John Woo's "Red Cliff" Movie Review 

Action-cinema master John Woo returns with the breathtaking war epic “Red Cliff.” The film tells the legendary tale of the Battle of Red Cliff that took place in China in 208 A.D. It’s a well-directed action adventure that will delight moviegoers.

Making his first Chinese film in 16 years, Woo returns to his roots with a movie that can rival any Hollywood blockbuster in scope and scale. With an estimated budget of $80 million, “Red Cliff” is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date.

The story of “Red Cliff” was first immortalized in the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It evolves around a historical battle that tells of the great intelligence and bravery of the ancient people of China. Read More...

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"Up," "Coraline" Top 2009 Annie Award Nominees 

The International Animated Film Society has announced the 2009 Annie Award nominations! "Up" and "Coraline" led the pack in the film categories.

Award recipients will claim their trophies at the 37th Annual Annie Awards scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2010 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California.

Here's the list of nominees of the 37th Annual Annie Awards:


Best Animated Feature

* Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs — Sony Pictures Animation
* Coraline — Laika
* Fantastic Mr. Fox — 20th Century Fox
* The Princess and the Frog — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* The Secret of Kells — Cartoon Saloon
* Up — Pixar Animation Studios

Best Home Entertainment Production

* Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas — Universal Animation Studios
* Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder — The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
* Green Latern: First Flight — Warner Bros. Animation
* Open Season 2 — Sony Pictures Animation
* SpongeBob vs. The Big One — Nickelodeon

Best Animated Short Subject

* Pups of Liberty — Picnic Pictures
* Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 — ShadowMachine
* Santa, The Fascist Years — Plymptoons
* The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky — Barley Films
* The Story of Walls — Badmash Animation Studios

Best Animated Television Commercial

* Goldfish: In The Dark — Blur Studios, Inc.
* Idaho Lottery “Twiceland” — Acme Filmworks, Inc.
* Nutty Trade — Blue Sky Studios
* Spanish Lottery “Deportees” — Acme Filmworks, Inc.
* The Spooning — Screen Novelties /Acne Media

Best Animated Television Production

* Glenn Martin, DDS — Tornante, Cuppa Coffee Studios & Rogers Communications
* Merry Madagascar — DreamWorks Animation
* Prep and Landing — ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios
* The Simpsons — Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production for Children

* Mickey Mouse Clubhouse — Disney Television Animation
* SpongeBob SquarePants — Nickelodeon
* The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack — Cartoon Network Studios
* The Mighty B! — Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
* The Penguins of Madagascar — Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation


Animated Effects

* Scott Cegielski “Monsters vs. Aliens” — DreamWorks Animation
* Alexander Feigin “9” — 9 L.L.C.
* Eric Froemling “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Tom Kluyskens “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” — Sony Pictures Animation
* James Mansfield “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Television Production

* Mark Donald “B.O.B.'s Big Break” — DreamWorks Animation
* Mark Mitchell “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Kevan Shorey “Merry Madagascar” — DreamWorks Animation
* Tony Smeed “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Phillip To “Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space” — DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production

* Andreas Deja “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Eric Goldberg “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Travis Knight “Coraline” — Laika
* Daniel Nguyen “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Bruce Smith “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Television Production

* Bryan Arnett “The Mighty B! - Catatonic” — Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
* Ben Balistreri “Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends” — Cartoon Network Studios
* Craig Kellman “Merry Madagascar” — DreamWorks Animation
* Bill Schwab “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production

* Daniel Lopez Munoz “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Shane Prigmore “Coraline” — Laika
* Shannon Tindle “Coraline” — Laika

Directing in a Television Production

* Pam Cooke & Jansen Yee “American Dad: Brains, Brains & Automobiles” — 20th Century Fox/Fuzzy Door/Underdog
* Rob Fendler “Popzilla” — Animax
* John Infantino, J.G. Quintel “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Candy Casanova” — Cartoon Network Studios
* Bret Haaland “The Penguins of Madagascar - Launchtime” — Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
* Jennifer Oxley “The Wonder Pets: Help The Monster” — Nickelodeon/Little Airplane Productions

