Friday, May 27, 2011

my Alex In Movieland awards, 3rd edition: Episode 3/3: Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress.



Great performances all around, but the women probably did a better job this year. Strong Top
15s in both leading and supporting.

It was very difficult for me to choose the winner in both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. It’s really a coin toss between the top 2 of each category.

I am mentioning for one last time the list of eligible/seen films (71):

127 Hours, Agora, Alice in Wonderland, Animal Kingdom, Another Year, Applause, Barney’s Version, Biutiful, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Burlesque, Clash of the Titans, Conviction, Country Strong, Creation, Despicable Me, Dogtooth, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Fair Game, The Fighter, For Colored Girls, Frankie & Alice, Get Low, The Ghost Writer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Greenberg, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hereafter, How to Train Your Dragon, I Am Love, The Illusionist, In a Better World, Incendies, Inception, Inside Job, Iron Man 2, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Kids are All Right, The King’s Speech, Love and Other Drugs, Made in Dagenham, Mother, Mother and Child, Never Let Me Go, Outside the Law, Please Give, Rabbit Hole, Robin Hood, The Runaways, Salt, Sex and the City 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shutter Island, The Social Network, Somewhere, Tangled, The Tourist, The Town, Toy Story 3, TRON: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable, Waiting for Superman, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, The Way Back, White Material, Winter’s Bone, The Wolfman, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

Now, doing my usual presentation for these categories, with a couple of words to describe the performances:





BEST ACTOR



1. Javier Bardem – Biutiful
Owns it from beginning to end. Tells more than the screenplay intends to. Heartbreaking when defeated. Flawless.





2. James Franco – 127 Hours
It’s his one man show and knows it. Complete believability. Likeable, touching, relatable. Brings heart in dry directing.






3. Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine
Versatility in playing “both” characters. Adorable when needed. Flawed when the story asks for it. A subtle scene-stealer.






4. Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
The performance is technically perfect. Manages the difficult character. Brings the tears at the right moment. Does what required.






5. Leonardo DiCaprio – Shutter Island
Nobody cries like him. He’s not afraid in putting the emotion out there. Vulnerable throughout but always with a twist. Carries the film with no help.




6. Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
7. Jeff Bridges – True Grit
8. Aaron Eckhart – Rabbit Hole
9. Benicio Del Toro – The Wolfman
10. Leonardo DiCaprio – Inception


Almost there: Paul Giamatti – Barney’s Version, Shia LaBeouf – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Stephen Dorff – Somewhere, Sean Penn – Fair Game, Ewan McGregor – The Ghost Writer.








BEST ACTRESS




1. Natalie Portman – Black Swan
A terrific mix of feeling the performance and fierce physicality. Brave and honest. Playing with the camera. Delicious black swan transformation.





2. Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Brings the intelligence that the character requires. Accurately rigid and arrogant. Believable and touching. Nails the feeling of betrayal.





3. Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Does wonders without words. Her face tells the story of the character. Goes from quiet to breakdown with equal believability. Emotionally there.




4. Catherine Keener – Please Give
Just enough amount of humor to make the drama sweet. Intelligent in every way. Subtle, funny, likeable.



5. Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine
Accepts the flaws of the character. Very believable, recognizable, relatable. Good chemistry. Never forgets the part.



6. Noomi Rapace – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7. Greta Gerwig – Greenberg
8. Annette Bening – Mother and Child
9. Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right
10. Anne Hathaway – Love and Other Drugs


Almost there: Julia Roberts – Eat Pray Love, Angelina Jolie – Salt, Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone, Tilda Swinton – I Am Love, Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit.






BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR



1. Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
The one likeable character and he knows it. The heart of the film. Brings the real drama in the ending. Relatable and believable.




2. Christian Bale – The Fighter
He’s so much into the character. Great chemistry with Leo. Breathtaking in most scenes. Knows how to steal the show.



3. Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech
The one performance to relate to. Intelligent. Good hold on the emotions. An interesting mix of dignity and likeability.




4. Sam Rockwell – Conviction
A scene stealer, above the material. Smart in building the character arc. Brings the emotion when needed. Vulnerable, yet intimidating.



5. Michael Douglas – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
The one to look at in the film. Manages real emotion in couple of key scenes. Knows what he’s doing. Believable and continuity.



6. Max von Sydow – Robin Hood
7. Jeremy Renner – The Town
8. William Johnk Nielsen – In a Better World
9. Michael Shannon – The Runaways
10. Armie Hammer – The Social Network



Almost there: Cillian Murphy – Inception, John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone, Barry Pepper – True Grit, Dustin Hoffman – Barney’s Version, Pierce Brosnan – The Ghost Writer.





BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS




1. Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom
Doesn’t miss any opportunities. Every line is there. Every look is exploited. Loves the camera. Not afraid to take it a step further.




2. Lesley Manville – Another Year
When she’s good, she’s perfection. Owns the ending. Heartbreaking. Believable even when testing the limits. Memorable.



