Lightning Round: 10/28

Hello, blog. I haven’t updated you in quite a while. Let’s fix that. My Oscar predictions remain much the same for the moment as they did at the beginning of the month, so I’m still going to wait until something actually happens to post an update there; though next time I do, I’ll be making my first ill-advised stab at the technical categories. That’s right, Art Direction fans. Get excited.

And now, my attempt to cram roughly 2 weeks’ worth of film news into one Lightning Round post:

  • We’ll start with the most recent entry in the Batman 3 rumor saga. Christopher Nolan finally revealed some definite bits of information regarding his upcoming three-quel: the title will be “The Dark Knight Rises,” the recently-cast Tom Hardy will play a villain that is NOT The Riddler, and the film will NOT be shot in 3-D. I love that Nolan now has enough clout to beat back the studio execs, who I’m sure where clamoring for the extra $100-$200 million a 3-D Batman movie would have made. He will however, as with “The Dark Knight,” shoot much of the film in IMAX, which would be freaking sweet if I could find a goddamn IMAX theater anywhere. As for the villain, while I would’ve been intrigued to see The Riddler, I’m going to trust Nolan knows what he’s doing in going for a more obscure character, and assume that Tom Hardy is going to be awesome no matter who he plays, anyway. The title I’m lukewarm towards; it’s rather derivative, but on the plus side it reminds me of Gary Oldman’s speech at the end of last film. And anything that makes me think of that scene is welcome in my world.
  • Sean Penn’s turn as Valerie Plame’s trouble-making journalist husband in “Fair Game” will officially be campaigned in the Supporting Actor category; a bit of category fraud that makes absolutely no sense. The top 6 or 7 Supporting Actor candidates already seem pretty locked in – it’ll take a lot to break through for a nomination there, whereas the Lead category (remarkably) has a few soft spots after Firth, Bridges and Franco. Whatever. He won’t win no matter where he goes anyway.
  • Disney released a selection of Daft Punk’s score for “TRON: Legacy,” set to highlights from the film – it’s very possible this movie won’t be any good (those who have already gotten a peak say Garrett Hedlund’s lead performance is cringe-worthy), but I DON’T CARE. Jeff Bridges. Olivia Wilde. Michael Sheen being crazy. And an awesome, thumping techno-score. I am so going to see this.
  • Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” is officially slated for a May 27th limited release. Finally.
  • Peter Jackson got his Bilbo Baggins in Martin Freeman, best known stateside for “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to Galaxy.” He’s also had cameo appearances in Edgar Wright’s comedies “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” And yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ve got on him. Again, I’m going to trust that Jackson knows what he’s doing. Oh yeah, Andy Serkis and Ian McKellan are officially coming back too, as if there was any question about that.
  • Keep on eye on Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls.” Perry’s latest, a foray into serious dramatic work with an adaptation of the critically acclaimed ensemble play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” (gee, I wonder why they condensed that one), is sure to do well at the box-office and is getting some buzz for its supporting performances from Macy Gray, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton and Phylicia Rashad. It’s actually kind of nice to have this in the mix considering the dominantly Caucasian-skewed lineup so far this year, but someone will have to decide which one or two performances are going to get the attention if they don’t want some major vote split. Dark horse candidate for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay as well. Seriously. Don’t underestimate Oprah. “The Color Purple” got 11 nominations (all right, that was Steven Spielberg, too, but still).
  • The Gotham Independent Film Award nominations were released (they’re like the younger, duller East-coast cousin of the Independent Spirits), with “Winter’s Bone” leading the way with three nominations. It’s an interesting lineup. Here are the categories I care about:

Best Feature:

Black Swan

Blue Valentine

The Kids Are All Right

Let Me In

Winter’s Bone

Best Ensemble:

The Kids Are All Right

Life During Wartime

Please Give

Tiny Furniture

Winter’s Bone

Breakthrough Director:

John Wells, “The Company Men”

Kevin Asch, “Holy Rollers”

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, “I Love You Philip Morris”

Tanya Hamilton, “Night Catches Us”

Lena Dunham, “Tiny Furniture”

Breakthrough Actor:

Prince Adu, “Prince of Broadway”

Ronald Bronstein, “Daddy Longlegs”

Greta Gerwig, “Greenberg”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

John Ortiz, “Jack Goes Boating”

  • Jean-Luc Godard will skip the Governor’s Awards, preferring to wait for the Academy to FedEx him his honorary Oscar. I am shocked, shocked I tell you!
  • This guy is, like me, someone who spends too much time reading movie blogs instead of having a life. He’s well known in our circles for his occasionally grating comments, but this is actually pretty damn hilarious:
  • Finally, In Contention lets you listen to “Sticks and Stones,” a leading Original Song contender from “How to Train Your Dragon” by Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi Birgisson. Still haven’t seen the movie, but this is a better, more enjoyable song than the dreck we usually get in this category. I’ll be pulling for a nomination.

Phew. All right, I’ll be posting a couple more reviews tonight to try and catch up on my significant backlog. Eat your heart out.

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