palm D’Or, and forget everything I’m telling you. Watch it with your brain empty (as much as possible), your brain open (as much as you can) and suggest you to learn a little bit about Thai history, to not miss many crucial moments (mainly at the end).

Before I forget, movie is part of a larger multi-platform project called Primitive, which includes installation, video, short films and now a full-length feature. The conceptual essence is to record Apichatpong’s memory of the Northeast, the region where he grew up. The two short films are A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (available in MUBI) and Phamtom. This film is a blend of the conceptual essence with the skeleton of a book published by a monk that has the film name.

A very unusual movie and a very unusual review from me. Know that HAVE to watch it again to uncover emotions, new layers and story details; but one thing I’m absolutely sure now, visually is truly fantastic. Won’t write again about film, so this is it about a movie that I wanted to give a BIG ENJOY!!! rating but will not get it, yet.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Poster is the one I like the most but is not available in English.

Piedras (Stones)

Thanks to my dearest photographer friend this Christmas weekend I was able to watch several films from Spain and to start talking about them let’s get into this Ramón Salazar 2002 first film about the “large” stones in life (love, friendship, family and career) that have spaces in between for the “small” stones, meaning our small necessities. That’s according to film producers as what I actually saw was stones in shoes from five very different women.

An interesting story -in an acceptable film that becomes entertaining but not much else- about Adela who manages a brothel, Anita Adela’s retarded daughter, Leire a shoe designer that abandoned her inspiration while living with Kun, Isabel that lost the meaning of her life and her husband, and Maricarmen that lost her husband and now has to earn a living driving his husband taxi. Story is intertwined until at the positive end all characters are related one way or another, including the reason why Kun left Leire, Joaquin; so story has a little gay interest.

My main problem with film is that due to director choice of storytelling technique and editing, I was not able to feel for any of the characters, even when some actors perform quite acceptable; but in general the women stories were interesting. One thing, this is nothing alike, similar or close to Almodovar, even when there are two/three of his trademark actresses; so please don’t compare in any sense this movie to any oeuvre of the great director.

Unfortunately not much to tell about movie, but if you’re in the mood to watch a film about women then perhaps you could give this movie a try as was in competition for the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlinale.

Enjoy.

Watch trailer @MOC

2011 Sundance Film Festival

Ah! Sundace! The fest that I keep wondering why I don’t enjoy the films they screen, showcase and honor with awards. Still is a remarkable festival in the indie world of movies. This year will run from January 20 to 30, 2011 and to my surprise I discovered one film, Circumstance, that calls my attention not only because belongs to the lesbian interest but also because has a story set in Iran. Here are some of the films that you can find here , all except one are new to the blog and with a few exceptions you have to guess if films are lesbian or gay interest (yes films are in one label, LGBT)

Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, 2010
Becoming Chaz, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, USA (documentary about Chaz Bono), 2010
Circumstance, Maryam Keshavarz, Iran and USA, 2011
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Madeleine Olnek, USA, 2010
Gun Hill Road, Rashaad Ernesto Green, USA, 2011
The Ledge, Matthew Chapman, 2010
Pariah, Dee Rees, USA, 2011
Quelque jours de repit (A Few Days of Respite), Amor Hakkar, Algeria and France, 2010
Red State, Kevin Smith, USA, 2011
Uncle Kent, Joe Swanberg, USA, 2010
We Were Here, David Weissman,USA, 2010 (documentary)

These are the films in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Abraxas, Naoki Katô, Japan, 2010
Asalto al Cine (The Cinema Hold Up), Iria Gómez Concheiro, Mexico, 2011
Boker Tov Adon Fidelman (Restoration), Yossi Madmony, Israel, 2010
Boleto al Paraiso (Ticket to Paradise), Gerardo Chijona Valdes, Cuba, Spain, and Venezuela, 2010
I Baci Mai Dati (Lost Kisses), Roberta Torre, Italy, 2010 (could be interesting)
Kinyarwanda, Alrick Brown, USA and Rwanda, 2011
Le Vendeur (The Salesman), Sebastien Pilote, Canada, 2011
Mad Bastards, Brendan Fletcher, Australia, 2010
Quelque jours de repit (A Few Days of Respite), Amor Hakkar, Algeria and France, 2010
Sykt Lykkelig (Happy, Happy), Anne Sewitsky, Norway, 2010
The Guard, John Michael McDonagh, Ireland, 2010
Todos Tus Muertos (All Your Dead Ones), Carlos Moreno, Colombia, 2010
Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine, UK, 2010
Vampire, Iwai Shunji, Canada and USA, 2010 (could be interesting, English language film from Japanese director)

To read info about each film go here and if you wish to learn the films in the U.S. Dramatic Competition go here; to check the all the categories in and out of competition go here.

So this is for today with festivals, hope Sundance brings us some unexpected (positive) surprises.

22nd Palm Springs International Film Festival

From January 6 to 17, 2011 fest will run and this year has the amazing program screening 40 of the 65 submissions to Oscar in the foreign language category; just for these movies I wish I could go. But there are other that seem interesting in the 193 films from 68 countries, with 9 world premieres, that will be screened like the ones that will open and close the fest.

Opening Gala: Potiche, François Ozon, France
Closing Film: The First Grader, Justin Chadwick, UK and Kenya

Among the Special Presentations three sections called my attention:
The Gay!La (Hers) that will showcase Leading Ladies by Daniel Beahm and Erika Randall Beahm, USA which is a musical
The Gay!La (His) that will showcase great Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons), Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy
Special Presentation: Le Hérisson (The Hedgehog) by Mona Achache, France

The fest will honor many people and films; among them we have Michael Douglas, Ben Affleck, Danny Boyle, The Social Network, Robert Duvall, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Javier Barden, Jennifer Lawrence, and Carey Mulligan.

In general most of the films are known to the blog but if you feel like learning about the 193 films please go here.