Directing in a Feature Production

* Wes Anderson “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — 20th Century Fox
* Pete Docter “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Christopher Miller, Phil Lord “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” — Sony Pictures Animation
* Hayao Miyazaki “Ponyo” — Studio Ghibli
* Henry Selick “Coraline” — Laika

Music in a Television Production

* Michael Giacchino “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Kevin Kiner “Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Weapons Factory” — Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
* Guy Moon “The Fairly OddParents: “Wishology-The Big Beginning” — Nickelodeon

Music in a Feature Production

* Bruno Coulais “Coraline” — Laika
* Michael Giacchino “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Joe Hisaishi “Ponyo” — Studio Ghibli
* John Powell “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” — Blue Sky Studios

Production Design in a Television Production

* Mac George “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Andy Harkness “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Janice Kubo “Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends” — Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production

* Christopher Appelhans “Coraline” — Laika
* Ian Gooding “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Tadahiro Uesugi “Coraline” — Laika
* Christophe Vacher “9” — 9 L.L.C.

Storyboarding in a Television Production

* Sunil Hall “The Mighty B!: Catatonic” — Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper
* Brandon Kruse “The Fairly OddParents: Fly Boy” — Nickelodeon
* Robert Koo “Merry Madagascar” — DreamWorks Animation
* Joe Mateo “Prep and Landing” — ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios Kite Productions
* Adam Van Wyk “The Spectacular Spider-Man: Final Curtain” — Culver Entertainment

Storyboarding in a Feature Production

* Sharon Bridgeman “Astro Boy” — Imagi Studios
* Chris Butler “Coraline” — Laika
* Ronnie Del Carmen “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Tom Owens “Monsters vs. Aliens” — DreamWorks Animation
* Peter Sohn “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production

* Danny Jacobs - Voice of King Julien - “Merry Madagascar” — DreamWorks Animation
* Nicky Jones - Voice of Chowder - “Chowder: The Dinner Theatre” — Cartoon Network Studios
* Tom Kenny - Voice of SpongeBob - “SpongeBob SquarePants — Truth or Square” — Nickelodeon
* Dwight Schultz - Voice of Mung Daal - “Chowder:The Party Cruise” — Cartoon Network Studios
* Willow Smith - Voice of Abby - “Merry Madagascar” — DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production

* Jen Cody - Voice of Charlotte - “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Dawn French - Voice of Miss Forcible - “Coraline” — Laika
* Hugh Laurie - Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. - “Monsters vs. Aliens” — DreamWorks Animation
* John Leguizamo - Voice of Sid - “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur” — Blue Sky Studios
* Jenifer Lewis - Voice of Mama Odie - “The Princess and the Frog” — Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in a Television Production

* Daniel Chun - “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XX” — Gracie Films
* Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton - “Prep and Landing” — Walt Disney Animation Studios
* Valentina L. Garza - “The Simpsons: Four Great Women and a Manicure” — Gracie Films
* Billy Kimball and Ian Maxtone-Graham - “The Simpsons: Gone Maggie Gone” — Gracie Films
* Billy Lopez - “The Wonder Pets - Save the Honey Bears” — Nickelodeon Productions/Little Airplane Productions

Writing in a Feature Production

* Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach - “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — 20th Century Fox
* Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy - “Up” — Pixar Animation Studios
* Timothy Hyde Harris and David Bowers - “Astro Boy” — Imagi Studios
* Christopher Miller and Phil Lord - “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” — Sony Pictures Animation


Winsor McCay Award — Tim Burton, Bruce Timm, Jeffrey Katzenberg

June Foray — Tom Sito

Ub Iwerks Award — William T. Reeves

Special Achievement — Martin Meunier and Brian McLean

Certificate of Merit — Myles Mikulic, Danny Young and Michael Woodside

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Spirit Awards Nominations Announced! "Precious," "The Last Station" Score! 

Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization behind the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Nominees for Best Feature include "(500) Days Of Summer," "Amreeka," "Precious," "Sin Nombre," and "The Last Station."

Taraji P. Henson and Matt Dillon also announced finalists for the Acura Someone to Watch Award, the Truer Than Fiction Award, and the Piaget Producers Award.

A Serious Man was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film's director, casting director and ensemble cast.

