Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Few Thoughts on the Oughts

This past decade will hold a special place in my mind (film-wise, that is). It was during this time that I “came of age” in the world of cinema. I began scouring the pages of the Internet Movie Database, soaking up all the information I could. It really became a kind of addiction – one that continues to this day. (I’m not sure I want to know how many hours I spent combing through the filmographies of various filmmakers over the years.) I also began reading reviews and commentary on film. It interested me to hear from different perspectives and learn how others constructed their viewpoints. And while I valued the “critical” opinion on films, it was important for me to make up my own mind.

So, the films released this decade became of great interest to me. I started viewing them differently than I had previously; from a more critical point-of-view. I think 2002 was a turning point as I began going out of my way to see films that others had little interest in. Even if it meant going by myself, I felt compelled to view films like Adaptation and The Hours. This path led me down a fascinating road filled with films as wide-ranging as can be imagined.

While I spent time waiting for new releases, I also caught up with many films from decades past. With the advent of Netflix, there’s no limit to how many films are available and I take full advantage of it. As my knowledge of film progressed, the more I enjoyed the artform and I desired to learn even more. That desire led me to study film at the University of Oklahoma, eventually earning a Film and Video Studies degree.

So, yeah, I guess films have had a large impact on my life and will probably continue to do so. I’ll continue viewing and writing about them so long as my enthusiasm for the subject holds up.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Inception Trailer Continues to Intrigue

The second trailer for Christopher Nolan's latest, Inception, continues to fascinate me. While there's no real breakdown of the plot, I really don't need one at this point. The visual inventiveness highlighted in this trailer alone merits my time and attention. Nolan has easily become one of my personal favorite directors and any project coming from him represents an event-film for me. The idea of him doing an all-out sci-fi mindbender seems like a perfect fit, as his films typically focus more cerebral themes. Plus, the cast involved ranks among the best for any film this coming year. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Ken Watanabe star, along with Nolan veteran Cillian Murphy. What more could you ask for?

Inception hits theaters next summer. Watch the trailer here:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Box Office: Avatar Sets 2nd Weekend Record

James Cameron appears to have pulled off another hit with his newest film, Avatar. Despite some naysayers, the film definitely looks on track to become one of the highest grossing films of the year, and perhaps of all time. In it's second weekend, Avatar grossed 75.6 million - down only 1.8% from it's first weekend! As good word-of-mouth continues to spread, Cameron's visual spectacle will no doubt spawn more films using the same technology, ushering in a new era of big-budget filmmaking.

In other news, Sherlock Holmes debuted with 62.3 million, a more than solid figure for the Robert Downey Jr. vehicle.

This last weekend of the year boosted 2009's total box office take to 10.3 billion, a new record. Theater attendance was up, which is a good sign in a time when piracy has become more and more prevalent. Overall - a decent year for the movies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrity Necessity?

I can understand the appeal for celebrities to become involved with animated projects. Most of them want to be a part of something their children can watch. It’s also an easy gig. With just a few recording sessions involved, they get an easy paycheck. And I can understand why studios jump at the chance to include as many big names as possible. After all, they have to sell their film somehow. But with all that said, there are certain instances when I have to ask, “Why bother?”

I recently scrolled the credits for the new Alvin and the Chipmunks film (don’t ask me why) and I saw that actors such as Justin Long, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate lent their voices to some of the titular furry critters. Now, what’s the point of having these celebrities provide their voices when post-production work simply alters them to fit the super-high squeakiness of the chipmunks? Furthermore, the advertisements for the film make no mention of the celebrity names. Another culprit of needless voice usage is Dreamworks studios, and more specifically in Kung Fu Panda. Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, and Seth Rogen each voice characters in that film and they can’t have more than 25 lines between them. At times this practice borders on distraction since your hearing such recognizable voices coming from secondary characters. There’s just no point of having these people if you’re not going to use them. Situations like these just make no sense to me.

Surely some professional voice actors could fill these roles with ease. With animated films mostly catering to children, name recognition plays little importance anyway. By avoiding the big names, studios wouldn’t need to bloat their budgets on these films either. But I suppose the “bigger is better” mentality wins out in the end.

