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Karie's Blog

January 2009

Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jan. 22, 2009 | 11:34 PM

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Thoughts about the Academy Award nominations

Since the Academy Award nominations come out today, here is my $.02 cents on them:

BEST PICTURE: I’m surprised that The Reader made the cut, as I didn’t expect that to happen.  I have no problems with the other nominees, but I hope that Slumdog Millionaire will win.  That is hands down my favorite and I think the momentum is with it.

BEST ACTRESS:  I was thrilled out of my mind that Melissa Leo was nominated!!!! Frozen River was one of my most favorite films of 2008 and she was simply outstanding in it.  I was disappointed that Sally Hawkins was left out for Happy Go Lucky, but at least she won the Golden Globe.  I was also sorry to see Kristen Scott Thomas not included for I’ve Loved You So Long, but then again there are always people who get left off the list each year.  All in all, I hope Kate Winslet wins.  She is really great in The Reader and since this is her 6th nomination, she is long overdue.

BEST ACTOR: This is a really tough race.  I was so happy that Richard Jenkins got a nod for The Visitor!!!!  I always tend to root for the underdog and films like The Visitor don’t tend to have the marketing muscle and huge budgets of something like Benjamin Button.  I really hope that his nomination means that more people will see this film.  I think that ultimately the race will boil down to a match between Sean Penn in Milk and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: This is also a great roster of performances.  I was glad that Marisa Tomei was nominated.  People still joke about her winning the award a long time ago for My Cousin Vinny, but with performances in In the Bedroom and The Wrestler she has more than proven herself worthy.  Ultimately, I think that Pen?lope Cruz will take the prize.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I was super happy that Michael Shannon got a nomination.  He is riveting in Revolutionary Road and his nomination is very well deserved.  I was also glad to see Josh Brolin included as well.  He has been doing a fantastic string of films and is really one of the best actors working right now.  I think Heath Ledger is really a lock for this award though.

BEST DIRECTOR: I really hope that Danny Boyle takes this. 

With regards to the other categories, I really have to catch up on all of the foreign films, shorts and documentaries before I can issue any sensible predictions.

I enjoy the Academy Awards, but I always have mixed feelings about them.  Giving awards for art always feels very strange to me since it is so subjective.  There are always so many talented and deserving people who don’t win and often times lesser talents who do.  There is also a great deal of hype, marketing/campaign money and glad handling that goes into the whole thing.  I saw Meryl Streep in an interview a while back talking about how she hated the “campaign” aspect of the Oscar race.  She said that it wasn’t like this in the 70s and 80s and now she feels as though she is running for office or something.  Then again Mary Pickford had Academy members to tea at Pickfair and Hearst launched an unsuccessful campaign to win an Oscar for Marion Davies in 1935 for Peg of My Heart.  The political aspect is nothing new, it just feels a lot more intense and magnified now than it used to.

Regardless, I will be watching the awards on February 22nd and will have a good time watching it all unfold.

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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jan. 5, 2009 | 11:41 PM

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Must see French cinema coming to the big screen

For those of you who love French cinema, keep reading!  There are 2 limited runs coming soon to the Nuart that you won’t want to miss:

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Friday, January 9th -  Thursday, January 15th

THE WILD CHILD directed by Francois Truffaut

The year is 1798, and farmers in the south of France, on the hunt for a predator, instead find a naked young boy, presumably grown up in the wild without human contact. As the latest sensation, he’s paraded before fee-paying gawkers at the institute for the deaf and dumb, while Dr. Itard (played by director Truffaut himself) debates with a colleague: is the boy a purely natural human, a tabula rasa, or simply an idiot? Itard takes the boy into his own home in an attempt to educate and civilize him.

