"The Rite" Movie Review! How Many Kisses Does Anthony Hopkins Get? 


One can argue that Anthony Hopkins, nineteen years after winning an Academy Award for his memorable turn as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs," could not shake off the image of his iconic serial killer portrayal.


In the new thriller "The Rite," Hopkins plays a legendary priest who has performed thousands of exorcisms. Look closely in his performance, and you can see an evil cannibal glint in his eyes. Read More...

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Top 10 Oscar Snubs From Today's Nominations! 


To go along with my rants on Oscar nomination snubs (check my ranting, and some raving, right here), I am posting these poll results from Fandango. The No. 1 gripe? Christopher Nolan was not nominated for Best Director in "Inception."

Check out Fandango's “Top 10 Oscar Nomination Snubs of 2011” poll, as of 10:00 a.m. PT.

1. Top Oscar Snub: Christopher Nolan - Best Director, Inception (48%)

2. Tangled – Best Animated Feature (9%)

3. Mila Kunis - Best Supporting Actress, Black Swan (8%)

4. Despicable Me – Best Animated Feature (6%)

5. Ryan Gosling – Best Actor, Blue Valentine (6%)

6. Waiting for Superman – Best Documentary (5%)

7. Black Swan – Best Original Screenplay (5%)

8. Andrew Garfield – Best Supporting Actor, The Social Network (5%)

9. Julianne Moore – Best Actress, The Kids are All Right (4%)

10. Inception– Best Editing (3%)

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"The Kids Are All Right" Oscar Nominee Reactions 


Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right" received four Oscar nominations today including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Annette Bening, and Best Supporting Actor for Mark Ruffalo. (Check out my interviews with "The Kids Are All Right" cast and director right here).

Now, Focus Features has released reactions from Cholodenko and company regarding their nominations, my favorite is Bening's :happy

"4 nominations and 4 kids. I am damn proud!"

- Annette Bening, Performance by an actress in a leading role


"It is with great honor and humility that I receive my Oscar nomination. I have been included with a group of top-notch actors who I respect and admire. I am humbled to be in their presence. I also would like to acknowledge the power of ensemble acting. The kind of acting that happened in this movie does not exist in a bubble. Any honor that I receive must be shared with Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska, the rest of the cast, and of course the inimitable Lisa Cholodenko. Thank you to the Academy. This nomination is a win for Marriage Equality and that is the most I could hope for.

-Mark Ruffalo, Performance by an actor in a supporting role

“It's incredible to think that this morning's Oscar nominations go back 7 years to the fateful day Stuart Blumberg and I crossed paths in a Los Angeles coffee shop and agreed to write KIDS together. If luck is preparation meeting opportunity, then that was the opportunity, hands down! I'm thrilled that I'll be at the Kodak Theatre next month with Stuart, Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening, Jeff Levy-Hinte, and my other producers who worked so hard to get this film made. I only regret that Julianne Moore didn't get the acting nomination she so richly deserved. But the Picture nomination is as much hers as ours. We couldn't have made this film without her heart, smarts and loyalty, not to mention her outstanding performance.”

- Lisa Cholodenko , co-writer and director of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

“Try as I could to act cool and not care, as soon as I heard our names called, I started crying like a little kid. Pardon the cliché, but this truly is a dream come true. I want to thank the Academy for this most phenomenal honor.”

- Stuart Blumberg, co-writer of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

"We are overjoyed that the Academy gave our film four nominations -- what a journey, from years getting the movie together to Sundance last year to the Kodak Theatre next month! We made the film because we had something to say about the power of love, and I want to thank the Academy members from the bottom of my heart for showing us their love!"

- Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Producer of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

“We’re grateful to be acknowledged by the AMPAS voters as being among the year’s Best Pictures in what was a strong year for our industry – and are ecstatic that Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, and Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg are all nominated as well.”

- Gary Gilbert, Producer of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

“It took 7 years, 13 financiers, and a 23-day shoot to make our film a reality. By recognizing Kids, the Academy has not only honored us but has given hope and inspiration to the independent film community.”

- Celine Rattray , Producer of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

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Stuttering Foundation Gives "The King’s Speech" A Hero’s Welcome 


Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" dominated the 2011 Oscar nominations with twelve nods (see complete Oscar nominations right here), and now, the Stuttering Foundation is giving the film a hero's welcome.

In the movie, Oscar front-runner Colin Firth portrays King George VI, a ruler who must overcome his stuttering problem to unite his country during World War II.

Jane Fraser, President of The Stuttering Foundation, issued the following reaction to today’s Oscar nominations:

“The Stuttering Foundation gives a hero’s welcome to The King’s Speech, which has brought overwhelmingly positive attention to the plight of people who stutter. The King’s Speech, with its 12 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress nominations, continues to put a much-needed spotlight on stuttering. For the stuttering community, there are few, if any, more accurate portrayals of the anguish faced by people who stutter, or of the hardship it places on family and friends, than in this movie. Stuttering is most often the province of comic relief, and never of the hero. The King’s Speech gives the stuttering community a hero who inspires and a movie that promotes understanding and acceptance of the complexities of stuttering. We congratulate the directors, producers, writers and actors for their work, and their humanity in helping millions of people who stutter with understanding and hope.”

