Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Movie Review: The Tale of Desperaux


This light-weight kiddy fare is based on a book I have never heard of, but according to my young cousins is very popular. Being the cool older cousin that I am, I took them to see a movie over the holidays and they insisted that it be this. I didn't know much about the film, and knew it wouldn't but up my alley, but they ruled the roost that day. So I sat there, waiting for it to be over before it even started, and then caught huge glimmers of hope when the cast list ran before the movie began. Just to show you what I mean, here is a partial list of stars: Matthew Broderick, Sigourney Weaver, Tracey Ullman, Frank Langella, William H. Macy, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Llyod, and Dustin Hoffman. WOW! I love almost all of them, it can't be that bad I thought.

And I was right, this is actually a very charming and wonderful childrens movie. It has its problems, but overall I enjoyed it very much. It is the story of the tiny tiny underdeveloped mouse Desperaux, who is short in mouse terms yet has huge mouse ears. One of the films biggest flaws is that it doesnt even introduce us to the title character until about 30 minutes in, which I found odd. At first we follow Roscuro (a rat played effectively by Dustin Hoffman) who is unlike many rats in that he is sweet and loves the light. Basically the story is this, there a mythical city called Door which is the home to Soup Day (much like Christmas but instead of gift giving the towns chef cooks a new soup every year and it is tasted by the King and Queen and then enjoyed by the citizens). On this particular Soup Day Roscuro the rat falls into the Queens soup and she dies. Therefore the king bans soup, rain, sunlight, and fun. And most of all he bans rats, oh he also locks up his daughter the princess in her room. Meanwhile Desperaux is born and is unlike all mice. He is not afraid of anything, in fact he is quite bold. And as a story would have it, he is the key to freeing the princess and allowing the town to drink soup again and be merry. There is also an evil rat king (Frank Langella), a castle maid who longs to be a princess (the wonderful Tracey Ullman), and other random characters. As you can see a lot goes on -- maybe too much.

The biggest problem with this tiny movie is that its running time is almost 2 hours long - no kid can handle that much at once. However that aside, its quite fun! The animation isn't all computer graphics, which I enjoyed (dont you miss the old timey things like drawings they used to use when I was a kid). The voice talent is top knotch, and it is never boring. Although there's way to much going on for one movie, it is still a cute and clever story, and the narrator is Sigourney Weaver -- could you ask for much more. If you have kids, they will like it, and you won't hate your life for having to sit through it. (And its much better than the Spirit)

*** out of *****

Movie Review: The Spirit

directed by: Frank Miller

The creator and director of Sin City (one of the best comic book adaptations of all time) is back again, this time with a lesser known graphic novel - The Spirit. It's Christmastime, time for big blockbuster films to be released and enjoyed. My family all had an interest in seeing the Spirit, because frankly from the trailer it looked gorgeous and like a ton of fun. I loved Sin City, the visual style, the story, the concept, the aura of film noir, and I guess my expectations for this venture may have been a bit too high. Simply put, the Spirit was a HUGE letdown.

How can I count the ways? Well to begin with, I almost fell asleep twice, not a good thing for an action film, especially one that relies on WOW imagery. If you have seen Sin City, or the trailer for the Spirit (which was great), then you know the imagery of which I speak. Its all done with green screen - but all looks wonderful. As if you are in a living and breathing comic book. However, if you saw the trailer, you saw everything exciting the Spirit had to offer. Instead of a visual feast, I felt like I was sitting at a visual dinner table and was feasting on the leftover scraps no one else wanted.

The story was not intriguing in any way. I had never heard of the Spirit before, and when the movie was over I knew even less. He was actually one of the most uninteresting characters in his own film. The Spirit is played by Gabriel Macht, a rather unknown actor who did little to make this character likeable or memorable. You know its going to be a bad film when you cannot like the title role. Picture Batman having no backstory, Superman no personality, you catch my drift. Also the Spirit had no real power other than he couldnt be destroyed, he can never die. And honestly how many times have we seen that. He had no alter ego (no Clark Kent or Peter Parker) other than when he was a child, which we saw in a 5 minute flashback which was supposed to explain it all. He had no real love interest (no Mary Jane or even Vicky Vale), rather a couple of women whom he sometimes seem connected with. Sadly none of these women were given anything to do either. The closest to a love he has was Loreli Rox (played by Jamie King) who seemed nothing other than a matronly nuisance. There was a bumbling female wannabe detective (one of the worst performances), an out of place french belly dancer (who was given about 4 minutes of screen time, and right as she was about to get interesting left the film never to return), a mysterious phantom lady who showed up randomly throughout the film to deliver odd off the cuff words of wisdom, and maybe worst of all Eva Mendez as Sand Sariff (who was either the love interest with a past ala catwoman, or another villian of the film). She did nothing but wear a skin tight catsuit in the water, sit on the copy machine and take copies of her ass, and utter meaningless dialogue.

