Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Author(s): Ben Miller
Location: Canyon, Texas


Directed by Mike Newell
Written by Richard Russo & Robert Benton
Produced by Joe Roth

Principal Cast:

Bruce Willis as Mark Williamson
Catherine O’Hara as Denise Williamson (Mark’s Wife)
Shia LeBeouf as Lucas Williamson (Mark’s Son)
Emily Browning as Katelyn Williamson (Mark’s Daughter)
Brittany Snow as Lauren Cox (Katelyn’s Friend)
Adam Brody as Brad Battle (Lucas’ Friend)
Mos Def as Marvin Sinclair (Mark’s Co-worker/Friend)
Gabriel Union as Nicole Sinclair (Marvin’s Wife)
Cliff Curtis as Mohammad Al-Shabbas (Mark’s Boss)
Jonathan Ahdout as Zahid Al-Mohad (Young Kuwaiti)

Tagline: “It’s not home…and it will never be”

Synopsis: The Williamson’s aren’t much different from a normal American family. The children Lucas, 17 and Katelyn, 15 enjoy their lives as does their mother, Denise, and the father, Mark. Mark is a successful regional manager of a major oil company and does right for himself and his family.

One day, Mark is offered a job overseas in the small Middle-East country of Kuwait. On consulting with Denise, Mark takes the job and three weeks later, the family is in Kuwait. While encountering a few bumps, Mark and Denise adapt to their environment, but the same can’t be said for their children. Lucas is devastated to be taken out of his American setting that he is accustomed to and enjoys while Katelyn welcomes the environment but believes that her social troubles she experienced in the states will translate into similar results in the Middle East.

Despite being loners for the first couple of days, Lucas and Katelyn venture out to meet the other high schoolers in the compound in which they live. Lucas meets a boy his age named Brad. Brad has just moved to Kuwait also but has grown up overseas. Katelyn meets a girl Lucas’ age named Lauren. Lauren has lived in Kuwait for three years and is well-oriented in everything a teenager needs to know to get by. Later that day, all four converge and begin to bond. Despite the meeting of friends, Lucas still does not enjoy his situation and falls into depression. Katelyn begins to hang out with Lauren on a regular basis, despite their age difference.

Mark is back in the office, constantly busy. He meets a younger man named Marvin who has been in Kuwait for six months and tells Mark what to expect. Upon further conversation, each man suggests that their wives should meet. Marvin’s wife, Nicole, begins a friendship with Denise which spreads to their children. The entire family is met with challenges when September 11th occurs while they are in the Middle East. They have trouble deciding when and where to be patriotic and what the repercussions may be.

The story continues with the various emotional difficulties the family faces. Lucas confronts Mark on not including Katelyn and himself in the decision to move, while Katelyn confronts Denise on her true intentions of agreeing to move in the first place. Mark confronts his boss concerning his racism toward Marvin, the children occupying their time with various “questionable” activities, Lucas confronts a young Kuwaiti concerning remarks about 9/11, and all the teenagers accidentally catch Marvin and Nicole’s bedroom activities.

Despite some fond memories, both children look back on their time overseas with contempt, believing their parents ruined their best years. It proves the hypocrisy of the children as they spout nothing but laughter and stories of their time overseas but bash it with little feedback while the parents regret nothing about their time spent abroad.

What the press would say:

There have been many films dealing with the plight of Middle Easterners living within the United States but this one takes a different turn with a story of an American family adapting to Middle East life. Bruce Willis plays the patriarch of the family and is the reason for the move in the first place. He conveys such silent intimidation from his children but is tender and caring when the time calls. Catherine O’Hara plays the mother and provides a delicate hold for the rest of the family to grasp. O’Hara sways from her comedic roles and delivers nuance and undelivered guilt for the plight of her children. The son and daughter roles are played brilliantly by Shia LeBeouf and Emily Browning. Browning is more of a balls-out type and almost plays the role like a older sibling instead of the baby of the family. Her powerful performance plays well with the screenplay’s strong points. LeBeouf conveys suppressed anger as well as innocence. For one scene, he can be kind and selfless while the next be screaming at his father or at an Arab student who forgets to choose his words. The incredible performance may seem uneven on paper, but when translated onto the screen, the young actor never deviates. Mos Def also provides fantastic supporting work as a co-worker of Willis’ character who is not only a friend to the family, but fights his own fights against his boss’s racism. This film points to all the juxtaposition in the world about race, creed and social standing but refuses to be political. It would be simple to turn this film into a puff piece about the evils of the US in the Middle East, but it refuses and becomes something so much greater.

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: Mike Newell
Best Actor: Bruce Willis
Best Actress: Catherine O’Hara
Best Supporting Actor: Shia LeBeouf
Best Supporting Actor: Mos Def
Best Supporting Actress: Emily Browning
Best Original Screenplay: Richard Russo & Robert Benton

All's Fair in Oven Wars

Author(s): Ryan
Location: New Jersey

“All’s Fair in Oven Wars”

Directed by David Frankel
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey
Music by Alex Wurman

Principal Cast:

Juliette Lewis (Brooke Davis)
Matt Damon (Henry Davis)
Kelly Ripa (Jane Biggs)
Tina Fey (Lil Traston)
Sarah Silverman (Jackie Glason)
Rebecca Romijn (Cassie Neilson)
Taye Diggs (Matt Ladey)
Jennifer Tilly (Gina Hitsen)
Dane Cook (Leo Shef)
Ben Stiller (Chris)
Wanda Sykes (Janet)
Chevy Chase (Christopher Friedman Sr.)
Robin Williams (William Blancherd Junior the V)
Rachel Ray as Herself
Gordon Ramsey as Himself
Emeril Lagasse as Himself

Tagline: “The Kitchen Just Got a Whole Lot Hotter” 4/20/07

RATED PG-13 on appeal- for language and sexual content

Synopsis: Brooke (Juliette Lewis) and Henry Davis (Matt Damon) are a happily married couple for five years. Henry owns one of the top celebrity hot-spot, classy restaurants in New York called Epicure. However, Brooke’s friend and used-to-be business partner, Jane Biggs (Kelly Ripa), surprises her and opens up there old hot-spot restaurant, Silk, however, it is right across the street to her husbands restaurant Epicure! Now Henry’s staff, Su-Chef, Matt Lady (Taye Diggs), hostess, Jackie Glason (Sarah Silverman), and manager/best friend, Leo Shef (Dane Cook), must sabotage and duke it out between Brooke’s staff. Brooke’s staff is Su-Chef, Lil Traston (Tina Fey), hostess, Cassie Nealson (Rebecca Romijn), and manager, Gina Hitsen (Jennifer Tilly). With side-splitting small roles from Ben Stiller, Wanda Sykes, Robin Williams as a food critic and Chevy Chase as a health department employee. Also with chefs Rachel Ray, Gordon Ramsey, and Emeril Lagasse. But how much of a toll will this take their marriage?

What the press would say:

“Two thumbs up!”-Ebert & Roeper
“One of the Best Comedies since There is Something about Mary!”- People
“A+! I keeled over laughing throughout the movie! A funny comedy with depth.”-Entertainment Weekly
“Looks like a plain cake but tastes like chocolate. A metaphor meaning there is a lot more than you’ll expect. A lot!.”-Rolling Stone Magazine
All’s Fair in Love In War is a hilarious film about a husband and wife who open up high-end restaurants right across the street from each other. With an all star comedic cast and hilarious cameos as customers and food inspectors played by Wanda Sykes, Ben Stiller, Chevy Chase and Robin Williams. Juliette Lewis gives her best performance since Natural Born Killers and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Matt Damon gives a terrific comedic performance worthy of Syriana and The Departed. Jennifer Tilly, Tina Fey, Taye Diggs, Sarah Silverman, Dane Cook, Rebecca Romijn, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase and Kelly Ripa are at there comedic bests and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a spin-off on each of their characters.

Best Picture
Best Director: David Frankel
Best Screenplay: Sacha Baron Cohen, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, David Zuker
Best Original Score: Alex Wurman
Best Actor: Matt Damon, Dane Cook
Best Supporting Actor: Taye Diggs
Best Actress: Juliette Lewis, Kelly Ripa
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Tilly, Sarah Silverman

The Art of Love

Author(s): Pierre Davis
Location: Columbus, Ohio

“The Art of Love”

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
Written by: Pedro Almodovar and Paul Haggis
Produced by: Paloma Picasso, Clint Eastwood and Stephan Spielberg
Score by: Hans Zimmer

Principal Cast:

Joe Pesci as Older Pablo Picasso
Gael Garcia Bernal as younger Pablo Picasso
Catherine Zeta Jones as Paloma Picasso
Gwen Stefani as Olga Khokhlova
Chloe Sevigny as Marie-Thérèse Walter
Jennifer Connelly as Françoise Gilot
Rachel Weisz as Dora Maar
Hilary Swank as Jacqueline Roque

Rated R: For language, nudity, abuse and sexual content.