The awards show will be held March 5, two days before the Oscars. The event will be held at the LA Live campus downtown.

Visit the Spirit Awards official site right here.

And now, the nominees of the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards:


"(500) Days Of Summer" - Producers: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
"Amreeka" - Producers: Paul Barkin, Christina Piovesan
"Precious" - Producers: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness
"Sin Nombre" - Producer: Amy Kaufman
"The Last Station" - Producers: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling, Jens Meuer


Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - "A Serious Man"
Lee Daniels - "Precious"
Cary Joji Fukunaga - "Sin Nombre"
James Gray - "Two Lovers"
Michael Hoffman - "The Last Station"


Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman - "The Messenger"
Michael Hoffman - "The Last Station"
Lee Toland Krieger - "The Vicious Kind"
Greg Mottola - "Adventureland"
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber - "(500) Days Of Summer"


"A Single Man" - Director: Tom Ford; Producers: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz
"Crazy Heart" - Director: Scott Cooper; Producers: T Bone Burnett, Judy Cairo, Rob Carliner, Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall
"Easier With Practice" - Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez; Producer: Cookie Carosella
"Paranormal Activity" - Director: Oren Peli; Producer: Jason Blum, Oren Peli
"The Messenger" - Director: Oren Moverman; Producers: Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller


Sophie Barthes - "Cold Souls"
Scott Cooper - "Crazy Heart"
Cherien Dabis - "Amreeka"
Geoffrey Fletcher - "Precious"
Tom Ford, David Scearce - "A Single Man"

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.

"Big Fan" - Writer/Director: Robert Siegel; Producers: Elan Bogarin, Jean Kouremetis
"Humpday" - Writer/Director/Producer: Lynn Shelton
"The New Year Parade" - Writer/Director: Tom Quinn; Producers: Steve Beal, Tom Quinn
"Treeless Mountain" - Writer/Director: So Yong Kim; Producers: Bradley Rust Gray, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy
"Zero Bridge" - Writer/Director: Tariq Tapa; Producers: Josée Lajoie, Hilal Ahmed Langoo, Tariq Tapa


Maria Bello - "Downloading Nancy"
Nisreen Faour - "Amreeka"
Helen Mirren - "The Last Station"
Gwyneth Paltrow - "Two Lovers"
Gabourey Sidibe - "Precious"


Jeff Bridges - "Crazy Heart"
Colin Firth - "A Single Man"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - "(500) Days Of Summer"
Souléymane Sy Savané - "Goodbye Solo"
Adam Scott - "The Vicious Kind"


Dina Korzun - "Cold Souls"
Mo’Nique - "Precious"
Samantha Morton - "The Messenger"
Natalie Press - "Fifty Dead Men Walking"
Mia Wasikowska - "That Evening Sun"


Jemaine Clement - "Gentlemen Broncos"
Woody Harrelson - "The Messenger"
Christian McKay - "Me and Orson Welles"
Raymond McKinnon - "That Evening Sun"
Christopher Plummer - "The Last Station"


Roger Deakins - "A Serious Man"
Adriano Goldman - "Sin Nombre"
Anne Misawa - "Treeless Mountain"
Andrij Parekh - "Cold Souls"
Peter Zeitlinger - "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"


"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" - Director: Sacha Gervasi
"Food, Inc." - Director: Robert Kenner
"More Than A Game" - Director: Kristopher Belman
"October Country" - Directors: Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri
"Which Way Home" - Director: Rebecca Cammisa


"A Prophet" - (France) Director: Jacques Audiard
"An Education" - (UK/France) Director: Lone Scherfig
"Everlasting Moments" - (Sweden) Director: Jan Troell
"Mother" - (South Korea) Director: Bong Joon-Ho
"The Maid" - (Chile) Director: Sebastián Silva


Kyle Patrick Alvarez - "Easier With Practice"
Asiel Norton - "Redland"
Tariq Tapa - "Zero Bridge"


Natalia Almada - "El General"
Jessica Oreck - "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo"
Bill Ross, Turner Ross - "45365"


Karin Chien - "The Exploding Girl," "Santa Mesa"
Larry Fessenden - "I Sell the Dead," "The House of the Devil"
Dia Sokol - "Beeswax," "Nights & Weekends"

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

"A Serious Man"
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Casting Directors: Ellen Chenoweth, Rachel Tenner
Ensemble Cast: Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Jessica McManus, Fred Melamed, Michael Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff

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Helen Mirren to Receive Career Achievement at Palm Springs International Film Festival 

Academy Award winner Helen Mirren will be presented with the Career Achievement Award at the 21st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will kick off the 2010 awards season on Tuesday, January 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will be hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart. The Festival runs January 5-18, 2010.

