Saturday, June 21, 2008

AFTER EARTH: The Dark Side of the Sun

Author(s): James Somerton
Location: NS, Canada

"AFTER EARTH: The Dark Side of the Sun"

Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron
Produced By: James Cameron and Peter Jackson
Score By: Howard Shore
All Digital Effects by: WETA Digital

Main Cast

Johnny Depp as King Salcazar
Johnny Depp as Prince Eridos
Nicole Kidman as Senika
Daniel Day Lewis as Christopher
Andrea Bowen as Lauren
Alan Rickman as Lanord
Christina Ricci as Tayleen

Tagline: "Things Once Lost May Soon Come To Light"

Synopsis: Colbyoto is dead. Pluto is forever lost. The Galaxy is in utter darkness and ruling brothers are nowhere to be found. Anarchy is rising as the darkness seeps it's way into people's minds. How can one cope with darkness at all hours with not even a moment of light to lift the weight. Colbyoto's father, Lanord, has risen as a force of revolution in the galaxy as searches take place for the brothers.

Salcazar and Eridos know nothing of any of this as they travel to the dead planet of Earth. Nothing is left alive on this planet after the war that decimated it some millennia ago. There is one thing left though; oil, an energy resource known only to those who have read the ancient histories of earth. But the thick cloud cover left over from the nuclear winter blocks out the rays of the sun and the prince's solar ship loses power. They crash land some miles away from the ruined empire of Emarika. Some are sent to find the oil, some are sent to find ways to repair the ship, the rest are left alone. Among them are the two princes and their aunt, Senika. But they are being watched.

The party is attacked by a group of remnants, people left alive after the war. They have lived off of the limited resources remaining on the planet. They gather the Royals as prisoners and interrogate them. When they hear the word "Oil", the shudder. One young girl names Lauren, collapses into a panic attack at the mere mention of the word. These people want nothing to do with oil and are more than happy to see it drained from their planet under one stipulation; no one is to ever know that Earth still has life. The other parties are coming back now though, and they have weapons.

Lanord''s power grab has been successful and he is now ruling the galaxy as Emperor. He finally receives word of the prince's location. He has finally gained power and he will not let it slip away if they somehow return from the dead planet. He sends the Colbyonotic Military Guard to Earth to find the brothers and destroy them.

When comes next is a battle without limits, and the rediscovery of Earth may just mean the final fait of the entire galaxy is near.

What the Press would say:

"After Earth" is finally in the hands of it's creator, James Cameron. As writer, director, and producer, Cameron's talent can be seen all over the screen in this sci-fi epic that brings a close to one of modern cinema's greatest technical achievements. "The Dark Side of the Sun" is a simpler film than it's two predecessors. Cameron rips into the mythology previously nurtured by Tim Burton and Peter Jackson, and he gives us the grand finale. Bringing us back down to Earth, literally, this movie is an action packed thrill ride guaranteed to leave the audience thinking. There has always been the not-so-subtle message of energy conservation in this series, but never is it more apparent and relevant than in AE3. The convoluting of the past two films is stripped away and we are left with a clear story that makes the first make sense.

The acting, as always, is disturbingly top notch for a special FX extravaganza like this. Johnny Depp gives an amazing performance as both brothers, Salcazar and Eridos, adding to their nuances and giving, by far, the most diverse dual roll performance in film history. Alan Rickman, Nicole Kidman, and Christina Ricci, all return (with Ricci only appearing in the begging montage) and all gives fantastic performances by a revelation in this film is Andrea Bowen ( of TV's Desperate Housewives) as the shell-shocked teenaged earthling who nearly turns suicidal at the mention of oil. She gives a deep performance brought to life by her scenes with Nicole Kidman. These are probably the least impressive scenes visually in the film but gives this character so much depth that they are impossible to write off. We learn of her childhood and the horror stories she has been told by her family about oil. Bowen rises from the ranks of TV supporting player to a scene steeling performance in one of the year's biggest films.

"After Earth: The Dark Side of the Sun" is one of the best looking films I have ever seen. It is eye popping at almost all times. But the grand finale of this film, and the entire series, takes place when Lanord's army invades Earth and the earthlings are forced to relive what they have heard about for thousands of years. This is a science fiction film that shows the real affect of war on people. We see it in the faces of every last extra, we hear it in their cries and we feel it in Lauren's last moments of life. This battle is mind blowing. It does not detach the viewer as many battles of it's scale do, but works extra hard to engage us and succeeds in doing so. I was not awed by the explosions, but terrified by them. I didn't sit waiting for the next body to go flying across the screen, I sat dreading it. This is not an excessively violent film, but the violence is more poignant than other films of it's kind. It shakes the most jaded movie goer to their core.

