Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Gloscars! – the list

For the first time ever, in the history of my cinematic viewing life, I announce publicly – The Gloscars. My own personal film awards.

Ever since I was a young teenage cinemagoer  I would write down every movie I went to see in a theatre. Then I would give out my own awards, similar to the Oscar categories but only in fields I felt I could offer my opinion, Sound is too hard and editing is way too complex. More the acting directing, writing & visuals. First time ever made public.

The cinema year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31. So often the Oscar winners or nominees appear on my list a year late, due to the Australian cinema release schedule. That is if I agree with the Oscar/award season favorites.

So in the year 2010 I saw only 47 movies in the cinema.

Here is the list,

nominees and the winners to follow…..

MOVIES 2010

1.  THE LOVELY BONES                                                                 Peter Jackson

2.  BRIGHT STAR                                                                               Jane Campion

3.  FANTASTIC MR. FOX                                                                 Wes Anderson

4.  SHERLOCK HOLMES                                                                  Guy Ritchie

5.  BROKEN EMBRACES                                                                    Pedro Almodovar

6.  IT’S COMPLICATED                                                                      Nancy Meyers

7.  NOWHERE BOY                                                                              Sam Taylor Wood

8.  UP IN THE AIR                                                                                Jason Reitman

9.  NINE                                                                                                    Rob Marshall

10. BRAN NUE DAE                                                                              Rachel Perkins

11. PRECIOUS                                                                                          Lee Daniels

12. THE ROAD                                                                                         John Hillcoat

13. THE WOLFMAN                                                                               Joe Johnston

14. EDGE OF DARKNESS                                                                      Martin Campbell

15. A SINGLE MAN                                                                                  Tom Ford

16. TRIANGLE                                                                                           Christopher Smith

17. SHUTTER ISLAND                                                                            Martin Scorsese

18 THE HURT LOCKER                                                                          Kathryn Bigelow

19. IN THE LOOP                                                                                      Armando Iannucci

20. THE BLIND SIDE                                                                              John Lee Hancock

21.  CRAZY HEART                                                                                   Scott Cooper

22. ALICE IN WONDERLAND                                                             Tim Burton

23. CLASH OF THE TITANS                                                                 Louis Leterrier

24. ANIMAL KINGDOM                                                                        David Michod

25. LOU                                                                                                       Belinda Chayko

26.  I AM LOVE                                                                                         Luca Guadagnino

27. THE GHOST WRITER                                                                     Roman Polanski

28. INCEPTION                                                                                        Christopher Nolan

29. TOY STORY 3                                                                                     Lee Unkrich

30. THE KILLER INSIDE ME                                                              Michael Winterbottom

31. GREENBERG                                                                                      Noah Baumbach

32. SALT                                                                                                     Phillip Noyce

33. CAIRO TIME                                                                                      Ruba Nadda

34. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT                                                          Lisa Cholodenko

35. TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN                                 Stuart Beattie

36. THE TREE                                                                                          Julie Bertucelli

37. EAT PRAY LOVE                                                                              Ryan Murphy

38. RED                                                                                                      Robert Schwentke

39. WILD TARGET                                                                                  Jonathan Lynn

40. THE SOCIAL NETWORK                                                               David Fincher

41. MADE IN DAGENHAM                                                                   Nigel Cole

42. WINTER’S BONE                                                                               Debra Granik

43. HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1     David Yates

44. SOMEWHERE                                                                                     Sophia Coppola

45.  THE KING’S SPEECH                                                                       Tom Hooper

46.  TRON: LEGACY                                                                                 Joseph Kosinski

47.  LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS                                                          Edward Zwick

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A theatrical year (part 4 of 4)

So after my jaunt to NYC and Broadway I arrived home to attend an  MTC production of David Mamet’s “Boston Marriage”, although jetlagged I was thoroughly entertained due to the excellent cast having a very fun time, a good production all round. Made me realize that theatre, whether a hit on Broadway or a hit at home, if it is good it can take you to places of pleasure and surprise.

Margaret Mills & Pamela Rabe in MTC’s “Boston Marriage”

Then came another MTC production – a stage adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s film “All About My Mother”. First produced at The Old Vic theatre in London. It was sadly very disappointing. Saw it a few days after opening night so I guess the cast hadn’t worked itself in, still no excuse.  Wendy Hughes was good as always, and Paul Capsis tried ever so hard to make his character work. Direction was very average and the setting of sliding screens very annoying as were weird projections. A dud in my opinion. And with the musical version of Almodovar’s “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown” ending its flop run in NYC three weeks earlier than expected, it seems Almodovar should not be adapted – too cinematic!

