Loft

YEAR: 2008

WRITER: Bart De Pauw

DIRECTOR: Erik Van Looy

BUDGET: €3,200,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $7,075,161 (Belgium)

i found Loft during one of my browsing-through-netflix movie days. Except for the very brief synopsis i knew nothing about the movie besides the fact that it was a dutch-language belgium film. then it started playing and although there were subtitles, i understood what the characters were saying. did i speak dutch all of a sudden? was i like george in that episode of Sienfeld when he stops having sex and becomes a genius and is able to learn portuguese in a few minutes? nope, i hadn't somehow osmosised the dutch language into my vocabulary... they were speaking french. for some reason, netflix is presenting this dutch-language film, dubbed in french with english subtitles. go figure.

now back to Loft...

Loft is a mystery/crime/thriller about five married friends who share a loft that they use as a place to take their mistresses and female encounters. one day they find a dead women in the loft... what happened? well, i could tell you, but i won't.

the story is told mostly through flashbacks as the men are questioned by the police and the film does a nice job of revealing enough, but not too much too soon. and i will admit that i had certain suspicions, but until all was revealed, i wasn't able to figure out how it had played out. you will be trying to figure it out though.

the story is well put together and it isn't, as is sometimes the case with mystery/thrillers, so convoluted that when certain things are revealed you feel cheated. although, i wasn't sure who had done it, or why, as the pieces came together, i saw that the clues had been there and i had ignored them (actually, i had picked up on a few of them, but then dismissed them and allowed myself to be misdirected). the film builds nicely and the director does a good job of creating an ambience of tension with the score, the editing and the cinematography.

ridiculous language/dubbing issues aside, Loft is worth a look next time you are browsing through netflix wondering what to watch. although, if you could find it in it's original language with subtitles than of course go for that one.

p.s. it looks like there was a 2010 remake of the film made in the netherlands. and an upcomming, 2012, american remake that is being directed by the director of the original film, erik van looy

El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill)

YEAR: 2007

WRITER: Gonzalo López-Gallego (screenplay), Javier Gullón (screenplay & story)

DIRECTOR: Gonzalo López-Gallego

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: ?

nope, this isn't a spanish live action movie based on the animated tv series. There is no football or chubby little kids or neighbors who talk in a mumbled speech. however, what happens to the characters in the film, while it might seem very surprising to most everyone, would probably not come as a shock to dale gribble - the most paranoid character on the show - who always thinks people are after him.

El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill) begins with a man stopping to get gas. he goes to the bathroom while he is filling up his car and in the bathroom he meets an attractive woman and they have sex. i know, it sounds like a good thing right? well, in this case it begins a chain of events that lead to him, and said woman, running through the woods being stalked by unknown snipers.

who are these snipers and why are they after them? we don't know (i guess calling them "unknown" snipers in the previous statement kind of implied that didn't it?). eventually we get a little info about what is going on, but it really is just cursory. and that's enough.

this is a thriller that gets its thrills from throwing these characters into a very scary situation and putting us there with them. until near the end of the movie we are just as scared and confused as they are. where do we run, how can we hide, what do we do? that is what creates the tension and it works.

for awhile i thought that maybe we would never know who the snipers were or why they were doing what they were doing. and part of me was kinda hoping that was the case.

many times films spend the bulk of their time building questions and giving away very little, only to throw it all at you near the end. i just find that, often, when not done properly, this leads to disappointment when the explained is bigger than the movie or when the explanation seems to negate a lot of what we had seen throughout the film and looking back it feels like they were even hiding the clues from us and the big "surprise" was all that mattered.

however, in the final act of El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill), we do get a look at it from the sniper's side - and while this threatened to diminish the movie for me, it ended up being alright. just like the rest of the film that was simple and didn't rely on lots of back story or character development beyond what they go through because of the situation they are in, so too is the "sniper's story/explanation."

once you see the film you will probably immediately recognize the scenario/story from a number of other films that have done it (i would name them, but in so doing it would be a little spoiler). and i would have to say that El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill) is the one that has done it best!

