December 17, 2009

SAG Nominations

Posted in Film tagged , , at 4:55 pm by Nick Plowman

Best Ensemble: An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Nine, Precious.

Surprised by the absence of Up in the Air especially since it scored 3 individual acting nods. It didn’t come across as much of an ensemble so perhaps it isn’t that surprising. Could “Inglourious Basterds” take the win here? Also, Mariah Carey and Fergie are essentially SAG nominees now.

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education”), Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”), Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julie”).

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”), JEREMY RENNER (“The Hurt Locker”).

Jeremy Renner, SAG nominee. Where your Blu-ray players now Maguire, huh? Yeah.

Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz (“Nine”), Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”), Mo’Nique (“Precious”), Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”).

Total WTF. The good kind. I loved Kruger’s performance and this is a totally welcomed surprise. Of course I thought Mélanie Laurent was better than Kruger but she’s competing in the Best Actress category, isn’t she? Julianne Moore will take Kruger’s spot at the Oscars.

Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”) Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”), Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”).

Is Damon going to end up getting an Oscar nomination for his performance in “Invictus”? Shoot me, right now, if he is.

Best Stunt Ensemble: Public Enemies, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

For the TV nominees: Awards Daily.

Nominations telecast here.

December 16, 2009

Golden Globe AbNominations

Posted in Film tagged , at 2:04 am by Nick Plowman

I’m only half serious. I’ve had time to think these over, in my sleep mind you, and the Golden Globes really are nothing but a nice little awards show, with big names and a good time to be had by all and mean very little in terms of the Oscar race. This is well established, but even still – the lack of a nomination for Jeremy Renner really, really irks me. I don’t give half a shit who you are, you don’t deny The Renner! Fools. As usual, the HFPA manage to have just the right amount of solid nominations to keep one slightly less-than-happy as opposed to full-on frustrated. On with the nominations. For film. I haven’t watched television in months (though the two and a half episodes of Glee I did see were wonderful, sigh). Full nominee list here, with Up in the Air leading with 6 nominations.
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December 12, 2009

Review: “Invictus”

Posted in Film Reviews tagged , , , , , at 12:45 am by Nick Plowman

(This review originally appeared at In Review Online)

Clint Eastwood’s oldschool approach to filmmaking has never been more inexpressive than in “Invictus,” a shallow adaptation of John Carlin’s book, “Playing the Enemy.” The film spotlights newly-elected Nelson Mandela and his shrewd attempt to unify the nation of South Africa by backing the Springbok rugby team—at the time considered a symbol of the indignity many blacks endured—leading them to the 1995 World Cup. Eastwood filters this historical alliance through conventional dramatization, and the result is a maudlin rendition of one of the most exciting times in South African history.
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December 6, 2009

Review: “Three Monkeys”

Posted in Film Reviews tagged , at 11:44 pm by Nick Plowman


Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Three Monkeys,” Turkey’s measured and quietly devastating 2009 Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Language category, is a film in which every moody, darkly-lit frame offers a moment worth savoring. The same can be said of the director’s impressionistic “Distant” and “Climates”: his particular form of intellectually stimulating artistic expression can only be appreciated when savored.
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June 29, 2009

“The Young Victoria”

Posted in Upcoming Film tagged , , at 3:29 pm by Nick Plowman

Love Rules All.

Delayed for almost as long as Queen Victoria’s reign as monarch of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, an unprecedented 63 years and seven months, “The Young Victoria” still does not have an American release date (I think) despite having premiered in the UK on the 6th of last month and despite it starring Emily Blunt, having been produced by Martin Scorsese, written by Julian Fellowes of “Gosford Park” fame, featuring costumes by the unmatchable Sandy Powell, and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée who made “C.R.A.Z.Y” just a few years ago.

“The Young Victoria,” tracing during the early days of Queen V’s reign and the romance between her and Prince Albert, doesn’t quite reach the level of “Elizabeth” or “Marie Antoinette” in terms of artistic temperament and boundary testing. Like most films chronicling the conflictions of various monarchs, it probably should’ve been a miniseries as it ends rather abruptly, with the usual last minute onscreen text filling in the gaps. Perhaps that’s something I should be used to by now.

In it’s filmic form, it is nonetheless a wonderfully shot and detailed affair filled with unabashed romanticism and intrigue that plods along less than it ought to due to a number of effective performances. Emily Blunt, as gorgeous as ever, delivers a feisty portrayal of a sovereign caught between expectation and the constraints of social denunciation.

As far as her Oscar potential goes, her performance and role just aren’t tailored for such acclaim – there’s no overwhelming screaming matches a la Cate Blanchet in “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” nor the make-up and artistry present in Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II (whom, in reality was rather irked by a particular dramatic embellishment in “The Young Victoria”). She may not get a moment to appeal to the ballots of AMPAS members, but she gets her share of moments to appeal to their hearts. Which you’d rather see determines the extent to which you admire her performance.

The true gem in “The Young Victoria,” by my own estimation anyway, is that of Rupert Friend, as Prince Albert. When he’s off-screen, Ms. Blunt keeps the film likeable and akin to unpretentious escapism, but when Friend is present – the film glows. Resist his charm, I dare you.

