Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hidden Gems: Departures

Death might just be the most sensitive subject to handle in the world of cinema. It's always riddled with emotion. If mishandled it can be disastrous, but if handled with a daft hand, the end result can be beautiful.

The Japanese film, Departures, is a film about death, atonement, and an appreciation of certain things that others find dishonorable. The film follows Daigo, a cellist for the Tokyo Philharmonic. When the orchestra is disbanded, Daigo and his wife move back to his hometown, where Daigo gets a job working as an encoffiner (people who prepare dead bodies for funerals). In Japan being an encoffiner is seen as a dishonorable profession, and Diago must come to grips with his change in fortune while also learning about the beauty of death.

Departures is an intriguing film, beautiful and highly emotional. To say that this is a moving film would not be doing it enough justice. The film is a fascinating piece of art. Director, Yojiro Takita directs the film much like Daigo plays the cello, with passion and intensity, often utilizing swelling crescendos and moments of silence to create genuine emotion. It is never manipulative, but simply beautiful.

The film is full of brilliant performances, in particular Masahiro Motoki as Daigo. Motoki delivers a performance that draws the viewer into the film. He takes you directly into the emotional state of the character, and he is a large part of the film's success. Of course it doesn't hurt when a film looks this beautiful and wondrous to behold. The cinematography is stunning. The film captures the beauty of the Japanese mountain ranges with so much clarity. To cap it all off, the musical score from legendary composer Joe Hisaishi is magnificent. Hisaishi's music always amazes me, but with Departures he has taken another step forward in his career.

The real treat of this film is that it laces all of the drama and tragedy with humor and heart. It's a recipe that just leaves you as the audience feeling uplifted rather than depressed. It's a film where if any tears flow, they will not be tears of sadness, but rather tears of hope.

After seeing this film I can definitely see how it deserved all of the accolades bestowed upon it (including the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the Academy Awards this past year). The film is brilliant. It is tough to find, but if you manage to find it online or playing somewhere near you, I strongly recommend seeing it and being moved by the power of this film.

All Along the Watchtower, BSG style.

Music and TV shows are like sushi and sake. They go perfect together. Think back to some of your favorite TV moments and think about how weak they would be without their respected soundtracks. Lost would be lost without Michael Giachinno's epic score, and Six Feet Under would take a huge hit without its perfectly hand selected soundtrack of somber alternative tunes. I have recently started watching Battlestar Galactica, and I have found to be the best science fiction show I have ever seen on television. This is the Six Feet Under of Sci-Fi. One of the very first things I noticed about this show was its powerful and moving score. Its percussive and emotional tone is the perfect compliment to the beautiful space imagery and perfectly crafted storyline. I just finished season 3 and all spoilers aside, i thought it was amazing. The final ten minutes is one of the most intense wrap ups of a season I have ever seen. I found it especially intriguing since the final ten minutes were accompanied by one of my favorite songs of all time, All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan. To go in any deeper about the song and its use in the show would terribly ruin some important information, so I will leave it with Bear Mcreary's(the brilliant man behind the music of BSG)version of All Along the Watchtower.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Middle Earth and Bond, Near Extinction?

Last week news came out that MGM Studios is in deep debt, possibly close to filing bankruptcy and having to close down. The main question that many have, is what will this do to the two biggest franchises MGM has, James Bond and The Hobbit?

This is worrying news for anyone who is a fan of either of these franchises. Reportedly MGM needs $150 million in order to finish out the year, a large sum that in this economy is tough to come by. Since MGM has no money, will James Bond and The Hobbit fall by the wayside? Most likely not.

James Bond is the longest running franchise in film history, if MGM's monetary woes continue, the producers will most likely start shopping around for a new studio to back the Bond franchise, and many believe that if that happens MGM will fold indefinitely. The same goes for The Hobbit, I mean Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro have already plopped down so much money on this film that they will most likely follow the Bond producers and shop around for funding.

Even still, this is sad news if both of these franchises depart from MGM, because that will most likely be the end of one of the studios that has been around since the inception of the film industry. It is responsible for some of the greatest films of the Golden Age, and it will be a great loss to lose such a historic figure in the entertainment industry.

Here's hoping MGM manages to keep trucking and all will settle itself.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Their Time

I always find it upsetting each and every year at the Oscars to see so many talented Actors and Directors to be passed over for awards. So many of the greats never even won. Alfred Hitchcock never got an Oscar, he wasn't even nominated, and he's arguably the greatest filmmaker of all-time. The Oscars are meant to honor the best in film, but when so many of the greats have gotten passed over, how is that right.

This has spurred me to try and find out who I think are the most deserving Actors and Directors currently working in the film industry who have never won an Oscar, or have never even been nominated. I think all 10 of these individuals are highly talented, and if the Academy had any sense, all 10 of 'em should receive an Oscar. Here we go with number 10:

10. Christopher Nolan - Chris Nolan's Oscar chances are those very similar to say, Alfred Hitchcock's back in the day. Chris Nolan has made some of the best films of the past decade, from Memento, to The Prestige, to last year's mega hit, The Dark Knight. Chris is one of the finest filmmakers working right now, but of course the Academy treat him the same as they treated men like Hitchcock and Spielberg before him. Mainstream filmmakers tend to get nothing when it comes to awards season, no matter how talented they are.

9. Hugh Jackman - His performance in The Fountain was one of the most astounding performances of the decade. He has an immense range, from Wolverine to playing a gay man on Broadway. Jackman is a movie star, very classic in that sense. The Academy seems to love him, seeing as how they asked him to host the show last year, so why not give his work some love when it comes time for awards?

8. Johnny Depp - Johnny Depp is one of those actors that in all likelihood will probably always be passed over by the Academy. His work is often at times very obscure, even though it is amazing. Depp's best chance for Oscar gold was back in '04 when he was J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland. If Depp could snag a role in a film like that once more, he'll be able to bring home the statue, I'm sure of it.

7. Darren Aronofsky - Aronofsky is one of the more innovative filmmakers working in Hollywood right now. His works are fantastic, he has a great sense of visual storytelling, but not only that he is one of the finest actor's directors I have ever seen. I still don't see how this guy has never even got nominated, both Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain should have done it for him.

