Posts Tagged ‘best actress’

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Actress

February 24, 2011

The Nominees:

Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman Black Swan

Michelle Williams Blue Valentine

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Natalie Portman

Alison:  Natalie Portman

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  You should know, and I think I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I will watch anything with dance in it.  We’re talking Xanadu, Honey, Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance.  ANYTHING.  Imagine my delight when a dance movie or TV show actually turns out to be enjoyable on its own merits, not just because of the dance numbers.  Natalie Portman is as good as you’ve heard in The Black Swan.  There is a reason she had been winning all the awards so far this season – she deserves them.  She is who I would vote for.  Note:  I have not seen Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine.

Alison:  Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman. This has got to be one of the best performances I’ve ever seen and one of the most intense films you will ever watch. To reiterate, word for word, what Jessica wrote: There is a reason she had been winning all the awards so far this season – she deserves them. Not to mention, she deserves an award for being a very cute pregnant woman.

Two Blondes Watch Their TiVo: The 81st Annual Academy Awards

February 23, 2009

Two Blondes watch their TiVo and mostly ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:

THE PRE-SHOW

I watched a lot of the Oscar pre-show on E! and I mean A LOT.  I am pretty sure I’ve lowered my IQ by many points, but at least now I know that Anne Hathaway loves sushi and that puppies look really cute in little workout outfits.

I did find it amusing when Ben Lyons had a fake sword fight with several actors from Role Models and Ken Jeong wouldn’t quit hitting Ben and Ben yelled out “I don’t have health insurance.”  Later Ben assured his mother (on the air) that he was kidding and does have health insurance and not to worry.

Why is Debbie Matenopoulus orange?  I’m worried she’s not taking the right vitamins.

Was anyone else super creeped out by E!’s digital switching of actresses’ heads during the pre-show?

56827706I don’t want to make fun of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He’s amazingly talented and why should he give a darn as to how he looks?  The thing is, he wore a knit cap to the Oscars.  A knit cap.  The kind I’d wear to Ralph’s along with sweatpants and a soup-stained flannel.

THE OSCARS

I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman’s.  The man is sexy, talented and kicks ass playing Wolverine.  But I didn’t think a guy that good looking could be funny as well.  I was wrong.  He was great and his opening number made me laugh.  I have also gained a newfound respect and appreciation for Anne Hathaway after her “musical interpretation” of Nixon.

Tina Fey & Steve Martin as presenters = hilarious to the point of almost snorting Coke through one’s nose (Coke as in Coca Cola, not the kind typically associated with Hollywood).  Tina Fey looked stunning, proving once again that life is not fair if one woman can be that talented, successful, funny, and still look that hot.
Even though I may have wanted WALL-E to win for Best Original Screenplay, it did make my heart warm to watch the talented Dustin Lance Black make his acceptance speech.  Usually it takes a happy, curious robot to make me tear up, but Dustin’s heartfelt words really moved me.  Jessica was also looking for a tissue to dab at her eyes.

I read an interesting quote from Simon Beaufoy who won for Best Adapted Screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire.  The screenwriter said of his goal for the script: “I wanted to get (across) the sense of this huge amount of fun, laughter, chat, and sense of community that is in these slums. What you pick up on is this mass of energy.”  I think he accomplished that goal with his script.

large_wall-eWALL-E won for Animated Feature Film!!!  Yay!!!  If you noticed a blonde woman hooting and hollering a couple blocks away from the actual Oscar ceremony, that was me.  I love, love, love this film and love, love, love Andrew Stanton and Pixar for making it.

Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix impression cracked me up.  I’m not sure if all of America was in on the joke or not, but Jessica and I were amused.  After it, my mom called during a commercial break to ask if I agreed with her that this was a bad Oscars show.  She felt liked everyone didn’t know what they were doing. I disagreed, but also explained a live show will always have glitches and that the crazy behavior in the last segment had been part of the act.

3303212977_dc2d582494-1I have not laughed out loud so much as I did during James Franco and Seth Rogen’s video segment.  Those two dudes are funny.  Though who really stole the show was cinematographer Janusz Kaminski with the line, “They made me do it, Mr. Spielberg.”

Okay, it wasn’t actually part of the Oscars, but it ran during them… the Tim Gunn Tide commercial.  Only Tim Gunn could make a laundry detergent ad classy.  Tim Gunn, you rock.

