Friday, 30 January 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 30, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 30, 2009! We have a jammed packed week filled with regular releases, special screenings and our first film festival of the year.

In limited release this week we have one film, Luck by Chance a comedy set in it's very own Bollywood film industry setting and looks pretty funny at that.

In wide release this week we have three films, Taken a crime/thrilled based on kidnapping starring Liam Neeson which is finally being releases here in Canada and the States. I'm not really into kidnapping flicks but considering Pierre Morel (District B13) is directed I think it will tip the balance. The January horror remakes releases continue with The Uninvited, a remake of the South Korean Ji-woon Kim film Janghwa, Hongryeon / A Tale of Two Sisters. We also have the romantic comedy New in Town starring Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.

We also have our first festival of the year with The 8 Fest Small-Gauge Film Festival. Numerous special screenings grace Toronto this year, suited to fit any fancy from wrestling, mushrooms, Liverpool or Canadiana. See details on the screenings below and for upcoming festivals and special screenings you can always check the new 2009 Toronto Film Festival Calendar.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Festival Watch

The 8 Fest Small-Gauge Film Festival
A festival focusing on small-gauge film including 8mm, Super 8, 9.5mm, loops and zoetropes
January 30 - February 1, 2009, at Trash Palace, 89-B Niagara Street (west of Bathurst) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Special Screenings

Canada's Top Ten
Screenings are January 30 - February 7, 2009 at Jackman Hall.
See the Canada's Top Ten website for details and to buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Be sure to check back here at Movie Moxie for coverage of the fantastic Canadian films.

Vampiro: Angel, Devil Hero
Dir: Lee Demarbre (Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter)
Documentary on the wrestler Vampiro (Ian Hodgkinson)
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Screening this
Friday January 30 and Saturday January 31, 2009 at 9:30 PM at The Royal, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Know Your Mushrooms
Dir: Ron Mann
Documentary
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Screens January 30 - February 3, 2009 at The Royal, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Of Time and the City
Writer/Dir: Terence Davies (The House of Mirth)
Documentary
Official Film Site, IMDb Page
Screens February 1 - 4, 2009 at the Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday January 30, 2009
Releases

Luck by Chance
Dir: Zoya Akhtar - directorial debut
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Konkona SenSharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Isha Sharvani, Sanjay Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Hrithik Toshan
India
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page

New In Town
Dir: Jonas Elmer (Monas verden / Mona's World)
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, J.K. Simmons
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free

Taken
Dir: Pierre Morel (District B13)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser
France
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer is pretty spoiler free

The Uninvited

Dir: Charles Guard & Thomas Guard - feature film directorial debuts
Cast: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Massar
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get a sense of the film by the 1/2 way point (then gets scary!)

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of
January 30, 2009**

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero

Dir: Lee Demarbre (Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter)
Documentary on the wrestler Vampiro (Ian Hodgkinson)
Canada

Reason to see: A documentary about a guy from Thunder Bay that goes on to be a huge wrestler in Mexico? You couldn't stop me from seeing it.

One of the analogies made in Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero is that if wrestling is fake, then music is also fake. Plans are made ahead of time, and the audience is aware that it is a performance. I kept running this idea through my mind trying to decide if I agreed. What I initially got stuck on was that in music you know what is going to happen, in wrestling you don't. Then it hit me - is that true? Do you or don't you know who will win? I think you do, and the answer come courtesy to the two French Canadian guys who sat behind me one day many moons ago at Maple Leaf Gardens when I watched wrestling live for the very first time. Every single match these two rowdy guys cheered for 'the other team' and every single time 'the other team' lost. Of course you know who will win in wrestling. The mystery is how it will unfold.

That mystery carries the tempo of the film, as you watch you don't know how this story will unfold and what secrets will surface. How does Vampiro go from being a hockey player from Thunder Bay to a wrestler in Mexico sporting a devil-like look? You wouldn't believe me if I told you all the twists and turns along the way. The film creatively recounts the tales with interviews from friends and family cut along with the stories from Vampiro himself and just as some of the best stories in life are, the two versions aren't always the same. We also get to come along for the ride during wrestling matches in Europe as well as see the workins of a hopeful debut promotion in Mexico, all set to kick butt music and featuring freaking awesome matches. Behind the scenes, the realities of the wrestling world and personal lives are told with an honesty that ranges from humorous to shocking, reminding us all that there is a history behind the different faces we show to the world and also how extreme opposites can co-exist. An fascinating journey.

Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero is playing this Friday January 30 and Saturday January 31, 2009 at 9:30 PM at The Royal, 608 College St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

See more about the film at the Official Website

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I recommend it

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Canadian, North American & UK Box Office January 23, 2009 weekend

For the second week running, Paul Blart: Mall Cop tops the Canadian and North American Box Office. Still feeling speechless on that one. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans takes the number 2 spot in Canada and North America, but comes in 5th in the UK. Slumdog Millionaire stays strong with its #1 spot on the UK chart for the second week running and has gained standing from 12th to 3rd in Canada and 10th to 5th in North America. Amazing what 10 Oscar nominations can do! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (with 13 Oscar noms) also inched forward a bit in Canada & North America but will not hit UK screens until Feb 9, 2009.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the January 23, 2009 weekend
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans *
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Gran Torino
5. Hotel For Dogs
6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
7. Bride Wars
8. Inkheart *
9. My Bloody Valentine 3D
10. Revolutionary Road
11. Defiance
12. The Wrestler
13. Notorious
14. Marley & Me
15. Bedtime Stories
16. The Unborn
17. Frost/Nixon
18. Last Chance Harvey
19. The Reader
20. Valkyrie

Top 20 Movies in North America for the January 23, 2009 weekend
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans *
3. Gran Torino
4. Hotel For Dogs
5. Slumdog Millionaire
6. My Bloody Valentine 3D
7. Inkheart *
8. Bride Wars
9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
10. Notorious
11. Defiance
12. Revolutionary Road
13. The Unborn
14. The Wrestler
15. Frost/Nixon
16. Marley & Me
17. Last Chance Harvey
18. Bedtime Stories
19. Valkyrie
20. The Reader

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the January 23, 2009 weekend
1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. Valkyrie *
3. My Bloody Valentine
4. Seven Pounds
5. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans *
6. Role Models
7. Bride Wars
8. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
9. Frost/Nixon *
10. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Dir: Patrick Tatopoulos - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Bill Nighy, Kevin Grevioux, Steven Mackintosh, Tania Nolan
USA, 2009

Seen: January 26, 2009 at Scotiabank Theatre Toronto

Reason to see: I loved the first Underworld

What a whirlwind of energy the Underworld trilogy is! The first film, Underworld was released in 2003 and I loved it. A new take on vampires in a current day setting battling against Lycans (sentient werewolves) all the while looking awesome and kicking butt. Then in 2006 we had Underworld: Evolution which was a disappointment in terms of story and gender crap. Here comes the third instalment, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and a prequel at that! I was so excited to see how it would turn out, or rather how it began. In anticipation of the new film I re-watched the first two to have them fresh in my mind.

