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Daily Archives: December 13th, 2007

The 2008 Golden Globes nominations were announced today, and everybody’s going to have a little something to say. Here’s my two cents.

First, in opposite order (I hated reading the Best Picture noms first), here are the nominees (for those who haven’t checked IMDb already):

Best Foreign-Language Film
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Kite Runner
Lust, Caution

Best Animated Film
Bee Movie
The Simpsons Movie

Best Original Score
Atonement– Dario Marianelli
Eastern Promises – Howard Shore
Grace is Gone – Clint Eastwood
Into the Wild – Michael Brook
The Kite Runner– Alberto Iglesias

Best Original Song
Enchanted – “That’s How You Know”
Grace is Gone – “Grace is Gone”
Into the Wild – “Guaranteed”
Love in the Time of Cholera– “Despedida”
Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story – “Walk Hard”

Best Screenplay
Atonement – Christopher Hampton
Charlie Wilson’s War– Aaron Sorkin
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly– Ron Harwood
Juno– Diablo Cody
No Country for Old Men– Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Best Director
Tim Burton – Sweeney Todd
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – No Country for Old Men
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Ridley Scott – American Gangster
Joe Wright – Atonement

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There
Julia Roberts – Charlie Wilson’s War
Saoirse Ronan – Atonement
Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson’s War
John Travolta – Hairspray
Tom Wilkinson – Michael Clayton

Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
Amy Adams – Enchanted
Nikki Blonsky – Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter – Sweeney Todd
Marion Cotillard – La vie en rose
Ellen Page – Juno

Best Actor – Musical/Comedy
Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling – Lars and the Real Girl
Tom Hanks – Charlie Wilson’s War
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Savages
John C. Reilly – Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story

Best Actress – Drama
Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: the Golden Age
Julie Christie – Away from Her
Jodie Foster – The Brave One
Angelina Jolie – A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley – Atonement

Best Actor – Drama
George Clooney – Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
James McAvoy – Atonement
Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises
Denzel Washington – American Gangster

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
Across the Universe
Charlie Wilson’s War
Sweeney Todd

Best Motion Picture – Drama
American Gangster
Eastern Promises
The Great Debaters
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

 Just like every year, there are some surprise choices. I would have personally nominated other movies and actors and actresses, but if they were nominated (these movies and people I really care about), it just wouldn’t be the way of the Golden Globes — that’s a shame I have to say that.

Best Foreign-Language Film
What Will Win: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
What Deserves to Win: N/A

Diving Bell is the hands-down Foreign Press choice, as it’s been winning at every place where awards are handed out (or also getting runners-up awards). I can’t make a fair decision about what deserves to win, because the only ones I’ve seen (Diving Bell and Kite Runner) are two movies that I didn’t like.

If it was my choice, I’d nominate 12:08 to BucharestBlack Book, and Paris je t’aime, the best foreign-language films I’ve seen this year. (There were some great films from the U.K. but that’s for the Academy, which honors “Foreign Films,” meaning financed by money from other countries.) The winner of those would be Paris je t’aime, but, sadly, none of these movies, not even Paris, were nominated.

Best Animated Film
What Will Win: Ratatouille
What Deserves to Win: Ratatouille

Ratatouille is one of the best movies of the year, so of course it’ll win — right? I don’t see why not. Award groups usually get this one right (except when everyone was giving the awards to Cars and Happy FeetMonster House, anyone?) but I suppose you never know.

Best Original Score
What Will Win: Atonement– Dario Marianelli
What Deserves to Win: Atonement– Dario Marianelli

So, I’m the only douchebag who missed the early screening for Atonement, so I can’t see it for another week or two. But I’ve listened to parts of the score on Amazon, and it’s fantastic. I watch the trailer over and over again just to listen to “Briony,” which uses a typewriter as an instrument and hauntingly-stacatto piano notes.

Atonement seems like the kind of movie whose score could be really intrusive. However, everyone’s hailing the film as some kind of wonder-movie, so I’m sure the music is used sparingly. Other than Atonement, though, the only one I haven’t seen is Into the Wild, and none of the other three strike me as having great scores from what I remember. Having seen three out of five, I vote for Atonement.