THANK GOD for Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johannsson (as the Octopus and his girlfriend Silken Floss). Without these two, as the bumbling villians, the film would have been a total and complete waste. Jackson is often the best thing about a terrible film, and this is no exception. As the bad guy in the film, he is wonderful in his most over the top performance since Pulp Fiction. He is truly the breath of life this movie needed. And in every scene he is in, he is followed by his cohort Silken Floss (Johannsson) who is finally doing something right. When she is good shes great, but when shes bad she's awful that Scarlet. But here she gets a rare shot at being the comedianne, which fits her nicely. There is a scene where her and Jackson don natzi outfits and using a projection screen they plot out their plans to destroy the universe. They also have cloned hundreds of copies of a big fat blundering fool to use as their army (he is all at once funny and horribly annoying). Did I mention they melt a cute kitty too?

The Spirit tries to be a lot of things. It fails at all of them. Its often funny and sometimes steps out of the box and is really creative. I think Frank Miller was onto something, but in the end he really ended with a disappointing product. The film is not fun, its almost like the crumbs that fell off of the Sin City table. Not very fulfilling.

*1/2 out of *****

Worst of the Year

The Film Experience has nominated and announced its winners for the WORST films and actors of the year, here they are - Interesting.

Ben Barnes - Prince Caspian
Jeff Bridges - Iron Man
Pierce Brosnan - Mamma Mia
Jeffery Donovan - Changeling
Woody Harrelson - Transiberian

and the winner is ....... Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia

Jennifer Hudson - Sex in the City
Eva Mendez - The Women
Debra Messing - The Women
Thandie Newton - W
Anna Poppelwell - Prince Caspian

and the winner is ........ Thandie Newton in W (couldnt disagree more)

Christian Bale - The Dark Knight
Nicolas Cage - Bankok Night
Steve Carrell - Dan in Real Life
Hayden Christianson - Jumper
Emile Hirsch - Speed Racer

and the winner is .............. Hayden Christianson in Jumper

Maggie Gylenhaal - The Dark Knight
Scarlett Johansson - Vicky Christina Barcelona
Sarah Jessica Parker - Sex and the City
Meg Ryan - The Women
Kristen Stewart - Twilight

and the winner is ................ Kristen Stewart in Twilight

10,000 BC
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Mamma Mia!
The Women

and the winner is ........... 10,000 BC

Year in Review

Here is a FANTASTIC year in film review. Please watch!

Daily Amy: Healthy and Happy

Amy, since leaving the hospital, now is still residing in St. Lucia and loving it. "I am inspired here. I never want to leave. I am Happy and Healthy and having fun!"
Here is amy looking AMAZING and HEALTHY

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Amy Christmas Card

Dear Santa - I promise to be a good girl next year. - Amy

Daily Amy: Personal Trainer

Amy Winehouse since leaving the hospital has hired a personal trainer and gone to the gym twice in the 1 day she has been out. Sources close to Amy say that she is taking her addictive personality and transferring the addictive behavior to something that is good and useful to her, so instead of doing drugs, she will work out, or eat better. Sounds fantastic.

Daily Amy 2: Naked Beach Fun

Amy after being released from the hospital took a private jet to St. Lucia to do some skinny dipping on a private beach. Of course the cameras found a way to be there. So if you dont wanna see Amy naked .. or are at work or something .. then just continue on. HEY, at least shes not doing drugs, she swimming. Yay - keep getting better

Daily Amy; Out Of Hospital

Here is Amy Winehouse yesterday leaving the hospital where she has been for almost a month. I know Ive said it before, as many have before, but she looks really good here, like she is better or at least getting better. I sure hope it continues. Good luck Amy.

