Monday, June 9, 2008


Author(s): T.D. (TX)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by Guillermo Arriaga
Produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Steve Golin, and Jon Kilik
Distributed by Focus Features
Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto
Editing by Stephen Mirrione
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla

Main Cast

Sergi López as Enrique Carrión
Belén Rueda as Rosalinda Carrión
Benicio Del Toro as Luis Garza
Ivana Baquero as Abril Santos

Tagline: “They never knew March 11 was going to be their life changing day.”

Synopsis: On March 11, 2004, a tragic event had occurred in the city of Madrid , Spain . From 7:30 to 8:00 a.m., a series of coordinated bombings took place against the commuter train systems, and the bombings killed 191 people and wounded 1,755. Of the many wounded in the incident, four survivors were at the station during the explosions, and they all loose someone close to them in the explosions. The four individuals are:

-Enrique and Rosalinda Carrión. Enrique is a diplomat working in the American embassy, and his wife Rosalinda is a teacher at the university where their two daughters Ana and Carmen are attending. The family was on their way to work or school by traveling on the commuter trains. While on the train, the daughters notice some cute guys in the other train car, and they decided to go talk to them. Enrique and Rosalinda looked for them once they got off, but they didn’t see them and assume that they were still on the train. The doors close, and the train starts to leave the station. Soon, an explosion occurs, and both Enrique and Rosalinda fall to the ground and black out.

-Luis Garza. Luis is a tourist from Puerto Rico visiting Spain with his fiancée Maria. The two were touring the city that early morning, and when they grew tired of walking around they decided to take the commuter trains back to the hotel. The two got on, and during the train ride Maria told Luis that she is enjoying the trip and can’t wait to get back to Puerto Rico to marry him. The train stops, and the couple exits the train, but Maria stops and tells Luis she forgot the traveling bag on the train. She gets back on, and the doors close. Luis runs up and tries to open the door, but the train starts moving. Soon, an explosion occurs, and Luis falls to the ground and black out.

-Abril Santos. Abril is a quiet girl who lives with her mother. Her mother is the only person she has in her life, and she would never leave her side. Her mother was taking her to school that morning, and since the taxi cabs were full she told Abril that they’re going to take the train. Abril dislike riding the trains, but she had no choice but to go along with her. While on the train, her mother had to use the bathroom and leaves her. When the train stopped Abril notices the candy stand outside and got off. Her mother, who was looking for her, stood at the door and told her to hurry up and get back on. As Abril took her time walking back, the doors close and she runs to the doors and tries to open it, but the train starts moving. Soon, an explosion occurs, and Abril falls to the ground and black out.

A few hours after the attacks, the four were rushed to the hospital for treatment. They woke up that evening to find themselves in the crowded hospital filled with other wounded people. The next day, the police came to their rooms and told them that their love ones were killed in the explosions, and from that very moment their lives were going to change forever over a course of three days as they try to cope with their lost.

What the press would say:

Alejandro González Iñárritu, the acclaimed director of “Amores Perros”, “21 Grams”, and “Babel”, returns to the big screen with his new film “11-M”, a Spanish-speaking multiple story drama about the famous terrorist attacks that took place in Spain on March 11, and the individuals who survived the attacks but lost their love ones. Iñárritu teams up with longtime friend Guillermo Arriaga, who wrote his previous films. Arriaga’s script is compelling and heartbreaking, and it’s a piece of work that’ll be remembered throughout the rest of the month. Sergi López leads an all-star cast as Enrique Carrión, a diplomat who loses his two daughters to the explosions in the train station. López brings this brash but compassionate character to life as he plays a man who neglects his wife and only wishes to find the men responsible for killing his daughters. Not only was he the star of the film, but so was his co-star Belén Rueda, who plays Enrique’s wife Rosalinda. Rueda delivers an amazing performance as the loving wife who becomes neglected by her husband and questions her faith and existence in God after losing her daughters, thus leading to a tragic suicidal death. Leading the supporting cast is none other than Academy Award winning actor Benicio Del Toro, who delivers yet another moving performance as Luis Garza, a once joyful and appreciated man who was engaged to Maria, the love of his life. Del Toro is wonderful in every scene he’s in as he plays a man suffering through the lost of his fiancée but manages to cope with the lost after praying for strength and guidance from God and moves on at the end of the film. Rounding up the stellar cast is none other than the rising star Ivana Baquero, who plays the young school student Abril Santos. Abril is a quiet yet spoil girl who’d always depend on her mother to be there for her. However, she never knew that her mother was going to leave her for good that day. Baquero is by far the best in the film, and delivers an outstanding performance as her character is put into a foster home when no relative claims her and must live her life without anyone to care for her in the orphanage. Overall, “11-M” is a moving and extraordinary film that is bound to become a masterpiece in the eyes of critics and audiences come May and a classic throughout the year.

