San Diego, Here I Come! Comic-Con 2008

Last year, I had the time of my life at Sundance. This year, I am checking another pop culture experience off of my wish list. I just registered for a 4-day pass to Comic-Con 2008, which is taking place in July down in San Diego.

For those who aren’t giant geeks, allow me to attempt to paint a picture of Comic-Con for you. Imagine a huge convention center. Now picture thousands of people roaming row after row full of booths and vendors…promoting new comic books, unveiling new superhero toys, etc. But above and beyond that, there are panel discussions that everyone clamors to attend, because previously unreleased information about and footage from certain shows and films in progress are unveiled (panelists in prior years have included Kevin Smith and the producers and casts of Lost and Heroes). Dreamy, right?

Now, I have no idea how many women attend this thing. I’ve seen photos of both women and men in costume, but I will not be going that route. If anything, I’ll be the boring girl blogging in the corner with eyes open wide, taking it all with a smile and a laptop.

So I have several months to prepare, network and get some official JOpinionated swag made to dole out to new friends and fellow Lost fans. Are you or anyone you know going? If so, drop me a line so we can meet up!

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What’s In a Name? Bond & Indiana Jones Don’t Smell as Sweet

Quantum of Solace. That is the title of the next 007 film. I liked it better when it was simply Bond 22. I’m sure the film will kick ass, much like Casino Royale did. So I suppose a questionably lame title will suffice.

And then there is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Need I say more? See for yourselves.

Then again, I remember the hoopla and ridicule when two of the ‘new’ Star Wars sequels were named The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Silly titles certainly had no effect on their record-breaking grosses.

I’m sure that both the new Indy and the new Bond films will also rake it in this year, and I admit that I will be among the masses clamoring for tickets to both when they open.

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Psst…take a look.

I feel like I’m having an affair. As much as I love this site, I am cheating on it because I have issues with the pimp host (GoDaddy). So I am trying out an entirely new one, complemented by a logo redesign. AND, the new location is free, which is quite appealing.

What do you think? Feel free to leave comments either here or there. That’s right, I’m asking you to take sides in my virtual divorce.

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I received a surprising number of emails, calls and IM’s about Heath Ledger’s death immediately after the news broke early this afternoon. I suppose that as someone who writes about the entertainment industry, people might be interested in my response. But I do not usually address celebrity life or gossip, and I try not to fuel general speculation (at least on paper, here in this space). However, tonight I feel compelled to talk about Heath Ledger. Very compelled.

There have been very few public figures in my lifetime whose deaths have affected me to the point of actual tears. River Phoenix and Princess Diana were the only two, until now. Look, we are all strongly influenced by people that we know and don’t know for a variety of reasons and at different stages in our lives.

Rather than discuss the details surrounding Ledger’s death earlier today, as hundreds of other media outlets and pop culture blogs are right now, I have decided to focus on how I’d like to remember him. Just like above. Brokeback Mountain is one of my favorite films of all time, and that photo is perfect. It represents one of the only moments of levity that his character experiences throughout the entire movie, and also captures that time in Ledger’s own life when his star was on the rise.

I haven’t seen the recently released I’m Not There, in which Ledger is one of six actors who represent the stages of Bob Dylan’s life (Cate Blanchett was just nominated for her version). But here are my top Heath Ledger films, in order:

  • The groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain, as Jake Gyllenhaal’s tormented, closeted cowboy
  • The guilty pleasure teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You, with Julia Stiles
  • The 70′s skateboarding docu-drama Lords of Dogtown, with Emile Hirsch
  • The gritty Monster’s Ball, as Billy Bob Thornton’s son

Heath Ledger was a very talented man, and he was also a son, a brother and a father. His death at age 28 was premature and shocking. He seemed to respect his craft and his body work reflects a great career. I will always appreciate his brave choices on the big screen, as well as his desire to retain privacy in a world where uninvited paparazzi inevitably accompany the spotlight.

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Here are the 2008 Oscar nominations in the major categories, followed by my quick (j)opinions.

