Sita Streams The Blues

//www.youtube.com/get_player

Sita Sings the Blues is now streaming online in anticipation of its public television debut next week. There are apparently higher quality streams and even DVDs in the works in the near future, according to director Nina Paley’s blog, but I’m just happy to have the chance to watch it again in any format. You won’t find a better movie to watch this week until The Maltese Falcon Wednesday night.

Oscarfever! ’09!

After my poor performance with last year’s predictions, I’m going to have to win my theatre’s Oscar pool this year or no one will cheat by copying my ballots anymore. First is who I would give the award to, then who I think will win. The Oscar nominees can be found all over the place, the nominees for my awards can be found here.

Best Picture:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director:

The End: Andrew Stanton, WALL-E
Oscar: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Actor:

The End: Benicio Del Toro, Che
Oscar: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Actress:

The End: Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
Oscar: Kate Winslet, The Reader

Supporting Actor:

The End: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Oscar: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Supporting Actress:

The End: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Oscar: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Original Screenplay:

The End: Nina Paley, Sita Sings The Blues
Oscar: Dustin Lance Black, Milk

Adapted Screenplay:

The End: Wong Kar-wai, Ashes Of Time Redux
Oscar: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Foreign Language Film:

The End: Waltz With Bashir
Oscar: Waltz With Bashir

Documentary Feature:

The End: Waltz With Bashir
Oscar: Man On Wire

Animated Feature:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: WALL-E

Film Editing:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: Slumdog Millionaire

Cinematography:

The End: Danielle Feinberg and Jeremy Lasky, WALL-E
Oscar: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire

Art Direction:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Costume Design:

The End: Rachel Getting Married
Oscar: The Duchess

Make-Up:

The End: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Oscar: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Sound:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: WALL-E

Sound Effects Editing:

The End: WALL-E
Oscar: WALL-E

Visual Effects:

The End: Speed Racer
Oscar: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Original Score:

The End: Thomas Newman, WALL-E
Oscar: Slumdog Millionaire

Original Song:

The End: “Down To Earth”, Peter Gabriel, WALL-E
Oscar: “Down To Earth”, Peter Gabriel, WALL-E

Live-Action Short:

The End: NA
Oscar: New Boy

Animated Short:

The End: Presto
Oscar: Presto

Documentary Short:

The End: NA
Oscar: The Witness – From The Balcony Of Room 306

Soundtrack:

The End: Gonzo: the Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Sita Sings the Copyright Blues


Speaking of Adaptations, The Art Of The Title Sequence, as linked to by the essential Movie City News, is the latest site to pick up on the ongoing Free Sita! campaign being led by director Nina Paley, whose Sita Sings The Blues (my #2 movie of 2008) remains undistributed because she never cleared the rights for the 80+ year old songs she used in her film. In addition to the interview with her, they also posted a package of stills and illustrations for the film, along with its trailer. So here’s some pictures:

Metro Classics Returns!!

Just finalized is our schedule for this Spring. The theme this time is adaptations. We’ve got nine movies based on three different media (literature, drama, film/television), further subdivided into three different genres (adventure, sci-fi, musical).

Here’s the lineup:

Mar. 04 – The Maltese Falcon
Mar. 11 – Barbarella
Mar. 18 – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Mar. 25 – My Own Private Idaho
Apr. 01 – Forbidden Planet
Apr. 08 – Kiss Me Kate
Apr. 15 – A Fistful Of Dollars
Apr. 22 – The Fly
Apr. 29 – Pennies From Heaven

Movie Roundup: Pitchers And Catchers Edition

Position players have already begun reporting to Spring Training and this is the best time of year to be a Mariners fan. There’s a new MLB Network this year, which I’m kind of getting into (the ’95 M’s are only the #6 comeback of all-time? Nonsense!). Here’s what I’ve watched over the last couple of weeks:

