Film Review: The Girl On The Train (dir by Tate Taylor)


the-girl-on-the-train

Before I get around to talking about The Girl On The Train, I’m going to tell you a little story about myself.

A few years ago, I used to make a point of riding the DART train.  (DART stands for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.  Large sections of Upstream Color were filmed on a DART train.)  Every weekend, instead of driving out to the Dallas Angelika or the Dallas Museum of Art and contributing to climate change or whatever it was that I was supposedly doing whenever I drove my car, I would hop on the train.  It was a little inconvenient but I was saving the world.  Or something.

It was about a 30 minute ride from my local DART Station to downtown Dallas and I have to admit that I actually used to enjoy it.  I would always look out the window and watch as Dallas passed by.  I got to know all of the buildings and houses on the route pretty well.  Thanks to riding the DART train, I discovered that there’s a house on Forrest Lane that’s been boarded up for five years and counting.  Near Spring Creek, there’s a two-story house that I wouldn’t mind owning.  It’s a two-story glass house and it has a really nice deck that looks out over the creek.  I would always look at those houses and, in my mind, I would make up lurid stories about the people who lived there.  For a while, it was great fun.

(Unfortunately, it eventually stopped being fun but that’s a story that will have to wait for whenever I finally get around to reviewing Ms. 45…)

As I watched The Girl On The Train, I started to think about those times on the DART train.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that every story that I came up with while sitting on my DART train was a hundred times more interesting than anything that happened in The Girl On The Train.

Emily Blunt stars as Rachel Watson.  Rachel is an alcoholic.  She got divorced from Tom (Justin Theroux) after she discovered that Tom was having an affair with their real estate agent, Anna Boyd (Rebecca Ferguson).  Tom and Anna are now married and have a baby.  Rachel, meanwhile, is a blackout drunk who has been unemployed for a year.  She spends her time on a train, drinking and ride back and forth between Connecticut and New York.

Every night, the train stops near Rachel’s old house.  Rachel looks out the window and she stares at her former home.  Occasionally, she sees Tom and Anna celebrating their new life.  Rachel also finds herself obsessing on the house next door.  Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett) lives at the house and works as Tom and Anna’s nanny.  As Rachel discovers from looking out the train’s window, Megan is cheating on her husband with a mysterious, bearded man (Edgar Ramirez).

(Rachel has a really good view from her window seat.  Admittedly, I’m notoriously near-sighted so I might not be the best judge, but I could never actually see what was happening inside any of the houses that I stared at.  Rachel, however, must have super vision.  Maybe she was Supergirl before she turned into an alcoholic.  Who knows?)

One day, a drunk-off-her-ass Rachel forces her way off of the train and stumbles towards her former home.  She thinks that she sees Anna jogging and chases after her.  “Whore!” Rachel yells before passing out.  When Rachel regains consciousness, she can’t remember anything that happened.  But she has vague memories of being involved in some sort of struggle…

Eventually, Rachel learns that Megan is missing and presumed murdered.  Even worse, Rachel is the number one suspect.  The main detective (who is somewhat inevitably played by Allison Janney) suspects that Rachel mistook Megan for Anna.  It turns out that Rachel has a history of erratic behavior.  She even tried to kidnap Tom and Anna’s baby!  Seriously, lock Rachel up!

Trying to figure out what happened and clear her name, Rachel approaches Megan’s husband, Scott (Luke Evans) and pretends to be a friend of Megan’s.  It turns out that Scott was an abusive husband.  Soon, he’s both confiding in Rachel and encouraging her to start drinking again.  Rachel starts spending more and more time with Scott and it becomes obvious that she’s trying to live the life that she once imagined that Megan and Scott had.  There’s an interesting subtext to both Rachel’s obsession with Megan and her attempt to start a new relationship with Scott but it’s never really explored.  Instead, it’s brought up and then abandoned a few scenes later.