3. Naomi Watts – Mother and Child
Carries the most heartbreaking scene of the year: the elevator scene. Keeps it simple. Brings intelligence and believability. Unfriendly, yet vulnerable.




4. Rebecca Hall – Please Give
Likeability factor through the roof. Puts so much believability. Made the date scene uncomfortably relatable. I was rooting for her.




5. Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Delicious to look at when she’s angry. I’ve enjoyed the vulgarity and loudness. Selfish in a good manner. A real force of nature.



6. Miranda Richardson – Made in Dagenham
7. Anika Noni Rose – For Colored Girls
8. Kimberly Elise – For Colored Girls
9. Amy Adams – The Fighter
10. Gemma Jones – You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger


Almost there: Olivia Williams – The Ghost Writer, Bryce Dallas Howard – Hereafter, Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech, Helena Bonham Carter – Alice in Wonderland, Marion Cotillard – Inception.




Final thoughts:

BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR:
Javier Bardem – Biutiful


BEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR (ANY CATEGORY):
Hans Zimmer for the Inception Original Score.



Recap of the winners of the Alex In Movieland Awards 2010:

Best Film: Toy Story 3
Best Director: Christopher Nolan, for Inception
Best Actor: Javier Bardem, for Biutiful
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, for Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor: Andrew Garfield, for The Social Network
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, for Animal Kingdom
Best Original Screenplay: Mother and Child
Best Adapted Screenplay: Toy Story 3
Best Cinematography: Inception
Best Original Score: Inception


To check out previous edition, click somewhere on the right.


Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

my Alex In Movieland awards, 3rd edition: Episode 2/3: Picture & Director






No need for much introduction, I'll let the titles speak for themselves. As usual, it's not an easy ranking to do.



I am mentioning again the list of eligible/seen films (71):



127 Hours, Agora, Alice in Wonderland, Animal Kingdom, Another Year, Applause, Barney’s Version, Biutiful, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Burlesque, Clash of the Titans, Conviction, Country Strong, Creation, Despicable Me, Dogtooth, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Fair Game, The Fighter, For Colored Girls, Frankie & Alice, Get Low, The Ghost Writer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Greenberg, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hereafter, How to Train Your Dragon, I Am Love, The Illusionist, In a Better World, Incendies, Inception, Inside Job, Iron Man 2, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Kids are All Right, The King’s Speech, Love and Other Drugs, Made in Dagenham, Mother, Mother and Child, Never Let Me Go, Outside the Law, Please Give, Rabbit Hole, Robin Hood, The Runaways, Salt, Sex and the City 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shutter Island, The Social Network, Somewhere, Tangled, The Tourist, The Town, Toy Story 3, TRON: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable, Waiting for Superman, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, The Way Back, White Material, Winter’s Bone, The Wolfman, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.






BEST FILM







1. Toy Story 3





2. Inception


3. The Social Network


4. Mother and Child


5. Animal Kingdom






6. Another Year
7. Winter’s Bone
8. Black Swan
9. The Fighter
10. Please Give




Almost there: True Grit, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Biutiful, How to Train Your Dragon, The Ghost Writer

Also: Inside Job, The Kids Are All Right, The Illusionist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 127 Hours.






BEST DIRECTOR



1. Christopher Nolan – Inception

2. David Fincher – The Social Network

3. Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

4. Lee Unkrich – Toy Story 3

5. Sylvain Chomet – The Illusionist





6. Derek Cianfrance – Blue Valentine
7. David Michod – Animal Kingdom
8. Mike Leigh – Another Year
9. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – Biutiful
10. Giorgos Lanthimos – Dogtooth




Almost there: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders – How to Train Your Dragon, Debra Granik – Winter’s Bone, Luca Guadagnino – I Am Love, Ethan Coel & Joel Coen – True Grit, Joon-ho Bong – Mother .



Sunday, May 22, 2011

my Alex In Movieland awards, 3rd edition: Episode 1.



It’s the 3rd edition of my personal film awards. For previous ones click here and here. I’m happy I got to see more films, but still not as many as I would’ve liked. Here we go:
My favorites for 2010 will go down in 3 sets:

Episode 1: Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score.
Episode 2: Film, Director.
Episode 3: Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress.

Some facts about this year:

- all the eligible films will be mentioned.
- for the second time in a row I don’t think it was a great year for films. I’ve had only 2 of them ranking 8.5-9 with the rest of them reaching a maximum of 8/10.
- the performances were good, some great, but not mindblowing as a group (more in Episode 3).
- I was most exited about the Original Score category this year. At least 2 of them are history making and represent the highest achievements overall for this year.
- all rankings are obviously based on my subjective choices.- out of various reasons I avoided seeing: Let me In, Catfish, I’m Still Here, Paranormal Activity 2, Fish Tank, Restrepo. So they won’t be on the list.
- also, the following titles have been included in last year’s rundown: A Prophet, The Secret in Their Eyes, Ajami, Mary and Max. If you wanna see how they did, you can find them there.


