Tag Archives: Jesse Eisenberg

And the Oscar doesn’t go to…..

The Artist is a film that I enjoyed but I didn’t really understand all the awards attention it garnered including the Best Picture Oscar.

I thought I would look back at some other films (from the 70’s till today) that won the top award, and in my opinion did not deserve the honour.

1975

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (it was the year of Nashville – need I say more?)

1976

ROCKY (same year as Taxi Driver)

1980

ORDINARY PEOPLE (same year as Raging Bull)

1982

GANDHI (Tootsie was a gem that year)

1990

DANCES WITH WOLVES  (Marty loses again with Goodfellas)

1994

FORREST GUMP (bests Pulp Fiction)

1996

THE ENGLISH PATIENT (how can one ever forget Fargo)

2001

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (the year of Gosford Park)

2005

CRASH (crashed the party for Brokeback Mountain)

2010

THE KING’S SPEECH (when is Fincher’s turn? – the year of The Social Network)

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Judy bops with Woody!

While we await  the Australian release of Woody Allen’s new hit movie Midnight In Paris” comes news of his latest production. Still enjoying his sojourns in stunning European cities he is setting this one in Rome, Italy. (after London, Barcelona & Paris) The film has the title “The Bop Decameron”

The cast has been set and I am glad to see that one of my favorite actresses the wonderful Judy Davis has been added to the list. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful), Penelope Cruz (Vicki Christina Barcelona), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Greta Gerwig (Greenberg), Ellen Page (Juno) and Alison Pill (Milk) are co-stars. Woody Allen himself is also appearing in the film as Judy’s husband they play  the parents of Eisenberg.

Loosely inspired by The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of bawdy stories, the film is divided into four separate vignettes. One of them, featuring Allen, focuses on an American couple travelling to Italy to meet the family of their daughter’s fiance.

It will be a welcome return for Miss Davis who has shone in 4 previous Woody films. She was pipped at the post for a supporting actress Oscar for her wonderful turn as the neurotic divorcee  in “Husbands & Wives” (Marisa Tomei won for “My Cousin Vinnie”- a travesty in my opinion) she also had roles in “Alice”, “Deconstructing Harry” and “Celebrity” – I will never  forget the hilarious scene where she is given fellatio instructions on a banana by a hooker played by Bebe Neuwirth, truly outrageous and hysterical!!!.

Judy Davis & Woody Allen in “Husbands And Wives”

Judy will be seen next in the eagerly awaited new Fred Schepisi film “The Eye Of The Storm” based on the novel by Patrick White. She plays Princess Dorothy de Lascabanes and it is a role that fits her like a glove. I previously made the  prediction of a possible Oscar nomination, and hopefully if the film is positioned right and gets noticed she will be justly rewarded.

You can check out the  trailer for the film on the newly launched “The Eye Of The Storm” website.

Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling & Geoffrey Rush star in “The Eye Of The Storm”

Footnote: For some strange reason Woody Allen’s film before “Midnight In Paris”“You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” was never released in Australia despite a cast including Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Pauline Collins, & Gemma Jones. It was a box-office failure in the US, perhaps that is the reasoning – go figure!!

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Oscar Buzz – Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter.

Long overdue for award recognition in my own opinion. Playing the crack addict brother of boxer Mark Wahlberg, Bale once again has physically transformed to create the character (he did the same in “The Mechanist”). Since the film was seen last week all the attention is leading to a nom for Bale who overshadows Wahlberg.

Andrew Garfield – The Social Network.

English actor Andrew Garfield impresses as the betrayed best friend of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Soon to be seen as the new Spiderman in a reboot of the series, Garfield also appears this year in the English ensemble drama “Never Let Me Go”, he is certainly making his mark and hopefully the Academy will acknowledge his impressive performance here. Ain’t bad on the eye too!

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech.

© the Weinstein company

Previous Oscar winner Rush seems perfectly cast in this role. As an Aussie actor not doing well in his chosen career he becomes the speech therapist to the stuttering King Of England. Rush is always good when the role requires a big serving of ham. He will certainly be riding the gravy train that this film is providing for many.

Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right.

Mark Ruffalo is another long deserved actor to hopefully gain some Academy recognition. He lost out on a nomination for his excellent turn in “You Can Count On Me” his breakthrough role. As the carefree sperm donor to the uptight lesbians he lays on all the charm and sex appeal required to woo audiences. Perhaps not enough dramatic gravitas to actually win, but I am sure he will join his co-stars in being nominated at least.

Ed Harris – The Way Back.

If there is a veteran award on offer then hand it to Ed Harris. He has been up for an award 4 times in the past. He is always reliable to give a great and honest performance and may be in with a very good chance of winning. Playing a tough-as-nails American who escapes with a motley group from a Russian Gulag. Director Peter Weir steered him to a nomination in “The Truman Show”  – perhaps he will help him find his way to the podium this time.

John Hawkes  – Winter’s Bone.

A character actor who has appeared in many good films over the years. Hawkes is both frightening and compassionate in this role as the uncle with a meth addiction warning the distraught heroine hunting for her missing dad to be careful. I expect he may not make it to the nom selection he sure deserves to be there and even win!

OTHERS IN WITH A CHANCE.

Justin Timberlake – The Social Network.

Sam Rockwell – Conviction.

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Oscar Buzz – Best Actor

Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”

This film has been gaining lots of buzz ever since it was screened at the Telluride  and Toronto film festivals. Its leading man has been giving excellent performances for years now. As Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of “Pride And Prejudice” he had women and some men swooning. He gained his first Oscar nomination last year for the lackluster film “A Simple Man”. From all accounts this film is more of a winner. He plays the part of King George IV of Britian who had a debilitating stutter to overcome in order to rule England with any success. Think of Helen Mirren’s triumph playing the Queen a few years back, then you can be assured that Mr Firth may be standing at the podium giving a speech all of his own.

James Franco for 127 Hours.

James Franco came to my attention with his wonderful performance as James Dean in the TV movie “The James Dean Story”. Since then he has turned up in many varied roles. He was excellent as boyfriend to Sean Penn in “Milk” and he stars as Alan Ginsberg in the upcoming film “Howl”, He has also been dabbling in a bit of performance art – part of which included an appearance in the daytime soap opera “General Hospital”. He seems to be everywhere at the moment even turning up as Julia Robert’s younger boyfriend  in the debacle “Eat Pray Love”. But it seems it is this tour-de-force performance that has the awards pundits blabbing. He plays the part of real life mountain climber Aaron Ralston who became trapped under a boulder for nearly 5 days, his only way to survive was to cut his arm off with a blunt pocket knife.  Gruesome indeed!

Javier Bardem for Biutiful

Javier Bardem is one of my favorite actors of late. He can make an appearance in a dud film (Eat Pray Love) and still exude charm and make the most of a part. In this role he plays the part of a gangster on the road to redemption before his impending death. It’s a dark part in a dark film that may hinder his chances at a win with the conservative Academy.  He won the best actor prize earlier this year at the Cannes film festival. He is a previous Oscar winner for his turn in the Coen Bros. classic “No Country For Old Men”. He and his glamourous and equally talented girlfriend Penelope Cruz will look gorgeous on the red carpet, thats for sure 🙂

Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network.

(Photo by Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures)

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook has a good chance of a nomination. It is very difficult to make an unlikeable character interesting on screen. He achieves this with great skill. I was mesmerized by his performance. In the past his turn as the son in “The Squid And The Whale” was equally impressive. The film is a critical and box office success so expect him to ride the award train to the Oscars.

Jeff Bridges for True Grit.

Expect Jeff Bridges back again after last years deserved best actor win for “Crazy Heart”. This time he takes on the iconic John Wayne part of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Bros. remake of the classic western. Back to back Oscars are hard to win, but I do think a nomination is on the cards for this very talented actor.

Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.

