Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Jane Eyre

20 Apr

Title: Jane Eyre
Year:
2011
Director:
Cary Fukunaga
Writer: Moira Buffini, based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë
Starring:
Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Imogen Poots
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, some thematic elements including a nude image and brief violent content
Runtime:
120 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
7.9
Rotten Tomatoes:
82%

I had the pleasure of watching Jane Eyre at the Gene Siskel Film Center when I was in Chicago in the beginning of March. There was a 7:30 Sunday showing which included a Q&A with director Cary Fukunaga and star Mia Wasikowska afterwards. As a fan of the novel on which the film is based, as well as the prior film of Mr. Fukunaga and pretty much everything Ms. Wasikowska has done up to this point in her career, it’s pretty safe to say I was quite psyched about seeing them live.

I waited over a month to write up this review for a reason, which was basically for it to simmer nicely. I mean, having a Q&A after a film is not what usually happens, and it can lead you into loving the film much more because you love what the filmmakers had to say about it, especially when the two people talking are as charming as Ms. Wasikowska and Mr. Fukunaga were. So yeah, I guess I wanted to watch the film again, without the Q&A, and give my review then.

Well, I finally got to watch it again (and then again a third time), and my opinion hasn’t changed, this is the best film of 2011 so far. I mean, for a film to tackle a material that has been adapted so many times (there have been nearly 30 feature and television adaptations of the masterpiece) and to make it feel so fresh and inspired is an extremely rare feat to accomplish, and yet here it happens with such apparent ease it’s hard not to watch this film and marvel at its many great qualities.

Mr. Fukunaga made his directorial debut a couple years ago with the Sundance hit that was Sin Nombre, that was a very daring film made in Spanish and that dealt with immigration and Mexican gangs, and it was a seriously outstanding film that showed that this was a insightful director who had a very unique vision and way of telling stories. The change of scenery, on paper at least, couldn’t be more drastic for Mr. Fukunaga. Going from telling stories about Mexican immigrants and their gangs, and doing it in Spanish, to telling the story of a character that was created a century and a half ago, and that takes place in huge English manors.

The director, however, is just as adept at handling this film, and considering the themes his debut film dealt with, and the nature of his sophomore effort, I wasn’t expecting him to be such a young guy. Mr. Fukunaga is 33, and you can tell just by the way he talks that the guy would definitely be pretty awesome to hang out with, just as you can tell that he has a huge love for his art. And the way in which he approaches, you just can’t help but think this is a guy wise beyond his years.

And wise beyond her years is also a term that wholeheartedly applies Ms. Wasikowska as well, looking gorgeous in her short chic blonde hair some ten feet away from me in the Q&A, her warm smile and face, as well as her charming Australian accent, do make her feel like she’s 21. But then you hear her talk, and you see how insightful her performances, are and you know she’s an old soul with a helluva lot of depth in her.

I’ve known about Ms. Wasikowska and how insanely talented she is since 2008, when she played Sophie on that first season of HBO’s In Treatment. Not only was Sophie my favorite patient of that season (Laura would be a kind-of-close second place if y’all are wondering), but it was so easy to see how amazing Ms. Wasikowska is, just how she went toe-to-toe with the great Gabriel Byrne in some incredibly intense scenes, it was a no-brainer that she was destined for success.

And we all know what happened next. In 2009 she started setting down her stepping stones in film, with a small role in Amelia (which wasn’t a great film) and a terrific supporting turn in That Evening Sun (which was) that got her for an Independent Spirit Award nomination. But 2010 would be the year that she became famous worldwide, and I’m so happy that was the case. And that’s because she scored both a hugely commercially successful film with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, in which she played the titular role, as well as a critical hit, with the indie darling The Kids Are All Right, which was my fifth favorite film of all last year and that saw her acting along such amazing actors as Annette Beining, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the director and the star of this incarnation of Jane Eyre are two young people who are doing everything right, and who are ridiculously talented. And that’s all evident in the film, which is shot gorgeously by Adriano Goldman, and that shows a different take on Jane Eyre, one that plays off its gothic elements, and that results in a more elegant and immediate film, with Ms. Wasikowska giving the best portrayal of the famed character there has ever been.

I feel like I’ve gone on for way too long about the merits of this film and its makers have. Maybe it’s because I just genuinely loved the Q&A afterwards and I’m biased to shower them with praise, that certainly is a factor, but just go ahead and watch this film and compare it to the ones that you were shown when you read the classic novel in school, this one is the best there is. And it’s the best there is because of a director that was willing to let his film show a different tone of the story by choosing to play off the darker parts of it, and because Mr. Fukunaga just lets his actors do their thing naturally.

Because, trust me, as brilliant as Ms. Wasikowska is, she’s not the only actor who brought her A-game to this. Michael Fassbender is here playing Mr. Rochester, and I’ve already talked in past reviews about how great I think this guy is, he’s definitely an actor that we’ll keep on seeing in things for years to come. Not to mention that Jamie Bell, Judi Dench and Sally Hawkins all appear in smaller roles they make the most of, especially Dame Dench who I thought was magnificent in how much she conveyed just with the tone of her voice and demeanor. This as a whole is just superbly acted.

This is the Jane Eyre for the new generation, one that effectively manages to balance the elements of a period romance, to the point in which there are a couple of scenes that may just make you teary, with all its gothic sensibilities. And it is, for my money, the best Jane Eyre there has been to date, and I haven’t talked about the plot at all because Jane Eyre is always about the adventure of finding it out as you go, even when you re-read the novel, you always start finding new stuff to love, and I felt much like that when I watched. Just rest assured the the repressed emotions and sense of isolation are intact here, and that, because of how great Mr. Fukunaga is at storytelling and at creating striking images, you’ll fall in love with the film.