Danny Boyle’s Tigger jump during the acceptance of his Oscar was adorable.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy.  I’m happy he won, but I still wish Darren Aronofsky had at least been recognized for his work on The Wrestler.

Heath Ledger won the Oscar he deserved.  Jessica pulls out more tissues to dab at teary eyes as his family accepts the award on his behalf.

Kate Winslet wins.  I am very happy about this one.  I really respect this woman’s choices as an actress.  As for some of her male fans, they’ve gotta be worried that now that she’s won an Oscar, will she stop being nude in her movies?

hatersDuring his acceptance speech, Sean Penn mentioned some hate groups who had been protesting outside the Oscars.  Jessica and I actually ran into these people on Sunset Blvd.  As you might have guessed, they were weird and full of hate.  One woman was wearing an American flag as a sarong.  These haters had so many different signs with so many different messages, I found it confusing as to who they were wanting us to hate.  One person was holding a sign with a picture of Obama with horns, like he was half dragon.  I’m not sure if that’s meant to be insulting, but all I can say is it would be freaking awesome if we had a half man/half dragon for president.  No other country would ever want to f*ck with us, if they knew we could send a fire-breathing politican their way.

ph2009022300172It’s really amazing to watch a movie like Slumdog Millionaire take the world and the Oscars by storm.  And you could see this level of excitement and passion in the eyes of everyone who worked on the film.

JESSICA SAYS:

I’m mostly confused by E!’s coverage.  For instance, a cooking segment in evening gowns?  I don’t know who the woman leading this segment is, but she is wearing gold lamé, for God’s sake.

Marnie Norton, who is apparently a handbag designer, has turned the pre-show on E! into QVC.  She even did some Vanna White-inspired hand gestures.  Is this really the best coverage they could come up with for Oscar day?

Sal Maseka has recently retired from some sort of factory job; that’s just my assumption after seeing the giant gold watch he’s sporting.

Debbie Matenopoulos just said she is ‘scared’ of using blue or green eye makeup because she has brown eyes.  Scared?  What is she talking about?

Miley Cyrus is lobbying to be nominated for an Oscar next year.  Yes, I just said Miley Cyrus.  I know.  It seems ridiculous to me too.  I have no idea what this movie she’s talking about, but I will eat my hat if Miley Cyrus is nominated next year.

Now for a brief bit of comments on fashion:

Tim Gunn, I adore you.  You are the classy, sophisticated gay uncle I never had.  I also completely agree with something I heard you say on Good Morning America this week – your review of a dress depends on who is wearing it.  You gave the example of Tilda Swinton last year in the black velvet number.  You are totally right.  She is bohemian, so it is totally fitting that she wore an unusual dress.  She did it again this year, and I liked how she looked.  I don’t think everyone has to wear a jewel-toned dress with diamond drop earrings to look beautiful.

I loved Anne Hathaway’s dress.  Mr. Jay (America’s Next Top Model guru) instructed us on what we’re supposed to call those discs sewn on her dress and I’ve already forgotten.

I feel like a lot of people are going to hate-on Marisa Tomei’s dress for looking like napkins, but I really liked it.

Oh Miley.  She said the dress she’s wearing was the first dress she saw.  Miley, dear, you should have kept looking.  It reminds me a foil Christmas tree my grandma has.

Kate Winslet looks beautiful, as I had hoped.  Her hair is a bit pageant-y, but I still like it.

OSCAR CEREMONY

Opening number:  OK, I kind of find Hugh Jackman a little more adorable now (who knew that was possible).  And Anne Hathaway.  She and I should totally be friends.

I like the idea of having previous winners come out to give special little shout-outs to the five nominees, but this is going to be a really, really long show if they do this for every category and I’m not sure I really care to see five previous sound mixing winners (no offense guys).

Best Supporting Actress:  Penelope Cruz wins, not entirely surprising.  She was cute in her acceptance speech.  I still haven’t seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so I can’t really comment any more than that.

I LOVE TINA FEY.  I truly do.  She looks so pretty tonight.  Pretty, funny, smart; Tina, call me!  Let’s hang out, eat sandwiches, and play Rock Band.

Best original screenplay:  Milk.  That was a nice acceptance speech, but it will totally piss off those angry hate people Alison and I saw on the corner of Sunset and Highland.  Good for you!  I’m not even sure what they were protesting.  Something about fetuses, Barack Obama having horns like a ram, and saying the people who lost their homes in the recent fires deserved it.  God bless freedom of speech.