In fact, as a film, The Girl On The Train never really explores anything.  (It only grudgingly hints at the complexity of the book on which it was based.)  As opposed to similar films like Gone Girl or Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, there’s not much depth or insight to The Girl On The Train.  I’ve read some reviews that have complained that The Girl On The Train is “melodramatic” or “trashy,” but, if that were the case, it would at least be a fun movie to watch.  This is one of those films that thinks it’s a lot deeper than it actually is.

The Girl On The Train was probably doomed as soon as Tate Taylor was hired to direct it.  Taylor previously directed both The Help and a musical biopic called Get On Up.  Tate Taylor is one of those directors who goes out of his way not to challenge his audience (The Help is one of the most positive films about systemic racism that I’ve ever seen) but The Girl On The Train needed a director with more of a subversive edge.  The Girl On The Train needed a director who would embrace the film’s pulpy sensibility as opposed to one who would go out of his way to sand away the story’s rough edges and create an inoffensive and bland product that would be perfect for mass consumption.

And then you’ve got the film’s cast, which is full of talented performers who all seem to be uniquely uninspired by the material that they have to work with.  Emily Blunt did such good work in Looper and Sicario so why is she so boring here?  Why does Justin Theroux seem to be eagerly awaiting the end of the movie?  Why are both Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson reduced to playing characters who feel as if they’ve sprung out of a misogynist’s daydream?  What is Edgar Ramirez even doing in the movie?  Or Lisa Kudrow?  Or Laura Prepon?  Why is it that every world-weary female authority figure has to be played by Allison Janney?  Why?  Why?  Why!?

So, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with The Girl On The Train.  I think I would have been more entertained if I had just hopped on the DART train and let my imagination do the rest of the work.

Film Review: Joy (dir by David O. Russell)


Joyfilmposter

Hi there and welcome to 2016!

Today was the first day of a new year so, of course, I had to go down to the Alamo Drafthouse and see a movie.  What was the title of the first movie that I saw in a theater in 2016?

Joy.

Despite the fact that Joy has gotten some seriously mixed reviews, I had high hopes when I sat down in the Alamo.  After all, Joy represents the third collaboration between director David O. Russell and one of my favorite actresses, Jennifer Lawrence.  (Their previous collaborations — Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — happen to be two of my favorite films of the past 5 years.)  Add to that, Joy has been advertised as being a tribute to a real-life, strong-willed woman and I figured that, at the very least, it would provide a nice alternative to the testosterone-crazed movies that I’ve recently sat through.  And finally, Joy had a great trailer!

Sure, there were a few less than positive signs about Joy.  As I mentioned before, the majority of the reviews had been mixed and the word of mouth was even worse.  (My friend, the sportswriter Jason Tarwater, used one word to describe the film to me: “Meh.”)  But what truly worried me was that Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily absolutely raved about the film on her site and that’s usually a bad sign.  Let’s not forget that this is the same Sasha Stone who claimed that Maps To The Stars was one of the best films ever made about Hollywood.

And, to be honest, I had much the same reaction to Joy that I had to Map To The Stars.  I really wanted to love Joy and, occasionally, there would be a clever bit of dialogue or an unexpected directorial choice and I would briefly perk up in my seat and think to myself, “Okay, this is the film that I wanted to see!”  But, for the most part, Joy is a disappointment.  It’s not so much that it’s bad as it’s just not particularly great.  For the most part, it’s just meh.

But let’s talk about what worked.  Overall, this may be one of Jennifer Lawrence’s lesser films but she gives a great performance, one that reminds us that she truly is one of the best actresses working today.  I’ve read some complaints that Lawrence was too young for the title role and, to be absolutely honest, she probably is.  She looks like she could easily go undercover at a high school and help Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum bust drug dealers.  But, at the same time, she projects the inner weariness of a survivor.  For lack of a better term, she has an old soul and it comes across in her films.

