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Have you Heard of These Films: “I Am Love”, “Fish Tank” or “Biutiful”? ICINE Proudly Announces The Best In 2010 Films!

14 Mar


It’s the time of the year again to wrap-up the year with the best in film; thus, it’s my turn to announce my choices for the best in 2010.  The past year was by a large margin a much better year for movies and performances, just when I was about ready to throw in the towel!  It was the first year in a while that I saw an increase in numbers of films seen, with almost over 100.

This was also a very good year for actors and independent films, so good that most of my choices are either independent and foreign, and both supporting categories have six nominees each–they were that good!  Not to mention Javier Bardem’s formidably hunting performance.  Plus two special categories: Best Musical Score and Rolling Credits nominees and winners.

OK, without further ado, here is the list of nominees and winners for the 2010 Rammy Awards–drum roll please:-):

2010 RAMMYS
Top 10 Films
10.  127 Hours
9.  I Am Love
8.  Fish Tank
7.  Nora’s Will
6.  Another Year
5.  The Town
4.  Black Swan
3.  The Ghost Writer
2.  Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1
1.  Biutiful 

Best Picture
Biutiful *
Black Swan
The Ghost Writer
Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1
The Town

Best Actor
Ben Affleck for The Town
Javier Bardem for Biutiful * (tie)
Vincent Cassel for Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 * (tie)
Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours

Best Actress
Maricel Alvarez for Biutiful
Annette Bening  for The Kid’s Are All Right *
Katie Jarvis for Fish Tank
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Tilda Swinton for I Am Love
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale for The Fighter
John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner for The Town *
Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech
Dylan Riley Snyder for Life During Wartime

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo for The Figher
Lesley Manville for Another Year *
Ann Morgan Guilbert for Please Give
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Jacky Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Olivia Williams for Ghost Writer

Best Original Score
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
Social Network *

Best Rolling Credits
Blue Valentine

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Golden Globe Nominations: What They FAILED to Include!

23 Dec

The Recent Golden Globe nominations are a true statement of how this has become more of a popularity contest than a true award show.   I was thinking of writing an article about this the other day and just came across an excellent piece by Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, covering this very same topic. She covers so many of the big omissions the Hollywood Foreign Press failed to include in this year’s list of nominees, as in the case of Olivier Assayas’ Carlos, South Korea’s Mother, Tilda Swinton’s I Am Love, among many other.  What it is interesting is to note is that it’s the same Hollywood Foreign Press who is snubbing many of these great international/foreign films, that one would think would be automatic shoe-ins.

One of this foreign films that I enjoyed so much this year was Biutiful, a film starring Javier Bardem and directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.   Javier Bardem–the same way Hye-Ja Kim from Mother and Tilda Swinton in I Am Love–was profoundly affecting in his role as a dying father and Inarritu’s directing merely profound, work that most certainly deserves some sort of recognition.  There are so many other films that I can think of that were also excluded, such as: True Grit, Please Give, Nora’s Will, Fish Tank, Barney’s Version, The Town and the list can go on.   But, instead the same eighty plus Foreign Press members found it necessary to recognize a film like The Tourist and their leading actors for their performances–Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp?  This is exactly when you know that there is something REALLY wrong with this picture, it’s just a joke!  Shame on you Hollywood Foreign Press!!!

These aforementioned films deserve to be seen and it’s a shame the their distribution and studios’ marketing haven’t really done them well by making sure voters see and vote for them.   Let’s hope that come Oscar time, the academy members won’t make the same mistake and do justice to good films and good work from actors that truly invest themselves into their characters and recognize them.  For those people like me and Betsy from the LA Times, keep seeing and supporting these quality films and spread the word about them among your friends.  Often times, these are small independent/foreign films that need be discovered by more people and the only way for that to happen, sometimes is through good word of mouth.  Let’s spread the word folks!

