Oscar Nominations

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

CAPOTE

CRASH

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

MUNICH

 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Philip Seymour Hoffman – CAPOTE

Terrence Howard – HUSTLE & FLOW

Heath Ledger – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

Joaquin Phoenix – WALK THE LINE

David Strathairn – GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

George Clooney – SYRIANA

Matt Dillon – CRASH

Paul Giamatti – CINDERELLA MAN

Jake Gyllenhaal – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

William Hurt – A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Judi Dench – MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS

Felicity Huffman – TRANSAMERICA

Keira Knightley – PRIDE & PREJUDICE

Charlize Theron – NORTH COUNTRY

Reese Witherspoon – WALK THE LINE

 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Amy Adams – JUNEBUG

Catherine Keener – CAPOTE

Frances Mcdormand – NORTH COUNTRY

Rachel Weisz – THE CONSTANT GARDENER

Michelle Williams – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE

TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE

WALLACE & GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

KING KONG

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

PRIDE & PREJUDICE

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

BATMAN BEGINS

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

THE NEW WORLD

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTSPRIDE & PREJUDICE

WALK THE LINE

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

CAPOTE

CRASH

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

MUNICH

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

DARWIN‘S NIGHTMARE

ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS

MURDERBALL

STREET FIGHT

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

THE DEATH OF KEVIN CARTER: CASUALTY OF THE BANG BANG CLUB

GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA

THE MUSHROOM CLUB

A NOTE OF TRIUMPH: THE GOLDEN AGE OF NORMAN CORWIN

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

CINDERELLA MAN

THE CONSTANT GARDENER

CRASH

MUNICH

WALK THE LINE

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

DON’T TELL

JOYEUX NOEL

PARADISE NOW

SOPHIE SCHOLL – THE FINAL DAYS

TSOTSI

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

CINDERELLA MAN

STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES

(ORIGINAL SCORE)

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

THE CONSTANT GARDENER

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

MUNICH

PRIDE & PREJUDICE

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES

(ORIGINAL SONG)

"In The Deep" – CRASH

"It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp" – HUSTLE & FLOW

"Travelin’ Thru" – TRANSAMERICA

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

BADGERED

THE MOON AND THE SON: AN IMAGINED CONVERSATION

THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO

9

ONE MAN BAND

 

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

AUSREISSER (THE RUNAWAY)

CASHBACK

THE LAST FARM

OUR TIME IS UP

SIX SHOOTER

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

KING KONG

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

WAR OF THE WORLDS

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

KING KONG

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

WALK THE LINE

WAR OF THE WORLDS

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

KING KONG

WAR OF THE WORLDS

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

CAPOTE

THE CONSTANT GARDENER

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

MUNICH

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

CRASH

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

MATCH POINT

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

SYRIANA

 

 

 

DVD Picks 30.01.06

The DVD picks this week include a Depression-era boxing drama, a trashy but enjoyable thriller and an amusing documentary about a dirty joke.

Cinderella Man (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 12): A moving and handsomely made bio-pic of James L Braddock (Russell Crowe), the Depression-era boxer who was dubbed the “Cinderella Man” for his ability to win fights as a underdog. The film reunites a lot of the key personnel who made 2001’s A Beautiful Mind: director Ron Howard; Crowe and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. Despite it’s unfair depiction of Braddock’s opponent Max Baer (who in reality was distraught at the death of an opponent who died in the ring and not the one-dimensional villain show here), it manages to convey the grim reality of 30s America and Paul Giamatti steals most of the scenes he crops up in as Braddock’s manager. It hit all the notes you would expect from a mainstream boxing film (underdog, triumph against odds, relatives tune in on the radio etc) but is still an engaging and beautifully made film.

> Buy Cinderella Man at Amazon UK


Red Eye
(Universal Pictures Video, 12): Disposable but mindlessly entertaining thriller about a hotel manager (Rachel McAdams) embroiled in an assassination plot when she ends up sitting next to a sinister stranger (Cillian Murphy) on the ‘red eye’ flight from Dallas to Miami. Surprisingly short for a mainstream film (it clocks in at just 85 minutes) it contains several improbabilities (especially towards the end) but director Wes Craven keeps things ticking along nicely.

> Buy Red Eye at Amazon UK


The Aristocrats
(Pathe, 18): An interesting and gloriously foul-mouthed documentary about an old joke that comedians have told each other down the years. Veteran alternative comedians Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza capitalise on their insider status to invite over 100 of their closest friends (who just happen to be some of the biggest names in comedy) to reminisce, analyse, deconstruct and deliver their own versions of the world’s dirtiest joke that always has to centre around an old burlesque routine known as ‘the aristocrats’. Although it gets a little repetitive there is a lot to enjoy here especially the routines from a magician and actor Kevin Pollack telling the joke in the style of Christopher Walken.