In Joy, she plays Joy Mangano, a divorced mother of two who lives in upstate New York.  Her mother (Virginia Madsen) lives with Joy and spends all of her time watching soap operas.  Joy ex-husband, a lounge singer named Tony (Edgar Ramirez), lives in the basement.  Meanwhile, her grandmother (Diane Ladd, who narrates the film) is always hovering in the background, offering Joy encouragement and optimism.  At the start of the film, Joy’s cantankerous father (Robert De Niro) has also moved into the house.  Joy, who was the valedictorian of her high school, has got a demeaning job working as a flight booker at the airport.

(“What’s your name?” one rude customer asks, “Joy?  You don’t seem very joyful to me…”)

How stressful is Joy’s life?  It’s so stressful that she has a reoccurring nightmare in which she’s trapped in her mother’s favorite soap opera and Susan Lucci (cleverly playing herself) tells her that she should just give up.

However, as difficult as life may get, Joy refuses to take Susan Lucci’s advise.  She invents a miraculous mop known as the miracle mop and eventually becomes a highly successful businesswoman.  Along the way, she makes her television debut on QVC and becomes a minor celebrity herself…

The film’s best scenes are the ones that deal with Joy and QVC.  These scenes, in which the inexperienced Joy proves herself to be a natural saleswoman, are the best in the film.  These scenes are filled with the spark that I was hoping would be present throughout the entire film.  Of course, it helps that these scenes also feature Bradley Cooper as a sympathetic television executive.  This is the third time that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have acted opposite each other and there’s an immediate chemistry between them.  In this case, it’s not a romantic chemistry (and one of the things that I did appreciate about Joy was that it didn’t try to force a predictable romance on the title character).  Instead, it’s the type of mutual respect that you rarely see between male and female characters in the movies.  It’s a lot of fun to watch, precisely because it is so real and unexpected.

But sadly, the QVC scenes only make up a relatively small part of Joy.  The rest of the film is something of a mess, with David O. Russell never settling on a consistent tone.  At times, Joy feels like a disorganized collection of themes from his previous films.  Just as in The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, we get the quirky and dysfunctional family.  Just as in American Hustle, we get the period detail, the Scorsese-lite soundtrack, and the moments of cynical humor.  There’s a lot going on in Joy and, at time, it doesn’t seem that Russell really knows what to do with all the theme and characters that he’s mixed into the movie.  I found myself wondering if he truly understood the story that he was trying to tell.

Finally, at the end of the film, Joy visits a business rival in Dallas, Texas.  Let’s just say that the film’s version of Dallas looks nothing like the city that I know.  (The minute that the scene cut from her ex-husband discovering that Joy had left to a close-up of a Bar-B-Q sign, I let out an exasperated, “Oh, come on!”)  I suppose I should be happy that Russell didn’t have huge mountains in the background of the Dallas scenes but seriously, would it have killed anyone to do a little research or maybe hop on a plane and spend a day or two filming on location?

(After all, if Richard Linklater or Wes Anderson decided to set a movie in David O. Russell’s home state of Massachusetts, I doubt that they would film the Boston scenes in El Paso….)

Joy features great work from Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and it tells a story that has the potential to be very empowering.  But, when it comes to the overall film … meh.

Sorry Jen

Here’s the Latest Trailer for Joy!


Here’s the latest trailer for David O. Russell’s upcoming Oscar contender, Joy!  The first trailer was pretty much all Jennifer Lawrence.  This trailer gives a few members of the supporting cast a chance to shine.

(That said, we all know that the main selling point of this film will always be Jennifer Lawrence and that shotgun…)

(According to some early rumors that I’ve heard, the film’s best performance might not come from Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, or even Bradley Cooper.  I’m hearing that Isabella Rossellini steals every scene in which she appears.)

Film Review: Deliver Us From Evil (dir by Scott Derrickson)


Deliver_Us_from_Evil_(2014_film)_posterI had high hopes for Deliver Us From Evil, largely because it was directed by Scott Derrickson who, in 2012, gave us the wonderfully atmospheric and disturbing Sinister.  Unfortunately, having now seen Deliver Us From Evil, I can only call it the anti-Sinister.  Whereas Sinister took the viewers by surprise, Deliver Us From Evil is predictable.  Whereas Sinister was full of genuinely disturbing moments, Deliver Us From Evil is full of jump scenes that are scary for a few seconds but then swiftly vanish from the memory.  Whereas Sinister was fascinating for featuring a morally ambiguous hero, Deliver Us From Evil features a hero who is so mundanely heroic that you find yourself hoping that he’ll fail just as punishment for his smug hubris.

