Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taking Woodstock and Wonderful World

Taking Woodstock
It starts pretty good. Goofy Demetri Martin as the beleaguered Jewish son to two nutty parents and owner of a rundown motel desperately tries to save his parents livelihood. You ask yourself, how does this kooky family become instrumental in the making of the great music festival Woodstock? The answer to this question intrigued me enough to want to keep watching until at some point, amid star cameos and drug induced hazy scenes, you realize this movie isn’t going anywhere -- the plot had gone seriously awry. It’s too bad really. So much potential, a movie directed by the great Ang Lee and about such an interesting subject. At least the beginning is pretty good.

Wonderful World

In Wonderful World Mathew Broderick plays a cranky failed musician who is brought back to life by two Senegalese visitors to his unhappy life. Remind you of anything? If you saw the much better The Visitor, which about a crank who is revived by some musician Africans. Just see The Visitor if this plot intrigues you. Oh wait, there is one reason to see Wonderful World, and that is the small role played byMichael Kenneth Williams, also known as Omar from The Wire.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swedish Auto and New York, I Love You

Swedish Auto
What happens if you are stalking someone and then you find out someone is stalking you so then you stalk that person. Swedish Auto answers this question … lugubriously (how do you like that word? :) Lukas Haas plays a sad sack auto mechanic who is in love with a beautiful violinist so what’s a guy to do but follow her around town, meanwhile an abused waitress fancies the mechanic and hovers outside his abode. The waitress is played by the beautiful January Jones of Mad Men fame and she hardly seems like she could be a stalker. If you think this movie might be a light-hearted and wacky (as I hoped it would be) you would be wrong. Rather it’s a story about a bunch of surly down and outs who try to find moments of happiness in a dreary life. Sound fun, doesn’t it?

New York, I Love
is a collection of short films directed by people like Mira Nair and Natalie Portman with a myriad of famous actors in brief pieces: Bradley Cooper, Andy Garcia, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman (acts and directs), Orlando Bloom, Ethan Hawke, Anton Yelchin, James Caan, Julie Christie, John Hurt, Shia LaBeouf , Chris Cooper, Robin Wright Penn, and Cloris Leachman. This is part two of a series. Paris, Je T’aime which I wrote about was the first film. Like that film, this movie is a hodge podge of some good and some what the heck is goin’ on here? But I think Paris, Je T’aime seemed more connected to real people’s problems. New York, I Love You, begs the question: Why do I love you, New York? You are so crude and banal.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Oscar Picks, 2010 -- The Results

2010,was not my year. I got stomped on. Congrats Deb.
Deb 15/24
Mary 9/24

Winners in Bold

X marks my picks. Possible points: 24
Deb's picks = O

Best Picture
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker X O
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker X O
James Cameron Avatar
Lee Daniels Precious
Jason Reitman Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart O
George Clooney in Up in the Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man X
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side O
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia X

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon in Invictus
Woody Harrelson. in The Messenger
Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz in Ingourious Basterds X/O

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz in Nine
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
Mo’nique in Precious X/ O

Best Animated Feature
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Up X/ O

Best Film Editing
Avatar X/O
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Best Cinematography
Avatar O
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker X
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Best Screenplay, Adapted
Neill Blomkamp and
 Terri Tatchell District 9
Nick Hornby An Education
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche In the Loop
Geoffrey Fletcher Precious
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner Up in the Air X / O

Best Screenplay, Original
Mark Boal The Hurt Locker X
Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds O
Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman The Messenger
Joel and Ethan Coen A Serious Man
Peter Docter, Bob Peterson,
Tom McCarthy Up

Best Original Song
Almost There from The Princess and the Frog
Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog
Loin De Paname from Paris 36
Take it All from Nine
The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart X / O

Best Original Score
Avatar X
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes
Up O

Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus X
The Young Victoria O

Best Foreign Language Film
Ajami - Israel
The Secret in their Eyes - Argentina
The Milk of Sorrow - Peru
A Prophet - France X
The White Ribbon - Germany O

Best Documentary Feature
Burma VJ
The Cove O
Food Inc. X
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Which Way Home

Best Documentary Short
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province O
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Music by Prudence
Rabbit a la Berlin X

Best Short Film, Live Action
The Door
Instead of Abracadabra
Kavi O
Miracle Fish X
The New Tenants

Best Short Film, Animated
French Roast X
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
A Matter of Loaf and Death O

Art Direction
Avatar X/ O
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Il Divo
Star Trek O
The Young Victoria X

Sound Editing
Avatar X/ O
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek

Sound Mixing
Avatar X O
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Visual Effects
Avatar X / O
District 9
Star Trek