Grade: A

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Oscar Predictions: Makeup, Costume Design, Art Direction, Visual Effects

23 Feb

Now, in my third Oscar Predictions post I will tackle the four more artistic categories the Academy Awards offer, those for Best Makeup, Costume Design, Art Direction and, in the technological artistry field, Visual Effects.

BEST MAKEUP

Nominees

  • Barney’s Version (Adrien Morot)
  • The Way Back (Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng)
  • The Wolfman (Rick Baker and Dave Elsey)

I’m still baffled by the fact that Alice in Wonderland, which I considered pretty much as the guaranteed winner of this category, didn’t even earn a nomination. So, with that film not even in the running, I would think this would be an easy win for The Wolfman, considering it’s the strongest of the bunch and it has Rick Baker as part of its two-man team, and that man is a legend in the field, already having 6 Oscars to his name.

Should Win: The Wolfman
Will Win: The Wolfman

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Nominees

  • Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)
  • Io Sono l’Amore (Antonella Cannarozzi)
  • The King’s Speech (Jenny Beavan)
  • The Tempest (Sandy Powell)
  • True Grit (Mary Zophres)

This is a really solid bunch of nominees we got here, but it will most likely become a two-film race between Alice in Wonderland and The King’s Speech. If Sunday becomes a sweep by the latter then Jenny Beavan will most likely get her second Oscar here (she got her first for A Room With a View).

But I would think Alice in Wonderland, which got shut-out of the Makeup category above, will eventually get this one, with Colleen Atwood, a past winner for Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago, getting her third Oscar. The work she did here was awesome, having to work with a lot of body ratios from Alice shrinking and growing and the Red Queen’s gigantic head. She’s the most deserving, and even though a big part of me thinks the Academy will want to go back to their love affair with prestige pics this year, I will still pick her as my winner.

Should Win: Alice in Wonderland
Will Win: Alice in Wonderland

BEST ART DIRECTION

Nominees

  • Alice in Wonderland (Robert Stromberg (Production Design); Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration))
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration))
  • Inception (Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design); Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration))
  • The King’s Speech (Eve Stewart (Production Design); Judy Farr (Set Decoration))
  • True Grit (Jess  Gonchor (Production Design); Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration))

I love this category, and this year I think it’s a pretty tough one to call. Common sense would have one think The King’s Speech will sweep and will get one of their trophies for this category, for creating such a wonderful set and achieving amazing production values on such a tight schedule and even tighter budget.

But, if the night does not turn into a sweep by the monarch’s biopic, then I think Alice in Wonderland may prevail here. The marvelous sets decorated by Karen O’Hara were a big part of what gave the film it’s unique feel that resonated with audiences worldwide and got the film to gross over a billion dollars, and the production design headed by Robert Stromberg, who actually won this award last year for his work on another huge-grosser, Avatar, was seriously sublime.

However, my personal pick would actually be the three-man team behind the art direction of Inception, just the scale of the stuff they worked with, not to mention the very specific capacities they had to achieve for one of the world’s most inventive and detail-oriented directors was just mind-blowing.

Should Win: Inception
Will Win: The King’s Speech

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Nominees

  • Alice in Wonderland (Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi)
  • Hereafter (Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell)
  • Inception(Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb)
  • Iron Man 2 (Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick)

Do we expect any other film not named Inception to have the tiniest bit of a chance of winning this award? The effects in Inception were just top of their class, and this is one of the surest awards of the night.

The four-man team who were in charge of flipping a city on its sides, and which includes two of guys who were nominated for this award for their previous collaboration with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight, gave us a seriously stunning amount of detail and raised the bar of their craft.

Should Win: Inception
Will Win: Inception

Oscar Nominations: My Reactions

25 Jan

The Oscar nominations were announced bright and early this morning. And while most of the nominees were predictable, there were still quite a bit of storylines to take out of the morning’s announcements.

Firstly, of course, the outrageous snub of Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category, Inception might have made the Best Picture ballot and Mr. Nolan himself got his second career Screenplay nod, but the Academy yet again failed to mention him for Best Director to make room for the Coen brothers. Another snub was The Town, which ended up with a sole Oscar nomination and got snubbed in the Best Picture as well as Director and Screenplay races, the films nominated instead were still quite deserving, but still, too little love bestowed on such a great film.

Then, on a far more positive note, this was also the year in which films that came out of Sundance came out strong at the Oscars, which is terrific news for the independent film business, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both got 4 nominations in major races, Animal Kingdom got a Best Supporting Actress bid, and four out of the five Best Documentary nominees were shown in Park City a year ago.

As for what the nominations will mean come the big night on February 27th, well, The King’s Speech certainly got a huge boost today, scoring an even dozen nominations, the most out of any film this year. That has some people jumping from The Social Network‘s bandwagon into the one driven by Harvey Weinstein, since for the last several decades the movie with the most nominations has won the Best Picture race 75% of the time. Now, let’s play statistics for a while here, I actually still think The Social Network will still win this for now, but the stock on The King’s Speech has certainly risen in the last few weeks. First, of course, was Saturday’s PGA win, and considering that association has bestowed its award to the eventual Best Picture winner 13 out of the last 20 years it means it has the odds going for it.

