Tag Archives: award season 2008

Two-fisted Kate Winslet!

Not only is she the youngest female performer to have wracked up five Oscar nominations at her age — with a likely two more on the way next week! — but Kate Winslet made history again last night by becoming only the third performer in the history of the Golden Globes to win two awards in one night. Insanity!

two-fisted Kate Winslet!

If I had to chose between her performances in “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road”, I’d probably go with “The Reader”, but she was, as always, amazing in both films. I am actually hard pressed to think of a movie that Kate Winslet was not amazing in…oh, wait, I thought of one: “The Holiday”. Yikes…that movie sucked ass. Seriously toxic stuff…

But hey, one bad movie in a career of great one’s is pretty damn good. So, congrats to Kate Winslet on her two-fisted triumph at the Globes. I’m sure the two Laura’s (Linney and Dern) were relieved that Winslet didn’t act in any TV movies or miniseries this past year, or she might’ve swept those categories too!

Oh, and could she have looked any hotter last night? Wow, what a beauty…

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“The Wrestler”

Just watched Mickey Rourke and Bruce Springsteen pick up their well-deserved Golden Globes for “The Wrestler” and all I can say is…wow. These guys totally deserve any gold that comes their way this season, and if you haven’t seen “The Wrestler” yet, then get thee to a multiplex, amigos. This movie rocks!

Beautifully directed by Darren Aronofsky from a sweet, heartfelt script by Robert Siegel this movie truly soars. And while “Slumdog”, “Milk” and “Frost/Nixon” are still my top three, “The Wrestler” has made it a four-way race for our favorite movie of the year.

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This movie has more heart, humor and soul in it’s first ten minutes than “Benjamin Button” does in it’s entirety. Sorry, Benjamin, but it’s true. If you’re looking for a deeply-felt story about genuine love, loss and redemption, skip the bloated Brad Pitt-fest and see this instead!

Playing a battered and bruised pro-wrestler well past his prime, Mickey Rourke gives the performance of his life as Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Several critics have pointed out how Rourke’s real-life struggles and appearance give the movie an added heft, and that may be true, but I think that totally sells Rourke short.

I mean, sure, he looks like hell, but Rourke is not playing himself here, this is acting. And acting of the caliber I haven’t seen onscreen since, well, shit…I can’t even remember it’s been so long. Seriously, Rourke is so vital and alive in this movie that you’ll swear you’re watching a documentary.

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And the story…wow…I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen it, but this movie takes off in directions I never saw coming and never looks back. And lest you think “The Wrestler” is all about Rourke, the supporting women in this film kick some serious ass!

Marissa Tomei has never looked hotter — literally, she has some full-blown stripping scenes that are beyond realistic! — and her performance as a damaged stripper is so naturalistic that you’ll swear she’s been pole dancing her entire life. I know a lot of people still give her shit for winning the Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny”, but if there were any doubts about Tomei being a real actress, this movie will put them to rest forever.

Beneath all the sweat and the shimmery body paint, Tomei’s character not only gives Rourke something truly powerful to play off, but also steals your heart in every scene she’s in. Seriously, she’s incredible.

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And Evan Rachel Wood — who we adored on the vastly underrated “Once and Again” — delivers her most mature, nuanced performance to date as Rourke’s estranged daughter. Her scenes with Rourke will rip your heart out. Man alive, I was weeping like a baby a couple of times…beautiful stuff!

And when that Bruce Springsteen song kicks in at the end, holy crap, you just wanna die. This ain’t no tacked-on end credits song, this is a sad-ass rock ballad for the ages…and like the movie itself, it will stay with you for days. Amazing…

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“Batman” for Best Picture?

Don’t laugh, amigos…if there was ever a year a comic book movie could (and should) be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, this was it! And seeing how “The Dark Knight” just scored a Producer’s Guild of America nomination for Best Picture of 2008 — always a good omen going into Oscar season — the odds just got a little bit better for Bruce Wayne and company.

"The Dark Knight" poster

That’s right, despite a surprising snub by the Hollywood Foreign Press a couple of weeks back, “The Dark Knight” just became a front-runner in the very heated contest for an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The late, great Heath Ledger was already kind of a given for a Supporting Actor nomination, but a big summer movie scoring a nod in a major category is pretty, well…major.

So, kudos to Christopher Nolan and the rest of the “Dark Knight” cast and crew for making things very interesting this award season. And in case you were wondering, the other films the PGA nominated for Best Picture were the very deserving: “Milk”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Frost/Nixon”, and for some reason, the God-awful “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

Yikes…I still don’t get why people love that movie so much. But Christine has already forseen “Button” picking up a Best Picture nomination from the Academy and she is rarely wrong about these things, so…who knows.

“Button” aside though, I am thrilled with the rest of the nominations — which represent almost all of our favorite movies this past year — and the TV and Documentary Feature nominations are just as worthy. To see a full list of the PGA nominees in every category, click here.