The FYC ads pouring in

the campaigning is really on. Here are some new GORGEOUS FYC ads being sent out:

Newsweek top 10

1. Let the Right One In
2. Encounters at the End of the World
3. Wendy and Lucy
4. Frost/Nixon
5. Man on Wire How
6. Silent Light
7. The Wrestler
8. Tropic Thunder
9. Wall-e
10. Waltz With Bashir

New York Time Critics top 10

here are the 3 NY times critics very interesting top 10 lists:

1. Happy-Go-Lucky
2. Synecdoche, New York
3. Alexandra
4. Changeling
5. Silent Light
6. Paranoid Park
7. The Dark Knight
8. Doubt
9. Still Life
10. Wendy and Lucy

1. Wall-E
2. Silent Light
3. The Secret of the Grain
4. Man on Wire
5. The Edge of Heaven
6. Happy-Go-Lucky
7. Wendy and Lucy
8. Milk
9. Rachel Getting Married
10. Cloverfield

1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
2. The Edge of Heaven
3. Wall-E
4. Milk
5. The Last Mistress
6. Happy-Go-Lucky
7. A Christmas Tale
8. Let the Right One In
9. Frozen River
10. The Visitor

Friday, December 19, 2008

LA Times winners!

Angelina wins again!!! This time she joins another tie for best actor in the LA times winners circle. Its a good list!

Best Picture - Milk
Best Director - Gus Van Sant - Milk
Best Actor - (tie) Sean Penn - Milk
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Best Actress - Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Best S. Actor - Heath Ledger - The Dark knight
Best S. Actress - Viola Davis - Doubt

My Top 10 (updated)

My Top 10 list of films this year is now due for an update - it currently looks like this:

1 - Milk
2 - Doubt
3 - Changeling
4 - Religulous
5 - The Strangers
6 - Cloverfield
7 - Burn After Reading
8 - W
9 - Let the Right One In
10 - Savage Grace

still to see: The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Benjamin Button, Man On Wire, Slumdog, Frost/Nixon, Rachel Getting Married, and more

Newspapers Lists

Some of the biggest critics released their Oscar lists of favs in their perspective papers, and here they are. Very interesting.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Actor: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Actress: Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road”
Supporting actor: Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”
Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Doubt” (Miramax)

David Ansen, Newsweek

Picture: “Encounters at the End of the World”
Director: Tomas Alfredson, “Let the Right One In”
Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk”
Actress: Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Supporting actor: Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”
Supporting actress: Hanna Schygulla, “The Edge of Heaven”

Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News

Picture: “The Dark Knight”
Director: Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight”
Actor: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Supporting actress: Elsa Zylberstein, “I’ve Loved You So Long”

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Picture: “I Served the King of England”
director: Jiri Menzel, “I Served the King of England”
Actor: Ivan Barnev, “I Served the King of England”
Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Supporting actress: Debra Winger, “Rachel Getting Married”

Leonard Maltin, Secret’s Out

Picture: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Actor: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Actress: Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Supporting actor: Haaz Sleiman, “The Visitor”
Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Doubt”

Marlee Turnman, Austin Times

Picture: "Doubt"
Director: Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Actor: Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"
Actress: Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "Doubt"

African American Film Critic Winners

The African American Film Critics have made some surprising choices with their year end awards. Yet Again Angie solidifies her comeback here, winning best actress again. Frank Langella wins his second award of the day, and Viola Davis is the lone African American on the list. They also have an interesting list of the top 10 films, here it is!

1. The Dark Knight
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. The Secret Life of Bees
5. Cadillac Records
6. Miracle at St. Anna
7. Milk
8. Seven Pounds
9. Doubt
10. Iron Man

Best Director: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Lead Actor: Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Best Lead Actress: Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Best Sup. Actor: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Best Sup. Actress: Viola Davis - Doubt

Daily Amy: Recording

There has been an extreme lack of Amy news lately, due to the fact that she has been in the hospital getting treatment for her many ailments. Yesterday afternoon she left the hospital to hit up a recording studio to work on her forthcoming album. She admitted to reporters she has written 4 songs while in the hospital and is working on writing the music and trying them out in the studio. Fantastic!

