Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golden Globes 2007

Today the nominations for the Golden Globes of 2007 were announced. Joe Wright's "Atonement" clearly came out in the front, with Mike Nichols' "Charlie Wilson's War" closely behind. "Michael Clayton" from Tony Gilroy, "Sweeney Todd" from Tim Burton and "No Country for Old Men" from Joel and Ethan Coen were also contemplated with several nominations. Check the entire list of nominations here. To highlight some deserved recognitions: Jodie Foster for "The Brave One", Angelina Jolie for "A Mighty Heart", Helena Bonham Carter for "Sweeney Todd", Tilda Swinton for "Michael Clayton" and Tim Burton for "Sweeney Todd".

Films of the Weekend

Movie name: Atonement
Year of release: 2007
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Brenda Blethyn, Juno Temple, Harriet Walter
Genre: Drama/Biography
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel "Atonement" is a surprise, in a sense that is a mature work, with an epic feeling to it, boasting some terrific acting and a stunning photography.
Working with academy award winner screenwriter Christopher Hampton (winner of the Oscar for Stephen Frears' "Dangerous Liaisons"), Joe Wright creates a story about longing, desire, guilt and redemption, in a way that is simultaneously daring and delicate, which ends up leaving the feeling of watching a classic story (though with a new perspective). The acting is very good, particularly from the superb Vanessa Redgrave and Saoirse Ronan (as the young Briony seeing things she doesn't understand). Seamus McGarvey the director of photography does a stunning job, with beautiful compositions (as he had already done with Stephen Daldry in "The Hours"), giving the film the epic look of the battle scenes without losing the delicate light of the more intimate moments.

Movie name: The Golden Compass
Year of release: 2007
Director: Chris Weitz
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellen, Sam Elliot, Eva Green, Freddie Highmore, Tom Courtenay
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"The Golden Compass" is a film that wants to ride the wave that "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" franchises opened - the fantasy film that appeals simultaneously to kids and adults. It's a film that succeeds and in a way, it's far more entertaining that a lot of the Harry Potter films that have come out. Though some characters deserved a lot more screen time to be well developed, the film is nonetheless well crafted, deserving to be watched.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Film of the Weekend

Movie name: Redacted
Year of release: 2007
Director: Brian de Palma
Stars: Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz, Patrick Carroll, Eric Anderson, Ty Jones, Daniel Stewart Sherman
Genre: Drama, War
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Synopsis:After the mediocre "The Black Dahlia", Brian de Palma goes back to a territory he visited before, the war film. This film ends up bearing quite a few resemblances with "Casualties of War" that he directed in 1989 with Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn. Again it uses a true case that took place in the scenario that is war (in this case, the war in Iraq, in the 1989 film the Vietnam war), and makes a case for anti-war and how horrible and destructive it can be. "Redacted" tries to be a product of the times we live in, since the director creates the film "based" on different sources, from an amateur documentary point of view, to internet clips, news from TV channels, all to make his point loud and clear. All the unknown actors end up playing variations on the same soldiers that have been depicted in other war films, and this ends up being the major fault behind this film. Regardless of the position or ideology behind this film, it ultimately brings nothing new in terms of the way it presents itself, and that in a director with the talent of Brian de Palma, is simply regrettable.