New Voices/New Visions

These are the 12 features that are in competition in this section

40, Emre Sahin, Turkey
Adem (Oxygen), Hans Van Nuffel, Belgium
As if I Am Not There, Juanita Wilson, Ireland (interesting but surely hard to watch)
Der Albaner (The Albanian), Johannes Naber, Germany
Buna! Ce Faci? (Hello! How Are You?), Alexandru Maftei, Romania
Diciotto Anni Dopo (Eighteen Years Later), Edoardo Leo,Italy
Mavro Livadi (Black Field), Vardis Marinakis, Greece (seems is gay not lesbian interest, still has very nice visuals – check trailer @MOC)
Metro Cuadrado (Square Meter),Nayra Ilic, Chile
Pájaros de Papel (Paper Birds), Emilio Aragón, Spain
Smukke Mennesker (Nothing’s All Bad), Mikkel Munch-Fals, Denmark
Sound of Noise, Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, Sweden
Svinalanjorna (Beyond), Pernilla August, Sweden (yes, is the one with Noomi Rapace)

To read about each film go here. I really dislike when festivals do not specify if film is lesbian or gay and join them with the label ‘Gay/Lesbian’ they shouldn’t do this as films have very different audiences. Nevertheless if you feel like checking the 18 films listed under the joint label please go here. One film absolutely calls my attention: Little Sparrows by Yu-Hsiu Camille Chen, Australia, 2010 that I really hope has lesbian interest.

1st My French Online Film Festival News

To close the year the first French Online Film Festival released the news that the site will be open on January 3rd and the direct link to the site is here, so after the holidays we will be able to check how the first world wide VOD fest site is going to look.

To promote the festival organizers have also released three posters that are available in several languages but for our purposes I have included the English version. Take a look at the posters and please be so kind as to give me and the fest some feedback.


Also here is the official trailer.



I’m really looking forward to this festival that hope becomes a huge success so many more will start to happen for the benefit of us, cinema lovers, that understand film distribution has changed, is changing and will continue to change thanks to online streaming that gives us access to films that never will come to a theater, a video store, a rental store and/or any other of the traditional distribution outlets of films or DVD’s, near us.

But most of all, I’m really glad that the first festival is a French films festival as you know how much I love French cinema.

To check films that will be screened go to the post here.

Cheers!!!

Somewhere

The Golden Lion winner at 2010 Venice fest has everything I really like: slow pace, long still camera takes, great cinematography, story telling a slice of character life, many silences, little dialogue, and great tech specs. So why didn’t I enjoy it at all? This is one of the most boring films I have forced (is the Biennale winner) myself to watch lately! Very boring, so boring that had to find unthinkable ways to keep my eyes open and to not fall asleep.

No doubt that story essence helped to be so boring as is all about boredom; a bored actor with a boring luxurious life, a young daughter to look after when ex-wife decides to go with no return date and a boring process to get rid of his boredom. Very boring story that I imagine many successful actors and/or filmmakers will identify with – Sofia Coppola had some inspiration in her own childhood with her father- but general audiences will have a very hard time to relate to life in an hotel apartment at infamous Chateau Marmont, driving a Ferrari, flying helicopters to go to children camp and/or flying to Italy for a couple of days to get an award.

Yes story is hard to watch because is not easy to relate to anything that happens, but I have seen many films with stories I can’t relate and still I have been captivated. Think that main problem with this film is that writer/director Sofia Coppola wasn’t able to manage visuals and narrative to make film interesting. But then I also think that everything was done on purpose to bore audiences to death and if this was the purpose of such a boring film, then she also did wrong as was not as interesting as other very boring films I have seen that are simply fantastic, remember Fassbinder magnificently boring Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?

Who knows what director intentions were but one thing is clear for me, this film is not worthy of any festival top award much less from the Biennale.

I cannot recommend the film as is too tedious but know that many that read the blog have to watch the top winner at 2010 Biennale and just hope that your voyage into this film is not as boring as was mine.

Sigh.

Watch trailer @MOC (be aware that trailer is less boring than film)

Black Swan

Intense. Very Intense. Intensity comes from Natalie Portman’s incredible performance but also from how Daren Aronofsky plays with viewers while telling an unusual story about … what? Believe that each of us will have a different version but basics are quite simple: how a subdued young woman becomes the prima ballerina and delivers a perfect first performance. That’s what film story is all about but HOW is told is what makes the film, the story and the amazing performances so intense as well as quite unpredictable even when I started to guess right at one moment but still had my doubts. Just loved how film slowly grabbed my attention to completely hold it until the very last credit where I was still quiet, tense and feeling all kind of emotions. Bravo!!!

Wish so much to tell my version but know that will spoil the movie for many, so I better keep it to myself until all of us have watched and then we have to talk about this unbelievable good movie. But will share that I believe this story could only be told if related to ballet. If you love ballet and if you know Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, then I assume it will be easy for you to understand the pressure that a ballerina feels when she is about to become the company’s prima ballerina and have her first ever performance, especially when having to perform classic Swan Lake. Just to think about this in any situation makes me feel the intensity of the process and think about the thin line between sanity and insanity, success and failure, life and death. That’s the essence of what I saw in this movie that absolutely blew my mind, made me drop my jaw, feel all kind of contradictory emotions and had my eyes completely glued to the screen. Yes will watch again and probably again this film as I’m sure will see more twists thanks to Aronofsky’s amazing storytelling technique.

Of course have to talk about Natalie Portman. Absolutely impressive transformation from the White Swan (in the character’s life and in the ballet) into the Black Swan with the outstanding climax when the Black Swan dances. Wow! Still feel chills just thinking about that scene. No, I’m not talking only about when Portman dances -where camera concentrates basically from waist above (sorry, but I did notice it)- I’m talking about the complete character transformation in front of your eyes and HOW credible transformation is. The most outstanding performance by Natalie Portman I have ever seen and unless she finds great roles in the future, this could be her best ever. Yes, she has to get the Oscar nomination and she has to win it, truly deserves highest recognition for creating such a believable and intense character.

By the way I strongly believe that film doesn’t belong to the lesbian interest genre even when there is a sex scene; to me the sex scene is a crucial consequence to what Nina (Portman) lived at home with her severe/possessive/frustrated/obsessive mother (Barbara Hershey) as she was attracted to Lily (Mila Kunis) since the subway –before meeting her-, then Lily became her fixation, her mirror image and the Black Swan she so strongly needed to liberate. So, if you wish to watch film because the sex scene either you will be disappointed with story or you will be surprised by the amazing story; still will check the label for classification purposes.

