Monday, January 31, 2011

'King's Speech' Wins Big at SAG Awards

JAN 31, 2011 - The King’s Speech came out as the big winner with two Screen Actors Guild awards last night at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The film won the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for Colin Firth. With these SAG awards and the Director's Guild win, The King's Speech takes the lead in the Oscar race.

Other SAG winners included Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Betty White, and Alec Baldwin.

Here's the list of Winners:

MOVIES

Ensemble in a Motion Picture
The King’s Speech

Male Actor in a Leading Role
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Female Actor in a Leading Role
Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Fighter

Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo, The Fighter

TELEVISION

Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire

Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Modern Family

Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Female Actor in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland

Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack

Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Claire Danes, Temple Grandin

Life Achievement Award
Ernest Borgnine

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hooper Wins DGA Award for 'King's Speech'

JAN 30, 2011 - The Directors Guild of America gave Tom Hooper (right) the top film honour for his British monarchy tale,The King's Speech.

Hooper won last night over David Fincher (The Social Network), who has been considered the favourite for Hollywood's main directing prizes, including the Academy Award on Feb. 27.

The DGA win for Hooper sets up a showdown between him at Fincher at the Oscars, where The King's Speech leads with 12 nominations.

The Directors Guild award is one of the most accurate forecasts for the Oscars. Only six times in the 62-year history of the guild awards has the winner failed to take home the directing Oscar.

Friday, January 28, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Jan 28 - 30, 2011

YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES

NEW THIS WEEK

a) SHAOLIN - (kungfu actioner with Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Jackie Chan, Fan Bing Bing and Wu Jing) - I have not been able to catch this Chinese New Year offering as I am in the US, but I am putting this as an option for readers because of good reviews. It is not a remake of the 1982 movie that launched Jet Li's career though. Should be worth a watch. (Read the Cinema Online review here).


b) THE GREEN HORNET 3D (action thriller with Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour and Edward James Olmos) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Uneven and derivative rendition of the masked hero-and-sidekick TV caper made famous by Bruce Lee. And for title-star and script-writer Rogen to be upstaged by Jay Chou, it says a lot about the tone and quality of the film. (Reviewed below)

STILL GOING STRONG

1. THE WAY BACK (adventure with Colin Farrell, Mark Strong, Saoirse Ronan, Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess) Rating * * * (3 stars): Directed by Peter Weir and based on a true story of prisoners of a Soviet labour camp escaping their Siberian Gulag and trekking across thousands of miles of hostile terrain to India, this one has an epic feel not because of its narrative but in its sweeping vistas. The movie, shot in Bulgaria, India and Morocco, explores how much a human can endure and overcome.

2.THE TOURIST (romance thriller with Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff and Rufus Sewell) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): With Jolie and Depp headlining this 'romantic thriller', their star power looks sure to churn the box-office waves. However, their talents and charm are not enough to overcome the weak plotting and ostentatious action sequences that recall Hitchcock's North By Northwest classic. After an hour of watching these two attractive stars, disappointment sets in.

3. FASTER (crime thriller with Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino, Maggie Grace and Moon Bloodgood) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Director George Tillman has apparently wanted to delve into themes of revenge nd forgiveness instead of just an action flick - and only succeeds partially. With Johnson and Thornton around, it is not easy to take the movie seriously. Even for an action thriller, there isn't much action. (Reviewed below)

4. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (horror thriller with Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat) Rating: * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Although there are more scares and plot than the first, the novelty is gone and we can't help feeling that this prequel-sequel is just an attempt to milk more box-office mileage out of the idea. Like the Blair Witch Project, repetitions can get stale pretty fast and the shaky cams heightens giddiness.

5. SEASON OF THE WITCH (fantasy thriller with Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Claire Foy, Christopher Lee, Rebekah Kennedy, Andrew Hefler and Fernanda Dorogi) Rating: * * (2 stars): Cage looks out of place in this messy horror thriller about a couple of former Crusaders taking on a mission to transport a witch (Foy) who is believed to have started the plague, to an abbey. All sorts of crazy things happen along the way - and we sometimes don't know whether to laugh or walk out of the cineplex. (Reviewed below)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kristen Stewart To Play Snow White?

