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Review My Collection #16

Apocalypse Now

Note: Being this is my 100th review on Rotten Tomatoes, I decided to write a piece on one of the films that helped spur my love of cinema. Luckily for me, one of those films, Apocalypse Now, just happened to be next on my Review My Collection list. While this follows the traditional review format, I look some liberties in talking about my personal connection to the movie. Also note, this is a review of the original 1979 film, not the Redux edition from 2001. Thanks for your continued readership!


I'm not quite sure when I first ran into the subject of review #100, but my first sharp recollection was a viewing for my Literature in Film class, junior year of college. The opening scene struck me from the get go. The glaze eyed stare of Martin Sheen as helicopters juxtapose with ceiling fans to the drive of The Doors marked a manic, perfect beginning to a manic, perfect film. Like Martin, I was beginning a journey of sorts, his a slow river ride into the surreal world of Vietnam, mine a struggling step into the world of film criticism. I had already brushed against this film once or twice thanks to my father, but this time was different. My goal was to take a scene and dissect it bit by bit. Take a classic piece of a landmark film and break it up into a series of pans, tilts and pulls.

The scene I chose was the first landing of the PBR on the shores of a Vietnamese colony, the scene where Willard first meets the manic Colonel Killgore (Robert Duvall). The scene always fascinated me but this time it was different. Separated from the drama of the moment, I looked for the first time beyond the story, beyond the frame and understood exactly why it was engaging, why the entire film is brilliant. Technique. Director Francis Ford Coppola treated every shot with a meticulous eye and perfect composition. No shot wasted, no line of dialogue squandered, this five minute scene told me everything I needed to know about how filmmaking could be approached given the hand of a master. Suddenly, it all meant sense.

The plot itself is a deceptively simple one. Captain Willard (Sheen) is on a secret mission to "terminate the command" of one Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a highly decorated officer who has gone rouge, fighting his own brand of warfare in the Cambodian jungle. Escorting the captain on his slow cruise down the Nung River, is a tidy cross section of the US forces in Vietnam. From a no nonsense boat commander to a professional surfer just looking for his next tan, the crew captures the random nature of the US occupation. Most of these draftees were bottom feeders, souls nobody gave two ticks about and Coppola perfectly illustrates the dichotomy between the men on a mission and the boys who just want to go home.

Coppola also gives his actors plenty of room to work and build engaging characters. No one cast member, from Sheen on down, is given the short end of the dramatic stick. Be it Chef's wild ramblings about a tiger attack or Lance's slow metamorphosis, the cast is well directed, bringing small snippets of life to the somber journey. Sheen himself is near brilliant in a career defining role, teetering between unhinged and dutiful throughout the feature. As Sheen rolls down the river, he learns more and more about the mysterious Kurtz and with every passing page of the dossier, starts to respect him. The journey is both a physical and emotional one and Sheen does a great job in balancing both sides. Brando is also fantastic as the brooding Kurtz, chilling in voiceover, tape recordings and in the final reveal in the Cambodian compound.

In writing this review, I find myself feeling connected to this landmark picture in a way I didn't expect. From the patient photography, to the unorganized madness of a bridge embattlement, Coppola poured his heart, soul and finances into a film that can only be called a masterpiece of 20th century filmmaking. From my perspective, the movie is more than a surrealistic ride down a Vietnamese river. It's a statement of human nature, a piercing look into change, progress, and our baser impulses. In Apocalypse Now, Coppola took a short novella written in 1903 and adapted it into one of the most complete Vietnam films ever made.

My connection is a more personal one. Back on that day in 2002, I looked at a movie beyond the gun fire and explosions, the pure entertainment of it all. That day I discovered a world of art and beauty, a place I felt closest to with a notebook in hand. A journey of my own started that afternoon, a trip that's taken me through a hundred reviews, some glowing, some scathing but all of them honest, heartfelt and a joy to write. Like Captain Willard in Coppola's Vietnam epic, I started out with dim expectations of what was to come and while I've yet to reach my credit roll, I know I'll be infinitely surprised when I get there.

**Check out my RT blog entitled "Review My Collection" for the rest of the series!!**

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I watched Greenberg last night. A very uncomfortable character study. Ben Stiller freaked me out a little bit. I imagine a lot of people probably walked out on it in the theaters. But I couldn't stop watching it.

