February 2011 posts
To: Sarah, Kimberly
Some thoughts on the best and worst last night!
Fashion: I thought there were some fabulous gowns on the Red Carpet. Can’t wait for Joan’s team tonight on Fashion Police!
Opening Inception Montage: Cute in the Billy Crystal tradition. People at my party laughed.
Best Actor/Best Actress Intros: Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock seemed genuine and personal toward the nominees.
Christian Bale: Recognizing and plugging Dickie in the nose bleed seats!
Actual Telecast Length: It helps to have presenters give out two awards each.
British Acceptance Speeches: They do it so well! Witness Colin Firth and Tom Hooper. Read more »
Over here in the land of The King’s Speech, people are equally excited about our upcoming Oscar broadcast on Sunday night. The Guardian, in particular, featured some quite illuminating articles today—my favorite had to do with just WHO actually votes for the awards. Their article, entitled “The Oscars: Who Calls the Shots” revealed that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wants to keep its membership at or around 6,000. They have 6,404 members now and are skewed to the over 50 crowd (as we all know, which is why The King’s Speech will win Best Picture on Sunday and The Social Network will not). Here’s a wonderful quote from a wonderful Brit: Read more »
Serious Movie Lover will be celebrating Oscar at multiple party locations this year. Check out our menu and begin working your way into our good graces for an invite in 2012.
For 127 Hours: Mini burritos that must be opened and eaten with one hand
For Black Swan: Blackened Swanee river shrimp E’ tutu ffee
For The Fighter: Down and dirty rice with a punch
For Toy Story 3: Three cheese dip with animal crackers
For Winter’s Bone: Winter’s “bone appetite” salad Read more »
As is our tradition (two years running!), SML will be attending the AMC Best Picture Showcase this Saturday and tweeting our every piddly thought. Will an old lady file her nails next to us again? Will we blow our complimentary $10 gift card on Mini Charleston Chews and spend much of 127 Hours doubled over in pain? How many jokes about chow-dah can we make during The Fighter? Follow us and get the answers to these fascinating questions! This weekend’s man-child–fêting lineup includes Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, and The Fighter.
Come join us for a discussion of the trailers we’ve been privileged to experience over the last month or so. Are they tantalizing nuggets of the hits of tomorrow? Or harbingers of Gnomeo and Juliets to come? We do not know! But we will assume that we do, because it is our way. Have YOU seen a trailer lately? Do tell. In the Comments, please—we can’t hear you from our cubicles.
Sarah: Hello Kimberly! Happy Oscars Eve Eve Week to you! Shall we distract ourselves from the For Your Consideration ads with a little Trailer Trash? I’ll lead off with Rubber, a movie about a killer tire. I, um, well…it’s a movie about a tire that kills people. So. That’s all there really is to say? I think I want to see it?
BIUTIFUL (2010/In Theaters) This very moving film is the fourth from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu and his first screenplay created without his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga. The two famously created Amores Perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003) and Babel (2006). This time the story centers around one character—Uxbal, played to perfection by Javier Bardem—who is a devoted single dad to his young daughter Ana and her brother Mateo and who scrapes by each day in the poor sections of Barcelona. Uxbal learns early in the film that he is dying of liver cancer and has only months to live, at best. We join him for his final days on earth as he desperately tries to prepare and to make sure his children will be OK. The style of the film, and the camera work, will feel familiar to anyone who has seen Inarritu’s earlier films. It has a close, gritty feel—we are absolutely brought into the day to day lives of the characters. Uxbal is fundamentally a good guy, but he is beset on all sides. He makes his small living in part by communicating with the recently deceased on behalf of their loved ones and moreso by helping dark-skinned Senegalese men sell fake handbags to Barcelona tourists. The bags are made by illegal immigrants from China who are working in a Barcelona-based sweatshop. Read more »
ANIMAL KINGDOM (2010/DVD) One commenter on the net notes that: “Writer/Director David Michôd’s debut film still flies under the radar of most U.S. filmgoers.” This is certainly true. The Australian film Animal Kingdom had very short runs in indie film houses in the states and happily now is available through NetFlix on DVD. If you like gritty, dark crime dramas, this is a movie for you. A bit of a slow start, but be patient and you will be rewarded. The story centers around 17 year old “J” Cody (an excellent performance from James Frecheville as a typically withdrawn teen) who opens the film by telling us that his mother had always kept him away from her family. For good reason. When his mom dies from a heroin overdose, J has no where else to go and he phones his grandmother “Smurf” who arrives to collect him. A great nick-name, Jacki Weaver is truly strong in the role of the family matriarch—short, with piercing blue eyes and bottle blond hair—she kisses her three sons often and too long, giving us a creepy feeling. I had wondered just why Weaver got that Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but by the end of the film, I understood. She plays what a friend of mine would have called “a chocolate covered spider.” Equally convincing are Ben Mendelsohn as Pope, the oldest son and the leader of this family of thieves and drug dealers; Luke Ford, as Darren, the youngest; Sullivan Stapleton as a heavily tattooed Craig—unhinged and into drugs in a big way; and Joel Edgerton, as Baz, the family friend who looks most responsible and is nice to J. Watch for Guy Pearce as Nathan Lechie, the good cop, trying to help but making matters worse for young J. This movie won the Sundance 2010 Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema (Drama) and Stephen Holden of the NYT rightfully says it “…could be the Australian answer to Goodfellas.” Worth watching.
