Just before I begin, I’d like to make an announcement.

This year I’ve decided on a different way of doing things. I did see a lot of excellent ensemble acting. But nothing that I really wanted to single out in a specific manner.

Everyone is certainly entitled to their own personal views. From my perspective, this was a lousy year for film. However, 2010 was an incredible time for groundbreaking works of cinema.

So in that particular spirit, I have created the AWARDS OF MERIT. I only give acting and film accolades here. But this is a very unique cinematic period where a lot of bold concepts and new ideas are taking place.

I really wanted to recognize that.

These shall be given to the innovators, the visionaries, the men and women that genuinely pushed the envelope and came up with something extraordinary.

This year, CINEMATIC PASSIONS’ AWARDS OF MERIT are presented to:


Now to the rest….


MARK RUFFALO possesses enormous soulful depth in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. You don’t see it immediately. However, it comes to light slowly and effortlessly over time.

At first you think this foxy unfettered motorcycle riding restaurant owner – who picks up chicks at the drop of a hat and can have virtually any woman he wants – will be satisfied gliding through middle age in much the same condition.

But then he meets the two children that he fathered through sperm donation and falls for their married lesbian mother JULES (JULIANNE MOORE).

This is an extraordinarily attractive guy who is coming to the realization that there is far more to life than drifting through an endless series of flings and playing man about town.

PAUL is definitely a charmer. But he learns some valuable lessons on his way to becoming a grown up.

That is the genius of MARK’S multilayered performance.


“I am what is known as a fiery redhead. Now, I hate to make this a matter of appearance and go all womanly on you, but there you have it. And me standing up like this is in fact just that redheaded fieriness leaping to the fore. Credence? I will give credence to their cause. My God! Their cause all ready has credence. It is equal pay. Equal pay is common justice and if you two weren’t such a pair of egotistical, chauvinistic, bigoted dunderheads, you would realise that. Oh, my office is run by incompetents and I am sick of being patronised, spoken down to and generally treated as if I was the May Queen. Set up the meeting!”

When MIRANDA RICHARDSON finished that particular monologue, the people at my screening applauded.

But that’s totally understandable.

MIRANDA has always possessed a magnificent command of the screen. She portrays strong complicated women and makes them even more intriguing and complex.

She has done the same with MP BARBARA CASTLE, her latest cinematic creation.


In THE KING’S SPEECH, COLIN FIRTH hits the screen like a bracing breath of fresh air.

KING GEORGE VI is an eminently reluctant monarch. BERTIE (as his family refers to him) had no choice in the matter. His brother EDWARD (GUY PEARCE) abdicated the throne to marry the divorced socialite WALLIS SIMPSON.

He was next in line. It’s a tremendous burden that he must bear.

BERTIE is shy, lacks confidence and is filled with an anxiety of dreadful proportions. Well into his thirties, he is plagued by a terrible childhood stutter. He certainly doesn’t feel that he’s cut out to be one of the most powerful men in the world.

But with the help of an unorthodox speech therapist (GEOFFREY RUSH), BERTIE is able to conquer his difficulties and successfully broadcast a stirring address on the eve of the Second World War.

This performance is hilarious, touching and masterful.

BERTIE begins as a quiet somber man who – despite his wealth and privilege – is emotionally scarred from various boyhood experiences. By the end of the film, he is truly a king.

COLIN FIRTH is magnificent beyond measure.


MICHELLE WILLIAMS is an extraordinarily talented performer who brings something indefinably different to each new role.

Petite, gorgeous CINDY has had a rather rough history with men. She’s been through a lot with too many people. She comes from a dysfunctional family. There appears to be a history of abuse.

She struggles with her self esteem, but she’s motivated and disciplined. CINDY longs to make something of herself. She wants to be a doctor.

When DEAN (RYAN GOSLING) arrives on the scene, she’s immersed in her studies and just breaking up with a boyfriend. Rushing into someone else’s arms doesn’t seem particularly wise. But she is intrigued by DEAN.

She finds out she’s pregnant, is determined to terminate it, then discovers she just can’t go along with that line of reasoning. DEAN is madly in love with her and is willing to accept her on any terms available.

She’s falling for him too. This makes the most sense at this juncture. Why fight it? They get married.

CINDY’S resolve hardens over time. She doesn’t get to be the doctor of her dreams. She’s a nurse. But that doesn’t mean that she’s abandoned her goals.

DEAN is content to be her husband and a good father. He paints houses. He can be with his wife and daughter when that’s done. The rest of the time he can drink. He has no real ambition. In six years, he hasn’t grown in any respect.

CINDY needs more. It’s like she’s taking care of two kids instead of one. She feels like she has to be the person holding everything together. It’s not enough.

But DEAN can’t change…and CINDY can not go on like this.