List of eligible/seen films (71):

127 Hours, Agora, Alice in Wonderland, Animal Kingdom, Another Year, Applause, Barney’s Version, Biutiful, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Burlesque, Clash of the Titans, Conviction, Country Strong, Creation, Despicable Me, Dogtooth, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Fair Game, The Fighter, For Colored Girls, Frankie & Alice, Get Low, The Ghost Writer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Greenberg, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hereafter, How to Train Your Dragon, I Am Love, The Illusionist, In a Better World, Incendies, Inception, Inside Job, Iron Man 2, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Kids are All Right, The King’s Speech, Love and Other Drugs, Made in Dagenham, Mother, Mother and Child, Never Let Me Go, Outside the Law, Please Give, Rabbit Hole, Robin Hood, The Runaways, Salt, Sex and the City 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shutter Island, The Social Network, Somewhere, Tangled, The Tourist, The Town, Toy Story 3, TRON: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable, Waiting for Superman, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, The Way Back, White Material, Winter’s Bone, The Wolfman, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.


The categories of Episode 1:


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY




1. Mother and Child

2. Another Year

3. Animal Kingdom

4. Inception

5. Please Give





6. The Kids Are All Right
7. Mother
8. Blue Valentine
9. Biutiful
10. The King’s Speech








BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY




1. Toy Story 3

2. The Social Network

3. The Ghost Writer

4. Winter’s Bone

5. True Grit




6. How to Train Your Dragon
7.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
8.
Rabbit Hole
9. 127 Hours
10. Shutter Island







BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY



1. Inception (Wally Pfister)

2. Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)

3. TRON: Legacy (Claudio Miranda)

4. I Am Love (Yorick Le Saux)

5. Never Let Me Go (Adam Kimmel)




6. Mother
7.
Biutiful
8.
True Grit
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
10. In a Better World








BEST ORIGINAL SCORE



1. Inception (Hans Zimmer)

2. TRON: Legacy (Daft Punk)

3. Never Let Me Go (Rachel Portman)

4. The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet)

5. The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)




6. The Social Network
7.
Mother and Child
8.
Toy Story 3
9. How to Train Your Dragon
10. Animal Kingdom


Sunday, May 15, 2011



The 3rd edition of the Alex In Movieland Awards is on its way, with just a couple more movies for me to see.


Previous top winners were Let the Right One In (2008) and Precious (2009).


Final results in a couple of days.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Janet Gaynor, in Street Angel

approximately 54 minutes and 4 seconds
53.9% of the film








The film



A woman on the run from the law finds her past catching up to her just as she is on the verge of true happiness.



You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

The film has some nice technical elements to it, especially the set decoration and the very catchy music. The leading performance grabs all the attention, but the film has its flaws: the screenplay is terribly misogynistic, to a point that it just seems absurd to a modern audience.








Janet Gaynor as Angela



It’s the second one I see from the three performances that brought Janet Gaynor the Oscar. I didn’t really get the win after seeing Sunrise, but Street Angel makes it a bit clearer for me, and I hear she’s even better in 7th Heaven. With 2 performances to go, I obviously can’t say which was the best of the year, but Janet really shines in Street Angel, taking the film beyond its potential.


Janet plays Angela, a naive woman in desperate need for money, who tries to steal and sell her body, but gets caught by a police officer. She somehow escapes, joins a circus band and falls in love with a painter. But her troubled past catches up, and threatens to destroy her newly found happiness. Oh, yes: and it all happens in Italy.

There’s a lot going on with the character and it’s refreshing to see that the film is focused on her. It’s not a complex role on page, but considering the events that are happening in the character’s life, we get to see a wider variety of emotions. However, like for most of the films from the silent era, there’s a problem with the screenplay: this one’s not bad as a whole, but there are elements that put limitations on the character.



For the most part, there’s the general misogynistic tone of the story. While I was watching it, I felt like I was reading Tom Hardy’s Tess, because there’s definitely a bit of a similarity in the way the female character is treated. Does this actually reflect on the performance? Probably not as much, but it’s annoying to see the woman, so humble in front of the forgiving man, when she’d have nothing to be sorry about… Anyway, me and modern mentality. :)

But as I said: the film is lucky to have Janet Gaynor as the leading actress. There are a lot of scenes where she’s just left alone to act to the camera and her tearful eyes always do the job in creating just the right emotion for a scene.

Her reaction to seeing the beautiful portrait of hers, the emotion of being asked to marry him, all these are played wonderfully. She brings a certain vulnerability and an air of innocence that the character seems to need to be believable, girlie yet mature when it comes to life’s hardships. But the killer scene is of course the one where she has to pretend everything is ok in front of her fiancĂ©, yet knowing she’ll have to go to jail. She doesn’t dare to tell him, she struggles with it, and she looks at him with so much love as if trying to capture the last moment of happiness.



For what she’s given to do, it’s a very good performance. Just like in the case of Sunrise, the eyes do all the work. As soon as those eyes go teary, you are definitely touched by the personal drama of the character or at least impressed with how efficiently Janet is using her emotional charms. It’s a very strong from me, but I can’t go for more, given the nature of the role.