Feb 24, 2008

2007 Movie Recap Montage

Here's a YouTube video, I came across, that is rather well constructed. It encompasses the entire year with music from the films and genre catagories. It feels like an appropriate curtain closer to a good year of film.

Feb 23, 2008

Changing Envelopes!

My predictions for the Oscar Winners are going to be changed:

(I'm completely re-thinking The Academy on this one ... I think this movie may fit the mood of the country right now ...)

Best Actress: MARION COTILLARD for "La Vie en Rose"
(I read there is a lot of buzz about her and her performance, plus will they annoint two prior Oscar winners in the two big Acting catagories? Day-Lewis AND Christie?)

Best Cinematography: ROBERT ELSWIT for "There Will Be Blood"
(Checking past Oscar statistics shows that when a nominee in this catagory is nominated twice, he loses ... therefore, it won't be Roger Deakins for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN)

Best Visual Effects: TRANSFORMERS
(this made a lot of money. Hollywood loves money)

Now, the hard ones:

Best Documentary Short Subject: FREEHELD

Bst Animated Short Film: I MET THE WALRUS

Best Live Action Short Film: LE MOZART DES PICKPOCKETS

Okay ... that's it! No more changes!

Feb 21, 2008

2007 Academy Award Forecast

I hope to be attending an Oscar get-together this coming Sunday ... the first I've attended in my entire life. I've had a friend or two over in the past to my home to watch and laugh and jeer and get disgusted, surprised or generally yawn with predictable outcomes. But, mostly, I have watched this ceremony alone and took inventory of the awards ... I have a clipboard with data going back years. The Oscar event is always entertaining to me ... it never bores. I hear others bemoan the dreary affair claiming they went to bed, turned the channel during a strange symbolic dance number or never-ending clip montage or just did not care to watch. I'd never miss and haven't. At the home I've been invited to, we are supposedly being given ballots of a sort and will predict the winners and then see who comes closest. I've been told there is a point system with higher pointage being given to the top 5 awards. There is even a cash prize involved. The amount is yet to be determined, but I don't think it will exceed $5 ... I believe most of the people attending are quite ... bereft of funds. For some reason I am a bit nervous ... I don't know why exactly, but it may involve my watching this in a foreign environment with several people I don't know. Plus, the absence of comfort in my own sphere of viewing the show. I'm not saying I will not be comfortable, that is to be determined, but I'm referring to the enclosed serenity of sitting in that chair in my most comfortable clothes with my clipboard and just concentrating on every minute of this Hollywood sideshow. Well, maybe it will be fun ... it will be different from my usual ritual. But, let me now predict who I think will win ... not who I think SHOULD win, but who I feel the Academy will annoint for reasons only known to their fevered brains:

Best Picture: JUNO

Best Director: JOEL and ETHAN COEN



Best Supporting Actor: JAVIER BARDEM

Best Supporting Actress: TILDA SWINTON

Best Adapted Screenplay: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Best Original Screenplay: JUNO

Best Animated Feature: RATATOUILLE

Best Art Direction: THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Best Cinematography: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN


Best Sound Editing; NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Best Original Score: ATONEMENT

Best Original Song: "FALLING SLOWLY" from ONCE

Best Costumes: ATONEMENT

Best Documentary Feature: NO END IN SIGHT


Best Makeup: LA VIE EN ROSE

Best Visual Effects: THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Best Foreign Language Film: THE COUNTERFEITERS - Austria

I'm predicting the feel-good movie of the year to win ... why? Because last year the Academy gave the award to THE DEPARTED, a tale of murder and a real downer ... I don't think they will repeat it again with NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Every film nominated is a descent into sadness, except JUNO and I think it will upset the entire award pundits' predictions. At first I thought it may be ATONEMENT that would capture the gold, but it has no acting nominees ... a rareity for a film to win the Best Picture Award and no Film Editing Award, which I understand is a sign for a potential winner. Well, we shall see Sunday night.

Feb 20, 2008

Films of Favor 2007

My favorite films of 2007. It took awhile to catch up with some of them ... but I really found quite a lot of pleasure in the roster this past year. 2007 felt like the cool breeze of the 1970s blowing in from the past .. and not a stale old wind ... but a more refreshing and exhilirating stirring in the air. I recently changed this list, but these are in my mind the most.











Feb 15, 2008

St. Valentine's Day Cinematic Couplings

Alvy and Annie

Nick and Nora Charles

Fred and Ginger




Johnny and Nasser

Dr. David Huxley and Susan Vance

C.C. Baxter and Fran Kubelik

Antoine and Colette
(Antointe et Colette segment)

Feb 14, 2008

Mr. Hitchcock Takes You on a Tour

One of the greatest movie trailers ever made. Enjoy.

