And the 2009 Best Picture Muriel goes to…

In reverse order, here’s how the votes for the Best Picture Muriel award played out this year. 10. Up in the Air 9. 35 Shots of Rum and (tie) In the Loop 7. Two Lovers 6. Up 5. Summer Hours 4. A Serious Man 3. Fantastic Mr. Fox 2. The Hurt Locker And the winner (read…)

Watercooler: The calm before the Oscar storm

Another calm weekend as we wait for movies to start cooking after Oscar.

ASC goes for ‘White Ribbon’

The American Society of Cinematographers has chosen Christian Berger’s work on Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon for outstanding cinematography in 2009. The final nails in the Avatar Oscar coffin are now being polished. source: Steve Pond via Twitter

Catching up with Muriel: Surprises abound

Muriel picks the best picture of 2009 tomorrow, but over the last couple of days she’s racked up three picks in major categories that definitely go against conventional wisdom and are sure to bunch up more than a few pairs of undies. Though none of them received my first place vote, I like all the (read…)

Review: The Art of the Steal (2010) ****

Terrific documentary about the battle between the estate of self-made millionaire Albert C. Barnes and the city of Philadelphia over the important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings Dr. Barnes amassed during the first half of the 20th century. As in most things, it’s all about the money.

Review: Easier with Practice (2010) *** 1/2

The Hurt Locker’s Brian Geraghty stars as a lonely man who gets involved in an intense phone sex relationship with a stranger. Rather than played it for easy laughs, this is actually an at times poignant exploration of loneliness in the modern world.

Oscar shorts: Make your predictions

Ok, you’ve seen how I think the race for the short film Oscars is going to shape up and you’ve maybe even had a chance to see the films yourself. Now head over to Shorts International (the fine folks who’ve brought them to theaters and iTunes for your enjoyment), click on “predict” and vote which (read…)

Weekend Forecast: Has Kevin Smith copped out?

If you’re dying for comedy or horror, you might have some fun with this weekends two new wide releases, but I’m going to cut to the chase and recommend you seek out Jacques Audiard’s Oscar nominated A Prophet, Don Argott’s terrific documentary The Art of the Steal or the Indie Spirit nominated Easier With Practice. (read…)

The Muriel Awards: Best Cinematic Moment

I think Best Cinematic Moment is one of my least favorite categories to vote for (I always forget stuff), but it’s one of my favorites to see the results (because I always forget stuff). It’s like revisiting a little slice of magic from the previous year. This year’s much-deserved winner is the opening of Up, (read…)

Next week on DVD: Ponyo, Where the Wild Things Are

Here’s what’s new on the DVD front. As always, recommended movies are underlined. (Available now [new and improved with 30% more Nazi zombies]: Matt Damon in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!, Michael Sheen in The Damned United, Audrey Tautou in Coco Before Chanel, Joel & Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man and more) (Pre-order: George Clooney in (read…)

US Poster/Trailer: Chloe

Here is the domestic poster and trailer for Atom Egoyan’s Chloe starring Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.

Muriels Best Supporting: A no-brainer and a surprise

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Christoph Waltz took the Best Supporting Actor Muriel award for his performance in Inglourious Basterds yesterday, but I have to say I didn’t see today’s Vera Farmiga win in the Supporting Actress category for Up in the Air coming at all. I’m not against it and (read…)

Gone With the Wind with Vampires

This is very silly, but in this late hour it made me laugh. My favorite part is Rhett seemingly emerging from a coffin. via: Mr. Joe Leydon

Watercooler on the run

I only made it to half the number of movies I wanted to sample this weekend and I’m on my way to The Ghost Writer right now so my end of the Watercooler will once again be brief. Shutter Island. Call it a solid double up the middle. Not exactly the movie I wanted it (read…)

Review: Shutter Island (2010) *** 1/2

An entertaining and refreshingly adult thriller that mostly overcomes the weaknesses of its source material with plenty of style and intelligence and a raft of excellent performances.


I guess I’ll be posting the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ awards here and I’ll do it after the jump so those of you who plan on watching the delayed US broadcast can still be surprised. Wait, never mind. Guy Lodge at In Contention already has a full list of winners.

