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The Descendants-Movie Review 10/07/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Light Drama, Young Artists Awards.
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The Descendants (American) 2011

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller

Among many other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Writing; Best Adapted Screenplay (Alexander Payne et al.); NOMINATED, Best Director (Payne); Best Picture; Best Leading Actor (Clooney), Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Clooney), NOMINATED, Best Director (Payne); Best Supporting Actress (Woodley); Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Best Screenplay; Best Supporting Actress (Woodley); NOMINATED, Best Director (Payne); Best Feature, Independent Spirit Awards

WINNER-tied, Best Young Actress in a Feature Film (Miller), Young Artist Awards

When his wife has an accident that leaves her on life support, Matt King (Clooney) has to get more involved with the day-to-day lives of his two daughters (Woodley and Miller) while also dealing with the discovery that his wife had an affair.

The story takes place in Hawaii and ties in with Matt’s attempts to make a profitable land deal for his extended family members, who are heirs to a large parcel of beautiful and unspoiled land.

Despite its overriding premise, the film does have humorous moments. It was very well received at awards ceremonies (what I’ve listed above doesn’t begin to cover them). I thought it was very good (not great) and worth watching, especially for the scenery (which includes Mr. Clooney).

115 min. Rated R.


Films Reviewed 05/22/2010

Posted by Films to consider in .

Following is a list of the film reviews that have been posted on the home page, in alphabetical order by year and with direct links to the reviews. The blog posts can also be searched by title, language, or category.

*** = Highly Recommended.

The 33 (Chile/Spanish/English)
Wolf Totem (Chinese) ***

The Grand Budapest Hotel (American) ***
Whiplash (American) ***


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish)
The Butler (American)
Fruitvale Station (American) ***
How I Live Now (British)
Ida (Polish)
Life’s A Breeze (Irish)
Nebraska (American) ***
Oblivion (American)
Saving Mr. Banks (American) ***

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Flemish) ***
Defiant Requiem (American) ***
Kon Tiki (Norwegian) ***
Midnight’s Children (British/Hindi)
Much Ado About Nothing (American) ***
A Royal Affair (Danish) ***
Safety Not Guaranteed (American)
Searching for Sugar Man (Swedish/English) ***
Silver Linings Playbook (American)
Wajdja (Saudi Arabian) ***

The Adjustment Bureau (American) ***
Bernie (American)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (British)
Café de flore (French) ***
Declaration of War (La guerre est déclarée) (French) ***
Fambul Tok (Family Talk) (African) ***
Delicacy La délicatesse (French)
The Descendants (American)
Elena (Russian)
The Fairy (La Fée) (French/Belgian)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japanese) ***
Le Havre (French) ***
Michael (Austrian/German)
The Princess of Montpensier (La princesse de Montpensier) (French)
A Separation (Iranian) ***
The Sound of the Spirit (American)

Amador (Spanish)
Animal Kingdom (Australian) ***
Another Year (British)
Biutiful (Spanish)
The Ghost Writer (British/French/German)
How to Train Your Dragon (American/Animated)
The Human Resources Manager (Israeli)
Mozart’s Sister (Nannerl, le soeur de Mozart), (French)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Portuguese/French)
Poetry (South Korean) ***
The Robber (German/Austrian)
Romantics Anonymous Les émotifs anonymes (French)
A Somewhat Gentle Man (Norwegian)
Sound of Noise (Swedish)
The Tree (Australian/French/English)
When We Leave (German/Turkish) ***
Winter’s Bone (American)
Young Goethe In Love (German)

Alamar (Mexican) ***
Altiplano (Peruvian/Spanish/Belgian/French) ***
Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos) (Spanish)
Cell 211 (Spanish) ***
Children of Invention (American) ***
District 9 (South African/Australian)
Korkoro (French) ***
The Last Station (British) ***
Last Train Home (Chinese) ***
Letters to Father Jacob (Finnish)
Love Til Death (Mexican/Spanish) ***
The Maid (La Nana) (Chilean/Spanish)
Me Too (Spanish) ***
The Men Who Stare at Goats (American)
The Messenger (American) ***
Ondine (Irish)
A Prophet (Un prophéte) (French)
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) (Argentinian) ***
White Material (French)
Vincere (“Win”) (Italian)
Wild Grass (French)
The Wind Journeys (South American/Spanish) ***

The Bank Job (British)
Cherry Blossoms (German) ***
The Class (French)
The Country Teacher (Czech Republic)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (American)
Departures (Japanese) ***
Disgrace (Australian/South African)
Everlasting Moments (Swedish) ***
Fear Me Not (Danish)
Frozen River (American)
Gran Torino (American)
The Grocer’s Son (French)
Home (Swiss/French) ***
Il Divo (Italian)
In Bruges (British/Irish) ***
I’ve Loved You So Long (French) ***
Jerichow (German)
Kabei: Our Mother (Japanese) ***
Last Chance Harvey (American/British)
Lorna’s Silence Le silence de Lorna (Belgian/French)
Man On Wire (British/French)
Milk (American)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (American)
Moscow, Belgium (Belgian)
Nora’s Will (Mexican/Spanish)
North Face (German)
The Reader (British)
Reprise (Norwegian)
Séraphine (French) ***
The Sicilian Girl (Italian) ***
Sita Sings the Blues (American/Indian)
Slumdog Millionaire (Indian)
Somers Town (British)
Summer Hours (L’heure d’été) (French)

Terribly Happy (Danish)
Three Monkeys (Turkish)
Tokyo Sonata (Japanese)
Tulpan (Kazakh/Russian) ***
The Visitor (American)
White Night Wedding (Icelandic)
The Window (Argentinian/Spanish) ***