Wanted to see that when it was out last year and I've heard it's quite mesmerizing. I'm on the fence when it comes to Stiller, but this one seems to be a nice exception!

Some other movies I've seen at home but didn't get a chance to review. Seeing The Artist on Thursday, Oscar Picks by Monday!

Dogtooth - Nominated for Best Foriegn Languange Film at last year's Oscars, Dogtooth is a strange yet mezmerizing Greek film about a socially cut off family run by a tyrannical father and his abiding wife. Centralizing on the theme of control and its affect on one's humanity, the families three children learn an alternate version of reality through the teachings of their father, creating an unnerving yet fascinating look into these "clockwork oranges". While the film overdoes it with some graphic incest and the performances are all very stilted, but the overall vibe is like a car crash that's tough to look away from. 7.5 out of 10

In The Loop - A host of British comedians star in this political comedy of errors about an impending invasion and the misunderstandings that lead two countries to the brink of war. While I didn't find it as gut bustingly funny as the trailer suggested, the film certainly had some laugh out loud moments. Fans of dry British humor will find alot to love as the film is crass, foul mouthed and bitingly funny. It's hard to find good satire these days and In the Loop more than fills that genre void. 8.5 out of 10

Best Worst Movie - One of the best documentaries I've seen in quite some time, Best Worst Movie tracks the lives of the cast of Troll 2, one of the worst movies ever made. Through the eyes of the film's lead, George Hardy, director Michael Stephenson takes us through the resurrgance of Troll 2 as a cult classic, highlighting the rise and fall of unexpected celebrities. A very human and touching film, Best Worst Movie never comes off exploitive, rather giving viewers an inside look into sudden fame and the affect it has on the people involved. 9.5 out of 10

Midnight Cowboy - Starring Dustin Hoffman and John Voight, this 1969 classic features two actors at the height of their craft. Voight plays Texas born Joe Buck, a strapping young man who has dreams of being a hustler in New York City. After arriving, he meets a seedy con man by the name of Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman) and two become unolikely friends, eeking out a hargard living in the big city. This is an early career defining role for both Hoffman and Voight, their relationship being the highlight of the movie. Shot in the seediest parts of 60's era New York City, Midnight Cowboy also serves as a time capsule to an NYC gone by, before the city was dominated by Disney, tourists and corporate gentrification. A classic film, one that stills holds up today. 10 out of 10

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New Movie Review

A Separation

In the opening scene of Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, a modern Iranian couple sits before a judge, explaining why they need a divorce. As an audience, it looks as though these two characters are talking to us, explaining their case as if we were judge and jury. She wants to flee to America with her family intact, he wants to stay to care for his Alzheimer’s addled father. Tempers flare and words exchange, but the conversation never turns bitter. Never turns harsh. The love is there but it’s being torn by time and circumstance and as an audience, our hearts start breaking from minute one. This first scene sets the tone for the entire film, a tone that elevates the film beyond the subtitles and low budget camerawork. A heart-rending combination of acting, writing and directing, A Separation is a perfectly made movie, one that film fans need to seek out any way they can.

The upper middle class family A Separation examines consists of Nader, his wife Simin and their eleven year old daughter, Termeh. When Simin moves back in with her parents, leaving the exceptionally bright Termeh with her father, Nader hires a devout woman to care for his ailing father. This leads to a series of circumstances and little lies that escalate beyond anybody’s expectation. The film has a number of fascinating themes running through it, all dealt with honesty and emotional integrity. From the white lies one tells to keep a family together to the minor deceits inherent in keeping your ego intact, the film creates tension from insight, not plot contrivance. This is a personal film at the core and the effects are immediately palpable.

The film also benefits from having one of the best casts you’ll see this year. From the stern nature of Nader (Peyman Moaadi) to the emotionally torn Simin (Leila Hatami), the entire cast is perfectly pitched, creating relatable characters that are easy to root for. Most impressive, however, is the work of Sarina Farhadi as young Termeh. Vulnerable yet wise beyond her years, Farhadi pushes herself to the limit in her performance, creating a sad little center the rest of the cast storms around. The movie is also bolstered by an Oscar nominated screenplay that never wastes a line of dialogue or a second of screen time in telling the story.

