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2009 Oscar Nominations

Posted by: Matthew Turner 23/01/2009 @ 18:58
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 18
Films seen this week: Katyn, Valkyrie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Il Divo, 50 Dead Men Walking, Hush

2009 Oscar Nominations
Like most film fans, I was glued to the 2009 Oscar nominations when they were announced yesterday. I literally whooped for joy when they read out the nomination for Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, partly because it was one of my favourite films of last year but also because I'd told him I thought it might happen when I interviewed him last year. I'm also feeling particularly smug because I'm one of the few UK film reviewers to have actually seen the excellent Frozen River (which landed Melissa Leo a Best Actress nomination) – hopefully it will now get a British distributor.

Other than that, I'm delighted for Penelope Cruz, Frank Langella, Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke and I'm disappointed that Benicio Del Toro (for Che), Kristin Scott Thomas (for I've Loved You So Long) and Sally Hawkins (for Happy-Go-Lucky) all missed out on nominations. I'm also sad that Revolutionary Road didn't pick up more nominations – it deserved a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination at the very least. I am also massively looking forward to the ensuing Fanboy RAGE over the fact that The Dark Knight didn't get a Best Picture nomination, though they'll no doubt console themselves with Heath Ledger's as-predicted posthumous nomination.

Trailerwatch: I Love You, Man
Bro-mance seems to be all the rage at the moment (see: Pineapple Express, Role Models etc) and I, Love You, Man has definitely hopped aboard the bro-mance train. Paul Rudd plays a guy who only seems to have female friends, so he goes on a series of man-dates to try and find a best man for his wedding. The film has an extremely promising supporting cast that includes Jason Segel, My Name Is Earl's Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg and the always-excellent J.K. Simmons. Oh, and if Rudd's fiancee (Rashida Jones) looks familiar, she was Karen Filippelli in The Office (US). The trailer's not exactly hysterically funny, but it all looks very promising nonetheless.
There's also the Red Band trailer, which has ruder jokes in it.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change this week, with no less than four new entries into the top ten, just in time for their Oscar nominations. They include: Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, Gus Van Sant's biopic of Harvey Milk and Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married (starring an Oscar-nominated Anne Hathaway). The fourth film is British director Duane Hopkins' Better Things, which is incredibly bleak but worth seeing for Hopkins' hypnotic, surreal and extremely powerful direction. Incredibly, both I've Loved You So Long and Gonzo are still clinging to their second runs, so catch them while you can. Meanwhile, Quantum of Solace is technically still playing, but in London it's only playing at the Odeon Mezzanine and no-one in their right mind would want to see it there.

1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. The Wrestler
3. Milk
4. Frost/Nixon
5. Better Things
6. Waltz With Bashir
7. Rachel Getting Married
8. The Reader
9. I've Loved You So Long
10. Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

DVD of the Week: Tropic Thunder: three-disc director's cut edition, with bonus digital copy (released 26th January, RRP £26.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is the three-disc director's cut edition of Tropic Thunder, starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr as three Hollywood megastars who get caught up in a real conflict while making a Vietnam movie on location. Well, strictly speaking, it's a two-disc DVD, as the third disc is a bonus digital copy for iPods and so on, but it's still packed with more extras than most DVDs can even dream of. The highlight is probably the very funny 30 minute mockumentary Rain of Madness (portions of which were available online before the film came out), in which co-writer Justin Theroux plays a Werner Herzog-like director making a documentary on the film and all the actors stay in character throughout.

The two-disc set also includes: not one but two commentaries (one with the film-makers and a cast commentary with Stiller, Black and Downey Jr); Dispatches from the Edge of Madness (which ties in with Rain of Madness and includes 11 specially filmed sequences with Steve Coogan in character as the director); several featurettes, including one each on the key cast members (the real ones, that is); the MTV Movie Awards skit (with Stiller filming a viral video where Downey Jr beats up Jack Black); a make-up test with Tom Cruise; video rehearsals; two extended scenes, two deleted scenes (only two?) an alternate ending and something called Full Mags, which is basically just footage of the actors improvising. Frankly, if you were a fan of Tropic Thunder, then this is the best extras package you could possibly have hoped for. Oh, and Kirk Lazarus really doesn't break character until he's finished the DVD commentary.


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