But Portman is not the only excellent performer in the film as just love how Vincent Cassel becomes Thomas Leroy, he’s so chameleonic that absolutely becomes a despicable and likeable company’s artistic director. Barbara Hershey created a very dislikable character with such intensity that becomes unbearable to think that many must have mothers like this character. Mila Kunis created the perfect Black Swan representing guile and sensuality, while Winona Ryder had a too-small role as the Dying Swan -or the forced to retire prima ballerina- but was performed quite well.

Production values are excellent with some breathtaking dramatic scenarios –and some visual effects- that absolutely makes easy to understand what production design is and how contributes to storytelling in filmmaking. But all that I’ve been praising will not be like it is without a filmmaker that so effectively controlled a story, performances and a movie that easily could have lost its way to become a mess. Big Chapeau to Mr. Aronofsky for daring to tell the story the way he did, extracting the amazing performances from his actors, and creating a very impressive, unforgettable, and remarkable movie.

I love the movie but even when decided to not read a thing before writing, I know that many will not like it and will question all the fuzz around and about the film. I believe that this is a movie of extremes, either you love it or you don’t. Highly recommend the film to those that love ballet and are not looking to see ballet in the movie, but I do believe that your ballet knowledge will give you better insights into this fascinating –yet terrifying- story.

I really love this movie.

BIG ENJOY!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

15th Annual Satellite Awards Winners

Yesterday the International Press Academy had the awards announcement and winners are in *RED.

A while back the nominations were announced by the International Press Academy and here they are.

Motion Picture, Drama
127 Hours
Animal Kingdom
Blue Valentine
Get Low
The Ghost Writer
Inception
The King’s Speech
*The Social Network
The Town
Winter’s Bone

Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Cyrus
The Kids are All Right
Made in Dagenham
The Other Guys
Please Give
Red
*Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Motion Picture, Foreign Language Film
Biutiful, Mexico
*The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Sweden
I Am Love, Italy
Mother, Korea
Outside the Law, Algeria
Soul Kitchen, Germany
White Material, France

Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Alice in Wonderland
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Legend of the Guardians; The Owls of Ga’Hoole
*Toy Story 3


Director
Ben Affleck for The Town
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Danny Boyle for 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right
*David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
David Michod for Animal Kingdom
Christopher Nolan for Inception
Roman Polanski for The Ghost Writer
Debra Granik for Winter’s Bone

Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone
Helen Mirren in The Tempest
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
*Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton in I Am Love
Naomi Watts in Fair Game
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Annette Bening in The Kids are All Right
*Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs
Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham
Catherine Keener in Please Give
Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right
Mary-Louise Parker in Red
Marisa Tomei in Cyrus

Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Javier Bardem in Biutiful
Leonardo Dicaprio in Inception
Michael Douglas in Solitary Man
Robert Duvall in Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
*Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
James Franco in 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine

Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Steve Carell in Dinner for Schmucks
*Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Romain Duris in Heartbreaker
Andy Garcia in City Island
Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs
John Malkovich in Red
John C. Reilly in Cyrus

Motion Picture, Documentary
Behind the Burly Q
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Countdown to Zero
A Film Unfinished
Inside Job
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
*Restrepo
Sequestro
The Tillman Story
Waiting for Superman

To check nominees in other categories, including Television, please go here.  Award ceremony will be on December 19th at 1:00pm PT.

I like to check this award as behaves like a possible indicator for the Golden Globes, which by the way next Tuesday we will learn the nominations and will find how similar or not are to this year Satellite nods. I had no idea that The Kids are All Right is a comedy (???) and doubt that Made in Dagenham is NOT a comedy as well as Love and Other Drugs, funny classification but this way includes almost everyone that was in a good movie this year. Still I’m glad that Noomi Rapace and her film got some well-deserved recognition.

Inception is the film with most nods (11) followed by 127 Hours with 9, The Social Network with 7, and The King’s Speech with 6; in television a series that has become my favorite got the most nominations: The Good Wife (5), tied with Glee that also has five.

About Winners

I'm so glad that the international press recognizes how great Noomi Rapace performance as Lisbeth is and even when these awards have very little influence into Oscar, there is hope that Rapace could get a nod. But the trend continues with The Social Network winning the major awards.

To check winners in all categories, including TV, please go here.

狄仁傑 之 通天帝國 Di renjie zhī tōngtiān dìguó (Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame)

Needed to watch something different and more entertaining so decided to give this movie a try even when I knew that Chinese action movies are not my kind of movies; so, it was an excellent surprise as movie was great entertainment with some quite beautiful choreographed fights, epic and grandiose scenes with many extras, very good cinematography and a great story that made me recall the good old detective stories a la Sherlock Holmes.

Directed by Hark Tsui who just learned that was a classic from Hong Kong golden era and is based on the book by Chen Kuofu with same name. Film tells the fictional account of Di Renjie one of the most celebrated officials of the Tang Dynasty, aka Detective Dee, who is liberated from prison to investigate the mysterious deaths of a series of loyal subjects. Eight years earlier Empress Wu Zetian, the only female emperor to ever rule China, send him to jail for leading a revolt to overthrown her; but she knew he was a loyal servant of her predecessor. So weeks before the grand inauguration ceremony of Empress Wu, Detective Dee dutifully returns to her Majesty’s service and partnering with the gung-ho Commander Bei and beautiful highly skilled martial artist Shangguan Jing’er –who serves as Empress Wu maid and right-hand “man”- they set to unveil the mystery murders. You have no idea how great and entertaining the voyage into this fantasy/mystery story will be; so much liked the movie that I’m thinking to maybe watch the other multi-honored film 13 Assasins.

As you probably recall film was in competition for the Golden Lion at the 2010 Biennale and after watching the film absolutely understand the selection as well as being screened at 2010 Toronto fest and other festivals. Don’t have much experience watching Chinese action films but if they’re like this one I should start learning more about them.

I do recommend the film to those that enjoy fantasy with mystery and action in your entertaining movies, but be assured that you will find a lot more in this film that has excellent production values.

Enjoy!!!

Trailer @MOC

Bloomington

I imagined that this film was going to be similar to Loving Annabelle as tells the story of a teacher and her student. You have NO idea how wrong I was as this has absolutely nothing to do with great -and why not?- classic Loving Annabelle. The only thing they had in common is the teacher and the student, the rest, meaning performances, story development, style, editing and production values in general are truly awful in this film.

Let me give you one non-spoiler hint to why story is so bad. In no more than five minutes after film starts -where is shown how teacher and student meet- they’re already in bed. Where are the seduction scenes? None existent, which makes story absolutely non-real and non-believable. Come on that’s not love or attraction, that’s a pick-up!