But then again, lets not forget just how much The Social Network has going for itself, it pretty much swooped the Critic’s groups awards, including big wins at the Globes and the National Board of Review. Not to mention that David Fincher is the clear front-runner to win not only the Best Director Oscar, but the DGA honors that will be announced on Saturday. And really, the Best Director winner is always considered the likely victor of the big race and, in fact, the winner of the DGA award has actually went on to have their film win the Best Picture Oscar 33 times in the last 40 years.

So, who really has the advantage? I honestly don’t know, this really is one seriously tough race to call, and I won’t call it until all the remained precursors are done with. Yes, the DGA will most likely go to The Social Network, but then the BAFTAs will presumably be all over The King’s Speech considering it’s a home-grown film. The PGA win by Tom Hooper’s film was big, yes, but so were the many Critic’s Associations and Globes wins by David Fincher’s movie. So, if I may interject, I think that the one awards show that may be a big indicator as to what will happen on Oscar night will be the SAGs, taking place this coming Sunday.

Hear me out for a while, the SAG obviously doesn’t have a Best Picture award, but rather a Best Ensemble one, meaning it will honor the combined acting performances of the cast in a film. And while I still think that the front-runner for that one is The Fighter (which has four seriously spectacular performances), I can see an upset happening courtesy of The King’s Speech. The Social Network won’t win that one, it has some great performances but it can’t compete acting-wise with those two other films, so that race will be the one to prove just how much support The King’s Speech has. And if it wins that one, then I probably will update my predictions and consider it the front-runner for the Oscar, because, remember, the SAGs have many times served as indicators of Oscar upsets, I’m obviously referring to 1998, when the SAG went to Shakespeare in Love, the same film that went on to win the Best Picture Oscar over the clear favorite, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently in 2005, when Crash ended up with the SAG win and ended up upsetting Brokeback Mountain for the Academy’s top honor.

So yes, this will be a Best Picture race for the ages, one I’m really excited for and one that will come down to the very end. Will The King’s Speech end up with the win? Consolidating itself as the biggest Oscar bait there ever was in 2010, a biopic about British monarchy counting with excellent performances all around and a spectacular director working form a brilliant script. Or, will The Social Network prevail? The film with very young up-and-coming actors, directed by a director that started out working on music videos and then went on to create some of the most masterful and popular films of the last decade and a half, one about a modern phenomenon and full of quick-witted, very fast and talkative scenes. It will be a New School vs. Old School battle to the very end, the historical dramas have fared very well in the past, I’m thinking Gandhi or The English Patient, but as of late, with winners like The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men, it feels as though the Academy is skewing more towards films oriented to younger audiences with a more gritty sort of feel. We’re in for one very entertaining race to the finish line.

But enough about the big race, I’m sure we’ll talk much more about that in the near future, but for now let us revise all the nominations announced by the Academy today.

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

All the usual suspects here. I went 9 for 10 as far as my predictions go, considering Winter’s Bone felt the love from the Academy big time today and crept into the big party, throwing out my original prediction for the tenth slot: The Town. Again, as for who will actually win it, I have no idea, it’s a big split between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, and we’ll have a clearer idea of the state of the race once the remaining precursors are all said and done.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, considering I predicted the horribly snubbed Christopher Nolan to be invited to the party instead of the Coen brothers. However, True Grit got a massive ten nominations and the love went to the genius brothers instead. Which was well deserved, but it’s ridiculous that Nolan doesn’t have a Best Director nomination to his name yet. However, massive kudos to Darren Aronofsky for finally getting his first career nomination for helming what to me was the best film of 2010.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

Went a perfect 5-for-5 in this race, correctly predicting Javier Bardem’s nomination over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Still, Bardem’s nomination was much deserved, and it was awesome to see a foreign language performance getting a nod here. However, this has never been a race, the golden man probably has Colin Firth’s name engraved from this very moment.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

Another category in which I went 5-for-5 in my predictions. And it really is a lovely bunch of ladies getting nominated here, Michelle Williams got her extremely deserved nomination for her beautiful work in Blue Valentine and Jennifer Lawrence capped off her breakthrough year with an invite to Hollywood’s biggest party. This is, though, still a Portman vs. Bening battle, and even though I think Portman has the edge because hers was the better performance in the better film, I’ll wait until the SAGs are done on Sunday to call her a lock.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I predicted four out of the five here, the one I got wrong was Andrew Garfield who I thought would firmly land a nod but was bumped off by John Hawkes who was riding on the huge love given to Winter’s Bone here. Still, this is no contest, it’s Bale’s to lose, and he just won’t.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom)

I’ve always said this was my favorite race of the year, and even though my personal #2 pick, Mila Kunis, was left out, it really still is. I said that if Hailee Steinfeld remained here and wasn’t voted as Lead, then either Ms. Kunis or Jacki Weaver would get the boot, I picked Kunis in my predictions but apparently the Academy really loved the Australian crime saga and wanted to give it a nod, as they should have, really. Still, this is the best race there can be this year, considering I could see any of these ladies potentially winning. Amy Adams was my personal favorite of the year, and she gives her best performance yet, and considering it’s her third nomination they may (and hopefully will!) give it to her. Helena Bonham Carter may find herself winning if The King’s Speech sweeps. Melissa Leo is the current favorite, and if she wins the SAG on Sunday then this will be hers. Hailee Steinfeld carries True Grit and the voters may like to reward a young one. And Jacki Weaver created one seriously compelling character here, though considering she missed out at the SAG I think she’s the less likely to end up winning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (written by Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (written by Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (written by David Seidler)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, and the one I missed was the one that pains me the most not to see here which was the beautiful Black Swan screenplay, which I had in favor of Another Year, but I guess you can never count Mike Leigh out of this race, he’s just that good. As for who will win it, I would very much like to see The Kids Are All Right pick this one up, or if not then Christopher Nolan as a sort of apology from the Academy for not even nominating him for Best Director. But, most likely, this one will end up firmly in the hands of David Seidler.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book by Aron Ralston)
  • The Social Network (written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich)
  • Toy Story 3 (written by Michael Arndt, based on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis)
  • Winter’s Bone (written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell)