JAN 27, 2011 - Just read the news that Twilight's Kristen Stewart is being courted to play 'Snow White' in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman. And guys, it is definitely not a porn flick although it does sound strangely like one.

Playing the Huntsman will probably be Viggo Mortensen as he is in negotiations for the part. Charlize Theron is in talks to play the evil Queen, the Hollywood Reporter reports. Mortensen and Stewart will be appearing together in a movie called On The Road, scheduled for this year.

The movie, to be directed by Rupert Sanders, starts with the evil stepmother killing Snow White's father and destroying the kingdom. Snow White then bands together with a gang of seven quarrelsome dwarfs to reclaim what is rightly hers. Should be interesting to see Bella transforming to Snow White.

Another fairy tale-turned-movie is Red Riding Hood, starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman, which will be released in the US early this year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'King's Speech' Leads With 12 Oscar Nods

JAN 25, 2011 - The King’s Speech tops the Oscar Awards list with 12 nominations while True Grit follows with 10 nominations. Sci-fi thriller Inception and Facebook drama The Social Network get eight nominations each.

All four will compete for the coveted Best Picture Oscar, alongside Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3 and Winter’s Bone. Winners of the 83rd annual Academy Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Hollywood on Feb 27.

Here's the list of the Nominations:

Best Picture

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jessie Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen/Ethan Coen, True Grit

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffery Rush, The King's Speech

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter (pic), The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Adapted Screenplay

Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Debra Granik and Anne Roselini, Winter's Bone

Best Original Screenplay

Mike Leigh, Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, The Fighter
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler, The King's Speech

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth
(Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law
(Algeria)

Best Animated Feature

How to Train your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Best Documentary

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception
The King's Speech
True Grit

Cinematography

Black Swan - Matthew Libatique
Inception - Wally Pfister
The King's Speech - Danny Cohen
The Social Network - Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit - Roger Deakins

Costume design

Alice in Wonderland - Colleen Atwood
I Am Love - Antonella Cannarozzi
The King's Speech - Jenny Beavan
The Tempest - Sandy Powell
True Grit - Mary Zophres

Film Editing

Black Swan - Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter - Pamela Martin
The King's Speech - Tariq Anwar
127 Hours - Jon Harris
The Social Network - Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Original Music Score

How to Train Your Dragon - John Powell
Inception - Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech - Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours - A.R. Rahman
The Social Network - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Original Song

Coming Home from Country Strong - Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
I See the Light from Tangled - Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Glenn Slater
If I Rise from 127 Hours - Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Animated short film

Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

Live Action Short Film

The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

Make-up

Barney's Version - Adrien Morot
The Way Back - Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman - Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Sound editing

Inception - Richard King
Toy Story 3 - Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Tron: Legacy - Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
True Grit - Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
Unstoppable - Mark P. Stoeckinger

Sound mixing

Inception
The King's Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

Visual effects

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Airbender' and 'Eclipse' Lead Razzies' Nods

JAN 24, 2011 - According to the Razzies' website, 2010 was a year when those obnoxious 'surcharges' for 3-D glasses boosted movie studios’ bottom lines, while actual attendance dropped once again. It was a year when most of what Hollywood released was either a remake, a “reboot” a “re-imagining”...or an outright rip-off. In other words, it was a banner year for only one of Tinsel Town’s best-known award shows...the one that dis-honours the Worst Achievements in Film.

Voting members of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation have sifted through the cinematic rubble of last year and selected nominees for The 31st Annual Razzies Awards, with “winners” set to be announced in ceremonies at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theatre on Saturday, Feb 26 – the traditional Night Before the Oscars.

Leading the pack among this year’s contenders are the third installment of an enormously successful franchise and one of 2010’s biggest critical disasters, with 9 nods each. Razzie Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan “re-imagined” the faux-anime TV series The Last Airbender into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!).

In addition to Worst Director and Worst Picture, the film is up for Worst Remake, Worst Screenplay, Worst Screen Couple/Ensemble (the entire cast) and a brand-new Razzie category for 2010, Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D. Neck-and-neck with Airbender (while taking a decidedly bigger bite it at the box office) is last year’s 4th biggest money-maker, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, also with 9 shots at taking home spray-painted gold.