Best adapted screenplay:  Slumdog Millionaire.  I was a bit surprised here.  I expect it will take home the big prize, but the writing wasn’t necessarily one of the reasons I enjoyed Slumdog.

Best animated feature:  WALL-E.  I’m glad this won because it would have not been an enjoyable night with Alison, if it didn’t.  There would have been tears.  Copious tears.  She’s kind of obsessed.

Best animated short:  OK, Sir-I-don’t-know, just speak Japanese if you can’t speak English. Oh wait; you redeemed yourself by saying, “Domo arigato Mr. Roboto.” Styx totally rules!

sarah-jessica-parker-2009-oscarsSarah Jessica Parker can’t walk in her dress.  That seems silly to me.  I know fashion isn’t always practical, but she is struggling to walk the few steps from backstage to the podium.

Art direction and costumes are cool and integral to making a film excellent, but SNORE.  Those acceptances speeches are boring!

Another win for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  This is almost as boring as watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix was pretty funny, but I imagine there are going to be a lot of people watching this show that will have no idea what that was about.  It you were confused, check out this clip from Late Night with David Letterman:


Cinematography had to go to Slumdog Millionaire.  If you saw that movie, you would know that there is no way any other movie could have won.  Cinematography made that film.

One of the funnier moments of the night so far came from watching James Franco watch himself kiss Sean Penn.

OK, I love musicals.  I really love them, but I didn’t love the ode to musicals.  I was also kind of annoyed at how obvious it was that Beyonce was singing to a pre-recorded dub.

Heath Ledger won.  I knew that would make me cry…and it did.

I like the sparkle curtain.  I don’t like the ceiling lights with tassels.  It feels a bit too much like a cocktail lounge.

The cast of Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle are pretty adorable every time someone wins from their movie.

I’m very pleased Kate Winslet won, as I had hoped and predicted.  I still haven’t had a chance to see Milk, but I was amused the Sean Penn acknowledged how difficult it is to support him at times.  It is, Sean.  For instance, when you couldn’t take Chris Rock’s joke about Jude Law.  I’m glad you showed tonight that you can actually laugh.

Slumdog Millionaire takes home the big prize to little surprise.  I enjoyed the parts of the show with Hugh Jackman, but the middle of the show really dragged and this is coming from someone who is a bit of a film nerd.

And now we leave you with a picture of traffic during the Oscars.

oscar-traffic

Two Blondes Make Predictions: The Oscars

February 21, 2009

Two Blondes shake their glittery Magic 8 Ball and make some predictions about the Oscars:

ALISON SAYS:

pixar_walle1BEST PICTURE:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
I can’t describe how much I love WALL-E.  It’s one of the only films in my life to make me cry (my heart is normally protected by a hard stone cover).  I’ve never seen a character as loving, fragile and as wonderful as that goshdarn little robot.  I’m sure admitting this publicly will take away what little “street cred” I have (if any), but I can’t refrain from gushing over WALL-E.  Even my cell phone has a ring that involves that little robot yelling out “EVE-A.”

DIRECTING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Wrestler, but Darren Aronofsky isn’t even nominated.
Dear Academy,
WTF?
Alison

frozen_river_melissa_leoACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Kate Winslet
Who I want to win: If you’d asked me five days ago, (before I received Frozen River on Netflix), I would have called it a tie between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.  But now after having watched Frozen River, I’ve gotta put the tie between Melissa Leo and Kate Winslet.  I’d also go so far as to call Melissa Leo’s performance almost as raw and gritty as Mickey Rourke’s (of course the films couldn’t be more different, but there’s something to both performances that struck a nerve with me and exhibited a lack of vanity).

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Marisa Tomei.  And I hope she says “See?!  It wasn’t a fluke.”
Who I want to win: Marisa Tomei, followed closely by Viola Davis.  Both women blew me away.

wrestler-aronofsky-promo-01ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Toss up between Frank Langella and Mickey Rourke.
Who I want to win: Mickey Rourke.  He’s fucking amazing in The Wrestler.
Mom, I’m sorry to swear, but it’s the truth.
I also wish there was a “Shout Out Best Actor” Oscar category that could be given to Ben Burtt for creating the voice and sounds for WALL-E.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Heath Ledger
Who I want to win: Tie between Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Both were stunning performances.  An honorable mention for funny must be given to Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder.  I can’t imagine any other actor pulling off what he did in that film.  I don’t think that means he should get an Oscar over the other nominees, but I’m sure glad he’s being recognized.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Doubt
I loved Slumdog Millionaire, but I think I loved it because it moves you while you’re watching it.  Afterwards, after the music and lights have faded, you wonder about some holes in the script and story, but it was still a film that made you sad and happy and in between throughout, so you forgive those flaws.  But in regards to Doubt, it performs on every level.  I can’t think of any weakness in it.  The script is pitch perfect.

