2009 Oscar Predictions

 here i go again...

Will Win: Bold

Did Win: Big

 

 

 

MY SCORE: 19/24

 

BEST PICTURE
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Milk"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
"Frost/Nixon"


BEST DIRECTOR

Gus Van Sant ("Milk")
Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon")
David Fincher ('Benjamin Button')
Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")
Stephen Daldry ("The Reader")

BEST ACTRESS
Kate Winslet ("The Reader")
Angelina Jolie ("Changeling")
Melissa Leo "(Frozen River")
Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"
Meryl Streep ("Doubt")

BEST ACTOR
Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler")
Brad Pitt ("The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button")
Sean Penn ("Milk")
Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon")
Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor")

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams ("Doubt")
Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona")
Viola Davis ("Doubt")
Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler")
Taraji P Henson ('Benjamin Button')

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Phillip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt")
Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road"
Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder")
Josh Brolin ("Milk")
Heath Ledger "(The Dark Knight")

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"Waltz With Bashir" (Israel)
"Revanche" (Austria)
"The Class" (France)
"Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" (Germany)
"Departures" (Japan)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
“Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

BEST EDITING
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
“Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

BEST SCORE
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman 

BEST ART DIRECTION
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Changeling"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"
"The Dark Knight"

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
“Revolutionary Road”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

BEST ANIMATED FILM
"Wall-E"
"Bolt"
"Kung Fu Panda"


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
“Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
“The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
“Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
“Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
"The Conscience of Nhem En"
      A Farallon Films Production    Steven Okazaki
"The Final Inch"
      A Vermilion Films Production    Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
"Smile Pinki"
      A Principe Production    Megan Mylan

"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"
      A Rock Paper Scissors Production    Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

 
BEST MAKEUP
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz


BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
“Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
“Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland

“This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
“Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
“New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
“The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

 

BEST SOUNDS EDITING
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
“Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman

 

BEST SOUND
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
“Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

The Dark Knight & Following

The_dark_knight listen to the podcast

 

The Dark Knight: Year: 2008, Writers: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (screenplay) Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer (story) Bob Kane (characters), Director: Christopher Nolan, Budget: 180 million (estimated), Domestic Gross: $158 411 483 (opening weekend)

Following Following: Year: 1998, Writer and Director: Christopher Nolan, Budget: $6 000, Gross: $43 188

christopher nolan made a big splash back in 2000 with his film Memento.  that is one really great film and one of my all-time favorites.  since then he has proven that Memento was no fluke with solid films like Insomnia and Batman Begins and the really good and under appreciated The Prestige (a film that i had at #4 on my list of best films of 2006).  however, what i want to talk about here are mister nolan's first film and his most recent one.

in case you have just gotten back from spending the last two years of your life in a sealed living facility at the bottom of the ocean, nolan's most recent film is the already a huge success, The Dark Knight (you'll notice that it isn't Batman: the dark knight, but rather just The Dark Knight.  i found that interesting). 

as for his first film, most people would probably answer Memento if asked that question, but in fact it is a film he made two years earlier called, Following about an unemployed wanna-be-writer who starts following strangers which leads to him meeting a thief and things go from there. the film is shot in black and white and definitely has some film noire characteristics with its characters and some twists and turns.

let me start by saying, i am a huge fan of tim burton's first batman movie and nicholson's joker.  also, while i thought Batman Begins was okay, i didn't love it the way many critics seemed to at the time.  with those two factors in mind i can tell you that The Dark Knight is my second favorite batman movie ever, and will probably be number one for many out there.  this thing is great. 

it's interesting for those of you who remember when burton's film came out how everyone was talking about how 'dark' it was.  and you might notice how they have been saying the same thing about nolan's two goes at the caped crusader.  in fact they are both dark takes on the story, but whereas burton's films felt more like comic book movies, nolan has gone for this realism in his approach to the material from how it is shot to the way the people behave to the characters themselves who are all based in some reality, rather then fantasy (they aren't bitten by a radioactive spider, they didn't fall in a vat of acid, etc...).

i complain often about films that are too short.  movies that needed to add another 10 or 20 or 30 minutes of actual story and character rather then relying on effects and action (because without the other stuff cool action isn't going to make me forget that i don't care about the movie or that the story feels incomplete).  The Dark Knight at about 2 hours and 30 minutes is as long as it should be.  there was even a point in the film where i thought it might be over and was thinking that it just didn't feel right, but it wasn't over, there was plenty of movie left to go and it was all really good.

personally, there were a couple things i was curious about, and one would be scarecrow.  we saw this character/villain at the end of Batman Begins and i thought he would have a bigger role in this film.  Instead he is literally on screen for about 20 seconds and then never seen again.  this is less a complaint and more just a curious question about why they did that.  maybe they are keeping him around and building up the idea that gotham isn't made up of one villain at a time, which i can buy and have no problem with.