Mirren is being honored for her "large and distinguished body of work," festival chairman Harold Matzner said. "Mirren is one of the most outstanding actresses of her generation and she delivers another fine performance in The Last Station.”

I love Mirren's performance in "The Last Station" and this is a great award in honor of her contribution. Plus, I'm proud of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, it happens in my neighborhood, and the folks behind the event know how to pick the much-deserved recipients.

For example, Mirren will join previously announced honorees Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Mariah Carey ("Precious") and Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") at the event.

For more info on the Palm Springs International Film Festival, visit their official site right here.

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"The Hurt Locker" Shines at the Gotham Independent Film Awards! See Full List of Winners! 

"The Hurt Locker" won big at the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at a ceremony held at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. The film beat "Amreeka," "Big Fan," "The Maid," and "A Serious Man" for the Best Feature Trophy.

"The Hurt Locker" also won the Best Ensemble Performance Award beating "Adventureland," "Cold Souls," "A Serious Man," and "Sugar."

(For the complete list of nominees, click here)

Presented by IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project), the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film and the first major honors of the film awards season.

A total of 22 films received nominations in six competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

For the second year, the recipient of the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award will receive a cash award of $5,000 provided by Reiff & Associates.

Career tributes were also presented to actors Natalie Portman and Stanley Tucci, filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and producer/executives Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Co-Chairman of Working Title Films. The awards ceremony was hosted by the up-and-coming comedian, Kumail Nanjiani.

Here's the list of the winners of the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Award:

Best Feature presented by actress Shohreh Aghdashloo


Directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow; Written and produced by Mark Boal; Produced by Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro
Released by Summit Entertainment

The Best Feature Jury included: actress Shohreh Aghdashloo; filmmakers Julie Taymor and William Friedkin, producer Wendy Finerman and musician/composer Stewart Copeland.

Best Documentary presented by actor Melonie Diaz and filmmaker Brett Morgen


Directed and produced by Robert Kenner; Produced by Elise Pearlstein
Released by Magnolia Pictures

The Best Documentary Jury included: editor Sabine Hoffman and filmmakers Edet Belzberg, Albert and Allen Hughes, Brett Morgen and Julia Reichert.

Breakthrough Director Award presented by actors Rosie Perez and Anthony Mackie


Writer and director, BIG FAN
Released by First Independent Pictures
The Breakthrough Director Jury included: actors William H. Macy and Rosie Perez, filmmaker Marc Forster, producer Heather Rae, director of photography Matthew Libatique, and editor Christopher Tellefsen.

Breakthrough Actor Award presented by actors Ellen Burstyn and Oliver Platt


Actress, THE MAID
Released by Elephant Eye Films

The Breakthrough Actor Jury included: actors Ellen Burstyn, Melonie Diaz and Oliver Platt, and filmmakers Jesse Peretz and David O. Russell.

Best Ensemble Performance Award presented by actress and author Brooke Shields and writer/director Richard LaGravenese

Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse and Evangeline Lilly in "THE HURT LOCKER"

Released by Summit Entertainment / Casting director: Mark Bennett

The Best Ensemble Performance Jury included: actors Dylan Baker, America Ferrera, Brooke Shields, writer/director Richard LaGravenese, and producer Susan Stover.

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award presented by actors Patricia Clarkson and Sam Rockwell

Ry Russo-Young, director, producer and co-writer

The recipient of The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™ award was determined by the editors of Filmmaker magazine, a publication of IFP, and a curator from The Museum of Modern Art.

For more info on the 2009 Gotham Independent Film Awards visit their official site right here.

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