Sunday, June 22, 2008

After Earth: The Brothers of Destruction

Author(s): James Somerton
Location: Canada

“After Earth: The Brothers of Destruction”

Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: James Somerton & Tim Burton
Produced by: James Cameron

Principal Cast:

Johnny Depp as Prince Salcazar
Johnny Depp as Prince Eridos
Meryl Streep as The Desert Witch
Elijah Wood as Colbyoto; The Military Commander
Christina Ricci as Tayleen; The Queen of the Inklings
Nicole Kidman as Senika; The Watchful Aunt

Tagline: “The End Was Only The Beginning”


The History: Billions of years ago, the galaxy was forged out of the heart of King Link, a forgotten prince from another cosmos. Now heartless, he knew that he could not care for his creation and so he created two races to do so for him. From his right eye he forged the Inklings and from his left eye he forged the Linkinks. But his left eye was half blind and so the Linkinks came out dark and impure. And then from his loins his bore a son, Meldor, to be king of the galaxy. With these in place, KingLink vanished. The Inklings took the planet of Neptune and the Linkinks took Uranus, while Meldor set up his fortress on Mars, where he was able to watch as the population of Earth slowly destroyed it’s home. Soon he will have to have children after he dies…

The galaxy is in turmoil. Planet Earth has imploded, creating the beginnings of a star, the population of Uranus is growing hostile toward Neptune, and the queen is pregnant. When she gives birth on Mars, she is confronted by the terrifying presence of The Desert Witch. The witch kills the queen and her husband before taking hold of both children. Using her mind powers, the Witch confuses the staff into believing that she is the guardian of the children. This also means that she is in control of the galaxy until the children are of age.

Twenty years later, the princes, Salcazar and Eridos, reach the legal age to be crowned king. However, since they are twins, no one knows who is to become king. The witch, believing that Salcazar is the weaker minded of the two, sends Eridos off to Uranus to watch over the mining of Uranium, the galaxy’s number one source of energy. Salcazar becomes king but when the witch mysteriously dies, everyone realizes that Salcazar is terribly incompetent. Colbyoto, the military commander, secretly begins to do the decision making while Salcazar takes the credit.

Meanwhile, Eridos is growing ever more furious on Uranus. He is always being watched by the Linkinks, who constantly compare him to his grandfather, who they consider a failure due to their faulty creation. He recruits a vast army of Veraclose, the terrifying beasts used to mine the Uranium, and begins to plan an invasion of Mars to take back the title that rightfully belongs to him. But first, he will cripple the galaxy by cutting off their supply of Uranium. This sends Salcazar into panic and forces him to publicly hand over power to Colbyoto while he retreats into seclusion on Neptune, hiding with the ancient race called Inklings. Their queen, Tayleen, attempts to help Salcazar through his troubles. But time passes slowly on Neptune and Salcazar is completely unaware of what is going on elsewhere in the galaxy.

Colbyoto invades Uranus and all but wipes out the race of Veraclose, making it impossible for Uranium to be mind properly. Eridos escapes the battle, retreating to Mars where he is greeted with cheers. The true leader has returned but Colbyoto and Salcazar are planning to overthrow him. The galaxy has entered the most violent time since it’s creation.

What the press would say:

“After Earth: The Brothers of Destruction” is a science-fiction epic that draws on the likes of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings to create it’s complex history. One character in particular, Tayleen the queen of the Inklings, played with a subtle perfection by Christina Ricci, is always mentioning things that are not explained in this film. She has lived many lifetimes and this is quite apparent. Her role is small but memorable with her pale blue skin and bright green eyes. Johnny Depp plays both Salcazar and Eridos, bringing a regal air to both characters but in very different ways. Salcazar is the reluctant ruler that would much rather just be a normal person, and Eridos is the neglected brother who has groomed himself to take the thrown but was looked over. The make-up and the performances make it nearly impossible at times to see that these are both the same person. As Eridos, Depp is hidden behind a long mane of hair with piercing, white eyes that glow slightly in the darkness of the Uranium Mines. Salcazar is well kemp with dark eyes and a constant blank stare that never seems to leave his face. They are both brilliant performances from a brilliant actor that may deserve separate award nominations for each character. Another stand out roll in the film is Colbyoto, portrayed with a dark intelligence by Elijah Wood. Wood looks so innocent, even when he is ordering the murder of hundreds of people as the military commander. He also has a harsh metallic tone to his voice that may suggest a past that we’re not privy to here. His already prominent blue eyes are brought to even more prominence with a slight glow that rings the blue iris. Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman both play watchful characters that keep their eyes on the brothers, although in different ways. Streep’s performance as the unnamed Desert Witch is cold and unrelenting. She reminds us of a Catholic Nun who’s overbearing domineering way is causing everyone around her to worry. Nicole Kidman plays the polar opposite as Senika, the brothers’ aunt who never seems to age. She watches her nephews closely and does everything she can to keep them out of trouble but has to keep hidden from the Witch dare she, like her sister, be killed. Tim Burton directs the film with gothic glee, creating one of the most bleak science fiction settings ever seen on film. There are no bright lights, robotic beeps, or lasers in this movie. People fight with real swords and real guns. Bullets still go through flesh and blades still cut it. This is a gritty, dark, creative, and original science fiction epic that takes advantage of special effects and then makes them invisible. Even creatures that obviously could be nothing but CG, like the terrifying Veraclose, seem real with wounds, age marks, and even sweat dripping from their brow as they battle. The cinematography and set-design is magnificent. It really brings the difference out between the deserts of Mars, the rain forests of Neptune, and the cavernous mines of Uranus. This is science fiction at it’s greatest, with an ending harkening back to the sci-fi serials of the 40’s.


Best Picture
Best Director – Tim Burton
Best Actor – Johnny Depp
Best Supporting Actress – Meryl Streep
Best Sound
Best Make-up
Best Visual FX
Best Original Score – Danny Elfman

American Tragedy

Author(s): Pat
Location: New York

“American Tragedy”

Directed By Ryan Fleck
Written By Ryan Fleck and Jacob Aaron Estes

Principal Cast:

Gaius Charles (Richie Jones)
Anthony Mackie (Chris Rodrigues)
Gael Garcia Bernal (Gael Martinez)
Javier Bardem (Alejandro Quintante)
Danny Glover (Michael Jones)
Alicia Keys (Emily Arebole)
Alexa Vega (Diana Garcia)
Catherine Keener (Det. Harriet Glicksman)
Harry Lennix (Det. Jerrod Parks)
Irma P. Hall (Loretta Rodrigues)

Tagline: "Two young men, friends forever…or so it seems'

Synopsis: “Half-Nelson” writer/director Ryan Fleck teams up with “Mean Creek” scribe Jacob Aaron Estes to present this heartwrenching tale about two young men growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. The story begins when Richie (Gaius Charles) moves to a bad part of Los Angeles when his ex-cop father (Danny Glover) is forced to retire because of prostate cancer. He meets Chris Rodrigues (Anthony Mackie), the basketball star at the local high school and they quickly become friends. After a year of friendship Richie discovers that Chris is getting into the drug dealing business with the help of a Mexican distributor (Gael Garcia Bernal). Chris decides to spin the situation his way and is able to convince the naïve Richie to join him in the ranks of the Mexican drug ring, headed by a ruthless gangster (Javier Bardem). Chris begins to learn that Richie respects his opinion and decides to use that against his friend. The young man manipulates Richie into a relationship with the Boss’ niece (Alexa Vega), a girl who the Boss strict forbade to all the dealers. Chris, along with his ambitious girlfriend (Alicia Keys), puts events in motion that will lead to the demise of the boy he used to call his best friend. But things do not go as Chris planned when a pair of detectives (Catherine Keener, Harry Lennix) who are investigating the drug ring begin to question him about his involvement. Matters get worse for Chris when Richie learns of his friend’s deception and he decides to exact revenge. A final battle between so-called brothers ensues, which will stun and amaze with its ferocity and emotions. “American Tragedy” is a shocking portrayal of the increasing decadence of American society that must not be missed.