What are your thoughts on celebrity voice-work?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Quick Thoughts on Avatar

After years away from narrative filmmaking, James Cameron has finally returned with Avatar, a sci-fi adventure film on a grand scale. This film has undergone a lengthy development and an enormous amount of hype leading up to its release. Many have been doubtful that Cameron could deliver on his promise of a “game-changing” film in terms of technology. Well, any doubts on a technological level should be laid to rest. Avatar delivers in a way only a Cameron film can.

The Good:
A visual marvel to behold, the film entrances its audience; making them believe completely in an alien world. The 3-D effects impressively added a layer of depth to the picture. As opposed to gimmicky 3-D of the past, this technology, at least as utilized by Cameron, goes for subtle touches which help immerse audiences into the film. Real actors seamlessly interact with CG creations. Thanks to the new technology developed especially for the film, the CG characters become more legitimate as dramatic leads.

The Bad:
While the tech side of the film might be unequaled, the overall story and dialog can leave something to be desired.

Bottom line:
Everyone should check this out in theaters. You simply cannot get the same experience at home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

For Love of Money: American Crime in the 90's

(Note: This post represents another paper from my college days.)

At some point everyone daydreams of a life without work. The theme of bucking the system in earning a living features in a multitude of stories. Within the world of film this notion exemplifies itself most in the crime genre. Audiences are captivated by the lives of criminals and the underworld they inhabit. The films hook us in; depicting risks that we would never undergo ourselves, but don’t mind watching others perform. After all, the criminal life bursts with excitement, possibilities, and sometimes wealth. But while crime films draw us into the world of criminals, they simultaneously jerk us out. The underlying greed that drives some of the characters ultimately becomes repellent to an audience. Besides, most die for positioning money over anything else. The wealth-oriented criminals portrayed in films such as Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, and Jackie Brown would not inspire anyone to resemble them. By each film’s end, plans go awry, betrayals are made, people go to jail, and many are killed. Through the criminals’ failure, these stories ultimately emerge as morality tales that reinforce the idea that the quick cash and potential prestige of criminals ultimately burn out. The only potential for redemption and a fulfilling life for these characters originates from honest work and fixing their focus on others above themselves.

Although ultimately hollow, the appeal of gangster life remains inescapable. In Goodfellas Henry Hill details how, even from his early days of fraternizing with the mob, he scored the perks. He divulges to the audience that, “One day the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother's groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect.” Aside from the clout commanded by the mob, they exhibited a bounty of material goods (“Anything I wanted was a phone call away.”). The crooks in Goodfellas drive swanky cars, dwell in decorative homes, wear tailor-made suits, and consume sumptuous meals. Criminals not portrayed as wealthy at least get stylized in ways that build them up. Look at the opening of Reservoir Dogs for example. The film introduces us to a team of thieves as they take in their last meal before they push off to their heist. As with any Tarantino film the character’s dialog is more dynamic than it has any right to be as they ramble over what should be mundane conversation. There’s an energetic rhythm that flows through their talk that compels us to lean in and join them. In the next scene the gang strides in slow motion, as the poppy tune of “Little Green Bag” trumpets over the soundtrack. During the song each member receives a close-up to mug for the camera. This sequence portrays the thieves at their height before they fall.

The lives led by these criminals do not embody as much allure as they might at first seem. Even when they flourish, as in the first half of Goodfellas, there is an undercurrent of unpleasantness. Goodfellas records the story of Henry Hill, documenting his involvement with gangster life. A good example of uneasiness in the midst of an affluent life arises during a scene when Karen, Henry’s new wife, meets the other wives of the men that Henry works with. The scene focuses on how the women conspicuously cover various bruises they have sustained from their husbands. Karen’s voiceover comments on how “they wore too much makeup” and overall “didn’t look good.” As the women discuss violent events that characterize their husband’s lives, Karen realizes the temperament of the world in which she’s consumed. The ritzy lifestyle she and her husband lead comes at a price. For example, any wealth that these criminals compile tends to be directly juxtaposed with the brutal, unsavory crimes they must commit. In Jackie Brown criminal Ordell Robbie constantly looks over his shoulder in order to protect his money - not to mention his freedom. To contrast with his beautiful residence on the beach, Ordell’s work often leads him to dark areas. In one sequence Ordell exterminates his protégé Beaumont out of fear that Beaumont might testify against him. Ordell comments, “Now that my friend is a clear cut case of him or me.” Paranoia fills the air in this dog-eat-dog world.

