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Posted byBurner at 14:34 22 comments Links to this post  

Oscars 2007 Nominees

With just under a month to the Oscars it's time to look at this year's nominees and remember some of the good films of the last year. Since there are so many categories with many nominees, I'll not go into details just yet, but go through them very briefly.

However, in the following weeks I'll post reviews for many of the ones that curently don't have one on the blog and try to comment a little on possible winners. So just keep on visiting Movie Row as there'll be plenty for you to read.

As I write more and more reviews for nominated films, I'll link them to this post and viceversa for the sake of easy navigation.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

  1. Babel
  2. The Departed
  3. Letters from Iwo Jima
  4. Little Miss Sunshine
  5. The Queen
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  1. Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond
  2. Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson
  3. Peter O'Toole for Venus
  4. Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness
  5. Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
  1. Penélope Cruz for Volver
  2. Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal
  3. Helen Mirren for The Queen
  4. Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada
  5. Kate Winslet for Little Children
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
  1. Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine
  2. Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children
  3. Djimon Hounsou for Blood Diamond
  4. Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls
  5. Mark Wahlberg for The Departed
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
  1. Adriana Barraza for Babel
  2. Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal
  3. Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine
  4. Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls
  5. Rinko Kikuchi for Babel
Best Achievement in Directing
  1. Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima
  2. Stephen Frears for The Queen
  3. Paul Greengrass for United 93
  4. Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel
  5. Martin Scorsese for The Departed
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  1. Babel: Guillermo Arriaga
  2. Letters from Iwo Jima: Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis
  3. Little Miss Sunshine: Michael Arndt
  4. El Laberinto del Fauno: Guillermo del Toro
  5. The Queen: Peter Morgan
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
  1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan:
    Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer, Todd Phillips
  2. Children of Men: Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
  3. The Departed: William Monahan
  4. Little Children: Todd Field, Tom Perrotta
  5. Notes on a Scandal: Patrick Marber
Best Achievement in Cinematography
  1. The Black Dahlia: Vilmos Zsigmond
  2. Children of Men: Emmanuel Lubezki
  3. The Illusionist: Dick Pope
  4. El Laberinto del Fauno: Guillermo Navarro
  5. The Prestige: Wally Pfister
Best Achievement in Editing
  1. Babel: Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
  2. Blood Diamond: Steven Rosenblum
  3. Children of Men: Alfonso Cuarón, Alex Rodríguez
  4. The Departed: Thelma Schoonmaker
  5. United 93: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse
Best Achievement in Art Direction
  1. Dreamgirls: John Myhre, Nancy Haigh
  2. The Good Shepherd: Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Gretchen Rau, Leslie E. Rollins
  3. El Laberinto del Fauno: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik
  5. The Prestige: Nathan Crowley, Julie Ochipinti
Best Achievement in Costume Design
  1. Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia: Chung Man Yee
  2. The Devil Wears Prada: Patricia Field
  3. Dreamgirls: Sharen Davis
  4. Marie Antoinette: Milena Canonero
  5. The Queen: Consolata Boyle
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
  1. Babel: Gustavo Santaolalla
  2. The Good German: Thomas Newman
  3. Notes on a Scandal: Philip Glass
  4. El Laberinto del Fauno: Javier Navarrete
  5. The Queen: Alexandre Desplat
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
  1. An Inconvenient Truth: Melissa Etheridge ("I Need To Wake Up")
  2. Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler, Anne Preven ("Listen")
  3. Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Siedah Garrett ("Love You I Do")
  4. Cars: Randy Newman ("Our Town")
  5. Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Willie Reale ("Patience")
Best Achievement in Makeup
  1. Apocalypto: Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
  2. Click: Kazuhiro Tsuji, Bill Corso
  3. El Laberinto del Fauno: David Martí, Montse Ribé
Best Achievement in Sound
  1. Apocalypto: Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar
  2. Blood Diamond: Lon Bender
  3. Flags of Our Fathers: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
  4. Letters from Iwo Jima: Alan Robert Murray
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: George Watters II, Christopher Boyes
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall
  2. Poseidon: Boyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier
  3. Superman Returns: Mark Stetson, Richard R. Hoover, Neil Corbould, Jon Thum
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
  1. Cars: John Lasseter
  2. Happy Feet: George Miller
  3. Monster House: Gil Kenan
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
  1. Efter brylluppet (Denmark)
  2. Indigènes (Algeria)
  3. El Laberinto del Fauno (Mexico)
  4. Das Leben der Anderen (Germany)
  5. Water (Canada)
Best Documentary, Features
  1. Deliver Us from Evil: Amy Berg, Frank Donner
  2. An Inconvenient Truth: Davis Guggenheim
  3. Iraq in Fragments: James Longley, Yahya Sinno
  4. Jesus Camp: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
  5. My Country My Country: Laura Poitras, Jocelyn Glatzer
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
  1. The Blood of Yingzhou District: Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
  2. Recycled Life: Leslie Iwerks, Mike Glad
  3. Rehearsing a Dream: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
  4. Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story: Nathaniel Kahn, Susan Rose Behr
Best Short Film, Animated
  1. The Danish Poet: Torill Kove
  2. Lifted: Gary Rydstrom
  3. The Little Matchgirl: Roger Allers, Don Hahn
  4. Maestro: Géza M. Tóth
  5. No Time for Nuts: Chris Renaud, Mike Thurmeier
Best Short Film, Live Action
  1. Binta y la gran idea: Javier Fesser, Luis Manso
  2. Éramos pocos: Borja Cobeaga
  3. Helmer & Søn: Søren Pilmark, Kim Magnusson
  4. The Saviour: Peter Templeman, Stuart Parkyn
  5. West Bank Story: Ari Sandel