Read more about the common ground I share with Betsy on her article from the LA Times below…

Critic’s Notebook: Where the Golden Globe nominations went wrong.  Johnny Depp with two nominations, Tilda Swinton with none, ‘True Grit’ shut out? An on-looker could go on — and does.

By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
December 15, 2010

That was quite a performance by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Tuesday morning — it had sort of an Alice in Wonderland quality about it, though maybe “quality” isn’t exactly the right word.

Johnny Depp, who is having an off year at best, gets two nominations? Seriously? Angelina Jolie picks up one for that laugh riot “The Tourist”? Meanwhile Tilda Swinton, incomparable in “I Am Love,” Kim Hye-ja stunning in “Mother,” Hailee Steinfeld remarkable in “True Grit” are nowhere to be found. For that matter “True Grit” gets nada, and Roman Polanski’s exceptionally smart “The Ghost Writer” also comes up empty.

If this is Wonderland, even Alice wouldn’t want to live here any more.

The Globe nominations have often been little more than a popularity contest among those who throw the best parties, but with its 2011 nominations, the HFPA has reached a new low. (Yet no “Get Low’s” Robert Duvall.)

Here’s an idea: Recognize an actual comedy in the comedy-musical category. How about Nicole Holofcener’s wonderfully dark “Please Give” with Catherine Keener, or “Cyrus” with John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill? Even “The Ghost Writer” had a lot of great irony attached to Ewan McGregor’s Ghost, and irony is still funny, right?

And while we’re getting animated here, if the rules can be stretched so thinly as to qualify “Tourist” as a comedy, and Depp’s performance therein as a funny ha-ha one (versus a funny-weird one) — why not include Tom Hanks or Tim Allen? As Woody and Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story 3,” both were definitely funnier than several of the actors who made it in.

Meanwhile, in the darker recesses of the Globes’ rabbit hole, why not Mia Wasikowska if we’re giving a shout-out to Depp in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”? Why wasn’t Aaron Eckhart’s searing pain of “Rabbit Hole” enough to make the supporting actor cut?

Another confusion, “Inception” walks off with nominations for best picture, best director and best screenplay, but apparently all that greatness happened without the help of actors. Nothing for Leonardo DiCaprio or Marion Cotillard. Were they asleep? (And by “they,” I mean the HFPA).

The 80 plus one (this is a plus-one town, you know) took notice of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in “The Kids Are All Right” but missed Mark Ruffalo’s seductive charm, and went on to completely overlook Dustin Hoffman, excellent opposite Paul Giamatti in “Barney’s Version,” to make room for Michael Douglas in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Huh?

Director Olivier Assayas’ exceptional “Carlos,” carried to great heights on the broad shoulders of actor Édgar Ramírez, premiered at the Cannes FILM Festival, has made many Top 10 FILM lists, yet the HFPA excludes it from the foreign film category, instead it’s relegated to TV for its “pay the bills” run there. Really?

I tell you, crimes, serious crimes, have been committed. There are more, too many to mention. I’m with the Queen of Hearts on this one: “Off with their heads.”

The Kids Are All Right – A Film Far Better Than All Right!!!

14 Aug

So far this year, it has become the year I have seen the least number of films since I started going to the movies—age 14.  Nevertheless, I don’t give up completely, as there are those little movies that from time to time pop-up, as it’s the case of the following films: The Kids Are All Right, The Disappearance of Alice Creed and Life During Wartime.  Each of these films have released over the last several weeks, but even those I am being a bit cautious about seeing.  I have heard great things about all three of them and Todd Solondz is the director of Life During Wartime, whose films I enjoy very much.

So, I went to the local theater to check out one of these films to end my curiosity, and I got tickets for Lisa Cholodenko’s new film The Kids Are Alright“. Not to be confused with the 1979 musical documentary by The Who, also called: The Kids Are Allright or their single by the same name.  Interestingly enough I don’t recall noticing this song being played during or after the film, which would have been perfect.  I did hear a couple of David Bowie songs however, which I enjoyed very much.