For Your Consideration

Best Picture
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Sergi López
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Belén Rueda
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Benicio Del Toro
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Ivana Baquero
Best Original Screenplay

Angela's Path

Author(s): Harry (Colombia) & Stefano (Italy)
Angela's Path

Distributed by: Miramax Pictures
Directed by: Jane Campion
Written by: Jane Campion and Ronald Harwood
Original Score by: Dario Marianelli
Cinematography by: Bruno Delbonnel
Production Design by: Anna Asp
Costume Design by: Jacqueline Durran
Film editing by: Hervé de Luze
Produced by: Jane Campion and Jan Chapman

Main Cast

Penélope Cruz (Angela)
Catherine Deneuve (Geneviève)
Sebastian Koch (Jorgen)
Virginie Ledoyen (Pierrette)

Tagline: She encountered desperation. She followed her path. She would never forget her story.

Synopsis: “Emotions. There are some that make us want to live, and to continue following our paths. There are others that, because of harsh consequences, go right into our most profound sensibility, making us feel desperation. I always tried to give up, but I learned that life must continue, that we must follow our paths to find a light at the end of the tunnel. I encountered happiness, but I could never forget what once was my story…” – Angela

1914. A train stops at the central station of Paris : Angela arrives to the magical city of Paris . She is an optimistic and young woman from Barcelona , and she expects to become a famous writer. Angela is received in a Literature University , where she befriends many persons and develops a strong friendship with her classmate Pierrette, who is fascinated by Voltaire’s ideals of tolerance. Her landlady Geneviève, an older and experienced woman, becomes a maternal figure to Angela, the one that she lost when she was young. Angela is fascinated by a city with such diversity; she is full of life as she discovers the essence of Paris , a city rich of ideals and freedom of expression. Angela’s studies get better every time. That is until one day, when a bomb explodes in Angela’s university, destroying the building and the lives of many of her friends. World War I had begun.

As the war gets more intense, Angela witnesses the destruction of a city that she once saw as hope for her future. She had never been as sensible and desperate as now; she tries to seek a solution and escapes from Paris with her friend Pierrette. They are then separated by a bomb and Angela looks for someone; she meets a German soldier named Jorgen. He locks Angela in a room and asks her to listen to his story; Angela becomes a solitary woman, as she learns the sad life of Jorgen. He was a man who once believed in dialogue, but his parents didn’t have enough money to pay to the government so Jorgen had to go to war. It had been too much for him, as he saw the true misery of the world during hard times. Angela is very hungry and scared, and she begins to lose every hope about the future. Wanting to express her agony, she starts writing verses about her pain on the walls of the small room; she also writes poems about her strong dreams. One day, Jorgen enters into madness and goes into Angela’s room…

One night, Angela sees that her room isn’t locked. Jorgen had also disappeared. The war was over. She escapes; the next morning, Angela sees the light of day, as well as her freedom. Her happiness disappears as she sees Paris being devastated by the effects of war. She inevitably cries because of what became of her life and the city she once admired. The woman comes back home, where she finds her landlady Geneviève; she is still alive. Angela then learns that her friend Pierrette has been killed while she was working as a voluntary nurse in a military hospital; many emotions touch her fragility. Geneviève’s wisdom gives strength to Angela, and thanks to Geneviève’s wise encouragement the young woman finds a new reason to look on and to keep living her own life. Soon, Angela and Geneviève develop a strong relationship as they reconstruct the pieces of their broken lives. Angela begins to write a book about her journey during war; she calls it “Angela’s Path” and publishes the book one year after giving birth to her baby, the son she had from Jorgen.

