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Movie Roundup: Pitchers And Catchers Edition

Just two days until the first Mariners spring training game!

All About Lily Chou-Chou – A much longer film from director Shunji Iwai, who made the totally charming April Story (#5, 1998). A sprawling tale of seriously screwed up junior high school kids who escape into music and the internet to try to transcend the horrors of their everyday lives. The film is almost oppressively depressing, livened by some truly beautiful images and music, both of the fictional title technopop star (a seeming amalgam of Faye Wong and Björk) and Claude Debussy, from whom said star takes her inspiration. The image quality on the DVD netflix sent was subpar, which is a shame because I bet the film looks as good as anything made this century. The #6 film of 2001.

Helvetica – A documentary about a font that encapsulates the entire history of late 20th Century art in its movement from modernism to post-modernism to wherever we are now (post-post-modernism?) Far more than any other documentary I’ve seen recently, it tells its story not with talking heads (though there are several of those) but with images: countless shots of the eponymous font in all its ubiquity, demonstrating both the fonts formal elegance and beauty and the ways it has come to dominate our visual landscape. The film does a fine job of straddling the line between the admiration for the font’s good qualities (which are also those of modernism in general) and condemning the bland uniformity its near-universal adoption has imposed. More than any documentary I’ve seen in years, this film changed the way I looked at the world: fonts, fonts everywhere. The #9 film of 2007.

The Lives Of Others – Fine melodrama seemingly overrated by the uniqueness of its setting and the competence of its acting and director. Not a great film by any means, the plot, especially by the end, vaguely resembles Swiss cheese and the visual style isn’t especially interesting. I did like it better than Pan’s Labyrinth, but I don’t understand why Charlie Rose loves it so much. The #21 film of 2006.

Carnival Of Souls – Having watched a number of low-budget horror films thanks to the television’s very fine TCM Underground series, I felt confident that what I’d get here was a cheap low-budget scarefest with slightly above amateur visual style and very bad acting. Instead, it’s a quite disturbing story that appears to have been filmed by Michelangelo Antonioni disguised with the unlikely pseudonym “Herk Harvey”. Seriously, not only are the creepy zombies scary, but the film’s resemblance to the films Antonioni was making at the same time, L’Eclisse (also from 1962) in particular, is rather frightening as well. they even seem to have used the same music. The acting is, for the most part, pretty terrible, though the lead even looks a bit like Monica Vitti. The #11 film of 1962.

Passion – The first Jean-Luc Godard film I’ve seen from the 80s or later, it’s more or less the story of a film not quite being made. And like all Godard films, regardless of when they were made, the story is barely half the story. But even more than his early work, Passion is a collection of sequences, of beautiful, investigative shots tracking through recreations of moderately famous paintings, of actors acting up a storm whether we know what they’re talking about or not. In the end, it all makes a kind of sense. I look forward to watching this film again and again and again, as there’s no way I could possibly comprehend it one one viewing. The #4 film of 1982.

Margot At The Wedding – I liked it and don’t see much difference in quality between it and Baumbach’s last movie, the much more highly acclaimed The Squid And The Whale (#13, 2005). Both are enjoyable, darkly comic films about totally insane people and their children. Neither is as good as Kicking And Screaming (#4, 1995), a personal favorite of mine. That film, liberated from Baumbach’s apparent issues with his parents, seems much more universally relatable than these last two quite specific films (he’s denied how autobiographical this one is, but it’s really hard to look at this any other way than a film by someone who needs to have a long talk with their mother). Both Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh were very good, but Jack Black was, at times, truly awful (though that may have been intentional). The #13 film of 2007.

Sergeant York – Howard Hawks’s fine biopic about the backwoods pacifist who became a WWI hero by killing and capturing an exorbitant number of Germans. Despite the promise of the poster of “Missiles! Jets! Tanks!” the film spends most of its time showing York in the two years before the war, when he transforms himself from a drunken lout to an honest, hard-working citizen and his subsequent religious conversion (to say nothing of the fact that, aside from some rudimentary tanks, those things didn’t exist in World War I, belying the WWII propaganda purpose of the film’s advertising campaign, if not Hawks’s own intentions). The film doesn’t really feel like a Hawks film, the setting and story are much more in John Ford’s wheelhouse. Gary Cooper, who I’m not often a fan of, is very good in his Oscar-winning role as York, effectively capturing and making believable the characters many transformations. The #11 film of 1941.