When the Oscars roll around, most people go to the bathroom during the Foreign Language awards. These films rarely get to American theaters before the ceremony and the ones that do are relegated to limited release. Two years ago, it was The Secret In Her Eyes, last year it was In A Better World and this year it’s going to be A Separation. Shame too, as most audiences never get a chance to see these remarkable movies unless they hear the winners over the flush of a toilet and think to throw it on the Netflix queue. The sad thing is that A Separation is not only the best foreign language film released this year, it happens to be my second favorite film of 2011, bar none. A wonderfully made film that examines the little lies and deceptions inherent in the unnatural tearing of a relationship, A Separation is a triumph of international filmmaking.

Score - 9.5 out of 10

Edited by Bulletproof
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New Movie Review

A Separation

Score - 9.5 out of 10

Good review of one of the best films of the year! And kudos to the Academy for the nomination for best screenplay!

Saw The Artist the other day and loved it! I was convinced Hugo would be my favorite film of the year, but The Artist is really making it difficult for me.

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Good review of one of the best films of the year! And kudos to the Academy for the nomination for best screenplay!

Saw The Artist the other day and loved it! I was convinced Hugo would be my favorite film of the year, but The Artist is really making it difficult for me.

Seeing The Artist in exactly two and half hours! Not sure if I'll get around to reviewing it, but my Oscar Picks and Preview should be done by Tuesday. Will it leapfrog over Hugo as my pick for Best Picture? We will see!

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The 2012 Oscar Nominations and Picks

The holidays have passed, our waistlines have rebounded and the prestige season is in full swing. This year’s Oscar nominations run the gambit from surprising to expected, making this a much more difficult ceremony to pick than last year. But first, here are the particulars:

When – February 26th, 7:00 EST on ABC

Where – The Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California

Hosting – After Eddie Murphy stepped down due to a gay slur scandal involving former producer Brett Ratner, Billy Crystal returns as the sole host of the ceremony. This will be his ninth Oscars, a safe bet from producer Brian Grazer. Will his hosting be classic comedy or the same old thing? My guess is the same old thing.

Category Changes – The Best Picture nominees can now range anywhere from 5 to 10. In the past two years, the board named 10 Best Picture noms, a few of them questionable. The board now reserves the right to only pick films they feel deserve the recognition without having to “round out” the number. Also, the Best Animated Feature category is now permanent. In the past, the board could decide to not include the category based on merit but it’s now an every year fixture. There were also eligibility changes made to Best Documentary Feature and Best Visual Effects.

NOTE: Of all of the big ticket films nominated, I have not seen The Iron Lady or Albert Nobbs. I’ll be seeing at least one of these before the ceremony and if I comment on them, it will be based on buzz and hearsay only. If my opinion changes after my viewing, I’ll update the guide. Also, I will not be picking any of the Short Film categories nor the Documentary categories, as I didn’t get a chance to see any of the nominees.

And The Nominees Are…

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2


Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

My Take : While I’ve only seen Hugo and Rise out of the nominees, this is one you can pick from the trailers. Real Steel and that Michael Bay abomination may have the eye candy edge, but Hugo and Harry Potter told compelling stories with their computer aided wizardry. That said, Rise of the Planet of the Apes elevated the art form, creating emotionally connected characters with the flick of a computer switch and should get the Oscar.

Who Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Who Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Film Editing

The Artist – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants – Kevin Tent

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker

Moneyball – Christopher Tellefsen

My Take : All of these films feature fine editing, but my pick always goes to the one that relies on it the heaviest to tell the story. This year’s crop doesn’t have the flash of The Social Network or Black Swan from last year, but still features some fine films with subtle work on the Steenbeck. As if people still used Steenbecks. All good nominees, my pick has to go to Hugo as the editing was just as important as the cinematography in telling the tale.

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: Hugo

Best Costume Design

Anonymous – Lisy Christl

The Artist – Mark Bridges

Hugo – Sandy Powell

Jane Eyre – Michael O'Connor

W.E. – Arianne Phillips

My Take : Right off the bat, knock Anonymous and W.E. off the list. The day I pick either a Roland Emerich or Madonna directed film to win an Oscar, is the day I get my head examined. My rule of thumb for this category is to go with either the period piece or the wacky fantasy. Hugo will just miss the mark, making the battle between The Artist and Jane Eyre. While I think Jane Eyre deserves it over the French silent film, I’m thinking The Artist will win out, simply because it has more buzz behind it.