6. Liam Neeson - One of those great disservices. Neeson is one of those actors that you hand him anything, he'll be able to make it better. It still shocks me that he didn't win for his portrayal as Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List. Since then he has had many more terrific performances in films like Rob Roy and Les Miseraibles. Neeson deserves the gold guy.

5. Leonardo Dicaprio - Dicaprio is much like his favorite director, Scorsese, once was. He is always nominated, but never wins. His work in Blood Diamond was overlooked, his portrayal of Frank Abagnale, Jr. wasn't even considered, not to mention his best role thus far, Howard Hughes. Dicaprio's in his prime, give it to him already!

4. Spike Jonze - The best filmmaker of this current wave of cinema. Spike Jonze is a brilliant director. He laces his films with terrific visuals and personality. His films seem to connect to him on a deep level, and it's because his films are so personal that he is so unique. Not only that, he can flat-out direct, getting his actors nominated so many times. Any guy that get his actors nominated in almost all four of the acting categories in the same year, deserves the Best Director award.

3. Audrey Tautou - The best actress working right now, hands down. Shockingly enough she has never even been nominated for an Oscar, not even for her role in Amelie. I think it's because she is French and makes mostly foreign films that she is overlooked, but that still doesn't mean that she can't get nominated. Come on Academy, pick up the ball here.

2. Gary Oldman - Not a single nomination to his name. Gary Oldman is the case of an actor that does his job so well that people always overlook his performances each and every time because he's always so consistent. Gary Oldman is a true character actor, he's like a chameleon, can take on anything and make it wonderful. He should have been nominated so many times before that one can't even keep up with them all. I think it's a slap in the face to the man's talent to not reward him for his work.

1. Peter O' Toole - This guy is the most deserving of all that have never won. Nominated 8 times, still never won, and he's not getting any younger. Much like Oldman, his fantastic performances are too many to mention, of course Lawrence of Arabia is probably his most memorable. O' Toole needs to get this award, he's one of the screen's most recognizable stars of all-time, don't make him wait any longer.

And that's it. I hope you've enjoyed this rant/excursion.

Hidden Gems: The Fountain

Darren Aronofsky is in my opinion one of the finest filmmakers out there right now. His works sport unique concepts filled with endless imagination, which is a rarity in American films nowadays. Aronofsky got his start doing low budget Indy films, finally with The Fountain, Aronofsky had the money to just let his imagination run free, and he delivers his best
film to date.

The story of The Fountain is about one man's search for immortality over the course of a thousand years, resulting in a story that is both about the meaning of life and death.

As mentioned, the film, which was both written and directed by Aronofsky, is simply amazing. The direction is crisp, the cinematography is a wonder to behold, the musical score is magnificent sound to go along with the visual splendor, and the acting from this stellar cast is terrific (in particular the performance from Hugh Jackman).

The Fountain is simply an amazing film. It is heartbreaking and emotional, while also being terrific eye candy; and just like any other film from Darren Aronofsky, you must be willing to go into unexplored territory. If you're wanting a safe movie that follows all of the typical guidelines for drama films, then this isn't for you, but if you want a movie that takes you places dramatically that no other movie has ever dared to go, then you will love The Fountain.

Aronofsky's beautiful fantasy about life-and-death is a film that should not be missed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Trailer Rush: Harry Potter - Ultimate Editions

Fans have been hoping for it, and now it seems to be fully coming to fruition. On December 8th Warner Bros. is releasing the first two Harry Potter films, Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, on an Ultimate Edition DVD set. This set will have an extended version of both the films, as well as the original theatrical version. Not only that, the films will be loaded with hours of never before seen special features. Take a look:

I can't describe how excited I am for this. I've wanted WB to release the extended editions of the Harry Potter films for a long time, but not only are they doing that, they've gone a step further by including all of this exclusive behind the scenes content. Still, the only question that remains is whether or not there will be any new footage in the extended versions that isn't already shown integrated into the films when shown on TV? Time will tell, but I think I might have found my Christmas presents.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smallville-Season 9: Part 1

Aside from Lost, Smallville is my favorite show currently on television. I have been watching the show since its very first episode, and last night it started its ninth season. I have grown up with this show, developed a deep affinity for it.

The first five seasons of the show were spectacular, quite possibly the best five seasons of any show ever produced in my opinion. Starting in season six things began to get a little rocky, coinciding with the transition from the WB to the CW. Since then, the past three seasons have been a little lackluster compared to the first five seasons, they even had me possibly wondering whether or not they should just end the show. Alas season nine comes in to potentially save the day.

This will be the first of a three part look at the ninth season of Smallville. Part 1 will focus on my thoughts for the season after the airing of the premiere. Part 2 will take another look at the overarching season after the show has taken a break for the Winter season. And finally Part 3 will sum up my thoughts on the season as a whole after the finale airs next May. We start today with Part 1.

Smallville seems to be really coming into its own. If the producers continue this trend, they will have effectively rethought the source material and made it their own. I kind of have always seen Smallville like the Ultimate comic book line for Marvel, where it retells the origins of their classic heroes in a modern way while still being familiar, and last night's premiere managed to take a good step forward in that direction.

The ninth season premiere of Smallville was a solid premiere. It had everything in it that any fan could really want out of a season premiere. It reintroduced you to all of the major characters, showing us all where they are after three months time, it also planted the seeds for some very exciting plot threads, not to mention it was action-packed and entertaining.

In last night's episode we were introduced to a new Clark, a Clark who has forsaken his human identity, fully embracing that of his Kryptonian side. Clark has begun his training with his biological father, Jor-El, and he is now wearing a black costume wearing the Superman shield, simply going under the name of, the Blur. It was really exciting to see Clark taking steps toward his destiny rather than almost taking one then stepping back like he has done now for the past five or six seasons. As well the producers allowed him to mature it seems over the course of the Summer break. When Clark makes the decision not to use the Legion ring to go back in time and save Jimmy, it's the type of thing in which Superman would do, because he understands that while he may save Jimmy, someone else might die in his place. Also I found it a nice touch to see Clark trying to learn how to fly, even if he failed at his attempt. I'm really thinking that the producers might finally let him take off into the sky before the season is over. My fingers are crossed.