As I said in my predictions, Winter’s Bone was going to put up a fight to be honored in this category. In my predictions I had The Town listed instead of Debra Granik’s film, but, as I’ve already said, the Academy shout-out the Ben Affleck film outside of Jeremy Renner’s nod, so no love here either. I like Debra Granik’s script better though (had it 6th in my Best Screenplays of 2010 list, while The Town was 15th), so I’m happy about it. Still, there’s no way Aaron Sorkin is losing this one, but then again I said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for Up in the Air last year.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Very very good bunch of nominees here, the only film I could have seen making the cut and still be happy about it would have been Shutter Island, but nevertheless, this will be a very cool race. I’m hoping Inception will prevail here, though Alice in Wonderland may have something to say about that and, if it turns out to be a sweep, so may The King’s Speech.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

If I would have to guess, I’d say True Grit will win this one. However, it was amazing to see Black Swan get listed here, though I would have liked to see The King’s Speech miss out on this race in favor of the wonderful job by the 127 Hours guys.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Io Sono l’Amore
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

As I said in my review for The Tempest, you can never count any Julie Taymor film out of the Best Costume Design race (all four of her films have now been nominated), but still, this one will most likely go to Alice in Wonderland. Cool to see Io Sono l’Amore get a nod here, too.

BEST EDITING

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Out of the technical categories, Best Editing is the one that foretells the Best Picture winner the most, so this one is one we should pay close attention to. Since the award was introduced nearly eight decades ago, only nine films have won Best Picture without being nominated here. Which I guess also goes to explain why Crash trumped over Brokeback Mountain. But still, the two Best Picture front-runners are here, so seeing who wins may be decisive as to who takes Best Picture. My vote goes to The Social Network here, and I still can’t fathom why Inception wasn’t named.

BEST MAKEUP

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

They failed to recognize Alice in Wonderland in this one somehow, so I’m guessing this one’s definitely The Wolfman‘s.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 127 Hours (composed by A.R. Rahman)
  • Inception (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • The King’s Speech (composed by Alexandre Desplat)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (composed by John Powell)

Usual suspects in this one. Awesome to see Reznor and Ross up for this one, and they’re definitely my favorites to end up picking the award. However, Alexandre Desplat gets his fourth nomination with this one and still hasn’t won, so if The King’s Speech ends up owning the show he could win. However, Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, which is all sorts of mind-blowing, may end up getting the win if the Academy feels it didn’t bestow enough nominations love towards the film, he hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King in 1995, despite being nominated 6 additional times since.

BEST SONG

  • If I Rise (from 127 Hours)
  • Coming Home (from Country Strong)
  • I See the Light (from Tangled)
  • We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)

I honestly don’t know who will end up with the win here. All I know is that I’m happy no songs from Burlesque were named here.

BEST SOUND

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

This is the one category that had most prediction experts baffled. Everyone predicted a maximum of 11 nominations for The King’s Speech, and this is the one nobody imagined, and the one that showed us just how much the Academy loved the film. As strange as it may sound, a Sound nomination is what really let us know that it was the front-runner.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • TRON: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

I really liked seeing TRON: Legacy here, and I was sure that The Social Network would get a nod here, but out of nowhere came Unstoppable and made the cut. Still, a cool and eclectic bunch.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

I expected TRON: Legacy to make the cut here, but at least it got a Sound Editing nod so it didn’t go unmentioned. Still, if Inception loses this race the Oscars will have lost all credibility to me.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful (from Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (from Greece)
  • In a Better World (from Denmark)
  • Incendies (from Canada)
  • Outside the Law (from Algeria)

This one’s always very tough to predict. But hopefully Biutiful will end up with the trophy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Toy Story 3

This one isn’t a race at all, Toy Story 3 will win this one hands down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Gasland
  • Waste Land
  • Restrepo

No Waiting for Superman? Yeah, very very weird. Same with the lack of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. Still Inside Job would be a very cool winner, as would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, especially if we somehow get a Banksy appearance.

Golden Globe Predictions

13 Jan

I still have four reviews left to do on 2010 films (namely: Blue Valentine, Biutiful, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and Country Strong), but I’ve now seen all of the 2010 films I intend to see (210 in total) and thought that since I probably won’t do all four of those reviews in one swoop before the weekend I should do a post about my predictions for the Golden Globes, which are taking place this Sunday.

I’ll outline each category, list the nominees, do a brief parragraph about the state of the race and then pick the one I think is going to win, and the one I’d pick to win were the Globes up to me. And since I’m also an avid TV-watcher I’ll weigh in on those race, too.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

State of the Race

Much like at the Oscar’s, one would think the big race is going to come down between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, and in all likelihood that’s what’s gonna happen at the Globes, too. However, don’t count The Fighter out of this one just yet, as it may ultimately deliver a huge upset and further establish itself as a real threat to the aforementioned two-pack come Oscar time, this is, after all, the same organisation that went with Babel in 2007, and with Atonement a year after that.