walle_lgWRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Milk
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
Have I mentioned I love WALL-E?  Cause I do.  As I type this, I can look to my left and see a little WALL-E figurine sitting on my desk.  And every time I look at it, my heart swells.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Who I think will win: I’m really not sure, but Kung Fu Panda did sweep the Annie Awards.
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
You may have noticed a theme of me loving WALL-E.  On a sidenote, I do think Kung Fu Panda is wonderful and one of the best films DreamWorks has made.  I also find it really exciting how many animated films there are that are entertaining for audiences of all ages.

ART DIRECTION:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling

slum-dog-millionaireCINEMATOGRAPHY:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Slumdog Millionaire
Every nominee should get a gold star in my humble but accurate opinion.  They’re all beautiful films.

COSTUME DESIGN:
Who I think will win: No idea.
Who I want to win: I’m not sure who I want to win, but I really want all of the dresses Kate Winslet wears in Revolutionary Road and all the hats Angelina Jolie wears in Changeling.  Can someone please arrange that for me?  I’d be your best friend forever!

FILM EDITING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Dark Knight

MUSIC:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
While I loved the music in Slumdog Millionaire and have downloaded the album on iTunes, it’s the music in WALL-E that moved me and continues to move with every viewing in a way I’ve never experienced on any other film.  As I’ve said, I love that little robot.

SOUND EDITING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

SOUND MIXING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

benjamin_button_poster_lgVISUAL EFFECTS:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and WALL-E
No matter whether you’re a Benjamin Button lover or hater, you can’t deny what the visual effects department accomplished in the film.  Visually, the film is a masterpiece, as is WALL-E.

*You may have noticed that there were quite a few ties in my choices.  I obviously suffer from indecision and an intense love of good filmmaking.  Also, it’s really hard to decide when you’re aware of how much work, blood, sweat and tears went into every film.

Congratulations and best wishes to all the nominees!
XXOO Alison

JESSICA SAYS:

BEST ACTOR:
My pick, were I an Academy member, would be Mickey Rourke and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win.  I haven’t seen The Visitor or Milk yet, so I can’t speak to Sean Penn’s and Richard Jenkins’ performances.  Running a close second here is Frank Langella.  If anyone can step in front of Rourke, it’s Frank Langella as Richard Nixon.  He is fantastic and already has a Tony for this role.  However, I’m giving the upper hand to Rourke because, besides the fact that he gave an outstanding performance, there is nothing folks like more than an underdog.

heath_ledger_joker_9BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
OK, I recently changed my mind on this one.  I think Heath Ledger will win – it’s almost absolute at this point.  He was a great actor and it truly is a shame we won’t get to see any future work from him.  He was great in The Dark Knight.  However, I’ve decided my vote (if I got one) in this category would go to Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The more I have reflected on it, the more I really am astounded by his performance in Doubt. ( I haven’t seen Milk or Tropic Thunder.)

kate-winslet-the-reader-3BEST ACTRESS
Kate Winslet.  My reason is the same as everyone else’s (I presume).  She is great in The Reader, but I’m also picking her for all those times she hasn’t won yet.  Plus, she’s totally awesome and will give a killer acceptance speech.  I totally respect the fact that she makes no bones about wanting to win.  You should want to win. ( I haven’t seen Frozen River.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
This is the category that is notoriously hard to pick, e.g. the last time Marisa Tomei won.  Personally, I would vote for Amy Adams in Doubt, although I loved Viola Davis and Marisa Tomei too.
BEST DIRECTOR:
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.  It is rare that Best Picture and Best Director don’t go hand and hand, so…

slumdog_millionaireBEST PICTURE:
Slumdog Millionaire.  It will win, but Frost/Nixon is deserving as well.