Filming Locations: Paris, France and U.S.A

Tagline: “Art led him to Love but Love inspired his Art"

Running time: 2 hours and 33 minutes

Synopsis: From one of the greatest minds of our time comes a fantastic biography about one of the world’s greatest painters and his many affairs with women he fell in love with over the years. The film begins with Paloma Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s daughter, walking down the hallway of his house on April 6th 1978. Her and her father never really had a good relationship and sees this as her only chance to connect with her father before his death.

Pablo Picasso talks to his daughter about his days as a young painter in France beginning at his wedding to his first wife Olga Khokhlova. He tells her how she introduced him to the life of the rich and famous and many other details. The two had a son by the name of Paulo who Paloma never really had a chance to connect with. The story goes on to 1927 when he meets 17 year old Marie-Thérèse Walter and began a secret affair with her after him and Olga Khokhlova clash over his bohemian lifestyle and her insistence on social proprierty. Marie was the nurse of his family. Olga knew nothing about the affair until Marie became pregnate and one of Olgas friends inforemd her. A scene show Marie committing suicide 4 years after the death of Picasso after her living in vain for Picasso not wanting to marry her. That is when Palomas brother is born. After that Pablo becomes tired and Paloma returns home.

At Palomas home we see that she is a smart business woman with a fashion sense. She is very close with her mother and her mother begins to tell her the story of how she met her father in 1944 when she was 21 and he was 62. She explains how deeply she did love him. And tells her the reason she left her father is because of abusive treatmeant and Picasso cheating on her.

On the next day which is April 7th 1978 Paloma show disgust towards her father because of the way he used to treat her mother. Pablo tells her in a teary scence that he apologizes and that he never knew what love was. He says the day that her mother left him was a huge blow to his heart. He expalins how then began realizing how he was growing older and older. That is when he tells her the only reason that he married his now wife Jacqueline Roque is for revenge on her mother. They both cry together as they realize what they had been missing. At the end of the movie Picasso asks Paloma if she is coming to the party tomorrow and she says that she would try to. She then finds out that her father died at that party. At the end of the movie at her fathers funeral she see the children of her father and tells them that life is too short to not learn about your family.

What the press would say:

This has to be one of the greatest biography movies of all time due the fantastic direction by Pedro Almodovar in his first American Movie. He really captures the lost relationship between the two main characters in Joe Pesci and Catherine Zeta Jones who are starring in what has to be their greatest roles. They were even better than their Academy Award winning ones in Goodfellas and Chicago. The movies flashback scenes give the movie even more and it never lets the movie lose any steam. Gael Garcia Bernal is a fantastic young Pablo Picasso and deserves an Academy Award Nomination. He brings the young Picasso to life through not only his words but his facial expressions. He even gained weight to get into this role similar to what Jamie Foxx did for Ray. The woman are no fluke either as the breakout star is Chloe Sevigny who brings pain and disparity for not being loved the same way she loves Pablo Picasso similar to the fantastic love story in Brokeback Mountain. Jennifer Connelly brings another brilliant portrayal as a grieving lover. Hilary Swank and Gwen Stefani rounds out a fantastic cast that is sure to gain Award nominations from left and Right. This could also be the first time since Titanic that two actors playing the same role be nominated for an Academy Award. There is a brilliant crew also that deserves appreciation for bringing this movie to life.

“Two Thumbs through the roof” Ebert and Roeper
“Similar to his previous movies Pedro Almodovar he brings the audience into this brilliant movie” Peter Travers
“Easily the movie of the year, Joe Pesci is completely unrecognizable” Roger Ebert
“Chloe Sevigny and Gael Garcia Bernal show us why they are cinemas future stars” Richard Roeper
“In his first American Movie Pedro Almodovar proves he is one of the world’s finest directors” Time Magazine
“A screenplay to rival Casablanca’s as two of the greatest writers of this decade team together for this epic” New York Times

Possible Nominations:

Best Motion Picture of the year: Pedro Almodovar, Clint Eastwood and Stephan Spielberg
Achievement in Directing: Pedro Almodovar
Best Original Screenplay: Pedro Almodovar and Paul Haggis
Performance by an Actor in a leading role: Gael Garcia Bernal
Performance by an Actress in a leading role: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Performance by an Actor in a supporting role: Joe Pesci
Performance by an Actress in a supporting role: Chloe Sevigny and Jennifer Connelly
Achievement in Costume Design: Arianne Phillips
Achievement in Art Direction: John Myhre (Art Direction); Gretchen Rau (Set Decoration)
Best Dramatic Score: Hans Zimmer
Best Original Song: Gwen Stefani for “Art of Love”
Achievement in Film Editing: Michael Kahn
Achievement in Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski

As I Lay Dying

Author(s): Brett
Location: Wisconsin

“As I Lay Dying"

Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Novel by: William Faulkner
Edited by: Christopher Tellefsen
Music by: T-Bone Burnett
Art Direction by: Gord Peterson
Cinematography by: Roger Deakens

Principal Cast:

Anse Bundren: Chris Cooper
Addie Bundren: Sissy Spacek
Cash Bundren: Matthew McConaughey
Darl Bundren: Ryan Gosling
Jewel Bundren: Heath Ledger
Dewey Dell Bundren: Evan Rachel Wood
Vardaman Bundren: Cameron Bright
Vernon Tull: Albert Finney
Cora Tull: Kathy Bates
Dr. Peabody: Tom Wilkinson
Brother Whitfield: David Strathairn
Lefe: Jake Gyllenhaal

Tagline: “My mother is a fish”

Synopsis: Addie Bundren is on her deathbed. She's frail, sickly, and slipping closer to the hands of god with every shallow breath. With her heavy eyes slowly closing, Addie makes her final request: to be buried far away from her Yoknapatawpha County homestead in her birthplace of Jefferson, Mississippi. With her grief stricken family gathered around her, she makes her final goodbyes. And then, she takes her penultimate breath…As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner's famed sardonic masterpiece, is the biting story of the Bundren family's hap hazardous pilgrimage across the lonely 1920's Mississippi backcountry. Filled with complex characters and a rich storyline, it gets a fresh breath of live from visionary director Bennett Miller and the Coen brothers, uniquely told through several different first person narratives. The story centers around six main characters, each with their own miseries, each with their own heartaches. First, there's Addie's husband Anse. A bumbling, toothless idiot, Anse is relieved with the death of his wife, and eager to make the trek into town so he can get himself a new pair of teeth. There's Cash, the painfully silent carpenter, assigned to the daunting task of constructing his own mother's coffin. Darl, Addie's second son, is the most ubiquitous center of the tale. Struggling with his own inner pain and agony, we see the Bundren world most uniquely through his tear filled eyes. We also meet Jewel, the bitter, profane black sheep who makes every attempt possible to separate himself from the rest of the family. Unbeknownst to his own father, Jewel is the product of Addie's sinful affair with the town pastor, Brother Whitfield. We also meet Addie's only daughter, Dewey Dell, who carries a painful secret. At just 17, Dewey Dell has her own ambitions for making it into town: to get an abortion. And finally, we meet the tragic Vardaman, Addie's mentally retarded 13 year old son, who becomes so grief stricken with his mother's death that he gets her confused with none other than a dead fish.

And so begins the journey. With coffin in toe, the Bundrens make their disastrous and strangely comedic trek through roaring rivers, dustbowls, and the occasional fire on their old broken down wagon. And throughout their dysfunctional journey through Mississippi, each character takes their own personal journey inside themselves, examining the relationship they had with their mother, and what will come to define them without her.

What the press would say:

Director Bennett Miller and the famed Coen Brothers team up on his sophomore film for William Faulkner's ode to southern humor in a tale of family, secrecy, and sin in depression era Mississippi. With As I Lay Dying, you are really experiencing six films of insurmountable comedic tragedy all intertwined into a single tour de force. With the sultry and sweeping art direction and masterful cinematography, the 1920's south is painted ever so perfectly across the silver screen. Each character, immortalized through the years, is flawlessly brought to life by the stunning performances given. Darl, played by the horribly underrated Ryan Gosling, brings truth and hope to this otherwise cynical and blackened dramedy with his eye opening leading role. Chris Cooper is wonderful as the despicable patriarch of the family with a hidden agenda. Also, look for the fantastically hilarious supporting roles by Heath Ledger, Matthew McConaughey, Kathy Bates, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Tom Wilkinson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and especially young veterans Evan Rachel Wood and Cameron bright, who despite their age portray their multifarious roles with the greatest of ease. The greatest performance, however, may just be by Sissy Spacek, playing Addie Bundren herself. Although her role is merely a sporadic array of flashbacks and missed memories, you will no doubt await her next appearance throughout the film. Her cinematic feat is ethereal, touching, and overall, a grand magnus opus within itself. This film is a brilliant, marvelous modern take on a famed American classic that will move you in ways you'd have never thought possible. With this film, you'll reconnect with America's first dysfunctional family all over again, and love every minute of it.

