Friday, March 6, 2009

The Quad Newsletter

Remember I mentioned The Quad, and Elliot Kanbar's email newsletter in an earlier post? He always summarizes what's playing at the theater, and ends the newsletter with an interesting commentary. Here's this weeks offering (and p.s. I think he's right about all of them):

THE LAST WORD (AT LAST) ABOUT THE OSCAR WINNERS. Matt Damon recently remarked that "the only way to judge movies is at least 15 years down the line. You'll be able to see if the films and performances endured, divorced from the heat of the race and the craziness of the costly Oscar campaigns".

The magazine "Entertainment Today" launched an extensive survey asking Academy members: " In the last 15 Oscar races would you vote today for the same performers and films who won then?" Here are some answers including some of my own.

I think it should have been:

RALPH FIENNES ("Schindler's List") over Tommy Lee Jones ("The Fugitive") for Best Supporting Actor. 1993.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN over "Shakespeare In Love" for Best Picture. 1998.

CATE BLANCHETT ("Elizabeth") over Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare In Love") for Best Actress.1998.

KATE WINSLET ("Sense and Sensibilites") over Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite") for Best Supporting Actress. 1995.

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS ("Gangs of New York") over Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") for Best Actor. 2002.

SEAN PENN ("Dead Man Walking") over Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas") for Best Actor. 1993.

EDWARD NORTON ("American History") over Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful") for Best Actor. 1998.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

David Denby on the Oscars--and why the picks were off

I'm just catching up on New Yorkers, so I'm late in remarking upon this...but David Denby's piece in the February 9/16th issue, entitled "Curious Cases" really nails it. Below are a few of my favorite observations....but click on the link and read the full piece. It's worth it.

-As you may have noticed, 2008 was not a great year for movies. There was nothing comparable to the hair-raising "There Will be Blood," or the ravishing "Diving Bell and the Butterfly," or the sinister "No Country for Old Men," from 2007. Even so a nod for best picture could have gone to more deserving movies, such as Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married," which settles down into a revelatory examination of a family's anguish and joy; or "Happy-Go-Lucky," Mike Leigh's startling look at the power and the limits of goodness....

-The total of thirteen nominations for "Benjamin Button" has to be some sort of scandal. "Citizen Kane" received nine nominations, "The Godfather: Part II" eleven, and this movie, so smooth and mellow that it seems to have been dipped in bourbon aging since the Civil War, is nowhere close to those two.

-Boyle has created what looks like a jumpy, hyper-edited commercial for poverty--he uses the squalor and violence touristically, as an aspect of the fabulous.