Tuesday, October 31, 2006

From my review:

"Flags of Our Fathers is the best war film since Saving Private Ryan. In fact, Flags actually does Ryan one better. It reminds us of what greatness truly looks like. Movies are rarely so gripping, so powerful, so ... well, sometimes words just aren't sufficient. This is a film that simply must be experienced.

This is Clint Eastwood's masterpiece. I can't wait to see what he does with the follow-up, Letters from Iwo Jima, which tells the story from the Japanese perspective and is due out next year. He is determined to present both sides and examine the gray areas between people's perceptions of good and bad.

With its unassuming, effortless style and elegiac tone, Flags of Our Fathers is a towering work of great passion and power, one that will someday find itself counted among the true giants of cinema. It is a masterwork of our time - and for all time.

The year 2006, like any other, has seen more than its share of bad films. But it has also seen what is arguably the greatest film of the new century - and that film is Flags of Our Fathers."

Read the full review here.

Will they or won't they?

That seems to be the question - will the Academy award one of this year's two 9/11 movies with a Best Picture nod?

Many are saying that United 93 stands a good chance.

I just don't see it. World Trade Center is a much more conventional Academy pick. And it's not going to get nominated either. Sure it's a fine film, but the Academy would have to be in full-fledged sentimental mode to honor a 9/11 film. They were good films, but not great films. Important for being the first, maybe. But there will be better films dealing with this subject down the road - movies that won't be so careful not to offend anyone. I liked both films, but my main problem with both of them is they are almost too respectful. They leave many stones unturned in their efforts not to step on anyone's toes. They leave the tragedy itself largely unexplored.

Honoring these films will only leave another, more deserving film unrecognized. And I'm not really registering much buzz for either one. It all seems to be coming from prognosticators who are wondering aloud if it will happen, based on For Your Consideration campaigns being mounted by their respective studios. It's a shot in the dark, and a long shot for both of them. This year is just too crowded with worthy films. And I think this year 9/11 well get left out in the cold. There may be a Best Director nomination in Paul Greengrass' future for United 93...but that's a BIG maybe.

One thing I am pretty sure about...Marty and Clint will be going head to head once again...who will come out on top this time?

It's that time of the year again...the time of year when studios unveil the best of the best...the movies deemed worty of vying for the attention of Oscar.

Many of these will turn out to be disappointmens, many will be resounding successes. But no other time of year compares to this for me...this is my football season - the annual Academy Award Gold Derby - and the ceremony itself is my Super Bowl.

Each weekend from here till January is packed with films I can't wait to see, while smaller, art-house films are expanded each week.

Who will be nominated for the Big One this year? Who will be crowned Best Picture of 2006? Will voters get it right, or will Hollywood politics win the day?

Much ballyhoo is being made about Dreamgirls right now as being the Oscar front-runner. Here's the problem...no one has seen it yet. The Phantom of the Opera was touted as a frontrunner two years ago, as was Rent and The Producers last year. And let us not forget that before anyone had seen it, Alexander was the one to beat in 2004 (HA!). So it's still up in the air.

There is some controversy about whether or not Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers will make it into the top five. I honestly can't imagine how it couldn't. If Academy memebers can't recognize the greatest film of the 21st century so far, then it's gone to the dogs. If ever there was a movie deserving of Oscar, it's this one. Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby made it in, and they don't hold a candle to Flags. And the Academy LOVES World War II. This one will make it four for Clint.

So as of today, October 31, 2006, here are my current predictions for Best Picture nominations (which will probably change as we get closer to Ballot time):


It's the year's big ensemble piece. There's always one.


How can they ignore this one? It will be the lone blockbuster of the pack.


Clint Eastwood + WWII = Oscar gold.


The wild-card slot. Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney are a killer combination, and the black and white photography will add class (a la Good Night, and Good Luck, and Schindler's List). The fact that they're setting themselves up with that poster to be compared to Casablanca means they may have something great on their hands. But no one has seen it yet so...this could very well go another way. Volver, Little Children, and Dreamgirls are also distinct possibilities.


This one will be the requisite "art house" entry. It's just too highly praised and too well-liked to ignore.