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture: Joel and Ethan Coen
Best Director: Bennett Miller
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Ryan Gosling, Chris Cooper
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Cameron Bright, Matthew McConaughey, Heath Ledger
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Sissy Spacek, Evan Rachel Wood
Best Original Score: T-Bone Burnett
Best Art Direction: Gord Peterson
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakens
Best Editing: Chris Tellefsen

Balton Productions

Author(s): Brian
Location: Arizona

“Balton Productions”

Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Thomas Meehan
Lyrics by Scott Whitman and Marc Shaiman
Music by Marc Shaiman
Produced by Laurence Mark and Martin Brown
Choreography by Susan Stroman

Principal Cast:

Harry Connick, Jr. (Dan Travis)
Christina Applegate (Julia Yates)
Minnie Driver (Wendy Albertson)
Jeremy Irons (Taylor Balton)
Tom Hulce (Frankie Balton)

Tagline: “All They Want is Showmanship"


Musical Numbers (In Order of Which they are Sung):

1. Showmanship (Company)
2. That’s What’s Wrong with Him (Taylor & Frankie)
3. This or That (Dan)
4. Showmanship-Reprise (Dan)
5. Start my Break off Big (Julia)
6. I’m Climbing up to a Star (Dan)
7. Little Favors (Julia)
8. But He Has Charm (Wendy)
9. Showmanship-Reprise #2 (Dan)
10. It Must Be Love (Dan, Wendy & Julia)
11. Out of my Sight (Taylor, Frankie, Dan & Julia)
12. Never Again-Dan’s Lament (Dan)
13. But He Has Charm-Reprise (Wendy)
14. It Must be Love-Reprise (Dan & Wendy)
15. Showmanship-Reprise #3 (Dan)
16. I’m Climbing up to a Star-Reprise (Dan)
17. Raise the Curtain (Wendy & Julia)
18. Patience is a Virtue (Company)
19. Natural Talent (Dan & The Chorus)
20. Showmanship-Finale (Company)

Very loosely based on the story of the Shubert Brothers, “Balton Productions” is about Taylor and Frankie Balton, two brothers that are the biggest Broadway producers alive. They have a slew of hit musicals, and are referred to as the greatest team of producers in Broadway history. They just happen to hate each other. So, to avoid contact with one another, they communicate through their agent, Dan. Dan is a kind man, but too accepting for his own good. Whatever Taylor and Frankie want, he delivers it to them. Dan puts up with their ridiculous demands and incredibly rude personalities mainly because he has always wanted to be an actor on the Great White Way. He figures that getting on the expert’s good side is a good thing. What he doesn’t realize is that he is starting to become the only one doing real work, as Taylor and Frankie spend much more time telling him why the other person is responsible for everything that has gone wrong. In need of a hit, Dan is responsible for finding a surefire musical sensation, which he thinks is in “Essence.” “Essence” is a spectacle about the rise of neon in the 20th century…told from the point of view of the neon. Taylor and Frankie adore it, and begin casting the next day. Or, at least they have Dan begin casting the next day. At the auditions, Dan sees Julia Yates. Julia is not particularly talented, nor likeable, but Dan has always been madly in love with her. He blindly gives her the role, and gives the incredibly beautiful, talented Wendy Albertson a simple role in the chorus. In order to get some prestige, Julia fakes falling in love with Dan, but secretly does the same with Taylor and Frankie. Wendy begins to fall for Dan, but Dan won’t pay any attention to her, or her constant requests to read the musical she wrote. Her show is called “Natural Talent,” and is about a group of Vaudeville performers. Though it is clearly ten times better than “Essence,” Dan is letting Taylor, Frankie and Julia live his life for him. He thinks that everything is going perfectly, until he catches Julia with Taylor and then Frankie. But, when he tells them that she has not been loyal to them both, they fire him. All of Dan’s hopes are crushed, until Wendy finds him and introduces her play to him. He agrees, and the two attempt to conquer the Baltons and Julia at their own game, and produce “Natural Talent” in the same year. Who will have the more successful show? Who will walk away with the Tony? And will Taylor and Frankie ever reunite? All of it unfolds in “Balton Productions.”

What the press would say:

“Balton Productions” is not the best movie of the year. It is not a life-changing experience. It won’t bring you to new emotional heights. What it will do, though, is give you two hours of solid, fun entertainment, along with some brilliant musical numbers. This musical comedy, directed by Mike Nichols, is not only the home to over 10 excellent songs, but also to five fine performances. Tom Hulce and Jeremy Irons play Frankie and Taylor Balton, the biggest Broadway producers in the history of the stage, but arch rivals. They are excellent, humorous and unique in these roles. Christina Applegate plays the cheap Broadway actress Julia Yates, and masters the role, delivering some of the biggest laughs of the year, and is even better than her exceptional co-star, Minnie Driver. But, the show stealer here is Harry Connick, Jr. who already proved his acting chops in “The Pajama Game” on Broadway, and does it again as Dan Travis, the struggling agent who is determined to put on a better show than his bosses. I simply cannot think of an actor better fit to play this part. So, if you are looking for a barrel of laughs, the catchiest of songs, the best of performances and all the excitement of a Broadway show, “Balton Productions” is the best choice out there. Also, it could easily become the feel-good Oscar contender of the year with a strong campaign in the following categories…

Best Picture (It’s not a Best Picture winner, but a nomination is well in its grasp)
Best Director (Mike Nichols)
Best Actor (Harry Connick, Jr.)
Best Actress (Christina Applegate)
Best Supporting Actress (Minnie Driver)
Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hulce & Jeremy Irons)
Best Original Screenplay (Thomas Meehan)
Best Original Song (“Showmanship” is the frontrunner, but any of the songs in this film have a shot)
Best Film Editing
Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction (expect this eye feast to clean up in this category)

Beach House

Author(s): Connor Campbell
Location: Carrollton, Texas

“Beach House"

Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne

Principal Cast:

Ellen Burstyn- Patsy Turner
Blythe Danner- Betsy Carroll
Bill Paxton- Eddie Turner
Frances McDormand- Susan Turner
Kevin Spacey- Pat Turner
Felicity Huffman- Jodi Turner
Jamie Bell- Michael Turner
Evan Rachel Wood- Katherine Turner
Paul Dano- Andrew Turner

Tagline: “Fear the Love”


Patsy- “When you’re getting the shrimp, make sure it’s gulf shrimp. I don’t want any of that Vietnamese crap.”
Andrew- “How do you know if it’s Vietnamese?”
Susan- “They have slanted eyes!”

Synopsis: Patsy Turner hasn’t talked to her children since their falling out do to an argument during their last family vacation to the gulf cost. Patsy was a heavy smoker and a racist. She remembered that vacation vividly. The house that Patsy stayed in was called the Blue Marlin, despite the fact that it was bright green. There was a gigantic room in the middle of the house, which was bordered by two bedrooms. On the right, Patsy’s son Pat, his wife Jodi & kids Katherine and Michael stayed. On the left, Patsy’s other son Eddie, his wife Susan & their son Andrew slept & Patsy and her dog Diego slept in the common room. The house was a dump, despite the fact that you could run laps in the shower. Susan was never well liked by Patsy, and desperately sought her approval. Patsy was an uptight woman, the kind that won’t let you sleep on the couch because it was too dangerous. She even made a curfew of 11:00 in fears that her grandchildren would be molested in the tiny town of Jamaica Beach, population 1,500. One night, while everybody was visiting with Betsy, Patsy’s younger sister who owned a house just down the street, Andrew decided he would stay there for a little while longer.

Andrew walked through the door at 11:10 and Patsy raised hell. She threw things across the room and screamed so loud the neighbors could hear. Then Andrew showed her his nipple=piercing and called her a bitch. All hell broke loose. When Katherine tried to defend her cousin, her own grandmother called her a bitch and went outside to smoke. She went through eight packs and then came back inside as if nothing had happened. The next morning when Patsy blew the air horn to wake everybody up, they were gone. Betsy explained that they left in the middle of the night. Patsy got in her car and had a melt down. She drove home and quietly went back to work. That was a year ago. Patsy has been excluded from every family event. She sold Diego and drew a bath. 10 minutes later she got in…with a toaster. She was at peace again.

What the press would say:

Ellen Burstyn gives a captivating performance as the bitter old Patsy Turner. Her portrayal is so spot on that the academy can’t ignore her. Blythe Danner gives a lovely performance as Betsy, Patsy’s polar opposite sister. Betsy in the wrong hands is just an awkward character that doesn’t belong, but Blythe brings warmth and makes her lovable. The film could not work without her. Bill Paxton is wonderful in this film and he and Kevin Spacey look eerily similar. Frances McDormand is wonderful as the sharp, intelligent Susan Turner. She is so believable and I see her 5th Oscar nod coming from this film. Felicity Huffman is also great and has a wonderful accent that is perfect for this role. The children are also spectacular. Paul Dano and Evan Rachel Wood give great performances as the rebellious children and Jamie Bell is great as the laid back child. Alexander Payne’s direction is sub=par. Payne and Taylor have done it again, from writing two of my favorite films, Election & Sideways, they have managed to write yet another masterpiece.

