Monday, August 27, 2012


My fellow blogger Andrew has been organizing something special with 1990s performances: he has them fighting eachother for the ultimate title of best of the decade. Click HERE for the blog.

I was invited to write a couple of words about some performances that have reached the second round.


Dianne Wiest for Bullets Over Broadway (competing against Julianne Moore for Boogie Nights)




When I think of great Oscar wins, I think of Dianne Wiest, both for her 1st and for her 2nd. Can anyone really argue with her stunning performance in Bullets Over Broadway?!
Woody might have had his personal trouble with women, but he wrote comedy for them like no other, and Dianne's performance here, helped by incredible dialogue, is a film-lover's dream.
She is funny like no other, her line readings are historical & hysterical, and it's a timeless performance that gets better with each viewing.
How often do you feel like getting up from your chair and shout: "I'm Helen Sinclair!!" Dunno about you, but to me it happens often enough. :) I DO ELECTRA! I DO LADY MACBETH!




My fellow blogger Andrew has been organizing something special with 1990s performances: he has them fighting eachother for the ultimate title of best of the decade. Click HERE for the blog.

I was invited to write a couple of words about some performances that have reached the second round.


Emily Watson for Breaking the Waves (competing against Frances McDormand for Fargo)




I just couldn't miss showing some love for Emily Watson's brilliant (I mean it & I know what I'm saying: BRILLIANT), Oscar-nominated performance in Breaking the Waves.
Lars von Trier is a controversial fellow, but he knows how to get incredible performances from his actresses, and this one might be the greatest, next to Bjork's Dancer in the Dark.
In a very difficult role to play, Emily shines from her first scenes of pure innocence to the finale of a different kind of innocence: the sacrifice out of love.
It's a performance that wins your heart and then breaks it without looking back, a carefully constructed performance that looks effortless, but announces the debut of a great actress.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

My fellow blogger Andrew has been organizing something special with 1990s performances: he has them fighting eachother for the ultimate title of best of the decade. Click HERE for the blog.

I was invited to write a couple of words about some performances that have reached the second round.


Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth (competing against Brad Pitt for Fight Club)



Who doesn't love a diva, and I don't want anything else from an actress willing to play Elizabeth I. Sure, Cate gets to show the innocent side of Elizabeth, the struggle for what's right, the struggle not to disappoint, the lady becoming a woman and the woman in love discovering betrayal. All this is fun, beautifully played - I correct that: played in a fantastic way that feels natural, with little effort, but always eye-catching.
But I won't pretend like it wasn't the white make-up on her face and the arrogant look she shared with the world that had me thrilled with excitement. It's the transformation from nice lady to bitch that has me giggling with admiration.
My fellow blogger Andrew has been organizing something special with 1990s performances: he has them fighting eachother for the ultimate title of best of the decade. Click HERE for the blog.

I was invited to write a couple of words about some performances that have reached the second round.


Daniel Day-Lewis for In the Name of the Father (competing with Samuel L. Jackson for Pulp Fiction)




To ignorant eyes like mine, that assumed he's Irish, the role seemed a natural for Daniel Day-Lewis to play. OK, yes, he is Irish, but only half. The idea is that DDL can play almost anything, and I still have to see a poor performance of his. What makes this great is the passion he puts into playing this character, how focused & completely dedicated his performance is. While his acting is thrilling and engaging throughout the entire film, it's those scenes in jail shared with Pete Postlethwaite that are most touching, giving the opportunity to show a more vulnerable side of the character and simply making it all emotional & relatable, in a film meant mostly to induce anger. The performance stands very well among his less showy work.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

The status on the Best Picture winners Oscar challenge...




Well, I'm doing poorly, of course. :) Years have gone by since I claimed I was gonna see (again) all Best Picture winners in chronological order and write about them on My Latest Oscar Film. And it's moving along veeeery slowly, because sometimes I reach a film I've seen before and my motivation to see it again is... quite low. But I've finally completed the 1950s also and I am ready to post my updated ranking, so far.




2. ***All About Eve (1950)
3. Casablanca (1943*)
5. Rebecca (1940)
8. Wings (1927/28)
10. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
12. ***On the Waterfront (1954)
14. The Lost Weekend (1945)
15. Grand Hotel (1932)
16. The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
17. ***From Here to Eternity (1953)
19. All the King's Men (1949)
21. ***Ben-Hur (1959)
22. ***Gigi (1958)
23. ***Marty (1955)
26. ***An American in Paris (1951)
27. Going My Way (1944)
28. Hamlet (1948)
31. Cimarron (1931)
32. Cavalcade (1933)


If you click on a film's name, something magic will happen. :)

I know the general idea about my ranking: Mutiny on the Bounty too high, Waterfront should've been higher, Best Years of Our Lives way too low... But hey, this is just my opinion on it all.