To heighten the unglamorous aspect of their lives, quite a few of the criminals portrayed are deficient at their jobs. While on a stake-out at a target’s home, the hit man Vincent in Pulp Fiction makes the deadly mistake of leaving his gun sitting out on a counter-top while he uses the restroom. When his target, Butch, comes back home, he spots the gun and shoots Vincent when he leaves the restroom. Another example appears earlier in the story when Vincent makes another deadly mistake. While he and his partner Jules drive, Vincent accidentally shoots a contact named Marvin in the head when their car may or may not have hit a bump in the road. In Jackie Brown, criminals Louis and Ordell engage in some serious mistakes as they underestimate the title character during a sizable score. Louis in particular bungles up when he glimpses, but thinks nothing of, Max Cherry at a money drop-off. Cherry is a bail-bondsman who has ties with Jackie Brown and emerges as her accomplice in her bait-and-switch plan. Only afterwards do Ordell and Louis piece everything together. In addition to being oblivious to Cherry, Louis ends up killing his female companion involved in the crime, Melanie, as he gripes, “she got on my nerves.”

As much as those characters fumble, Fargo takes the prize for the most botch-ups made by the various criminals involved. The film is essentially about a man, Jerry Lundegaard, who attempts to collect a ransom from his father-in-law for the kidnapping of his own wife. The two men hired for the kidnapping, Carl and Gaear, execute their job haphazardly. While knitting in her living room, Mrs. Lundegaard watches as Carl ineptly approaches a window and peers inside. There is unquestionably no striving for surprise. Although the two kidnappers succeed in their mission, it is in part due to Mrs. Lundegaard’s panic. When transporting Mrs. Lundagaard to an isolated cabin, the pair creates more turmoil when they get pulled over because they have no tags on their car. What could be a minor incident transforms into a bloodbath as Gaear kills the policeman. When dragging the body to the side of the road, a couple of passersby in another car witness the crime and they too are killed. Fargo not only portrays these characters as unprofessional, but sometimes they border on acting downright dim-witted. Many other events in Fargo, as well as other crime films, spin out of control.

Within each of these films, plans fall apart, no matter how thoroughly or shabbily rehearsed. The film Reservoir Dogs revolves around a group of men who set out to rob a jewelry store. Their off-camera heist is an utter catastrophe. One member of the team is eventually revealed to be an undercover cop who tipped off police members about the robbery. As a result, two of the six members of the team get shot down and another gravely injured during the robbery. The survivors spend the remainder of the film bickering over which one tipped off the authorities. During the finale, nearly all of the surviving members involved with the heist undergo a standoff which results in fatality for all. Only one man, Mr. Pink, wanders out alive, but by then the police arrive and shots ring out at him off-screen. In True Romance, a drug deal that culminates the film ends with a disastrous shootout exceeding the body count of the Reservoir Dogs confrontation. The story centers on the couple Clarence and Alabama as they venture to sell a suitcase of drugs they stumble upon. Both the police and a group of gangsters involve themselves in the eventual transaction. As in Reservoir Dogs, almost everyone dies in the final confrontation, although Clarence and Alabama survive.

The actions taken by these characters evolve out of greed. That greed is shown to ultimately be meaningless. None of the characters driven by greed are shown to gain anything. Instead they lose everything they have, including their lives in most cases. We discover emptiness at the end of the violence, illustrated by the complete disregard for human life. Fortunately for audiences, these films exhibit something more.

