Category Archives: george clooney

My Oscar Picks for This Year

Okay, first off, yes, I have been lax this year with The Oscars. I am hesitant to admit this, but I really haven’t even taken a good look at the nominees until earlier this week. Nevertheless, I will take a shot a predicting the Academy Awards – both what will win, as well as what should win. And just to remind all you other latecomers, check out the nominees here.

Best original Screenplay – I want Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris which I thought was brilliant, but it will probably go to The Artist.

Best Original Song – Of the choices, it’s “Man or Muppet.” Only two songs nominated? Really?? And only one from The Muppets??? What about the songs in Captain America or Bunraku?

Best Animated Film – Nothing deserving was nominated, and the three I saw were abysmal. For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t care about this category.

Best Supporting Actor – Is it time for Nick Nolte to win this year? Plummer and von Sydow deserve it, but I think it’ll go to Nolte, just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – I looove Janet McTeer, and would love to see her get this, but I think one of the ladies from The Help will take this one.

Best Actor – I only saw Clooney and DuJardin, but I’m still going to say the latter.

Best Actress – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. It’s her turn again.

Best Director – If Martin Scorsese doesn’t get this for Hugo, it will be a crime. Not only will the Academy admit they know nothing about direction, they nothing about film either.

Best Picture – The Help and Midnight in Paris were my favorite movies of the year in this batch, The Artist and Hugo are wonderful love letters to film itself, but I’m going to say they give it to The Help.

Check back later and see how I did. What are your picks?

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RIP Michael Gough

For a couple generations of movie-goers, Michael Gough is best known as Alfred Pennyworth in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films in the Batman franchise, but he has had a long and distinguished career in television and film. Today, at 94, he passed away of old age in London, surrounded by family and friends.

Gough appeared in over one hundred and fifty productions including several Hammer horror films, animated and live action features by Tim Burton, Trog, Konga, The Age of Innocence, “Doctor Who,” “The Avengers” and many BBC mini-series. He’ll be missed.

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The Green Hornet

I have been waiting for this movie for a long time. And by long time, we’re literally talking almost two decades, as that’s how long this property has been floating around Hollywood. At different times George Clooney, Jet Li and Kevin Smith have all been involved in its production in one capacity or another. I’m just happy it finally got made. And despite my trepidation at this Seth Rogan action comedy version, I still couldn’t wait to see it, and the four days I had to wait since its release until I saw it were far harder to wait than the twenty years before it. Thankfully, the wait was worth it, this was a terrific surprise and a great flick.

For those not in the know, you might want to check out my article “Re-Introducing the Green Hornet” over at the All Things Fun! Blogs. If nothing else, it should hip you to the love I have for the character and the mythology. Yeah, this flick was pretty important to me.

My fears about this being an action comedy were somewhat relieved when I read an interview with co-writer and title star Seth Rogan. Despite his obvious slob comedy background, the guy has a pure and hardcore love for the Hornet, and while it does descend to the usual Rogan jokey depths, the quality and integrity of the mythos is upheld in my opinion.

The plot, slightly altered from the original has Britt Reid an irresponsible rich boy partier whose father is slain for writing an anti-crime editorial. Britt is forced to straighten out as he inherits his father’s multi-million dollar newspaper. Accompanied by his father’s mechanic, Kato, played by Taiwan pop sensation Jay Chou, he decides that he wants to do something with his life – that being a covert superhero believed to be a villain.

Now Rogan and director Michael Gondry are no fools, they have seen the 1960s “Green Hornet” TV series and they know that the Black Beauty, the badass car, is the real star here. There is much care put into the concept mixing contemporary and retro that make the Black Beauty just as cool now as it was in 1966. I don’t know about you, but I always liked the Black Beauty better than the Batmobile, and still do.

The Green Hornet and Kato have a very unique relationship in the world of superheroes, they are partners rather than hero and sidekick, and this is explored well here, as it would be in the beginning of such a partnership dynamic. Even when it deteriorates into foolish and comedic combat, it rings true.

Seth Rogan toned up for the role and looks good, and when things get serious, he is right on top of it. I love the tie and the vest, both nods to the TV series. Jay Chou, much like Bruce Lee before him, steals the show. He’s the reason to see this, and he’ll be big after this. Christoph Waltz, Oscar winning Nazi from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, is an intriguing take on the super-villain. Meek, middle-aged, sand oft spoken but still a dangerous sociopath, he is subtlety incarnate here. Another prize performance. Cameron Diaz and Edward James Olmos are lost here in my opinion. Hopefully there will be a sequel to make better use of their talents.