Perhaps the only way that Deliver Us From Evil tops Sinisteris that it features none other than the King of Television Snark, Joel McHale.  As someone who loves both The Soup and Community, I’m always happy to see Joel but he’s oddly cast here, playing a muscle-bound, adrenaline junkie cop.  It’s not that Joel does a bad job.  In fact, he’s probably the most likable and compelling character in the entire film.  It’s just that you can’t look at him on screen without asking, “Joel, why are you here!?”

Anyway, Deliver Us From Evil is pretty much your standard demonic possession/cop thriller hybrid.  Mysterious murders are being committed.  The murderers speak in a weird language and, it soon turns out, all of them are linked both to the discovery of ancient tomb in Iraq and to a painting company that was started by a group of returning veterans.  It’s up to cops Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and Parker (Joel McHale – why, Joel, why!?) to solve the crime.  Helping them along the way is a former drug addict priest named Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez).  If you’re guessing that the whole thing leads to a violent exorcism on a stormy night – well, you’re definitely on the right track.

Scott Derrickson does the best that he can with the material but he’s hampered by the fact that the film is based on a book that was written by the real-life Ralph Sarchie.  Perhaps as a result, the film’s Ralph is such an upright and moral hero (though he does yell at his daughter in one unpleasant moment but even that is excused as simply being evidence of how personally Ralph takes his job) that he’s also not that interesting of a character.  Eric Bana, who is actually a pretty good comedic actor, struggles to find some sort of depth to Ralph but ultimately, it’s just not there.  And since 90% of horror is psychological, Deliver Us From Evil cannot recover from revolving around such a flat protagonist.

As a result, Derrickson has little option but to fill the film with standard horror movie scenes.  The scenes, as themselves, work well enough but the story is so predictable that they don’t make much of an impact.  The end result is a film that you’ve seen a hundred times before.

The only difference, of course, is that this version features Joel McHale dancing around with a knife.

Quick Review: Zero Dark Thirty (dir. by Kathryn Bigelow)


zero-dark-thirty-releases-a-uk-poster-121641-00-1000-100I’m hoping this won’t be the only review for Zero Dark Thirty. I just happened to view it earlier, and these are my thoughts. As other reviews come in, they will more than likely be in depth.

On May 1st, 2011, news spread around the United States as President Barack Obama announced that a successful operation was completed that resulted in Osama Bin Laden’s death. Academy Award Winning Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is the story of the events leading up to that operation. This is by far one of the trickiest reviews I’ve ever had to write, considering this isn’t a fictional tale, but one based on actual events. Additionally, in trying to tell you about this, even though you know what happens, I’m leaving out tons of details so that the audience can be surprised. In short, Zero Dark Thirty is easily my front runner for Best Picture and Director this year (and this is coming from someone who enjoyed Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook this year). I enjoyed it so much that right after seeing it today, I went back in for a 2nd showing.

Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t apologize for anything that occurs in the film. There are actions that may have viewers wincing or possibly questioning the motives behind them. At the same time, it doesn’t really try to glorify anyone either. There are no congratulatory celebrations like you’d find in a Michael Bay film. There’s no one approving of nor condemning in this. There’s just a target, and the people are who are – by whatever means they can – trying to eliminate that target, no sugar coating required. I like to think it takes a bit of courage to throw that up there for audiences. I’m not really certain there’s any other way they could have told it without causing some kind of upset. Unlike Act of Valor, which favored the Military Forces presented on screen, Zero Dark Thirty kind of showcases Seal Team 6 as just a group of guys that need to go in and do a job. It may be considered the safe road in having the distance there, but I felt it worked over all.