Tulpan

YEAR: 2008

WRITER: Sergei Dvortsevoy & Gennadi Ostrovsky

DIRECTOR: Sergei Dvortsevoy

BUDGET: €2,150,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $156,331 (as of August 30th, 2009)

i was trying to think of a way to describe Tulpan and the thought that first came into my head was that it was like Seinfeld. how can a film that takes place on the dry and dusty kazakhstan steppes be anything like Seinfeld you ask? well, one way to describe Tulpan would be to say it is a film about nothing - at least on the surface.

remember that episode of Seinfeld when george is pitching the idea for a show about nothing to nbc executives and he asks them what they did that day? one of them responds to the effect of, "i got up. brushed my teeth and had breakfast and came to work." and george enthusiastically responds, "that's a show!"

if george had been talking to the characters in Tulpan, they would have responded in russian and kazakh and they would have said something like, "got up. herded sheep, got water and supplies from the old truck that came around. protected ourselves from a dust tornado that swept over the deserted land. made food using elementary tools. sat around and had a meal with family. went to bed all aligned on the floor of our yurt." and george would have responded, "that's a movie!"

the camera takes us into their world almost as a documentary would. i don't mean that in the way that the camera work is, as some assume when the term documentary-style is used, all hand held. but rather in how the story is told.

the film is like a "day in the life" of these characters (actually it is more like a couple days). some scenes linger longer than they would in most films and some scenes portray very simple and daily tasks that might be easily cut out of other films. but not this one. because that is who these people are. that is how we get to know them and care for them and experience a culture and connection with their environment that many of us have never seen or experienced or considered.

on the surface Tulpan is such a simple film in its production and storytelling. but it is also completely engaging in the experience that when the main character has his big revelatory moment i felt the smile on my face and throughout my entire body.

2011 Oscar Predictions

 

WILL WIN are in bold

DID WIN are  big

MY SCORE: 18/24

despite anne hathaway's efforts and enthusiasm, the 2011 academy awards will go down as one of the worst i have ever seen. not because of who won or lost, but i'm talking the show itself.

besides the funny put-the-hosts-in-the-movies opening, there was barely a laugh or moment of excitement to be found (except when i won the pool i was in of course). the remixed songs was fun and the bob hope part was nice (although, seeing billy crystal out there to introduce it just made it more obvious what a great host he was and how anne and james just couldn't match up). but other than that the show was pretty dull.

as for my predictions: i did ok this year. 18/24 isn't bad and i did get 2/3 in the shorts categories which is where many pools are often won or lost. however, there were a few categories that, looking back, i'm not sure what i was thinking. i think i got a little too into the idea that The King's Speech wave would sweep up other categories that i missed, the now-obvious, Alice In Wonderland in art direction and costume design. and those of you who listened to the prediction episode of the podcast know how close i was to going with the winners in editing, documentary feature and foreign film (but, alas i didn't). so 18/24 it is. one better than last year and my second best showing since i started doing the podcast. how did you all do?

 

BEST PICTURE
The King's Speech
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The Fighter

 

 BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams , The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Christian Bale , The Fighter
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo , The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman , Black Swan
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Nicole Kidman , Rabbit Hole
Michelle Williams , Blue Valentine

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem , Biutiful
Jeff Bridges , True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth , The King's Speech
James Franco , 127 Hours

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Another Year , Mike Leigh
The Fighter , Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Keith Dorrington
Inception , Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right , Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech , David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 Hours , Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network , Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 , Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich
True Grit , Joel and Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone , Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Biutiful
Dogtooth
In a Better World
Incendies
Outside the Law

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception
The King's Speech
True Grit

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
Jon Harris, 127 Hours
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
Adrien Morot, Barney's Version
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng, The Way Back
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Coming Home” from Country Strong, Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled, Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours, Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Inception
Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Inception
The King’s Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

Micmacs (Micmacs A Tire-Larigot)

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant

DIRECTOR: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

BUDGET: €27,000,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $1,260,917 (USA)

 

few directors take full advantage of the medium in which they work like jean-pierre jeunet. one of the premier directors around, jeunet is one of those film makers for me, whose name on a film is reason enough to go see it. and Micmacs is yet another example of him at the top of his game.

when he was a boy, bazil's father was killed by a landmine in morocco and years later by a completely random turn of events he himself was shot by a stray bullet. he survived but lost his job and ended up on the street - there are some brilliant scenes during this part of the film that harken back to classic silent film and both the scenes and the performance by dany boon (bazil) would make buster keaton and charlie chaplin proud.

