Hey, it’s the first trailer for David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo


Okay, here’s the red band trailer for David Fincher’s unneccessary offensive insulting upcoming version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. 

 

If you want, feel free to visit YouTube and read all the comments from fanboys having Finchergasms over it.  My position will continue to be that David Fincher is a very talented director, Rooney Mara was rather bland in both Nightmare on Elm Street and The Social Network, Daniel Craig is boring and overrated but then again, so is the character he’s playing, and finally, Noomi Rapace will always be the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. 

That doesn’t mean that Fincher won’t make a good movie.  The trailer is effective and the material seems well suited for Fincher’s vision.  In fact, it could allow Fincher to get back to his Fight Club and Zodiac roots after going all boring and mainstream with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network.

Still, perhaps we should remake The Lord of The Rings trilogy next.  After all, those first three films are just sooooo New Zealand.  We need an American version.

 

Scenes I Love: Seven


[MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!!]

My weekend was full of sleep, coughing and just vegetating in front of my bedroom tv as I tried to get better from my bout of the cold and flu. For some reason or another AMC channel decided to hold a mini-marathon of David Fincher’s classic neo-noir thriller, Seven, and I must say that I probably saw all three straight showings before sleep finally took over. It surely made for some very unusual, drug-induced dreams.

I’ve always seen Seven as Fincher at his most exploitative best. If there was ever a modern grindhouse exploitation film of the past twenty years I would have to consider Seven as one of them. From start to finish the film just felt grimy and made one feel dirty just for having seen it. Take away all the gloss and veneer afforded Fincher due to modern film technology and techniques this film was grindhouse to its core. No better scene exemplifies and solidifies Seven as a grindhouse exploitation film than it’s shocking, nihilistic ending which bucked traditional Hollywood happy ending (or at least and ambiguous one).

It’s been made famous due to the powerful performances from the three leads who dominate the scene. It is almost played off like a stage play with some gorgeous camera work from cinematographer Darius Khondji switching from Morgan Freeman to Kevin Spacey to Brad Pitt with mathematical precision as the scene unfolds through very strong dialogue by screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.

The performances shown by Spacey is both chilling and otherworldly as the sociopathic John Doe urging Pitt’s Det. Mills to become wrath and punish him for his sin of envy. Looking helpless and desperate is Freeman’s Det. Somerset trying to talk some sense and decency to the rapidly unraveling Mills who has just learned that what is inside the box he’s been screaming for is his wife’s head.

The fact that the unfolded and ended the way it did honors the grindhouse sensibilities of past exploitation films where the good guys never always win and even when they do it’s at a very heavy cost to the victor. This climactic ending to Seven is so nihilistic that when the film was first shown in 1995 many walked out grumbling at such a dark and heavy ending. Where was the Hollywood happy ending everyone was so used to. There was no cavalry charging last second to save the day. No deus ex machina intervening to show that Mill’s wife was still alive. No, Fincher and crew knew they had something special in their hands and went full tilt to see it through.

It’s no wonder I still consider Seven to be David Fincher’s best film to date.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions


The Oscars are tomorrow and I know I’ll be watching it and tweeting about it over on my twitter page.  That’s assuming, of course, that twitter doesn’t go all screwy and spend the entire night putting up that cute little picture of the fail whale.

Anyway, I guess I’m a bit overdue in posting my predictions of what and who will actually win tomorrow.  I guess that’s because this year’s Oscar race looks to be one of the most predictable ever.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like quite a few of the nominees and Black Swan is a contender for my favorite film of all time.  It’s just that this year, the winner’s are so predictable. 

Let’s be honest, we don’t watch the Oscars because we really think that the best film or performer is going to win.  We watch the Oscars for all of the WTF moments and acceptance speech breakdowns.  We watch the Oscars because we want to see something weird happen, like a shocking upset win that leaves us all outraged and shaking our heads.

