Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas To All....

Going away tomorrow morning and coming back on the 27th, so I won't be here to say Merry Christmas on Christmas. Instead, I say it three days early. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guess That Grave #2

After having my chat with Sal Mineo, I drove around a little bit to visit someone else. Who?

(Click to embiggen the picture.)

Some hints:

1. Frances was the wife.

2. There is usually an American flag by his grave.

3. His career ended with a little Scott Joplin.

CD#7 Song

With Christmas upon me, the CD itself won't be finished until January. But i know for certain that at least this song will be on it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guess That Grave!

So I stopped off recently to say hi and chat with a former celebrity for a few minutes. The question is.....who?

The picture can be clicked on to make it bigger. The writing on the bottom, somewhat obscured, says: "In God's Care".

Here are three hints to help you along.

1. Michael is the name of the brother.

2. A postscript play

3. The funeral for this person was held less than 2 miles from my house.

ETA: Good Job Paul!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CD #6

This time around, some lucky recipient will receive this song on their CD. By the by, I love this video; it's a compendium of hair and fashion crimes against humanity. If the reunited Take That come over here for some shows, I will be seriously tempted to go.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkeys Away!

Here's a repeat performance of WKRP In Cincinatti's classic Thanksgiving episode: Turkeys Away! May everyone enjoy their Thanksgiving, or for those in Canada, their November 25th.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CD Exchange #5

Who will be the lucky person to receive this classic on their CD, along with other assorted awesomeness?

Friday, September 17, 2010


I have no clue what this drink is. Juice? Soda? Carbonated colored water? Who cares. If Ricardo Trepa wants me to drink it....I'll order some from Oporto.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CD 4.0 Song

I'm still hammering out the rest of the playlist, but I know for certain that some lucky person will be receiving this fantastic song from one of the greatest movies ever directed by a paper towel spokeswoman.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Small Breath

With the US Open starting yesterday, it was time for my quarterlyish prayer that everyone's favorite Serbian tennis player, Janko Tipsarevic, makes a good run of it this year. I didn't want to say anything before the tournament started as he hasn't delivered the goods much at the Slams this year. However, he did make it through Round 1 in the singles. Lost in Round 1 in the doubles, but I can live with that. I'm all about the Bryan Brothers in Doubles. Next up in Round 2 is Andy Roddick, who he has beaten in the past. I'll be watching tomorrow night with fingers crossed. If he makes it to and plays next Monday night, which session I have tickets to, I will be a very happy man.

Need reminders why he's my fav?

2010 NYFF

I've finalized my schedule for this year's New York Film Festival. Only missing out on about 2-3 films due to work commitments. Anyone in New York near Lincoln Center on these dates and times is welcome to say HI!

Friday 9/24-- 6:00pm The Social Network

Sunday 9/26-- 1:00pm Apichatpong Weerasethakul in Conversation

3:00pm Le Quattro Volte
9:00pm Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Tuesday 9/28-- 6:15pm Nuremberg [The Schulberg/Waletzky Restoration]

Wednesday 9/29-- 6:00pm Film Socialisme

Friday 10/1-- 6:00pm Inside Job

Saturday 10/2-- 10:00pm The Tempest

Sunday 10/3-- 9:00pm The Strange Case of Angelica

Tuesday 10/5-- 6:00pm Another Year

Thursday 10/7-- 9:45pm We Are What We Are

Saturday 10/9-- 6:00pm Joe Dante's The Hole 3D

9:30pm Dracula (1930's Spanish Version)

Sunday 10/10-- 12:00pm Mysteries of Lisbon

10:00pm Hereafter

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Away Again

Now that I've managed to completely remove all viruses that attacked my computer, it's time for my annual jaunt to Ocean City, NJ. Oh well. I have nearly all the remaining game show posts plotted out, so as soon I return, it will be a race to the finish! Enjoy the week, I'll be thinking of everyone as I'm overrun by thousands of screaming children.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Toss Up Question

The above video (used also in the introductory post) is the opening theme song to The Wizard of Odds. Your question is in two parts:

1. Whose American game show hosting debut was this, and who is the singer of the theme song?

Avoid Wikipedia, cheaters.
Real contestants don't have the ability to research questions before giving answers. Let's see how much you know. Post your guess in the comments.

