Archive | October, 2010

The 2010 Gotham Independent Film Award Nominations Announced: Who Made The Cut?

21 Oct

The Film Award Season has officially began with the nominations announcement of the 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards , ceremony that will take place on Monday, November 29th at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, where winners will be announced.

Indie film “Winter Bones”, “The Kids Are All Right” and Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture” led the nominations with each garnering two total.  “Bone” took three nominations, including best feature, best ensemble performance (for Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, and Kevin Breznahan), and best breakthrough performance (Lawrence).  In the best feature category, the film was joined by Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine,” Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right,” and Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In.”

The big snubs were Annette Bening for “Kids” and Portman for “Swan”, both of which are said to be front runners for the Academy Awards.

The 2010 nominees for the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards are:

Best Feature
Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky, director; Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Blue Valentine
Derek Cianfrance, director; Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell, Alex Orlovsky, producers (The Weinstein Company)

The Kids Are All Right
Lisa Cholodenko, director;  Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Jordan Horowitz, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Philippe Hellmann, producers (Focus Features)

Let Me In
Matt Reeves, director; Simon Oakes, Alex Brunner, Guy East, Tobin Armbrust,  Donna Gigliotti, John Nording, Carl Molinder, producers (Overture Films)

Winter’s Bone
Debra Granik, director; Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan-Yorkin, producers (Roadside Attractions)

Best Documentary
12th & Delaware
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors/producers (HBO Documentary Films)

Inside Job
Charles Ferguson, director; Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Oath
Laura Poitras, director/producer (Zeitgeist Films and American Documentary/POV)

Public Speaking
Martin Scorsese, director; Martin Scorsese, Graydon Carter, Margaret Bodde, Fran Lebowitz, producers (HBO Documentary Films)

Sweetgrass
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, directors; Ilisa Barbash, producer (Cinema Guild)

Best Ensemble Performance
The Kids Are All Right
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson (Focus Features)

Life During Wartime
Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Chris Marquette, Rich Pecci, Charlotte Rampling, Paul Reubens, Ally Sheedy, Dylan Riley Snyder, Renée Taylor, Michael Kenneth Williams (IFC Films)

Please Give
Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Ann Guilbert, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele, Thomas Ian Nicholas (Sony Pictures Classics)

Tiny Furniture
Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Rachel Howe, Merritt Wever, Amy Seimetz, Alex Karpovsky, David Call,  Jemima Kirke, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Garland Hunter, Isen Hunter (IFC Films)

Winter’s Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan (Roadside Attractions)

Breakthrough Director
John Wells for The Company Men (The Weinstein Company)

Kevin Asch for Holy Rollers (First Independent Pictures)

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa for I Love You Phillip Morris (Roadside Attractions)

Tanya Hamilton for Night Catches Us (Magnolia Pictures)

Lena Dunham for Tiny Furniture (IFC Films)

Breakthrough Actor
Prince Adu in Prince of Broadway (Elephant Eye Films)

Ronald Bronstein in Daddy Longlegs (IFC Films)

Greta Gerwig in Greenberg (Focus Features)

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions)

John Ortiz in Jack Goes Boating (Overture Films)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
Kati With An I
Robert Greene, director; Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, producers

Littlerock
Mike Ott, director; Frederick Thornton, Laura Ragsdale, Sierra Leoni, producers

On Coal River
Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood, directors; Jillian Elizabeth, Adams Wood, Francine Cavanaugh, producers

Summer Pasture
Lynn True and Nelson Walker, directors/producers; Tsering Perlo, co-director/co-producer

The Wolf Knife
Laurel Nakadate, director/producer

Have you seen any of these films?

Check out “The Kids Are All Right” and my review below, definitely worth seeing!

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Pasadena’s Movie Going Treasure A+: Movie Choice D- (“I’m Still Here”)

3 Oct

Pasadena is one of those cities that has it all, particularly when it comes to entertainment, it has among the best movie theaters in all of Los Angeles.   It boasts boutique movie houses that show mainstream films, as well as specialized ones. It also has two art houses that show rare films that once could only be seen in the west end of town in the old days.   The Laemmle Theater Group, perhaps the oldest and only surviving family-run cinema house in Los Angeles, is one of those cinema halls that has been in Pasadena for the longest time and where rare independent and foreign films are exhibited. So, while in a night out in the town, why not check out a film at one of these cinemas?

Joaquin Phoenix’s “I’m Still Here” Reality Show Stunt

I’m Still Here is one of the most recent films that released exclusively in selected theaters nationwide in early September, including the Laemmle Theaters.  The film is a mockumentary directed by Casey Affleck–Ben Affleck’s little brother.  The film stars Joaquin Phoenix–Casey’s brother-in-law and his best friend–and follows the life of Phoenix, from the moment he announced retiring from show business after being of an acting ensemble benefit play in the Bay area, to the actors pursuit to becoming a hip hop artist.  The film is a reality show that follows him during that very moment in 2008 to the current year.

The actor decision to leave Hollywood shocked everyone and many didn’t believe it, as the whole thing looked like a hoax.  A hoax indeed was as it turns out. The fact that the events of the film had been deliberately staged was not disclosed until after the film had been released.  The actor was so entrenched into his character that he looked like a cavemen junkie, as throughout the film and publicly humiliated on the David Letterman show as we all remember.   During the show, Phoenix seemed to be in another planet altogether; giving shorts incoherent answers, not remember anything about the film he was promoting–Two Lovers–nor the name of actors he share the screen with, and of course chewing gun and taking it out of his mouth and sticking it under Letterman’s desk. How are we to sympathize with this guy?

The film goes on tediously showing Phoenix at his lowest: doing drugs, having sex with prostitutes, getting into a fight in a club in Miami, falling from stage in Las Vegas, witnessing Antony Langdon–Spacehog guitarist and musician–defecate on his face while asleep as a result of a feud between them that loses Joaquin’s trust.   The scene where he finally meets rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs in his studio, he was able to be there on time for their meeting and bring his demo CD for “Diddy” to listen and at after listening to the third and last song Phoenix says: “So when do we record?” Then “Diddy” looks a him with a look of pity and tells him: “The first two songs were good, I liked them, but the last one brought it downhill…you can’t record with me, not under my name”.   This scene was one of those few moments in the film where one feels for the guy.

The film is only one hour and six minutes, but it dragged on forever, and it followed the typical hollywood formula: it ended at the same place where it began.   One is suppose to sympathize with the guy and his trials and tribulations, but the film does very little to do that.   Instead we are reminded that Joaquin is ‘still here’, as the title says: “I Am Still Here”.  He duped us all.

For everyone’s amusement, here are a couple of images of Joaquin’s appearances at the Dave Letterman show before and after the stunt…it really makes one vomit at the snobbery of calling a reality stunt ART!


If really bored and have nothing else to do than going to a movie, be sure to read up on this film before being stuck in a theater watching what happened to the once promising Joaquin Phoenix; instead, check out the theater marquee for other film options and save the trouble.  The film gets one star out of four, and that’s being quite generous!

Luckily the Laemmle Playhouse is a multiplex cinema that can offer movie lovers many other good options.

This movie is more about the local cinema treasures we have in Pasadena, more than about this film that just happened to be playing at the given date and time. For more information on what’s playing at Pasadena Laemmle Playhouse theaters go to the Laemmle.