Who I Think Will Win

I’m guessing The Social Network here. It has pretty much swept through the precursor awards, and unless something bizarre happens then the Globe should be another trophy for its crowded mantelpiece, and a big stepping stone for the Oscar.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

If I ran the Globes then I would give the award to Black Swan, no questions asked. This to me was, far an out, the best film in all of 2010 and a true modern masterpiece.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice
  • Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman for Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

State of the Race

Portman is thought to be a lock to win this one, and with good reason, she gives the best performance of her career in what, to me, was the best movie of the year, so she should no doubt get her second Globe (she has already won for Closer) and further cement herself as the leader of the pack come Oscar time. However, the Globes absolutely LOVE Nicole Kidman, having already bestowed three of their awards to her (To Die For in ’96, Moulin Rouge! in ’02 and The Hours in ’03) so that upset wouldn’t be that crazy.

Who I Think Will Win

Though the Kidman upset is something I could see happening this really is Portman’s to lose, and I don’t think she will.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I said, Ms. Portman delivers the best performance of her career in the best film of the year, so this should no doubt go to her. However, if by some reason she finds herself losing the award to Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine then I actually won’t be that pissed.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
  • Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
  • James Franco for 127 Hours
  • Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
  • Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter

State of the Race

Look, the Best Actor race, in the Globes, or the SAGs, or the Oscars or in any other precursor award is not really a race at all. If you’ve seen The King’s Speech then you know what I mean, Colin Firth gives a masterclass in acting in that movie, and he won’t find himself losing any of the big ones. If I had to pick a threat to his throne I’d say Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco, but I really don’t see that happening.

Who I Think Will Win

Colin Firth, no questions asked. The man has had an illustrious career, and here he tops himself delivering a truly unbelievable performance that should easily grant him his first Globe.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Much like in the Best Actress race, I’ll say there’s no way I wouldn’t give it to Mr. Firth. However, if he should lose to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine, then I won’t be so pissed.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Burlesque
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Red
  • The Tourist

State of the Race

This was the race that caused the most outrage when the nominations were announced. The quality of the films here, with the exception of the sublime The Kids Are All Right, is truly abysmal. Personally even, the grades I gave to the films are all over the place Alice in Wonderland got a B from me, Burlesque a C+, The Kids Are All Right an A+, Red a B and The Tourist a C+. Considering slots could have been filled with much worthier nominees such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Greenberg, Easy A, Cyrus or Love and Other Drugs this is really shameful.

Who I Think Will Win

The Kids Are All Right will probably be an eventual Best Picture nominee at the Oscars, as well as player in some of the other big races, while the other films won’t even in any sort of contention for any major awards at the Oscars. So yes, it’s The Kids Are All Right all the way here. Though considering the Globes were stupid enough to nominate this bunch of films an upset could somehow happen.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I said, I gave The Kids Are All Right an A+, while no other nominee got even a B+. Enough said.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
  • Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
  • Angelina Jolie for The Tourist
  • Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right
  • Emma Stone for Easy A

State of the Race

With the exception of Angelina Jolie this race did have some worthy nominees. But considering the Best Actress race at the Oscars is thought to be a battle between Natalie Portman and Ms. Bening and the former isn’t in this race then I’d say the latter has this one in the bag.

Who I Think Will Win

Annette Bening, hands down. And I really don’t see any of the other nominees delivering an upset.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

And, again, Annette Bening, no question.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
  • Johnny Depp for The Tourist
  • Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Vision
  • Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs
  • Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

State of the Race

This is another race I really don’t understand. The HFPA obviously loves Johnny Depp (as we all do) but a single nomination would have done, especially considering that The Tourist was horrible and that nod could have gone to a much more deserving Ben Stiller for Greenberg.

Who I Think Will Win

If the HFPA loved him enough to nominate him twice for two sub-par performances considering what he’s done in the past, then I’d say they’ll love him enough again to actually give him the damned award for Alice in Wonderland.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I actually haven’t seen Barney’s Vision yet, but my guess is that Paul Giamatti would be a deserving winner. My pick, however, would most certainly be Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs, a film I thought was rather underappreciated.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Amy Adams for The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech
  • Mila Kunis for Black Swan
  • Melissa Leo for The Fighter
  • Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom

State of the Race

The Best Supporting Actress race to me has been by far the toughest one to call throughout the whole season, as it’s full of equally deserving and amazing performances. I could genuinely see any of these five ladies winning the Globe and thinking they earned it. Just a very very tough one to call.

Who I Think Will Win

My guess is that it’ll come down between the two ladies of The Fighter. And with good reason since they’re both unbelievable in it. Melissa Leo has the flashier role and is loved by everyone in Hollywood, so she’d be the more conventional pick. But I’m biased towards Ms. Adams because I love her and actually thought she was better in it, so I’ll go ahead and bet on her.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I just said, Amy Adams I thought was amazing in The Fighter, but if I had to power to pick whichever one I wanted I probably would have to go with Mila Kunis, just because in a dream world Black Swan would sweep with everything.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
  • Jeremy Renner for The Town
  • Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech

State of the Race

The usual suspects here, and my guess is that at least four of them will repeat with an Oscar nomination. Michael Douglas is the one I think may not get an Oscar nomination, in favor of probably Mark Ruffalo or John Hawkes, but he got in with the Globes because they adore him. Though the race was once thought to be a head-to-head between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush the latest precursors have cemented Mr. Bale as the clear leader in the race.

Who I Think Will Win

Christian Bale should win this one easily, his was a knockout performance and I don’t see even Mr. Rush beating him. However, as I said, the HFPA loves Michael Douglas, and considering how much he’s gone through lately a win from him here wouldn’t be that out of the blue, though ultimately it’s still quite unlikely.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I guess I’d give it to Bale, as well. Not only because his performance was terrific but because he’s due some recognition for his work, which he really hasn’t gotten in the past. Though a part of me would love to see Andrew Garfield winning this one.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Nominees

  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3

State of the Race

The state of the race with the Animated Film category is that it’s never really been a race. Toy Story 3 had this one in the bag the second it came out.

