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2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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McBain Recommends
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-Kill Bill vol 2
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The Blog:
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
 
Wanted to quickly weigh in on a few previously discussed movies, movies discussed too long ago for me to go back to post in the "comments" section.

My previous comments on Y Tu Mama Tambiem may have come across as overly harping on some negative points, but overall, I found this to be an exhilarating movie about growing up. Cuaron may have pushed a couple of issues beyond credibility to make his points, but these concerns are quite minor. I had similar problems with Amores Perros, but that didn't stop me from loving that movie either. There's an immediacy of communication in these two recent Mexican movies--the directors find the path of least resistance to tell their stories, and it's great that their stories are somewhat complicated, convoluted, and surprising in ways that are illuminating. I know I'm just using a bunch of cool adjectives here, but the feeling one gets out of these two movies is of great promise.

Donnie Darko may just be the DVD find of the year. (As two bonuses, it features a Drew Barrymore doing a Julianne Moore, and a Swayze you just want to shoot down.) The love interest of Donnie Darko says to him of his name, when he first reveals it: "it sounds like a superhero name." And that's what this movie is about. It's about sacrificing (or redefining) who you are to right what is wrong. Spiderman touched on the same ideals, if slightly less successfully and with less mystery, and it was great to see two movies about adolescent male superheroes that left a plangent aftertaste back-to-back. I like Raimi's film--in fact I saw it twice, but only because I was dragged along the second time--and too bad there wasn't anything to pick up on the second time around that I hadn't gotten the first time around. The fillmmakers really rushed the transition to arachnoid too quickly. I know, I know--it's a comic book movie. But Raimi was onto something, the same thing the second (and only good) Superman movie was onto: an regular-man's exploration of the superhero status. I felt the pull of sadness at the end, and the criss-crossing of ironies, but methinks it could have reverberated the way that great opera can. Raimi can be commended for making a comic-book movie out of a comic-book, but why didn't he go for more? Maybe we'll need to wait for the next installation. He could pull off an "Empire Strikes Back," ala Kershner.

Speaking of the Star Wars franchise, I would agree with the general consensus that Attack of the Clones is much better than The Phantom Menace, and it's clear that Lucas is building a dramatic arc, but so what? The movie should have eliminated all that silly dialogue, filled out with music (Williams outdid himself), and all the complicated logistical, dramatic stuff should have been chopped away. The result would have been a 45 minutes visual classic of the digital format. Otherwise, Lucas should have hired a working Kershner (David O Russell comes to mind) to direct the flick. Lucas is so in tune with his far-away galaxy of a long, long time ago that he can't find a way to connect dramatically with the rather common modern moviegoer (apologies to McBain, who found a way connect anyway).

About A Boy is more than watchable, it features a grown-up Hugh Grant who knows how to bare his soul. His slinking out of that restaurant (anyone who's seen the movie will know exactly what I mean) is played by someone who understands and knows humility. I prefered it to Hi Fidelity. The kid is positively believable (I'd beat him up, and I'm supposedly a grown-up). And every supporting role was performed marvelously, and Toni Collette will soon get the Tommy Lee Jones award for never failing to upstage a terrific lead performance.