"The Dark Side of the Sun" is not the next "Gone With The Wind" or "Citizen Kane". But it isn't trying to be. It is trying to be a fun science fiction ride with a vaguely concealed message for the world of today. But, in trying to be less than the greats, is nearly becomes one of them. This film draws together the confusion it's first two parts and gives us an ending that some may find simple and fun, and others will see poignancy in. It is the end of an epic story and we should take it as that. As a whole, After Earth may become a sci-fi classic and will definitely become a benchmark for special fx, but taken on it's own, "The Dark Side of the Sun" is a powerful work of filmmaking and no one deserves more credit for this than James Cameron. He once was King of the World; the only thing left to concur is space and he has done it.

Possible Nominations...

Best Picture
Best Director - James Cameron
Best Supporting Actress - Andrea Bowen
All Technical Categories

Audrey's Girls

Author(s): Brian
Location: Arizona

"Audrey’s Girls"

Written and Directed by Terry George
Produced by Terry George and Robert Wolders

Main Cast

Juliette Binoche (Audrey Hepburn)
Claire-Hope Ashitey (Zema)
Sahara Garey (Kassa)
Keke Palmer (Alem)
George Clooney (Robert Wolders)
Sissy Spacek (Christa Roth)
John C. Reilly (John Isaac)

Tagline: "N/A"

Synopsis: It is 1988, and an aging Audrey Hepburn stuns the world when she announces that she plans on retiring from making movies. Instead, she will devote all of her time to The United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with which she will travel the globe to feed starving children. The first of these missions was to Ethiopia. Traveling with her partner, Robert Wolders, her best friend, Christa Roth, and photographer John Issac, Hepburn is greeted by 500 emaciated children—nearly 200 more than she brought food for. Shortly after her arrival, she is pick-pocketed by a 14-year-old girl. She follows after her, until the girl is confronted by her two sisters. She gives back the money she took and invites her back to her home. Of course, the term “home” is used lightly. They live in a filthy, torn apart house that is missing a wall and has only one bed. Audrey talks to the girls, and gets to know them. The eldest is Zema, a wise but bitter 18-year-old woman that is the primary caregiver in the family, but is unkind to strangers. When she was 16, their parents were killed, and she has since been a prostitute to provide for the family. She has had a miscarriage, an abortion and, although she does not know it, she is infected with AIDS. The middle child is Kassa. Kassa saw her parents being murdered, and she has since been traumatized and has attempted suicide, cut herself and had unprotected sex. And yet, underneath it all, she is a sweet, caring young woman. The youngest is Alem, who, at 11, is smart, entirely optimistic and witty. Audrey feels an instant affection towards them, and, for the duration of her trip, she makes it her duty to look after them and provide for their long-term well being. However, the workers at UNICEF advise her to stop favoring the children, as they do not want such an image. But she cannot stand to see such lovely girls falling victim to poverty. As the film continues, Audrey and the three young women begin to bond and form a mother-daughter like connection. Soon, her friends that she is traveling with start to become suspicious of her intentions with the girls, and start to question her; as though she is committing a crime. The pressure grows, until, in the climax of the film, Kassa commits suicide after she finds out about Zema’s occupation. Audrey, stricken with grief, can barely move on. Her month in Ethiopia is reaching closure. But, when it seems as though she has lost everything, Zema delivers a moving speech explaining how Audrey’s trip has changed the lives of her and her sisters. Hepburn leaves not only with a feeling of accomplishment, but also with a strange, yet comforting feeling that the two girls will turn out alright.

What the Press would say:

I have just seen the most inspiring film of the year. I am talking, of course about the triumph that is Terry George’s “Audrey’s Girls.” The film tells the somewhat fictionalized story of Audrey Hepburn’s (Juliette Binoche) first trip with UNICEF to Ethiopia, where she meets three orphaned girls (Claire-Hope Ashitey, Sahara Garey and Keke Palmer). This simple plotline is the foundation for a story of life, death, friendship, family and hope. With its exquisite writing and visuals, this is the best film of the year by miles.