“The Young Victoria,” much like “The Duchess,” doesn’t quite reinvent it’s genre, nor is it intended to. It’s a perfectly fine addition to said genre, and one that should please those who always find something to appreciate about the lavish, calculated and romantic sumptuousness that is the costume drama genre.

“The Young Victoria” opened in South Africa on the 26th of June.

June 3, 2009


Posted in Film at 5:30 pm by Nick Plowman

I keep getting emails from people asking me why I haven’t updated here in forever and I guess I can see why it wasn’t clear to anyone I didn’t talk to behind the scenes. Well, my bad! Anyways, so I am focusing on my studies at the moment especially since exams are around the corner and everything. Even when I’m not focusing on school, its just so refreshing to not be HERE, blogging. Not sure why, but its rather relieving. I do miss here though. I do, really. I do miss watching movies and spending hours fighting with myself because I couldn’t write a review I was proud of. Mostly, I just miss the movies. But also…I don’t miss it at all. I think I will start a new blog when I am done with high school, and it will be focusing on well…anything I feel like talking about at all. Music, movies, television, random posts dedicated to gorgeous people…anything at all. For now, however, this place is gonna remain dormant, unless something hugely important pops into my brain and I feel the need to share it [unlikely].

March 27, 2009

Trailer: ‘Taking Woodstock’

Posted in Trailers, Upcoming Film tagged , at 3:09 pm by Nick Plowman

I don’t know how many of you have seen the Academy Award Winning 1970 documentary “Woodstock,” but it may just be one of my favourite documentaries/rock concert films of all time. Something about Woodstock seems to fascinate me to no end, in fact, the entirety of the hippie-era culture seems to. Ang Lee is a director whose work, time and time again, ends up as being shortlisted for my favourite film of their given years.

Emile Hirsch is an actor who I’d watch read the phonebook, and enjoy it. If you take that, add a cast consisting of Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Liev Schreiber (in drag!) and a score by Danny Elfman, “Taking Woodstock” is a film I am anticipating almost more than any other this year (and it opens in the US on August 14th).

This trailer, however, certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I’m guessing it was tailor cut for the purpose of appealing to the viewers of “Important Things with Demetri Martin” and the theatrical trailer will be a slightly different beast altogether. That’s what I am hoping for. I’m also hoping for a more sophisticated but comic and definitely not campy film. It still looks like it could be good/fun/a good enough time though. A change of pace for Lee, for certain. That’s just my opinion, what’s yours?

Trailer: ‘Where The Wild Things Are”

Posted in Trailers, Upcoming Film tagged , , at 3:04 pm by Nick Plowman

“I didn’t want to wake you up, but I wanted to show you something.” This looks flat-out amazing. And it certainly seems to play out like the screenplay, which means WB got over themselves and allowed for Spike Jonze’s magical, slightly chilling vision to soldier on. Remember all those production troubles and “disastrous” test screenings? Yeah, me neither. The Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Carter Burwell scored film, based on my favourite book as a child besides “Elouise,” “Where The Wild Things Are” opens in the U.S. on the 16th of October, and if this trailer is anything to judge by, we’re in for something special for sure. Also, the trailer is best served in HD at Apple. Oh yeah, and I really like this version of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up,” which was apparently re-recorded for the film, but who knows if that means its going to actually be in the film itself.

March 21, 2009

mettre à jour

Posted in Film tagged at 1:33 pm by Nick Plowman

A mettre à jour/update/opdatere/uppdatera/aggiornare on this here blog is way overdue. As you probably don’t know, there is exactly one week left (in which I have to write no less than three tests) of the first term (of four) of my final year of high school, then I go on a three or so week break. And, let me tell you, a break is exactly what I need. On the upside, I’m doing better in school than I have in the last four years, and my lowest mark is that of a B-. With great sacrifice, comes great reward I suppose. Let’s see if I can keep it up, shall we?
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March 9, 2009

Review: “Watchmen”

Posted in Film Reviews tagged , at 7:14 pm by Nick Plowman

Being unfamiliar with the source material, with a vague understanding but nothing beyond what I’ve picked up from conversations with detractors and avid aficionados of what is oft labeled the “greatest graphic novel of all time,” my approach to Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” was one of immense curiosity and little else. As such, my reaction to it and my opinion of it is one of indifference and the blame for that lies squarely between Snyder and myself. My admiration for the film began and ended with the opening credit sequence and drifted off into an alternate universe, leaving little by means of an impression behind after that.
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March 6, 2009

Trailers: “The Limits of Control” & “Public Enemies”

Posted in Trailers tagged , at 4:43 pm by Nick Plowman

I know I haven’t been a very good blogger lately, but when school called, I pretty much had to answer. But now it’s the weekend and for the first time in a very long time, I have no homework. To ease into the weekend, I shall give you two trailers for the price of one; Jim Jarmucsh’s “The Limits of Control” which is without a doubt one of my most anticipated films of ’09 and opens Stateside on the 22nd of May, and “Public Enemies,” a trailer I am sure most people have already seen but whatever. What do they both have in common? Awesome casts.
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February 23, 2009

81st Academy Award Winners

Posted in Academy Awards 08, Film Awards tagged , , at 5:31 pm by Nick Plowman

Despite my gut feelings that “Departures” and “La Maison en Petits Cubes” would end up winning, I managed to score 18/24 correct predictions which, if you think about the overall predictability of the Oscars this year, is pretty lame. Actually, its embarrassing really, lol. But me predicting correctly is not what its all about, is it? And it sure as hell doesn’t matter now.

