Thursday, June 12, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

Author(s): Chris M.
Location: NJ

"Behind Closed Doors"

Warner Independent Pictures
Produced by Stephen Garrett
Written and Directed by Michael Haneke
Original Score by Carter Burwell
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Editing by Craig McKay

Main Cast

John Goodman as Harold Thompson
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Emily Barnes
Chris Evans as Keith Barnes

Tagline: "It's a dangerous business going out your front door"

Synopsis: Keith and Emily Barnes (Chris Evans and Maggie Gyllenhaal), have recently moved from Washington DC into a new home in a secluded cul-de-sac in Dunkirk, Maryland. The Barnes’s are greeted by their seemingly venerable neighbor Harold (John Goodman) who lives across the street from them. Harold Thompson appears to be your normal bachelor, somewhat lonely, but harmless all the less. There is no indication that Harold is in fact a psychotic murderer who has created a family of his own out of his former victims, all of whom Harold seems to believe are fully alive. Harold dresses them in clothing, moves them around the house, and talks with them, and to Harold they can talk back. Although Harold’s drive to kill is unflinching, he is able to fake normal emotions and keep up his appearance as a socially-responsible human being. He is well-liked by members of his community, and his neighbors.

Keith and Emily Barnes are still adjusting from the loss of their five year old daughter Cecile, who passed away a year earlier. They moved as an attempt to return to the life of normalcy they once had. Keith is a practicing surgeon at Johns Hopkins hospital. Emily is a housewife; formally a lobbyist for Merck pharmaceutical. Emily has not been able to return to work since the loss of Cecile. Emily wants to try to conceive again, Keith does not, he doesn’t believe Emily is in the shape mentally or physically to have a child. The Barnes’s appear to be a happy couple, but they are on the brink of separation.

Harold develops a bond with the lonesome Emily and begins to have feelings for her. Harold determines that his love for Emily is to strong to ignore, and decides to pursue it. The next obstacle Harold must face is getting Keith out of the picture so he can give Emily the family and life she desires. Fate is on Harold’s side when Keith unexpectedly leaves during the night. Keith leaves no number or address to reach him. Harold see’s this as the opportunity to move in on the vulnerable Emily. What Harold does not know is that Emily has a secret of her own: a year ago, Harold killed Cecile, the Barnes’s daughter and they have been tracking him down since. Keith never left Emily; he has been at a medical seminar in London. Keith’s supposed disappearance was all a part of their elaborate plan for Harold Thompson. Harold has been lured into their trap and they will exact their revenge. What appears to be an ideal neighborhood is far from it. Behind closed doors lie dark secrets.

What the Press would say:

“Behind Closed Doors” is Michael Haneke’s second English-language feature, adaptation from a popular syndicated television show. Haneke has created a film out of that idea that now stands as a Hitchcockian thriller. Over the last two decades, the director has developed a reputation for stark, often brutal films that pace the viewer – sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly – in the uncomfortable role of accomplice to the crimes playing out on-screen. Haneke’s greatest success is his total manipulation of the audience. How the audience reacted to Emily and Keith’s torture and execution of Harold is quite astonishing. There was actual applause at first – then almost immediately, the audience is conscious what it’s applauding for, the audience went completely silent. There was a generalization, even though in the victim was a villain, the audience had been tricked into celebrating an act of murder. Where another director might have cut tactfully away, Haneke’s camera lingers so the audience takes in the full effect. “Behind Closed Doors” is simultaneously the most conventional and the most opaque of Haneke’s films, and arguably his most effective to date.

In “Behind Closed Doors” Michael Haneke’s characters are adrift in a profoundly dysfunctional world. The most dysfunctional and talked about character of the year belongs to veteran actor John Goodman. Goodman is Harold Thompson, an unassuming murderer. Goodman was able to achieve sympathy for an unsympathetic character, a remarkable feat few actors could make. He relishes in the witty dialog that Haneke has provided him with, displaying a knack at dark comedy. “Behind Closed Doors” provides Goodman the opportunity to display his range as an actor, as the multi-layered Harold. Haneke made a smart choice with Goodman, as he possesses an underlying menace that’s hidden well but can become almost palpable when he turns it on. “Behind Closed Doors” will be the movie that gets John Goodman his first Academy Award nomination, and quite possibly an Academy Award.

Maggie Gyllenhaal has never been better. Gyllenhaal plays Emily Barnes, a grieving mother with a dark agenda. The role of Emily Barnes has provided Gyllenhaal the strongest role of her career. In “Behind Closed Doors” Gyllenhaal takes her character Emily to extremely dark places. She has an incredible presence on screen and will be a shoo in for end of the year awards. Chris Evans is magnificent as Emily’s embattled husband Keith. Evans has been an up and coming actor for years and has finally gotten a role he can sink his teeth into. As Keith Barnes, Chris Evans gives a raw performance as a man who uses his career as an escape from his troubled marriage and tragedy. Evans displays an array of emotions and demonstrates his skill as an actor. Evans should be prepared for a busy awards season. This is the one movie you must see this year, “Behind Closed Doors” is the movie every critic is talking about.


Best Picture
Best Director - Michael Haneke
Best Actor – John Goodman
Best Supporting Actor – Chris Evans
Best Supporting Actress – Maggie Gyllenhaal
Best Adapted Screenplay - Michael Haneke
And creativity categories


Author(s): Adam
Location: TX


Written & Directed by CHRISTOPHER McQUARRIE

Main Cast

JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Joseph Taymor
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. as Fred Kaiser
MOS DEF as Ray Sterling
STEVE BUSCEMI as Willard "The Parasite" Jenkins
GABRIEL BYRNE as Frank Voelder

Tagline: "Crime will always breed catastrophe"

Synopsis: Fred Kaiser (DOWNEY) is running from the mob. Having been a drug operations supervisor for known Los Angeles mobster Frank Voelder (BYRNE), he has just made the biggest mistake of his life. He has betrayed his boss by stealing 1 million dollars in drug money from a private plane headed to Mexico. He soon disappears.

After being tracked down by the FBI in El Paso, Texas and saved from an attempted hit by Voelder's men, Kaiser agrees to be escorted back to LA to give the feds information needed to take down the ruthless gangster. He will be escorted in secrecy under the protection of agents Joe Taymor and Ray Sterling (PHOENIX and DEF). He also stubbornly refuses to tell them the whereabouts of the money until he is safely in LA under maximum federal protection. All is going along well until a leak in the agency gives up the route the men are taking. A cat and mouse series of confrontations and shootouts ensues when Voelder hires two sadistic hitmen known as Jimmy Sosa (DEL TORO), a straight-faced, "take down anyone who gets in his way" killer, and Willard "The Parasite" Jenkins (BUSCEMI), a sadistic and sociopathic hitman who likes to sneak up on his targets silently and ruthlessly kill them before they can even react to the surprise of his presence. To make matters worse, Voelder has put up a half a million dollar bounty to be rewarded to the first man who kills Kaiser, thus ensuring that they will ruthlessly compete to get the job done. After a period of predator vs. prey hunting and defense, both hitmen are killed. But the the tables turn when it is reveled that James DeMott (KEVIN SPACEY in a cameo role), the head agent in Kaiser's case was the leak who gave up the the three men's locations, he had been playing both sides. The three men are captured upon nearing LA and taken to Voelder's mansion where a climactic shootout ensues, leaving DeMott, Voelder and Taymor dead (Taymor died protecting Kaiser). In the end, Kaiser reveals to Sterling that he's an undercover DEA agent working to bring down Voelder's operation. He also tells Sterling that the money is in a private bank vault in Phoenix, AZ. He gives him the necessary information to access it and the two part ways after a moment of respect. We then cut to Phoenix, where Sterling and a few other men open the vault to find it is empty. Sterling reacts to the fact that he has been played.

In the film's final scene, we are at an upscale bank in Austin, Texas where Kaiser (dressed very professionally) gains access to his private account under the alias "Vic Singer." He opens the deposit box and pulls out a briefcase, upon opening it,its contents are revealed to be the million dollars he stole from Voelder. He walks out of the bank with the money and into the parking lot where he gets in his car and drives off. This scene concludes the film.