It is also the best acted. The young starlet from “Children of Men”, Claire-Hope Ashitey, is absolutely marvelous as Zema, the troubled mother figure. A typical young actress would have taken this role and relentlessly try to make the audience sob. But Ashitey, being wise, portrays the character as an actual human being with real-life qualities. As a result, we empathize with her more than anyone in the film. This performance will not only lead her to superstardom, but also to her first of many Oscar statuettes. It would seem as though no one would be able to top Miss Ashitey, but we are proven wrong when we see the lovely Juliette Binoche as the also lovely Audrey Hepburn. Only 43, Binoche has the task of playing a 59-year-old woman, and does so in the most genuine, believable way possible. Portraying such a widely known character must be very difficult, but she is able to do it with accuracy and style. Of course, it would be beating a dead horse to continue talking about Binoche’s performance, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the rave reviews, so all I will say is that she is well on her way to Oscar #2.

This moving, sometimes funny (thanks to Keke Palmer’s adorable performance), always interesting film is, simply put, the best of the year. With simply astounding writing and directing and Oscar worthy performances from Claire-Hope Ashitey and Juliette Binoche, “Audrey’s Girls” can expect Academy Award nominations (and wins) in the following categories…

Best Picture
Best Director (Terry George)
Best Actress (Juliette Binoche)
Best Supporting Actress (Claire-Hope Ashitey)
Best Original Screenplay (Terry George)
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Makeup
Best Art Direction

The Banality of Evil

Author(s): Alex S.
Location: Mexico

"The Banality of Evil"

Directed by Billy Ray
Produced by Barry Mendel & Frank Marshall & Kathleen Kennedy
Written by Tony Kushner & Billy Ray
Based on the book “Eichmann in Jerusalem” by Hannah Arendt
Executive Producers Colin Wilson & Rick Shwartz
Edited By Michael Kahn
Cinematography by Robert Richardson
Music by Mychael Danna
Costume Design by Sandy Powell
Production Design by Dante Ferretti
Art Direction by Jeannine Claudia Oppewall & Gretchen Rau
Set Decoration by Leslie E. Rollins

Main Cast

Gary Oldman – Adolf Eichmann
Hayden Christensen – Danny Spitzer
Helena Bonham Carter – Hannah Arendt
Alan Alda – Gideon Hausner
Michael Constantine – David Ben-Gurion
Ben Gazzara – Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Lynn Cohen – Golda Meir

Tagline: "Our greatest evil flows from ourselves"

Synopsis: Usually when people write their memoirs they basically tell their whole lives, well in my case, my life is not that exciting, but something happened to me that changed me forever, this is my story. I was born into a Jewish family in 1933 in Berlin, Germany. As the Nazi party came into power my mother, sister and I were able to escape to America when I was 4. I don’t know why but I still remember those early years in my life, I still remember the hatred I felt as a little boy, just for being what I was. My whole family was killed in the Holocaust. After I graduated, one of my professors at Princeton offered me a job as her assistant, her name was Hannah Arendt, she was one of the most important political theorists of that time. In 1961 she was offered a job that would change our lives forever; she was asked to report the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, she asked me to come with her.

When we arrived to Jerusalem we went directly to the building where Eichmann was held prisoner, I remember walking through those doors and meeting a simple man, he was wearing thick glasses and a dark suit, when he opened his mouth he talked calmly and intellectually, he exchanged some words with Hannah and after a few moments I couldn’t believe that this man, sitting right in front of me was the architect of the biggest genocide in world history.

After Hannah finished talking with him she left crying and angry, I was overwhelmed by her reaction. After she was gone I stood there, suddenly this man in front of me asked for my name and told me to sit down, I was in shock, as I sat down he started talking to me; it was an experience I would never forget, we talked during an hour before the guard took him, I was amazed by his mind and his words, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Jewish religion but he failed to understand the Jewish people. I left that building, and later that night I wasn’t able to sleep, I was awake all night thinking about everything he said.

The following days we spend more time together, in a way he couldn’t stand being near me, but he needed to explain himself to someone. His mere presence provoked great conflict in me, this man was the responsible of the pain of million of persons, but I was able to understand him and his actions, even if I didn’t wanted to. We bonded in an odd way, he wanted to say something, and I needed answers from him.

