January 2006

Academy Award Nominations

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2006

in Uncategorized

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced their list of nominees for the 78th annual Oscars.  No surprise (though a little dread) that with the results of recent award shows Brokeback Mountain (which won the Golden Globe for Drama and the Director’s Guild Best Picture) leads all films with eight nominations.  We’ll see if anyone can upset the front runner.  Walk the Line (which won the Golden Globe for Musical or Comedy) pulled in five Oscar nominations but not one for best picture.  The two best films of the year, Steven Spielberg’s amazing drama about the life after the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Olympic Games Munich and George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck have been unable to cash in on their nominations and been largely ignored by awards commitees this year.  And I won’t even get started on the scarcity of nominations for the tremendous A History of Violence.  The two films with some momentum going into the Oscars that could give Brokeback some challenge are Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman winning at almost every award ceremony for his portrayal of the title character, and Crash which just Saturday took home the top award at the Screen Actor’s Guild.  For a list of the nominees read on…

78th Academy Awards
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Enough talk, we’ll be debate this list in the weeks to come (plus the films and performances we feel got snubbed by Oscar).  For now though just take a looksee at what was honored just to be nominated.

Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich

Best Director

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Bennet Miller, Capote
Paul Haggis, Crash
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Steven Spielberg, Munich

Best Actor

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terrance Howard, Huslte & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Actress

Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightly, Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron, North Country
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Supporting Actor

George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Original Screenplay

Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Crash
George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck
Woody Allen, Match Point
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
Stephen Gaghan, Syriana

Adapted Screenplay

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Dan Futterman, Capote
Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener
Josh Olson, A History of Violence
Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich

Foreign Film

Don’t Tell, Italy
Joyeux Noel, France
Paradise Now, Palestine
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days, Germany
Tsotsi, South Africa

Animated Feature Film

Howl’s Moving Castle
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Original Song

“In the Deep”, Crash
“It’s Hard Here for a Pimp”, Huslte & Flow
“Travelin’ Thru’ Transamerica,” Transamerica

Original Score

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
Memoirs of a Geisha
Munich
Pride & Prejudice

For the more technical awards (editing, sound mixing, etc., view the whole list here).

This Week

by Alan Rapp on January 30, 2006

in Uncategorized

It’s Super Bowl week but before Sunday’s big game there’s quite a bit for your entertainment dollar.  Tueday’s DVD releases include yet another version of David Lynch’s monumental trainwreck, the retun of Anthony Banderas as Zorro, and lots of fun 80’s TV with Mr. T, a talking Trans-Am, and a detective in a Ferrari.  Planning to hit the theaters this Friday?  Well check out what’s scheduled to hit theaters this week including A Good Woman with Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson (check back Friday for the review).  Read on…

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RazorFine gets you set up for the week with a look at what’s coming to your local theater, video store, and beamed directly into your television this week.  Here’s what’s happenin’…

TV

Conviction 9:00/8:00 Monday BBC America (Premiere)
State of the Union Address 9:00/8:00 Tuesday
Survivor: Panama 8:00/7:00 Thursday CBS (Premiere)
Super Bowl XL Sunday 6:00/5:00 Sunday

DVD
New releases for Tuesday, January 31:

Bubble
Dune (Extended Edition)
In Her Shoes
The Legend of Zorro
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Essential Atom Egoyan Box Set
A-Team – Season Three
Diff’rent Strokes – The Complete Second Season
Hill Street Blues – Season One
Knight Rider – Season Three
Magnum, P.I. – Season Three
MI-5 – Volume 3
The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection
The Rat Patrol – The Complete First Season

Film
Movies opening Friday, February 3:

When a Stranger Calls
Babysitter (Camilla Belle) gets harassed by strange phone calls while watching the children of a young yuppie couple.  Scared she calls the police only to discover the calls are coming from inside the house.  Almost certainly as stupid as it sounds and it’s a remake of a horror movie which never turns out good (here’s the 1979 original).

Something New
A romantic comedy by first time director Sanaa Hamri out just in time for Valentines Day about a single woman in L.A. looking for love in an interracial relationship her friends don’t understand.  The cast includes Sanaa Latham, Simon Barker, Alfre Woodard, Felicia Walker, Tanisha Harper, Tom Ratzenberger, David Monahan, and Blair Underwood.

