Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Doll's House

Authors: Lee
Location: New Jersey

"A Doll's House"
A Suspenseful Take on Henrik Ibsen's Classic Play

Distributed by: Focus Features
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Produced by: George Clooney

Principal Cast:

Nora Helmer: Laura Linney
Torvald Helmer: George Clooney
Dr. Rank: Ralph Fiennes
Mrs. Christine Linde: Emily Watson
Nils Krogstad: Robert Downey Jr.
Anne: Patricia Clarkson

Tagline: "Discomfort exists, even in the comfort of your own home"

Synopsis: Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me, Margaret) teams up once again with Academy Award nominee, Laura Linney for this glorious "A Doll's House," a contemporary adaptation of the classic play by Henrik Ibsen. George Clooney stars as Torvald Helmer, a controlling man who calls his wife "his little song-bird," and has her trapped in their home as his personal call-girl. Torvald beats Nora, and scolds her in public, and treats her like a whore.

The role of Mrs. Christine Linde (a former schoolmate of Nora's, is played by the Oscar nominee, Emily Watson; the moral center of the story, Dr. Rank (who is both Torvald's doctor as well as a love interest for Nora is played by Ralph Fiennes, and Robert Downey Jr., stars as Krogstad, (the man who bribes Nora with her dirty secret). Lastly, in a touching and poingant role, Patricia Clarkson stars as Anne, Nora's long-time nurse and family friend.

In addition to a more crisp and concise script by Mr. Lonergan, and the edginess and sexiness of this work, "A Doll's House," differs from the original play in how it ends. In the original, Nora leaves Helmer at the end of the play for freedom. Here, she escapes for that purpose as well, but also, to be with Dr. Rank, (whom she has had a love for many years).

Lonergan's film is much edgier, sexier and raw than the play itself, and other previous adaptations of the source material, yet it manages to maintain the excellent narratology, dramatic strengths, and moral seriousness that made the play so famous. Additionally, Mrs. Linde embarks on a love affair with Torvald that Nora discovers once she comes to visit the first time. In the end, Torvald kills Nora for leaving him, but he will feel the rath of Dr. Rank.

What the press would say:

Review: "All of the actors here will be nominated for Oscars... Mark my words. The entrie cast. And, Linney, Clooney, and Fiennes, are on their way to wins!"
-Oprah Winfrey, ABC TV

Review 2: "With "A Doll's House," Ms. Linney proves she is the best actress in her generation at playing vulnerable, probably because as an actress she is not...The unspoken energy and power she brings to the screen serves as a forshadowing for Nora's future escape. " E-movies

Review 3: "Mr. Clooney delivers an deliciously evil performance as the more contemporarily cynical Torvald. Linney is likwise, bold and courageous, as the woman who confronts a monster head on.



The Apocalypse of Angela Reed

Authors: James Somerton
Location: Canada

"The Apocalypse of Angela Reed"

Directed By Peter Jackson
Written By James Somerton
Produced By Peter Jackson
Score By Howard Shore

Principal Cast:

Robin McNeil as Angela Reed
Kieran Gallivan as Nick Taylor
Evan Rachel Wood as Krystle Cunningham
Cate Blanchett as Sienna Thorn
Daniel Brühl as Hades
Annette Bening as Maria Reed
Aaron Eckhart as Dr. Vince Edwards

Tagline: "The End Is Near…"

RELEASE DATE: December 18

Synopsis: The year is 1999 and the world is in turmoil. Wars are raging in the Holy Lands, storms are growing fiercer ever day, world leaders and more corrupt than ever, and the millennium is approaching. As if this wasn’t enough, Angela Reed is a young girl who is being raised by a chain smoking, drug addicted, and alcoholic mother. When her mother, Maria, is mysteriously killed one night after coming home from a bar, Angela is placed in the custody of the Cunningham’s; the family of her best friend Krystle. As the summer of 1999 drags on, the temperatures sore and Angela is beginning to see things. She is growing paranoid of everything and becoming dizzy all the time. All of this culminates one night when she has a massive seizure and is rushed to the hospital. She survives but she has seen things. She has seen Biblical images of the End of the World, and a warlord named Hades who is ravaging the earth. All the while, the investigation into Maria Reed’s murder is being headed by Sienna Thorn; a woman who has fooled the local authorities into believing that she is in the FBI. She searches out Maria’s real killer as Angela recovers in the hospital.