Come on Down........

Survey are the Weakest Link...Goodbye!'s time for a summer of fabulous prizes and famous celebrities as I Deny You the Nidus! counts down the Top Ten Game Shows of All Time (that I've seen).

I have taken my years (and years) of watching TV Game Shows and have put those shows through an exhausting scientific formula to arrive at the Top Ten Game Shows of all Time (that I've seen). Said formula consists of:

1. Me watching actual episodes of a game show.
2. Deciding if the game show is worthy of being in the Top Ten of all time.
3. Ordering the resulting shows in a Top Ten list.

"But FDot," you say, "how do I know your list is definitive?" Well....back off hater! My finger has been on the pulse of the zeitgeist for a long time. And after a Lysol wipe it was more than ready to order some game shows in a definitive list. You don't agree with me? Comment away. I'll prove you wrong.

Not only will we be looking at the Top Ten shows, we'll take a look at some Honorable Mentions, some that just missed the Top Ten (ie. #11-), some that never came close and a little bit of trivia here and there.

And it's quite possible that the contestant who answers the most trivia questions correctly will win some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! (contingent on me finding time to bake them).

Let's get started......

CD #3

As the Great CD Exchange continues, I have managed to complete the Happy CD (#3). I can't post the cover art this time around, as it would be a dead giveway as to who I have, but I can post a taste of what will be on the CD. Unfortunately, the images that should accompany this song aren't anywhere to be found online, so instead, here's the song with someone's homemade video to go with it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm feeling it.

Given that today is breaking the 100 degree mark, I might as well be here:

I think I could stand roping some horses with Ted McGriff.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CD #2 finished

I have finally compiled CD #2 for the Big Puntabulouuuouous exchange. As a special taste and preview.....some lucky person will be receiving this rather cringe-inducing picture as their cover art:

and this song on the cd:

Who can be so outstandingly lucky (or cursed)?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Ahhh....and so begins the summer entertainment.


Finally, the past month is over. Right after I was all set to blog on a more regular basis, I get a call from work: Can I take on a few students? Of course I could.$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Well, those few students happened to be all Monday-Friday students, so my week ended up looking like this.

wake up 7am
leave 8:15
tutor 4th grader 8:30-9:45
drive 45 minutes
tutor 6th grader 10:30-12:30
drive 45 minutes
tutor 8th grader 1:15-3:15
drive 30 minutes
tutor 3:45-6:45
prepare worksheets and lessons for following day

Couple that with my 2:30pm-2:00am Saturday and 11:30am-3:00am schedule on Sunday, and that left zero time to do much else.

The students for the most part were decent. The 8th grader was a little eh at times, but overall it's been easy to cover them....just time consuming.

But that is all over now. All but one have finished, he wraps up on Friday, so I'm all set to enjoy summer. Time for movies and TV and salty snacks.

What has everyone else been up to?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No LOST for me

Crap! I have to work all day Sunday (noon-3:00am) so I can't watch the series finale. Plus, with my new tutoring schedule during the week, it's going to be difficult to watch it much before Tuesday or later. Argh! So many days to avoid spoilers.

Anyway, my guess for the final scene, which I'm probably wrong about, is Jack and Locke sitting on the beach in a recreation of the opening scene from the Season 5 finale "The Incident".

Monday, May 10, 2010


Phew! That was a hard one to find. It turns out that "Skeleton Key" was the name of the song that the scrambled lyrics belong to. The album cover is a 1990 release called Eroica by Wendy and Lisa, both of whom worked for Prince back in the 80's.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Help needed

Ok need some help here. Does anyone recognize this picture? It's either a music artist or possibly an album cover. The scrambled words translate (I believe) to: "the face a eyes that mirror hears [share?] wears [swear?] pretty place a better" Those should rearrange into a song lyric. The only clue I have so far is "Skeleton Key". I don't know if that's a song title or a band name or something else. We're looking at the 70's and 80's as the time period.

Friday, April 30, 2010


I guess it does have to happen once a year.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Absence Explained

While I'm sure the squirrels have been indeed plotting my downfall, the reason I was away for a little over a month is because I was out hunting down the truth about this country. Have you ever read the truth?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cute....but evil!