All three of the principal characters of Eclipse are individually nominated for their acting, and the entire cast is also up for Worst Screen Ensemble. Rounding out the Worst Picture list are the aptly titled Twilight “parody” Vampires Suck, the bling-obsessed chick flick Sex & The City 2 and the decidedly un-romantic rom-com/revenge fantasy The Bounty Hunter.

Other notable nominees include a trio of long established divas, Cher, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand all vying to be named Worst Supporting Actress. Miley Cyrus is nominated for Worst Actress, and Jack Black, Gerard Butler and Ashton Kutcher up against Twilight’s Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson for Worst Actor.

'No Strings Attached' Tops US Weekend B-O

JAN 24, 2011 - The sole major new release, No Strings Attached, was on top with a decent showing, and it was business as usual for the holdovers. Overall weekend box office was down around 26 percent from the same period last year, when Avatar led again, and it could end up being the least-attended post-Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend since 1992 (when actual figures arrive).

The romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman collected an estimated US$20.3 million on approximately 3,500 screens at 3,018 locations. The Green Hornet saw a significant 46 percent drop from its top spot last week.

Here are the Top 5 North American B-O studio estimates for Jan 21-23, 2011 weekend, in terms of rank, Movie name (studio), Weekend takings in USD, (Cumulative gross, USD) and week on chart, courtesy of Boxofficemojo.

1. No Strings Attached (Paramount) $20.3 million ($20.3 million) 1

2. The Green Hornet (Sony) $18 million ($63.4 million) 2

3. The Dilemma (Universal) $9.7 million ($33.3 million) 2


4. The King's Speech (Weintraub) $9.1 million ($58.6 million) 9


5. True Grit (Paramount) $8.0 million ($138.6 million) 5

THE GREEN HORNET - Lots of Buzz, No Sting

THE GREEN HORNET (action thriller)
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour and Edward James Olmos
Director: Michael Gondry
Screenplay: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, based on the radio series by George W. Trendle
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Hero and sidekick: Seth Rogen and Jay Chou

PREAMBLE: After such a long time in the 'development' stage, when top names like George Clooney, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Smith, and even Stephen Chow had been brandished about as actor and/or director of this project, it must have been quite a relief when The Green Hornet finally gets on to the screen. The Green Hornet is based on a 1930s radio show, comic books and films. However, its main inspiration here is the 1960s TV series in which Bruce Lee played Kato.

We do not expect this masked hero caper to be in the same class as The Dark Knight, but we don't expect it to be so derivative and ludicrous. There are some bright moments, but the script by Seth Rogen rarely shines for long.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: When his newspaper magnate father (Tom Wilkinson) dies suddenly, Britt Reid (Rogen) inherits his vast empire and seeks something to do with his life. He befriends his father's mechanic Kato (Jay Chou), sharing a love for charged-up cars. When Britt and Kato accidentally foil a crime while taking a car out for a test ride, they decide to become superheroes, with custom-fitted masks and hats.

Meanwhile, vicious
crime boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) is consolidating his hold on the city by eliminating his opposition and the crime-fighting duo are in his way.


HITS & MISSES: Like I said earlier, this one looks derivative. The amateur superhero plot looks a lot like Kick-Ass but it lacks the latter's satirical fun and humour. Also, the rich-guy-with-hot-personal-assistant subplot (with Cameron Diaz as the eye-candy), has been done so much better in Iron Man. Still, I believe that Rogen is rather lame in the title role. He has slimmed down a bit for the part but he is bland and gets easily upstaged by Chou as Kato.

Indeed, Chou seems to be the hero here. He gets to do the cool stuff that impresses the audience - and his dialogue lines rarely go more than seven words. Even Oscar-winner Waltz is a letdown, going over-the-top with his villain role. Diaz, is largely wasted in a movie that seems to have no room for women.

Action-wise, there is nothing to shout about either, and it would be a waste of money to catch this one in 3D.

THE LOWDOWN: There's a lot of buzz but no sting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

THE KING'S SPEECH - Pygmalion In Reverse?

