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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-DVD Review 01/13/2014

Posted by Films to consider in BAFTA Awards, British, British Independent Film Awards, Comedy, Golden Globes, Light Drama, Movies, Romantic comedy, Screen Actors Guild Awards.
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THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (British) 2011

Directed by John Madden
Starring Dame Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Dev Patel

Among other nominations (no wins are listed):
NOMINATED, Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical; Best Actress (Dench), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (Madden), BAFTA Awards
NOMINATED, Outstanding Supporting Female Actress (Smith); Outstanding Cast, Screen Actors Guild Awards
NOMINATED, Best British Independent Film; Best Director (Madden);Best Actress (Dench); Best Supporting Actress (Smith); Best Supporting Actor (Wilkinson), British Independent Film Awards

A group of retired British citizens decide individually to move to India where they plan to take up permanent residence in what they soon find out is a rundown hotel.

An amusing story that makes little sense if/when you think about it, but it does provide a pleasant enough vehicle for some major British stars, all of whom give good performances as expected. Over two hours long, though.

124 min.
For more info:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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Into the Wild-DVD Review *** 10/13/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Based on true story, César Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, David di Donatello Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Highly recommended, Movies, National Board of Review, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Young Artists Awards.
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INTO THE WILD (American) 2007 ***
Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless
Adapted from the book by Jon Krakauer

Screenplay written and directed by Sean Penn
Starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, and Hal Holbrook

Into the Wild received many awards and nominations, too numerous to list here.

In the early 1990s, Christopher McCandless graduates from college but does not follow the path to law school that his parents (played by Harden and Hurt) expect. Instead, he takes all the anger he feels toward his dysfunctional family and escapes from civilization, intending to live totally in the wild, completely untethered to society. Renaming himself Alexander Supertramp, he does so – for a time.

Outstanding cinematography and performances by respected actors make this a film definitely worth seeing. Hirsch does a superb job of balancing anger toward his parents and openness to life. Hal Holbrook plays a kindly grandfatherly type who is one of several interesting people who cross Alexander’s path. A young Kristen Stewart, who appears as a brief romantic interest, shows her singing ability.

Author Jon Krakauer has authored other bestselling books about the wilderness, including Into Thin Air, about climbing Mt. Everest. McCandless himself left behind photographs and journals. For a wealth of related information and links, check here.

Highly recommended. (#170 on IMDB’s Top 250)

149 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Into the Wild

Half Nelson-DVD Review 12/21/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Drama, Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Movies, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Sundance Film Festival.
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Half Nelson (American) 2006

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Leading Actor (Gosling), Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Female Lead (Epps); Best Male Lead (Gosling), Independent Spirit Awards
NOMINATED, Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic (Fleck), Sundance Film Festival
WINNER, Best Film (Fleck); Breakthrough Award (Epps); Breakthrough Director Award (Fleck), Gotham Awards
NOMINATED, Outstanding Leading Actor (Gosling), Screen Actors Guild Awards

Directed by Ryan Fleck
Starring Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps

Ryan Gosling stars as Dan Dunne, an inner-city public school history teacher with a significant drug problem. When Drey (Epps), one of his tough and street-smart female students, discovers her teacher’s secret, they develop something of a friendship.

Both Gosling and Epps received several well-deserved awards for their performances in this film, as did director Ryan Fleck. This was Fleck’s first feature film.

For more info:
Half Nelson

Nell-DVD Review 09/20/2011

Posted by Films to consider in American, Emotional Drama, Movies, Screen Actors Guild Awards.
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Nell (American) 1994

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Foster), Academy Awards
WINNER, David Award, Best Foreign Actress (Foster), David di Donatello Awards, Italy
NOMINATED, Best Motion Picture-Drama; Best Original Score-Motion Picture; Best Actress-Drama (Foster), Golden Globes
WINNER, Outstanding Performance in Lead Role (Foster), Screen Actors Guild Awards

Directed by Michale Apted
Starring Jodie Foster, Liam Neeson, and Natasha Richardson

Dr. Lovell (Neeson) is a mild-mannered medical doctor who happens upon wild-child Nell (Foster), a young woman raised entirely away from civilization. He battles the system to do what’s best for her. The late Natasha Richardson (who married Neeson in 1994) plays Paula Olsen, a research psychologist who changes her mind about Nell, and about Dr. Lovell.

I happened upon this film and am glad I did. Jodie Foster is one of my favorite actors, and her performance as Nell is outstanding. Her character’s mother had been raped as a younger woman; Nell and her identical twin (who died at an early age) were the products of the rape. Nell was raised alone by her mother, who had several strokes resulting in a slurred speech pattern that affected Nell’s. Also, like many twins, Nell had developed a secret language with her sister. Foster’s interpretation of Nell’s language was hauntingly beautiful, almost poetic.

112 min. Rated PG-13. Some brief nudity.

For more info:
Nell