Based on an actual case, and with its voiceover narration (an adaptation of Itard’s two reports into diary form), this is Truffaut’s nearest approach to documentary, with Nestor Almendros’ striking b&w photography evoking the earliest days of the cinema, and a much-imitated all-Vivaldi score. As l’enfant sauvage, Jean-Pierre Cargol, a French Roma boy picked from over 2,500 hopefuls, is alternately ferocious and docile, while as Dr. Itard, Truffaut is superb. (Alfred Hitchcock wrote Truffaut asking for “the autograph of the actor who plays the doctor, he is so wonderful,” while Steven Spielberg was so impressed by the director’s compassionate performance that he cast Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) Cast partly because he realized he’d be directing the boy within the film, Truffaut imposed on himself a “no smiling” rule - he lapses briefly once - to attain a kind of gravity, but then this only reinforces his ruthlessly unsentimental treatment of potentially treacly material, even as the inevitable question (“Was it worth it?”) arises.

“Unlike any other film Truffaut has ever made, yet only Truffaut could have made it. It is a lovely, pure film. A CLASSIC!”
-Vincent Canby, New York Times

“Truffaut’s most thoughtful statement on his favorite subject: The way young people grow up, explore themselves, and attempt to function creatively in the world. Truffaut places his personal touch on every frame of the film. So often movies keep our attention by flashy tricks and cheap melodrama; it is an intellectually cleansing experience to watch this intelligent and hopeful film.”
-Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

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Friday, January 16th - Thursday, January 22nd


Writer/director Jean-Luc Godard’s mod film noir from 1966, first intended as a reworking of Raymond Chandler’s classic The Big Sleep, but essentially based on novel The Jugger by Donald Westlake (under his pseudonym “Richard Stark”), is a Pop Art mixture of loving homage to the films of Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller and the realism favored by Godard. It is one of the filmmaker’s pivotal features, and the last he made with his wife/star Anna Karina (Alphaville, Band of Outsiders, Pierrot le fou), who plays a young woman caught up in a mysterious, convoluted Cold War conspiracy. Due to legal difficulties, Made in U.S.A. never received an ‘official’ U.S release, but can now be seen in a new 35mm widescreen print (from the original camera negative) with a new translation and new subtitles. Co-starring Jean-Pierre L?aud, L?szl? Szab? and Marianne Faithfull as herself, singing “As Tears Go By.” Cinematography by the legendary Raoul Coutard.

“BEAUTIFUL, GOOFY, AND EXPLOSIVE! Anna Karina was never lovelier in dazzling color and scope and Godard’s ultimate statement about his love/hate for the aesthetics/politics of American movies/life is an event to be savored and celebrated…HAS ALL THE ELECTRIC THRILL OF A RAUSCHENBERG PAINTING IN MOTION!”
-Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Godard’s hymn to vulgar modernism.”

-J. Hoberman.

“The many shots of Anna Karina, with their wide variety of mood—each a different pose, angle, expression—serve as a catalogue of remembrances. The close-ups are the most expressive ones in color that Godard has made to date.”
-Richard Brody.

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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jan. 3, 2009 | 11:57 AM

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Undying respect for Hugh Hefner

For as long as I can remember, Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine have been ever present in popular culture.  When I first flipped through an issue for myself, I felt that the magazine was promoting an image of the female body that 99% of us can’t possibly live up to.  I felt annoyed, but not much more than that.  However, the more I have learned about Hugh Hefner, the more I have come to really admire him and his passion for movies.  When I went to my first “Festival of Film Preservation” at UCLA a few years back, I was stunned to see that Hugh Hefner had paid for a considerable amount of these projects.  I know that Hefner has also funded several documentaries produced by Timeline films on Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and Marion Davies. I’ve also admired his dedication to the LA Conservancy.  Every year, he sponsors the silent film night at the Last Remaining Seats series.  He even attends each year with an entourage of playmates and security guards.  Then I read a story about him today in the LA Times, which made me love him all the more.  I can totally relate to Hefner’s lonely childhood and to his escape into a darkened theatre to see the movies.  His bookshelves are full of Hollywood history books???? Mine too!  After reading this article, I seriously wish I knew this man.  I wish I could throw on a pair of pajamas and go over to his mansion to watch an old movie with him.  I have far more in common with Mr. Hefner than I ever could have imagined. 


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