Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Film previews for 2008 complete.

Che is the last film of this year that will be previewed on this site. Any other entry will be discussions of performances and predictions.

Che Film Preview/Synopsis

Che- Parts 1 & 2 Mid Dec ( limited ) Wide January 16
The Argentine & Guerrilla

Directed by Steven Soderbergh ( Traffic, Out Of Sight ) Starring Benicio Del Toro, Franka Potente, Demian Bichir, Victor Rasuk, Julie Ormand, Catalina Mareno Sandino, Lou Diamond Phillips, Matt Damon, Written by Peter Buchman ( Jurassic Park III ) Cinematography by Soderbergh, Edting by Spanish film editor Pablo Zumarraga, Original Music by Alberto Iglesias.

Part I- The Argintine, starts in 1956 where legendary revolutionary and doctor Ernesto " Che " Guevara is one of 80 rebels sailing with Fidel Castro, whom he shares Castro's goal to overthrow the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Che proves himself a serious fighter and takes to guerrilla warfare. The film will trace Che's rise in the Cuban revolution.

Part II- Guerrilla, Story takes off where Che is at the height of his fame and power, where he organizes a small group of Cuban and Bolivian recruits. The tale tells of sacrifice, idealism, and guerrilla warfare, that ultimately fails, bringing Che to his death. Through this stroy Che still remains a symbol of idealism and heroism.

130 min. each. Rated R for Some violence.

Oscar chances ? Del Toro could squeak in there as a dark horse. Original screenplay and Cinematography have a very good chance.

Wendy and Lucy Film Preview/Synopsis

Wendy and Lucy Mid Dec. ( Limited )

" A women and her dog "

Directed by Kelly Reichart ( Old Joy ) starring Michelle Williams, Will Patton, Will Oldham and Lucy the dog. Filming completed by a very new and green crew, that most people probably have never heard of..

Film is about Wendy, a women who on her way to a very important interview with a nice paying summer job, who's plans are severely sidetracked, as her car breaks down and then her dog Lucy gets put into the pound. In a financial crisis she finds herself in big trouble as things begin to look pretty bleak for her and Lucy. Premise is about finding Wendy doing all she can by pulling up her boot straps and finding her way out this terrible situation and getting her dog back from the pound and saving Lucy's life too.

80 minutes Rated R for Language.

Oscar chances ? Williams is a dark horse but she has recieved good reviews. I'm thinking good chance for an Independent Spirit Award.

Gran Torino Film Preview/Synopsis

Gran Torino Dec 17 ( Limited-expanding throughout the month )

Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, and script by unknown Nick Schenk. Cinematography and Editing by longterm Eastwood team Tom Stern and Joel Cox respectively, Original Music by Eastwood.

The film is based on a bigoted and crotchety old Korean War veteran, Walt Kowalski, who's becoming more and more frustrated with the sudden appearence of Hmong people in his once mostly caucasian neighborhood.
Add to his frustration, he catches a youth trying to steal his pride and joy 1972 Gran Torino as part as a gang initiation.
For the boy's punishment, his family forces the boy to work for Kowalski because of their embarrassment.
Walt is pretty much estranged from his own family, and is living alone after the recent death of his wife.
After time, Walt becomes friends with the boy and his family and also a little about the Hmong culture, and goes as far as helping the boy and his sister from the gang.

Rated R for Language and some violence.

Oscar chances ? Good possibility for Eastwood in the Actor category. Film is a Dark Horse for a nomination. Original Screenplay has a chance and Editing are possibles.

Cadillac Records Film Preview/Synopsis

Cadillac Records Dec. 5

Directed by Darnell Martin ( ER/Law And Order ) Starring Adrian Brody, Beyonce Knowels, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def, Cedric The Entertainer, Columbus Short, Eric Bogosian, Eamonn Walker, Written by Martin, Cinematography by Anastas N. Michos ( Untraceable, The Forgotten ) Editng by Peter C. Frank ( Empire ) Original Music by Terence Blanchard ( Inside Man )

Cadillac Records is about the rise of how Leonard Chess made Chess Records rise out of obscurity to one the all time legendary record lables with artist's like Etta James, Chuck Berry, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters on the roster.

Rated R for pervasive Language and some sexuality.