OTHER CATEGORY PREDICTIONS:
Best Editing – Frost/Nixon
Best Foreign Language Film – Waltz with Bashir
Best Sound Editing – WALL-E (watch the DVD extras-they’re great)
Best Sound Mixing – The Dark Knight
Best Adapted Screenplay – Doubt
Best Original Screenplay – WALL-E

oscar_sallykirkland1

OTHER PREDICTIONS:
I predict Sally Kirkland and Faye Dunaway will inexplicably be in attendance.  They have both been at the previous two ceremonies and have served to only make me fear the ageing process that much more. I can only hope they reappear so I can read what Go Fug Yourself has to say about an ensemble like this:

I predict Renee Zellweger, if she attends, will usurp Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan as the new most talked about weight issue.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Doubt

February 10, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.


JESSICA SAYS:

I had my doubts about whether or not this film would live up to the hype.  Get it?  ’Doubts?’  It’s a pun!  But I digress.  My mom saw this movie before I did and every time we’ve talked since she tells me how good she thought this movie was.  Now, Mom doesn’t have bad taste in movies, per se, but her taste is not necessarily the same as mine.  For instance, she enjoys watching made-for-TV-movies on Lifetime Television for Women.  I do not.  I enjoy Pulp Fiction.  There is not a single scene in that movie Mom would enjoy (violence + swearing + sex + drug use = a film Mom would never sit through).

It turns out Mom and I pretty much agree on this one.  I’m not ready to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen in years, as Mom did, but it is definitely worth seeing.  The hesitation I had going in to this film was that the previews made it seem so dour and bleak.  You have to be in the right mood to want to sit down and watch a story about sexual abuse allegations.  I now realize that this film isn’t really about sexual abuse.  It does deal with that, but the story has more to do with gossip, standing up to authority figures, and trusting your instincts, than abuse.

The acting performances in the movie all around are as good as you have been hearing.  What can I say about how great Meryl Streep is that hasn’t already been said?  She really is a force to be reckoned with and Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis all more than met the challenge.  I want to give John Patrick Shanley a huge amount of credit because this story and the way he tells it are fascinating.  The characters are constantly making twists and turns and as the audience, you never are quite sure who to believe until the end.  That is not an easy feat to pull off.

I was raised Catholic, but I didn’t go to Catholic school, so I can’t really speak as to what that experience is like.  The nuns in my parish didn’t seem as draconian as Streep’s Sister Aloysius, but they were certainly not to be messed with.  I remember Sister Ruth Ann specifically who told us in CCD (the Catholic version of Sunday school) that it was healthy to have a glass of wine each night and in fact sometimes she just drank straight from the bottle, since it was only her and Sister Rose. I said I was raised Catholic, not I am Catholic because I’m still working out whether or not I really want to be Catholic.  All the issues raised in the film about the Church are issues I struggle with internally, being Catholic.  To say the Church is patriarchal is a bit of an understatement.  It is the oldest of old boys clubs.  Why does the mere fact that she is a woman determine that Sister Aloysius is a subordinate to Father Flynn?  That’s only the tip of the iceberg of questions you’re left with at the end of Doubt (sexism, sexual abuse, the effects of progressive reform, racism, etc.).  Let’s just say, like Sister Aloysius, I too have my doubts.

I recommend seeing this movie and it is worth a full-price ticket.  Maybe you should plan a dinner or drinks afterwards with whoever you see it because you will want to discuss.

ALISON SAYS:

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d find Doubt boring.  I knew I loved Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, but when I saw the trailers, it just looked like an overblown Oscar-baity drama with lots of boring outfits.  I was wrong, very wrong.  It’s great, truly great.  My grandmother, who NEVER goes to movies anymore, actually made her way to the theater to see this film and said it was really good.  My mom, who attended Catholic school with nuns as teachers, also saw the film and loved it.  It was interesting to me that two of the main women in my life both made the effort to go see a film where one of the main themes is that of womens’ powerlessness in the old days.

As always, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman blow you away with their skills as actors and remind you again why they’ve had enduring careers.  Amy Adams is also fantastic and charming, continuing her streak of being the best thing to ever come out of dinner theater.  And then there’s Viola Davis as the mother of Donald, Mrs. Miller.  Her screen time is minuscule compared to Streep, Hoffman and Adams, but her performance was one of the most memorable of the film and haunts you long after watching it.

I just looked up the director, John Patrick Shanley, on IMDb and noticed the last thing he directed was Joe Versus The Volcano and he wrote Moonstruck.  What a varied career.  It also goes to show the Midas touch Scott Rudin has as a film producer, whatever that guy touches turns to Oscar gold.  I talked to Rudin on the phone a few times at an old job, and just his voice alone can put the fear of God in you.   Maybe that level of fear is it what it takes to continually create amazing, Oscar worthy films.

