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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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The Blog:
Friday, January 10, 2003
 
I haven't seen a film lately that really inspires much of a review, but I want to mention the few that I have seen and what I thought.

Drumline Surprising and fun. A sports movie at its core. Worth seeing for the exquisite and lovingly photographed band sequences. It's also nice to see a black movie that isn't called 2 G's and a Key. The film is thankfully short of after school special type moments, the drama between band scenes having a straightforward honesty. It is really wholesome entertainment that lacks any trace of corn syrup.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Amateurish in almost every respect, which is why I think it got such a word of mouth campaign going for it. All the elements of the mass produced Hollywood romantic comedy are there, but it all looks so slapped together that you almost have a sensation of "nobody came to see the unknown gem". Does anyone even remember Four Weddings...? How is it regarded? I'll admit that I laughed at many of the Greek family gags, but it is a sort of guilty I shouldn't be laughing at these semi-racist ethnic mismatch jokes... Maybe that's how white people feel about Chris Rock. John Corbett plays the male lead with almost no personality. I understand his "put on a fake smile and suffer this" act when the family is around, but it feels like it carries over into his interactions with the Vardalos character. The end result is a screen couple who obviously don't give two shits about each other. Can't they all be Notting Hill or Jerry Maguire?

The Two Towers Anyone who knows me knows my fanboy quotient is pretty high. I love many of the same things I loved when I was 12. Any criticism of The Phantom Menace tumbles off my deaf ears like Gerald Ford down some stairs. I loved Triple T. I felt like I was sitting in a film that will define geeks for generations. Peter Jackson has created one of the most immersive film worlds ever. I cannot praise the guy enough, he puts himself up near the pantheon of pop filmmakers in my eyes, more than holding the jocks of Lucas and Spielberg. Viggo Mortensen is so perfect as Aragorn, which is odd because he is usually just the good looking but boring supporting player. Here his boringness has transformed into a sort of mysterious anguish that he suffers under the burden of responsibility. Believe it or not, I never read the Tolkien books (though I did read the Hobbit, not LOTR) and I still believe these films are a wonderful achievement. And on top of all that, Gollum made film history. While Haley Joel Osment acted wonderfully, Gollum is a computer we can love...

Gangs of New York Loud. Ugly. Bright. Mean. Vivid. The opera comparison has been made many times already (though I can honestly say I hadn't heard Scorsese describe it that way) because it is so true. The 19th century New York in the film is obviously a set, just like the production of Bizet's Carmen I saw this summer. Both had loud actors that chewed the technicolor scenery and both were a wonderful spectacle. Leo and Cameron are solid, but not worthy of too much analysis and praise. Leo seems to make a career out of not embarrassing himself when it seems that at first glance he has been miscast. Remember the speculation about Titanic? He got a lot of credit for simply not sucking. That is kind of how I see this performance, he didn't suck. Same with Diaz, who can be quite good when cast properly, but always manages to "not suck" when the casting isn't so good (think of Being John Malkovich, nothing special but she didn't suck). As for the good stuff, Daniel Day Lewis is the shizzle for rizzle. I can't heap enough praise for his performance here. It is easily the best I have seen from a male lead in a couple years (though there are a number of Oscar contenders I still need to see). The moment when he taps his glass eye with the knife to remind Jim Broadbent of his insane resolve my jaw fell open. Ultimately, Gangs doesn't compete with the top few Scorsese films, but it is a fine film and should be seen.

Joyride Marginally entertaining genre thriller of the I Know What You Did... ilk. Paul Walker is boring as dirt. Steve Zahn is funny by just opening his mouth. I have yet to see a movie where I wasn't entertained just by listening to him talk. Leelee Sobieski really needs to hire a new agent. She could be doing so much better than the crap she's been in lately. Ultimately, I liked the Duel Redux here, but nothing about the action is very inspired. If it's on television it might be worth your while, otherwise skip it. Viewing experience greatly enhanced by copious volume of grain alcohol ingestion.