Viewing blog entries in category: Film - Page 3

  • realitybites
    Said I was gonna sit this one out. Changed my mind. Here are my ballots for the 84th Academy Awards, airing Sunday, February 26, 2012.

    In Bed With Oscar, Oscars 2011.


  • realitybites
    Very seldom do I put to paper my thoughts on a particular movie that I have seen, regardless if it is fantastic or a rotten tomato. Partly this is because I prefer to write about other subjects that are more salient to my inner world. And secondly, I think that the Net is already flooded with amateur and professional critics who do a fine job reviewing all the movies out there. I don’t sense a void which my insight could fill. And I don’t really have anything fresh and clever to say. I’m not being self-deprecating here, just honest. This doesn’t mean I don’t love movies as much as the critics. I do! I have always loved them. And they don’t have to be viewed in the theater. I get great pleasure watching on my computer screen as well. And a television will do, though mine is currently in storage. I’m not all that picky.

    The most memorable movies of my childhood were seen on the big screen with my dad, sister, and brother. My dad's love of movies meant we were taken to the cinema quite often, especially during the summer. Ones that stand out are Alien, Raider’s of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars. Dad never denied us a rated R movie, no matter what our age was. I was raised in a very permissive environment—not a bad thing, btw.

    Not surprisingly, my siblings became huge film buffs too. And the torch has been passed. David, my son, loves them as well. This last Christmas, he and I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at Harkins Cinema in Sedona. It was the perfect day. We both did exactly what we wanted to do. We were two atheists watching a film in public on a Christian holiday. Going to the movies on Christmas Day is a favorite outing for Jews as well. The theater was packed wall to wall and all shows for the day were sold out. So there must have been some Christians in the mix—and definitely some new age types. That’s a given. We were in Sedona, after all. David and I didn’t have a Christmas tree but we had candy and popcorn—which we sneaked in. (I never purchase food or drinks at the theater. I either don’t snack or I bring my own. Call me cheap; I call it smart.) David and I have been going to the movies on Christmas for several years now and hope to go next year as well.

    So although I rarely write about individual films, I do want to give a quick shout out to my favorite director. I absolutely love Pedro Almodóvar. I have been a fan of this quirky Spanish auteur since the late 80’s. My sister and I saw our first Almodóvar film in 1988 in Florida: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It was weird, funny, twisted, dark, and unlike anything we had seen before. And women were the central characters of this film—how rare a find. We loved it! Since then, I have seen many of his films, but not all. These are my favorites, roughly in the order of preference:

    Return (Volver)
    Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos)
    The Skin I live in (La Piel que Habito)
    Talk To Her (Hable con ella)
    All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)
    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios)
    Bad Education (La mala educación)
    Live Flesh (Carne trémula )

    Once a fan of an auteur director, one becomes an auteurist—a tourist of the auteur’s world. And each new film is looked forward to with great joy and anticipation and relished like a little present, which is both familiar and new.

    Until then.

    Slates writer June Thomas' article: Repeat After Me
    I watched every Pedro Almodóvar movie. Here’s what I learned.

    Dana Stevens' and June Thomas' Spoiler Podcast : The Skin I Live In
  • realitybites
    ***Update ~ February 26, 2012. Added another movie! Go see. Can't believe I forgot about this one!*

    **Update ~ February 22, 2012. Bonnie and Clyde is a wild ride, indeed! Just how many different cars did they steal anyway? Was a bit put off by Clyde's sexual frigidity at first. But he came through in the end and made Bonnie a happy lady. The car chases were a riot, having a playful tone due to the bouncy banjo music in the background. Although Bonnie and Clyde is a very good movie and quite violent, I won't be adding it to my exclusive list.*

    *Update ~ February 19, 2012. After reading the biography of Pauline Kael, who was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991, I have decided to watch Bonnie and Clyde (1967). From Kael's description it seems that this film may end up on my list. It probably will come down to whether or not I love the movie. This is one of the major factors that determines if a film makes the cut. Also, I have slightly altered my original criteria. Being sexy is no longer an absolute must. This allows me to add another of my favorites to my list: Taxi Driver.*

    Come on admit it, sometimes violent movies are great fun—even date night worthy and family friendly too (my family anyhow.)

