Showing posts from January, 2009

Oscar Predictions

Ok, so I'm cutting it close, but the Oscar Predictions come out in less than an hour and I wanted this here so that nobody could say I made my predictions after the fact! The only thing I'll say is that I'm really hoping for some surprises, maybe Michael Sheen in Best Supporting Actor?!?! PLEASE!! I'll account for all of my mistakes later when I recap the real nominations.

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep-Doubt
Sally Hawkins-Happy-Go-Lucky
Kate Winslet-Revolutionary Road
Anne Hathaway-Rachel Getting Married
Kristin Scott Thomas-I've Loved you So Long

Best Actor:
Sean Penn-MILK
Frank Langella-Frost/Nixon
Mickey Rourke-The Wrestler
Clint Eastwood-Gran Torino
Leonardo DiCaprio-Revolutionary Road

Best Supporting Actress:Marisa Tomei-The Wrestler
Kate Winslet-The Reader
Viola Davis-Doubt
Penelope Cruz-Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tilda Swinton-Burn After Reading

Best Supporting Actor:
Dev Patel-Slumdog Millionaire
Heath Ledger-The Dark Knight
Philip Seymore Hoffman-Doubt
Robert Downey Jr.-Tropic Thun…

Mickey the Comeback Kid: The Wrestler is no easy takedown

The television spot that I've most often seen, at least recently, for The Wrestler start with the quote "witness the resurrection of Mickey Rourke".  Usually I take these quotes with a grain of salt, like the one that claimed that Benjamin Button was one of the greatest love stories in decades (I beg to differ), but this one isn't far off.

If you lived through the 80s and don't know who Mickey Rourke is you were either too old to care, too young to notice, or if you were of age, perhaps indulging in the same illicit substances as most of the other pop stars of the decade, sniff sniff.  He was beautiful and talented, and he threw it all away, more willingly than some.  
I don't know that I would call Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler a resurrection, because Rourke was never completely dead to Hollywood, although he was on some serious life support.  He's done bit parts throughout the years, appearing in The Rainmaker, Spun, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, a…

Revolutionary Road: Buckle Up it's gonna be a Bumpy Ride

By now, you've all seen, or should have seen, Kate Winslet dominate the Golden Globes with wins for both of her performances this year (Best Supporting actress for The Reader, and Best Actress in a Drama for Revolutionary Road) and they are both well deserved.  She's clearly one of the greatest actresses of our generation (for more evidence see Sense and Sensibility, Quills, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Beautiful Creatures, well really anything) and her turn in this film is nothing short of haunting.

Revolutionary Road looks like it should be one of those movies that creeps up on you.  It doesn't.  It hits you straight in the face with everything it's got, and then some.  At the outset, we're introduced to Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), a typical 50s couple, although that's never what they intended to set out as.
April and Frank are interesting and unique, at least that's what they're told and that's what the…

Gran Torino: Not So Easy Rider

I'm one of those girls who's always loved action movies.  I don't know why.  I could blame my father for obtaining the remote and then forcing me into the situation of either watching the Magnificent Sevenfor the third time or going upstairs and finishing my "Wuthering Heights" book report.  I always chose the former mostly because I personally couldn't stand Heathcliff and Cathy's whiny banter.  Emily was not my favorite Bronte sister.  Anyway, what I've been left with is the indelible images of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and John Wayne in their iconic "anti-hero" roles.  Oddly enough, there wasn't much Clint Eastwood on those weekend afternoons, despite his "Dirty" Harry Callahan having reached icon status literally the day that movie came out.
So the Clint Eastwood that I've become familiar with is the kinder, gentler, septugenarian Eastwood, and while I was prepared for a return to his roots (at least that's w…

Happy-Go-Lucky-:Real Life is Funny, Sometimes

Sally Hawkins has already won a ton of awards this season (including most recently, the Golden Globe) for the role that will finally make most Americans go "what do I know that girl from...oh I know!".  In Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" she plays the effervescent Poppy, a woman who actually loves her life.  She acknowledges that she has "great friends, great kids" (she's an elementary school teacher) and, in general is happy enough upon waking up in the morning to not groan and complain, like I sometimes have a tendency to do.  She's not a superhero, she's not a genius, but she revels in her everyday existence, a feat I hope to accomplish.  Not to say that there aren't many many moments of happiness, but I find her constant geniality something to strive for, especially while sitting in the car amongst traffic and muttering "Idiots!"
In fact, it's driving that starts off Poppy's story.  We pick up on a not so particula…

Valkyrie: Operation Impossible

Here's the deal, you probably know the ending before you even take your seat in this movie.  Even if none of us were around in 1945, we're all clear on how World War II actually ended.  The beauty of "Valkyrie" is that somehow, somewhere along the line, it makes you forget what you know.  It makes you hope, no, it makes you almost believe that things were going to turn out differently.
The basic plot can be summed up in one interesting all-consuming question: What would happen if Hitler had been murdered by his own men?  There are a million other questions that can stem from that possible outcome, of course, but this movie is only concerned with the practicalities of the idea, how would you actually carry out that plot? At the beginning, we're introduced to Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise, of course) coming to terms with, as the war ends, the Germany he swore to protect is no longer the Germany that exists.  It's been twisted and warped by Hitler and…

Between the Lines: The Reader weaves a memorable tale

The Reader is not a movie to be taken lightly.  If you're thinking about going to see this one, you should be very aware of what exactly it is you're in for.  This is 2 hours of intense drama, something that forces us to not only look back at the evils of history, but at the evils of ourselves and the choices that make us human.

Based on a German novel, The Reader starts out its story as a simple affair between a German train worker, Kate Winslet's Hanna Schmitz, and a young boy, Michael Berg (played at different ages by David Kross and Ralph Fiennes, both fantastic).  It's what happens after the affair unravels that is the heart of this story.  As Hanna's past unfolds and real-life takes over the place of Michael's boyish fantasies, what we're left with is the examination of what it means to be alive, to live and to love and the pain that can accompany the choices we make.  
Honestly, a third of the way through this movie, I wasn't quite sure where it…