LA Viewers: If you’ve ever wanted to see the epitome of superb acting, go see this film in the theaters.

Translation for non-LA natives: Same goes for you.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Revolutionary Road

February 9, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

revolutionary-road-poster-full1

ALISON SAYS:

If you’ve ever been someone who’s a little scared of the concept of marriage and life becoming stagnant and losing all meaning, don’t go see Revolutionary Road. It will only reinforce this fear. But the film will also reinforce your love and respect for Kate Winslet, Sam Mendes and for the costume designer on the film (her character had such great dresses). Kate Winslet rocks. There’s not much more to it. She’s beautiful, an incredible actress and has always chosen interesting roles (and even has comic chops, as exhibited on “Extras”). I can’t imagine though what it was like to make this film with your husband (for those who don’t already know this, the director, Sam Mendes, is her husband).

It was fun to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunited after all these years, and DiCaprio impressed me, at least in the second half of the film. During the first half, I never really forgot that I was watching Leo. He’s still too pretty to completely believe him as a grown-up, angry man. (Leo, go get a little rougher around the edges and those Oscars will roll in, I swear.) But during the later part of the film, I thought he had some great scenes that did show his depth as an actor and reminded me of some of my favorites of his past performances (Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Jim in The Basketball Diaries). There were scenes where he broke out of being Leo and we saw a desperate, broken man who doesn’t know how to save his wife or make her love him again.

While I was impressed by some of the performances and aspects of the film, and still think Sam Mendes deserves loads of acclaim, I can’t say I loved the film as a whole. It was interesting to be in this world, but I couldn’t help thinking “Mad Men” did it and does it better. On a sidenote: my mom also saw this film and was recollecting how during her childhood, some women on her street would dress up for their husbands when they were getting home from work.

LA Viewers: Go see a matinee.

Translation for non-LA natives: If you live in the suburbs and ever doubt some of your life choices, maybe pick something more upbeat.

JESSICA SAYS:

For once, a movie makes you glad you’re a singleton and not a smug married. The portrait of a marriage provided by Revolutionary Road is anything but appealing. Take this scene:

April Wheeler: So now I’m crazy because I don’t love you, right? Is that the point?

Frank Wheeler: No! Wrong! You’re not crazy, and you do love me. That’s the point, April.

April Wheeler: But I don’t. I hate you. You were just some boy who made me laugh at a party once, and now I loathe the sight of you. In fact, if you come any closer, if you touch me or anything, I think I’ll scream.

Doesn’t that warm, kind exchange make you want to run right out and get married? No? Let me tell you, that fight only gets worse from there.

It is uncomfortable to watch two people completely emotionally eviscerate each other the way Kate Winslet (April Wheeler) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Frank Wheeler) do in this picture, but it’s completely riveting too. Kudos to Richard Yates and Justin Haythe (or ‘granola to you,’ as one of my friends might say) for a fantastic script. Yates’ 1967 novel this film is based on has been added to my must-read list. This is one of those films where you can just see that every member of the small village of people it takes to make a major motion picture brought their A-game. (I can’t believe I just used the phrase ‘A-game.’) Production design, props, costume, it is all spot on authentic.

REVOLUTIONARY ROADBoth Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver Oscar-worthy performances here and the fact that neither of them was even nominated is ridiculous. It’s just further proof that politics and money have more to do with who wins Academy Awards than the performances too often. Michael Shannon is only in a few scenes, but he is so good I wished he got his own film about a mental patient in the 1950s. His performance is one of only three nominations for Revolutionary Road, with costume and art direction. If I ruled the world, it would get nominations for Best Picture, Best Lead Actress, Best Lead Actor, and Best Director. Alas, I do not; otherwise we would all take flying cars to work.

This movie left me thinking about a lot of things which, I think, is one of the best things you can say about any piece of art. For instance, as a woman, I am very thankful I was born at a time when the possibilities for my life were not determined by the fact that I’m female. Also, I marvel at how well Sam Mendes seems to understand the American suburbs for someone who grew up in Reading, England. In this film, he shows the same stiflingly powerful push to conform the suburbs seem to have as he depicted in American Beauty, only this time we get to watch a woman futilely struggle against it.

My advice? Go see this movie soon.