one other thing was that we don't get any origin story for the joker.  there are a couple things thrown out there, but nothing concrete.  now, does this hurt the film?  not at all, but i personally have this desire to know how these super heroes and villains became who they are and so for me i was just quite curious...  also, given that these nolan films are very set on making this world as real-life as possible (rather then comic book-real) i was curious about what they were going to do with the joker.

both Following and The Dark Knight are films about lone men.  men that watch the world from the shadows.  men that at first seem to be on the outskirts of society.  however, both men also have alternate personas.  for batman it is bruce wayne and for the guy in Following it is a cleaned up version of himself that he creates in order to get close to a woman.

two very different films, but with some similar themes, The Dark Knight is the best super hero movie i have seen in a long time and Following is a good film that many will appreciate as the beginnings of this great directors career.

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Oscar 2008 Predictions

sing it with me... oscar, oscar oscar, who will win?  well here is my answer to that question:

MY SCORE: 13/24 (my worst showing ever. embarrassing)

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
"Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Achievement in art direction
"American Gangster" (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best documentary short subject
"Freeheld" A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
"La Corona (The Crown)" A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba" A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James LongleyS

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year
"Beaufort" Israel
"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Katyn" Poland
"Mongol" Kazakhstan
"12" Russia

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
"Norbit" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
"The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush" (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas 
"So Close" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz


Best motion picture of the year
"Atonement" (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production) A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus" A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
"Madame Tutli-Putli" (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
"Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)" (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)" (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production Alexander Petrov
"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
"At Night" A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)" (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
"Tanghi Argentini" (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
"The Tonto Woman" A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier 
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay
"Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
"Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
"The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Dead_men_dont_wear_plaid_ver1Year: 1982

Writer: Carl Reiner, George Gipe & Steve Martin

Director: Carl Reiner

Budget: ?

Gross: $16.959,911

if when you hear the name, steve martin, you think Bringing Down The House, Cheaper By The Dozen 1 and 2 and The Pink Panther remake then i feel sorry for you.  steve martin is one of the great comedic performers of the last few decades.  the only problem is that most of his best work was produced a few decades ago.  which brings us to Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

while i have seen many of his older movies, this one, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, was one i had just never got around to.  however, recently it was playing on one of my many movie channels so i decided to check it out, and i am glad that i did.

what a fun movie this is.  the film is a homage/parody of the old classic film noir movies from the 50s with martin playing, rigby reardon, the detective and rachel ward playing the love interest, juliet forest, who comes to reardon because she is convinced that her fathers death was no accident.

the film has all the trappings of classic film noir, including: the black and white filming, the voice over, the mystery and the actual actors from many of those classic films.  thats right, the movie uses footage from a bunch of old movies within it as if the scenes and characters are part of this film. you got humphrey bogart, cary grant, barbara stanwyck, bette davis, ingrid bergman and more.  i know it sounds a little gimmicky, but i have to tell you i thought it was great.  if they had only done it for like one or two scenes, then it would have been a little gimmick.  but we are talking 10 or more here, and they are worked well into the plot.

being a fan of film noir, i guess i might have enjoyed it more then those who are not as familiar or interested in the genre.  it became a little game trying to place the actor and the movie from which the clip was taken (at the end of the movie they list them all so you can go 'oh yeah, of course' over and over again).

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a fun film that, along with other films martin made in the 80's, show us why he is so well regarded - in case you have only seen his most recent work and just didn't get what the deal was.

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One Night At McCool's

Onenightatmccools Year: 2001

Writer: Stan Seidel

Director: Harald Zwart

Budget: ?

Domestic Gross: $6 290 673

liv tyler plays jewel: a gorgeous, seductive, femme fetaleish type woman that is wanted and obsessed over by practically every man that sees her.  One Night At McCool's is the story of what happens when she comes into the lives of a bartender (matt dillon), his yuppie, S&M loving cousin (paul reiser) and a detective (john goodman) told from each of their perspectives of what "really" happened.  this is Something About Mary meets Rashomon, sort of.

the film begins with matt dillon making his way through a bingo hall looking for a man he is supposed to meet.  the man is micheal douglas, and he is an aging, libido-driven hit man who, for me, is one of the little gems of the film.  douglas has a supporting role, but he is great in it (and his hair is awesome).

liv tyler doesn't have the dark seductiveness of the great femme fetale, but then again One Night At McCool's isn't really a typical film noire.  in fact it is just as much farce.  while some might feel a bit discombobulated with the melding of genres, i quite enjoyed it.  and it doesn't hurt that liv looks incredible.  sure they soft light her most of the time and put her in some sexy outfits (and even have her slow-mo washing a car), but she plays the part well, playing it up and going back and forth between innocent fawn and cold-hearted snake.

the story gets a bit silly at times (heading into slapstick and sight gags), but again i was with it all the way.  there are some laugh out loud moments, some smile moments and sometimes where you might not be laughing, but at least you are enjoying the story (or at least i was).  Although there are some very recognizeable names in the film, this one came and went rather quickly from the theatres back in 2001.  however, if you are looking for a fun and easy night with a video then One Night At McCool's is worth picking up.

