Daily Archives: February 20, 2010

Academy Award® Nominated: A Single Man

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


It’s November 30, 1962. Native Brit George Falconer, an English professor at a Los Angeles area college, is finding it difficult to cope with life. Jim, his personal partner of sixteen years, died in a car accident eight months earlier when he was visiting with family. Jim’s family were not going to tell George of the death or accident let alone allow him to attend the funeral. This day, George has decided to get his affairs in order before he will commit suicide that evening. As he routinely and fastidiously prepares for the suicide and post suicide, George reminisces about his life with Jim. But George spends this day with various people, who see a man sadder than usual and who affect his own thoughts about what he is going to do. Those people include Carlos, a Spanish immigrant/aspiring actor/gigolo recently arrived in Los Angeles; Charley, his best friend who he knew from England, she who is a drama queen of a woman who romantically desires her best friend despite his sexual orientation; and Kenny Potter, one of his students, who seems to be curious about his professor beyond English class. (Written by Huggo)

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The cast includes: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Jon Kortajarena, Paulette Lamori, Ryan Simpkins and Ginnifer Goodwin

Reviews

IMDB member from Italy
“Of all the films I saw at the 66 Venice Film Festival, 12 in all, “A Single Man” is the one that stayed with me. I must admit, it wasn’t love at first sight. My first reaction was a sort of rebellion against, what I felt was “far too beautiful” and slightly cold. But now, days after, the mood and guts of the film come back to my mind as if asking me to see it again. I will, as soon as possible. Behind the apparent stillness of the film there is a torrent of emotions and Colin Firth is at the very center of it. A day of grieving for a man who lived his life within a perfectly color coordinated world, coordinated in every sense of the word until death comes unexpectedly to turn everything upside down. I couldn’t help but remember another Firth creation “Apartment Zero” (1988) where the color coordination of that character was gray, zero and the hinting of color coming into his life turned his world upside down. I loved and adored that performance and “A Single Man” reminds me, not so much for its similarities but for its differences. It’s actually forcing me to go out and search all of Colin Firth’s work I’ve missed. I also believe that Tom Ford, a living fashion icon, is here to stay as a filmmaker.”

Did You Know?

Don Bachardy, the long-time partner of Christopher Isherwood (on whose novel this film is based) makes a cameo appearance. According to Tom Ford, in a December 14 2009 interview with Terry Gross, Bachardy was a huge help all through the writing of the film and, in the scene, is wearing a pair of lucky red socks that belonged to Isherwood.

Tom Ford explained in a Fresh Air interview that he created a back story for George’s suit based on the George character. He decided that George would have had his suit custom made on Saville Row on a trip home to England, which informed its cut and color. He also decided that, since ‘old-school’ British people of wealth tend to be thrifty with clothing, that his suit was a few years old. Ford even went as far as putting a label on the inside of the suit with his name and the date that it was made for him (1957).

Cameo: [Jon Hamm] Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is the uncredited voice of Hank Ackerley, the man who calls Colin Firth’s character at the start of the film.

One Nomination

Best Actor~Colin Firth

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Nominated for Best Actor ~ Colin Firth ~A Single Man

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl

Colin FirthColin Firth’s range as an actor has been showcased in films as diverse as MAMMA MIA!, EASY VIRTUE, THEN SHE FOUND ME, WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, and BRIDGET JONE’S DIARY. Firth will next be seen in DORIAN GRAY. Born into an academic family – his father is a history lecturer and his mother is a comparative religions lecturer – and with grandparents who were Methodist missionaries, Firth spent his early childhood in Nigeria, returning to England at age five. He began studying acting at the Drama Centre in Chalk Farm, and had his first professional role in the West End production of ANOTHER COUNTRY. From this performance, he was chosen to play the character of “Judd” in the movie version. As his career blossomed, Firth went on to play a variety of character parts in both film and television. For his portrayal of “Robert Lawrence” in the 1989 TV production TUMBLEDOWN, he received the Royal Television Society Best Actor award and a BAFTA nomination. Firth also received a BAFTA nomination for “Mr. Darcy” in the 1995 hit telefilm version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Colin Firth in A Single Man

Colin Firth in A Single Man

In October 2009 at the London Film Festival, Firth launched a film and political activism website, Brightwide.com, along with his wife Livia and a team headed by Paola De Leo, a former Director of Deutsche Bank and Head of the Global Major Donor Programme for Amnesty. In a 2006 interview with French magazine Madame Figaro, Firth was asked “Quelles sont les femmes de votre vie?” (Who are the women of your life?). Firth replied: “Ma mère, ma femme et Jane Austen” (My mother, my wife and Jane Austen). He was awarded an honorary degree on 19 October 2007 from the University of Winchester.


