Review: One Night Only (1/5)

PEP Review: One Night Only
by Fidel Antonio Medel

Director Jose Javier Reyes reigned supreme for the past two consecutive years of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) with the Juday-Ryan starrer “Kasal Kasali Kasalo” in 2006 and its sequel “Sakal Sakali Saklolo” in 2007 – both in box office tallies and critics’ acclaim. Can he repeat history with his sexy-comedy entry “One Night Only”?

In a nutshell, “One Night Only” is an ensemble film in the likes of Gilbert Perez’s “Jologs”. Basically, the premise revolves around an entire cast, instead of just one or two main characters. Even though every single cast member has his own separate story, their collective storylines make up an encompassing umbrella plot where all of these characters play a vital part to push the narrative forward. It takes a great deal of character development and plain ingenuity to pull this off. But with thorough treatment from a skilled filmmaker, he could easily produce a runaway charmer. Otherwise, the result could easily be mistaken as a mess.

This ensemble film is topbilled by Katrina Halili, the gold-digging mistress of a congressman played by Ricky Davao; Alessandra De Rossi, the demure movie extra who falls prey to a sex maniac actor played by Paolo Contis; Jennylyn Mercado, the girlfriend of a tomboy played by Manilyn Reynes; and Valerie Concepcion and Diana Zubiri, the ladies who set a rendezvous with the same guy played by Jon Avila. Rounding up the cast are Jason Gainza, Valerie’s boyfriend and Ricky’s deputy officer in the film; Ogie Diaz, the controversy-hungry showbiz reporter who was beaten up by Paolo’s character; Chokoleit, Ogie’s friend in the film; and Joross Gamboa, the only man who could satiate Chokoleit’s sexual desire in the film. These 13 characters, divided by six degrees of separation, end up in the same seedy motel at the film’s finale. What events lead to that incident comprises the entire running time of the movie.

This MMFF entry is meant to confuse viewers especially during its first half. The relationships that connect the 13 characters are marred by unclear, almost unidentifiable ties. The film never fails to keep us guessing. However, it doesn’t give us enough reasons to stay interested in these characters’ multiple pursuits. Following their interspersed stories feel more like a chore, rather than an entertaining viewing experience. Moreover, there are way too many characters in this little movie. Three or more characters could have been axed to give ample time in exploring the depth of the other more important characters who play pivotal roles to the grand finale the film is aiming to achieve.

In terms of acting, the film belongs to Alessandra. Her comic rendition of a conservative, seemingly virginal character is effortlessly funny and equally convincing. When she turned herself into a sex-starved temptress, that’s when all the hilarity ensues. Her tandem with Paolo serves a platter of effective goofs and gags. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast delivers performances verging on subpar acting and overacting.

“One Night Only” is a lame attempt to emulate ensemble films of Robert Altman (“My Prairie Home Companion”, “Gosford Park”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia”). It falls short on the basic ingredients that made the aforementioned films engrossing and sensible. “One Night Only” is dubbed as MMFF’s sleeper hit and dark horse in the awards race, I think showbiz writers need to check what those phrases really meant, because from the way it looks, this film is miles away from being branded as such.

So can Director Jose Javier Reyes repeat history with “One Night Only”? Sorry Direk Joey, but that would be a NO.

* published in Philippine Entertainment Portal

Review: Magkaibigan (1/5)

PEP Review: Magkaibigan
by Fidel Antonio Medel

Taking its inspiration from the untimely death of Rudy Fernandez, “Magkaibigan” chronicles the last days of Atoy (Christopher De Leon) – his bouts with cancer and how he was eventually claimed by the sickness. This Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry is a story of friendship, family, and loss. Despite the despondent condition of Atoy, his family and closest friends stood beside him to give him hope and shower him with faith.

Atoy and Ben (Jinggoy Estrada) are the best of friends. Although the film did not bother to trace the beginnings of their one-of-a-kind friendship, its present-day manifestation is clearly illustrated in the way Atoy’s family is accepted into Ben’s and vice versa. Their families are closer to each other than to their own relatives. Atoy and Ben do not only talk about trivial matters over bottles of beer, but share personal problems and family conflicts with the confidence akin to real brothers.