Hilary Hahn: A Portrait – It’s not really a movie, more like an hour long documentary that appears to have been done by some German TV station (or as a promotion by her record company). There’s a little bit of biographical information (she gives a a nice tour of the music school she spent 15 years growing up at, we see her packing her luggage) but mostly it’s only interesting for her performances: Most of a Korngold Violin Concerto, a rehearsal of a Mozart Sonata for Piano and Violin, a really cool performance at a bar that’s experimenting with classical music concerts in a club setting. Even better was the concert we went to last week (my first real classical concert). She was fantastic playing a program built around folk-influenced classical stuff (Charles Ives, Brahms’s Hungarian Dances, Bartók’s Romanian Dances) mixed with some show-offy virtuoso solo violin pieces by Ysaÿe. the #36 film of 2007.

The Age Of The Medici – Roberto Rossellini’s three-part film for Italian television, it runs about four hours in total and chronicles life in 1400s Florence at the time of Cosimo de Medici (powerful banker) and Leon Batista Alberti (architect and art theorist). It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Imagine Robert Bresson directing those historical recreation TV series for The History Channel, only less flashy. The dialogue (and acting) is entirely without psychology (these are historical figures, not characters) and it’s never less than fascinating. The recreations aren’t particularly realistic (lots of painted backdrops and such) and the dialogue is poorly dubbed regardless of what language you watch it in (I chose English because that’s apparently what the actors were using), but none of that really matters. The film sucks you in with an non-stop onslaught of information: historical facts of political maneuvers, details of life in the Middle Ages, philosophical arguments about art, politics, religion etc. For a history geek like me, it’s irresistible. The #6 film of 1973.

The Black Hole – Watched this a lot as a kid, but didn’t really remember much. Some trippy special effects, goofy (and scary) robots, a killer ending (Maximillian Schell trapped in his evil robot ruling over Hell!, oh yeah) and hey, it’s Robert Forster from Jackie Brown! The #18 film of 1979.

The Black Cauldron – Another one I hadn’t seen since I was a kid, and it wasn’t as good as I remembered. The animation’s pretty cool (looks a lot like a more awesome version of classic 80s arcade game Dragon’s Lair at times), but the characters are pretty bad (a pig? really?). Disney cut a bunch out of it to get it down to a PG rating, which is really weird, but the more violent version probably wouldn’t be any better, just more jarring with the silly kid elements. The #31 film of 1985.

One Million BC – The more I see Victor Mature, the more I think he looks exactly like Chris Noth (the guy from Law & Order and Sex And The City). Anyway, here he’s a caveman who gets kicked out of one warlike tribe and joins another, more pacifist group, which he teaches to fight and romances their hottest woman and ends up unifying the two tribes, or something like that. It’s pretty terrible, but with some cool giant lizard and volcano special effects. The #17 film of 1940.

Friday Night Lights – We’ve been watching the TV series, which is pretty good (we’re about halfway through Season One) and decided to check out the film. The main difference between the two is that the TV show has characters and the film has character types. We do get a lot of pretty shots of West Texas and its football stadiums though, and the ending ranks up there with The Bad News Bears as one of the great sports movie endings of all time. Director Peter Berg’s frenetic style keeps everything constantly moving in the Michael Bay style: fast cuts, lots of camera movements, no real rhyme or reason to any of it beyond the conveyance of mood. And that’s what the film provides: a sense of Texas football and an inkling of what the people who obsess about it (players and fans) are like. Essentially, it’s the opposite of Rossellini’s history films. The #24 film of 2004.

Simon Of The Desert – This was either going to be part of a three-part omnibus film, or the producer just ran out of money before the end (depends on which special feature on the Criterion disc you believe), but it runs only about 40 minutes, which ends up (miraculously enough) being just about the perfect length. It’s Luis Buñuel’s film about a Christian ascetic who lives on a pillar and is tempted by the Devil in the form of Sylvia Pinal (the star of Viridiana). Funny and weird, the length gives it the feel of a really great episode of The Twilight Zone, which is kind of what Buñuel is at his best (and I mean that as a compliment). The #7 film of 1965.