Courtney 100% drug free

Courtney Love is almost done recording her new album "Nobody's Daughter", which will be due out next year! I am very excited because I was a huge fan of her work with her band HOLE in the 90's and her first solo cd "America's Sweetheart" was my favorite album of the year when it was released! However Courtney is pulling out all the stops with the new album. She tells Elle magazine that she has stopped taking her antidepressants while recording the album so that she can "confront her inner demons". Although she says she has been drug and alcohol free for almost 2 years, she is even stopping the use of her doctor subscribed anti-depression medication so that she will have recorded the album 100% drug free. "This is the first time I will have recorded an album without using drugs."

"I'm off antidepressants for the moment because my album producer wants me to feel the rage, wants me to be really angry, wants me to face the demons. And I am so f***ing angry! I'm getting back on them as soon as recording the album is finished. I'm not going to punch anybody, but I have to do two hours of exercise and chanting a day to feel good."

Wow - mark my words, this album will be amazing.

Paris Burgled

Some vagrant broke into Paris Hiltons mansion and stole over 2 million dollars worth of jewelry last night. Thats awful! Leave poor Paris alone.

Look who's HOT

Kelly Osbourne looked hot as hell last night at the FLAUNT magazine party in LA. WOW! She looks amazing! She's lost weight but still has her curves, good for her. And her hair is on point as well. WOWZA!

Las Vegas Winners

The Las Vegas film critics have shown HUGE love for Frost/Nixon, in a BIG way. Giving it best picture, actor, supporting actor, and director! This is its first real love of the season .. but is it too late?

Picture: “Frost/Nixon”
Actor: Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Actress: Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road,” “The Reader”
Supporting Actor: Michael Sheen, "Frost/Nixon"
Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Director: Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Documentary: “Man on Wire”
Animated Film: “Wall-E”
Foreign Film: “Mongol” (Russia)

Utah Film Critics Winners

Here's the shortlist and runners up for the Utah Film Critics!

runners up: Rachel Getting Married, Burn After Reading

runner up: Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight

runners-up: Richard Jenkins - The Visitor, Sean Penn - Milk

runner-up: Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married

runners-up: Phillip Seymore Hoffman - Doubt, Josh Brolin - Milk

runners-up: Frances McDormand - Burn After Reading, Misty Upham - Frozen River, Evan Rachel Wood - The Wrestler

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Movie Review: Doubt

directed by: John Patrick Shanley

I have been more excited about Doubt than most any movie being released this Oscar season for many reasons. First of all, being a theatre actor since age 6, I was highly familiar with the Pulitzer Prize winning play, and being a huge fan of Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Phillip Seymore Hoffman I figured I would be in for an acting masterclass. However there has been some (sorry) doubt surrounding the film version. In particular Meryl Streep (who by many is considered the finest actress of all time) recieved some mixed reviews saying she was a weak link and brought the film down, at the same time she has won a couple acting awards so far this season. And we all know that taking a theatre piece and moving it to the big screen can be very tricky (look at every Shakespeare remake except Titus and Brannaghs versions). So going into the film I had high expectations, but was wary to say the least.

Let me be the first to tell you - never fear - this movie is outstanding in EVERY possible way. Folks, they is not a flaw to be found here. The story revolves around the Saint Nicholas Catholic school. At the center of the plot is Father Flynn (Hoffman) who is interested in moving the school towards a more friendly/secular place of worship and learning. Standing in his way is one of the most monstrous characters in the history of literature, Sister Aloysious (Streep). She is the principle nun of the school and runs things with an iron fist. Controversy flames when innocent Sister James (Adams) brings suspicions to the mind of Aloysious that Father Flynn has given the sole african american student some holy wine in the privacy of his own quarters. Let the rumors start flying. In an age where the Catholic church has been tainted with numerous molestation and child abuse scandals, it is no wonder that Sister Aloysious becomes highly concerned and driven to find the truth behind the "friendly" father. What follows is an all out war between the Father and the Nun. Did he do it? Didn't he? And brilliantly the script allows you to answer that question for yourself ultimately.

