Archive for February 17th, 2009

31 Days of Oscar@….Alexander Coleman’s…Prediction(s) From Coleman’s Corner in Cinema

Alexander Coleman’s Best Supporting Actress Predictions:

Doubt’s remarkable ensemble was duly rewarded by the Academy in nominations, and this category illustrates just how captivating each member of the quadrant was. Viola Davis, has received understandably gushing acclaim for her small but searing turn, but Amy Adams, has been, if anything, underappreciated. Adams has a difficult part, with a character that serves as a check to Meryl Streep’s Sister Aloysius and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Father Flynn.
Playing a fairly mousy milquetoast, Adams could have been blown away by her peers but she makes her part as fascinating as it should be–since she also serves as vicarious audience barometer for the respective camps. However, as remarkable as Davis and Adams are, their shared nominations may result in “vote-splitting,” not unlike The Godfather’s Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan each receiving Best Supporting Actor nominations split “the Godfather vote,” according to conventional wisdom.
Taraji P. Henson, is probably the category’s biggest surprise–playing Benjamin Button’s adoptive mother in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, she is a fountain of emotive gestures and affectations but as solid as she was, she seems the weakest contender.

Marisa Tomei, is terrific in The Wrestler, making a part that could easily have fallen to ruinous cliche into a full-bodied performance of charming personality. As good as Tomei is, her very command of verisimilitude is probably ultimately a liability when it comes to Oscar–they usually like their Oscar-winning performances at least reasonably “showy.”

Yet in many ways the stand-out here, and likely winner, is Penelope Cruz,for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Easily the film’s greatest asset, Cruz dazzles in an uneven film, and makes the viewer wish it was her story being told. She is voluptuous in every sense of the word, and leaves an impression that lingers. The Academy has proven they love supporting actress turns in Woody Allen films with Dianne Wiest winning two statues for performances in his Hannah and Her Sisters and Bullets Over Broadway, and Mira Sorvino taking home an Oscar for Mighty Aphrodite the year after Wiest’s second win. Beautiful women have also fared quite well throughout Academy history and the exotic Cruz fulfills this unofficial requirement.

Alexander Coleman’s Best Actor Predictions:

Actor Brad Pitt’s nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button…” is unlikely to register as anything more than a pat on the back for his recent string of accomplished work, which is ironically least apparent in Benjamin Button where he plays a cipher largely defined by his Curious condition.

Richard Jenkins makes “The Visitor”… worth seeing, and he gave a fine performance–but the part is so (intentionally) nuanced and staid, and the film so small, it is, in Academy terms, just an honor to be nominated.

Frank Langella’s… nomination seems to partly represent the triumph of hype and the sedated biting on “Oscar bait,” and there is little momentum in his direction.

The battle here is between Sean Penn, as the 1970s homosexual San Francisco City Councilman Harvey Milk and Mickey Rourke, as 1980s professional wrestling superstar, turned circa 2008 faded gymnasium main-eventer Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Penn already has an Oscar, for Mystic River, a wildcard factor that could either help or hurt him. Rourke has the Cinderella story backdrop of an accomplished actor rediscovering himself after a time period marked by ignominy–“The Ram” is in many ways a mirror image of himself. It seems as though Penn is considered the frontrunner, which would further heighten the experience of Rourke “upsetting” with a win. There are also political–both personal and civic–considerations in this category that may have a hand in deciding the winner. Penn’s victory for Milk could be interpreted as making amends for the loss of Brokeback Mountain (which was considered a major motion picture for homosexuals) in the Best Picture category to Crash a few years back, and some observers believe Rourke’s antics at the Golden Globes and other awards showsould select Rourke; as it currently stands, however, I must admit that Penn is the probable victor come February 22.

Read Full Post »


by Allan Fish

(India 1959 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. Apur Sansur

End of the road

p  Satyajit Ray  d/w  Satyajit Ray  novel  “Aparajita” by Bibhutibhusan Bandopodhaya  ph  Subrata Mitra  ed  Dulal Dutta  m  Ravi Shankar  art  Bansi Chandragupta

Soumitra Chatterjee (Apu), Sharmila Tagore (Aparna), Alok Chakravarti (Kajal), Swapan Mukherjee (Pulu), Dhiresh Majumdar (Sasinaryan, Aparna’s father), Sefalika Devi (Aparna’s mother), Dhires Ghosh (landlord),

Not too long before her death, the great British critic Dilys Powell compiled her list of the greatest ten directors of all time.  Amongst them she included Satyajit Ray, for his Apu trilogy alone.  When one watches the heartrending climax to this monumental triptych, one can see exactly why.  The greatest trilogy in world cinema history climaxes with what is, arguably, its summit.  While it may have been influenced by the not too dissimilar Maxim Gorki trilogy of Mark Donskoi, this is very much its own animal.  

            We find our hero Apu now spending his days dreaming of becoming a novelist but failing to put his thoughts into words.  One day he attends a wedding only to find out that the arranged marriage is a trick as the bridegroom is out of his mind.  Apu agrees to marry the otherwise disgraced bride Aparna and, gradually, they begin to fall for each other.  But while he’s away, his brother-in-law comes to tell him that, though he now has a son, his beloved Aparna has died in childbirth.  Unable to cope with his grief, Apu tears up his manuscripts.  (more…)

Read Full Post »