Movie: The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Director/Studio: Andrew Dominik / Warner Bros.
10 Word Review: Overlong, but packed with great performances; best cinematography in years.
Best Thing About It: Those visuals, holy god. Roger Deakins has long been my favorite cinematographer in the business, and his work on Jesse James is probably the best he's ever done. It's not just the pretty widescreen shots of contemplative wheat fields you see on the posters, either. The best shots come under cover of darkness, with characters emerging from or retreating into the shadows.
Worst Thing About It: It's still too long -- sorry to sound like a dilettante, but three hours is far too long to spend contemplating things, even if you're contemplating the western reimagined as a commentary on celebrity. Also: three hours and you still can't find enough story for Mary-Louise Parker and Zooey Deschanel? Come on.
Best Performance: My fingers are crossed that Casey Affleck will end up scoring the Oscar nomination he's hovering around this year, even though it will be for Best Supporting Actor when he's clearly a lead. I'm still not 100% used to this idea of Casey Affleck as a serious, awardable actor, but that's two straight movies (this and Gone Baby Gone) where he's been fabulous.
Oscar Prospects: Both Affleck and Deakins look to be in decent shape for nominations, but since the idea of a film's two most worthy aspects being recognized seems doomed to failure, we'll have to cross our fingers. I suppose Andrew Dominik stands a long shot at a Best Director nomination, but there's a lot of competition in that field.