Another hint why film is so bad. What follows in the rest of the time are isolated scenes with jumpy transitions, story holes that later director, screenplay writer and editor Fernanda Cardoso tries to fill with dialogue. Yes this film is like confetti as what’s worst in film is editing that didn’t allowed story fluidity. This is the worst editing that have seen in years, believe me and if you don’t believe me just let me share that when characters start to make love and are full-dressed scenes fade out, meaning no love (or sex) scenes in this film.

Nevertheless I watched completely as I got this crazy idea that story was inspired by inside information about the life of Lindsay Lohan. LOL! Of course is not, but there are some obvious similarities. Anyway after the finale where they split I was so glad that film was over and was going to be able to tell you that if you skip this movie, you will not be missing absolutely anything.

Sigh.

Watch trailer @MOC (be aware that film in trailer looks better than what really is)

Senza Fine (No End)

Lately have been seeing films that I really don’t like in the lesbian interest genre and unfortunately this is no exception as film tries so hard to be arty that becomes pretentious. I really don’t understand filmmakers that think that extreme close-ups where you can see face pores have a meaning or contribute to the story. Some of you know that I appreciate slow pace and long takes with still camera but when there is something extremely beautiful to watch, but here were boring and I truly questioned what director had in his mind to do so many non-interesting still camera takes. Film as a film is not only not-good but at times really bothers the hand-held camera, so those that don’t like constant hand-held camera takes, I suggest to stay away from this film.

But story is not that bad and actresses are good looking enough to keep your attention no matter all the senseless distractions that director insisted to make us watch. Still I found story depressing and got me in a not so good mood that took me a long while to get rid of.

Film tells about Chiara and Giulia who desire to start a family but in Italy artificial insemination is legal only for married heterosexual couples; so they have to go to Holland to be inseminated. But one of them unexpectedly finds that has a breast lump that could be cancer. She needs surgery and needs to tell the other. The incident changes their relation, their expectations and indeed, their lives; but has a positive finale.

See, story is not bad as definitively is not another film with lesbians trying to have babies; is first time directing Roberto Cuzzillo style what makes watching the story very difficult.

Can’t recommend the film, but know that story plus the good-looking actresses that perform quite acceptable will make many to be interested in watching film, but be prepared for a not good visual ride.

Enjoy.

Watch trailer @MOC

2011 Oscar Race – Mid December

Actually needed an excuse to post the new four Oscar posters, not that are great but wanted to have them here. What better excuse than a brief analysis of what has been happening with all the awards and nominations movies, directors plus actors have been collecting. Have to thank my favorite net writer for keeping the tally and if you wish to read his complete report please go here.

Best Picture

Up-to-today these are the four films that have collected wins.

The Social Network13 and 9 nominations
Winter’s Bone – 2 and 11 nominations
The King’s Speech – 1 and 12 nominations
The Ghost Writer – 1 win and 1 nomination

No wins yet, but have 5 or more nominations
Inception – 15
Black Swan – 13
127 Hours – 11
The Kids Are All Right – 9
The Fighter – 8
Toy Story – 7
True Grit – 7
The Town - 5

As you surely remember the category has 10 slots and with the exception of The Ghost Writer I believe that the 10 slots will be filled with the above films; but the actual race could be between The Social Network and The King’s Speech. Want to give a chance to The King’s Speech –even if haven’t seen it- because I need the race to be interesting as is too boring just to assume that The Social Network will win (but probably is a sure thing).

Best Director

As of today these are the seven directors with wins.

David Fincher forThe Social Network – 12 and 9 nominations
Christopher Nolan for Inception – 2 wins and 14 nominations
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan – 2 wins and 11 nominations
Danny Boyle for 127 Hours – 1 win and 9 nominations
Roman Polansky for The Ghost Writer -1 win, 1 nomination
Gareth Edwards for Monsters – 1 win
Olivier Assayas for Carlos – 1 win

No wins yet, but have 5 or more nominations
Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech – 9
Debra Granik for Winter’s Bone – 6

I’m sure that the five slots will be filled with some of the above directors. Then is a sure thing that Fincher, Aronofsky and Hooper will get nods (well, should wait for the Director’s Guild, but is almost impossible that they don’t get nods). The other two slots are still open and of course I really wish that a woman gets one slot, so I’m hoping that Debra Granik gets a nomination.

Best Actress

Are you ready for this? Here are the nine actresses with wins.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan – 6 and 13 nominations
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone – 4 and 13 nominations
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine – 1 and 10 nominations
Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right – 1 and 10 nominations
Carey Mulligan in Never Let Me Go – 1 and 3 nominations
Lesley Manville in Another Year – 1 and 2 nominations
Halle Berry – Frankie & Allie – 1 and 1 nomination
Kim Hye-Ja in Mother – 1
Sylvie Testud in Lourdes – 1

Some surprises in the above list, isn’t? Here are the actresses with 5 or more nominations
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole – 10
Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – 5

I’m (almost) sure that four slots are in the above list; since we already know the nominations from SAG we know that Hilary Swank that has only one nomination (SAG) came back to be considered to fill the fifth and last slot in this category and that will be hard for Michelle Williams to fill it. My four (almost) sure are Portman, Lawrence, Bening and Kidman, still have no clear idea who could fill the fifth.

Best Actor

The best news for me that believe Colin Firth should have gotten the Oscar last year are in this category. Here are the six actors with wins.

Colin Firth in The King’s Speech – 7 and 12 nominations
James Franco in 127 Hours – 4 and 14 nominations
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network – 3 and 12 nominations
Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter – 1 and 1 nomination
Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer – 1 and 1 nomination
Colin Farrel in Ondine – 1

Here are the actors with 5 or more nominations
Jeff Bridges in True Grit – 9
Robert Duvall in Get Low – 7
Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine – 5

For me this is the most difficult category not only because haven’t seen most of the films but also because besides my strong wish for Colin Firth, I’m not sure who else will be nominated. Nevertheless if we review what their peers at SAG honored, most likely Eisenberg and Franco will get a nod and Bridges plus Duvall have become possibilities above Wahlberg and Ryan Gosling.