What the press would say:

Emotions can be portrayed with intensity in cinema. Centering on one woman’s spiritual journey during the troubled times of World War I, “Angela’s Path” is a film of expression, crafted with vision by Australian filmmaker Jane Campion. “Path” is a motion picture that belongs to the same kind of female-centered movies of Campion’s productions of the past years. It is a film that possesses many aspects of European cinema such as emotions shown through images, atmosphere contrasts and a glimpse of hallucinatory surrealism through Angela’s exhaustive dreams. The touching screenplay, written by Campion and Ronald Harwood, explores the most profound aspects of a woman’s soul and brings the whole film to a strong level of sensibility, mixed with the romantic spirit of the great tradition of European literature.

Campion and the beautiful cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel pay big attention at colors and light tones. They create a magical Paris at the beginning of the film and transform it into a dark and depressive Paris as Angela faces war. They give an evocative atmosphere to the film that reminds expressionist European painting; while the wonderful score composed by Oscar winner Dario Marianelli gives a powerful contribution to the excellent production values of the film. Campion’s directing abilities are simply extraordinary. The picture is always restrained, making it feel more authentic and human. Her directing of actors is simply impeccable.

Penélope Cruz plays the role of the lead character, Angela, a sensitive Spanish girl who arrives in Paris to begin a new life and falls into the darkest abyss when her existence is totally upset by the tragedy of war. Angela’s figure, brilliantly played by Cruz at the top of her talent, is the movie’s emotional and narrative center, and the Spanish actress gives a tremendous transformation by completely becoming her character. Thanks to the expressive looks of her eyes in the dramatic moments of the film, Cruz really captures the most intimate essence of Angela, who goes through hope and joy and loneliness and desperation, until she finds a way to reconstruct her life and continues to follow her path.

The supporting cast of the film includes an amazing performance by screen legend Catherine Deneuve who shines in the role of Geneviève, Angela’s landlady, who becomes her close confident after the end of the war. Deneuve’s performance in the film is absolutely stunning, and the French actress gives life to a character that is at the same time authoritarian, tender, obstinate and protective; Geniviève is the representation of hope in the film and Deneuve demonstrates this in her emotional scenes with Angela. Sebastian Koch's performance as the German soldier Jorgen is very moving; he achieves to create some humanity in a person as evil as Jorgen. Jorgen is the coward of the film but also one of the most human characters, and Koch outdoes himself during his powerful conversations with Angela. Virginie Ledoyen is also excellent as Pierrette, a woman of tolerance.

For Your Consideration

Best Picture – Jane Campion and Jan Chapman
Best Directing – Jane Campion
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Penélope Cruz
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Sebastian Koch
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Catherine Deneuve
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Virginie Ledoyen
Best Original Screenplay – Jane Campion and Ronald Harwood
As Well As Various Other Technical Categories

Ashes of Elmwood

Author(s): Brian (AZ)
Ashes of Elmwood

Directed by Sidney Lumet
Written by Brian Helgeland
Produced by Sidney Lumet, Sydney Pollack & Scott Rudin
Music by Carter Burwell

Main Cast

Don Cheadle (Sean Borland)
Ellen Burstyn (Elaine Elmwood)
Björk (Suzanne Elmwood)
Mira Sorvino (Kathleen Daemon)
Frank Langella (William Elmwood)
Phylicia Rashad (Caroline Borland)
Jim Caviezel (James Daemon)
Louis Gossett, Jr. (Oliver Borland)
Sally Kirkland (Jayne Pickford)

Tagline: “Loss Burns Eternal”


25 years ago, Sean Borland was practically a third child for Elaine Elmwood. The son of her best friend and neighbor, Caroline, Sean would come over to Elaine’s house every day to play with her daughter, Suzanne, and to be babysat while Caroline and her husband, Oliver, were at work. When Suzanne and Sean were sixteen years of age, Elaine and her husband, William, were overjoyed to discover that the two were dating. This joy, however, would not last. When the young couple walked out of a date at the movies, Suzanne was abducted by an unidentified serial rapist. Sean witnessed this all, but was far too shocked and terrified to save his girlfriend. After a lengthy three-month investigation, Suzanne was presumed to be dead. Two years later, however, Suzanne was inexplicably found back on her mother and father’s doorstep. In a typical circumstance, this would mean overwhelming relief. However, it does not take long to notice that Suzanne was no longer herself. Not only was she covered in permanent scars and bruises, but she seemed to shudder at every moment—afraid of something; she would avoid people, and when she had to interact with another human, she would break down and scream. Most notably, however, she refused to speak a single word.

