Bookmarks for November 17th

What we’ve been reading over the past week or so.

  • Oscar season nears, but where’s the buzz?
    With the right balance, it stands to reason the Oscar red carpet could be populated with more of the A-list, which translates to ratings; everybody wins. So with that in mind, the holiday movie season officially upon us, and ballots for nominations due next month, why does it not yet feel like the race has begun?
  • Helvetica. Movie Posters
    From Up In The Air to Hard Candy to Funny Games, Helvetica is overused in Movie Posters as it is pretty much everywhere else.
  • How good viral marketing can go bad
    Viral Marketing Campaigns that did not help, or in the worst case, probably severely hurt the films they were supposedly marketing.
  • Penelope Cruz talks NINE and Explains Why She Filmed a Cameo in SEX AND THE CITY 2
    Having made her acting debut as a teenager, Penelope Cruz has shown an extraordinary ability for playing strong, memorable women. Whether it’s in her four films with Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, or her work with American director Woody Allen, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, the striking and opinionated actress puts her all into every performance, as is evidenced on the screen.
  • ‘Friday The 13th’: Ranking The Series From Top To Bottom
    Perhaps you’re new to the “Friday” game and need some guidance. The natural urge would be to start from the beginning, but that would be a mistake that would result in sadness and nausea. Since the continuity between movies doesn’t matter in the slightest, it’s best to take them out of order. But where to start? Glad you asked. Here are the 12 “Friday the 13th” films, ranked in order of greatness from truly excellent to whatever “Jason Goes to Hell” is.
  • Yogi Bear? Dan Aykroyd? Live action/animated hybrid? WTF?
    A well reasoned smack-down rant of this baffling studio project.
  • Wings of Desire: Three Years After
    Really lovely appreciation of Wim Wenders WINGS OF DESIRE, on the occasion its Criterion Blu-ray release, which sounds spectacular. Rick considers the beauty of Criterion’s remastered print, as well as the greatness of the humanistic story and of Wender’s evocation of Berlin and its history.
  • Monsters, Inc. – Blu-ray Review
    The film? Great. The Blu-ray? Perfection. Your wallet? $30 less. ‘Nuff said? Yep, just buy it!
  • “Everything else is pure theory”: What-if Movies
    A coin flip splits the new movie “Uncertainty” in two. That’s how a young couple (played by Lynn Collins and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) at a turning point in their relationship decide which way to go on the Brooklyn Bridge. “Uncertainty”‘s not the first film to explore those what-if musings we’ve all indulged in but it is one of a select group of movies to be structured around that idea of forking paths, of returning to a certain point and trying things another way, or in another setting, or just another frame of mind. Here are a few more films built around alternate realities.
  • Disaster Movie Moments That Pissed Us Off The Most
    Sure, disaster movies are just empty calories of mass destruction — but even when you don’t take them seriously, there are always some scenes that you just can’t excuse. We’ve collected the most infuriating moments from the biggest disaster movies.
  • Between Dimensions: Solaris (1972)
    Bring an overnight bag to your couch. This star trip takes awhile.

Oscar AniMANIA!

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From the look of most headlines and top stories on our fellow industry websites- the big talk of today was certainly the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. A whopping 20 titles make the list:

(Incase you missed the List!)

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (The Squeakquel)
  • Astro Boy
  • Battle For Terra
  • Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs
  • Coraline
  • Disney’s A Christmas Carol
  • The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dianosaurs
  • Mary and Max
  • The Missing Lynx
  • Monsters vs Aliens
  • 9
  • Planet 51
  • Ponyo
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Seceret of Kells
  • Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
  • A Town Called Panic
  • Up

Including a few of these titles on the list for possible nominations seems a little desperate. I could do without The Chipmunks, Meatballs, Monsters and Aliens myself, but as stated on the Variety article- “Under the rules of the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences, there must be at least 16 eligible films in a year to expand to five noms

I happened to enjoy a number of those on the list, and have been looking forward to catching a few more awaiting release.

With most predictions on Up stealing the prize (an outcome I’d be more than pleased with), I won’t be surpirsed to see Mr. Fox, Ponyo or Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation, The Princess and the Frog snuggle close as threatening contenders.

Predictions?

Variety-Oscar Nominees
IndieWire Oscar Nominees

Steve Martin is Back to Hosting the Oscars… with Tag Team Partner Alec Baldwin!

News out of Variety a few moments ago is that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have accepted the honor of hosting the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Martin has hosted a couple of times before and this will be a first time role for Baldwin. I think the choice to revert to someone tried, true and trusted and stick him with the new guys who is on fire as of late in terms of comedy is a great choice. Hugh Jackman was fine last year – quite great actually – but I think these two together are going to be make for an infinitely more entertaining show than anything from the past several years.

