Archive for the ‘brad pitt’ Tag

Best of 2009

[this is a work in progress]

film still

Burn, baby, burn - it fired me up

Film:
1. Inglourious Basterds – because it reignited my excitement with cinema

2. The Hangover – because it afforded me a fine evening of laughter with the Enfants Terribles
3. A Serious Man – for the uncompromising ending and beautiful cinematography by my former boss Roger Deakins
4. Moon – for being intriguing and thought-provoking
5. District 9 – for realising an inventive concept well
6. An Education – for a supercharismatic central performance
7. Nowhere Boy – for fine performances all round

Actor:
1. Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) – couldn’t take my eyes off him

2. Sam Rockwell (Moon)
3. Christian McKay (Me & Orson Welles) – not an easy persona to capture
4. Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy)
5. Andy Serkis (Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll)
6. Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
7. Adam Sandler (Funny People) – got papped behind him leaving BAFTA (that’s no way to live)
8. John Travolta (The Taking of Pelham 123)

Actress:
1. Carey Mulligan (An Education) – old school screen charisma

2. Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy) – did a great, feisty Q&A for us at The Phoenix, East Finchley
3. Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey)
4. Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank)

Supporting Actor:
1. Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds) – captured the humour whilst retaining the character’s intrigue

2. Alfred Molina (An Education) – also a close second, helped pull off the ending with a pivotal moving scene
3. Ed Helms (The Hangover)
4. Thomas Sangster (Nowhere Boy) – striking screen presence
5. Peter Capaldi (In the Loop)
6. Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)

Supporting Actress:
1. Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy)

2. Claire Danes (Me & Orson Welles)
3. Rosamund Pike (An Education)

Director:
1. Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) – gets it on the strength of the opening scene alone

2. The Coen Brothers (A Serious Man)
3. Neill Blomkamp (District 9)
4. Todd Phillips (The Hangover)
5. Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
6. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
7. Duncan Jones (Moon)

Script:
1. The Hangover

2. A Serious Man
3. District 9
4. Up in the Air
5. Moon

TV:
Gavin & Stacey

Gig:
1. Hothouse Flowers – Community hall, Baltimore, West Cork

2.
Bat for Lashes – The Roundhouse
Christy Moore – Festival Hall
Lisa Hannigan – Festival Hall

3.
Blur – Hyde Park (The Enfants Terribles’ first gig)
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Empire Shepherd’s Bush
David Gray – The Roundhouse

LP:
Sea Sew – Lisa Hannigan

The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Single:
1. Glass – Bat for Lashes

2. Say Hey – Michael Franti & Spearhead

Book:
The Great Lover – Jill Dawson

Art:
Dream – Jaume Plensa

Anish Kapoor – Royal Academy

Play:
August: Osage County (NT)
Prick Up Your Ears (The Comedy)

Sports event:
1. Ireland winning the 6 Nations

2. Spurs 9-1 victory over Wigan

Website:
Posterous

Saddest loss:
John Martyn

Labour of Lovechild – 4 reasons to see Inglourious Basterds

Mélanie Laurent putting on the war paint (see #4)

Mélanie Laurent putting on the war paint (see #4)

1 Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France

A bravura opening sequence of some 25 minutes in near real-time a la Once Upon a Time in the West, part of the linkage of Westerns and War Films explored in Inglourious Basterds. Christoph Waltz rachets up the tension with his stand-out performance as the insidiously suave SS ‘Jew Hunter’ Colonel – as scene stealing as Ralph Fiennes’ Amon Goetz in Schindler’s List. The interrogation through chat is as good a dialogue as Tarantino has ever written.

2 Performances

As well as Austrian Waltz’s excellent performance which bagged him Best Actor at Cannes, Brad Pitt does a great – slightly cartoonish/Cormanesque yet highly compelling – turn as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, a no-nonsense Tennessee kickass (fellow native of Tarantino’s home state) playing the equivalent of the Lee Marvin role in The Dirty Dozen, pulling together the dirty Basterds to go kick some Kraut ass behind the lines in the run up to D-Day. He squeezes plenty of comedy out of the part, not least in his undercover I-talian.

Mélanie Laurent is also very charismatic as heroine Shoshanna, last survivor of a massacred Jewish family who takes refuge in Paris running a back-street cinema, resonant of wartime films like Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis. Inglourious Basterds is very much the lovechild of Sam Peckinpah and the French section of the International shelves of QT’s legendary video store. Laurent has a perfect deadened steeliness about her, an angel of death set to visit the Nazi basterds.