During the trial, Gideon Hausner was the chief prosecutor, in this sessions Eichmann was fighting for his life and even if he appeared calmed, you could sense his fear and pain, he knew this were his last days and that his fight was futile. He was eventually condemned, but I will never forget our last meeting. After the verdict we met one last time, he was different; he had a new perspective, suddenly he wasn’t afraid anymore, he had faced his demons and he finally made peace with himself, his last words are written in my memories like if they were carved in stone, always so formal he stood up after our last meeting and said “To sum it all up, I must say that I regret nothing. We shall meet again. I have believed in God. I obeyed the laws of war and was loyal to my flag”. After the execution I sat down with Hannah and I told her about my meetings with him, she told me about her impressions and her article, after she finished, I said nothing, her last words were “Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think. The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil”. I would like to say that he was redeemed for his actions, but he wasn’t, in my eyes he knew what he was doing and it were his actions what made him what he was, at the end all I can say is the world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

What the Press would say:

The film, directed by Billy Ray, is a visceral, emotionally exhausting work that dares to ask questions and gives no easy answers. A film of uncommon depth, intelligence, and sensitivity, “The Banality of Evil” defies easy labeling. It’s an eye-opener - a motion picture that asks difficult questions, presents well-developed characters, and keeps us white-knuckled throughout. It’s based on Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem, claims to have been "inspired" by true events, which places it into the category of fiction. Key events occurred, but all of the character interaction is made up.

The screenplay succeeds in exposing a dreaded historical figure as a human being. Ray's directing is brilliant; he assembles the story and the characters uniformly and proves himself to be an expert in creating realistic relationships between the characters while he succeeds in telling a story. An impressive achievement by a man in touch with his art and his soul. Kushner and Ray's script is thoughtful and provocative. The acting is uniformly excellent. Christensen shines as a young journalist in the search for explanations and meaning to his life, he’s able to portray an evolution that allows his character to feel real and human. He makes Danny Spitzer fun, funny, vulnerable and poignant while never letting us forget his pain and search for answers. Oldman’s Eichmann is calculating and scary, he portrays him as a harsh man with great intelligence and cleverness, he perfectly captures his ¬nature, he puts in one of the most amazing acting performances of the year making Eichmann appear to be equally likable and detestable all at the same time. When both characters interact, the screen sizzles with intensity, the dialogue is so powerful and the movie's real power, and true greatness, comes from these magnificent performances. Bonham-Carter also shines as Arendt; she provides her best performance yet and adds heart and emotion to a difficult and serious movie. Impressively directed, sharply written and beautifully shot drama with superb performances from the entire cast. Gritty and compelling, the film transports the viewer unlike any other film in recent memory. A movie like none we've seen before a searching, soul-sick piece of work. It does not pretend to have any answers. It only wants to remind us how much we've lost.

Batman: Scars of Tomorrow

Author(s): Tony
Location: Pittsburgh

"Batman: Scars of Tomorrow"

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Written by Timothy J. Sexton and Bob Kane (characters)
Music by Clint Mansell
Produced by Bonnie Curtis

Main Cast

Billy Crudup as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Ralph Fiennes as Two-Face/Harvey Dent
Benicio Del Toro as Black Mask/Roman Sionis
Ian McKellen as Alfred Pennywood
William H. Macy as Commissioner Jim Gordon
Laurence Fishburne as Lucious Fox
David Strathairn as Sal Maroni
Luke Goss as Tattoo
Eva Green as Circe Sionis

Tagline: "Behind every scar is the answer to ones actions"

Synopsis: The sunset turned the smog that hung over Gotham city a fiery red, and from a plane it looked like the city was on fire. On this plane was a very brash, wealthy, and confident Bruce Wayne. Coming back from a trip, Wayne was scheduled to meet with District Attorney Harvey Dent. However, Harveys war on crime came to end when Dent was prosecuting crime boss Sal Maroni, and unexpectedly Maroni would toss sulphuric acid onto the left side of Dents face and left hand. Dent, a charming, clean cut man was now a disfigured savage, and had gone missing for days.

Meanwhile, Roman Sionis, owner of Janus Cosmetics, the company in which he inherited from his parents who died in a tragic, yet suspicious fire in the family mansion, was onto new things. With his newly earned fortune, Roman wanted to create the make-up of the century. Without proper testing, Roman rushed the product which turned into a revolting toxin which would disfigure his workers and himself. The company was as sure as dead until Roman gave all control to Bruce Wayne who brought in his own workers for the company. Circe, Romans adored wife, decided to leave him in front of his staff. Humiliated and broke, Roman believed all his work went for nothing, and would soon get his revenge on Gotham.