Then, at the end of the summer, a hurricane rips through the small town and knocks the power out in the hospital. Angela sees Hades everywhere in the darkness and Krystle rushes to get her out of the hospital. When they escape, everything goes back to normal, until Angela is told by Sienna Thorn that Hades is, in fact, real and hunting her down. He wants to kill her before New Years 1999 because if Angela is dead, that means the world will go with her. But if Angela lives past midnight, the world will be safe for another thousand years. On New Year’s Eve, Hades appears and corners Angela. She puts up a fight but it isn’t enough. He kills her… at 12:01am, 2000.

What the press would say:

““The Apocalypse of Angela Reed” could have been just another slasher movie in the hands of many directors but James Somerton, the director of the Oscar nominated film “Lost in America”, manages to keep the characters above the blood (of which there is very little). The acting in the film is Oscar quality with Robin McNeil (Pretty Young Thing), heading a cast of film veterans such as Evan Rachel Wood as her best friend; Cate Blanchett as Sienna Thorn, a woman with more than her fare share of secrets; Annette Bening as her abusive mother, Maria; and Aaron Eckhart as Neurologist who psychiatrist who thinks he knows what’s wrong with her. The film goes beyond simple horror movie with its running length of over two hours, it’s superb cast, and it’s religious undertones. This is a character drama that just happens to be absolutely terrifying. The killer, Hades, is sympathetic when it is revealed that he is immortal, but he doesn’t want to be. He was made immortal by en even greater evil thousands of years ago but his lover was not. Now, if the world ends, he can be back with the one person he ever loved. This makes the ending one that is bittersweet. The audience almost feels sorry for him. This film delves deep into the psychological trauma left behind by an abusive mother, and a sexually abusive stepfather.

And that alone makes it worthy of Oscar Gold. This film reminds me of “The Exorcist” as it is, indeed, a horror movie but it goes beyond that with it’s powerful acting and well-written script. With four Golden Globe nominations (Best Actress – Robin McNeil, Best Supporting Actress – Evan Rachel Wood, Best Supporting Actress – Annette Bening, and Best Screenplay), a whole host of guild awards, and some of the best reviews of any horror movie ever made, “The Apocalypse of Angela Reed” may be the first time that the Academy awards a true blue horror movie with the big one.


Best Picture – Peter Jackson
Best Director - James Somerton
Best Adapted Screenplay – James Somerton, based on his book.
Best Actress – Robin McNeil
Best Supporting Actress – Evan Rachel Wood
Best Supporting Actress - Annette Bening
Best Supporting Actor – Aaron Eckhart
Best Original Score – Howard Shore

The Arabic Cafe

Authors: Maia
Location: LA

"The Arabic Cafe"

Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Tony Kushner
Cinematography by Stephen Goldblatt
Original Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Edited by Martin Walsh
Produced by Steven Spielberg

Principal Cast:

Naveen Andrews as Ghalib Selin
Jamie Bell as Charlie Smith
Ed Harris as Anthony Smith
Kate Bosworth as Linda Smith
Salma Hayek as Sister Nora
Ben Kingsley as Omar

Tagline: "On December 14, 2007… You’ll find an unexpected ally”

“Friendships are born in the most unlikely places”

Synopsis: A NY teenager (Bell) tortured by his mother’s recent murder finds an escape from his shattered family and mediocre school life in an unusual friendship with the mysterious Palestine owner of an Arabic coffee shop (Andrews) in his neighborhood.

As the two become closer, they discover that both need a getaway from their unhappiness and soon begin to plot the most terrifying plan to achieve it.