Feb 12, 2008

Roy Scheider (1932-2008)

This past Sunday actor Roy Scheider passed away at age 75. He was best known for his role as the beseiged police chief of Amity in Steven Speilberg's JAWS. Before that, he caught the attention of critics, movie-goers and his acting peers as Gene Hackman's partner in THE FRENCH CONNECTION. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal. He was nominated again for Best Actor in 1979 for Bob Fosses's ALL THAT JAZZ wherein he played the self-loathing, egomaniacal, self-destructive choreographer Joe Gideon. The whole film was a Fellini-like 8 1/2 reflection of Fosse's own life at that time. His portayal was mesmerizing ... an inbelievable whirlwind of movement, sweat and energy with a cigarette dangling from his lip screaming direction to his dancers, spinning out of control and finally into a fatal heart attack set to an amazing fantasy musical number featuring a hospital heart surgery operating room, the Angel of Death and a tap dancing performance by Ben Vereen. It sounds insane, it was, but it was unforgettable. It was an anti-musical of sadness, self-loathing and dark humor. Scheider was beyond magnificent in a role originally intended for Richard Dreyfuss. I cannot imagine anyone but Scheider in the role, though you would never think of him in the role and it was justifiably given its due with Oscar nominated recognition. I recall hoping against hope that he or Peter Sellers, in BEING THERE, would be awarded that year, but ... they lost to Dustin Hoffman in a very sentimental turn in KRAMER VS. KRAMER. I will always remember him as an actor with a superlative sense of intense dedication. He was believable in every role I saw him in ... whether it was the father and law man of solid principle trying to preserve a sense of community against a force of nature, the pill-popping hard working artist and dancer, the C.I.A. brother of Dustin Hoffman in MARATHON MAN, the hard driven truck hauler of liquid nitro in William Friedkin's SORCERER, the Los Angeles policeman at the helm of a futuristic armed helicopter in BLUE THUNDER, the psychiatrist involved in a bizarre Manhattan murder in Robert Benton's STILL OF THE NIGHT, or one of my favorite roles in Jonathan Demme's Hitchcockian flavored thriller THE LAST EMBRACE. In that film he played a secret agent who, while sitting in a restaurant with his wife, watches her assassinated before his eyes. The entire film he is consumed with guilt, wondering why and who and if he might have been the intended target. Each time I have viewed him in a film, he is different, different men of varying professions and complexity ... but he was always excellent and always the person he was inhabiting. He had that aura of a tough passionate New York actor, though he was from New Jersey, originally ... and you just don't see his type much anymore. See some of these films and see for yourself. I think you'll see what I mean.

Feb 9, 2008

The Willing Suspension of Disbelief

I have had a few attempts at devising a web journal of sorts. The first was a grandiose scheme of watching every film directed and/or written by Woody Allen. At the time of this brainstorm, Mr. Allen had directed 36 films and his latest, at that time, was about to be released ... Match Point. It's arrival had critics buzzing about it being "one of the best" Woody Allen films in years. The expectations of its arrival had prompted the Film Society of Lincoln Center to hold a special interview with Mr. Allen at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in front of a live audience before an exclusive preview of Match Point. So, in my fevered brain, I devised a scenario I found truly brilliant ... I would watch every Woody film, one a day, write about it and do this until the day of his appearance in New York City AND I would attend this live event .. the perfect denoument ... a grand ending to a monumental movie watching task. Monumental was not the adjective to use ... more like tedious and nerve-wracking. Cramming a film into each day and attempting to transcribe your feeling every day in days in which you must toil at your place of employment, eat, sleep and just LIVE with unexpected personal interruptions is not fun. The worst part of this exploit was finding out I could not get a ticket to the event at Lincoln Center. It was mainly for Film Society Members and their rich friends. I was not a member nor was I a rich friend of a member. I would not be attending. The blog was a bust. I did watch a Woody Allen film each day, but I did not write each day ... I did sometimes, but it was impossible to do it every day. My next blog idea was to compose a piece on each James Bond film in chronological order each week ... again a useless adventure in creativity.

So, this time I will try a regular web journal with no themes, no grand conclusions and no blog of monomania. I will center 99% of this journal on film. I love movies ... and always have and I can never envision a day I would not want to see, read or talk endlessly about movies. They are my passion. And this blog will indulge my passion. And the title of this post is in reference to what I believe one must do when viewing film ... totally engage and devoid oneself of all other beliefs and thoughts and wordly intrusions. Suspend them all and let the film cascade over you like a sea wave. I will discuss other matters at times ... books, television, a person I admire, friends and so forth ... all things, especially the magic of film, that are habits of my attention.