What the Press would say:

"This is a clever and gritty crime drama that often plays as a dark comedy with elements of a good mystery. The script, penned by the very talented Christopher McQuarrie is smart with great characters who each bring their own unique traits to the film's story."

"Downey and Byrne play as the film's highlight characters. Their connection and chemistry without being in the same scene together is obvious and felt throughout the entire picture. Their actions and decisions are the cause and effect of the film's events. Truly smart and enjoyable in experiencing a good crime film."

"From its introduction to its conclusion, you are attentive to the film as a whole. You are curious to know what will happen next, and when the final twists and turns come about, you are left completely surprised. A winner of a movie!"

"We know McQuarrie can write a script, and we are now assured he can direct. Filmed digitally with precision, the camerawork is splendid and the angles are perfect. A gritty work of crime-based cinema very reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, and Quentin Tarantino, even holding memories of McQuarrie's breakthrough film (as a writer) The Usual Suspects. A true to form work of film."

BEST PICTURE (Drama- GG) (Ensemble- SAG)

The Cloud

Author(s): Sergio
Location: Spain

"The Cloud"

Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Eric Roth
Produced by Sam Mendes
Music by Michael Nyman
Photography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Edited by Michael Kahn

Main Cast

Shia LaBeouf (Marc Heald)
Natalie Portman (Andrea Goldman)
Diane Lane (Samantha Heald)
Sean Bean (Gregory Heald)
David Strathairn (Dr. Bernard Goldman)
Elle Fanning (Maggie Heald)

Tagline: "There are always rays of light over the darkest clouds"

Synopsis: Marc opens the nuclear refuge’s door after he hears the radio notice about the end of the quarantine. He awakes his little sister Maggie, it’s time to find the rest of his family. The big nuclear explosion forced them to stay hidden in their own refuge several weeks, separated of their parents who were in the other side of the country. The radio recommends to leave the zone and to flee to a surer place. The radio has been their only way to be communicated, it has been the only link with the outside all the time. Phones, cell phones, internet… nothing works and everybody feels lost and left.

Marc and Maggie start a hard and chaotic journey to the south. They will try to arrive to the train station but everybody has started a massive exodus and no one offers help, so their only way of transport is an old and broken bicycle. The roads and highways are collapsed and many people will try to steal their bicycle. The panic is getting bigger because the acid rain is a real threat. They arrive to the Station but Marc, inevitably, loses his sister in the crowd. People separate them without remedy when the train arrives and Marc is pushed to the train while Maggie remains in the alighting-place. He, desperate, tries to stop the train but it’s impossible and he will have to wait to the next stop. The rain has started to fall and to go outdoors is forbidden.

Andrea is a medicine student who has lost the train that should carry her to a campaign hospital, managed by her father, to help as a volunteer. She sees a little girl on the floor, absent, and she takes care of her. The little girl seems to be ill and Andrea decides to carry her to the hospital in the next train, leaving a message in the reception window. Dr. Goldman and Andrea take care of Maggie but she has leukemia, as many others in the improvised hospital. Andrea distribute Maggie’s photo everywhere to find her family. Meanwhile, Marc dedicates all his effort to find her sister, fighting the illness, the death of many of his trip’s pals, the hunger and the big cloud above him, but he has to find his family.

Senator Gregory Heald and his wife Samantha try to use their influence to take a flight to come back home, but political power is not enough to get into the contaminated area. The military don't allow them to enter the zone and they assure that there's nobody there but the dead. Greg and Samantha decide to go to their favorite places to leave messages to Marc and Maggie with an appointment in a certain place. They go to all the hospitals to check the lists of the deaths and ills and they will meet Andrea but it is too late. Marc arrives to the south, he has found one of his parents messages. They finally meet in his grandmother's home. She has Alzheimer and she is sitting in the porch, calm and absent. She is foreign to the whole disaster around her. Marc parents are in the kitchen but he can’t see Maggie anywhere.

What the Press would say:

This film is a free adaptation of an infantile book written by the German novelist Gudrun Pausewang. The original action occurs in Germany, in the 90s, when the Chernobyl tragedy was almost forgotten. In this adaptation the writer Eric Roth moves the action to north America and the real authorship of the nuclear catastrophe is not clear because, for him, the most important thing in the film are the victims, how they feel and how they solve their own chaotic situation. They don’t know if they are living a terrible accident or if they are the victims of a nuclear attack but they know that they have to fight their own war to survive. The plot is treated with sensibility and respect. The screenplay is one of the best things to remark because the election about starting the film when the catastrophe and the danger is over, turns the story into one of the most incredible experiences of the last years. It is not a movie about a catastrophe in the commercial way of the word, even showing frenetic action scenes because the emotions flow all the time.

Marc Forster knows how to transmit those emotions, the desperation of the characters and why they feel small and left. Other of the points is the fact that they are prisoners and the film shows how big is our dependency of the modern technology.

The actors and actresses show their best, being at the top of the circumstances with an amazing talent and intuition. Only a few times we can see a solid cast like this with this professionalism. Great and deep characters like Shia LaBeouf’s Marc Heald, a guy who grows in all the 120 minutes of this film showing his change from the childhood to the maturity. Natalie Portman character is a contended woman crossing a difficult situation and she is capable to control the chaos around her and to solve it. Strong characters with strong performances make this film one of the most amazing experiences in theatres in times.


Best Picture
Best Director: Marc Forster
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth
Best Leading Actor: Shia LaBeouf
Best Leading Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor: David Strathairn, Sean Bean
Best Supporting Actress: Diane Lane, Elle Fanning

Criminal Origins

Author(s): Zgamer
Location: ID

"Criminal Origins"

Directed by David Fincher
Written by James Vanderbilt
Inspired by the game “Condemned: Criminal Origins” created by Monolith Studios
Cinematography by Harris Savides
Editing by Angus Wall

Main Cast

Cheyenne Jackson as Agent Ethan Thomas
Dennis Haysbert as Detective Alan Handrick
L. Scott Caldwell as Rosa Martin
Richmond Arquette as “The Match Maker”

Tagline: "N/A"

Synopsis: The following is from the files of Alan Handrick, detective for the Baltimore Police Department, dated August 21, 2006:

This is the official report of Detective Alan Handrick on the case surrounding the murders of Officers Mark Becker and Samuel Dickenson. The case began August 19, when both officers were sent to investigate the murder of a woman named Miranda Davis. Accompanying them was FBI Agent Ethan Thomas, a head forensics investigator in the CIA’s Serial Murder Department (More information on Agent Thomas will be included following this report).

The group arrived at the location around 11:45 P.M. that night. Agent Thomas’s assistant Rosa Martin was at the station during that time, aiding the group with information through a secure cell phone link. After the cause of death was confirmed as unarmed strangling, Ms. Martin was noted to have said that her suspicions were confirmed. The abductor and murderer was identified as a wanted serial killer Thomas had been hunting for some time. Known under the pseudonym “The Match Maker”, the killer had made it a trademark to kill young women and then re-sculpt their image as department store mannequins, disfigured slightly on their cheeks as a signature. However, before Ms. Martin could bring up the official report on the suspect, radio contact was loss with the group (This was later linked to a power surge generated from an axe smashed into the circuit breakers).

When another cop car was sent to investigate the scene, Officer’s Walker and Dickenson were discovered dead on arrival and Agent Thomas was no where to be seen. The causes of the officer’s deaths were bullet shots to the aorta. However, the disturbing news of this was the source of said bullets. Agent Thomas’s gun was discovered at the scene accompanied by two discarded bullet casings. When the autopsies confirmed the bullets shot at the officers were the same as the kind from Thomas’s gun, the order went out for his arrest. It then became my responsibility to be in charge of the investigation and the hoped arrest of Thomas.

However, the most recent hour of the investigation has proved to be very trying. My men are not accustomed to the surroundings here, especially given that the main populace has since abandoned this rundown section of Baltimore. What’s more, the “resident” homeless of this area have been acting surprisingly hostile towards my men. Three officers were attacked in the last hour by a group of thugs, who were apparently hocked up on some unknown drug. The most disturbing news though is the rising suspicion and paranoia many of the officers are experiencing. Rumors have been circulating of a “Serial Killer X”, a being so ruthless that even the most deranged criminal fears his name. I had previously dismissed this as a ghost story made up by the residents, but recent events seem to hint at possibility of such an individual’s existence. Can this “Serial Killer X” somehow be linked to the investigation? And where does Agent Thomas seem to be running too? Only further investigation will confirm any of these details.

