This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Academy's Gold--THE 2012 NOMINEES

Congratulations to ALL the newly anointed Oscar nominees!

[Especially those I know who worked on The Descendants.]

Many of the other choices were those I'd expect, but I certainly didn't see 11 nominations for Scorsese's Hugo. I haven't gotten around to seeing it. Shameful, I admit, but 3D makes me sick.

I do have love for Clooney, but for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin from The Artist will give him a run for the money. (I'd be willing to run after either one of them, by the way.) But speaking of money...

Congrats to Moneyball for making appearances with Brad Pitt (Best Actor nom) and Jonah Hill (Best Supporting Actor nom) Since so many heavy-hitter Oscar contenders have been released since Moneyball, it could have easily been forgotten. Having just seen Beginners, I'm also happy to see Christopher Plummer on the list for Best Supporting Actor. He belongs there. And the film? Even better than I anticipated.

I was somewhat surprised to see French actress Bérénice Bejo on the list for Best Supporting Actress for The Artist and not in the leading role category. It seemed odd. She carries so much of the weight of The Artist. Despite this (luckily) actresses from The Help and Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy still made the cut.

Art direction looks to be a solid category. Any one of these films could walk away on top here. I really have no idea. Costume design? Sandy Powell (Hugo) could be hard to beat. She's won 3 Oscars already and she's been nominated multiple times. (She won in 2010 for The Young Victoria and she was also nominated last year.) She's really just asking for someone to swipe the statuette from her this year.

No surprises on the writing front either. Although, I had to look up Margin Call (Original Screenplay, J.C. Chandor) Both Adapted and Original Screenplay fields are flooded with tough talent. The girls of Bridesmaids are no doubt tossing champagne corks celebrating their nomination. At midnight, they'll probably find themselves in a Woody Allen screenplay.

Directing is a wide open field. No one's a surprise nominee here and all are especially deserving. It depends on what wins Best Picture. I believe this year will be a year of Academy voters split on their favorites. You can't blame them-- It's been a year relatively rich in well-told stories and excellent cinema. A throwback in many respects.

The Oscars will be broadcast on Sunday February 26

© 2012 by KLiedle

Monday, January 9, 2012

Angelina Jolie's Shockingly Ambitious Film Gaining Attention

It's still too early to tell how In The Land Of Blood And Honey, penned and directed by Angelina Jolie, will be embraced by audiences. (The film is currently in limited release theatrically.) Although the reviews have been mixed thus far, there's no denying that the film is certainly receiving attention. [It's a Golden Globe® nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.]

For her directorial debut, Angelina Jolie could've ch
osen much easier fare than a romance that takes place during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. It appears that Jolie, approached the film passionately, smartly, and respectfully. Increasingly known for her humanitarian efforts, she should be commended for bringing awareness to a long-forgotten conflict (and for being so ambitious of a filmmaker to attempt such a feat.) Clearly, getting the film out there means a lot to her.

Many may find it difficult to watch the atrocities portrayed on film, but film as an art form is best when it has something to say-- especially when it's shocking or provoking. Filmmakers often makes statements about the plights of their characters and the world we live in. Sometimes they do this so subtly audiences are unaware of it. Not in this case: According to current reviews of the film, Jolie does so boldly and without apology.

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that: "Jolie deserves significant credit for creating such a powerfully oppressive atmosphere and staging the ghastly events so credibly, even if it is these very strengths that will make people not want to watch what's onscreen."

About The Film
Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the 1990s,
In the Land of Blood and Honey tells the story of two Bosnians from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. At its core, the film portrays the incredible emotional, moral and physical toll that the war takes on individuals as well as the consequences that stem from the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.
Angelina Jolie appeared in an online Q&A on Thursday, January 12th to discuss her writing & directorial debut, In The Land Of Blood And Honey. This blog hosted that Q&A Live. I've since removed it from this post, but you can view the original footage at:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Back & Looking Forward: My Year In Film

According to my records, I watched 121 films this past year. I write them ALL down in a little book-- something I've been doing for the past few years.
I don't know if I can top that number in 2012. (In 2010, I saw 83 films.)

I could see everything currently playing in theaters if I wanted to, but life is too short to be spent watching crappy movies. I see films by filmmakers I admire or by those that truly inspire me. I see films that I really want to see, films I'm curious about, and films that have something to say.

There are exceptions, of course. The last film I logged for 2011 was on New Year's Eve. That film was The House Bunny (I'm ashamed to admit.) I didn't need to see it. I knew it wasn't going to be miraculous in any particular way or even well-written. I just thought it'd be a fun movie along the lines of the original Legally Blonde. Yes, it had heart, but even with the sparkling personality of Anna Faris and Emma Stone co-starring, it was pretty bad overall, circa 2008. I will say, however, that The Playboy Mansion looks better on-camera than it does in real life. [Note: That's probably true of most Playboy models, too.]

All that aside: As I look back, I've noticed that 2011 was not a bad year. Maybe that's why I saw more films. It also helps that there are so many ways to see films now: On the big screen, TV, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and an increasingly diverse number of film streaming platforms [too numerous to mention.]

It would be difficult to choose a favorite from my 2011 list of movies, but I definitely have my favorite(s): the films that I'll remember, the films that spoke to me in some way, and the films I'm still thinking about.

From my 2011 list, I offer my recommends, in no particular order. [ Note: I viewed all of these films in the traditional sense-- by seeing them on the Big Screen.]



For films I discovered (or viewed) via other means, I'd recommend:

~Before And After (Meryl Streep/Liam Neeson)
~I Knew It Was You (doc about character actor John Cazale)
~Taking Woodstock (Dir: Ang Lee)
~Two Lovers (Joaquin Phoenix/Gwyneth Paltrow)
~Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (fun movie; innovative shooting style)
~Mother And Child (Dir: Rodrigo Garcia)
~The Pixar Story
~Marvin's Room (classic)
~Dandelion (independent film discovery; currently available for streaming on Netflix)
~River's Edge (starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye)
~The Fighter (Dir: David O'Russell)
~Extract (Dir: Mike Judge)
~Let The Right One In (Dir: Mike Reeves)
~Keeping Up With The Joneses ( A great movie for the times, with Demi Moore & David Duchovny.)
~Rabbithole (In a word: Excellent)
~It (Clara Bow silent film from 1927-- as cute as can be.)
~Tiny Furniture (Dir: Lena Dunham)-- unique & oddly compelling film that put this female director on the map back in 2010.
~Martha Marcy May Marlene (Intense portrayal of cult society and the problems with trying to escape its seduction. Despite the critical reviews, I'm not convinced that it entirely pulled off what it was trying to convey, but it's an impressive first feature for director Sean Durkin and it certainly put actress Elizabeth Olsen on the map.)

© 2012 by KLiedle