Who Should Win: Jane Eyre

Who Will Win: The Artist

Best Makeup

Albert Nobbs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The Iron Lady

My Take : OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one. A crossdresser, a wizard and Margaret Thatcher walk into a bar… This is a close one, but I’m going to pick Glenn Close’s remarkable transformation in Albert Nobbs to just beat out Streep’s take on the British Prime Minister. So why do I think the Academy will pick Streep? For one thing, she’s an Academy darling, at least where nominations are concerned, and I doubt she’s going to win Best Actress, making this a consolation prize.

Who Should Win: Albert Nobbs

Who Will Win: The Iron Lady

Best Cinematography

The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Jeff Cronenweth

Hugo – Robert Richardson

The Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse – Janusz Kamiński

One of the tougher categories to pick this year, every film on the list would be a fine choice. From Kaminski’s sweeping work in War Horse to the inky black and whites of The Artist, every film on this list is more than deserving. Girl was filmed with standard Fincher perfection and Tree had some moments as well, but I think it’s a three pronged race between fantasy 3D (Hugo), stunning use of lighting (The Artist) and postcard perfect sunsets (War Horse). Horse was great, Artist was excellent but only one film turned a technological gimmick into a genuine art form.

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: Hugo

Best Art Direction

The Artist – Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan

Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris – Anne Seibel and Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse – Rick Carter and Lee Sandales

My Take : Typically, Best Art Direction goes to the film that features the most imaginative visual eye of the films released this year. Based on previous winners, I’m thinking it’s going to be between Hugo and Harry Potter for this very nebulous award

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Best Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Bo Persson

Hugo – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Moneyball – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, and Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Peter J. Devlin

War Horse – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, and Stuart Wilson

My Take : One of those categories that you can throw in the air and see what lands first, I’m guessing a dark cyber sleuth, a general manager and a horse isn’t going to beat out fighting robots. All that clanking must have sounded brilliant in the theaters.

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

Best Sound Editing

Drive – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Ren Klyce

Hugo – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

War Horse – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

My Take : While you can make a case for Drive, given the best thing about the flick was the soundtrack, Sound Mixing and Editing go hand in hand, so I’m duplicating my picks from that award.

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

Best Original Score

The Adventures of Tintin – John Williams

The Artist – Ludovic Bource

Hugo – Howard Shore

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Alberto Iglesias

War Horse – John Williams

My Take : No Trent Reznor for Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Sham, I say! In all seriousness, while every nominee featured a stirring soundtrack, The Artist wins this easily. The score not only set the time, place and mood, was instrumental in pushing the emotional weight. With no spoken dialogue, the score had to do double duty and pulled off the trick beautifully.

Who Should Win: The Artist

Who Will Win: The Artist

Best Foreign Language Film

Bullhead (Belgium) in Dutch and French – Michaël R. Roskam

Footnote (Israel) in Hebrew – Joseph Cedar

In Darkness (Poland) in Polish – Agnieszka Holland

Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) in French – Philippe Falardeau

A Separation (Iran) in Persian – Asghar Farhadi

My Take : If you follow my reviews with any regularity, you know how I feel about this next category. While I’ve only seen A Separation out of the films nominated, I think it’s a safe bet to pick my number 2 favorite film of the year to win Best Foreign. Based on buzz alone, I feel fairly confident of this pick.

Who Should Win: A Separation

Who Will Win: A Separation

Best Animated Feature Film

A Cat in Paris – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

Chico and Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Puss in Boots – Chris Miller

Rango – Gore Verbinski

My Take : Last year, Toy Story 3 was the clear cut winner. This year, not so simple. Given the popularity of the film they chose last year, I have a feeling the Academy will surprise us with an obscure pick like Chico and Rita or A Cat in Paris. Still, The Adventures of Tin Tin won the Golden Globe and it wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar, so I don’t know what to believe. My pick balanced the line between entertainment and emotion nicely, creating a film that adults and kids could equally enjoy. The Academy? Who knows what they’re thinking.