Their lives today are nothing like they were 25 years ago. Suzanne has been seeing psychoanalyst Jayne Pickford for years, and has made minimal, if any, progress. She still has not spoken since her return, and still attempts to avoid other people at all costs. Completely unable to support herself, Suzanne is still living with Elaine, who has since divorced William due to the stress of caring for their severely mentally disturbed daughter. William has virtually estranged himself from the family, and sees them only when he absolutely must. Caroline and Oliver still live next door, but Elaine has not said anything beyond “hi” to them since Suzanne’s disappearance. Elaine still faces intense grief, and blames Sean for not saving Suzanne when he had the opportunity. Because of the guilt Sean has suffered from since the incident, he became a Missing Persons Officer. Yet no matter how many lives he saves or abductors he captures, he simply cannot forgive himself.

This changes, however, on a seemingly normal Sunday morning. Elaine’s daughter, Kathleen, and her husband, James, awaken in their cozy suburban home unable to find their 11-year-old daughter, Christine. Grief stricken, Kathleen calls her mother and fears that their family is cursed. She reports the case to the Missing Persons Office, and one day later, the information about the case is on Sean Borland’s desk.

Sean informs his mother about the incident, and she firmly tells him that he must solve the case, so as to make repercussions with the Elmwoods, and because Kathleen is a member of the family she still holds dearly in her heart. Sean searches for over a month, but to no avail. However, at the last moment, he discovers a clue: a footprint. When he scans the print, the only information available is that he, whoever he may be, is believed to have kidnapped a fifteen-year-old girl twenty-five years ago. Sean’s only hope to solve the case is to delve into the mind of that once fifteen-year-old girl. She is the only person who knows who this man is. The only person who can solve the case. Her name is Suzanne Elmwood.

What the Press Would Say:

I was anxiously looking forward to seeing “Ashes of Elmwood” and being the first critic not to give it a glowing review. I was looking forward to calling the performances good-but-not-great, calling the script overly-depressing and stating that Sidney Lumet just doesn’t have it anymore. Unfortunately for me, “Ashes of Elmwood” is actually the polar opposite of each of those statements. It is the most powerful, moving film I have seen this millennium. I am simply dumbfounded at how one film can have such a lasting impression on me.

An ensemble piece, “Ashes of Elmwood”, as one can tell just by looking at the incredible cast list, is highly dependent on its actors. In addition to excellent supporting performances by Mira Sorvino, Frank Langella, Phylicia Rashad, Jim Caviezel, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Sally Kirkland, there are three that especially stick out. First: the elephant in the room that is Björk as Suzanne Elmwood. While I think all of us “Dancer in the Dark” fans knew that the Icelandic pop star would hit this performance out of the park, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated it being this good. Easily the most daring—and brilliant—casting decision of the year, Björk sheds any preconceived beliefs about her acting abilities and makes a character no one has ever seen before, and employs some of the most outlandish acting methods I’ve ever seen. If there’s one thing in this world that we know for certain, it’s that this 42-year-old sensation will be picking up an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Ellen Burstyn, in her first major film role since her Oscar-nominated work in “Requiem for a Dream”, is equally remarkable as Elaine Elmwood, the grieving mother of a psychologically damaged pedophilia survivor (Björk). She gives the character a sense of understatement and dignity that a lesser actress more than likely would not have, and it couldn’t have been more beneficial for her. The end result is an honest, likable-but-flawed character that we couldn’t sympathize for more. If there’s a better performance by an actress in a leading role this year, I’d like to see it. And finally, Don Cheadle, who picked up a surprise Oscar win for his work in “The Bluest Eye” is almost certainly looking at statuette #2 for his work in “Ashes of Elmwood.” Portraying Sean Borland, a Missing Persons Officer with the guilt of not preventing an abduction most believe he could have stopped in his teen years, Cheadle beat out an endless parade of actors including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon that lobbied vigorously for the part. And the fact that he was chosen is proof enough that the Academy needs to create a category for casting directors. His performance is nothing short of jaw-dropping. He brings a sense of ambiguity of the role—is he good? Is he evil? Are his intentions pure—rather than just trying to defend his character. The final impression was ingenious, to say the least.