What the Press would say:

Ever get that really uncomfortable feeling when you’re walking down a dark alleyway? You know, like the walls might close in on you or someone may be waiting around the corner to mug you? Then be on guard when you experience the year’s most intense and frightening psychological thrillers. With its elaborate pacing, effective use of sound and foreboding atmosphere, David Fincher’s Criminal Origins sets the bar for what atmospheric filmmaking is all about.

Though inspired by a video game, Criminal Origins only similarities to its source are its characters, part of the title and general plot. Writer James Vanderblit has crafted a new story that takes the audience into the darkest areas of police investigations and the disturbing insanity of serial killing. The story is told from two distinct perspectives that seamlessly switch between each other. One is of main hero Agent Thomas, as he tries to prove his innocence and uncover the one responsible for the murders. The other is from the men responsible for hunting him down, who begin to uncover the truth of a horror more frightening than any simple criminal. The dialogue is intelligent, the scenes feel fresh and the progression is well plotted and carried out.

Fincher has pulled the wool over our eyes by giving us a whole new style to his approach on psychological horror. The well-shot cinematography, done by previous Fincher collaborator Savides, is effectively grainy and claustrophobic, almost like your watching actual footage from a police camera. This is aided by the great sets and art design of this rundown section of Baltimore. Also, Angus Wall’s editing is tight yet thoughtfully paced, never resorting to choppy sequences or gimmicks to substitute real terror. However, the most surprising aspect of the film is the way the sound is handled. Throughout the entire showing, there is no score playing in the background. The tension Fincher creates, aided by the editing, carries the film’s momentum so well that you forget that films ever needed music to create a mood. It also helps that Fincher’s crew have pulled off some of the most realistic sound design ever done on film. Every action and sound in the film is spot-on, feeling so real that you’re practically in the scene right then. This is a rare film that creates a new type of fourth wall while never breaking it.

Fincher seems determined to give us nightmares, as all of the suspense and fighting scenes are so well crafted and real you’ll think people are actually being killed. From the cliché-free moments of suspense to some of the most disturbingly real hand-to-hand combat ever filmed, Fincher continues to reign supreme over the wannabe directors who claim to be “masters of horror”. His cast also gets good credit for this, as they all give finely tuned performances. Though Cheyenne Jackson is the main character, his somewhat limited screen time may hurt his Oscar chances. That’s not to say he’s a slacker though, as his believability and natural reactions are stellar (particularly through a disturbing, almost un-watchable torture scene). Thank goodness he has Dennis Haysbert backing him up, who delivers a knockout performance as Detective Handrick. You never assume he’s acting in the film, as the literate, no-nonsense attitude he gives his character is done with so much ease that you’d think he was just like that. The fact he can carry so much of the film by just his mere presence is worthy of Oscar consideration.

Criminal Origins is not your average thriller. It’s not flashy, gimmicky or full of hidden political messages. It is an atmospheric work of art, which is sure to give Fincher the praise he so rightfully deserves.

Award Possibilities

Best Picture
Best Director (David Fincher)
Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Haysbert)
Best Adapted Screenplay (James Vanderbilt)
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Sound Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Editing

The Curious Savage

Author(s): Ryan & Hugo Manso
Location: n/a / Spain

"The Curious Savage"

Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Written by Norah Ephron
Music by John Tavener

Main Cast

Queen Latifah (Mrs. Ethel Savage)
Lisa Kudrow (Florence)
Ryan Gosling (Hannibal)
America Ferrera (Fairy May)
Justin Long (Jeffery)
Melissa George (Mrs. Paddy)
Orlando Bloom (Titus)
Elijah Wood (Samuel)
Christina Ricci (Lilly Belle)
Liv Tyler (Miss. Wilhelmina)
Kate Winslet (Dr. Emmett)

Tagline: "Welcome to the Cloisters"

Synopsis: The Curious Savage is the heart-warming story of Mrs. Ethel Savage (Queen Latifah), an extremely wealthy and charitable widow worth over $10 million. After the death of her husband she realizes that she’s never been free and begins to pursue her career in acting what has been her dream for years. She begins to give away money to anybody who wants to make their dreams come true. However, Mrs. Savage’s three greedy stepchildren, Titus (Orlando Bloom), Samuel (Elijah Wood), and Lilly Belle (Natalie Portman) commit her to a mental institution, "The Cloisters" to get her money. Mrs. Savage meets a variety of quirky and hilarious characters there. Hannibal (Ryan Gosling), plays the violin but has no talent, Jeffery (Justin Long), who has an imaginary scar on his face, Florence (Lisa Kudrow), who thinks her son is still alive, carrying around a doll; Fairy May (America Ferrera), who wants to be everybody’s friend and needs to hear that she is loved, and Mrs. Paddy (Melissa George), who paints, but only says a list of what she hates.

At first Mrs. Savage is very angry and hates the place, but when she starts to know everyone, she realizes that maybe the people that are crazy, are free, something she was looking forward for a long time. With a strange curiosity, she wants to know more, she wants to hear what they’ve got to say, she listens to Hannibal music, she treats Jeffery’s scar, feeds Florence’s little doll, she tells Fairy May how much she is loved by everyone and asks Mrs. Paddy why does she hate all the things she hates? Step by step she discoveres her freedom, she’s making people happy, and that makes herself happy too.

Mrs. Savage’s presence seems to bring out the best in them all, as well as the kind staff member, Miss Wilhemina (Liv Tyler) and Dr. Emmett (Kate Winslet), who soon realizes that Mrs. Savage, is eccentric, and not insane. Mrs. Savage however learns that any of the patients can leave but that they just don’t want to, as she, they are happy where they are.

So, Mrs. Savage leads her stepchildren on a wild goose-chase for her money. And sorts out her life along with the others.

With a heart-felt ending this is one not to be missed.

Based on the play be John Patrick.

What the Press would say:

“Two thumbs up!”-Ebert & Roeper

“A Great Movie and Play.”- People

“A+! A Just Great.”-Entertainment Weekly

“Amazing and Sensational, Hilarious, a family film to see.”-Rolling Stone Magazine

The Curious Savage is a great play and an even better movie. Queen Latifah is great and so is the rest of the cast. While Latifah is eccentric and self-absorbed, she manages to help others and see a world she hadn’t before, as the great actress she is, she lets you know that world with her. Everybody is hilarious and shines with magnificence. Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom all play evil characters that will go down with some of the favorite children and adult movie villains of all time. Lisa Kudrow and Ryan Gosling, as two of the crazy people, give such incredibles performances, both are hilarious when they have to, and dramatic as well when needed. Kate Winslet is great, as always, with this movie, hopefully, she will get her first Academy Award, as well as her sixth nomination. There’s time for laughs, there’s time for tears, there are great performances and there’s a very deep message. That makes this movie a classic masterpiece for sure.


Best Picture
Best Director: Tony Goldwyn
Best Screenplay: Norah Ephron
Best Original Score: John Tavener
Best Actor: Ryan Gosling
Best Supporting Actor: Orlando Bloom
Best Actress: Queen Latifah
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa George
Best Supporting Actress: Lisa Kudrow
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Author(s): James S.
Location: Canada

"The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger"

Directed by David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Based on the Novel by Stephen King

Main Cast

Viggo Mortenson as The Gunslinger
Tobin Bell as The Man in Black
Alexander Michaeletos as The Boy
Anthony Hopkins as The Elder
Sigourney Weaver as The Den Mother

Tagline: "Look to the Horizon... and Beg For Sunset"

Synopsis: The Man in Black fled across the desert and The Gunslinger followed. Shots are fired, crows left dead in the chaos. The Gunslinger holstered his gun as his heart sank. Sandy winds whip across his bare face as the shadow of his enemy fades into the distance.

Many days along the roadless way, he finds himself amidst a great many buildings left for the dead. Long since have these been abandoned. The ruins of once great towers, the remaining cables of three great bridges, a woman standing many men tall, the great water creeping up to his feet. He will have to return here one day but... They're coming.