Many intriguing things are happening all around in this premiere. Oliver has completely given up being the Green Arrow, spending his time fighting in grungy fight clubs, while Chloe is trying to use her computer prowess as Watchtower to reunite the recently disbanded Justice League. Of course the most intriguing plot thread presented here in this premiere was the one involving Major Zod (the future General made famous by Terrence Stamp).

The show has already used the character of Zod in the form of a phantom possessing Lex Luthor back in seasons 5 and 6, but this season we get legitimate Zod in the flesh. Of course he is not a General yet, just a Major. Zod and his Kryptonian followers are the people from Kandor who were transported to Earth at the end of last season when Tess activated the Orb. I'm not gonna lie, when I found out Zod would be a series regular this season, I was a tad apprehensive, but seeing him in action in last night's premiere quelled any fears I held. Callum Blue's portrayal as Zod was brilliant. When he rallies his Kryptonian followers to join him in his search to find the rest of the scattered Kryptonians around Earth, it is a wonderful scene, where all bow before Zod. I am extremely excited to see how Zod will develop over the season into the General we all love to hate. Of course that's not all.

At the end of last season Lois touched Clark's Legion ring and disappeared, traveling into the future. In last night's premiere Lois returned three months after her disappearance, no memory of any time passing, nor of where she went or what she did while she was there. But what's intriguing is that Lois begins to have these visions of the future where she sees a potential apocalypse involving Zod and Clark. Not only that, but she also sees her and Clark together as a couple. This all coincides with a Kryptonian assassin arriving alongside Lois from one year in the future. The assassin wishes to kill Clark, stating that he is going to destroy the world. The assassin reveals shortly before her death in a fight with Clark, that the world's destruction is only one year away.

Overall, many exciting things happened in Smallville's ninth season premiere. I'm really eager to see where they're going to take the Zod storyline, as well I'd love it if the producers finally let Clark fly. Of course my only question for the season at this point, is how are they going to handle interactions between Clark and the other characters if he is no longer living as a human? Something that will most likely be answered in due time, but I must say that I am pumped to see what is store for the rest of the season.

Oscar Watch: Part 3

As September is coming to a close and the three big film festivals (Toronto, Telluride, and Venice) have all delivered their share, I saw fit that it was time to adjust my first set of predictions for recent events. While we are no where near the end of the year, many films are starting to truly come into their own and take shape into solid Oscar contenders. Here we go.

Firstly, as I'm sad to admit, one of my favorite films of the year thus far, (500) Days of Summer, seems to have slipped out of the Best Picture race after all of the latest fests. It was a longshot to begin with seeing as how it was a summer release and most awards films are saved for fall, even still I think the film has a solid chance when it comes to Best Original Screenplay.

Three films that seem to have picked up steam thanks to their performances at the fests are Up in the Air, Precious, and An Education. Precious, which first premiered back at Sundance, has continued its string of winning awards by taking home the coveted Audience Award at Toronto, which for me solidifies its Best Picture nomination. Up in the Air has been greeted with marvelous enthusiasm at the fests, critics hailing it as a masterpiece, talking up Clooney for Best Actor, Reitman for Best Director, and the film for Best Picture contention. Then there's An Education which continues to impress enough people to pretty much guarantee its slot next to these other two films in the Best Picture category, and Carey Mulligan is still going strong as the frontrunner for Best Actress.

Of course what I love the most about this season are the films that are not unveiled till they reach the festivals, the films that little is known about till seen. This year the big one was the Coen brother's latest A Serious Man. The film has been hailed as quite possibly their greatest work to date, along the lines of Fargo. The film has been a critics favorite at the fests and I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue onward into the Best Picture category.

One film that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle is Jane Campion's Cannes winner, Bright Star. While critics seem to enjoy this film, and the film's stars Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw are still a threat in the acting categories, the film itself I foresee being forgotten by year's end.

As far as updates go, that is about it. Up is still a strong contender, as well as Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker. While we are all still waiting to see whether or not Where the Wild Things Are, Nine, Amelia, Invictus, and Avatar deliver what we all expect (in particular Wild Things for me).

Taking all of this into account, I've updated my predictions for the 10 Best Picture nominees. I will return as the Oscars get closer to continually update my predictions, but as for now, here they are (in no particular order):

A Serious Man
Up in the Air
Where the Wild Things Are
The Hurt Locker
An Education

Well that does it for this edition of Oscar Watch, till next time.

Old School Fridays: Superman: The Movie

It's another Friday, another old movie trailer. This week in anticipation for the return of the TV show Smallville, I've decided to share the very first teaser trailer for the Richard Donner directed, Superman: The Movie. Take a look:

This trailer says absolutely nothing about the movie. While it does intrigue you at the beginning because you have no real clue what the trailer is for, ultimately it's a pretty poor trailer for a great movie. The trailer is more interested in announcing that it stars Marlon Brando rather than Superman. Of course not much has changed since then, just watch any trailer for say a Brad Pitt movie or Johnny Depp film and you'll see what I mean. As well this is a pretty cheesy trailer, that by today's standards would do nothing to excite an audience.

Well that's it for this Friday. Tune in next week for another old movie trailer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top 10: Steven Spielberg

I make it no surprise that my favorite filmmaker of all-time is Steven Spielberg. While not everyone seems to be a fan, and while he has made a few films that I don't care that much for, when he's on top of his form I don't think there is any other filmmaker out there who is better. I've decided to compile a Top 10 List of my favorite Steven Spielberg films of all-time. Many might be shocked to find the exclusion of Schindler's List on here, but believe me it was hard enough narrowing it down to 10. The 10 included are all perfect A+ films. Without further ado:

10. Minority Report - Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but he excels here in this futuristic film noir about a detective who is accused of a crime before it's committed. This is Spielberg in top form, presenting a unique future where criminals are arrested before they have anything to be guilty for, echoing many political sentiments, which are there for anyone wishing for an extra layer of depth to this action-packed thrill ride.

9. Empire of the Sun - Christian Bale's first film, and still to this day his finest work. The story of a young British boy separated from his parents when the Japanese bomb Shanghai in World War 2. It is a beautiful film, highly intelligent, deeply symbolic. What I think to be Spielberg's most underrated film of his career.

8. Catch Me If You Can - A fun film featuring terrific performances from Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks. It's a true story that is so fantastical, it's hard to believe that it all actually happened. The story of 19-year old conman Frank Abagnale, Jr. is one for the ages, a feel good movie that will make you smile for days on end.

