Tag Archives: Kate Winslet

The Academy & I: 2008

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After the exceptional year in film that was 2007, to see a fall-off in the quality of motion pictures the following year wasn’t all that unexpected. While 2008 certainly had its fair share of great films, you’d be hard-pressed to find many that were fairly represented at the following year’s Oscar ceremony. What the Academy did give us that year, however, was the last truly great Oscar host in Hugh Jackman. He took what is often-times an incredibly lackluster show and made it quite simply, great entertainment. It was, however, magic that we unfortunately haven’t seen in the ceremonies since. 2008 would also mark a notable shift in the Academy’s nomination process, as it would be the last year in which they would only get to nominate five films for Best Picture, but more on that in the next entry.

2008 was a year in which the Academy chose to frustrate my inner-cinephile like no other. Sure, there were many nominees and winners who were very deserving, but there were just as many head-scratching nominees and victors who would have been left out in the cold in any other year. It was a year that heralded the comeback of a once great screen actor, but also saw the loss of one of the industry’s most promising young thespians. It was a year that saw The Dark Knight take the critics and box office by storm, only to be shunned in most of the major categories by Hollywood’s greatest institution.

As I take a look back on the year in film that was 2008, I will delve into those films that I personally felt best represented the year, as opposed to those that were actually represented come Oscar night.

Best Cinematography

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2008, for all intensive purposes, was the year of Slumdog Millionaire. One of the film’s many wins on Oscar night was for the bright color-infused work by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. Known for his collaborations with not only Slumdog helmer Danny Boyle, but the crazy Dane himself Lars von Trier, there is no doubt Dod Mantle does solid work here, but it’s certainly not a career-best. Other nominees in the category included Wally Pfister’s work in The Dark Knight as well as that of Claudio Miranda in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While my thoughts on the film itself may not exactly match up with my declaration here, there is no doubt Miranda’s work with David Fincher on Button is exceptional. It’s interesting to note then that Miranda’s nomination was the first ever awarded by the Academy to a film shot entirely digitally. Although I am very much on the side of film stock when it comes to the raging cinematography debate, Fincher’s films continue to be the best example of digital cinematography, highlighted by Miranda’s work here. He would go on to win the Oscar for lensing Life of Pi just this past year, but it’s safe to say it doesn’t top his timeless work on Button.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode II

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 4

Following the insanely energetic experience of Midnight Madness the night prior, it’s safe to say that I would have benefited greatly from a solid night’s sleep. It wasn’t meant to be however, as the next morning I had a film scheduled for 9AM. Four hours of sleep later I woke up and around 7:30 walked to the Metro station, not even aware that it was Sunday. The station was closed of course and so I did what any intelligent person would do: take the six mile journey on foot. Now that may not sound all that impressive, but when you’re only going on a few hours of sleep and your feet are already blistered up from waiting in endless lines the day prior, it is. I sped walk the whole way and made it in about an hour to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, perhaps the finest movie theatre I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a patron of. I plopped down in the first row, exhausted.

Jason Reitman’s Labor Day

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My 9am film that day just so happened to be Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, a total change of pace from the kind of films Reitman’s made thus far in his still young career. Centered on a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) whose worlds are upset upon the arrival of a wounded convict (Josh Brolin) who recently escaped from a local prison, it’s a definitively more low-key drama than Reitman’s norm. Labor Day is a work of extreme confidence without much in the way of Reitman’s usual comedic tinge and although he’s already proven adept at drama, it’s still quite a shock to the system at first. All three of the leads give fine, quiet performances that deliver a sense of intimacy not felt in most awards-player dramas.  One negative note however, is that Labor Day is yet another film featuring Tobey Maguire voice-over. Now I am not a hater of voice-over in general, but here it doesn’t seem to serve the story of the film in a particularly compelling way. Overall, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the film due to my severe lack of sleep, but it’s definitely an interesting drama that I very much look forward to viewing again upon it’s official theatrical release.

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The List: Best Portraits Of Romance on Film

This weekend, I will finally have the chance to see Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, the believed-to-be final entry to what may just end up being my absolute favorite film trilogy. In 1995, Linklater brought the world Before Sunrise, a film focused on a chance meeting between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train to Europe that leads to one romantic evening spent together in Vienna. Based on a personal one-night encounter Linklater had with a woman whom he never saw again, the film was an achingly real portrait of young love between two individuals who don’t quite know what their next steps are in life. Nine years later, the sequel Before Sunset hit theaters with Jesse and Celine now older, but not quite perhaps as romantically wiser as either had expected. And now, once again nine years later, Before Midnight brings us back into their world.

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Counting the Before films among the greatest on-screen portrayals of romance that I have seen, I felt it was fitting that I list some of my other favorite film romances. Now, you won’t see any typical romantic comedies on this list because for me, the more real a given relationship is the more invested I am in seeing the story of that film unfold. Unfortunately, nobody can really accuse the modern romantic comedy of capturing anything close to the realm of realism. Instead, I’ve decided to give you a list of films that range from the depressing to the absurd, but that all contain some aspect of romantic truth. Given that the film genre of depressing romantic relationship dramas is one of my absolute favorites, it should come as no shock to you that these films rank fairly high on my absolute favorite films list. And now, onto The List.

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