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Academy Award® Nominated: A Serious Man

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Serious ManImaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality, and Judaism – and intersections thereof – A Serious Man is the new film from Academy Award‐winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen. They tell the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F‐Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances, Sy Ableman, who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job

While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter‐writer is trying to sabotage Larry’s chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man?

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The cast includes: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Adam Arkin, Aaron Wolff, and Jessica McManus

Reviews

IMDB member
“I saw this movie at TIFF on Saturday. The Coens quietly (and I mean quietly – no-one could hear even their amplified voices) introduced the movie with reference to the actors present but not the movie, letting it speak for itself. And it did. In its own way. It is an off-beat (what else?) and serious work that radiates bleak despair while searching for a funny bone. In the process, the movie makes other black comedies look positively light and airy. The movie evokes laughs from a different place than most – from a profound discomfort watching people twist themselves this way and that to fit in and be regarded seriously, whether situationally, socially or religiously. A great piece of work that will have you thinking long afterwards, especially considering the odd and difficult-to-contextualize prologue and, um different, ending which bookend a remarkable work.”

Did You Know?

The names of the characters who ride the school bus with Danny Gopnik are the names of children that the Coen brothers grew up with.

The criminal lawyer that Larry is told to go to, Ron Meshbesher, is actually a local lawyer in Minneapolis. He is of the firm Meshbesher and Spence. The address that is on the retainer envelope at the end of the movie is their actual downtown address.

The voice of Dick Dutton, the Columbia Record Club employee who harasses Larry on the phone, is supplied by actor Warren Keith. This is the second time he has appeared in a Coen Brothers film playing a character heard only on the phone. He also supplies the voice of Reilly Diefenbach, the GMAC finance officer who calls Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo (1996).

Sarah Gopnik repeatedly talks about going to “The Whole”. The Whole is the music club in the basement of the University of Minnesota student union. It opened in the 1960s.

Two Nominations

Best Motion Picture
Best Original Screenplay

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First Lady Michelle Obama To Governors: ‘Let’s Act‘ On Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP)~~First lady Michelle Obama appealed to governors on Saturday for help in reducing child obesity and said they had a moral and financial imperative to act.

She praised states for their steps already and assured state leaders that the federal government had no interest in taking over their efforts.

Let’s stop wringing our hands and talking about it and citing statistics,” she told governors at their winter meeting. “Let’s act. Let’s move. Let’s give our kids the future they deserve.”

The first lady found a high-powered audience to make the case for her new campaign on obesity. One in three American children is overweight or obese, a condition that raises their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.

Obama sought support from leaders of both parties and made sure to respect the influence of the states.

The way I see this, there is nothing Democratic or Republican, there is nothing liberal or conservative about wanting our kids to lead active, healthy lives,” she said. “There’s no place for politics when it comes to fighting childhood obesity. And I know all of you agree.”

The first lady’s campaign has four parts: helping parents make better food choices, serving healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, making healthy food more available and affordable, and encouraging children to exercise more.

In talking to the governors, she emphasized the importance of empowering parents who feel helpless because they don’t feel they have the time, money or information to provide healthy meals or safe places to exercise.

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Mindful that the governors face economic crises in their states, Obama said the obesity solutions need not be expensive. She encouraged them to take steps such as providing access at school ball fields to the community at nights, or requiring the construction of sidewalks when new roads are being built.

Comprehensive and coordinated doesn’t mean centralized,” she added. “I’ve spoken to so many experts on this issue and not a single one of them has said that the solution is for the federal government to tell people what to do. That doesn’t work.”

The governors are trying to find political solutions to soaring health care costs as President Barack Obama seeks to do the same. Michelle Obama said the money crunch cannot be solved without addressing child obesity.

If we think our health care costs are high now, just wait until 10 years from now and think about the many billions we’re going to be spending then,” she said. “Think about how high those premiums are going to be when our kids are old enough to have families of their own and businesses of their own.”


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Fox’s Mike Huckabee Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama on Child Obesity

Post by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama taped an interview with Fox News’ Mike Huckabee that aired tonight in which she discussed her efforts to battle child obesity, an grave problem she believes “we can really fix.” Huckabee believes in the First Lady’s efforts, in part due to his own struggles with obesity.