This year, though, the only suspense seemed to center around the Best Documentary category.  Will Exit Through The Gift Shop win and if it does, will Banksy be there to accept it?  And if he is there, will he wear a monkey mask while accepting it?

Anyway, here’s my list of predictions.  These are the movies and performers that I think will win.  They’re not necessarily who and what I personally would want to win.  (That list can be found here.)

Best Picture: The Social Network

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network

Best Original Screenplay: The Kids Are All Right

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film: Buitiful

Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

Best Cinematography: True Grit

Best Costume Design: The King’s Speech

Best Documentary Feature: The Inside Job (bleh)

Best Editing: Black Swan

Best Makeup: The Wolf Man

Best Original Score: The Social Network

Best Original Song: “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

Best Sound Editing: Inception

Best Sound Mixing: Inception

Best Visual Effects: Inception

Lisa And The Academy Agree To Disagree


The Oscar nominations were announced today and, for the most part, it’s pretty much what you would expect.  Below is the list of nominees.  If a nominee listed in bold print, that means they also appeared on my own personal list of nominations.

Best motion picture of the year

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

(The Academy and I agree on five of the ten nominees.  That’s actually more than I was expecting.)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

(The only real surprise here is Bardem.  I haven’t seen Biutiful but I’ve heard amazing things about it.)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

(Yay for John Hawkes!  Some people are surprised that Andrew Garfield wasn’t nominated for The Social Network.  I’m disappointed he wasn’t nominated for Never Let Me Go.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

(I’m happy to see Lawrence and Portman recognized but I still so wish that the Academy had recongized Noomi Rapace and Katie Jarvis as well.  I knew it wouldn’t happen but still…)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

(Weaver — Yay!) 

Achievement in directing

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

(The snubbing of Christopher Nolan for Inception is probably the closest thing to an outrage that the Oscars will produce this year.)

Adapted screenplay

127 Hours - Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 - Michael Arndt (screenplay); John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (story)
True Grit – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone - Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Original screenplay

Another Year – Mike Leigh
The Fighter – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (screenplay); Keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (story)
Inception – Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech - David Seidler

Best animated feature film of the year

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

 (I haven’t seen The Illusionist yet but I’m looking forward to it because the previews look great, it’s based on a script by Jacques Tati, and I love all things French.  Still, I kinda wish that Despicable Me had been nominated just so Arleigh could see the minions at the Academy Awards.)

Best foreign language film of the year

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) (Algeria)

Art direction

Alice in Wonderland – Robert Stromberg (production design), Karen O’Hara (set decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Stuart Craig (production design), Stephenie McMillan (set decoration)
Inception - Guy Hendrix Dyas (production design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (set decoration)
The King’s Speech - Eve Stewart (production design), Judy Farr (set decoration)
True Grit – Jess Gonchor (production design), Nancy Haigh (set decoration) 

Achievement in cinematography

Matthew Libatique (Black Swan)
Wally Pfister (Inception)
Danny Cohen (The King’s Speech)
Jeff Cronenweth (The Social Network)
Roger Deakins (True Grit) 

Achievement in costume design

Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland)
Antonella Cannarozzi (I Am Love)
Jenny Beavan (The King’s Speech)
Sandy Powell (The Tempest)
Mary Zophres (True Grit)

(That’s right, I ended up going 0 for 5 as far as Costume Design is concerned.  Which I guess goes to prove that I have better taste than the Academy.)

Best documentary feature

Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz)
Gasland (Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic)
Inside Job (Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs)
Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger)
Waste Land (Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley)

 (If Banksy wins, I’ll be happy.  I have a feeling the award will go to Inside Job, however.  As a documentary, Inside Job reminded me a lot of Capt. Hindsight from the South Park Coon Vs. Coon And Friends trilogy.  Also, I’m a little bit surprised that Waiting for Superman wasn’t nominated.  I’m even more surprised that I actually saw enough feature documentaries last year to even have an opinion.  Also, interesting to note that Restrepo — a very nonpolitical look at military in the mid-east — was nominated while The Tillman Story, a much more heavy-handed and stridently political documentary was not.)

