Friday, December 30, 2005

NYC roadtrip aborted & A History of Violence

I was all set to go. Take rte 78 to NYC and see those final few films I need in order to complete my Top 10 List for the year - Cache, Match Point, L'Intrus. It was early morning - sun barely peeking through the clouded horizon - and I had New York New York strumming through my head. And then it hit. The signs said road construction ahead / expect delays. I was mildly frustrated with knowing I would have to wait, but I had plenty of time - didn't I? Well, after about an hour sitting (not moving but a few feet every seven minutes or so) I get to the place where I first read the ROAD CLOSED sign. What the fuck!!!? I have already wasted an hour, and now I am told there would probably be a second hour to get through the detour. Goddammit !!! They couldn't have mentioned this earlier? Well, after speeding through some bumfuck town called Hamburg Pa, I headed home in despair.

But wait, things may look up suddenly. There is a press screening of Match Point on Tuesday (the third) in Philadelphia (where hopefully no roads will be closed) and next Thursday (when I will take a different route to NY), not only will I be able to see Cache and L'Intrus, but also the six hour Italian film, Best of Youth (making a one-week only reprise at Cinema Village, the first place I ever saw a film in NY). It actually looks as if it will be better to go next Thursday (the fifth) than it would have been today. Sure, my Best of 2005 article will need to be postponed (from the first to the sixth), but that's not too bad, is it? I will still be able to send it to Engin's site in time. All is well in filmland...

As for other end-of-year news: The Village Voice's annual poll - Take 7 - is out and A History of Violence is the big winner (by the largest margin in Voice Poll history - which wd be seven years btw). Maybe next year I will be invited to participate - since they ignored my request this year!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The end-of-the-year is approaching fast !!

Time-willing (and there better be dammit!!), I will catch Haneke's Cache, Denis' L'Intrus and Woody's Match Point all this week, and then I can complete my Top 10 of 2005 list, although I will still be missing Innocence, Best of Youth and Weeping Meadow (all of which could obstensibly make it in) - none of which I will see until January (on dvd) - which means they may still become part of my Cinematheque Awards (nominations announced on Jan 23rd). Other than that, new reviews will be posted soon on my site: Munich, Memoirs of A Geisha and my agonized-over review for The New World - also look for reviews of films finally caught on dvd: Kings & Queen, Last Days, Palindromes and Mysterious Skin. Happy New Year (a little early)...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wait til you hear this one...

I went to see Munich tonight, but that is not what I want to talk about right now. I shall leave that for tomorrow, when I reveal my review for it (which *hint*hint* will not be overly flattering). What I want to talk about right now is concerning one of the trailers that came with the film. The topic is anciet Mexico and the Aztecs, and something to do with a solar eclipse and the end of the world. The director is Mel Gibson (I can hear you gasping from here)...and here comes the best part...the name of this movie is...are U ready?...good...the name is APOCALYPTO. Wasn't that Superman's goldfish's name? Apocalypto?!?? Just by name alone this film should already be a laughing stock. I'm thinking The Postman, Water World, Battlefield Earth. There is a massochistic streak in me that is going to force me to rush to see it this coming Summer, so I'll let you know then. As for now...Happy Kwanzaa...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All...

If I haven't said it before...Happy X-Mas (Holidays, Christmukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, whatever). Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. My grandma is doing better and the holidays march on.

I'll be back (after a short one day hiatus) with reviews of The New World, The Producers, Munich, Memoirs of A Geisha, The Family Stone and Rumor Has It. I am also going to do some shuffling in my Oscar Predix for next week, as well as revealing the first "Countdown to The Cinematheque Awards" (not going to explain right now, but you'll soon see). Best and Worst film moments will also be revealed next week, but for right now, I have a Christmas Eve Party to get ready for, so...

Doll Doll...