As the film promises, we delve into the early days of the vampires and the creation of the Lycans. Prequels are a tricky turn for films, as the draw audiences who enjoyed the world and stories that came before but are aware that you are familiar with the previous works. So, you certainly want the film to give you more than you already know, yes? This is one of the few times I felt that sticking to the guns of the story created by the previous films didn't help. If you've seen the first films you know the basic premise and arch of the prequel. It's interesting to see it play out, but unfortunately it doesn't give you too much more than that to fill in the gaps. Also, there was at least one continuity issue with the other films I was very surprized at.

The film still has a lot going for it and certainly is a rockin' introduction into the Underworld universe. The art direction was strong creating a beautiful yet steely world of magnitude and restraint. A generous use of blue, metal, chains, stone and dark leather set a wonderful tone. The costumes were great and the Lycans looked awesome. One thing I would have liked to see more of is the vampires being vampire like. Yes, we have the Lycan but vampires are still really interesting. Where were the fangs? Lightning reflexes? Witty comebacks? Lust for power? I acknowledge this was in the earlier days of their creation but they acted more like bureaucrats than creatures of the night.

The shining moment by the moonlight is definitely Michael Sheen's performance as Lucian, a Lycan with a purpose. Courage and strength are all adeptly depicted with intensity. Bill Nighy was also fun in his reprisal of the role of Viktor, the powerful elder of the vampires.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, but not as much as I had hoped
I'd buy it
I'd recommend it as beautiful action flick or as an introduction to the Underworld universe

13 minutes of preshow including 3 commercial and 5 previews: I Love You, Man, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Watchmen, 2012 and Fired Up

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Chandni Chowk to China

Dir: Nikhil Advani (Salaam-E-Ishq)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Gordon Liu, Roger Yuan, Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey
India/USA, 2009

Seen: January 21, 2009 at the AMC at Yonge & Dundas

Reason to see: I saw the Trailer last summer and been interested in it ever since

When people have asked me what films I've seen recently, I get quite a few puzzled looks when I say "Chandni Chowk to China!" with enthusiasm. I follow that by saying "It's a Bollywood/Martial Arts mash up". Still puzzled looks. "It has Gordon Liu in it!" A careful nod of recognition comes to play. I close by saying "It's a lot of fun", which tends to bring a smile.

Chandni Chowk to China is a lot of fun. Sure, it can be silly and sometimes ridiculous but at the core is a film that is dedicated to entertain its audience. I definitely laughed a lot during the screening as did my fellow audience members and it was cool to see an audience that reflected the same diversity of the film itself. The film is highly stylized with fantastic costumes, fabulous sets and a bizarre collection of gadgets. The characters are crazy and the plot has more twist than a bag of pretzels. Overall it feels more Bollywood than martial arts oriented with numerous songs and long running time (2 hr 34 minutes). The fighting in the film is reminiscent of films like Kung Fu Hustle where presence of character and special effects set the stage as opposed to direct combat. Is the film flawless? Certainly not, there are some points in the plot that can use a little more clarity or believability but nothing to the point where the film isn't enjoyable as a whole. The main thing to remember is that it a comedy, so embrace it for what it is and enjoy.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as a fun film

15 minutes of preshow including 2 theatre promos and 5 previews: Watchmen, The International, The Soloist, Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian and Earth

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Friday, 23 January 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 23, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 23, 2009! The big news this week is that Oscar nominations have been announced! The top dog is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with 13 nominations, followed by Slumdog Millionaire at 10 nominations. This year the nominee's for Directing & Best Picture are the same five films: Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire. These selections quashed the hope that non-traditional choices such as The Dark Knight and WALL-E would muscle into the big categories. Both films received numerous nominations, however in not surprizing categories; The Dark Knight was nominated for numerous technical awards as well as supporting actor for Heath Ledger and WALL-E was nominated for animated film, sound, song and screenplay neither breaking the mold of action or animated film nominations.

If you are setting up your 'to see' lists with nominated films, here in Toronto many are still playing in theatres. Great places to check are the Carlton, Cumberland, Varsity, Scotiabank and The Bloor.

Now, on to this weeks releases! In limited release we have the Canadian documentary Examined Life, which has added bonuses to some of the screenings - there will be a Filmmaker Q&A on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and a panel on the intersection of public space & intellectual pursuits following the Tuesday Jan 27/09 7pm screening. The second limited release this week is the French comedy Welcome to the Sticks which looks pretty funny.

In wide release this week we have two releases, storybook to life adventure in Inkheart and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans the third film in the Underworld series and a prequel. After loving the original highly stylized Underworld but then being very disappointed in Underworld: Evolution, I'm hoping the third film will get the series back to its original greatness. The latest instalment has a different director at the helm and Rhona Mitra as the female lead which is perfect casting considering her performance in Doomsday. I still can't believe that Michael Sheen who plays Lucian is Frost from Frost/Nixon and played Tony Blair in The Queen, he's stealing Gary Oldman's previously held record for being the champion chameleon! Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is the first of several films involving werewolves that are coming out this year. 2009 is a year to keep it scruffy!

