Archive for February 17th, 2010


Oscar@ Statues 

[Editor’s Note; The Poll Will Change or Close After Each  Oscar@ Category Is Posted.] 

Sam Juliano’s Predictions For Best Male Actor… 

In the category of ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ the 2009 short list doesn’t really have a weak link, though had I been a voter I would have replaced Morgan Freeman with the lead actor in the Coen’s A Serious Man: Michael Stuhlbarg. But in a year when the cream rose to the top, one could hardly dispute some of the high-profile turns delivered, nor what is generally considered the ‘consensus choice’ to bring home the gold. 

Colin Firth 

As Nelson Mandela, the venerated South African leader who fearlessly won in a decades-long political showdown with the nation’s white leadership, Morgan Freeman was actually Mandela’s own choice to play himself. With a glimmer in his eye, and a perfect replication of the leader’s sing-song cadences, Freeman injected a depth and spirit into the character, but the performance was more of an impersonation than an actual interpretation, always a prospective issue in situation where real people are portrayed. Still, Freeman was memorable and accomplished, and his nod is by no means undeserved, though I would myself have cast a vote for Stuhlbarg, who plays a most peculiar father is a dysfunction Jewish American family in Minnesota, patterned after the Coens’ own upbringing. 

Jeremy renner 

As Staff Sgt. William James, a skilled bomb detonator in Iraq, who, as part of an army explosive ordinance disposal team who deactivates explosives with icy precision, Jeremy Renner is the acting cornerstone in Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, delivered a focused and tight performance in a role that almost called for a lesser-known actor, who would be less apt to adversely affect the role with any degree of personal vulnerability. Renner, who was Bigelow’s first choice, has won numerous awards from film critics groups, including the New York Film Critics Circle for his intense work, and he still maintains a long-shot possibility for the Oscar, should the film sweep the ceremony. 


Popular George Clooney is generally considered as Bridges’s closest competitor, as he is a widely revered Hollywood figure, who even recently became involved in the cause for earthquake victims in Haiti. As Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizer who fires people and delivers inspirational speeches while spending an inordinate amount of time on a plane, Clooney is the central character in the well-received Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, though his critics have charged that is again playing himself. Yet there are some similarities here to the performance he gave in Michael Clayton, and the film’s admirers are huge fans of Clooney’s work. If the vote splits all over the place it’s conceivable that Clooney could emerge victorious, but Bridges is still the man to beat. 

Colin Firth 

The final nominee is British actor Colin Firth who plays British college Professor George Falconer, who is struggling to find meaning in his life after the death of his long-time partner Jim in Tom Ford’s moving A Single Man. The “events” of the film, which boasts the year’s best musical score by Abel Korzeniowski, are played out in a single day, a day in which the extraordinarily-gifted Firth exhibits a haunting blend of despair, frivolity, humor, lust, regret, terror and melancholy, and contemplates suicide leading up the shocking conclusion. Firth, another actor with a distinguished career, manages the most introspective of the year’s performances, and he would get my vote if I could cast one. 


Read Full Post »

Spot the difference

Which is Sam?  Clue, it’ll be the one on the computer ad infinitum, though the other one is giving grief to his missus. 

Read Full Post »

by Allan Fish

(Germany 1929 73m) DVD2

Aka. Mennschen im Sonntag

Berlin, Symphony to six filmmakers

p  Seymour Nebenzal  d  Edgar G.Ulmer, Robert Siodmak  w  Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, Curt Siodmak  ph  Eugene Schufftan  ed  Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann

Edwin Splettstosser (taxi driver), Brigitte Borchert (record store girl), Christl Ehlers (movie extra), Annie Schreyer (model), Wolfgang Von Waltershausen (wine seller),

Surely in the history of world cinema there can never have been a film with such behind the camera credits.  Just one look at the names of Ulmer, the Siodmak brothers, Wilder, Zinnemann and Schüfftan is like a precursor of things to come.  All would go onto great things, but it’s also safe to say they never made so pure a success as they did here.  For too long, People had been remembered purely for those credits and not as an important work of cinematic art in itself.  But the fact remains that it is a very beautiful piece in its own right, and an important film on so many levels.  It was made in the few months preceding the Wall Street Crash that would change the way of life depicted here forever, thus making it an unprecedented time capsule of the time.  Even more importantly, it’s a truly unique film in the cinema firmament.  If you were to draw a line from Ruttmann’s Berlin, Symphony of a Great City to Renoir’s Une Partie de Campagne, take it from me this late silent gem would be positioned equidistant betwixt the two.  Not only that, but its influence on future master directors, particularly Jean Vigo and Vittorio de Sica, truly cannot be measured. (more…)

Read Full Post »