Wendy Hughes – “All About My Mother”.

Next came the Magnormas Theatre company’s triptych tribute to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday.

“Saturday Night”, “Merrily We Roll Along” & “Anyone Can Whistle”. The ‘flops’ and the never produced! Each having merits and flaws. Wonderful to see performed. Confirmed in my mind that my favorite Sondheim musical/score is “Merrily We Roll Along”, I love this show. Jeannie Pratt should produce it at her Production Company, especially now she has made a few bucks with “The Boy From Oz”. Whatever happened to the policy of underproduced gems being on the agenda of The Production Co. ?

Laura Fitzpatrick & Stephen Wheat in “Merrily We Roll Along”.

Finally a couple of walk outs and a bizarre tap extravaganza.

I had a few free tickets at the end of the year. Sadly cos it was free I didn’t last past interval. Why? Because i was bored and uninspired, not exceptable in theatre.

“Becky Shaw”, an independent production presented at an MTC house. A finalist for the Pulitzer prize about a blind date gone wrong – well I didn’t see second half so I can’t comment beyond a description. Dreadful acting and a leading man with a hair problem – I had to leave.

The MTC production of acclaimed Australian playwright (famed overseas) Daniel Keene’s “Life Without Me”. Good cast of actors doing the usual – nothing special. I was tired from work, and nothing new to lift me out of the lethargy. I predicted the themes and possible ending. I should not reallly comment as I never saw the second half.

MTC’s “Life Without Me”

Finally went to see a tap dance extravaganza at the National Theatre in St Kilda. The “Glam Kitten” Tap Dance Studio end of year revue. I can only describe it  as very camp and bizarre. Way too long, but lots of fun, in an odd kind of way.

So that was my very theatrical year.

Now for the top 5.

1. KATIE FINNERAN in “PROMISES, PROMISES” and stealing the show.

2. RED the play by John Logan. A play about Rothko performed by an excellent cast of 2 and a clever design.

3. MAGNORMOS SONDHEIM TRIPTYCH – Sondheim performed live is always a highlight.

4. THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (MTC) – Geoffrey Rush perfectly cast.

5. NT LIVE – the chance to see acclaimed London theatre, what a treat!

 

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True stars & great actors rule The Broadway & the box office.

Recently the acclaimed Broadway (kind of revival) production of Alfred Uhry’s hit off- broadway play and subsequent (not so great) film “Driving Miss Daisy” announced a substantial extension due to its box office success. A mega-watt star cast of Vanessa Redgrave & James Earl Jones appear to be the reason. Seasoned actors and true legends in their field, it is no surprise. Boyd Gaines in support also must be acknowledged.

Another hit production with mega-wattage star power has announced an extension. The Broadway transfer of the ‘Shakespeare In The Park’ summer hit (I could have tried to see it, but the thought of lining up for hours……*sigh*) – “The Merchant Of Venice”. The star this time is Al Pacino, and alongside is Lily Rabe (not a star but apparently stunning as Portia), sadly Miss Rabe is probably still grieving over the death of her mother – the great stage and screen actress, Jill Clayburgh (I was and am a big fan and saddened by her death). The Merchant has been grossing over $1 million bucks per week, a true reason to extend. It will have a short hiatus to accomodate a prior film commitment from Al Pacino.

So with star-wattage and truly great actors involved it seems The Broadway can produce substantial hits and light up the Great White Way. I do hope producers pick and choose well in the future – the power of performance with great actors can rule the Great White Way.

Anyone who has seen these acclaimed performances, please let me know your thoughts.

Legends of the Fall – Vanessa Redgrave & James Earl Jones

A star, and a star in the making – Al Pacino & Lily Rabe.

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A theatrical year (part 3 of 4)

THE BROADWAY.

My trip to the Great White Way this year certainly supplemented my theatrical urge.

I chose my shows well I think. I saw a total of 9 productions and out of those only 2 were a disappointment.

AMERICAN IDIOT & LEND ME A TENOR being the 2.

After a 20 year gap seeing a show in NYC,  the first I saw was a treat.  It had as its subject – Stephen Sondheim

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM whilst probably to the discerning a tad disappointing, I hardly noticed – I was in Sondheim heaven and at Studio 54.

PROMISES, PROMISES was a highlight as I got to see the sublime Kristen Chenoweth perform live and she did not disappoint. Sean Hayes was pretty good as well, but it was Katie Finneran who stole the entire show, I am grateful I got to see such a legendary performance.

Another highlight was John Logan’s Tony winning play RED, starring Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne its subject was artist Mark Rothko. I am a huge fan of Rothko, to see it in the city it was set in, then visit MOMA and see them for real, what more can one ask for?