Let's get to the reason for the film. The acting showcases. Let's start with Meryl who has been given somewhat a bad wrap (or brilliant wrap depending on what youre reading). The role is definately that of a monster, no matter what side of the fence you fall on reguarding the guilt of the father. She is Nurse Ratchid in a nuns habit. Shes Michael Meyers without the butchers knife. Truly the character is ruthless at finding out the truth, and when she has decided the guilt for herself she will stop at nothing. In Meryl's hands the role is handled masterfully. (Note: I have not seen the origionater of the role Cherry Jones portray the sister on Broadway, so I cannot compare. But I feel the comparison isn't a fair one to either actress) Meryl brings some humor to the humorless, perhaps her most fantastic trait as an actress. She can make even the darkest bitch somewhat likeable. However as the film continues the sister turns devilish, and you wonder who the true enemy is. But she has her moments of humility, if you know where to look. She cares for her fellow nuns, and her actions all grow from a 'love' for the children of the school. She wants to protect them. Protect them from pedophiles and from ball point pens.

Phillip Seymore Hoffman (one of the actors I respect most in the industry) is truly phenomenal here. As Father Flynn he plays his most likeable character ever. He is often known to play the sleazeball (check him out in Boogie Nights, or as the truly evil writer Truman Capote in his Oscar winning role), and here he is cast as a possible child abuser, an untrustworthy priest, and he comes off as the most likeable person in the film. Its truly shocking what he's done here. You want to believe him the entire time, even if you don't. There is always a certain ammount of anger piled behind the cool facade, and when he lets loose its truly a sight to behold. Not being a church-goer myself, but having listened to hundreds of sermons as a child, Phillip Seymore Hoffman's father Flynn is the type of pastor I would like to listen too. The scenes in the film where he delivers his three sermons are some of the best, especially the one which compares rumors to the feathers in a pillow.

Amy Adams is fast growing to be one of my favorite screen actresses, and in this film she reaches heights I didn't know she had in her. In a way it is sad that the other 3 actors in the film are recieving such high praise and that Adams is always forth mentioned, if at all (however as of late she is recieving nominations and even a win in some critical awards). I had read her role was underused and she wasn't given much to do. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Adams is unbelievable in this film. As sister James she is all bubbles and light, smiles and puppies. This is all the more effective as we get to see that facade break down in front of our eyes. Within the span of two hours we see sister James transform from the innocent soft spoken sweetheart, to the conspirator in the downfall of the father (she in fact is the reason behind the doubt), then into a sympathetic believing ear for the priest, back to doubtful, then to a slowly transforming replica of the mean-spirited principle, and on and on. The growth in the character could have been stereotypical or boring with any other actress, but Amy Adams refuses to let the role plateau. In many scenes she more than holds her own with the legendary Streep.

And finally we have Viola Davis. She may be known best for her work on Law and Order Criminal Intent, and her various lauded Broadway credits. However, not anymore. She has taken the awards scene by storm this year with her role as Mrs. Miller in Doubt. Before seeing the film I knew that Viola had only one scene, it was 10 minutes long, and many predicted her to win an Oscar. It made me harken back to the days when Judi Dench won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her 7 minute stint in "Shakespeare in Love". Dench is a great actress yes, but this was no Oscar worthy material. I was afraid of the same thing with Viola. Even as she walked onscreen I wondered if all the hype would be worth it, after I had seen Amy, Meryl, and Phillip act their asses off for over an hour. She completely squashed all those worries. I will say it now: Not only does Viola Davis deserve the Oscar for her role in this film, she completely stole the film for the brief time she appeared. Just as Amy Adams changed throughout as Sister James, my attitude towards Viola Davis (as the mother of the boy in question) changed various times. I didn't know whether to call her the worst mother ever, or give her a crown and septer as the world's best mother. And perhaps her biggest success in the film was she completely out-acted Meryl Streep (not that its a competition). In her scene, you only focus on what she is saying, what she is doing, and why she is doing it. I can't say enough how amazing she was.

Put simply, the movie is like sitting down to watch a series of "how its done" acting workshops. You are seeing the best actors acting off of each other in the best possible way. As an actor, its the most satisfying movie I have seen in years, not a weak link in sight. Also I believe that Doubt is the finest translation from stage to screen I have ever seen. As I sat in the dark movie theatre, I forgot where I was, and it honestly at times felt like I was watching a play. There is an aura and feeling of the theatre that I felt in this film, and that's its truest success. It was a faithful and successful translation of the highest grade. I would recommend you see this film, and I would recommend you see it now.