Jessica Chastain carries the film as Maya, a CIA Operative who makes it her mission to get UBL. I’ve never seen Chastain’s other films, but she comes across with such ferocity in this movie as it process as it’s hard to ignore her and I’ll probably keep an eye out for her other work. Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) also plays an operative who works with her. Zero Dark Thirty has a great ensemble cast that includes Mark Strong (Green Lantern), James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Chris Pratt (Wanted), Jennifer Ehle (Contagion), Edgar Ramirez (The Bourne Ultimatum), among others. It didn’t feel like anyone missed a beat on this.

The movie moves at an even pace. It felt long the first time I watched it, but considerably shorter the second time. Mark Boal’s script is pretty lean, moving from scene to scene with ease, which may actually be more to Bigelow’s credit. The first audience I saw the film with gave it tons of applause at the climax of the film – the actual raid done in a mixture of night time shots and night vision camera shots –  and at the end credits. The second group only clapped at the end credits. I imagine there’s going to be mixed responses all around.

Zero Dark Thirty is getting some serious praise from Hollywood and condemnation from political officials, from what I’m seeing online. Yes, the movie does contain scenes of torture, but perhaps my having seen too many horror films, I didn’t quite feel that what was displayed was really that bad.  As I saw the film without knowing any of the historical background of the actual events, the movie worked for me as a tense drama. It’s altogether possible that others may feel differently when viewing it, and that’s okay.

Overall, if you’re able to find a theatre that’s playing the film during this preview period, it’s worth seeing. The movie will open in wide release on January 11.

Trailer: Zero Dark Thirty


After the success Kathryn Bigelow had with her award-winning film The Hurt Locker it was just part of the norm that people began to wonder what she would do to follow-up the film which gave her the Oscar for Best Director. There was talk of her making an action thriller about the Tri-Border Region in South America that many intelligence agencies consider a major haven for global organized crime and terrorist groups of all kinds. This particular idea bounced around for months then nothing came of it. Then news came about around late-Spring to early Summer 2011 that Bigelow and The Hurt Locker writer and collaborator Mark Boal came upon the idea that would be Bigelow’s follow-up.

The film that the two decided upon would be an action thriller detailing the global manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but this decision became even more important once news broke out on May 2, 2011 that the hunt for America’s Most Wanted criminal was finally over and that Operation Neptune Spear was a success with the death of Bin Laden.

Zero Dark Thirtyis the title of Bigelow’s film about the details and backstory which led up to this special operations mission on May 2, 2011. The first trailer for the film has been released by Sony and it’s short on details other than some voice overs over satellite imagery. I’m sure there’ll be more trailers that will open up what this film will truly be about leading up to it’s December release date (just in time for awards season).

It’s going to be interesting how Bigelow will do with this follow-up to The Hurt Locker. If her history is anything to go by then it shouldn’t disappoint even if some of her detractors will be chomping at the bit to see it fail and further see her Best Director Oscar win as a fluke done to keep the award from her ex-husband James Cameron.

Zero Dark Thirty is scheduled for a December 19, 2012 release date…just two days from the end of the world.

Trailer: Wrath of the Titans


2010’s Clash of the Titans remake wasn’t what fantasy fans were expecting. Yes, it had spectacle and taking advantage of 3D (rage of the time due to the success of Avatar), but how the film ended up quality-wise left much to be desired. For an epic summer blockbuster film (as hyped by it’s ads and marketing push) the film felt very underwhelming. It showed in the box-office as it failed to generate Olympian-level cash though it still generated a little under $500million worldwide. I’m guessing it’s this number which greenlit a sequel to a remake of a film that never had one.

Wrath of the Titans forgoes having just two titans battle it out with Perseus (Sam Worthington) stuck in the middle. This time around the sequel will deal with the weakening of the Olympian Gods as human worship wanes while at the same time the powers of the imprisoned Titans rise. So, from the trailer alone this looks to have action that’s even more amped up than it’s predecessor. Previous director Louis Leterrier has stepped aside as director and in his place for the sequel is Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles…which I thought was actually quite good despite what my partner-in-writing Lisa Marie says about the film).

Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes return to their roles from the previous film. Replacing Alexa Davalos in the role of Princess Andromeda from the first film is Rosamund Pike who now takes the role as Queen Andromeda. Bill Nighy and Danny Huston join the cast as Hephaestus and Poseidon respectively.

Wrath of the Titans is set for a March 30, 2012 release which just reinforces my point that the summer blockbuster season seem to be encroaching into Spring with each passing year.

Possible leads for Bourne Legacy


After joining this site smack dab in the middle of a two month internship followed by my final semester at college I have not had much time to make a post. Luckily for me things have slowed a bit and I have found time to do things other than study…like blog, as I’m about to do now.

I caught this bit of news on a few websites and I couldn’t help but voice my opinion on the matter, which has to do with the casting of the lead for “Bourne Legacy”, which is in essence a spin-off of the original Bourne trilogy. It is being directed by Tony Gilroy who previously directed Oscar nominated “Michael Clayton”, and the quirky rom-com-spy-thriller…thingy, “Duplicity”. However; he is most notably known by fans of the Bourne franchise for working on the screenplays of the first three.

Little is known about “Bourne Legacy” as far as the plot is concerned other than it takes place in the same universe, at roughly the same time (most likely following the events of Ultimatum), and is not a reboot/remake, will not contain Jason Bourne’s character, but his presence in the world will be known by characters within “Legacy”…hence why I consider this to basically just be a spin-off…just one not containing any previously known characters.

I’ve always been skeptical about “Bourne Legacy” and the closer and closer this project gets to actually being made the more and more I wish they would just not make another film tied into that universe, or wait for Greengrass and Damon to come back for a fourth. But this being Hollywood, where studios love to milk popular franchises dry, it is going to be made whether fans or non-fans like it or not. So, the best I can hope for is that they don’t totally mess it up.

I think what has many worried, including myself, is the actor who will be cast in the lead role. More recently speculation as to who the studio might go for has increased with many names being thrown around and at one point Shia LaBeouf’s name was mentioned and I had almost lost just about all faith that they could pull of anything comparable to the original trilogy. (I think it is pretty obvious that I’m not a fan of LaBeouf…) Luckily it seems that he will not test for the film. Within the last few days it seems that the list of possible actors has gotten shorter and below are four guys who the studio want for testing:

(Garrett Hedlund, Joel Edgerton, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans)

Personally, as a big fan of the first three, the only guy on that list that I can even remotely see playing a character similar to Bourne is Edgerton. He has an edge to him, and doesn’t have the “pretty boy” looks of the other three, a characteristic that I do not associate with Jason Bourne. Not to mention that from what I have seen from these four, Edgerton is the better actor, but of course that is just my opinion and I really haven’t seen enough from any of them to draw any strong conclusions.

Anyway, they will be testing for the role in the first week of April, not sure when we will get an official announcement as to who they pick but it is a decision I eagerly await. I’m trying to keep some faith in this project, hoping they keep the franchise alive long enough for possibly Damon and Greengrass to team up once again.

Personally, I would love for them to cast Edgar Ramirez who was phenomenal in Carlos, and continue the story with his character, who played Paz, a fellow spy tracking Bourne down in the third film where he got little screen time and just about zero lines. I think the best route to take with the story of “Bourne Legacy” would be to start up right after his interactions with Bourne’s character in Ultimatum and have him investigate a bit about the conspiracies below the surface, which eventually leads to him being chased down as he tries to figure it all out, focusing on what happened with Bourne and other Treadstone/Blackbriar agents. This way they could actually set up the return of Matt Damon as Bourne because of course it would all eventually lead back to him.

But who knows. Tony Gilroy is a competent director and great writer, so “Bourne Legacy” does have a chance, it is just that my love of the original Trilogy that has me worried. Still I’ll probably be there opening day…having watched the first three the night before.

What are your thoughts on the short list/”Bourne Legacy”? Who, out of the four, would you choose? Which actor would you choose who isn’t on that list?

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.