THE KING'S SPEECH (drama)
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Max Callum and James Currie
Director: Tom Hooper
Screenplay: David Seidler
Time: 118 mins
Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Firth and Carter in THE KING'S SPEECH

PREAMBLE: Curiously, the story of The King's Speech reminds me of a famous tale about a professor teaching a lowly flower girl to speak properly. That was George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion which was more popularly known as My Fair Lady of 1964.

The King's Speech, however, is Pygmalion in the reverse - about a lowly Aussie teaching a would-be King of the British Empire how to speak properly! My Fair Lady won eight Oscars including Best Picture, Actor and Director - and with all the attention that King's Speech is receiving during this Oscar season, it looks like history may repeat its course.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: When the movie opens in 1925, we see Prince Albert (Colin Firth) struggling with a stammer that hampers his ability to speak in public. At a time when the radio 'invades' every household, sometimes carrying the King's speech explaining the policies of the government, Albert (or 'Bertie") finds his impediment a dreadful handicap. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) takes it upon herself to find him a speech therapist - a Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, right) who is known for his unorthodox methods. Bertie 'fires' him upon their first meeting.

However, Logue's importance in Bertie's life surfaces when history conspires to make him King of England at a time when the storm clouds of World War II are looming. Bertie is King George VI - the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

HITS & MISSES: The best part of the movie comes from watching the virtuoso performances of Rush, Firth and Carter who flesh out their roles in a most absorbing and entertaining way. It is particularly fun to watch Logue who, in trying to get Bertie to loosen up, exhorts him to use expletives, including the 'F' word. "Fornication", he responds, whereupon Logue guides him to the four-lettered version. Indeed, the interactions between Bertie and his tutor extends beyond student and teacher. Indeed, the chemistry between Firth and Rush bubbles with humour and wit. Carter has a supporting role and she makes the best of it as the supportive wife (who is later the Queen Mother). Guy Pearce is also outstanding as Edward the heir to the throne.

I am not quite fond of Timothy Spall's rendition of the comical, cigar-chomping Churchill (it is too comic-book), and it would have been swell if scripter David Seidler had developed more of the affair between Mrs Wallis Simpson and Edward. Still, the drama of the Prince who is reluctant to be king is compelling, with juicy dialogues and well detailed period sets and settings.

THE LOWDOWN: It is one movie that deserves to be watched twice.

An obvious Oscar contender, THE KING'S SPEECH is scheduled to be released in Malaysia on Feb 17


Friday, January 21, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Jan 21 - 23, 2011

YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES

NEW THIS WEEK

a) THE WAY BACK (adventure with Colin Farrell, Mark Strong, Saoirse Ronan, Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess) Rating * * * (3 stars): Directed by Peter Weir and based on a true story of prisoners of a Soviet labour camp escaping their Siberian Gulag and trekking across thousands of miles of hostile terrain to India, this one has an epic feel not because of its narrative but in its sweeping vistas. The movie, shot in Bulgaria, India and Morocco, explores how much a human can endure and overcome.

STILL GOING STRONG

1. THE TOURIST (romance thriller with Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff and Rufus Sewell) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): With Jolie and Depp headlining this 'romantic thriller', their star power looks sure to churn the box-office waves. However, their talents and charm are not enough to overcome the weak plotting and ostentatious action sequences that recall Hitchcock's North By Northwest classic. After an hour of watching these two attractive stars, disappointment sets in.

2. FASTER (crime thriller with Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino, Maggie Grace and Moon Bloodgood) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Director George Tillman has apparently wanted to delve into themes of revenge nd forgiveness instead of just an action flick - and only succeeds partially. With Johnson and Thornton around, it is not easy to take the movie seriously. Even for an action thriller, there isn't much action. (Reviewed below)

3. GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (fantasy comedy with Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Catherine Tate, James Corden and Olly Alexander) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Essentially a Jack Black vehicle with the attendant butt and pee gags. The 3D does not enhance the trills here but some of the stars do. They are Blunt, Connolly and Segel. (Reviewed below)

4. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (horror thriller with Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat) Rating: * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Although there are more scares and plot than the first, the novelty is gone and we can't help feeling that this prequel-sequel is just an attempt to milk more box-office mileage out of the idea. Like the Blair Witch Project, repetitions can get stale pretty fast and the shaky cams heightens giddiness.

