Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.
Nanette Burstein is the Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker behind On The Ropes and The Kid Stays in the Picture. Her latest film American Teen follows five high school students through their senior year. I hate to oversell the movie, but it’s literally one of my favorite films of the year.
Nanette Burstein: There are certain directors whose films, I could just watch them endlessly. Alexander Paine, I’m a huge fan of.
Peter Sciretta: You know, I saw a lot of like Election in American Teen…
Nanette Burstein: Yes, Election definitely influenced this film… Like the shots of the kids when you hear their voiceovers and they’re on the bed, I totally took that from Election. There was the night before election where there’s all these dolly shots into all the main characters and their thoughts and like they’re all crane…
Peter Sciretta: It was like those crane shots.
Nanette Burstein: Yeah, those shots are amazing, and that’s what inspired me to do that.
Nanette Burstein: There’s definitely different homages in this film, like Garden State which I love there’s this scene when Hannah goes to the party and she’s alienated and the way I cut that scene was completely influenced by that scene in Garden State where he’s alienated at the party.
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Saturday Night Live ran a parody of There Will Be Blood last night. Daniel Plainview hosts a Food TV program called “I Drink Your Milkshake”. It looks like Milkshake has now gone mainstream. Anton from No Country for Old Men and our favorite pregnant 15-year old make appearances. Thanks to Derek for bringing us to our attention. Watch the clip below.
When it comes to the showdown, Peter and I will both be there with news on which film wins Best Picture this Sunday evening. However, right now we are both in agreement that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood is a better film than the Coen Brothers‘ No Country For Old Men. There is no question: It deserves to win the Oscar for 2007’s Best Picture. Will it? We’ll discuss that later.
I hope to further explain my opinion on this subject in a bit, but until then, tell us why you agree or disagree. And if you think Juno or Michael Clayton is superior to one or both of these modern classics, stay out of this forum or watch out for a braining bowling pin. Oh, and everyone, watch out massive spoilers, obviously. Bring your A-game to the comments.
Discuss one of the coolest Oscar showdowns in years: There Will Be Blood vs. No Country For Old Men.
Miramax has pooled together a nice selection of film critics and personalities from the Internet for a winding discussion over the ending to the studio’s acclaimed Cohen Brothers hit No Country for Old Men. It’s an enjoyable freestyle conversation featuring Premiere‘s Glenn Kenny, Ain’t It Cool’s Harry Knowles, Rotten Tomatoes’ Jen Yamato, Jim Emerson of RogerEbert.com and moderator Elvis Mitchell. Next time, I hope they invite /Film, but I’m glad to listen this go around, because NCFOM is the perfect film to listen to others’ bat around broad ideas ranging from comparisons to The Seventh Seal to the symbolism of blood and feet in the film to, yes, the meaning of life (sorry, it proved elusive). You can listen to the chat here. And if you need a recap of the film’s ending, click here for an audio recording.
For those of you who have seen NCFOM, do you sense the film becoming greater and more important in your mind as time wedges itself between your first viewing? I’m still not sure if it deserves to win Best Picture, but I have found increasing appreciation for its interpretative nature and dead quiet yet muscularly stern messages about life and death. I’d almost compare my memory of the film to a memory of sitting alone on an empty beach just thinking and listening. The ending certainly plays into this sort of wrinkled, survival Zen.
In regards to the Miramax link above, I admit I rolled my eyes once. The surprise expressed by the roundtable at the sheer thought of many viewers being surprised at, with some even [gasp] disliking, the ending is ridiculous. C’mon. There is a reason why you guys and gal are together talking about it. The Cohens meant to provoke a transcendent resonance with its off-guard timing, and comparisons to a certain pay-cable show’s are not out of line (down to the modern outlook of men, nature and the unknown at large).
For those cautious of spoilers, beware the comments section below.
Every year new names become popular. Cinemascopian points out that 2007 has had three films featuring lead characters with the unusual name of Anton:
- Anton Ego, “Ratatouille”
- Anton Corbijn, “Control”
- Anton Chigurh, “No Country for Old Men”
I wonder if such a cinematic occurrence might eventually someday reflect in those popular baby name charts. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Anton will replace Michael. I’m just wondering if Anton’s “stock” might go up due to the recent big screen appearances.
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
On Saturday, the American Film Institute picked its Top Ten American Films of 2007. The list is available below in alphabetical order:
- Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- Into the Wild
- Knocked Up
- Michael Clayton
- No Country for Old Men
- The Savages
- There Will Be Blood
I tend to agree with this list more than I agreed with the Golden Globe nominations. I’m not sure if “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” deserves to be up there, and while The Savages is a great movie, I’m not sure if it deserves to be in the top 10.