This is a complex role in a uniquely beautiful motion picture. MICHELLE rises to the challenges admirably. Her work in BLUE VALENTINE is amazing.


  1. glimmer Says:

    These shall be given to the innovators, the visionaries, the men and women that genuinely pushed the envelope and came up with something extraordinary.

    hmm…and this is where i enter.


    so sick of seeing phrases like push the envelope and visionary when the film dogtooth is never in the picture/article.

    yes, ms. m. i know you haven’t seen it. even with the oscar nom, it’s still supposedly on the radar enough to enter discussions of the sort.

    but yet i get to hear people whine about why pixar can’t win best picture. stop the damn madness or let the madness begin.

    if fincher for social or aronofsky for swan can get terms as visonary thrown at them for those films. *rolls eyes*

    how can Giorgos Lanthimos not get those words aimed at him for the immortal dogtooth??? even if you hate the film it has does have plenty in the ambition/thought provoking department.

    oh wait. words like that were aimed at the lame inception crap. oh, i forgot.

    i know people want their visionary in a tidy format and more familiar genre styles…you know that’s 300% dead on. (so sick of the traditonal film mavens ruining everything/or even the hope of anything different. pat yourselves on the back like you’re so damn progressive and fall for the same crap 9.8 times out of 10.)

    no, ms m. years from now you’ll be giving me visionary points for championing dogtooth over inception/swan and social.

    the movie year was crap/except one!!!


    the scary interesting thing for the pixar lovers and the oscar bait kids is that post dogtooth the next film by Giorgos Lanthimos is in a postion where you have to take it seriously and put it on the map early. you can’t just ignore it. you’re gonna have to at least pretend to give it a fair chance.

    so Lanthimos will be in the game early. the next film could totally fail and i really wouldn’t blame him. why not just do something ultra accessible and rock it to an easy to recognize/love genre/ style so you can finally get the attention you 300% deserved for dogtooth?

    but oh no, the talking animals crew wouldn’t want a film like that to raise the roof…

    because when a film like this raises the roof they fall…

    once again gonna bring up the ny times dogtooth review…

    and again got the reply by Disagree With Scott and these words from the reply

    Okay? So why is Toy Story 3, a film Scott would die for, any better than this?

    why would this reply specifically mention/pick on pixar???

    tell you what /why don’t you use that layer within layer crap you learned from inception and figure it out…

    inception+black swan+the social network together still doesn’t equal dogtooth. that’s my award.

    fake visionaries shining so bright/they’re blocking out light…

  2. Ha ha ha. Holy F, young man.

    Uh…Care to tell me how you really feel?

    Sorry, glim. I ain’t backing down from this one. (And when would I? Ever???)

    the movie year was crap

    You’ll get no argument from me on that particular point. I saw over 40 films in 2010 and a lot of them were egregiously awful. Just horrifically bad.


    I do think that Mr. Aronofsky, Mr. Cianfrance, Mr. Fincher and Mr. Sorkin are visionaries. They are all absolutely brilliant men who created some magnificent art that will be talked about, dissected and discussed decades from now.

    BLUE VALENTINE, INCEPTION and THE SOCIAL NETWORK are all exceptional films. BLACK SWAN is in a class all its own. It’s sheer genius and an absolute masterpiece. Best god damn film of the year by a wide margin. I’d be very surprised if it isn’t in my Top 10 at the end of the decade.

    I understand that you weren’t overly jazzed about BS or INCEPTION. But, as far as I know, you didn’t even see BV or TSN.

    As I’ve always said, at CP any of my friends or the people I care about are welcome to state whatever the hell they want at any particular time. Anything goes. Take your shot. Say your thing. You’re free to pontificate on anything your heart desires.

    But I haven’t seen DOGTOOTH. So my thoughts on that particular film are not exactly valid. Truthfully, if anyone hasn’t sat down and watched a movie, then their perceptions are going to be somewhat lacking. As in nonexistent. If you have seen something, then at least you have a few ideas that you can roll around with.

    I have a suggestion for you, my darling boy. Passion is a very good thing. Hah. Even this early in the morning.

    (It’s too god damn early on the west coast as I type this. But that’s another story…)

    It’s deeply meaningful to see people feel strongly about something. There isn’t enough of that around these days. So much apathy. I can’t understand why.

    You should go back to blogging. You quit…and you really shouldn’t have. Then you could champion the art films that you like. People would read your thoughts. You could easily develop a following and then you could push for the small unheralded gems that you enjoy.

    There is no one else out there like you, baby. You should use that to your advantage. Having a unique point of view (and being able to express it) is a rare and beautiful thing. Certainly it’s nothing to be taken for granted.

    You should have your own place where you can let people know what’s important and interesting to you. I bet there are a lot more individuals that feel the way that you do than you could ever imagine.

