11 February 2008

46. the treasure of sierra madre

it is about greed, which is the oldest theme in the book. what can movie do to men's souls? ask daniel plainview from "there will be blood" and he'll tell you -- first he'll talk about milkshakes, but then he'll tell you. and then, with a bowling pin, he'll show you.

i mention that movie because this one was a clear inspiration for this. we get that great old hollywood economy -- a foreign setting sets up our (anti-)hero and we watch him hatch a plot to get out of his destitute ways, and then we see the inevitable downfall from his subsequent strife, paranoia, and overreaching.

this is something we've seen before and we'll see again, and probably that is The Way It Should Be. it is a good thing to be reminded that the search for more money and more money and ever more money is a fool's quest. so we've seen this, but as always, the details are what counts. in this case, the details involve walter huston's wonderful play on The Old Prospector character -- his husckster-style speech patterns, the knowingness in his eyes, that wonderful little jig he dances. he earned that oscar. and let's mention bogart, who is known more as an icon than an actual Actor, but who plays a corrupt madman so well, and with such an admirable lack of vanity.

this is a movie that is done so well that you remember moments ("we don't need no stinking badges!", bogart's soliloquy after the murder, the aforementioned jig) and the outline, but it mostly just glides right over you.

Eastern College teaser trailer

Remember that feature film I wrote and directed that I mentioned before? I made a trailer for it which is now online:

02 February 2008

more oscar stuff

here's my usual thing:

1. Best Picture: "Atonement," "Juno," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood."

will win: no country for old men
should win: ??? i have no idea. this was such a good year for movies that it is hard to pick. "no country" really is a fine choice. i don't think "atonement" belongs up here, though.

2. Actor: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"; Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"; Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"; Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"; Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises."

will win: daniel day lewis
should win: daniel day lewis

3. Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"; Julie Christie, "Away From Her"; Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"; Laura Linney, "The Savages"; Ellen Page, "Juno."

will win: julie christie
should win: julie christie

4. Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"; Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"; Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton."

will win: javier bardem
should win: hal holbrook for being the best thing about that movie. javier bardem deserves it too, though, and it will be fine to see him get it.

5. Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"; Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"; Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"; Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"; Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton."

will win: tilda swinton. MAYBE amy ryan.
should win: tilda swinton. this is a weak category this year.

6. Director: Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Jason Reitman, "Juno"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"; Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood."

will win: the coens
should win: pta, just because i love him. cool to see reitman on the list too. tony gilroy doesn't deserve it, though.

7. Foreign Film: "Beaufort," Israel; "The Counterfeiters," Austria; "Katyn," Poland; "Mongol," Kazakhstan; "12," Russia.


8. Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"; Sarah Polley, "Away from Her"; Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"; Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood."

will win: coens
should win: coens. again, pta sympathy vote.

9. Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, "Juno"; Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, "Ratatouille"; Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages."

will win: diablo cody
should win: nancy oliver or brad bird et al.

10. Animated Feature Film: "Persepolis"; "Ratatouille"; "Surf's Up."

will win: persepolis in a big upset
should win: ratatouille

11. Art Direction: "American Gangster," "Atonement," "The Golden Compass," "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "There Will Be Blood."

will win: jack fucking fisk for TWBB
should win: jack fucking fisk

12. Cinematography: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "Atonement," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood."

will win: roger deakins for NCFOM
should win: robert elswit for either TWBB or Jesse James. atonement was pretty too.

13. Sound Mixing: "The Bourne Ultimatum," "No Country for Old Men," "Ratatouille," "3:10 to Yuma," "Transformers."

will win: NCFOM. deserved. there was no music in the movie.
should win: see above.

14. Sound Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum," "No Country for Old Men," "Ratatouille," "There Will Be Blood," "Transformers."

see above.

15. Original Score: "Atonement," Dario Marianelli; "The Kite Runner," Alberto Iglesias; "Michael Clayton," James Newton Howard; "Ratatouille," Michael Giacchino; "3:10 to Yuma," Marco Beltrami.

totally fucked that jonny greenwood isn't in this, so i don't care.

16. Original Song: "Falling Slowly" from "Once," Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova; "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; "Raise It Up" from "August Rush," Nominees to be determined; "So Close" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; "That's How You Know" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

give it to hasgard and irglova, please.

17. Costume: "Across the Universe," "Atonement," "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," "La Vie en Rose," "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

will win: atonement
should win: sweeney todd

18. Documentary Feature: "No End in Sight," "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience," "Sicko," "Taxi to the Dark Side," "War/Dance."

i only saw "sicko", which i thought was pretty great.

19. Documentary (short subject): "Freeheld," "La Corona (The Crown)," "Salim Baba," "Sari's Mother."


20. Film Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Into the Wild," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood."

will win: roderick jaynes for NCFOM. coens "accept on his behalf".
should win: dylan tichenor for TWBB

21. Makeup: "La Vie en Rose," "Norbit," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

norbit wins!

22. Animated Short Film: "I Met the Walrus," "Madame Tutli-Putli," "Meme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)," "My Love (Moya Lyubov)," "Peter & the Wolf."


23. Live Action Short Film: "At Night," "Il Supplente (The Substitute)," "Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)," "Tanghi Argentini," "The Tonto Woman."


24. Visual Effects: "The Golden Compass," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Transformers."

fuck transformers

76. raging bull

another boxing movie? i thought i just watched "rocky"...

this movie makes me feel similar to how i feel when i watch a hitchcock picture for this list: they are necessarily well-written (since picking appropriate material is part of a good director's job), but the writing isn't what you focus on. what you focus on is the power of these directors in bringing a very specific story to the screen, and the filmmaking prowess displayed in doing so.

in this particular case, we marvel at scorsese's recreation of the 1940s-1960s. he gets the details right -- the cut of the suits, the period cars, the effect a good had on the audience as well as the communities that surrounded the fighter. scorsese controls the mise-en-scene so well that we are enveloped in those worlds of little italy and later, old miami, and it seems effortless when it is anything but.

scorsese is also brilliant in his use of POV and slow motion to show la motta's thoughts. the movie's main theme is how consuming sexual jealous -- and by extension, any obsession -- can be, and he extends the filmmaker's palette by using slow-motion with regular speed dialogue to allow us into la motta's warped world of assuming everyone is fucking his wife. and that includes his brother, in an infamous exchange.

scorsese is at the top of his game, but what can we say about de niro? i've said before the scorsese is never thought of as an actor's director even though he most certainly is, and he gives his friend de niro free reign to create a monster. so much has been written about this performance and the remarkable physical changes de niro made to bring la motta to life, but i am always so excited and awed when an actor can create a character who would otherwise be considered dispicable and make us empathize with him. other recent examples of this are phil hoffman in "capote" and daniel day lewis as daniel plainview in "there will be blood", and they are all oscar winners for a reason.

can you say bad things about such an iconic movie? sure you can. here's my gripe: jake is a bit of a broken record as written. we empathize with him only because of de niro's performance -- his charisma and technicality in create a full person instead of a caricature of another italian misogynist. paul schrader et al. are lucky scorsese knew how to cast correctly.