I'm excited about the 1960s, considering I have never seen The Apartment and never seen West Side Story (!!shocking!!), so I'm curious how that will go.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Top 10 for Sight & Sound


With the big buzz in the last couple of weeks (and especially today) being the Sight & Sound 2012 Greatest Films Poll, I've decided to post mine. I haven't done a ranking list like this in more than 5 years now... choosing only 10 was very very very difficult, so I sympathize with those critics that had to choose their favorites.

I don't know if this really is my Top 10, I haven't seen a couple in years, but this is what I would've sent, had I been invited. They are in alphabetical order, not by ranking:


Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)






All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankievicz, 1950)






All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar, 1999)






Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972)





Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971)





The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)





Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)





The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001)





A Man and a Woman (Claude Lelouch, 1966)







Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)





So here they are. This is how I feel about it today, August 16th, 2012. :)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the Oscar goes to...

don't cry, Anne, that Oscar will be yours no matter what...




Here are my updated Oscar predictions.

Some thoughts:

  • I have finally removed Keira Knightley from my predictions list. The more I look at the Anna Karenina trailer, the more I realize the film won't go anywhere Oscar-wise, except for technical stuff. I still believe Keira is so wrong for the part, I still think it will be all superficial, with no substance.
  • Plenty of category confusion, still: I have switched PSHoffman & Joaquin for The Master: I imagine now they'll go with Joaquin in Lead & Philip in Supporting. They would be crazy to have them both compete in Lead.
  • Even with The Master buzz, I still have a lot of faith in Les Miz to go for the Best Picture win.
  • Best Actress category looks like 2003, except then we knew whoever was getting nominated Charlize would win. Now... complete confusion. I am only sure of 2 of the nominees (Linney & Marion). I am keeping Helen Hunt in Leading, though some feel differently.
  • I have the same Best Director predictions as I had on May 1st. I am consistent with this.
  • We need a trailer for Lincoln asap.
  • I have Beasts of the Southern Wild with 1 nomination, but you can't convince me yet that a 7-8 year old is gonna break through in Leading Actress. No, no, no.


And here they are (in alphabetical order, with blue marking the winner):

BEST PICTURE (8)
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty
(runner-up: Hyde Park on Hudson)


BEST DIRECTOR
Tom Hooper – Les Misérables
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master
Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
(runner-up: Michael Hanneke - Amour)


BEST ACTOR
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
John Hawkes – The Sessions
Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
Bill Murray – Hyde Park on Hudson
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
(runner-up: Clint Eastwood - The Trouble with the Curve)


BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Laura Linney – Hyde Park on Hudson
Elizabeth Olsen – Therese Raquin
Vanessa Redgrave – Song for Marion
(runner-up: Maggie Smith - Quartet)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Russell Crowe – Les Misérables
Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
William H. Macy – The Sessions
Matthew McConaughey – Magic Mike
(runner-up: Dwight Henry - Beasts of the Southern Wild)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams – The Master
Sally Field – Lincoln
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Jessica Lange – Therese Raquin
Olivia Williams – Hyde Park on Hudson
(runner-up: Helen Hunt - The Sessions, if she choses to go supporting)


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Amour
Django Unchained
Hyde Park on Hudson
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty
(runner-up: The Sessions)


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
(runner-up: The Hobbit)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
(runner-up: Anna Karenina)


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Anna Karenina
Brave
The Hobbit
Life of Pi
Lincoln
(runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom)


BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Brave
The Hobbit
Sparkle
(runner-up: who the hell knows?! random picks)


BEST ART DIRECTION
Anna Karenina
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Prometheus
(runner-up: Lincoln)


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit
Lincoln
Les Misérables
Snow White and the Huntsman
(runner-up: Django Unchained)


BEST EDITING
The Hobbit
The Master
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
(runner-up: Life of Pi)


BEST SOUND MIXING
The Dark Knight Rises
Django Unchained
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Zero Dark Thirty
(runner-up: Life of Pi)


BEST SOUND EDITING
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games
Life of Pi
Skyfall
(runner-up: Zero Dark Thirty)


BEST VISUAL  EFFECTS
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit
Life of Pi
Prometheus
(runner-up: Skyfall)


BEST MAKEUP
The Hobbit
Les Misérables
Lincoln
(runner-up: The Hunger Games)


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Brave
Frankenweenie
Rise of the Guardians
The Secret World of Arrietty
Tales of the Night
(runner-up: Paranorman)




I'm quite right with these, don't you agree?