What the press would say:

Mike Nichols’ crude and provocative “The Arabic Café” is the bravest and most honest look at terrorism in our country in the last decade! This powerful drama studies the social causes of terrorism by joining two different characters that have lost all hope in society and that become dependent of each other in Nichols’ most subtle style.

Naveen Andrews is excellent as the suicidal Ghalib Selin, a man who wants to honor his dying father’s (Kingsley) last wish by planning the ultimate terrorist attack to New York City. The young Jamie Bell is equally fantastic as the pivotal Charlie Smith, a character that demands the actor to explore feelings like sorrow, anger, impotence and hate; and that he accomplishes with solid determination (nailing the NY accent to perfection along the way). Supporting jobs by Ed Harris as Charlie’s alcoholic and abusive father next to Ben Kingsley extraordinary job as Ghalib’s fanatic father and Al-Qaeda’s supporter are worthy of all their Oscar buzz. Salma Hayek is also terrific as Sister Nora, a devoted catholic nun that symbolically represents Charlie’s conscience but that is trapped in moral dilemma when she and Charlie become “too” close. Kate Bosworth rounds up the cast as Charlie’s older sister and confident.

Gripping exploration of human nature by Tony Kushner’s screenplay provides the characters with substance and, even if we disagree, with a logic to their horrifying actions. Look out for the film’s divisive final act! Left and right-wing politicians won’t stop talking about it! Will Charlie and Ghalib succeed in their selfish seek of healing? Or Not?

“The Arabic Café” is an unusual and controversial film but a master piece nonetheless, Mike Nichols has given the world a film without agendas and one that will probably win Best Picture next March.

Consider this film for the next awards:

Best Picture (AMPAS)
Best Picture – Drama (HFPA)
Best Actor – Naveen Andrews
Best Actor – Jamie Bell
Best Supporting Actor – Ed Harris
Best Supporting Actor – Ben Kingsley
Best Supporting Actress – Salma Hayek
Best Original Screenplay
Best Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score

Blood & Water

Authors: Masnoraffis Masdil
Location: Singapore

"Blood & Water"

Directed by Marc Foster
Written by Andrew Niccol
Original Score by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

Principal Cast:

Al Pacino (Steven)
Johnny Depp (Paul)
Dianne Wiest (Jennifer)
Sandra Bullock (Michelle)
James Franco (Patrick)
Lindsay Lohan (Marcia)
Jennifer Aniston (Lindsey)
Imelda Stauton (Mrs. Taylor/Nanna)
Spencer Breslin (young Paul)
Andrea Bowen (young Marcia)
Jeffrey Tambor (Michelle's father)

Tagline: "N/A"

Synopsis: Steven (Al Pacino) & Jennifer (Dianne Wiest) have raised their children, Patrick (Spencer Breslin) & Paul (Johnny Depp) since young in an environment full of love and wealth. Unknown to Patrick, Paul was adopted by his parents. Circumstances intervene and Paul fell in love with Michelle (Sandra Bullock), a peppy girl from the lower end of town. Steven was angry when Paul refuses to marry Lindsey (Jennifer Aniston), Paul's childhood friend, whom Steven feels is much of better class than Michelle. Steven & Paul parted ways, unaware of the pain they have caused all the others in their loving family. A few years later, a much older Patrick (James Franco) only realised the truth when he overheard a conversation between his two grandmothers after coming back from college. He goes to England to find Paul who had migrated there shortly before Patrick was sent to college. With a little help from Michelle's younger sister, Marcia (Lindsay Lohan), he enters Paul's household as a supposedly houseguest and tries to get to know his brother again. From there, he tries to reunite back his broken up family.