WGA awards Locker, Air and Cove

Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal won the Writers Guild Award Saturday night for original screenplay while Up in the Air‘s Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner won for adapted screenplay and The Cove‘s Mark Monroe won documentary screenplay. The WGA’s nominees didn’t really reflect the best writing of 2009 this year because they were more strict (read…)

The Muriels: A Double win for Basterds

Inglourious Basterds really has a pair Say ‘auf wiedersehen” to your Nazi balls boys and girls. The Muriel Awards for Best Ensemble and Best Screenplay both went to Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. My votes: Ensemble: 1. Inglourious Basterds 2. Fantastic Mr. Fox 3. Summer Hours 4. Me and Orson Welles 5. A Serious Man Screenplay: (read…)

Review: Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts (2010)

Overall I liked the animated shorts better than their live-action cousins (reviewed here). As far as Oscar predictions go however, my confidence level is about zero. With my top two picks I fear I’m bending Academy taste to fit my own. Nevertheless, here they are in the order I think they’re most likely to win (read…)

Lionel Jeffries – Actor/Director: 1926 – 2010

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang might not have the greatest reputation among cineastes, but I loved it unreservedly when I was a kid… and I still do. So it is with sadness I learn that Lionel Jeffries, best remembered by me as Grandpa Potts,  has died at the age of 83. He’s on his way to (read…)

The Muriels: Best Cinematography

Anthony Dod Mantle’s terrific work on Lars Von Trier’s misunderstood and unfairly maligned Antichrist didn’t make my own Top 5 for some reason yet I was really happy to see it take the Muriel this year. Here’s how I voted: 1. Christopher Doyle, Limits of Control 2. Mihai Malaimare Jr., Tetro 3. Roger Deakins, A (read…)

Kathryn Grayson, Singer/Actress: 1922 – 2010

Kathryn Grayson died Wednesday at the age of 88. I have to admit that  ’50s era MGM musicals are not my strong suit so I’m exactly the wrong guy to talk about why she should be remembered. Nevertheless, I wanted to note her passing. The AP has the first decent (though boilerplate) obit.

Weekend Forecast: Shutter Island, Ghost Writer, Oscar shorts

Can you hear the ice breaking as Cinematic Winter begins to thaw? It’s kind of a strange weekend with only one new wide release, but that one release happens to be from a fella what goes by the name Martin Scorsese so enthusiasm around the LiC head offices is high – not to mention one (read…)

Poster/Trailer: The Art of the Steal

Last night I finally caught up with the terrific documentary The Art of the Steal which premiered to good reviews at Toronto in 2009. I can happily report that they’re well deserved. At the story’s center is the multi-billion dollar private collection of impressionist and post impressionist art amassed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in (read…)

Review: Oscar Nominated Live-Action Shorts (2010)

Here’s a look at this year’s crop of Oscar nominated live-action short films. Remember these will be playing in theaters (alongside the animated shorts in a separate program) beginning Friday, February 19th. They will also be available through iTunes and VOD. For more information about the films themselves and where you can see them, check (read…)

The Muriels: Cinematic Breakthrough and Music

Muriel continues to spread the love for the best in cinema in the year that was 2009. This time Christoph Waltz nabs the award for Best Cinematic Breakthrough honoring “a performer, filmmaker, or technician who made a notable debut in film, took his/her career to a higher level, or revealed unforeseen layers to his/her talent (read…)

Trailer: The Secret of Kells

Admit it. You thought I was stoned when I predicted The Secret of Kells would get an Oscar nomination. Here’s the trailer.

PR: The Lost Art of Inglourious Basterds Benefit for Haiti

The Lost Art of Inglourious Basterds: Benefit art program to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Next week on DVD: The Informant! and The Damned United

Here’s what’s new on the DVD front. As always, recommended movies are underlined. (Available Now: Coco Before Chanel, Hunger, Revanche, A Serious Man, Couples Retreat and The Time Traveler’s Wife) (Coming Soon: Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Robert Downey Jr. in (read…)

You want awards? I’ve got some awards.

I was digging under the cushions of my couch and I found some awards that went down over the weekend! Imagine that. Art Director’s Guild Period Film: Sherlock Holmes Fantasy: Avatar Contemporary: The Hurt Locker American Cinema Editors Drama: The Hurt Locker Comedy: The Hangover Documentary: The Cove The Muriels: Best Web-Based Criticism (Muriel voters (read…)

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