To my delight I ended up liking the film very much!  The film was poignant and felt very personal to the director, as Lisa herself had gone through something very similar herself, as she became pregnant in 2006 by the way of an anonymous sperm donor.

The film officially released to the general public following the LA Film Festival on July 31st, where it premiered locally.  The story centers around a lesbian couple, Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening), who each give birth to a girl and a boy respectively using the same anonymous sperm, donated by Paul (Mark Ruffalo), as we find out in the film.

Nic and Jules are in committed relationship until Paul comes back into the picture via the kids (Joni and Laser) desire to find out who their biological father was.  Their relationship is put to test indeed, as Jules—who is very insecure and dependent on Nic—realizes that something is missing in her life and that she’s bored, so she decides to just let go.  Nic on the other hand is a doctor who believes in rules and controlling the family, the breadwinner in the house.  Nic’s “exhaustingly controlling” behavior as Joni calls it becomes overbearing and begins pushing everyone away from her.  Jules’ stay-at-home mom life changes as she decides to begin her own landscape design business to start being more independent from Nic, and follow a new passion, as her children are all grown-up.  Joni is turning 18 and will be leaving for college and her little brother Laser isn’t so little anymore, as he is finishing high school soon, and will follow her shortly after.

Although Nic and Jules don’t want Paul to come into the picture, they are influenced by the kids to eventually all meet and make friends.  Little does Nic know of how much trouble this would really bring to her life?  Paul, a late 30s co-op farmer and restaurant owner comes into the picture, and the kids and Jules become very fond of him.  Nic and Jules’ relationship come to a to a point where it is fully compromised and they realize how much pain is causing one to the other once everything comes to light.  The climactic scene at the dinner table just when Nic was just beginning to feel comfortable with Paul is masterful.

Cholodenko’s subtlety is stirring, as one expects an all-out war at the dinner table, Nic just sits there in slow motion and just watches.  What the director is able to do here with this script is pure magic.  Her story is very compelling and the actors beautifully tell the story to the audience in a very organic way.  Annette Bening’s performance is a knockout!  She becomes Joni very convincingly, and mark my words; if there is any justice in Hollywood this performance should at least guarantee her a place on the Best Actress Academy Awards short list.  Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo were also very strong and delivered very solid performances.  And the kids were better than all right; they were perfectly casted, as at one moment—at the beginning of the film—they made the entire family feel like the perfect family.

The film is without doubt one of the few best films I’ve seen this year and highly recommended to anyone.  The film was released to universal acclaim since it premiered on January 25, 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival and at the 60th Berlinale festival, where the film was awarded with a Teddy award.  The nation’s top critics rate the film 96 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes, which says a lot about the film.  I rated 90% on my Icine book and highly recommend it to anyone to go see it!

I am also going to set away some time this summer to go see Solondz film: Life During Wartime and The Disappearance of Alice Creed, so stay tuned for reviews for those films to follow soon…

Have You Ever Heard of ”Fish Tank” the Movie?

19 Apr

This little British gem of a film, released in theaters the United States early this year and it’s without doubt the BEST film so far this year on my book!

The film employs a Ken Loach and Mike Leigh’s style of filmmaking and portrays socio-economic themes and classes of a segment  of British culture, which proves to be in some cases, brutally honest.  And honest is what the leading character is, played by a newcomer young girl, who is virtually unknown and has never acted before.  Mia–as she goes by in the film–is truly a revelation!  I believed her as Mia and what she was going through in her life.

Katie Jarvis–Mia--was ‘discovered’ when she was having a heated argument with her boyfriend across the platforms at Tilbury Town railway station.  She had dropped out of school and was unemployed when she was cast in this film–her first motion picture.

The film’s title is a metaphor of Mia’s life, as her life feels like that of a ‘fish tank’, trapped.  She decides to break out of that and explore life in her own terms: through dance, trying to save a horse, rebelling against her friends and mother, and finally finding trust in unknown men.  The latter however, changes her life forever and where this experience leads her ends up forcing her to grow-up almost instantly.

