By the way, here are the Satellite Award Nominations…


In even more Oscar season news, the International Press Association announced their nominations for the Satellite Awards yesterday.  Les Miserables led with 10 nominations.

If you’re like most people who don’t obsess over film awards then chances are that you’ve never heard of the International Press Association.  And that’s okay.  The main thing to know is that it’s Oscar season and that means that everyone’s giving out an award.  The Satellites are a lot like the Golden Globes, just with less credibility.  As far as serving as a precursor is concerned, a Satellite win can help a film maintain momentum but a loss doesn’t really hurt.

That said, for the past few years, I’ve always ended up agreeing more with the Satellite Nominations than with either the Oscars or the Golden Globes.  For instance, back in 2010, the Satellites nominated Noomi Rapace for her performance in the original (and the best) version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

BEST PICTURE
“Argo”
“Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
“Life Of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Les Misérables”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“The Sessions”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Kim Ki-duk, “Pieta“
Ben Lewin, “The Sessions”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTRESS
Laura Birn, “Purge”
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Emilie Dequenne, “Our Children”
Keira Knightley, “Anna Karenina”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Laura Linney, “Hyde Park On Hudson”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Omar Sy, “The Intouchables”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Samantha Barks, “Les Miserables“
Judi Dench, “Skyfall”
Helene Florent, “Café De Flore”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Javier Bardem, “Skyfall”
Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
John Goodman, “Flight”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Eddie Redmayne, “Les Misérables”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
John Gatins, “Flight”
Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, “The Intouchables”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Kim Ki-duk, “Pieta”
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Tom Stoppard, “Anna Karenina”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”
David Magee, “Life Of Pi”
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
Ben Lewin, “The Sessions”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Amour” (Austria)
“Beyond The Hills” (Romania)
“Caesar Must Die” (Italy)
“The Intouchables” (France)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“Our Children” (Belgium)
“Pieta” (South Korea)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

BEST ANIMATED OR MIXED-MEDIA FILM
“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“Ice Age 4: Continental Drift”
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“Paranorman”
“Rise Of The Guardians”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”
“The Central Park Five”
“Chasing Ice”
“The Gatekeepers”
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”
“The Pruitt-Igoe Myth”
“Searching For Sugar Man”
“West Of Memphis”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Seamus McGarvey, “Anna Karenina”
Ben Richardson, “Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
Claudio Miranda, “Life Of Pi”
Janusz Kaminski, “Lincoln”
Mihai Malaimare, Jr., “The Master”
Roger Deakins, “Skyfall”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Sarah Greenwood, Niall Moroney, Thomas Brown, Nick Gottschalk and Tom Still, “Anna Karenina”
Nathan Crowley, Kevin Kavanaugh, James Hambidge and Naaman Marshall, “The Dark Knight Rises”
Rick Carter, Curt Beech, David Crank and Leslie McDonald, “Lincoln”
David Crank and Jack Fisk, “The Master”
Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson, “Les Misérables”
Niels Sejer, “A Royal Affair”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”
Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud, “Cloud Atlas”
Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux, “Farewell, My Queen”
Paco Delgado, “Les Misérables”
Manon Rasmussen, “A Royal Affair”
Colleen Atwood, “Snow White And The Huntsman”

BEST FILM EDITING
Alexander Berner, “Cloud Atlas”
Jeremiah O’Driscoll, “Flight”
Chris Dickens, “Les Misérables”
Lisa Bromwell, “The Sessions”
Jay Cassidy, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Dylan Tichenor, “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Dario Marianelli, “Anna Karenina”
Alexandre Desplat, “Argo”
Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts Of The Southern Wild”
John Williams, “Lincoln”
Jonny Greenwood, “The Master”
Thomas Newman, “Skyfall”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Learn Me Right,” “Brave”
“Fire In The Blood/Snake Song” “Lawless”
“Love Always Comes As A Surprise,” “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“Suddenly,” “Les Misérables”
“Still Alive,” “Paul Williams: Still Alive”
“Skyfall,” “Skyfall”

BEST SOUND (EDITING AND MIXING)
“Flight”
“Les Misérables”
“Snow White And The Huntsman”
“Kon-Tiki”
“Life Of Pi”
“Prometheus”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Cloud Atlas”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“Flight”
“Life Of Pi”
“Prometheus”
“Skyfall”

