Tag Archives: Oscar Race

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Dark Knight Sparkles, Michelle’s Review

Blu-Ray Review: The Dark Knight Sparkles, Michelle Alexandria's Take
Blu-Ray Review: The Dark Knight Sparkles, Michelle Alexandria

I’m currently working on my 2008 Blu-ray Holiday Guide and my top 20 list for 2008 and it goes without saying The Dark Knight Blu-ray disc is one of the best Blu-rays of the year. It’s a true showcase title that combines an Amazing 1080P Picture, TrueHD Sound, and truly unique special features into something remarkable.  Director Christopher Nolan gives puts a lot of love into the 3 Disc special edition.  The menus make sense and all the Featurettes are filmed in beautiful HD.  The disk includes Digital Copy, which I’m really starting to get into. I would never want to want this movie on my iPod Touch – even though it looks gorgeous, but being able to watch it on my Macbook while on the go, is pretty awesome.

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WB is doing something truly unique with BD-Live which is usually just some lame menu that includes trailers. The Dark Knight disc let’s you actually record a video commentary and share it with your friends. You can also schedule group viewing as well. Unfortunately, BD-Live wasn’t turned on last week when I was reviewing this, so I decided to wait until today to test it out and everything works really well, it takes a bit to set up but once you do it’s a pretty cool use of the technology.  In order to use BD-Live you have to first setup an account – an immediate turnoff, especially typing it on an onscreen keypad. Then after that, you still have to go to your email for a confirmation and feel out this long, intrusive form. Go back to the BD-Live and resign it. What a pain in the ass. After all of that the first thing I saw was a trailer for….The Dark Knight! How retarded is that?

Picture

The one thing that bugs me is the Aspect Ratio of the picture is harsh. I just purchased a 46 inch, Sony Bravia, I don’t want to see any freaking letterboxed black bars on my screen.  I’ve never been a fan of letterboxing and never will.  There’s a feature called Focal Points where you can watch how to sequences during the course of the film. It’s especially irritating because the navigation is broken when you are watching these clips. You can’t get back to the movie unless you stop it and restart the film. So it’s a really useless feature. You can, however watch all 18 features separately.  Most of these average about 2 – 7 minutes, some are shot in HD and others in Standard Def.

On Disc 2 you have the Features

Behind the Story

  • Batman Tech – A really cool 45 Minute feature about the technology used by Batman and close to reality all of this gear is. (HD)
  • Batman Unmasked The Psychology of The Dark Kight – Another 45 minute feature that looks into Batman’s motivations and pschye. We get to go inside the mind of a Superhero with real psychologists. As a former Psych major, I found this to be fascinating stuff. (HD)

Extras

  • Gotham Tonight – All 6 episodes of the Web Series (HD)
  • Photo Galleries
  • Nine Trailers and TV Spots (HD)

You can read my review of the movie here. As I said in the beginning, this is a ground breaking Blu-ray disk and must buy. One of the year’s best films gets the year’s best Blu-Ray.

Movie Grade – A+

Picture – A-

Audio – A

Features – A

Final Overall Grade – A+

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted
12.09.08

OSCAR RACE: Heath Ledger Honored by DC Film Critics!

Oscar Race: Heath Ledger, Named Best Supporting Actor!
Oscar Race: Heath Ledger, Named Best Supporting Actor!

This year’s Oscar campaign has been pretty lackluster, but there were a few jems to be discovered.  Today, the Washington, DC Film Critics Association has named Slumdog Millionaire the year’s best film.  I’m a member of WAFCA and this year’s selections are all about 75% of my choices, so I won’t complain like I usually do.   Heath Ledger took home the Best Supporting Actor nod and Wall E best animated film, while Danny Boyle took Best Director. My favorite foreign film of the year the indie Vampire flick Let The Right One In took Foreign Language film.  Here’s the complete list of winners.

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire/Fox Searchlight
Best Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Original Screenplay: Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Animated: Wall?E/Disney&Pixar
Best Documentary: Man on Wire/Magnolia Pictures
Best Foreign Film: Let the Right One In/Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing
Best Ensemble: Doubt/Miramax
Best Breakthrough: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button/Paramount

MOVIE REVIEW: Slumdog Millionaire, Michelle’s Take!

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire, Michelle's Take
Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire, Michelle

Director Danny Boyle has crafted one of the best and most surprising films of the year. Slumdog Millionaire is a dour film to watch but somehow manages to maintain a heart.   It’s a brilliant film that surprisingly enough, I don’t really have much to say about it. I mean, how many different ways can I say it’s great and well worth the advanced buzz that it’s getting.

I first heard about this film several years ago when Danny Boyle discussed it as his next project. Back then he told me “It’s about two brothers and a girl they both love. They grow up in the slums and are uneducated, but when one of the brothers turn 18 they go on the Hindu version of Who Wants to be a Millinoaire. The Hindu version of the show is much tougher than the American version. There’s a real professiona class in India who is highly educated, but cash poor. They are really suspicious of how this kid with no education won the show. He knows the answers because they are all based on his life experience. He doesn’t care about the money, he hopes that if he stays on the show long enough the girl will see the show. It’s a love story.”