while on the streets he meets an eccentric junk yard dealers who take him into their "family" (you got a contortionist, an ex convict, a math genius, a human cannonball, etc... you get the idea). one day, by complete chance, he stumbles upon the two weapons manufacturers that built the landmines that killed his dad and the bullets that hit him. with the help of his friends he begins an intricate plan to destroy them both...

while there are obviously many ways this story could be told. but, imagine it in the hands of the director of Delicatessen and Amelie. well, it is even better then you imagined. Jeunet is at the top of his game and the film is a brilliantly conceived and accomplished dark comedy/quirky/fable that is more than just a feast for your eyes. i have talked about this idea before, but it bears repeating in the context of this film...

unlike other film makers who can create a great visual experience, jeunet is able to bring all the pieces together to make great films. the characters and the script and the complete originality had me engaged and excited watching this film - it had my eyes and ears glued to the screen.

i was excited by every scene and i was excited to see where the film would take me... and speaking of the visual style: it isn't a gimmick here. it encompasses the characters and the story and the way the story is told. it all works together perfectly.

Five Minutes Of Heaven

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Guy Hibbert

DIRECTOR: Oliver Hirschbiegel

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $13,217

between 2001 and 2005, director oliver hirschbiegel made four films in his native germany - two of which were the pretty good Das Experiment and the great Downfall (i haven't seen the other two yet). then in 2007 he faltered with his first english language film, the not good movie that was The Invasion (check out my discussion of all four Invasion Of The Body Snatchers versions here).

thankfully he got back up on the horse and in 2009 delivered Five Minutes Of Heaven, a film about truth and reconciliation that in a way is a reconciliation of its own with fans of hirschbiegel who had had to sit through The Invasion - okay, so that's me being a bit over dramatic, but i liked the metaphor so i went with it.

Five Minutes Of Heaven begins in northern ireland in 1975. alistair little is 17 years old and a member of the uvf and he is getting ready to kill his first catholic. the problem is that when he gets to the house to do it, the victims 11-year old younger brother, joe griffin is outside and alistair does it right in front of him.

cut to 33 years later and both boys (now grown men) are being driven separately to a house where a television show has promoted and arranged for the two men to meet for the first time since that night. the crew is there and everyone is ready to film the meeting and that first handshake leading to truth and reconciliation.

in the ensuing years since the incident, little did serve 12 years in prison and since then has traveled a lot, had many speaking engagements, has been involved in helping other reconciliations and has become a bit of a celebrity. the way his driver and the tv crew all talk to him with almost reverence is a little eerie.

on the other hand, griffin has never got over it. his mother basically blamed him for what had happened - saying that he didn't do anything to stop it - and never forgave him. he has lived for 33 years with the image of what happened and the guilt and anger from his own mother weighing on him. while the tv crew and cameras are there to capture the truth and reconciliation, joe griffin wants revenge.

both neeson and nesbitt give strong performances and guy hibbert's script is allowed to shine as herschbiegel takes a very simple approach to the story telling. the film almost feels like a play as it plays out in but a few locations - thus putting the dialogue and the performances front and centre.

although things don't go as smoothly in the film, after having watched Five Minutes In Heaven i would be more than willing to meet director oliver hirschbiegle in person and shake his hand and reconcile with him and forgive him for the pain he caused me - and every other theatre goer - that had to sit through The Invasion.

The Secret In Their Eyes (El Secreto De Sus Ojos)

YEAR: 2009

WRITER & DIRECTOR: Juan Jose Campanella

BUDGET: $2,000,000 (estimated)

GROSS (USA): $6,207,191

if The Secret In Their Eyes sounds familiar it may be because you watched the academy awards earlier this year and saw this film win the oscar for best foreign language film. it beat out my pick, The White Ribbon and at the time i was a little surprised because i thought The White Ribbon was a good film and it seemed to have all the "hype" behind it (what with also getting a cinematography nod and having a director with a name behind it - michael haneke).

well don't call me surprised anymore. having just seen The Secret In Their Eyes i can tell you that the academy voters definitely made the right choice.

the film takes place in buenos aires in 1999 as retired argentinian federal justice agent benjamín espósito is writing a novel, using an old closed case as the source material. the case happened 25 years ago and it is one that he has never been able to forget. the film cuts back and forth between present day (1999) and the mid-70s as events unfolded.

while the case is at the heart of the film, this isn't a whodunit. in fact the mystery of the crime isn't that complicated nor is it the focus of the movie. really the crimes effect on the characters is what matters here. from esposito to his friend sandoval, their boss irene (who he has been in love with for 25 years) and the victims husband.