Film Review: ParaNorman (dir. by Sam Fell and Chris Butler)


I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from the new animated film ParaNorman.  As much as I love animated films, ParaNorman‘s trailer had never really captured my imagination.  (Or, at the very least, it hadn’t captured my imagination in the way that the trailers for Brave and Wreck-It Ralph did.)  For the most part, the only reason that ParaNorman was even on my radar was because it was advertised as being the latest film from the creators of Coraline and the only reason that Jeff and I ended up seeing this film last Friday instead of The Expendables 2 was because I had a slight headache and didn’t want to have to spend two hours listening to men yelling, guns firing, and bombs exploding.

In other words, I saw ParaNorman with low-to-no expectations and sometimes, that’s the perfect way to go to the movies because I absolutely loved ParaNorman.

ParaNorman tells the story of Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a shy boy who has the ability to talk to the dead.  This talent comes in handy because Norman happens to live in the haunted New England town of Blithe Hollow. 

I fell in love with ParaNorman during the opening credits, in which we watch as Norman talks to the spirts of everyone from an unfortunte aviator to a squished dog, all the while simply trying to get to school on time.  In this short, wonderfully animated sequence, we learn everything that we need to know about Norman and the town of Blithe Hollow.  We learn that Norman is shy, he’s lonely, and he’s also one of the few people in the world nice enough to actually be polite to a pushy ghost demanding his attention.  As for the town of Blithe Hollow, it’s a memorably ugly creation, full of ominous buildings that seem to have sprung straight from a nightmare of German Expressionism. 

Blithe Hollow, we soon learn, is a town that’s haunted by a lot more than just a few restless spirits.  The town was founded by Puritans who, as the film begins, are mostly remembered for their witch hunts.  Centuries ago, the town founders burned a witch at the stake and that witch cursed the town.  While it wouldn’t be right for me to give away too many details of the plot, it turns out that the witch’s curse is very much real and, as a result of a several complications and mistakes on the part of both Norman and the citizens of Blithe Hollow, the town is soon overrun by zombies. 

In a twist that would make George Romero proud, the citizens of Blithe Hollow soon prove themselves to be a hundred times more monsterous and dangerous than the film’s actual monsters.  However, as only Norman can actually talk to the dead, he soon discovers that there’s more to the “zombie rampage” then meets the eye.  Soon, it becomes apparent that Norman’s the only one who can give the witch what she wants and save Blithe Hollow from the sins of the past.

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of children at the showing that Jeff and I attended and ParaNorman had enough silly moments to keep them entertained.  They seemed to enjoy the comedic relief provided by Norman’s fat and loyal friend Neil (voiced by Tucker Albrizzi).  That said, ParaNorman isn’t really a film for children.  It starts out slow and wisely devotes a good amount of time  to establishing the oppressive atmosphere of Blithe Hollow.  The film’s resolution comes not with the spectacle that we’ve been conditioned to expect from animated films but instead, the movie ends on a rather subdued, almost mournful note.  ParaNorman‘s humor is combined with a very real sense of melancholy and loss.  This is a film that can be enjoyed by kids but only truly understood by adults.

(If Dellamorte Dellamore is ever remade as an animated film, I expect the end result will look a lot like ParaNorman.)

 Don’t get me wrong, ParaNorman is a funny film that’s full of clever details and smart vocal performances. Along with Smit-McPhee and Albrizzi, the voice cast includes Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin, and Leslie Mann.  All of them deliver their lines with just the right combination of sincerity and melodrama.  However, the film is really stolen by Jodelle Ferland, who voices the condemned witch and who brought me to very real tears towards the end of the movie.

ParaNorman is hardly a perfect film but’s a nicely ambitious one and it has a good message about tolerance.  I wasn’t expecting much from it and I ended up adoring it.  Perhaps I should lower my expectations more often.

Poll: Which Films Are You Most Looking Forward to Seeing In August?


Last month, we asked you what film you were most looking forward to in July and not surprisingly, The Dark Knight Rises was the clear winner.

This month, we ask you which films you’re most looking forward to seeing in August.  You can vote for up to four films and, as always, write-in votes are happily accepted.

Vote often!