Doll Doll, my wonderful Grandma, lies in the hospital tonight, just having emergency surgery. The doctors don't know how she will come out of it. Ever since my Grandfather (Pa Pa) died in 1978, Doll Doll has been saying "This is my last Christmas" - for twenty seven years now - but no one ever takes her seriously. We all know she'll be here another Christmas. Whatever happens this time, whether she makes it or whether she joins Pa Pa (which would make her happy I am sure), I know that I'll miss her - we all will. Although I am an ordained minister (no really, I am) and have studied world religions for years now (again, really) I have never been that astute of a believer, but I am praying tonight. I just hope she makes it and I am praying for her always. I love you Doll Doll...

100 (er...20) Greatest Christmas Songs

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love and adore Christmas time, and in keeping with that, I now present to you (my loyal readers and true believers), another list (oh I love them so).


1. White Christmas (Bing Crosby)
2. Christmas Canon (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
3. Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy (Crosby & Bowie)
4. Sleigh Ride (any version you want..they're all great)
5. Snoopy's Christmas (Royal Guardsmen)
6. Happy X-Mas (War is Over) (John & Yoko)
7. Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)
8. Charlie Brown Christmas (Vince Guaraldi Orchestra)
9. The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland)
11. Frosty the Snowman (Jimmy Durante)
12. Pretty Paper (Roy Orbison)
13. Father Christmas (Greg Lake)
14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Gene Autry)
15. Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)
16. Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt or Madonna)
17. Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)
18. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Paul Anka)
19. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Dean Martin)
20. Iz Zat You Santy Claus? (Louis Armstrong)

There are many other fun songs, but I think I'll stop there, although that means leaving off Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Squier, The Pretenders, Harry Connick Jr, Bruce Springsteen, The Ronettes, Beach Boys, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Wham, The Jackson 5, Jimmy Buffet, Al Martino, Brenda Lee, Neil Diamond, Bob Goulet, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Helms, U2, The Carpenters, Manheim Steamroller, David Foster, Perry Como, Band Aid, Frank Sinatra and of course Mr Christmas himself, Andy Williams.

Also one more song: Adam Sandler's The Hanukkah Song - I usually cringe at the thought of Sandler, but I can't help liking this one...and of course there's also the Muppets (along with Mr. John Denver) doing the 12 Days of Christmas (bah bah bum!!).

Well that's it for now - Have a Happy Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Holiday/Whatever...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Top 10's Galore !!!

Just a brief note before I lumber off to slumber...A (mightily vast) collection of the Critic's Top 10 Lists is being tabulated at Engin. Go there and see which films are the most critically acclaimed of 2005. As for my Best of 2005...that will be coming on January First...meanwhile, check out my reviews (just published) of Syriana, King Kong and Capote.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Oscar Talk V: Best Director & Best Picture

If the Globes proved one thing, it was the fact that even Spielberg is vulnerable. Even though I think he will still be up for Best Picture and Best Director, something as slight as a PGA (Jan 4) snub could easily eliminate Munich for good. The sure things still are Brokeback Mountain and Good Night, and Good Luck. - although if the right-wingers take hold, it could kill BBM's chances or make it even more likely - who knows. Clooney though, is probably the Best Director Winner over Ang Lee. Has a prominant actor-turned Director ever been nominated and not won?? As far as I can think, the answer is no (and Sofia Coppola was never a big time actor first btw).

Another strong candiadte for BP is Walk the Line, although I don't think its director, James Mangold is going to be there come Oscar Nom Morn. There is - more often than not - an odd man out director - one that doesn't match up with a corrosponding BP. This year I think it's Mangold left out and Woody Allen put in. There is also the possibility of Fernando Meirselles (Constant Gardener) and/or David Cronenberg (Violence), but it will probably be Woody. Although he only has two Best Pic nods (Annie Hall and Hannah) he has been up for Director five times (add Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes & Misdemeanors and Bullets over Broadway). He is the strongest candiadte to get a nomination WITHOUT a BP nod - although we certainly cannot count Match Point out yet.

The other big film - big Big BIg BIG - film is Peter Jackson's King Kong. Although not to the level of LOTR, Kong does have the big box office behind it, and in a year that was known as a BO fiasco - this could help tremendously. There is, of course, the possibility of Crash finding its way into the Top 5, but personally I am rooting for The New World. I'm afraid this film is going to go nearly completely unnoticed in this awards season, and that would be a shame. Let's just hope Cinderella Man - with all its talk of coming back - is finally dead in the water.