it was interesting, because it doesn't take them that long to figure out who actually committed the horrific crime. and as i watched, part of me wondered what the rest of the film was going to be about once they caught the guy. how would they drag out the rest of the film and what would be the point. well, the point was these characters and their relationships to each other and their search for some kind of truth and justice. there is no dragging here. and the film is also just so wonderfully put together.

from a pure technical view point the direction and editing are brilliant. the way campanella made many of the transitions between the scenes from the 70s and 1999 was sublime. in one scene irene and esposito are talking on the phone late at night in 1999 and he asks her is she wants to talk some more. she replies that no, she will just make some tea and try to fall asleep. cut to her hand stirring a tea cup in 1975.

that is just one obvious example and it might sound a little corny, but trust me when i tell you it is seamless and beautiful and it would sometimes bring a wry smile to my face in appreciation of some edit or transition that worked perfectly while also kind of being a little wink at the audience asking, "did you catch that?" the great direction and editing brought to mind another film that also does the back-and-forth many years apart thing so well. the french canadian film Le Confessional from director robert lepage.

juan jose campanella co-wrote, directed and edited The Secret In Their Eyes and he obviously had a strong vision (no pun intended) for this film, which he beautifully managed to capture in what has been presented to us, the audience, in the final product up on screen.

Ex Drummer

YEAR: 2007

WRITER: Koen Mortier (screenplay), Herman Brusselmans (novel)

DIRECTOR: Koen Mortier

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: ?

 

dries is a famous writer. one day three losers ring his buzzer and ask him to be the drummer in their band. sounds like that could be the start of a funny, family-friendly rock and roll movie right? well, IT ISN'T! it is the start of the flemish film, Ex Drummer.

dries decides to accept their offer because he sees a great story/book in it. he sees the ability to manipulate and have fun with them as a way of generating his next work. now, while that starts to give you a sense of the dark tone of the film, a simple synopsis will not suffice or really give you any indication what you are in for when you decide to sit down and press play.

it doesn't take long to realize this isn't gonna be a "normal" film. after an opening monologue from dries we listen to him telling us about each of the three men that came to his home as we watch them in reverse moving away from his buzzer backwards along the path they took to get to his place as the credits for the film appear on various landmarks, people and items along the way.

the film straddles the line between reality and experimental cinema and it does it very well. you would think that a movie in which one of the characters lives upside down in his apartment (walks on the ceiling, while people in his place walk on the floor), and characters that die give a bloody post-death monologue/statement to the camera would have a hard time keeping itself at all grounded to any kind of reality. but, alas not. i will also tell you that you probably aren't going to like any of the characters and i don't think director koen mortier cares.

i didn't notice it the first time i watched the film, but in rewatching the opening, i noticed that the credit after the title is "an eyemotional film experience." and this pretty much sums it up. Ex Drummer is an experience.

while i do think calling it an experience is very appropriate, mortier does a great job of not letting the "experimental/experience" nature of the film and the film making to completely overpower the story. this isn't always easy to do. either the movie becomes completely form over substance or the film makers don't have the confidence in their "form" or "substance" to follow through completely and it feels half-baked on both counts. and say what you will about Ex Drummer, but there is no way one of those things you say will be "half-baked."

some things you could say though, would be: bloody, dark, violent, intelligent, gruesome, loud, sexual, disturbing and unrepentant. and just in case you skimmed the list and weren't paying attention, let me again mention bloody and violent. and this isn't hollywood violence where 30 guys get gunned down and another 20 get beat up and we sit there smiling digging into our bag of popcorn.

this is bloody, intimate and disturbing violence that confronts you in style and form. now, not all the violence in the film is that way and, if i think back over the whole movie, there really isn't a lot of it. but, the films climax - obviously the last thing i saw and so it is most on my mind - is really what i am referring to.

koen mortier is a director that had a vision for this film. a vision that is, to use an over used film critic term, uncompromising. it might be too much for some, but everyone who watches it is definitely in for an "experience." and in my opinion - a very good one.