Among the greed or power-driven characters there is usually one or more who emerge to lay everything into perspective. In Pulp Fiction it’s Jules. Through a miraculous event where both Jules’ and Vincent’s lives are spared, Jules has a “moment of clarity” that leads him to withdraw from “the life.” He grasps that the career he has led means nothing and commits to reform. In the film’s final scene Jules and Vincent eat at a restaurant. A couple who decide to stick up the restaurant confront Jules. A stand-off develops comparable to the ones in Reservoir Dogs and True Romance. But, unlike those films, this stand-off ends peacefully as Jules assumes control and reasons with the thieves. He presents them with some of his own money and sends them on their way, soaking up a lesson through the ordeal. Jules’ decision to help people in need gives the message that there is more to life than easily won money and a potentially comfortable existence. True Romance strikes a similar chord as love ultimately vanquishes any thirst for monetary value. After the massive shootout, Clarence and Alabama feel blessed to be alive. The films final moments picture the couple a few years later with a son. As the family plays along a beach, we see that a modest family life provides all they needed to begin with. They appear entirely content without money.

Several films provide examples of the kind of working-class lives that criminals attempt to evade. In Fargo the character of Marge acts as the film’s center. She sublimely represents a working-class woman who remains unwavering in her role as both a policewoman and a wife. Her honesty and hard work juxtapose with Lundegaard’s sleazy plan for some quick cash. By the film’s end, when Marge breaks the case and apprehends Gaear, the theme of the film presents itself in her line, “There’s more to life than a little money, you know.” Resembling Marge, the mild-mannered Max Cherry in Jackie Brown wishes to quit his job as a bail bondsman because he finds the work unrewarding. He performs his job proficiently, but tires of spending time around hardened criminals and would rather move forward with his life. When he discerns that Jackie Brown needs help, he decides to aid her plan to rob Ordell of his money. Jackie’s only offense, after all, is stealing from a known criminal who would kill her if she ever got in his way. By Max’s selfless act, Jackie manages to launch her life over again with restored optimism. He generates a positive difference in one person’s life and asks nothing in return.

All of these characters epitomize that there is more to life than gathering money and possessions. They put value in other pursuits, such as career, family, and helping others as best as they can. Most of all they reinforce the idea that working an honest living and helping others shapes a difference. Their actions weigh against those who crave only after money and strengthen the message that crime demonstrates pointlessness.

Crime films have been a staple of cinema for generations. The narratives function as cautionary tales in a way. They insinuate that if you give up on working within the system, then you’re on your own. Destruction fundamentally concludes this decision. However, as long as people reside within the system, they hold the possibility to lead a productive and meaningful life. Jules walks the road less traveled by abandoning his criminal position. He explains to one of the restaurant thieves that, “The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.” While Jules may struggle with his transition, at least he discovered a worthy cause to believe in that surveys beyond himself. By acting on this cause, a fulfilling life becomes within reach.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trailer Round-Up

As the year winds down, previews for some of next year's big releases start to trickle onto the web. Here's a listing of the most recent, along with a few comments:

Robin Hood - Directed by Ridley Scott, Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchette
There's not a whole lot to this trailer, although I'm still very interested in the film. Robin Hood happens to be one of those stories that ends up receiving a re-telling for each generation.

Iron Man 2 - Directed by John Favroe, Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gweneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle
Well, they're certainly pulling out all the stops for this one. And after the success of the first, why not? With a great cast, a bigger budget, and even more public awareness, this sequel is all set to be among next year's biggest releases. Let's just hope they aren't biting off more than they can chew.

Clash of the Titans - Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neesan
Action, action, and more action. That's what this trailer delivers and that's pretty much all I expected. Sam Worthington seems to be in high demand for action flicks these days. He appears to have what it takes when it comes to all the fighting and yelling, but will there be a decent script behind all the adrenaline? (Oh, and Liam Neesan looks kind of ridiculous in his costume.)

Alice in Wonderland - Directed by Tim Burton, Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway
Although not necessarily my favorite as a kid, this material still intrigues me. Tim Burton and his usual band of actors are probably some of the most qualified people to tackle this project. I think it helps that this is more of a sequel/re-imagining of the original stories, as it allows the creative team license to do as they wish. Burton has embraced CG more than ever for this film and I like what I'm seeing thus far.