3 Bar room brawl

The second bravura talkie set-piece is a long sequence in a cellar bar culminating in a Mexican stand-off (worthy of John Woo). Like the opening scene, it is driven by interrogation through chat, the tension tautened to breaking point as a Gestapo uniform gets his terrier teeth into an undercover Englishman (played by Michael Fassbender, brought to prominence in FilmFour’s Hunger). The ebb and flow of tension is reminiscent of the Joe Pesci restaurant scene in Scorsese’s Goodfellas, with echoes of Hitch.

4 Putting out fire

As ever, Tarantino’s use of music is palpitating. The scene where the scarlet woman puts on her war paint to Bowie’s Cat People theme is a good reason in itself for the invention of Dolby. I’m going back to see Inglourious Basterds again just for that moment.

It’s a film which keeps you thinking after your initial somewhat bewildered exit from the movie theatre. It was good to see a bunch of Northern Irish teens having an animated discussion about the film as they sparked up outside the multiplex in Newry. I suspect this one will bear multiple viewing (probably more scene by scene than end to end, which says much about QT’s style of film-making) and like a blood red Burgundy get better with age.

Adoption and celebs

Jane Fonda (adopter)

Jane Fonda (adopter)

I’m a little way into a web project about Adoption and during the research phase I needed to put together a list of famousfolk who were adopted , have adopted or have anything to do with the adoption of children. I called on my new media colleagues at Channel 4 to help compile the list and within an hour we had a pretty substantial roster, with dribs and drabs flowing into the pool of collective knowledge for the next day or two. As the information doesn’t seem to exist comprehensively on the Web I thought I’d publish it here for the future use of whoever may need it for whatever reason. But they can put it in alphabetical order themselves ;-)

Ewan McGregor (adopter)
Michael Winterbottom (adopter)
Kate Adie (adopter)
Kirsty Alley (adopter)
Mia Farrow & Woody Allen (adopters)
Jamie Leigh Curtis (adopter)
Emma Thompson (adopter)
Hugh Jackman  (adopter)
Steven Spielberg  (adopter)
Sheryl Crow  (adopter)
Nicole Ritchie (adopted)
Ian Wright (adopter) and Shaun Wright-Phillips (adopted)
Jamie Foxx (adopted)
Julie Andrews (adopter)
Pete Turner from Elbow
Oona King (adopter)
Michelle Pfeiffer
Fatima Whitbread
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Debbie Harry
D.M.C.
Jesse Jackson
Lee Majors
Nelson Mandela
President Gerald Ford
President Bill Clinton
Priscilla Presley
Ray Liotta
Steve Jobs
David Crosby (birth parent)
Joni Mitchell (birth parent)
Roseanne Barr (birth parent)
Billy Bob Thornton (adopter)
Brooke Adams (adopter)
Burt Reynolds (adopter)
Calista Flockhart (adopter)
Charles Bronson (adopter)
Diane Keaton (adopter)
Dianne Wiest (adopter)
George Lucas (adopter)
Isabella Rossellini (adopter)
Jane Fonda (adopter)
Kate Capshaw (adopter)
Kris Kristofferson (adopter)
Mercedes Ruehl (adopter)
Michelle Pfeiffer (adopter)
Stephen Spielberg (adopter)
Ted Danson (adopter)
Roman Abramovich
Rhona Cameron
Ice-T
Wendy James
Derek Jameson
Willie Nelson
Robert Newman
David J.Pelzer
Vanessa-Mae
Mordechai Vanunu
Ruth Westheimer
Samantha Morton
Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne
Clare Grogan (adopter)
Bruce Oldfield (?)
Anna Ryder Richardson (adopter and adoptee)
Chris Colquhoun
Toby Anstis (adopted)
Madonna (adopter)
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt (adopters)
Nicky Campbell (adopted)
Dawn French & Lenny Henry (adopters)
Callista Flockart (adopters)
Sinitta (adopter)
Lynda LaPlante (adopter)
One of the Milliband bros (adopter)
Sharon Stone (adopter)
Meg Ryan (adopter)
Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman (adopters)

Feel free to add more via Comments for completeness and the greater good.

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