Who Should Win: Rango

Who Will Win: A Cat in Paris

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash from The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Hugo – John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau Willimon

Moneyball – Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

My Take : Now to the exciting ones! There aren’t many duds in this category, so I’ll take them one at a time. Didn’t see Ides or Tinker, so I can’t comment on them but I can’t imagine them topping Moneyball, Hugo or The Descendants in the screenwriting department, despite critics finding them both taught and gripping. While Aaron Sorkin’s Moneyball is a definite frontrunner for me, the script didn’t have quite the “oomph” of Hugo or The Descendants. Hugo was beautifully written but the drive of the story was achieved largely to the cinematography, making The Descendants my choice. Hugo is wonderfully written but Alexander Payne’s feature lives and dies solely on the strength of the story. A close one, but The Descendants is my pick.

Who Should Win: The Descendants

Who Will Win: The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo

Margin Call – J.C. Chandor

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

A Separation – Asghar Farhadi

My Take : Ahhhh…isn’t it nice to see Bridesmaids up for an Oscar? Hands down the funniest movie I saw all of last year, Bridesmaids certainly deserves to be in this category. Doesn’t mean it’s going to win though. To me, The Artist, Midnight in Paris and A Separation are all deserving choices, but I can’t give the award to a film made up entirely of title cards, amazing as it was. For me, this is another close one but the Academy and I are going to differ. My pick goes to the most intensely simple film I saw this year, and the Academy is going to side with the Globes and give it to the lovely Midnight In Paris. Either way, I’ll be perfectly OK with it.

Who Should Win: A Separation

Who Will Win: Midnight In Paris

Best Supporting Actress

Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy Miller

Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote

Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan Price

Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page

Octavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson

My Take : And now it’s time for the majors, the categories we slog through the entire ceremony to see. This year’s crop of nominees are all well deserving, including another feel good nod to Melissa McCarthy for her turn as the grotesquely hilarious Megan in Bridesmaids. Once again, she won’t see the podium as she is in tough company. Also, good for Jessica Chastain, who was in almost everything this year, for getting a nom for her role in The Help. Kudos to her, but it’s going to be between the radiant Berenice Bejo as the pluckly Peppy Miller from The Artist and Octavia Spencer for her career defining role in The Help. Bejo was great but, quite simply, Spencer was the better actress and if her snagging of both the Golden Globe and the SAG award means anything, she’s going to walk away with the Oscar as well.

Who Should Win: Octavia Davis

Who Will Win: Octavia Davis

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier

Jonah Hill – Moneyball as Peter Brand

Nick Nolte – Warrior as Paddy Conlon

Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields

Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as The Renter

My Take : Probably the easiest to pick of the majors, the big story of this category is the snubbing of Albert Brooks in Drive. Although many critics were taken in by his performance, I simply didn’t get it and for once, I feel the Academy got it right. As far as the nominees go, I didn’t see Daldry’s Extremely Loud or Warrior but I can’t see either film walking away with it, based on reviews alone. Jonah Hill was fine but not spectacular as the number crunching whiz kid in Moneyball and Branagh was good but not brilliant as Sir Laurence Oliver in My Week With Marilyn. This leaves the great Christopher Plummer walking away with his third award in as many ceremonies for his heart warming turn as a newly admitted gay man loving life in his elder years. Beginners was one of my Top 10 movies of the year and I’m very glad to see Plummer get some much deserved recognition for the role.

Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer

Best Actress

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis – The Help as Aibileen Clark

Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander

Meryl Streep[ – The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher

Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe

My Take : It seems like I’m saying this a lot, but you could make a strong case for nearly every nominee in this category. While I’ve yet to see either Close or Streep in their respective roles, Mara was a revelation as the hard as nails Lisbeth in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Williams was marvelous as America’s Sweetheart in My Week With Marilyn. Despite that, nobody touched Viola Davis when it came to pure acting brilliance in her turn as Aibileen in Tate Taylor’s The Help. Streep won the Globe and Davis won the SAG but while I could see the Academy giving Streep the nod as more of a “lifetime achievement” than anything else, I think the right woman will win out in the end. Nuanced, brave and heartbreaking, Davis cemented her already impeccable reputation in the role and more than deserves to walk home with the trophy.