7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind - This is by far the best portrayal of contact between aliens and humans ever put to film, laced with spiritual undertones (the story of Saul who became Paul). What Spielberg did here was play down the science fiction aspects, and almost makes this science fiction film feel like a fantasy. The sequences with the alien spaceships and the aliens themselves are so fantastical, so spiritually affirming, that it's hard to classify this film as science fiction.

6. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - While not my favorite Indiana Jones film, there is no denying that Last Crusade is another terrific outing with Dr. Jones, and this time Sean Connery joins in the proceedings as Indy's father. With much added comedy, and an emotionally resonant ending, Last Crusade is worthy of the Indiana Jones title.

5. Jaws - It's hard to not like Jaws. It's a film that remains the same every time you see it. The story of a gigantic great white preying on the inhabitants of Amity Island is tense and exciting right to the very last frame.

4. Jurassic Park - The first film I ever remember seeing in a movie theater, and I still have a deep affection for it this very day. It's a terrific film. While it is suspenseful and action-packed, it has an emotional resonance that Jaws lacked, which gives it the higher spot. Plus, dinosaurs really are better than sharks.

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark - The film that started it all. When Dr. Jones first arrives on the scene, stealing the artifact and chased by the boulder, you're hooked before you even know his name. Harrison Ford is the man in the hat, and there is no other man alive that could have brought this character to life.

2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial - One of my favorite films of all-time. E.T. is an emotional roller coaster ride, playing off of every emotion known to mankind. It's got moments of frivolity, tenderness, sadness, and, most importantly, hope. E.T. is a story about unlikely friendship that never gets old, no matter how young in heart you remain to be.

1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - The best of the Indiana Jones films. Say what you want about the character of Willie Scott, Short Round makes up for any of her shortcomings, and the final thirty minutes where Indy fights the Thuggee and frees the slave children is probably my favorite thirty minutes in any movie of all-time.

And that does it. Here's hoping Mr. Spielberg will continue to add to this list of great films.

Actors Sniff Jackets

James Franco is a terrific actor, one of the finest of this current generation. He has done a little bit of everything, showing great range. Recently rumors have been swirling about that Paramount is planning on rebooting the classic Tom Clancy franchise starring the character Jack Ryan. The previous big screen versions of Jack Ryan range everywhere from Alec Baldwin, to Ben Affleck, to the man that made the role famous, Harrison Ford. So who should play Jack Ryan in this new film, a person worthy of succeeding Ford? Look no further than James Franco.

James Franco is a movie star, and yet he has never done any huge leading man roles. Sure he found fame playing Harry Osborne in the Spider-man films, but he's never been able to step out into the spotlight on his own. I personally feel that the part of Jack Ryan might be what Franco's career needs to shoot it into overdrive.

Franco would be a perfect successor to both Ford, and even Baldwin. He can play a tough guy, reminding one of James Dean (just look up Franco on funny-or-die and you'll know what I mean), but he also has a terrific sense of humor, something that Ford was notably famous for being able to infuse in all of his action roles. Franco is at the right age to do such a physically demanding role and for the reasons I listed above, he'd be perfect for the part.

Of course all of this is just speculation, but if Paramount gives this new Jack Ryan film the go ahead, here is hoping they take James Franco into consideration.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's New Aronofsky?

Darren Aronofsky is one of those filmmakers I greatly admire. While I cannot truly claim that any of his films are my favorite films of all-time, they are all solid in my opinion. From his debut feature Pi, to last years The Wrestler, he continues to blend impressive visuals with his own personal tastes, which is something that is a rarity amongst directors nowadays.

Aronofsky first jumped on my radar back in the early 2000s when he was developing a take on Batman: Year One for Warner Bros. Luckily that film never get made, based off all I've heard about changes to the source material, but what it did was made me aware of his work. Since then I have tried to see every Aronofsky film I could (my personal favorite the highly underrated The Fountain).

Currently Aronofsky has yet to officially begin production on a new project, even though he has four or five in development. Aronofsky tends to not have the best track record when it comes to getting a film in development to the screen (seeing as how The Fountain took like six years to make), so here I am to try and be a voice of reason. I'll skim through all of his films in development and deliver my own thoughts on which ones I think he should make next.

First up is the one that most were intrigued about, his reboot of the 8os hero, Robocop. Currently there is no news to speak off on this front. While I think Aronofsky could make a really terrific Robocop film, it seems a long ways off. I haven't even heard of a script being commissioned yet, so I doubt this will be his next.

One film that Aronofsky has been batting around for a while is a big epic production based off the bible story of Noah's Ark. I think this could make a wonderful film if done right, but it's very ambitious, almost on the level of say The Ten Commandments. I personally doubt any studio will throw that much money Aronofsky's way just yet, simply because he has never made a film that was a gigantic hit at the box office. So you can check this one off the list.

After that is another film that has long been in production for Aronofsky, Black Flies, based off the novel by Shannon Burke. The film is about the adventures (so to speak) of an emergency medical technician in Harlem. The film sounds right up Aronofsky's alley, of course since the film was first announced back in 2005 no news has really surfaced on this project, so another one marked off.

Then there is Black Swan, a film that is about the rivalry between two ballerinas. The film already has a script and has cast the two leads, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. According to imdb the film is currently in pre-production, but not much word has come out since its initial announcement. I think this film could be a very solid film, it's said to be a bit of thriller. I'm not sure about the thriller aspect, but then again Pi is often considered a thriller as well, so I guess it depends on one's own definition. But I do think that the visual language of the film, examining the world of the ballet, could be very intriguing.

Finally the film most recently announced that Aronofsky is involved in, an untitled heist thriller based on the $85 million robbery at the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, England, in February 2006. Not much is known about his approach to the project just yet, but knowing Aronofsky it wont be your by your numbers heist thriller, but I'm still not entirely convinced that a film like this will do much to advance his career.

Overall I would most like to see Aronofsky pursuing Black Flies more than anything else. It's subject matter that I believe Aronofsky knows well and I strongly feel that he could make it a powerful film, both visually and emotionally. If not Black Flies then I'd like to see him take on Black Swan. Regardless anything Aronofsky tackles I think will be done in a unique and intriguing way. Here's hoping he can top what he's already done with something greater.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who Should Host the Oscars?

