Changes to the sidebar

I’ve made some changes to the sidebar to make the site a little more user friendly.

You can now check out news feeds from Yahoo Movies and Digg, plus you can now see what films are coming at UK cinemas each week.

There is also a list of films I’ve recently enjoyed that are linked to my Flixster account and you can now click through to the latest trailers at Apple.

You can also now translate this site in to German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic and Russian.

Let me know what you think of the changes and if you have any suggestions just use the contact page or leave a comment below.

General Thoughts

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.

General Thoughts

Enough of the TV adaptations

The Dukes of Hazzard is just the latest in a long line of lame TV adaptations from the major studios – surely its time for them to look elesewhere for decent ideas.

If you’re a Hollywood exuctive in charge of greenlighting films then the allure of remaking a TV show is fairly simple. There is a built in awareness from the audiences who caught the show first time around (so less marketing costs) and there is the opportunity to build a franchise from the material already laid out in the show’s many episodes. To be fair, some adaptations have been reasonably entertaining. The Fugitive was a solid thriller and Mission: Impossible was pleasingly slick but it is hard to really come up with something truly outstanding that had it’s origins in TV.


Oscars 2005 – The Winners

Best Film: Million Dollar Baby

Best Director: Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx – Ray

Best Actress: Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett – The Aviator

Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby

Best Foreign Language Film: The Sea Inside – Spain

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor – Sideways

Best Music (song): Al Otro Lado Del Rio – The Motorcycle Diaries

Best Music (score): Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – Finding Neverland

Best Documentary (Short Subject): Mighty Times: The Children’s March

Sound Editing: The Incredibles

Best Sound Mixing: Ray

Best Cinematography: The Aviator

Best Animated Short Film: Ryan

Best Short Film: Wasp

Best Visual Effects: Spider-Man 2

Best Documentary Feature: Born into Brothels

Film Editing: The Aviator

Best Costume Design: The Aviator

Best Make-up: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Best Animated Feature Film: The Incredibles

Best Art Direction: The Aviator

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sidney Lumet

The full and official list of nominees and winners can be found here.


The Oscars – Live

Million Dollar Baby wins Best Picture. All the technical awards for The Aviator didn’t in the end lead to a cleansweep and the lower key drama of Eastwood’s film triumphs. As usual the best film in the five nominated (Sideways) didn’t win, although it has got a lot of valuable and unexpected exposure from the awards season.

As for Million Dollar Baby I think it is a fine piece of work but in a year that saw such films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Before Sunset and Vera Drake miss out on Best Picture and marginalised to only a few nominations, well, something has to be clearly wrong. Ray and Finding Neverland were good but certainly not Best Picture material in my view.

Well, that’s it for another year. Not a great one to be perfectly honest as the two main contenders were not outstanding. The highlight was probably the two screenwriting awards. Charlie Kaufman winning Best Original Screenplay for the dazzling Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor winning Best Adapted Screenplay for Sideways.

That’s it from me. Good night.


The Oscars – Live

Clint Eastwood wins his second Best Director Oscar and Scorcese is snubbed again!

Clint remarks that he’s just a kid compared to Sidney Lumet which provokes some laughter but Scorcese looks very sad. I have mixed feelings. Clearly Scorcese is one of the great American directors but I think The Aviator is an average film. I’d rather he won for a film that was really good than win because of a sympathy vote. That said you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Maybe a smaller budget and more restrained film (like, say, Million Dollar Baby) would bag him the Oscar he covets.


The Oscars – Live

Now it’s time for the big guns. Sean Penn starts off the nominations with a babrbed defence of Jude Law after Chris Rock made a joke about the British actor. True to my prediction Swank wins for Million Dollar Baby. Only 30 years old and she has two Oscars. Remarkable if you think about the kind of films she has done since Boy’s Don’t Cry (e.g. The Core, The Affair of the Necklace etc). But she is a deserving winner although personally I would have gone for Kate Winslet.

