Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review of The Pear's "True West"

There's a nice review of True West on the KQED web site. Check it out.
True West is currently showing at The Pear Avenue Theatre in Mountain View.
Check out for details.

Theater Review : True West

Somewhere in the thick of True West, Sam Shepard's classic tale of brothers, alcohol, Hollywood -- and toasters, ne'er-do-well Lee tells his younger, Ivy League-educated, screenwriter brother, Austin, about an idea he has for a movie. Lee's story is a preposterous riff on Steven Spielberg's first full-length film, Duel, in which Dennis Weaver is stalked by the mysterious driver of a menacing 18-wheeler. Like Weaver and the truck in Duel, Lee's pair tear up a lot of asphalt. Unlike the characters in Duel, Lee's cartoon daydreams dodge twisters in the Texas panhandle, run out of gas on cue, and then continue their four-wheel struggle on four legs. (Did I mention that both drivers are conveniently pulling horse trailers?)

Austin, the artiste, is appalled by the stupidity of his oafish older brother's story, embarrassed that he could even be related to someone whose mind could harbor such implausibly idiotic plot twists. But Lee has a metaphysical side. "The one who's chasin' doesn't know where the other one is takin' him," Lee explains. "The one who's being chased doesn't know where he's going." more...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar Nominees Announced

Here's the list of this year's nominees. Surprisingly, Sweeney Todd wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Johnny Depp was nominated for Best Actor, though in his role as Sweeney.

Best Picture
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best Director
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Jason Reitman, "Juno"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"

Best Actor
George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie, "Away From Her"
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Laura Linney, "The Savages"
Ellen Page, "Juno"

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Barden, "No Country for Old Men"
Phililp Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton"

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"
Saiorse Ronan, "Atonement"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"

Best Foreign Film
"Beaufort" (Israel)"
"Counterfeiters" (Austria)
"Katyn" (Poland)
"Mongol" (Kazakhstan)
"12" (Russia)

Best Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody, "Juno"
Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Brad Bird, "Ratatouille"
Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"
Sarah Polley, "Away From Her"
Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"

Best Animated Feature Film
"Surf's Up"

Best Art Direction
"American Gangster"
"The Golden Compass"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
"There Will Be Blood"

Achievement in Cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" Roger Deakins
"Atonement" Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" Robert Elswit

Achievement in Costume Design
"Across the Universe" Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" Colleen Atwood

Best Documentary Feature
"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures)
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group)
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company)
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm)
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm)

Best Documentary Short Subject
"La Corona (The Crown)"
"Salim Baba"
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild)

Achievement in Film Editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" Dylan Tichenor

Achievement in Makeup
"La Vie en Rose" Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
"Norbit" Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"Atonement" Dario Marianelli
"The Kite Runner" Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton" James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille" Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma" Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once"
Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
Nominees to be determined

"So Close" from "Enchanted"
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus"
"Madame Tutli-Putli"
"Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)"
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)"
"Peter & the Wolf"

Best live action short film
"At Night"
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)"
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)"
"Tanghi Argentini"
“The Tonto Woman"

Achievement in sound editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men" Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille" Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood" Matthew Wood
"Transformers" Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men" Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
"Ratatouille" Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma" Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
"Transformers" Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass" Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
"Transformers" Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Jon Stewart will host the 80th Academy Awards telecast, which will be broadcast live Feb. 24 from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center on ABC-TV. Who will attend the annual ceremony remains unclear due to the ongoing writers strike.

For more information visit

Friday, January 18, 2008

American Idol - The Path to Broadway Fame

American Idol has really become quite a vehicle for launching Broadway careers for a number of graduates of the ubiquitous reality TV series. Who'd a' thunk that ClayAiken, the quintessential nerd, from Season 2 would be starring in Spamalot! Apparently, he is very funny and is doing a great job with the role. I have such mixed feelings about this phenomenon. I have friends that have worked their butts off to get to New York and a couple who have been able to make it on Broadway. But it's taken raw talent and unstoppable work ethic coupled with desire and drive. It's fun to see these "idols" make it but it also seems a little unfair. But hey, what's fair anyway, not much. So, rock on you idols, and may The Lady of the Lake bless you on your quests. What a weird world we live in...more