This is a question that is on the tongues of many right now after Sunday night's Emmys. Neil Patrick Harris did a good job hosting, and after doing both the Emmys and the Tonys, many are thinking that the only thing left is the Oscars. While I think Neil Patrick Harris would do fairly well at the Oscars, based off of his Emmys hosting performance, I doubt the Academy would go with him, simply because he's a TV actor and also he has already hosted two other major awards ceremonies, and the Oscars would hate to look like they're copying the Emmys and the Tonys. So this leaves the question, who else is there?

Many have been calling for the likes of Ricky Gervais or Kevin Spacey to do it for years. While both of those choices may be good, I fear Spacey would get far too political, and I'm not sure Gervais' brand of comedy could sustain a three-hour program. So who are the other contenders?

Well at the current moment there are no other frontrunners, but at this point last year no one even thought of Hugh Jackman hosting, and he wound up doing a terrific job. Since it looks like the Oscar host announcement is a ways off, I'll simply spout off my top three choices to host the Oscars.

3. Demetri Martin - He's a funny guy, terrific stand up comedian, and he's also recently turned into film star with the film Taking Woodstock. While Martin is a long shot, and he might be seen as too young for the job, I think given the chance he'd do well.

2. Billy Crystal - He is one of my favorite Oscar hosts from year's past, and he was insanely funny. I would love to see him get a chance to host once again.

1. Conan O'Brien - I love Conan. He's my favorite of the late night talk show hosts. He hosted the Emmys a few years back and was terrific. I would love to see what he'd do with the Oscars. Oh, the possibilities.

Perhaps one of these guys will get it. Time will tell.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trailer Rush: Harry Brown

I love Michael Caine. Not only is he one of the most gifted actors probably to ever grace the silver screen, he has this great likability about him. His latest film kind of portrays him in a different light. In Harry Brown, Caine portrays an ex-servicemen who becomes a vigilante, hunting down a murderer, after the killer murdered his friend. Take a look at the trailer:

I find it brilliant that Michael Caine is branching out and tackling roles such as this even at his age. Many actors kind of just go into coast once they hit their 60s, but not Sir Michael Caine. He has done some of his more daring work in the past decade, thanks to his collaborations with Chris Nolan and his roles in films like Children of Men and Is Anybody There?. I'm real excited to see what Caine does here with a role like this. It's definitely a departure from what we're used to seeing him in. Not to mention the film looks to be very well made and highly entertaining. This is one to look out for.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Emmy Predictions

I'm gonna admit it, I'm a sucker for these big awards shows; in particular the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys. Tonight we will be treated to the Emmys, a celebration of all things television. This year's show looks to be returning to form after the rather disappointing show last year. With host Neil Patrick Harris and the main categories being expanded from five to seven nominees, there could be a few surprises in store. Overall it's shaping up to be a terrific night of television.

Being as everything is, I see fit to make my own predictions for all of the major categories, breaking it down between who will most likely win, and who I think should win. Now I will state that for the most part these are just a bunch of educated guesses. Without further ado:

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Most Likely to Win - Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Should Win - Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
This is a tough category to call. Pretty much every Actress nominated has a good shot, but Mad Men continues to be undeniably popular with critics and the Academy, so I think Elisabeth Moss stands the best chance.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Most Likely to Win - Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Should Win - Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
I think this is Bryan Cranston's year. While it is entirely possible that someone like Hugh Laurie or Jon Hamm will sweep in and take it away, Cranston has a good number of supporters out there, enough to get him the Emmy.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
Most Likely to Win - Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Should Win - Tina Fey, 30 Rock
While Tina Fey walked away with this same award last year, I still think she is the best of all the contenders and it is entirely possible for her to get it two years in a row. Plus, who doesn't enjoy 30 Rock?

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Most Likely to Win -
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Should Win - Jermaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords
Just like the others, this one is a pretty stiff race, coming down mainly between Steve Carell, Alec Baldwin, and Tony Shalhoub, but I think this being Monk's last season will give Shalhoub a slight edge. Of course I still think Jermaine is the best of the crowd, definitely the funniest. Only thing is, where is Brett in these proceedings?

Outstanding Comedy Series:
Most Likely to Win - 30 Rock
Should Win - Entourage
While I think 30 Rock is a terrific show, Entourage's fifth season was the best in the show's history, packed with some truly memorable moments. Course the 30 Rock train is too strong for anything else to usurp it, giving it this award for two years running.

Outstanding Drama Series:
Most Likely to Win
- Mad Men
Should Win - Lost
Okay, I've turned into a bit of a fanboy here, but Lost really is the best show currently on television in my opinion. It deserves this award every year, but has not won it since its first season. While Mad Men is a good show, I'd love to see Lost win it once more.

And that's it. Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. Central Time on CBS to see if any of my predictions are right. See you there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Requiem for a Dream

It has been a fun hobby of mine for a while, beginning with my older brother Jonathan, to try and find unique videos of various film clips edited to the classic Mozart piece, Requiem for a Dream. It's very often quite interesting what you find. The results can range anywhere from pure hilarity to simply making a film that is already awesome that much better.

I've decided to compile my top 5 favorite pieces that splice together film clips with Requiem for a Dream for a little bit of fun. These five videos are all worthy of the title, Requiem for a Dream.

5. Hot Fuzz - This almost sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it actually works quite well. Of course if you've seen the film you're most likely going to laugh anyway.

4. Mr. Bean - This one is simply amazing. One of the funnier things I've ever discovered on youtube.

3. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - Final Fantasy is already epic to begin, but when you put Sephiroth vs. Cloud against the backdrop of Requiem for a Dream, epicness just exudes.

2. Star Wars - This is a definite must see for any Star Wars fan. It really amplifies the conflict between Luke and Vader.

1. The Lord of the Rings - This one kind of wins by default cause it's a professional made trailer, but I don't care, this is the best usage I've ever seen of the song with a film. This was the Original Theatrical Trailer for the second Lord of the Rings film. Requiem starts about halfway through, and the end result is simply astonishing.