The Gunslinger flees into the depths. Many miles. The surface people are still following. They thirst for blood. He must get away. Fast. And then, with a misplaced step, he falls. Falls forever, it seems. Until finally a darkness enshrouds him even darker than his surroundings.

He wakes to the underlings; the people of UnderGround. They stare down at him. Two elders hide him deep and then extract his history from him. His days in the Old World... the train... childhood, the train.

A boy has been kidnapped by the surface people! A very special boy. A boy from a very different world. The Gunslinger leaves his confession and goes in search of the boy. But he doesn't find him. He finds the dead bodies of hundreds of surface people. The Man in Black has the boy. To draw him closer. Lead him into a trap. With the boy as bait, the Man in Black watches for The Gunslinger until a bullet comes tearing through the door.

What the Press would say:

"The Gunslinger" is classic Lynch. With no beginning and no clear end, this horrifying quasi-western quickly descends into being a nightmare. From the opening shots of two men running across a desert, to the final shot of The Gunslinger laying in the sand on a beach, we are treated to an ever darkening fantasy that begins as a question mark and ends with no questions answered but a hundred new questions asked.

Jumping into the story full force, we are introduced to The Gunslinger, a loan gunman chasing after a Man in Black. His motives are never revealed but we are privy to learning a little bit about the mysterious gunslinger's past. His ideal childhood in a small town near the Mexico boarder, a massive locomotive with a skull at its head, and the viral plague that wiped out almost everything, and left about 90% of the remaining population mutated.

Viggo Mortenson plays the gunslinger with a silent intensity reminiscent of Clint Eastwood. He is the last of the gunslingers, the others being killed off by the Surface People. He is largely an enigma in a movie full of questions. He is supported by Anthony Hopkins and Sigourney Weaver; two underlings who protect him from the Above Grounders as long as they can. They seep into his memories of the past and use them in order to help him in the present. Only when a young boy, played to perfection by Alexander Michaeletos, is kidnapped, do they allow him to leave. The boy has been kidnapped by The Man in Black, a cloaked figure with two magnums strapped to his wrists. Tobin Bell takes the roll of The Man in Black and revels in it. His chill-inducing voice and his sallow eyes bring the character to life, even under the black cloak. His performance was definitely the most memorable performance of the film. His total lack of compassion when threatening the boy's life, his determination in killing the gunslinger, his hidden agenda.

Everyone in this film has a hidden agenda and that's one of the reasons it is so interesting.

Deep characters, a story that draws you in until you can't find your way out, powerful direction, and amazing sequences make this film. The final sequence in the movie is one in which The Gunslinger and The Man in Black shoot their way out of a hoard of above-grounders and end up on an empty beach. With the Gunslinger's guns out of ammo, The Man in Black aims and fires.

Lynch creates a nightmare world where up is down and light is dark. Where the fires of hell are heaven compared to living. David Lynch adapts "The Gunslinger", the first of four parts, from Stephen King's "The Dark Tower"; an epic story of good versus evil that reaches just below four thousand pages. "The Gunslinger" leaves no hope for us in the end. Like the characters, we are left without a beginning or an end, And we haven't even reached the middle yet...

Best Picture
Best Director - David Lynch
Best adapted Screenplay - David Lynch
Best Actor - Viggo Mortenson
Best Supporting Actor - Tobin Bell

...The Journey Has Only Begun...
...Prepare For The Drawing Of The Three...

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

Author(s): James S.
Location: Canada

"The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three"

Directed by David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Based on the Novel by Stephen King

Main Cast

Viggo Mortenson as Roland; The Gunslinger
Tobin Bell as The Man in Black
Alexander Michaeletos as The Boy
Collin Farrel as Eddie Dean
Tracie Thoms as Susanna Mia
Anthony Hopkins as The Elder

Tagline: "Forever Bound"

Synopsis: The Gunslinger wakes up on a horrid beach, with Lobstrosoties coming toward him. His weapons are out of ammo so the only way her can fight them off is with his hands. Ten minutes, and two fingers later, The Gunslinger walks away from the dead corpses that now scatter the beach.

A short journey brings him to an odd discovery. Three doors stand in the middle of the beach. Each stands perfectly atop of the sand. He stares at them for a long while before walking up to one and being sucked into a twisted vortex.

New York of 1981 brims as The Gunslinger finds himself in time square. His lost journey through Manhattan takes him to a high rise building and a shoot out between drug dealers. An addict, Eddie Dean, lies cowering naked in the corner of the room. The Gunslinger steals away to a locker and takes some weapons. Blood and bullets spatter the walls and eventually leaves The Gunslinger and Eddie Dean fleeing the building. Soon they back at the beach but another door awaits.

New York of 1968 surges with the energy of civil rights. Susanna Mia is a wheelchair bound activist lost in the crowd. Eddie and the Gunslinger spot and the Gunslinger runs for her. He doesn't know why he's doing it. All he knows is that he must. But he's being watched from somewhere up above. By a man dressed in black.

What the Press would say:

"The Drawing of the Three" picks up only hours after "The Gunslinger" but is an extremely different movie. This is no longer a dark, solitary journey through desert wastelands, but a twisty-turny time traveling tale that brings The Gunslinger to New York at two different points of the 20th century. He isn't your typical fish out of water though. He spends no time trying to get to know his new surroundings. Instead, he jumps right into the fray and a gunfight with lethal 1980's cocaine dealers. This fight is to unbelievably violent extremes, leaving many of the drug dealers in states that barely resemble human. The Gunslinger's complete lack of humanity in these scenes is more disturbing than anything else in the film.

His next entrance into the 20th century in in the late 1960's at a civil rights march. Here we meet Susanna Mia, a paraplegic, schizophrenic civil rights activist. Her only problem is that she has another personality, that just happens to be a racist white woman. Tracie Thoms delivers the best performance in the film as Susanna Mia. Her uninhibited switching between personalities would be comical in most movies, especially with to personalities that are so very different, but Lynch doesn't let it get out of control and the audience feels more uncomfortable and scared when the switches take place. Her character is very rarely funny, and never funny when switching between Susanna and Mia.

Also joining the cast, as drug addict Eddie Dean, is Collin Farrel. He gives one of the best performance of his career as the withdrawals set in and he is left as a naked, cowering, mess on the floor during the 1980's shoot out. Dean is an extremely weak person, a big departure for Farrel, who is used to playing cops and Alexander The Great.

David Lynch once again takes us to a horrifying fantasy world that is growing in scope all the time. The Man in Black is still alive as we now know, and is now chasing after his one time pursuer. It isn't clear if the Gunslinger is traveling through time or dimensions, but how much in this movie really is clear? The relationship between The Gunslinger and the Man in Black is still a question mark, Susanna Mia and Eddie Dean are now trapped in The Gunslinger's world/time, and one door still remains to be opened. Very few questions are answered in the end but one huge questions rears it's head in the final moments of the movie. This question takes the form of a skull-faced locomotive barreling through the desert.


Best Picture
Best Director - David Lynch
Best adapted Screenplay - David Lynch
Best Supporting Actress - Tracie Thoms

...They Are Now Forever Bound...
...As They Enter The Waste Lands...

The Dead President

Author(s): Pat
Location: NY

"The Dead President"

Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by David E. Kelley

Main Cast

John Travolta (Brian McDaniels)
Jeff Bridges (President Calvin Winchell)
James Spader (Brody Laramie)
Catherine Keener (Olivia Nordlan)
Frank Whaley (Sam Candalack)
Jeremy Piven (Eric Klambler)
Patricia Wettig (Marianne Winchell)
Chandra Wilson (Diane Hatteras)
Channing Tatum (Ryan Davidovitch)
Ron Rifkin (Porter Washburn)

Tagline: "Leadership is dying. Justice is hiding. Corruption is growing"

Synopsis: After President Calvin Winchell (Jeff Bridges) learns that a tumor in his brain has left him with mere months to live, he faces a national dilemma. Should he step down and let the next guy take over even though he is perfectly capable of carrying out his duties? The President decides against that and announces his condition to the public and his intention to remain in office until it kills him. But this statement causes an uproar in Washington when Eric Klambler (Jeremy Piven), a conservative senator with aims to become President, suggests that the President is incapacitated and he should be removed from office. The case is brought before the Supreme Court under the leadership of Porter Washburn (Ron Rifkin), a staunch opposer to President Winchell’s ideas. The President hires Brian McDaniels (John Travolta) to defend him while Klambler uses Sam Candalack (Frank Whaley), the Assistant District Attorney. Courtroom drama ensues as the two lawyers battle it out while interrogating the President’s secretary (Chandra Wilson), his personal bodyguard (Channing Tatum), his wife (Patricia Wettig), and even the President himself. In the meantime, Klambler has hired Brody Laramie (James Spader), a notorious advertising executive, to produce a smear campaign against the President to sway public opinion in his favor. Laramie uses heinous tactics, like claiming that the President is having an affair with the well-known owner (Catherine Keener) of an escort service. Drama, deception, corruption and much more arrive as one man tries to defy his mortality to make a difference in the world.