Best Picture
Best Director- Alexander Payne
Best Actress- Ellen Burstyn
Best Supporting Actor- Bill Paxton
Best Supporting Actor- Kevin Spacey
Best Supporting Actor- Paul Dano
Best Supporting Actor- Jamie Bell
Best Supporting Actress- Melinda Dillon
Best Supporting Actress- Frances McDormand
Best Supporting Actress- Felicity Huffman
Best Supporting Actress- Evan Rachel Wood
Best Original Screenplay


Author(s): Brian
Location: Minneapolis


Distributed by New Line Cinema
Director – Ryan Fleck
Original Screenplay – Ryan Fleck
Production Design – Richard Hoover
Cinematography – Rodrigo Prieto
Original Score – Gustavo Santaolalla

Principal Cast:

Dana Carlson – Rachel McAdams
Patrick Kowalski – Ryan Reynolds
Lori Carlson, Dana’s mother – Helen Hunt
Peter Carlson, Dana’s father – John C. Reilly
Paul Kowalski, Patrick’s father – Dustin Hoffman
Cathy Kowalski, Patrick’s mother – Sissy Spacek
Kristen Jones – Maggie Gyllenhall

Tagline: “Once you come, you never want to leave”


:::Lori::: “Dana, you need to get out of here and finish your degree. Why don’t you just leave Patrick and get out of Bismarck?”
:::Dana::: “I wish I could, mom. This place is like a black hole. I try, but I just can’t seem to get out of here.”

Synopsis: Dana Carlson (Rachel McAdams) turns 27 this year. She is the mother of Sam and Ella, 21 and 2 months old, respectively. She lives in a dumpy apartment with her fiancé, Patrick Kowalski (Ryan Reynolds), the father of her children, in their hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota, depending heavily on their families for financial support and child care. Patrick is a crystal meth addict, and therefore cannot hold a job to support his family. Their life is close to shambles.

In momentary flashbacks, Dana remembers her life before meeting Patrick. She was a graduate of a prestigious arts high school, attending the University of Minnesota to earn a biochemistry degree. She was on the path to financial and emotional success. Then she began dating Patrick, who charmed her with his charisma, but slowly dragged her down into habitual drug use – first marijuana, then cocaine, then crystal meth. She dropped out of school. Despite consistent efforts to leave, Dana could not escape her relationship with Patrick. He was abusive, lazy and demeaning. The family was soon forced to move home and live on Dana’s parent’s (Helen Hunt and John C. Reilly) charity. Then came an unexpected child. Then another. Patrick’s addiction grows much worse, affecting his temper and demeanor. She loves Patrick, yet yearns for a life of her own, out of Bismarck. She wonders what her life may have been without him. One night, in a drunken, high rage Patrick beats Dana.

Then one day in the mailbox there are plane tickets for Dana and her children to Seattle from Dana’s old friend Kristen (Maggie Gyllenhall)… Dana has a choice – leave the life she knows and start over on her own, or remain in Bismarck. The repercussions of her decision echo through her family as she stands at the brink of a life-changing decision.

What the press would say:

Rachel McAdams gives the performance of her career in “Bismarck.” Her heartbreaking portrayal of Dana Carlson is absolute perfection, capturing her essence perfectly. Within Ms. McAdams’ characterization, we see the intelligence and potential of Dana, yet completely understand her difficulty leaving her present situation. She is certainly in the running come awards season. Her role is heart-wrenching and meaty, giving plenty of scenes for her to show the raw emotion this character lives through. She also plays the “de-glam” card, putting on nearly 40 pounds for this role. (In the flashback scenes, however, we see the lovely Ms. McAdams we are accustomed to!)

The supporting cast is terrific. Ryan Reynolds makes us understand why Dana loves Patrick Kowalski despite his awful actions. He plays the character to its fullest potential, creating a completely believable character of a meth-addicted man stuck in the rut of his hometown. Helen Hunt has a beautiful performance as Dana’s mother, Lori. She shows true love and compassion for Dana while expressing her views that Dana needs to leave Patrick and start her life over. John C. Reilly is terrific as Dana’s hard-nosed father. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek are lovely in small roles as Patrick’s parents who refuse to acknowledge Patrick’s drug addiction. Maggie Gyllenhall shines as Kristen in her few flashback scenes at college with Dana.


Best Picture
Best Director: Ryan Fleck
Best Original Screenplay: Ryan Fleck
Best Actress: Rachel McAdams
Best Supporting Actress: Helen Hunt
Best Supporting Actor: Ryan Reynolds

A Chorus Line

Author(s): Al
Location: NY

“A Chorus Line”

Produced by Bill Condon, Paul Thomas Anderson, Marvin Hamlisch)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson and Bill Condon
Cinematography by Dion Beebe (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice)
Edited by Richard Pearson (Rent, United 93)
In Memory of Michael Bennett

Principal Cast:

Zach: Michael Keaton (A no-nonsense director with an unorthodox audition process.)
Cassie: Bebe Neuwirth (A very talented but aging dancer and Zach’s ex-girlfriend)
Larry: Tyler Hanes (Zach’s blunt assistant)
Richie: James T. Lane (A flamboyant and energetic African-American dancer)
Diana: Natalie Cortez (An assertive but kind Puerto Rican)
Al: Tony Yazbeck (Kristine’s understanding husband)
Val: Jessica Lee Goldyn (A dancer who only began to get work after plastic surgery)
Mark: Paul McGill (A fresh-faced newcomer to Broadway)
Bebe : Alisan Porter (A modern dancer who had a troubled childhood)
Don: Brad Anderson (An All-American young man)
Kristine: Chryssie Whitehead (Al’s scatterbrained and tone-deaf wife)
Greg: Michael Paternostro (A witty and sarcastic homosexual dancer)
Judy: Heather Parcells (A nervous, awkward, and hopeful dancer)
Bobby: Ken Alan (A young man who hides his insecurities by making jokes)
Sheila: Deidre Goodwin (A brassy, powerful older woman from an abusive home)
Paul: Jason Tam (An amazing but timid and introverted dancer who used to perform in a drag show)
Maggie: Mara Davi (A kind dancer who grew up without a father.)
Mike: Jeffrey Schecter (A showy young dancer who started at an early age)
Connie: Yuka Taraka (A small and talkative Asian dancer)

Tagline: “N/A"

Synopsis: 16 dancers stand on an empty stage, auditioning for a spot in the chorus of a new Broadway show. The show’s director, Zach, decides to have all of the dancers tell him about their lives, their childhoods, and their motivations in order for him to get to know them better. As they reveal their stories, we begin to see each faceless member of the chorus as an individual, a talented personality with their own special talents. But these young men and women will spend their time onstage as anonymous members…of a chorus line.

What the press would say:

In 1975, A Chorus Line opened. Based on director Michael Bennett’s interviews and workshops with chorus dancers, the show featured a bare stage and 19 talented performers, many of whose characters were based on their own stories. The show went on to become an immediate sensation, running for 15 years (setting a rarely surpassed record) and winning a huge number of Tonys, including Best Musical. Unfortunately, a mediocre 1985 detour onto the silver screen led many to believe that the show would never properly translate into film. Well, it’s 2007 now, and acclaimed ensemble director Paul Thomas Anderson has directed a brand-new adaptation of the musical. And how does the jury rule? In the words of the musical’s show-stopping finale, it’s one singular sensation.

The casting directors wisely chose to resurrect the cast from the successful Broadway revival from last year, save for Bebe Neuwirth, an acclaimed Tony-winning musical actress and star of film and TV, and popular actor Michael Keaton as Cassie and Zach, respectively. This is an ensemble show through and through, and installing P.T. Anderson as the director helps the show retain its ensemble appeal that was lost when the 1985 fiasco shifted most of the attention to Cassie. Each actor paints an emotionally rich portrait of their character, and gets at least one moment in the movie-a part of a song, a heart-rending monologue, or even a dance solo, that reveals to us their deep individuality. By the end of the movie, we feel like we know them personally because they’re all so relatable. This is also aided by an almost claustrophobic feel to the movie, whose camera never once breaks from the interior of the theater. Editor Richard Pearson does a great job of creating an almost rhythmic, yet haphazard pace. Dion Beebe’s cinematography not only captures the emotions painted across the character’s faces in up-close shots, but the huge yet intimate setting of the stage. Some of my favorite shots include the audience that is totally darkened and empty, except for the small light that indicates where Zach sits with his desk and lamp. The dancers can barely see Zach; instead they rely on his intimidating voice instructing them through the loudspeakers. Interestingly enough, we barely see Zach up close-as if he is as emotionally distant from us as he is from the dancers.

