Category Archives: Reviews

82nd Annual Academy Awards ~ Oscars® ~ Best Foreign Language Film

Posted by: Audiegrl

Ajami
Ajami(Israel) Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani

Click here for complete coverage of Ajami, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
El Secreto de Sus Ojos(Argentina) Directed by Juan José Campanella

Click here for complete coverage of El Secreto de Sus Ojos, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The Milk of Sorrow
The Milk of Sorrow(Peru) Directed by Claudia Llosa

Click here for complete coverage of The Milk of Sorrow, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

Un Prophète
Un Prophète(France) Directed by Jacques Audiard

Click here for complete coverage of Un Prophète, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon(Germany) Directed by Michael Haneke

Click here for complete coverage of The White Ribbon, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…
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Nominated for Best Supporting Actress ~ Maggie Gyllenhaal ~Crazy Heart

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

Maggie GyllenhaalMaggie Gyllenhaal is one of the great young actresses of today. After receiving rave reviews out of the 2002 Sundance competition for her starring role opposite James Spader in Lion’s Gate’s SECRETARY, she went on to receive a Golden Globe® nomination for “Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical,” an Independent Spirit Award nomination for “Best Actress,” a Chicago Film Critics’ Award for “Most Promising Performer,” a Boston Film Critics’ Award for “Best Actress,” a National Board of Review Award for “Breakthrough Performance” and an IFP/ Gotham “Breakthrough Performance” Award.

Years later, back at Sundance in 2007, Maggie starred in SHERRYBABY which opened in theaters September of last year. The film was well-received by critics and garnered her second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama. Gyllenhaal was also nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for her role in Don Roos’ HAPPY ENDINGS, opposite Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold.

Maggie was recently seen in the Warner Bros. box office hit DARK KNIGHT, directed by Chris Nolan and in Sam Mendes’ AWAY WE GO. Next up will be THE BIG BANG with Emma Thompson.

In August 2006, Maggie was seen in TRUST THE MAN with Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and David Duchovny and in Oliver Stone’s WORLD TRADE CENTER with Maria Bello and Nicholas Cage. She also starred in Marc Forster’s STRANGER THAN FICTION with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson. In the past few years, she appeared in John Sayles’ CASA DE LOS BABYS with Daryl Hannah and Lily Taylor and Mike Newell’s MONA LISA SMILE in which Maggie co-starred with Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst. She was also seen in CRIMINAL with Diego Luna and John C. Reilly as well as Spike Jonze’s ADAPTATION.

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock in Crazy Heart

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock in Crazy Heart

Also accomplished on stage, Gyllenhaal starred as Alice in Patrick Mauber’s award-winning Closer at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for director Robert Egan, and previously at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has also appeared in Anthony and Cleopatra at the Vanborough Theatre in London. In 2004, Maggie starred in Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul, which ran in both Los Angeles and at B.A.M. Next, Maggie will be seen alongside Peter Sarsgaard and Mamie Gummer in Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.

Maggie made her feature film debut in 1992, alongside Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke in WATERLAND. This was followed by a memorable performance as “Raven,” the Satan worshipping make-up artist in John Waters’ quirky Hollywood satire, CECIL B. DEMENTED, which led her to a co-starring role in DONNIE DARKO, a fantasy-thriller about disturbed adolescence.

Gyllenhaal is a 1999 graduate of Columbia University where she studied Literature

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Academy Award® Nominated: The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) ~ Germany

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The White Ribbon

The action takes place in a German village in the fifteen months that precede World War I. Among the people who live there are a baron, who is a large landowner and a local moral authority, his estate manager, a pastor with his many children, a widowed doctor and a schoolteacher who is thinking of getting married. It is he who, many years later, tells this story.

Though everything seems to be quiet and orderly, as it always has been, with the seasons following each other, and good harvests following bad ones, suddenly some strange events start to occur. If some appear to be quite ordinary, even accidental — a farmer’s wife dies falling through rotten floorboards — others are inexplicable and may well be malevolent. Thus, a wire placed at knee-height has brought down the horse being ridden by the doctor, who is severely wounded.

There’s more of the same: an unknown hand opens a window to expose a newborn baby to the intense cold of the winter. A whole field of cabbages, on the baron’s land, are beheaded with a scythe. One of the Baron’s sons disappears: he is found his feet and hands bound, his buttocks lashed by a whip. A barn belonging to the manor is set on fire. A farmer hangs himself. A midwife’s handicapped child is found tied to a tree, in a forest, seriously beaten, with a threatening message on his chest speaking of divine punishment.

The village is worried, and at a loss as to what to do. The schoolteacher observes, investigates and little by little discovers the incredible truth…

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Credits

Director/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Haneke
Producers . Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Margaret Menegoz and Andrea Occhipinti
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christian Berger
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monika Willi
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christoph Kaner
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moidele Bickel
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guillaume Sciama
Production Company . X Filme Creative Pool/Wega Film/Les Films du Losange/Lucky Red

The cast includes: Christian Friedel (The Schoolteacher), Leonie Benesch (Eva), Ulrich Tukur (The Baron), Ursina Lardi (Marie-Louise, the Baroness), Burghart Klaussner (The Pastor), Steffi Kühnert (Anna, the Pastor’s wife).