Now I’m treating this like the Oscars!

Best Original Song
What Will Win: Enchanted – “That’s How You Know”
What Deserves to Win: Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story – “Walk Hard”

Enchanted was good fun, and the song plays into that tone. It’s not great, but good. Quoting Dom DeLuise: “Nice. Not thrilling! But nice.” So, it wouldn’t be my personal pick, but considering Alan Menken of past-Disney fame wrote the music, voters will drool all over it.

Now, I walked out of Walk Hard wanting to buy the soundtrack. Walk Hard is the funniest movie of the year (but not the best comedy), and since it’s a spoof of music biopics, the songs are key to helping the movie work. This song, the one my feet were tapping to the most, deserves more than any of these nominees (or any of the other songs in Walk Hard) to win.

Best Screenplay
What Will Win: No Country for Old Men– Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
What Deserves to Win: No Country for Old Men– Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Oh, I love the smell of competition! This is a tough prediction. Aaron Sorkin is a magnificent writer, Diablo Cody is the Cinderella of the Movie Industry this year, and the Coen brothers seem to be favorites among the critics’ circles.

In the end, though, the Coens had the hardest job to do, and even though I’m still not quite sure what I think of No Country (I know I at least liked it a lot), it’s very layered and left me thinking how they managed to be so faithful to the book (I haven’t read the book, but others have commented on this). Not only do I think this script required the most work, but I also think it’s the best.

Best Director
Who Will Win: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – No Country for Old Men
Who Deserves to Win: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen – No Country for Old Men

Is there any competition here? The Coens are sweeping everywhere, so they’re most likely going to win. I’ve only seen two of the nominees at work this year, but even though my choice may be unfair, I’m sticking by my boys: I doubt I’ll change my mind about the deserved winner after watching Atonement, Sweeney Todd, or American Gangster.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There
Who Deserves to Win: Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone

Even though Amy Ryan has been the getting all the awards, I can see Cate Blanchett getting the award in the end. Blanchett is fascinating playing a facet of Bob Dylan’s persona, and she seems to be the most obvious candidate for a winner.

But there’s a reason Amy Ryan has been winning all those awards. She’s the Woman with a Thousand Faces this year. I didn’t recognize who she was in Gone Baby Gone, and when I checked her filmography, I realized that she was in two other movies that I saw her in this year (Dan in Real Life and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead)! How different of roles could she have picked?

I really believed her in her role in Gone Baby Gone: she was utterly amazing.

Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
Who Deserves to Win: Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Leave the hair alone! Just because Javier Bardem got a hair cut doesn’t mean he had some kind of a transcendental performance. I thought he was great in the movie, but I think some believe he was so great for the wrong reasons.

Casey Affleck is the performer of the year with great work in Gone Baby Gone and Assassination. I think, though, he was better in Assassination, and I think he stands out among the crowd. He’s gone from making movies like Drowning Mona, and I think more people, including myself, are willing to take him seriously as an actor.

Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
Who Will Win: Marion Cotillard – La vie en rose
Who Deserves to Win: Amy Adams – Enchanted

People have been buzzing about Marion Cotillard’s performance since the summer, so she’ll probably win. I haven’t seen La vie en rose yet, and one local critic believes her performance is similar to that of Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull, which is quite a claim. So, I’ll be Netflixing it soon.

And considering I haven’t seen it yet, of the movies I’ve seen, Amy Adams once again went above and beyond the call of duty as an actress. Back in 2005, Roger Ebert was right to make a big deal of her acting in Junebug — even with all the hype, I found her irresistible and lovely. She’s just as every bit of wonderful in Enchanted. As a matter of fact, she’s what makes Enchanted so… enchanting.

Best Actor – Musical/Comedy
Who Will Win: Ryan Gosling – Lars and the Real Girl
Who Deserves to Win: Ryan Gosling – Lars and the Real Girl

I’ve loved John C. Reilly since his Boogie Nights days, and he’s electric in Walk Hard, but Ryan Gosling is even more so in Lars and the Real Girl. Gosling says that Lars, of all the characters he has played, is most like himself. He’s one of the best actors of this generation, and I think he’s likely to win the Golden Globe–and deservedly, at that–for his performance as Lars.