So I have finally watched the Oscar telecast in its entirety and I am impressed, more than I thought I would be anyway. Yeah, the musical numbers were mostly cheesy, John Legend was pretty awful, hearing Zac Efron of all people saying “And the Oscar goes to…” really got under my skin…..but it was a classy affair, and the sense of unity and camaraderie really gave it a feeling I am not used to – a feeling I quite enjoyed. Bravo to the producers.
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February 22, 2009

Review: “Must Read After My Death”

Posted in Film Reviews tagged at 10:09 am by Nick Plowman

To witness the disintegration of the American Dream without the veneer of comfort that fiction offers is to watch “Must Read After My Death,” a haunting documentary by Morgan Dews. Families who appear to live on the edge of cloud nine who are actually freefalling into an inevitable demise are those that can be traced throughout entertainment’s historical timeline, but watching such a family knowing that the story is true allows it to take on a far more chilling atmosphere.

When director Morgan Dews’ maternal grandmother Allis passed away in 2001, she left behind eight-millimetre homemade films, Dictaphone records and photographs, in the hundreds. Using those selected fragments of his family’s history, Dews assembled something of an intimate, haunting collage of a family breaking apart, showing each crack, frayed edge and tear with the glue holding it together slowly but surely failing.
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Independent Spirit Winners ’09

Posted in Film Awards tagged at 8:13 am by Nick Plowman

Film Independent gave out their Indie Spirit Awards last night, giving them to the best films produced for under $20 million – of which most of my favourite films of the year were made for.

The Wrestler, my second favourite film of last year under only Paranoid Park which was a Spirit Nominee last year, winning Best Picture is fantastic – an award it should have been in contention for at a few other awards ceremonies, but anyway. Just saw “The Visitor” for the first time last night, isn’t Richard Jenkins fantastic? In fact, the entire film is.

To see Tom McCarthy take home Best Director over the likes of Jonathan Demme, Courtney Hunt, Ramin Bahrani and Lance Hammer is something indeed. Oscar hopefuls Mickey Rourke and Melissa Leo won in their respective categories, as did Penelope Cruz. I wonder, are the rumbles that Leo may perhaps overtake Winslet and win the Oscar validated at all?

Other awards went to Man on Wire, The Class, Milk and Synecdoche, New York, and yet again I recall that the Independent Spirit Awards are just about my favourite awards in the world. With the winner list below, it’s easy to see why.
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February 21, 2009

Fataculture’s Oscar Predictions

Posted in Academy Awards 08, Film Awards tagged , , , at 1:19 pm by Nick Plowman

With the 81st Academy Awards soon to become a distant memory, I suppose it’s that time of the year for me to publish my final predictions. Now, call it a lack of inspiration, a disinterest as a result of association with equally disinterested people, absence of a “favourite” out of the Best Picture nominees – I’m having a little trouble mustering interest in this year’s Oscars even as we head down the Oscar corridor and right into the final chapter of this year’s race. Is it the predictability of the (three hour and fifteen minute) affair? I am not so sure. I, for one, am having trouble predicting anything at all right now – even with the help of the leaked Oscar “winners.” Nice one, loser.

The closer I get to Sunday, last minute second-guessing reminds me that A) no one knows anything and B) the entire thing shouldn’t be taken all too seriously. A certain level of naïveté certainly makes following the Oscar race more enjoyable. Besides, this year – no matter how boring one finds the race, I haven’t felt for one second that everything is set in stone.

There’s Rourke vs. Penn, Winslet vs. Streep, Cruz vs. Davis, Ledger vs. Ledger – no matter how you slice the acting categories, chances are that the Golden Guy is going to someone who deserves it. But, save for Ledger and “WALL-E” for Animated Film, I am not convinced anything can be called a “lock.”

I don’t want to call what I am feeling “indifference” because it isn’t – its basically that there are enough people and films in contention that, no matter who wins, I won’t lose any sleep. On Oscar nomination morning, I spent enough time trying to understand how Sally Hawkins, Gomorrah and Bruce Springsteen were snubbed. I don’t think I have the energy to do any more deciphering, so I won’t. All I know is, either Slumdog will sweep – or it won’t (duh) and I am really hoping for the latter.

Below, my final Oscar predictions sans commentary because all I could say has already been said and by someone more interested than myself. Please feel free to add your predix/thoughts in the comment section; it’s the only way this might not feel so pointless.

My predictions are in order of how the awards will be handed out, thanks to a tip from Cinemascope (who provided us with an entire list of how everything would go down last year, but this year the presenters are being kept under wraps, so it’s a little less interesting).
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