Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bob Award Nominations!

Hey everybody. After a long hibernation I have returned with the nominations for the Bob Awards. There are no trophies, they mean absolutely nothing, and they exist for the sole reason of making me feel better instead of just whining about what the Oscars and Globes got wrong. And isn't that what it's all about? And here. We. Go.

Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
In Bruges
In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Slumdog Millionaire

Costume Design
Be Kind Rewind
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Let the Right One In
Revolutionary Road

Film Editing
The Dark Knight
In Bruges
Iron Man
Let the Right One In
Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Let the Right One In
The Reader
Tropic Thunder

Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Alexandre Desplat
The Dark Knight – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Defiance – James Newton Howard
In Bruges – Carter Burwell
Slumdog Millionaire – A.R. Rahman

Original Song
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – “Dracula’s Lament” by Jason Segel
Gran Torino – “Gran Torino” by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Michael Stevens, Kyle Eastwood
The Wrestler – “The Wrestler” by Bruce Springsteen

The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Let the Right One In
Quantum of Solace

Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight

Animated Film
Kung Fu Panda

Supporting Actor
Robert Downey, Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Aaron Eckhart – The Dark Knight
Ralph Fiennes – In Bruges
James Franco – Pineapple Express
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Brad Pitt – Burn After Reading

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – Doubt
Amy Adams – Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sam Rockwell – Snow Angels
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Kate Beckinsale – Snow Angels
Cate Blanchett – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading
Frances McDormand – Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
Sara Simmonds – In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Meryl Streep – Doubt

Monty Python Award For Best Ensemble Cast
The Dark Knight
In Bruges
Slumdog Millionaire
Snow Angels

Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan & David S. Goyer
Doubt – John Patrick Shanley
Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day – David Magee and Simon Beaufoy
Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

Original Screenplay
In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
In Search of a Midnight Kiss – Alex Holdridge
Last Chance Harvey – Joel Hopkins
Tropic Thunder – Ben Stiller & Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen
Wall-E – Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter & Jim Reardon

David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight
Martin McDonagh – In Bruges
Alex Holdridge – In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
In Bruges
In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Thursday, January 15, 2009

R.I.P. Khan and Number 6

Yesterday the world lost two icons of science fiction. Ricardo Montalban (KHHHHHHAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!) and Patrick McGoohan.
Montalban of course is best known as KHHHHHHAAAAAANNNNNNN!!! from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," and McGoohan was the creator and star of one of television's greatest series, "The Prisoner." In the U.S. he is best known for his performance as Longshanks in "Braveheart."


For those of you who have never seen "The Prisoner," you are in for 17 of the best episodes of television ever conceived. The British series from 1967 remains ahead of its time.

In other news I have seen a few movies lately but I haven't written any reviews. So for now I give you the short, short versions.

The Reader - 8/10
Frost/Nixon - 7.5/10
In Bruges - 10/10 (on DVD)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

3 Reviews

It's that time of year when Hollywood unloads a dog pile of "Awards worthy" films. Last week I raved about two of them, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Doubt." Here are my thoughts on three more.

Valkyrie - Far too much has been made about Tom Cruise's lack of a German accent in this film. No one seems to complain about the almost entirely British supporting cast not using German accents. That said, Tom Cruise is a large part of the problem with Bryan Singer's "Valkyrie." Cruise should never have been cast. I never saw the character of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (a man who really existed), I simply saw Tom Cruise in an eye patch. An accent would have only made this more glaring.
Written by Chris McQuarrie (who penned Singer's masterpiece, "The Usual Suspects") and Nathan Alexander, "Valkyrie" never really takes off. The reason is not that we know the attempt to assassinate Hitler will fail. This should have been a fascinating film regardless of knowing the outcome. It's an obscure yet incredible piece of history. However as presented in the film, it is rarely engaging. Singer brings a great tension to a few moments but that tension should be present through much more of "Valkyrie."
In the end, it is also a waste of an excellent cast which includes Bill Nighy ("Love Actually"), Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp ("The Limey"), and Carice van Houten ("Black Book," a far better WWII film). Especially in the face of what else is out there, "Valkyrie" is not worth your time. The movie is in wide release. 5/10.

Gran Torino - Clint Eastwood's second movie this year (his first being "Changeling") is a tremendous surprise. The tone and feel of the picture were unexpected. Not as bleak as the majority of his recent efforts, Eastwood's film boasts a terrific script by Nick Schenk. It's a character study of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), an aging racist in the Detroit suburbs, who is far more sympathetic than one would think. Misunderstood and avoided by his adult children, the recent widower finds nothing in common with his spoiled grandchildren either. He is unable to connect with anyone, save his barber (John Carroll Lynch, "Fargo," "Zodiac"), with whom he shares good-natured insults that would be highly offensive to almost anyone else.
Walt becomes a hero to the almost exclusively Hmong neighborhood when he saves young Thao (newcomer Bee Vang) from a gang. He slowly and reluctantly becomes close to Thao's family, especially the boy's sister, Sue (Ahney Her, another newcomer). He becomes like an uncle to the girl, who seems to understand Walt more than anyone else.
This is a film with a powerful message but a surprisingly wicked sense of humor. Eastwood delivers an absolutely amazing performance as Walt. No one else could have played this role. "Gran Torino" is Eastwood the director's most enjoyable movie in quite some time and has a very very powerful ending. "Gran Torino" is in limited release. Currently it is playing at the Alderwood Mall. 9/10.

Revolutionary Road - Eleven years after "Titanic," Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite for this adaptation Richard Yates novel from the 1960s. Set in the summer of 1955, "Revolutionary Road" (directed by Sam Mendes, "American Beauty," "Jarhead") tells the story of the Wheelers. Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet) are miserable suburbanites on Frank's thirtieth birthday. Coming off of an epic fight in the film's opening moments, April remembers the night she met Frank, and comes up with a plan to save their marriage and their hopes. She suggests moving to Paris with their two young children, so that Frank can finally figure out what he wants to do with his life and so they can truly live, something they feel unable to do in Connecticut.
"Revolutionary Road" is a film with a pervading sense of doom, even in the lighter moments when Frank and April excitedly plan their escape from suburbia. As they tell friends, neighbors, and Frank's co-workers of the idea, it is uniformly met with the same reaction. Shock at the "childish" nature of the plan. The one exception to this rule is the mentally unstable son of the woman who sold them their too perfect house. John (Michael Shannon, "World Trade Center") is all too happy to admit that he's crazy, but he openly and articulately cheers the Wheelers on. Later on in the film after they have abandoned their dream, John takes them to task. Shannon only appears twice but he is sensational, delivering the best performance in the film.
The two leads each give performances that are outstanding the majority of the time. There are a few moments however, most noticeably during their first argument, when they seem stilted. In one moment both DiCaprio and Winslet can be so natural, believable, and mesmerizing. In the next you feel like you're watching a play as they deliver their lines as though they are reading Yates' novel aloud. The inconsistency is strange and jarring.
All in all, "Revolutionary Road" is a very good film that is almost great (for similar subject matter I still prefer "Mad Men"). It is also deeply cynical and depressing, more even than I was preparing myself for. It is currently in limited release. In the Seattle area it is playing at the Guild 45th and Bellevue's Lincoln Square. 8/10.