Here it is, my first ever Manny Mania!!!
In this awards-giving season, let's take a look back at the best of the best of 2007.
Let's shine the spotlight on BEST YOUNG TALENT, ACTORS AND ACTRESSES UNDER 21!!!
Here they are, in order of importance!
ELLEN PAIGE -- "JUNO" -- Not only is "Juno" one of the smartest films of the year, it also boasts a great script, and a great ensemble, headed by the 20-year old Miss Page! She was exhilarating in "Hard Candy" but she's finally getting her dues in "Juno." I won't be surprised if she gets nominated for Best Actress Oscar.
SAOIRSE RONAN -- "ATONEMENT" -- Great name but hard to spell (SAOIRSE PRONOUNCED SEER-SHA), Miss Saoirse is the focal point of "Atonement." Playing a young, creative thinker, Ronan seems to pull the camera with her, as she walks briskly around the palatial compound in the opening scene of "Atonement." Without her, the film would have had a hard time connecting all the necessary dots. As a result, "Atonement" is one of the best films of 2007.
NIKKI BLONSKY – “HAIRSPRAY” – Miss Nikki surprised the heck out of us in “Hairspray.” This newcomer was one of the thousands of people who auditioned for the part of Tracy Turnblad. The former Cold Stone Creamery worker is now melting everyone’s hearts. And she can sing out loud too!
ANNASOPHIA ROBB – "BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA" – Released early this year, it’s easy to overlook this children’s classic gem. I love the book and the author ( watch my review ), and Miss Annasophia made me cry!
DAKOTA BLUE RICHARDS – “THE GOLDEN COMPASS” – Miss Dakota is faced with a daunting task to inject heart to an otherwise cold film ( watch my review ). But she succeeded, and she’s the main reason to watch this controversial movie.
MICHAEL CERA – “JUNO” – Cera was great in “Superbad” and he showed his range in “Juno.” There’s one key scene in the movie, where Ellen Page breaks his heart, and Cera showed great acting without going overboard!
ED SANDERS – “SWEENEY TODD” – Sanders is one of the best elements in this musical! He spars with Johnny Depp in key scenes, and he has a great, character-redeeming plot point in the end. Great melancholy voice too!
AHMAD KHAN MAHMIDZADA AND ZEKERIA EBRAHIMI – “THE KITE RUNNER” – The film is faced with controversy because of the rape scenes in the movie. Apparently, Afghanistans frown upon rape and they denigrate the victims (this is sad, sad, sad), and in the movie, there’s a rape scene involving boys, so Paramount moved the opening date of the film, and tried to relocate the boys to a friendlier country (will United States work?). Still, both young leads showed tour-de-force performance, in a good film by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”). Based on the best-selling novel by Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini.
JOSH HUTCHERSON – “BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA” – Like his co-star Annasophia Robb, Hutcherson shines in this Disney feature. His acting anchors the realism element of this fantasy tale. Watch my review and interviews with the cast and the author , Katherine Paterson (I asked her to autograph the book for me saying “never forget to imagine Manny”).
KRISTEN STEWART – She shines even in so-so flicks (“The Messengers”), in overcrowded movies (“In the Land of Women”), and in really great films (“Into the Wild”). She’s a rising star to look out for bearing a treasure chest of acting talent!
Who doesn’t remember, or pay attention to the lovable, adorable kids in “ Knocked Up ”? Besides the funny script, and comedic talents of the cast, the kids shine, playing the children of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (incidentally, the kids are Iris and Maude Apatow , children of “Knocked Up” creator and comedic genius, Judd Apatow and…Miss Leslie Mann).
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"The Golden Compass" navigates to theaters near you. But is it a good movie? Let me point you to the right direction!
And no, the film doesn't denigrate Christianity. It teaches kids to be thinkers! Is that wrong?
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And the winners are....
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
(I TOTALLY AGREE!!!)