With two disfigured names of power missing, the Bat knew the streets were about to get dangerous. With his servant for 30 years, Alfred Pennywood, and reliable Commissioner Gordon, Batman was prepared for the worst, but it wasn't what he expected. Roman Sionis took on a different identity where he carved the tombstone of his deceased mother and made a mask of it, calling himself Black Mask. Mask had a great eye for crime, and had the biggest known gang on Gotham, the False Face Society. His fantasies of torture and pain would come to reality when he'd torture his victims, physical and psychological. With his sidekick Tattoo, Black Mask was front page material. He made his biggest impression after capturing CEO of Wayne Enterprises Lucious Fox, torturing him to a near death until a late save from the Bat.

A panting Black Mask found himself a dark alley way where the sound of a flipping coin echoed throughout. The quirky, psychotic Two-Face came from the shadows. He proposed to Mask that with his extensive knowledge of law enforcement and Masks street power they would be unstoppable. Meanwhile, Bruce is dealing with scars of his own. For a moment his thoughts flashed back to that fateful night. He hadn’t shed a tear for his parents in years, and with Two-Face and Black Mask on the verge of running Gotham, Bruce must stay strong and remember why he chose the life he has.

Two-Face now had control. He'd flip his coin to choose a good or evil deed, the good side indicated that Mask would let his victim go or to their doom. Their focus now was on Bruce Wayne. After returning from the office, Wayne noticed his butler not around. The duo awaited for Bruce to return as a gagged, tied up, and severely bruised Alfred laid between the evilness that was Two-Face and Black Mask. "Is it his turn to die?" Black Mask says, as the coin goes in the air. How can Batman overcome the odds? Is Bruce about to relive his scars with another close loss from a deadly fiend?

What the Press would say:

Batman is a persona that was created to inspire fear into the hearts of criminals. A creature of the night that hunts from the shadows, strikes without warning, and vanishes into the darkness like a nightmare. The character is never meant to be seen by the general public, he is merely meant to exist in their whispers, an urban myth that is talked about in hushed tones throughout Gotham City. Remember that? Jean-Pierre Jeunet does. The brilliant director of The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, and Amelie brings you the latest of the Batman series, "Scars of Tomorrow", and how fitting. Scars of Tomorrow is well written, well-shot and combines amazing special effects, set design and acting to form a perfect final package, it's untouchable. Billy Crudup has redefined the character known as Batman. Without a doubt has the most charming smile of all of the rest, the perfect Bruce Wayne look and attitude, but when it comes to put on the suit, Crudup is convincing as the all-action hero. The thing that stands out from all the other Bat films are the villains, starting with Ralph Fiennes. To put it quite simply, Feinnes portrayal of Two-Face makes the Red Dragon look like Ghandi. It's terrific, and honestly frightening. His transition to the multiple personality, deranged man affected by the young child abuse and his hideous disfiguration is outstanding. Speaking of outstanding, Benicio is dead on once again as a great supporting actor. Perhaps the best supporting actor of the last few decades. Like Fiennes, Del Toro had to take on a distraught character, but when the camera is on him, the scene glows. The evil in his eyes are very evident. Both men had superior chemistry, both scarred and demented, and it's up to one man to stop them.

Typically the Oscars pass up on the "super hero" genre, but SOT is something not for the Academy to look over. It's unlike any hero movie we've ever seen, every scene with a deep and hard emotion attached to it, we get a feel for all the characters and what they're going through, good or evil. With a great cast, great director, and the piece of gold known as film itself is just yelling out to be noticed by the Academy. Perhaps not the one to take the young ones too, but for the much more mature Batman fans out there, a tribute to the old comics of the vigilante and the evil he must face.


Best Picture - Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Timothy J. Sexton and Bonnie Curtis
Best Director - Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Best Actor - Billy Crudup
Best Supporting Actor - Ralph Fiennes
Best Supporting Actor - Benicio Del Toro
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Make-up
Best Sound
Best Editing

The Bluxomi Sisters

Author(s): Ryan
Location: NY

"The Bluxomi Sisters"

Directed by Barbet Schroeder
Written by Christopher Nolan & Terry Rossio
Music by David Arnold

Main Cast

Paula Patton (Kelly and Jocelyn Bluxomi)
Jennifer Tilly (Beth Stalton)
Christina Ricci (Claire Stalton)
Connie Nielsen (Officer Paula Handler)
Joy Bryant (Carrie Lister)
Kevin Bacon (Officer Henry Patton)
Denzel Washington (Fred Bluxomi)
Elijah Wood (Tom Nix)
Tyrese Gibson (Gerald Benjamin)

Tagline: "Which Twin Was It?"