Picture: Brokeback, Good Night, Munich, Walk the Line & Kong.
Director: Clooney, Lee, Spielberg, Allen & Jackson.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Top Tenners are upon us

That time of the cinematic year is nearly upon us. The time when all the critics begin to name their Top 10 Lists. Okay, some of them have already been announced, but there are a lot more to come over the next three weeks or so. As for my own lists - I've upped the "release" date for my Best and Worst Lists. I will announce my Worst of 2005 on December 31st and then, on the following day - January 1st by the way - I will announce my Best of 2005. Of course, if you are a regular to my site, then you will already know of my annual rankings page, and in due course know which films I will be listing on by Best of 2005 page, but there are a handful of films I still need to see before finishing my lists, and there will be "never-before-read" commentary - that's mighty exciting isn't it!?.

As for other lists - there is a great annual sight that compiles upwards of 250 Top 10 Lists each and every year (since 2001). It is called Geninn, and it will most likely begin its round-up within the next week (in fact, I was just on there and it appears as if brewings are a brewin'). Another place to find Top 10 Lists is over at Nathaniel R.'s Film Experience. This list is comprised solely of on-line critics. I should be sending my list to both sights on New Year's Day. I'll list one Top 10 List here (actually two), but leave those others to compile the master list. Check out Nick Schager and Ed Gonzalez from Slant Magazine.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My predictive abilities seem to be waning !!

As pertaining to my recent debacle at correctly predicting the winners of the three major critics orgs (LA, NY & NBR), I want to make a brief statement:

I SUCK !!!!!!!!!!

I went a miserably pathetic 8 for 42 in the three races (as opposed to 17 for 41 last year - which was still below 50% - 41% to be exact - but better nonetheless). My percentage this year: 19%. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

I went 71% and 75% in my Globe and Oscar predix, respectively, so hopefully those won't drop this year. And speaking of which, my Oscar Prediction Pages are - right now, as we speak - being updated (I have seven seperate windows open on my PC right now) and they should be comepletely updated by the end of this weekend, since I am about to leave the cyber world for the In-Laws' X-mas Party. The next updates will most likely come sometime between X-mas and New Year's Day.

Oscar Talk IV: Best Actress

There have really only been two sure things in this year's Best Actress race - Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line and Dame Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents, but it's lovely Reese that is taking the critics awards by storm, the way Imelda Staunton did last year before she won the wait, that's right, she didn't win, did she??? I guess what I'm saying is do not be decieved by early frontrunners, although I think Reese will weather any storm this year. She is at that perfectly ripe age for first time Oscar winners.

But let's not forget about Felicity Huffman in Transamerica. She changes her look and her sex (sort of) to play this part - although it may not be as dramatic as Theron changed when she won her "HIGHLY OVERRATED AND UNDESERVED" Oscar, but remeber what happened to Helen Hunt after she won an Emmy and then starred in a dramedy back in 1997...hmm.

This is where it gets a little more difficult to predict. Keira Knightly (Pride & Prejudice), Charlize Theron (North Country) and Ziyi Zhang all have good shots at the other two spots, but how many young beautiful actresses can we fit in one category - okay, a lot I suppose. But what about Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger? Early word had her in, but a Globe snub definately hurts those chances, and it may be enough for someone else to take her spot.

And then you have the dark horses. Naomi Watts in king Kong, has a shot only because I think the film is going to score a lot bigger than most give it credit for. It may not be LOTR, but it is a strong box officer in a year of slagging receipts, so it could be up for the big prize, which might allow Watts to slide in with it, and considering Witherspoon is the only other possibility from one othe BP contenders...

