February 22, 2009

trivial pursuit and the art of cohesive poetry

Achievement in directing

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle by a landslide. In pretty much every category as far as I am concerned. Cohesive, magical poetry - yes, I think that describes this guy´s work. I haven´t even seen this film yet (release here mid-March and no, I don´t do piracy because I like the cinematic experience) My opinion and hopes are based on all of his previous work (and here I´d like to spotlight "Millions" which I think most closely resembles Slumdog in its intent and fairy tale-like qualities but with a gritty realism that trajects such a compelling long-lingering arc of story. Sounds like an oxymoron, but really, this guy somehow always manages to merge these two opposites. Be it fable or parable - both films have characters at the forefront that are just extraordinary people. Extraordinary tales.)

Curious Case of BB? No. This film goes into the running with the most nominations..........ultimately it will win some award for technical achievement because well....... that is all it achieves. Thats all you remember. Its boring, self-indulgent, way too labored, thereby not only making it feel long....it is long.
Milk? More of a TV movie experience than a cinematic feast. Decent enough, the subject itself justifying all the attention it has received. So kudos for that.
The Reader? Have read the book - not seen the movie, so unfortunately no comment. Not sure if the complexities, the ambiguity of this how to book for the task of understanding and condemning simultaneously (prolific moral complexity) can be cast back via the medium of film.
Frost/Nixon? Just because of its subject matter, and the terse no-nonsense style of directing, I wouldn´t mind this picture winning. Again - its be a victory not only for the craft but for a veiled political message. Doubt Hollywood has the guts to go to the finish line for that.

Best motion picture of the year

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “Frost/Nixon”
* “Milk”
* “The Reader”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”

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

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 foreign language film of the year

* “The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
* “The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
* “Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
* “Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
* “Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

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