Monday, June 9, 2008

African Falls

Author(s): Chris K.
Location: AZ

"African Falls"

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Raoul Peck
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Sound Mixing by Peter Hliddal and Tom Fleischman
Art Direction by Jeannine Oppewall
Set direction by Jennifer Williams
Edited by Alex Rodriguez
Produced by Miramax

Main Cast

Courtney Rozan: Emma Watson
Samuel Doe: Adrian Lester
Prince Yormie Johnson: Djimon Hounsou
Said Mohamed Barre: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Laurent Kabila: James Earl Jones
Sekou Torre: Laurence Fishburne
Haile Mariam Mengistu: Samuel L. Jackson

Tagline: "Mr. Right’s coming and he’s in Africa , but he’s walking"

Synopsis: Courtney Rozan (Watson) a college student giving a speech on African Dictators and after each one is named then that character is delved into. After the segment she explains the men’s reign with their countries. Also she explains there situation, why they could have done certain things, and how things changed after their rule. She’s an idealist hoping to convince an audience what she is stating has relevant importance to the world today.

Samuel Doe(Lester) and Prince Yormie Johnson’s(Hounsou) infamous meeting on September 9, 1980. Due to an uprising in which a military coup upon Samuel Doe, while at ECOMAG headquarters in Monolivie he is kidnapped by Prince Johnson. Upon which he is taken into a housed up facility where the whereabouts are unknown to anyone except the men in the room. After lengthy beatings, Samuel Doe is then shot in the head by Johnson who immediately leaves the room. He then is tried for Doe’s murder, but no evidence can be produced so he is let free. Almost a month after the trial a video is put onto the internet documenting the entire event. As of late he has become part of the Senate in Liberia .

Said Mohamed Barre (Ejiofor) has just ordered the force removal of all Soviet born citizens to leave the country of Somalia . The Soviets took all aid, military, and economic support away and left the country out to dry. Due to their alliance the Americans would not help and disease was spreading. His irrational decision was to poising half the countries water supplies because of the fatal HIV spread. Although it achieved success he was branded as an insane madman and eventually overthrown by another who would follow the same path. After attempting two rebellions to regain power he goes into isolation which is the state he remained until his death.

Laurent Kabila (Jones) it is January 16, 2001 and it is Kabila’s last day on earth. When he reaches his office a minister is waiting for him. Kabila was informed that the man was an informer and supporter for another faction. After Kabila murders him, he travels to the other side of the building. After this he attempts to convince Nigerian officials to give aid to his starving people, due to shortage of food storage due to the population rate increasing every year. After nothing could be done to persuade them, Kabila leaves and as he is walking away his personal bodyguard shoots him down while getting shot at himself. An insurrection was going on and Kabila struck it down with military force while they were in a town that was neutral with the conflict.

Sekou Torre (Fishburne) was considered a hero once for his resistance towards French colonial rule. His goal was to give the people poverty with freedom instead of riches with slavery. Instead he enforced Gulag-style death camps. When not torturing his people, he loved to write poetry. He brings his vice-president and throws him into one of these camps with the other victims. Upon doing so he suffers a major heart attack and is flown to the United States . During surgery he dies and after arrival of the news the people of Guinea where he once ruled rejoice.

Haile Mariam Mengistu ( Jackson ) “the red terror” was a Russian aide during his reign at the helm of Ethiopia . He was a strong supporter of Leninism when he made political decisions. Mengistu assisted in the execution of 1.5 million of his own people in the years between 1975 and 1979. Although he did this he increased enrollment by a million students. Due to famine and an Economic collapse he needed aid and was very convincing. When he received it he used propaganda to state the good it was doing, in reality he used it for himself. When a military coup forced him to flee into Zimbabwe they tried and convicted him of genocide without his presence. Attempting to force him to return, he currently lives lavishly, but constantly wary as assassination attempts upon him are a recurrent trend.

What the Press would say:

“African Falls ” is an anthology about African dictators that has never been witnessed before. “The Last King of Scotland” showed this but on a limited level and Hotel Rwanda showed the righteous side of a massacre. These movies were inspirational no doubt about that, but people needed to be informed of what kind of men lead them in everyday world. Documentaries although effective never get people to care enough about the killings in Darfur or constant massacres committed. This film allows us to see this and it isn’t just violence. It depicts the real world that is totally unique to the world. Not a single film like this has been witnessed before with the type of brutal honesty portrayed within the film.

Alfonso Cuaron has given directorial performances that are spectacularly wonderful. This one stands out above them all because of two reasons. One he leaves his comfort zone considerably by going into a very violent film and comes out giving us a beautiful spectacle that is his style that we’ve seen before and something completely different. The second reason is that you can see his personality on the screen such as the surrounding area’s which are truly beautiful and real while these horrible events are taking place. His signature color green is signified throughout the film and adds a beauty that would have been missed with any other director.

Written beautifully by Raoul Peck (Sometimes in April) showed the beauty of Africa once again, but provides us a violent, yet real world. Some people wanted a big time writer to make this, but someone from this land who could thoughtfully depict the corruption, desperation, and beauty Africa has to offer to the moviegoer. This script stands out for being completely original even if people’s lives are taken into account. A bio-epic of amazingly astounding proportions was written by a true genius.

Before the men are talked about, the breakthrough performance is by Emma Watson who makes a speech about these men and shows up in between each story to give us a breather from this intense story. Watson has been typecast as “Hermione Granger” but this performance is truly spectacular in its simplicity and thoughtfulness. She provides a breather for the audience and in the final shot when all the men are lined up alongside her you can clearly see they are all merely figments of the past and she is the hope people are looking for in everyday life.

Djimon Hounsou’s performance can be described in one word, intense. The only significant character without being a Dictator from the beginning is possibly the scariest of all. His torture scene is performed brilliantly and he shows us how insane this man really was. Recreating a scene that is already on video which has rarely been seen was tough but he created his own character and gave another Oscar-worthy performance that the academy is sure not to miss.

Chiwetel Ejiofor has given excellent performances but has never received anything for them. This could be that stand out performance that he needed to garner attention. His performance of true desperation within a character who justifies killing half his countrymen to save them was shown perfectly. This performance is stand out because of its true depiction of a man who loses everything and attempts to regain it.

Laurence Fishburne is an actor who everyone likes, but can never seem to get any recognition for his work. He might not here because of the extensive cast list, yet this by far his greatest performance and on par with everyone else in this gilm. Although he plays the wise black man in most movies (Higher Learning, Akeelah and the Bee) his roots are uplifted and he does it very well. He portrays a difficult character one that torture’s his fellow countrymen and attempts to write beautiful poetry. All during his blood-soaked reign is seemingly portrayed without a sweat by Fishburne.

Samuel L. Jackson is a well respected actor who has performed in many films that received critical acclaim such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Jungle Fever”. This is by far greater than any of those because of his devotion that is seen on screen when he shows up. Some have said they think he is a method actor with the layered performance he gives in just his segment alone. Not once is his character dropped and like all these performances it is unique in a revolutionary sort of way.

Adrian Lester has been in a lot of films but is always forgotten. This is not one of those situations because he plays a dictator you feel really sorry for. He plays it out with style and gives respect to this person who was brutally murdered. His convincing death has left critics speechless even though as the female lead states the man was a harsh dictator in his rule as president.

James Earl Jones has not starred in a serious role that he has been praised for in a while. Considered a sort of wash up he comes back to give a spectacular performance and a memorable one. He puts on the façade of Kabila and seemingly never removes it once. People would probably drop character or over-exemplify especially with the scenes he had, but not once was his character’s respect for himself and disgust with anyone else not exemplified to the up most degree.

Like a story book, where each page could a different story it’s all seemingly guided by a competitive speech piece which is a completely original idea for this type of story. Every bit of frame, performance, word, set, extra, direction, and performance all went to perfection and will not be ignored come Academy’s time to decide who wins awards. “ African Falls ” is a true modern masterpiece within the world of cinema.


Best Picture
Best Director- Alfonso Cuaron
Best Original Screenplay- Raoul Peck
Best Actress- Emma Watson
Best Supporting Actor- Djimon Hounsou
Best Supporting Actor- Adrian Lester
Best Supporting Actor- Samuel L. Jackson
Best Supporting Actor- James Earl Jones
Best Supporting Actor- Laurence Fishburne
Best Supporting Actor- Chiwetel Ejiofor
And in all categories

The Blood Countess

Author(s): Joshua
Location: NY

"The Blood Countess"

Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Ronald Harwood
Produced by Alain Sarde & Robert Benmussa
Executive Produced by Michael Hirst & Timothy Burill
Distributed by R.P Productions
Film Editing by Juliette Welfling
Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
Art Direction by Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer
Make-Up by Didier Lavergne
Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne
Set Decoration by Peter Howitt
Original Score by Wojciech Kilar

Main Cast

Alexandra Maria Lara - Countess Elizabeth "Erzsebet" Bathory
Vlad Ivanov - Count Ferencz Nadasdy
Rade Serbedzija - King Matthias
Bruno Ganz - Father Istvan Magyari
Thomas Krestschmann - Gyorgy Thurzo
Geraldine Chaplin - Katalin - Servant
Marketa Irglova - Dorottya - Servant
Virginie Ledoyen - Fickó - Servant
Daniela Nane - Ilona - Servant
Maximilian Schell - Theodosious Syrmiensis de Szulo

Tagline: "May God Bless Those Who Ever Cross Paths With The Bloody Countess"

Synopsis: On the cold stone floor of the great hall lay a pale, partially clothed young girl. She failed to move. They wondered if she might simply be asleep or drunk, so several men went toward her. Still, she made no effort to rouse herself. One man reached down to touch her and shook his head. He told the others she was dead. They turned her over and saw how pale she looked. She appeared to have been drained of blood, exactly as the rumors went. Then they heard a moan. Just a few paces away was another girl, sprawled face up but still alive. The men discovered that her body had been pierced in many places. She was also pale, as if from severe blood emptiness. The scene was too monstrous to be written into a permanent record, but there was plenty to tell for those who would be called to the legal proceedings. The officials arrested all of those involved in the evil activities, freed the surviving victims, and took the sorceress into a room in her own castle, to confine her until a decision was made about her fate.

Her name was Countess Elizabeth Bathory and she was a member of a powerful family from an estate at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains . Elizabeth was not an easy child, nor was life easy for her, despite being a member of the privileged class. She suffered from fits, and uncontrolled rages that may have indicated a brain disorder. At the age of 15, she married Count Ferencz Nadasdy, a great warrior who was often away from home. Elizabeth moved into Nadasdy's castle in Sarvar and learned how to run a great estate. She maintained herself until her husband died in 1604, and then the unthinkable began.

She soon began to forcefully make her servant Katalin to lure women and children into the castle. All her servants knew the torturing of innocent souls was reprehensible, but obeyed due to their lives being threatened. Lutheran priest István Magyari complained that villagers talked about young women disappearing, as well as children. King Matthias assigned Gyorgy Thurzo to investigate. Finally, the peasant girls had run out. Elizabeth had done so much thus far without being stopped. Arrogance made her bold and stupid. She was eager to extend her reach for the thrill of seeing what she could get away with. She also appeared to be so caught up with the pleasures of what she was doing that she could not stop. Eventually she was caught. Now she awaits her judgement.

What the Press would say:

The Blood Countess brings back Roman Polanski in his best to date. Although some may disagree, I find that Polanski proves that he can still amaze in the horror genre because I found this film to be all horrifying as it's telling the true story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Bathory who was deranged since birth begins takes it to the extreme when she starts torturing innocent people. It is the scenes that we see Bathory command her servants to lure people into the castle that really cuts down to the core and why i find so horrifying and yes, why the infamous legend was nicknamed the Blood Countess.

Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall, Youth Without Youth) delivers the performance of her career as Elizabeth Bathory. Lara, whose Romanian is pitch perfect for the part and her older appearance helps her in the process too. She really brings out the madness of her character and there's no reason why she shouldn't be considered for many awards as she plays a woman who takes interest in seeing human beings suffer.

There are some great supporting performances that need to be taken into consideration. Rade Serbedzjia rules as King Matthias who orders an investigation towards the countess once he gets tired of complaints being made from Father Magyari. Bruno Ganz plays Magyari in his third film with Alexandra Maria Lara and he couldn't better. He's the one who dealt with the villagers who are hysterical over their missing loved ones. Geraldine Chaplin, who can transform herself into any character really outdones herself this time as one of Elizabeth's servants. She fears Bathory and tries to obey her every order. Orders that include tricking little children into the castle, knowing their fate. We also have great performances by Vlad Ivanov as Elizabeth's husband Nadasdy and Maximillian Schell as Judge Szulo. Schell is only on screen for ten minutes but still manages to impress. He takes judgement into his own hands and convicts the countess to life house arrest and her servants to death.

Ronald Harwood teams up with Roman Polanski once again and it's no shock that what they accomplish is pure masterful. Everyone involved with the film is right. Lara's make-up is handled by the Oscar Winning Didier Lavergne (La Vie En Rose). Wojciech Kilar (Bram Stoker's Dracula) works his magic for the scores that just go right for the film. No scene will disatisfy, No scene will leave you without the question of why a beautiful woman like Elizabeth could be so ugly and evil at heart. In the end, we see a beat up Elizabeth, sitting in a chair, suffering her punishment of house arrest. Looking out the window without a care in the world. Without pity or sorrow, the film ends and all I can think about is the fact that Roman Ploanski's The Blood Countess is one to watch for come Oscar time.

For Yor Consideration

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actress - Alexandra Maria Lara
Best Supporting Actor - Rade Serbedzjia
Best Supporting Actor - Bruno Ganz
Best Supporting Actror - Maximillian Schell
Best Supporting Actress - Geraldine Chaplin
Best Crew
Best Tagline
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction
Best Ensemble
Best Original Score


Author(s): Connor Campbell
Location: TX


Directed by Spike Jonze
Screenplay by Andrew Niccol

Main Cast

Melinda Dillon- Justine Redford
Meryl Streep- M.J. Mullins
Freddie Highmore- Charlie Powers

Tagline: "A book inside a book inside a book inside a movie"



Justine Redford is one of the most highly regarded authors of our time. Her books such as “Reflected Glory” or “Because It Isn’t Snowing” have sold millions of copies and have been adapted into award winning films. Her next project, “The Magician”, is the fictionalized biography of hit children’s novelist M.J. Mullins, author of the “Youngblood” series. Justine has only met M.J. once the year before when they were presented with the same award. M.J. spoke of her childhood and how far she had come to reach that spot in her acceptance speech, and Justine had to write about it. That’s the way she works. She got the idea for “Because It Isn’t Snowing” when she saw a child in a park whining to his mother about how he wanted to play in the snow in the middle of June. She immediately ran home and typed. Justine feels like she’s racing herself and has to finish the book as soon as possible. She’s getting old and losing her talent. This will likely be her last book. She’s very old and her style isn’t appreciated as much as it used to be. “The Magician” needs to be her greatest and most powerful book. She has to talk to Mullins as soon as possible.


M.J. Mullins is one of the most highly regarded authors of our time. Her books in the “Youngblood” series have sold millions of copies and have been adapted into award winning films. Her next project, “Powers”, is about a boy named Charlie Powers who writes stories that come true. She can’t finish it though. She is absolutely certain that it will never amount to what the Youngblood series was. It can’t be a children’s book, but children need to be able to read it. She’s challenging herself with too much. And now, author Justine Redford whom she had met at an award’s show or a benefit or something like that wanted to write a book “loosely” based on her. About her history of being abused by her stepfather and being poor. The only problem was none of that ever happened. She was born Alexis Trent in Los Angeles to a wealthy family that she abandoned when she was 16. She changed her name to M.J. and enrolled in writing classes in New York. She would have to lie to this poor old woman trying to write her masterpiece. She had to finish “Powers” as soon as possible.


Charlie Powers is a very talented young boy. He loves to write stories. But Charlie is also very odd. He would always ask his mother to play in the snow, even in the summer. And he would run around at recess and whisper erotic and inappropriate things in people’s ears. But recently, his stories have been getting strange, and he is certain that they are coming true. He never knew what he was writing until he finished and soon enough, his stories would play out in the real world. Getting increasingly frightened by his stories, he sat down and thought of what to write. He wrote about a woman. An old woman. An old woman who writes, just like he does. But the old woman is dying. She isn’t sick, she’s just dying. She’s starting to lose her memory and her talent. The old woman wants to write one last book before she dies. It will be her masterpiece. It’ll be about a woman she had met once who had told a beautiful lie that the old woman didn’t believe for a second. “The Magician” she’d call it. But what would the old woman’s name be? Justine. Justine is the perfect name.

What the Press would say:

“Book” is a story about intelligence, writing, and accepting the inevitable. There are 3 writers. The first (Melinda Dillon) is an old woman trying to write her last masterpiece. The second (Meryl Streep) is a woman trying to follow up her masterpiece while facing her past. The third (Freddie Highmore) is beginning his first masterpiece. The beauty of Andrew Niccol’s screenplay is unparalleled. The three writers intertwine beautifully and they keep you guessing who’s real and who isn’t. Melinda Dillon is the comeback of the year with her mesmerizing performance as “Justine Redford”, a dying woman trying to write her last masterpiece. She plays Justine with such elegance and grace as opposed to overplaying it. She’s just a woman staring death in the eye fighting for her talent and her life. Meryl Streep is perfect as always playing “M.J. Mullins” loosely based on J.K. Rowling. This character is very guarded and mysterious until we discover her secret. Streep captures the fear and anxiety of a woman living in a lie so perfectly. Freddie Highmore is a wonderful addition to the cast playing “Charlie Powers” a young boy whose stories come true. His character is very eccentric which Highmore captures brilliantly. Spike Jonze has once again taken a beautiful screenplay and transformed it into a beautiful film keeping us scratching our heads and asking ourselves “What’s real?” The beauty and overall brilliance of this film is something that can’t be missed. ****/****


Best Picture
Best Director- Spike Jonze
Best Actress- Melinda Dillon
Best Supporting Actress- Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor- Freddie Highmore
Best Original Screenplay- Andrew Niccol

The Boy from Oz

Author(s): Brian
Location: AZ

"The Boy from Oz"

Directed by Frank Oz
Written by Mark Sherman
Produced by Martin Brown
Based on the Musical “The Boy from Oz”

Main Cast

Hugh Jackman (Peter Allen)
Ashley Judd (Liza Minnelli)
Patrick Wilson (Greg Connell)
Susan Sarandon (Judy Garland)
Ed Sanders (Young Peter)
Geoffrey Rush (Dick Woolnough)
Judy Davis (Marion Woolnough)

Tagline: "From Down Under to Over the Top"

Synopsis: Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen once said his songs were his biography. “The Boy from Oz” proves that he was, indeed, correct. The film begins when a young Peter Allen is touring Hong Kong with his somewhat aggressive stage parents Dick and Marion, who have turned him into a somewhat well-known act, where he sings quirky, cabaret-style songs. Peter, however, wants more. He wants to be able to write and perform his own songs, have his own record label, and sell out concerts. And in one night, that becomes within his grasp. As he performs to a medium-sized venue, the iconic Judy Garland, who was in Hong Kong for press-related reasons, hears his voice, and believes that she can make him a superstar. Peter happily accepts her proposal for him to make a guest appearance on her show, and before he knows it, he’s a regular.

Also while working for Garland, he meets her rising-star daughter, Liza Minnelli. Peter, now in his early 20’s, is beginning to realize his intense homosexual feelings. Peter, alarmed, begins dating Liza, and within only a little more than a year, they are married. Both Liza and Peter’s careers are growing at exponential rates daily. Therefore, the two are apart for a large portion of the time. While apart, Peter develops an attraction for his assistant, Greg Connell. Both Greg and Peter know the feelings are mutual, however, Peter refuses to act on his feelings, being a married man. He compensates for them by overworking, and by having secret, . Peter has now written songs for stars such as Olivia Newton-John, Peggy Lee and Dusty Springfield, and his own singing career is starting to pick up as well. However, things between him and Greg are more fervid than ever. No longer able to deny his feelings, he comes out to Liza, and then to the world through his song “Not the Boy Next Door.” He and Liza divorce and he moves in with Greg. The problem now, however, is that his once on-fire career is expected to come to a halt. He doubts that the world will be able to accept a gay man as a singing sensation. That mindset changes, however, when he releases his signature song “I Go to Rio.” The song, a flamboyant, energetic tune, climbs up the charts overnight, and he becomes an international sensation. And soon enough, his entire act becomes over-the-top, campy night-on-the-town performance. And for Peter, that was enough.


1. The Lives of Me
2. When I Get My Name in Lights
3. When I Get My Name in Lights (Reprise)
4. Love Crazy
5. Waltzing Matilda
6. All I Wanted Was the Dream
7. Only an Older Woman
8. Best That You Can Do
9. Don't Wish Too Hard
10. Come Save Me
11. Continental American
12. She Loves to Hear the Music
13. Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage
14. I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love
15. Not the Boy Next Door
16. Bi-Coastal
17. If You Were Wondering
18. Sure Thing Baby
19. Everything Old is New Again
20. Everything Old is New Again (Reprise)
21. Love Don't Need a Reason
22. I Honestly Love You
23. You and Me
24. I Still Call Australia Home
25. Don't Cry Out Loud
26. Once Before I Go
27. I Go to Rio

What the Press would say:

“The Boy from Oz”, the acclaimed adaptation of the 2004 Broadway musical of the same name, is unquestionably one of the best films this year. Some of it is hilarious, some of it is captivatingly dramatic and some of it is a little bit of both at the same time. However, at any given time, you can expect two things. One: the always entertaining songs of Peter Allen, and two: the best musical performance of all time. Read that last phrase again. The best musical performance of all time. I would like to say that that’s an exaggeration, but it simply is not. Hugh Jackman reprises his Tony Award winning role as the eccentric Peter Allen divinely, for lack of a better word. Certainly the best performance this year, it often feels as though Jackman has three roles in the film. The first is an ambitious young man determined to make his dream come true. The second is a married man struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. And the third is a flamboyant, overly energetic singer. He plays each of these sub-parts very differently, but we still believe that he is the same person throughout the film; just one who is changing. If you were to tell me that Jackman was, in reality, Peter Allen himself, I would not doubt you for a second. I suppose the only real criticism I can make about Jackman’s performance is that he will make the Best Actor race at this year’s Oscars boring. He is nothing short of a lock.

Another great thing about Hugh Jackman’s performance is that he does not at any time upstage his co-stars, which leaves room for Ashley Judd and Patrick Wilson to give some of the best performances this year as well. Ashley Judd beat out dozens of A-list actresses for the role of Liza Minnelli, and all I have to say is thank God she did. Judd captures the singer/actress’s persona perfectly: ambitious and self-centered, but ultimately understanding and forgiving. She, too, can expect to pick up her statuette as well come Oscar season. Finally, Patrick Wilson takes on the role of Greg Connell, Allen’s lover for nearly 20 years. Wilson claims to have spoken with gay men who have been in, or are in, relationships with closeted men, and that is evident throughout his performance. Wilson shows total understanding of such a unique, emotionally turbulent time. He, too, is a strong contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

“The Boy from Oz” is a fascinating, tuneful film featuring clever direction, an emotional and humorous script and, of course, the performance of a lifetime. The film can expect Oscar nods (and a few wins) in the following categories…

Best Picture
Best Director (Frank Oz)
Best Actor (Hugh Jackman)
Best Supporting Actress (Ashley Judd, however the studio has announced that she will be run in Best Leading Actress [Musical or Comedy] at the Golden Globes)
Best Supporting Actor (Patrick Wilson)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design

The Character of Marcia

Author(s): Hugo Manso
Location: Spain

"The Character of Marcia"

Directed by Tamara Jenkins
Written by Michael Hoffman
Editing by Jay Cassidy
Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey
Music Score by John Williams

Main Cast

Lisa Kudrow ... Marcia Cost
Winona Ryder ... Lina Johns
Skeet Ulrich ... Henry Fisher
Edward James Hyland ... Lawrence
Milo Ventimiglia ... Matt

Tagline: "The best character of your life might be yourself"

Synopsis: From that third line seat he was contemplating the wondeful acting skills of Marcia Cost. He was nobody, he was just one of many people from the audience that fell every night in love with that marvellous actress. It was the year 1925. Marcia Cost was one of the most valuable and respected stage actress of her time. She still remembered when the theater was filled of people weeks and weeks in a row awaiting for her. Those good all times. Now the growing film industry was putting and end on her profession. Marcia knew the theatre was dying.

Marcia Cost was known for possessing a great intelligence. Things were pretty clear, if she wanted to keep her status she would have to make a big step: She would have to leave the stage for a cinematogarphic studio.

Lawrence, her agent, was in love with her since the very moment she knocked at his door looking for representation, twenty-five years ago. That sixty-something man didn’t had the contacts enough anymore to force a way for her through the industry. Marcia knew that if she wanted to make it she would have to get rid of her old agent. Soon she found a young and energetic one, Matt. Thanks to that boy contacts, Marcia got a supporting role in a movie starring the young and lovable actress Lina Johns.

Soon Marcia started to win the love of Lina. That wonderful actress was like a nanny for her. It was her who Lina told everything to. It was her who gave her advice and listened to her worries. After one night where Lina was ridiculized by another respected actress and Marcia stood up for her, they became best friends.

Little by little, Marcia started to take advantage from her influence over Lina. Henry, Lina’s boyfriend, tried to open Lina’s eyes trying to make her understand that she was being used but... all in vain. Marcia knew that the moment had arrived. Lina was dissatisfied with the director. Marcia persuaded her to object and she let her know that if it was required she would leave the film with her. Decided Lina went to the director’s office. She demanded stuffs that he would not concede. She gave up, but Marcia didn’t. Marcia stood against her. Once Lina was fired Marcia got the leading role.

What the Press would say:

What a powerful compelling movie. It tells the story of a respected actress who will do anything to make her a way in a bussiness that requires intelligence. She will even play with the feeling of a young actress in her benefit. Lisa Kudrow performs one of the most memorable characters of the year. She has built an incredible woman and plays it with strength and passion. We are talking about one of the most important performance of the year. Just perfect. Then we have Winona Ryder making her big comeback as the fragile, lovable Lina. The first half of the movie you see Lina as a diva, always smiling, always happy with her boyfriend (perfectly performed by Skeet Ulrich). But when Marcia comes close to her we get to see her vulnerability and insecurity. We get to feel sorry about her. When she discovers that she was used by Marcia, feelings start to flow. Winona has made the character utterly hers. Another breathtaking performance is Edward James Hyland’s. This quite unknown actor has made a powerful performance as Lawrence, Marcia’s old agent. He gets to feel one of the worst feelings: to love and not being loved. The grief and impotence will make Hyland his way to gold. Milo Ventimiglia and Skeet Ulrich show their acting skills with grace and magnificient with limited time screen. The score by John Williams pitchs perfectly with the tone of the movie. A beautiful cinematography along with the smart editing makes this movie a masterpiece.


Best Picture
Best Director (Tamara Jenkins)
Best Original Screenplay (Michael Hoffman)
Best Actress (Lisa Kudrow)
Best Supporting Actor (Edward James Hyland)
Best Supporting Actress (Winona Ryder)


Author(s): Kieran Scarlett
Location: GA


Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Cinematography by Robert Elswit
Edited by Dylan Tichenor
Music by Jon Brion

Main Cast

Jeffrey Wright as Ivan Somerset
Ellen Page as Tenacity Hargrove
Edward Norton as Thomas Jacoby
Amy Ryan as Lynn Jacoby
Ryan Simpkins as Crystal Jacoby
Clifton Collins Jr as Nicholas Randone

Tagline: "Pray for the lost people.."

Synopsis: Ivan Somerset (Wright), a renowned religious studies professor at Yale University has been fired amidst suspicion of his deteriorating mental health following very controversial statements he made regarding the state of organized faith in the world. His recently published books denounce all religions, especially Abrahamic faiths, and preaches a series of tenets by which to live and grow, known simply as "The Way." He soon develops a devout following greater than he ever imagined as men, women and children, all lost and aimless in their lives, begin to flock to him in droves, prepared to do as he preaches...

Tenacity Hargrove (Page) is a young singer/actress whose personal troubles are constantly under a microscope. Feeling adrift in the world of empty, meaningless fame, she nearly hits rock bottom until she stumbles upon Somerset's teachings and becomes one of his biggest followers, much to the dismay of her manager Nicholas (Clifton Collins Jr.) The teachings of "The Way" begin to affect Tenacity in ways she could have never foreseen, as she soon finds herself completely submissive and obedient to Ivan Somerset...

Thomas Jacoby (Edward Norton), a naïve, but troubled Congressman is dealing with a very nasty and public divorce with his wife Lynn (Amy Ryan), who is falsely accusing him of infidelity. Trying desperately to recover his public image, Jacoby turns his attention to putting a stop to Ivan Somerset and followers of "The Way," who are being linked to kidnapping, extortion and violent crimes. He is relentless in his desire to take down Somerset, trying to prosecute him and stop the group, who seek tax exempt status as an official religion. His pursuit of Ivan Somerset leads him down a dangerous road, with very dire consequences...

Cloth is a criss-crossing narrative that examines the cult mentality, and how it is dangerously and irreversibly set into motion. The film follows these three characters as they encounter one another, from Connecticut, to California, and eventually to the deserts of Mexico, where Ivan Somerset and his followers relocate, leading to a shocking and tragic conclusion.

What the Press would say:

Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie Cloth is a look into the hope that religion often offers people, and the corruption of that hope by a select few. The film is no doubt polarizing in the way that it presents these ideas, but ultimately feels evenhanded. It is not an attack on organized religion, rather an examination of the fallibility of humans, especially those in power. Anderson's screenplay and direction expertly frame Somerset and Jacoby as two of the same—men mad with power and driven by the notion that each is right and moral. Anderson directs this ensemble with skill and precision that rivals some of his best work.

Much of the film's success can be attributed to character actor Jeffrey Wright, who amazes with his note-perfect characterization of cult leader Ivan Somerset. In a performance that could have so easily been loud and showy, Wright plays it quiet and understated, never getting it wrong and fully in control of his gift. Wright will go down with Daniel Day-Lewis as yet another great performance expertly directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. He is the winner of this year's Oscar for best actor, if there is any justice.

Even more surprising is Ellen Page, who quells any doubts about her range by stepping so wholly and effectively out of her comfort zone to play a troubled young starlet who couldn't be further from herself. You feel every inch of her sadness and her imprisonment, never doubting her motivation as she makes one unwise decision after another. And last, but definitely not least, there is Edward Norton, who reduces Thomas Jacoby to pure intensity and determination in what may well be the actor's finest performance to date. He makes you feel for an often-times detestable and maddening character, making the film's final act all the more heartbreaking.

The cinematography by Robert Elswit is top-notch, as is Jon Brion's haunting and repetitive score. There will be much talk and controversy regarding the similarities between the events portrayed here, and the Jonestown Massacre. However, Anderson never denies that his film is a composite of his observations and research about cult activity around the world. This is one of the year's best films, and will certainly be a best picture nominee.


Best Picture
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Jeffrey Wright
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Edward Norton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Ellen Page
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Original Score: Jon Brion
Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit
Best Achievement in Editing: Dylan Tichenor


Author(s): Maia
Location: CA


Written and Directed by Richard Shepard

Main Cast

Jon Voight as Sandy Thunder
Paul Schneider as Jimmy Marcel
Kim Director as Lola Kaminski
Seth Rogen as Rocco Matthews
Matt Dallas as Danny Bird
Aaron Yoo as Bob Kwan
Jessica Lucas as Calinda Brown
With Jay Mohr as Jerry Burwick
& Ricky Gervais as Arthur Valentine

Tagline: "Some events are far more than advertised"

Synopsis: A look at the effects of product placement in our society as seen through the eyes of different employees at a popular Comic Book convention:

Prolific, free-spirited artist SANDY THUNDER (Voight) founded Thunderbolt Comics more than thirty years ago. Since then; his small NY-based studio quickly turned into one of the most profitable graphic art publishers in America. Millions of fans worshipped his creations and he had happily served as the company’s chairman and spokesperson… until last fall.

For college freshmen (and hardcore Thunder fans) DANNY BIRD (Dallas) and BOB KWAN (Yoo), there was only one thing on their calendar for the upcoming weekend: Thunder-Con 2008. The widely known “pop culture” convention showcased the latest in comics, films, animation and video games so for two guys like Danny and Bob; working as volunteers during the three-day event was more a free, backstage pass to Sandy Thunder’s world than work itself.

Ruthless; plus occasionally whiny and demanding, marketer JIMMY MARCEL (Schneider) had been a huge success in the branding division of Thunderbolt Comics for the last two years so when he was named coordinator of the company’s highly lucrative Thunder-Con by Sandy Thunder himself, nobody was surprised. It came as a shock, though, the board’s decision to withdraw Thunder from his leadership position and leave him only as the company’s spokesperson. Rumors claimed Thunder, at age seventy, didn’t take it well ( even if his last two years as chairman hadn’t been the best) but Jimmy Marcel only cared about keeping the news out of the spotlight.

Rising star CALINDA BROWN wasn’t a bitch but simply, she wasn’t nice either. She had not slept her way to the top but she knew she had slept it at least to the middle. “Golden Amazon” was set to make her a household name and now she just needed certain “key” demographics to watch her flick. Her last promotional duty before the film’s release was a press conference at Thunder-Con 2008 with the apparently well-known creator of her character and her costars.

LOLA KAMINSKY (Director) had had it. Her boss, a self-absorbed douche named Jimmy Marcel, was driving her crazy (although he was spending most of his time talking to the famous panelists like that it-girl Calinda Brown), her authority as staff coordinator of Thunder-Con 2008 was being disrespected by a bunch of kids who only cared about the exhibition stands and to complicate things even further, the legendary Sandy Thunder had yet to show up.

Contractually obligated to promote “Golden Amazon” during Thunder-Con and other public events, “eccentric” character actor ARTHUR VALENTINE (Gervais) knew he could sacrifice some of his prestige in return for a nice paycheck. Playing the villain in a comic book adaptation was not his usual work but according to his snotty agent JERRY BURWICK (Mohr), providing the voice for the CGI-creature fighting the title heroine would increase his popularity among younger audiences. He was wrong…

Struggling artist ROCCO MATTHEWS (Rogen) was on his late twenties and still waiting for his breakthrough. Since his idol Sandy Thunder “made it” when he was over thirty, Rocco was hopeful. Thunder-Con was the right place to display his work but just like many other exhibitors had realized before, smaller publishers like the regularly stoned Matthews couldn’t compete with Thunderbolt’s branding.

An hour before closing night’s main event, the auditorium was packed with both fans and media. It was pretty obvious they were not there for Calinda Brown and that’s when Jimmy Marcel knew he was in trouble… How would people react to Thunder’s absence? How would this affect the company’s reputation, their new movie and mostly; his job? But even worse, what would happen if Thunder actually showed up?

What the Press would say:

Decisions… There’s a price to pay for each one we make and as "The Matador" director Richard Shepard’s clever dark-comedy Convention so distinctively expresses, there’s always a lesson to learn from each one too. A world controlled by marketing, reputation and perception is carefully analyzed by Shepard’s witty screenplay as his tragicomic characters interact with each other in the most casual (yet appropriate) setting we could think of: a comic book convention...

Starring as the renowned artist Sandy Thunder, Jon Voight is a dominant presence (even if he is not on screen most of the time). All characters are directly or indirectly affected by him and the specific way he is seen by each of them (from iconic artist to aging hippie) makes his last fifteen minutes on screen pivotal to the film’s satisfying conclusion. When the half-drunk/half-pissed off Thunder finally shows up to the press conference and sets the record (very) straight, we just don’t want him to disappoint his loyal fanbase or to ruin his solid reputation. Voight is simply a treat for the audience and thanks to his humorous and ultimately touching performance, it’s simple to understand why the man and artist Sandy Thunder (not his real name by the way) was surpassed by his larger-than-life brandname. Voight brings the house down!

The rest of the ensemble is also memorable. Paul Schneider, not your typical leading man, succeeds as the unpredictable Jimmy Marcel. Schneider adds a lot of physical comedy and (delicious) sharp-tongued malice to his portrayal and the result is one of the most accomplished on-screen antiheros of the year. Additionally, supporting turns by young actors Matt Dallas and Aaron Yoo contribute to the pic’s optimistic nature and the recognizable Seth Rogen provides an enjoyable look of an actually depressing scenario. An extended cameo by Jay Mohr as a critical agent who enjoys dissing everyone around him reminds the viewer that what or "who" could seem particularly important during the convention could not be it to the outside world.

Kim Director is particularly empathetic as the only character actually doing some work on the convention. Thanks to the blue-eyed beauty, we feel for her character’s unfair treatment but we also like her even more when she finally puts everyone in place, including the annoying Jimmy Marcel. In contrast, Jessica Lucas’ amusing portrayal of a pampered, self-centered celebrity shows how hollow people, fictional or not, can be (although the final payoff when her character discovers she isn't "Sandy Thunder" big is definitely worth watching).

Ricky Gervais steals the show as the “peculiar” Arthur Valentine. An award-nominated actor seduced by money and the chance of a career boost. Gervais makes Valentine an sympathetic personality and him, just like director Shepard, is not afraid to push the envelope when needed (like that memorable scene where Gervais meets Rogen’s character to weed-friendly, hilarious results).

Thanks to Shepard’s engaging direction, his refreshing screenplay and the colorful ensemble; Convention becomes an event moviegoers simply can’t miss this year and one AMPAS members already should be planning to attend.

For Your Consideration

Best Picture
Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical (HFPA)
Best Ensemble (SAG)
Best Director (Richard Shepard)
Best Actor (Jon Voight)
Best Supporting Actor (Ricky Gervais)
Best Supporting Actor (Paul Schneider)
Best Supporting Actress (Kim Director)
Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Lucas)
Best Screenplay (Original)
Creativity Awards