There is also the fifteen year old scene stealer from Terrence Malick's A New World - Q'orianka Kilcher. It may only be wishful thinking, since the film is flying so far under the radar, but what about Keisha Castle Hughes and Catalina Sandino Moreno? Good news on her behalf is the cover story on this weekend's USA Today. Laura Linney is another possible dark horse (although there may be category confusion) as is Maria Bello. Right now Bello is considered supporting, but a Globe nod for LEAD could change that - it has happened before.

Right now, I say: Witherspoon, Dame Judi, Knightly, Huffman & Allen...but here's hopin' for Q'orianka.

Oscar Talk III: Best Supporting Actor

Let's talk Best Supporting Actor. A week ago, this was the most wide open of the acting categories. Today it is down to probably seven men, vying for the top five spots.

George Clooney for Syriana seems to be the sudden frontrunner in the race. He could - in all conceivability - get three nominations this year (Director, Screenplay, Supp. Actor) as well as have one of his films up for Best Pic. The other sure things seem to be Matt Dillon for Crash and Paul Giamatti for Cinderella Man. Giamatti could realistically win too - more for snub-make-up for Sideways than for anything else.

The fourth nominee (at this point) seems to be Bob Hoskins in Mrs. Henderson Presents. I think he is on shakier ground than most do, but I do have in for now. Which leaves that ever-saught after fifth spot, which appears to be the fighting ground for William Hurt (Violence), Gyllenhaal (Brokeback) and Howard (Crash). Gyllenhaal may end up being that inevitable loser from a film that gets snubbed even though the rest of the film gets a buttload of nominations. Howard, on the other hand, if he can sneak in, could be looking at a double nomination (with his lead spot for Hustle & Flow). There is one other scenario though, since there is often a "surprise" nod come Oscar Announcement Morning. Someone who has gotten very little buzz, but comes up with a happy little wake-up call at 5:37am PST. Someone like Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider or Ethan Hawke in Training Day. This year that nod could go to Frank Langella in Good Night, and Good Luck. Getting a BP nod definately does help a supporting actor/actress.

My guesses right now: Clooney, Giamatti, Dillon, Hoskins & Hurt...but look out for Mr. Langella. Tomorrow comes Best Actress, followed by Director and Picture on Sunday.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Oscar Talk II: Best Actor

We've done Supporting Actress, now let's discuss Best Actor.

This is a race with three sure things, er...make that four sure things. Hoffman in Capote, Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Phoenix in Walk the Line and Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck. Which leaves us with one open spot and five men who could realistically grab it.

The man of the hour right now looks to be Terrence Howard, who just grabbed a (somewhat) surprising Globe nomination and has grabbed up a few precursor "breakthrough" awards. His Hustle & Flow performance could put him in the big show. The two men that could fight him off here are Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener and Jeff Daniels in The Squid & the Whale. Daniels has gotten some precursor love, but poor Ralph hasn't seen any - although his film and co-star have.

Of course we can't count out Russell Crowe. Cinderella Man seems to be down for the count (YAY - no Renee Zelwegger (sp?)), but Crowe may still sneak in on past glory alone. Then again, speaking of past glory, either Tommy Lee Jones (Three Burials) or Anthony Hopkins (Fastest Indian) could, well, probably not considering no one is going to see their films until too late, for any buzz to build. There's always the (rather slim) possibility of Cillian Murphy (Breakfast on Pluto), Viggo Mortenson (Violence) or Nathan Lane (Producers) picking up that fifth spot - but they are going to need a hell of abig push to get there. Which leaves dark horse Eric Bana in Munich. Spielberg's film was hurt with the Globe snub (although Spielberg himself was nommed) and critics reactions are all pretty lukewarm (this critic won't see it until next week), but I would loike to see this very underrated actor get his due...someday.

In the end I say: Hoffman, Phoenix, Ledger, Strathairn & Howard. Next up will be Best Supporting Actor...coming tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Oscar Talk: Best Supporting Actress

Let's talk Oscar.

Finally - after a truly long time of procrastinating - let's talk about the impact of the Golden Globes (and the critics groups) on the Oscar Race. The awardzapalooza that took place this past week (seven critics groups AND the Globes) has somewhat narrowed things down a bit - but just a bit. Let's take this category by category, shall we.