> Buy The Aristocrats on DVD at Amazon UK

USEFUL LINK

> Browse other DVDs out this week at Amazon UK

At The Cinema 27.01.06

It is an unusually good week for cinema releases. Munich, The New World and Hidden are three of the best films I’ve seen in the last 12 months although Bee Season is perhaps best left for die-hard Richard Gere fans.


Munich
(UIP, 15): Steven Spielberg’s examination of the aftermath of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics is a riveting piece of cinema. Despite the flak the film has taken from those with axes to grind, it is a tense and thoughtful depiction of the limitations of revenge. Click here for a full review.

> Official Site
> IMDb Entry
> Reviews of Munich at Metacritic


The New World
(Entertainment Films, 15): Reclusive director Terence Malick doesn’t make a film very often, but when he does they are usually poetic and beautifully crafted masterpieces (e.g. Badlands, Days of Heaven & The Thin Red Line). His latest is no exception, a slow but spellbinding feast for the senses. The plot is a retelling of the Pocahontas tale, set against the backdrop of the founding of the Jamestown Virginia settlement in 1607 when European explorers first encountered Native Americans. Colin Farrell stars as John Smith, the man who forms a strong connection with Pocahontas (a magical performance from newcomer Q’Orianka Kilcher) and Christian Bale plays John Rolfe, the aristocrat she eventually ends up marrying. Like his other films, it contains some truly stunning visuals, the trademark introspective voiceovers and a memorable score from James Horner. Not for everyone perhaps, but a reminder of what a unique director Malick is even if it doesn’t quite scale the heights of his previous works.

> Official Site
> IMDb Entry
> Reviews of The New World at Metacritic


Hidden [aka Caché]
(Artificial Eye, 15): A chilling drama from Austrian director Michael Haneke about Georges (Daniel Auteuil), a television talk show host, and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-to-do Parisian couple who start receiving anonymous videos of their home. Initially perplexed, they gradually start to suspect something sinister. Who is behind the videos? Why are they being filmed? Haneke expertly unfolds the narrative with an icy precision as Georges sees his complacent lifestyle slowly unravel. Weaving history and politics into the mix, Hidden is all the more subversive because the protagonist would appear to be eerily similar to the target audience for this film. It also contains one of the most shocking scenes of recent years. Superb filmmaking on every level.

> Official Site
> IMDb Entry
> Reviews of Hidden at Metacritic


Bee Season
(Fox, 12A): A twee and seemingly derivative take on 2002’s documentary Spellbound, with Richard Gere as a Jewish scholar whose family starts to fall apart after his precocious daughter (Flora Cross) competes in America’s national spelling bee. Juliette Binoche stars as his wife and Max Minghella plays his son. Although the actors do their best, the narrative never really engages the interest and there are more than a few echoes of Little Man Tate (another film about a brainy child). It is hard to think that this was directed by the same pair who made The Deep End in 2001 (Scott McGehee and David Siegel). Whereas that film held the attention like a vice, Bee Season ends up drowning in a sea of spirituality and sentiment.

> Official Site
> IMDb Entry
> Reviews of Bee Season at Metacritic

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK THAT I DIDN’T CATCH

Rumor Has It (Warner Bros, 12A): Romantic comedy with Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Mark Ruffalo and Shirley MacLaine.

> Official Site
> IMDb Entry
> Reviews of Rumor Has It at Metacritic

Frozen (Guerilla Films, 15): According to an IMDb user comment it is “A haunting story of a woman’s search for her missing sister”.

> Official Site
> IMDB Entry
> Reviews of Frozen via the IMDb

USEFUL LINKS
> Get UK showtimes for all these releases via Google
> Get showtimes via EasyCinema

Munich

Steven Spielberg’s latest film is a bold and riveting examination of the aftermath of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
 
At this stage in his career as Hollywood’s most commercially successful director, one might have expected Steven Spielberg to take it easy. In some ways he has. His most recent efforts (Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal) have been well made but nothing to really compare with his best work and if anything suffered from excessive sentimentality. The same cannot be said of Munich. A densely constructed and gripping drama, its technical brilliance is only matched by the brave and unflinching way it looks into one of the world’s most charged political and religious conflicts.
 