Brian Helgeland, writer of 2003’s “Mystic River”, penned the script of this masterpiece. If the ensemble is rewarded (which it will be, if there’s any justice left in the world), Helgeland should and will be as well. I cannot recall the last time I’ve seen such a controversial, huge topic for a film be spawned from such a subtle, multi-layered script. Granted it may not fit the typical comedy route that Oscar tends to take in giving the Best Original Screenplay award, such unanimous backing from critics and peers alike should give Helgeland the statuette with no questions asked.

Sidney Lumet, arguably the director most overdue for an Oscar working today, deserves an honorary award just for being able to get such amazing performances out of his entire cast. The fact that he also managed to use camera angles and filmmaking techniques so refreshing and new—at 83, no less—makes me wonder why they even bother announcing other nominees in the Best Director category. His win is so locked and loaded, words cannot describe it.

Easily the best film of at least the past 2 or 3 years, “Ashes of Elmwood” is set to be a fierce contender in just about every category this Oscar season. The film features the best direction, writing and acting I’ve seen in ages. It is an emotionally turbulent, heartbreaking and unbelievably inspiring experience no one can possibly forget.


Best Picture
Best Director (Sidney Lumet)
Best Actor (Don Cheadle)
Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn)
Best Supporting Actress (Björk)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score
Best Original Song (“Backlash”, written, composed & performed by Björk)


Author(s): Evan (N/A)

Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke
Written By: Patricia McCormick

Main Cast

Callie – Charlie Ray
Sam – Ty Panitz
Sarah (Mother) – Carrie-Ann Moss
Tiffany – Alexia Fast
Claire – Denise Richards

Tagline: “Callie loved the pain, but she couldn’t handle the hurt.”


“Take a walk you can hardly breathe the air, look around, it’s a hard life everywhere, people talk, but they never really care, on the street is a feeling of despair.”
-Neil Diamond

Callie seems like an average teenager. She has a family consisting of her parents and younger brother Sam, goes to a normal high school and runs track. Callie's life seems normal. But Callie's life is not at all normal. Callie has a dangerous secret: she cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die, Just enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside. When her mother and father find out, they decide to send her to Sea Pines, which is a residential treatment facility north of San Francisco. Girls who are there with her suffer from various illnesses. One girl is anorexic, another is grossly overweight. A couple of girls are illegal drug abusers. One girl also has SI, a certain sort of self-injury, just like Callie. Her name is Tiffany and they become friends without speaking. They all have to go to meetings and group sessions to get well, and hopefully discharged from, as the girls call it, ‘Sick Minds.’

At first the other girls label her S.T., for ‘Silent Treatment’ because she didn’t ever speak, and the doctors at the hospital think it may be best to send her home and let someone who wants to get well take her bed. Even her personal therapist, Claire, is starting to give up on her. Although she doesn’t think that the therapy is helping, she has a breakthrough one night. After she steals a pie plate and makes it into a cutting utensil. She finds when she cuts her arm this time that it hurts badly.

After this incident, Callie starts to open up. They find out that her younger brother is ill with severe asthma. Ever since her brother became sick, her mother has acted very peculiar. She refuses to drive on highways, she is obsessive about the cleanliness of the house and she’s basically become a recluse. Callie’s dad is also probably an alcoholic, and certainly a workaholic. They find out that Callie was babysitting her brother the first time he got really sick, and Callie had to go and find her father at the local bar and ask him to come home.

After her mother and brother come to visit her, Callie sees that her brother really needs her, and he says he does. She decides to go home, for her brother. She slips out of the facility in the middle of the night and
runs away through a heavily wooded pine forest. As she walks down the highway she realizes she really does want to get better, and that she can’t help anyone else if she can’t even help herself. Callie heads back to Sea Pines, so she won’t have to suffer the hurt of loving pain.

“…But everyday, there’s a brand new baby born, and everyday there’s then sun to keep you warm, and it’s alright, yeah it’s alright, I’m alive.” -Neil Diamond

What The Press Would Say:

In her ferocious and dark adaptation of Patricia McCormick’s novel “Cut,” Catherine Hardwicke has created a gruesomely intelligent portrayal of a girl who cuts herself, and her life and rehabilitation. In this deeply moving film, Charlie Ray gives an intense and smart performance as Callie. In her first big role since “Little Manhattan,” Ms. Ray gets into the audiences heart, mind, and blood, taking them on a roller coaster ride as she finds what she wants, and what she needs. The performance radiates raw pain and energy, hurtling herself towards controversy in a performance that is sure to be one of the best of the year. Ty Panitz, although young, gives a great, and heartbreaking performance as the one who saves Callie from the icy hands of death. Panitz gives a very strong performance. Carrie-Ann Moss gives an amazing performance as Callie’s mother, a women who is too careful, and too carefree at the same time. She is so concentrated on Sam that she doesn’t give Callie the life she needs. Mrs. Hardwicke’s greatest achievement, though, is the defined gap in the film between hurt and pain. It shows us that the shadowed space between hurt and pain is ever moving, and changes for each person. “Cut” is astonishing in the gritty reality that it portrays, and will live on as one of the best films ever made about teens, and a thoughtful look at teenage mental illness.

