Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Top 10 of ’07

So yeah, we did have our own awards, or a “master list,” but here are my personal top 10 favorites from 2007:

10) Grindhouse/Hot Fuzz/Knocked Up

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The trifecta. Complete nerdom. Just for clarification, when I list Grindhouse I’m listing the double feature with fake trailers, missing reels, and all. That’s the Grindhouse I know and love. Knocked Up is the movie that got me to jump on the Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen bandwagon, and Hot Fuzz completely lived up to my post-Shaun of the Dead expectations. Some of the most fun I had at the movies this year was watching these three. They all lived up to the hype.

9) Eastern Promises

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The 2nd film from the Cronenberg/Viggo duo. Some of the year’s most memorable scenes and my favorite Viggo performance yet. Cronenberg’s films are always strangely unique to him. It’s a shame he tends to be overlooked.

8 ) Persepolis

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The story and characters fully transcend the “simple” animation style. Not to bash the animation though, it’s probably one of the most creatively animated films I’ve seen. Reminiscent of Fantastic Planet and The Tripletts of Belleville. It gave Ratatouille a run for its money in my book.

7) Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

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Possibly the most overlooked film of 2007. No Oscar nominations, earned practically nothing at the box office, and completely disappeared in the midst of award season despite its great director and cast. I wouldn’t throw this one in the ranks of 12 Angry Men or Network, but director Sidney Lumet definitely proved he’s still got it, even at age 82.

6) Ratatouille

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It’s honestly my favorite pixar film yet. Also, according to rotten tomatoes, it was the best reviewed film of 2007.

5) Sweeney Todd

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The umpteenth collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp is my favorite so far, which says quite a bit considering how much I love Ed Wood. The one and only thing that kept me from falling head over heels for Sweeney was the cut of my favorite song from the original play due to vocal restrictions. Otherwise, I’d say it’s just about perfect.

4) No Country for Old Men

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I’ve always been a huge fan of the Coen brothers and No Country might just be my favorite film of theirs behind The Big Lebowski, which will probably be my favorite Coen brothers film forever and ever.

3) Once

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Totally beautiful. One of my all-time favorite musicals. The songs are great, the story is touching, and it’s a musical that doesn’t go completely over-the-top with sets and costumes, for once. It’s so nice to see a low-budget musical blow away blockbusters like Dreamgirls and, in my opinion, the overrated Chicago.

2) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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My favorite foreign film of ’07. If I was in charge of the Oscars, I would’ve given Julian Schnabel the award for Best Director. He truly deserved it.

1) There Will Be Blood

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Easily my pick for #1, it might be my favorite film of the past decade. It’s hard to think of any I like more. It’s worth mentioning that, like last year, my favorite film is hated by quite a lot of people, but I guess that’s what happens with something so unique. There is however, a consensus that Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the greatest, most obsessive performances out there. “I drink your milkshake!” gets my vote for the best line of 2007.

 

Honorable Mentions (In no order):

La Vie En Rose, Zodiac, The Darjeeling Limited, Superbad, 3:10 to Yuma, Lust-Caution, Paris Je-Taime, Into the Wild, Atonement, & Stardust.

 

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Oscar Predictions

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Here are my predictions for Sunday’s Oscars, along with a few alternates in each category plus some general thoughts. I’ve refrained from posting any predictions for the Best Foreign Film category because of how wildly unpredictable it is. Amelie lost, Pan’s Labyrinth lost, and the 3 frontrunners this year weren’t even nominated. Everyone, even the academy, is confused about it. But without further ado, here are my Oscar predictions:

Best Picture:

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1) No Country for Old Men

2) There Will Be Blood

3) Juno

No Country’s definitely the frontrunner, but still, something doesn’t feel right. I hope Blood will make an upset, but it’s pretty unlikely, especially considering it took in the smallest amount at the box office. Juno and Michael Clayton also have a shot, but Atonement is completely out of the running.

Best Director:

1) Joel & Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

2) Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

3) Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

Here I’d love to see Julian Schnabel win. He won the Golden Globe and he’s got a decent chance at the Oscar, but the Coens are still my pick. PTA has a shot, but I highly doubt he wins it. The other nominees, Jason Reitman for Juno and Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton, don’t have a chance.

Best Female Actor:

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1) Julie Christie – Away From Her

2) Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose

3) Ellen Page – Juno

Though I’m rooting for Marion Cotillard, I’m fairly certain this is Christie’s year. She’s the clear frontrunner (she’s won most of the major awards, including the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award). Ellen Page is in the race, but Cate Blanchett and Laura Linney are out.

Best Male Actor:

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1) Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

-If anybody else wins something’s seriously fucked up. All the other nominees are telling the academy to vote for him, he’s won every possible award up to this point, he’s been very humble during his acceptance speeches and his few interviews, and of course his performance was freaking incredible.