Best documentary short subject

Killing in the Name (Nominees to be determined)
Poster Girl (Nominees to be determined)
Strangers No More (Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon)
Sun Come Up (Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger)
The Warriors of Qiugang (Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon)

(It’s always interesting that nobody knows what these movies are about yet their producers always end up giving the longest speeches at the Oscars.  I’m hoping that Poster Girl wins because the actual producers have yet to be determined.  I imagine that means there might be some sort of legal action going on which means that, if it wins on Oscar night, there might be a big fight at the podium.  Plus, I like the title.  It makes me want to walk up to people I barely know, lean forward, and go, “Can I be your poster girl?”)

Achievement in film editing

Andrew Weisblum (Black Swan)
Pamela Martin (The Fighter)
Tariq Anwar (The King’s Speech)
Jon Harris (127 Hours)
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter (The Social Network) 

Achievement in makeup

Adrien Morot (Barney’s Version)
Edouard F Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng (The Way Back)
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey (The Wolfman)

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score)

John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon)
Hans Zimmer (Inception)
Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech)
AR Rahman (127 Hours)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network)

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song)

Coming Home (from Country Strong, music and lyrics by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey)
I See the Light (from Tangled, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater)
If I Rise (from 127 Hours, music by AR Rahman, lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong)
We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3, music and lyrics by Randy Newman)

(I’ll just say it now — 4 nominations and I didn’t agree with a single one of them.  Seriously, they could have nominated up to 5 songs but instead of giving at least one nomination to Burlesque, they just nominated 4 songs.  What a load of crap.)

Best animated short film

Day & Night (Teddy Newton)
The Gruffalo (Jakob Schuh and Max Lang)
Let’s Pollute (Geefwee Boedoe)
The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann)
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) (Bastien Dubois)

(I’ve actually seen Day & Night since it was shown before Toy Story 3.  I thought it went on a little bit too long, to be honest.)

Best live action short film

The Confession (Tanel Toom)
The Crush (Michael Creagh)
God of Love (Luke Matheny)
Na Wewe (Ivan Goldschmidt)
Wish 143 (Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite) 

Achievement in sound editing

Inception (Richard King)
Toy Story 3 (Tom Myers and Michael Silvers)
Tron: Legacy (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague)
True Grit (Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey)
Unstoppable (Mark P Stoeckinger)

Achievement in sound mixing

Inception (Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo and Ed Novick)
The King’s Speech (Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley)
Salt (Jeffrey J Haboush, Greg P Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin)
The Social Network (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten)
True Grit (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F Kurland)

 (I would have probably had more matches in the sound category if I actually knew the difference between sound editing and sound mixing.)

Achievement in visual effects

Alice in Wonderland (Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi)
Hereafter (Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell)
Inception (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb)
Iron Man 2 (Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick)

So there you go.  I went 50/50 on the Best Picture nominations and — well, it all pretty much went downhill from there, didn’t it?  Oh well.

What Lisa Watched Last Night: The Golden Globe Awards


Last night, I watched the annual Golden Globe Awards show.

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, I wasn’t watching it because I was expecting to see the best films and tv shows of the last year recognized.  The Golden Globes are notorious for being odd and anyone who takes them too seriously needs to relax a little.  The appeal of the Golden Globes is that 1) it recognizes both television and film in the same ceremony which means you get to see unexpected sights like Jim Parsons, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, and the cast of Glee all in the same auditorium, 2) drinks are served throughout the ceremony which means that everyone’s pretty drunk by the end of it, and 3) you can make fun of what everyone’s wearing.

What’s It About?

As the show’s host, Ricky Gervais pointed out while commenting on the odd nomination of The Tourist for Best Picture (Comedy), the show is mostly about the shadowy members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association getting a chance to hang out with people like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.  And who can blame them, really?  Quite honestly, if it meant I might get a chance to spend a night with Johnny Depp (or, I’ll admit it, Angelia Jolie), I’m more than willing to love The Tourist too.