Shrek Forever After - At this point, who cares?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mini-Review: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Talk about a bad case of sibling rivalry. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis star in what turns out to be a portrait of fame, family, and delusion. It's really a nasty little film; certainly not a "feel good" story with a happy end.

The set-up: In their youth, two showbusiness siblings vie for the spotlight. Jane (Davis) is the star, while Blanche takes a back seat. But as they grow up, the tables turn and Blanche achieves success in film. Filled with extreme jealousy, Jane rams into her sister with a new car, leaving her paralyzed. The remainder of the story takes place years later as the two sisters still live together; neither one with a chance to return to their former glory days.

Crawford and Davis are perfectly cast. Their real-life hatred of each other lent itself well to the film. Some of the confrontations become so heated that you don't know where the performances end and reality begins. Davis gets the showier part and is probably better remembered because of it. Although good, her performance borders on camp ( some would say it is camp). In fact the whole film has an element of campiness to it, intentional or not. I didn't have a problem with that element, though. Any over-the-top elements can be easily put aside as the story builds the tension higher and higher.

Although it's kind of a strange film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? certainly deserves a viewing. The performances from the two leads are great fun to watch as they do all they can to out-act each other.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catching Up to the Best

With the year quickly drawing to a close, many critics have begun piecing together their annual Top 10 lists. While I enjoy viewing other people's lists, I always struggle for one of my own. There are simply too many films I've yet to see and won't get a chance to for quite some time. This isn't too surprising, though. I'm constantly playing the catch-up game when it comes to new releases. In fact, I feel like only now could I compile a decent Top 10 list for 2008. Living in a small-ish Oklahoma town certainly doesn't help, as the local theater's selections usually leave much to be desired. Oh well, I guess I'll resign myself to viewing most of the following films on DVD as my best of '09 list waits well into the next year.

Yet to see:
Avatar, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Invictus, Nine, Precious, A Serious Man, Up in the Air, The Road, Crazy Heart, The Cove, The Lovely Bones, The Messenger, (500) Days of Summer, A Single Man, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, Big Fan, The Princess and the Frog, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Star Trek, Moon, Watchmen, Bright Star, In the Loop, The Informant! ...and many more

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back to Basics: Some Thoughts on Animation

With Disney's release of The Princess and the Frog, their first 2D animated feature in quite some time, I've begun to feel a bit nostalgic. While I've always enjoyed the advent of CG films (I still count Toy Story as one of my favorite theater-going experiences), they've become a dime-a-dozen these days. Some of them look like glorified video games coming from studios in search of a quick buck.

I think that, ultimately, I appreciate traditional animation moreso than CG because it contains more of a personal quality. For example, there's less of a seperation from the artists in a hand-drawn medium, as opposed to the calculated pixels of CG. Especially in early 2D films, viewers can see the unique stylings of each animator on screen. While perhaps not the most polished of looks, the level of charm and character involved is simply unavoidable. Meanwhile, the latest CG films seem to be locked in a battle for who has the best looking water effects.

I realize that 2D films now incorporate many aspects of computer technology, but the results still possess a warmth to it - a familiarity on some level. Yes, each form contains strengths and weaknesses and both require great skill. But this holiday season, I'll be enjoying Disney's new take on an old style.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mini-Review: Silver Streak

Starring Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Jill Clayburgh, Patrick McGoohan
Directed by Arthur Hiller

A brief synopsis: Book editor George Caldwell takes a train ride to Chicago and becomes involved in a romance with a secretary named Hilly. Shortly thereafter his trip takes a turn for the worse when he witnesses a dead body falling from the train. Now George must get to the bottom of what he saw without getting killed himself.

In a way, Silver Streak represents one of those hard-to-categorize films. Sure, it’s definitely a comedy, but there’s more to it than that. The film contains a fair bit of action and intrigue, along with some romance for good measure. Actually, the word Hitchcockian comes to mind. Add to that the pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and you’ve got a unique mix of a film – one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The cast of this film really shines. Gene Wilder is as appealing as ever in the lead role of George. He’s charming, sympathetic, and you root for him to beat the odds that are stacked against him. This film was the first pairing of Wilder with Richard Pryor and it’s easy to see why they made three more films together afterwards. One of the highlights of the film involves Pryor disguising Wilder with shoe polish and teaching him to “pass” for black. Watching Wilder attempt to dance and jive talk had me laughing for quite awhile.