    When is this true? When these films are also smart, clever, original, thought provoking, psychologically twisted, suspenseful, emotionally taxing, and sexy—minus exploitation, supernatural horror, and war victims.

    A great violent film cannot be about the Holocaust. War is never sexy. Sorry, Schindler’s List is out, as are Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now. It also has to be original—not predictable. This disqualifies The Godfather. Object? Sorry, it’s my list and I decide what goes on it. How about Kill Bill, you say? Nope—not thought provoking. At least not to me, and remember who’s making that list. According to my criteria, this also excludes The Ring, The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense. No creepy, supernatural, nightmare inducing films, please! And none of those are sexy, btw. The Matrix has got to be on there, right? No, didn't make the cut. The bloodshed didn't seem real but more like video game violence. It wasn't emotionally taxing because there was no real sense of loss, as if you could easily start the game over—no problem. Though it was super sexy and thought confusing—I mean provoking. Huh?

    So, based on my very narrow guidelines, here is my short list of the Best Violent Films Eva'. Keep in mind, I didn’t say most violent films—just the best ones.

    And here they are:

    Pulp Fiction
    The Silence of the Lambs
    No Country for Old Men*

    Taxi Driver
    The Crying Game

    *OK, No Country For Old Men is not sexy—unless bowl haircuts turn you on. But I still think it should be on the list.

    View attachment 12867

    Perhaps The Silence of the Lambs isn't sexy either. Though there was a sexual tension between Hannibal and Clarice. You felt it, didn't ya? Taxi Driver is not sexy either. (See update at top of page.)

    There must be more, there must be more…
  • realitybites
    **Update ~ February 22, 2012 ~ Great article exposing the Academy's membership demographics. Not surprisingly, voters are overwhelmingly white, middled aged men. This explains why an edgy movie like Drive was overlooked. My guess is that it was never even viewed by the majority of these voters. Remember, these are the same folks who awarded The Kings' Speech Best Picture last year. Gag!

    *Update January 24, 2012 ~ The Nominations are pathetically disappointing. I'll be sitting this one out. Tilda and her film have been overlooked. Instead we have Rooney Mara and Moneyball. End of update.*

    Oscars 2011.

    I said I wouldn't. I may have lied. The temptation is so great. Although I successfully snubbed the Globes, Oscar is hard to resist. If you recall, last year's choices of winners made my head spin, forcing me to stage a boycott of future Academy Awards. I'd decided then that I wasn't gonna play the game anymore. It was no longer fun. And it is corrupt, or at the very least, the voters surely have poor tastes in movies and/or are a bunch of sycophants too happy to kiss up to The Punisher-- aka God--Harvey Weinstein. Ah, who am I kidding? The same shtick is gonna go down this year--especially being that The Punisher has his paws on a handful of major releases i.e. My Week With Marilyn, The Iron Lady, and The Artist--all sure to be nominated for Academy Awards this year, just as they were for The Golden Globes.

    Tomorrow is the big day. Nominations for the 84TH Academy Awards will be announced. Will I vote? I am registered, ya know. How about this... if Tilda Swinton is nominated for Best Actress for We Need to Talk About Kevin and the film is also nominated for Best Picture, then I will cast my ballot. Just be forewarned, I may be bitching and moaning once again when the highly-overrated--with an unrealistic dialog and a tediously annoying soundtrack--The Descendants, steals the win for Best Picture. It's almost a given--Clooney has earned his dues, right? And the Academy is pleased as punch that Alexander Payne has resurfaced after his seven year hiatus. Must reward him--positive reinforcement works!