What Worked

Oh my God, it was such an odd three hours.  While the winners were kinda predictable and boring (how excited can you get — at this point — to see The Social Network win awards) and showed the typical tendency towards embracing the safe over the unpredictable, Ricky Gervais kept things lively.  He hosted with an attitude that basically said, “My career doesn’t need your approval so fuck off, Hollywood.”  It also pretty much guaranteed that Gervais will never host the Oscars.  My favorite Gervais moment came early when he made the comment about secretly gay Scientologists (an obvious reference to Tom Cruise and maybe John Travolta).  The way the audience gasped pretty much told you all you needed to know as far as the truth behind the joke was concerned. 

Robert De Niro won the DeMille Award and gave a speech that revealed that he’s actually a human being and apparently, a somewhat bitter one at that.  Also, I simply have to mention that Robert De Niro is aging really well.  As opposed to…oh, I don’t know…Al Pacino, maybe?

Melissa Leo is one of my favorites actresses and it was nice to see her rewarded for The Fighter but her speech did go on and on and the only thing that saved the moment was that some genius in the control booth decided to cut to Helena Bonham Carter who had the coolest “What the fuck?” look on her face.

Angelina Jolie’s green dress was quite simply to die for and I want it because it’s the same color as my right eye.  So, I’ll repeat the offer that I made earlier on twitter: whoever gets me this dress (by whatever means) can watch while I try it on and take it off.  (That’s a joke, by the way!  Seriously though, I so want that dress.  Except, of course, I’d want to have Hello Kitty on it somewhere…)

Natalie Portman won best actress in a drama and, out of all the awards given last night, that’s really the only one I agreed with.  When Portman’s name was announced, my twitter friend Jason Tarwater asked if I was doing cartwheels.  Well, I didn’t do cartwheels but I did attempt to do a pirouette and wow, that was a mistake because I so twisted my ankle the wrong way and ended up in really intense pain.  So, I missed Natalie’s speech but I bet it was great.

I do like the way that the Golden Globes divide their awards into a drama and a comedy section.  It’s a smart idea, I think.

What Didn’t Work?

I’m not going to complain about The Social Network winning most of the awards.  It’s not a bad film, at all.  It’s just not the great movie that so many critics are insisting that it is.  At this point, I’m not so much anti-Social Network as much as I’m just bored with it.

Al Pacino’s a great actor but seriously, I hit mute any time he wins an award.  And, seriously, would it kill him to wash his hair or something before he shows up for an awards ceremony?

Justin Bieber came out and gave an award or something and I’m sorry — he’s creepy.  I mean, like David Archuletta creepy.  Plus, I always have to go to Wikipedia to find out whether the i or the e comes first whenever I’m trying to type out the name “Bieber”.  I mean, I’m only 25 and this little punk and his fans are making me feel like an old woman complaining about “kids today.”  NOT COOL, BIEBER!

Aaron Sorkin won for his overrated screenplay and I guess he’s aware that he’s got an image problem because he tried so hard to be gracious but it was kinda like when James Cameron tried to be gracious while promoting Avatar.  It just didn’t work.   The more humble Sorkin tried to be, the more he came across like a prick.  The final insult came when he thanked the best actress nominees for being “smart” women as if that’s such an unusual thing to be.  I’m assuming this was Sorkin’s attempt to show that he’s not a sexist pig but it just came across as condescending and fake.  It’s interesting to contrast Sorkin’s speech with David Fincher’s speech.  Fincher was far more gracious and, quite frankly, the only reason that Sorkin’s screenplay came close to working was because, as a director, Fincher kept things visually interesting so you didn’t really spend too much time thinking about how every single character in the entire freakin’ movie sounded exactly like Aaron Sorkin.  Seriously, does Sorkin know anyone who doesn’t talk like him? 

