p.s. – Haunting Redemption

Just realized that I neglected to mention that Canadian actor Jackie Burroughs, who died this past fall, also appears in Small Town Murder Songs (as a Mennonite senior who is interviewed during the course of the murder investigation). Burroughs was well-known on Canadian t.v. for her portrayal of Hetty King on The Road to Avonlea, as well as Canadian films like John and the Missus.

I used to see her in the neighbourhood around Yonge/Bloor – and was always struck at how a woman of such tiny physical stature could play such strong, feisty characters. For a short gal like me, she was someone to look up to in that respect. Small Town Murder Songs was her last film. She will be missed.

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.

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