Surely you noticed that the most dispersed category is the Best Actress where more actresses have been honored with wins.  Somehow there is the possibility that we get surprises when Oscar announces their nominees, as we know that 2010 was an excellent year for great roles performed by great actresses.

As of this moment more critics are announcing their nominations and next Sunday we will learn the Satellite Awards winners but I sense that odds will not change much from what we have reviewed until today. Hopefully January 2011 will bring not only great film festivals but also more interesting winners to make the Oscar race less predictable.

As you can see in the above pictures, this year Oscar posters look really “uninspired” and some are complaining that last year presenters were in the posters and question why they’re not in these ones, especially when Anne Hathaway and James Franco are more nice to look at than Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

2010 Prix Louis Delluc Winners

A few minutes ago organizers announced the award that every year since 1937 honors the best French film and the winner is:

Mystères de Lisbonne (Mysteries of Lisbon), Raoul Ruiz

Raoul Ruiz was in Santiago de Chile and was his producer, Paulo Branco, who received the award from the jury President, Gilles Jacob.







Best First Film award went to Belle Épine (Dear Prudence), Rebecca Zlotowski








The most prestigious French award this year honored a French, Brazil and Portugal co production and yes there are already news dispatches wondering if film was really French or not. Haven't seen it yet, but now becomes must be seen for me, as well as Rebecca Zlotowski's first film.

Blake Edwards

Just learned the news that Mr. Edwards died yesterday, had to do a post to honor him and the multiple films that made me laugh, highly entertain me and a film, S.O.B., that when was released absolutely changed my image of his wife of 41 years, Julie Andrews. Movies like 10, Victor/Victoria, the Pink Panther films, The Man Who Loved Women and so many more still are in my memory; but one of his films was, is and will continue to be my favorite Blake Edwards movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

My sincere condolences to his wife and family, but be assured that Mr. Edwards will live forever in each of his great movies.

R.I.P.

2010 Premio Sur Award Winners

Winners are in *GREEN.

Not long ago the Argentinean Academy announced the nominees for this year Premio Sur and here they are.

Best Film
Carancho, Pablo Trapero
Cuestión de principios, Rodrigo Grande
Dos Hermanos, Daniel Burman
*El Hombre de al Lado (The Man Next Door), Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat

Best First Film
Andrés no quiere dormir la siesta, Daniel Bustamante
Rompecabezas, Natalia Smirnoff
Sangre del Pacífico, Boy Olmi
*Sin Retorno, Miguel Cohan

Best Director
Anahí Berneri for Por tu Culpa
*Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat for El Hombre de al Lado
Pablo Trapero for Carancho

Best Actress
Graciela Borges in Dos Hermanos
Martina Gusmán in Carancho
*Erica Rivas in Por tu Culpa
Julieta Zylberberg in La Mirada Invisible

Best Actor
*Daniel Araoz in El Hombre de al Lado
Ricardo Darín in Carancho
Osmar Nuñez in La Mirada Invisible
Leonardo Sbaraglia in Sin Retorno

The only film I have seen is Carancho that got 11 nominations and surely it’s the favorite to win in most categories where was nominated; but will try to watch one or two more. To check nominees in other categories go here or here. Award ceremony will be on December 14.

Awards comments

Truly impressive that Carancho was shut down from these awards as got not even one of the 11 nominations it had.  To check winners in all categories please go here with the list and later on go to the Academy Official site that's here.

5th The Richard Attenborough Film Awards Winners

UK Regional Critics announced yesterday the winners of this year RAFA’s and here they are.

Film of the Year: The Social Network
Filmmaker of the Year: Christopher Nolan for Inception
Screenwriter of the Year: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

Actress of the Year: Noomi Rapace in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Millennium trilogy
Actor of the Year: Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
Rising Star of the Year: Chloe Moretz for Kick-Ass, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Let Me In

All Time Legend: Sir Michael Caine

Also the critics group have an audience award that’s voted online and here are the winners in the UK Public Vote categories.

British Film of the Year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Film Star of 2010: Angelina Jolie in Salt and The Tourist
Animated Film of the Year: Toy Story 3
Breakthrough Star of the Year: Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass

To check winners in all categories go here.

Seems that critics across the ocean also like The Social Network which makes me think that film could make it to the BAFTA’s; but their choice for actress is the best that have seen in all awards up-to-date. As you can notice, decided to include some audience award winners to reaffirm my impression that The Tourist will appeal more to non-American audiences.

2010 New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Seems that the NYFCC does not believe in the power of internet as it’s almost 24 hours since they announced the award winners and the official site still has the 2009 winners at the home page; not to mention that logo has 2008 on it, which is when got the ‘new’ design. For the record winners will be here, but have no idea when.

Still this is a very influential group so here are the winners from another reliable source, my favorite net writer, Mr. Peter Knegt.

Best Film: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher for The Social Network
Best Screenplay: The Kids Are All Right
Best Actress: Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
Best Actor: Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo in The Fighter
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right
Best Cinematography: Black Swan
Best Animated Film: The Illusionist
Best Non-fiction Film: Inside Job
Best Foreign Language Film: Carlos
Best First Feature: Animal Kingdom

Been wanting to comment that I’m really curious to find which version of Carlos critics were able to watch; my guess is that since they are honoring the movie in feature film categories, they had to watch the shorter version.

Up to this moment the only awards show that nominated Carlos in the category that belongs is the Golden Globes where got nods as Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. The key words are “Made for Television” which is what this film is.

Think that I’m getting curious about the shorter version of Carlos, but will watch after I forget plot in the TV version.

68th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations

A few minutes ago nominations were announced and I don’t see many surprises when you recall that the Golden Globes are always “different” not only for the show but also for the nominees, which makes the show –and the red carpet- very fun to watch.

These are the nominations.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Tangled
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful, Mexico and Spain
The Concert, France
The Edge, Russia
I Am Love, Italy
In a Better World, Denmark

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
Chirstopher Nolan for Inception
David O. Russell for The Fighter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Halle Berry in Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie in The Tourist
Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone in Easy A

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams in The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis in Black Swan
Melissa Leo in The Fighter
Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
James Franco in 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp in The Tourist
Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey in Casino Jack

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale in The Fighter
Michael Douglas in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield in The Social Network
Jeremy Renner in The Town
Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech

Best Screenplay
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumbereg for The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan for Inception
David Seidler for The King’s Speech
Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman for Alice in Wonderland
A. R. Rahman for 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network
Hans Zimmer for Inception

Best Original Song
Bound to You, Burlesque
Coming Home, Country Strong
I See The Light, Tangled
There’s a Place for Us, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me, Burlesque

To check nominees at official site plus nominations in TV categories (my current favorite show got 3 important ones, yay! Plus TV nominations are more interesting and widespread than film) please go here or (later on) here. Awards ceremony will be on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 8:00pm EST with a telecast for all over the world, but in America will be on NBC.

