Archive | January, 2012

DGA & SAG awards: confounding or confirming Oscar expectations?

31 Jan

So, this week it was the turn of Hollywood’s directors and actors to imply where they want the big Oscar prizes to end up, as the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild held their respective back slapping ceremonies in LA.

Surprises were somewhat thin on the ground at the DGA gig, with The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius landing the coveted Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film prize.  Although Hazanavicius was cruelly denied the Golden Globe by Martin Scorcese for Hugo, this latest accolade effectively confers favourite status on both Hazanavicius for Best Director and Best Picture for The Artist.

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Spirited Away (2001)

31 Jan

Where did you learn how to spin, No-Face?

THE LOWDOWN WEEK 3

30 Jan

It seems that nary has a week gone by when we haven’t been treated to a combination of potential classics and absolute stinkers at the box office. This week (and very much on the plus side) Oscar hottie The Descendants washes up on our very un-Hawaiian shores, the suitably snowy Liam Neeson extravaganza The Grey crash lands and an ocean separates young lovers in Like Crazy. Shonky alternatives arrive in the form of Brit flick Mercenaries and Clive Owen horror vehicle Intruders.

With The Artist having scooped just about every award going so far this season, one could be forgiven for assuming that the Oscars are a foregone conclusion. 2011 was hardly a vintage year and with the likes of War Horse, The Help and the nonsensical Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on the Best Picture shortlist, competition seems sparse.

TheDescendantsPoster

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Event Horizon (1997)

30 Jan

This place is a tomb!

Like Crazy (2011)

30 Jan

Like Crazy

Late last year Like Crazy whipped up a whirlwind of hype after bagging the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Film and Special Jury Prize: Dramatic Acting for young Brit star Felicity Jones at Sundance. Well, the hype is certainly warranted, because Like Crazy is one of the cinematic highlights of the past year.

Director and scribe Drake Doremus’ tale of young lovers divided by an ocean is one of those surprising, warming films that lives and dies by its ability to utterly convince its audience that what they’re seeing is authentic. Perhaps Doremus succeeds where he might easily have failed because, if rumours are to be believed, it’s fiercely autobiographical.

Gremlins Exorcised

30 Jan

Hi all, we’ve had a few…

…in the system the last few days, BUT they have been well and truly…

….so we’re BACK and this time it’s…

The Descendants (2011)

24 Jan

The comedic drama is the fiddliest of genres. Often pathos overwhelms the lighter moments and the comedy invariably gets lost amidst a sea of worthy sentimentality. Not so with Alexander Payne’s latest pic The Descendants, an often hilarious, sometimes tear jerking emotional rollercoaster of a movie that cements Payne’s position as the master of the flawed anti-hero.

Matt King (a quite brilliant George Clooney), a frugal lawyer but soon to be mega-loaded land baron, is thrown into turmoil following his wife Elizabeth’s boating accident. Caring for his comatose spouse in intensive care it soon becomes clear that he has far from the perfect life.

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Se7en (1995)

24 Jan

You’re no messiah. You’re a movie of the week. You’re a fucking t-shirt, at best…

The Artist maintains awards momentum

23 Jan

On the eve of the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations, The Artist has muscled its way into a seemingly unassailable position as the firm favourite for Academy glory.

Adding to its clutch of Golden Globes and success at the London Film Critics’ Circle awards, The Artist  landed the portentous Producers Guild award, an accolade that has been afforded to the past four Best Picture winner at the Oscars.  It then swiftly added to its burgeoning trophy cabinet by snaffling the  UK Regional  Critics’ Film of the year award.

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THE LOWDOWN WEEK 2

23 Jan

In the midst of awards season, there invariably emerge a few gong hungry stinkers that spoil the party. This week perhaps sees the most flagrant of this year’s bunch with the release of Clint Eastwood’s J.Edgar, a biopic of the FBI’s “is he gay or isn’t he” founding father J.Edgar Hoover. We’re also treated, in the loosest sense of the word, to Madonna’s second directorial feature, W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s kick ass pic Haywire which can only be an improvement on the woeful Contagion which he inflicted upon us with last year and Ralph Fiennes’ take on Shakespeare’s epic tragedy Coriolanus.