Oscar chances ? More like Golden Globe for Musical/Comedy, and maybe Beyonce for a GG for Actress in Musical/Comedy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Seven Pounds Preview/Synopsis

Seven Pounds Dec. 19

"Seven names, seven strangers "

Directed by Gabriele Muccino ( The Pursuit Of Happyness ) Starring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Michael Ealy, Woody Harrelson, Sarah Jane Morris, Robbine Lee. Written by Grant Nieporte ( 8 Simple Rules To Dating My Daughter ) Cinematography by Phillip Le Sound ( A Good Year ) Editing by Hughes Winborn ( The Great Debaters, Crash ) and Original Music by Angelo Milli.

Seven Pounds reunites Muccino and Smith in this story about redemption and never giving up through an unfortunate situation. Smith plays Ben Thomas, a depressed and suicidal IRS agent, who carries around with him of guilt from mistakes he has made in the past, who attempts to makes ammends from his past mistakes, who then embarks on a journey of redemption, by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.

140 mintes Rated PG-13 for Thematic material, some disturbing images, and a scene of sensulaity.

Oscar chances ? Possibles for Picture, Actor, Director, Screenplay and Editing. But the film better hit hard with audiences because it's up against some strong competition.

News out for Road To Perdition sequels

Word has been released that the original movie Road To Perdition will be filming two sequels called Road To Purgatory and Road To Paradise. They will follow the son of Tom Hanks, Michael Sullivan Jr. who returns from WWII and sets out to avenge the death of his father. In that, he gets sucked back into the mob world that his father warned him about, leading him to Al Capone who orders him to kill Frank Nitti. Sam Mendes who directed the original, will not be back this time, but Frank Miller, the writer of the original graphic novel, will write and direct both sequels.

My opinion is why ? But Frank Miller is in charge of it so he may stir up something interesting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Adam Resurrected Film Preview/Synopsis

Adam Ressurected Dec. 25 ( limited ) Opens wide Jan.

Directed by Paul Schrader ( Auto Focus, Affliction ) Starring Jeff Goldblum, Willem DaFoe, Derek Jacobi, Juliane Kohler. Written by Noah Stollman ( Someone To Run With ) Cinematography by Sebastian Edschmid ( Almost Heaven ) Editing by Sandy Safeets, Original Music by Oscar winner Gabriel Yared ( The English Patient, Cold Mountain )

Jeff Goldblum plays Holocaust survivor Adam Stein, recovering from mental wounds he suffered from WW II in a asylum for holocaust survivors in 1961 Isreal. The film's focus is on Stein, who is a charismatic former circus performer, magician, cabaret impresario, and musician, who was loved by everyone, including the Nazi's. That is until he finds himself in a concentration camp. Fast foward and Adam finds himself surviving the camp, as he is hand picked by a powerful German Commadant ( DaFoe ) to become his " dog " play thing entertaining the Commadant, while his wife and daughter are killed. Years later we find Adam in a institution, an eccentric but charismatic patient, who confounds his doctors with his intellect and talent. One day Adam smells ( hears ) something and asks a doctor " who brought that dog in here " At first the doctor denies anything, but Adam finds a boy, the dog, who has been living in the basement, chained there. The boy is Adams' muse for a second life, as the two bond and share their experience, Adam sees they were both " dogs " and this is where their journey begins. A Man who was a dog. who meets a dog who was once a boy.

106 min. Rated R for Disturbing behavior, sexuality, nudity and some language.

Oscar chances ? Long shot for Best Actor ( Goldblum ) but you never know, he could be a dark horse. Also screenplay is a possibility.

Nothing But The Truth Film Preview/Synopsis

Nothing But The Truth Dec. 24 ( Expands in Jan. )

Directed by Rod Lurie ( The Contender, The Last Castle ) Starring Kate Beckinsale, Vera Farminga, Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Matt Dillion, Noah Wyle, David Schwimmer, Courtney B. Vance and Kristen Shaw. Written by Lurie, Cinematography by Alik Sakharov ( The Sopranos ), Editing by Sarah Boyd ( Resurrecting The Champ ) Original Music by Larry Groupe ( The Contender, Making Contact )

Basis of Nothing, centers on a Washington DC newspaper reporter ( Beckinsale ) who outs a CIA agent ( Farminga ) and ends up in prison for doing so, not revealing her sources. Schwimmer plays her husband who at first supports her silence, then after time begins to resent her stubborness and choice over him and her family. Wyle will play her laywer, Bassett as her supportive Editor and Chief, Dillon as the Prosecuter, Alda as a chosen Attorney that will make his attempt to get her out of prision.