Best Picture
Best Director – Catherine Hardwicke
Best Actress – Charlie Ray
Best Supporting Actor – Ty Panitz
Best Supporting Actress – Carrie-Ann Moss
Best Supporting Actress – Denise Richards
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Score
Best Cult Bait
Best Awards Campaign

The Children of the Heart

Author(s): Hugo (Spain)
The Children of the Heart

Directed & Written by Deepa Mehta
Cinematography by Luc Montpellier
Editing by Dylan Tichenor
Music by Justine Baddeley
Original Song “The Valley of Pain” by Regina Spektor

Main Cast

Edward Norton … Keith Burns
Holly Marie Combs … Lily Burns
Sissy Spacek ... Marie

Tagline: “Hope feeds our lifes no matter how hungry they are”

Synopsis: Keith and Lily are a young couple who have recently lost their six years old son, Christian. Christian had a strange disease in his heart, with apparently no cure. There were nothing doctors could do for him. He died. Lily suffered from a huge depression. Despair had taken possession of her. After a couple of months, Keith convinces his wife that they were going no way feeling like that and that they should do something. Both decide to found a special camp for children with the same disease Christian’s had. They’d call it: Christian’s Hope.

The first month they welcome four kids. With the help of Lily’s mother, Marie, they do their best to bring up those children. Innovative therapies, special treatments... Of course they play with them and make them feel comfortable there. Bad news come when, two months later a child dies. They get to taste that sour feeling of impotence. Time goes on and new children arrive but none of them gets to stay more than a year with them. Lily gets pregnant again. After nine months she gives birth to Rachel. Rachel is diagnosed the same disease Christian’s had. And it’s discovered that it is a genetic issue. Anyway Keith and Lily continue with the camp.

After lots of sour moments and hard times, they discover a new treatment that could work. Months go by and any children die. It may be casualty, a matter of time or that the treatment finally worked. Anyway, hope came back to their hearts. Maybe they could save their daughter’s and the other children’s life. Lily saw the light again.

What the press would say?

“Hope connects us all at the end of the day” – Marketa Irglova.

The plot and main story of the film may give the impression of a very dramatic picture. Not at all. This film with its great performances show us how hope moves mountains. Directed and written by Hindi director Deepa Mehta, this movie keeps the tone of its creator. Slow, yet not boring, defined story line, great performances and a beautiful background. The story is clear, simple and moving. The performances are powerful.

Holly Marie Combs leaving behind TV, is a scene stealer. Subtle performance. She portraits a caring mother who lost her children. One of the most moving performances this year. Edward Norton portraits her husband, a man who’s seeing his family falling. He tries to make his wife channel all those feelings and do something for people with the same problem, incredible performance. Sissy Spaceck stars as Lily’s mother, a woman who sees her daughter consuming and will do anything for her. She joins the team and helps at the camp. All great performances that give the film brilliantness. With an indie sprit to it, you should love this one.

For Your Consideration

Best Picture
Best Director – Deepa Mehta
Best Original Screenplay – Deepa Mehta
Best Lead Actor – Edward Norton
Best Lead Actress – Holly Marie Combs
Best Supporting Actress – Sissy Spaceck
Best Original Song “The Valley of Pain” – Regina Spektor

Darwin Discovered

Author(s): Maia (CA)
Darwin Discovered

Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Written by Matt Greenhalgh
Edited by Tim Squyres
Cinematography by Eric Gautier
Production Design by Patrice Vermette
Makeup by John E. Jackson
Costume Design by Milena Canonero
Original Score by Elliot Goldenthal
Original Song “The Power of Place” written by Elliot Goldenthal
And performed by Ecuador’s National Academy of Music