Based on George Jonas’ 1984 book Vengeance, it dramatises the murder of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 games and the mission of retribution that followed. The film starts with the massacre at Munich (later returning to it in flashback) and we eventually see the creation of a covert hit squad led by Avner (Eric Bana) a young Israeli intelligence officer. Briefed by a senior Mossad agent (Geoffrey Rush), he is asked to leave his pregnant wife and hunt down the 11 men accused of masterminding the murders at Munich. The squad travel across Europe carrying out their orders, but as the death toll mounts they slowly start to question their mission.
 
Before we go any further it is worth pointing out that Munich is a work of historical fiction. Although it is based on real events, the central plot features many characters that are either composites or inventions. With that in mind, Spielberg has opted to examine the fallout of the Munich massacre in an unusual but effective way. Instead of the more measured approach to history he adopted in films like Schindler’s List and Amistad, we are plunged into a visceral 70s style thriller in the manner of The Conversation and The Parallax View. It might seem an uncomfortable angle through which to approach such a weighty subject, but it works brilliantly and manages to keep us thinking and guessing about the underlying issues right until the end.
 
As each assassination attempt unfolds, the viewer is subjected to the gruelling tensions that surround it: the possibility of things going wrong; the awful aftermath of explosions; the dangers of retribution and the moral questions that inevitably follow. All this is done with such technical skill and unflinching attention to detail, that the audience is also forced to consider the consequences of what they are watching. The Munich massacre itself is a good example. Staged with a precision that makes it hard to watch, the seamless integration of existing footage and some ingenious editing drag us right into the horrors of what happened in that fateful night. The sequence bookends the film and serves as a constant reminder of why the targeted assassinations became unofficial government policy.
 
As you might expect from a Spielberg film, the technical contributions are first rate, but here they deserve special mention. Rick Carter’s production design is a remarkable recreation of 70s Europe, Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography gives each location a memorable look and feel, whilst Michael Kahn’s editing lends depth to the more introspective moments and energy to the set pieces. As for Spielberg, he successfully manages to fuse different thematic and narrative elements so that we have neither a straight thriller or intelligent drama but a powerful combination of both.
 
In the lead role of Avner, Eric Bana gives an excellent performance that portrays a kaleidoscope of emotions as we see him progress from raw recruit to a haunted killer. The supporting cast are equally as good: Ciarán Hinds exudes an aura of experience as the man who cleans up after each killing; Daniel Craig highlights the angst and anger of the group as Steve, the South African driver; Mathieu Kassovitz (himself an accomplished director) as the bomb maker is the nervy voice of guilt; whilst Hanns Zischler highlights the civilian nature of the team as the quiet forger.
 
Munich is a brave departure from what might be expected of Hollywood’s most high profile filmmaker. The film’s stark look at the problems faced when dealing with terrorism resonates strongly today and it is partly the topicality that has helped fuel the response from some critics. It also provides uncomfortable questions for those on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Who has the moral high ground? Is violence the poison or the cure? What will it take for the conflict to end? Such questions anger people on both sides, because they are convinced of their own position.
 
Some have attacked the film for being ‘soft’ on terrorists or being ‘even-handed’ to the point of condoning what happened at Munich. Such criticisms seem to me to be largely without merit and appear to reveal more about the biases of the observer rather than anything about this film. But what in the end is Munich actually saying? The principle theme would appear to be the limitations of revenge but if anything the overwhelming feeling at the end of Munich is one of despair, of people trapped in a nightmarish vortex of violence they cannot escape.
 
To the credit of Spielberg and his two credited screenwriters, Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, the film doesn’t offer any easy answers or ‘sentimental solutions’. The climax and striking dénouement of the film (especially the closing shot) is sure to provoke a lot of discussion, as it is more ambiguous and disturbing than might be expected. But in an age where any kind of intelligent discourse is frowned upon in some quarters because it may lead to the ‘betrayal’ of a political or religious belief, surely we need more films like Munich. Not only is it amongst the most challenging films of the last 12 months, it is one of the most accomplished of Spielberg’s illustrious career.
 
 
MORE DETAIL

> Official Site
> IMDb Link
> Reviews of Munich at Metacritic
> Wikipedia Article on the Munich Massacre
> Spielberg interview with Christopher Goodwin in the Sunday Times discussing the aims and criticisms of the film
> Screenwriter Tony Kushner defends the film in the LA Times
> The Observer’s veteran correspondent Neal Ascherson on the film
> Michelle Goldberg in Der Spiegel reports on the criticisms of the film
> Time magazine’s (then) exclusive interview with Spielberg (via The Hot Blog)
> David Thompson with an intelligent dissection of the film in The Independent
> Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine is angered by the film
> Yossi Melman and Steven Hartov dispute the facts which inspired the film in The Guardian
> A detailed discussion of the plot at The Hot Button (spoilers)
> Cinematical on the BAFTA DVD screener screw up