One last note, The Dark Knight is returning to the really big screen this weekend and hitting IMAX theatres. Now all the fan boys can QQ together over popcorn.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon

Friday January 23, 2009 Releases

Examined Life
Writer/Dir: Astra Taylor (Zizek!)
Documentary focusing on influential thinkers, philosophy and change
Canada
Limited Release
Film Website, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Inkheart
Dir: Iain Softley (K-PAX, Hackers, Backbeat)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Eliza Hope Bennett, Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Sienna Guillory
Germany/UK/USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Dir: Patrick Tatopoulos - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Rhona Mitra, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Kevin Grevioux, Steven Mackintosh, Tania Nolan
USA
Official Film Site (autoplays trailer), IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is sight unseen

Welcome to the Sticks / Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
Dir: Dany Boon (La Maison du bonheur)
Cast: Dany Boon, Kad Merad, Zoé Félix, Lorenzo Ausilia-Foret, Anne Marivin
France
Limited Release
Official Film Site & French Trailers, IMDb Page, Trailer with English subtitles

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of January 23, 2009**

Thursday, 22 January 2009

81st Academy Awards Nominations

The nominations for the 81st Academy Awards were announced this morning. I always find this day very exciting, with tea and highlighter handy to make predictions. The noms came in high for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leading with 13, Slumdog Millionaire has 10, Milk & The Dark Knight tie for 8 a piece. I'm thrilled to see Richard Jenkins nominated for The Visitor, I was worried it would be too early in the year to be nominated. Another well deserved nod goes to Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road. There were more than a few surprizes this year, including Kate Winslet in The Reader as Lead but no nomination for Revolutionary Road. Many people are surprized that The Dark Knight has no nomination for picture or director but just technical awards and Heath Ledger for Supporting. I wasn't one of the surprized ones.

Now, the big question is - how many of the nominated films have you seen, and how many are you going to try to see in the brief 31 days until the Awards. I know I'm going to get at least another 5 in. Let me run some numbers for you.

Total films nominated: 50
Total feature films nominated: 36
Total not including either foreign or feature docs: 31
Total not including foreign or feature docs: 26

In terms of films that had a regular release, we are looking in the 30 film range. The shorts, with the exception of Presto which was screened with WALL-E didn't have a regular release. Out of the Foreign and Documentaries, each category had a few that came out in regular release. For documentaries it was Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World and The Trouble with Water. For Foreign, only Waltz with Bashir and The Class / Entre les murs hit the regular theatres.

The Academy Awards will be announced live Sunday February 22, 2009 starting at 8pm on ABC.

Here is the full list of nominees for the 81st Academy Awards:
See also film lists by number of nominations: detailed or list format

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Performance by an actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in Doubt
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis in Doubt
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Bolt Chris Williams and Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
WALL-E Andrew Stanton

Achievement in Art Direction
Changeling , Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight , Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
The Duchess , Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
Revolutionary Road , Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in Cinematography
Changeling , Tom Stern
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight , Wally Pfister
The Reader , Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
Slumdog Millionaire , Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in Costume Design
Australia , Catherine Martin
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Jacqueline West
The Duchess, Michael O’Connor
Milk , Danny Glicker
Revolutionary Road , Albert Wolsky

Achievement in Directing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , David Fincher
Frost/Nixon , Ron Howard
Milk, Gus Van Sant
The Reader , Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire , Danny Boyle

Best Documentary Feature
The Betrayal, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
Encounters at the End of the World, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
The Garden, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Man on Wire, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
Trouble the Water, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Conscience of Nhem En A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
The Final Inch A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
Smile Pinki A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Achievement in Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
The Dark Knight , Lee Smith
Frost/Nixon , Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
Milk, Elliot Graham
Slumdog Millionaire , Chris Dickens

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany
The Class, France
Departures, Japan
Revanche, Austria
Waltz with Bashir, Israel

Achievement in Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Greg Cannom
The Dark Knight , John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
Hellboy II: The Golden Army , Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Score)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
Defiance, James Newton Howard
Milk, Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire , A.R. Rahman
WALL-E, Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original Song)
Down to Earth from WALL-E, Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire , Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire , Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
Frost/Nixon, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
Milk, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
The Reader, Nominees to be determined
Slumdog Millionaire, Christian Colson, Producer

Best Animated Short Film
La Maison en Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato
Lavatory - Lovestory, Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
Presto, Doug Sweetland
This Way Up, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best Live Action Short Film
Auf der Strecke, Reto Caffi
Manon on the Asphalt, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
New Boy, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
The Pig An, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
Spielzeugland, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Achievement in Sound Editing
The Dark Knight , Richard King
Iron Man, Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
Slumdog Millionaire , Tom Sayers
WALL-E, Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
Wanted ,Wylie Stateman

Achievement in Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
The Dark Knight , Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
Slumdog Millionaire , Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
WALL-E,Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
Wanted , Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
The Dark Knight , Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
Iron Man, John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
Doubt , Written by John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon , Screenplay by Peter Morgan
The Reader , Screenplay by David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire , Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original Screenplay
Frozen River, Written by Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky , Written by Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Written by Martin McDonagh
Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E, Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

81st Academy Awards Nominations - titles only

List organized by most nominations, then alphabetical. Foreign, documentaries, and all shorts listed separately at the end as the categories lend themselves to only have 1 nomination per film.

See also: film list with nominations detailed or full nominations list

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The (13)
Slumdog Millionaire (10)
Dark Knight, The (8)
Milk (8)
WALL-E (6)
Doubt (5)
Frost/Nixon (5)
Reader, The (5)
Changeling (3)
Revolutionary Road (3)
Duchess, The (2)
Frozen River (2)
Iron Man (2)
Wanted (2)
Wrestler, The (2)
Australia (1)
Bolt (1)
Defiance (1)
Happy-Go-Lucky (1)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (1)
In Bruges (1)
Kung Fu Panda (1)
Rachel Getting Married (1)
Tropic Thunder (1)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (1)
Visitor, The (1)

One Nomination by the Nature of the Category

Auf der Strecke
Baader Meinhof Complex, The
Betrayal, The
Class, The
Conscience of Nhem En
Departures
Encounters at the End of the World
Final Inch, The
Garden, The
La Maison
Lavatory - Lovestory
Man on Wire
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
Oktapodi
Presto
Revenche
Smile Pinki
Spielzeugland
The Pig An
This Way Up
Trouble with Water
Waltz with Bashir
Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306, The

81st Academy Awards Nominations - by film, with nomations detailed

List organized by most nominations, then alphabetical. Foreign, documentaries, and all shorts listed separately at the end as the categories lend themselves to only have 1 nomination per film.