First off, Best Supporting Actress. Strangely enough this is probably the strongest category this year with about eleven actresses vying for the top five spots. And it's wide open, considering Scarlett Johansson (Match Point) is probably the only sure thing - but then again, we said that in 2003 with her Lost in Translation performance, and look what that got her - a big fat nothing on Oscar nomination morning. Actually, with her Globe nod this year, she has four Globe nominations in three years, but has yet to garner a single Oscar nod. Will this year do it for her?

Other - relatively - strong candidates are Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain, who despite a rather lackluster role to work with, will most likely ride the Brokeback wave to a nomination, and Gong Li, who may be the sole survivor of Memoirs of a Geisha's critical nosedive (a thing I predicted long ago). Another strong possibility is Maria Bello for A History of Violence, but there may be category confusion that ultimately seals her fate. Being campaigned as supporting, but garnering a lead nomination from the HFPA, Bello (or rather her studio) may decide to go lead, which actually may be for the best - and let's face it, Bello is lead here, not supporting.

As for the other two (or three if Bello goes lead) spots, they are pretty much up for grabs. More likely are Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener, Francis McDormand for North Country and Shirley Maclaine for In Her Shoes - all Globe nominees. One of these ladies may be left in the lurch unless Bello does go lead. The two actresses most hurt by their Globe snubs are Diane Keaton (Family Stone) and Uma Thurman (The Producers). Both strong contenders. Both with the wind knocked out of their sails so to speak. But then again, it is more likely to see a surprise (read: non Globe nominee) in the supporting categories than in leads - since there are ten lead actors/actresses to ultimately choose from. Another possibility - albeit a dark horse - is Catherine Keener, grabbing up a couple of crix pix (LA and Boston) but not a Globe. It's a small role without much glitz (which the academy oh so loves), but she is a former nominee, so possibilities are still there - and personally, I'm pretty confidant we will hear her name on January 30th. The final possibility is Amy Adams, whose Junebug performance has gotten raves all around and she has grabbed up three crix awards so far.

Right now, I would say the top five spots belong to Johansson, Weisz, Keener, Williams and Gong Li - with a strong chance of Maclaine sneaking in there in place of Keener or Gong Li.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm way behind, but I'm catching up...

I've updated my awards chart to include all seven critics groups that have announced winners so far. Other than that, I'll be back sometime soon (probably tomorrow night or Thursday) with the results of my - rather lame - attempt at predicting the Golden Globes (as well as the other critics groups) and all the commentary that fits about how the Oscar Race is shaping up - not to mention my Oscar Predix updates and new reviews of King Kong, Capote and Syriana. For right now...sleepy time has come.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's Catch-up Time here at The Cinematheque


Too much information...too little time...too sleeeepy...

Just back from Philadelphia (poss. the world's most depressing city, but more on that later) and I am heading back to-morrow morning for three screenings (The New World, Three Burials... and King Kong). I can't even pretend to have the time to cover all the buzz precursor awards being shelled out right. I do love that both LA and Boston named Brokeback Mountain Picture of the Year. I'll try (there is no try...I know Yoda, I know - there is do or do not) to fit commentary about all the crix pix and the Globe noms (Tues. morn) sometime this week (hopefully Tuesday night, but more realistically, Thursday afternoon). I also have to catch up on all those films I haven't seen yet - for both my Best of the Year column (and my Senses of Cinema World Poll submission) and for the 2nd Annual Cinematheque Awards (nominations being announced on January 23rd).

December releases to still catch are Match Point, Mrs. Henderson, Family Stone, Rumor Has It, Munich, Memoirs of a Geisha, Transamerica, Down to the Bone, The White Countess & The Producers. Dvd's to catch up on those films I missed earlier in the year are Mysterious Skin, 9 Songs, Gus Van Sant's Last Days, Yes, Palindromes, Up and Down, The Edukators, Happy Endings & Kings and Queen. Also Hustle & Flow (dvd on Jan 10) and Constant Gardener (dvd Jan 17). I also should check out some of those less fortunate films for inclusion in my annual Worst of the Year, such as The Honeymooners, Dukes of Hazzard, Aeon Flux, The Fantastic Four and so on.