Who I Think Will Win

Again, this isn’t even a question. Toy Story 3.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

These are actually all very good animated films, but none comes close to achieve what the geniuses at Pixar did with Toy Story 3.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Nominees

  • Biutiful from Mexico and Spain
  • Le Concert from France
  • The Edge from Russia
  • Io Sono l’Amore from Italy
  • In a Better World from Denmark

State of the Race

To be honest I haven’t seen neither The Edge nor In a Better World, so I can’t really comment fairly in this race. However, Biutiful was such a knockout film to me, that I can’t see it losing. Though I0 Sono l’Amore would also be a worthy adversary.

Who I Think Will Win

I’m hoping Biutiful. However, maybe the film was a bit too tough and raw for voters to see in its entirety, or at all, and that may sway them in another direction.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Biutiful. One of the most powerful films to have come out in all 2010.

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
  • David Fincher for The Social Network
  • Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
  • Christopher Nolan for Inception
  • David O. Russell for The Fighter

State of the Race

The Best Director race seems to be a six-way race, with Joel & Ethan Coen for True Grit trying to get into the race (most likely at the expense of David O. Russell), they failed to get in here and with the DGA, so I’m guessing they may also miss out at the Oscars, though you never know with those two geniuses.

Who I Think Will Win

I really can’t see a scenario in which Fincher doesn’t leave with the Globe firmly in his hands.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Again, I’m biased as hell because I think Black Swan was the best film of the year by a mile, so I’ll say Aronofsky. Though Fincher is equally deserving.

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle for 127 Hours
  • Christopher Nolan for Inception
  • Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right
  • David Seidler for The King’s Speech
  • Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

State of the Race

This one also isn’t that much of a race, it’s Aaron Sorkin’s to lose. And he just won’t.

Who I Think Will Win

Mr. Sorkin has this one in the bag.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’m a lover fast dialogue and witty remarks, and as such there’s no way I wouldn’t give it to Aaron Sorkin.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech
  • Danny Elfman for Alice in Wonderland
  • A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network
  • Hans Zimmer for Inception

State of the Race

This one’s a pretty damn competitive race. Desplat, Zimmer and the Reznor and Ross collaboration all seem to have pretty good odds to me.

Who I Think Will Win

Again, I could potentially see all three of the ones I named above coming out winners, but if I had to guess I’d say that Hans Zimmer is the most likely to win for his fantastic score for Inception and pick up his third career Globe.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Personally the score I loved the most was the one Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created for The Social Network, so that’s definitely my pick. Not only that, but seeing Trent Reznor win a Globe and make a speech would be the icing on the cake.

Now over to the TV categories—

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Dexter
  • The Good Wife
  • Mad Men
  • The Walking Dead

State of the Race

Two rookie series making the shortlist, with Boardwalk Empire being a predictable entry and The Walking Dead being a much more surprising freshman nominee. Good stuff.

Who I Think Will Win

Mad Men hasn’t lost this category before, and my guess is that they’ll make it four in a row here, as they rightfully should. Though I could actually see an upset at the hands of Boardwalk Empire happening.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Out of the five nominees Mad Men to me is by far the best series, so I would give it to them, no doubt.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Julianna Marguiles for The Good Wife
  • Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men
  • Piper Perabo for Covert Affairs
  • Katey Sagal for Sons of Anarchy
  • Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer

State of the Race

The usual choices in Marguiles, Moss and Segdwick. And then we have two more surprising picks in Sagal and Perabo. I was extremely happy to see Sagal nominated, since I think she’s riveting in Sons of Anarchy. As for Ms. Perabo, on the other, I’m not entirely sure what the HFPA was thinking with that nomination. Granted, I’ve only seen two episodes of Covert Affairs in my life, but unless Ms. Perabo seriously stepped up her game on the ones I haven’t seen I can’t really get the nomination.

Who I Think Will Win

I could see Ms. Sedgwick winning this one, but my guess is that the HFPA will go with Julianna Marguiles for her fantastic work in The Good Wife.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’m a huge fan of The Good Wife, so for me it’s Julianna Marguiles for sure. Though Elisabeth Moss I’d like seeing winning this one, too.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad
  • Michael C. Hall for Dexter
  • Jon Hamm for Mad Men
  • Hugh Laurie for House

State of the Race

Very solid picks here, with Steve Buscemi breaking into the pack for his amazing job in Boardwalk Empire’s first season, and Bryan Cranston finally getting in for his masterful job in Breaking Bad.

Who I Think Will Win

Bryan Cranston hasn’t lost at the Emmy’s for his performance in Breaking Bad so far, winning three times in a row, and yet the Globes hadn’t even nominated before, which I’m taking as a sign that they don’t love him as much. And because of that I’ll go ahead and say that Jon Hamm will pick up his second Globe for portraying Don Draper come Sunday. Though an upset at the hands of Buscemi is something I could see happening.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Were it up to me I would no doubt give it to Cranston, no other nominee comes close to his level of acting in Breaking Bad.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • 30 Rock
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Big C
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • Nurse Jackie

State of the Race

Usual suspects here, too. Though I thought it was nice to see The Big C break into the race (most likely at the expense of The Office), however, as we saw last year, this race will probably come down to a fight between the two sophomore series: Modern Family and last year’s winner, Glee.

