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best production design of 2004 (plus some other bests and worsts of the year)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN (encompassing production design, costumes, and makeup) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou I usually favor invented worlds when picking the year’s best production work… and maybe I’ve done that here, too. Steve Zissou’s universe feels like it’s a baby step off skew with our own — the colors just a tad flat, … more…

best writing and direction of 2004: cut and print…

BEST DIRECTOR Lars von Trier, Dogville Ever a risktaker, Lars von Trier took one of the biggest risks onscreen in 2004 with a determinedly uncinematic film that was also unabashedly political — a breathtaking and refreshingly daring combination in an era of play-it-safe “entertainment.” Setting his cast and his scene on a bare, black-box stage, … more…

best performances of 2004: ready for their closeup…

BEST ACTOR Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda It’s a role that, in the hands of even another very competent actor, could have descended into pathos and sentimentality, but Cheadle’s performance goes way beyond mere competence: As an Oskar Schindler-type figure in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, he approaches incomprehensible horrors in a way that makes us intimate partners … more…

totally quotable: best. lines. ever, 2004 edition

Here, in one place, the most quotable movie lines of the year 2004. They’re not ranked — they’re all great. [Warning: May contain spoilers.] [click here for the funniest bad snippets of dialogue from 2004] “Only people from the Bronx care about the Oscars.” –Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), Beyond the Sea “I’ve never seen a … more…

The Incredibles (review)

That teaser trailer — you know the one I’m talking about — with the fat old ex-superhero struggling to get into his spandex costume? It left such a bad taste in my mouth whenever I contemplated the film that must go with it. I imagined a gang of former masked crusaders called out of happy retirement, reluctantly huffing and puffing their way back into action, replete with very unfunny cracks about getting fat and old, and probably with an even more unfunny getting-into-shape-a-la-*Rocky* sequence thrown in for good measure.