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Scotland Whitaker
Earlier today, The National Board of Review (NBR), a nonprofit organization, announced its top film awards for 2006.  For nearly a century, NBR has been supporting film as entertainment and art, and is still the first critical body to declare its annual awards.  The winners, selected from 270 of this year’s films, are as follows:

Best Film:

Letters From Iwo Jima

Best Director:

Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Best Actor:

Forest Whitaker, The Last King Of Scotland

Best Actress:

Helen Mirren, The Queen

Best Supporting Actor:

Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Queen Mirren

Best Supporting Actress:

Catherine O’Hara, For Your Consideration

Best Foreign Film:


Best Documentary:

An Inconvenient Truth

Best Animated Feature:


Best Ensemble Cast:

The Departed

Breakthrough Performance – Male:

Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

Breakthrough Performance – Female:

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls and Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Best Directorial Debut:

Jason Reitman, Thank You For Smoking

Best Original Screenplay:

Zach Helm, Stranger Than Fiction

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Ron Nyswaner, The Painted Veil

These awards often foreshadow similar results come Oscar night, so keep an eye on these early predictions.  For a full list of winners, visit the NBR website.

Read More | The National Board of Review


Neil Estep reviews Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep in this Short FilmCrunch episode.

A timid young man can’t control the fantastical plots and images of his dream world from intruding into his waking hours in Michel Gondry’s science-fiction romance. After a promising new job sours, Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) finds new inspiration in his neighbor Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). To connect with her, shy Stephane releases the bolder personality of his dreams, but his waking insecurities threaten to destroy the relationship.

Now we want to hear from you - hit the forums and let us know what you think, what you want us to watch next, and any other recommendations you have for the show.

Lohan Wink
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday) has begun attending A.A. meetings, according to her publicist.  The twenty-year-old actress has been portrayed in recent years as a wreck, partying irresponsibly and brazenly feuding with other celebrity divas like Hillary Duff and Paris Hilton.  Her controversy recently culminated with an allegedly inebriated, Blackberry-mashed email to family members of the late director Robert Altman, with whom she recently worked on A Prairie Home Companion.  The email expressed her condolences amid many misspellings and grammatical errors, now thoroughly ridiculed by the press.

Publicist Leslie Sloan said Friday that Lohan made the decision on her own to attend A.A., but doesn’t want people to think “she’ll stop drinking tomorrow.”  Sloan went on to say, “I want everyone to leave her the hell alone.  I’m so bored of this with her.  No matter what she does, it’s never good enough for everybody.”

At FilmCrunch, we completely disagree – Lohan receives exactly as much criticism as she deserves, including that which surrounds her films and performances.  She may have had good intentions when writing Altman’s family, but a letter like that should be carefully considered – spelling and grammar thoroughly checked – before it’s sent, especially when living under constant public scrutiny.  The reason she’s “never good enough” is that her life revolves solely around heavy drinking, all-night partying, shopping, and film performances that are consistently unchallenging and trite; this is not a life worthy of much respect.  However, Lohan is now attempting some self-improvement, that which could help to amend her damaged public image.  Will recent roles in A Prairie Home Companion and Bobby steer Lohan into more reputable cinema?  Could A.A. be the first step in her rebirth as an actor, role model, and overall contributor to society?  Maybe, but we’re pretty confident that she’ll fall back off the wagon, and when she does, the paparazzi will be there snapping pictures of her drunken, spoiled, panty-less crotch.

Read More | CNN

Craig Bond Gun

Casino Royale, based on the first Bond novel by Ian Fleming, follows 007 in his very first mission – tracking down Le Chiffre, a notorious banker for terrorist organizations.  After halting Le Chiffre’s devious stock market swindle, James must enter a high-stakes poker tournament to prevent him from regaining his money.  With the help of the beautiful, yet mysterious Vesper Lynd, a government accountant overseeing the tournament buy-in money, James must win the game and bring in Le Chiffre, dodging obstacles from all sides along the way.  The 2 1/2 hour film is visually stunning and action-packed, without a moment of banality or sluggishness (this might seem typical of a Bond film, but truly stands out here).  Oh, and by the way, the new guy rules.  Bond is back.  His name is Daniel Craig.