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Christopher Nolan NOT Nominated for Best Director Oscar! See Other Glaring Omissions!  


The 83rd Academy Awards nominations announcement was at once exciting, and frustrating. Exciting because as a movie buff, it’s quite exhilarating to see your favorite films get nods. But at the same time, it was frustrating because some of the movies and the people that worked in these films were ignored.

(Check out complete 2011 Oscar nominations right here)

So here are my complaints, frustrations, and thoughts on the Oscar nominations revealed this morning. Who and what did the Academy ignore?

In the Best Actor category, Robert Duvall was bumped out of the race to give way to Javier Bardem. Duvall was nominated for a SAG award for his performance in “Get Low” but the Academy gave the slot Bardem for the foreign language-nominated film, “Biutiful.”

Hilary Swank, who received a SAG award Best Actress nomination for “Conviction,” was ignored. In her place is the much-deserving Michelle Williams for “Blue Valentine.” BUT, Williams’ co-star, Ryan Gosling, did not receive a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the movie.

In the Best Supporting Actress category, SAG-nominated Mila Kunis for “Black Swan” gave way to the excellent Jacki Weaver for “Animal Kingdom.” And I love, love, love that newcomer Hailee Steinfeld received a nomination for her memorable performance in “True Grit.”

While “Inception” received 8 nominations -- Best Picture, Art Direction, Cinematography, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Best Original Writing – the guy behind it all, Christopher Nolan, was left out for Best Directing! Sure, he’s nominated for Best Original Writing, but the Academy relegated his excellent mind-boggling film to the technical categories.

YET, “Inception” did not receive a Best Film Editing nod. In my humble opinion, the movie’s jumping narrative sequence would not have worked if not for Lee Smith’s great editing skills for the movie. But the film that squeezed into its place is equally deserving. Jon Harris’ editing work for Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” is also truly commendable.

Speaking of omissions, Ben Affleck’s fantastic film, “The Town” was largely ignored by the Academy. The film failed to get a Best Picture nomination, but at least, Jeremy Renner received a Best Supporting Actor nod for his work on the film.

In Costume Design, I love that the Academy did not forget Antonella Cannarozzi’s work in “I Am Love” yet the Italian movie failed to receive a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Going back to the Best Directing category, while I love all the nominees – Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), David O. Russell (“The Fighter”), Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”), David Fincher (“The Social Network”), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (“True Grit”) – it’s interesting to note that the great Coen brothers were ignored by the Director’s Guild (where Nolan was nominated for “Inception”), but at the Oscars, the game of musical chairs was played in this category. Buh-bye Nolan, Hello Coen brothers.

And really, the Academy voters, bless their hearts, could not dare to nominate a woman! Sure, Kathryn Bigelow won last year for “The Hurt Locker” and made history, but one can argue that she received the Best Director trophy for a film that’s largely a part of the male-oriented genre. This year, two excellent films, both nominated for Best Picture Oscar, are dramas and were directed by brilliant women. There’s Debra Granik for “Winter’s Bone” and Lisa Cholodenko for “The Kids Are All Right.” Were they nominated for Best Director? Of course not!

In the Documentary (Feature) category, where’s “Waiting for Superman?” Davis Guggenheim’s exploration of our failed public school system received the Producers Guild Award for Best Documentary but was nowhere in sight in the Oscar nominations. I did like that both “Restrepo” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop” made the cut though.

And just between us, I’m kind of glad that “Burlesque” did not receive a single nomination in the Music category. The songs sounded strained, and I’d rather hear Dido sing “If I Rise” from “127 Hours” than see Cher and Christina Aguilera duke it out on stage…again.

One more thing, I’m glad that “Winter’s Bone” is getting all the love – four nominations including Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for John Hawkes, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Granik & Anne Rosellini.

Speaking of the Best Adapted Screenplay category, where was “Toy Story 3” adapted from? Was it because it’s a threequel and all the characters were based on the first two films? Really? I thought this category was for a film that has previous incarnations as either a book or a play but not a sequel. Hhhmmmmm.

“127 Hours” was based on a book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston, “The Social Network” was based on a book by Ben Mezrich, “True Grit” came from Charles Portis’ novel, and “Winter’s Bone” was based on Daniel Woodrell’s book.

“Toy Story 3?” An original story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich. So the film should have been nominated in the Original Screenplay category right?

Last thing, I’m also happy that “Another Year” by Mike Leigh was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. But I think it’s a crime that Lesley Manville, the talented actress that won my heart in “Another Year” was ignored! Oh well, perhaps another year.

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