Posted byBurner at 15:15 2 comments Links to this post  

Review of "Children of Men"

Children of Men is a good, carefully crafted apocalytic film about the chaotic and hopeless world of 2027 in which no child was born for the past 18 years. Set in and around a dystopian London torn apart by violence and warring sects, the movie follows Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a disillusioned ex-activist who’s forced to protect and transport a pregnant woman named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to a scientists sanctuary at sea.

For the most part it follows one of the classic apocalypse recipes: because of it’s constant line of mistakes (polluting, disrespecting nature, warring etc), humankind is on the brink of extinction. For some unknown reasons, we’ve lost the ability to procreate and thus, in term became desperate enough to actually manage and bring most of the world to chaos, leaving only one spot of relative normality – Britain. A plot that resembles a futuristic “Battle of Britain” with very dark prospects. A plot not quite used to it’s full potential as it's stingy with some details and concentrates on Kee, Theo and them getting from point A to point B in one piece. But I’ll overlook that as there are some very small clues regarding possible questions and the trip itself is action packed and at times humorous enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen.

The acting is overall great. The old hippie Jasper, portrayed by Michael Caine, is a good example of the acting quality seen in this movie and at the same time contributes a great deal to the funny pieces. The same goes for Julianne Moore (as Julian Taylor) and of course, the main characters, Theo and Kee. However, I have to point out the sort of robot-like acting and exaggerated reactions of Marichka, the gypsy in the camp, portrayed by the Romanian actress, Oana Pellea. As a Romanian, being able to understand what she was saying, I’ve found Marichka too artificial in a way.

Helping the feeling and being a nice touch is the sound. There are a lot of minute details, easy to miss that add to the atmosphere of the world depicted and they really help the visuals, who are also very good and on this part I have to give Emmanuel Lubezki, the director of photography his well deserved credit as he really does wonders with the beautiful, outdoor shots. And the soundtrack is excellent with the alternative Spanish version of "Ruby Tuesday" along with some classical pieces.

The ending will disappoint some people and it did disappoint me a little. It’s almost like there’s a pseudo Deus Ex Machina there, but that depends on what you like to belive about the prospects that lay ahead for humanity – will it or will it not survive.

Overall this is movie is worth your attention and may actually stay in your head well after you’ve watched it. If it weren’t for the unanswered questions, some dubious twists and minor flaws, I’d give it a 10, but considering the above, I’ll settle for an 8.