Hope you enjoyed this fun excursion. Till tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hidden Gems: Son of Rambow

I think everyone remembers making stupid home movies as a child. Those truly low-quality films utilizing action figures and cardboard coupled with you and your friends to bring a very absurd story to the screen. That is what Son of Rambow is about at first glance, but upon deeper inspection it is a truly heartfelt film about childhood and friendship.

The story of the film follows Will, a highly imaginative, yet shy young boy who comes from a very strict family. One day Will meets the school bully, Carter, who coerces Will into helping him shoot a film remaking the first Rambo film, First Blood. When Will gets so caught up in the process that he develops his own story called the Son of Rambow, they decide to make their own film about Rambo's son on a mission to save his father who has been kidnapped by the Scarecrow.

Son of Rambow is a delightful film, funny, but also emotional. I was actually quite surprised how moved I was by this film. I went into this film expecting to see a comedy, not a film with this type of emotional depth. The film focuses heavily on the budding friendship between Carter and Will. Their friendship rings true, reminding one of their own childhood and the constant day-to-day things that childhood friendship entails. The fighting, the laughter, it's all there in Son of Rambow. Course that isn't to say the film isn't a joy to watch.

The film is highly imaginative, certain sequences are actually quite trippy, in particular one that takes place in Will's imagination where he does battle with the evil Scarecrow. As well there is a hilarious subplot involving a cool French foreign exchange student, which generates a great many laughs.

I highly recommend this film to any filmgoer. It's unique, entertaining, and moving. A pure delight.

Old School Fridays: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Ready for another great weekend? A new edition of Old School Fridays has arrived! This week take a look at the original trailer for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I absolutely love this trailer. Is it cheesy? Yes, but as a film geek it's such a joy to watch something like this. I want to make films once I'm out of school, and I find it so enjoyable to see the making of process behind films. Not only that, it's Indiana Jones, and it really plays off that fact to great, over-the-top heroism. As well it's so enjoyable to see guys like Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg behind the scenes at work. Overall I wish more trailers like this are made, of course it couldn't work for every film, but for some I'd see it as a welcome arrival.

Well that does it for this Friday. Tune in next week for another edition of Old School Fridays!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trailer Rush: Everybody's Fine

Few film actors have managed to have as long of a career as Robert DeNiro. Not just that he still manages to make successful films, even in his older age. I greatly admire DeNiro as an actor, which is why I was so intrigued by the trailer for his latest film, Everybody's Fine. Within this film DeNiro plays a father of three adult children, who all cancel at the last the minute to come to his house for Christmas, so DeNiro decides to surprise each of his children and visit them instead. Take a look at the trailer:

This film looks to be very charming. DeNiro seems to be playing against type here, portraying the nice, warm and fuzzy guy, which seems to be a welcome change. Not only that the film has a terrific supporting cast, in particular Sam Rockwell. Now while some are calling this role from DeNiro an awards worthy turn, I'd say an Oscar nod isn't very likely, simply because they tend to overlook films like this, but I definitely see a potential Golden Globe nomination here.

Overall it looks to be a very heartfelt film, one that many cynics will not enjoy, but I want to see this film when it's released.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Budget DVDs: Catch Me If You Can

I find it utterly amazing to peruse the five dollar bins at local DVD stores, you never really know what you're going to find. Typically the films you see in these bins kinda speak for themselves as to why they're in there, but on rare occasion you manage to uncover a good film lurking near the bottom for a mere five bucks. Recently I uncovered the 2002 Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can.

I had never seen this film before, at least not in its entirety. I had always caught bits and pieces of it on TV, but never had I been treated to the whole experience. The film is a truly magical tale of growing up, told in a very unique way, surprisingly enough, based upon a true story. The film stars Leonardo Dicaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr., the most successful conman in the history of the United States. Abagnale managed to take not just the U.S. government, but countless other countries around the world for a total of $200 million back in the '60s before he finally got caught, all before the age of 19.

This is one of the more recent gems in Spielberg's crown, definitely one his finer films from the past decade of film, possibly usurping Minority Report as my favorite Spielberg film from this decade. It's a film that suits Spielberg perfectly.

Spielberg states in the special features on the DVD that one of the ways he connected with this story of a young teen boy impersonating others was through his own experiences of impersonating a studio executive when he was only 16-years old on the Universal Studios lot for an entire summer. That connection seems to have allowed Spielberg to tap into Abagnale's mind and deliver a film that is fun and entertaining, but also through Spielberg's experiences with his own parent's divorce, he coats the frivolities with some genuine emotion behind Abagnale's running away from home after his parents break up.

Rounding out the film is a fantastic score from the legendary John Williams, and terrific performances from stars Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks, as the FBI agent that pursues Abagnale.

Overall Catch Me If You Can is a real find that if you manage to find it in a five dollar bin somewhere I strongly suggest you pick it up. The film is a fun, emotion-filled ride that will leave a smile on your face long after the credits roll.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Iron Man vs. George Bailey

Now I'll preface this by saying I'm about as huge of a Spielberg fan as they come, but I'm not too terribly excited about his latest film, the remake of the classic Jimmy Stewart film, Harvey. Harvey is a genuine classic and is one of Jimmy Stewart's most memorable roles, but of course Hollywood sees it fit to reimagine the tale for modern day.

Recently the rumor mill has been churning on this film as to who will play Stewart's role, and Variety seems to have the inside scoop, stating that Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to play the part. While I enjoy Downey Jr. as an actor, I don't think he is the best actor for this particular part. Tom Hanks or Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be more in keeping with the character from the original play and film.

I've been knocking this idea of Downey Jr. playing the role around in my head, and I just can't see it. I feel it's either really inspired casting (which if Spielberg wanted to be really inspired I'd say go with Sam Rockwell) or it's a grab for money cause Downey Jr. is the hot-ticket right now. Course also this new version of the film could be so different from the original that Downey Jr. is in fact perfect for the part. Time will tell, but at the current moment I'm bewildered, but if anyone can prove me wrong it's "The Beard".

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hitchcock meets George Lucas

Enough said.

