Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Phoenix Film Critic Choices and bbfc Warnings.

Right, first thing’s first. The Phoenix Film Critic picks –

Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire

Top Ten Films of 2008 (in alphabetical order)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
In Bruges
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
The Visitor
The Wrestler

Best Director
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role
Sean Penn, Milk

Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role
Meryl Streep, Doubt

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Acting Ensemble
The cast of Milk

Best screenplay written directly for the screen
In Bruges

Best screenplay adapted from another medium
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Live Action Family Film
High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Best Overlooked Film
n Bruges

Best Animated Film

Best Foreign Language Film
Let the Right One In

Best Documentary
Man on Wire

Best Original Song
“The Wrestler” from The Wrestler

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Cinematography
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Film Editing
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Production Design
The Dark Knight

Best Costume Design
The Duchess

Best Visual Effects
The Dark Knight

Best Stunts
The Dark Knight

Breakout on Camera
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

Breakout Behind the Camera
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges

Best Performance by a Youth - Male
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by a Youth - Female
Dakota Fanning, Secret Life of Bees

Well, I don’t like that Dakota Fanning’s winning something, precocious little bung. The Dark Knight for stunts and VFX is pretty standard. It’s good to see Alexandre Desplat picking up Best Score, he was raped of an Oscar nomination last year for his work on Lust, Caution. “The Wrestler” song is OK, it sounds like pretty much every other Bruce Springsteen I’ve ever heard (maybe a little whinier), but it has a nice chorus, one that I can see the Oscar voters humming along to.

And is In Bruges really that overlooked? Everyone who'd seen it had raved about it, hence, why I saw it. I'd say that from the 2008 releases I've seen, Man on Wire, Son of Rambow, Happy-go-Lucky, Bigga than Ben and Eden Lake were all better movies that slipped under the radar.

As for Best Picture, looks like Slumdog Millionaire is running away with it at this moment in time, with Wall-E and Milk trailing behind craply.

Dang, I really need to watch more of these movies (as opposed to movies like The Tale of Despereaux which I’m gonna watch with my brother tomorrow. It’s got Emma Watson, shudder.)


Lastly, as you may know, I’m quite obsessed with film classifications, and the bbfc website has recently been real good to me in that for every recent release, it now does a detailed explanation for why a film is rated what it is. Now, Milk, all I’d known about until yesterday was that it was the Oscar-buzzed movie with Sean Penn where he played a gay guy. That was literally the extent of my knowledge of the movie (I’ve been really behind with film news since letting my brain rot away at Uni), but I wanted to see it. So along I went to the bbfc website, where its full description of why the film was rated 15 goes –

MILK is a biographical drama about the life of an openly gay councillor in 1970s San Francisco. It was passed '15' for strong language and sex references.

At '15', language guidelines state that 'There may be frequent use of strong language (eg 'fuck').' and this film contains some uses of strong language that exceed the 'infrequent' number that may be permissible at '12A' but which fit the '15' rubric.

As for sex references, guidelines state that 'There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour' and there are some graphic references that are permissible at this category, although they would not be familiar to most adolescents and also go beyond what is suitable for them, so they would not be allowable at '12A.'

MILK also contains moderate violence when a man is repeatedly shot and some blood is visible but the scene does not dwell on detail or emphasise injuries or blood.
There is soft drug use in a scene when a man is seen smoking a marijuana joint and which is presented as lifestyle use and is neither glamorised nor instructional; a scene where a man is found dead after committing suicide by hanging from a noose and which contains no instructive detail: moderate sex when a man moves down a clothed man's body and out of frame as it is implied he is performing fellatio: sex references and language which include some unendorsed disparaging references made by negatively presented characters about gay men (eg when they are described as 'gay perverts and paedophiles who recruit our children to participate in their deviant lifestyle' or as 'fruits' and 'tricks'): and nudity, when rear view sight of a naked man swimming or posing for a photograph, and brief sight of a woman exposing her breasts during a civil rights march, are briefly seen.

There’s nothing overly exciting or salacious in there really, but just reading all the details makes me wanna see a movie more. And, just out of curiosity, I had a little read for the rating synopsis of Superbad
SUPERBAD is a comedy film in which a group of three teenage boys set out to celebrate the end of school by illegally obtaining alcohol and attempting to have sex with female classmates. However, they gradually come to realise that there is more to becoming an adult than mere drinking and sex. The film was classified '15' for frequent strong sex references and frequent strong language.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state that 'There may be frequent use of strong language' and that 'There may be strong references to sexual behaviour'. SUPERBAD contains over 150 uses of strong language and frequent strong sex references, including references to pornography. Although the sex references are frequent and sometimes crude, they are also comic in nature and serve to illustrate the boys' immature attitudes towards sex and life. Ultimately the characters come to question their own behaviour and attitudes. There is nothing in the film that would be likely to be novel to a person aged 15-17 and similar material has been passed previously in other '15' classified comedies such as CLERKS II.

The film also contains brief sight of drug use (cocaine and marijuana) at a party, together with some verbal references to drug taking. However, drugs are not promoted or glamorised and there is no instructional detail. Similarly, the film contains references to and sight of underaged drinking but this is never condoned and the problems that drunkenness causes for the characters, notably the thwarting of their sexual plans, leads them to question the acceptability of such behaviour. The film also contains some brief comic violence but this is undetailed and does not lead to serious harm or injury. There is one comic sequence of gore, occurring in a fantasy sequence.

Exactly right, I’d say.

I think I've found my dream job - bbfc censor! You get to sit there all day and count the number of times people say the f-word in movies, and try to decide whether or not a sex reference should make a movie a 12A or a 15! Sounds like my cuppa tea exactly!


anahita said...

"three teenage boys set out to celebrate the end of school by illegally obtaining alcohol and attempting to have sex with female classmates. However, they gradually come to realise that there is more to becoming an adult than mere drinking and sex."


ahhh, glad slumdog millionaire won and ccobb didn't. is it weird I support a film I've never watched? doubt and milk seem amazing...I really wanna see them now...and I'm also glad that the duchess won something. when I first saw it I was eagerly predicting keira for best actress...but now I think I havr to make do with costume and possibly score.

and while I don't hate emma watson like you do, I have to admit, she's getting on my nerves a bit. It's not so much her acting - which is not good, but not all that bad either - but the fact that everyone seems to think it's amazing. I was on her wikipedia page and on critical reception, there were quotes praising her acting ability and condemning daniel's...the two are pretty much the same tbh...I thought that was unfair.

plus she's just FAR too pretty!!

but yeah, she has a lovely english voice...so tale of despereaux might be good!! xxx

monkey said...

I’ve been really behind with film news since letting my brain rot away at Uni

and me, with art college. i've watched half the amount of films this year than last year, and have no idea about the oscar race :(

Farzan said...

That list is pretty darn right to me except for a few things. Best Picture is Milk for me so far. I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire so I dont know if thats better.

Best Visual Effects should go to Hellboy II instead of The Dark Knight. I just saw Hellboy II yesterday at a friends house on Blu Ray and was blown away. The creature designs and environments all look wonderfully crafted. The Dark Knight had some pretty good special effects, but they were complex and eye popping like the ones in Hellboy II.

Other than those, I think the Phoenix Film critics picks were spot on.

Maria said...

I bet I know which bit made you so happy -
moderate sex when a man moves down a clothed man's body and out of frame as it is implied he is performing fellatio

Dirty girl!

Emma said...

I quite liked the gay kissing in the film. *giggles*