Showing posts from January, 2011

Sundance USA films screen in Ann Arbor

The citizens of Ann Arbor were treated to not one, but two Sundance films this past weekend, January 27 and 28. Out of the nine cities around the country selected to host a Sundance film, Ann Arbor was the only city selected to host two, and this was because the second film, “Cedar Rapids,” was filmed on-location in Ann Arbor. The other cities selected to host films, all on January 27, were Brookline, MA; Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco; Seattle; Chicago; Los Angeles; Madison, WI; and Nashville, and different films were shown at each location. “Cedar Rapids” was shown in Seattle on the 27th and then the director, Miguel Arteta, who had previously directed “Youth in Revolt” in Ann Arbor, flew to Michigan for the premiere.

“Win Win” was shown the night of the 27th at the Michigan Theater to a packed audience. The movie tells the story about Mike Flaherty, a lawyer who also doubles as a high school wrestling coach, and the lead role is played by Paul Giamatti. Giamatti and director Tom McCar…

SAG Awards predictions

I've written about the Golden Globes, CCAs, BAFTAs, and the Oscars on here, but it seems I've neglected a "little awards show" called the Screen Actors Guild awards, which will be airing tomorrow night at 8pm EST on TBS.

Here are the nominees for the major film categories, and my picks, which are in italics ... I'll even try my hand at the TV categories:

Male Actor, Leading
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 hours

~This could be interesting, as Robert Duvall has not been nominated with the others in this category for "Get Low" before. Eisenberg or Bridges may stage an upset, but Firth has been winning awards left and right for his performance in "The King's Speech," so I'm going to stick with him for the win.

Female Actor, Leading
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie …

Oscar surprises, snubs

The Oscar nominations were announced at 8:30 A.M. EST yesterday, and by now we've all seen the list of nominees. Here were some things I found surprising about this year's noms.

No Ryan Gosling, for Best Actor for his role in "Blue Valentine." I didn't particularly like the movie itself, but I thought both he and Michelle Williams (who did get a nod for Best Actress) were great in it.No Christopher Nolan, for Best Director ("Inception")No Andrew Garfield, for Best Supporting Actor ("The Social Network"). I had a feeling this was going to happen but I still am not happy about it."Despicable Me" was snubbed in the Animated Film category. No love for the minions? Meanwhile, "Toy Story 3" made it into both the Animated Film AND Best Picture categories.No nomination for Mark Wahlberg, for Best Actor in "The Fighter." Christian Bale outshined everyone in that movie, but Mark's performance was still good, and ha…

"The Mechanic"

"The Mechanic" really should have been titled "The Mechanic's Apprentice," as the main character takes on an "intern," of sorts, who he then trains to be a hit man like himself. I was excited to see this movie because Jason Statham is headlining it, and I definitely wasn't disappointed by it.

Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham, "The Expendables") is a hit man, or a "mechanic" as some call him, and he has a somewhat amiable relationship with his employer, Dean (Tony Goldwyn, "The Last House on the Left"). When Dean asks him to kill his good friend Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland, "The Con Artist"), he says that Harry has betrayed the organization, and so Dean obliges. Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster, "Here"), comes to Arthur after his father's death and asks him to train him to be a hit man; Arthur agrees, and they soon become a team, although some of Steve's methods aren't as effective as…

"Blue Valentine"

I actually paid to see "Blue Valentine" (gasp) because I had heard it had very good reviews (it currently has an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and I thought it would be one of those "life changing" movies that stick with you long after the credits roll. However, I was a little disappointed by the film, partially because it moves very slowly.

Dean (Ryan Gosling, "All Good Things") and Cindy (Michelle Williams, "Shutter Island") have been married for about 5 years and have a child together. Their married life, however, is not going so well, and although Dean halfheartedly tries to revive it (in one scene, they go to a shady motel for the night), eventually Cindy can't stand to be around him anymore, for reasons including his temper and tendency to drink. What is interesting about this film, however, is that we see them in their past incarnations throughout as well: as they meet each other, date, and eventually marry.

BAFTA nominees announced today

The BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nominees were announced today, according to their website.