RATING: 8/10

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Writing credits: Alfonso Cuarón (screenplay), Timothy J. Sexton (screenplay), David Arata (screenplay), Mark Fergus (screenplay), Hawk Ostby (screenplay) & P.D. James (novel "The Children of Men")
Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Pam Ferris, & Danny Huston

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, some drug use and brief nudity.
Runtime: 109 min
Country: UK / USA
Language: Serbo-Croatian / German / Italian / Romanian / English / Spanish
Color: Color
Sound Mix: SDDS / Dolby Digital / DTS
Certification: Singapore:NC-16 / Switzerland:14 (canton of Vaud) / Switzerland:14 (canton of Geneva) / Ireland:15A / Portugal:M/16 / Netherlands:16 / USA:R / France:U / Germany:16 / Finland:K-15 / Australia:MA / UK:15 / South Africa:16LV

Awards: Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 15 nominations

See it also at:
Rotten Tomatoes

Posted byBurner at 15:47 0 comments Links to this post  

Review of "Night at the Museum"

This movie is refreshing and enjoyable. Don’t expect a solid and profound plot. Instead be ready for a simple but full of surprises one that manages to entertain you the whole length of the movie, while being very easy to digest. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is employed as a night watch for the Museum of Natural History in NYC with the task of not letting anything in or out of the museum, and soon discovers what the "out" part was all about. "Powered" by an ancient, cursed Egyptian pharaoh's tablet, the animals and exibits in the museum come to life, wreaking havoc. Not afording to quit his job, Larry has to deal with them and prevent them from getting out, where they would turn to dust.

The acting is ok, with Stiller actually being funny and likable, which is something he hasn’t been in many of it’s movies. Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt is hilarious as usual and a nice surprise and so is Mickey Rooney, as the disgruntled and annoyed security guard, Gus.

The special effects are good and their star is certainly Rex, the T-Rex in the movie and the best dinosaur on screen in the last years. The cowboy and the Roman and Aztec miniatures that give Larry a continuous headache are very funny and do a good job supporting the chaos that characterizes the film. Also adding to the dynamic, the music is good and in tone with the action that evolves on screen.

Though having it’s share of clichés, Night at the Museum is a great family film worth watching. It has action, romance and a good dose of silly humor. Best fun flick in a while.

RATING: 7/10

Directed by: Shawn Levy
Writing credits: Ben Garant (also screen story), Thomas Lennon (also screen story) & Milan Trenc (book)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Steve Coogan, Patrick Gallagher, Ricky Gervais, and Mickey Rooney

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action, language and brief rude humor.
Runtime: 108 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: DTS / Dolby Digital / SDDS
Certification: UK:PG / USA:PG / Portugal:M/6 / Malaysia:U / Australia:PG / Singapore:PG / Germany:6 / Portugal:M/12 / Hong Kong:I / Ireland:PG / Finland:K-11

See it also at:
Rotten Tomatoes

Posted byBurner at 21:40 0 comments Links to this post  

Review of "The Pursuit of Happyness"

I knew this movie had a lot of potential the moment I saw it’s awesome trailer at the cinema, but now that I’ve actually seen it, I have to admit it surpassed all my expectations. I saw a couple of good 2006 movies, but The Pursuit of Happyness ranks as no. 1 in my personal 2006 top and among the first 10 all time favourites.

Chris Gardner (Will Smith’s character) is a loving father, smart man but a failling businessman struggling with poverty, living in the 1980s San Francisco. He sells bone scanners for a living, but he can barely pay rent and taxes with the earned money so he applies for an unpaid, competitive internship that offers him a very long shot at a better life. The next six moths he has to risk everything on his gamble while also taking care of his son, Christopher (played by Jaden Smith, Will’s real son) after his wife, Linda has left him.

First of all, if you really thought Will Smith couldn’t act well, you’re in for a surprise. You can feel what he’s going through, the pain he has to endure, the effort he has to make every single day in hope of better days, just by looking in his eyes. It’s almost as if he struggles not showing he’s suffering, always trying to be and look happy so when he snaps you can really see it. When he cries, you feel his pain and desperation. Jaden Smith is really adorable and the on-screen chemistry between him and Will is awesome.

Gabriele Muccino, also made a very good job directing the movie, and achieved sending a powerfull message without poking you in the head, like some directors tend to do. Some scenes are really heartbreaking, like the one Chris and his son have to sleep in a BART toilet and the misdirection he uses to protect his son from suffering, the one with the rich people in the car passing the homeless shelter or the one when he cries for the first time and many more. I also like the analogy between Chris’ running and the movie’s title and all the reference to happiness and Thomas Jefferson.

