Monday, September 17, 2007



Dir. Wes Anderson

Starring - Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Natalie Portman

The Darjeeling Limited is the latest from off-beat virtuoso director Wes Anderson (Rushmore/The Royal Tanenbaums/The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou), described as an "emotional comedy about three brothers re-forging family bonds", set on a train trip across India. After viewing the trailer, the pic seems like another fun ride, Wes Anderson style, with an impeccable soundtrack. For any die hard Anderson fan, what more could you hope for? The cast is fantastic and the setting, inspiring. I'll definitely be there when this one opens on September 29.

Not to discount the quality of the film, but as for Oscar chances, I think it's best to say Anderson hasn't found his Oscar-bound voice yet.

Release Date - September 29, 2007

Oscar Buzz - Not so much. :(


Thursday, September 6, 2007


Dir. Paul Haggis

Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, James Franco, Jason Patric, Josh Brolin, Frances Fisher

Release date: September 21, 2007

Despite the absolutely awful poster (see above), 'In the Valley of Elah' might make waves in the Oscar race this year. Directed by Hollywood darling Paul Haggis ('Crash', 'Million Dollar Baby'), the film centers around the father (Tommy Lee Jones) of an AWOL soldier who has just returned home from Iraq and the detective (Charlize Theron) who tries to help him find his son. With Susan Sarandon as the mother of the missing soldier and a supporting cast that includes James Franco, Frances Fisher, and Jason Patric, this film seems like it should be cemented into the Oscar race come January. But the buzz is quite mixed. On one hand, The Daily Variety says the film "is too self-serious to work as a straight-ahead whodunit and too lacking in imagination to realize its art-film aspiration." While The Hollywood Reporter praises the film, calling it "a powerful work that is as timely as it is moving."

It should become apparent very soon if this one has the guns to make the long haul to January, as it opens wide on September 21st.

Oscar Potential - I think 'Elah' is a longshot, though I keep waiting for the day that Sarandon will return to form with a solid role. Tommy Lee Jones has a good chance at a Best Actor nomination.


Dir. David Cronenberg

Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Release date: September 21, 2007

David Cronenberg is back with the follow-up to his critical breakthrough 'A History of Violence', and this time he is serious about grabbing some Oscar love. 'Eastern Promises' is a dark crime-thriller set amidst the Eastern European mafia world of North London, starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.

Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors, with a number of edgy classics under his belt - 'Videodrome', 'The Fly', 'Dead Ringers', 'The Dead Zone', 'Scanners' - as well as off-beat cult classics like 'Crash', 'Rabid', 'eXistenZ', and 'Naked Lunch'. This man deserves some recognition. And as much as it seems Cronenberg may be experiencing a conformative renaissance, his recent films - 'Spider', 'A History of Violence' - remain dark and twisted, yet matured with a newfound artistic precision. It has been said that 'Promises' is extremely violent, not to mention a naked fight sequence with tattoo-laden Mortensen. Therefore, Cronenberg's resurgence may not yet hit its peak, but the momentum is surely building.

Oscar Potential - In my opinion, this one will be a hard sale. Early buzz says the film is a riveting thriller with exceptional performances. After being snubbed for 'History', Mortensen may get a Best Actor nod. More solid though, would be a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Armin Mueller-Stahl. Cronenberg will most likely have to wait until next time.


DIR. Neil Jordan

Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen, Jane Adams

Release date: September 14, 2007

Summer is nearly over, September has arrived and that can only mean one thing. Movies with Oscar potential officially start rolling in. And who better to kick off the season than two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster? Her new film 'The Brave One' gives Foster her most baity role since 'Nell', starring as a woman controlled by her tragic past, who embarks on a search for justice as a means out.

Director Neil Jordan is very hit or miss, but when he's good ('The Crying Game'), he's good. Oscar nominees Terrence Howard and Mary Steenburgen, as well as Naveen Andrews ('Lost') and Jane Adams round out the supporting cast. But this one is certainly all about Jodie.