Best Actress – Drama
Who Will Win: Julie Christie – Away from Her
Who Deserves to Win: Julie Christie – Away from Her

I actually didn’t like Away from Her,  but Julie Christie’s magnificent portrayal of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease is heartbreaking and very honest, and it hits a little close to home — my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about six months ago.

Angelina Jolie can do a good accent in A Mighty Heart, but she doesn’t do anything note-worthy. Jodie Foster was good in The Brave One, a magnificent, underrated movie, but her performance just doesn’t compare to Christie’s. Once again, three out of five, so I haven’t seen the others.

Best Actor – Drama
Who Will Win: George Clooney – Michael Clayton
Who Deserves to Win: Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises

I love George Clooney. He has a Cary Grant air about him that I haven’t seen since Archie Leach himself was on-screen. But the truth is that Michael Claytonis a weak movie, and Clooney doesn’t do anything other than the usual, which I like, but it’s nothing he should get an award for.

The only other movie I’ve seen that’s nominated here is Eastern Promises. Even though I’ve already read the stories about Viggo Mortensen traveling alone in Russia and doing beaucoup research for his character, you can see his complete immersion in his character during every moment he’s on-screen. This is another one of the year’s highlights, which has been having people chant “Oscar” since the Toronto Film Festival.

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
Who Will Win: Charlie Wilson’s War
Who Deserves to Win: Across the Universe

I find it typical that the movie with the most nominations gets the Best Motion Picture award. (I wouldn’t swear by it, but that’s usually a good indicator.) Charlie Wilson’s War  has five nominations, more than any other film in this category.

I’ve only seen Juno and Across the Universe, two wonderful movies, and Universe was the most fun I had at the movies this year. Simple as that.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Who Will Win: Atonement
Who Deserves to Win: Eastern Promises

Seven nominees?! Wowzers! Really couldn’t whittle them down, could they?

I can’t see No Country winning. I just can’t. Ditto for American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, Michael Clayton, and There Will Be Blood. The only one with any chance, I think, is Atonement. I haven’t seen four of the seven, but based on word-of-mouth alone, I can only see Atonement winning.

Of the ones I’ve seen (Clayton, No Country, and Eastern Promises), Eastern Promises is the clear winner. Maybe after I see No Country again I’ll think it’s the masterpiece that everybody else does, but on the first watch, I really loved Eastern Promises and hope it gets some solid recognition. (Speaking of which, where’s David Cronenberg’s nomination?!) Not my favorite movie of the year, but of the nominees, it’s the best.


I may revisit these choices by the time January 13 rolls around, since I’ll probably have seen more of the nominees.

Now my to-watch list has grown, and I need to save up some money for theater trips and year-end rentals that I can’t afford to wait on from Netflix.

Time and cash have never seemed so precious.


Wednesdays usually aren’t anything special other than that they represent Hump Day. But since school’s been out for about a week, I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on movies that I’ve been meaning to watch lately. Today (now yesterday, techinically) was a very special day. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many good movies in so short a time span.

In only a matter of hours, I managed to watch two movies I rank as “great movies” (10/10 in my book) and part of a movie that made me fall in love with life again (not that I was about to kill myself or anything — I’m just double in-love with life now). Two of them were on the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list, which I gave up on but decided to revisit: they really do have some fine movies on there. (But to be honest, all the great ones I’ve come across on the list I heard about earlier from another source.) Note to self: write a post about a bunch of movies that should totally be on the list.

And before I begin, I must thank the sweet Lord for the Digital Video Recorder, with which I could not have seen any of these (okay, two of them are at the library, but still, Hallelujah). Aside from those I watched today, I would have missed so many movies that came on at five in the morning or while I was working/at school. So, super-thanks.

By the way, if you’re a film buff, and you don’t have a DVR, I strongly recommend getting one, as it’s essential for anyone who loves to search the schedules in advance for hidden gems that may be in time slots in the early A.M. hours or while you’re at the office or school.