Gwyneth Paltrow seems incredibly chuffed as she presents Best Foreign Film to Alejandro Amenebar for The Sea Inside.

Best Actor goes to (suprise, surprise) Jamie Foxx for Ray. I can’t think of a bigger favourite for the award in recent years and it proves the unofficial Oscar acting rule which is “characters with disabilities win”. See Dustin Hoffman for Rain Man, Daniel Day Lewis for My Left Foot, Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump – the list could go on and on. That’s not to say they were undeserving winners but it seems to be a factor in many past Oscar wins. Having said all that, Jamie Fox did give the best performance of those nominated.

Best Director next and I fear Martin Scorcese will be snubbed again. We shall see…

Wins so far:

– Best animated short film: Ryan
– Best Actress: Hilary Swank for Boys Don�t Cry
– Best Foreign Film: The Sea Inside
– Best Actor: Jamie Fox for Ray


The Oscars – Live

At last Sideways wins an award. In truth Best Adapted Screenplay was probably its best shot. The Aviator seems to be on a roll and if it keeps picking up technical awards then I think it might clinch Best Film. But I still think Million Dollar Baby will win Best Picture & Best Director. More winners: – Best Documentary: Born Into Brothels – Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett – Costume Design: The Aviator – Film Editing: The Aviator – Visual Effects: Spider-Man 2 – Adapted Screenplay: Sideways At the moment Beyonce is performing a song from Phantom of the Opera. That looked like it could be an early contender back in November but it’s heartening that lower key fare such as Sideways and Million Dollar Baby got more recognition. Al Pacino just presented Sidney Lumet with an honoury Oscar – about time too. As I write this the winner of Best Short Film (Live Action) has said that it the award is "the dog’s bollocks". I wonder if the American audience got that particular reference…


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.


The Honourable Mentions of 2004

Here are my ‘honourable mentions’ of 2004. They are the films that impressed me but just fell short of making the final ‘films of the year’ list.

Collateral: Michael Mann�s latest was slick and stylish though not quite up to the standard of his best work.

Dogville: Lars Von Trier often seems to revel in infuriating his critics and some US reviewers fell right into his trap by taking his ideas and aesthetic way too seriously. Despite a ponderous middle hour this contained some of the year�s funniest moments on film.

Fahrenheit 9/11: The hype and carefully constructed publicity campaign overshadowed the final film, yet despite it�s faults it was still a breath of fresh air to see current affairs make it into the multiplexes this summer.

Garden State: This accomplished debut from writer/director and star Zach Braff featured one of the year�s best soundtracks and contained some wonderful touches in it�s tale of an actor return home to his New Jersey hometown.

Girl With A Pearl Earring: Some literary adaptations can be stodgy affairs but Peter Webber�s take on Tracy Chevalier�s best seller contained a satisfying degree of passion in telling the story of Vermeer and his mysterious muse. Eduardo Serra�s cinematography more than did justice to the Dutch artist�s use of colour and light.

House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimou�s second film out this year was not quite as good as Hero but it was still a feast for the eyes. Whilst it lacked the style and beauty of Yimou�s other film it still contained some of the years best action scenes.

Man On Fire: Some US critics detested this thriller starring Denzel Washington as a bodyguard on a mission of revenge in Mexico City. Whilst the style trumps the content, I thought it was one of the more gripping and technically impressive films of the year. Despite the well worn revenge premise and some corny lines, Tony Scott�s visual style and the sound editing made it an engrossing experience.


The First Post

So this is it – the first post of FILMdetail. What is it? Basically it�s a blog about all things related to film – reviews, news and links. You get the general idea. I’ll post a FAQ soon addressing such questions as to how the site got its name, who is behind it and other trivia but until then we�ll just get on with things. I�m sure the look and feel of the site will evolve and any feedback is always welcome in the Comment sections or by email: filmdetail at gmail dot com.