What the Press would say:

In Mike Nichols’ new political drama, a man faces the ultimate challenge when the rest of the world believes he is too weak for his job. David E. Kelley’s script is witty and heartbreaking and the stuff that Oscar are made of. And the performances are amazing, even from people who have minimal screentime. Patricia Wettig shines as the First Lady who is called to testify for her husband but ends up hurting his case. Chandra Wilson delivers an amazing performance as the President’s secretary who is constantly blamed for numerous mistakes. Her courtroom breakdown scene is more than tear-enducing. James Spader and Jeremy Piven each play vile characters with such ease that it is scary. John Travolta shines in the courtroom scenes as a mean, but good-intentioned attorney, but he is constantly upstaged by Frank Whaley as the other lawyer who uses his wit and sarcasm to confuse witnesses. Jeff Bridges delivers the performance of his career as the President who faces an external, as well as internal, dilemma once people start believing that he cannot do his job. “The Dead President” is a thrilling, legal movie that is bound be remembered as one of the greatest.


Best Picture
Best Director-Clint Eastwood
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actor-Jeff Bridges
Best Actor-John Travolta
Best Supporting Actor-Jeremy Piven
Best Supporting Actor-James Spader
Best Supporting Actor-Frank Whaley
Best Supporting Actress-Patricia Wettig
Best Supporting Actress-Chandra Wilson

Field of Desire

Author(s): Bryce M.
Location: CA

"Field of Desire"

Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: Tom Stoppard and Menno Meyjes
Produced by: Frank Marshall, Paul Webster, and Eric Fellner
Cinematography by: Roger Deakins
Film Editing: Dylan Tichenor and Michael Kahn

Main Cast

Viggo Mortensen as Monty Charles
Kerry Washington as Mardea
Elizabeth Reaser as Jessica Charles
Timothy Olyphant as Robert Charles

Tagline: "When power meets love, chaos is the result"

Synopsis: In the early 1700s there was no one more powerful than Monty Charles. Along with his brother Robert Charles, he has become the wealthiest man in Kentucky. As Monty looks upon his plantation with his wife Jessica Charles, and thinks about all the success that has come his way, he can't help but feel that something in his life is missing.

Unlike Robert, Monty has never been the type of person to treat his slaves badly, although he doesn't care for them either. But that all changes when his eyes are set on Mardea, one of his field slaves. As Monty gazes into Mardea's eyes, his heart realizes he has never seen a more beautiful woman.

Monty slowly becomes obsess with Mardea, eventually treating her better than his own wife. However, much sadness is in Mardea, and trying to achieve a compassionate relationship with Mardea is proving to be difficult for Monty. Regardless, the two eventually fall in love, and makes sure to keep their relationship hidden from the town.

Meanwhile, rumors start to spread throughout the town hinting that someone is in an affair with a slave. Robert begins a town search party that will find and punish the "slave lover" and the slave.

As Monty and Mardea's relationship grows, Jessica becomes more and more suspicious of an affair, and the town becomes more and more close to finding the "slave lover". Monty will have to choose between his two loves; his wealth or his love of his life Mardea, before both are lost.

What the Press would say:

Field of Desire will easily be labeled as not only the year's most engaging film, but also the year's most controversial. The subject of the film deals with interracial relationship, slavery, rape, and adultery, all subjects that have a history of being shied away from in the movie industry, and in society. Marc Forster takes on the directing chair of this controversial piece, and this is truly his best work to date. Forster's vision of the film is one that you usually don't expect for a film set in it's era. Usually films set in the slavery era tends to be much more tense and gritty. Forster brings a sort of low brow epic sense to the film, combined with a loose dark tone in some scenes. The concluding result is a film that is very beautiful to watch.

Where the movie really shines is it's performances. Viggo Mortensen glows as the confused and lonely Monty Charles.Monty is a man torn apart from his two loves, and his confusion becomes the ultimate reason for his inner destruction. Although Mortensen's performance is pitch perfect, the real show stealer here is Kerry Washington, with a career defining performance. As Mardea, Washington doesn't have much dialogue. Instead, she uses a lot of eye movement and body language to not only reach to Mortensen's character but also make audiences understand her character more. With much pain, and much resilience, Washington is able to outshine Mortensen.

The supporting performances offer just as much of a delight as the leading ones. Elizabeth Reaser suspicious wife character adds a new layer to the story, and offers a different kind of emotion to the main story's emotion that could have audiences relating to her character a lot more than Mortensen's character. While Reaser's character could be called the antagonist of the story, Timothy Olyphant's is just down right evil. His character leads the town in a hunt for the resident who is having a relationship with their slave, which leads to Olyphant performing many horrible acts against the slaves, including rape, murder, and mutilation. Olyphant's performance is haunting, daring, and sure to launch his career into new heights.

There is no other movie out there that is like Field of Desire. It is gripping, and once you are hooked in, it never lets you go. The drama is tense, and the scenery is beautiful, with many Oscar caliber performances. Expect it to do good come award season, but for now I highly recommend everyone to go see Field of Desire in a theater near you.

Best Picture
Best Director- Marc Forster
Best Actor- Viggo Mortensen
Best Actress- Kerry Washington
Best Supporting Actor- Timothy Olyphant
Best Supporting Actress- Elizabeth Reaser
Best Original Screenplay- Tom Stoppard and Menno Meyjes
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction
Best Costumes

For Pay

Author(s): Alfredo
Location: NY

"For Pay"

Written and Directed by Gus Van Sant
Produced by Dany Wolf
Cinematography by Harris Savides
Original Music by Michael Penn
Original Song by Panic! At The Disco

Main Cast

Macaulay Culkin as Danny Roberts
Richard Chamberlain as Richard Sommerfield
Dominique Swain as Kate Williams
Michael Pitt as Trevor Green
Elle Fanning as Kimmy Roberts
Timothy Olyphant as Patrick

Tagline: "N/A"

Synopsis: Danny (Culkin) and Kate (Swain) are high school sweethearts with dreams of making it big in Hollywood. They move from their small northern California town to Hollywood after graduation. Eight years later Danny is working over 40 hours a week to support his out of work wife and their eight year old daughter, Kimmy (Fanning). Danny loves his daughter and will do anything for her. He also still loves his wife despite the fact that he feels she's no longer in love with him. She appears to grow more miserable with each passing day. Living in a small one bedroom apartment is not what they had planned. Still, Danny had high hopes. That is until Danny was fired from his job.

Danny tried hard to get a job but there seemed to be nothing out there. Danny didn't know what to do. Weeks have passed and his savings were running out. He went to his friend and former co-worker, Patrick (Olyphant) for advice since he was older than he was. While talking and drinking some beers, Patrick made a move on Danny. He stopped him and told him he wasn't gay. Patrick offered to pay him and told him that plenty of straight men have sex with men for money. It's called being "Gay for Pay". Danny still said no and left. That night Danny sat in his kitchen and looked at his daughter drawing at the kitchen table. She looked up at him and said she was hungry. There was no food in the house and no money. Danny knew what he had to do. The next night he returned to Patrick's house. That's where it all began. Soon Danny was out there turning tricks just to make enought to feed his family and pay some bills. Danny lied to Kate. He told her he had a night job. Every night he came home he would take a long shower. Sometimes he would cry. Others he just felt numb.