    I would definitely support you. As long as you continue to visit this little corner of paradise, it’s all good.

    stop the damn madness

    My thoughts precisely, honey bear.

    As for DOGTOOTH…

    I understand it is coming to one of the local rep houses. It’s not getting a standard release.

    Will I attend a screening?


    I do happen to have a grand passion for all things Greek these days.

    We’ll see…

    Absolutely. Positively. Without question.

    Oh, yes. We will indeed.

  3. glimmer Says:

    I do think that Mr. Aronofsky, Mr. Cianfrance, Mr. Fincher and Mr. Sorkin are visionaries. They are all absolutely brilliant men who created some magnificent art that will be talked about, dissected and discussed decades from now.

    and the big context for this will be in a year with all this praise for visionary why is that pushed thing much more and tried more and 80 times more of a surprise and was so off the radar despite getting an oscar nom??? (that’s ok. it seems to have gotten it without the lame movie kids ultrahype/and writing about it 700 times a week for approval…)

    yes, i want to see this dissected years from now.

    the total f**king fail of the movie kids to not give this film support and it’s unfortunately not really getting a stateside run. i know the only indie films that are supposed to get a nice stateside release are just normal films and oscar bait…

    the context for the discussion/or at least should be included in the context is that fincher/aronofsky got the raves but the most visionary/brave film got an oscar nom (that would be dogtooth)and most didn’t care. that’s the real story…now go count pixar characters before you go to sleep….

    i don’t think blue valentine played in my area. it didn’t hit the landmark here/didn’t expect it to/could it have gotten a micro run at the airport???

    (that my term for the huge edwards theatres we have here. such a scary place to go…)

    i’ve seen snippets of tsn and read plenty about it. and it could be a good film. but how the hell is this based on true story thing is up there in the visionary/brave/ambitious/thought provoking/surprise/category compared to dogtooth is unbelievable to me. if it was anywhere near that level the film would be lots more like it or hate it. and maybe have been too controversial to get a best pic nom. nor would it have appealed so much to mainstream movie fans…

    oh and the new york times wouldn’t have liked it…

    Sorry, glim. I ain’t backing down from this one. (And when would I? Ever???)

    there’s nothing to back down from/but having to see 90,000 segments in the media/net raving about the daring/risk taking/braveness of inception/black swan you’d think that the oscar nom would have at least gotten dogtooth in there somewhere from somewhere/but really.


    i’m even divorcing this from liking the film. but hell people don’t want to see anything different get any cool play…

    if someone wants so say *none* of these films are visionary. hell, i’d be fine with that/i could see that. but for dogtooth to be pretty much systematically excluded from that discourse despite the oscar nom…and for those words to only go to inception/black swan and tsn.

    maybe some people are protecting their ground/so let me gain some of that back for the weird film. 🙂

    and bring me the heads of the pixar characters. the pixarization of the movie scene makes me want wrap my head around a tree…

  4. I really can’t say much in response, glimster. You do, as always, illuminate your points in spectacular fashion. Even though I’m on the opposite side of the fence regarding some of what you said, I do empathize.

    I can certainly understand why you have those opinions.

    So you don’t think BLUE VALENTINE even played Houston? Wow. It opened in my home town in the middle of January and it’s still here.

    could it have gotten a micro run at the airport???

    I can’t help it. That just seems funny to me.

    Honey, we both know that DOGTOOTH getting a FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM nom was nothing short of miraculous. I’m not saying you have to be content with that. But it’s from Greece. It has subtitles.

    Let’s face it. In another era (50s/60s/70s), the well educated upper middle class portion of society generally went to foreign films. At least occasionally. Plenty of other people did as well. But university educated individuals with a grand amount of disposable income was the target demographic.

    A few years ago, a single screen cinema in this city’s university district finally had its last hurrah. I never went there because it was so far from the usual places I enjoyed spending time, where I grew up, where I ended up living as an adult etc. But it was built during the 50s. Back in the day (as my older relatives informed me), every single foreign film of note showed there. All of the famous ones – the classics that everyone still discusses in hushed tones. I’m talking all of the Bergman films, Fellini etc.

    And that was all. Nothing (for years on end) played there that wasn’t artsy, quirky or esoteric.

    Seems a shame that it’s gone now. People loved that place. But do you honestly think if it had opened a generation or two later that it would have such a varied and fascinating line up of product? Hell no. There would’ve been talking animal flicks and superhero movies right up the kazoo.

    Actually, as I recall, there were quite a few of those that ended up there during the last several years of its operation. You can market the hell out of the smaller specialized movies. But if no one comes to see them, then the money people get more and more conservative.

    Do the movie kids pay attention to subtitles? Hell, do any of them read at all? The dumbing down of North American culture continues.

    and bring me the heads of the pixar characters.

    Ha ha. Sure…

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