Half Nelson (2006)
Marie writes: Christmas is almost upon us, and with its impending arrival comes the sound of children running free-range through the snow, while grown-ups do battle indoors in the seasonal quest to find the perfect gift...
I saw three new movies on Monday. Each one could have been the best film of the day. I can't choose among them, so alphabetically: Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," Atom Egoyan's "Chloe" and Rodrigo Garcia's "Mother and Child." A story involving a cop uncontrollably strung out on drugs. A story involving a wife who meets a hooker. A story about three woman whose lives are shaped by the realities of adoption. Three considerable filmmakers. Three different tones. Three stories that improvise on genres instead of following them. Three titles that made me wonder, why can't every day be like this?
Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog were surely destined to work together. Radical talents are drawn to one another. Cage tends to exceed the limitations of a role, Herzog tends to exceed the limitations of film itself. Knowing nothing about conditions during the shoot, my guess is they found artistic harmony. If not, they ended up hardly on speaking terms. Either way would have worked.
"Man Push Cart."
Full list of nominees here.
I haven't seen all the nominees ("The Dead Girl," "American Gun," "Wristcutters: A Love Story," etc.), but, as always, there are some most welcome nominations. (Links below go to my reviews, festival coverage -- or even Opening Shots.)
"Man Push Cart," for best first feature (director Rahmin Bahrani), male lead (Ahmad Razvi) and cinematography (Michael Simmonds). Opening Shot treatment here.
"Half Nelson," for best feature, director (Ryan Fleck), first screenplay (Anna Boden & Fleck), male lead (Ryan Gosling), female lead (Shareeka Epps)
"Pan's Labyrinth," for best feature and cinematography (Guillermo Navarro). (But not Guillermo del Toro for director and screenplay?!?!?!)
"Old Joy," for the John Cassavettes Award.
Paul Dano for "best supporting male" (that's the IFP's category) in "Little Miss Sunshine," which is also nominated for best feature, screenplay, directors -- and Alan Arkin, also nominated for supporting male. I love Arkin (it's all about "Little Murders," people!), but I thought Steve Carell and Dano stole the movie, with Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear close behind.
Catherine O'Hara for best female lead in "For Your Consideration."
Robert Altman, best director for "A Prairie Home Companion."
Biggest disappointments: No documentary nominations for "51 Birch Street" or "The Bridge." The former may have been too deceptively simple and artless (in truth, it's a complex work of art) and the latter too cold and disturbing for many in the Indie tent-party crowd.
I'm still technically on break, but I'll be back to blogging (and editing) Wednesday.