It’s not a perfect movie, and I do have some fanboy nitpicks that did bother me. I wish we had seen the Hornet Sting, and I wish we had heard more of the theme song “Flight of the Bumblebee.” I mean we heard more of it in Kill Bill in homage to the Green Hornet than we did in the actual Green Hornet film. And of course the whole final chase/fight at the climax of the flick could have been avoided had the Black Beauty had wireless. I mean, really, it’s got rocket launchers, machine guns, even a record turntable, but no wireless?

My big problem was of course the identity of the main villain. It hurt me deep. Really, having him be the big bad is the same as having Commissioner Gordon revealed as the main villain in the Batman films. It just doesn’t work. Again, I should say it does work. I don’t like it but it works.

All in all, this was a great flick, and has done better than I think folks thought it would have. The Green Hornet is the best flick I’ve seen so far this year, and heartily recommended. See it.

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2010 Oscar Nominations

The Academy Award nominations for this year were announced this morning. You can view them here.

A couple weeks back, I posted some of my guesses about what would be nominated at my Twitter. I was right on with a few and dead wrong with a few – and of course there are some outright exclusions and some WTFs that made it.

I’ll post my thoughts later. For the moment, though, enjoy the nominations…

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The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men who Stare at Goats ~ Take a whole lot Coen brothers flavor and mix well with the typical content of late night radio’s Coast to Coast AM, and you’ve got The Men who Stare at Goats.

Director Grant Heslov and screenwriter Peter Straughan want very badly to be the Coen brothers that it hurts. You can feel it through the screen. And just about the only good thing that can be said about this particular factor of the film is that this is much much better than the Coen’s last project, Burn After Reading. Though they both had George Clooney, I don’t think you could pay me to see Burn again. Goats, I’ll definitely see again, but I’ll wait ‘til it’s on disc.

The story is based supposedly on fact, but mostly based on the book of the same name by Jon Ronson, the notorious British gonzo journalist and documentary filmmaker who frequently stalks secret organizations and conspiracy theories. Crazy stuff, yes, but also enjoyable. Hey, if I didn’t love this stuff myself I would be a C2C AM fan, and would consequently get a lot more sleep.

In this semi-autobiographical semi-truthful film, Ewan McGregor, Jedi Knight from those Star Wars flicks, plays a fictionalized version of Ronson who meets up with George Clooney – a real live super-soldier Jedi warrior with psychic powers who’s on a secret mission for the government in Afghanistan. From there, hilarity and an amusing montage of flashbacks ensue. The juxtaposition alone of McGregor not buying the Jedi talk is funny enough, but Clooney’s quirky Lyn Cassady is a hoot.

While the story falls apart late in the film, the performances are all high quality and entertaining. Another Coen favorite Jeff Bridges is very good as the new age Jedi master as is Kevin Spacey as another of his more smarmy students. The interplay between all the actors is cohesive, especially with Clooney and McGregor when the flick is in its buddy movie phase. This is good stuff. Recommended, but be prepared for a wacky ride. Heck, this could be a Coen film, a good one.

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Quickies 5-31-2007

“Afro Samurai” – Almost anything with Samuel L. Jackson is a good time as far as I’m concerned, and this English translation of this oddball anime is no exception. Jackson voices the hero as only he can, backed up by Ron Perlman as the villain and Kelly Hu in the small role of the girl. What at first seems like any mindless nonsensical manga actually has an edge and some classy M. Night surprises, so keep sharp while you watch. Blaxploitation meets Ralph Bakshi meets Toshiro Mifune. This is definitely worth a look.

WarGames – I just recently caught this one after not having seen it since its theatrical release. What seemed brilliant to a teenager now comes off as amateurish and just a bit preachy. It’s still fun however to see the young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.

Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story – Long title, I sure hope the review is longer than that at least. This rushed-onto-the-small-screen telemovie was written and directed by John Herzfeld who has also done stuff like “The Ryan White Story” and “The Preppie Murder” as well as a couple Afterschool Specials. It’s not all good and true though, he also directed 15 Minutes and 2 days in the Valley. This story seems to take Joey Buttafucco’s side in the infamous Amy Fischer story. Fischer is played with hysterical histrionics by Alyssa Milano, late of “Who’s the Boss.” This is not one of her better moments.

The Good German – This was advertised as a good old-fashioned film noir, it was even filmed in black and white. The flick, set in post-war Nazi Germany, does all the right noir tricks but it’s scarred by current day language and violence. Tobey MacGuire does a sinister turn worthy of an Oscar as a complete bastard. Cate Blanchett eats up scenery like an early Bette Davis and George Clooney (of whom there is far too little) mugs for the camera when he’s not getting beaten up. The plot is complex but compelling, must see.

Everything Is Illuminated – This touching story of an obsessive accountant, played by Elijah Wood, who tries to find the woman who helped his grandfather escape from the Nazis sometimes feels like the love child of Pedro Almodovar and Borat. Although it’s funny and bizarre where Borat was simply insulting and hateful. It’s also a must see though.