What the press would say:

The movie would make you laugh, the movie would make you cry. The movie will make you think of your parents a few times. In all, the movie doesn't disappoint. Given its multi star cast, you would expect a persona to be sidelined and that doesn't happen. Marc Foster handles the emotive scenes and the sad scenes with a magic touch, which makes us recognize his talent. Certain scenes will remain in your memories for their emotive qualities even after the movie is over. Some examples are Jennifer waiting at the door for Paul thinking that he will return, Michelle's father dying, the reciting of the words of wisdom from Paul's son to Paul that came from Steven to Paul, the discovery thereafter that Paul's houseguest is none other than his own brother. These are only some of the scenes that are combined with an awesomely emotive background score, composed by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

Al Pacino, as the patriarch of the family, gives his usual restrained manner who values tradition and social hierarchy. Dianne Wiest, as his wife, holds up well against Pacino. Her role was superbly written and she performs well as the dutiful wife who finally stands up to the husband after being reunited with her long lost son. The scene where both of them were sitting in the garden, is one of the more remembered scenes, and her character really stands out specifically her ending it off with the line "I said it..." In the end you will definitely be reminded of your own mom with her performance and cherish her even more. Johnny Depp's performance is restrained and skilful. He held his own against Pacino in their confrontation scene. James Franco gave a surprising good performance, easily the best among the three male characters. His emotive sequences, especially his tear jerking scenes are well handled, especially the bench scene between him and Depp where Depp realises Franco's true identity.

Sandra Bullock well balanced act between comedy and emotion strikes at the viewer. Having a main character that provides a lot of the comical scenes in this movie really helps. Not only does she look awesome here, she is the highlight of the film and she's all over it. Lindsay Lohan gaves an Alicia Silverstone's "Clueless" performance here, with a bubbly and over the top performance, irritating the life out of Depp's character. Marcia's transformation from a slut type character to a humane persona and Paul's attitude it is totally enjoyable. Imelda Staunton gave another great performance and she really makes her presence felt. As "Mrs. Taylor", she is a second mom to Patrick & Paul and her requirements to portray it are not any different than Wiest, and she's done an awesome job doing it. She does provide the comic relief at times too. But her most stand out scene is the scene where Nanna decides to help Patrick ties his sholecaes. Patrick, whom from young has never learn how to tie his shoelaces, tries to dissuade Mrs. Taylor from doing it but to no avail until he finally sits up in frustation and accidentally calls him "Nanna", the nickname he called her since young.

Ultimately, it's a family movie that really entertains from the heart. Marc Foster has given us a lovable film for us to remember in times and I can see it getting accolades in the upcoming awards ceremonies.

For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration

Best Picture
Best Director: Marc Foster
Best Screenplay: Andre Niccol
Best Original Score: Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
Best Actor: Johnny Depp
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor: Al Pacino
Best Supporting Actor: James Franco
Best Supporting Actress: Lindsay Lohan
Best Supporting Actress: Dianne Wiest
Best Supporting Actress: Imelda Staunton
Best Editing: Joel Cox
Best Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto

Bright Lights

Authors: Corey
Location: USA

"Bright Lights"

Directed By: Sydney Pollack
Written By: Jeremy Levin, Arthur Laurents, & Paul Haggis
Produced By: Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack, & Paul Haggis
Music By: John Williams
Cinematography By: Dion Beebe
Costumes By: Colleen Atwood
Art/Set Direction: Gordon Sim
Edited By: Hughes Winborne

Principal Cast:

Rachel McAdams: Julia Bergman
Ryan Gosling: Richard Williams
Meryl Streep: Kathy Williams
Robert DeNiro: Sam Williams
Liza Minnelli: Sally Adams
Elizabeth Taylor: Gloria Howard

Tagline: "Can love really survive anything?"

Synopsis: Julia and Richard grew up in the same neighborhood, but they rarely crossed paths. Ironically, both bump into each other at college some fifteen years later. They soon become closer than either thought possible. Richard quits school, convincing Julia to do the same in order to pursue a family life. After several years together, Julia decides that she wants to move to New York and pursue a career on the Broadway stage, but Richard refuses to move and the two are torn apart. After arriving in New York, Julia meets two women that are to change her life forever. One is a woman named Gloria (Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor) who decides to take Julia under her wing and wants nothing more than to see Julia give in to her rules to see that Julia rises to the standards Gloria wants. The other woman is a former Broadway star (Oscar winner Liza Minnelli) that teaches Julia that the dreams pursued in life have to be those that each individual wants. Back in Los Angeles, Richard confides in the company of his mother and father (Oscar winners Meryl Streep & Robert DeNiro) who soon convince Richard that he must go after her if he really loves her, but the day before Richard is to make contact with Julia after more than five years, he is drafted into war. Both are left to wonder what will happen to the other and if fate will play a hand in reuniting them one last time.

