31 January 2009


The Bat-Signal must be on the fritz.

How else to explain the snub The Dark Knight received last week from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when Oscar nominations were announced?

Sure, Heath Ledger is all but a lock to posthumously win best supporting actor for his maniacal turn as The Joker, and the Academy named The Dark Knight in seven other categories (art direction, cinematography, editing, makeup, sound, sound editing and visual effects). But look at the writing nominations and you won’t find the names Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan or David Goyer. Chris Nolan is missing from the best director list, as well.

The most glaring omission comes under best picture, where the competitors are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (which has a leading 13 nominations), Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire.

16 January 2009

Gran Torino

Gran Torino

"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have (messed) with? That's me."

Clint Eastwood, as the central character of Gran Torino, Korean war veteran/retired Ford worker/widower Walt Kowalski, snarls that warning to a trio of thugs menacing his neighbor, a friendly Hmong teenager named Sue (Ahney Her), but he might as well wear it around his neck on a sign for all to see.

Whether you're staring at him down the barrel of a shotgun or just happen to stray too close to his property as he sits on his front porch, cigarette in hand, cooler of Pabst Blue Ribbon and trusty yellow Lab at his feet, your day will be considerably more pleasant if you avoid him altogether—especially if you're one of the gangbangers who have all but taken over his Detroit neighborhood. They're everywhere—gangs of black, Latino or Hmong youths. It's hard on a bigoted old man like Walt.

08 January 2009

Bride Wars

Bride Wars

Guys, this one’s for the ladies. Of course, you can probably figure that out from the title.

All engaged men should take their fiancées to Bride Wars, which can serve as a primer on how not to behave as the big day approaches. As an engaged man, I can appreciate the movie on that level alone. That it has a fair share of laughs along the way is an added bonus.

Liv (Kate Hudson, who also takes a producer credit) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) seem like polar opposites. Liv is a successful attorney, a driven career woman who knows what she wants and is accustomed to getting it. Emma is a middle school teacher, polite and generous to a fault—she’s a pushover and those around her, especially fellow teacher Deb (a scene-stealing Kristen Johnston), take advantage of that trait.