This movie would be nothing without a talented cast. A Chorus Line is, essentially, a character study times 19. It’s hard to pick a standout, but I would definitely deliver praise to Bebe Neuwirth. She is absolutely heartbreaking as Zach’s ex-girlfriend, who she left when she went to L.A. to pursue a film career. She is an extremely talented dancer, but she needs work badly and pleads with Zach to let her join the chorus. The problem is that she’s too good-she stands out. The breaking point comes when Cassie dances with the “kids”…but she’s too stylized, and she won’t look good when she backs up a star on stage. Tearfully, she exclaims to Zach, “I’ll take chorus-if you take me!” It’s a classic film moment, and she delivers it beautifully. I can also say that Deirdre Goodwin is amazing as the powerful, aging dancer Sheila, Natalie Cortez is wonderful and charismatic as a smart, independent Puerto Rican, and Paul McGill makes an impressive showing as the witty and homosexual Greg. Actually, I changed my mind about a standout. Remember this name for the future: Jason Tam. His character, Paul, delivers a heart-rending and famous monologue late in the movie that won its originator a Tony. The monologue details how the teenaged Paul, outcast from his peers because of his passion for dancing, lies to his parents and takes a job in a drag show because he wants to dance so badly. Tears shimmer in Tam’s eyes, and every word is filled with emotion. Even the moments when he pauses, his face tells us so much. Paul’s fallen ambitions and quest for redemption are evident in every syllable he makes. He’s a relatively unproven actor, but I hope that his performance is recognized, because it was my favorite of the year.

22 years ago, a legend called “A Chorus Line” opened on Broadway. It will never be matched, but this film adaptation does it plenty of justice, while shining on its own. It’s hugely entertaining but also resonant in this day of quests for fame and closeted homosexuality (both huge parts of the story). A Chorus Line is a great film with an amazing cast, and that’s all I can say because I can’t find words that will describe the experience of seeing this movie.

Best Picture (AMPAS)
Best Picture-Musical/Comedy (HFPA)
Best Ensemble (SAG)
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson and Bill Condon
Best Actress: Bebe Neuwirth
Best Supporting Actor: Jason Tam
Best Supporting Actor: Paul McGill
Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Cortez
Best Supporting Actress: Deidre Goodwin

The Chronicles of the Bakers

Author(s): Ali Ahmed
Location: Kingdom of Bahrain

“The Chronicles Of The Bakers”

Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Charlie Kauffman
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Brian Grazer
Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Original Score: Rachel Portman
Original Song:" Count on Me" Beyonce & Josh Groban

Principal Cast:

John Baker: Haley Joel Osment
Martha Baker: Meryl Streep
Neil Baker: Harrison Ford
Julie Baker: Emma Watson
Thomas Brady: Jake Gyllenhaal
Angela Williams: Evan Rachel Wood
Coach Mills: Chris Cooper
Mrs. Porter: Gillian Anderson
Nicole Cox: Eva Longoria

Tagline: “Nothing is ever what it seems to be …"

Synopsis: Neil Baker was a successful broker with his own firm and a big mansion .His wife was the perfect housewife who sought perfection in everything. His son John Baker was the star of the basketball team. His daughter was a lovely 'A' student. Everything seemed to be 'PERFECT' … or was it really??!

The Baker household was the ultimate example of a family with issues. Mr. Neil Baker is having an affair with his hot secretary, Nicole Cox .When Martha eventually finds out, she is severely devastated and starts suffering from a severe case of depression as her perfect universe have just been shattered. Demands for separation by Neil follow as he gets 'tired' of the soap that Martha has been running for the past 20 years. Martha becomes vindictive and decides to play tit for tat as she starts having another affair with a very much younger male, Thomas Brady, an employee of her husband. All of this just puts John and Julie in a situation that they didn’t ask for. As if they didn’t have enough on their plate already now they have to contend with the bitter tension at home. John has to work on maintaining his relationship with his high maintenance girlfriend, Angela Phillips, and work with his Basketball team and his loathing coach; Mr. Mills. The strong-willed Julie on the other hand, has to take care of her mother, manage to show up to the school's production of Hamlet, find a time slot to fit in her school work and keep on showing that she is in control even though she is on the verge of cracking.

What the press would say:

If anything is certain this season, it is surely the fact that "The Chronicles of the Bakers" is this season's award magnet. Nothing is more welcomed in Tinseltown than a feature comeback by a child star. Haley Joel Osment turns a new page for himself and his talents in Hollywood. Fresh from her turn as the devil incarnate in the Devil wears Prada, Meryl Streep takes the role of a vindictive depressed mother and plays it with utmost ease. The real surprise is that Emma Watson (Hermione from the Harry Potter series) takes a probably similar role and yet completely transforms it into a completely different character than what the audiences are accustomed to see. Harrison Ford delivers as the cheating dad and Evan Rachel Wood stars as the mean girlfriend. Eva Longoria plays the hot secretary with vigor and Jake Gyllenhaal romances his boss's wife as if it was a piece of cake. Gillian Anderson and Chris Cooper round off a wonderful cast in brilliant turns as the caring school teacher and the coach you love to hate respectively.

Sam Mendes successfully blows a spirit in the latest work of Charlie Kauffman and delivers his greatest work up to date since American Beauty.

"Two thumbs up ..."Ebert and Roeper
"Kudos to Sam Mendes who puts on the silver screen a heartfelt dramedy" New York Times
"Meryl Streep manages to break another record; her own. One of the years best performances." Los Angeles Times

For your consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: Sam Mendes
Best Screenplay: Charlie Kauffman
Best Actor: Haley Joel Osment
Best Actress: Meryl Streep,
Best Supporting Actor: Harrison Ford, Chris Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Supporting Actress: Emma Watson, Gillian Anderson, Eva Longoria
Best Original Score: Rachel Portman
Best Original Song: Beyonce & Josh Groban
Best Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell
Best Ensemble (SAG Awards)

Dear Andrea

Author(s): Matt
Location: Illinois

“Dear Andrea"

Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Written By: Patty Jenkins
Costumes By: Sandy Powell
Music By: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

Principal Cast:

Sandra Bullock as Andrea Yates
Matt Damon as Rusty Yates
Julianne Moore as Diane Bowsley
Elle Fanning as Sandy Bowsley
David Strathairn as Michael Woronecki
Michael Douglas as Dr. Starbranch
Meryl Streep as Claire Dawson

Tagline: “The story of Andrea Yates and her children swept the country and changed one reporter forever."

Synopsis: On a beautiful spring day, an American family awoke and got things rolling as any family would in the morning. The wife made her husband and five children breakfast. The husband went to work, but would never be able to return to the life that he had been living for the past decade. While he was at work, his wife had drowned their children, including the newborn baby, in the bath tub. After committing the horrendous act, the wife called for police. The police officer hurried to the residence, which was identified as the home of the Yates family. He found a mother, drenched in water, and her children, lifeless on the master bed. Andrea Yates was brought into the police station and charged with murder. Her case blew-up into one of the highest profile murders of the new century. Reporters from all over the country flocked to Texas to interview Andrea. However, Diane Bowsley was different from all the others. She was a single mother, and a reporter for a Chicago paper. As she interviewed Andrea over the course of a week, she learned of the woman’s motives and intentions. Diane’s experience with Andrea would end up mending her relationship with her daughter. The interviewing experience also acts as a way for Andrea to get her story out. Andrea Yates shared with Diane tales of her multiple suicide attempts, medications prescribed by confused doctors, and of her religious beliefs. Various people come in and out of these stories. Andrea explains that she met her husband, Rusty Yates, at an apartment complex where they both had lived. She tells of Michael Woronecki and Claire Dawson, who were both religious role models for Andrea. Claire was an older woman, who seemed peaceful and sure of her faith. Andrea hoped to reach such equilibrium. Michael Woronecki was a nice man and a helping hand in the community. The interview between Diane and Andrea does more than just describe the people in Andrea’s life. It leads to Andrea admitting that she had committed a crime, but she was influenced by her severe depression, possible insanity, and religious beliefs. In her mind, the children needed to die before they could be corrupted. She just wanted them to go to heaven. After the week-long connection between two women, Andrea’s trial would begin, and she would eventually be found guilty. Still, her crime was not all bad, as it resulted in an understanding of motherhood and love for reporter Diane Bowsley. Diane returned to Chicago to live happily with her daughter, Sandy.

What the press would say:

Dear Andrea is one of the most daring and touching films ever made. Patty Jenkins wrote the screenplay and directed the movie as no man ever could. The main storyline in the film surrounds the interaction of Andrea Yates and reporter Diane Bowsley. Jenkins understands the female psyche and was therefore the best person to direct the two actresses. The writer/director also understands originality and made a film that has never been made before. Dear Andrea is part biopic, part family drama, part crime thriller. The film has it all. Most notably, it has an amazing performance from Sandra Bullock. She is extremely convincing as Andrea; the audience will feel as if they are actually watching Andrea Yates. Bullock gives the best performance of the 21st century. Julianne Moore is just as great as always. She pulls off the intelligent, yet frustrated, reporter immensely well. Moore deserves more praises. Elle Fanning is heartfelt and touching as Sandy Bowsley, a young girl with a terrible relationship with her mother, who seems to never be around. The other members of the supporting cast, especially Meryl Streep and David Strathairn, turn in quality work. Add in Matt Damon, who has grown as an actor with his past couple of films, and the ensemble is the best of the year. Dear Andrea has it all: an interesting screenplay, a confident and poised director, a talented leading lady, a beautiful supporting cast.