The Time MachineThe Birds‘s Rod Taylor stars as H. G. Wells’s time-traveling hero in this decent enough George Pal film. Fed up with the capitalism of life in the 1900s (his friends are only curious about the commercial possibilities of his invention), Taylor travels far into the future and discovers a post-apocalyptic world where pretty blond and pastel people are feed to underground-dwelling blue monsters. Yvette Mimieux (who was interestingly also in The Black Hole) plays the prettiest blonde, whom Taylor attempts to rescue while teaching her society the merits of Victorian civilization (books, fire, concern for your own life and death, etc). Looking past the camp elements (and Taylor’s always horrific acting) there’s some truly funny and even poignant moments. The #19 film of 1960.

The Taking Of Power By Louis XIV– From the same period and style as his Medici film, but unfortunately only 90 minutes long is this Roberto Rossellini film about, well, how Louis XIV took power (the secret: fashion!). Similarly devoid of psychology, the film is a bit flashier thanks to a few sweeping camera movements. The plot is really simple, but nonetheless it’s a lot of fun for any Dumas fan, noticing characters from The Three Musketeers (D’Artagnan! Louise de Valliere!) that would quite possibly mystify anyone who isn’t familiar with them. The #12 film of 1966.

Voyage To Italy – I’ve been hearing for years about this as Roberto Rossellini’s masterpiece, and having finally seen it, it did not disappoint. George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman (both great, as they always are) travel to Naples to settle an uncle’s estate and discover that despite being married for eight years, they really don’t like each other that much. They split up for a few days: she tours museums and ruins (in the film’s most documentary, and also most moving, scenes, perhaps prefiguring the cinematic direction Rossellini would take with his history films fifteen years later) while he tries to hook up with younger women. It’s an incredibly rich film based on an extremely simple premise: raising (and leaving unsettled) issues about art and life, the past and the present, the individual and the community, aging and love, business and family and even the British Protestant versus the Mediterranean Catholic view of work and the world. I can’t wait to watch it again. The #3 film of 1954.

Movies Of The Year: 2008 (Part Two)


Finally, here is my end of the year list for 2008. This list is for comparative purposes, so I’ve included (and italicized) all those films from earlier years that made it to US theatres for the first time in 2008. My actual 2008 list (to be found at The Big List) will only include those films that imdb lists as 2008 films. That list will continue to be updated as I catch up with films I still haven’t seen (Milk, Synecdoche New York) and get to films that haven’t been released here yet (Three Monkeys, Red Cliff). Next week, I hope to have a third Movies Of the Year 2008 post that will actually include some comments on some of these movies (a novel concept around here lately, I know). That said, here’s the list:

1. WALL-E
2. Sita Sings The Blues
3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
4. Still Life
5. Waltz With Bashir
6. Flight Of The Red Balloon
7. Sparrow
8. Ashes Of Time Redux
9. Happy Go Lucky
10. Paranoid Park
11. Mad Detective
12. Rachel Getting Married
13. My Blueberry Nights
14. Chop Shop
15. Cloverfield
16. The Equation Of Love And Death
17. In Bruges
18. Let The Right One In
19. Che
20. Wonderful Town
21. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
22. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
23. Boarding Gate
24. The Fall
25. Hellboy II


26. Slumdog Millionaire
27. Iron Man
28. Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
29. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
30. Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired
31. The Happening
32. The Dark Knight
33. Speed Racer
34. Redbelt
35. Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
36. Recount
37. Encounters At the End Of The World
38. Good Cats
39. Sukiyaki Western Django
40. The Rest Is Silence
41. Pineapple Express
42. Man On Wire
43. Zack And Miri Make A Porno
44. Tropic Thunder
45. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
46. Kung Fu Panda
47. Baby Mama
48. Australia
49. Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist
50. The Forbidden Kingdom
51. Gran Torino
52. Burn After Reading
53. The Order Of Myths
54. Of Time And The City
55. Snow Angels
56. W.
57. Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood
58. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
59. Frost/Nixon
60. Valkyrie
61. Mongol
62. The Incredible Hulk
63. Quantum Of Solace
64. The Mummy 3

Movies Of the Year Award Nominations: 2008

Kicking off The End Of Cinema’s 2008 Year-End festivities (the latest year-end on the internet!), here are the nominees for our annual awards. The winners will be reveal at the end of the month, along with my annual Oscar predictions. As always, only films I’ve seen that have an imdb date of 2008 are eligible, regardless of when they happened to get released at a theatre near me.