Fox Searchlight’s Once would have been my choice. errr I forgot the AFI list only includes American films. I’m glad to see that AFI included my favorite comedies of the year: Juno and Knocked Up. And why has everyone forgotten about David Fincher’s Zodiac?
Here are AFI’s Top 10 lists from the last six years:
- 2006: Babel, Borat, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Half Nelson, Happy Feet, Inside Man, Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, United 93.
- 2005: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Good Night And Good Luck, A History of Violence, King Kong, Munich, The Squid and the Whale, Syriana.
- 2004: The Aviator, Collateral, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Friday Night Lights, The Incredibles, Kinsey, Maria Full of Grace, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, Spider-Man 2
- 2003: American Splendor, Finding Nemo, The Human Stain, In America, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander, Monster, Mystic River
- 2002: About a Boy, About Schmidt, Adaptation, Antwone Fisher, Chicago, Frida, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Quiet American
- 2001: A Beautiful Mind, Black Hawk Down, In The Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Memento, Monster’s Ball, Moulin Rouge, Muholland Drive, Shrek
- 2000: Almost Famous, Before Night Falls, Best In Show, Erin Brockovich, Gladiator, High Fidelity, Requiem For A Dream, Traffic, Wonder Boys, You Can Count on Me.
Most major city regions have a society or association of film critics, who each year join together to vote on the best films and performances of the year. This weekend the winners have been announced for the National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO), The Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC), and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA). Here is a round up of the results:
Here is the quick briefing:
The Cohen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men took the Best Film of the year award in three out of the five. Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood took the top award in the remaining. Anderson is leading the Best Director category with two wins. Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood) and George Clooney (Michael Clayton) are tied for Best Actor with two wins each.
Julie Christie took home three best actress wins for her performance in Away From Her, narrowly beating out Marion Cotillard who has two wins for La Vie en Rose. Javier Bardem was awarded three supporting actor wins for No Country for Old Men. Amy Ryan won four out of five for her performance in Gone Baby Gone. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly took home three out of five of the Best Foreign Film Awards. Pixar’s Ratatouille leads with three wins in the Animated category, narrowly beating out Persepolis, which currently has two wins. Diablo Cody is leading with two wins in the Best Original Screenplay section for Juno.
Read the full results after the jump.
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Today I finally found some time to sit down and sift through the 352 official selections of the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. Many hours later, I present to you 65 must see movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. I did the work so that you don’t have to. So why should you care about these films if you’re not making the trip up to Canada in September?
In 1998, Variety acknowledged that the Toronto International Film Festival “is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” Roger Ebert has also said that “although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is more useful and more importantâ€¦.”
Toronto is essentially a preview of which Independent to mid-sized film releases might be big in the next five months. The festival is considered a launch pad for many studios to begin “Oscar-buzz” for their films.
How do I know that you should see these movies? Well, in most cases I don’t. I have seen some press screenings of a couple of the films listed below (Valley of Elah, My Kid Could Paint That…) and can personally recommend them. But for the most part, I have no idea. I have cobbled this list from an exhaustive day of research. Some of the films I chose because of the director, writer, or cast. Others because of the plot synopsis.
When a review was available, I read it. If a trailer was available, I watched it. I’ve included films that were recommended to me by trusted friends. Some films that I missed but were highly reviewed at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (Son of Rambow, The Savages).
I must offer this disclaimer: I tend to be attracted to American, British and Japanese cinema to a fault. I do have a handful of picks outside my comfort realm, but if you’re looking for more “Worldly” selections, you might have to look elsewhere.
It should also be noted that some of the films (especially in the Gala and special presentation sections) will hit theaters within the next two months. Some films even hit theaters days within the festival’s conclusion. I put these movies on the list because they are movies of interest. But you, like me, might want to hold off on some of these flicks until they hit your city next month. For me, there are some films that I won’t be able to resist like Across The Universe and No Country for Old Men. I know they come out sooner rather than later, but I need to see them sooner. I’ve noted the release dates of films that are opening in the next two months, just so you have that information.
I’ll be at the festival for nine and a half days, so chances are, I won’t be able to see all of these films. The reality is, I won’t see even half of these films. I’ll be doing some interviews, so I’ve lowered my goal to around 30 movies, which most people would still consider extreme (that’s at least three movies each day of the festival).
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The first four official production photos for the next Coen Brothers film have been released. When a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande, violence and mayhem ensue. No Country for Old Men stars Josh Brolin (Grindhouse, Goonies) Tommy Lee Jones (Fugitive), Stephen Root (Office Space) and Woody Harrelson. The film will premiere at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, with it’s official release tentatively scheduled for late 2007 (Oscar season). As always, left click to enlarge the images. More photos after the jump.
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