Trailer Rush: Disney's A Christmas Carol

Another day, another trailer (seems as if there have been too many of these things recently). The trailer is that for Robert Zemeckis's latest, Disney's A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carry as not just Scrooge, but also the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The film is done in CG-Motion Capture like Zemeckis's last two films, take a look:

The film is poised to be Disney's big moneymaker this Holiday season, and based off this trailer I'd say it could live up to that potential. Jim Carrey is a big name star, and many will line up to see the hilarity that ensues within the film. While I'm not necessarily the world's biggest fan of motion capture, it seems to work here with pleasing results. My only trepidation with this film is whether or not there have already been enough adaptations of this classic Charles Dicken's story already. Course this particular incarnation looks a tad different in both tone and style than any other version of the story told before on film, so I have my fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Living on the Wild Side

In only one month my most anticipated movie of 2009 hits theaters, Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are. I think it's unfair to say that I am simply excited for this film, I'm ecstatic. It's the type of film in which I love to watch, the type of film in which I want to make someday. There is something about the children's fantasy genre that just seems to speak to me. Course this is not why I am writing about all this, I am writing in response to the New York Magazine article which surfaced earlier this week about Spike Jonze and his latest.

The article writer, Saki Knafo, was treated to an early cut of the film. The writer sighted that the film lacked any clear plot and had no clear resolution. And to that is what I am writing about today.

The book upon which the film is based is only ten sentences and ten pictures long. The book did not have a deep plot, it was full of character and attitude, the attitude of a 9-year old child. As well, even if a movie doesn't have a big plot element, such as we need to save the world and kill the bad guy, doesn't mean that it has no plot. Any movie, no matter how esoteric, if it still has a narrative has a plot of some sort. Where the Wild Things Are may not have your typical fairy tale plot, but what I expect it does have is a plot all about the characters, who they are, and their relationships amongst one another.

In the same article when the writer gave director Spike Jonze their minimal quips, Spike seemed to reply graciously by stating something similar to what I just said, that their goal in making the film was to make the film through the eyes of a 9-year old. In these regards it sounds as if Spike has nailed the book and its very essence. While many cynical adults may not be child-like enough to believe, all have imaginations, and Spike is just trying to get us all to believe once more. That is perhaps why the writer of the article was not too keen on Spike's adaptation, they have forgotten what it's like to be a child.

The main reason I have written all of this is because many fanboys across the internet are now freaking out, fearing that the film will not be any good. Take this all in stride. It's one person's opinion, and they didn't necessarily hate it, they just thought it was very unconventional. Now of course I have yet to see the film, and I might feel a tad let down when I finally see it, but I have been highly impressed by everything I've seen thus far and I am confident in Jonze's abilities to tell a very beautiful tale about childhood. So that settles everything for me, and it should for any other worriers out there. October 16th cannot come fast enough.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trailer Rush: A Single Man

On the tale of its well-received opening at the Venice Film Festival, the trailer to arthouse film A Single Man, starring Colin Firth. Take a look:

At the current moment I know very little about this film. While the trailer was visually interesting, it gives nothing as to what the film is about. All that I really know about it (and I had to look this all up online) is that Colin Firth plays an academic living in Los Angeles who is grieving over the recent loss of his lover. It seems to be a character piece from what I understand, but from the trailer it also has this very intriguing visual style about it.

The film has gotten rave critic reviews from the Venice Film Festival, being predicted to sweep the awards show there. As well many are chatting up Colin Firth's performance as the finest of his career thus far, I believe him to be a fine actor so it is very intriguing to hear such a claim. As well the critics all seem to rave about director and former fashion designer Tom Ford's visually inspiring direction. Many claim he's an auteur in the making.

While this film looks and sounds a tad more absurdist than I am usually accustomed to seeing, this particular film will find an audience with a great many people, even if I don't happen to be one of them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Old School Fridays: Taxi Driver

Welcome to another edition of Old School Fridays, the weekly kickoff to a great weekend where we highlight a different old movie trailer each and every week. This week, relish in the original theatrical trailer for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

This trailer manages to capture the feel of the film and Travis Bickle's character, but the cheesy narration and the awful yellow text that pops up on the screen every now and then just makes tit too much a product of its times; as well the trailer is lengthy by today's standards. Even still, whether you have seen Taxi Driver or not, you've gotta admit it's hilarious when the narrator says, " DeNiro in his most chilling performance ever as, the Taxi Driver."

Well that does it for this Friday. Check back next week for another editon of Old School Fridays!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trailer Rush: Up in the Air

It's Oscar season and more and more trailers for some of the big Oscar hopefuls have begun to crop up. One such trailer is for the new film from director Jason Reitman, Up in the Air. The film stars George Clooney as a corporate downsizing expert who practically lives life in the air, traveling for 2/3 of his year. Take a look at the trailer:

Reitman has been compared to legendary film director Billy Wilder, and based off this trailer I can see how that conclusion can be drawn. I wasn't the biggest fan of Jason Reitman's first two films. While I found Thank You For Smoking oddly funny at times, it ultimately left me feeling disconnected, and his second film, Juno, was fairly similar in the end. This film looks to be a little more up my alley than those other two films and I must say I was impressed by this trailer. Not only that I have been impressed thus far by all the reviews I've read on the film coming out of the Telluride Film Festival. The film is being hailed as a masterpiece and is being chatted up big-time when it comes to Oscars, in particular Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Clooney.

Overall I'm intrigued to see more from this film as it's December release date looms nearer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HIdden Gems: Secondhand Lions

It's a rarity nowadays to find a film that plays to the entire family. From the parents, to the children, to the grandparents. Secondhand Lions is such a film.

It's the story of Walter, a young boy who is dropped off by his mother to live with his two reclusive uncles in the country. It's said that the uncles secretly have millions upon millions of dollars stashed away somewhere, but no one knows how they got it or whether it's even real. Meanwhile Walter grows close to his two uncles, being told old adventure stories from his Uncle Garth from the two uncle's youth.

The film finds Walter questioning himself, wondering what to truly believe. What Walter discovers is that you believe in what you want to. If he wants to see the good in his uncle's, then he'll believe their adventure stories rather than accept that they might in fact be bank robbers from the 1920s. Course the film answers the truth as to whether or not his uncles were lying to him the whole time by the end of the film, wrapping everything up in a satisfying way.