Synopsis: Kelly Bluxomi (Paula Patton) and Jocelyn Bluxomi (Paula Patton) are identical twin sisters to the point that even their father, Fred Bluxomi (Denzel Washington) can’t tell them a part; same goes with their boyfriends.

Kelly and Jocelyn live in an apartment in Philadelphia with their aging father living a few blocks down. Kelly is dating Gerald Benjamin (Tyrese Gibson) and Jocelyn is dating Tom Nix (Elijah Wood), both for over a few years now. However a girl in the apartment complex, Claire Stalton (Christina Ricci), a mutual friend of the Bluxomi’s, goes missing until found dead behind the building. The police have an image of who did it by a surveillance camera…one of the Bluxomi sisters.

Beth Stalton (Jennifer Tilly), who lives two floors up is raising hell, always hating the sisters and now she knows one killed her only daughter. Officer Paula Patton (Connie Nielsen) and her partner Officer Henry Patton (Kevin Bacon) are trying to put the pieces together of which one did it, but they hit a standstill when even the psychiatry tests come back the same for both sisters, leading them to believe both were involved.

To make matters worse the sisters’ best friend Carrie Lister (Joy Bryant) thinks she knows what one did it.

Now the sisters are fighting with each other trying to figure out which sister that they have spent their whole life with did it. And the results may be deadly…and not just for them.

What the Press would say:

“Two thumbs up!”-Ebert & Roeper

“A heart-pounding dramatic thriller.”- People

“A+! With great visuals and performances this is a film not to miss.”-Entertainment Weekly

“One of the best cinematic thrills in history.”-Rolling Stone Magazine

The Bluxomi Sisters is a psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, even after the credits. Barbet Schroeder is great, reminiscing of his film, Single White Female. Paula Patton is terrific and the visual effects were terrific having her in the same scenes as herself playing both sisters. Patton brings charisma to each character, differentiating her performances which can be tricky for any actor, role to role, but in the same film together it is astonishing. Jennifer Tilly was outstanding as the mother and gives a heart-breaking performance with hatred and tears in her eyes which lets the audience feel her heartbreak as well. Joy Bryant shines holding the secret of which sister did it, though she isn’t a 100% sure. Connie Nielsen gives a withstanding performance who just seems on the verge of something before it gets away.. Elijah Wood and Tyrese Gibson bring to the table great emotion knowing one of their beloved girlfriends killed someone. Denzel Washington has a strong performance as a father knowing one of his daughter’s is a cold-blooded murder, watching them grow apart, wondering if he raised his girls wrong. Kevin Bacon has an interesting character, thinking both sisters did it but has his doubts as well. With a well written script, in the end you will be shocked. This isn’t a movie…this is a cinematic adventure.

Best Picture
Best Director: Barbet Schroeder
Best Screenplay: Christopher Nolan & Terry Rossio
Best Original Score: David Arnold
Best Actor: Denzel Washington
Best Supporting Actor: Kevin Bacon
Best Actress: Paula Patton, Jennifer Tilly
Best Supporting Actress: Connie Nielsen, Joy Bryant

Border Man

Author(s): Pat
Location: NY

"Border Man"

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Written by Guillermo Arriaga
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography by Rodrigo Prierto
Produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Brad Pitt, Steven Soderbergh

Main Cast

Tom Berenger (Dennis Fourman)
Maribel Verdu (Rosa Rodriguez)
William Petersen (Kenny Jackson)
Richard Roundtree (Davis Montgomery)
Kate Burton (Olivia Jackson)
Diego Luna (Alberto Juarez)
Dario Grandinetti (Benito Alverez)
Gary Sinise (James Schlosnck)
Jeanne Tripplehorn (Miranda Fourman)

Tagline: "In the land where law and order rule over everything, one secret will shatter it all"

