United 93 Trailer and Website

The website for United 93 – the Paul Greengrass directed film about United Airlines Flight 93 that was formerly known as Flight 93 – seems to have gotten an extensive update, which also features a new trailer. It will be the first major motion picture to deal explicitly with the events of 9/11.

The teaser trailer was eerie and the new trailer seems to suggest that the film will be well made and sensitive. Greengrass demonstrated with both Bloody Sunday and The Bourne Supremacy that he is a director who can tackle a difficult political subject whilst also crafting an intelligent mainstream thriller. He would seem to be an excellent choice to direct this film.

In just over a month (April 28th) it will open at US cinemas (it opens in the UK on Sept 1st). Will it be accused of insensitivity to the victims? Will right wing bloggers attack it as liberal Hollywood rewriting history? Will left wing commentators accuse it of not providing enough context on the events since 9/11?

Watching the trailer is disturbing. Although the events have been covered many times in numerous news programmes and documentaries, there is something quite different about seeing it as part of a motion picture. In a strange way it feels more ‘real’ than the news images we are now so familiar with.

I’m sure that in the next few weeks there will be more discussion about this film but in the meantime do leave some comments about the trailer and any thoughts you might have about this and the other 9/11 film out this year – Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Is it too early for these films to come out? Or will they be sensible meditations on a recent historical event?

> United 93 Official Site
> Watch the trailer
> Official Site for World Trade Center
> The September 11 Digital Archive

Apologies and updates…

Apologies for not posting over the last few days. A hectic work schedule and the oncoming effects of a cold have kept me busy. Just to prove I’ve not been too lazy, since I last wrote I’ve seen the following films:

Plus, I interviewed Brian Cox (who stars in The Ringer) and David Morrissey (who stars in Basic Instinct 2), both of which will air soon on the Mike Mendoza show on TalkSPORT.

Bizarrely, and without wanting to descend into Heat-style celebrity spotting I saw the following people in and around London this week in a non-professional capacity: 

A bizarre week all-round then.

Post-Oscar thoughts

So Crash won Best Picture. It seems some members of the Academy did know how to quit Brokeback Mountain after all. It’s a shame as Ang Lee’s film (along with all the other Best Picture nominees) were superior to the LA set racial drama. But just how often do the Oscars ever award the best film “Best Picture”? It is a surprisingly rare occurrence. The only one’s I can think of in recent memory were The Return of the King, American Beauty and Schindler’s List. And let’s not forget that recent Best Picture winners have included Chicago, Braveheart and Driving Miss Daisy. Maybe in the long run Brokeback Mountain will be more admired because it didn’t win, in the same way we now look back fondly at Goodfellas (beaten by Dances with Wolves in 1990) and Raging Bull (beaten by Ordinary People in 1980). But never mind.

Some other random thoughts:

  • How on earth did Memoirs of a Geisha win so many technical awards?
  • Jon Stewart was actually OK as a host despite some rocky moments of blankness from the Hollywood throng. The pre-prepared Daily Show-style segments were excellent but I think Stewart struggled to modify his style to a very different environment.
  • The whole ceremony seemed a lot better paced than in years gone by.
  • There was little sign of any tedious “This is Hollywood” dance routines. Thank God.
  • The main reason Crash won was the flood of Lionsgate DVDs
  • I think Flags of Our Fathers will win Best Picture next year.

Anyway, here are some post-Oscar links for you to peruse:

> David Poland dissects the Oscars at The Hot Button
> Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily posts her ‘I told you so’ piece on the Crash upset (she predicted a Crash upset quite a while ago)
> Kenneth Turan of the LA Times is pissed that Crash won
> Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere is upset too
> The hilarious "Gay Cowboy Montage" from last night’s show over at YouTube
> The Guardian review the night in quotes
> Kristopher Tapley at Movie City News reviews the evening
> Defamer do a roundup of the Oscar live blogs
> Jackie Finlay from BBC News on who said what backstage
> Andy Denhart of MSNBC with a slightly unfair assessment of Jon Stewart as Oscar host
> USA Today on what we never saw on TV
> Jocelyn Noveck of the AP asks if there was a Brokeback Backlash
> Roger Ebert reports from the Oscars
> David Carr on the LA aspect to the Crash win
> Lynn Elber of the AP on the TV ratings drop for the Oscar telecast
> Wikipedia’s incredibly detailed entry on what happened at the 78th Academy Awards

The Oscar Winners in full

Best Picture
Crash

Best Director
Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney – Syriana

Best Supporting Actress
Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener

Best Animated Feature Film
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Foreign Language Film
Tsotsi (South Africa)

Best Original Screenplay
Crash

Best Adapted Screenplay
Brokeback Mountain

Best Documentary Feature
March of the Penguins

Best Cinematography
Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Visual Effects
King Kong

Best Art Direction
Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Film Editing
Crash

Best Sound Mixing
King Kong

Sound Editing
King Kong

Best Music (Song)
It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp – Hustle and Flow

Best Music (Score)
Brokeback Mountain

Best Costume Design
Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Make-up
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Best Short Film
Six Shooter

Best Animated Short Film
The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation

Best Documentary Short Subject
A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert Altman