    Does this blog post seem a bit snarky? I suppose it is. But you should have seen what I was gonna write about before I switched gears. I'll give you a sample. This is what I was going to title it: Let's Piss on Monday. Convinced?
  • realitybites
    **Update ~ February 19, 2012. I am on my way out the door to see Hugo. This may be the last film of 2011 that I see before the Academy Awards on February 26th. Hugo has been nominated in quite a few categories, including Best Picture. I'll update this blog entry when I return.**

    *Update: Movie poster spoof image and Best Of Nominees list added to blog entry... scroll down. End of update.*

    Holy Toledo, Batman, I've seen a lot of movies this year!

    Yep, it's that time of year again when I make my annual movie list. In the past years, I made best of lists to coincide with the awards seasons. Last year my movie list focused on my Oscar picks. But being that I was frustrated with last year's winners, this year I have decided to, instead, place the more memorable movies of 2011 into six categories: Best Movies, Good Movies, Big Disappointments, Horrible Movies, Other Movies Seen, and Movies Still Yet to See. Once I view a movie from the Still to See group, I may place it into one of the other four groups.

    Best Movies

    We Need to Talk About Kevin
    The Skin I Live In
    Midnight in Paris
    Crazy, Stupid, Love.
    Pearl Jam 20
    The Ides of March
    The Help
    A Separation
    The Artist
    This is Not a Film

    Good Movies

    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
    The Trip
    Into the Abyss
    Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    The Descendants
    Source Code
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Straw Dogs
    Project Nim
    The Lincoln Lawyer
    The Conspirator
    The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    Kill the Irishman
    A Somewhat Gentle Man
    Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    Martha Marcy May Marlene
    My Week With Marilyn
    Young Adult
    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    Big Disappointments

    The Tree of Life
    Margin Call
    The Rum Diary
    Water For Elephants
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    Certified Copy

    Horrible Movies

    Larry Crowne
    Drive Angry
    Breaking Dawn Part I
    Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
    Soul Surfer
    Horrible Bosses
    Red Riding Hood
    Something borrowed
    The Beaver
    Hall Pass
    The Ledge

    Other Movies Seen

    In Time
    Mildred Pierce
    A Dangerous Method
    The Company Men
    Friends With Benefits
    No Strings Attached
    Just Go With It
    Cedar Rapids
    Super 8
    The Hangover Part II
    One Day
    X-Men: First Class
    The Whisteblower
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    Putty Hill
    Jane Eyre
    The Iron Lady
    J. Edgar
    Sleeping Beauty
    Take Shelter

    Movies Still Yet to See

    A Better Life
    In the Land of Blood and Honey
    The Kid With a Bike

    Have no desire to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, War Horse, Cowboys and Aliens, Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Happy Feet Two, The Smurfs, Dolphin Tale, Puss in Boots, Reel Steel, The Muppets, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Hop, Rio, Sucker Punch, Rango, Priest, Mars Needs Moms, Fast Five, Jumping the Broom, Tower Heist, We Bought a Zoo, or The Adventures of Tin Tin.

    Movie Poster Spoof
    Inspired by the film We Need to Talk About Kevin


    Best Of's

    (May alter once still to see movies are viewed)​

    Best Film: Drive
    Best Director: Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive
    Best Actor: Ryan Gosling in Drive
    Best Actress: Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin
    Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer in Beginners
    Best Supporting Actress: Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live In
    Best Documentary: Pearl Jam 20
    Best Foreign Language Film: The Skin I Live In
    Best Soundtrack: Drive
    Best Editing: Drive
    Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
  • realitybites
    The film awards season has officially closed—ending with The 83 Academy Awards. Predictably, The King's Speech won big—Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor—Colin Firth. Geoffrey Rush, however, lost to Christian Bale. My choices were mostly overlooked with one exception being Natalie Portman winning Best Actress. It was painful to watch the Oscars this year. Although it took off with a bang with the montage of Franco and Hathaway digitally cut into the ten nominated films, it was all downhill from there. Kirk Douglas had no business presenting an award with that arrogant, pervy, irritating schtick. I wanted to choke him. How degrading for those Best Supporting Actress nominees to be held captive to this man. It was so wrong! Then that final closing with the children's choir. As Simon Cowell says best, absolutely dreadful. I must have short term memory loss. Because I was excited to see the Oscars this year. I thought it would be fresh and clever as James Franco and Anne Hathaway were co-hosting. But this wasn't to be. Instead it was rotten and dull. And I realized that my film tastes are not in sync with the Academy's. My picks are closer to those of The Independent Spirit Awards e.g. James Franco for Best Actor, Darren Aronofsky for Best Director, Exit Through The Gift Shop for Best Documentary, Matthew Libatique/Black Swan for Best Cinematography. The King's Speech did win an award at the Indie Awards i.e. Best Foreign Film. How funny is that?

