Thursday, January 01, 2009

Zero Eight

The Usual Suspects/The Unhearalded...

“In Bruges”/Martin McDonagh

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Danny Boyle/Loveleen Tandan)

“Burn After Reading”/The Coen Brothers

“Redbelt”/David Mamet

“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (“4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile”)/Cristian Mungiu

“Cassandra’s Dream”("Le Rêve de Cassandre")/Woody Allen

“Appaloosa”/Ed Harris

“Mamma Mia!”/Phyllida Lloyd

“Roman de Gare”/Claude Lelouche

“The Visitor”/Tom McCarthy

"Savage Grace"/Tom Kalin
"Man on Wire"/James Marsh
“Stop-Loss”/Kimberly Peirce
"Waltz with Bashir"/Ari Folman
“Love Songs” (”Les Chansons d'amour”)/Christophe Honoré
“Towelhead”/Alan Ball
“Tell No One” (”Ne le dis à personne”)/Guillaume Canet
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”/David Fincher
“Milk”/Gus Van Sant
“A Christmas Tale” (”Un conte de Noël”)/Arnaud Desplechin
“Marley & Me”/David Frankel
“Flight of the Red Balloon” (”Le Voyage du ballon rouge”)/Hsiao-hsien Hou
“Wall-E”/Andrew Stanton
“Twilight”/Catherine Hardwicke
“Noise”/Henry Bean
"Smother"/Vince Di Meglio
“Chris & Don. A Love Story”/Tina Mascara and Guido Santi
“The Bank Job”/Roger Donaldson
“Role Models”/David Wain
“Priceless” (“Hors de prix“)/Pierre Salvadori
“Flash of Genius”/Marc Abraham
“Funny Games”/Michael Heneke
"The Secret Life of Bees"/Gina Prince-Bythewood
“Gran Torino”/Clint Eastwood
“RocknRolla”/Guy Ritchie
“Frozen River”/Courtney Hunt

And The Thesps...

Colin Ferrell - lead actor for "In Bruges" (with an able, invaluable assist from Brendan Gleeson, thank you) and "Cassandra's Dream"

Melissa Leo - lead actress for "Frozen River"

Aaron Eckhart - supporting actor for "Towelhead" and "The Dark Knight"

Dakota Fanning - supporting actress for "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Hounddog"

And a few more...
Josh Brolin/“W.”
Josh Brolin/“Milk”
Sean Penn/“Milk”
Richard Jenkins/“The Visitor”
Julianne Moore/"Savage Grace"
Misty Upham/“Frozen River”
Jane Lynch/“Role Models”
Greg Kinnear/“Flash of Genius”
Summer Bishil/"Towelhead"
Peter Macdissi/"Towelhead"
Anna Faris/"The House Bunny"
Diane Keaton/"Smother"
Clint Eastwood/“Gran Torino”
Viola Davis/"Doubt"
Dev Patel/“Slumdog Millionaire”
Emily Moritmer/“Redbelt”
Fanny Ardant"Roman de Gare”
Clyde/"Marley and Me"
Kevin Costner /"Swing Vote"
Madeline Carroll /"Swing Vote"
Mickey Rourke /"The Wrestler"
Marisa Tomei /"The Wrestler"
Sally Potter /"Happy Go Lucky"
Anamaria Marinca/“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”
Laura Vasiliu/“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”
Vlad Ivanov/“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”
Michelle Williams/"Wendy and Lucy"
Justin Long/“Zack and Miri Make a Porno”
Rosemarie DeWitt/“Rachel Getting Married”
Brad Pitt/“Burn After Reading” and Brad Pitt as "Benjamin Button"

Note in Passing: - In the "Way Too Much of a Good Thing" category, there's Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road." He's in two scenes. In the first, he seemingly strolls in from nowhere and effectively takes the movie hostage. He's riveting. In the second, however, Shannon becomes a major annoyance, his actorly tricks becoming obvious and self-conscious.

You can't wait until the scene is over and he's off screen.

(Artwork: Memorable images (for me, at least) from the film year 2008)


Barry said...

Joe, you are right in calling
THE '63 BYE, BYE BIRDIE the worst. I read somewhere - IMDb, I think - that both Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynd, who played in it on Broadway - both disliked the film. A while back you wrote about Pat Boone's MARDI GRAS being a great, though relatively forgotten, film. musical I too fear that Fox has abandoned it; to my knowledge the last public screenings of it were faded prints broadcast on local tv stations in the 70’s. I’ve had FOX MOVIE CHANNEL for 15 years and it has NEVER aired on it in any form. (Not that I know of.) I’m sure Boone would be enthusiastic about doing a commentary, but thus far FOX hasn’t even exhibited knowledge of this film even being in its library, let alone producing a quality DVD of it.

Carrie said...

Though Janet Leigh is miscast and the lunk who plays the Elvis character grotesque, Bye, Bye Birdie has its charms. Principally Ann-Margret (and I like Viva Las Vegas, too, bud). During the '70s I had drinks with a clutch of cinephiles after a screening where we all admitted our "guiltless pleasures." I remember the late Steve Harvey (then a curator of film at MoMA) saying that when he saw Bye, Bye Birdie at the age of 12 he realized that he wanted to BE Ann-Margret and that B, B B helped him consciously realize that he was gay.

joe baltake said...


I've tried for more than several decades now to find something to like about "BBB." I have the exact same problem with Mankiewicz's "Guys and Dolls." I want to like it, I feel that I should like it. But I just don't. The funny thing about BBB, is that I genuinely like Ann-Margret, but just not in that film (or "Vegas," which - sorry to say - I find unwatchable). I felt that Sidney and company Disney-fied a show which, on stage, was rather urbane and slyly witty. And the missing songs were all great. (On film, the "Put on a Happy Face" is hideous.)

Thanks for invoking the name of Stephen, a friend in passing.

Barry- "Mardi Gras" must be saved. It must be saved, I tell you!

Jennifer McCall said...

I agree with Carrie on "Bye Bye Birdie." You were way too harsh, Joe. But I know exactly what you mean about "Guys and Dolls." "Funny Face" is another musical that I keep trying to like but, in the end, always find it difficult to sit through.

joe baltake said...


Yes, "Funny Face" is very rough-going. I don't really like it - but I want to!

Anonymous said...

"Kansas CityBomber" rocks!

Whitney said...

Yes! I live for "Rear Window"! I will be watching it once again when Turner shows it - even though I own the DVD!

Brian said...

Just watched North by Northwest for the first time — it’s a stunner. So tense, stark and sophisticated. Nobody did engaging anti-heroes like Cary Grant, kinda of what George Clooney does today. The atmosphere conjured up here by Hitchcock made it feel almost like a precursor to Michael Clayton. Does that make any sense?

joe baltake said...

It must be great to discover a film like "North by Northwest" for the first time. And, no, linking its ambience (and some of its pacing and plotting) to "Michael Clayton" isn't crazy at all. In fact, it's quite astute. I think the Grant-Clooney connection helps.