I was going to comment on the adorable cuteness of this seal pup, but after spending a few moments carefully considering the picture, I have realized that its eyes are simply dark pits of evil. This seal pup wants nothing more than to consume your essence.


I believe the miasma of my soul has lifted preparing me to once again litter the world with my intermittent thoughts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This should just about cover it for me for the Oscars this year. Here is the Best Animated Short film -- Logorama.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Results Are In

Well, I guess it was inevitable that after last year's 21/24 success rate, I would drop off a bit this year.

Final Tally: 15 correct 9 wrong for a 63% success rate.

Where did I go wrong?

Original and Adapted Screenplay: I just didn't think The Hurt Locker or Precious had the momentum to carry them to wins.

Foreign Language Film: I'd heard that El Secreto de Sus Ojos was the safe choice for the subset of the academy that votes for this category. Next time I'll listen.

Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: Who knew? If I voted for Avatar, The Hurt Locker won; if I voted for The Hurt Locker, Avatar won.

Documentary Short: I have no clue who this Prudence person is.

Animated Short: Truthfully, the best film won here. Logorama really is something to behold, I just didn't think it could beat Nick Park.

Live Action Short: Ugh, The New Tenants really was not a very good short. I think it won because it has some minor star power in it: Vincent D'Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan

The Correct Categories:

Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Animated Picture
Original Score
Original Song
Art Direction
Costume Design
Documentary Picture
Visual Effects

Now go see Logorama!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Time

Or at least I think it is, as Cablevision no longer carries ABC as of midnight this morning. Activate contingency plan A! Until then however, here are my predictions for who will take home to golden statue tonight. I'm going to go in the order that the Oscar website lists the categories.

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges

His momentum hasn't stopped, and while some people decry this as a lifetime achievement award, those people haven't seen the movie. He is that good.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

The man's been racking up the awards all season, and it is the best performance of the five.

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock

I think this award is due to two reasons. While Meryl Streep was wonderful, some people see it as half a performance since Amy Adams handled the other half of Julie and Julia. Add in Sandra Bullock playing Erin Brockovich, and the award goes to her.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique

She was announced as the Oscar winner last March, I see no reason to bet against her this March.

Best Animated Feature: Up

While I personally prefer Mr. Fox, the fact that Up is nominated for Best Picture but won't win there practically guarantees its win here.

Best Art Direction: Avatar

Even though Avatar's art direction is mostly computer realized, voters will look past that since Pandora is such an amazing creation and award the Oscar

Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker

I think Avatar's CGI will hurt it here, plus The Hurt Locker has picked up most of the pre-Oscar awards. So I'll go with The Hurt Locker. If I'm wrong, Avatar.

Best Costumes: The Young Victoria

Past history has told me to go with the film that features royalty (Elizabeth: The Golden Age). The Young Victoria is the sole movie about royalty here, so it wins.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Since James Cameron has already won this award, and Hollywood is itching to bestow the honor to a woman, I see Ms. Bigelow taking the honor. Truthfully, I think she deserves it more than Cameron, I found The Hurt Locker to be the better movie than Avatar.

Best Documentary: The Cove

It's about the senseless slaughter of dolphins. Sentimentality points alone should give it the award. The spoiler here would be Food, Inc.

Best Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

In addition to being the better of the two films I saw from this category, the short deals with an earthquake, fresh in everybody's mind from Haiti. Not only that, but the focus point is the loss of children in that earthquake. It sounds callous, but that will do the trick.

Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker

The bomb defusing scenes were some of the best editing I saw all year. Avatar had great battle scenes, but I think people expect that from James Cameron and won't necessarily vote the award to Avatar for that.

Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon

This one's a real tossup, as you have to be part of a special group who's watched all 5 nominees. Therefore, you have to guess what a small subset of the academy is thinking. Given that The White Ribbon was a great film, didn't contain too much over-the-top violence and that Michael Haneke is a well known name, I think that should do it.

Best Makeup: Star Trek


Best Score: Up

No one remembers the music from the other four, but the wordless sequence toward the beginning of Up was carried by the music, so I think that will translate into an award here.