After learning the nominees can you see what I meant in the opening paragraph? Can you imagine a show –and red carpet- with the likes of Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, Annette Bening, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, and above all Johnny Depp???? WOW!  Gosh, is one show not to miss especially when is famous for the informality and where anything/everything could happen.

I don’t take too serious these awards (this is a very fun/entertaining annual event) and won’t get into analyzing omissions, but some nominations confirmed me that The Tourist will have its natural audience elsewhere, not in America, as from trailer feels and looks more European than American film; hope I’m right, but anyway I do watch everything with Johnny Depp!

I’m so glad that Jesse Eisenberg got a nod, but this year HAS to be Colin Firth year! Not only for current film that haven’t seen yet, but also for last year amazing performance in A Single Man. What got a little bit more interesting is the actress categories that recognize Berry and Williams; but Oscar has only five slots, so I believe three actresses will make it from drama and one from comedy or musical which leaves one slot that still can’t figure how to fill.

Also very glad that Burlesque got a nod, so similar to Golden Globe nominated Nine that I liked but almost nobody else did and surely same will happen with Burlesque. With the nominated films in the comedy/musical category I’m afraid that awful TKAA has too good opportunities to win, which will be catastrophic as many mainstream viewers will ‘feel’ motivated to watch the terrible story and lesbian representation.

As you can see in the below list The Social Network was not the movie that got most nominations, which is different from what critics have been honoring; still I do believe that this year there are high chances that Drama Golden Globe winner and Oscar top award will be one and the same, which will please many young generation movie goers which are the most sought after target group for a TV show as well as for many films.

THE KING’S SPEECH 7
THE FIGHTER 6
THE SOCIAL NETWORK 6
BLACK SWAN 4
INCEPTION 4
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT 4
127 HOURS 3
ALICE IN WONDERLAND 3
BURLESQUE 3
THE TOURIST 3
BLUE VALENTINE 2
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS 2
TANGLED 2
ANIMAL KINGDOM 1
BARNEY’S VERSION 1
BIUTIFUL 1
CASINO JACK 1
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER 1
THE CONCERT 1
COUNTRY STRONG 1
DESPICABLE ME 1
EASY A 1
THE EDGE 1
FRANKIE AND ALICE 1
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 1
I AM LOVE 1
THE ILLUSIONIST 1
IN A BETTER WORLD 1
RABBIT HOLE 1
RED 1
THE TOWN 1
TOY STORY 3 1
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS 1
WINTER’S BONE 1

In case you're wondering about the bold names they're films I have seen but some don't have reviews as didn't like them much.

51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival Awards Winners

For weeks tried to load the fest official site and was simply put, impossible. The fest started and still unable to load fest site; the first day when finally the site loaded was when the fest was over and wasn’t until that moment that I was able to read the films that the fest screened. Some films are quite interesting but here are the award winners.

Golden Alexander -Best Feature Film: Periferic (Outbound), Bogdan George Apetri, Romania and Austria, 2010
Based on an idea by Ioana Uricaru & Cristian Mungiu

Silver Alexander – Special Jury Award: Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, 2010
Bronze Alexander – Special Jury Award for Originality and Innovation: Jean Gentil, Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Germany, 2010

Best Director: Marian Crisan for Morgen, Romania, France and Hungary, 2010
Best Actress: Anna Ularu in Periferic (Outbound), Bogdan George Apetri, Romania and Austria, 2010
Best Actor (tie): Andras Hathazi and Yilmaz Yalcin in Morgen, Marian Crisan, Romania, France and Hungary

Best Screenplay: Marek Lechki for Erratum, Marek Lechki, Poland, 2010
Artistic Achievement Award: Zefir (Zephyr), Belma Bas, Turkey, 2010

FIPRESCI Awards
International Competition: Morgen, Marian Crisan, Romania, France, and Hungary, 2010
Greek Films: Apnia (Apnea), Ari Bafalouka, Greece, 2010

Human Values Award: Los Labios (The Lips), Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza, Argentina, 2010

To check all awards winners please go here or here.

This was a year for Romanian productions which is fantastic as you know how much I like Romanian cinema and think is about time that I deeply immerse into my second favorite cinema as there are many great films that haven’t seen yet.

Surely my IP was blocked from the fest official site as probably couldn’t handle traffic; but I hope that next year the site does not block me or I will be living somewhere else! (lol!)

2010 Australian Film Institute Award Winners

Yesterday the other AFI had the award ceremony and here are the winners.

Best Film: Animal Kingdom
Best Direction: David Michôd for Animal Kingdom

Best Lead Actress: Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom
Best Actress: Mia Wasikowska in Alice in Wonderland
Best Supporting Actress: Deborah Mailman in Bran Nue Dae

Best Lead Actor: Ben Mendelsohn in Animal Kingdom
Best Actor: Sam Worthington in Avatar
Best Supporting Actor: Joel Edgerton in Animal Kingdom

Young Actor Award: Harrison Gilbertson in Beneath Hill 60

To check winners in all categories go here.

Sometimes is funny to find that in some awards an actor/actress performance is considered as Lead while in others is considered as supporting role. I’m talking about Jacki Weaver that here won the Lead Actress award and in America is being considered as having a supporting role. Sometimes publicists decide -more than anyone else- where the actor has more opportunities, so they submit the actor/actress to that specific category, that’s how flexible awards can be. As Jacki Weaver has increased her chances to get an Academy award I’m really curious to find if she gets it in the supporting role.

Anyway the big 2010 winner in Australia is Animal Kingdom that has become must be seen for me.

2010 AFI Awards


Today the American Film Institute announced their annual honors and here are the ten (10) AFI Movies of the Year.

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
127 Hours
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bon
e

Check the video is a nice montage of the films plus the Television Programs of the Year

36th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards


Perhaps the most powerful group of critics voted today and here are the winners with  some surprises as most top awards went to non-American films, but the big winner is -obviously- American.