Ryan Gosling is another of my fave actors of the moment. His breakthrough performance as a drug addict in “Half Nelson” earned him his first Oscar nomination. For his 2nd shot at the golden man he plays husband to Michelle Williams in this relationship drama following the pitfalls of marriage. It had recent controversy when it was rated NC-17 for an emotionally intense sex scene. Controversy of course garners attention. The film has been shown at both the Cannes and Sundance festivals and the reviews have all lauded the performances of Mr Gosling and his co-star.

Robert Duvall for  Get Low.

Veteran actor Robert Duvall is in with a chance with this film. He plays the part of a hermit who comes down from the woods to plan his own ‘living’ funeral. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto film festival and had a delayed release which may hinder his chances. The reviews for his performance and the film have been excellent so expect him in with a chance. The Academy loves the oldies. Duvall won best actor for “Tender Mercies” back in 1984.

 

OTHERS IN WITH A CHANCE

Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter.

Leonardo DiCaprio for Shutter Island & Inception.

Stephen Dorff – Somewhere.




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With friends like these…….

Film Review:

THE SOCIAL NETWORK.


A film about a computer nerd with dubious social skills who created the internet sensation known as Facebook hardly seems riveting. Believe me it is, and more so.

An exhilarating movie experience, a story told simply and effectively, at once topical and epic in scope.

At the centre of the film is an anti-hero protagonist that is very unlikeable yet he is mesmerizing, no mean feat to pull off.

Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) with assured bravado, and with a fine screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (creator of West Wing) the film delivers on every level.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is a computer nerd attending Harvard University, and in a whiz-bang pre credit scene we see him in conversation with his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara), he is being an asshole and she dumps him. This leads to him going back to his dorm pissed off and frustrated. He starts up a site that rates girls in the campus according to their “hotness”. It causes a sensation crashing the Harvard computer system. Of course he is caught and reprimanded, this catches the attention of a couple of elite students who enlist him to help start up a new exclusive social network site. Zuck leads them on and creates his own on the side. With the financial help of his roommate and best friend, Eduardo Severin (Andrew Garfield) he creates Facebook. The rest is history.

The story unfolds with a flashback structure during a couple of hearings in which he is being sued by both his best friend and the college jocks he deceived. This way we get to see all points of view in the story and I guess prevents litigation against the filmmakers.

Director Fincher draws out excellent performances and avoids bogging the film down with too much computer screen action which could easily have been done. Every now and then he zips up scenes with his usual technical virtuosity but then reverts back to a simple way to tell the tale, this helps enormously to maintain interest and prevent one becoming bored. Aaron Sorkin’s witty screenplay has some great dialogue delivered at a quick pace, rarely seen in a mainstream studio film nowadays.

Back to the performances –  Jesse Eisenberg  as Zuckenberg has the difficult role of making this tricky character at all watchable, his cold detached look while not giving anything away inside still manages to make you care somehow. English actor Andrew Garfield (soon to be the new Spiderman) is a stand-out as the best friend and the films moral stance. Justin Timberlake as a sleazy Sean Parker- creator of Napster and the Faustian character in the saga proves he has good acting chops. Armie Hammer who plays the dual role of the identical twin jocks (handled with pure technical brilliance) is terrific and Rooney Mara as Erica makes her mark in only a few scenes – she will soon be seen as the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in the American remake to be directed by Fincher. Actually everyone in the cast even down to the smallest of parts do excellent work.

As per usual in a Fincher film technically it is flawless –  editing, cinematography, music, design are all first rate.

“The Social Network”  is a truly great contemporary movie that grabs you from the first scene and never lets you down till its ending. It is by far the best mainstream movie I have seen this year. It is sure to become a classic in the vein of “All The President’s Men” and other such films of their time.

I must say I will never look at Facebook the same way now that I have a bit of insight (whether true or not) into its creation.

The film is really one that will cause a lot of debate and discussion on many issues just what I like in cinema, another reason why I rate this film highly.

NB. I was a little worried about the misogyny portrayed in the film, but then I had to remind myself that the protagonists are all young men and in context it was necessary to include.

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