Reviews

IMDB member from Germany
Few film auteurs can match the consistency of Michael Haneke, and once again the Austrian filmmaker has come up trumps with an exquisite and brooding mediation on repression, tradition and the sins of the father.

Shot in stunning black and white, the film chronicles a series of mysterious events in a town leading up to the outbreak of WWI. The pace is slow and thoughtful, and the film is reference to August Sander while being a respectful throwback to the German expressionists whose work would come out of the horrors the film’s narrative seems to foreshadow.

The hallmarks of Haneke’s body of work are all there – elegiac tone, clinical editing, wincingly frank dialogue – but in many ways The White Ribbon stands alone in the canon. It is a challenging work that will polarize audiences but represents a breathtaking new wave not just in the director’s career but in European cinema.

Did You Know?

The White Ribbon is the ninth predominantly black-and-white film to be nominated for Cinematography since 1967, when the separate category for black-and-white cinematography was eliminated. Previously nominated films were In Cold Blood (1967), The Last Picture Show (1971), Lenny (1974), Raging Bull (1980) Zelig (1983), Schindler’s List (1993) The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) and Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) This is also the ninth nomination for Germany.

Two Nominations

Best Foreign Language Film~Germany
Best Cinematography

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Academy Award® Nominated: Un Prophète (The Prophet) ~ France

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Un Prophéte France
Set largely within prison walls, the film details the prison career of Malik el Djebena (Tahar Rahim), a 19-year-old man of North African origin but estranged from the Muslim community. Sentenced to six years for what appears to be violence against police (albeit denied by Malik), he is chosen by Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup), feared kingpin of the prisons reigning Corsican gang, to kill a prisoner named Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi) who had initially offers Malik drugs in exchange for sex. Reyeb is in prison awaiting testifying against the mob. Malik commits the bloody murder, and thanks to Luciani’s near-total control of the prisons internal workings – gets off scot-free. This makes him a lieutenant in the prisons Corsican gang, initially entrusted only with menial duties and disparaged as an Arab outsider.

Haunted by visions of a ghostly Reyeb, and determined to get on, the illiterate Malik not only learns to read, but teaches himself Corsican, surreptitiously learning the ins and outs of Luciani’s business. Another inmate, Ryad (Adel Bencherif), becomes Malik’s friend, later his ally on the outside. When Luciani arranges periods of leave for Malik, entrusting him with various criminal missions, Malik takes the opportunity to do some business of his own, setting up a drugs trade with Ryad’s aid. Life gets increasingly dangerous for Malik, both inside and outside prison walls, but he seems partly through Reyeb’s benign, unearthly influence – to lead a charmed life. Powers of prophecy are attributed to him after surviving a bizarre car crash an incident presaged in an enigmatic fantasy sequence.

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Credits

Directer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jacques Audiard
Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Bidegain, Jacques Audiard, Abdel Raouf
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stéphane Fontaine
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juliette Welfling
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michel Barthélemy
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Virginie Montel
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alexandre Desplat
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brigitte Taillandier
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . .Why Not Productions/Page 114/Chic Films

The cast includes: Tahar Rahim (Malik El Djebena), Niels Arestrup (Cesar Luciani), Hichem Yacoubi (Reyeb), Adel Bencherif (Riad).

Reviews

IMDB member from France
At times hard to watch but in the end you come out with the feeling of having watched a masterpiece. Perfect acting, scenario, directing, cinematography & sound…This is definitely not a Hollywood production, but the best of what french cinema can be. Audiard is a great director, having previously made Read My Lips which I also recommend. The main actor Tahar Rahim is a revelation, keep an eye on him in the future. Niels Arestrup is also quite good in his role as a Corsican crime boss.

Did You Know?

Un Prophète is the 36th nomination for France. It has taken home nine Oscars for My Uncle (1958), Black Orpheus (1959), Sundays and Cybele (1962), A Man and a Woman (1966), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Day for Night (1973), Madame Rosa (1977), Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978) and Indochine (1992).

Additionally, France received three Special/Honorary Awards prior to the establishment of Foreign Language Film as a regular category in 1956: for Monsieur Vincent (1948), The Walls of Malapaga (1950) [shared with Italy] and Forbidden Games (1952). Other nominations were for Gervaise (1956), Gates of Paris (1957), La Vérité (1960), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Live for Life (1967), Stolen Kisses (1968), My Night at Maud’s (1969), Hoa-Binh (1970), Lacombe, Lucien (1974), Cousin, Cousine (1976), A Simple Story (1979), The Last Metro (1980), Coup de Torchon (“Clean Slate”) (1982), Entre Nous (1983), Three Men and a Cradle (1985), Betty Blue (1986), Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children) (1987), Camille Claudel (1989), Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), Ridicule (1996), East-West (1999), The Taste of Others (2000), Amélie (2001), The Chorus (Les Choristes) (2004), Joyeux Noël (2005) and The Class (2008).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film ~ France

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AP FACT CHECK: Palin’s book goes rogue on some facts

Posted by Audiegrl

PALIN-hugesAP/Calvin Woodward—Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in “Going Rogue,” obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC. Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees. She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife and $30 from a state representative in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers’ offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she gave a comparative sum to charity.

PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, “you’ll have to be brave enough to fail.

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama’s stimulus plan — a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts — and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Palin’s views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain’s vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said “taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.” A week later, she said “ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”

During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being “instrumental in bringing folks together” to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said “it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.”

PALIN: Writes about a city councilman in Wasilla, Alaska, who owned a garbage truck company and tried to push through an ordinance requiring residents of new subdivisions to pay for trash removal instead of taking it to the dump for free — this to illustrate conflicts of interest she stood against as a public servant.

THE FACTS: As Wasilla mayor, Palin pressed for a special zoning exception so she could sell her family’s $327,000 house, then did not keep a promise to remove a potential fire hazard on the property.

She asked the city council to loosen rules for snow machine races when she and her husband owned a snow machine store, and cast a tie-breaking vote to exempt taxes on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one. But she stepped away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

PALIN: Says she tried to talk about national security and energy independence in her interview with Vogue magazine but the interviewer wanted her to pivot from hydropower to high fashion.

THE FACTS are somewhat in dispute. Vogue contributing editor Rebecca Johnson said Palin did not go on about hydropower. “She just kept talking about drilling for oil.

___

PALIN: “Was it ambition? I didn’t think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons.” Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.

THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But “Going Rogue” has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.

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Go pop some popcorn folks, because there’s more…lots more @ Associated Press

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44-D’s Book Diaries: Stephen King’s Under the Dome

Posted by Audiegrl

king2 copy“I tried this once before when I was a lot younger, but the project was just too big for me. But it was a terrific idea and it never entirely left my mind . . . and every now and then it would say write me, and eventually I did. I sure hope people like it.”~~Stephen King

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In Stephen King’s mesmerizing new masterpiece – his biggest, most riveting novel since The Stand – a Maine town and its inhabitants are isolated from the world by an invisible, impenetrable dome.

under-the-domeOn an entirely normal, beautiful Autumn day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field – the Dome. Planes fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed at the wrist and people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town’s corrupt politician. But time, under the Dome, is running out . . .

Celebrated storyteller Stephen King returns to his roots in this tour de force featuring more than 100 characters – some heroic, some diabolical – some and a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any he’s ever conjured.

Stephen King appeared on Good Morning America this morning to discuss his new thriller, out today, “Under the Dome,” which he says can be read as a metaphor for the American condition. He had the idea for the book in the 70’s… will it be successful and relevant today?

Jake Tapper: I’m in Stephen King’s New Book? Huh?

Read an excerpt from Under the Dome

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Book Review: James Ellroy concludes his ‘Underworld USA’ trilogy with ‘Blood’s a Rover’

Posted by Audiegrl

<i>'Blood's a Rover'</i> by James Ellroy

'Blood's a Rover' by James Ellroy

James Ellroy‘s astonishing creation, the Underworld USA Trilogy, is complete. Its concluding volume, Blood’s a Rover, has just been published. The three long thrillers that make up the trilogy (American Tabloid, 1995; The Cold Six Thousand, 2001; Blood’s a Rover, 2009) present a brutal counterhistory of America in the 1960s and 1970s — the assassinations, the social convulsions, the power-elite plotting — through the lives of invented second- and third-echelon operatives in the great political crimes of the era. The trilogy is biblical in scale, catholic in its borrowing from conspiracy theories, absorbing to read, often awe-inspiring in the liberties taken with standard fictional presentation, and, in its imperfections and lapses, disconcerting.~~~Norman Rush @ New York Review of Books

Canadian Press/Bruce Desilva—James Ellroy, the mad genius of American letters, snarls and spits at you from the page in this jaw-dropping conclusion to his paranoid “Underworld USA” trilogy.

He spent eight years writing this dense, massive epic, which picks up where “American Tabloid” and “The Cold Six Thousand” left off. Together, the three novels tear down the turbulent history of America between 1958 and 1972 and rewrite it to include every paranoid fantasy from the far left and the far right, throwing in a bunch more no one else could have dreamed up.

NYT Best-selling Author James Ellroy

NYT Best-selling Author James Ellroy

As “Blood’s a Rover” opens, the FBI is frantically trying to cover up its complicity in the John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations. J. Edgar Hoover is collaborating with the Mafia to undermine political enemies and to destroy the country’s black power and peace movements. And Howard Hughes and the mob are paying off Richard Nixon for his help in trying to build a new casino empire in the Dominican Republic.

More @ canadianpresslogo

James Ellroy on his ultimate masterpiece, Blood’s A Rover

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