2010 Oscar Predictions

WILL WIN are in bold 

SHOULD WIN (where i have an opinion) is underlined 

 Did Win are BIG 

 

 

 

MY SCORE: 17/24

well, the oscars have come and gone and i had an average go with my predictions this year. it wasn't my most impressive performance, but it wasn't awful either. where i messed up this year was with the shorts (animation, live action, documentary). normally i get at least one of those right and this time nothing. and then, missing both screenplay winners is just awful. but, i went  17/19 for the rest of the awards and a perfect on the top 6 categories which isn't bad.... so, how did you all do?

Best motion picture of the year
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up In the Air
Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia)
Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • George Clooney (Up In the Air)
  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Matt Damon (Invictus)
  • Woody Harrellson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Penelope Cruz (Nine)
  • Vera Farmiga (Up In the Air)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up In the Air)
  • Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best animated feature film of the year
  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
Best Documentary Short Subject
  • China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit à la Berlin
Best Short Film (Animated)
  • French Roast
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Short Film (Live Action)
  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
Achievement in art direction
  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
Achievement in cinematography
  • Avatar, Mauro Fiore
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bruno Delbonnel
  • The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd
  • Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson
  • The White Ribbon, Christian Berger
Achievement in costume design
  • Bright Star, Janet Patterson
  • Coco before Chanel, Catherine Leterrier
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Monique Prudhomme
  • Nine, Colleen Atwood
  • The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell
Achievement in directing
  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (Up In the Air)
Best documentary feature
  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Which Way Home
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
  • Il Divo, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
  • Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
  • The Young Victoria, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore
Achievement in film editing
  • Avatar, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
  • District 9, Julian Clarke
  • The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
  • Inglourious Basterds, Sally Menke
  • Precious, Joe Klotz
Best foreign language film of the year
  • Ajami
  • El Secreto De Sus Ojos
  • The Milk of Sorrow
  • A Prophet
  • The White Ribbon
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • Avatar, James Horner
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat
  • The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
  • Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer
  • Up, Michael Giacchino
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36 Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
  • "Take It All" from Nine Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Achievement in sound editing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson
  • Inglourious Basterds, Wylie Stateman
  • Star Trek, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
  • Up, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers
Achievement in sound mixing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
  • Inglourious Basterds, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
  • Star Trek, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
Achievement in visual effects
  • Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
  • District 9, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
  • Star Trek, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
Adapted screenplay
  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (District 9)
  • Nick Hornby (An Education)
  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche (In the Loop)
  • Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air)
Original screenplay
  • Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman (The Messenger)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man)
  • Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy (Up)

Best And Worst Of 2009

looking back, 2009 was a good year overall. however, that overall positive average comes from a rather okay to disappointing big blockbusters and general cinema-near-you fair, to a good to great smaller film and surprise blockbuster year...

the summer blockbuster season was generally a disappointment with films like Watchmen, Terminatore and Transformers all ending up on the "worst of" list. and how can we forget Avatar (i know it wasn't a summer release). sure, it was a huge sucess money-wise and with many critics, but it wasn't a good movie... there were some successesthough, like Star Trek, Inglourious Basterds and District 9 - but even then, you look at the budget for District 9 at $30 million and that is almost independent film budget level.

on the other hand, many of the smaller/foreign/independent/less-publicized films that grabbed my interest ended up living up to expectations - which is often not the case (with the exception of the painfully disappointing The Limits Of Control of course).

like i always say: i can't see everything. so, now is time to list some of the films that have been making the rounds on other list, and garnering awards nominations, that i hadn't seen when i put mine together. they include:

Crazy Heart, Up In The Air, State Of Play, Bright Star, A Single Man, Moon, Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, The Cove, Public Enemies, Me And The Orson Wells, Food Inc....

with all that being said, let the listing begin......

DON'T FORGET (BEST)

1.  Inglourious Basterds
2A Serious Man
3Humpday
4Hunger
5500 Days Of Summer
6.  In The Loop
7.  Distric 9 & I'm Not Your Friend
8.  Fantastic Mr. Fox
9World's Greatest Dad
10.Bronson

don't forget (honorable mention): Up, Where The Wild Things Are, Away We Go, Precious, Star Trek, I Love You Man, Tyson, Adventurland, The White Ribbon, FAQ About Time Travel

 

FORGET (WORST)

if you want to read some short discussions on these crappy films, you can see a write-up on some of them at www.notgoodmovies.com 

1.   Terminator Salvation
2.   Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
3.   Surrogates
4.   The Limits Of Control
5.   G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
6.   Watchmen
7.   Angels And Demons
8.   The Invention Of Lying
9.   Gamer
10. Avatar