Who I Think Will Win

They rewarded Glee last year for it’s breakout first season, and while it’s having a very strong sophomore showing I’m hoping the HFPA will be smarter this time around and give the trophy to Modern Family.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’d give it to Modern Family. I was kind pissed it didn’t win last year so this one would be deserving.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Toni Collette for United State of Tara
  • Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie
  • Tiny Fey for 30 Rock
  • Laura Linney for The Big C
  • Lea Michele for Glee

State of the Race

Pretty predictable stuff here, with Laura Linney being the only newcomer in comparison to a year ago, replacing Cougar Town’s Courtney Cox. And to be honest, she’ll probably win it.

Who I Think Will Win

I loved Laura Linney in The Big C, I thought she did some really fine acting and the Globe should be hers, no problem.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’d get a knife and cut the Globe in two, give one half to Ms. Linney and the other to Ms. Fey.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock
  • Steve Carell for The Office
  • Thomas Jane for Hung
  • Matthew Morrison for Glee
  • Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory

State of the Race

Compared to last year, David Duchovny was exchanged for Emmy-winner Jim Parsons. And that’s a good thing, considering I have a feeling that Mr. Parsons may just win the Globe, too.

Who I Think Will Win

As I just said, I’m guessing Mr. Parsons will follow his Emmy victory with a much deserved win at the Globes. But then again, you really can’t ever count Alec Baldwin out. And, to be honest, I could also see a Matthew Morrison victory here, though I really wouldn’t like that one bit.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Jim Parsons all the way.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Nominees

  • Hope Davis for The Special Relationship
  • Jane Lynch for Glee
  • Kelly MacDonald for Boardwalk Empire
  • Julia Stiles for Dexter
  • Sofia Vergara for Modern Family

State of the Race

Good stuff all around here, a varied pool of nominees who all have done terrific jobs.

Who I Think Will Win

I guess it’s common knowledge that Jane Lynch will be the favorite to win this one so long as she’s playing Sue Sylvester. But I have a hunch that my personal favorite, Kelly MacDonald, may be able to pull off an upset.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Kelly MacDonald. Steve Buscemi may get the beefiest scenes to showcase his talents in Boardwalk Empire, but Ms. MacDonald is as much of a reason for my continued viewing of the superb HBO series.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Nominees

  • Scott Cann for Hawaii Five-0
  • Chris Colfer for Glee
  • Chris Noth for The Good Wife
  • Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family
  • David Strathairn for Temple Grandin

State of the Race

There’s not a single repeat nominee from last year, in which John Lithgow won for his stellar turn in Dexter, so that’s pretty interesting. Kudos to the HFPA for rewarding Mr. Caan with a nod, he’s the main reason why the reinvented Hawaii Five-0 is so good right now.

Who I Think Will Win

I would think Chris Colfer has the better shot at the trophy here.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. Colfer pick up the Globe here, as he’s really terrific in his dramatic scenes on Glee. Though Eric Stonestreet would also be a very welcome winner.

And that’s it for my Globe predictions. I realize it’s a horrible lenghty post, and I’m fearing it’ll all look bad and too long when displayed in the site, but I just thought I’d share my thoughts before the ceremony on Sunday. Next year I’ll give the predictions in bits and pieces and not in just one 3750+ word entry.

The Tourist

18 Dec

Title: The Tourist
Year:
2010
Director:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writers:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes
Starring:
Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell, Christian De Sica
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence and brief strong language
Runtime:
103 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
6.0
Rotten Tomatoes:
20%

Here is why everyone should be pissed at The Tourist. If you are a studio and you manage to get Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, two of the world’s biggest stars today and both of whom can really act, to star in your next movie, which you have budgeted at $100 million, then you should think the result would be something great. If you then go ahead and attach Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck to direct then the result is pretty much guaranteed, this is a man after all who had made his feature film debut a couple years ago with the masterful The Lives of Others, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture. If you actually go ahead and then add to that already winning formula the fact that the film was to be written by Mr. von Donnersmarck, as well as Christoper McQuarrie, an Oscar winner for his script for The Usual Suspects, and Julian Fellowes, another Oscar winner for his script for Gosford Park, then you would think it would be literally impossible for this film to be anything other than awesome. But it was. It actually kinda sucked.

I mean, it wasn’t that bad, but it should have been seriously better. When you have a crew of this pedigree you have make the most of it. Seriously, people, this is one of those films that pisses me off because of how good it could have potentially been. Again, it wasn’t all bad, and the fact that Ms. Jolie had stated on an interview for Vogue that she only took the role because it was going to be a quick shoot in Venice was probably an indicator that it wouldn’t be so good. But I was just expecting so much more from this.

Now, before I start talking about the actual movie, let me vent about just one more thing. This film was just nominated for three Golden Globes a couple days ago. I know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is in charge of the nominations, loves having the big stars attend their event, and Mr. Depp and Ms. Jolie certainly are huge draws for telecasts, but considering Mr. Depp already had a nomination for Alice in Wonderland, wouldn’t it have been better to leave him out in favor of, oh I don’t know, Ben Stiller in the wonderful Greenberg? As for Ms. Jolie I can concede that they felt like she needed the nod so that she would attend and draw attention to the show, but if they had to give it to a big star then Julia Roberts would have seemed a far more deserving pick for her performance in Eat Pray Love, in my opinion. As for the movie itself being nominated in the Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy category, I won’t even go ahead and say what films are more deserving because there are too many, but I will point out that The Tourist is in no way a Musical/Comedy, it has comedic elements, but it’s not a comedy, this was just a seriously dumb decision on behalf of the HFPA.