What the press would say:

Acclaimed filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Jacob Aaron Estes join forces in “American Tragedy”, the story of two best friends who become great enemies because of power and ambition. The script is full of raw dialogue and gritty (and sometimes uncomfortable) scenes, like when the Boss, stunningly played by Javier Bardem, discovers that Gael Garcia Bernal’s character has been stealing from him and decides to make him pay with his life in a very graphic way. Both of those actors deliver performances of terror and arrogance, respectively, which add another emotional aspect to the already gutwrenching main plot line. Catherine Keener gives a restrained and nuanced performance as a beleagured detective who wishes to see young men not involved with drugs. Alicia Keys shines as a devilish girlfriend who resembles Lady Macbeth in some aspects. But it is the two leads of this film who deserve the most attention. First is Gaius Charles (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) as Richie, a young man growing up where he shouldn’t be while realizing that even the closest friends can be deceiving. Charles’ conveys his characters shock and heartbreak amazingly in the scene where he learns that his best friend has set him up to die. Anthony Mackie provides the balance to Charles in the character of Chris, an ambitious drug dealer who will stop at nothing to become the top dealer. He slips into the most vile character in recent years so easily that it is scary. The cast, direction, script, and all other aspects of this film are astounding and deserve a great deal of attention.


Best Picture
Best Director-Ryan Fleck
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actor-Gaius Charles
Best Actor-Anthony Mackie
Best Supporting Actor-Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actor-Gael Garcia Bernal
Best Supporting Actress-Catherine Keener
Best Supporting Actress-Alicia Keys
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing

The Awards Ceremony

Author(s): Jorge Gonzalez
Location: Mexico

“The Awards Ceremony”

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Screenplay by: Sacha Baron Cohen and Alfonso Cuaron
Produced by: Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore and Alfonso Cuaron

Principal Cast:

Clint Eastwood as himself
Warren Beatty as the President of the USA
Annette Bening as the First Lady of the USA
Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the AMPAS
Ellen Degeneres as herself
Sacha Baron Cohen as director-nominee Als Ah-Habab from Iraq
Alfonso Arau as director-nominee Pedro Torres from Mexico
Jean Reno as director-nominee Dominic Deneuve from France
Benicio del Toro as director-nominee Enrico Pausini from Italy
Joan Rivers as herself
Ryan Seacrest as himself
Martha Stewart as herself
Samuel L. Jackson as Reverend Jackson

Tagline: “And the Oscar goes to…”

Synopsis: It’s 2012. Iraq isn’t over. Korea isn’t over. And Iran isn’t over. Republicans still got the Presidency of the USA and alert levels reach red every 4 weeks. In this times of anxiety and social tension, entertainment is the only thing that keeps Americans relieved of the inside and outside problems, being cinema it’s main source of peace of mind. The year 2012 starts like any other year, until end of January arrives and the Oscar nominees are announced. Turns out that from the 5 Best Picture nominees, only one film is American, and the same goes for Best Director. America is in shock. Never before something like this had happened and America does not know how to cope with it. Is it a sign? An omen? If America loses, would it be that they got beaten in their own turf? Is there something that Hollywood is telling us? Or is it that non-Americans have taken on Hollywood? And worst of all, main contender against Best Picture is the film by Iraqi director Als Ah-Habab, a notoriously anti-American and anti-Republican film producer. The scandal goes all the way to Washington, and pressure is applied on the Congress to limit foreigners’ power in American entertainment industry. Demonstrations start to take place outside the White House, and things appear to start go out of control. The American President can’t ignore the situation and had to make a drastic decision: To call directly Clint Eastwood and the President of the AMPAS and tell them that it was compulsory that Clint had to win: “I don’t know if you have to bribe the members of the Academy, hack the results of the ballots, or kill someone, but Clint has to win, and so America.”

What the press would say:

Surely it would be the most expected film of the year. Buzz would start from beginning of the year, and its release would be exactly 1 week before the year ends. In this way, the story described in the film would become reality when one month later the “The Awards Ceremony” would become the year’s front runner in every category. Tons of actors and celebrities would appear in cameos along the movie, which would increase media’s attention. The press would immediately name it as the “Talk-About Movie”. Main appraisals would be: “’The Awards Ceremony’ is the scariest film of the year… And yet the most hilarious.” “Sacha Baron Cohen makes you think that Borat was a wimp.” “It’s the best sci-fi of the year… Not because it would never happen, but because the awards ceremony would never be so damn entertaining.” “Ellen Degeneres will now be reminded as the Oscar hostess icon for the centuries to come.” “When you see the movie, you wonder if George W. Bush would of reacted the same way as Beatty’s character on the movie.” "Make sure to bring a diaper." Top critics would describe it as “Witty”, “Smart”, “Clever” film.