    So then, next year I think I'll tune into The Independent Spirit Awards and skip the Oscars. Of course, short term memory loss could return next year, and thus, you'll find me joyfully anticipating the Oscars once again.

    In the meantime, I have devised a pretty long list of award categories related to film. I have selected winners for each. Some of them are silly. But all of them are inspired by the wonderful films that have moved me over my lifetime. Of course my picks say much more about me than they say about objective film critique.

    1. Most Fabulous Adventure Film Raiders of the Lost Arc
    2. Thrilling Thriller The Silence of the Lambs
    3. Scary, Scary The Ring (American)
    4. Most Terrifying Witch Blair Witch in The Blair With Project
    5. Buckets of Tears Life is Beautiful
    6. Favorite Animated Toy Story 3
    7. Love Story Titanic
    8. Non-English Betty Blue
    9. Period Piece A Room With a View
    10. Children's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    11. Comedy My Cousin Vinny
    12. Musical Moulin Rouge
    13. Dance Movie Billy Elliot
    14. Life-Affirming 127 Hours
    15. Existential Vanilla Sky
    16. Action Speed
    17. Romantic Comedy The Wedding Singer
    18. Best Soundtrack The Wedding Singer
    19. Worst Soundtrack Less Than Zero
    20. Biographical Documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son
    21. Human Interest Doc Grey Gardens (1975)
    22. Music Doc Stop Making Sense
    23. Nature Doc Encounters at the End of the World
    24. Original and Cool as Hell Doc Exit Through The Gift Shop
    25. What The Fuck? Even Dwarfs Started Small
    26. Visual/Musical Score Combo Lessons of Darkness
    27. Ecstatic Truth Grizzly Man
    28. Holocaust Themed Sophie's Choice
    29. War Era Love Story Atonement
    30. Convincing Performance Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" in The Wrestler
    31. Stoner Film Pineapple Express
    32. Best Brooder Ethan Hawke as Troy Dyer in Reality Bites
    33. Hottest Baddest Gladiator Russel Crowe in Gladiator
    34. Sexiest Psychopath Male Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
    35. Sexiest Psychopath Female Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
    36. Sexiest Male Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven in Speed
    37. Sexiest Female Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb raider
    38. Best Assassin Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men
    39. Favorite Misfit Edward Scissorhands
    40. Sexiest Drug Addict Matt Dillon as Bob Hughes in Drugstore Cowboy
    41. Best Addiction Movie Requiem For a Dream
    42. Sexiest Superhero Male Christian Bale as Batman in Batman Begins
    43. Bad-ass Teenager Christian Slater as J.D. in Heathers
    44. Worst Actress Jennifer Aniston
    45. Best Rant Ed Norton, as Monty, in Fuck You scene in 25th Hour
    46. Most Likable Racist Male Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard in American History X
    47. Most Likable Racist Female Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader
    48. Hottest Bod Male Christian Bale in American Psycho
    49. Hottest Bod Female Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
    50. Most Adorable Female Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde
    51. Most Adorable Male Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
    52. Most Likable Male With Mental Health Issues James Spader as Graham Dalton in Sex, Lies, and Videotape
    53. Most Likable Female With Mental Health Issues Angelina Jolie as Lisa Rowe in Girl Interrupted
    54. Best Psychopath Male Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
    55. Best Psychopath Female Joan Cusack as Cheryl Lang in Arlington Road
    56. Boy Who Needs A Hug Timothy Hutton as Conrad Jarret in Ordinary People
    57. Coldest Mother Mary Tyler Moore as Beth Jarrett in Ordinary People
    58. Nurturing Father Donald Sutherland as Calvin Jarrett in Ordinary People
    59. Quirky Love Story Benny and Joon
    60. Best Chew-out Nicholas Cage chewed-out by the President in Guarding Tess
    61. Christmas Comedy Christmas Vacation
    62. Sexiest Juvenile Delinquent C. Thomas Howe as Pony Boy in The Outsiders
    63. Best Conspiracy Film Arlington Road
    64. Best Use of a Boom-box John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything
    65. Evolution Themed Jurassic Park
  • realitybites
    It's James Franco's time to shine. It's his weekend. This Sunday, February 27th, he will be hosting the 83rd Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway. It should be a great show. And, he is up for Best Actor for his outstanding performance as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours. What an accomplished man--and very busy as well.

