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The Oscars are Back On and a Kid’s Book on the Big Screen

Posted by: Matthew Turner 21/02/2008 @ 15:12
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 51 (which is, fascinatingly, an average of exactly one a day).

Awards season: Finally, the Oscars
You could be forgiven for being a little bored with awards season at this point but the end is finally in sight, as the Oscars are televised this Sunday (1am onwards on some extortionate Murdoch-owned channel – do what I do and watch it round a friend's house). It looked like it was touch and go for a while there, but the Writers' Strike has been resolved in the nick of time, leading to huge sighs of relief all round, not least from me. So, it's time to stick my neck out with a few predictions. I think the biggest certs are Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor and Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor (as much as I'd love to see Casey Affleck win). I also think No Country For Old Men will win Best Picture and the Coens will win Best Director, though I think Julian Schnabel probably deserves it this year, as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is nothing short of astonishing. Still, the Oscars wouldn't be the Oscars without a surprise upset or two and if there is one this year I'm hoping it's in the Best Actress category and that - as I may have said before - Marion Cotillard beats off front-runner Julie Christie. I'm also hoping against hope that Saoirse Ronan beats front-runner Ruby Dee to Best Supporting Actress, as it's a mystery to me what Academy voters saw in Dee's performance. As for the screenplay awards, I think it's highly likely that Best Original Screenplay will go to Juno (I'm looking forward to ex-stripper Diablo Cody's acceptance speech) and that Atonement will have to console itself with Best Adapted Screenplay and very little else. Still, one way or the other, we'll know by Monday morning...

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Where The Wild Things Are
It's a long way off yet (UK release date is 24th October) but I'm hugely excited about Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story Where The Wild Things Are, about a boy who dreams up a fantasy world where wild creatures crown him as their ruler. It was one of my favourite books as a child and this recently leaked test footage indicates they are working hard to get the look just right. It's a shame that the scene isn't actually in the film (it's not even the right actor playing Max) because it's rather beautiful and strange and seems perfect. I also like the combination of CGI face and physical costume for the monster, because it gives it a bit of weight and presence rather than just being obviously fake digital effects. I hope that Jonze's comment about the costume being “a very early cringy prototype” doesn't mean that they're thinking of abandoning the physical costume in favour of all-CGI monsters.

Top 5 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):

1. There Will Be Blood
2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
3. No Country For Old Men
4. The Edge of Heaven
5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

DVD of the Week: Across the Universe (two disc special edition, RRP price £19.99)

Across the Universe seemed to be a real love-it-or-hate it film when it came out, with critics split violently down the middle (it's currently at 53% at RottenTomatoes.com. If you missed it at the cinema (or if, like me, you want to see it again), it's getting the two disc special edition treatment this week. Director Julie Taymor took a big risk, in that its core audience of Beatles fans are also those most likely to be upset at the fact that the cast are the ones singing the songs, but it paid off, thanks to a superb script, strong performances and a brilliantly integrated selection of songs. Extras include an informative, music-based commentary from Julie Taymor and composer Elliot Goldenthal, over 100 minutes of documentaries and featurettes, three deleted scenes and eight extended musical performances.

Comments

by  Anonymous  21/02/2008 @ 17:23
Oooooooooh! Where the Wild Things Are - that was MY favourite book as a brat, how very exciting!

I also can't wait for the Oscars - although more to check out the frocks than because of any interest in film (although Daniel Day Lewis is WELL overdue an oscar - Gangs of New York anyone?)
by  Anonymous  22/02/2008 @ 10:51
I cannot WAIT for Where the Wild Things Are. I hope it's good! Come on Spike Jonze don't let us down!
by  Anonymous  11/03/2008 @ 13:38
turns out you were right about most of your predictions except one about Atonement - thats very impressive! matthew turner do you have psychic powers?!
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