***** out of *****

Note: Now that I have praised the shit out of Doubt, I will tell you its one flaw. The last line. Whew. That was a bad way to end --- but didn't ruin the experience for me at all.

Entertainment Weekly Best and Worst

Entertainment Weekly's 2 biggest critics have listed their top 10 best and 5 worst films of the year. Seems that Speed Racer was as bad as everyone thought.

Lisa Schwarzbaum’s 10 Best:
2. Milk
3. The Dark Knight
4. Waltz with Bashir
5. Gomorra
6. Wendy and Lucy
7. Trouble the Water
8. Happy-Go-Lucky
9. Man on Wire
10. Tropic Thunder

Lisa’s 5 Worst:
1. The Women
2. Seven Pounds
3. 88 Minutes
4. Speed Racer
5. Valkerie

Owen Gleiberman’s 10 Best:
1. The Wrestler
2. The Dark Knight
3. Rachel Getting Married
5. Momma’s Man
6. The Edge of Heaven
7. Burn After Reading
8. The Class
9. Milk
10. Tell No One

Owen’s 10 Worst:
1. Speed Racer
2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
3. Patti Smith: Dream of Life
4. Australia
5. Hounddog

Florida Critic Winners

Melissa Leo is coming on strong in the smallest film of the year. Ive gotta see this one!! Here are the Florida winners:

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Actress: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Supp. Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Supp. Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

London Film Critic Nom's

What a fantastic list the British film council has come up with. And they have different and interesting catagories - another reason to move to England, they nominated TILDA! Here's the list:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Wrestler

In Bruges
Man on Wire
Slumdog Millionaire

I’ve Loved You So Long
The Orphanage
Waltz With Bashir

Darren Aronofsky - The Wrestler
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Clint Eastwood - Changeling
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Gus Van Sant - Milk

Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Terence Davies - Of Time and the City
Mike Leigh - Happy-Go-Lucky
Steve McQueen - Hunger
Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight

Josh Brolin - W.
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Sean Penn - Milk
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader and Revolutionary Road

Michael Fassbender - Hunger
Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess
Ben Kingsley - Elegy
Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire
Michael Sheen - Frost/Nixon

Rebecca Hall - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky
Kristin Scott Thomas - I’ve Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet - The Reader and Revolutionary Road

Liam Cunningham - Hunger
Toby Jones - Frost/Nixon and W.
Eddie Marsan - Happy-Go-Lucky
Peter O’Toole - Dean Spanley
Mark Strong - Body of Lies

Hayley Atwell - The Duchess
Kristin Scott Thomas - Easy Virtue
Tilda Swinton - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Emma Thompson - Brideshead Revisited
Alexis Zegerman - Happy-Go-Lucky

Asa Butterfield - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Georgia Groome - Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Bill Milner - Son of Rambow
Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire
Will Poulter - Son of Rambow
Thomas Turgoose - Somers Town and Eden Lake

Dame Judi Dench

Chicago Film Critics Winners

My city has listed its winners today -- no real shockers, but a good list.
Here is Wall-E again winning best picture!

BEST DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
BEST ACTOR: Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
BEST ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kate Winslet - The Reader

SAG nominations

The Screen Actors Guild - SAG - nominations come out today. They are usually my favorite nominations of the year, as they are voted solely by actors. No producers, critics, etc: This is who the actors of the US find to have performed the best all year long. And its only about acting. Instead of Best Picture they have the Best Ensemble acting award. Its the actors show!! And the nominees are great! Here they are:

Richard Jenkins as Walter Vale in The Visitor
Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk
Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke as Randy in the Wrestler

Anne Hathaway as Kym in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins in Changeling
Melissa Leo as Ray Eddy in Frozen River
Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt
Kate Winslet as April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road

Josh Brolin as Dan White in Milk
Robert Downey Jr as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymore Hoffman as Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt
Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight
Dev Patel as Older Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire

Amy Adams as Sister James in Doubt
Penelope Cruz as Maria Elena in Vicky Christina Barcelona
Viola Davis as Mrs. Miller in Doubt
Taraj P. Henson as Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz in the Reader

Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button