Was it just me or did producer Scott Rudin — while accepting best picture for The Social Network – almost seem as if he had to be reminded to thank Fincher?  It’s interesting that, for all the acclaim Social Network and Sorkin have gotten, Fincher has often come close to being forgotten.  Could it be because Sorkin is a card-carrying member of the Hollywood establishment while Fincher, much like Fighter’s David O. Russell and Black Swan’s Darren Aronofsky, is not?

Finally, the first winner of the night was Christian Bale.  Was he deliberately trying to channel Colin Farrell last night or was it just an accident?  Regardless, when it comes Colin Farrell, I prefer the real thing.

“Oh my God! Just Like Me” Moment

“I’ll show you a pair of golden globes!”

Lessons Learned

As excited as I’ll be if Natalie Portman wins an Oscar for best actress, I will force myself not to dance.

 

Dallas Snubs Lisa Marie


I’m now officially bored with groups of people voting for and handing out awards.  However, I do have to mention one more film critics group that announced their “best-of-2010″ selections earlier today.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association announced their picks and, while the winners are pretty much the same films and performances that everyone else has honored this year, I still find it fascinating that there is apparently a Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association.  I mean, I live in Dallas and I love my city but it’s not like we’re Los Angeles or New York.  Dallas has two newspapers — the Dallas Morning News and the weekly Dallas Observer.  Forth Worth has the Star Telegram and that’s about it.  Of course, the towns surrounding the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex all have their own local papers but for the most part, everything is owned and published by the same company that puts out the Morning News.  So, regardless of whether its political endorsements or film reviews, we’re not exactly dealing with a lot of editorial diversity.

And, of course, I haven’t even start to get into the main issue — which is that I’m not a member!  I’m an opinionated, online film critic from North Texas!  Where’s my freaking membership!?  Is it because I’m a woman?  That’s it, isn’t it?  All you good old boys just don’t realize that the glass ceiling hasn’t just been cracked, it’s been shattered…

Oh, wait.  I just visited the official site of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Film Critics Association and apparently, 11 of the 32 members are female.  And apparently, once you join, you have to pay dues…

Never mind. :)

Plus, I noticed that Gary Cogill is a member and if you live in DFW then you know that Gary Cogill is just da man.

Anyway, here’s their list of winners:

TOP TEN:
1. The Social Network
2. The King`s Speech
3. Black Swan
4. 127 Hours
5. Winter`s Bone
6. Inception
7. The Fighter
8. True Grit
9. The Town
10. The Kids Are All Right

(Really?  The Town and The Kids Are All Right make the top ten?  I don’t know, maybe I should demand membership becaue it seems like they kinda need me…)

BEST PICTURE: The Social Network

BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher, The Social Network

BEST ACTOR: James Franco, 127 Hours

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale, The Fighter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

BEST SCREENPLAY: The Social Network (Bleh, give a mainstream, elitist like Aaron Sorkin all the awards you want, he’s still going to hate on us for being from Texas…)

BEST FOREIGN FILM: Biutiful

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Waiting for Superman

BEST ANIMATED FILM: Toy Story 3

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: 127 Hours

RUSSEL SMITH AWARD: Winter`s Bone

Hey SAG! Where’s Jacki?


Is there any organization out there right now that isn’t handing out either awards or nominations?  Earlier today, The members of the Screen Actors Guild became the latest organization to join in the fun when they announced their nominations for the best film performances of 2010.

Here’s the nominees.  I apologize, in advance, for the lack of sarcastic commentary but I have a headache and, as a result, my wit is sleeping on the couch for now.

Ensemble:
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Actress, Lead:
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Hilary Swank, Conviction

Actor, Motion Picture
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Actress, Supporting
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Well, okay, maybe I’ll make a few comments along the lines of “Yay for the love shown to Natalie Portman, John Hawkes, James Franco, Jennifer Lawrence, and Mila Kunis!”