See also: film list only or full nominations list

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The (13)
Best motion picture of the year
David Fincher - Achievement in directing
Brad Pitt - Performance by an actor in a leading role
Taraji P. Henson - Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in cinematography
Achievement in costume design
Achievement in film editing
Achievement in makeup
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Achievement in sound mixing
Achievement in visual effects
Adapted screenplay

Slumdog Millionaire (10)
Best motion picture of the year
Danny Boyle - Achievement in directing
Achievement in cinematography
Achievement in film editing
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing
Adapted screenplay

Dark Knight, The (8)
Heath Ledger - Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in cinematography
Achievement in film editing
Achievement in makeup
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing
Achievement in visual effects
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Milk (8)
Best motion picture of the year
Gus Van Sant - Achievement in directing
Sean Penn - Performance by an actor in a leading role
Josh Brolin - Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Achievement in costume design
Achievement in film editing
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Original screenplay

WALL-E (6)
Best animated feature film of the year
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) "Down To Earth"
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing
Original screenplay

Doubt (5)
Meryl Streep - Performance by an actress in a leading role
Amy Adams - Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Viola Davis - Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Adapted screenplay

Frost/Nixon (5)
Best motion picture of the year
Ron Howard - Achievement in directing
Frank Langella - Performance by an actor in a leading role
Achievement in film editing
Adapted screenplay

Reader, The (5)
Best motion picture of the year
Stephen Daldry - Achievement in directing
Kate Winslet - Performance by an actress in a leading role
Achievement in cinematography
Adapted screenplay

Changeling (3)
Angelina Jolie - Performance by an actress in a leading role
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in cinematography

Revolutionary Road (3)
Michael Shannon - Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in costume design

Duchess, The (2)
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in costume design

Iron Man (2)
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in visual effects

Wanted (2)
Achievement in sound editing
Achievement in sound mixing

Wrestler, The (2)
Mickey Rourke - Performance by an actor in a leading role
Marisa Tomei - Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Australia (1)
Achievement in costume design

Bolt (1)
Best animated feature film of the year

Defiance (1)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Happy-Go-Lucky (1)
Original screenplay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (1)
Achievement in makeup

In Bruges (1)
Original screenplay

Kung Fu Panda (1)
Best animated feature film of the year

Rachel Getting Married (1)
Anne Hathaway - Performance by an actress in a leading role

Tropic Thunder (1)
Robert Downey Jr. - Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (1)
Penélope Cruz - Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Visitor, The (1)
Richard Jenkins - Performance by an actor in a leading role

One Nomination by the Nature of the Category

Auf der Strecke
Baader Meinhof Complex, The
Betrayal, The
Class, The
Conscience of Nhem En
Departures
Encounters at the End of the World
Final Inch, The
Garden, The
La Maison
Lavatory - Lovestory
Man on Wire
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
Oktapodi
Presto
Revenche
Smile Pinki
Spielzeugland
The Pig An
This Way Up
Trouble with Water
Waltz with Bashir
Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306, The

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Pretending I'm in the UK - Box Office Results for the January 16, 2009 Weekend

I know it's January and that can mean limited releases but I'm shocked that in both Canada and North America the top box office earner for the January 16, 2009 weekend was Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Not because it's a surprize that a comedy tops the chart but for the fact that previous to the Jan 16/09 release date I'd seen no previews, no print ads and no buzz on the film. Bizarre. Continuing with the bizarre is Gran Torino coming in 2nd in both Canada ad North America in it's sixth week. In the T-dot we had 9 new release, 6 of those in wide release and 2nd goes to a 6th weeker. Wow.

Over in the UK Slumdog Millionaire has a booming post 4 wins at the Golden Globes weekend not only hitting #1 in the box office. In fact, Slumdog Millionaire came in first for per screen average pulling in around twice as much as the #2 film: Seven Pounds. The Wrestler has an impressive opening weekend debuting at #8.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the January 16, 2009 weekend
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop *
2. Gran Torino
3. My Bloody Valentine 3D *
4. Bride Wars
5. Hotel For Dogs *
6. Notorious *
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
8. Defiance *
9. Marley & Me
10. The Unborn
11. Bedtime Stories
12. Slumdog Millionaire
13. Valkyrie
14. Yes Man
15. Last Chance Harvey *
16. Twilight
17. Revolutionary Road
18. The Wrestler
19. The Reader
20. Seven Pounds

Top 20 Movies in North America for the January 16, 2009 weekend
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop *
2. Gran Torino
3. My Bloody Valentine 3D *
4. Notorious *
5. Hotel For Dogs *
6. Bride Wars
7. The Unborn
8. Defiance
9. Marley & Me
10. Slumdog Millionaire
11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
12. Bedtime Stories
13. Last Chance Harvey
14. Valkyrie
15. Yes Man
16. Not Easily Broken
17. The Wrestler
18. Revolutionary Road
19. Twilight
20. Doubt

Top 10 Movies in the UK for the January 16, 2009 weekend
1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. Seven Pounds *
3. Role Models
4. My Bloody Valentine *
5. Bride Wars
6. Beverly Hills Chihuahua *
7. Defiance
8. The Wrestler *
9. Yes Man
10. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Photobucket

Dir: Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Time After Time)
Regular Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett
Additional Cast: Ricardo Montalban, Kirstie Alley, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield
USA, 1982

Originally Seen: Memory is hazy, but logic would dictate that first viewing would be during the theatrical release

Revisited: January 17, 2009

Reason to Revisit: For the Countdown to Star Trek Movie Marathon

This film rocks. All the things I didn't enjoy about Star Trek: The Motion Picture can be forgiven with the return to what makes Star Trek work. Revived is the great chemistry of the Trek Trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Humour returns with some rockin' one liners as well as a more jovial air amidst the darker tone of the film and a plot are filled vengeance. Those are the opinions of a dedicated Trekkie, but speaking from more of an arms length, what really makes the film so strong is the content. Oh my, I don't think I've ever said that before! I liked the plot? Weird. Anyway, it works. The brilliance is in resurrecting a plot thread from The Original Series (TOS) episode Space Seed, which introduces us to the character of Khan one of, if not the greatest, villain of the Star Trek Universe. Khan is intelligent, cunning and charismatic which puts him as a great adversary to Kirk. Viewing of the film is enhanced by familiarity of the episode and character but by no means is it necessary.

