2011 Oscar Predictions

Best Picture

  •  “Black Swan” 
  •  “The Fighter”
  •  “Inception” 
  •  “The Kids Are All Right” 
  •  “The King’s Speech”
  •  “127 Hours”
  •  “The Social Network”
  •  “Toy Story 3”
  •  “True Grit”
  •  “Winter’s Bone”

Will win: Continue Reading »


Continuing in the 1940s and then into the 1950s, you’ll see where the expression “they don’t make them like they used to” came from.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”: It’s easy to see why people find this too syrupy. It’s hard to see why they don’t like it anyway. How can’t you get a little misty at that last scene?

“On the Waterfront”: Marlon Brando changed film acting. It’s that simple. It’s sometimes difficult for modern audiences to see just how big a change it was, but if you think about what came before in my viewing chronology (Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Kelly), you’ll see how different his performance as Terry Malloy really was.

“Rebel Without a Cause”: As a companion to the film, I highly suggest the book “Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making ‘Rebel Without a Cause.” James Dean’s performance is a deserved classic, but the film overall has grown on me more and more. It’s odd, lyrical, not close to realistic and absolutely wonderful.

Rear Window and/or North By Northwest: You have to see some Hitchcock, and these two are the most Hitchcockian for me. To be fair, I tend to like Hitchock’s films but not love them.

True Grit

 Three stars

“True Grit” is an oddity: A remake that has no apparent reason for needing to be made — no update, no modern connection, no radical reshaping of the narrative. Though it works as a whole, it still disappoints simply because it’s not as good as it should be.

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“Black Swan”

 Four stars

If I bump into Natalie Portman between now and the end of February, I plan on asking her if she’s cleared off a small place on her mantle for the Oscar. Continue Reading »

Sorry for the delay. Baby and work got in the way. Continue Reading »

Film Appreciation 101

So I had a thought. Just one.

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Pixar has a track record no other studio can come close to equaling. Not a single clunker in the bunch. The “worst” of the Pixar films is, even in its lowest points, pretty good. Here are my rankings. What to do with sequels in lists like these is always a conundrum. I’ve come up with an inelegant but, for me, ultimately satisfying solution. My other self-imposed rule: No ties.

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