oscar hopeful crashes and burns

September 21, 2006

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Things aren’t shaping up well for All The King’s Men, the new Steven Zillian adaptation of Robin Warren Penn’s award-winning novel. With a cast that includes past Oscar winners and nominees such as Sean Penn, James Gandolfini, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Patricia Clarkson, “one expects more” from the film, as reviewer James Berardinelli notes. The film currently sits at a score of 37/100 on review indexing site MetaCritic.com, and with many major publications having already cast their votes, the film’s chances of garnering the adulation necessary for a Best Picture nomination and eventual victory are now quite slim.

It’s a tragedy, I think, as I was rather looking forward to it from the excellent trailer and the strength of the cast, both of which seem now to have been for naught with The Hollywood Reporter saying that it falls flat in its attempts to make a “serious commentary” and comes far closer to “kitsch.” Comments like these cause me pause as I weigh whether to attend a screening (and review the film) or not.

On a more pleasant note, Michel Gondry’s newest film The Science of Sleep is generating considerable advance buzz, with reviews calling it “visually exhilarating” and “refreshing.” Of course, these are critics talking, people enamored–at least more so than most of us–of Mr. Gondry’s whimsical and quirky narrative sensibilities. One look at the trailer should let you know where you stand on that, though; I happen to think it looks brilliantly odd, so I will try very hard to see it and write up a few things to share about it here.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more postings coming this weekend (weekdays have been extremely busy as of late).

–D. S. W.

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