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Hit Me

Hitme_2 Year: 1996

Writer: Denis Johnson based on the novel by Jim Thompson

Director: Steven Shainberg

Budget: ?

Gross: $3 348 (opened and played on one screen)

in 2002 steven shainberg made a bit of a splash with the film Secretary: a coming-of-age/s&m love story.  if you haven't seen it, it is worth checking out.  Secretary was, however, not his first film.  that honor goes to Hit Me, which he made six years previous.

Hit Me is based on the jim thompson novel, A Swell-Looking Babe, and i should reface this discussion about the film by saying that i have never read the book.  the reason why this is important to say is because, among all the comments made about the film that i saw, the most negative ones were from individuals familiar with the novel and jim thompson's work in general.  also, knowing how i usually react to movies based on books that i have read and enjoyed, i can understand being disappointed with the film on that level.  however, as a film on its own it is really good.

the film follows a bellboy, sonny rose - played by elias koteas, at a 2-star hotel with ambitions to get that 3rd-star back that it once had. sonny is stuck in a rut at work and trying to take care of his mentally challenged brother at home so the state doesn't take him away.  sonny meets a women in the opening of the film and through various events and circumstances gets involved in a crime scheme. sounds like the perfect setting for a film noir don't it?  well, actually i want to call it a faux-noir, because while it has many of the classic film noir elements (a crime, a femme fetal...) it definitely has its own take on the genre.  particularly the 'noir' part.

rather then darkness this film deals with a lot of brightness, particularly when it comes to the hotel where much of the movie takes place.  the hotel decor doesn't look like it has been updated since 1978, the hallways are a used-to-be-bright yellow and don't forget the salmon colored uniform jacket that sonny wears.  the camera work is also worth mentioning and is something else that stood out for me.  the set design and the cinematography work wonderfully to create a mood that fits with sonny's pathetic situation and his desperate desire to get out of his rut (which makes his willingness to go along with everything understandable).

besides koteas, william h. macy makes a very short, but fun appearance, philip baker hall is good as always and haing s. ngor has a small role in what would turn out to be his last film (he was shot outside his home in los angeles).

there are twists and turns throughout the film, and although seasoned film noir and crime film vets will be able to see some of them coming, there were a few that i didn't anticipate.  jim thompson fans might want to be a little weary, but for those that can distance themsleves from the source material, or those that don't know it, Hit Me is an original film from, at the time, a first time director.

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Killer's Kiss

Killerskiss get Killer's Kiss

Year: 1955

Writer: Stanley Kubrick (story) & Howard Sackler (screenplay - uncredited)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Budget: $75 000

Gross: ?

Killer's Kiss wasn't stanley kubrick's first feature length film, but it was the first he wanted anyone to see. 

in 1953 kubrick made Fear And Desire, but he was not happy with how it turned out.  he later denounced the film as amateurish and compared it childrens drawings on a fridge.  there are even rumours that he destroyed the negatives following the death of the films distributor.  needless to say he was happier with his next film, Killer's Kiss.

Killer's Kiss is a film noir about a down on his luck boxer and the women that lives in his building in the apartment right across from him.  they can see each other through their windows and it is in this voyeuristic way that they come to know of each other.  the story begins with the boxer standing on a train platform waiting for a train.  via a voice-over (classic film noir style) he ponders life and the events that have lead to him standing on this platform which we then get to see via a flashback which takes us through the events (which are the movie).

i adore stanley kubrick and i would not claim that Killer's Kiss is his best work.  in fact, his next film The Killing is a much better film for those looking to check out early kubrick.  however, Killer's Kiss is an interesting film in that it shows signs of things to come from one of the greatest film makers of all time.

i couldn't help but smile a few times during the film at scenes/moments that were just very kubrick.  there are a couple scenes that tend to drag a bit and in which nothing much happens and while that could be attributed to kubrick just trying to make the movie fit a reasonable feature-length time frame (the film itself is only about 70 minutes long) he has never been a director who was afraid to take his time and allow "nothing" to happen if it fits a mood.  just think of 2001: A Space Odyssey and how so many directors would have edited out so much of what made the film the masterpiece it is.

Killer's Kiss isn't a masterpiece but there are pieces of the master within it.  some things i couldn't even put my finger on why they were kubrick, but they just were.  the big chase scene at the end of the film across the rooftops is one such scene.

kubrick co-produced, wrote, shot, edited and directed Killer's Kiss and although it is interesting from a purely kubrick-fan perspective, it is worthwhile for more then just that.

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