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 02/20/10

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.govPremiums, Profits, and the Need for Health Reform ~ The President points to outrageous premium hikes from health insurance companies, especially those already making massive profits, as further proof of the need for reform. Looking ahead to the coming bipartisan meeting on reform, the President urges members of Congress to come to the table in good faith to address the issue.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Travels to Philadelphia: Making Healthy Food Accessible & Affordable

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the "Let's Move" health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the Let's Move health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in tow, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Philadelphia yesterday as part of the Let’s Move! campaign, a nationwide effort to rally the country around one goal, ending the epidemic of childhood obesity.

During her remarks at Fairhill Elementary School, Mrs. Obama applauded the city of Philadelphia for their “stand” to end childhood obesity:

Six years ago, when this city had fewer supermarkets per person than almost anywhere in America, all right, that was six years ago, when many folks had no access to healthy foods; six years ago many neighborhoods had alarming rates of obesity-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes — the folks in this city, you all could have decided that you had an unsolvable problems on your hands, right? You could have done that. You could have decided that these problems were just too big and too complicated and too entrenched and thrown your hands up and walked away.

But instead you all took a stand, a really important, collaborative stand. You decided first that no family in this city should be spending a fortune on high-priced, low-quality foods because they have no other options. You decided that no child should be consigned to a life of poor health because of what neighborhood his or her family lives in. And you decided that you weren’t going to just talk about the problem or wring your hands about the problems, but you were going to act.

And that’s precisely the kind of determination, the kind of commitment that we need to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. And this issue is an issue of great concern to me, and I’ve said this before, not because I’m First Lady — or not just because I’m First Lady of this country — but because I’m a mother, and I care about my kids and I care about all of our kids. And I know that this issue is a great concern to all of you, everyone around this country. We all care about our kids. That’s why last week we enthusiastically and proudly launched “Let’s Move.” (Applause.) “Let’s Move” is a nationwide campaign to rally this country around one single but ambitious goal, and that is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that the kids born today grow up with a healthy weight. Simple but ambitious.

Mrs. Obama also announced a new part of Let’s Move! — the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a multi-million dollar public and private investment to eliminate food deserts in America within seven years:


“So with your success here in Pennsylvania, what you’ve shown us is that when we provide the right support and incentives, then business leaders like Pat Burns and Jeff Brown, they’re going to take the chance to invest in our communities. And when we bring fresh, healthy food to communities, what do we learn? People will buy it, right? People will buy it. These stores are turning a profit. And what’s going on is that they’re doing well by doing good. Isn’t that something? (Applause.)

So it’s because of this example that part of “Let’s Move” we created this Healthy Food Financing Initiative that’s modeled on what’s been going on here. And as Secretary Geithner said, with a modest initial investment of about $400 million a year, we’re going to use that money to leverage hundreds of millions more from private and non-profit sectors to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities all across this country. If you can do it here, we can do it around the country. (Applause.) And our goal is ambitious. It’s to eliminate food deserts in America completely in seven years. (Applause.)

Again, we know this is ambitious, but we also know that tackling the issue of accessibility and affordability is key to achieving the overall goal of solving childhood obesity in this generation.”

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To learn more about what you can do to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic – visit LetsMove.gov and become a fan of Let’s Move! on FaceBook.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Little-Known Black History Fact: Selena Sloan Butler

Posted by BuellBoy

Selena Sloan Butler

Selena Sloan Butler

Selena Sloan Butler was the past president of Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers 1919-1926. Following the success of the National Congress of Mothers PTA, African-American teacher and Spelman College graduate Selena Sloan Butler heard the call, so on May 7, 1926, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) was formed, with Sloan holding the title of its first national president.

Butler was dedicated to teaching. When her community lacked a kindergarten for black children, she held classes in her living room.
Butler’s goal was to create an organization that held interest in all children, regardless of color or social status. The first local chapter was at Yonge Elementary school in Atlanta in 1911 and grew from there. However, because of segregation, the Colored Mothers PTA would work independently of the larger National PTA until 1970.

Young Street Parent Teachers Association Atlanta 1919

Young Street Parent Teachers Association Atlanta 1919

An activist in the community, Butler co-founded the Spelman College Alumnae Association, organized the Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the Atlanta YWCA and was the first president of the Georgia Federation of Colored Women’s Club. From 1929 to 1930, she served under President Herbert Hoover’s cabinet on the Child Health and Protection committee.