The Three Burials of Melaquiades (Limited)
Directed and starring Tommy Lee Jones the winding tale focuses on a murder at the US / Mexico border and the body who keeps getting dug up and an investigation of the circumstances of his death.  The first time in the director’s chair for Jones, the film also stars Dwight Yokum and Barry Pepper.

A Good Woman (Limited)
Based on the Oscar Wilde play “Lady Windermere’s Fan” the movie tells the tale of a promiscuous and scandalous woman (Helen Hunt) known to take advantage of married men leaves New York and journeys overseas to where more prosperous opportunities loom just over the horizon.  A British production filmed in 2004 that is only now seeing the inside of American theaters.  With Scarlett Johannson, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Umbers, and Tom Standing.

Suits on the Loose (Limited)
Light comedy about two teenagers (Brandon Beemer and Ty Hodges) who flee desert survival camp and end up in being mistaken for Mormon missionaries by the town of New Harmony.  Written and directed by first timer Rodney Henson.

Nanny McPhee

by December Lambeth on January 27, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

Nanny McPhee is an ugly Mary Poppins indeed. A pack of rotten kids, a sad widowed father, an uneducated maid and nanny with instead a bag of tricks a cane that kicks. Adapted by Emma Thompson from the “Nurse Matilda” books, Nanny McPhee is a story with morals, lessons and love. A magical happy ending for both kids and parents alike.

Nanny McPhee
4 Stars

Nanny McPhee is an ugly Mary Poppins indeed. A pack of rotten kids, a sad widowed father, an uneducated maid and nanny with instead a bag of tricks a cane that kicks. Adapted by Emma Thompson from the “Nurse Matilda” books, Nanny McPhee is a story with morals, lessons and love. A magical happy ending for both kids and parents alike.

With the passing of their mother the Brown kids are lashing out for attention the only way they know how, by ill behavior and bad manors. Running the last nanny in town off in less than 2 days, Mr. Brown (Colin Firth), their father is desperate for help. Nanny McPhee is the person you need, he hears in the breeze. Knock! Knock! At the door on a dark stormy night and there she stood in all her moley glory, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson). She goes to work right away; starting with lesson one, go to bed when you are told. She has a special way about her, less than a force more like a push with a knock of her cane. She has but 5 lessons to teach and as soon as the kids have accomplished all 5, she must be on her way. (Marry Poppins anybody?)

A little magic and stern compassion Nanny McPhee whips the kids into shape and helps, in her own way, Mr. Brown with his looming engagement. He must get married within a month or the evil Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury) will cut off his allowance. If he looses his aunt’s financial support the kids must separate and the older children would go to sweat shops and the younger to foster care or an orphanage. This he could not allow, so he attempts to marry a very colorful character, whose husband he had buried the year before. The children do not like her and she them, so they become their evil little selves for one day and get rid of her and turn their father around. Nanny McPhee throws in one last cane thrashing of hope, the love lorne maid, Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald) appears as an angel to save the family and marry the father.

 

Nanny McPhee is a happy little story with charming children, dashingly handsome father and one ugly nanny that will entertain kids of all ages. Nanny McPhee is a fitting family fairy tale ending film

The Matador

by December Lambeth on January 27, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

A crazy on the edge hit man and an average blue-collar worker meet up in a bar in Mexico and strike an odd friendship. The Matador is a dark comedy crowd pleaser with colorful and unexpected moments. Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear play off one another delivering stellar performances in a completely unethical story. Say goodbye to the slick tuxedo wearing 007 and say hello to Chelsea boots, black Speedo and a cheap beer; Pierce Brosnan plays up a character that audiences will love to hate and will be surprised to see. Greg Kinnear plays his typical nice guy role without flaw, but adds a bit of spice to his reaction towards his new buddy’s murdering profession. The Matador is both shocking and creative; it’s bullfighting at its prime!