Top Ten Films
(In alphabetical order) THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, ATONEMENT, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE BUCKET LIST, INTO THE WILD, JUNO, THE KITE RUNNER, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, MICHAEL CLAYTON, SWEENEY TODD
(I CAN'T ARGUE WITH THAT LIST, BUT I WOULD HAVE OMITTED A COUPLE)
Best Foreign Film
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
(YES -- BUT I ENJOYED 4 MONTHS BETTER!!!)
Top Five Foreign Films
(In alphabetical order) 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, THE BAND'S VISIT, THE COUNTERFEITERS, LA VIE EN ROSE, LUST, CAUTION
BODY OF WAR
(I WOULD HAVE PUT "SICKO")
Top Five Documentaries
(In alphabetical order) DARFUR NOW, IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, NANKING, TAXI TO THE DARKSIDE, TOOTS
Top Independent Films
(In alphabetical order) AWAY FROM HER, GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, HONEYDRIPPER, IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, A MIGHTY HEART, THE NAMESAKE, ONCE, THE SAVAGES, STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING, WAITRESS
GEORGE CLOONEY, Michael Clayton
(IT'S THE YEAR OF THE CLOONEY)
JULIE CHRISTIE, Away From Her
(LOVE JULIE CHRISTIE, BUT I WOULD HAVE WANTED MARION COTILLARD FOR "LA VIE EN ROSE")
Best Supporting Actor
CASEY AFFLECK, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(HUH? LOVE CASEY AFFLECK, BUT JAVIER BARDEM SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN THIS!!!)
Best Supporting Actress
AMY RYAN, Gone Baby Gone
Best Ensemble Cast
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
(ANOTHER GREAT CHOICE!!!)
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor
EMILE HIRSCH, Into The Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress
ELLEN PAGE, Juno
(ANOTHER YES!!! NIKKI BLONSKY FROM "HAIRSPRAY" COMES VERY CLOSE)
TIM BURTON, Sweeney Todd
(LOVE TIM BURTON, BUT I THINK THE COEN BROTHERS DID A FAR BETTER JOB!!!)
Best Directorial Debut
BEN AFFLECK, Gone Baby Gone
(I TOTALLY AGREE)
Best Adapted Screenplay
JOEL COEN and ETHAN COEN, No Country For Old Men
Best Original Screenplay
DIABLO CODY, Juno and NANCY OLIVER, Lars and the Real Girl
(TRULY ORIGINAL, ALTHOUGH I ENJOYED "THE SAVAGES'" SCRIPT BY TAMARA JENKINS)
Best Animated Feature
(WHY, OF COURSE!!!)
Career Achievement Award
(GO MICHAEL GO!!!)
William K. Everson Award For Film History
(CONGRATULATIONS MISTER ROBERT)
Career Achievement in Cinematography
(...AND MISTER ROGER)
The Bvlgari Award for NBR Freedom of Expression
THE GREAT DEBATERS and PERSEPOLIS
(BULGARI? HHHMMM....LOVE "PERSEPOLIS" THOUGH!!!)
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According to “The Golden Compass,” there is a world where people’s souls manifest themselves as animals, talking bears fight wars, and Gyptians (gypsy-like band of nomads) and witches co-exist. But this world is ruled by the Magisterium, which seeks to control all humanity. That fantasy world is the setting of the film.
Right here in the real world, there is a religious faction that seeks to stop the showing of “The Golden Compass.” According to the Catholic League, the film and the book that inspired it (Philip Pullman’s award-winning Dark Materials trilogy), "denigrate Christianity" and promote "atheism for kids."
It’s sad how some folks denounce a film prior to its release without even seeing the movie. If they had just taken their time to watch “The Golden Compass,” they would see that the flick actually teaches children to be thinkers and not just followers. And that’s a good thing!
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Jolie is set to play in a film inspired by a reali-life intelligence operative agent, Kathi Lynn Austin.
Miss Kathi has most recently worked for the U.N. Security Council, among others.
Jolie's flick will focus on a fictional arms dealer inspired by Victor Bout -- considered to be one of the world's most prolific dealers!
No script or title yet, but Paramount is set to produce.
And Miss Angela is currently busy with Clint Eastwood's "The Changeling."
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