But seriously, SAG, where’s Animal Kingdom’s Jacki Weaver?  I mean, I can understand why Noomi Rapace was snubbed.  The Mainstream doesn’t want to remind people that there was a perfect Lisbeth Salander before Rooney Mara.  That’s how the game is played.  That’s why the people over at awardsdaily.com are already trying to claim David Fincher’s remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as the film to beat for best picture next year.

But nobody’s remaking Animal Kingdom.  There’s nothing wrong with admitting that, in a year of excellent female performances, few were as a note perfect and unexpected as Jacki Weaver’s.

Who the Hell Are These People?


With the Golden Globe nominations set to be announced on Tuesday, I figured now would be a good time to recap which films and performances have already been honored by the various critics groups. 

One thing that I discovered as I researched this is that there are a lot of critics groups out there!   I don’t know who half these people are and most of them probably won’t have any bearing at all on who is actually nominated come Oscar time.  But since I’m a lover of trivia and lists, there you go.

The following films and performances were honored by either The National Board of Review, the D.C. Film Critics, the Boston Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Online,The Los Angeles Film Critics, The Indiana Film Journalists, The Southeastern Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Circle, or the San Francisco Film Critics.

Best Picture:

The Social Network (All.  That’s right, it’s a clean sweep for an above average film.)

Best Director:

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (S.F)

Olivier Assayas for Carlos (LAFC)

David Fincher for The Social Network (BSFC, DC, NBR, NYFCC, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Christopher Nolan for Inception (IFJ)

Best Actor:

Jesse Eisenberg (BSFC, NBR)

Colin Firth for The King’s Speech (DC, LAFC, NYFCC, SEFC, S.F.)

James Franco for 127 Hours (IFJ, NYFCO)

Best Actress:

Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

Kim Hye-ja for Mother (LAFC)

Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone (DC)

Lesley Manville for Another Year (NBR)

Natalie Portman for Black Swan (BSFC, IFJ, NYFCO, SEFC)

Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (S.F.)

Best Supporting Actor:

Niels Arestrup for A Prophet (LAFC)

Christian Bale for The Fighter (BSFC, DC, IFJ, NBR, NYFCO)

John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone (S.F.)

Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech (SEFC)

Best Supporting Actress:

Melissa Leo for The Fighter (DC, NYFCC, NYFCO)

Juliette Lewis for Conviction (BSFC)

Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (IFJ, SEFC)

Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (LAFC, NBR, S.F.)

Best Documentary:

Exit Through The Gift Shop (DC, IFJ, NYFCO)

The Inside Job (NYFCC, SEFC)

Last Train Home (LAFC)

Marwencol (BSFC)

The Tillman Story (S.F.)

Waiting For Superman (NBR)

Best Animated Feature:

How To Train Your Dragon (IFJ)

The Illusionist (NYFCC)

Toy Story 3 (BSFC, DC, LAFC, NBR, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Social Network (BSFC, DC, IFJ, LAFC, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Best Original Screenplay:

Inception (DC)

The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

The Kings Speech (SEFC, S.F.)

  

The New York Toadsuckers Have Spoken


As I mentioned in my last post, the New York Film Critics Circle voted on and announced their picks for the best films of the year today.  Looking over the winners, all I can say is — YAWN!

Best Film:
The Social Network

Best Director:
David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Screenplay:
The Kids Are All Right

Best Actress:
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Best Actor:
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress:
Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actor:
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

Best Cinematography:
Black Swan

Best Animated Film:
The Illusionist

Best Non-fiction Film:
Inside Job

Best Foreign Language Film:
Carlos

Best First Feature:
Animal Kingdom

Over on Awardsdaily.com, the response to the New York Critics was: “NO ONE  wrote a better screenplay than Aaron Sorkin this year.” 

(And yes, they specifically put that statement in bold print with NO ONE capitalized, just to make sure that the point came through.)

Really?  NO ONE?  It’s time to admit the truth — The Social Network has gone from being a movie to being a cult.  Apparently, even suggesting that any other movie might deserve an honor or two this year is an act of heresy.  Sorry, New York Film Critics.  Prepare yourself to be eaten by lions while the Sorkinites watch and cheer.