Casino also stars Eva Green, Judi Dench, and Mads Mikkelsen and is directed by Martin Campbell.

Click to continue reading Casino Royale Review: Craig Can’t Miss

Neil Estep and Veronica Santiago review the DVD release of Take The Lead.

When a former professional dancer (Antonio Banderas) offers his skills to the New York public school system, his traditional methods clash with his students’ hip-hop sensibilities. But by combining the two techniques—and learning to work together—the class creates a style uniquely their own. Alfre Woodard co-stars in this inspiring dance drama based on the real-life experiences of instructor Pierre Dulane.

Now we want to hear from you - hit the forums and let us know what you think, what you want us to watch next, and any other recommendations you have for the show.

Monster House

Monster House is the computer animated tale of an awkward young boy, DJ, and his friends Chowder and Jenny, as they investigate the spooky house across the street and the evil old man (Mr. Nebbercracker) residing within.  When Nebbercracker is suddenly injured and hospitalized, the three decide to take a closer look, discovering, to their horror, that the house itself is actually alive, its intentions quite malicious.  With Halloween soon approaching, the children must destroy the horrible home before unsuspecting trick-or-treaters are caught in its insatiable grasp.  While it may be a bit scary for your preschooler, Monster House is a unique film full of slow, concentrated intensity in a genre often geared toward fidgety children and their fleeting attention spans. 

Click to continue reading Monster House DVD Review

Neil Estep and Veronica Santiago are back with another full episode of FilmCrunch. In this one, we take a look at the theatrical release of School for Scoundrels, starring Billy Bob Thornton, and Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep. We also hit you with a review of the DVD release of Take the Lead, which stars Antonio Banderas.

Now we want to hear from you - hit the forums and let us know what you think, what you want us to watch next, and any other recommendations you have for the show.

In this episode of FilmCrunch, Neil Estep and Veronica Santiago review Lucky Number Slevin on DVD. This one features an identity mix-up that places an innocent man in the middle of a mob war in this noir crime thriller. While checking out his missing friend Nick’s apartment, Slevin (Josh Hartnett) is mistaken for Nick by thugs. Just how much trouble is Nick really in? Slevin finds out when he’s forced to participate in a high-profile murder for a powerful crime boss. The top-notch cast includes Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley and Bruce Willis.

Now we want to hear from you - hit the forums and let us know what you think, what you want us to watch next, and any other recommendations you have for the show.

BoratBorat Sagdiyev is a journalist from Kazakhstan sent to the United States to learn the ways of American culture.  Upon arriving in New York, Borat and his producer begin setting up interviews with various experts in an effort to take back to their country all they have learned, and to improve the Kazakh way of life.  Plans change, however, when Borat discovers a late night rerun of Baywatch, falls in love with Pamela Anderson, and becomes determined to travel across the country to make her his wife.  Borat: Cultural Learnings For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan will push the moral limits of even the most unscrupulous person, but cannot be ignored for its brilliant social satire and outrageous humor.

Click to continue reading Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan…Review (phew!)

Babel poster

EDIT: Check out FilmCrunch’s Babel Video Review.

This film follows four interconnected stories – an American couple vacationing in Morocco, a poor Moroccan family, a young deaf girl growing up in Japan, and a middle-aged Mexican woman living illegally in the United States.  We get to see how these stories affect each other in otherwise inconspicuous ways and watch each person as they experience various forms of predjudice.  Babel stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Gael Garcia Bernal, and is directed and written by the duo behind Amores Perros and 21 Grams, Alejandro Gonzales Inarittu and Guillermo Arriaga, respectively.  Although this film says a lot about the current sociopolitical climate inherent in our world today, it does little else but flimsily connect four desolate situations.

Click to continue reading Babel Review: ‘Crash 2: Now It’s Global…and Longer…and Boring’