Best Picture: The Social Network
Runner-Up: Carlos

Best Director (tie)
Olivier Assayas for Carlos
David Fincher for The Social Network

Best Actress: Kim Hye-Ja in Mother
Runner-Up: Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom
Runner-Up: Olivia Williams in The Ghost Writer

Best Actor: Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
Runner-Up: Edgar Ramirez in Carlos

Best Supporting Actor: Niels Arestrup in A Prophet
Runner-Up: Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech

Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network
Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique for Black Swan
Best Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas for Inception

Best Foreign-Language Film: Carlos, Oliver Assayas
Best Documentary/Non –Fiction Film: Last Train Home, Lixin Fan
Best Animation: Toy Story 3

To check winners in all categories go here. Up to this moment and taking into account all groups that have announced winners The Social Network is well ahead of all other films. Most interesting is the Best Actress category that has some expected and some unexpected winners. Tomorrow the other powerful group of critics will announce their honors, The New York Film Critics and will follow them as today.

2010 Critics Awards

This year decided to do one post with the links to nominations and/or winners of the multiple Critics’ societies and associations that publish their honored films of the year. As we learn the nominations and/or winners I will update this post with the link to check them.

Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Austin Film Critics Association
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: Black Swan

Boston Society of Film Critics
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Chicago Film Critics Association
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Winners will be at Official Site for now go here.
Best Film: The Social Network

Detroit Film Critics Society
Nominations and Winners – Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Florida Film Critics Circle
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

The Houston Film Critics Society
Nominations – list is here
Awards – Will be at Official site Read news here.
Best Film: The Social Network

Indiana Film Journalist Association
Winners - Official Site
Best FilmThe Social Network 

Indiewire Annual Critics Survey
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Kansas City Film Critics Circle
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Las Vegas Film Critics Society
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

National Society of Film Critics
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

New York Film Critics Online
Winners - Official Site or go here.
Best FilmThe Social Network 

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Online Film Critics Society
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Phoenix Film Critics Society
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The King's Speech

St. Louis Film Critics
Nominations - here
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

San Diego Film Critics Society
Winners - Official Site
Best Film: Winter's Bone (finally one group dared to be different!)

San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Awards - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Southeastern Film Critics Association
Awards - here or at Official Site
Best FilmThe Social Network

Toronto Film Critics Association
Awards - Official Site
Best Film: The Social Network

Utah Film Critics Association
Winners - News article
Best Film: (tie) The Social Network and 127 Hours

The Washington DC Area Film Critics
Winners – site
Best FilmThe Social Network

As you can imagine there are about two or three exceptions that will get their own post with the main categories listed.

Rabbit Hole

Surprise, a very good surprise! John Cameron Mitchell movie is good, very good indeed. With a theme that has been explored in so many ways is very refreshing that this drama brings something fresh to grieving a little son’s death and does it in a very different way that makes suffering intense but at the same time so natural and so human. Obviously this kind of film could not be that good without extraordinary performances, especially by Nicole Kidman that is the very first role where I see her creating so well a character that’s normal, average, human and so believable. You see Becca, not Nicole Kidman! Excellent!

Called my attention that Kidman was the producer and learned that is the first movie from her production company, Blossom Films, plus was a “passion project for Nicole” to make this film adapted by David Lindsey-Abaire from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play. I don’t know about you but I was able to see Nicole’s passion not only in her extraordinary performance but also with the production and tech specs care, as film has top notch production values and very good cinematography.

I was a little concern as Kidman sometimes does “strange” movies and because John Cameron Mitchell is not exactly a drama director; but very fast, almost since the very first scene knew that I had nothing to be worry and that I will enjoy the ride even when story essence is not one to enjoy but the way they decided to present it made story even uplifting as for me story is positive, not depressing.

In a sense film resembles European cinema and surely got the feeling because is a slice of life as starts in one moment and ends in another; you can tell there is a story before the beginning and there will be a story after the end, but what you saw is more than enough to grab the complete slice of these characters life. This makes the film quite extraordinary for an American film. Very good!

I know Nicole Kidman will get an Oscar nomination for this role and even when I haven’t seen all films that could produce nominations for the best actress category, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins and this time the award will be given to a Nicole that used no prosthetics, that looks like her, and that thanks to her amazing performance she was able to create an intense, emotional character that doesn’t look at all like her ‘real’ persona. Bravo! But she wouldn’t have been able to create such a great character without the supporting roles by surprisingly good Aaron Eckhart in undoubtedly his best performance ever and always excellent Dianne Wiest.

Not a movie to miss as is a very good film with an engaging story, very strong performances and as such I do recommend it to adult audiences that enjoy good adult dramas similar to those American films of another era, like from the 70’s or 80’s.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC (think trailer doesn’t convey how good movie is, so watch at your own risk)

The Kids Are All Right

I got so upset after watching this movie that I wasn’t going to write about it here but after my friends finally watched and after a heated discussion, my friends convinced me that I should write in the blog and air at least some of the films humungous flaws as maybe many mainstream viewers will not notice at all how appalling this film story actually is.

Our discussion started with some of my friends saying that the film has too many clichés and the word was used in a very derogatory way. But I said: not really, there are not many clichés… just is a very inaccurate portrait of what many women will do and unfortunately many will watch it as the two big stars will attract many viewers that are not regularly interested in the lesbian interest genre.

As I noted in previous posts I’m really tired about lesbian interest films where couples are trying or having babies but this story was promising as none has deal with what happens years after when kids are older and want to learn about their biological father. Even if was not nothing new for the heterosexual cinema, it was going to be new in the homosexual cinema. Film credentials were great with Lisa Cholodenko co writing script and directing (remember great High Art, Laurel Canyon or some episodes from The L Word?); plus casting two excellent actresses made this film an absolutely must be seen film for many that enjoy the genre and also for those that don’t.

So, what went wrong? The amazingly incoherent story. Even if I accepted to write in the blog about the film I’m not going to do an in-depth analysis of the awful story, just going to talk about two crucial issues.