I’ve just spent three rather long-ish paragraphs saying why I don’t love The Tourist. But, again, it’s not that bad, it’s just that it should have been better because of the cast and crew, and that it’s apparently being heralded as good by the Globes just makes me dislike it a bit more. But now, lets focus on the actual film. One of the things it has going for it, as Ms. Jolie pointed out in that statement explaining why she chose do it, was the location. Venice indeed looks really beautiful here, courtesy of John Seale, the Oscar-winning cinematographer who has worked on such films as The English Patient and Cold Mountain.

But for all the beauty that there is in The Tourist, whether it’s from its location or its stars, it doesn’t have that much more going for it. The chemistry between Mr. Depp and Ms. Jolie is quite bad, and the plot is really messy. The Tourist is the prime example of a movie that should have really worked, and that simply didn’t.

These are still very talented people, and there are hints of the Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie that we know and love in here, but the plot is so dumb that the moments in which we get a glimpse of them are few and far between. A romantic mystery thriller, with elements of comedy in it, in which Mr. Depp plays an American mathematics teacher and Ms. Jolie a very mysterious gal who picks him up. It doesn’t even read all that well.

Ms. Jolie can play sexy, she’s pretty much the definition of it, so the role technically fits her like a glove, and Mr. Depp can pretty much play anything, so an ordinary teacher who drools over the enigmatic and sexy lady should be a walk in the park for him. And this is the recurring theme in The Tourist, on paper it all looks splendid, and yet in practice it all falls apart.

I really won’t go ahead and say much more about this film. The plot is really dull and features pretty much every single cliché in the book, and the fact that a studio made a $100 million film with such tremendous talent involved and this was the result is really frustrating. Again, it’s not the worst film of the year, not by a fair amount, but it certainly has to be amongst the most disappointing.

Grade: C+

Alice in Wonderland

7 Apr

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Year: 2010
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Linda Woolverton, adapting from the books by Lewis Carroll
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall
MPAA Rating: PG, fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar
Runtime: 108 min
Major Awards: 2 BAFTAs
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%

So, Alice in Wonderland. By far the film I was most looking forward to in the first quarter of the year, seeing as how it is based on one of my all-time favorite books, one that I read at least once every month or two, and damn did this one had me excited, Tim Burton film that would mix cgi and live-action, mark his seventh collaboration with Mr. Depp and his sixth with Ms. Bonham Carter, his wife. Unfortunately though, I found myself being disappointed.

Perhaps it was because my expectations were too high, perhaps it was because I was such a huge fan of the original two books by the master Lewis Carroll, and to be frank the film Burton gives us loses the minimalistic approach and true heart of the books, perhaps it was for another reason entirely, but I just didn’t love this one, I liked it, I really did, but that was mainly because of what a tremendous visual feast it was, and not because of how it adapted the amazing books.

The books are something out of this world, something I get different things from every time I approach them, something nothing short of magical, and what I like about Burton’s envisioning is that he too realizes this isn’t a child’s story, this is a darker fantasy tale that was crafted by a deeply complex mind that is bound to enthrall those similar minds who ended up reading it. As a film Burton does give it that same feel, the visuals make this seem like an hour and forty minute hallucination, that actually looked better to me in 2D than it did in 3D.

But that’s where I thought the problem was, Burton paid too much attention to the visuals, and to the impeccable design that’s in the sets and especially in the characters which all look amazing, he doesn’t go the way the 1951 Disney animated film version went, but rather he treads more alone the grotesque drawings by John Tenniel that accompany the original books, this is how the characters ought to look.

I say this is his problem because I reckon that Burton lost his sense of the story because he paid too much attention to the details. The other explanation could be that Burton just didn’t care that much about the story or just wasn’t good at translating it, but he’s Tim Burton, he obviously cares about a story like this one, and he rocks at translating tales on screen, so I’ll go with my first option that still maintains his status as a genius in my mind.

The discovery of Mia Wasikowska, who I fortunately knew before from her turn on In Treatment, is great, I love that this actress had such a huge break and look forward to seeing her in other projects, and Depp is perfect, as he always seems to be, how he gives such dimension to a character like the Mad Hatter is beyond me, he’s a guy that will never fail to immerse himself entirely in his roles.

The other actors, whether they play live versions of their characters or give them a voice are just as pitch-perfect, and I mean, just take a look at that cast list and tell me if it’s not pure perfection, and if you’re a lover of Harry PotterPotter films like me you’ll find most actors in this one have had a role in the wizard franchise: Ms. Bonham Carter is Bellatrix in Potter and the Red Queen here, Alan Rickman is the Caterpillar in this one and Snape in Potter, Timothy Spall who plays Bayard here is Peter Pettigrew in Potter, the woman who played Madame Olympe Maxime in Potter, Frances la Tour is Aunt Imogene in this one, Imelda Staunton voices the flowers here and is Dolores Umbridge in Potter and Stephen Fry, who voices the Cheshire Cat actually lends his voice to the Potter franchise also, as the narrator of the audiobooks. Kinda neat, huh? And I’m guessing there’s one or two smaller actors I missed here who also have roles in Potter, those are just the ones I got.

But enough about Potter, back to Alice. What I guess I’m trying to say is that Alice in Wonderland isn’t the masterpiece I thought it would be, it’s a solid film, envisioned by one of the coolest directors working nowadays, propelled to greatness by its great visuals, but it’s a film that lacks cohesion in the story, especially in the latter part of the film which I really didn’t like, but nevertheless, it’ll be a hit and people will love it. I just know that people who love the books won’t share the love quite as much.

Grade: B