Possible Oscar Nominations
Best Picture
Best Director – Patty Jenkins
Best Original Screenplay – Patty Jenkins
Best Actress – Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actress – Julianne Moore
Best Actor – Matt Damon
Best Supporting Actor – David Strathairn


Author(s): Harry
Location: Colombia


Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Written by Pedro Almodóvar
Produced by Giuseppe Tornatore and Esther García
Original Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonel

Principal Cast:

Rodrigo Noya as Jaime
Penelope Cruz as Antonia
Carmen Maura as Luisa
Manuel Alexandre as Dr. Correa
Alejandro Agresti as Simón
Mex Urtizberea as Sebastián
Joanna Cobo as Cristina
Gael García Bernal as Fabrício

Tagline: “Destiny brings unexpected paths"

Synopsis: Destiny. A word with various definitions. What is destiny, what does it do? It was the past, it is the present and it will be the future. Destiny knows all. It brings unexpected paths that only it knows. There are happy paths that are so miraculous that you’ll feel like a beautiful butterfly full of life flying on an enormous blue. But there are sad paths that are so obscure that you’ll feel like desperate shadow trapped in a black cage full of misery and hate. Destiny can change these paths in the most radical way imaginable. This is the story of one boy whose path radically changed.

Jaime is 12 years old. His parents are divorced. He lives with his very understanding mother Antonia in a small apartment in Bogotá, Colombia. He often visits his wonderful grandmother Luisa and his uncle Sebastián; a writer, a theater director and a film enthusiast. Jaime’s passion in life is the cinema. He loves to go to movie theaters, to rent classic films and he expects to become a film director. Jaime’s father, Simón goes with him to see a film whenever he visits him. Jaime is very satisfied with his life but destiny is about to change everything.

A student from his school, Fabrício, will commit suicide by jumping from a fourteenth floor. Jaime learns of the tragedy the following day. Although he never knew Fabrício, he feels very depressed as he reflects about the departed boy and talks about him with friends and teachers. Jaime feels worse and worse and in the most uncertain and unexpected moment, he begins to remember a strong and heavy past. As the days pass, Jaime gets possessed in his thoughts as becomes a slave of himself. His first demons appear and Jaime begins to think that his life is wasted, that he doesn’t have any purpose and that he should throw himself from the window. The most dangerous and violent thoughts appear as he has a desperate fight with himself. He wants to die but he is afraid, he wants to live but he is afraid. Destiny has just arranged everything to torment the young boy.

A few days later, Jaime goes to see a film at a movie theater with his mother Antonia. In the middle of the film, Jaime thinks on his dark demons and takes the hand of his mother while he feels the suicide ideas. Antonia asked him what had happened to him and Jaime tells her about his suicide demons, his complex thoughts and his constant depressions. His mother Antonia is a strong woman and wasn’t going to let the situation the way it was. She would do anything to help her son and decided to send him to a psychologist.

Jaime begins to have sessions with Dr. Correa. The psychologist hears Jaime as he learns about his demons and an abuse story that happened to the boy when he was 11 years old. Dr. Correa tells Jaime that he is becoming an adult and that he’s afraid of confronting reality. Jaime has an enormous evolution as he stops being a slave of himself. He enters a chorus and his last demon disappears when an 18 year old girl called Cristina from the chorus tells him “Always remember that your life is more important than the opinion of the rest”. Destiny can bring dark and heavy paths but you have to affront them and love yourself.

Memorable Quote: Always remember that your life is more important than the opinion of the rest.

Rating: R for strong thematic elements, language and some sexual content

What the press would say:

Very few foreign language films make an impact at the United States but “Destiny” is simply one of those films. An amazing narration style with many metaphors and life lessons is crafted in a beautiful screenplay from Pedro Almodovar who was inspired by the true story of a Colombian boy. Almodovar also directs and gives a wonderful rhythm to the film with an amazing combination of colors in every shot and continues his newest style by making an intense and strong but elegant look at the story. This can be seen especially in the abuse part that is suggested but never shown. Almodovar also directs an excellent ensemble leaded by Rodrigo Noya in a complex role. Noya shows sensational acting skills as Jaime in a heartbreaking and powerful performance. He makes you believe that he is really Jaime an that he is living through a dark and heavy time as he suffers his suicide demons. Penelope Cruz plays the role of a mother who fights to have her son confronting his problems. Cruz gives a tremendous performance that lives you speechless. Carmen Maura plays one more time the role of a grandmother who secretly learns about the problems of his grandson and Manuel Alexandre gives a great portrayal as a psychologist who helps Jaime in his strongest moments. This astonishing portrayal about confronting reality and learning to love yourself is a riveting cinematic experience that will live in your memory for a long time.

Awards Potential:

Best Picture (AMPAS)
Best Motion Picture (Drama) (HFPA)
Best Ensemble (SAG)
Best Director – Pedro Almodovar
Best Actor – Rodrigo Noya
Best Actress – Penelope Cruz
Best Supporting Actor – Manuel Alexandre
Best Supporting Actress – Carmen Maura
Best Original Screenplay – Pedro Almodovar
Best Foreign Language Film – Pedro Almodovar
Best Score – Gustavo Santaolalla
Best Cinematography – Bruno Delbonel


Author(s): Daniel Crooke
Location: Ohio


Produced by: Betty White, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein
Directed by: Stephen Frears
Screenplay by: Dan Futterman

Principal Cast:

Betty White as E.L. Hughes
Bill Nighy as Frederick Hughes
Catherine Keener as Stephanie Hughes
Eric Roberts as Michael Hughes
Glenn Close as Frances Mills
Paul Giamatti as Dr. George Damons

Tagline: “After 50 years of writing, all her future work is erased”

Synopsis: In 2007, E.L. Hughes was working on a new book. E.L. was a world-renowned author who was a New York Times Bestseller. She had been writing since the 1950's. She was still in high demand for her writing. She had just named her new book, "The History of Mr. Mills". The last name "Mills" was a reference to her publisher, Frances Mills. She would often title characters after people she knew. She was about five pages into it one night when her husband, Frederick, told her she should probably go to bed. It was 12:02. E.L. finished a few more pages and went to her bedroom, took off her glasses, kissed her husband, and went to sleep. The next morning, E.L. woke up like any other day. She put on her glasses and got out of bed. She saw a letter on her bedside table from her husband, telling her that her publisher wanted her to write more that day. She smiled and continued into the kitchen. After breakfast, she went to her typewriter and sat down. She stared at the keys and she could not make any sense of them. She could not understand the letters on the keys and could not reread what she had written. She was confused, so she called her doctor, Dr. George Damons. After describing her situation, the doctor told her that she had suffered an afasia and could no longer read or write. E.L. denied it and hung up the phone. Not believing it, she went back to her bedroom and tried to read the note from her husband. She couldn't.

Two months later after problems with her husband and publisher, E.L. had not told one person about her afasia. She was having to lie to her publisher, her friends, and most importantly: her husband. Frederick had grown incredibly suspicious and frustrated about E.L.'s strange behavior. She had been telling him there was nothing wrong and that the ideas were coming to her but she hadn't had the time to write and that she also sometimes had writers block. The truth to why she had not told anyone was that she was too proud to tell anyone that she had a problem. She denied problems left and right since she had suffered the afasia. Her children, Stephanie and Michael, had noticed a change too. Her children were never nice people, they did whatever it took to get what they wanted. Michael concluded that their mother had a medical problem so they bribed Dr. Damons to get the answer. Once the two found out about E.L.'s afasia they decided to take advantage of their mother's checkbook. So, they forced their mother into signing checks for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to the two of them. It absolutely destroyed E.L. knowing that her children were taking advantage of her, but she would not admit a thing. Frederick noticed that his bank account was shrinking. He directed it back to E.L. and he insisted that the two go into marriage counseling because he knew something was wrong and E.L. would not tell him. E.L. could not bring herself to confess that her talent that the world loved was gone. Her publisher was now threatening to drop her. After a monstrous fight with Frederick that left her in tears because she was so ashamed of her denial, she knew it was time to forget her pride and to finally let everyone know about her afasia. After confessing everything to Frederick in private, she called a press release that her publisher arranged. She admitted everything that had happened over the last months.

E.L. left her publisher, on good terms. She began to speak around the country, and eventually the world, about her career and her struggle with the afasia.