108 min. Rated R for Language, some sexual material, and a scene of violence.

Oscar chances ? Longshot for Actress ( Beckinsale ) Possibles for Supporting Actress ( Farminga ) Supporting Actor ( Alda ) and Screenplay.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Valkyrie Film Preview/Synopsis

Valkyrie Dec.26

Directed by Bryan Singer ( The Usual Suspects, X-Men ) Starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilikson, Bill Nighy, Terrence Stamp, Carice Van Houton, Eddie Izzard, David Bamber and Thomas Kretschmann. Screenplay by McQuarrie, Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel ( The Brothers Grimm, Three Kings ) Editing by John Ottman (Apt Pupil, Superman Returns ) Original Music by Ottman ( Cellular, Gothika )

Valkyrie is a true story about a Colonial, Claus von Stauffenberg, in the German Army, who during WWII is severely injured in Africa and returns home to Nazi Germany after the accident. Completely dissolusioned for Germany's fate and realizing Hitler is insane, he develops a secret plan called Operation Valkyrie, one that Hitler agrees to, a plan that if Hitler dies during the war, a secret government would control Germany. The plan is a cover to what is really behind it and that is a German resistance of officers who come together that agree to a plot and assassinate Hilter on July 20 1944 in order to take their country back from a madman and make peace with the allies.
Not only does Stauffenberg lead the resistance group, but it is also he that is to carry out the actual assassination himself.

Rated PG-13 for Violence and Strong Language.

Oscar chances ? It may be a good movie, I just don't see Oscar here for maybe some technical catergories and screenplay.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Reader Film Review/Synopsis

The Reader Dec. 10th ( limited )

Directed by Stephen Daldry ( Billy Elliot, The Hours ) Starring Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz, Volker Bruch, Alexandria Maria Lara, Mathias Habich and Susanne Lothar. Written by Oscar nominee David Hare ( The Hours ) Cinematography by Oscar winner Chris Menges ( The Killing Fields, Michael Collins ) Editing by Oscar winner Claire Simpson ( State Of Grace, Platoon ) and Original Music by Alberto Iglesius ( Volver, The Constant Gardener )

Story and film are about the reflections Michael Berg ( Fiennes ) has on the sexual relationship he had as a teen with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz ( Winslet ) in a drama set in post WW II Germany. The passionate affair ends when Hannah disappears. But years later Michael learns she is on trial for horrorific war crimes. David Kross plays the young Michael in flashback, in the film that is based on Bernhard Schlink's international best seller.

Rated R for Sexuality and Nudity.

Oscar chances ? Very good chance for Winslet. Possibles for Picture, Director, Supporting Actor,
Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Original Music and Editing. Film has Oscar winning/nominated talent all over it. Oscar will be paying attention.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire Preview/Synopsis

Slumdog Millionaire Nov.12

" A tale of love, pain, brutality and destiny "

Directed by Danny Boyle ( Trainspotting, The Beach ) Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Irfan Khan. Written by Simon Beaufoy ( The Full Monty ) Cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle ( The Last King Of Scotland, Dogville ) Editing by Chris Dickens ( Hot Fuzz, Goal ! ) and Original Music by A.R. Rahmon ( Elizabeth II )
What was the last movie that made you laugh out loud in one scene and then make you shed a tear the next ? Those were words I read about one review of Slumdog Millionaire.
A film about an Indian teen, Jamil Malik ( Patel ), with a somewhat learning disability who lives in poverty in the slums of Mumbai, who becomes the contestant of the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, not for the chance to win money, but for the possiblity of his true lost love, Latika ( Pinto ), hoping she will see him on the show as she is a religious watcher of the program. To everyone's surprise he comes one question away from becoming a millionaire, though a local police chief suspects Jamil of cheating. And from there Jamil sheds light in his interrogation and the story of his life is unfolded.
Film was the winner of the Cadillac Award for Best film at the Toronto Film Festival. Many reviewer's are saying they wouldn't be surpised if it ends up the best film of 2008. Roger Ebert predicts an Oscar nomination. I also have not read one negative review yet of more than 20. That's pretty incredible really. I don't remember this much hype about a movie. Not even The Dark Knight was universally loved as this.