Watching it for the first time in a long time with a very focused attention, I noticed so much more about the film then you get from a superficial viewing. Sure, I squirmed, cheered, laughed and got emotional at the same parts I always do. But this time I noticed the foreshadowing, the irony and the greater message of the film as a whole. That is one of the reasons that makes the majority of Star Trek so rewatchable. Upon every viewing there is something new to discover.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is in the running to be my favourite of the series. I'm thrilled that I picked up the film collection as the
remastered version is beautiful with clear sounds and rich colours. A huge improvement from seeing it on TV or from an ancient VHS tape.

It is with a sad heart to share that Ricardo Montalban, who played the brilliant villain Khan, passed away last week. He will be missed.

Shannon's Overall View:
I love this film
I watch it repeatedly
I highly recommend it, to Trek and non Trek fans alike

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Monday, 19 January 2009

Poll Results: What Are You Looking Forward To in 2009?

Be still my heart! The top of the poll of what you are looking forward to in 2009 is film festivals. Rock on! If that is the case you are in good company as I am looking forward to them as well. I am also trying to contain my jealousy of all the fine folks who are currently at Sundance, one festival that is on my wish list.

28% - Film Festivals
21% - Series Continuations (Harry Potter, Star Trek, etc)
15% - Superhero/Comic Book Films
9% - Late 2008 Films Being Released
9% - 3D Films
9% - Award Ceremonies
6% - Something New!

I'm holding off on the next poll until after the Academy Awards nominations. Which are this Thursday January 22, 2009 at 8:30am EST/5:30am PST. Set your alarms West coasters! I am so curious to hear the nominations.

My Week in Film - Playing Catch Up

Photobucket

I'm getting back on the Week in Film train after taking a bit of a hiatus. Choo Choo! Let's see what this train has been up to!

I'm thrilled that I've knocked off 3 out of the 18 films on the Seen Unseen Films list for my 9 in 2009. First up is Murder Party, which was the closing night film for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2007. It was one of the few films I didn't see that year, I decided against going after watching the trailer which just looked like a bunch of people trying to kill each other. What changed my mind? My buddy Bob from Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind assured me it was more than that, and oh boy it sure is. Although technically the title tells you the gist of the film, but what it doesn't tell you is that it's funny as hell. Which sometimes feels awful in a horror film but it gives such a great balance to the tension. I wouldn't recommend it to the highly squeamish, but anyone that likes a good horror film especially with some indie flavour, this is a gem. It also has some of the funniest DVD extras I've ever seen, including step by step 'how to' on making one of the costumes in the film.

Next up is Funky Forest: The First Contact which is another film that showed at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, this time back in 2006. It's a Japanese comedy that is a series of recurring and non recurring sketches and it's hilarious! I really enjoyed seeing catching glimpses of the wild imagination brought to life on the screen. You really never knew what would happen next and whether or not it would make any sense at all. The ideas and imagery were so bizarre that sometimes it freaked me out and I did get a mite tired with the, how to put it, references to bodily functions. Other than that, I think it's truly a work of genius. Be prepared to tuck in for a while when watching, it is a 2 1/2 hr ride to crazyland.

I also caught The Terror which barely held my attention which feels odd to say considering it stars Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff. It's a supernatural thriller of the ghost variety and has some interesting ideas but just didn't work for me. Next!

Last up is The Coast Guard from directed Kim Ki-duk. Last year I watched his film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ...and Spring / Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom after which I decided I'll see anything and everything he directs. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ...and Spring was so beautiful and dealt with harsh subject matter with a sensitivity I've rarely seen. The Coast Guard, although has a completely topic, it still has this same sensitivity. The film is structured around the how living in a divided country affects the people. The subject matter and context are by no means easy to deal with but the film is beautiful in its honesty. I'm looking forward to catching 3-Iron, another Kim Ki-duk film this week.

For all the fellow Trekkers and Trekkies out there, The Star Trek Movie Marathon continues this week with The Wrath of Khan review which will be posted on Tuesday January 20/09. For Toronto folk who love this film, it's playing on that very night over at The Fox Theatre in the Beaches.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Friday, 16 January 2009

Last Chance Harvey

Writer/Dir: Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow)
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Liane Balaban, Kathy Baker, James Brolin, Wendy Mae Brown
UK/USA, 2009

Seen: January 14, 2009

Reason to see: The acting looked great from the preview and I had the opportunity to see it.

Ever want to sympathize with someone and then change your mind as you realize they got themselves exactly into the situation they are in? That is where Last Chance Harvey begins with the character Harvey Shine. The tone is balanced by the lovely Emma Thompson who plays Kate Walker, a no-fuss no-muss woman who is going about her daily life throughout the film. Now all our two leads need is a chance meeting, no? It is a romance after all. The chemistry between the two has a gentle tone and gradual learning process which is a treat to see.

The film is about more than just Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson's characters but their lives and the people around them. I really enjoyed the side stories of both of their families. It's wild how aptly they captured how we can be different people depending on who we are around and what we are doing. You tend to put on a different face when chatting with your Mom verses your Ex, or even more so in a formal versus and informal situation. These nuances make the characters come alive and accessible. The characters feel real, they aren't extremists having tantrums or wallowing in sorrow. They are mostly nice people who have some awkward or lash out moments and that is something the audience can relate to.

The one thing that I have to say is I do wish they hadn't shared as much as they did in the trailer. I enjoyed the film, a lot, but you can pick up many things from the trailer. The pace doesn't lend itself to crazy dramatic diva moments or anything, but surprizes can be a good thing!

Want to hear Emma Thompson blogging about the film? Women in Hollywood delivers with this post on Emma Thompson, a first time blogger at fifty. It includes some content on the film so take that into consideration if you are spoiler sensitive.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as a dramatic romance

8 minutes of preshow including 2 previews: He's Just Not That Into You and The Stone of Destiny

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 16, 2009!

Hello Film Fans and Fanatics!

Welcome to Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 16, 2009! I'm coming to you right after the blackout that affected a large section of Toronto through the night and is still affecting some areas. I'm glad I made the last minute decision not to go out last night, I hope you are all somewhere warm and with power! What a time for something like this to happen, it's freaking cold out there!