And the nominees for the major awards are:
(my choices for the winners are in italics)

Best Film:
-Black Swan
-The Social Network
-The King's Speech
-True Grit

Outstanding British Film:
-127 Hours
-Another Year
-Four Lions
-The King's Speech
-Made in Dagenham

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer:
-The Arbor
-Exit Through the Gift Shop
-Four Lions

~I haven't seen any of these but have heard good things about Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

-127 Hours - Danny Boyle
-Black Swan - Darren Aronofsky
-Inception - Christopher Nolan
-The King's Speech - Tom Hooper
-The Social Network - David Fincher

Golden Globes vs. Critics Choice Awards: Recap and winners

I have never watched the Critics Choice Awards before, but they aired Friday on VH1, and since the Golden Globes were coming up on Sunday, I figured that it might be interesting to get a "sneak peek" of what was to come on the Golden Globes. What was interesting, however, was that the actors and actresses who won Critics Choice Awards ended up being almost the exact same to the ones who won Golden Globes yesterday.

Some observations:
The Critics Choice Awards have a few categories that the Globes do not - Best Young Actor/Actress (Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"), Best Acting Ensemble (The Fighter), Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay (they separate it into two categories), and the Music + Film Award (Quentin Tarantino).The CCAs also don't separate the acting categories by comedy and drama; therefore, for Best Actress, Annette Bening ("The Kids are All Right") was competing against Natalie Portman ("Black Swan,") with Portman w…

"So Undercover" filming in New Orleans

The feature film "So Undercover," with Miley Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne, is currently filming at Tulane University in New Orleans. My friend Cassie took these photos, of trees that were covered in pink blossoms; she thought they were real when she first saw them because "they were taped onto bare branches on those trees. You couldn't really see the tape - it was very interesting."

IMDB lists a description of the film as "A tough, street-smart private eye is hired by the FBI to go undercover in a college sorority." Cyrus will play the P.I., and Osbourne is her sorority roommate. Jeremy Piven also stars as a special agent. It is being directed by Tom Vaughan, who also directed "Extraordinary Measures" (2010) and "What Happens in Vegas" (2008). According to, Miley's mom, Trish Cyrus, will be co-producer.

Thanks to Cassie Jeng for the pictures and tree information!

"The Green Hornet"

"The Green Hornet" used to be a radio show many years ago, and it was also a short-lived TV series starring Bruce Lee. This is the first movie adaptation of it, however, and with Seth Rogen as the title character I thought it would have a good combination of humor and action. Unfortunately not: there only a few choice action scenes, and far too little comedy.

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen, "Observe and Report") is a spoiled party boy whose father owns the Daily Herald, a newspaper in Los Angeles. When his father passes away from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, Britt inherits his father's gigantic house, all of its employees, and, of course, the newspaper. When he fires most of the employees and then wakes up one morning to find that his coffee has been made poorly, he demands to know who usually makes his coffee, and finds that it is Kato (musician Jay Chou, "True Legend"), who also has been maintaining and upgrading the bevy of luxury cars that sit in h…

"Season of the Witch"

The trailer for this film makes it look like it's going to be a good action film, set in the 13th and 14th centuries. However, beware - it ended up being more of a horror film than action, although we get plenty of action as well. It also should have been rated "R" instead of "PG-13," in my opinion, as there is a ton of gore and scary elements present.

Behmen (Nicolas Cage, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice") and his friend Felson (Ron Perlman, TV's "Sons of Anarchy") have just deserted the army during the Crusades and are looking for provisions in a small town when they are arrested. The town has been infested by the Plague, and the church officials have determined it is the Black Witch (newcomer Claire Foy) who has brought it upon them. The leader of the town, currently dying of the Plague, offers Behmen a deal: if they bring the Black Witch to the monks at a monastery many leagues away, they will be absolved of their crimes and will be f…

"No Strings Attached"

"No Strings Attached" is one of two movies coming out this year that look very similar to each other. The second, "Friends with Benefits," arrives in late July, and stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. Personally, I thought Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher would make the better pair in "No Strings Attached", and they did have good chemistry; however, the film started off strong and then dwindled off until the laughs were no longer as funny.

Normally, it's the girl in the relationship who might be clingy. In the case of Adam (Ashton Kutcher, "Killers") and Emma (Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"), who first meet as teenagers at summer camp, it is actually Adam who wants to move things further. They agree at the beginning of the film, however, to be "sex friends," or "friends with benefits." Emma works 80 hours a week as a resident at a nearby hospital, so she doesn't have time for such frivolities as relation…