Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Recent Viewings and Recommendations

I've put up a list of my 10 most recent viewings and my grade for each one on the sidebar at the left side. I'll be updating this every time I get to see a new film. I'll also be recommending some films that I feel did not get as much attention as they should have. For this week, it's a nice, dark little treat called May (2002).

When this was shown in theatres here in the Philippines, I ignored it, having easily dismissed it as another one of those horror films with angry, crazy girls popping up almost every week. But then I managed to catch it on cable TV, and I was mesmerized by the lead actress (the eponymous May) and the plot development.

May was played with eerie brilliance by Angela Bettis (who I'd want to see making more films), who captured the ticks and mannerisms of an unstable girl who needed just a push to go overboard. The score of the film, designed to play a creepy, almost innocently sinister background to May's deeds, succeeds in casting an odd light on May's character development. The inherent eerieness of dolls and their subsequent influence on May's act of revenge are used very effectively, but of course I won't spoil it for you and go into that. To give you an idea, though, take note of this tagline: "If you can't find a friend, make one."

If you want to see a disturbing but also entertaining film on how far a girl's psychosis would bring her, then May is definitely something that you have to see. I'll easily give this one a B. Why not a B+? Because Angela Bettis happens to have annoying, vapid costars named Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris.

Source of photo: IMDb

Official Foreign Language Submissions

The official list of contenders for the Best Foreign Language Film plum is up here. Sadly, no Philippine entry this year. I wonder why? (I'm NOT being sarcastic.)

Monday, October 24, 2005


Doom (2005)
What a dumb movie this was. Instead of retaining the demonic aspect of the game, the movie version was turned into another one of those monster movies on genetic aberrations. And yeah, throw in the zombie aspect of infected humans going around mindless. If I wanted zombies in space I'd ask George A. Romero to make a Planet of the Dead. (Hmm...that DOES sound like a good idea...)
Grade: D (barely passing)
FYC: dream on.

Cinderella Man (2005)
Can Russell Crowe do any wrong (as an actor, at least)? He was amazing in this film and made Renee Zellweger lame by comparison. I suddenly realized with this movie that Renee isn't that good an actress (in my humble opinion). I don't think she'll be getting any Oscar attention for this one. As usual, Paul Giamatti delivered a strong, interesting performance. Regardless of the flaw in casting (though I can't name one right now, I'm sure someone could have done a better job than Renee), it was a great film overall, very involving and moving. I'm not into boxing in and out of movies, but this one had me rooting for Jim Braddock as if so much depended on his victory. And I'm sure that's exactly what the film wanted to accomplish (that and box office success, of course, but you can't have everything).
Grade: B+ (would have been an A if not for Ms. Zellweger)
FYC: Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Actor (Russell Crowe), Best Supporting Actor (Paul Giamatti) Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Art Direction

The Upside of Anger (2005)
A simple but moving film with a great performance by Joan Allen, a nice commendable turn by Kevin Costner, and so-so contributions by the four daughters (Alicia Witt, Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood). Recommended viewing if only to see Allen's mesmerizing portrayal of a mother who is driven to anger by her sense of loss.
Grade: B
FYC: Best Actress (Joan Allen)

New Narnia Trailer

A totally magnificent new trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is up at Moviefone. Click here.

Friday, October 21, 2005

All the King's Men...Gone

Slight changes have been made to the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories due to the recent announcement that All the King's Men is out of the Oscar race this year. I replaced Sean Penn with Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale) and Patricia Clarkson with Uma Thurman (The Producers). Clarkson's exit saddens me, but maybe it's Thurman's chance to get a nom. But I'm doubtful; if she failed to get a nod for her great turns in the Kill Bill films, how strong are her chances for this one? Then again, these films are completely different, the latest being a musical that might allow Uma to show erstwhile unseen acting skills. As for Daniels...well, it's the buzz, and the long career without an award. But this actor has personally annoyed me a lot more times than he has impressed me, and his filmography doesn't exactly say, "You owe me an Oscar."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Updated Predictions

I've made updates to my predictions in all categories. I also included three alternates for each category. These are the ones that I feel could take the slot from any of the five, which are listed in order of potential (highest to lowest).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Foreign Language Film

The list of submissions for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category has appeared in The Film Experience. But where is the Philippines's entry? Did we submit anything? Could it be Sigaw, which is making its rounds in horror film festivals in the U.S.? It's a good film, but not very solid and not the type that we usually submit for the Oscars. Pinoy Blonde, perhaps? Or La Visa Loca, which was directed by Mark Meily (director of last year's submission, Crying Ladies)? My bet is on Cesar Montano's Panaghoy sa Suba (The Call of the River), but I honestly have no idea. If anyone does, I'd greatly appreciate the information.