    I bet he is in LA, right now, putting the final touches on his Oscar performance with Anne. While he's been prepping for that, I have been preparing as well. Because he'll be giving it his all, I thought I should too. I present to you my Franco Art. I have already posted Franco the Renaissance Man and Franco the Wizard of Oz. Here are the rest of my Digital Creations. You may think that I am obsessed with James Franco. To that I reply, you are correct! My Franco Fever may or may not pass. Only time will tell.

    I will continue to update this post as I add new images.

    The Franco Award ~ Renaissance Man of the Year



    The Franco ~ Renaissance Man of the Year Award


    The Franco ~ Renaissance Woman of the Year Award


    The Franco ~ Free Thinker of the Year Award

    See how I did it

    Franco The Thinker




    See how I did it

    Franco Cologne


    Franco Cologne ~ Pour Tous
    Fragrance for Everyone & Anywhere ~ By James Franco


    Franco Cologne ~ Pour Homme
    Fragrance for Men ~ By James Franco


    Franco Cologne ~ Pour Lui
    Fragrance for Women ~ By James Franco

    See how I did it
  • realitybites
    James Franco as Oz, The Great and Powerful


    Franco has signed on to play Oz, The Great and Powerful ~Disney's prequel to the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz."

    See how I did it

    Official movie posters posted online July 2012...


  • realitybites
    Some of us are so thick with talent, it's almost impossible to spread ourselves too thin. We are gifted with an endless supply of unbridled ability and a drive that keeps us moving fast forward. In the entertainment world, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Knowles come to mind. Both are triple—maybe quadrupole—threats. They sing, dance, act, and are generally nice, polite, and likable people. Unfortunately, most of us aren't the caretakers of such gifts—myself included. I am not blessed with any natural abilities. I am quite average at writing, athletics, and the arts. I can state confidently that I have only excelled in two arenas e.g. as a college student—top of my class, and as an anorectic—thinnest person not yet in the graveyard. Sadly for me, these two statuses were transitory. Unless one is very wealthy, the campus will need to be abandoned for the real world of employment. And there is no future for an anorexic person. Eventually she will enter a crossroads whereby a choice must be made to to ditch the disorder or shrivel up and die. Heroin addiction plays by those same rules.

    What I wouldn't do to have a respectable talent or two coupled with an insatiable ambition to succeed. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Leonardo daVinci were all ripe with talent in many areas. But who comes to mind when we consider the present day? One person clearly fits the bill. His name is James Franco.

    That's right, James Franco is a modern day Renaissance Man.


    See how I did it​

    Franco is a film actor, director, screenplay writer, novelist, painter, soap opera star, SNL host, Oscar host, PhD candidate at Yale, Gucci model, performance artist, and bar owner. He can do drama e.g. 127 Hours and comedy e.g. Pineapple Express. He can play it straight e.g. James Dean or play gay e.g. Milk. His credits roll on. His talent seems endless.