Synopsis: The acclaimed team behind “Amores Perros” and “Babel” creates a story about love that knows no borders, literally. Dennis Fourman (Tom Berenger) is a Border Patrol officer in New Mexico who has just been given a new assignment by his boss (Richard Roundtree) to root out illegal immigrants who have been transporting heroin in their thighs across the border. Alverez (Dario Grandinetti), the Mexican drug lord, becomes aware of the sting and is forced to send his own girlfriends when he runs out of willing illegals. He sends Rosa (Maribel Verdu), who evades the Border Patrol but gets lost in the desert only to be found two days later by Dennis, who takes her into his own care for two reasons, one being the infected wound in her thigh and the other being his attraction to the girl. They begin a torrid, yet illegal, love affair that comes under scrutiny by Dennis’ ex-wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and a DEA agent (Gary Sinise), who suspects that Dennis is aiding Alverez. Things get worse when Dennis loyal partner with an alcohol problem, Kenny (William Petersen), also becomes suspicious of his best friend at the request of his overbearing wife (Kate Burton). Alverez soon gets wind of the affair and sends an assassin (Diego Luna) to take out Dennis and bring Rosa back to him. Dennis’ world seems to be coming to a crashing halt but he does not want to end his relationship with Rosa. He loves her too much. “Border Man” is a moving tale of love and the law under the desert sun.

What the Press would say:

After critical successes like “Babel” and “21 Grams”, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Arriaga sculpted a new movie about life in the Mexican desert in “Border Man”, the story of a Border Patrol officer who falls in love with an illegal immigrant he was supposed to turn over to the DEA. Arriaga’s masterful script and Inarritu’s golden standard directing offer up a film that breaks all barriers and manages to twist the viewer’s hearts and minds in a way that has never been experienced on screen. Tom Berenger stands out in the comeback performance of the year as the title character. His subtle performance as a desperate man with a secret breaks your hearts, especially in the film’s tragic climax as his character faces demise. Maribel Verdu plays his lover in a truly sympathetic role that slowly becomes villainous as her character manipulates the Border Man to satisfy her desires. Dario Grandinetti of Almodovar’s “Habla con ella” is exceptionally evil as the drug lord who wants his girlfriend back and will do whatever it takes to get her back. But the true emotional power comes from Kate Burton and William Petersen, who play friends of Berenger’s character who slowly become aware of his affair and decide to use it as leverage to get more power. Burton excels as the master manipulator and Petersen shines as an alcoholic trying to choose between love and loyalty. “Border Man” is one of the best films in years and deserves as much awards attention as it can get.


Best Picture
Best Director-Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actor-Tom Berenger
Best Supporting Actor-Dario Grandinetti
Best Supporting Actor-William Petersen
Best Supporting Actress-Kate Burton
Best Supporting Actress-Maribel Verdu

Can't Stop the Press!

Author(s): Lee
Location: NJ

"Can't Stop The Press!"

Directed by George Clooney
Written by George Clooney
Score by John Williams

Main Cast

Liam Neeson as William Randolph Hearst
Kevin Kline as Robert Harrison
Henry Winkler as Mike Wallace
George Clooney as Generoso Pope Jr.
Alan Alda as Rupert Murdoch

Tagline: "Five highly influential men, all born in one century (1850-1950) unknowingly influenced one another"

Synopsis: American Newspaper Magnate William Randolph Hearst controlled much of the world's media in the early 20th Century. Meanwhile, four youngsters, Rupert Murdoch, Robert Harrison, Generoso Pope and Mike Wallace were busy being children. As they each grow up, they begin to read about Hearst and develop a thirst for similar power.

"Can't Stop the Press," links the lives of these influential men. In the film, Hearst influences all four boys, but Harrison most of all (who reads the Hearst papers religiously). Harrison in turn influences Pope (who reads his magazine, Confidential, and reads about Harrison's courage in putting Hollywood's biggest stars on trial). Following in Harrisons' footsteps, Pope starts a National Enquirer Magazine which is later read by Mike Wallace, who goes on to host "Night Beat," a provocative program on television. Rupert Murdoch follows all of these men and assumes the total media takeover. The demise of each (save for Murdoch), is also explored, and each suffers a great deal when they try to report on the most difficult of issues. But the constant shift and rise of newspaper men influenced by other men of the past proves, you just “Can’t Stop the Press!”

What the Press would say:

"Five talented actors take on the difficult challenge of portraying men who knew a lot about people and the world, but of whom little was personally known."

"The film is a meticulous study of the men who changed the world through courageous journalism. Making the approach chronological and connecting the men's lives ads luster to the story's credibility. Incredible!"


Best Actor: Liam Neeson & Kevin Kline
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Alda
Best Original Screenplay: George Clooney
Best Director: George Clooney