5. SEASON OF THE WITCH (fantasy thriller with Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Claire Foy, Christopher Lee, Rebekah Kennedy, Andrew Hefler and Fernanda Dorogi) Rating: * * (2 stars): Cage looks out of place in this messy horror thriller about a couple of former Crusaders taking on a mission to transport a witch (Foy) who is believed to have started the plague, to an abbey. All sorts of crazy things happen along the way - and we sometimes don't know whether to laugh or walk out of the cineplex. (Reviewed below)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

THE TOWN - Affleck's Seat-Gripper

THE TOWN (crime thriller/romance)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Slaine, Owen Burke, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper
Director: Ben Affleck
Screenplay: Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard, based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan
Time: 125 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Affleck and Renner in THE TOWN

PREAMBLE: The title refers to Charlestown near Boston, where bank robbery is passed from generation to generation like any trade, and Charlestown is home to more armoured car and bank robbers than anywhere else in America.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: After mentioning this in the opening scene, we are shown a bank robbery in which Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and his masked gang brutally beat a man suspected of having set off the silent alarm and take the bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), hostage. Claire is subsequently released but, when Doug tracks her down later to see if she has knowledge that could help the cops identify him, he finds himself attracted to her, much to the disapproval of his accomplice and best friend James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner of Hurt Locker).

Meanwhile, the FBI, led by Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) suspect Doug and his three gang members but don't have enough proof to make arrests, let alone get convictions. So Frawley must engage in some old-fashioned detective work and resort to a little bullying. And yes, he must stay a step ahead of Doug's gang and catch them in the act.

HITS & MISSES: Just like Affleck's Gone Baby Gone, this one immerses the viewers into the action and the wonderful romance between Doug and Claire. In the former, we learn about the friction among the gangsters, especially with the local 'boss' Fergie (Pete Postelthwaite), who relies on Doug to run his operations. We also get to meet Doug's dad (Chris Cooper) who is serving time in prison. The action recalls the taut and fast pace of The Italian Job, especially the nail-biting armoured car heist in the narrow streets. And under Affleck's direction, we get good character build-up anbd solid performances (especially from Renner and Hall).

The love story is just as palpable, especially when we see Doug forsaking his childhood love Krista (Blake Lively) for the alluring Claire. Rebecca Hall (left) is a winner in this department and will win many male hearts. This is Postlethwaite's last outing before succumbing to cancer recently.

THE LOWDOWN: A seat-gripper from start to end.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'King's Speech' Leads BAFTA Nominations

JAN 18, 2011 -The King's Speech leads the race for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars, with 14 nominations, including Best Picture. Colin Firth is the Best Actor front-runner for his performance as stuttering monarch King George VI, with Geoffrey Rush nominated for Best Supporting Actor as the unconventional speech therapist who treated him. Helena Bonham Carter is up for Best Supporting Actress for playing the king's wife, the Queen Mother Elizabeth.


Psychosexual ballet thriller Black Swan has 12 nominations, and mind-bending saga Inception, with nine. Endurance story 127 Hours and Coen brothers Western True Grit have eight nominations each.

Firth, 50, won a Best Actor trophy at Sunday's Golden Globes in Los Angeles, and the latest nomination gives him extra momentum going into the Oscars. A win would be Firth's second BAFTA in a row – he took the acting prize last year for A Single Man.

The Social Network, has six nominations including best picture; Aaron Sorkin's screenplay; and David Fincher's direction. Jesse Eisenberg received a best actor nomination for his turn as Facebook's college-student founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are both best-actress nominees for The Kids Are All Right, along with Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Noomi Rapace for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit.

Elusive graffiti artist Banksy is nominated for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer for directing the faux documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. Pete Postlethwaite (pic, right), who died earlier this month, is nominated posthumously in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as an Irish-American gangster in The Town.

The British awards, known as BAFTAs, will be handed out at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 13, two weeks before the Academy Awards in Hollywood, and are considered an important indicator of likely Oscar success. Last year, Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker won six BAFTAs, including Best Picture – then repeated the feat at the Oscars.