The soundtrack is discrete and well chosen. It does what it’s supposed to do – suport a beautiful, well crafted and powerful film. Doesn’t try to exaggerate those tensed moments, nor is it overused, like in some movies.

This movie is a beautifully crafted and very real story about a father’s struggle with poverty, racism and day-to-day problems in his pursuit of happiness and it was nominated for 2 Golden Globes as well as other 10 awards. It's earned a 10.

Oh, by the way, the real Chris Gardner makes a cameo appearance just at the end, so be on the look out.

RATING: 10/10

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
Writing credits: Steve Conrad (written by)
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Thandie Newton, Brian Howe, James Karen, Dan Castellaneta, Kurt Fuller, and Takayo Fischer

Also Known As: Untitled Chris Gardner Project (USA) (working title)
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some language.
Runtime: 117 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: DTS / Dolby Digital / SDDS
Certification: Ireland:12A / USA:PG-13 (certificate #42013) / Sweden:7 / Netherlands:6 / Singapore:PG / Canada:PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) / Canada:G (Quebec) / UK:12A / Italy:T

Awards: Nominated for Oscar. Another 12 nominations

See it also at:
Official site

Posted byBurner at 17:33 1 comments Links to this post  

Preview of "Nomad"

Set in the 18th-century Kazakhstan, the movie follows the story of a young man destined to unite the country's warring tribes. The estimated budget of $40,000,000 makes it the most expensive Kazakh movie ever made and some critics say this shows in the movie.

Though the trailer is a little dull, from what I've read and seen so far, it seems Nomad is a good movie. I have to agree though that casting Jay Hernandez and Kuno Becker as main carachters in a film about Kazakhs is not really a struck of genius nor does it improve the feeling of authenticity of the picture.

The worldwide version was premiered at the Locarno Film Festival on 5 August 2006, and the North American release is scheduled for January 26 in the USA.

RELEASE DATE: January 26, 2007 (USA - limited)

Directed by: Sergei Bodrov, Ivan Passer, Talgat Temenov
Writing credits:
Rustam Ibragimbekov
Jay Hernandez, Kuno Becker, Mark Dacascos, Jason Scott Lee, and Doskhan Zholzhaksyno

Also Known As: N/A
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Runtime: 111 minutes
Country: Kazakhstan
Language: Kazakh (with English subtitles)
Color: Color
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Certification: N/A

Awards: Nominated for Golden Globe

See it also at:
Official site

Posted byBurner at 13:56 0 comments Links to this post  

Preview of "Epic Movie"

"Epic" they say. I doubt it. I've always thought bad of this movies that just make fun of other movies by actually managing to be worse than the movies they mock in the first place. And yes, I have to admit, some of them were funny by just being totally idiotic, but now it's just one after the other. Same stupid plots, same 3rd hand actors, same 3rd grade humor and the same fart jokes.

Well, from the writers of
Date Movie (and what a lame piece of work that was), the same ones that contributed to Scary Movie series, comes Epic Movie. If you live in the US, you can see it starting January 26th. The plot sound like this:

The twisted minds of two of the six writers of "Scary Movie" tackle the biggest mega-blockbusters of all time in "Epic Movie." The story centers on four not-so-young orphans: one raised by a curator at the Louvre (where an albino assassin lurks), another a refugee from Mexican "libre" wrestling, the third a recent victim of snakes on her plane, and the fourth a "normal" resident of a mutant "X"-community. The hapless quartet visits a chocolate factory, where they stumble into an enchanted wardrobe that transports them to the land of Gnarnia (with a "G"). There they meet a flamboyant pirate captain and earnest students of wizardry - and join forces with, among others, a wise-but-horny lion to defeat the evil White Bitch of Gnarnia.
RELEASE DATE: January 26, 2007 (USA - limited)

Directed by: Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Writing credits: Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Tony Cox, Carmen Electra, Faune A. Chambers, Crispin Glover & Fred Willard

Also Known As: Bob Bailey (USA) (working title)
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some comic violence
Runtime: N/A
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: N/A
Certification: USA:PG-13

Awards: N/A

See it also at:
Official site

Posted byBurner at 12:35 0 comments Links to this post