Kate eventually found out what he was doing and left him. Danny wanted to stop but it was easy money. He met all sorts of interesting people. None of them made much of an impact on his life. His life would take another turn though the night he met Richard Sommerfield (Chamberlain). Sommerfield is a millionaire producer of adult films for gay men. Sommerfield is infatuated with Danny. He puts him in a movie. Danny quickly becomes a star in the world of gay porn. He makes a lot of money. So much in fact that Kate decides to get back with him. She doesn't seem to mind what he does as long as he has enough to buy her and Kimmy nice things.

Danny's fame and wealth increases when he teams up with Trevor (Pitt), another "gay for pay" actor. They're dubbed "The Twins" for their uncanny resemblance. Soon Kate's riding high on Danny's fame and fortune. Danny, Kate and Trevor become inseparable. Going to parties, getting drunk and high. Mr. Sommerfield becomes invested in Danny's life. Sommerfield's infatuation grows to love for Danny. He showers Danny with gifts. He constantly offers to take Danny to far away countries. Danny always declines politely but that doesn't stop Sommerfield from loving Danny. He is Determined to make Danny his.

Yes, Danny is living the great life. He has fame. He has fortune. All is going well except that he's certain that Kate and Trevor have become lovers; Mr. Sommerfield's advancements have become increasingly physical and violent. Worst of all Kimmy does not run and hug him the way she used to. She barely even looks at him when he arrives home. Danny now sits alone at his kitchen table.

What the Press would say:

Director Gus Van Sant's (Good Will Hunting, Elephant) latest film starring Macaulay Culkin, Dominique Swain and Richard Chamberlain is a revelatory one. Not just for the magnificent acting by it's principal cast but for everything from the wrting to the music, including an original song by pop-rock band Panic! At The Disco.

The story is about a young couple who move to Hollywood with dreams of making it big but instead end up with a daughter and struggling to survive. In order to provide for his family after being fired Culkin's character becomes a male prostitute which leads him to become a gay porn star after a chance encounter with Richard Sommerfield played by the magnificent Richard Chamberlain.

This fim marks the return of Macaulay Culkin as a real actor. It's a daring role that calls for a brief nude scene by Culkin. Culkin does a wonderful job as a father who is willing to do what it takes to provide for his daughter and along the way loses sight of what he truly holds dear. Only when he does realize it its too late. Dominique Swain is pitch perfect as a young housewife who grows increasingly discontent with her husband and child. Michael Pitt's Trevor is there to provide her an escape from the life that she does not want. Pitt is amazing as another "gay for pay" actor. He represents everything that Danny seems not to be anymore to Swain's character. This film also marks the return of Richard Chamberlain. He is sweet and loving in the film but at the same time gives a vibe that makes you uneasy. His character sees Danny as a object to lust after while Culkin's Danny sees him as a father figure. The entire cast and crew deserve Oscar recognition but none so much as Chamberlain. This is one performance that is sure to be talked about come Oscar time.

Best Picture
Best Director - Gus Van Sant
Best Original Screenplay - Gus Van Sant
Best Actor - Macaulay Culkin
Best Supporting Actress - Dominique Swain
Best Supporting Actor - Richard Chamberlain
Best Supporting Actor - Michael Pitt
Best Cinematography
Best Original Song - "No Love Lost for the Lost Love" by Panic! At The Disco

The Gold of Cajamarca

Author(s): Conrado Falco
Location: Peru

"The Gold of Cajamarca"

Directed by Terrence Mallick
Written by Terrence Mallick adapted from the book of the same name
Music by Gustavo Sanataolalla & James Newton Howard
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki

Main Cast

Daniel Day Lewis... Francisco Pizarro (the spanish conqueror)
Jeremy Irons........ Father Vicente de Valverde (catholic priest)
Gerard Butler........ Hernando de Soto (general)
Gary Oldman......... Diego de Almagro (the other conqueror, who supplied Pizarro with arms)
Adam Beach.......... Atahualpa (Inca Emperor)

Tagline: "An empire of gold that will wake the greed of thousands"

Synopsis: Adapted of the book of the same name. The film directed by Terrence Mallick ("The Thin Red Line") tells the story of the conquest of the Inca Empire in South America. Francisco Pizarro (Day Lewis), an ex pig-watcher becomes a conqueror and travels to Peru to conquest what he has heard is a country full of gold. In the city of Cajamarca, what was supposed to be a friendly meeting becomes a long bloody battle where he and the spanish troops murdered thousands of people. After Atahualpa refuses to join the Cathlic Church he is captured by the spaniards.

The film is told from Atahualpa's point of view. It begins with Atahualpa captured by Pizarro, remembering everything what happened in flashbacks. While trapped we see how he starts learning spanish and to play chess to a point where he is able to beat Pizarro.

Pizarro offers Atahualpa his salvation if he gives the spaniards a room of gold and two rooms full of silver. Atahualpa, desperate, does this without knowing will be later betrayed by the spanish conquerors. They make up a fake trial to condene Atahualpa and then he agrees tu turn into Christianity so he hasn't have to be burned alive.

The last scene shows us Atahualpa having his last dinner with the mummies of the past emperors right before he is strangled by the spaniards at the center of the city.

What the Press would say:

The newest film by Terrence Mallick is just amazing. It's an epic journey to a story not many of us knew. After a long time learning about the Inca empire, he gives a fresh look at a historical event revealing stuff not the Peruvian people knew about. The wonderful sets are amazing and Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is flawless like always.

The greatest performances of the movie are given by the two leads: Daniel Day Lewis as Francisco Pizarro is a ruthless human being whose only purpose is to enrich himself, while Adam Beach's turn as Atahualpa shows us a complete odyssey of a man who turns from Emperor of the most powerful empire to a man without a future who knows his end is coming.

Possible nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director- Terrence Mallick
Best Actor- Daniel Day Lewis
Best Actor- Adam Beach
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography- Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Original Score- Gustavo Santaolalla & James Newton Howard
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Sound
Best Sound Editing

The Good Guy

Author(s): Tony
Location: Pittsburgh

"The Good Guy"

Directed by Richard Attenborough
Written by Grant Heslov
Produced by Cathy Konrad
Music by Randy Newman
Costume Design by Colleen Atwood
Cinematography by Gordon Willis
Makeup by Keith VanderLaan

Main Cast

Cillian Murphy as Jimmy Stewart
Eion Bailey as Henry Fonda
Linda Cardellini as Gloria Stewart
Timothy Spall as Alfred Hitchcock
Josh Brolin as Frank Capra
Brent Spiner as Anthony Mann
Jennifer Morrison as Kim Novak
Keri Russell as Grace Kelly
Noah Taylor as Hoagy Carmichael
John Patrick Amedori as Ronald Stewart
Steve Coogan as Tom Slick
Adam Nelson as Don Loomis

Tagline: "Aww shucks, t-t-they made a movie about me"

Synopsis: In the town of Indiana, Pennsylvaia, on May 20th, 1908, a baby was born. Once his eyes were capable of opening he glanced at the world in front of him with a look that would capture the smile of all his peers around him, not knowing that one day this special person would become one of films most recognizable icons ever to grace it. James Maitland Stewart was born on this day.

His legacy started at Princeton where he got into Broadway. His first major Broadway show was the comedy Goodbye Again, where he played a chauffeur that said two lines. He shared an apartment with another rising actor, Henry Fonda. Although the two were best friends, their political views were vastly different, Jimmy being a supporter of the Republican Party. Their political differences even led to a fist fight between the two, afterwards politics were never mentioned again. Stewart then continued to land bigger roles, having a friendship with director Frank Capra, the notable work being Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. After winning his Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story, a change was needed. He decided to take on screwball comedy, which seemed unfitting for him, being the shy and humble man he was.

His comedy led to the next best thing, war, actual war. After 300 hours of flying time Stewart was in line to become a military flyer. He and other celebrity Hoady Carmichael teamed up to become war pilots and created a flying school in Arizona. They trained over 200,000 pilots during the war. Though in 1940 he was rejected into the Army Air Corps due to weight issues. He was five pounds under the limit but thanks to help from Don Loomis, a muscle specialist, he earned his spot. A movie star in a military uniform, Jimmy felt he could do anything.