Here's a list of the nominations:

BEST FILM

Black Swan
Inception
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

127 Hours
Another Year
Four Lions
The King's Speech
Made In Dagenham

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

THE ARBOR – Director, Producer – Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – _Director, Producer – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz
FOUR LIONS – Director/Writer – Chris Morris
MONSTERS – Director/Writer – Gareth Edwards
SKELETONS – Director/Writer – Nick Whitfield

DIRECTOR

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle
BLACK SWAN – Darren Aronofsky
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tom Hooper
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – David Fincher

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BLACK SWAN – Mark Heyman, Andrés Heinz, John McLaughlin
THE FIGHTER – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
THE KING’S SPEECH – David Seidler

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Aaron Sorkin
TOY STORY 3 – Michael Arndt
TRUE GRIT – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Biutiful
Girl With The Golden Tattoo
I am Love
Of Gods And Men
The Secret In Their Eyes

ANIMATED FILM

Despicable Me
How To Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3

LEADING ACTOR

JAVIER BARDEM – Biutiful
JEFF BRIDGES – True Grit
JESSE EISENBERG – The Social Network
COLIN FIRTH – The King’s Speech
JAMES FRANCO – 127 Hours

LEADING ACTRESS

ANNETTE BENING – The Kids Are All Right
JULIANNE MOORE – The Kids Are All Right
NATALIE PORTMAN – Black Swan
NOOMI RAPACE – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
HAILEE STEINFELD – True Grit

SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRISTIAN BALE – The Fighter
ANDREW GARFIELD – The Social Network
PETE POSTLETHWAITE – The Town
MARK RUFFALO – The Kids Are All Right
GEOFFREY RUSH – The King’s Speech

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMS – The Fighter
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – The King’s Speech
BARBARA HERSHEY – Black Swan
LESLEY MANVILLE – Another Year
MIRANDA RICHARDSON – Made in Dagenham

ORIGINAL MUSIC

127 HOURS – AR Rahman
ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Danny Elfman
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – John Powell
INCEPTION – Hans Zimmer
THE KING’S SPEECH – Alexandre Desplat

CINEMATOGRAPHY

127 HOURS – Anthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak
BLACK SWAN – Matthew Libatique
INCEPTION – Wally Pfister
THE KING’S SPEECH – Danny Cohen
TRUE GRIT – Roger Deakins

EDITING

127 HOURS – Jon Harris
BLACK SWAN – Andrew Weisblum
INCEPTION – Lee Smith
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tariq Anwar
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara
BLACK SWAN – Thérèse DePrez, Tora Peterson
INCEPTION – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat
THE KING’S SPEECH – Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
TRUE GRIT – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

COSTUME DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Colleen Atwood
BLACK SWAN – Amy Westcott
THE KING’S SPEECH – Jenny Beavan
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Louise Stjernsward
TRUE GRIT – Mary Zophres

SOUND

127 HOURS
BLACK SWAN
INCEPTION
THE KING’S SPEECH
TRUE GRIT

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
BLACK SWAN
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1
INCEPTION
TOY STORY 3

MAKE UP & HAIR

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
BLACK SWAN
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1
THE KING’S SPEECH
MADE IN DAGENHAM

SHORT ANIMATION

THE EAGLEMAN STAG – Michael Please
MATTER FISHER – David Prosser
THURSDAY – Matthias Hoegg

SHORT FILM

CONNECT
LIN
RITE
TURNING
UNTIL THE RIVER RUNS RED

ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING AWARD

GEMMA ARTERTON
ANDREW GARFIELD
TOM HARDY
AARON JOHNSON
EMMA STONE

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Green Hornet' Tops US Weekend B-O

JAN 17, 2011 - The Green Hornet added some zing to an otherwise tepid Martin Luther King, Jr weekend, collecting an estimated US$34 million while The Dilemma was a distant second. Overall business was down around 25 percent from the same weekend last year, which featured the one-two punch of Avatar and The Book of Eli, and this is shaping up to be the least-attended MLK weekend since the mid-1990's.

The Green Hornet snared the highest-grossing opening ever for a live-action superhero comedy, topping Kick-Ass's US$19.8 million in a sub-genre that usually struggles at the box office. Last weekend's top grosser, True Grit, eased 23 percent to an estimated US$11.2 million, lifting its haul to US$126.4 million in 26 days, while The King's Speech more than doubled its location count to 1,543, and business rose 41 percent to an estimated US$9.1 million.