So little many movies...sleeeeepy...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Brokeback Mt. kicks off Awards Season with a Big Bang in LA

The LAFCA Crix Pix are in, and boy did I suck at predicting what they would be. A measly 3 right out of 13 (as compared to last year's 7 for 14). And the only ones I did get right were the "lower" awards (Animation, Doc and Cinematog.). But I am glad to see Brokeback Mountian take home Best Pic and Director (even if I was wrong). I won't take up much more time here, since I am in Philly right now and will be spending so much time at screenings and other film events, that I won't have time to calculate any serious opines on the crix pix and/or my crix pix predix (I love that). Since I will probably not be back online til late Monday night (I should buy a damned laptop ya know) I will do a full round-up of the NBR, LAFCA, NYFCC, BFCA and Globes on Tuesday evening (after all have announced), as well as updating my Oscar Predix. For now, go to sleep...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Philadelphia - rah rah rah !!!

Off to the City of Brotherly Love (oddly enough the place I saw Brokeback Mountain...think about it people) for the week-end. Press screenings galore. Reviews coming - whence I return - will be King Kong, The New World, Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Capote (the last is less a screening and more a why-the-hell-haven't-I-seen-this-yet).

Friday, December 09, 2005

We didn't need words...we had faces.

The lights went down, except for a lone bulb behind the screen. The film began and a man with Viola in hand started to play from behind the movie screen. His shadow mesmorizing upon the wall behind him - illuminated by the glow of the single rudimentary bulb left on. But no matter how much his viola-shaped elongated shadow stole my eyes, they quickly averted to the screen, where the face of Maria Falconetti engorged the frame and her sublime eyes engulfed you completely.

I am - of course - talking about Carl Dreyer's 1928 masterpiece (and I cannot emphasize that word enough), La Passion de Jeanne d'arc (#2 on my personal Top 10 List). It played at Dickinson College tonight, and I trudged through the snow (on a twenty-five minute voyage from Harrisburg to Carlisle) to see this icon of silent film mastery. Also among the audience were Albert H. Muth, Cinematheque correspondent, and Caleb Smith, experimental filmmaker and originator of Moviate.

I had these grandiose ideas of writing a review/critique of the film, but thought better of it once I sat down at my desk. The film is pure visual poetry. There is nothing more I can add, save for a few fawning sentences. So I leave it at that.

The BFCA's are coming (too!!)

With all the hoopla I've been spouting concerning all the critics awards being announced in the next few days, I plum forgot about The Broadcast Film Critics association (did I say plum?). So in all fairness, here are my predictions for the BFCA's (nominations being announced this week-end):

Best Picture
The Squid & the Whale
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
King Kong
Walk the Line
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence

Best Director
George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck.
Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain
Peter Jackson for King Kong
Steven Spielberg for Munich
David Cronenberg for A History of Violence
alt: Ron Howard (Cinderella Man) or Fernando Mereilles (Constant Gardener)

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line
Ziyi Zhang in Memoirs of A Geisha
Charlize Theron in North Country
Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
Laura Linney in The Squid & the Whale
alt: Keira Knightly (Pride & Prejudice) or Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener)

Best Actor
Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck.
Jeff Daniels in The Squid & the Whale
alt: Ralph Fiennes (Constant Gardener) or Eric Bana (Munich)

I'm going to stop there (although there are a bunch more categories).

It was 25 years ago tonight...we lost a dream

I searched for lyrics that would be appropiate, yet not cliche'd. I figured his most famous song would be too obvious a choice, but then again, there is no song more beautiful than this one, so here it is.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say
I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Goodbye John...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I love the smell of awards in the morning...they smell like...victory

With awards season barrelling down on top of us - the LA and NY critics, along with the rain-delayed NBR and the Golden Globe nominations will all announce btween Saturday and tuesday - there is a new blog on the market. The NY Times has initiated its own "blog", called The Carpetbagger. It will keep up with all the awards season buzz...and speaking of buzz...
My predictions have all been posted on my site ( in case you have forgotten). They can be found on their respective pages. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, The New York Film Critics Circle, The National Board of Review and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (aka. The Golden Globes). I have also sent all my predix to - another great Oscar buzz site - and they will (hopefully) be posted there as well.