Best Picture:

1. Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Sita Sings The Blues
3. Sparrow
4. WALL-E
5. Waltz With Bashir

Best Director:

1. Wong Kar-wai, Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Nina Paley, Sita Sings The Blues
3. Johnnie To, Sparrow
4. Andrew Stanton, WALL-E
5. Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir

Actor:

1. Benicio Del Toro, Che
2. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
3. Colin Ferrell, In Bruges
4. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Redbelt
5. Ben Burtt, WALL-E

Actress:

1. Frances McDormand, Burn After Reading
2. Xun Zhou, The Equation Of Love And Death
2. Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
4. Lina Leandersson, Let The Right One In
5. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

Supporting Actor:

1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. Eddie Marsan, Happy Go Lucky
3. Bill irwin, Rachel Getting Married
4. Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
5. Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Supporting Actress:

1. Brigitte Lin, Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Gwynneth Paltrow, Iron Man
3. Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
4. Kelly Lin, Sparrow
5. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Original Screenplay:

1. Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky
2. Nina Paley, Sita Sings The Blues
3. Kin Chung Chan and Chi Keung Fung, Sparrow
4. Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, WALL-E
5. Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Wong Kar-wai, Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Peter Buchman and Benjamen van der Veen, Che
3. Guillermo Del Toro, Hellboy II: The Golden Army
4. John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let The Right One In
5. Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Foreign Language Film:

1. Ashes Of Time Redux
2. The Equation Of Love And Death
3. Let the Right One In
4. Sparrow
5. Waltz With Bashir

Documentary Feature:

1. Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
2. Gonzo: the Lufe And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
3. Man On Wire
4. Waltz With Bashir
5. Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired

Animated Feature:

1. Kung Fu Panda
2. Sita Sings The Blues
3. Speed Racer
4. WALL-E
5. Waltz With Bashir

Film Editing:

1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2. Sparrow
3. Speed Racer
4. WALL-E
5. Waltz With Bashir

Cinematography:

1. Christopher Doyle, Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Steven Soderbergh, Che
3. Siu-keung Cheng, Sparrow
4. Javier Aguirresarobe, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
5. Danielle Feinberg and Jeremy Lasky, WALL-E

Art Direction:

1. Che
2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
3. Sita Sings The Blues
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
5. WALL-E

Costume Design:

1. Ashes Of Time Redux
2. Che
3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
4. Rachel Getting Married
5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Make-Up:

1. Ashes Of Time Redux
2. The Dark Knight
3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Sound:

1. Cloverfield
2. Hellboy II
3. Rachel Getting Married
4. Speed Racer
5. WALL-E

Sound Effects Editing:

1. Che
2. Cloverfield
3. Hellboy II
4. Speed Racer
5. WALL-E

Visual Effects:

1. Cloverfield
2. The Dark Knight
3. Hellboy II
4. Iron Man
5. Speed Racer

Original Score:

1. Frankie Chan and Roel A. García, Ashes Of Time Redux
2. A. R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
3. Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril, Sparrow
4. Thomas Newman, WALL-E
5. Max Richter, Waltz With Bashir

Original Song:

1. “Dracula’s Lament”, Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
2. “Jai Ho”, A. R. Ragman and Gulzar, Slumdog Millionaire
3. “Down To Earth”, Peter Gabriel, WALL-E

Soundtrack:

1. Gonzo: the Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
2. Rachel Getting Married
3. Sita Sings The Blues
4. Slumdog Millionaire
5. WALL-E