This film seems slightly underseen today, although I'm not sure why. I think it has something for everyone to enjoy. So seek out Silver Streak for a solid cinematic ride.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Film from P.T. Anderson Takes Shape

In my opinion, Paul Thomas Anderson represents one of the best directors working today, so any new project from him catches my attention. It looks like his latest film, currently untitled, is in development right now and the big news is that long-time collaborator Philip Seymour Hoffman will be on board to star. Set in the 1950's, the film focuses on a charismatic and intelligent man (Hoffman) who creates a popular faith-based organisation in America. The crux of the story will examine the relationship between Hoffman’s character and a 20-something drifter, who finds himself questioning the belief system.
I've enjoyed each one of Anderson's films thus far, so hopefully this will be no different. From the brief plot description above, it seems that Anderson will return to some of the themes he touched upon in his last effort, There Will Be Blood. There's definitely a great wealth of material for him to mine within those themes; and with Hoffman starring, this project should be one worth the wait.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mini-Review: Thieves' Highway

Recently, I took a trip into the world of film noir, courtesy of Thieves' Highway (1949). I was drawn to watch this film mostly due to its director, Jules Dassin. After viewing Riffifi (1955), another of his films, I became curious about the director's other work. Dassin helmed several films set in this dark, gritty genre and each one seems worthwhile. The story of Thieves' Highway centers on Nick Garcos (Richard Conte) as he returns home from his travels abroad. His pleasant homecoming becomes spoiled when he discovers his father has been crippled; the result of his dealings with a shady businessman, Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). Nick swears vengeance on behalf of his father and sets out to confront Figlia.

Thieves' Highway represents a very solid entry into the film noir genre. The performances from the leading actors serve the film well, especially Cobb as the heavy. He's great at parts that require intimidation along with some wormy charm. Cobb's performance here reminded me of his role in On the Waterfront (1954) where he famously played a mob boss. The story combines the essential elements of the genre, but, at the same time, there's more humanity on display than in most noirs. There's some social commentary on capitalism that stands out from most films of this era. (Perhaps this kind of material contributed to Dassin's trouble in the 1950's McCarthy era when he became blacklisted.) Only a couple of factors detract from an otherwise fine film - the major factor being the ending. Without giving anything away, I'll say that it felt off tonally from the rest of the film and could have had more of an impact. There's an element of it that feels tacked on and easy. In fact, Dassin did not approve of the ending; instead it was the result of studio interference. Otherwise, I really have no other complaints about this film. Thieves' Highway makes for some solid entertainment - with a bit more than meets the eye.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced

Awards season has officially arrived as various groups announce their picks for the year's best films. Among these groups, the Independent Spirit Awards represents one of the more prestigous ceremonies. For my money, they not only provide a hint of things to come for the Academy Awards, but also end up representing a superior line of nominees. Leading the way this year are Precious and The Last Station, each with five nominations.

Here are a few of the major categories:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
500 Days of Summer
Sin Nombre
The Last Station

The Coen Brothers for A Serious Man
Lee Daniels for Precious
Cary Fukunaga for Sin Nombre
James Grey for Two Lovers
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station

Maria Bello for Downloading Nancy
Helen Mirren for The Last Station
Gwentyth Paltrow for Two Lovers
Gabby Sidibe for Precious
Nisreen Faour for Amreeka

Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Colin Firth for A Single Man
Joseph Gordon Levitt for 500 Days Of Summer
Souleymane Sy Savane for Goodbye Solo
Adam Scott for The Vicious Kind

Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman for The Messenger
Michael Hoffman for The Last Station
Lee Toland Krieger for The Vicious Kind
Greg Mottola for Adventureland
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber for 500 Days of Summer

For a complete listing, visit