What the press would say:

With tones of his 1973 classic “The Way We Were,” Sydney Pollack returns to the romantic genre with great power and perception. Powerful performances, maturity, and great chemistry keep co-stars of “The Notebook” looking better than ever. Great supporting roles from a great line up of Oscar winners. What a winner!

Oscar Nominations:

Best Picture
Best Director: Sydney Pollack
Best Actress: Rachel McAdams
Best Actor: Ryan Gosling
Best Supporting Actress: Liza Minnelli
Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Taylor
Best Supporting Actor: Robert DeNiro
Best Original Screenplay
Best Score
Best Art/Set Direction
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing


Author: Juan Ascencio
Location: Mexico


Directed by :Sam Mendes
Screenplay by: Todd Hynes
Music by: Thomas Newman
Cinematography by: Edward Lachman

Principal Cast:

Kirsten Dunst-Charlotte Fleming
Chris O’Donnell- Aaron Sheldon
William Hurt-Isaac Fleming
Gwyneth Paltrow-Meagan Sheldon
Tobey Maguire-Lane Sheldon
Annette Bening-Sarah Fleming

Tagline: "Forgiveness is the only way to go on"

Synopsis: Charlotte is ingenuous dreamer young woman, only child of Sarah and Isaac Fleming, the shepherd of his conservative protestant church. During her first year in college, Charlotte realizes she is pregnant and full of fear talks to her boyfriend, an immature guy called Lane, but he doesn’t want to face the problem and breaks up with her in a painful way. Charlotte hopes to receive help from her parents; nevertheless they qualify her daughter’s situation as sinful and risky for their position as spiritual guides. Charlotte is forced by them to have an abortion and hide the secret forever. Lonely and devastated, she finds spiritual relief in a faithful and respectable member of her congregation, a man called Aaron and whose life is not easy either because he has to deal with his atheist wife, Meagan, who criticizes his strong faith and lives secretly attracted by Lane. The innocent friendship of Charlotte and Aaron turns into a forbidden passionate romance, which will make them reflect about their religious faith and look together for the necessary strength to face their families and other people condemn.

What the press would say:

Original, shameless, controversial and truly human are some ways to qualify Sam Mendes’ new film “Broken”, a complex story in which religion and social roles are shown in a different way, the most sensitive and real that has been accomplished so far. The cast members add the necessary contrasts to the story, diverse kinds of acting, dissimilar personalities, but united by a strong determination and majestic talent. The leading couple, Kirsten Dunst and Chris O'Donnell, demonstrate a big capacity to capture their characters in a entire way, making us part of their fears, doubts, faith and hopes; O’Donnell is back in the spotlight since his performance in Scent of a woman, reaffirming his high level between actors of his generation; Dunst shows that she is able to perform in deep stories and quit her teen star image to become one of the most intense young actresses.

William Hurt and Annette Bening offer a powerful performance as Kirsten’s evil parents, proving once more their condition as consecrated actors. Gwyneth Paltrow is particularly wonderful playing O’Donnell’s atheist wife, a total different character to all she has done in her career, she becomes a promiscuous woman seducing Maguire character, who makes also a great performance in this film, adding the indispensable bitterness, and forcing us to focus on his interaction with Kirsten Dunst, completely opposite to what we see in Spiderman movies. Sam Mendes challenges himself again directing a diverse team, working with a reflexive screenplay and offering a story that will doubtlessly receive a lot of attention from critics, church and society, a film destined to become a collective phenomenon.