The others:

SOUTH PACIFIC (Lincoln Centre revival) tired by the time I saw but wonderful never the less.

HAIR (another revival – second cast but such a great show, my fave all time musical)

THE OCTOROON – my only off-broadway experience, whilst not so great, it was still a breather from the commercial stuff I had been seeing.

NEXT TO NORMAL – I finished off with a great production of an excellent musical (soon to be seen in Melbourne in a production by the MTC). Alice Ripley in her Tony winning role as the bi-polar pill popper was simply stunning.

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oops! break a leg Spidey! again…….

Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighborhood Spiderman.  Catches thieves just like flies, breaks a leg from the skies – lookout! here comes the ‘deadly’ Spiderman.

Another actor has been sent to the hospital due to an injury, disrupting another preview performance of the mega-budget musical”Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark”. The show was halted 7 minutes before the finale because an actor (stuntman not star) in a Spidey costume fell off a platform into the pit. I so wish I was seeing these previews, it would be like watching a bullfight! What happened after the fall? If you had paid to see the show, how would you know how it ended? Did director Julie Taymor send a gift pack to the hospital? Was Nurse Jackie in attendance? Note to writers of Nurse Jackie – cross promote,  add a plotline into the new season – what a hoot that would be.

By the way, I love Julie Taymor.

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A theatrical year (part 2 of 4)

NT live and Met Live.

Watching theatre in a cinema was new to me this year. London’s National Theatre have started to present select productions for screenings at select cinemas worldwide. The Metropolitan Opera have been doing it for a while now.

I have seen a few National Theatre productions over the years, mostly very impressive, usually impeccably cast. So to get the chance to see some acclaimed productions in the comfort of a nearby cinema and at a very cheap $25, Babs was very happy.

First was the new Alan Bennett play – The Habit Of Art. Pure Bennett, superbly cast, great set design – off to a good start.

London Assurance – reported in a previous post. Especially loved Simon Russell Beale.

Phedra – also reported earlier. Helen Mirren commanding the stage was a treat.

Then the Met production of Das Rheingold – the first in the Ring Cycle. Directed by acclaimed Robert Lepage it was a visual treat although at times a little clunky. The descension to the underworld was superbly realized and a highlight

I am looking forward to seeing the Broadway musical Fela! next year, as well as a production of Frankenstein directed by film maker Danny Boyle.

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a flop, and the reason why……

“How Do You Know” is a new film by James L. Brooks. The man responsible for “Terms Of Endearment”, the brilliant “Broadcast News” and “As Good As It Gets” (hated that film personally). All very successful. Also he had a hand in the success of the brilliant Tracey Ullman and of course “The Simpsons” – say no more. Oh and by the way he had a hand in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” amongst a plethora of gems.

Getting back to “How Do You Know”. Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd (so cute and hot), and Jack Nicholson. Great cast don’t ya think? But there is another in the cast, an actor I simply cannot stand, and do not get his appeal, if he has any, or ever did?

OWEN WILSON….

the reason why this film has flopped, is because he is in it……my own opinion of course.

I cannot bear to watch him on screen, and his voice makes my blood curdle.

Sorry dear Owen!

 

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a film that speaks and one that doesn’t

Saw 2 films this weekend. One excellent, the other a dud.

The excellent one is “The King’s Speech”, an Oscar frontrunner and a real treat for fans of superb acting, not to mention a great script, characters to latch on to, and an overall vision that lifts the film to be one of the best of the year.

Colin Firth (surely he will win the Oscar) stars as the stuttering Duke Of York, soon to be King George VI. With the help of an Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) he overcomes his impediment but not before a very entertaining cinematic experience is had by all. Ably assisted by a fine English cast and a supportive future Queen Mother (Helena Bonham Carter shining once again). Oh and another Aussie – Guy Pearce who is fabulous in his small role as the abdicating Edward. Director Tom Hooper does an excellent job balancing a commercial entertainment and slightly art house fare. Intelligent filmaking at its best.

The dud film is the new study of celebrity by Sophia Coppola “Somewhere”. I have enjoyed her previous films on different levels this one I didn’t enjoy at all. A film about a bored actor (Stephen Dorff trying very hard to no avail) holed up at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. The boredom factor unfortunately bores the audience. Some may think the slow long takes and repeats may be clever observations of ennui, I don’t. I call it pretentious. The main character is just not that interesting, his daughter whom he is saddled with played by Elle Fanning is the best thing in the flick. Sophia Coppola has told  a very similar tale before, much more successfully with the excellent “Lost In Translation”, why repeat herself? It should have been a short subject film, say 40 mins max, then it may have worked. When I come out of a film saying to myself  ‘what’s the point’ it really annoys me. Also on a visual level it had nothing to add to the dullness. I got absolutely no pleasure from this film at all. 😦

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A theatrical year (part 1 of 4)

The year 2010 was a productive theatrical one. I saw more theatre than usual, although not as much as I would have liked. Theatre is expensive. A trip to New York helped to boost. The Broadway called and I came. Funny enough it was, according to experts, and me, a bit of a dud season, but I saw shows on the great white way, so who’s complaining?