According to what I read in the few (impressive that community is so quiet) lesbian interest sites that talk about the film, most strongly disliked that Jules (Julianne Moore) slept with Paul (Mark Ruffalo) especially when considering how long Jules and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together and no matter if Jules was or not bisexual, omnisexual, or whatever other word that justifies her actions. For most it was absolutely unacceptable and not real. I believe sexuality is fluid and VERY personal, so it didn’t bother me much that Jules had sex with Paul; but it bothered me the adultery, the unfaithfulness and don’t accept it as real especially when considering how the story resolves the mess it created, with Jules and Nic back together.

The second issue is what got me. There is a scene with Nic and Jules in bed watching a porn video to get them in the mood for sex. I don’t appreciate porn but I know many people and lesbian women that get turn on by porn. What’s almost impossible is that two women get turn on with two men having sex. Gay sex audience is ‘mainly’ only gay men. Who got this stupid idea? Lisa Cholodenko or maybe co writer Stuart Blumberg?

Nevertheless I admit that I didn’t stop watching and that main reason was, is Annette Bening performance that’s simply amazing and know that will get her honors. Unfortunately her excellent performance is in a film that should pass into oblivion fast.

No, can’t recommend the film but know that many that read the blog have already seen it and maybe if we start a conversation I could share other issues that are incredibly awful in this film.

Sigh.

No trailer, film doesn’t deserve my promotion.

The Social Network

I have a love-hate relationship with facebook so when I learned that a film about it was being produced I announced that will ‘never’ watch such film and my public announcement was done in facebook of all places! LOL! But not only I totally fall for the buzz/marketing and watched the movie but also after watching I did another facebook post that started with something like “have to eat all my words… film is good”! Yes film as a film is very good and tells a very engaging story that who knows how accurate to reality is, but actually is not relevant as what is told is very compelling, engaging and interesting as Aaron Sorkin did a good job with the screenplay plus David Fincher was able to direct a film that –in my opinion- grew beyond the real social network story.

I believe that have seen almost all films with Jesse Eisenberg as I enjoy this young man performances even when he has done similar characters in most films; but here he finally broke the mold and got a not-nervous, not-odd, not-nerdy (yep not a mistake, you want nerdy see Adventureland) role that think will propel his career into more interesting paths for this young actor. Very good and I do believe that this film is his film and he absolutely stole it. If an actor should get recognition from this film, Eisenberg is the one in my book.

As many of you know by now, film tells about how Mark Zuckerberg came with the idea to do the social network plus all the not-so-good things that happened while building his now considered social network empire.

Film already started to collect honors in current award season and don’t doubt that all honors are well-deserved as film honestly is a well crafted film that will very fast engage you with the fast-paced story development. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oscar top award goes to this film and if film gets it will make the top winner a good choice that -for a change- merges good cinema with mainstream/commercial cinema.

Not a movie that will watch many times once is more than enough but if by any chance you have not seen it yet I strongly suggest that you do as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

The Town

I like Ben Affleck as a director and believe that he has improved his skills as this movie is a good movie; my personal problem is with Ben Affleck the actor that honestly can’t enjoy his stiff and not involving characters recreations and here in this film even with him directing himself is no exception as I didn’t enjoyed much his performance.

Affleck co wrote the screenplay that’s inspired in Chuck Hogan novel “Prince of Thieves” which have to admit that is a quite good script as surely story development was what kept my attention and allowed me to enjoy this entertaining film whilst his directorial skills made this film a lot more commercial than his previous film, but still has some very interesting camera work, cinematography and tech specs.

Films tells a fictionalized story of what happens in a Boston neighborhood with a high number of armed robbers (that actually happened in the 90’s but now is “controlled”) and a group of four men that followed their father’s tradition when became robbers too. Film starts with a successful heist to a bank where they take the bank manager hostage only to release her unharmed; but they find that she lives blocks away from where they live, so Doug MacRay (Affleck) follows her to make sure they’re not leaving some loose ends. You can predict that Claire (Rebecca Hall) and Doug will fall for each other but that’s about the only thing that is predictable in this story that has quite interesting characters and good secondary small performances by Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaite.

Casting was really good for this movie as we also have Jon Hamm, Blake Lively and especially Jeremy Renner with good performances and mostly, good looks which makes film easy to your eyes and ultimately easy to watch.

According to viewers’ reviews seems that film was targeted mainly to men with some liking the drama and action while others not liking the movie. I believe this is not a “male” audience movie, this is a drama/action/romance film that will entertain people that enjoy American good cinema as film by principle is violent but is astonishing that there is not much violence in film or if you wish, is not glorified.

So when you get in the mood of watching an entertaining film I suggest you give a try to this film with good performances (except one) and an engaging story that premiered out of competition at 2010 Venice film fest.

Enjoy!!

Watch trailer @MOC

Des Hommes et des Dieux (Of Gods and Men)

How can you do a review about a film with a story that deals with faith and religion? Very carefully as we all know that faith and religion are passions, consequently tend to be blind. Xavier Beauvois film tells the fictionalized true-story of the last days of a group of Cistercian monks of the Atlas Mountains who died in Algeria in 1996. It’s a slow paced film and story that shows how the French monks peacefully cohabit with the people of a small Muslim village. Everything was perfect until civil war explodes in Algeria. They are afraid, Algerian government asks them to leave but they know –as well as the villagers-that what has been “saving” the village from attacks is their presence, so they feel the need to stay at the monastery whilst to comply with their vows and to fulfill they life as human beings in the service of peace and God.

From the moment I saw scenes from the film I was preoccupied with the subject matter as like I have mentioned before, religion left my life a very long time ago. My concern was right as I had a hard time watching perfection (leading to martyrdom) in the religion portrayed in the movie and the same will happen to me with any other religion. Consequently, it’s important that I restrain myself from telling more about the story.

Nevertheless the most interesting thing happened while story evolved; I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen and kept on watching up to the point that I “needed” to continue watching no matter what I was seeing and the obvious message. Why? As a movie is almost perfect!

Fascinating and compelling actors performances, extraordinary indoor and outdoor cinematography, absolutely great to listen (without paying attention to what words are saying) hymns, great tech specs, and a director that has absolutely grown as a filmmaker. Very good film with a story that probably many will like, many will be able to watch objectively and others will not like.

It’s impossible that I don’t highly recommend the Grand Prix 2010 Cannes winner as is an excellent movie that is must be seen for many that enjoy great European cinema and know that many have and will watch this excellent film. My only hope is that many of you enjoy or at least see the story objectively. I couldn’t.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

 
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