Actor in a leading role

George Clooney (Michael Clayton)

Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)

Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah)

Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Actor in a supporting role

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James…)

Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)

Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)

Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

Actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)

Julie Christie (Away from Her)

Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)

Laura Linney (The Savages)

Ellen Page (Juno)

Actress in a supporting role

Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)

Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)

Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)

Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Best animated feature film 



Surf’s Up


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel)

Juno (Jason Reitman)

Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)

No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Original score


The Kite Runner

Michael Clayton


3:10 to Yuma

Original song

“Falling Slowly” (Once)

“Happy Working Song” (Enchanted)

“Raise It Up” (August Rush)

“So Close” (Enchanted)

“That’s How You Know” (Enchanted)

Best Picture



Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

Adapted Screenplay

Atonement (Christopher Hampton)

Away from Her (Sarah Polley)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Ronald Harwood)

No Country for Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen)

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Original Screenplay

Juno (Diablo Cody)

Lars and the Real Girl (Nancy Oliver)

Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)

Ratatouille (Brad Bird)

The Savages (Tamara Jenkins

Usually I am quite grumpy when these are revealed, as personal favorites are oft overlooked. However, I am more than satisfied with the following:

In my humble opinion, this is the toughest category to choose from, and the most deserving group of actors. Though I thought that Philip Seymour-Hoffman was the best part about Charlie Wilson’s War, I don’t think this is the role that will add another golden statue to his collection.  Comic relief isn’t usually rewarded by the Academy. Although…he might win based on his stellar work in two additional films this year (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead and The Savages).  As I mentioned in my last post, Hal Holbrook was mesmerizing in Into the Wild. I wasn’t emotionally connected to the journey of the lead character until he interacted with Holbrook. Sad, beautiful and very effective. Of course, Javier Bardem might win based on his eyes and that haircut alone; I haven’t seen No Country For Old Men yet, but just watching Bardem in the trailer creeps me out.

That I love her is no secret. That she is nominated for both Lead Actress and Supporting Actress is quite impressive, but not shocking. If she wins for either Elizabeth: The Golden Age or I’m Not There, it would be the second time in a row that she is recognized for her interpretation of someone famous (Kathryn Hepburn in The Aviator, Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth, Bob Dylan in I’m Not There). She is golden…and I can’t wait to see her as the ‘bad guy’ in the new Indiana Jones movie!

It is very encouraging to see that 4 of the 10 nominations for Best Screenplay (both adapted and original) were for women, and that two of them are multi-hyphenates (Sarah Polley and Tamara Jenkins both wrote and directed their films).

Holy sh*t, this is fantastic! I totally believe that Diablo Cody deserves the recognition for her refreshing Original Screenplay. Earlier this month in a review of the film I mentioned that Jason Reitman’s work behind the camera should not be overlooked….and voila!  Reitman gets his very first Academy Award nomination and his movie gets a Best Picture nod. So sweet. And then there is Ellen Page for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Amazing. Fitting. I love it.


Like Blanchett, I enjoy just about everything she does. I’ve been hearing buzz about Linney’s performance in The Savages since I tried to get tickets to it at Sundance a year ago. Good for her. One of these days she’ll join the ranks of the rare few who have actually earned Academy Awards. And I have to say, of all of my predictions from October, I am proud that this one became a reality.

I liked this film and am pleasantly surprised by the number of nominations. I definitely think that Wilkinson and Swinton deserve their Supporting nods, and writer/director Tony Gilroy was also justly rewarded for his dual roles.

Yes! I was worried that because this little indie came out earlier in 2007, it might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Thankfully, I was wrong and it earned a nod for Original Song. And I am thrilled for actors/singers/songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The soundtrack has earned a place in my Top 5 of all time. Here is my post about Once from last summer.

I don’t usually pay much attention to this category, but composer Michael Giacchino is nominated for scoring Ratatouille. I love his music from The Incredibles and (obviously) Lost.

But of course, there were some disappointments:

Wow, talk about a shut-out. While Ruby Dee was nominated for Best Supporting Actress (in what must be the annual sentimental vote; I was not particularly stirred by her brief appearance), I am quite surprised that Denzel and director Ridley Scott are not among the nominees this year.

Sean Penn was robbed; he should have earned nods for Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. And frankly, THREE original song nominations for Enchanted seems excessive, especially given that Eddie Vedder was ignored for his original music on the Into the Wild soundtrack.

Not to take anything away from the others in the Best Actress category, but Jolie was absolutely stunning in A Mighty Heart. Hers was one of the more memorable performances from 2007, and she truly deserved a nomination.

Yes, he wrestled and killed two thugs while completely naked. But one scene does not a movie make, nor does it deserve a Best Actor nod. Eastern Promises was disappointing. End of story.


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