In other news: I have posted my review for The Chronicles of Narnia, which will be released in theatres tomorrow.

One final note before I go. I was curious as to who reads this blog. I know people go to my site, but considering there are no comments left here (other than a single diatribe from good friend, and Cinematheque correspondent, Albert H. Muth) I wonder if anyone out there is paying attention. I have no problem ranting on and on to myself, but it would be nice to recieve a little feedback - for good or bad - every now and again. Does that sound desperate and/or pathetic? Oh well.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Kong Lives !!!

Although I did name Peter Jackson on my year-in-advance Oscar predix, I never really thought his movie - and unless you've been living in a cave somewhere with Osama Bin Laden - I am talking about King Kong - had a chance at Best Picture, but look at that big ape now. I won't get to see the film until Monday evening, but so far I have not read one bad review on it - not one!! I may just have to change my Oscar predix to make room for the king of beasts. Updates forthcoming - as well as my review on Tuesday.

NBR postpones...

The National Board of Review have postponed the announcement of the their awards until the 12th. Here is a press release from The NBR:

"Dear Journalists, Editors, Marketing and Publicity representatives --
Due to an incomplete eligibility mailing to the National Board of Review screening committee, and in fairness to all eligible films, filmmakers and actors, the NBR is postponing its Awards announcement until Monday morning, December 12th.
In consideration of the incomplete nature of the 2005 eligibility list and with apologies, NBR screening committee members have been asked to disregard the previously sent eligibility list and to review the complete list of screened films. Each film, each director and each performer is eligible in all categories. NBR screening committee members will receive and submit new ballots considering all 2005 qualified films, directors and performers.
We are sorry for the inadvertent omissions and the delay in announcing the 2005 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards."

Which means they will announce AFTER the LA critics and on the SAME day as the NY circle. Nonetheless, my predictions are posted (as will be my LA, NY and Globe predix this week).

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Blog speaks for itself (+Brokeback Mt.)

I give you (finally - six days after seeing it) my review for Brokeback Mountain. My God is this film more beautiful and more tragic than I ever imagined it would be. My Oscar predix will be updated completely come to-morrow evening, just in time to be updated again on Wednesday, after the NBR announces their award winners. And now, I would like to say something to a friend of mine, who has been harassing me for having a blog. He said this: "Please stop immediately before you become one of those pathetic creatures strapped to your computer boring every one with senseless details of your pitiful life. You were a universe! Now to be a blog?" I say to him...(insert rude noise and/or gesture and let's just leave it at that shall we?). The fact that life is too short (unless I live forever, which so far so good) to worry about those barbs against yr soul...or some shit like that. Vive la blog!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The end of the year is upon all us Awardophiles

Today I recieved some good news (at least to me). I was invited to participate in Senses of Cinema's annual World Poll - a gleaning of the best (and worst) of the year. Now I realize that prety much everyone who has contributed to Senses gets an invite (I participated in their Top 10 polling this past issue), but it still thrilled me - especially since The Village Voice never calls me back for my query on how to get involved in their annual Take whatever poll.

Deadline for submission is December 18th, so there may be some films yet to see before the end of the year (even with press screenings), so my own Best of 2005 will most likely be an upadted version of the Senses article. My Best of will be published on my site probably right around the 7th through 9th of January - followed within a few weeks by my Second Annual Cinematheque Awards Nominations.