And as we near the award season home stretch…go, “Batman”!

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“Last Chance Harvey”

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, Christine and I see lots of movies this time of year — at last count we’ve seen 16 since Halloween, crazy! — and though most of them are awesome and totally award-worthy, they are also almost uniformly serious. So, when we see a funny, well-made romantic comedy this time of year, they usually stand out…big time.

One such movie from year’s past was “Miss Congeniality” — which we still love, despite the constant heckling from our friend’s Matt and Wan — and this year’s stand-out is the sparkling romantic comedy, “Last Chance Harvey”.

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Starring Dustin Hoffman and a luminous Emma Thompson — seriously, beneath her frumpy, every-woman costumes, Thompson has star power to burn in this flick! — the bulk of “Last Chance Harvey” takes place over a 24-hour period in a beautifully-shot London, England.

I know it’s kind of cliche to say that “the city itself is a character” in a movie, but, I swear to God, London has never looked more vibrant and sunny than it does here. Even if you’re not big old UK geeks like us, this movie will make you want to visit London like never before. All burnished orange sunsets and crisp, yellow foliage, merry old England looks absolutely gorgeous here!

And the performances in “Harvey” are just as lovely and delicate as the setting. Playing two of the saddest, loneliest characters ever put to screen, Hoffman and Thompson are pitch-perfect as the star-crossed couple who “meet cute” and then spend the rest of the movie literally walking and talking around London.

I know, could be a total snoozefest, right? Well, trust me, it’s not. Working at the top of their game from a touching, often-hilarious script by director Joel Hopkins, the stars imbue every word they say with a depth and longing that is positively heartbreaking.

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And that music…wow…the score, by composer Dickon Hinchcliffe, calls to mind the gloriously giddy work of Badly Drawn Boy’s killer “About a Boy” soundtrack. If you haven’t heard that score, or seen that movie, stop reading now and rent them both. Amazing!

But, back to “Harvey”. While on the surface it may sound like your classic boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, in reality what the filmmaker’s have crafted here is a wistful, Baby Boomer “Before Sunrise”. And if you knew how much Christine and I loved “Sunrise” and it’s arguably-better sequel “Before Sunset”, you know that is high praise indeed, amigos. Those movies were all about character and dialog and they made you laugh as much as they sometimes tore your heart out. Well, same thing goes for “Harvey”…this movie rocks!

So, if you’re looking for some holiday cheer this season, skip the bloated “Benjamin Button” and see “Last Chance Harvey” instead. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and, hand to God, you’ll walk out of that theatre smiling…

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“Slumdog Millionaire”

OK, I know I said I’d blog about all the fun stuff we did with Ginger over the last few days, but after seeing director Danny Boyle’s new movie “Slumdog Millionaire” at a screening last night, I had to blog about that first because, well…this movie is freaking incredible!

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Christine and I have been huge Danny Boyle fans for years — we have seen every feature he’s directed except for last year’s sci-fi epic “Sunshine” and his first big flick “Shallow Grave” — and while all of his movies have been amazing, I gotta tell ya, “Slumdog Millionaire” is arguably his finest moment as a filmmaker.

One of my favorite things about Boyle’s movies is the way they so effortlessly balance hysterical humor and totally gut-wrenching drama, and, trust me, the heartfelt, beautifully-crafted “Slumdog” has both is spades.

I don’t want to spoil too much by telling you what it’s about — you really have to experience this thing for yourself, preferably on a big screen! — but essentially the movie takes place during a frantic two-day period in the life of the titular Mumbai slumdog, Jamal Malik (an astonishing Dev Patel) as he appears as a contestant on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”.

As the drama of the game unfolds, the movie flashes back in time to fill in the hilarious, touching and often painful series of events that brought a penniless Indian street urchin to the hot seat of the biggest game show in the world.

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Like “Trainspotting” and his lesser-known “Millions”, Boyle’s “Slumdog” pulses with life and moves along at a breakneck speed with a soundtrack that will totally blow your mind. Seriously, we were looking for it online the minute we walked in the door. It’s not available yet, but, wow…it kicks ass!

And while the cast is uniformly excellent — no doubt due to the superb job done by his co-director, legendary Indian casting director, Loveleen Tandan — the non-pro child actors featured in the flashbacks will totally rip your heart out. I shit you not, amigos, these kids are incredible.

And with a sparkling, award-caliber script by “The Full Monty” scribe Simon Beaufoy, and breathtaking cinematography by frequent Boyle collaborator Anthony Dod Mantle, this movie truly soars above almost everything else we’ve seen so far this year.

But perhaps the highest praise came in the form of the crazy-loud cheers that arose from the crowd — at a screening no less! — during key moments in the film. Seriously, that shit never happens during award season, and with a crusty old Academy crowd? Never!

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So, if they dug the movie enough to cheer each of the actors names in the super cool closing credits (yep, they did that too!) just imagine how much you’ll love this movie. “Slumdog” opens in limited release today, so check it out!

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