Who Should Win: Viola Davis

Who Will Win: Viola Davis

Best Actor

Demián Bichir – A Better Life as Carlos Galindo

George Clooney – The Descendants as Matt King

Jean Dujardin – The Artist as George Valentin

Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley

Brad Pitt – Moneyball as Billy Beane

My Take : Another category that didn’t include a Drive nomination, the Best Actor slate boils down to a two horse race between George Clooney as a Hawaiian father trying to keep it all together and Jean Dujardin as a silent film actor avoiding the talkies. No offense to Brad Pitt, who was nicely restrained as Moneyball’s Billy Beane or Gary Oldman as a retired British intelligence agent, but the close race deserves to go the former ER star. Although Dujardin was wonderful in the role, his performance bordered on kitschy given the 1930’s setting, creating a feeling that touched on parody, not personality. Clooney, on the other hand, hit a height I didn’t think he ever would in The Descendants and while I didn’t think as highly on it when I saw it in theaters, it really is one of the best performances of the year. When all is said and done, the race is a nail biting one but I think Dujardin will win it despite Clooney deserving it.

Who Should Win: George Clooney

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin

Best Director

Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Alexander Payne – The Descendants

Martin Scorsese – Hugo

My Take : Terrance Malik’s laborious Tree of Life aside, you could make a strong case for every one of the nominees for Best Director. To me, the award should go to the director whose vision influenced the film in the most positive way. From getting the best out of actors, to shot selection, to the physical telling of a story, the director is the helmsman behind the great ship called film. Without a strong director steering the vessel, the movie is bound to run aground. This year’s nominees all had a singular vision in bringing their respective films to life but one director not only elevated a simple fairy tale about a boy and his robot to classic status, he elevated an entire genre. Sometimes directing is pure magic and in case of Scorsese’s Hugo, the rabbit he pulled out of his hat was the most beautiful one of the year.

Who Should Win: Martin Scorsese

Who Will Win: Martin Scorsese

Best Picture

The Artist – Thomas Langmann

The Descendants – Jim Burke, Jim Taylor, and Alexander Payne

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin

The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan

Hugo – Graham King and Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum

Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachel Horowitz, and Brad Pitt

The Tree of Life – Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, and Bill Pohlad

War Horse – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

My Take : And now for the big one, the mother of all film awards, Best Picture. This year, nine films have been given the nod and with exception of a couple, they all deserve it in one way or another. Like most years, the laundry list of nominees can be whittled down to three and this year, it’s between The Help, Hugo and The Artist. Will it be the comically tragic story of a group of Southern maids rising up against 60’s era oppression? Will it be the fairy tale about a boy, his friend and a broken down robot that holds the secret to not only his past, but the past of all cinema? Or will it be the movie about a silent film movie actor who deals with loss of his craft, his career and his very way of life. Every movie on the list, even the ones that don’t stand a chance, have something special in them, something that captures the mind, stirs the soul and snares our imaginations. If you’ve heard me speak even three sentences this year, you know my pick for Best Picture but while I think the Academy will go a different direction, don’t think I feel the movie isn’t deserving of the honor. And the winner is….

Who Should Win: Hugo

Who Will Win: The Artist

Edited by Bulletproof
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Who Should Win: Albert Nobbs

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep's winning Oscars for makeup work now?


That woman never ceases to amaze me...

Edited by NJCroMag
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  • 2 weeks later...

Look what just popped on Netflix Streaming :boogie: :boogie: ( and it's distributed by Walt Disney WTF??)


Shame it's netflix didn't put the first one for streaming too, but that's not a major problem since "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within "has a pretty closed history that doesn't depend entirely on the on it's prequel "Enemy Squad". This in my opnion is the best Brazilian movies in the past 25 years "City of God " isn't in the same league .

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Bulletproof!

Howdy! Feel weird, as I haven't been posting naything in here for easily months. Still doing reviews, but I've been taking a break due to my podcast and fiction writing. Haven't seen mnay movies in theaters, though, as there's nothing good out, even in the indie sphere. My girlfriend has mentoined seeing Thre Stooges, so I may see that. If it stinks, at least it's a bad review I can write!

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Guest BelieveinBrodeur

Howdy! Feel weird, as I haven't been posting naything in here for easily months. Still doing reviews, but I've been taking a break due to my podcast and fiction writing. Haven't seen mnay movies in theaters, though, as there's nothing good out, even in the indie sphere. My girlfriend has mentoined seeing Thre Stooges, so I may see that. If it stinks, at least it's a bad review I can write!

Do the review on the controversial Kate Upton's Nun Bikini crap or whatever!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw the avengers yesterday and really enjoyed it.

There are some incredibly funny moments in that movie, and some excellent comic timing, but the action in it is also really good.

For a movie that is 2 hours and 22 minutes long it flew by.

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