Posts Tagged ‘Kate Winslet’

This week’s releases include: a virus outbreak; monsters in the basement; a killing spree in the woods; a dark, cop comedy; an independent woman before her time; and a new reason not to go into the water. (more…)

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This week’s releases include: a courtroom period drama; a spy thriller in two different eras; another bachelor party gone wrong; a true story of fantasy and murder; a playful tale with penguins; a look at famous hockey feuds; a consequence of ‘the wrong place, the wrong time’; an adaptation of a childhood classic; a trilogy about a young woman who takes matters into her own hands; and an historical re-enactment.  (more…)

This week on DVD are two different types of creature features – one animal, one vampire – and a pair of offbeat, non-traditional westerns – neither of which are American, but instead Canadian and Korean. Also hitting shelves is the blu-ray release of 1996’s Hamlet.

Furry Vengeance on DVDFurry Vengeance (DVD)
An ambitious young real estate developer, Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser), faces off with a band of angry animals when his new housing subdivision pushes too far into a pristine part of the wilderness. Led by an incredibly clever raccoon, the animals stymie the development and teach Dan about the environmental consequences of man’s encroachment on nature.

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The Reader addresses the void in films that address issues confronting the generation born after the Holocaust in Germany.

In post-WWII Germany, teen Michael Berg (David Kross) falls ill on his way home from school and is helped home by Hanna (Kate Winslet), a woman twice his age. Michael recovers and seeks out Hanna to thank her but instead begins a passionate, secretive affair. He discovers Hanna likes to be read to, deepening their physical relationship. Then Hanna mysteriously disappears, leaving Michael confused and heartbroken. Eight years later, Michael is a law student observing Nazi war crime trials and is shocked to find Hanna is one of the defendants. As Hanna’s past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives.

The Reader is a haunting story that spans 37 years. It’s about how one generation comes to terms with the crimes of another. The children born after the war were innocent of the atrocities committed but trapped under the dark cloud that hung over the population. They were ashamed of their parents and neighbours, even if just for tolerating the perpetrators in their midst. One character argues the trials are a diversion because everyone in Germany is guilty. Michael expresses his warring emotions, saying when he tries to understand Hanna’s actions, he feels he should be condemning it; but when he condemns her actions, there is no room for understanding.

Audiences will have very similar conflicting feelings towards Winslet’s character, which earned her a best actress Academy Award. First exposed to a warm relationship with a lovely woman, it is difficult to reconcile that image with an agent of death. Any hint of empathy or sympathy for Hanna feels wrong.

Kross is exceptional, portraying both the 15-year-old and 23-year-old Michael. His affection towards Hanna is palpable, while his revulsion at her past is equally blatant. Ralph Fiennes portrays the middle-aged Michael, who is remembering his history with Hanna. However, Kross’ characters are more significant to the story, somewhat overshadowing Fiennes’ representation. Winslet is sincere and credible as both the lover and the almost naïve perpetrator. Her performance at the trial is especially moving.
The DVD contains the usual special features. Deleted scenes further explore the relationship of the star-crossed lovers as well as Michael’s warring emotions; the most missed scene is a classroom discussion in which the teacher further provokes the students’ thoughts. The “making of” featurette includes interviews with various cast and crew, while there is a separate recorded conversation between Kross and director Stephen Daldry discussing his journey with the character and approach to the love scenes. A summary of the multi-hour aging process Winslet underwent is also provided, during which she shows she’s quite witty and down-to-earth. A shocking element may be the youth of the film’s composer Nico Muhly, who stars in his own featurette.


This was one of the most anticipated Academy Awards in years. Fingers were crossed for the little movie that could and organizers were whispering of big changes to the worn-out ceremony. And for once, the promises of grandeur were fulfilled.

Fan favourite Slumdog Millionaire was named best picture, beating out Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Milk, and nomination-leader The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The low-budget, British-Indian drama about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory went home with eight Oscar statues, winning all but two of its nomination categories.

Filling Slumdog’s pot of gold were awards for best director (Danny Boyle); adapted screenplay (Simon Beaufoy); original score and song (A.R. Rahman); cinematography; editing; and sound.

In the acting categories, Kate Winslet (The Reader) overtook Meryl Streep (Doubt) for best actress and Sean Penn (Milk) out-manoeuvred Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) for best actor. A wonderful Oscar moment came when Winslet asked her father to whistle so she could find him in the crowd and thank him directly during her speech.

The expectants took away supporting honours, with Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) taking home an Oscar and Heath Ledger (Dark Knight) winning posthumously for his portrayal of the Joker. Ledger’s mother, father and sister accepted the award on his daughter’s behalf, addressing the teary-eyed crowd with heartfelt thanks. However, inconsiderate planning had the next segment on documentary film cuing up as Ledger’s family exited the stage and the audience attempted to compose itself. A commercial break would have been much more appropriate.

Benjamin Button only took home awards for three of its 13 nominations, winning best art direction, makeup and visual effects.

Another Oscar moment immortalized itself when Philippe Petit, the subject of best documentary Man on Wire, made a coin magically disappear and balanced the gold statue on his chin while being played off the stage.