The Matador
3 Stars

A crazy on the edge hit man and an average blue-collar worker meet up in a bar in Mexico and strike an odd friendship. The Matador is a dark comedy crowd pleaser with colorful and unexpected moments. Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear play off one another delivering stellar performances in a completely unethical story. Say goodbye to the slick tuxedo wearing 007 and say hello to Chelsea boots, black Speedo and a cheap beer; Pierce Brosnan plays up a character that audiences will love to hate and will be surprised to see. Greg Kinnear plays his typical nice guy role without flaw, but adds a bit of spice to his reaction towards his new buddy’s murdering profession. The Matador is both shocking and creative; it’s bullfighting at its prime!

Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) a past his prime hit man chasing girls and getting drunk on Margaritas in Mexico becomes friends with a down on his luck everyday Joe, Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear). Danny is the good guy who married his high school sweetheart and took an average job to make ends meet. While trying to close a deal in Mexico he meets Julian in the hotel bar. After a few bad jokes on Julian’s part, Danny runs off a little scared and extremely uncomfortable, content with never seeing that crazy guy again.

As luck would have it, the 2 bump into each other in the lobby and Julian, in attempt to make a friend, invites Danny to an historical and local pastime, bullfighting. The 2 men strike up an odd friendship of sorts after Julian confesses his profession and gives Danny a mock hit demonstration. After the deal goes south Danny asks Julian for a favor that will save his marriage and his job.

As time goes by the 2 separate and go their own way. Julian completely looses touch with reality and his edge for killing, he wants out. Finding himself on the other end of a hit, he shows up at Danny’s door to ask a return favor, help him do one last hit. Danny agrees to his request and ultimately walks him through the complete job step by step. After all is done and over and Julian’s life is no longer at risk, he leaves a small token of his appreciation for Danny and goes on his twisted merry way.

 

Odd reactions, colorful moments and brilliant performances make The Matador a film worth watching. To see Pierce Brosnan walk across a hotel lobby with a beer in hand, Speedos crawling up is ass and zipped up ankle boots is absolutely priceless. Adding to the films entertainment value would be the reaction Danny and his wife had towards Julian’s murderous profession, like it was an everyday 9 to 5. She asked to see his gun and he helped him murder someone as if they were barbecuing in the backyard, great elements of the unexpected keeps the audience on their toes and not all too sure what will be coming next. Brosnan and Kinnear’s seamless ability to work off each other keeps you laughing at even the most lude moments. The Matador is a less than glamourous “hit” you won’t see coming.

Ole

by Alan Rapp on January 27, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear give us the odd pairing of the hitman and the salesman in Mexico where margaritas aren’t the only thing that tastes better.  Brosnan kicks some serious ass as the hitman who has lost his edge but not his inappropriate sense of humor.

The Matador
3 & 1/2 Stars

Pierce Brosnan is funny.  It’s been so many years since Remington Steele that I had forgotten how funny he could be.  If The Tailor of Panama was a realistic take on his Bond character The Matador is the comedic take.  Brosnan owns the screen in this nice little gem.

Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) is a struggling businessman who has traveled to Mexico with his business partner to try and put together a deal to save his livelihood.  In the hotel bar one night he meets Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) an interesting but rather uncouth gentleman who buys him a drink.  Aganist his better judgement Danny spends some time with Julian and learns what he does for a living.  Julian is a hitman, though one who is beginning to lose his edge. 

Time passes and Julian has botched another job so badly that his bosses have put a hit out on the hitman.  With nowhere else to go he goes to stay with Danny and his wife Bean (Hope Davis) hoping to guilt Danny into helping to get him out of this mess and remind Danny of the favor he owes.

Brosnan is terrific as the friendless lone gunman who doesn’t really know how to act with people (his comments to Danny in the bar are hysterical!)  Kinnear works well as a straight man to Brosnan’s antics and Davis, who I normally don’t like, is well cast as Danny’s wife.  There are many small characters but the film rests on the odd couple relationship between Danny and Julian who aren’t quite friends but something more than strangers.

The movie skips around a little too much and could use one last edit as the film is slightly uneven in its tone.  I also wasn’t a fan of the large full screen fonts in presenting a new location or story transition.

The Matador is a good comedy that allows Brosnan to go full out and give one hell of a performance.  Though not great, I’d put this at the top of pretty good comedies of the year such as Waiting…, Cassanova, and The Weather Man, it’s definately worth checking out for a very different type of comedy than the usual Hollywood fare.