They also understand each other’s character to the letter. When Ben resigned and couldn’t land himself a job where he isn’t overqualified or overage, Atoy came to the rescue to save his friend in distress. But Ben is not the type who would be thankful to such generosity. In fact, he would even take it against Atoy for trampling his ego underfoot. Knowing that his friend’s pride could get in the way, Atoy helped him without him knowing.

The screenplay of “Magkaibigan” is blessed with a natural ability to borrow dialogues from real life and use them as its own. It is as if you are watching yourself or someone you know throwing these familiar lines. However, this slice-of-life treatment in the first act is undermined by how the second act spirals down into theatrical dramaturgy. The subtlety I admired in the beginning of the film is replaced by soap opera-inspired sappiness. The dramatic sequences feel staged and artificial. I know exactly when the somber piano music will play and when the characters will break out into tears. We’ve seen this a countless time in the cinema and boob tube. Unfortunately, “Magkaibigan” doesn’t have anything new to offer.

Although great effort is exerted on character development (which is extremely important for dramas so that the audience could empathize with what the characters are going through), the script is guilty of the “show, don’t tell” syndrome. Instead of exemplifying the character’s traits through their actions, the film takes the most convenient route of getting its point across through the narrative device, the omniscient voice-over. When the narrator says that Atoy is hesitant to share his problems with others no matter how grave it is, isn’t it better if the film just shows the scenes where Atoy finds out about his sickness but doesn’t tell anyone about it, instead of having the narrator do all the work? What “Magkaibigan” has done is pure laziness.

“Magkaibigan” has the makings of an effective drama, but it haplessly fell into the same trap that held other movies of the genre back. If only it could have used the same subtlety employed in Chris Martinez’s “100”. Dramas don’t need to go full blast on the emotions all the time, a little restraint could certainly go a long way. Due to the pretensions of the material, the film winds up being anti-climactic, predictable, and mediocre at best.

* published in Philippine Entertainment Portal

Review: Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia (3/5)

PEP Review: Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia (Unedited)
by Fidel Antonio Medel

When “Urduja” was released in mid-2008, its claim was that it is the FIRST full-length animated film produced locally. That claim was fallacious. “Ibong Adarna” has earned that distinction single-handedly in 1997. With the release of “Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia”, Cutting Edge Productions promises another first in Philippine cinema. It is touted as the Philippines’ first all-digital, full-length animated movie. Unlike “Ibong Adarna” and “Urduja”, the production of “Dayo” is completely paperless. Animation is rendered through a combination of traditional and 3D technologies.

Much has been said about the sheer talent of Pinoy animators but because of the lukewarm condition of the animation industry in the country, these animators are forced to search for greener pastures elsewhere. Many are employed by Disney and Warner studios, while some are subcontractors of animation houses. I can just imagine the excitement and dedication over this animated film in its two-year span of production.

The Gist

“Dayo” unfolds like a typical underdog story. The shy and timid Bubuy (voiced by Nash Aguas) is always picked on by the bullies in school. He dreams of soaring the vast sky and flying high above the clouds in order to escape his humdrum life. His life is turned upside down when his grandparents were abducted by elementals. Together with Anna (voiced by Katrina “Hopia” Legaspi), the vegetarian manananggirl, they cross the portal separating our world and Elementalia. With the help of Narsi (voiced by Michael V.), the narcissistic and feeling cool tikbalang, and Nuno (voiced by Peque Galaga), the wise sage, Bubuy braved the dangers that lurk Elementalia in order to save his grandparents before the next full moon rises to its peak. His adventures in Elementalia transformed Bubuy from zero to hero.

The Verdict

“Dayo” is brimming with authentic Filipino elements – folklores, myths, pop culture references, and even Pinoy slang. Mythical creatures abound Elementalia, but “Dayo” reanimates them in a manner never seen before. Here, you’ll see a diwata that transforms itself into an evil bruha, mermen and mermaids defying the law of gravity, an evil kapre who speaks in Waray, a band of aswangs and tiyanaks that shape-shifts, a cross-breed between an alitaptap and a tutubi (aptly called alitubi), and many more. These creatures can give Pokemons a run for their money.