Oscarfever! ’08


Gonna zip right through this, as I’ve a Sonics game to watch. So no pictures! Here’s how it works: I guess who will win, then I tell you who I would give it to, whether they were nominated or not.

Best Picture:

Will win: No Country For Old Men
Should Win: The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Best Director:

Will win: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Should win: Todd Haynes, I’m Not There

Best Actor:

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Should win: Cillian Murphy, The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Best Actress:

Will win: Ellen Page, Juno
Should win: Tang Wei, Lust, Caution

Best Supporting Actor:

Will win: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Should win: Bardem

Best Supporting Actress:

Will win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Should win: tie between Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Original Screenplay:

Will win: Diabolo Cody, Juno
Should win: Paul Laverty, The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Adapted Screenplay:

Will win: Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Should win: The Coen bros.

Animated Film:

Will win: Ratatouille
Should win: Ratatouille

Art Direction:

Will win: There Will Be Blood
Should win: The Darjeeling Limited

Cinematography:

Will win: Roger Deakins, No Country For Old Men
Should win: Gokhan Tiryaki, Climates

Costume Design:

Will win: Sweeny Todd
Should win: The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Documentary Feature:

Will win: No End In Sight
Should win: Helvetica

Documentary Short:

Will win: Salim Baba
Should win: NA

Film Editing:

Will win: No Country For Old Men
Should win: I’m Not There

Foreign Language Film:

Will win: The Counterfeiters
Should win: Still Life

Makeup:

Will win: La vie en rose
Should win: Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

Original Score:

Will win: Ratatouille
Should win: There Will Be Blood

Original Song:

Will win: Falling Slowly, Once
Should win: Does “I’m Not There” or “Can’t Leave Her Behind” count?

Animated Short:

Will win: Peter And The Wolf
Should win: NA

Live Short:

Will win: Le Mozart des pickpockets
Should win: NA

Sound Editing:

Will win: No Country For Old Men
Should win: I’m Not There

Sound Mixing:

Will win: No Country For Old Men
Should win: I’m Not There

Visual Effects:

Will win: Transformers
Should win: 300

Awardment, or There Will Be Awards, or No Awards For Old Men

Like I said, the Filmspotting community is handing out awards this year. There was a nominating process, in which we submitted a ranked list of no more than three films per category. The following were my nominees:

Picture:

1. The Wind That Shakes the Barley
2. I’m Not There
3. No Country For Old Men

Director:

1. Todd Haynes, I’m Not There
2. Tsai Ming-liang, I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone
3. Jia Zhang-ke, Still Life

Original Screenplay:

1. Paul Laverty, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
2. Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman, I’m Not There
3. Tsai Ming-liang, I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
2. Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
3. james Vanderbilt, Zodiac

Actor:

1. Cillian Murphy, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
2. Tony Leung, Lust, Caution
3. Christian Bale, Rescue Dawn


Actress:

1. Tang Wei, Lust, Caution
2. Ellen Page, Juno
3. Keri Russell, Waitress
 

Supporting Actor:

1. Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
2. Jeremy Davies, Rescue Dawn
3. Ben Whishaw, I’m Not There

Supporting Actress:

1. Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
2. Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
3. Kelly Macdonald, No Country For Old Men

Ensemble cast:

1. No Country For Old Men
2. I’m Not There
3. The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Editing:

1. Jay Rabinowitz, I’m Not There
2. Juliette Welfling, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
3. Takeshi Seyama, Paprika


Foreign Language Film:

1. Climates
2. Still Life
3. I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone

Soundtrack:

1. I’m Not There
2. The Darjeeling Limited
3. There Will Be Blood

Score:

1. Jonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood
2. Michael Giacchino, Ratatouille
3. Alexandre Desplat, Lust, Caution

Animated Film:

1. Ratatouille
2. The Simpsons Movie
3. Paprika

Documentary:

NA

Art direction:

1. The Darjeeling Limited
2. I’m Not There
3. Lust, Caution

Sound editing:

1. I’m Not There
2. Ratatouille
3. Tears Of The Black Tiger

Visual Effects:

1. 300
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End
3. Sunshine

Cinematography:

1. Gokhan Tiryaki, Climates
2. Yu Lik-wai, Still Life
3. Peter Zeitlinger, Rescue Dawn

Make-up:

1. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End
2. Rescue Dawn
3. No Country For Old Men

Costumes:

1. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
2. I’m Not There
3. There Will Be Blood

Kick-ass scene:

1. Fireworks, Still Life [actually a bridge lighting, I misremembered the ass-kicking]
2. Fishing, I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone
3. Anton Ego’s Review, Ratatouille

Trailer:

1. Paprika
2. Grindhouse
3. There Will Be Blood


Villain:

1. Chigurh, No Country For Old Men
2. The Zodiac, Zodiac
3. Mr. Yee, Lust, Caution

Surprising performance:

1. Cillian Murphy, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
2. Jeremy Davies, Rescue Dawn
3. Shia LeBeouf, Transformers

Surprising film:

1. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
2. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
3. Ratatouille

Debut Feature:

1. Adreinne Shelly, Waitress
2. Wisit Sasanatieng, Tears Of The Black Tiger
3. Craig Gillespie, Lars And The Real Girl

Best line:

1. “How can I answer that if you got the nerve to ask me?”, I’m Not There
2. “I’m fixin’ to do something dumber than hell, but I’m going anyways.”, No Country For Old Men
3. “Drainage!”, There Will Be Blood

Worst film:

1. Beowulf
2. Spirderman 3
3. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

Breakthrough (can be an actor or filmmaker of any sort):

1. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Climates
2. Cillian Murphy, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
3. Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men & Grindhouse

So, after the votes were tabulated, few of my nominees made the cut. So here’s my final ballot, the winners will be announced at the site on Monday. My picks are marked with an asterisk.

Filmspots 2007 — The Official Nominees

Best Picture
Atonement
Juno
*No Country for Old Men
Ratatouille
There Will Be Blood
Zodiac

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
*Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
David Fincher, Zodiac
Paul Greengrass, The Bourne Ultimatum
Joe Wright, Atonement

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*Christian Bale, Rescue Dawn
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Gordon Pinsent, Away from Her

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams, Enchanted
Julie Christie, Away from Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
*Ellen Page, Juno
Keri Russell, Waitress
Naomi Watts, Eastern Promises

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
*Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Ben Foster, 3:10 to Yuma
Irfan Khan, The Namesake
Paul Rudd, Knocked Up
Kurt Russell, Grindhouse

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Kelly Macdonald, No Country for Old Men
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
*Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Tabu, The Namesake

Best Ensemble Cast
Grindhouse
*I’m Not There
Juno
No Country for Old Men
Zodiac

Best Original Screenplay
Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Diablo Cody, Juno
Alex Garland, Sunshine
Todd Haynes and Oren Moverman, I’m Not There
*Paul Laverty, The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Adrienne Shelly, Waitress

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
*Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
James Vanderbilt, Zodiac

Best Editing
Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Chris Dickens, Hot Fuzz
Sally Menke, Ethan Maniquis, & Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse
*Jay Rabinowitz, I’m Not There
Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum


Best Cinematography
*Roger Deakins, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Roger Deakins, No Country for Old Men
Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
Seamus McGarvey, Atonement
Harris Savides, Zodiac

Best Non-English Language Film
*The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Lives of Others
Lust, Caution
Offside
Paris, Je T’aime
La Vie en Rose

Best Documentary
Helvetica
In the Shadow of the Moon
*The King of Kong
No End in Sight
Sicko

Best Animated Film
Paprika
Persepolis
*Ratatouille
The Simpsons Movie

Best Score
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
*Jonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood
Dario Marianelli, Atonement
John Murphy & Underworld, Sunshine
Howard Shore, Eastern Promises

Best Soundtrack
Black Snake Moan
*The Darjeeling Limited
Grindhouse
Juno
Once

Best Costumes
Colleen Atwood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Alexandra Byrne, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Jacqueline Durran, Atonement
*Patricia Norris, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Gersha Phillips, Talk to Me


Best Art Direction
Ian Bailie, Nick Gottschalk, & Niall Moroney, Atonement
David Crank, There Will Be Blood
Keith P. Cunningham, Zodiac
Gary Freeman, Stephen Morahan, & Denis Schnegg, Sunshine
*Aradhana Seth & Adam Stockhausen, The Darjeeling Limited