120 min. Rated R For some violence, Disturbing images and Language.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Preview/Synopsis

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Dec. 25

" I was born under unusual circumstances "

Directed bt David Fincher ( Seven, Fight Club ) Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Flemyng, Tilda Swinton, Elias Koteas, Julie Ormand and Elle Fanning. Written by Oscar winner Eric Roth ( Forrest Gump, The Insider ) Cinematography Claudio Miranda ( Failure To Launch ) Editing by Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall ( Zodiac, Panic Room ) and Original Music by Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat ( The Queen )

TCCOBB is based on the 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which is a story that begins with the birth of said Benjamin Button. And like the tagline says, he is born under unusual circumstances, that is, being born an elderly man. When his father comes to see him after Ben is born, the father is shocked to find out his newborn can already speak a little. The story is set in New Orleans from the end of World War I into the 21st century. Benjamin's story is of adventure and as he ages backwards, he will venture and visit many different places and people along the way and learns about life's joys, love, hardship and especially death, as everyone around him is aging as rapidly as he is getting younger. It's true identity is about life and how we handle and look at our own morality.

152 minutes Rated PG-13 for Brief War Violence, Sexual Content, Language and Smoking.

Oscar chances ? Many. Strong contention for Picture, Director and Actor. Strong possibilities for however studio decides to nominate Blanchett, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costumes and Orginal Music.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Wrestler Preview/Synopsis

The Wrestler Dec.19 ( Limited )

Directed by Darren Aronofsky ( Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain ) Starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Ernest Miller and Todd Barry. Written by Robert D. Siegel, Cinematography by Maryse Alberti ( The Power Of The Game ) Editing by Andrew Weisblum ( The Darjeeling Unlimited ) and Original Music by Clint Mansell ( The Fountain, Sahara )

The Wrestler, winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival, is about Randy " Ram " Robinson, who was a once popular professional wrestler in the 80's, who happens to have to retire prematurely because of a heart attack. Even though Randy longs to get back in the ring for a rematch with is former rival, The Ayatollah, he has to take a job in a deli to make money while not in the ring, at this time where he tries to form a relationship with a not too young stripper ( Tomei ) and he also tries to begin a relationship with his estranged daughter ( Wood ) all the while his feelings for jumping back into the ring dominates his thoughts even though he knows the act would be possibly life threatening.

109 min. Rated R for language, some violence and sexualtiy/nudity

Oscar chances ? Many pundits are saying it's the comeback of the year and Rourke's best ever performance and I have seen many predict him an Oscar nomination. Possibilities are Picture, Director, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Frost/Nixon Film Preview/Synopsis

Frost/Nixon Dec. 12. " 400 million people waiting for the truth "

Directed by Ron Howard ( A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man ) Starring Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Toby Jones and Patty McCormack. Written by Peter Morgan ( The Queen, The Last King Of Scotland ) Cinematography by Salvatore Totino ( Any Given Sunday, Changing Lanes ) Editing by Oscar winners Daniel P. Hanley and Michael Hill ( Pet Sematary, Apollo 13 ) and Original Music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer ( LOTR, Gladiator )

Frost/Nixon covers the very popular four 1977 interviews between British talk show host David Frost and ex Presiedent Richard Nixon. Each interview was to be 2 hours, broken into four categories, Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Nixon's biography and then the Watergate scandal. Much of the film is a behind the scenes look at what took place to get these interviews together and Frost trying to find funding for the program because many higher ups said it wouldn't work. Frost then hires two investigators Jack Zelnick and James Reston Jr. to dig up anything they can to help the program be legitimate. Frost then finally aquires the funding to do the show and Nixon agrees to be on the program. Both know when it comes to the Watergate segment that it could possibly make or break their careers being that if Frost fails to implicate Nixon in the Watergate scandal it will ruin and bankrupt Frost, and in turn set a positive momentum and rebuilding of Nixon's political career. On Frost's side, he calls Reston to discuss an earlier hunch that came his way on definitive news that Nixon had indeed partaken in Watergate. Frost then calls Nixon on his hunch and providing evidence that Nixon was involved in the cover up in Watergate and with this, Nixon has no alibi and is befuddled, and finally admits his involvement and that he is tired of lying, and that he let the American people down.

Rated R for Language. 122 minutes.

Oscar chances ? Picture, Actor. Possibles for Director, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay.

About Me

My photo
Started to really pay attention to film ( movies ) what was going on in front of the camera, but more interestingly, behind it as well at about as far back as age 10. Motion pictures ( when good ) are a fascinating medium. All the work and prep that goes into filmmaking. It's an amazing process !