Andrea Arnold, the writer and director of the film, remarkably succeeds in telling the story of a young teenager girl in working-class London, where life can be really harsh and people are forced to grow very fast and adapt to their conditions the best way possible to survive.  The film proves to be bleak, but hopeful and redeeming in the end.

The film won multiple awards early this year and last year leading up to its release in US art-house theaters.

It won the ‘Jury Prize’ at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009

British Independent Film Award – best promising new comer actress and director

BAFTA Film Award – Outstanding British Film 2010

The film has released in DVD in England, but it’s release in the US is yet to be announced.  As soon as it’s available I highly recommend anyone to watch it, as it’s REALLY worth seeing!

The DVD is currently available on Amazon UK for purchase.

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Mia is in a constant state of war with her family, her school and her neighbors, without any constructive creative outlet for her energies save a secret love of hip-hop dancing. When she meets her party-girl mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor, she is amazed to find him returning her attention, and believes he can help her start to make sense of her life and eventually they have sex, after which he disappears from all their lives. When Mia tracks him down she finds that he has not been wholly honest with them and decides to take revenge, which almost ends in disaster. However, she does find consolation with Billy, a young traveller, after making up with her family.

For more details about this great indie film check out it’s website, become a fan of Facebook and follow it on Twitter for updates.

2009 RAMMYS: ICINE’S BEST in Motion Picture Announced

2 Mar

In what it was the worse year for good films in recent memory, 2009 proved to be a very difficult year to come up with some decent films that stood out from the rest.  Nevertheless, award season is coming to an end with the last two major awards being unveiled this coming weekend: The Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards.  Thus, it’s time to announce the BEST OF 20o9 in Motion Pictures and this time around it’s Icine’s turn to announce its choices with the RAMMY’S.  In it’s 13th edition, the RAMMYS are awarded every year to the excellence of film and acting, and this year marks it’s first year that they will actually be published to the public.

Here is the short list of best films, best actors, and all the winners–in bold–in each category :

2009 RAMMYS

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges  for Crazy Heart

Colin Firth for A Single Man

Tahar Rahim for A Prophet

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker

Michael Stuhlbarg for A Serious Man

Best Actress

Penelope Cruz for Broken Embraces

Charlotte Gainsbourg for Antichrist

Helen Mirren for The Last Station

Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Tilda Swinton for Julia


Best Supporting Actor

Niels Arestrup for A Prophet

Brian Geraghty for The Hurt Locker

Woody Harrelson for The Messenger

Christopher Plummer for The Last Station

Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress

Grace Coddington for The September Issue

Vera Farmiga for Up the Air

Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Samantha Morton for The Messenger

Blanca Portillo for Broken Embraces


Best Director

Jacques Audiard for A Prophet

Katrhyn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker

James Cameron for Avatar

Quentin Tarantino for Inglorious Basterds

Lars Von Trier for Antichrist

Best Motion Picture

Antichrist

Avatar

Broken Embraces

The Hurt Locker

Inglorious Basterds


Top Ten Films

10.  The Cove

9.  A Serious Man

8.  Mancora

7.  Tokyo Sonata

6.  A Prophet

5.  Open Embraces

4.  Antichrist

3.  Hurt Locker

2.  Avatar

1.  Inglorious Basterds


Stay tuned for the release of the RAMMYS Awards Retrospective coming soon…

2009 Golden Globes Winners Revealed [Monday Report]

18 Jan

This year’s NBC’s Golden Globes broadcast ratings got a nice boost according to Nielsen numbers released today.

“The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” had 14 percent more viewers than last year’s show.  The three-hour shindig won its time slot and drew 16.9 million viewers, beating an audience of 14.9 million viewers in 2009.

Having British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais as the host must have helped!