The voice acting from the star-studded cast is also commendable. The rest of the ensemble consists of Pokwang as Vicky, Anna’s yayananggal; Laurice Guillen as Diwata/Bruha and Kapre; Noel Trinidad as Lolo Meong; Nova Villa as Lola Nita; and Johnny Delgado as Carpio, Anna’s father and Elementalia’s manananggol.

The laudable soundtrack and musical score, likewise, deserves special mention. Lea Salonga recorded the theme song “Lipad”, while Roots of Nature performed a more upbeat version of the song. Jessie Lasaten took over production duties and records the musical score with a full orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga. In order to jive with the feel and mood of Elementalia, the orchestral score is accompanied with ethnic Pinoy instruments courtesy of Joey Ayala.

“Dayo” has its own share of shortcomings as well especially on the technical side. There were glitches here and there with regards to animation rendering and shading. There are scenes where the images become flat, as if they have turned into cardboard figures and paper dolls. Cutting Edge Productions could really use some help in this department, especially if they plan to turn this animated film into a trilogy.

The film is intended to make the kids giggle in excitement and jump for joy, but for adults, the simplistic story will get in the way of sensible enjoyment. This is not Wall-E that imparts socially relevant messages about the planet and humanity. The plot is as basic as it can get. Perhaps intentionally, in order to help the kids easily digest what the film has to offer.

* published in Philippine Entertainment Portal

Review: Ang Tanging Ina Nyong Lahat (2/5)

PEP Review: Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat (Unedited)
by Fidel Antonio Medel

When “Ang Tanging Ina” was released in 2003, everyone was taken by surprise. Back then, Ai-Ai de las Alas was no Judy Ann Santos or Sharon Cuneta who can topbill a movie all on her own. But armed with spontaneous goofs and inventive spoofs, “Ang Tanging Ina” made millions in the box office – a solid 178.82 million pesos to be exact, making it the highest-grossing Filipino film during that time. (“Sukob” dethroned it in 2006 after raking in 186.41 million pesos.) After five years, a not-so-successful boob tube spin-off, and another “Ina” movie (“Ang Cute ng Ina Mo”), Star Cinema revamps the franchise with the sequel “Ang Tanging Ina Nyong Lahat”.

De las Alas returns as Ina Montecillo, the single mother of 12. Most of the original cast reprises their roles. Eugene Domingo plays the wacky but supportive best friend, Rowena. While the siblings were played by: Carlo Aquino as Dimitri, Alwyn Uytingco as Pip, Shaina Magdayao as Severina, Serena Dalrymple as Cate, Jiro Manio as Shammy, and Yuki Kadooka as Ten-Ten. Meanwhile, Marvin Agustin (Juan), Nikki Valdez (Tudis), Heart Evangelista (Portia), and Mark Acueza (Sixto) did not reprise their roles. Agustin and Evangelista are now contract stars of GMA, while Valdez and Acueza have retired from show business. However, Ina explains their whereabouts during the film’s opening sequence.

Faced with the same dilemma she had in Part One, Ina struggles to make both ends meet for her family but Lady Luck doesn’t seem to be on her side. She unwittingly sabotages every chance she gets to secure a stable job. So she continues to jump from one odd job to the next as fast as reality shows churn out new TV stars. But there’s more to being a mother than just being an income provider. All she wants is for her children to be proud of her. Ina soon finds herself as a chambermaid in the Malacanan Palace and eventually the president of this 80+ million strong nation. How it happened is for you to find out.

For a movie about the president, it is inevitable for “Ang Tanging Ina Nyong Lahat” not to have political undertones but director Wenn Deramas and screenwriter Mel del Rosario stayed away from such. Being satirical never fails to give comedies a deeper meaning, that beneath the surface of humor and folly lays genuine societal problems. This could have worked for the film’s benefit, but Deramas merely scratched the surface and took the safe route. Instead, it genuflected to the colorful past of Philippine politics, making pop culture references to snap elections, special treatment to convicted ex-politicians, and Pinoy’s obsession with People Power revolutions.