Sunday, August 12, 2012


my Alex IMovieland awards, 4th edition: Episode 4/4: Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress


It was the year of the Supporting Actress, which for me I think was the strongest acting category of the 4. The leading men also made a comeback in quality, after last year.

List of eligible/seen films (62):

50/50, The Adventures of Tintin, Albert Nobbs, Anonymous, The Artist, Beginners, A Better Life, Bridesmaids, Carnage, A Cat in Paris, Certified Copy, Chico & Rita, Contagion, Coriolanus, A Dangerous Method, The Descendants, Drive, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hanna, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, J. Edgar, Jane Eyre, Like Crazy, Margaret, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Meek’s Cutoff, Melancholia, Midnight in Paris, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Moneyball, The Muppets, My Week with Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Potiche, Puss in Boots, Rampart, Rango, Real Steel, Rio, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Scream 4, A Separation, Shame, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Skin I Live In, Super 8, Take Shelter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tree of Life, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, W.E., War Horse, Warrior, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Weekend, Young Adult

And my choices:



BEST ACTOR





1. Jean Dujardin – The Artist
He carries the film with an unmatchable charm and literally almost no words. Perfect fit for the role and makes it all feel memorable.





2. Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
He is a master doing some of his finest work. As always, he creates a character that is fascinating, intimidating, and delivers a breathtaking monologue.




3. Michael Fassbender – Shame
It feels like he understands the drama of the character and he plays perfectly the emotional struggle of this troubled man. Both desirable and to be pitied.





4. Tom Hardy – Warrior
You can always count on Tom Hardy to be better than the material given. He creates a touching performance, and the fighting scenes are breathtakingly acted from his side.





5. Joel Edgerton – Warrior
He gives the most rational performance of the film and he’s a great match for Hardy: he rises to the challenge and nails both the emotions and the physical aspects of the performance.




6. Hunter McCracken – The Tree of Life
7. Brad Pitt – Moneyball
8. Michael Shannon – Take Shelter
9. Woody Harelson – Rampart
10. Thomas Horn – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


almost there: Ewan McGregor - Beginners, George Clooney - The Descendants, Tom Cullen - Weekend, Ralph Fiennes - Coriolanus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50.




BEST ACTRESS






1. Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
From a technical perspective, this is perfection, making for some of the best aging acting seen on screen. Her performance is hypnotizing; I couldn’t take my eyes off her.





2. Viola Davis – The Help
Undoubtedly, she is the heart of the film and creates a very likeable character. The strength of the performance stands in some key heartbreaking scenes, acted to perfection.





3. Charlize Theron – Young Adult
She was the dark horse on my list: a performance like I’ve never seen before from her – she’s sexy, bitchy, natural and most of all: surprising. Her final scenes are a delight.





4. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Melancholia
While most seem impressed by Kirsten, I was all about Charlotte and the fascinating arc of her character. She brings just enough emotion, just enough hysteria to make it all work.





5. Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin
The writing is not in her favor, but you can always count on Tilda. She controls the film mostly in the quiet moments, and you can feel the fear and the frustration of her character.




6. Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7. Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
8. Juliette Binoche – Certified Copy
9. Saoirse Ronan – Hanna
10. Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia 


almost there: Mia Wasikowska - Jane Eyre, Michelle Williams - Meek's Cutoff, Felicity Jones - Like Crazy, Elizabeth Olsen - Martha Marcy May Marlene, Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn






BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR





1. Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life
A career-best performance from Brad, who shows maturity and a strong understanding of such a difficult, nuanced character. He made me feel, which is in tone with the movie’s theme.





2. Christopher Plummer – Beginners
A classically-written dramatic role of a dying person, done very well. He gets a couple of key emotional scenes done wonderfully, as you’d except given the experience.






3. Albert Brooks – Drive
A very clever performance, that fits well inside the movie. It’s a sly role, a nuanced villain, and it takes a smart actor to play it. Brooks does well.






4. Ralph Fiennes – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
To me it’s the essential villain of the past decade, even though I’m not a fan of series. With the help of fantastic make-up, Fiennes creates a fascinating, terrifying villain, like no other.





5. Colin Firth – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
One of the few performances inside the film to show more emotion: when the storyline reaches his character in the end, he really delivers.




6. Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
7. Kevin Spacey – Margin Call
8. Ben Foster – Rampart
9. Nick Nolte – Warrior
10. Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


almost there: Michael Fassbender - Jane Eyre, Patton Oswalt - Young Adult, Jeremy Irons - Margin Call, Matt Damon - Contagion, Ezra Miller - We Need to Talk About Kevin







BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS






1. Jessica Chastain – The Tree of Life
Just like her co-stars, she is breathtaking without much use for words. She is the undeniable soul of the film, and such a necessary presence.





2. Jessica Chastain – The Help
It’s a performance that might seem a cliché on paper, but quickly turns human, surprising and complex when Jessica’s assigned the part. She’s superb.







3. Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
Undoubtedly, she’s the MVP of her movie, and every time she’s on screen it’s smile-inducing: she handles the dialogue, creates comedy like a pro.





4. Sareh Bayat – A Separation
She creates the most emotional scenes inside the film, with apparent easiness and an undeniably realistic acting style. Her last scenes are heartbreaking.





5. Carey Mulligan – Shame
She holds her own when sharing the screen with Fassbender. Carey creates this fragile, unstable character that becomes memorable with its predictable tragedy.




6. Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
7. Allison Janney – The Help
8. Octavia Spencer – The Help
9. Kate Winslet – Contagion
10. Anjelica Houston – 50/50


almost there: Cate Blanchett - Hanna, Judy Greer - The Descendants, Sandra Bullock - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Charlotte Rampling - Melancholia, Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs.




Final thoughts:

BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR:
(tough to pick one) Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life

BEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR (ANY CATEGORY):
Terrence Malick as the Director of The Tree of Life.



Recap of the winners of the Alex In Movieland Awards 2011:

Best Film: The Tree of Life
Best Director: Terrence Malick, for The Tree of Life
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, for The Artist
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, for The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, for The Tree of Life
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, for 
The Tree of Life 
Best Original Screenplay: Bridesmaids
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball
Best Cinematography: 
The Tree of Life 
Best Original Score: The Artist

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


Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, August 04, 2012


my Alex IMovieland awards, 4th edition: Episode 3/4: Best Picture & Director



These were the 2011 films that impressed me the most: 2 or 3 classics and some good ones, but overall not a fabulous year, with plenty of disappointments. 

List of eligible/seen films (62):

50/50, The Adventures of Tintin, Albert Nobbs, Anonymous, The Artist, Beginners, A Better Life, Bridesmaids, Carnage, A Cat in Paris, Certified Copy, Chico & Rita, Contagion, Coriolanus, A Dangerous Method, The Descendants, Drive, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hanna, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, J. Edgar, Jane Eyre, Like Crazy, Margaret, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Meek’s Cutoff, Melancholia, Midnight in Paris, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Moneyball, The Muppets, My Week with Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Potiche, Puss in Boots, Rampart, Rango, Real Steel, Rio, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Scream 4, A Separation, Shame, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Skin I Live In, Super 8, Take Shelter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tree of Life, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, W.E., War Horse, Warrior, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Weekend, Young Adult

And my choices:

BEST PICTURE




My number one is a masterpiece and the best film I've seen in YEARS. A film for the soul, like no other done before. The Tree of Life is an experience.





1. The Tree of Life

2. Drive

3. Melancholia

4. A Separation

5. Shame


and then also:



6. Young Adult

7. War Horse 

8. Take Shelter

9. Weekend

10. Hanna



Runner-ups:

11. Moneyball
12. Margin Call
13. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
14. Contagion
15. Like Crazy


Also:

16. Bridesmaids
17. The Adventures of Tintin
18. The Help
19. Meek's Cutoff
20. Jane Eyre






BEST DIRECTOR




This category was very interesting this year, with a lot of auteurs bringing their best; this Top 5 is very competitive, with lots of different directing styles. That being said, my number one was obvious, as I consider it the highest achievement of the year, in any category.


1. 
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life

2.Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive

3. Lars von Trier - Melancholia

4. Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

5. Steve McQueen - Shame



Runner-ups:
6. Kelly Reichardt - Meek's Cutoff
7. Steven Spielberg - War Horse
8. Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter
9. Tomas Alfredson - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
10. Bennet Miller - Moneyball


Also:

11. Stephen Daldry - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
12. Steven Spielberg - The Adventures of Tintin
13. Martin Scorsese - Hugo
14. Asghar Farhadi - A Separation
15. Joe Wright - Hanna