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Entries in Another Year (4)

Saturday
Feb262011

2010: Thyme and Time

As we close out the film year, moments from the 20th minute and 10th second of the films of 2010. Here's Mike Leigh's Another Year.

Mary: Brought you a little present, some thyme. It's nothing much.
Gerry: Lovely.

This is the first of many times we see Mary (Lesley Manville) visiting Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) at home. She always arrives frazzled and they're (almost) always welcoming. It's kind of great that the gift she brings is a homophone for something that she's so worried of running out of. They're all getting on in years.

Such a lovely film. It's up for the Screenplay Oscar. Did it ever make it to a theater near you?

Saturday
Feb262011

Best of 2010: Cameos, Breakthroughs, Ensembles

The Film Bitch Awards Continue
Movie obsessives who get lost in star faces on the screen, would do well to keep their eyes peeled to the bit players or the actors toiling away in thankless roles. Sometimes, they're adding great textures or reinforcing the structural girding of their movie in the way they absorb or reflect or counteract what the name players are doing. Other times they're nailing one specific mood in such an amusing or ably defined way that you figure they might be be able to at least earn a living off commercials while they wait for someone to give them a shot at playing several moods. For instance, though I don't know her name I love the way the woman playing the real estate agent in Rabbit Hole is so silently 'this won't go well' nervous than 'this is worse than I expected' mortified by Aaron Eckhart's inappropriate intrusions into the home selling process.

 
My point is simply this: year after year ACTING remains a fascinating art form or craft or independently sentient color on a director's palette or whatever the hell you want to call it. Actors are magic. They have super powers.

I chose a scene from Never Let Me Go to illustrate this post because I think it's frankly a marvel. It's my favorite in the movie for the way it uses two tiny characters to make larger points about the whole film and to open up emotional pathways in the leads. When I went to write up Andrea Riseborough's caption, I found myself wishing for space for 250 words at least. In the middle of the scene, when all she and her boyfriend (Domnhall Gleeson) are pleading for information from their new companions there's this terrific beat.

I suppose you lot would know about that sort of thing. Being from Hailsham you'd know how that sort of thing works.

Greeted by the blank stares of our leads, and noticeably losing hope that her fantasy is a reality, those two sentences have this wonderful spike of condescencion and judgement, though she's pleasant and almost maternal in the rest of her scant few minutes onscreen. It sucks to have your dreams crushed by people greener than you.

 

Awards are also posted in Body of Work , Ensembles and Breakthrough categories. So read on for notes on Macy Gray, Mia Wasikowska, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Brandon Routh, and actors you may be less familiar with like Robin Bartlett, Anthony Deptula, Slamin Dazi and more.

all the writeups and nominations here.

Friday
Feb112011

RCL: London Film Critics Circle

I know you. I know what you woke up thinking. "Yeah, yeah, The Social Network won another Best Picture prize at the latest awards ceremony but WHAT WAS RUTH SHEEN WEARING?!?" As the resident eccentric (crazy cat lady?) of awards blogs, we shall provide the answer. 

We will also talk about the winners, but first the Actresses . (Photos repurposed from Zimbio for our Red Carpet Lineup pleasure.)

Thomas, Williams, Pike, Manville, Sheen

Kristin Scott Thomas wore what looks like leopard print and she does get a little animalistic in her sex scenes (have any of you seen Leaving?). Despite her primal force and sexiness onscreen in her 50s, this dress is a smidge dowdy (looks better with the jacket off). In brighter news, they claim her career tribute acceptance speech was quite amusing.

Olivia Williams and Rosamund Pike wore form fitting black and white respectively. Onscreen Olivia always seems dangerous and Pike like a heavenly angel (Made in Dagenham) even when she's a devilishly decadent (An Education) so it seems right.

Another Year's Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen also showed in black gowns (I love Sheen's shimmery wrap). I have a bone to pick with Sony Pictures Classics. I don't understand what they did with Another Year at all. It's like they weren't even trying and sometimes they try very hard with worthy adult-friendly movies. But barely releasing it and waiting until everyone was all obsessed with noisy Christmas blockbusters? Bizarre non-strategy if they were hoping to get people interested. Wouldn't September have been a nice spot for a melancholy four seasons Mike Leigh film?

Oh the winners?
Yes yes...

Film The Social Network
British Film The King's Speech
Foreign Film Of Gods and Men
Director  David Fincher, The Social Network
British Director Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Breakthrough British Filmmaker Gareth Edwards, Monsters
Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Actress Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
British Actress Lesley Manville, Another Year
Actor Colin Firth, The King's Speech
British Actor Christian Bale, The Fighter (
British Supporting Actor Andrew Garfield, The Social Network 
British Supporting Actress Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer 
Young British Performer Conor McCarron, NEDs
Excellence in Film KRISTIN SCOTT-THOMAS


Wouldn't it be HILARIOUS if American film prizes started divvying up their prizes like "Best American Film" and "Best Picture" wouldn't the nominees all be the same since America loves itself so much?

About the winners: The only title/person I'm unfamiliar with is NEDs. Any British readers want to let us know if McCarron was worthy of the honor? Annette Bening wasn't present. Busy season. You can't be everywhere. Aaron Sorkin picked up all four of The Social Network's trophies. Was Andrew Garfield too busy web-swinging or something?

BAFTAs are Sunday. They are broadcast tape-delayed here in America. 8 PM EST on BBC America so by the time they air, we'll already know the winners. But I so prefer to find out while watching! I haven't yet decided how to cover it due to this time lapse. Any suggestions?

Monday
Jan102011

Best of 2010: Honorable Mentions

Before we begin, new readers take note: This is but the beginning of The Film Experience year-in-review kudos. It goes on for some time because we're giddy and OCD like that when it comes to recognizing great work. The "Film Bitch Awards" title is misleading and an old joke from college. We don't look down at the movies through our noses, but look up at the silver screen in reverie.

Here's a quick overview of well-loved films outside of the top ten (make that a top thirteen, coming tomorrow). Don't we all ♥ more than ten films a year?

Best Documentaries
I don't include documentaries in my top ten -- a personal quirk since they're a different artform with wildly different goals -- but if I did include them, please note that the Kimberly Reed's trans identity essay Prodigal Sons [Netflix Instant Watch] and the Chinese migration family drama Last Train Home, both released theatrically in 2010, would be in the mix. They might be the two best docs I've seen since Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man which you'll understand is the highest compliment I can pay them. I was also intrigued by Catfish, but then I saw it long before it was possible to have it "spoiled."  It's arguably exploitative take on online relationship and virtual identity works whether it's staged or real. And the scene that gives the film its name? Wow.

Exit Through Joan's Gift Shop

Quite by accident I saw more documentaries this year than I ever have. The two other true keepers among the batch were laugh-out-loud goodies: Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work which both stare straight at the lunacy of celebrity and artistic success, one with twinkling eyes and amused disbelief, the other with trembling lip and defiant survival.

Movie I Feel Bad About Missing
I shan't bore you with the details but please know that I did try to see Dogtooth -- most people I trust have urged me to see it -- but was thwarted in my attempts. One for the future. For what it's worth I also missed: For Colored Girls,  Robin Hood, and the French romantic comedy Heartbreaker which was an international hit, finishing in the top 100 globally. How did I miss that one? Grrrr.

The Movies I Can't Count
There is an argument out there that in this new millenium, theatrical release is more or less meaningless and shouldn't be a factor in year-end honors. But, without some sort of structure, how can there be community in movie discussions?

Click to read more ...