Friday, January 25, 2008

Raving about Brandon

this letter just in ... and it's not from Brandon's mom.


I just wanted you to know how much I love your movie reviews! Your passion for movies really shines through and your reviews are so fun to read. Your review today of “There Will Be Blood” made me want to run out the door to see that movie (which I’m going to do) J As a writer and author myself, and it takes a lot for me to be so moved by someone else’s work that I’m compelled to reach out and tell them. You have moved me. Keep up the great, eloquent reviews and thanks for taking the “GO” to the next level.

Your fan,

Sarah Michel, CSP

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar nominations are out

I was glad to see "Juno" getting so much love from Oscar.

I'm planning some kind of Oscar prediction face-off against Kimball Bayles of Kimball's Twin Peak fame, so I better go out and see more of these movies.

By The Associated Press
Complete list of 80th annual Academy Award nominations announced
1. Best Picture: “Atonement,” “Juno,” “Michael Clayton,”
“No Country for Old Men,” “There Will Be Blood.”
2. Actor: George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”; Daniel Day-Lewis,
“There Will Be Blood”; Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd the Demon
Barber of Fleet Street”; Tommy Lee Jones, “In the Valley of
Elah”; Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises.”
3. Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”; Julie
Christie, “Away From Her”; Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”;
Laura Linney, “The Savages”; Ellen Page, “Juno.”
4. Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse
James by the Coward Robert Ford”; Javier Bardem, “No Country for
Old Men”; Hal Holbrook, “Into the Wild”; Philip Seymour Hoffman,
“Charlie Wilson’s War”; Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton.”
5. Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”; Ruby
Dee, “American Gangster”; Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement”; Amy Ryan,
“Gone Baby Gone”; Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton.”
6. Director: Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the
Butterfly”; Jason Reitman, “Juno”; Tony Gilroy, “Michael
Clayton”; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”;
Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood.”
7. Foreign Film: “Beaufort,” Israel; “The Counterfeiters,”
Austria; “Katyn,” Poland; “Mongol,” Kazakhstan; “12,” Russia.
8. Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Hampton, “Atonement”; Sarah
Polley, “Away from Her”; Ronald Harwood, “The Diving Bell and
the Butterfly”; Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old
Men”; Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood.”
9. Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, “Juno”; Nancy Oliver,
“Lars and the Real Girl”; Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”; Brad
Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, “Ratatouille”; Tamara
Jenkins, “The Savages.”
10. Animated Feature Film: “Persepolis”; “Ratatouille”;
“Surf’s Up.”
11. Art Direction: “American Gangster,” “Atonement,” “The
Golden Compass,” “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet
Street,” “There Will Be Blood.”
12. Cinematography: “The Assassination of Jesse James by the
Coward Robert Ford,” “Atonement,” “The Diving Bell and the
Butterfly,” “No Country for Old Men,” “There Will Be Blood.”
13. Sound Mixing: “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “No Country for Old
Men,” “Ratatouille,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Transformers.”
14. Sound Editing: “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “No Country for
Old Men,” “Ratatouille,” “There Will Be Blood,”
15. Original Score: “Atonement,” Dario Marianelli; “The Kite
Runner,” Alberto Iglesias; “Michael Clayton,” James Newton
Howard; “Ratatouille,” Michael Giacchino; “3:10 to Yuma,” Marco
16. Original Song: “Falling Slowly” from “Once,” Glen
Hansard and Marketa Irglova; “Happy Working Song” from
“Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; “Raise It Up”
from “August Rush,” Nominees to be determined; “So Close” from
“Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; “That’s How You
Know” from “Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.
17. Costume: “Across the Universe,” “Atonement,”
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “La Vie en Rose,” “Sweeney Todd
the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”
18. Documentary Feature: “No End in Sight,” “Operation
Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience,” “Sicko,” “Taxi to
the Dark Side,” “War/Dance.”
19. Documentary (short subject): “Freeheld,” “La Corona (The
Crown),” “Salim Baba,” “Sari’s Mother.”
20. Film Editing: “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Diving Bell
and the Butterfly,” “Into the Wild,” “No Country for Old Men,”
“There Will Be Blood.”
21. Makeup: “La Vie en Rose,” “Norbit,” “Pirates of the
Caribbean: At World’s End.”
22. Animated Short Film: “I Met the Walrus,” “Madame
Tutli-Putli,” “Meme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go
to Heaven),” “My Love (Moya Lyubov),” “Peter & the Wolf.”
23. Live Action Short Film: “At Night,” “Il Supplente (The
Substitute),” “Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of
Pickpockets),” “Tanghi Argentini,” “The Tonto Woman.”
24. Visual Effects: “The Golden Compass,” “Pirates of the
Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Transformers.”

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blair Godzilla Project

"Cloverfield" took in more than $40 million this weekend. Wow.

I took the kids on Friday and I have to agree with Brandon's assessment. Interesting concept, nice stylistic flair. Bad movie.

The problem is in trying to do what "Blair Witch" did. Narratives with handheld cameras are almost necessarily limited. ("Sex, Lies and Videotape" used footage well, but that was only part of the narrative.)

The camera's narrow point of view helps some parts of the giant monster movie as it helped "Blair Witch." It creates tension about the things outside of your frame.

The weakness comes in with your ending ... which is almost sure to disappoint.

"We didn't learn a single thing about the monster that we didn't know from the trailer," my son Eli said.

That's pretty much what Brandon had said.


We had an interesting discussion in the newsroom about whether giant creatures are as interesting as smaller ones.

I don't think they are. Think about how much scarier the veloceraptors were than the T-Rex in "Jurassic Park." We relate to things more that are our size. And when things get too big, like, say, Godzilla, they're too big to care about us as individuals. They're mayhem, then, comes from clumsiness or angry fits... which aren't really scary.

It had an important message: If you're dying, you want to make sure you bunk up with a rich guy with access to a private jet. The movie was actually fine, a nice choice for the whole family.

But my favorite film this year: "Juno"
what a delight that film is.

Friday, January 04, 2008


With the exception of "Atonement," which finally opened here Friday after having opened in "select cities" months ago, 2008 is starting as a dud of a movie year.

What's opening next week? "In the Name of the King," a D&D special-effects fest that's almost certain to be worse than the trailers, the new Veggie Tales and "First Sunday."

Yawn... Wake me up when it's 2009.