Also screening this week for year-end awards consideration were Peter Jackson's big-budget The Lovely Bones (great acting but too big-budgeted), Rob Marshall's Fellini-based musical Nine (the amazing cast spices up some rather dull songs), Clint Eastwood's Nelson Mandela drama Invictus (gripping and astoundingly inspirational), Meryl Streep in the romantic-triangle comedy It's Complicated (enjoyably funny but nothing special) and Disney's hand-drawn The Princess and the Frog (gloriously beautiful animation and an engaging, simple story). In addition, we had the non-contending Hugh Grant in the rather clunky rom-com Did You Hear About the Morgans? and Chris Pine in the corny post-apocalyptic thriller Carriers.
This coming week sees the final puzzle pieces in the awards season as I get ready to vote for the London Critics' Circle Film Awards (deadline Friday) and the Online Film Critics Society Awards (in two weeks). Contenders ready? Here come James Cameron's Avatar, Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo and the acclaimed British docs Afghan Star and Mugabe and the White African, among several other things I'll catch up with on screener discs. I also have a screening of the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor rom-com (based on a true story) I Love You Phillip Morris and something called Firewall.