Grade: A- Slow start and the film is sometimes hard to follow.
Recommended Double Bill: The Young Americans, a 1993 B-Movie from England, with Harvey Keitel in the good cop role and Craig Kelly as the teen caught up in another den of thieves. Thandie Newton plays the love interest and a young Viggo Mortensen is the ultimate bad guy. Great rental for a slow Saturday afternoon.
CARLOS (2010/SUNDANCE CHANNEL) Édgar Ramírez is seriously stunning as the lead in this 3-part, 5 ½ hour French-German TV mini-series which was co-produced by Canal+ and Film En Stock in conjunction with the Sundance Channel. (Of note, IFC acquired U.S. distribution rights to both the mini-series and to a shorter version shown in theaters.) Written by Dan Franck and Olivier Assayas and directed by Assayas, the film depicts the life of one of the world’s most famous villains—Carlos “The Jackal”—whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez and who is still alive and serving time in a French prison. We meet Ilich as he is beginning his life as a terrorist, devoted to the Palestinian cause. He takes the name “Carlos” and pursues violent actions too numerous to mention in this review. Over the course of the film, we get to know Carlos quite well and we see him with all his faults—arrogance, sloppiness, his bad temper, his love of liquor and sex—but yet very smart, quick to react, cold blooded, and decisive—a flawed but compelling terrorist leader. He has his followers, among them the crazy Nada from Germany, the sexy Magdalena who has his child, the ever-loyal Johannes Weinrich—and more, all portrayed by strong actors who make the film seem real. Ramirez is the most impressive—he physically transforms at least three times in the film and by the end has put on 35 pounds to represent the real state of Carlos at his point of capture—a middle aged, flabby man, lying on his back after a surgical procedure. How ironic for this “warrior” to miss out on a dramatic death. Though the film is long, I encourage everyone to see it. It will bring to mind Spielberg’s “Munich” but with a grittier feel. Excellent.
NOTE: Don’t get the Sundance Channel? No worries. Netflix Streaming for Carlos will be available February 15, 2011 according to the website.
BTW: Ramirez, like the real Ilich, is Venezuelan and speaks five languages. One of my favorite aspects of this film is the sheer number of locations and languages used throughout and Ramirez’ ability to slide easily between all of them.
OFF THE MAP (2003/DVD) This strange little indie flick was directed by Campbell Scott from a play (and screenplay) by Joan Ackerman. It has the look of a labor of love, starring Joan Allen and Sam Elliott as artistic types Arlene and Charlie, married and living seriously off the grid in Northern New Mexico. Their 11-year old Bo is our narrator–yearning for a more normal life, but behaving like many a hippie child I have known (read this as not necessarily a compliment). Add to the picture J.K. Simmons as George, a friend of the family who seems somewhat more connected to “normal” life. The plot (plot?) thickens when an IRS agent from Albuquerque walks onto the property (literally) just in time to watch Arlene doing her gardening while naked. Welcome! His name is William Gibbs (played by Jim True-Frost) and he is after the couple’s back taxes. Back taxes, Arlene exclaims! They live on nothing. At any rate, William is soon stricken both physically and later emotionally by the lure of this offbeat existence and his inner-artist emerges. As if this wasn’t enough “plot,” the other major factor of the film is Charlie’s depression—he has stopped speaking (much) and started crying (a lot). What to say….strange is the word I used at the start of this review and I’m sticking with it. This film is not for most but is amusing to watch if you love and know Taos. It is beautifully shot and the locations are fantastic. It does accurately depict a real personae here…the artist living off the grid, etc, and the lure of this way of living. The house (built for the shoot) is wonderful—would love to own it. Rent this if you’re interested in getting away from the world and seeing what your life might just look like.
Grade: B- Pretty strange.
Hello there, Kimberly!
So, now that we’ve seen two episodes of Ebert Presents: At the Movies, I feel like we can talk about our first impressions. My impression of the first episode was pretty negative, to be honest. The hosts, Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, didn’t do much for me. Their discussions of new movies seemed soooo long and lacking in chemistry. Ebert’s short review was by far the most entertaining part of the show. I like how he chooses different famous voices to read his typed words aloud (SML talking point Werner Herzog for the first episode). This second episode was already more watchable for me, however. I may just be getting used to the hosts, and the absence of SML nemesis Kim Morgan was helpful. I still don’t particularly enjoy Lemire or Vishnevetsky, who seems to be trying particularly hard to be interesting and controversial. And I still miss Scotlips. But I’m trying to be patient. Ebert’s review was again the highlight.
A question for you, Kimberly: Is the sound looping off when you watch this show on your TV? Two weeks in a row, the sound of people talking doesn’t match up with the lips moving and it’s sort of driving me crazy.
Sarah Read more »