Best Song: The Weary Kind

The Weary Kind of the only song of the five whose melody still floats through my mind. Plus, T Bone Burnett is well regarded in Hollywood, so I believe people will take the opportunity to reward him here.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

Given the new voting system for Best Picture this year, any of the ten films could probably take it. It all comes down to whether people want to award James Cameron again for another box office behemoth. I think most will say he already has one, so they'll vote The Hurt Locker.

Best Animated Short: Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

Nick Park has never lost when nominated and while this is not the best Wallace and Gromit short, history should repeat itself. If the votes want to give the finger to the academy, they'll vote Logorama.

Best Live Action Short: Instead of Abracadabra

Past ceremonies have shown that the award here tends to go to the most entertaining of the five shorts, meaning the funniest. As Instead of Abracadabra is the only comedy of the bunch, that should do it.

Best Sound Editing: Avatar

Most people still don't really know what this award is about, so they'll give it to the even bigger action film this year.

Best Sound Mixing: Avatar

Most people still don't really know what this award is about, so they'll give ti to the even bigger action film this year.

Best Visual Effects: Avatar

If Avatar doesn't win, something has gone seriously wrong.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air

While I would much prefer to see the award go to In The Loop (my #1 film of last year), Up in the Air has captured a moment in time, and Hollywood always wants to look as if it cares, so here is their chance.

Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds

I believe that the audacious reworking of WWII history and Tarantino's ear for great dialogue will help propel Basterds to the award over The Hurt Locker.

And there you have it, I'll mark later tonight or tomorrow how well I did. If any of you are in an Oscar pool, Good Luck!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Independent Spirit Awards Ballot

A few weeks ago, I sat down to cast my votes for this year's Independent Spirit Awards. Now that the votes have been tallied and the awards are to be distributed tonight, I'll reveal who I voted for in the individual categories. Hopefully, some of my choices will even win. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll post my educated Oscar picks.

Best Actor (Best Male Lead)

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
Souleymane Sy Savane – Goodbye Solo
Adam Scott – The Vicious Kind

Easy choice here, Jeff Bridges. Just a solid performance from beginning to end. When a performance in a film comes off as effortless, you know it's a good one.

Best Supporting Actor (Best Supporting Male)

Jemaine Clement – Gentlemen Broncos
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christian McKay – Me and Orson Welles
Ray McKinnon – That Evening Sun
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station

A close call between Woody Harrelson and Christopher Plummer. I went with Plummer as his performance had more of a twinkle in the eye, whereas Harrelson's left me more depressed.

Best Actress (Best Female Lead)

Maria Bello – Downloading Nancy
Nisreen Faour – Amreeka
Helen Mirren – The Last Station
Gwyneth Paltrow – Two Lovers
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious

With the specters of Josh and Enrico hanging over my head, I had no choice but to vote for Gabourey Sidibe. Otherwise they would have hunted me down and maimed me, and quite possibly not even in that order.

Best Supporting Actress (Best Supporting Female)

Dina Korzun – Cold Souls
Mo'Nique – Precious
Samantha Morton – The Messenger
Natalie Press – Fifty Dead Men Walking
Mia Wasikowska – That Evening Sun

Mo'Nique, not even a question. No one else came close to her in any other film during 2009.

Best Cinematography

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Peter Zeitlinger
Cold Souls – Andrij Parekh
A Serious Man – Roger Deakins
Treeless Mountain – Anne Misawa
Without Name (Sin nombre) – Adriano Goldman

A difficult category to vote for, I went with Anne Misawa here. Treeless Mountain was a wonderful discovery this past year, and the cinematography really got you into the children's point of view. Worth checking out.

Best First Screenplay
Sophie Barthes - Cold Souls
Scott Cooper - Crazy Heart
Cherien Dabis - Amreeka
Geoffrey Fletcher - Precious
Tom Ford and David Scearce - A Single Man

Continuing with the Joshrico fear factor, Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious. Of course, Precious deserves it simply for being one of the most powerful and moving films last year.

