Haunting redemption

Saw Small Town Murder Songs on Sunday. The Canadian film, by writer/filmmaker Ed Gass-Donnelly, features an excellent cast – notably Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessy and Martha Plimpton, as well as my pal Heather Allin, and a haunting choral soundtrack by Bruce Peninsula.

There’s a lot that goes unsaid in this film – and the audience can glean much from the characters’ silences: the looks, the body language and, especially, the flashbacks into local cop Walter’s (Stormare) violent past. For instance, Allin – who plays the murdered young woman’s mother – gives an extremely moving performance with very few lines. In fact, in the identification scene at the morgue, she has no lines at all – but manages to convey a mother’s denial, disbelief and anguish at seeing her daughter as the sheet is lifted from the body on the chrome table.

Go see this movie – it’s playing at the Royal.

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Oscar nominations

So not a lot of surprises in today’s announcement of Oscar nominations, but a few glaring omissions and baffling oddities:

  • No sign of Barney’s Version, except for a Makeup nomination (makeup?!) – why no Best Actor nom for Paul Giamatti? why no Best Picture nom?
  • Toy Story 3 gets two best movie nominations: Best Picture and Best Animated Feature (could they not have made room for Barney’s Version in the former category?)
  • Toy Story 3 gets a Writing (Adapted Screenplay) nomination – again, why not Barney’s Version?
  • No makeup nom for Black Swan (which would have made more sense than Barney’s Version).

I will admit my own personal bias and say that I liked Barney’s Version a lot. But WTF, Academy?!

For a full list of nominations, see the Academy website: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/83/nominees.html