Yonge Elementary was renamed in honor of her husband, Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler, and Selina Sloan Butler’s portrait now hangs in the Georgia State Capitol building.

Selana Butler died October 1964.

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Academy Award® Nominated: In the Loop

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy


In the film, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom are looking to launch a war in the Middle East. The plot follows government officials and advisers in their behind-the-scenes efforts either to promote the war or prevent it.

In America and the United Kingdom, each official, with his/her entourage of staff, some of whom do not agree with their political master, will do whatever he or she needs to achieve the desired end goal. This includes having fake meetings, fake committees, spinning information, leaking information and documents, and doctoring documents. These actions are most important in the lead up to the UN vote on the issue.

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The cast includes: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, Enzo Cilenti, Paul Higgins, Mimi Kennedy, and Alex Macqueen

Reviews

IMDB member
“Political comedy is a hard stunt to pull off. Ever since 1964, it seemed like nothing could top Dr. Strangelove. A lot of movies have tried and a lot have failed, although there were the lucky few that passed the bar (Election, Thank You for Smoking) but the brilliant thing about In The Loop is that it’s so stupidly funny that it’s one of the best comedies of the 21st Century! Armando Iannucci, most known for his The Thick of It series in the UK, directs a movie with the a the familiar theme of The Office. That documentary-style of film-making can be hit-or-miss (most recently, Public Enemies, a miss) and Iannucci hits it right on. Every scene he graces with a camera comes out picture perfect; nobody could’ve pegged this movie any better. Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche and Simon Blackwell’s script is something out of picture show heaven and sounds like it must’ve taken forever to finish, edit, revise, etc. Although these guys, these geniuses, apparently know what they’re doing and don’t care what anybody else says. That is the heart and soul of movie-making, readers. In The Loop is about a corrupt British government that accidentally gets the country thrown into the middle of a war. Loop stars Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison and there’s even a whimsical cameo by Steve Coogan. Capaldi is the absolute best at what he did, spewing swears as coarse as they are a riot (“f*ck you, you lubricated horse c*ck!”) and freaking out. I can’t even put into words just how funny this guy was; he made the movie! But don’t forget Addison as Toby. Addison is the British Napoleon Dynamite, that incredibly awkward guy that makes even the audience members turn red. James Gandolfini and Gina McKee round out the rest of the cast greatly, filling In The Loop with the type of sexual tension that you don’t want to think about. It’s like when a sex scene pops up on a DVD you’re watching with your parents. Yeah, that bad.In The Loop is one of the most laugh out loud comedies I’ve seen in the past decade, that sadly nobody will get a chance to watch. In a world of Transformers and G.I Joe, In The Loop will sadly be ignored. But on an optimistic note, we may have found this summer’s sleeper, America.”

Did You Know?

Many scenes set at 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms’s office) were actually filmed at the real 10 Downing Street. The production gained access to the location largely because the staff were extremely excited to meet the actors who were playing their fictional counterparts.

Director Armando Iannucci provides the voice over for when the UN resolution passes.

The shooting script after thirty days of filming was 237 pages long. The first cut of the film was 4.5 hours long. The final edit took four months to complete.

One Nomination

Best in Adapted Screenplay

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Academy Award® Nominated: The Messenger

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


In his most powerful performance to date, Ben Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband’s death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.

Featuring tour-de-force performances from Foster, Harrelson and Morton, and a brilliant directorial debut by Oren Moverman, The Messenger brings us into the inner lives of these outwardly steely heroes to reveal their fragility with compassion and dignity.

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The cast includes: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton, and Paul Diomede

Reviews

IMDB member
“The Messenger has incredible acting by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton.

The film has a curious flow to it. It begins predictable, yet remains engaging, exposing a heart-breaking consequence of war no family wants to face. Although the news remains the same, emotions run just as deep at each door. Every scene is handled marvelously through subtle performances by the actors. As the film unfolds, the viewer sinks into the complex characters on screen, discomforted by the internal struggles that slowly surface.

The Messenger is a non-linear, character-driven film with exceptional performances but might not be for everyone.”

Did You Know?

Sgt. Brian Scott, who was training to deploy to Iraq at Ft. Dix in New Jersey and was a technical adviser in this film, was subsequently injured in an IED attack in Baghdad.

Two Nominations

Best Supporting Actor~Woody Harrelson
Best Original Screenplay

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