Popcorn: The Hurt Locker storms to top of end-of-year lists
What do you mean you haven't seen The Hurt Locker? State-side, Kathryn Bigelow's deservedly acclaimed Iraq war thriller has been named Best Picture of 2009 by the National Film Critics' Circle.
This is the 11th such American accolade for the film, as it has been hailed as film of the year by critics' circles in (deep breath) New York, LA, Boston, San Francisco, Vegas, Austin, Chicago, Houston and Oklahoma, as well as by America's Association of Women Journalists.
Meanwhile, despite a pro-Hurt Locker vote from me, the Dublin Film Critics Circle generally preferred Let The Right One In. Anyway, The Hurt Locker seems to be a front-runner for Best Picture in this year's Oscars. In a two-horse race reminiscent of the 1997 LA Confidential/Titanic contest, its strongest competition is the surprise critical and commercial hit, Avatar. And speaking of Avatar ...
Avatar breaks one billion
Copper-fastening the old adage that nobody knows anything, Avatar has confounded all expectations (except perhaps, those of director James Cameron) and has crossed the $1bn mark within three weeks of release. And to think that just four short weeks ago many were predicting it would flop. Now it's in the running to possibly become the biggest-grossing film of all time. That record is currently held by (you're way ahead of me) Titanic, which, of course, was also directed by Avatar's James Cameron.
Good idea of the week
Anyone in or near Dublin towards the end of this month could do a lot worse than head to the IFI for the Jacques Audiard retrospective. Deservedly compared to a young Martin Scorsese, Audiard's nimble, inventive crime movies have made a bruising mark on international cinema in a short space of time. His fifth film, A Prophet, which won the Grand Prize in Cannes and Best Film in the London Film Festival, opens on January 21. Of his previous films, we especially recommend the blisteringly intense The Beat that My Heart Skipped. The short season runs from January 23 to the 31.
Bad idea of the week
Enough with the prequels already! From Casino Royale and Batman Begins to last year's (admittedly awesome) Star Trek and beyond, prequels, reboots and origin stories have been dominating pop culture lately. As well as a teen X-Men film on the distant horizon, this March sees production begin on a prequel to The Thing. John Carpenter's classic Antarctic horror movie has seen its reputation grow since its 1982 release. According to Production Weekly, the superfluous undertaking will be written by Ronald D Moore (who's worked on Battlestar Galactica) and Eric Heisserer (Nightmare on Elm Street remake).
Michael Dwyer 1951-2010
Ireland's film industry got a lot less interesting last week with the passing of Michael Dwyer, who died at the tender age of 58. As well as writing reviews for In Dublin, The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Press and The Irish Times, Michael also co-founded the Dublin Film Festival in 1985, and later established and managed its second incarnation, The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Michael was a notable patron of young Irish filmmakers, a fine journalist and a gentleman. He'll be missed.