Main Cast

Anthony Hopkins as Charles Darwin
Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Darwin – Age 35
Pete Postlethwaite as Captain Robert FitzRoy
Jeremy Northam as John Stevens Henslow
Bill Nighy as Julian Ferguson
Hugh Dancy as Thomas Malthus
Georgie Henley as Annie Darwin
And Penelope Wilton as Emma Darwin

Tagline: “A man of evolution, a life of revolution”


1836, The Galapagos Islands (Sunrise)
Five years had passed since the morning Charles Robert Darwin left London and embarked on the second voyage of the prestigious HSM Beagle:

It had only been two months since the sudden passing of his daughter Annie but his wife Emma already knew he had changed forever. It is well-known the young naturalist lost his faith after Annie’s death but it is also true his grief only made him even more curious and adventurous. Intrigued, driven by his new found skepticism, Darwin took the advice of his old friend and mentor, John Stevens Henslow; and met with Robert FitzRoy, the captain of The Beagle. Friendship was born almost immediately; some even say they became like father and son during their five-year journey. Truth is, both men shared a deep passion for the secrets of nature and both were used to be misunderstood.

But the journey had now come to an end; this was the last sunrise Darwin would see in the mysterious, spellbinding Galapagos. There would be no more encounters with its magical creatures and they would be no longer called monsters or the fantasies of drunken sailors. They were real, as real as the last image he’d see as he walked back to the Beagle that last morning: there was his Annie, so fragile and so vivid. It would be a memory that would haunt him forever…

Twenty five years later, the young explorer had become a celebrated yet controversial author; he had evolved just like his mythic creatures from Galapagos. He was now an old, bald man with a bushy beard but he was also a wise man, one who could share his stories with the many young pupils (like that vigorous Thomas Malthus) who would listen to them.

But not everyone was so impressed with Darwin’s theories. Since his book The Origin of the Species had stirred controversy a few years ago; Charles and Emma had grown apart. She, being a devoted christian, couldn’t live knowing her church was accusing him of heresy. Still, she stood by his side as any wife back then would, but the incessant attacks from influential politicians like Julian Ferguson were slowly breaking her apart.

A decade of equal fame and mockery later, Charles Robert Darwin knew the end was close. It was now when his usual dream had become a lively, recurrent fantasy. He could see Annie and Galapagos everywhere; even awake while he walked by the mighty Thames. It was the one vision in his mind that had never changed; the one he didn’t want it to evolve…

What the press would say:

Exhibiting a unique richness of sensory detail and poetic narrative, Annaud’s “Darwin Discovered” is among the most inspiring and satisfying biopics in recent years. Combining the fantastic elements of the magic realism and a stunning visual style that is able to captivate the viewer without being a distraction, the French director has found the most graceful style to represent the world as seen by an avant-garde personality like Charles Darwin.

During the film’s early minutes, Annaud and his crew introduce us to their vision, or shall we say Darwin’s vision of the undiscovered Galapagos. A magic territory where magnificent creatures, from giant reptiles to colorful birds; come to life in beautiful, surreal sequences. Here in this eye-catching world, Matthew Macfadyen steals our attention as soon as the pic begins; the Pride & Prejudice actor plays the young Darwin as a man suddenly becoming a boy playing explorer, thrilled by the unknown world around him. His expressive performance is the vehicle for Galapagos to come to life but most importantly, for us to understand the real greatness of Darwin’s discovery on nature and evolution.

Once the film takes a twenty-five year leap, it’s only fitting to have a screen legend like Anthony Hopkins playing an icon like Darwin. Apart from the effective casting work, Hopkins is able to deliver a majestic performance filled with courage, depth and empathy but also packed with a distinguishable dignity that makes us connect with the unique man he is playing. Hopkins embodies his character with grand determination and the result is a reflective, magnetic portrayal of a man born ahead of his time.

The rest of the cast doesn’t disappoint: West End veteran Penelope Wilton portrays Darwin’s tormented wife with poise and bravado; Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite is captivating on the film’s early minutes as the illustrious captain Robert FitzRoy and although she is mostly seen, not heard; Narnia’s Georgie Henley gets her chance to shine during that climatic sequence when Galapagos emerges out of the Thames and her character and Hopkins’ make their heartbreaking farewell.

“Darwin Discovered” is indeed a touching portrayal of a man who lived his life as a genuine revolution and who never settled to live it as a simple process of evolution.