What the press would say:

The always underrated Betty White gives the best performance of her career in the new film directed by Stephen Frears, "E.L.". The film is a fictional narrative of an author, White, who suffers an afasia. An afasia is a sudden deletion of a skill in the brain. In this case, it is the author's ability to read and write. E.L. can not face her problem and denies it, her pride being the reason she won't confess. Betty White's performance cannot be described in excellence. It is superior to anything I have seen this year, and I would go as far to say that it is one of the best female performances ever played by an actress. White's ability to get inside her character is truly beyond amazing. Her subtle expressions while trying to deny a problem, even when her menacing children make her sign away thousands of dollars, really move you. White's character development builds as the film progresses and really make you feel for E.L. . She is not only a fictional character, but one that you make a deep connection with as she falls deeper and deeper into a hole. Not only is White fantastic, but Bill Nighy's portrayal of her husband is also excellent. His delivery of his lines and his physical expression is wonderful to watch, although it is difficult material that he delivers. When he fights with Betty White, the tension between the two is excellent. The two of them have won several precursors this year. Betty White has pulled a Helen Mirren and has won every single precursor from the guilds and critics awards. Nighy won the National Board of Review, as well as the New York Film Critics Awards. Driven by two great performances and a wonderful screenplay by Dan Futterman, "E.L." should work its way up to a Best Picture nomination. Betty White really is amazing and she, without a doubt, will win the Oscar. "E.L." goes down in history as one of the best character-driven films ever to grace the silver screen.


Best Picture- Betty White, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein
Best Director- James L. Brooks
Best Actress- Betty White
Best Supporting Actor- Bill Nighy
Best Original Screenplay- Dan Futterman
Best Film Editing


Author(s): Zgamer
Location: Eagle, ID

“F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon”

Distributed by: Universal Studios
Produced by: John Carpenter and Mike Medavoy
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker and Craig Hubbard
Based on the game by Craig Hubbard and Monolith Productions

Principal Cast:

Josh Hartnett as Richard “The Point Man” Smith
Clive Owen as Paxton Fettle
Kurt Russel as Commissioner “Rowdy” Betters
Bruce Willis as Spen Jankowski
Michelle Krusiec as Jin Sun-Kwon
Denzel Washington as Capt. Douglass Holiday
Dakota Fanning as Alma
Donald Sutherland as Harlan Wade
Maria Bello as Genevieve Aristide, President of ATC
Robert Downy Jr. as Aldus Bishop, ATC Employee

Tagline: “Do you know the true meaning of F.E.A.R.?"

Release Date: October 24, 2007

Rated R for graphic, intense, bloody scenes of action/horror violence and gore, strong language and a brief scene of nudity

Synopsis: In 2002, a covert branch of the U.S. Army was founded. Known as the First Encounter Assault Recon division, or F.E.A.R. for short, this branch was dedicated to the defense of U.S. security interests against paranormal and supernatural forces. Obviously, very few people took them seriously, seeing how there were none of these threats that needed to be dealt with. However, something has happened to change that.

About thrity years ago, a company known as the Armacham Technology Corporation began a series of projects to further the company’s success. The first was known as Project Icarus, with the goal of creating an efficient method for producing a new form of soldiers for the U.S. Army to use instead of actual people. What followed was the creation of an army of bio-mechanical clones that would operate under a collective conscious. This eventually led to the project known as Origin, which was formed to train a super-soldier who would function as the central hub for these soldiers telepathically. To do this, the project’s founder Harlan Wade (Sutherland) decided to train a ten-year-old girl named Alma (Fanning), since she had shown signs of immense psychological powers. Unfortunately, this proved ineffective over time due to Alma’s bizarre quirks and mental complexities. The plan was then altered to create a new form of soldier from her genes. To do this, Armacham put Alma into an induced coma and impregnated her so she would transfer her power to a new subject. Two children were born from this, but an incident involving a chaotic psychological outburst from the first child forced Armacham to pull the plug on the project. Unfortunately, Alma was killed in the process, since her vitals were still linked to the machine inducing her coma when it shut down.

It is now the current year. Armacham President Genevieve Aristide (Bello), realizing the potential of Project Origin in the new age, seeks to bring it back into business. In disregards to her board’s decisions, she sends a team led by employee Aldus Bishop (Downy) to re-establish connection with the project’s HQ, known as “The Vault”. Unfortunately, communication was lost shortly after the team reached their destination. Whatever they did, it triggered a crisis in one of Armacham’s facilities in Auburn. In that building, Paxton Fettle (Owen), Alma’s violent child now a grown man, was somehow set free from a containment cell the company had built. Within an hour, Fettle had killed most of the building’s employees and established a link with the clone soldiers he was created to use. In a desperate attempt to cover up this mess, Armacham contacts the army for assistance.

Though they have no direct experience yet, the F.E.A.R. team is ordered to mobilize its elite unit to aid Delta Force operatives led by Captain Douglass Holiday (Washington) in controlling the incident. With Commissioner Betters (Russell) at its head, the F.E.A.R. team calls upon ten operatives for the job, including its veteran soldier Spen Jankowski (Willis) and paranormal expert Jin Sun-Kwon (Krusiec). With their team prepared, they send their first operative (Hartnett), a rookie designated as the operation’s “Point Man”, to prepare their strike. However, when he arrives at the area, strange things begin to happen. He is showing unnaturally agile reflexes and is seeing strange visions of a young ten-year-old girl in various places. What he doesn’t know is that all these things will lead to a full night’s trip into Hell and beyond.

What the press would say:

It’s not often that we see a video game movie, or a horror movie for that matter, that involves the audience with so many amazing scenes of both nail-biting horror and adrenaline pumping action. F.E.A.R., David Fincher’s latest bloody masterpiece, brings all of that and more to the table with production values and cinematic skills that rise above the competition. His signature style of atmospheric filmmaking is just the thing a film like this needed, complete with a disturbing sound design and a little ultra violence to seal the deal. If anything, Fincher has created the one movie that will convince you there is a Hell. Corpse are torn limb by limb, flesh is liquefied by a girl’s thoughts, bodies are smashed across rooms like rag dolls by unholy forces and gallons of blood are splattered everywhere in such convincingly realistic detail that one would think that they are really killing people in the movie. The foreboding atmosphere the film creates can also thank the wonderful technical team behind it. The editing appropriately sets the pace of every scene within the movie, from the Die Hard caliber firefights that are the original game’s signature to the nightmarish visions projected into the main hero’s brain by the ghostly Alma. Some awe-inspiring cinematography helps add to this, using dynamic angles and a nightmare-like quality color scheme that lets the audience know almost immediately what they are about to experience. It’s the sound design, however, that give F.E.A.R. that disturbing but satisfying edge. Gunshots and bullet casing clatter are a thing of beauty and the Japanese horror-like sound effects that ensue when paranormal events occur will send a chill so powerful down your spine that it is likely to tear through the skin, which would be appropriate for a movie like this.

In the end though, it’s David Fincher’s expertise that carry the film forward. Under his guidance, the outlandish plot of the script and visceral intensity of the original game all come together in a logical way. The characters are never expressed as caricatures, as each one has a distinct personality to keep the audience interested with them. The script, co-penned by the writer of Se7en and the game’s original writer/director, constantly keeps you in the moment, and then completely pulls the rug from under you with several surprising twists and a cliffhanger ending that leaves you drained and wanting more at the same time. And who could ask for a better cast, with Josh Hartnett as a great central character to have the story revolve around. The standout though is Clive Owen as Fettle. His menacing voice combined with the traits of this psychotic, cannibalistic character makes him the perfect villain. He would be a lock for supporting actor if not for the briefness of his appearances and the un-Oscar material of the film.

The only warning we can give the academy awards is be prepared.

Possible Nominations

Best Director- David Fincher
Best Cinematography- Harris Savides
Best Editing- James Haygood
Best Sound Design- David C. Hughes, Ren Klyce, Richard Hymns and Eric Dachs
Best Sound Editing- David C. Hughes and Richard Hymns

Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It

Author(s): Brian
Location: Minneapolis

“Goodness Had Nothing to do with It"

Director: Mike Nichols
Screenplay: James Mangold
Cinematography: Tobias A. Schliessler
Art Direction: Thomas Voth
Costume Design: Milena Canoneros

Principal Cast:

Renee Zellweger as Mae West
Hugh Jackman as Frank Wallace
David Strathairn as David Auburn
Ben Affleck as George Raft
Aaron Eckhart as Cary Grant
John C. Reilly as W.C. Fields
Sacha Baron Cohen as Don Ameche
Sienna Miller as Raquel Welch
Ewan MacGregor as Rex Reed
Jack Black as Dom Delouise
Viggo Mortensen as Dick Cavett
Tammy Blanchard as Judy Garland

Tagline: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”

QUOTE: Hat Check Girl: “Goodness, what lovely diamonds!”
Mae West: “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”

Synopsis: We begin in the year 1913 at a photo shoot of the 20-year-old Mae West (Renee Zellweger), posing for the song-sheet for the tune “Everybody Shimmies Now,” scantily clad in sequins and fringe. This begins Mae West’s road toward notoriety and infamy. West begins writing risqué plays under the pen name Jane Mast, and finds her first big success with Sex, which she also directs and stars in. Many of her next plays were plagued with controversy and many are shut down. West is married to Frank Wallace (Hugh Jackman), a vaudeville dancer and loyal husband, despite her attitude that he is quite disposable.