In limited release this week we have The Class / Entre les murs, the 2008 Cannes Palme d'Or winner which looks like an inspiring teacher story. Who doesn't love an inspiring teacher flick? We also have the quirky Rumba, which you really do have to watch the trailers to see its oddball and joyous humour.

In wide release this week we are back in the big times with seven films hitting the theatre. I had the opportunity to get to an advance screening of Last Chance Harvey which is very touching and has great performances by both Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Next up is a film I've been looking forward to for ages: Chandni Chowk to China. It's a Bollywood/Martial Arts genre mash up that looks like a lot of fun. If you are looking for horror fix, be sure to check out My Bloody Valentine 3D which is playing in 2D and 3D depending on the theatre, so make sure to check your local listings to find out which version is playing near you. Also in release this week is the war drama Defiance, biopic Notorious and comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. For more family friendly fare, check out some zany kids looking to help out lonely dogs in Hotel for Dogs.

Have a great, warm weekend!

Shannon

Friday January 16, 2009 Releases

Chandni Chowk to China
Dir: Nikhil Advani (Salaam-E-Ishq)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Gordon Liu, Roger Yuan, Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey
India/USA
Official Film site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer has lots of content, but I it's hard to tell what's going on so I'm saying it's spoiler free - and awesome!

The Class / Entre les murs
Dir: Laurent Cantet (Vers le sud / Heading South)
Cast: François Bégaudeau
France
Limited Release
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer is spoiler free

Defiance
Dir: Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, Glory, The Last Samurai)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos
USA
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point

Hotel for Dogs
Dir: Thor Freudenthal - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Don Cheadle, Kyla Pratt, Lisa Kudrow, Johnny Simmons, Troy Gentile, Kevin Dillon
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer spoiler free

Last Chance Harvey
Writer/Dir: Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow)
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Liane Balaban, Kathy Baker, James Brolin, Wendy Mae Brown
UK/USA
Official Film Site & Trailer, IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free until 1/3 of the way through

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Dir: Patrick Lussier (White Noise 2: The Light, Dracula 2000)
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Megan Boone
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer sight unseen, spoiler sensitive beware

Notorious
Dir: George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor, Soul Food)
Cast: Jamal Moolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Jasper Briggs
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
Trailer 1a is pretty spoiler free, Trailer B is not

Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Dir: Steve Carr (Are We Done Yet?, Daddy Day Care, Next Friday)
Cast: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Raini Rodriguez
USA
Official Film Site, IMDb Page, Trailer
You get the gist of the film by the 1/2 way point

Rumba
Directors/Writers/Cast: Dominique Abel & Fiona Gordon (L'Iceberg)
France/Belgium
Limited Release
Official Film Site & Trailers, IMDb Page
Trailer spoiler free

**please note this list of releases reflects first run film released in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as of January 16, 2009**

Thursday, 15 January 2009

BAFTA Nominations in 2009 (films from 2008)

The BAFTA nominations have been announced! Topping the list with the most nominations is Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button both snagging 11 nods each. High marks also go to The Dark Knight with 9 nominations (Heath Ledger as supporting actor along with many technical nominations). We see the names of actors appear multiple times, sometimes in the same category! Kate Winslet, just after her double win at the Golden Globes has been nominated for her roles in Revolutionary Road and The Reader, but this time both for Lead Actress. Brad Pitt has also been nominated but in different catagories: Lead Actor for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Supporting for Burn After Reading.

The BAFTA's (Orange British Academy Film Awards) will take place on Sunday February 8th 2009 at the Royal Opera House in London. See more info at the BAFTA site.

BEST FILM
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Ceán Chaffin
Frost/Nixon – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Milk – Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen
The Reader – Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris
Slumdog Millionaire – Christian Colson

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
Hunger – Laura Hastings-Smith, Robin Gutch, Steve McQueen, Enda Walsh
In Bruges – Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh
Mamma Mia! – Judy Craymer, Gary Goetzman, Phyllida Lloyd, Catherine Johnson
Man on Wire – Simon Chinn, James Marsh
Slumdog Millionaire – Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy

THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD
for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer for their First Feature Film
Simon Chinn (Producer) – Man on Wire
Judy Craymer (Producer) – Mamma Mia!
Garth Jennings (Writer) – Son of Rambow
Steve McQueen (Director/Writer) – Hunger
Solon Papadopoulos, Roy Boulter (Producers) – Of Time And The City

DIRECTOR
Changeling – Clint Eastwood
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – David Fincher
Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard
The Reader – Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle

LEADING ACTOR
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

LEADING ACTRESS
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Kristin Scott Thomas – I’ve Loved You So Long
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kate Winslet – The Reader
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road Road

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Bredan Gleeson – In Bruges
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Brad Pitt – Burn After Reading

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams – Doubt
Penélope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Freida Pinto – Slumdog Millionaire
Tilda Swinton – Burn After Reading
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Burn After Reading – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Changeling – J. Michael Straczynski
I've Loved You So Long – Philippe Claudel
In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
Milk – Dustin Lance Black

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Roth
Frost/Nixon – Peter Morgan
The Reader – David Hare
Revolutionary Road Road – Justin Haythe
Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The Baader Meinhof Complex – Bernard Eichinger, Uli Edel
Gomorrah – Domenico Procacci, Matteo Garrone
I've Loved You So Long – Yves Marmion, Philippe Claudel
Persepolis – Marc-Antoine Robert, Xavier Rigault, Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Parannaud
Waltz with Bashir – Serge Lalou, Gerhard Meixner, Yael Nahl Ieli, Ari Folman

ANIMATED FILM
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Parannaud
Wall-E – Andrew Stanton
Waltz with Bashir – Ari Folman

MUSIC
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Alexandre Desplat
The Dark Knight – Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard
Mamma Mia! – Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus
Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman
Wall-E – Thomas Newman

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Changeling – Tom Stern
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight – Wally Pfister
The Reader – Chris Menges, Roger Deakins
Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle

EDITING
(6 nominees ss there was a tie)
Changeling – Joel Cox, Gary D. Roach
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
The Dark Knight – Lee Smith
Frost/Nixon – Mike Hill, Dan Hanley
In Bruges – Jon Gregory
Slumdog Millionaire – Chris Dickens

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Changeling – James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight – Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
Revolutionary Road Road – Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt
Slumdog Millionaire – Mark Digby, Michelle Day