    So, reflecting on his many accomplishments, I wondered what he should do next. Pilots license sprung to mind. It seems to be something that quite a few Hollywood types have added to their brag boxes e.g. John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, to name a few. I suppose it isn't such a novel thing to do. But still... I could see him up for the challenge. So, I almost fell off the couch in mad-laughter when I read an article last night stating that Franco had indeed got his pilots license to prepare for his 2006 performance in Flyboys.

    Anyhow, I thought it would be amusing to make a list of 43 things James Franco should do before he dies.

    Here is My List:

    1. Play Morrissey in a feature film about The Smiths. Franco looks a lot like Moz as his film characters James Dean and Allen Ginsberg—sporting black rimmed glasses, chiseled cheekbones, and a fabulous saluting quiff.



    Or, minus the specs...



    Can you say Gorraageeous!

    2. Learn to speak Chinese.

    3. Run the New York City Marathon.

    4. Learn to fly a hot air balloon.

    5. Write a cookbook.

    6. Donate profits of cookbook sales to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide vaccines to children in third world countries.

    7. Then become a guest judge on Top Chef.

    8. Launch his own clothing line.

    9. Then of course, be a guest judge on Project Runway.

    10. Be a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.

    11. Be a contestant on Jeopardy. That show is still on, isn't it?

    12. Become a vegan for a year or more.

    13. Adopt a child from Belarus.

    14. Swim the English Channel.

    15. Attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

    16. Host his own talk show.

    17. Establish a sanctuary for farm animals.

    18. Run for mayor of Palo Alto, California—his birthplace.

    19. Rescue a baby from a well.

    20. Successfully perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Donald Trump—saving his life.

    21. Join the circus as a trapeze artist for a year or so.

    22. Sail the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and spend a week on Depp's private island.

    23. Form a garage band.

    24. Cut an album.

    25. Become a visiting professor of English at Yale.

    26. Sing the Star Spangled Banner at the next Superbowl.

    27. Become homeless for six months.

    28. Invent something that becomes a major, global, gotta-have-it.

    29. Live a year amongst Buddhist monks in Nepal.

    30. Have a Bar Mitzvah.

    31. Donate a kidney.

    32. Join Sean Penn in Haiti for six months.

    33. Walk on the moon.

    34. Join Anthony Bourdain on a No Rez adventure.

    35. Join the cast of Flipping Out as Jeff Lewis' house manager.

    36. Catch commercial salmon on a fishing vessel in Canada for three months.

    37. Become a Scientologist for the fun of it. (*Update mid Feb. : Not serious about this one. Atheist for life would be a better choice.)

    38. Design and build his own solar powered home in Northern California.

    39. Become a US diplomat.

    40. Race a car at NASCAR.

    41. Open a chocolate factory.

    42. Open a non-profit bakery that bakes medical grade, marijuana-infused brownies for recovering anorectics.

    43. Win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    You go James! We're pulling for you.
  • realitybites
    I don't know why I love the Academy Awards so much. Maybe it is because I really love movies. And this time of year is like Christmas for film buffs. We are flooded with a wide selection of great films. And there is this feeling--a sense of urgency and obligation to see them all. It's as if we have no right to express a preference unless we have actually seen all the films nominated. There is probably no one--not even a top film critic--who can claim to have done so. Mostly because it is an impossible task. Even if one is sent all the freebie screeners, who will be able to find the free time to view them all? Then there is the problem of availability, which is the biggest obstacle to the majority of us. Not all movies play in one's local theater. Also, Netflix doesn't have every title. And even if you hunt for them on Amazon, i Tunes, etc., some just can't be found--even online from a file sharing service. I have been doing my best to find Biutiful with no such luck. Even though Javier Bardem is up for Best Actor in a landmark nomination--being the first non-English speaking performance in this category, I can't get access. Twisted isn't it?