Best Picture- Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore and Alfonso Cuarón
Best Director- Alfonso Cuarón
Best Actor- Clint Eastwood
Best Actor- Warren Beatty
Best Supporting Actor- Sacha Baron Cohen
Best Supporting Actor- Alfonso Arau
Best Supporting Actress- Ellen Degeneres
Best Supporting Acress- Annette Bening
Best Original Screenplay- Sacha Baron Cohen and Alfonso Cuarón
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Costume Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Original Song- “America is the land” by Marilyn Manson
Best Score- Phillip Glass

Because He Told Me

Author(s): Ryan D.
Location: N/A

“Because He Told Me”

Directed by Patty Jenkins
Written by Patty Jenkins

Principal Cast:

Angelina Jolie as Andrea Yates
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rusty
Sean Penn as Micheal Woroniecki
Meryl Streep as Therpyst

Tagline: "The fear of sinning, cost her her life''

Synopsis: This is the biography of Andrea Yates and her spiral downward. The movie starts on her wedding day to Rusty. They were very christian, and followed an extremist Micheal Woroniecki. He made videos, telling them not to sin and that god is all they need. Than as Andrea starts having children she starts getting depression. When Woroniecki told them not to worry about possessions they decided to move into a small bus. This is when Andrea starts to go crazy. She says that she see's satin, and that if shes not a good mother than she will go to hell. Andrea attempts suicide, and Rusty decides to take her to a mental faciliy. When the insurance runs out they just give her a lot of medication. Andrea refused to take it and would spit them out after taking them. She started going mentally insane. She wouldn't speak, and had a bald spot in her head from scratching one spot on her head. Rusty thinks they should stop following Woroniecki because he is getting too extreme, btu Andrea refuses and keeps in contact. Andrea gets a letter saying that she can't be a bad mother. Andrea thinks that there are video cameras in her house filming her to see if she is a good mother. Than that day came. Rusty went to work and Andrea see's satin. He said that if she doesn't kill her children they will go to hell. Andrea than takes them to the bathroom one by one, and drowns them in the bath tub. Than she lays them in the bed next to each other. Andrea turns herself in, and is sent to prison.

What the press would say:

"Angelina gives a knock out performance as Andrea Yates, she truly controls the movie showing the downward spiral of Andrea, but yet makes you understand why she did it."
" The most disturbing movie of the year, but also the best."
" This is the best work from Patty Jenkins yet, this screenplay tops Monster."
" Angelina gives the best performance of the year if not the best of the decade.Showing the voulnerability of Andrea."
" Sean Penn shows tremendous power playign the extremist christian."
" Leonardo DiCaprio shines as the worried husband."
" The best cinematography since Traffic."
" I can't see a movie topping this, two thumbs way up."
" The dark movie that will sure be at the podium come oscar night."
" If this doesn't win the oscar i don't think i coudl take the academy seriously."

Best Picture
Best Director- Patty Jenkins
Best Original Screenplay
Best Actress Angelina Jolie
Best Supporting Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Supporting Actor Sean Penn
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best ensemble cast
Best Original Song- "Never Forgiven" -Renee Stahl


Author(s): Daniel Crooke
Location: Ohio


Produced by: Lynn Rayburn, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Edited by: Hughes Winborne
Costume Design by: Colleen Atwood
Original Music by: Carter Burwell
Original Screenplay by: Barry Levinson and Peter Morgan

Principal Cast:

Chris Cooper as Gene Rayburn
Catherine O’Hara as Brett Somers
David Cross as Charles Nelson Reilly
Kevin Spacey as Richard Dawson
Ellen DeGeneres as Betty White
Reba McEntire as Fannie Flagg
Bernie Mac as Nipsey Russell
Rebecca Romijn as Loretta Swit
Don LaFontaine as Johnny Olsen
Ed Asner as Mark Goodson
Richard Gere as Bill Todman

