The Oscars – Live

So the fist big prediction of the evening is wrong. I think my heart ruled my head in going for Thomas Hayden Church over Morgan Freeman. I still hope Sideways wins something – it is clearly the best film at these awards and is one of the films that would benefit from an Oscar win.

As for the show itself, it seems surprisingly free of the dance numbers and usual opening show rubbish. So far, so good.

The winners so far:

– Art Direction: The Aviator
– Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby
– Animated Feature: The Incredibles
– Makeup: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Chris Rock is actually doing a fine job as presenter (there’s still time for him to offend people). The current sketch has him going to a local movie theatre in LA to prove Hollywood is not out of touch. He asks them their favourite movie of last year and the replies ranged from Alien vs Predator, The Chronicles of Riddick and White Chicks. I’m pretty sure it was staged but it was still very funny. Why not have a laugh at the worst films of last year and the goons who are constantly moaning about liberal Hollywood?

The Oscars – Live

Welcome to FILMdetail’s live coverage of the 77th Academy Awards. Here are my predictions for the main categories.

The Aviator
Million Dollar Baby
Finding Neverland

Who will win: Million Dollar Baby
Who should win: Sideways

Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx – Ray
Don Cheadle – Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp – Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Who will win: Jamie Foxx
Who should win: Jamie Fox

Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby
Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake
Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Annette Bening – Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno – Maria Full of Grace

Who will win: Hilary Swank
Who should win: Imelda Staunton

Martin Scorsese – The Aviator
Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Alexander Payne – Sideways
Taylor Hackford – Ray
Mike Leigh – Vera Drake

Who will win: Clint Eastwood
Who should win: Alexander Payne

Alan Alda – The Aviator
Clive Owen – Closer
Jamie Foxx – Collateral
Thomas Haden Church – Sideways
Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby

Who will win: Thomas Haden Church
Who should win: Thomas Haden Church

Cate Blanchett – The Aviator
Virginia Madsen – Sideways
Laura Linney – Kinsey
Sophie Okonedo – Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman – Closer

Who will win: Cate Blanchett – The Aviator
Who should win: Virginia Madsen – Sideways

Updates and commentary will follow throughout the evening. Let’s hope they don’t open the show with a stupid self congratulatory dance number.

Team America: World Police

Whilst this gleeful satire on the “War on Terror” featuring marionettes instead of actors has some hilarious moments, the film as a whole doesn’t quite match the brilliance of the initial concept.

When the trailers first appeared for Team America: World Police it seemed that Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the creators of South Park) had managed to achieve the impossible. They had seemingly convinced a major Hollywood studio (Paramount) to fund a riotous satire on the foreign policy of the current US administration – with puppets. Could it be true? Given the current political climate Stateside you would think it unlikely at best. And you would be right. Well, sort of. Whilst the the film does take aim at the patriotic fervour lying at the heart of recent conflicts it also reserves plenty of venom for the liberals who have denounced such adventures.

Continue reading “Team America: World Police”

Million Dollar Baby

It may not be the masterpiece some US critics have suggested but Clint Eastwood’s latest film is a moving and refreshingly restrained boxing drama.

Continuing a trend in Eastwood’s recent career, Million Dollar Baby seems to be a subconscious subversion of his earlier career. In the early 90s Unforgiven re-examined the violence of the Westerns that established him as a star, whilst last year’s Mystic River was a cop drama that turned the revenge themes of the Dirty Harry movies on their head, with its focus on victims over heroes. Continuing the trend Million Dollar Baby seems to be a more serious revision of Every Which Way But Loose, the critically reviled hit that had Clint fist fight his way across America with a pet orang-utan. Instead broad comedy we have a much more serious examination of the highs and lows of boxing.

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Mike Nichols must have seemed the perfect choice to direct the film version of Patrick Marber’s play, a funny and sharp exploration of modern relationships. But despite the pedigree behind the camera and a terrific cast, the end result is cold and curiously lifeless.

The story involves two couples whose relationships intersect over a four-year period in London. When Alice (Natalie Portman), an American stripper, meets a journalist called Dan (Jude Law) they strike up a relationship. A few years on Dan meets a photographer, Anna (Julia Roberts), and decides to flirt with her. She initially rejects his advances and instead ends up going out with a dermatologist called Larry (Clive Owen). Undeterred, Dan meets up with Anna a year later at an exhibition of her work and they begin cheating on their respective lovers.

Continue reading “Closer”