1945 marked the return back to the screen, his first film in five years Stewart appeared in the heart stealing masterpiece, "It's a Wonderful Life". He wanted a change from comedy though, so he seeked a friendship with suspense master Alfred Hitchcock and western veteran Anthony Mann. Around this time he met the love of his life, Gloria, and he adopted her sons, Michael and Ronald. Along his journey Jimmy got to work with incredible talent, such as Kim Novak in Vertigo and Grace Kelly in Rear Window, earning the trust and hearts of each and every one of his crew. A risk taker he was as well, while coming back from his trip to India Stewart smuggled the remains of a yeti as a favor for his friend Tom Slick. While Stewart lived on Cloud 9, he was brought back down after the death of his son Ronald who died in Vietnam.

The film concludes with his several health problems throughout the 80's which includes heart disease, skin cancer, deafness, and senile dementia. However, Jimmy was able to grace us with one more performance, a voice performance as Wylie Burp in "Feivel Goes West", which would fulfill his legacy. A drug and alcohol free life he led, having the good life, ultimately becoming the good guy.

What the Press would say:

You know the feeling you get when you hear your favorite song? You have these sensational vibes running through your body, your heart sounds to the beat, a smile is created and it doesn't go away until the last second of that song. When you watch "The Good Guy" the feeling overwhelms that. Hardly do you see an Oscar worthy film like this anymore. You see films of violent nature, continuous vulgarity, drugs, sex, profanity, all of which are well and good, but it's nice to escape it every now and then. Very few films have had the distinct ability to move and inspire someone to the point where the effect is almost life-altering, this is one of them, a first rate biopic on James Stewart. Richard Attenborough has made another crowning achievement in his career, assembling the perfect crew and cast for this overall wonderful piece of film making. Credit the superb makeup artist Keith VanderLaan for giving our characters a unique aging look as the film progresses. Although much can be said about this cast, it all starts at the top, the cherry, Mr. Cillian Murphy. This is by far Cillians most challenging role to date. I mean if your agent gave you a call and said there's a role opened for you, you are going to play Jimmy Stewart, how would you react? Murphy acted like a professional and took it, there was no turning back. He captures it all, the motions and gestures, the expressions that leave you dazzled, and the voice that triggers all the reflexes in your body. Nothing but kindness and warmth came from Jimmys talk, Cillian does us proud. Eion Bailey plays the ever tenacious Henry Fonda. Bailey tackles the role to perfection, creating a comic atmosphere between him and Jimmy, each scene with Bailey can be accounted for as the show stealer. The fist fight between the two is actually one of the more humorous scenes in the film, that's because of the dead on chemistry between Bailey and our leading man. Of course there has to be discussion on Linda Cardellini who plays Jimmys wife, when shes on screen you'll have just as much trouble whiping the smile from your face as she does in this film. She has the look and dedication to become a wife of the 50's, and the personality that begs for an Academy nod. Last in line, Timothy Spall, who plays the Hitch. We all know that while Hitch was the king of suspense he was also known for his comedy, while he had your nerves tense he was able to relieve you with laughter, Spall doesn't forget this. His impression is untouchable.

In the end this is a film that's like one big happy dream. We all dream of films like this, a film that makes you have no worries in the world, with a few gripping and emotional scenes due to the death of his son, this film is generally a reminder on why we loved Jimmy Stewart so much. It couldn't have been done without a single person involved in making this film. A film like this will test other films out there and make them step it up a notch, because when it comes to complete and admirable film making it's hard to beat.


Best Picture - Grant Heslov, Richard Attenborough
Best Director - Richard Attenborough
Best Actor - Cillian Murphy
Best Supporting Actor - Eion Bailey
Best Supporting Actor - Timothy Spall
Best Supporting Actress - Linda Cardellini
Best Original Screenplay - Grant Heslov
Best Costume Design - Colleen Atwood
Best Cinematography - Gordon Willis
Best Makeup - Keith VanderLaan


Author(s): Kwame
Location: FL


Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by:Paul Thomas Anderson
Music by:Jon Brion

Main Cast

Common as Dearrick Alari
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Ruben Sarris
Corbin Bleu as Esteban "Stebi" McAvery
Brian Cox as Paul McAvery

Tagline: "Inspiring Alligator Aficionados Everywhere"

Synopsis: Dearrick Alari and Ruben Sarris were the best of friends at a South Florida Prep School in the Mid-1980's. The two enthusiastic teens, both interested in alligators at the time, were the co-founders of "Greensleeves Magazine", a wildly popular bi-monthly that increased alligator awareness, and was a strong force in the boys' acceptance into the School of Journalism at Columbia University.20 years later, both men, still bachelors, are fully committed to the production of their magazine and to the "Feed the Homeless Society" at their church.

One morning, Dearrick confronts Ruben over an issue regarding the future of their magazine. He had been receiving numerous e-mails from Stebi McAvery, a so-called "flamboyantly gay" 18-year old and adopted son of a regular yet ill-regarded parishioner Paul McAvery.The young man had been suggesting numerous changes that the magazine could make;one being the additition of a feature called "Alligator Mode", which would result in a partnership with some major international fashion designers. More importantly, Stebi mentions that his adopted-father, currently dying of cancer, would donate 45% of his fortune to the establishment.

The two business associates knew it would be foolish to ignore such an opportunity-after all, the magazine had been out of the spotlight for over 5 years, and this would boost it's reputation with the younger generation. However, associating themselves with the eccentrics Stebi and Paul could completely damage their own reputation with the church crowd.The two lifelong friends suddenly find themselves reexamining their morals and beliefs.

What the Press would say:

“Greensleeves" is as unpretentious as any other Paul Thomas Anderson masterpiece.With only his 6th full-length feature in over 10 years, this film, in the words of Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum "solidifys PTA's status as an American filmmaking institution. It's just that brilliant". Of course, the movie benefits greatly from the small yet very strong cast. David Ansen from Newsweek raves"Common is just insane.He's a complete revelation.In a just world...Common and Philip Seymour Hoffman would get a Best Actor nomination each.But if there is anything that this movie that the world is not farm from being just." Brian Cox has also garnered career-best raves and Ken Turan from the L.A. Times warns us to "watch out for Corbin Bleu. He stole scenes in High School Musical...likewise, he steals scenes here...A refreshing talent,to be sure".Roger Ebert says it best "Like all of PTA's films..."Greensleeves" knows what it is. It can never be fully begs you to form your opinion, but it is what it is....I think it's divine"

For Your Consideration:
Best Picture
Best Director-Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Actor-Common, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Supporting Actor:Corbin Bleu, Brian Cox
Best Original Screenplay

Harvey Black.

Author(s): Al
Location: NY

"Harvey Black."

Directed by David Lynch
Written by Charlie Kaufman

Main Cast

Harvey Black: Christopher Walken
Selma Del Var: Virginia Madsen
Eddie 'O Connor: Mark Wahlberg
Donovan: Michael Clarke Duncan
Syms: Joel Grey
Murphy: James Caan
Alma: Rosario Dawson
The Alleyway Dame: Marley Shelton
Tommy Slattery: Alec Baldwin
Sgt. Spade: Gene Hackman

Tagline: "Harvey Black is a detective. Like in the movies"

Synopsis: Harvey Black was a nice guy. People always told Harvey Black that. And he believed it. He enjoyed his little rut. At least, that's what he told himself.

But he was lying. Sometimes he'd peek over his cubicle wall just to see if there was something new out there. Because he was bored. Oh-so bored.

And what every bored guy needs is a hobby, right? So Harvey Black got into detectives in a big way. He'd rent old noir movies and stay up all night watching them. And he'd sigh. The click-click-clicking of his keyboard always seemed like a lullaby in contrast to the gunshots and footsteps he'd hear in the movies. And the fluorescent lighting and off-white walls of his office always sharply contrasted the deep blacks, soft grays, and striking crimsons of blood that he began to see in his dreams. More than anything, Harvey wanted to be a detective.

So imagine his surprise when one day, walking to the bus, he saw a woman being attacked in a dark alley. His heroic instincts take over, and he rushes in, only to be knocked out immediately by the butt of a gun.