Tagline: “Behind the blanks, there was a story”

Synopsis: In the 1970’s, “Match Game” ruled the game show business. It had the highest ratings and would continually push the envelope of what was acceptable at the time on broadcast television. The show’s setup was like this- there were two contestants and the host, the always enthusiastic Gene Rayburn, who would give the contestant a question that had a word missing and the word was replaced with “blank”. An example, “Dumb Dora is so dumb that when she went to Easter Island, she thought it would be covered with blanks”. The contestant gave their answer for what they thought filled the blank. Then, that answer would be compared to a panel of six celebrities and the contestant would get one point per celebrity matched. What made “Match Game” so appealing to the American public was not the setup, although amusing, but the celebrity panel. The six celebrities would always include the three regulars, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Richard Dawson. Somers was the hilarious female and was married to famous actor Jack Klugman. Her funny personality was what made her one of the reasons viewers would watch the show. She was always excited to be on the show and always had a lot of fun. Reilly was outrageous and a famous Broadway actor. Brett and Charles had an ongoing comic feud that lasted the whole show. The feud was one of the funniest parts of the show. Dawson was the man who always had the correct answer and women adored him. A few other frequent celebrity panelists were Betty White, Fannie Flagg, Nipsey Russell, and Loretta Swit. The taping schedule was that two or three shows were taped in the morning and afternoon, dinner (which meant plenty of alcohol), and then a final taped show. This made the celebrity panel bond and form a sort of family. The show was like a big party. Behind the scenes, there was lots of hilarity going on. Whether it was accidental, like the time Rayburn accidentally told a contestant that she had “nice nipples”, when he meant to say “nice dimples” or when a contestant would give a racy answer to a question, “Match Game” continued to push the envelope throughout its 10 season run.

Richard Dawson loved working on the show and the attention that he received from the contestants, until the producers, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, created a devise that would keep the contestants from always choosing Richard as the celebrity that they chose to match in the final round. The producers created a wheel that would choose the celebrity for you. Dawson took this as a direct hit and ever since then, his enthusiasm was not as great as it was before for “Match Game”. According to Rayburn, Dawson’s ego got in the way. Dawson eventually showed no enthusiasm whatsoever, and quit the show. He went on to host the smash hit game show “Family Feud”.

In 1982, “Match Game” was cancelled due to the time slots and Gene Rayburn signed off for the last time. Rayburn always thought that the show should have lasted longer. He fell into a depressive slump, and as his daughter said, “killed himself by not working”. Rayburn stopped working altogether eventually, except for a few interviews and a failed reincarnation of the show. Rayburn became a Hollywood recluse, but also a living legend. Rayburn died in 1999.

“Match Game” was one of the greatest game shows ever to air. It was certainly one of the most enjoyable to watch. As Charles Nelson Reilly said, “This isn’t a job, it’s a social engagement”.

What the press would say:

It is about time that Hollywood tackled one of television’s greatest shows ever, “Match Game”. Going into the theatre, I was concerned that a two hour movie could be made solely on “Match Game”. But it can and it did. Barry Levinson’s “Blank” does a fantastic job of delivering that goal. The film focuses on the show’s run, the celebrities involved (especially Richard Dawson and Gene Rayburn who are played by Kevin Spacey and Chris Cooper, respectively), and the aftermath of the show. The film begins when Gene Rayburn is closing the last recorded show and from there the film goes back and forth from Rayburn’s life after the show and when the show was on the air. The film does not hold back when going into detail of the show. A few scenes that come to mind right now are when Richard Dawson quits the show, when fights break out between the producers and the creative team, and the social lives of the celebrities. The standouts in the supporting cast are Kevin Spacey, as Richard Dawson, and Catherine O’Hara as Brett Somers. Spacey’s performance gets better and better as the film progresses. His enthusiasm for the show as Dawson is so convincing, and he really gets into his character when he becomes sick of the show and eventually quits. A certain scene comes to mind when Dawson has just finished a wrap of “Family Feud” and you can tell that he thinks he had made the right decision to leave the show. Spacey is currently a frontrunner for the Best Supporting Actor award, and he has won a few precursors and has some serious Oscar buzz. In order for Brett Somers to be portrayed on screen, a strong comedic actress must be required. Catherine O’Hara plays the part to perfection, as she gets every single mannerism of the iconic Brett Somers down right to the frantic hand movements. O’Hara is also excellent, and should (finally) be receiving her first Academy Award nomination. But the real star of “Blank” is Chris Cooper. His portrayal of Gene Rayburn is magnificent. In his scenes after the show had been cancelled, Cooper nails the emotional range in order to play this part correctly. Cooper steers away from his normal straight faced approach to his brilliant characters he has played in the past. This is a brand new Chris Cooper. His vocal inflexion is different, his facial expressions are different…this is a different Chris Cooper. “Blank” is one truly great and entertaining film. It accurately tells the story of one of the greatest game shows ever made. “Blank” is a triumph and is rightfully earning rave reviews. It is certainly one of my favorite films this year and has a strong chance of doing extremely well at the Oscars.