That said, the screenplay for The Kids Are All Right had all the depth of a sitcom.  And Mark Ruffalo’s supporting performance was good but nothing that couldn’t have been done by just about any other scruffy actor in Hollywood.  And while Annette Bening did a good job with her role, this is the year of Natalie Portman in Black Swan, Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank, and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone.  This was a year in which so many actresses gave unique, unexpected performances in roles that redefined the stereotypical cinematic female lead.  Annette Bening was good but so many were great.

It’s also interesting to note that The Illusionist (which I haven’t seen and know very little about) was named best animated feature as opposed to the presumed favorite, Toy Story 3.  Just a few months ago, the general assumption seemed to be that Toy Story 3 would easily pick up a best picture nod but it seems like that storyline’s been forgotten in all the hype surrounding The Social Network.

The L.A. Film Critics Have Spoken


A whole lot of critics’ groups announced their picks for the best films and performances of the year today and the New York Film Critics are voting as I type.  I’m on lunch from work right now so a full list will have to wait until later tonight.  For now, I’m just going to share the choices made by the Los Angeles Film Critics.  The L.A. Critics are one of the big three as far as critics groups are concerned. 

As I’ve said before, I think professional film critics are overrated but I just love awards.  And, of course, all of these December awards tend to serve as a precursor for who and what will receive Oscar nominations next year.  At their best, these groups can remind Academy voters of films and performances that they might otherwise overlook.  Certainly, if Jacki Weaver receives a deserved nomination for Animal Kingdom, it’ll be largely due to organizations like the National Board of Review and the L.A. Film Critics.

Anyway, since my time is limited, I’m going to simply post the winners and then add a few comments on my own.

PICTURE:

  • “The Social Network”
  • Runner-up: “Carlos”

DIRECTOR:

  • Olivier Assayas, “Carlos,” and David Fincher, “The Social Network” (tie)

ACTOR:

  • Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
  • Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”

ACTRESS:

  • Kim Hye-ja, “Mother”
  • Runner-up:  Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Niels Arestrup, “A Prophet”
  • Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”
  • Runner-up: Olivia Williams, “The Ghost Writer”

SCREENPLAY:

  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
  • Runner-up: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

  • “Carlos”
  • Runner-up: “Mother”

ANIMATION:

  • “Toy Story 3″
  • Runner-up: “The Illusionist”

DOCUMENTARY / NON-FICTION FILM:

  • “Last Train Home”
  • Runner-up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • Matthew Libatique, “Black Swan”
  • Runner-up: Roger Deakins, “True Grit”

MUSIC/SCORE:

  • Alexandre Desplat, “The Ghost Writer,” and  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network” (tie)

PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • Guy Hendrix Dyas, “Inception”
  • Runner-up: Eve Stewart, “The King’s Speech”

NEW GENERATION:

  • Lena Dunham, “Tiny Furniture”

DOUGLAS E. EDWARDS INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTAL FILM/VIDEO:

  • “Film Socialism”

LEGACY OF CINEMA AWARDS:

  • Serge Bromberg, “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno,” and the F.W. Murnau Foundation and Fernando Pena for the restoration of “Metropolis”

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT:

  • Paul Mazursky

The main news here, I guess, is just how well foreign language films did in the voting.  I haven’t seen Carlos and seeing as how I’m basically in fly-over country, I doubt I’ll get a chance to see it before the Oscar nominations are announced.  I do have Mother on DVD and I’m going to watch it sometime before the start of the new year.  It’s also nice to see some attention being given to A Prophet.

Obviously, I’m disappointed not to see more love for Black Swan but I guess it’s to be expected as Black Swan is one of those films that people either love madly or hate with a passion.  I think that’s why The Social Network will win big at the Oscars this year.  It’s well-made and offensive only if you’re 1) female or 2) Mark Zuckerberg.