First, I finally watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre all the way through. I watched some of it around year or so ago, and I have no idea why I didn’t finish it. (Throughout high school, I watched so many half-movies that I’ve later discovered as masterpieces, it makes me sick to think how much I need to finish watching.) And I just realized today while watching the movie that I only had a half-hour left from before! Ugh. But I digress.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It’s great! I usually don’t care much for Bogie (I usually find him to be wooden), but he’s fantastic as Fred C. Dobbs. I’ve been a fan of Walter Huston since I saw him play the fantastic Mr. Scratch in The Devil and Daniel Webster. As for his role in Treasure, I can still hear him falling into fits of laughter. Awesome performances all around (it’s said John Huston loved nothing more than great acting), and there are some great shots, especially the paralleling jail-door images (first when the crew steps off the ferry near the beginning of the movie, then toward the end when the bandits are put in a cell). Really, there’s nothing to complain about.

And has John Huston directed a bad movie? I thought Fat City was really well done (ditto Moby Dick). The Man Who Would Be King, one of the first of his directorial efforts that I saw, is a real beauty that plays like a tall tale and features great work from Michael Caine (a long-time favorite) and Sean Connery (whom I never really viewed as that talented an actor). I still have Asphalt Jungle, Wise Blood, The Dead, and many others on my personal list of must-sees, so I have to get to those soon. Damn you, you never-ending lists!

Then, I was looking for stuff to delete off the DVR since I have so much scheduled to record. I forgot I had Simon of the Desert recorded, and when I came across it, I decided to give it a watch. There’s some of Buñuel’s work I haven’t seen, but this is probably my favorite so far (yes, I think it juuust beats Belle de Jour — maybe). The movie feels how I think it would be to watch a movie that Nietzsche directed. Maybe you think all of Buñuel’s religion-themed movies do already, but I find they’re not as moralistically concerned as Simon. Not that his other films aren’t concerned with morals, but I think Simon is more focused on finding a moral code, specifically one that works both with or without the existence of God, whereas his other movies may discuss morality in general.

If you can find a listing for it on Turner Classic Movies (like I did) or rent it from Facets or the library, do so immediately! It’s an absolute must-see, and it’s one of the many abominable exclusions from the aforementioned 1001 list.

Finally, I watched the first half-hour of Umbrellas of Cherbourg (falling back into my Half-a-Movie Syndrome, again) and felt so glad to be alive. Even though the movie is such a fantasy (the world isn’t made up of such a bright color palette, and nobody sings everything out loud!) the movie has the holy power of cheering up any bad day, even if it’s just watched for a little bit.

But then my day became not-so-great. I had to stop Umbrellas since Mom is rarely in the mood for a foreign movie (on top of that, the sung dialogue annoys her). We tried to watch some of Sweet Bird of Youth (which I was moderately enjoying), but she kept falling asleep.

So, to try to brighten my night, I retired to my room to watch Brazil, a movie that has been recommended to me by a ton of people (and Netflix) and which I’ve put off for a long time. And 51 minutes into it, I’m bored and restless. Really, am I alone? Am I truly the only one who doesn’t like Brazil? But to be fair, I’m not done with it yet, but I will finish it tomorrow since it’s due soon at the library. (I much prefer Time Bandits.) Note-to-self: replace my lost copy of Time Bandits.

Tomorrow (technically today) is another off-day with nothing to do. I suppose I’ll finish the half-movies and some of the ones due at the library that can’t be renewed. Also, I will be going to a highly-anticipated screening of Margot at the Wedding before it plays at the theater. (I know, how pathetic? The movie’s been out for weeks and it’s just coming to town. Makes me feel annoyed, but I’m glad it came down here at all.) I probably won’t post a review, but I may post my thoughts on the movie.

Lately, I’ve fallen out of love with the whole movie-reviewing aspect of film criticism, and I’m beginning to prefer the whole blogging thing. Talking about the general collective experience of a couple movies over a few days (or a past movie experience — you know, anything) feels more worthwhile than concentrating on one film since I usually end up referring to a whole bunch of other movies anyway. Now I think this is shaping up more as a blog. Woohoo.

Wow. This has been a damn good day. Well, technically… oh, i don’t know what you’d call it.