In lieu of the insanely funny spoofs from Part One, the screenwriter borrows salawikain’s from text jokes and joke books such as “ang batang masipag, paglaki pagod” and “aanhin mo pa ang mala-palasyong bahay kung hindi ka naman doon nakatira” to be used as quotations uttered by Ina. Is it too much to ask for original jokes these days? The script is not weak per se, it is the inclusion of corny jokes, so corny they can make you cringe, that ruined the material’s potential of fully taking flight. And don’t get me started on the overuse of slapstick humor. Slapstick is so ‘90s. Nobody laughs at slapstick anymore. But as the old folks say, old habits die hard.

One of the perennial excuses of comedy films for going over-the-top and out-of-sync with reality is that they are… well… comedies. But that shouldn’t be the case. Funny comedies hinge on reality and borrow humor from real life. A good comedy knows how to maintain its sanity despite its quirks. It keeps itself grounded on our version of Earth, not on the version of Earth where a president could easily fly to the Middle East and bring the Arabs bottles and bottles of distilled water in exchange of oil, or do the Sundance till it rains to make the Arabs happy and give the country more free oil. There is a thin line that separates being funny and being ridiculous. “Ang Tanging Ina Nyong Lahat” ends up on the wrong side of the demarcation line. Even ordinary moviegoers would raise their eyebrows in disbelief on how absurd things are panning out.

Stripping the film down to its core, the real gift of “Ang Tanging Ina Nyong Lahat” are the performances. No doubt that Ai-Ai delas Alas is one of the most versatile actresses today. She embodies what the character asks for. Playing a character as comical as Ina, it is not impossible to reduce her to a mere caricature. But through de las Alas’s understanding of the demands of this character, she made Ina a three-dimensional character capable of giving selfless love and making mistakes. Eugene Domingo also puts her game face on as Ina’s sidekick. She has a natural gift of humor. She could play a cactus and still be funny. Whenever this duo is together, the screen lights up with unanimous laughter and cheers

One of the funny scenes in the movie is when Ina and Rowena caught Jeffrey, played by John Pratts, visiting Severina in their humble abode (If you’ll remember, Jeffrey used to date Portia. In this sequel, Jeffrey allegedly broke Portia’s heart and is now out to get Severina.). The best friends confronted Jeffrey and asked him to stay away from Severina. Ina says, “tutuhugin mo ba ang mga anak ko.” Then Rowena suddenly butts in, “at sino ang isusunod mo, ako?” That was hilarious.

Although the supporting cast isn’t given much to do, they have their own little moments to shine. Another funny scene is during the confrontation between Dimitri and Pip after the former found out that the latter has a sex scandal currently on circulation. Dimitri says, “kayo talagang mga bakla, salot!” Without hesitation, Pip answers back, “I may be a slut, but I’m the best slut in town.” “Tanga! Salot ang sabi ko, hindi slut,” Dimitri exclaims.

Deramas and del Rosario stick to the formula that made its predecessor a runaway blockbuster hit, combining a hefty dose of comedic stunts and a hint of family drama just enough to wet our hankies. The film could have experimented a bit to shake things up. But as it is, it is good to know that the charm of de las Alas and Domingo hasn’t worn off one bit.

* published in Philippine Entertainment Portal’yong-Lahat

New York Film Critics Circle Awards 2008

New York Film Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor excellence in cinema worldwide by an organization of film reviewers from New York City-based publications. It is considered one of the most important precursors to the Academy Awards. Founded in 1935, the New York Film Critics Circle's membership includes film critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and magazines. In December of each year, the organization meets to vote on awards for films released in the previous calendar year.