Please consider “Darwin Discovered” during the upcoming awards season in the following categories:

Best Picture (Drama)
Best Director (Annaud)
Best Actor (Hopkins)
Best Supporting Actor (Macfadyen)
Best Supporting Actress (Wilton)
Best Supporting Actor (Postlethwaite)
Best Supporting Actress (Henley)
Best Adapted Screenplay

Dementia Ascending

Author(s): AJ Bell (TN)
Dementia Ascending


Main Cast

Ewan McGregor as Private Till
Christian Bale as Captain Wade
James McAvoy as Private Kearney
Colin Farrell as Private Hughes
with Geoffrey Rush General Pine
and Ewan Bremmer as Charles Scout


Synopsis: Private Till has always looked up to Captain Wade. When they attacked the British embassy, he was right there. In fact, Wade had even saved his life there. There was no mention of this afterward, of course, because Wade didn't think anything of it. "This is war, and in war we do what we must," he would always say. But deep down, hidden by all that pride, Till knew that it meant something to him. When his homeland of Ireland declared war on England, he knew now, that he could prove his worth to his Captain. Show him that he too, could be a hero.

Four years into the war, General Pine delivered Wade a special assignment. British Prime Minister Laughlin would be traveling to an encampment near the border of Russia, and he gave him the honorable task of executing the assassination. His crew, which consisted on Pvt. Kearney, Pvt. Hughes, himself, and Pvt. Till, would complete the task. But before they know it, they must flee for their lives and end up crashing their helicopter into the middle of the Russian wilderness. With all communications systems out, they would have to rely on no British finding them, and their own countrymen locating them instead.

Trapped in the icy, dark, forest-like tundra of the U.S.S.R. they soon lost all hope of ever being found. They began to build shelter, and hunt for food, while also trying to fix what little communication devices they had. But the dark, and vast emptiness of the terrain was too much to bear for some, and over time, Wade and Hughes start to lose themselves to isolation.

While hunting for their dinner, Till spots something among the trees. He looks a little closer and notices that it is an English Scout. He fires a round into the scout's leg, and he falls. They capture him, and Wade tries desperately to get information out of him. Kearney becomes friends with the scout, and they talk about how the scout was originally an Irishman, but moved to England as a teenager, and was drafted for the war. Then Wade bursts into the conversation and takes the scout out in front the entire troupe. With the devil burning in his eyes, he executes the scout. This upsets Kearney, who lets Wade know that that is not the way to treat a POW. Wade only replies with, "This is war, and in war we do what we must." Kearney and Wade get into a dispute, ending in Kearney being shot alongside his friend, the scout.

Till cannot take Wade anymore, with his dementia ascending at the rate it is, he fears that they will all be dead soon. He tries to tell Hughes, but Hughes is just as crazy as Wade. The conclusion Till can see is to kill Wade. He stands over him while he sleeps, holding a gun to him. He just can't find it in himself to shoot a man he admires so much. He walks out of the tent, just as Hughes pulls a gun on him. Hughes tells Wade what Till was about to do, and they prepare Till for an execution. Seconds before he would've pulled the trigger, an Irish helicopter flies in from the distance. General Pine is seen standing near the doors, but it is too late. Pine watches as Wade finally loses all control, and fires a round into Till.

What the press would say:

Sean Penn's masterful adaptation of the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, is beyond words. Penn crafts the haunting tale of a not so distant future in which Ireland and Britain are at war. Private Till (Ewan McGregor in what is indeed his finest performance since Trainspotting) is torn between his mentor and father figure, and doing what he in his heart knows is right. Christian Bale gives on hell of a performance as the crazed Captain Wade. When he is sitting alone in the woods, Bale's expressions just ooze psychotic mess. This is the one performance this year that is sure to rack up award after award. Ewan McGregor is fantastic as the young, naïve protégé of Bale, and when he is debating whether or not to kill Wade, it is truly heartbreaking. McAvoy shines as the one person who stands up to Wade and pays for it dearly. And Farrell gives one of his best to date as the right hand man in the crazy whirlpool that is Wade. Bremmer has a brief cameo, and it is scene stealing. And Rush is terrific as the General who was the cause of all this turmoil. Penn's stylistic and artful direction is astounding, and he truly shows the isolation these characters are going through. Dementia Ascending is the one to beat this year, and it will prove difficult to any of those who try.