COSTUME DESIGN
Changeling – Deborah Hopper
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jacqueline West
The Dark Knight – Lindy Hemming
The Duchess – Michael O'Connor
Revolutionary Road Road – Albert Wolsky

SOUND
Changeling – Walt Martin, Alan Robert Murray, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff
The Dark Knight – Lora Hirschberg, Richard King, Ed Novick, Gary Rizzo
Quantum of Solace – Jimmy Boyle, Eddy Joseph, Chris Munro, Mike Prestwood Smith, Mark Taylor
Slumdog Millionaire – Glenn Freemantle, Resul Pookutty, Richard Pryke, Tom Sayers, Ian Tapp Wall-E – Ben Burtt, Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Matthew Wood

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Barba, Craig Barron, – Nathan McGuinness, Edson Williams
The Dark Knight – Chris Corbould, Nick Davis, Paul Franklin, Tim Webber
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Pablo Helman
Iron Man – Shane Patrick Mahan, John Nelson, Ben Snow
Quantum of Solace – Chris Corbould, Kevin Tod Haug

MAKE UP & HAIR
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jean Black, Colleen Callaghan
The Dark Knight – Peter Robb-King
The Duchess – Daniel Phillips, Jan Archibald
Frost/Nixon – Edouard Henriques, Kim Santantonio
Milk – Steven E. Anderson, Michael White

SHORT ANIMATION
Codswallop – Greg McLeod, Myles McLeod
Varmints– Sue Goffe, Marc Craste
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death – Steve Pegram, Nick Park, Bob Baker

SHORT FILM
Kingsland #1 The Dreamer – Kate Ogborn, Tony Grisoni
Love You More – Caroline Harvey, Sam Taylor-Wood, Patrick Marber
Ralph – Olivier Kaempfer, Alex Winckler
September – Stewart le Maréchal, Esther May Campbell
Voyage d'affaires / The Business Trip – Celine Quideau, Sean Ellis

THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD
Michael Cera
Noel Clarke
Michael Fassbender
Rebecca Hall
Toby Kebbell

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Lit Flicks Challenge - January Update

Photobucket

Back in early October I decided to take the Lit Flicks Challenge from over at The Bluestocking Society and companion challenge over at Bitchin' Film Reviews, and I thought it would be a breeze. Putting the two challenges together the goal was to read 5 books and see 5 films (based on books that I've seen for me) before the end of Feb 2009. Here we are mid January and I've read 1 books and seen 1 of the films and am really slowing making my way through the second book which is "Eragon" my 'light' pick that really ain't so light. I thought I would be a lot further along at this point, I'm not sure I'll met the goals set.

This brings us to The Bluestocking Society's Lit Flicks Challenge January meme which is all about resolutions:

"Do you set reading/watching goals for yourself? Do you have any book/movie adaptations that you are particularly excited about this year? How did you do on last year’s goals?"

Do I make goals? You bet I do! See 'Film Challenges' on the sidebar for ones in progress as well as completed challenges. I've already set out my 9 in 2009 but looking at them, they are all film related. Last year I did set out Film Homework but for the whole year that it was only 2 books and I accomplished that. I haven't set any book goals for 2009 but at the back of my mind I keep thinking about re-visiting the Harry Potter series in anticipation for the release of The Half Blood Prince in the summer. I think it's a little overly optimistic which is why I haven't committed to it yet. I think I'm a bit of a book commit-a-phobe, which is a smarty pants way of saying I don't want to set a goal I think I may not achieve! I do want to track the books I read this year, I will commit to that!

What about you? Book or film goals for the year? Anticipated adaptations? Mine are definitely Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Time Traveller's Wife if it ever gets a confirmed release date!

3 way split at the Box Office for the January 9, 2009 weekend

Let's see who championed the box office this week! Canada top film was the soon to be wed friends at odds Bride Wars, North American top film was all Clint in Gran Torino and over in the UK Role Models takes the cake. Overall there is a still a lot of people getting out to the films which were released around the holidays. It's understandable as so far this year we have not had to many new releases. That trend will change, at least here in Toronto, this weekend January 16, 2008 which already has four films scheduled to release. We shall see next week turns out, but until there here are the tallies.

Top 20 Movies in Canada for the January 9, 2009 weekend
1. Bride Wars *
2. Gran Torino
3. The Unborn *
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Marley & Me
6. Bedtime Stories
7. Yes Man
8. Valkyrie
9. Seven Pounds
10. Twilight
11. Slumdog Millionaire
12. The Tale of Despereaux
13. Doubt
14. The Reader
15. Bolt
16. Quantum of Solace
17. Revolutionary Road
18. The Day the Earth Stood Still
19. The Wrestler
20. Milk

Top 20 Movies in North America for the January 9, 2009 weekend
1. Gran Torino
2. Bride Wars *
3. The Unborn *
4. Marley & Me
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
6. Bedtime Stories
7. Valkyrie
8. Yes Man
9. Not Easily Broken *
10. Seven Pounds
11. Slumdog Millionaire
12. Twilight
13. The Tale of Despereaux
14. Doubt
15. The Day the Earth Stood Still
16. Revolutionary Road
17. The Reader
18. Bolt
19. Milk
20. Frost/Nixon

Top 10 Movies in UK for the January 9, 2009 weekend
1. Role Models *
2. Slumdog Millionaire *
3. Bride Wars *
4. Defiance *
5. Yes Man
6. Bedtime Stories
7. Australia
8. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
9. Twilight
10. The Reader

* indicates opening weekend in noted location

Source: Canada & North America info, UK info

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Unborn

Dir: David S. Goyer (Blade: Trinity)
Cast: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Jane Alexander, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good
, Idris Elba
USA, 2009

Seen: January 9, 2009

Reason to see: Looked scary as hell

I decided to see this film from watching the preview only once before, it totally had that scary movie in a spooky as oppose to gory way vibe. The Unborn delivers on that spooky tone embracing a supernatural theme but also strays from being completely straight forward. The different approach taken is refreshing, but at times it felt like it was throwing the kitchen sink at you with idea after idea after idea. I thought Odette Yustman gives a good horror film performance but I had to work at not seeing her striking resemblance to Jennifer Connelly. The pacing at times feels a little uneven, but not to the point of confusing. The creepy factor and scares are high when it is in scare mode, which is the strongest part of the film.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as for horror fans, especially for those who enjoy the supernatural variety

Late start by 5 minutes while a music video played, which is ridiculous.
13 minutes of preshow including 2 commercial and 5 previews: Miss March, Friday the 13th (2009), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Last House of the Left and Fighting

Film started 20 minutes after printed start time

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

Grindhouse: Planet Terror / Death Proof

A bit of an explanation for those not yet in the know. Grindhouse is a double- feature style film experience, with 2 parts: Planet Terror and Death Proof both running about 90 minutes. Fake trailers, missing reels, splotch marks and other technical oopsies-did-it-on-purpose are all part of the the complete package. When released in Toronto it was shown with both films.