Best Picture

Best Director
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Actor
Sean Penn, Milk

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk

Best Screenplay
Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married

Best Cinematographer
Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Film

Best First Film
Courtney Hunt, Frozen River

Best Foreign Film
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary)
Man on Wire

Roger Ebert’s The Best Films of 2008

A deep silence has fallen upon a Mississippi Delta family after the death of a husband and brother. Old wounds remain unhealed. The man's son shuttles uneasily between two homes, trying to open communication by the wrong means. The debut cast is deeply convincing, and writer-director Lance Hammer observes them with intense empathy. No, it's not a film about poor folks on the Delta; they own a nice little business, but are paralyzed by loneliness. At the end, we think, yes, that is what would happen, and it would happen exactly like that.

Sean Penn, one of our greatest actors, locks up an Oscar nomination with his performance as Harvey Milk, the first self-identified gay elected to U.S. public office. At age 40, Milk was determined to do "something different" with his life. He's open to change. We see how the everyday experiences of this gay man politicize him, and how his instincts allow him to become a charismatic leader, while always acknowledging the sexuality that society had taught him to conceal. One of the year's most moving films.

"The Band's Visit"
A police ceremonial band from Egypt, in Israel for a cultural exchange, ends up in a desert town far from anywhere and is taken on mercy by the bored, cynical residents. A long night's journey marked with comedy, human nature, and bittersweet reality. Richly entertaining, with sympathetic performances by Sasson Gabai as the bandleader and Ronit Elkabetz as the owner of a local cafe. Written and directed by Eran Kolirin.

The story of a duel between a crafty man and a persistent one. How many remember that the "lightweight" British interviewer David Frost was the one who finally persuaded Richard Nixon to say he had committed crimes in connection with Watergate and let his country down? With his own money riding on the interviews, Frost (Michael Sheen) is desperate after Nixon finesses him in the early sessions, but he pries away at Nixon's need to confess. Frank Langella is uncanny as RMN. Ron Howard directs mercilessly.

The epic journey of a 20th century icon, the Argentinian physician who became a comrade of Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolu- tion and then moved to South America to support revolution there. Benicio del Toro is persuasive as the fiercely ethical firebrand, in a film that includes unusual and unfamiliar chapters in Che's life. Steven Soderbergh's film is 257 minutes long, but far from boring.

"Frozen River"
Melissa Leo should be nominated for her performance. She plays an hourly employee in a discount store, struggling to support two kids and a run-down trailer after her husband deserts her with their savings. After making an unlikely alliance with a Mohawk woman (Misty Upham) who was stealing her car, she finds herself a human trafficker, driving Chinese across the ice into the United States. A spellbinding thriller, yes, but even more a portrait of economic struggle in desperate times. Written and directed by Courtney Hunt.

"Chop Shop"
The great emerging American director Ramin Bahrani finds a story worthy of "City of God" in a no-man's land in the shadow of Shea Stadium, where a young boy and his sister support themselves in a sprawling, off-the-books auto repair and scrap district. Alejandro Polanco and Isamar Gonzales seem to live their roles, in a masterpiece that intimately knows its world, its people and their survival tactics.

"Rachel Getting Married"
After seeing this film, people told me, "I wanted to attend that wedding" or "I wish I'd been there." It's that involving. Jonathan Demme doesn't lock down one central plot, but considers the ceremony as a wedding of close and distant family, old and new friends, many races, many ages, many lifestyles, all joined amid joyous homemade music. His camera is so observant, we feel like a guest really does feel. Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel and Anne Hathaway as her sister generate tricky sibling tension.

"The Dark Knight"
The best of all the Batmans, Christopher Nolan's haunted film leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. The "comic book movie" has at last reclaimed its deep archetypal currents. With a performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker that will surely win an Oscar, a Batman (Christian Bale) who is tortured by moral puzzles and a district attorney (Aaron Eckhart) forced to make impossible choices.

A Catholic grade school is ruled by the grim perfectionist Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), whose draconian rule is challenged by Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman). A young nun (Amy Adams) is caught between them, as the film shows how assumptions can be doubted, and doubted again. Viola Davis, as the mother of the school's only black student, has one significant scene, but it is long, crucial and heartbreaking. Davis goes face to face with Streep with astonishing conviction and creates reasons for doubt that may be more important than deciding the truth. John Patrick Shanley directed and adapted his Tony Award-winning play.

