Here are some reactions to some of this year's biggest contenders:
Somewhere got some pretty decent reviews including these two. It looks as if Soffia Coppola might be back int the Oscar Derby:
The Evening Standard:
"Dorff and Fanning play naturally and well — Coppola gives them every chance. It’s an unexpected change of gear for Francis’s daughter, who says her childhood is mined in the film. It may last in the memory a little more than Marie Antoinette, if not quite as long as Lost In Translation."
Guy Lodge from In Contention:
"The answer to both questions, happily, is no. With the wry, shimmery and thoroughly beguiling “Somewhere,” Coppola has perhaps made exactly the film she needed to at this point in her career: one that calmly takes stock of her abilities and interests rather than pushing them too severely."
The King's Speech is getting some excellent reviews, pushing it into the Oscar race, especially Colin Firth and Helen Bonham Carter:
Peter DeBruge from Variety:
"Americans love kings, so long as they needn’t answer to them, and no king of England had a more American success story than that admirable underdog George VI, Duke of York, who overcame a dreadful stammer to rally his people against Hitler. A stirring, handsomely mounted tale of unlikely friendship starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech” explores the bond between the painfully shy thirtysomething prince and the just-this-side-of-common, yet anything-but-ordinary speech therapist who gave the man back his confidence. Weinstein-backed November release should tap into the same audience that made “The Queen” a prestige hit."
Kirk Honeycutt from The Hollywood Reporter:
"Firth doesn’t just make a British king vulnerable and insecure, he shows the fierce courage and stamina beneath the insecurities that will see him through his kingship. It’s not just marvelous acting, it’s an actor who understands the flesh-and-blood reality of the moment and not its history. It’s an actor who admires his character not in spite of his flaws but because of them. Rush is absolutely wonderful, and Hooper shoots him with all sorts of angles, lighting and strange positions that makes him look like an alien landed in 1930s London. Nothing much impresses him, and he is supremely confident in his own expertise, even when challenged by a star pupil and his coterie of advisers. He won’t yield an inch.Carter is a revelation here despite a long career as a leading lady. She makes Bertie’s wife into not just a warm and caring soul but a witty and attractive woman who understands her husband much better than he does himself."
At Telluride Never Let Me Go got some positive reviews, with a few mixed reactions, but overall it seems as if this one is also going to be in play come Oscar time, especially for its young stars, although its road could be a bit rockier. Posted below are two of the better reviews:
David Poland from MCN:
"For me, Never Let Me Go is why I love cinema. It is smart and demanding and emotional and rigorous and profoundly artful. It is more than “a good story well told.” It is humanity on a screen. And it trusts us, as thinking, feeling adults, to do the work."
Peter DeBruge from Variety:
"Despite perpetrating a number of significant changes from the novel, Garland really gets to the marrow of it, raising philosophical questions about science and the soul that trace all the way back to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” With its ties to contemporary medical ethics as well, “Never Let Me Go” is the type of film that invites discussion after the fact, proving Romanek has more on his mind than simply making people cry."
Tommorrow, I will hopefully post some reactions to Peter Weir's latest The Way Back and Danny Boyles Slumdog Millionaire follow-up 127 Hours, but the first initial reviews are very good for both.