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2012 Academy Award Nominations!

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

And away we go…

BEST PICTURE
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Moneyball”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

BEST DIRECTOR
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michael Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
Demien Bechir – “A Better Life”
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen
“A Separation” by Asghar Farhadi

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” by John Logan
“The Ides of March” by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

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 Kaminski

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” – Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” – Christopher Tellefsen

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Midnight in Paris” – Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
“War Horse” – Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Anonymous” – Lisy Christl
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“W.E.” – Arianne Phillips

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, Dave 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

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

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo” – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Real Steel” – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

BEST MAKEUP
“Albert Nobbs” – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Iron Lady” – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

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

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” – Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” – Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
“Pentecost” – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
“Raju” – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
“The Shore” – Terry George and Oorlagh George
“Time Freak” – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
“Tuba Atlantic” – Hallvar Witzø

BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION
“Dimanche/Sunday” – Patrick Doyon
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“La Luna” – Enrico Casarosa
“A Morning Stroll” – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Wild Life” – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
“God Is the Bigger Elvis” – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
“Incident in New Baghdad” – James Spione
“Saving Face” – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

There you have it, folks. My fiery reactions to come shortly, after I blow off some steam.

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“Robin Hood” Review

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been a long time devoted fan of Ridley Scott, and after viewing one of his most recent films “American Gangster,” I thought that he was up among the likes of Martin Scorsese as being one of the best depicters of violence, its causes and consequences, in American cinema, maybe the best, as well as just being an all-around cinematic visionary. After viewing his latest, the adaptation of the old Robin Hood fantasy, it’s my humble opinion that he needs to reevaluate his craft.

Everyone knows the story of “Robin Hood,” even if the gist of many people’s knowledge comes from a fox in a green outfit or God forbid, Kevin Costner. A freedom fighter who resided in the woods with his merry men that steals from the richer classes of a brutal medieval king and redistributes among the poor. This telling of the famous character is actually more of a prequel, showing how the hero began his escapades. Sad to say, the backstory is just not as interesting as the tale, itself.

Russell Crowe plays the title character, obviously, and tries his absolute damnedest not make it appear that he’s playing General Maximus all over again, though has a tough time succeeding. I’ll tell you that if Crowe’s character in this had a fraction of the amount of depth or inner angst as that which he portrayed in “Gladiator” (and won an Oscar for), his performance might have blossomed more. The other roles, however, are filled quite well. Scott Grimes and William Hurt shine as Will Scarlet and Marshall Bell. Kevin Durand, who almost always finds himself in the part of a villain or proverbial asshole, plays the Little John sidekick role perfectly. I would have preferred someone more attractive to play Maid Marion, but Cate Blanchett still pulls her weight in the acting department. Eileen Atkins and Mark Strong are both fantastic. Yet, while Danny Huston is superb in the role of King Richard, someone with a bit more experience and clout could have been better cast as Prince John over Oscar Isaac.

The script isn’t a terrible thing. The story is a valiant effort with a decently concocted structure. The characters, however, are really quite shallow in their quality and value. They seem to exist merely for the sake of the role they play in the story, rather than thrive in their own right. Those backstories and motives that are actually touched on are done so briefly and vaguely. Little John, Friar Tuck and Eleanor of Aquitane are all stupendous character concepts, and yet in the film, their bones are bare of much substantial story meat. This is all very disappointing for a scribe like Brian Helgeland who has produced some of the most layered and complex characters in film history in previous efforts like “Mystic River” and the incomparable “L.A. Confidential.” The story also suffers from a climax that is utterly anticlimactic and unsatisfying.

Scott has most of his usual stylists on line for this production, including cinematographer John Mathieson and editor Pietro Scalia. Sadly, Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates, whose stunning work is evident in “Gladiator,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “American Gangster,” is absent, and that absense is evident. Overall, much of the production value that I would expect of a Scott film is surprisingly not up to par. I miss the creative angles and gritty texture of the camerawork and the rapid fire cuts turned into rhythmically golden editing. I wanted a thunderstorm of a visual experience and got calm seas instead.

Not to be too much of a pragmatist, because this issue shouldn’t bare that much weight in the grand scheme, but the film is really lacking with a PG-13 rating. These are medieval times, when weapons were anatomically destructive enough to make a grown man cringe. When people would behead each other practically for sport. Ridley Scott simply does not perform as well when constrained, but rather superb when he is turned loose. The violent nature of Scott’s mind should be allowed to roam free and let the blood flow and thus would the story, the style and the viewer’s satisfaction.

Overall, Robin Hood is a disappointment. It’s not a bad movie by any means, but simply an average one. Scott, it appears, just didn’t take it seriously enough to really add his signature touch. It lacks the sense of grim tonality in both artistic texture and value of story. Instead, it feels like live action Disney adaptation, unwilling to delve into the more stark and foreboding aspects that could have been brought out of such a story. Hopefully Ridley will regain his touch for the upcoming “Alien” prequels or we may begin to miss his unique contributions to the world of cinema.

GRADES:           C+           * * 1/2 / * * * * *           5.4 / 10.0