"The Fall"
Tarsem's film is a mad folly, an extravagant visual orgy, a free fall from reality into uncharted realms. A wounded stunt-man, circa 1914, tells a story to a 4-year-old girl, and we see how she imagines it. It has vast romantic images so stunning, I had to check twice, three times, to be sure the film actually claims to have absolutely no computer-generated imagery. None? What about the Labyrinth of Despair, with no exit? The intersecting walls of zig-zagging staircases? The man who emerges from the burning tree? Filmed over four years in 28 countries.

"Revolutionary Road"
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and his wife find hell in the suburbs. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, in two of the best performances of the year, play a young married couple who lose their dreams in the American corporate world and its assigned roles. Sam Mendes reads minds when words aren't enough, and has every detail right -- including the chain-smoking by those who find it a tiny consolation in inconsolable lives.

Here's another nominee for best actress -- Sally Hawkins, playing a cheerful schoolteacher who seems improbably upbeat until we win a glimpse into her soul. No, she's not secretly depressed. She's genuinely happy, but that hasn't made her stupid or afraid. Mike Leigh's uncanny ability to find drama in ordinary lives is used with genius, as the teacher encounters a driving instructor (Eddie Marsan) as negative as she is positive. Not a feel-good movie. Not at all. But strangely inspiring.

"Slumdog Millionaire"
Danny Boyle's improbable union of quiz-show suspense and the harrowing life of a Mumbai orphan. Growing from a garbage pit scavenger to the potential winner of a fortune, his hero uses his wits and survival instinct to struggle against crushing handicaps. A film that finds exuberance despite the tragedy it also gives full weight to. The locations breathe with authenticity.

“Iron Man"
Like "Spider-Man 2" and "The Dark Knight," another leap forward for the superhero movie. Robert Downey Jr. and director Jon Favreau reinvent Tony Stark as a conflicted, driven genius who has a certain plausibility, even when inundated by special effects. So successful are they that in the climactic rooftop battle between two towering men of steel, we know we're looking almost entirely at CGI, and yet the creatures embody character and emotion. Downey hit bottom, as everyone knows. Now he has triumphantly returned.

"The Reader"
A drama taking place mostly within the mind of a postwar German who has an affair at 14 with a woman he later discovers is a war criminal. Her own secret is so shameful, she would rather face any sentence than reveal it. The film addresses the moral confusion felt in those who came after the Holocaust but whose lives were painfully twisted by it. Directed by Stephen Daldry, with David Kross as the younger protagonist, and Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes as the older ones.

"Shotgun Stories"
You'll have to search for it, but worth it. In a "dead-ass town," three brothers find themselves in a feud with their four half-brothers. It's told like a revenge tragedy, but the hero doesn't believe the future is written by the past. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, it avoids the obvious and shows a deep understanding of the lives and minds of ordinary young people in a skirmish of the class war. The dialogue rings true, the camera is deeply observant. The film was the audience favorite at Ebertfest 2008.

"Synecdoche, New York"
The year's most endlessly debated film. Screenwriter Charles Kaufman ("Adaptation," "Being John Malkovich"), in his directing debut, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a theater director mired in a long-running rehearsal that may be life itself. Much controversy about the identities and even genders of some of the characters, in a film that should never be seen unless you've already seen it at least once.

To general surprise, Oliver Stone's biography of George W. Bush is empathetic and understanding, perhaps because Stone himself is a blueblood Ivy League graduate who could never quite win his father's approval. Josh Brolin gives a nuanced portrayal that seems based on the known facts, showing the president as subservient to Vice President Cheney and haunted by old demons.

The best science-fiction movie in years was an animated family film. WALL-E is a solar-powered trash compacting robot, left behind to clean up the waste after Man flees into orbit. Hugely entertaining, wonderfully well drawn, and, if you think about it, merciless in its critique of a global consumer culture that obsesses on intake and disregards the consequences of output.

Every year I name a winner of my Special Jury Prize, so named in honor of the "alternative first prize" given by juries at many festivals. This year (roll of the drums) the honored film is:

"My Winnipeg"
Guy Maddin's latest dispatch from inside his imagination is a "history" of his home town, which becomes a mixture of the very slightly plausible, the convincing but unlikely, the fantastical, the fevered, the absurd, the preposterous, and the nostalgic. Oddly enough, when it's over, you have a deeper and, in a crazy way, more "real" portrait of Winnipeg than a conventional doc might have provided--and certainly a far more entertaining one.


2009 Golden Globes Awards Nominees

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas – I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio – Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Burn After Reading
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Rebecca Hall – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep – Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson – Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Javier Bardem – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrell – In Bruges
James Franco – Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman – Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams – Doubt
PenĂ©lope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes – The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Animated Feature Film
Kung Fu Panda

Best Foreign Language Film
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
Everlasting Moments (Sweden, Denmark)
Gomorrah (Italy)
I've Loved You So Long (France)
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

Best Director - Motion Picture
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes – Revolutionary Road

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Eric Roth - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley - Doubt
Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon
David Harem - The Reader
Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Clint Eastwood - Changeling
James Newton Howard - Defiance
A. R. Rahman - Slumdog Millionaire
Hans Zimmer - Frost/Nixon

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
“Down To Earth" – Wall-E
"Gran Torino" – Gran Torino
"I Thought I Lost You" – Bolt
"Once In A Lifetime" – Cadillac Records
"The Wrestler" – The Wrestler

Best Television Series – Drama
House (FOX)
In Treatment (HBO)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Sally Field – Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Mariska Hargitay – Law & Order
January Jones – Mad Men (AMC)
Anna Paquin – True Blood (HBO)
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (TNT)

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Gabriel Byrne – In Treatment (HBO)
Michael C. Hall – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC)
Hugh Laurie – House (FOX)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers – The Tudors (SHOWTIME)

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
30 Rock (NBC)
Californication (SHOWTIME)
Entourage (HBO)
The Office (NBC)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Christina Applegate – Samantha Who? (ABC)
America Ferrera – Ugly Betty (ABC)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC)
Debra Messing – The Starter Wife (USA)
Mary-Louise Parker – Weeds (SHOWTIME)

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Carell – The Office (NBC)
Kevin Connolly – Entourage (HBO)
David Duchovny – Californication (SHOWTIME)
Tony Shalhoub – Monk (USA)

Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
A Raisin In The Sun (ABC)
Bernard And Doris (HBO)
Cranford (PBS)
John Adams (HBO)
Recount (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Judi Dench – Cranford (PBS)
Catherine Keener – An American Crime
Laura Linney – John Adams (HBO)
Shirley MacLaine – Coco Chanel
Susan Sarandon – Bernard And Doris (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Ralph Fiennes – Bernard And Doris (HBO)
Paul Giamatti – John Adams (HBO)
Kevin Spacey – Recount (HBO)
Kiefer Sutherland – 24 (FOX)
Tom Wilkinson – Recount (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Eileen Atkins – Cranford (PBS)
Laura Dern – Recount (HBO)
Melissa George – In Treatment (HBO)
Rachel Griffiths – Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Dianne Wiest – In Treatment (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Denis Leary – Recount (HBO)
Jeremy Piven – Entourage (HBO)
Blair Underwood – In Treatment (HBO)
Tom Wilkinson – John Adams (HBO)

2008 National Board of Review Awards

Best Film

Top Ten Films

Best Foreign Language Film

Top Five Foreign Films

Best Documentary

Top Five Documentaries

Top Independent Films

Best Actor

Best Actress
ANNE HATHAWAY, Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress
PENELOPE CRUZ, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Ensemble Cast

Breakthrough Performance by an Actor
DEV PATEL, Slumdog Millionaire

Breakthrough Performance by an Actress

Best Director
DAVID FINCHER, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Directorial Debut

Best Adapted Screenplay
SIMON BEAUFOY, Slumdog Millionaire
ERIC ROTH, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Spotlight Award
MELISSA LEO, Frozen River

Best Original Screenplay
NICK SCHENK, Gran Torino

Best Animated Feature

William K. Everson Award For Film History

The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression


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