Best Original Screenplay:

1) Diablo Cody – Juno

2) Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton

-This should easily go to Diablo Cody. The other nominated films (except for Michael Clayton)- Ratatouille, The Savages, and Lars and the Real Girl– have little to no chance.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1) Joel & Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

2) Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

3) Ronald Harwood – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

-This will be a battle between PTA and the Coens. I’m predicting the Coens to win, but I really think it should go to PTA for There Will Be Blood. We’ll see.

Best Female Supporting Actor:

-This one’s wide open. All 5 nominees have a good chance. Blanchett won the Globe, Rudy Dee won the SAG, Tilda Swinton won the BAFTA, and Amy Ryan won most of the the critics awards. It’s basically a toss-up, but here are my guesses:

1) Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There

2) Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

3) Amy Ryan/Ruby Dee/Saoirse Ronan

Best Male Supporting Actor:

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1) Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

-I’d put all my money on Bardem.

Best Original Score:

1) Dario Marianelli – Atonement

-The scores for Ratatouille, The Kite Runner, and Yuma could win, but I think this rightfully goes to Atonement. It was an incredible score and I’d be pretty surprised to see it not win.

Best Animated Feature:

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1) Ratatouille

2) Persepolis

-Ratatouille’s all over this one. Persepolis could upset, but it’s not likely. 3rd nominee Surf’s Up is lucky it was even nominated.

Best Cinematography:

1) Robert Elswit – There Will Be Blood

2) Roger Deakins – The Assassination of Jesse James/No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood will most likely take this one due to double nominee Roger Deakins splitting the vote. Otherwise, I’d say Jesse James, which probably deserves the award more. It was a pretty incredible year for cinematography, so anything could upset.

Best Documentary:

1) Sicko

-Michael Moore won for Bowling for Columbine and would’ve won for Fahrenheit 9/11 had it been eligible, and since Sicko is just as praised and popular but slightly less controversial, I’d say it’s a lock.

And there we are, predictions in the 12 major categories. I’m actually hoping that my predictions turn out to be almost completely wrong other than the male acting awards, since I’m rooting for an underdog in almost every category.

Remember, the Oscars are this Sunday, the 22nd.


MICHAEL CLAYTON

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Written and Directed by Tony Gilroy. Stars George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, and Sydney Pollack.

Michael Clayton is the new legal thriller which scored seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

Michael Clayton is introduced as a “fixer.” In the opening scene he gets a call regarding a client’s car accident, and he is dispatched to the house to “clean up” the mess. He does the “dirty work” for his law firm, getting cases to lean their way. Clayton gets thrown into a legal mess involving a massive law firm, an insane litigator (played by Tom Wilkinson), and the lead counsel for some kind of corporate entity (played by Tilda Swinton). Hilarity ensues.

The performances by Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson are pitch-perfect. George Clooney, on the other hand, gets too much credit for playing George Clooney. He’s spot on as Michael Clayton, but he’s starting to go down that same road as actors such as Denzel Washington, who repeatedly play similar characters and give familiar performances. All I’m saying is that I strongly disagree with Clooney’s Oscar nomination and the constant praise he’s been getting for this performance. He’s perfectly cast (and he is a great actor), but the real praise should be going towards the supporting roles, who really out-shine him.

While most legal dramas tend to feel and look, at least to me, pretty bland, cinematographer Robert Elswit, who’s responsible for the beautiful photography on films such as Punch-Drunk Love and Good Night, and Good Luck, gives Michael Clayton a nice, slick look. Also, kudos go to writer/director Tony Gilroy for writing a smart and original script that, despite a few glaring plot holes, puts a nice spin on a dying genre. It all leads to an incredibly well-acted, well-written climactic confrontation that makes the monotony during some of the film’s second half worth the wait.

7.5/10

Michael Clayton will be released on DVD February 19th (this Tuesday).

Here’s the trailer for Michael Clayton:


El Orfanato

El Orfanato

Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. Written by Sergio G. Sanchez. Produced by Guillermo del Toro. Staring Belen Rueda and Fernado Cayo.

Spain’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008).

It’s beautifully terrifying what Bayona does with color and light in this Spanish ghost flick. The premise is nothing new. An ex-orphan moves her family onto her old stomping grounds, when her son starts seeing something no one else does. It’s like a cross between Poltergeist and The Others. It’s nothing like the Sound of Music.

There were parts that felt slow, but only because some scenes kicked you in the pants.

Bayona aptly manipulates what you can see and what you cannot. He masters it in a scene that reminds me of the Poltergeist (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it). It’s the source of The Orphanage’s terror and suspense. A fellow film patron swimmingly reviewed two scenes amid the ghostfest as, “Awwwww, HELL no!” and “Bitch is CRAZY!”

The movie pleases: 8.5/10