Best Screenplay

(500) Days of Summer – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Adventureland – Greg Mottola
The Last Station – Michael Hoffman
The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
The Vicious Kind – Lee Toland Krieger

There are many supporters of (500) Days of Summer and while I enjoyed the film, I thought it was a bit boring at points. My vote here is for Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman's The Messenger, a film that looks at the soldiers who have to notify families of their loved one's death during wartime. Strong stuff, and it shows there's no easy way to do the job.

Best Foreign Film

A Prophet (Un prophète) – Jacques Audiard • France
An Education – Lone Scherfig • France/UK
Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick) – Jan Troell • Sweden
Mother (Madeo) – Bong Joon-ho • South Korea
The Maid (La nana) – Sebastián Silva • Chile

Hands down, A Prophet. Strong, strong film. A Scarface set in prison. Keeps you riveted for it's 150 minute running time.

Best Documentary


The best documentaries enlighten me about a topic I was unaware of and care about. Food, Inc. taught me that while I might still stuff my face with whatever, I really should think twice sometimes.

John Cassavetes Award (Best film made for under $500,000)


As stated before, Treeless Mountain was my favorite unheard of discovery of the past year.

Best First Film

A Single Man
Crazy Heart
Easier With Practice
Paranormal Activity
The Messenger

It won't win, but I voted for Paranormal Activity. I really got into it's kicky little grove and thought I'd toss a vote it's way.

Best Director

Ethan and Joel Coen – A Serious Man
Lee Daniels – Precious
Cary Joji Fukunaga – Without Name (Sin nombre)
James Gray – Two Lovers
Michael Hoffman – The Last Station

Again with the fear of Josh and Enrico. Really though, Lee Daniels deserves this award. Precious directed by anybody else, would have been a completely different film, most likely one with an absolutely upbeat ending.

Best Film (Best Feature)

(500) Days of Summer
The Last Station
Without Name (Sin nombre)

Must it be said? Precious. And now Josh and Enrico can go out and celebrate.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Shorts

Collected for your enjoyment, here are some of the short films up for the Oscars this year.

First, from the Live Action category:

Miracle Fish (17:44): A young boy hides out after being bullied at school, only upon waking to discover that everyone has disappeared. A decent film, with a twist that is relatively foreseeable. Doubtful it's going to win.

Three of the other Live Action films (The Door, The New Tenants, Instead of Abracadabra) are available on iTunes for $1.99 each. The fifth (Kavi), appears to be unavailable on the web.

As to the Animated films...

First: French Roast (8:18)-- A Frenchman has misplaced his wallet, leading to him ordering more and more coffee until he can find a way out. Cute and silly, but too slight to win the Oscar.

Second: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (6:01): An elderly woman frightens the bejeezus out of her grandchild as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty. Funny, but also too one-note to win.

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty from Darragh O'Connell on Vimeo.

Also, Granny reacts to her nomination:

Third: The Lady and the Reaper (8:21): An elderly woman is caught in a tug of war between Death and a Doctor. Another funny one and rather inventive, this could pull out a win, but I'm doubting it has enough pull to do so.

The remaining two films (Logorama and Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death) are available on iTunes for $1.99 each. Wallace and Gromit will almost certainly take the prize, but I would highly suggest spending the $1.99 to watch Logorama. It' a 17 minute short, populated entirely by corporate logos. Ronald McDonald has committed a crime, and it's up to the Michelen Men to stop him. Violent and profane, the little short goes balls out in critiquing today's corporate culture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

R.I.P. Grandpa

97 and 1/2 years though. That's not too shabby.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Tragedy

Sadly, an Olympic athlete has met an untimely end shortly before the opening ceremony. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a Georgian Luger, crashed into a metal pole during a practice run and passed away. So sad to see someone so young (21) lose his life so senselessly. I guess this shows the impermanence of life. You just never know. At least Mr. Kumaritashvili was doing what he loved best.

NBCOlympics story.

Winter Olympics, Activate!