The following is a full list of 2009 Academy Awards winners:

Best picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Germany
“The Class,” France
Departures,” Japan
“Revanche,” Austria
“Waltz With Bashir,” Israel

Best adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare, “The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, “WALL-E”

Best animated feature film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
WALL-E

Best art direction
“Changeling”
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best cinematography
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best sound editing
The Dark Knight
“Iron Man”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best original score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, “WALL-E”

Best original song
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E,” Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best costume design
“Australia”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
The Duchess
“Milk”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best documentary feature
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
Man on Wire
“Trouble the Water”

Best documentary (short subject)
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
Smile Pinki
“The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306”

Best film editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Best animated short film
La Maison en Petits Cubes
“Lavatory — Lovestory”
“Oktapodi”
“Presto”
“This Way Up”

Best live action short film
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphalt”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best visual effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came out on top in today’s announcement of nominees for the 81st annual Academy Awards. The romantic fantasy led contenders with 13 nominations, including best picture, acting nods for Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Henson, and a best director slot went to David Fincher.

Rounding out the best picture category were TV-landmark drama Frost/Nixon; gay-themed political biopic Milk; post-war Germany picture The Reader; and romantic crowd-favourite Slumdog Millionaire.

Slumdog continues its rags-to-riches journey, coming in second with 10 nominations, including best director for Danny Boyle, best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and two of the three song slots.

However, Slumdog’s musical fortune may have come at the expense of Bruce Springsteen, who won best original song for “The Wrestler” at the Golden Globes but failed to receive an Oscar nomination. Springsteen’s Globe competitor Clint Eastwood also found himself without a nomination in the major categories for either The Changeling or Gran Torino.

As expected, Heath Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor for his intensely villainous portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight. The selection comes on the one-year anniversary of the actor’s death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Surprisingly, the Batman blockbuster was shut out of other top categories, gaining its other seven nominations in technical categories, such as cinematography, visual effects and editing.

The remaining supporting actor spots went to Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt, Josh Brolin for Milk, Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder and Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road.

Despite Kate Winslet’s double-Golden Globe win, she was left out of the supporting actress category, only earning a leading actress nod for her role in The Reader.

Going up against Winslet are Meryl Streep for Doubt, Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Angelinia Jolie for The Changeling and Melissa Leo for Frozen River.

Making up the supporting actress group are Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Penelope for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Viola Davis for Doubt, Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler and Amy Adams for Doubt.

The lead actor lineup is comprised of Pitt, Sean Penn for Milk, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler, Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon and Richard Jenkins for The Visitor.

Joining Fincher and Boyle in the director category are Gus Van Sant for Milk, Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon and Stephen Daldry for The Reader.

The 81st annual Academy Awards will be held February 22, 2009 in Los Angeles. This year’s event will be hosted by Hugh Jackman.

Below is a full list of nominees:

Best picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Germany
“The Class,” France
“Departures,” Japan
“Revanche,” Austria
“Waltz With Bashir,” Israel

Best adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare, “The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, “WALL-E”

Best animated feature film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“WALL-E”

Best art direction
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best cinematography
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best sound editing
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best original score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, “WALL-E”

Best original song
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E,” Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best costume design
“Australia”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Duchess”
“Milk”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best documentary feature
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
“Man on Wire”
“Trouble the Water”

Best documentary (short subject)
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
“Smile Pinki”
“The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306”

Best film editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best makeup
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Best animated short film
“La Maison en Petits Cubes”
“Lavatory — Lovestory”
“Oktapodi”
“Presto”
“This Way Up”

Best live action short film
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphalt”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
“Spielzeugland (Toyland)”

Best visual effects
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”


Low-budget British-Indian drama Slumdog Millionaire received 11 nominations on Thursday for the British Academy awards. The well-deserved esteem comes on the heels of the film’s success at the Golden Globes and gives it another boost ahead of the Oscars next month.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which stars Brad Pitt as a man who ages backward, was also nominated in 11 categories, including best film, best actor and best director for David Fincher.

Slumdog Millionaire, a film about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory, was nominated in six major categories including best picture, best actor for Dev Patel, best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and best director for Danny Boyle. It received several design nominations as well.

They are followed by Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight, which won nine BAFTA nominations, including best supporting actor for the late Heath Ledger; while Clint Eastwood’s L.A. noir Changeling, was nominated in eight categories, including best director.

Political drama Frost/Nixon won six nominations, including best actor for Frank Langella and best director for Ron Howard. Post-war Germany picture The Reader was nominated in five categories, including best picture and best actress for Kate Winslet. In Bruges, Milk and Revolutionary Road picked up four nods apiece.

Double-Golden Globe-winner Winslet is competing against herself in the best actress category, with nominations for both The Reader and Revolutionary Road. She is up against Angelina Jolie for Changeling, Meryl Streep for Doubt and Kristin Scott Thomas for the French film I’ve Loved You So Long.

The best-actor nominees are, Sean Penn for Milk, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler Patel, Langella and Pitt – who was also nominated in the supporting actor category for the Coen Brothers’ spy comedy Burn After Reading.

In a statement, 18-year-old Patel said to be nominated alongside Pitt, Rourke, Langella and Penn “is unbelievably exciting and such a huge honour.”

The televised ceremony will be hosted by controversial presenter Jonathan Ross, who was recently suspended without pay from the BBC for his participation in obscene prank calls made to actor Andrew Sachs.