Here are the Top 5 North American B-O studio estimates for Jan 14-16, 2011 weekend, in terms of rank, Movie name (studio), Weekend takings in USD, (Cumulative gross, USD) and week on chart, courtesy of Boxofficemojo.

1. The Green Hornet (Sony) $34.0 million ($34.0 million) 1

2. The Dilemma (Universal) $17.4 million ($17.4) 1

3. True Grit (Paramount) $11.2 million ($126,4 million) 4


4. The King's Speech (Wein.) $9.0 million ($44.5 million) 8


5. Black Swan (Fox) $8.1 million ($72.9 million) 7

No Surprises At Golden Globes Awards

JAN 17, 2011 - The Golden Globes Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles last night offered no surprises as far as movies are concerned. Predictably, The Social Network took Best Movie; Colin Firth got Best Actor, Natalie Portman is Best Actress, etc, and I am quite sure these will be the picks of the Oscars too.

The TV section of the awards showed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association favoured newcomers rather than the 'veterans' in the awards. This especially applies to 'Glee' which won three, including Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical.

Here's the list of Winners:

Best Motion Picture, Drama - The Social Network

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical - The Kids Are All Right

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama - Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama - Natalie Portman (pic), Black Swan

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy - Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture - The Social Network

Best Director, Motion Picture - David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy - Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Best Animated Feature Film - Toy Story 3

Best Original Score, Motion Picture - Trent Reznor, “Atticus Ross”, The Social Network

Best Original Song, Motion Picture - 'You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me', Burlesque

Best Foreign Language Film - In a Better World
________________________________

Best TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Glee

Best TV Series, Drama - Boardwalk Empire

Best Miniseries or Made for TV Movie - Carlos

Best Actor in TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory

Best Actress in TV Series, Comedy or Musical - Laura Linney, The Big C

Best Supporting Actor in Series, Miniseries or Made for TV Movie - Chris Colfer, Glee

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Made for TV movie - Jane Lynch Glee

Best Actress in a Miniseries or Made for TV Movie - Claire Danes, Temple Grandin

Best Actor in a Miniseries or Made for TV Movie - Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama - Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama - Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy

Saturday, January 15, 2011

'Inception' And 'Social Network' Win Big At Critics' Choice Awards

JAN 15, 2011 - The Oscar season hots up last night with the Critics' Choice Awards ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium. The big winners were Inception, which took home six awards, 'The Social Network' with four and The Fighter with three.

However, Social Network nabbed the top prizes: Best Picture, Best Director for David Fincher, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and the film's score won Best Composer award for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

The Fighter nabbed Best Acting Ensemble, supporting actor for Christian Bale and supporting actress for Melissa Leo.

And 'Inception,' the sci-fi thriller directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, won for Best Action Movie, Cinematography, Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Sound and Visual Effects.

Acting awards went to Colin Firth for 'The King's Speech' and Natalie Portman for 'Black Swan.' Hailee Steinfeld won the nod for Best Young Actor/Actress for her role in the Coen Brothers' True Grit.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics organisation in the US and Canada, represents about 250 TV, radio and online critics. These awards help us predict how the Academy will vote - meaning that Social Network is the favourite for the top Oscars.

Here's the List of Winners:

Best Picture: The Social Network

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Young Actor/Actress: Hailee Steinfeld (pic), 'True Grit'

Best Acting Ensemble: The Fighter

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech, David Seidler

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin

Best Cinematography: Inception, Wally Pfister

Best Art Direction: Inception, Guy Hendrix Dyas and Larry Dias & Doug Mowat

Best Editing: Inception, Lee Smith

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

Best Make-up: Alice in Wonderland

Best Visual Effects: Inception

Best Sound: Inception

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3

Best Action Movie: Inception

Best Comedy: 'Easy A'

Best Picture Made For TV: The Pacific

Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Best Documentary Feature: Waiting for 'Superman

Best Song: 'If I Rise,' (performed by Dido and A.R. Rahman) '127 Hours'

Best Score: The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross