SPOTLIGHT: Tilda Swinton

One of the most wildly talented performers working today, Tilda Swinton brings the utmost care to every movie character she portrays.  Whether it’s glossy Hollywood productions like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, intense indie grime like Julia or a seductive romance like the Italian drama I Am Love, Swinton truly transforms on the screen.  She makes every character, no matter how weird and despicable, inescapably human.  Often pidgeonholed as an Ice Queen after playing them (sometimes literally) in movies like Burn After Reading, Michael Clayton and The Chronicles of Narnia, the truth is that Swinton simply has more emotional range and capacity for risk-taking than anyone else currently working in her profession.

Michael Clayton- Movies like this don’t intend to become a showcase for acting, yet Swinton steals every scene she is in, Clooney be damned.  As cutthroat corporate executive Karen Crowder, Swinton shows us a woman whose every ferocious stroke is driven by desperation.  For every scene showcasing her aggressiveness,  there is one that undermines it, including the legendary final showdown between her and the title character.

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Last Decade’s Best Picture Nominees Ranked by Year

Which years had the best crop of best picture nominees? What films deserved nominations and what ones didn’t? See everything ranked here.

1. 2007– Certainly one of the greatest crop of films to have come across the laps of voters in the last decade, if not in the entire Academy’s history. There Will Be Blood is without a doubt a classic induction in American cinema and without blowing any smoke was CyniCritics rightful pick for the best film of the decade. Actual winner No Country for Old Men equally deserves striking gold and Atonement is highly overlooked for displaying an hour of completely flawless, beautiful cinematic glory. Juno won’t be forgotten and even Michael Clayton was a strong film. Nobody can really argue a film out of this list unless they make a case for made a case for an endless list of brilliant, best picture worthy films made in 2007 like The Lives of Others, Into the Wild, Sweeney Todd, Eastern Promises, The Assassination of Jesse James, or Zodiac. Now here is a year deserving of 10 nominees.

Nominees ranked:

  1. There Will Be Blood
  2. No Country for Old Men
  3. Atonement
  4. Juno
  5. Michael Clayton Continue reading

SPOTLIGHT: Daniel Day-Lewis

Gargantuan doesn’t even begin to describe a Daniel Day-Lewis performance.  One of the greatest living actors, if not the greatest, he towers over other actors of his generation with a surreal dedication to his roles.  Known as a definitive method actor, he stays in character from the time a movie starts shooting until the time it finishes production.  This practice has won him 2 Oscars out of four nominations.  He only does a project when he can truly commit himself to the grueling experience he goes through to prepare, which is why we don’t see him every year.  When we do though, it’s one goddamn hell of a show.

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The Big 10: No Easy A’s

Out of the dozens of reviews we’ve done since we started this blog, we’ve had only 10 A’s.  For a movie to deserve a perfect rating here, it doesn’t have to be perfect: it needs to be different.  It has to bring something new to the movie table, or do something old so well that it feels new.  Here are our 10 ‘A’ reviews, as diverse as an obese teenager’s quest for societal independence or a man avenging his father’s death in 19th century America.  (Side-note:  though we rarely hand out straight A’s, we’ve also only awarded one F… to a movie ironically called The A-Team.)

Amélie

Being John Malkovich

Casino Royale

District 9

Gangs of New York

A History of Violence

In the Loop

Precious: Based On the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire

Up in the Air

Where the Wild Things Are

Ten to finish out ’10

With The Social Network and Let Me In giving movie-goers some anti-summer entertainment to look forward to this weekend, we thought it’d be a good idea to map out what the rest of 2010 will look like at the movies.  Here is our list of the 10 movies we think will matter the rest of the year.

Black Swan (Dec. 1)– Darren Aronofsky follows up The Wrestler with another behind the scenes plunge into the dark depths of competitive sports.  This time it’s Natalie Portman in the lead, playing a ballerina in a a gruelingly competitive production of Swan Lake. When Mila Kunis comes in as a the new kid on the block, the game is on.  That makes it sound like Step Up, but from trailer, which shows Portman sprouting feathers and red eyes, it will be decidedly weirder.  Aronofsky knows his way around pitch black, and has a knack for turning misery into beauty.  Expect nothing less here.

True Grit (Dec. 25)– What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Coen Brothers movie?  They team up with Jeff Bridges again, this time to remake the western that won John Wayne his Oscar.  However, the brothers list the novel as their main source of inspiration because of its quick dialogue as well as the premise.  A daughter (newcomer Hailee Steinfield) sets out to apprehend her father’s killer with the help of a stubborn marshal (Bridges.)  The movie also features Matt Damon as a ranger accompanying the two and Josh Brolin as the killer.  With a remarkable cast like this, and the success they had adapting No Country for Old Men, it’s hard not to be excited about this one.

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