Best picture
Best Director
Actress in a leading role: Kirsten Dunst
Actor in a leading role: Chris O’Donnell
Best supporting actress: Gwyneth Paltrow
Best supporting actress: Annette Bening
Best supporting actor: William Hurt
Best supporting actor: Tobey Maguire
Original Screenplay
Original Score
Best Cinematography
Best Editing

Bruised Boys

Authors: Douglas Reese
Location: Clarksville, OH

"Bruised Boys"

Director: Gary Ross
Screenplay: Gary Ross and Jeff Nathanson
Producers: Nathan Lane and Gary Ross
Score: John Williams

Principal Cast:

Zac Efron – Nathan McGee
Haley Joel Osment – Lance Howell
Thomas Haden Church – Multry Howell
Cate Blanchett – Vivian Howell
Frances McDormand – Jennifer McGee
Evan Rachel Wood – Sarah Lockwood
Jack Nicholson - Bradley

Tagline: "They have a choice…”

Synopsis: A dramatic-romantic comedy about two teenagers who fall in love. Nathan McGee is struggling to come out about his homosexuality because of his girlfriend Sarah. Lance Howell also hides his sexual preference from his gay-hating parents Multry and Vivian. When the two meet on the Internet, the two fall in love – without even seeing each other. Not knowing it’s only puppy love, the two struggle with coming out. Plus, to make matters worse for the two, Nathan’s mother Jennifer is dying of cancer, and Lance’s homophobic father Multry just discovered his son’s homosexuality. The two boys then decide to meet…

What the press would say:

Controversial for two of the film’s scenes. 1) a flashback in which Efron’s character Nathan has, looking back at when he was sexually molested by Jack Nicholson’s character Bradley. It doesn’t shy from its detail – but it doesn’t show what happens to Nathan.

Bradley just gives a disturbingly powerful –and haunting – four-minute monologue. 2) Zac Efron and Haley Joel Osment’s characters end the movie with a five-minute sex scene that goes so into detail, some people have fled the theater! But still, the film was showing the raw romance between these two characters. Filmgoers will most likely understand the film’s true meaning. But the controversy didn’t stop the film from being a critical success! Many critics praised Zac Efron’s performance the most. Although most people see him as the Disney channel heartthrob, here he proves that he is mature enough to bring forward a moving performance. Roger Ebert hailed, “It’s in his eyes, his words, the way he speaks, the way he moves his hands. He acts NOTHING like his character in High School Musical; instead he proves he’s an adult. Shame on Oscar if he does not get a nomination!” Haley Joel Osment received good reviews. Peter Travers says, "Osment does something different here. He brings a more heart filled performance rather than a creepy one like he did in The Sixth Sense. BLISTERED BOYS has a performance from Osment that packs realism and humanity!” Thomas Haden Church plays Osment’s homophobic father, coming to a conclusion that his son is gay. Church is almost a villain, but he is also a good father figure deep down. Cate Blanchett is Osment’s mother whom really, as she bluntly puts it: “hate(s) fags!” McDormand’s performance as Efron’s dying mother is “sensational” hails Richard Roeper. She loves her son so much, she is the only person who Efron has told about his sexuality and she understands like a good mother should. Evan Rachel Wood is used in one scene here and she plays it superbly! Jack Nicholson stars in a disturbing four-minute monologue role that can get him Supporting Actor, if his creepiness doesn’t let him lose grip on it. But his performance is truly harrowingly unforgettable! As for
BRUISED BOYS Roger Ebert says, “It’s a true movie and that’s what its goal was to do. And it works on a comedy level, on an emotional level, on a great movie level. One of the year’s ten best films!”

So please give this thrilling picture:

Best Picture
Best Director – Gary Ross
Best Original Screenplay – Gary Ross and Jeff
Best Actor – Zac Efron
Best Actor – Haley Joel Osment
Best Supporting Actor – Thomas Haden Church or Jack
Best Supporting Actress – Cate Blanchett or Frances
Best Film Editing