As for other "end-of-year" news - my NBR predix have been posted (and they can also be found on and coming soon (all by the 9th at the latest) will be my predictions for the LA Critics (announcing on the 10th), NY Critics (announcing on the 12th) and The Golden Globes (announcing nominations on the 13th - ceremony on Jan. 16th). All these prediction pages, along with my always-updating Oscar Pages, The National Society of Film Critics (announcing on Jan. 7th), The Indie Spirit Awards (ceremony on March 4th) and The Screen Actors Guild Awards (noms announced on Jan. 5th - winners on Jan. 29th) can be found on my site throughout the awards season. All other awards (and there are a Hell of a lot of them, trust me) can be seen either here and/or here - and of course (since I just looove to predict awards) you can read about my predictions here on my blog.

Once a poster, always a poster

Many folks have been claiming a distinct corelation between the new poster for (the fantastic) Brokeback Mountain and the 1997 poster for (the repulsive) Titanic. So I decided to go back and re-view the Titanic poster (but definately not the movie itself), since I pretty much blocked the movie out of my mind (easily one of the most over-rated films of all-time). And guess what? They were right dammit. Although not a dead ringer of course, there are definate similarities in the images, which actually makes me think of another film (whose poster is nowhere close to this style), The Dying Gaul, about a screenwriter who is manipulated into changing his gay love story into a straight love story so Hollywood can sell it to middle America. Will Brokeback Mountain - one of the best (and most tragic) love stories I have ever seen - play in Peoria as well as Titanic did? Most likely not. There are already right-wingers attacking it. I just hope it does make it somewhere. It is well worth the watch.

But back to the whole poster idea (I tend to fall off into tangents). This isn't the first time Hollywood has re-furbished a known image (although my other example is from a far lesser known film that Titanic - which is a ridiculous statement in its self, considering how greater a film we are talking about here). Check out the Dogville poster and then look at the poster for this year's North Country. With the Brokeback / Titanic example, there may have been some sort of attempt at subliminal marketing - who knows - but with the other example, I don't think the arthouse crowd that praised Dogville (myself included) would be the same crowd to help out North Country's box office (a mediocre film at best). Anyway, I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of any right now. If you know of any, please let me know. For now, see ya.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The NBR Predix !!

My National Board of Review predictions have been posted on The Cinematheque. They should also be posted on Oscar Watch within the next few days. That's all I have to say for right now, but before I go, I wanted to give credit to Nathaniel R. for being the inspiration for the layout of my NBR predix page - hope he doesn't mind the "sampling".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jeff Daniels and The Academy Awards !!?

The Indie Spirit noms were announced yesterday and the big player is The Squid & the Whale. I've been touting Jeff Daniels (who has come a long way since the hideously ridiculous Dumb & Dumber) as the best actor of the year - at least since I saw the film at the New York Film Festival in October. With six nods, including Daniels for Best Actor and the film for Best Picture, Daniels chances grow - even if that growth is probably not enough to get hiom an Oscar nod. But a few more precurser awards just might.

The five Best Picture nominees are:

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
The Squid and the Whale
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Three (or at least two) of which have good shots at Oscar's Best Pic category.

Speaking of all this Oscar talk - the first shot in the year-end awards season will be fired on December 7th, with the National Board of Review announcing their awards. The NY and LA critics will chime in the following week. (my predictions for those awards will be posted on my site soon). You can see all my Oscar predictions (constantly being updated - I'm kind of OCD and all) right here. Most likely Oscar candidates are (picking my proposed current leader in each of the four acting categories) Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, Matt Dillon in Crash and Scarlett Johansson in Match Point. For Best Director, George Clooney could play off of Oscar's love of actors-turned-directors (why else would both Kevin Costner and Mell Gibson own Oscars!??). For Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain could overpower the right-wing nuts and take home the gold. These choices - of course - will most likely shuffle around a bit over the next two months, but here they are right now. But damn I would love to see Jeff Daniels take home the Oscar this year - so, for your consideration AMPAS, may I present Mr. Jeff Daniels in The Squid & the Whale. I would also like to tout Mr. Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (who actually has a very good chance of an Oscar nod). Not only does he give one of the most powerful performances of the year, but he does it as rather a surprise, considering his past projects (read: fluff actor makes good). And, as I stated earlier (or at least alluded to), my NBR predictions will be posted on my site this week-end.