Best Picture- Lynn Rayburn, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly
Best Director- Barry Levinson
Best Actor- Chris Cooper
Best Supporting Actor- Kevin Spacey
Best Supporting Actress- Catherine O’Hara
Best Original Screenplay- Barry Levinson and Peter Morgan
Best Costume Design- Colleen Atwood
Best Film Editing- Hughes Winborne

The Bridge

Author(s): Ross
Location: Memphis, TN

“The Bridge”

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
Written by Eric Roth
Edited by Michael Kahn
Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
Score by John Williams

Principal Cast:

Col. Nicholson Liam Neeson
Com. Shears Daniel Craig
Maj. Warden Russell Crowe
Col. Saito Gordon Liu
Lt. Joyce Henry Cavill
Maj. Clipton Ciaran Hinds

Tagline: “N/A”

Synopsis: Deep in the jungles of Burma in a WWII Japanese POW camp, captured British soldiers are ordered to build a railway bridge across the Kwai River. Led by strict British Colonel Nicholson (Liam Neeson), the British POWs eventually concede to Japanese Col. Saito (Gordon Liu) and build a bridge and score a moral victory in the process by not only building the bridge, but running the whole operation.

British POW Commander Shears (Daniel Craig) attempts an escape from the POW camp and succeeds, but his two fellow escapees are do not make it alive. Shears makes it to a British military outpost only to be directly redeployed on a top secret mission with Major Warden (Russell Crowe) and young Lt. Joyce (Henry Cavill) to destroy the bridge that Nicholson and the rest of the British prisoners are attempting to build. So Shears must lead the trek back through the dangerous jungles on a mission where the odds of success are nearly impossible.

The strike team fights its way through the jungle and past Japanese patrols to the bridge only to have the proud Col. Nicholson discover the planned secret demolition by his allies because of low tide revealing the detonation wires. It all leads to a memorable explosive finale that really shows off the courage, determination, and tenacity of the human spirt. Based in the 1957 film "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

What the press would say:

Steven Spielberg, the master of the adventure/drama, does it again as he updates the 1957 classic. This version benefits remarkably from advances in cinema and a great directing job, and a superb cast. Liam Neeson takes the role of British Colonel Nicholson, a man with rigid principles and ideals, who must keep his captured troops from falling apart under the stresses of the POW camp and their captors. He has great pride, which is his most noble quality as well as we see in the finale, his greatest fault. Neeson presents a strong leader and is matched with amazing performances by the rest of the cast.

Most notably is Daniel Craig as Commander Shears, a soldier who just wants to make it through alive and go home. He is a man bitter of war and caught in circumstances out of his control, but doing all he can while waiting for the right time for escape. When he is ordered to lead the strike team back through the jungle for the bridge, Craig does great in presenting the frustration of having to go back. Craig's work here is outstanding. Neeson's performance combined with Craig's makes for two of the most compelling and powerful performances in a while. Gordon Liu as Saito does an exceptional job. Saito is under pressure to get the bridge built or be forced to commit suicide. Liu is very good and when he squares off against Neeson, it is just as intense as the 1957 confrontation. Russell Crowe plays veteran demolitions expert Maj. Warden. Warden is a veteran grisled warrior and Henry Cavill plays Lt. Joyce who clearly has fear and questions whether he would be able to bring himself to kill a man. That question is eventually answered in the finale.