The film was well directed by Tim McCanlies, never overplaying the tender moments. He handles the tall tales told by Uncle Garth in a dreamlike fashion, which suits the film perfectly. As well the acting is fantastic. Michael Caine and Robert Duvall deliver fine performances as the two uncles; Duvall in particular comes through in conveying his character's disatisfaction with life and his want to not grow old, but to simpy kick the bucket. Then Haley Joel Osment rounds out the cast as Walter, conveying the right amount of self doubt to make us as the audience wonder about the truth in Garth's stories.

Though what makes Secondhand Lions a charmer is that it's a perfect family movie. It's funny, heartwarming, highly emotional, and is action-packed. The movie balances the adventure with the comedy and drama perfectly to strike a chord with the audience, to where at the end of the film you feel as if you've been on a one of a kind journey that only the magic of the cinema can produce.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Akira, Still Alive?

It was reported back in June that the live-action adaptation of the classic anime film Akira had died. But it's recently been reported that the only reason there hasn't been any news on it is cause the writers were polishing the script. So it looks the Akira film is still on.

I was never really that excited about this film in the first place. The original Akira, while bizarre, is a pretty good film, one that is perfectly suited for animation. Why does Hollywood feel that they need to tamper with anything good to make it more acceptable to American audiences? First they decide to remake it with an English speaking cast and do it in live-action, but then they change the setting from Tokyo to Manhattan. By the time the film reaches the screen, it will most likely have nothing to do with the original anime.

If Warner Bros. really wanted to bring an Akira film to the states, then simply release the dubbed version of the original Akira in theaters rather than spending millions upon millions of dollars on a big, flashy Hollywood-ified spectacle. Of course WB would never do that, they only see the dollar signs inherent in making the film.

Even still there is a silver lining. The film is being produced by Leonardo Dicaprio, who supposedly has a huge affinity for the original anime, and I doubt any fan of the original would really let it stray too far from its source. Also the film is being written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man), two of the finer writers in Hollywood right now.

For all I know this film could be terrific, but as for now I'm still skeptical.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pixar and the Ant-Man?

Last week Disney announced that it was buying Marvel Studios. This was a big announcement, causing much speculation about the future of Marvel properties, such as Spider-man, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Supposedly though, Entertainment Weekly let slip that Pixar is currently developing a movie based off the Marvel comic book hero Ant-Man.

This is very intriguing, Ant-Man is one of the lesser known Marvel heroes. His name implies pretty much anything one would need to know about him, having the ability to shrink himself at will. Ant-Man will require a lot of creativity to bring him to the big screen and make him not a laughing stock, and I think the folk at Pixar might just be the guys. Pixar has been known over the years for churning out films that are not only highly original and creative, but also extremely entertaining as well. Of course what does this mean for Edgar Wright's supposed live-action adaptation of the character?

Edgar Wright, the director of the hit-films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, was tipped back in 2006 to direct a live-action Ant-Man film. Currently there is no news on the front about his involvement, if any, with this current project. I believe Edgar Wright is the perfect choice for this particular character, but whether or not Pixar intends for him to direct the film has yet to be seen. Course it's also been stated that Pixar is currently producing their first live-action feature, so it is entirely possible that they're partnering with Wright to bring his vision of the character to the big screen in live-action rather than CG.

While I think Wright is the right man for the job, I do think that this particular superhero would probably work better as an animated feature rather than live-action. Ant-Man is such a bizarre character in the first place, I feel trying to convince an audience to suspend their disbelief will be far easier within the realms of animation than within live-action.

Overall I'm excited to hear more about Pixar's potential involvement in this Marvel franchise. Hopefully they'll still bring on Wright and his great sense of humor to helm the project.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The New Class

Every few decades or so stars rise in the film industry and then slowly ebb away, leading to the rise of new stars. Most of the stars from while I was growing up are growing old and slowly receding from the business. Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, and Harrison Ford just to name a few. A question that has been on the tip of my tongue for a while now is who will be the next generation of mega-stars?

I have decided to do my research and I believe I have compiled a list of five film actors and actresses, all of which are just at the beginning of very promising careers, or have been in the industry for years and are finally getting some much deserved recognition. These five I believe to be the next group of acting giants in the film industry. Here we go:

* Shia LaBeouf - Yeah, I know he's already on his way to becoming a big star, but I don't care. Shia LaBeouf, no matter how you spin it, is a terrific actor. I've been a fan of his ever since his days on the Disney Channel. He showed a range of acting ability in his early years that he still has yet to match later in his career, but I think once he settles in with his celebrity he will become an actor to look out for, and dare I say there might be an Oscar in his future.

* Saoirse Ronan - While not a household name, she's already garnered much attention from the film community, wowing critics and the Academy with her work in Atonement (which garnered he a Best Supporting Actress nod), and this December she plays the lead in the new Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones. She's a marvelous actress, already loved by critics, and I think she is on her way to becoming the next Cate Blanchett.

* Joseph Gordon-Levitt - While he has been around for a while, he's just now starting to break through the ranks of Hollywood and is just on the cusp of becoming a mega-star. Garnering terrific reviews in small independent films like Stop-Loss and (500) Days of Summer, he's created a name for himself and is starring alongside Leonardo Dicaprio in next summer's Inception. Levitt is a very likable actor, not too dissimilar from Tom Hanks or Jimmy Stewart. Not only is he a very likable guy, he's a darn good actor as well, one to look out for in the coming years.

* Carey Mulligan - An actress similar to Gordon-Levitt. She's been around in the industry since her teens, but thanks to a recent slew of fine performances she's finally on the radar. From a supporting part in Pride & Prejudice to her most recent role in the independent film An Education, which is receiving huge Oscar buzz for Ms. Mulligan, she has managed to break through the ranks, starring alongside Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf in Oliver Stone's sequel to Wall Street. She is a fine actress, and one that both audiences and critics seem to enjoy.

* Rupert Grint - While he's a recognizable face due to his work in the Harry Potter films, he's the most versatile of the Potter trio, being able to pull off anything, ranging from comedy to drama to romance. Grint has flexed his muscles in between the Potter films taking parts in smaller, more character driven independent films like Driving Lessons. He's a likable guy, funny, laid back, but he also has that leading man swagger. I'd almost compare him to a Johnny Depp-type. He's typically quiet, and also he's known for being a bit of an eccentric; not to mention he seems to pull off just about anything he's tried up to this point.

And that's it. These five actors and actresses are what I believe to be the future of film. Only time will tell whether I am right or wrong.