Alexandra (Russian)
The Band’s Visit (Egyptian/Israeli)
Ben X (Flemish)
Blind Mountain (Chinese)
The Boss of It All (Danish) ***
The Bothersome Man (Norwegian)
Brick Lane (Indian/Bangladeshi/British)

Days and Clouds (Italian)
Death at a Funeral (British)
The Edge of Heaven (German/Turkish) ***
Into the Wild (American) ***
La France (French)
La Vie en Rose (French)
The Lookout (American)
Love in the Time of Cholera (American)
Munyurangabo (Rwandan)
No Country for Old Men (American)
Noise (Australian)
Once (Irish)
Owl and the Sparrow (Vietnamese) 2007
Paranoid Park (American)
Persepolis (French/Animation) ***
Ratatouille (American)
Silent Light (German)
Strangers (English/French/Hebrew/Arabic)
Under the Bombs (Lebanese)
The Witnesses (French)

After the Wedding (Danish)
Day Night Day Night (American)
Half Nelson (American)
I Do (Prête-moi ta main) (French)
In Between Days (South Korean)
Lady Chatterley (French)
Letters from Iwo Jima (Japanese)
The Lives of Others (German)
Munich (American/Israeli)
Notes on a Scandal (British)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Spanish) ***
Paris, je t’aime (French)
Ryna (Romanian)
Still Life (Chinese) ***
Venus (British)
The Wedding Director (Italian)
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Irish)

Adam’s Apples (Danish)
As It Is In Heaven (Swedish)
Broken Flowers (American)
The Child (L’enfant) (French)
Close to Home (Israeli)
The Constant Gardener (British/Kenyan)
The House of Sand (Brazilian) ***
La Moustache (French)
The Porcelain Doll (Hungarian)
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Japanese/Chinese)
Sophie Scholl (German) ***
The Violin (Mexican/Spanish) ***
The Way I Spent the End of the World (Romanian)

Agata and the Storm (Italian)
Bride and Prejudice (Indian/English)
The Chorus (Les choristes) French) ***
Crónicas (Chronicles) (South American/Spanish/English)
Harvest Time (Russian)
Head-On (German/Turkish)
The Keys to the House (Italian)
The Motorcycle Diaries (South American)
The Sea Inside (Spanish) ***
The Triplets of Belleville (French/Animation)

The Barbarian Invasions (Les invasions barbares) (French-Canadian)
The Inheritance (Danish)
Nói the Albino (Icelandic)
Off the Map (American)
Raja (French/Arabic/Moroccan)
State of Play (British-BBC mini-series)
The Station Agent (American) ***
Strayed (French)
A Touch of Spice (Greek/Turkish)
Vodka Lemon (Armenian/Russian/Kurdish)

About A Boy
City of God (Brazilian/Portuguese) ***
The City of No Limits (Spanish)
Distant (Turkish)
Respiro (Italian)

Daughter of Keltoum (Arabic)
God Is Great And I’m Not (French)
Monsoon Wedding (Indian)
Mostly Martha (German)

The Farewell (German)
The State I Am In (German) ***
A Time for Drunken Horses (Iranian/Kurdish) ***

The Accompanist (L’accompagnatrice) (French) 1992
Backbeat (British) 1994
The Big Lebowski (American) 1998
Burnt by the Sun (Russian) 1994
Das Boot (German) 1997/1981 ***
The Horseman on the Roof (French) 1995
Il Postino (The Postman) (Italian) 1994
Nell (American) 1994
The Other Side of Sunday (Norwegian) 1996
The Outskirts (Russian) 1998
The Secret of Roan Inish (Irish) 1995
Under the Sun (Swedish) 1998 ***
The Usual Suspects (American) 1995 ***

Ariel (Finnish) 1988
Ran (Japanese) 1985
Solo Sunny (German) ***

The American Friend (German) 1977
Autumn Sonata (Swedish) 1978 ***
Days of Heaven (American) 1978 ***
Electra, My Love (Hungarian) 1974
Profumo (Scent of a Woman) (Italian) 1974
Sholay (Indian) 1975
Tristana (Spanish) 1970

High and Low (Japanese) 1963

Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud) (French) 1957 ***
The Idiot (Japanese) 1951
The Night of the Hunter (American) 1955 ***
Tokyo Story (Japanese) 1953

Nebraska-Movie Review *** 11/23/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, AFI Awards, American, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Light Drama, Movies.
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NEBRASKA (American) 2013 ***

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring Bruce Dern, June Squibb, and Will Forte

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Leading Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Cinematography; Best Director (Payne), Best Original Screenplay, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Director (Payne), Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Movie of the Year, AFI Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Dern), NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Payne), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best First Screenplay (Bob Nelson); NOMINATED, Best Feature; Best Director (Payne); Best Male Lead (Dern); Best Supporting Female (Squibb); Best Supporting Male (Forte), Independent Spirit Awards

When senile and curmudgeonly Woody Grant (Dern) becomes convinced that he must travel to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim the grand prize, neither his wife Kate (Squibb) nor his younger son David (Forte) can change his mind. David decides to take his father on a trip that includes a family reunion and a visit to the prize headquarters.

This film must have been up against some tough award competition; although it was nominated for many, it only won a few. Bruce Dern and June Squibb will surely remind you of some couple you know. Bob Odenkirk (lately of Breaking Bad fame) appears as the older son. Alexander Payne also directed Sideways and The Descendents.

*** Highly recommended.

114 min. Rated R.