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Red State Red Band Trailer

Kevin Smith’s latest film, Red State, seems like a break out of the director’s comfort zone. While the director has tackled the idea of organised religion before (in the superb Dogma), his latest effort seems like something decidedly more serious. Being entirely honest, I’m always eager to see an established director attempt something that we’d never expect from them, and Smith’s cast (John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Kevin Pollack) is populated with enough skilled (and underrated) performers that it looks to be well worth a chance. If nothing else, the exploration of extremist religious groups in the United States always makes for a juicy viewing experience, even if Smith might not be going for a lot nuance. It looks like a mish-mash of a whole host of subgenres – from the hints at awkward teen comedy at the start to a sinister horror thriller through to an all-out action adventure. It seems like a lot for the director to handle, but the cocktail is intriguing enough to grab my attention.

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Leo the Lion: Melissa Leo’s Self-Funded Oscar Campaign…

Melissa Leo took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar last Sunday night and I was quite happy about the decision, to be honest. She was great in The Fighter and – although I personally would have though Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit would have made a more deserving winner – it wasn’t a bad result. In the lead-up to her win, Leo garnered a fair amount of publicity from the fact that she took out her own “For Your Consideration” advertisements, most of it, to be honest, quite derisive. But you know what? I’m okay with that. After all, who else was going to do it for her?

Perhaps not the most Consider-ed move...

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Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World: Oscars 2011

You know what? I’m not actually that ticked off with the Academy Awards this year. In fact, as I mentioned in discussing the nominees, I was quite happy with the candidates up for the award. Now, nearly a week after the ceremony, I must concede that I’m generally relatively happy with the way that the awards were divided up on the night. CinemaBlend summed up the ceremony as a “group hug” to movies released in a great year for cinema, and I find it hard to object to that succinct summary.

By all accounts, the hosting was a bit of a drag...

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Metro Film Fight Club: The Fighter

The wonderful folks over at Ross v. Ross asked me to contribute a very special edition of Film Fight Club, going over the ten Best Picture nominees. I stood in the corner for The Fighter, Marky Mark and what is left of Christian Bale. You can pick up a copy in the morning, or check it out here.

I got this guy in my corner...

UPDATE: Guess what just got put on the IMDb Hitlist? If you guessed Robert Rodriguez’s shoe ad, you guessed correctly, but that’s beside the point. Yep, we’re up there. Thanks to everyone for inviting me to take part, and it was a pleasure to cover the race with a bunch as witty, clever and insightful as that selection.

Non-Review Review: The Fighter

The Fighter comes from a long line of Oscar-friendly boxing films. From Rocky through to The Cinderella Man to Raging Bull and beyond, filmmakers seem to see something poetic in the boxer. A figure in the ring, usually from a disadvantaged background, fighting because it’s the only thing that they know what to do. There’s a noble simplicity to the sport, a brutal honest that one seldom finds in football (American or otherwise), basketball or baseball. There’s always something touching about watching a protagonist beat the odds, and boxing films thrive on the literal nature of their conflict. I can’t say that The Fighter adds anything new to the long established “Oscar boxing film”, but it does have one advantage: the sheer volume of talent in its corner.

How does it measure up?

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