Archive for February, 2011

The Haiku Review’s Oscar Wrap-up

By Daniel J. Hoag

The 83rd Academy Awards have come and gone and the Haiku Review has some final thoughts and reactions to the festivities.

So many movies
were more deserving of Best
Pic than The King’s Speech.

I hope Tom Hooper
has trouble sleeping at night
Continue reading

2011 Oscar Spotlight: Best Actor

By Daniel J. Hoag

The 83rd Academy Awards are here, and though this race is all but over, you can still take a look at the Haiku Review’s Oscar Spotlight focusing on the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Javier Bardem is no stranger to Oscar: this is his third nomination, and he won Best Supporting Actor a few years back for his memorable performance as the psychopathic Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.  And if going to a dark place for that role weren’t enough, Bardem practically drowns in bleakness for his role in Biutiful, a nominee for Best Foreign Film.  Bardem plays Uxbal, a single father from Barcelona who is dying a painful death from cancer, unable to trust the futures of his children to his emotionally unstable, alcoholic ex-wife.  As if that weren’t miserable enough, he’s surrounded by the hard knock lives of illegal immigrants he traffics in (for money), many of whom suffer poverty, slave wages, sweatshop working conditions, deportation, and gruesome death.  And he kinda sees dead people.  Through it all Bardem wears sorrow and hopelessness like an old sweater, frayed and sagging from age.  But as bleak and distubing as the movie is around him, Bardem’s performance is, indeed, beautiful–no matter how you spell it. Continue reading

Starring: Jean-Claude Donda & Eilidh Rankin
Original screenplay by Jacques Tati
Adapted & directed by Sylvain Chomet

An aging, down-on-his-luck magician befriends a teenage girl who changes his life forever.

It is a brilliant
film or just the illusion
of a brilliant one?

Grade: B

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Illusionist is now playing in select cities.
It is a 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Film.

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman & Dustin Hoffman
Screenplay by Michael Konyves
Directed by Richard J. Lewis

The story of Barney Panofsky, a politically incorrect, frequently divorced television producer who met the love of his life at his wedding–and she wasn’t the bride.

Alzheimer’s be damned!
You won’t forget this film, the
great Giamatti.

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Barney’s Version is now playing in select cities.
It is a 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Makeup.

Starring: Javier Bardem
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Nicolás Giacobone
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

A dying man who deals with illegal immigrants in Barcelona struggles to feed his children and protect them from their unstable mother.

Oppressively bleak.
These poor souls can’t find beauty
let alone spell it.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Biutiful is now playing in select cities.
It is a 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film and Best Actor (Javier Bardem).

2011 Oscar Spotlight: Best Actress

By Daniel J. Hoag

The 83rd Academy Awards are upon us, so take a look at these five ace actresses competing for gold in the Haiku Review’s Oscar Spotlight focusing on the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
For her fourth Oscar nomination, Annette Bening brought the proverbial thunder as Nic, the hard-working, hard-drinking head-of-house at the center of this domestic dramedy.  Already dealing with marital friction as a result of her wife’s decidedly unfocused career ambitions, Nic’s life is thrown into further disarray when her two children seek out their sperm-donor father and introduce him into their family life.  Distrust, jealousy, and unfaithfulness soon follow, forcing Nic to rescue herself from an emotional breakdown and put her family back together.  Bening plays her rollercoaster range of emotions with ease, winning over audiences and Oscar voters alike.  In a film full of great performances, Bening blows them all out of the water. Continue reading

By Daniel J. Hoag

Good for a chuckle
here and there, but I’ll stick with
Dr. Horrible.

Grade: B-

Megamind is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/25/11.

(Blu) Haiku Review: Due Date (2010)

By Daniel J. Hoag

A formulaic
road-trip-buddy com enhanced
by its odd couple.

Grade: B

Due Date is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/22/11.

(Blu) Haiku Review: Get Low (2010)

By Daniel J. Hoag

Duvall shines as a
hermit with burning secrets.
Keep tissues handy.

Grade: B+

Get Low is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/22/11.

By Daniel J. Hoag

Hits from Billy Joel
Hits (and errors) from the Mets
This ode to Shea scores

Grade: B+

Last Play at Shea is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.