In 1932, at age 29, West receives a motion picture contract from David Auburn (David Strathairn), a top executive at Paramount, moves to Hollywood (leaving her husband) and begins filming Night After Night with George Raft (Ben Affleck). Next, she brings her hit play Diamond Lil to the screen, now titled She Done Him Wrong. She casts Cary Grant (Aaron Eckhart) in the leading male role. Their partnership is successful, and She Done Him Wrong goes on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. West and Grant pair up again for I’m No Angel, another box office smash, which saves Paramount from bankruptcy. West becomes the largest box office draw in the USA. However, in 1934 the Production Code strictly enforces their censorship, and West’s brash and frankly sexual scripts began to be heavily edited. West does five more films with Paramount before ending their partnership.

In 1937, West appears on a radio show with comedian Don Ameche (Sacha Baron Cohen), where they perform a sketch of Adam & Eve in The Garden of Eden. The sketch is considered so blasphemous and risqué that West is banned completely from NBC.

West accepts a co-starring role with W.C. Fields (John C. Reilly) in My Little Chickadee in 1940. The two are not used to co-starring on a film and do not get along at all. West would not put up with his drinking. The rivalry gets so out of hand that eventually the two can’t work on set together – their scenes are filmed separately and spliced together. Nevertheless, the film is a financial success. In 1942, after Frank Wallace had been trying to get in touch and reconcile with Mae, West files for divorce from Frank Wallace, after denying that she even HAD a husband. She claims to never have known him.

In 1944, West returns to Broadway as Catherine the Great of Russia in Catherine was Great, a spoof comedy. West then stars in her own long-running Las Vegas act. We catch a glimpse of her act on an evening that Judy Garland (Tammy Blanchard) is the guest star. West slowly disappears from the entertainment world for a time.

In 1970, she appears in Gore Vidal’s film Myra Breckenridge, also starring Raquel Welch (Sienna Miller) and Rex Reed (Ewan MacGregor). It is a huge flop. In 1976, she gives an exclusive interview on the Dick Cavett Show (Viggo Mortensen as Dick Cavett), speaking about her life and career, along with insights into her proclivity toward vulgar humor and her battle with censorship. She makes her final screen appearance at age 85 in SEXTETTE with Dom Delouise (Jack Black), another critical and commercial flop. However, After Dark magazine awards her the Star of the World Award for her performance.

In the last years of her life, West maintains a youthful appearance and surrounds herself with young men, employing chauffeurs, companions and bodyguards. In the late summer of 1980, West suffers a stroke and falls out of bed. She recovers, but suffers another stroke in November. She is sent home in poor condition, and later dies at her apartment in Hollywood at age 87.


“A hard man is good to find.”
“Between two evils, I always pick the one I’ve never tried before.”
“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”
“I never loved another person the way I loved myself.”

What the press would say:

Renee Zellweger is amazing as the saucy, legendary Mae West, capturing her essence down to the arch of an eyebrow. She portrays the raw sexuality, double entendre, and strength Mae West was famous for. She ages as Ms. West from age 20 to age 87 flawlessly. This is one of the best biopic performances ever; and one that is likely to earn Ms. Zellweger Oscar #2.

The supporting roles are composed of the many men in her life. Aaron Eckhart shines as Cary Grant, capturing his debonair essence. John C. Reilly is fantastic as the egotistic, drunk W.C. Fields. His scenes steal the film. Hugh Jackman portrays Frank Wallace with sincerity and honesty. This man was emotionally abused by Mae West, and he always loved her. Jackman shows us all these complex emotions in his few scenes. Ben Affleck and Sacha Baron Cohen have memorable roles as one-time co-stars of Ms. West. Sienna Miller and Ewan MacGregor play Raquel Welch and Rex Reed on the set of Myra Breckenridge to perfection, and Jack Black is hilarious (yet heartbreaking) as Dom Delouise on the set of Sextette.

Viggo Mortensen and Tammy Blanchard have beautiful cameo roles as Dick Cavett and Judy Garland (Ms. Blanchard has already played the legend in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadow, playing the young Judy). Each of the supporting characters each have interesting interactions with Mae West, and we clearly see how they affect each other. Mike Nichols’ direction carries us flawlessly and consistently through the life of Mae West with ease. He has an eye for exactly where the film needs to go, and executes it with beauty. The screenplay by James Mangold characterizes Ms. West perfectly.


Best Picture
Best Director: Mike Nichols
Best Original Screenplay: James Mangold
Best Actress: Renee Zellweger
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Eckhart
Best Supporting Actor: John C. Reilly
Best Supporting Actress: Sienna Miller
And other various technical categories…


Author(s): Ryan
Location: New Jersey


Directed by Gore Verbinski and Rob Zombie
Written by Wes Craven and Rob Zombie
Music by David Julyan

Principal Cast:

Hilary Swank (Bree Tuner)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Kirk Tuner)
Dakota Fanning (Madison Tuner)
Kristin Stewart (Lisa Tuner)
Josh Hutcherson (Jesse Tuner)
Vanessa L. Williams (Jean Danza)
Terrance Howard (Neil Danza)
Megan Good (Emily Danza)
Lindsay Lohan (Sara Ovacs)
Nick Cannon (Guy Tuttle)
Jesse Bradford (Ash Barnett)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Tracy Ravine)
Jennifer Tilly (Casey Ewings)
Billy Bob Thornton (Buck Grimes)
Felicity Huffman (Buck’s Wife)
Elijah Wood (Jeff Grimes)
Josh Hartnett (Charlie Grimes)
Anna Faris (Maryann Grimes)
Amy Smart (Marylou Grimes)

Tagline: “Your Destination Lays Ahead” 10/31/07

RATED R- for Strong Grisly Violence, Extensive Sequences of Terror, Some Sexual Content, and Language

Synopsis: It is the summer and the Tuner family, Bree (Hilary Swank), Kirk (Leonardo DiCaprio), Madison (Dakota Fanning), Lisa (Kristin Stewart), and Jesse (Josh Hutcherson) are going to Six Flags in Jacksonville, NJ. Suddenly their GPS changes its route. They follow and come up to an old dirt road ten miles up the highway. They are about to turn back when another car comes. The same events happen to them. It is the Danza family, Jean (Vanessa L. Williams), Neil (Terrance Howard) and their daughter who just came back from college, Emily (Megan Good).

Emily brings her friends and boyfriend Guy Tuttle (Nick Cannon), Sara Ovacs (Lindsay Lohan), Tracy Ravine (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Ash Barnett (Jesse Bradford). They decide to take the path when all of a sudden something crashes through the cars front window.

They wake up in a dark barn, all in cages. However there is also Casey Ewings (Jennifer Tilly). She informs them that they are on the Grimes’ Farm. They have a GPS re-router to bring people to their farm.

They do this so they can have people to play there game. The Grimes’ are the hunters and the people are the prey. Casey said she is the only one left of her family. The family gives you a knife and you run. If you escape you can leave.

The hick Grimes’ family consists of father Buck Grimes (Billy Bob Thorton), Buck’s Wife (Felicity Huffman) who talks to them and feeds them. Their sons Jeff and Charlie Grimes (Elijah Woods, Josh Hartnett) who hunt with their dad; and sexually active (with both gender) daughters Maryann and Marylou Grimes (Anna Faris and Amy Smart).

No one is safe, not even the children. Now they must find a way to survive and escape before they get mounted on the Grimes’ wall.

What the press would say:

“Two thumbs up!”-Ebert & Roeper
“Truly The Most Dangerous Game!”
“A Thriller that THRILLS! Even the Kids are on the Chopping Block.”- People
“A+! Gruesome, realistic, gruesome, terrific.”-Entertainment Weekly
“It will take the Academy by surprise and for some, by heart attack.”-Rolling Stone Magazine
GPS is a shocking thriller that will take you on an experience of a life time. It is about to families and friends who meet each other and wind up on a killers farm who hunt humans. Each actor brings something new to the table and does it with Oscar style. However, Ten Actors and Actresses really shine. Billy Bob Thorton had some hits and misses in his career but this is right on target. Leonardo DiCaprio and Hilary Swank are great as husband and wife and show fear and love. Felicity Huffman wows the audience and Vanessa L. Williams gets back on the map. However, out of all the female leads Jennifer Tilly stands out and shines. For supporting Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett are great as sadistic brothers. Anna Faris and Amy Smart go from Comedy to Oscar-winners. See THIS MOVIE!!!!!!

MEMORABLE QUOTE-“You’ll look nice right over my fireplace sweetheart.”-Buck’s Wife(Felicity Huffman) to Madison Tuner (Dakota Fanning)

Best Picture
Best Director: Gore Verbinski and Rob Zombie
Best Screenplay: Wes Craven, Rob Zombie
Best Original Score: David Julyan
Best Actor: Billy Bob Thorton, Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood
Best Actress: Jennifer Tilly, Felicity Huffman, Hilary Swank, Vanessa L. Williams
Best Supporting Actress: Dakota Fanning, Mary Elizabeth Winstead