If you missed the show, here is a recap of who won in each category:

2009 GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS

Best film drama:

“Avatar”

Actor in a drama:

Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”

Actress in a drama:

Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”

Best comedy or musical:

“The Hangover”

Actor in a comedy or musical:

Robert Downey, Jr. “Sherlock Holmes”

Actress in a comedy or musical:

Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Supporting Actress:

Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated film:

“Up”

Foreign Language film:

“The White Ribbon,” Germany

Director:

James Cameron, “Avatar”

Screenwriter:

Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, “Up In the Air”

Original Score:

Michael Giacchino, “Up”

Original Song:

T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, “The Weary Kind,” from “Crazy Heart”

TELEVISION

Best TV drama:

“Mad Men”

Actor in a drama:

Michael C. Hall, “Dexter

Actress in a drama:

Julianna Marguiles, “The Good Wife”

Best comedy or musical:

“Glee”

Actor in a comedy or musical:

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Actress in a comedy or musical:

Toni Collette, “United States of Tara”

Best movie or mini-series:

“Grey Gardens”

Actor in a movie or mini-series:

Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance”

Actress in a movie or mini-series:

Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens”

Supporting actor, series, movie or mini-series:

John Lithgow, “Dexter”

Supporting actress, series, movie or mini-series:

Chloe Sevigny, “Big Love”

CECILE B. DEMILLE AWARD (career achievement):

Martin Scorsese

For complete coverage on the awards visit: http://www.goldenglobes.org/

And the Nominees Are…?

9 Dec

2009 will be marked as the year of BAD to WORSE releases and one that would alter the way I look at films and made me adjust my approach to the appreciation of this art form.

The award season has officially kicked-off with the recent Spirit Award Nominations and the National Board of Review, and between them, only a handful of films are worth mentioning, while many others wouldn’t even have a chance in any other year.  Granted there are many films to choose from–as in the case of the upcoming Golden Globe nominations this coming Tuesday–but many of them unfortunately lack substance and aim at mainstream audiences who were simply looking for escapist entertainment.

On December 15th, the Hollywood Foreign Press will narrow down this year’s nominations from over 170 films in contention, and with so many categories they may have trouble filling in the slots due to lack of worthy films, performances and such.  But then again, it’s the Golden Globes and they have been known for having a much broader appeal to films of all kinds than it’s older brother; OSCAR!

Come Oscar nomination time, academy members may find themselves in a pickle as well, as they will have to broaden their spectrum; since beginning this year there will be no 5 Best Picture nominees, but rather 10.  This will certainly prove to be very difficult for those more intellectual members who seek good quality films.  It’s the second week in December and I can only come up with a quite small number of films worth considering and time is running out for Academy Award consideration–December 31st.  The truth of the matter is that there are only less than half a dozen films that I am interested in viewing before the year’s end, and that I think will perhaps be worth my while.  The quality of films have deteriorated immensely over the years and it’s a disappointing truth that I have been reluctant to accept.  Since I was 15, I have been a avid film fan and have always looked forward to going to the movies, but 2009 unfortunately marks the year that my outlook has finally met reality.

As a result, I have decided to broaden my spectrum by focusing on various forms of filmmaking independently, as opposed to a sum of it’s parts masterpiece, as has been tradition.  Some of these forms are: acting, cinematography, art direction, story, etc.  And by doing that I have managed to come up with a preliminary list of films that are good, but by no means brilliant or masterpieces.

Here are some of my favorite films this year to exemplify how few these are–in random order and please note that 3 of them are foreign:

Inglourious Basterds

Tokyo Sonata

Hurt Locker

Antichrist

Mancora

Looking forward to see:

Nine

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Lovely Bones

A Single Man

STAY TUNED FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF FILMS AND ARTISTS THAT MADE THE CUT IN MY YEARLY MOTION PICTURE AWARDS…

In the meantime, I make a plea to HOLLYWOOD to get out of this bad road it’s taken over the last few years and become more CREATIVE AND COME OUT WITH MORE QUALITY FILMS, AS IT WAS ONCE THE NORM!!!