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« The Playwright in Spite of Himself or Moliere in Love | Main | Another one done too soon »


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"I'll probably have to be marched into Atonement at gunpoint."

Even if Keira Knightley took your arm? Goodness, Uma really does have her hooks in you, doesn't she?

Ken Houghton

Keira Knightley:Uma::Melanie Griffith:Judy Holiday.

Ken Houghton

That said, I can't explain Lance and Wolcott's common HeatherG fascination.

I can't tell if I'm glad that Hairspray was left out. They were the only ones (seen so far) whose SAG mailer was actually the full package.

Kit Stolz

Look forward to your comments on "No Country..." and "...Blood" which actually are are quite similar in significant ways.

I think the Academy considered "3:10 to Yuma" a good remake of a good picture. Although tweaked for the sake of today's attitudes, structurally it was little changed.

"Michael Clayton," by contrast, substantially rethought how to tell a story about an underdog, and with impressive success. From my perspective, its weakness was that although the star was playing essentially a Bogart role -- the cynic who turns out to be a good guy in the end -- his cynicism was shallow, and his alleged corruption as a fixer difficult to spot. Clooney was terrific, but his character forgettable, no matter how compelling his plight.

I don't see any of these choices sweeping to an impressive victory. Probably a good thing for the Academy that they never release the vote totals.


Sigh of relief that Travolta was not nominated for Hairspray; I thought his performance was the weakest of the cast, and his singing sucked.

Sorry that Christian Bale wasn't nominated, if only because he looks so good in a tux.

My money's on Viggo.

Question: should I rent Elizabeth? I loved the first one with a passion, but I read crap reviews on the second one.

Chris the Cop

I thought 'Michael Clayton was a good solid thriller and that's the only one I've seen. I agree Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton were astounding, esp. Wilkinson.

Dan Leo

I was disappointed with 3:10. I'm a big fan of spaghetti westerns, even bad spaghetti westerns, so obviously plausibility is not an enormous issue with me, but I found 3:10 to be just one implausibility after another every five minutes or so mounting up to a final grandly implausible ending. Like, Christian Bale has a wooden foot and yet he never seems to limp, and at one point later in the movie he's running along rooftops with Russell Crowe like they're Batman and Robin. Like Peter Fonda gets gutshot and later that day he's riding blithely along as if he hasn't got even a tummy ache. Like this one Pinkerton in the original stage robbery is quite successfully playing dead when he decides to get up and pull a gun on one dude, like he would really stand a chance among about 8 or 9 boodthirsty outlaws. Like Russell Crowe escaping from Christian about four fucking times. And on and on. I was really wanting to like this movie, but I found it really shoddily written. But I guess I should've expected what I got after Copland and Walk the Line, which I thought were also badly written.

Or am I just an old crank?

Hey, I dragged out "Duck You Sucker" this past weekend, Leone's weakest western. It was still ten times better than the new 3:10.

Michael Bartley

I agree with the Cop. 3:10 was a major disappointment. Westerns are my favorite genre and I am normally happy just to have one on the big screen. However, the mashing of high drama and inplausability left me feeling stuck between a piano and a tuba. Luckily, though each had its flaws, I loved the screen adaptations of two fine novels No Country for Old Men and The Assasination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. I am looking forward to There Will Be Blood.

Michael Bartley

Sorry Dan and Chris...I agree with Dan...Ah well, down and up in Bush's America.

Howard Chaykin

I thought MICHAEL CLAYTON was vastly superior to 3:10 TO YUMA in regard to story. Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson were both wonderful--as was Ben Foster--the most surprising and unexpected performance of the year. The western was damaged for me by two bizarre plot elements. First, Peter Fonda is gut shot, then gets on a horse and goes to work. Second, Russell Crowe's change of heart at the end of the picture is preposterous.

Although I loved MICHAEL CLAYTON, I also think neither film deserved a best picture nod--in my opinion, that should go to THERE WILL BE BLOOD--and furthermore, the most neglected thriller of the year was BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD.


Thanks Dan, thanks Michael, thanks Howard, you've ruined the movie for me.

Kidding. But you're right, there are big gaping holes in the narrative logic of 3:10 to Yuma, and it had several other weaknesses as well. I still think it was fun and exciting, a rattling good yarn. Michael Clayton was more tightly structured and covered the gigantic implausibilities at the center of its plot better, but I just wasn't all that caught up in it, and if Tom Wilkinson hadn't been it in, I'd probably have dozed off. I think Kit's assessment of both movies is a good one.

By the way, Kit, what do you think about Sean Penn's missing out on a nomination for Into the Wild?

Michael, I think The Assassination of Jesse James etc. is one of the best novels of the last 30 years, and not just because the author was one of my teachers back in grad school. The movie never played around here, neither did Before the Devil Knows You're Dead or Gone Baby Gone or The Savages or In the Valley of Ellah, and so far There Will Be Blood hasn't shown up yet either. I may have to spend a day in New York City just going to movies. Anybody want to join me?

PS. Ken, I like Heather Graham, but I don't think she's been robbed of any Oscar nominations.

Kit Stolz

Re "Into the Wild" -- I liked the movie much more than I thought I would, and think Penn (and his team) deserve tremendous credit. Not only for getting the full emotional story on to the screen, but for digging out the ambiguities and uncertainties.

But I didn't think this story was as big as most of the other movies nominated, and certain aspects of the direction troubled me. If there is no distance between the filmmaker and his lead character, can we really see the character clearly?

In this sense, when we look back on "Into the Wild" a few years from now, some moments will not play well, I suspect, in the same way that Carol Reed's more restrained work stands up to the test of time far better than his expressionist work.

Thanks for asking, Lance, and plesae see "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men." I want to hear what you think! Whatever you think.


Julie Cristie was wonnnnddderful in "Away from her". I thought John Travolta was adorable as a woman - he made me laugh. I love Daniel Day Lewis - but havent seen the movie. Cate Blancett is no Streep imo.

Sigh. I havent seen much at all ths is yer so I pretty much have no cred on anything.


I enjoyed 3:10 up until the last 20-30 minutes, where it just became too implausible for me. Not the actors' faults, though. I also wasn't crazy about the ending of No Country, although I need to see it again, but I appreciated it as a western. There Will be Blood and Michael Clayton are near the top of my list at the moment, but I'm still catching up on a few films, such as Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

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