Tag Archive: amy adams


This post is the 400th entry in my Filmic blog, but that’s not the only milestone I’ve reached in the last week.

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Dir. Paul Thomason Anderson
(2012, R, 137 minutes)

The first line I wrote in the notes I took following The Master was, “I don’t know what Paul Thomas Anderson is getting at.” But the more notes I took the more I sorta think I figured it out. The subtextual meaning of the film hinges on one scene, which I can’t describe without revealing too much, though even if I gave it away my interpretation is probably open to interpretation.

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Dir. James Bobin
(2011, PG, 103 min)

In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel played a lovesick TV composer who longed to stage a puppet musical version of Dracula. We were shown a bit of that musical, which made me want to see the whole thing, and also made me believe no one would be better suited to spearhead a modern Muppet movie than Segel, who wrote Marshall‘s screenplay and penned a song for the Dracula tuner. He showed the right balance of unabashed whimsy and fresh wit.

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Filmic Turns 300!

After I posted my 299th blog entry last week, a review for the indie drama Urbania, I pondered how I would mark the occasion of my 300th post. For Filmic‘s first year I posted interesting reader stats. For my second anniversary I listed my twenty favorite films of the last decade. But what to do for my 300th post? More stats? Announce the 300 greatest something-or-other? I like making lists, but trying to come up with 300 of anything would waste your time and mine.

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Dir. David O. Russell
(2010, R, 115 min)
★ ★

The underdog sports movie is a genre, along with the substance-abusing-artist movie, that Hollywood keeps making and award-givers keep voting for. The latest example is The Fighter, which is a workmanlike but not especially distinguished example of the formula. It hits the usual beats: down-on-his-luck boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) struggles to pay the bills, is estranged from his ex-wife and daughter, meets the right girl, and starts to turn things around, and it all comes down to the Championship Fight.

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Meryl Streep, in 'Julie & Julia'

Dir. Nora Ephron
(2009, PG-13, 123 min)
★ ★ ½

My food metaphors are rusty, but I’ll give it a shot. Julie & Julia is sweet. Too sweet. It’s apple pie dipped in honey, drizzled in caramel, and injected with high fructose corn syrup. What it needs is a touch of the tart, salty, or savory. Written and directed by sugar specialist Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail), with an extra dollop of cutesy meringue by composer Alexandre Desplat, it makes Chocolat look like No Country for Old Men.

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BEST ACTOR:
Nominees: Richard Jenkins (The Visitor); Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon); Sean Penn (Milk); Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button); Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Sean Penn, in 'Milk'
Winner: Sean Penn
After Mickey Rourke won the Golden Globe and delivered his touching speech, it appeared that momentum might have been shifting away from early favorite Sean Penn to the Comeback Kid. Penn’s victory at SAG put him back out front, but this is a tight two-man race.

Penn has other factors working in his favor. First, he plays a real person. Oscar is a sucker for stars transforming themselves for lofty biopics: Forest Whitaker (Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland), Helen Mirren (Elizabeth II in The Queen), Marion Cotillard (Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Truman Capote in Capote), Jamie Foxx (Ray Charles in Ray), Adrien Brody (Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist), and so on. Second, Milk has widespread Academy support that The Wrestler doesn’t have: eight nominations, including Best Picture. But watch out for Rourke if voters decide that it’s too early for another coronation for Penn, who won this award just five years ago for Mystic River.

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Academy Award statuette

As the late-year Oscar rush continues, here are a few of the year’s worthiest contenders the Motion Picture Academy has probably missed.

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“Doubt”

Dir. John Patrick Shanley
(PG-13) ★ ★ ★ ½

John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, based on his Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, develops powerful subtext without having to call attention to it. There are hidden truths under the surface of what the characters say and do. We can see the shadows lurking in the nuances of the screenplay and in the performances of the fine ensemble. Father Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) doesn’t seem innocent; he is too cagey and indirect in his denials of wrongdoing. Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) is certain that he is a child molester, and she is certain because she saw him grab a boy by the wrist. Such slight evidence for such a serious charge — for her as well, there is more than meets the eye.

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Dir. Bharat Nalluri
(PG-13) ★ ★ ★ ★

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day comes as a surprise. It is a romantic farce, set in the 1930s and styled as if from the era, but it becomes something richer. Director Bharat Nalluri, working from a fine screenplay by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy, based on a novel by Winifred Watson, digs deep into the material to reveal an undercurrent of sadness and the foreboding of a nation on the eve of its entry into World War II. Underneath the comically mannered performances and romantic entanglements, this is a film about class, about loss, about gender, and yes, about love.

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