Finally, four years have passed and I can once again enjoy more winter sports in a concentrated period of time. There's just something about the Olympic Games that I love. My goal this year = 100 hours of viewing. Up tonight, the opening ceremonies. Won't be as good as the Beijing opening, but since the Winter Games are only about 1/5 as large as the Summer, the ceremony should be appropriately smaller.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unexpected Enjoyment

As I've entered my late adolescence at 36, I find myself moving further and further away from enjoying most of the pop music released these days. Imagine my surprise when I came across and actually enjoyed this song. Maybe because it's a mash-up of two hits from growing up? Maybe because it's such a train wreck to watch, your eyes can't be brought to look away? Who knows, but it's stuck in my head.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good Company

As I was watching Up in the Air about 2 weeks ago, I kept thinking that I had seen Anna Kendrick somewhere before.

Good intentions though do not mean instant actions, so the thought faded away for a while. As I was perusing the Oscar Nominations the other day, compiling my list of nominated films still to see (which by the by is 4: A Serious Man, Il Divo, Bright Star and Coco Before Chanel), seeing Anna's name reminded me that I wanted to see if I had caught her in anything else. So a quick trip to IMDB gave me the answer. Did I? It was only one of my favorite nights I've ever spent at the cinema...

She was Fritzi in Camp! And pretty much stole that movie, too. I saw Camp at a New Directors festival in NY. Nearly the entire cast was in attendance, and everyone cheered, laughed and applauded each high moment and performance on screen. Great night. So in honor of my discovery, I present to you Fritzi's shining moment in the film....

As an added bonus, here is my favorite performance from the film...

Not seen Camp? Shame! Go watch it ASAP.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The following gets my vote as best Advertisement of this year's Super Bowl

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've got Spirit...

The Independent Spirit Awards are being given out this year on March 5. As a voter, I have until February 22nd to cast my ballot for the winners. However, I haven't seen all of the films yet up for nomination. Has anyone reading this watched all of the films listed below (or at least the ones for Best Feature) and offer some insight? Does anyone have a favorite they'd like to champion? My vote cannot be bought, but a good argument can always sway one's mind.

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
500 Days of Summer, Producers Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Mason Novick, Steven J. Wolfe
Amreeka, Producers Christina Piovesan, Paul Barkin
Precious, Producers Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness
Sin Nombre, Producer Amy Kaufman
The Last Station, Producers Chris Curling, Jens Meurer, Boonie Arnold

The Coen Brothers for A Serious Man
Lee Daniels for Precious
Cary Fukunaga for Sin Nombre
James Grey for Two Lovers
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
A Single Man
Crazy Heart
Easier With Practice
The Messenger
Paranormal Activity

(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Big Fan
The New Year Parade
Treeless Mountain
Zero Bridge

Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman for The Messenger
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station
Lee Toland Krieger for The Vicious Kind
Greg Mottola for Adventureland
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber for 500 Days of Summer

Sophie Barthes for Cold Souls
Scott Cooper for Crazy Heart
Cherien Dabis for Amreeka
Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious
Tom Ford, David Scearce for A Single Man

Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy
Helen Mirren for The Last Station
Gwentyth Paltrow for Two Lovers
Gabby Sidibe for Precious
Nisreen Faour for Amreeka

Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Colin Firth for A Single Man
Joseph Gordon Levitt for 500 Days Of Summer
Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo
Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind

Dina Korzun for Cold Souls
Mo'Nique for Precious
Samantha Morton for The Messenger
Natalie Press for Fifty Dead Men Walking
Mia Wasikowska for That Evening Sun

Jemaine Clements for Gentleman Broncos
Woody Harrelson for The Messenger
Cristian McKay for Me And Orson Welles
Ramon McKinnon for That Evening Sun
Christopher Plummer for The Last Station

Roger Deakins for A Serious Man
Adriano Goldman for Sin Nombre
Anne Misawa for Treeless Mountain
Andrij Parekh for Cold Souls
Peter Zeitlinger for Bad Lieutenant

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)
Food Inc
More Than a Game
October Country
Which Way Home

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)
A Prophet
An Education
Everlasting Moments
The Maid

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Top Ten of 2009

Now that I've finally managed to catch up with the last of the major releases from 2009, I'm finally ready to state my own unasked for preferences for the top ten movies of the past year.

#10. Treeless Mountain (Dir. So Yong Kim)

A heartbreaking story of two young girls forced to grow up on their own after their mother leaves to go search for their absent father. The two girls are so natural you find yourself weeping for them at every loss and cheering for every gain. An unheralded gem that hopefully will find an audience on DVD.