I'll admit that I never actually thought I would sit through Grindhouse. But, when it appeared as the selection over at Final Girl's Film Club I was thrilled as it was a film I could actually find! After asking a trusted colleague about the film, she talked about it so enthusiastically that I knew it was time to take the plunge!

Planet Terror
Writer/Dir: Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Desperado)
Cast: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, Bruce Willis
USA, 2007

Seen: January 9, 2009

Reason to see: It was the pick for January for the Final Girl Film Club

Planet Terror is totally insane. Ranging from straight up action to survivalist to aliens and beyond, it goes the extra mile and then some. Both Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodríguez deliver great performances with camp-turned-serious lines to building and breaking stereotypes. The film can turn on a dime from bringing gross-out moments visually or with ideas, to a line or an idea that is hysterical. Although it is quite violent and definitly bloody, I'm more than welcome revisiting it multiple times over.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it way more than I was expecting
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as crazy scifi action disaster fun

Death Proof
Writer/Dir: Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2)
Cast: Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Tracie Thoms, Rosario Dawson, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Rose McGowan, Jordan Ladd
USA, 2007

Seen: January 9, 2009

Reason to see: It was the pick for January for the Final Girl Film Club

I wish I could be an enthusiastic for Death Proof as I was for Planet Terror, but it just isn't going to happen. The majority of it was a lot calmer, and the focus is on groups of women and cars. It really has that Taratino feel of people talking the big talk round and round the table, so if that is your thing you are set! Plus, lots of car stuff. Car talk, car chases, car worship, just about car everything. Cars aren't my thing so it was hard to keep my attention at those moments. The joy of the film for me was seeing Zoë Bell, an actual stunt woman doing freaking amazing work. She's truly amazing, which made it well worth the time.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it, but appreciated the stunts
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of cars & chicks movies

Return to Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

Sunday, 11 January 2009

66th Golden Globe Winners (film only)

It was great to have the full telecast of The Golden Globes tonight. A night of great speeches and honouring many celebrated films. The big sweeper was Slumdog Millionaire which took home all 4 awards it was nominated for: Picture - Drama, Director (Danny Boyle), Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy) and Original Score (A.R. Rahma). Next up with two wins is The Wrestler which took home Best Actor - Drama (Mickey Rourke) and Best Song (Bruce Springsteen). Also with two wins was not a film, but Kate Winslet who won Best Actress - Drama (Revolutionary Road) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (The Reader); both of her speeches were lovely and I think everyone was moved by her second speech which pouring out the love for Leonardo DiCaprio and Sam Mendes. One surprize of the evening was the 3 films that had 5 nominations each (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Doubt) were all shut out winning no awards at all.

I think I'm still on overdrive from watching the awards, twittering through the awards and live chatting with Andrew (gmanReviews) & Ethan (Screen Geeks). Thanks to those who joined the chatroom and played along in twitter, it was one fantastic night!

In case you missed it, the Golden Globe went to...

66th Golden Globe Winners (film only):

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Colin Farrell in In Bruges

Best Animated Film
Wall-E

Best Foreign Language Film
Waltz with Bashir

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Best Director - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"The Wrestler"" from The Wrestler
Music & Lyrics by: Bruce Springsteen

Cecil B. DeMille Award
Steven Spielberg

Visit the Golden Globes website here.

Live Twittering through The Golden Globes - tonight at 8pm EST!

Tonight is the night for The Golden Globes. Will it be the road to the Oscars? Who will give the best speech? Will it be a sweep or even splits? Only hours until we find out. I will be twittering be through the show which starts at 8pm EST tonight, announcing all the film winners. So, if you are or aren't going to be watching you can hear all the film buzz! You can even twitter along.

Update! I will be live chatting through the Golden Globes (and twittering - go little fingers go!) with fellow twitterers: gmanreviews (gmanReviews), dexterdouglas & ethanves (Screen Geeks).
Hear the live chat and join us in the chat room as of 8pm EST tonight!

The 66th Golden Globes Awards will be presented January 11th, 2009 at 8pm EST live on NBC.

Movie Moxie on Twitter
Twitter site
Join Twitter here
Live Chat on Ustream during the awards
Golden Globes Site

Here is a list of the film nominees to jog your memory:

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The
Frost/Nixon
Reader, The
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas in I've Loved You So Long / Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk
Brad Pit in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Burn After Reading
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Rebecca Hall in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading
Merly Streep in Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Javier Bardem in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrell in In Bruges
James Franco in Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman in Last Chance Harvey

Best Animated Film
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E

Best Foreign Language Film
Baader Meinhof Complex, The / Der Badder Meinhof Komplex
Everlasting Moments / Maria Larssons Eviga Ögonblick
Gomorrah / Gomorra
I've Loved You So Long / Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
Waltz with Bashir

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams in Doubt
Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis in Doubt
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes in The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Best Director - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry for The Reader
David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard for Frost/ Nixon
Sam Mendes for Revolutionary Road

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire
David Hare for The Reader
Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon
Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley for Doubt

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Clint Eastwood for Changeling
James Newton Howard for Defiance
A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire
Hans Zimmer for Frost/Nixon

Best Original Song - Motion Picture

"Down to Earth” from Wall-E
Music by: Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman
Lyrics by: Peter Gabriel

"Gran Torino"" from Gran Torino
Music by: Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens
Lyrics by: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens

"I Thought I Lost You"" from Bolt
Music & Lyrics by: Miley Cyrus, Jeffrey Steele

"Once in a Lifetime"" from Cadillac Records
Music & Lyrics by: Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street

"The Wrestler"" from The Wrestler
Music & Lyrics by: Bruce Springsteen
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012