When Harvey Black wakes up in that alley that smelled of the sleazy dealings of years past, all he sees are deep blacks, soft grays, and a striking crimson pool of blood a couple feet away.

And he realizes that in this world, he ain't plain old Harvey Black…He's Harvey Black, Private Eye.

Right away, he begins nosing around about the dame he saw bein' sent to serenade St. Peter by those three mooks, but ends up with nada. Downer than a sick puppy, he sees another case – a routine stolen-jewels deal, with a sultry blonde who is anything but. Looking for her to take a shine to him, he gives it a shot, only to find that there's a lot more to the case than it seems at first glance. There's a history behind the blonde's stolen jewels, and it leaves a trail of blood right back to that poor dame in the alleyway.

He's also got a rival on his trail, namely one Eddie 'O Connor, a sleazeball of a police detective with more on his mind than the case. The corrupt police chief is lookin' to take him out clean and fast. He's also got three goons who're literally the definition of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" there around every corner gunning for him. And the guy who sent them has a history of shady dealings that connect directly to the case.

Now Harvey Black has to make it up as he goes along, learning that there's a lot more to being a detective than he reckoned, right smack-dab in the middle of an Eagle Scout knot of a case.

Just like in the movies.

What the Press would say:

The noir has always been an admired form of art, whether in book, movie, or anything else form. But it has staggered in recent years and lost popularity. "Harvey Black." (yes, with the period), the new film from surrealistic director David Lynch and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, hopes to revive it by simultaneously spoofing and revering the format. Did they do a good job? Well…yes.

The first 20 minutes of the movie set up the story of a boring man named Harvey Black who dreams of being a noir detective. These scenes are starkly directed, the scenes dominated by off-white sand soft hums that are the very surroundings driving Harvey mad. The real story starts when poor Harvey is knocked cold while trying to save a pretty woman (played fleetlingly by a tragic Marley Shelton) and wakes up in a world of noir. This is where Lynch's signature surrealism comes in. Shadows stick out more than their actual human projectors: blood paints the streets a sickly red, and the entire world is rendered in a foreboding black-and-gray, simplistic style that calls to mind both classics like "Casablanca" and recent fare like "Sin City". It's simply beautiful, and suits the film well.

The film's priority seems not so much to spoof a noir, but to replicate it. Kaufman's dialogue is classic noir; rough-and-tumble, sharp-witted lines oozing out of the characters' mouths like drool. The actors themselves play a huge part in recreating the film noir. Virginia Madsen plays Selma Del Var, a dame who seems stereotypical at first but slowly reveals to the audience inner secrets and feelings. She's simply mind-blowing. Christopher Walken, as the titular character, is simply amazing. His famous voice is perfect for the noir, and yet he has never gotten the chance to be in one. He inhabits the role of the detective perfectly, but he really shines when he is given the chance to act like a real human; an earnest, slightly dumb man who is thrust into a world he is not suited for. I'd definitely expect him to get a lot of attention for such an archetypical role.

The supporting players are also given a chance to shine. Rosario Dawson as a hooker-with-a-heart of gold plays her role to a T, simultaneously being sleazy and sympathetic. Gene Hackman plays a gruff police sergeant directly at odds with Harvey very well, this role serving as sort of a comeback for him after a string of movies where he played against type. As 3 goons who are literally blind, deaf, and mute, Joel Grey, Michael Clarke Duncan, and James Caan respectively add an interesting twist to the story and a bit of comedic relief. Mark Wahlberg's role as Harvey's sleazy rival seems to be tailor made for him, as he slinks throughout the film cigarette-in-mouth, waxing philosophical in a wolflike growl. The real high point of the ensemble, though, is Alec Baldwin, as Slattery, a slimeball crime boss out to get Harvey. At first we only see cigar smoke emanating from a faint shadow of a man, but as we progress through the film, we get even closer to his gravelly voice. His words slipping out of the corner of his mouth lazily as he orders murders and robberies like Chinese food, we love to hate him and hate to love him. Baldwin is quite possibly one of the best movie villains in recent memory.

With a pitch-perfect replication of a classic noir, a unique art style, great performances, and a twist ending that will leave you breathless, "Harvey Black." is quite simply amazing. No, it's not the best film ever, and it's not even the best noir ever. But it's a thought-provoking, well-put-together, and entertaining film. And really, that's all we could ask. Sure, it's "different". But even the Academy might go for something new this February. Don't be surprised. I certainly wouldn't.

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture – AMPAS
Best Picture (Drama) – HFPA
Best Ensemble – SAG
Best Director – David Lynch
Best Actor – Christopher Walken
Best Actress – Virginia Madsen
Best Supporting Actor – Alec Baldwin
Best Supporting Actor – Mark Wahlberg
Best Supporting Actress – Rosario Dawson
Best Original Screenplay – Charlie Kaufman

The Haunting

Author(s): Josh P.
Location: IL

"The Haunting"

Produced and Directed by Jonathan Demme
Screenplay by David Koepp
Art Direction by Kristi Zea and Leslie E. Rollins
Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Edited by Craig McKay

Main Cast

Jodie Foster (Eleanor Vance)
Jeff Daniels (Dr. Markway)
Amy Adams (Theo Normansen)
Neil Patrick Harris (Will Anderson)
Charles S. Dutton (Mr. Dudley)
Alfre Woodard (Mrs. Dudley)
Laura Linney (Joanne)

Tagline: "The history of this house will haunt you forever"

Synopsis: Eleanor Vance (Foster) has lived, what she believes is, a full life. Although others might not see it that way. She is in her early fifties, works at a local television station, and shares an apartment with her sister (Linney). However, Eleanor can’t help but feel that something else is out there for her to experience. This feeling all but goes away when she sees an ad in the paper about an upcoming experiment about the nature of fear being performed at a countryside mansion called Hill House. She feels a sort of attraction to the idea, almost as if it was calling to her. She decides to explore this new opportunity.

Upon her arrival at Hill House, she meets the mysterious caretakers (Dutton, Woodard) and the doctor who is in charge of the experiment (Daniels). She also meets the other participant (Adams) and a relative of the owner (Harris) who is there to see what he might inherit. Eleanor has an interesting relationship between all these people. She reacts to Will as a childish adult whose playful attitude masks him ignorance of the world; to Dr. Markway, she has a subtle attraction to him. She never acts on her impulses, but a slight glance or brush of his fingers against her shoulder sends her heart racing. Eleanor has the closest bond with Theo, a proclaimed lesbian whose relationship with Eleanor starts to grow stronger. Any physical relationship is never explored, but she does have a sense that they are becoming something even more than just friends.

All of this is tested by the goings on at the house. Eleanor has mixed feelings about her temporary home. Whenever she glances at the windows, there is a sensation that they are eyes watching her, voices call to her in the night and faces are shaped in the wall. Is she going mad, or is it possible that the house is trying to communicate to her? Slowly, she finds out the attraction to this project that has been there from the beginning, and the terrifying secret she eventually reveals.

What the Press would say:

In any other hands, this would be an average horror flick with minimal weight to it. However, thanks to director Jonathan Demme, it evolves into something even more special. Demme takes a commercial suspense thriller and adds a great mysterious aura to it by enhancing it with a rich story and directing commanding performances and artistic styles. Much could be said about his previous Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs.” On that note, Demme’s actress for that film, Jodie Foster, also delivers an amazing performance. She portrays Eleanor with more of a subtle power. She never says or does much, but that is where the genius lies. In the beginning, she does a great job as a lonely woman desperately wanting to break free from her ordinary life, and then is outstanding as her slow descent into possible madness is revealed. Amy Adams is also marvelous as a woman who helps Eleanor come out (no pun intended) of her shell and experience the world a new, as well as someone who displays great fear as the house begins to wreak havoc on their relationship. David Koepp’s screenplay, adapted from both the Shirley Jackson short story and Robert Wise’s 1963 film, focuses more on the characters in the plot and exposes their relationships in great detail and wonderful descriptions. The eerie set design of Hill House, the shadowy cinematography and the eerie, operatic score from Elliot Goldenthal add to the tension this movie brings, as well as enhance its brilliance. The campaign consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: Jonathan Demme
Best Actress: Jodie Foster
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams
Best Adapted Screenplay: David Koepp
Best Art Direction
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score