#9. Star Trek (Dir. J.J. Abrams)

This is what big, Hollywood movie making is all about. With the proper amount of respect given to its predecessors, J.J. Abrams turned out the summer's best event film. Great for fans and newbies alike, I'm ready for the sequel right now.

#8. The Young Victoria (Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)

I admit I'm a sucker for British royalty pictures, but this one managed a nice balance between regal scenes and personal ones. Emily Blunt does a fine job showing Victoria's sometimes less than royal behavior since she's...well...young. Rupert Friend is now on my actors to watch list. A nice, slice of a history lesson that goes down easy.

#7. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Dir. Terry Gilliam)

Without studio interference, Gilliam is capable of producing moments of brilliance. Parnassus has many such moments. A beautiful, visual phantasmagoria of a film, one can just sit back and be entertained by all the wild ideas thrown at the screen. Tom Waits is a hoot to watch and while there is sadness at watching Heath Ledger in his final film, he finishes in style.

#6. Drag Me To Hell (Dir. Sam Raimi)

Thankfully, Sam Raimi decided to cleanse his palate and do what he does best--horror comedy. A gooey-oozy punch of a film that provides plenty of jumps and chuckles right up to its fantastic finish. If only all PG-13 "horror" films could be like this. I knew the film was good when I didn't hate Justin Long in it, but now I'm scared of gypsies.

#5 Fantastic Mr. Fox (Dir. Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson is a director who runs hot and cold for me; luckily, this time he ran hot. Beautiful to look at and run through with a bizarre sense of humor, Mr. Fox was the best animated film this year. (UP was good, until the villain tried to shoot Ed Asner [which does take spunk].) Here's hoping for a Roald Dahl revival.

#4. The White Ribbon (Dir. Michael Haneke)

Exploring the roots of Fascism by examining the life in a small village pre-WWI, Haneke shows how resentment over a strict upbringing can boil over. By turns creepy and harrowing, the rot that can exist underneath a seemingly peaceful, bucolic existence is laid bare.

#3. Antichrist (Dir. Lars von Trier)

Ignore the people that say this is a boring psychodrama, all are wrong. Antichrist, after admittedly a slightly dull first hour, turns into a rollicking comedy. There is simply no other explanation for the set of events that comprise the final 45 minutes. It is so ridiculous, the only response is continued laughter.

#2. The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow)

Pow! A lean and taut action thriller set in Iraq, but more concerned with the human response to war in general and fear in particular. Every set piece works, Jeremy Renner delivers a powerful performance and pieces of it linger in the mind long afterwards. Quite possibly the Best Picture winner come Oscar time (unless people go for the nature hooey of Avatar).

#1 In the Loop (Dir. Armando Iannucci)

A treat for the ears, In the Loop is the best laughs-per-minute movie I've seen in a long time. Nominally about trying to prevent the start of a war, the movie really exists as an exercise in verbal linguistics as each actor delivers the sharpest and funniest dialogue of the year. The true heart of the film lies in all the various insults the characters throw at each other; it's hard to choose a best from among them all, but "Nazi Julie Andrews" stays with me.

And there you have it, my top ten of 2009. Now, how close did I come to you? Which ones do you agree with? Which ones did I miss out on? Which ones will you call me an idiot for for not putting in the list? Fire away.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthday Shout Out

Silly me, I almost let the day get away from me without wishing a big Happy Birthday to Pulcheria, Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire, who would be a sprightly 1611 years old today! Rock on, lady.

Quick Question

Continuing on yesterday's post of impossible to find anyone familiar with HBO Short Takes? They were 5-15 minute short films shown between features during the 70's & 80's. I've been trying to locate the name of one for years, but have had no luck. If anyone remembers these, e-mail me and maybe you can be the lucky one to help me find this missing piece of my childhood.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Does anyone by any chance happen to own this on VHS and can rip a copy to DVD for me? This one's an instant classic.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dispatch From the Front

Crap, now they're mutating. The first wave of attack squirrels will be harder to repel than I originally believed.

If it weren't for ITV

How did I watch this show throughout most of grammar school and not end up having nightmares?