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Bookmarks for November 3rd

What we’ve been reading – October 30th:

  • The Auteurs Daily: Debating Haneke (and Brecht)
    Ekkehard holds up Lars von Trier as an example of a filmmaker whose works – as opposed to Haneke’s, of course – live and breathe because they all but celebrate their inner contradictions. Haneke’s machines may be smart, but as Oscar Wilde put it, “The wise contradict themselves.”
  • The 10 Criterion Duds
    Bay’s end-of-times explosion porno, Armageddon, is … digitally remastered for all of posterity. Now you can appreciate the full scope of Bay’s inanity while partially losing your hearing—and your will to live—in ear-shattering Dolby surround sound. What’s more, Criterion’s Armageddon comes equipped with all those bonuses that cinephiles and academics have come to expect including previously unreleased footage, “Michael Bay’s gag reel,” and the Aerosmith music video “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Could there be more fitting a film than Armageddon to be bookended by Criterion’s #39 and #41, Tokyo Drifter and Henry V?
  • Hitchcock classics get a remake — in sticky tape.
    Philadelphia-based artist Mark Khaisman has proved you don’t need suitcases of cash for successful movie remakes — he simply raided the stationery cupboard. Using packing tape, he has recreated scenes from favorite Alfred Hitchcock thrillers “The 39 Steps,” and “Spellbound”, among others.
  • Who’s Going To Be The World Series MVP? Forget A-Rod or A. J. Burnett, Give Me Willie Mays Hayes!
    When I think about ballplayers these days, I tend to think about movies. Cinema has given us some of the best and silliest sluggers and hurlers imaginable, and it is these athletes I choose to honor in October, rather than anyone on the Yanks or the Phils.
  • Anderson Looks Up For New Movie
    Now that director Wes Anderson has explored the oceans in “The Life Aquatic” and the lands in “The Darjeeling Limited,” there is only one place left for him to go: Space.
  • Discuss: Which Actors Don’t Belong in Hollywood?
    While we like to try and remain positive around here, WorstPreviews asks the question, Which actor or actress (working today) do you think is so terrible that it makes you wonder how he/she ever made it in Hollywood? Join the discussion over there or leave your thoughts on the matter in our comments section below.
  • 21 Stars Who Should Host The 2010 Oscars
    With Hugh Jackman out this year, here are some great suggestion from readers about who should host the Academy Awards in 2010. Well, some of them are great suggestions. Others are simply suggestions.

Big News: Academy Will Choose From TEN!

up-oscarOver 60 years ago the Oscars once had the field of best picture nominees to at least eight with a maximum of twelve. That’s right, 12 nominees up for best picture! The year 1943 was the last year to showcase such a wide array of potential winners as it was scaled back to five the following year; to where it has stayed… until now.

Incredible move, but Oscars.org and Sid Ganis is reporting that starting this year, the field will be moved back up to 10.

“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.

“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” commented Ganis. “I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”

This is something I’ve actually contemplated for years. Why does it always have to be five every year? I’ve always thought it was stupid. Well, now I guess I can say, “Why does it always have to be TEN every year?”.

So until this news sinks in a little bit and I have some time to think about it, I don’t have a lot of commentary. If nothing else it will be interesting come February 2nd to see which of these other “fantastic movies” makes the cut.

Ten. Wow. Thoughts?

Cinecast Episode 113 – Hats, Canes and a Shiny New Penny

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Episode 113:
It’s the Academy Awards (almost) all the time. From the show itself to the winners; a complete recap. A new and interesting version of the top 5 and of course DVD picks.
Thanks for listening.

Click the Audio Icon below to listen in:

Below the fold are the Show Notes…
Would you like to know more…?

Hugh Jackman Oscar Promo Shots

I wouldn’t say these are anything overly special, but as we get closer to Oscar night, The Academy is starting to push for viewership and ratings. I came across these handsome looking promo shots highlighting the host of the evening, Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. Take a look and tell us what you think. You can check out a hi-res version by simply clicking the images.

Actor/Director Oscar Photo Shoot

Via Variety this morning, I stumbled across a really nice looking photo shoot of ten director/actor photo shoots from the 2008 movie season that account for some four dozen Oscar nominations. Each photo is quite handsome and were obviously done some time ago as Ledger appears in one of the photos.

All shots were captured by photographer Annie Leibovitz and more information about each one can be found over at Variety if you’d like. Feel free to click on any image to get a slightly bigger version…

THE RINGERS

So are these great shots or what? Or was this just an excuse for me to post yet another Penélope Cruz photo? You decide. The rest of the photos can be seen under the seats below (the last one is kind of amusing I think).

Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 110 – Paint by Numbers

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Episode 110:
Quite the rambly show that covers a lot of ground today. So come on in and listen to a couple of geeks talk everything from French avant garde to animated documentaries to grade B, popcorn cinema for a couple of hours. It’s good fun.
C’mon in!

Click the Audio Icon below to listen in:

Below the fold are the Show Notes…
Would you like to know more…?