Best Sound Editing
Ethan Andrus, Christopher Assells, & Paula Fairfield, Grindhouse
Christopher Assells, Karen M. Baker, & Bob Beemer, The Bourne Ultimatum
Craig Berkey, No Country for Old Men
*Benjamin Cheah & Robert Jackson, I’m Not There
Paul Hamblin, Danny Hambrook, & Catherine Hodgson, Atonement

Best Makeup
Nicola Buck, Paula Price, & Lesley Smith, The Golden Compass
Nana Fischer & Peter Owen, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tysuela Hill-Scott, Grindhouse
*Danielle Lyn Saunders, Rescue Dawn
Christien Tinsley, No Country for Old Men
Jenny Weight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Best Visual Effects
Chrysta Marie Burton, John Frazier, & James D. Schwalm, Transformers
Richard Conway, Sunshine
*Stephen Gilbert, 300
Allen Hall, Mark Hawker, & Jamie J. Silverman, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
John Richardson, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Kick-Ass Scene
Waterloo Station, The Bourne Ultimatum
Bathhouse Fight, Eastern Promises
Beating Up Mike (Final Scene), Grindhouse
Head-On Collision, Grindhouse
Dog Chase in River, No Country for Old Men
*Anton Ego Returns to Childhood, Ratatouille
Oil Fire, There Will Be Blood

Best Trailer
American Gangster
Cloverfield
The Dark Knight
*Grindhouse
There Will Be Blood

Best Villain
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), Grindhouse
Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
*Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), No Country for Old Men
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), There Will Be Blood
The Zodiac (Richmond Arquette, Bob Stephenson, & John Lacy), Zodiac

Surprising Performance
Amy Adams, Enchanted
*Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Chris Evans, Sunshine
Jennifer Garner, Juno
Keri Russell, Waitress
Molly Shannon, Year of the Dog

Surprising Film
Enchanted
The Namesake
*Once
This is England
Superbad


Best Line
“Because if that was true we’d be having this conversation face to face.” (The Bourne Ultimatum)
“Juno MacGuff: ‘Cause you’re, like, the coolest person I’ve ever met, and you don’t even have to try, you know… Paulie Bleeker: I try really hard, actually.” (Juno)
“There are five different types of chairs in this hotel room.” (Knocked Up)
“Spider-Pig…Spider-Pig…” (The Simpsons Movie)
*”I drink your milkshake! I drink it up! … I’m finished.” (There Will Be Blood)

Worst Film
300
Epic Movie
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
*Spider-Man 3
Transformers

Debut or Breakthrough Feature
Away from Her (Sarah Polley)
Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
Once (John Carney)
*Waitress (Adrienne Shelly)

Breakthrough
*Josh Brolin (Performer), Grindhouse & No Country for Old Men
Michael Cera (Performer), Juno & Superbad
Jonny Greenwood (Composer), There Will Be Blood
Emile Hirsch (Performer), Into the Wild
Ellen Page (Performer), Juno
Paul Rudd (Performer), Knocked Up

Movie Roundup: Shall We List Edition

The spring Metro Classics got off to a great start tonight, as a sizable crowd showed up to see Fred & Ginger. With another of Mark Sandrich’s films on right now (that’d be Carefree, he did five total Astaire-Rogers films), I figured I’d list the latest additions to the Movies Of The Year Lists, which are heavily dominated by 2007 and 2006 films as I desperately try to catch up before award season ends. I’ll have a post up tomorrow about the awards we’re handing out at the Filmspotting Message Boards, and my annual Oscar predictions/awards will be handed out here Oscar weekend.

Wee Willie Winkie: 3, 1937
Steamboat Round The Bend: 4, 1935
Sunshine: 14, 2007
The Host: 13, 2006
Paprika: 15, 2006
The Namesake: 29, 2006
Atonement: 32, 2007
Triad Election: 24, 2006
Val Lewton: Man In The Shadows: 26, 2007
Haxan: 4, 1922
The Threepenny Opera: 3, 1931
The Warriors: 10, 1979
The End Of Summer: 9, 1961
Camille: 9, 1936
Red-Headed Woman: 13, 1932
Blissfully Yours: 5, 2002
The Wind Will Carry Us: 3. 1999
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers: 14, 1954
Syndromes And A Century: 5, 2006
Major Dundee: 7, 1965
The King Of Kong: 21, 2007
The Naked Prey: 8, 1966
No End In Sight: 23, 2007
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford: 5, 2007
Sicko: 27, 2007
Carefree: 7, 1938