Everything really comes together under the direction of Spielberg. The cinematography and sounds of the jungle and river here are engrossing and at moments stunning. The pacing is on-spot. By the end, we learn a lesson of the horrors of war and the lives it takes. The climax of this movie is simply spellbinding. The whole movie is a powder-keg leading up to this finale where fates are revealed. It is a more than worthy update of the 1957 classic.

Possible Nominations

Best Picture
Best Actor (Liam Neeson)
Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Craig)
Best Supporting Actor (Russell Crowe)
Best Director (Steven Spielberg)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth)
Best Original Score (John Williams)
Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski)
Best Editing (Michael Kahn)

Broken Mind

Author(s): Chris Moffit
Location: North Carolina

“Broken Mind”

Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Written by Zach Braff & Michael Arndt
Genre: Comedy

Principal Cast:

Charlie Mitchell- Zach Braff
Martin Mitchell- Peter Saarsgard
Nancy Mitchell- Angelica Houston
Jenna Harker- Amy Adams
Carol Stromber- Toni Collette
Frank Stromber- Aaron Eckhart
Stephen Mitchell- Tom Wilkinson
Anna Calvez- Salma Hayek
Tom Doyle- Greg Kinnear

Tagline: “Even when the mind is broken, the heart still beats”

Synopsis: Charlie Mitchell is depressed. He was a smart and happy college student until his English professor, Tom Doyle, gave him an F on his paper. He snapped and tried to burn down Doyle’s car but was arrested and discovered to be clinically depressed. He was sentenced to five years in a mental institution where he met Dr. Jenna Harker. Jenna believed that Charlie’s depression was not caused by the failing grade and believed that there was a deeper root to the problem. Jenna decides to take Charlie back to his family’s home so that she can see his normal routine and his family.

Charlie lives with his sister, Carol, her husband, Frank, and the matriarch of the Mitchell family, Nancy. Carol is a devoted housewife who takes care of her mother all day long. Frank is an obnoxious stockbroker who is hardly home and spends the time he has at home arguing with the aging Nancy. Charlie’s brother, Martin, visits the family home on a daily basis and is a gun-toting, NRA member who comes to tell his liberal mother stories of deer that he has shot on hunting trips. Jenna begins to understand how the stressful environment of the Mitchell family home could cause Charlie to be depressed but she has yet to pinpoint an exact source. However as she begins to talk more and more with Charlie, she begins to fall in love with his charm and wit.

Jenna eventually discovers that the family refuses to talk about the last member of the family, Dad. Jenna discovers that he is not dead like Nancy says but he is in fact alive. He left the family for a woman he met in Mexico and took almost all of the family’s money. Charlie tells Jenna that he learned about his father’s indiscretions and that was why he was depressed. Jenna took Charlie to visit his father in Mexico, but his father, Stephen had no apology and said that he did not care about the family anymore and had his own family now. Charlie who was coming out of his depression snapped after the meeting with his father and one night tried to kill himself. Jenna was forced to commit Charlie back to the psychiatric hospital and she could longer be his doctor because she loved him and could not see him as a broken mind.

What the press would say:

Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton continue to show that they are great at creating family dramedies. The performances in this film shine strongly with Amy Adams’ heartbreaking, but funny performance as the psychiatrist in love with her patient being the best of them all. Zach Braff shows emotion in his face and eyes while maintaining his comic wit and sharp one-liners. The laughter comes strongest though in the conflicts between Angelica Houston’s Nancy, Aaron Eckhart’s Frank and Peter Saarsgard’s Martin, three characters that are confrontational, angry, stubborn and extremely funny. Toni Collette continues to deliver a great line of fine performances with her character being the most sympathetic and kind character, Carol, the simple housewife. The script is witty and funny as well as devastating and revelatory all at the same time. This is an amazing film that will be one of the few comedies to catch Oscar’s eye.

Best Picture
Best Director- Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
Best Original Screenplay- Zach Braff & Michael Arndt
Best Actor- Zach Braff
Best Actress- Amy Adams
Best Supporting Actress- Toni Collette
Best Supporting Actress- Angelica Houston
Best Supporting Actor- Peter Saarsgard
Best Film Editing