Boyle’s description of the film is a little misleading, Millionaire is a love story between Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) and Latika (Freida Pinto). They go through a lot through their 10 year relationship, including Jamal’s jealous brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) who decides he doesn’t like Latika when they are children in the slums and for the next decade or so he goes out of his way to make Latika’s life hell and keeps her separated from Jamal.  Everytime they finally find each other, there’s Salim to muck it up.  His hatred is never really explained, Salim, you get the feeling that Salim isn’t jealous because he loves Latika, he’s jealous because Jamal is happy, or he fears losing his brother to Latika.

This is a surprisingly brutal and bleak film, watching how Latika, Jamal and Salim grow up, you have to marvel at the human will to survive in the worse conditions possible. So in that sense, it’s also a hopeful film. You really want to see Jamal achieve his dream of being with Latika. My minor quibble is that I never quite got the sense that Latika felt as strongly for Jamal. You never really see her putting herself on the line or pining for him as much as Jamal does for her. That’s a function of Simon Beaufoy screenplay and the fact the film is told entirely from Jamal’s point of view. I get that there were some subtle hints, like when she goes with Salim and forces Jamal to run. You know she’s doing it to protect him, but it doesn’t explicitly state that’s why she did it.

I loved the out of left field Bollywood dance during the credit sequence. And for all it’s harshness, the film is beautifully shot by Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. Don’t be surprised to see this film get some Award nods this season. It’s pure Oscar bait.

Final Grade A

EM Review By
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 12.07.08

CONTEST: Body of Lies Washington, DC Screening Announcement!

Spend the night with Leonardo and Russell Crowe as EclipseMagazine.com and Warner Brothers team up to bring you the Washington, DC Screening of Body of Lies. The Screening will be held Tuesday, October 7, 2008 (that’s tomorrow night!) at Gallery Place in DC. I’m working with Warners on automating our contests, so we’re testing out this cool new system. To get your tickets, CLICK HERE!!! and enter the code ECLP9886.  This movie looks amazingly good so go, enter the code, download your pass, it’s that simple.

bodyoflies 

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the best man U.S. Intelligence has on the ground, in places where human life is worth no more than the information it can get you.  In operations that take him around the globe from the Middle East to Washington, Ferris’s next breath often depends on the voice at the other end of a secure phone line – CIA veteran Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe).  Waging war from a laptop in the suburbs, Hoffman is on the trail of an emerging terrorist leader who has orchestrated a campaign of bombings while eluding the most sophisticated intelligence network in the world.  To lure the terrorist out into the open, Ferris will have to penetrate his murky world, but the closer he gets to the target, the more he discovers that trust is both a dangerous commodity and the only one that will get him out alive.

The film stars Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio ("Blood Diamond," "The Aviator," "The Departed"), Oscar winner Russell Crowe ("Gladiator," "A Beautiful Mind"), Mark Strong ("Stardust"), Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani ("M for Mother"), Oscar Isaac ("The Nativity Story") and Simon McBurney ("The Golden Compass").

"Body of Lies" is directed by Academy Award nominee Ridley Scott ("Black Hawk Down," "Gladiator") from a screenplay by Oscar winner William Monahan ("The Departed") based on the novel by former Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.  Donald De Line ("The Italian Job") and Ridley Scott are the producers, with Michael Costigan ("American Gangster," "Brokeback Mountain") and Charles J.D. Schlissel ("The Prestige") serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team is led by cinematographer Alexander Witt ("American Gangster"), Oscar-nominated production designer Arthur Max ("American Gangster," "Gladiator") Oscar-winning editor Pietro Scalia ("Black Hawk Down"), and Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates ("Gladiator").  Marc Streitenfeld ("Kingdom of Heaven") composed the score.

Opening nationwide on October 10, 2008, "Body of Lies" will be distributed by Warner Bros Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.  The film has been rated "R" by the MPAA for "strong violence, including some torture, and language throughout."

No Country for Old Men selected Best Picture by Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association!

No Country for Old Men

39 Washington, DC area Film Critics (WAFCA – of which I’m one) huddled together in a small broom closet this weekend to do our annual duty of selected the best of the year. In the last three weeks we were hit with an avalanche of DVD Screeners (about 50) and had a bunch of screenings to attend (about 100) and walked away with our eventual best Picture selection. Generally, I disagree with my fellow members, but last year and this year they got everything right, with the exception of Clooney for Michael Clayton – a film I absolutely HATED. I’m still mixed on No Country for Old Men, which is why I haven’t written a review yet. The first 90 minutes I sat there thinking, I’m watching the clear Best Picture of the Year, but then that weird ass last 20 minutes just ruins the entire film for me. I left the theater really angry and wondering what the f just happened. I’m still not entirely sure if the last 20 minutes is enough to throw out the first 90 minutes of brilliance or not. Ultimately, I did cast my ballad for No Country and am glad that it won. Because the other selections where two films that I absolutely loathe (Atonement and Michael Clayton.) So we did good this year and I’m happy with the results. Without Further adieu……

BEST PICTURE
Winner: No Country for Old Men

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: Ethan and Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)

BEST ACTOR
Winner: George Clooney (Michael Clayton)

BEST ACTRESS
Winner:
Julie Christie (Away from Her)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner:
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: Diablo Cody (Juno)

BEST ENSEMBLE
Winner: No Country for Old Men

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Winner: Ratatouille

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Winner: Sicko

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: Sweeney Todd

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Winner: Ellen Page (Juno)