    So after searching far and wide, I have managed to view a great number of the nominated movies. I think this was an excellent year for films--both feature and documentary. And the Best Actor and Best Actress categories have some very strong contenders. One unexpected treat was Michelle Williams' performance in Blue Valentine. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this movie was and how poignant the actors' performances were. Ryan Gosling was overlooked for the Best Actor category--perhaps because his body of work is so strong. I think this can work against an actor sometimes. Colin Firth has mostly gone unrecognized by The Academy--until now. This year he's up for Best Actor for The King's Speech. I don't think this was his best performance. See my blog entry explaining why HERE. There are a few movies nominated that I have no desire to see such as True Grit and Inception. I may eventually see them. I have not seen The Fighter. I really, really hate boxing. It is senseless violence which turns my stomach. I did see Million Dollar Baby--and loved it. But it was more about the relationships in the film than boxing. I am hoping The Fighter is as well. So, I am willing to give it a chance. If any of the performances outshine my original picks, I will modify my list. (*Update mid Feb.: I have tried watching Inception twice. Perhaps I have an undiagnosed case of ADD 'cause I just cannot get into this film. I have not given up though. I will reserve it for later--for when I am bedridden with the flu--too lethargic to get out of bed; I will be a captive audience. Also, I have viewed The Fighter. Good movie--not just about boxing. Christian Bale gives an award-worthy performance as a down-on-his-luck crack addict--jittery, emaciated, and teeth grinding. I am now torn between him and Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor.) Also, I have not seen any of the animated films. (*Update Feb. 22: I saw Toy Story 3 & loved it.)

    So then, I have not seen every movie up for an award. And my preferences are very subjective--as are everyone else's.

    These are the Nominees. My picks are in red. Films which I have not seen yet are in purple.

    Actor in a Leading Role

    * Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
    * Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
    * Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
    * Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
    * James Franco in “127 Hours”

    Actor in a Supporting Role

    * Christian Bale in “The Fighter
    * John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”
    * Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
    * Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
    * Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech”

    Actress in a Leading Role

    * Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
    * Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
    * Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
    * Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
    * Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

    Actress in a Supporting Role

    * Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
    * Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”
    * Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
    * Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
    * Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

    Animated Feature Film

    * “How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
    * “The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
    * “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

    Art Direction

    * “Alice in Wonderland”
    Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
    * “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
    Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
    * “Inception”
    Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
    * “The King's Speech”
    Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr[/COLOR]
    * “True Grit”
    Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh[/COLOR]


    * “Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
    * “Inception” Wally Pfister
    * “The King's Speech” Danny Cohen
    * “The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
    * “True Grit” Roger Deakins

    Costume Design

    * “Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
    * “I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
    * “The King's Speech” Jenny Beavan
    * “The Tempest” Sandy Powell
    * “True Grit” Mary Zophres


    * “Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
    * "The Fighter” David O. Russell
    * “The King's Speech” Tom Hooper
    * “The Social Network” David Fincher
    * “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

    Documentary (Feature)

    * “Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
    * “Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
    * “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
    * “Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
    * “Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

    Film Editing

    * “Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum
    * "The Fighter” Pamela Martin
    * “The King's Speech” Tariq Anwar
    * “127 Hours” Jon Harris
    * “The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

    Music (Original Score)

    * “How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
    * “Inception” Hans Zimmer
    * “The King's Speech” Alexandre Desplat
    * “127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
    * “The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

    Best Picture

    * “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
    * “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
    * “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
    * “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
    * “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
    * “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
    * “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
    * “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
    * “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
    * “Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

    Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

    * “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
    * “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
    * “Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
    * “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
    * “Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

    Writing (Original Screenplay)

    * “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
    * “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
    Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
    * “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
    * “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
    * “The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

    My Favorite Films This Year Are:

    127 Hours
    Black Swan
    The Social Network
    Rabbit Hole
    Exit Through The Gift Shop
    Blue Valentine
    Toy Story 3