In my theatrical year I will include live concert performances ( sadly only 1 this year) and will include NT Live and Met Live screenings – in my own opinion still theatrical, and at least I can comment.

I doubt I will get to see another live concert performance, or a stage show, by years end. So I can announce my faves and winners and dogs! for 2010.

The year started with a repeat. I was working in Adelaide and the touring Australian production of “Avenue Q” was in town. I had previously seen this fine & funny brilliant musical in London (the same as the Broadway production), and in 2009 I went to see it in Melbourne (the Oz version). Whilst almost the same, except for a few set changes (for the worst) and obvious puppetry changes cos the Oz cast could not achieve the demands, it was OK. leading actor way to old but his side kick and a brilliant Trekkie Monster was great. Saw the Kate Monster understudy – both time! she was excellent. Whilst not as good as the London production, the Ozcast was ok, the material so strong – I loved it!

Mitchel Butel & Michaela (whatever her name is?) never saw her, only the very good understudy – shouldn’t live performers never miss as performance? Hmmmmm

On my return home to Melbourne, I saw the MTC production of “The Drowsy Chaperone”. What a treat it was. Definately a close carbon copy of the Broadway hit – the norm for outgoing MTC director 🙂 Simon Phillips. Geoffrey Rush as the ‘man in the chair’, was fantabulous, physically stunning and so right for the part, it was a revelation. The rest of the cast were great, it was such a hoot and a highlight of the year, for the material and Mr Rush, not necessarily the direction.

The brilliantly cast Mr. Rush

My one and only live concert performance was seeing one of my favorite groups ever – Massive Attack. Say no more, I have seen them every time they have performed in Australia. At the Myer Music Bowl they were superb. I love them, adore them, they do it for me everytime. HEAVEN

Love the Massive Attack symbol – fire sign, hold it painfully close to my chest 🙂

I was not sure about seeing “Jersey Boys”. A jukebox musical (usually a lame prospect). I was working hard and needed an escape, decided at the last minute to see a matinee, so off I went with a good friend who needed the escape as much as me. Well the skill of the direction, the Broadway pizzazz and tricks all in place. A talented cast, great book. Suprisingy great music, hits and more hits! I can see why it is still a huge hit on Broadway, a classy show. Wiped out the cynic in me…for the time being.

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it takes three

Harping on again about the Oscar best supporting actress race.

I promise I will stop till the SAG awards and of course the Oscar nominations – i do tend to break promises from time to time.

As you may well know, I am the head of the I HEART JACKI campaign.

So now that the Golden Globuls have been announced I will give my prediction for the actual potential front runners for the Oscars. At the moment it is a 3 horse race.

JACKI – no brainer

MELISSA LEO – an indie fave, and previous nominee for her brilliant performance in “Frozen River”, it appears that she is showing a real range and a totally different performance as the over bearing mom of Mark Wahlberg & Christian Bale  in “The Fighter” – sight unseen by Babs but I can sniff out a possible steal from la Jacki.

HELENA BONHAM CARTER – the possible veteran award? she is a wonderful actress, after shedding her period perfect heroine roles with Fight Club and hooking up with Tim Burton she has become a great character actress, this category does reward her type from time to time. (and she is playing the Queen Mother after all) BTW I adored her very clever over-the-top performance as the Red Queen in “Alice In Wonderland”, but these kind of performances very rarely get noticed. The last time was Al Pacino for “Dick Tracy”.

Any other contender in this category can enjoy the award circuit, make great mates with the other nominees, and get lots of booty from the award prize packs. Any form of attention in the award season can boost a career, so be grateful gals.

By the way, I have only seen Jacki’s performance, so at the moment it is heresay as far as in my own opinion. And I do love the other 2 on my list, but I really adore Jacki – always have.

such a DILEMMA.

It must be a great thrill for director of Animal Kingdom – David Michod to realize he has the possibility of saying he directed the performance of an Oscar nominee…..I know I would be proud. Expect actors agents to be knocking on your door 🙂

No more AK accolades for a while – do not want to over expose.

x

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