New Partnership

Monte Pictures was originally founded by Javier Serrano in 2007. Monte Pictures© is the subject to the founder’s passion: to establish a film company. At this time, Monte Pictures© runs independently through monthly newsletters composed by the founder and his editor-in-chief Julia Wieczorek.

Global Music Database®

© 2009 Monte Pictures. We acknowledge all photography, images, and icons are subjected to their original owners. Monte Pictures© was created to express, entertain and educate members of Monte Pictures© the variety of film selections available. We do not sell our newsletters nor accept donations of any kind; we are neither a corporation nor non-profit organization.

We’re happy to announce a new partnership with Global Music Database®, founded and run by music enthusiast Jay Lee, C.M.O (Chief Music Officer). Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Mr. Lee created Global Music Database in pursuit to become the world’s largest interactive music database. You may be asking, why the partnership? Mr. Lee’s explanation, on his website, defines our true mission: The new partnership & Collaboration basically encourages members of both websites to help each other grow by mutually submitting interesting posts and comments, thus creating new content and providing encouragement for new members to also participate. We encourage all readers to interact through Global Music Database® and Monte Pictures© by providing feedback, suggestions, and/or comments. You may contact Jay Lee through his email: or visit his website at

Javier Serrano, Founder (858) 774-6108 Julia Wieczorek, Executive Editor

This newsletter is dedicated to Julia, and you, the reader

Monte Pictures© Newsletter

Announcement … p. 2 The Oscars® … p. 4 The Hosts: Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin …. p. 5 Best Picture … p. 6 Best Director … p. 6 Best Actor … p. 7 Best Actress … p. 7 Best Supporting Actor … p. 8 Best Supporting Actress … p. 8 Best Original Screenplay … p. 9 Best Adapted Screenplay … p. 9 In Theaters … p. 10 Movie Reviews … p. 13 Entertainer of the Month: Diane Kruger … p. 18

Jeff Bridges

Christophe Waltz

the oscars


Sandra Bullock

Hosts: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin

There definitely was a lot of surprises at this year’s 82nd Academy Awards from Best Actor to Best Foreign Language Film . The most unusual setting began at the very start: all ten Best Actor and Actress nominees stood on stage bashfully for their introduction.

Best Picture
The Hurt Locker won the coveted Best Picture Oscar beating heavy favorite and all time box-office champ Avatar. One simply cannot compare the filmmaking crafts of James Cameron’s Avatar to Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. You just can’t! The question that many Avatar fans want answered is: should Avatar have at least won Best Picture? You be the judge: With an enormous budget, stellar cast, visually stunning special effects, and master film direction by James Cameron, definitely, Avatar should have won Best Picture. On the other hand, The Hurt Locker expresses something quite unusual, and what a woman’s direction of a war-type film is. The members of the Academy love war films, however Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan lost to Shakespeare in Love, and The Hurt Locker is perhaps a redemption from Spielberg’s Best Picture lost, especially that this $15 million dollar film beat an all time box-office champ.

For the past 81 years, the members of the Academy have acknowledged men with the honors of Best Director. However, this year’s 2010 Academy Awards beg to differ by honoring a woman, Kathryn Bigelow, the first female director to ever win. Kathryn Bigelow’s win proves that it’s definitely possible!

Jeff Bridge’s performance in Crazy Heart is a fine performance that deserved to wipe every possible award given in a year. His performance is honest and deeply moving, yet not at all sentimental. This is Jeff Bridges first Oscar win, and for someone who has a solid acting career: starred in 60 films to date, and expanding four decades; this is too surprising. Besides the three Oscar nominations previously, his performance in Crazy Heart is simply the best. He has a quality many of the greatest American actors share like James Stewart, Marlon Brando, and yes, George Clooney.

The question that most people want answered is: Did Sandra Bullock deserve to win an Oscar? Of course, and so did Meryl Streep, Gabourey Sidibe, Helen Mirren and Carey Mulligan – all four actresses gave a performance of their careers. Sandra Bullock’s performance in The Blind Side was riveting, inspiring and out of the ordinary from any other Sandra Bullock movie. Perhaps members of the Academy were awed by Sandra’s transformation from romantic-comedy to drama films. Sandra herself said at the start of her Oscar acceptance speech: “Did I really earn this or did I just wear you down?”

Supporting Actor
This was definitely the year of the villains. Christoph Waltz was a definite favorite for everyone, taking home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. His performance was as strong and vital as Javier Bardem’s performance in No Country for Old Men. In Inglorious Basterds Waltz played the evil, vindictive Hans Landa, the “Jew Hunter”. Critics and audiences alike raved about Waltz’s performance as he performed in four languages: English, French, German, and Italian. Waltz’s acceptance speech was delicate and sincere and he dedicated his Oscar to the cast, crew, and his mentor, Tarantino, for their support. Also nominated for Best Supporting Actor were Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Matt Damon, and Christopher Plummer.

Supporting Actress
Speaking of villains, Mary Jones wasn’t as evil as Waltz’s performance as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, but more open to being hated in Precious: based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Mo’Nique portrayed Mary, Precious’ abusive mother both physically and mentally, taking home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, praising the Academy for their virtue of not being political, and appreciating the performance. She was indeed another frontrunner among the Best Supporting Actress category. The other incredible nominees were Penelope Cruz, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker was the biggest winner of the night taking home 6 Oscars out of 9 nominations. Mark Boal, the screenwriter who risked his life in order to capture the true essence of war in Afghanistan, won Best Original Screenplay. The Hurt Locker is a groundbreaking achievement from a small independent film that ended up having a big impact on American society.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire was no slouch at the Oscars despite the Best Picture and Best Actress losses. Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher won Best Adapted Screenplay for his script, a mesmerizing and intelligent screenplay, the first African American to do so. In his acceptance speech he was so overcome and speechless he could barely speak.

The Bounty Hunter
Directed by Andy Tennant Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler

The idea that a film could blend romantic comedy and a bounty hunter movie is definitely unbelievable. With a weak script, sassy, yet gorgeous Jennifer Aniston, and the often lacking stand-up comedian Gerard Butler, The Bunter Hunter would be best to view on network cable. There is no chemistry between Aniston and Gerard, sort of like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in 2004, Gigli. This movie is simply forgettable.

Grade: D

Clash of the Titans
Directed by Louis Leterrier Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson

In this era where remakes are a commonplace, Clash of the Titans does not disappoint. If anyone has seen the original version of Clash of the Titans (1981), then one will admit the visual effects were not so impressing. With the 2010 version they certainly did improve the effects drastically, even more mind blowing than the original. Beyond the effects, the film portrays plot inaccuracies where it becomes a distraction from the original, thus making it difficult to explain each cause. Grade:



Coming Soon to theaters
Date Night
Directed by Shawn Levy Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey Date Night is definitely not a comedy classic, but it’s undeniably fun. The chemistry between Steve Carell and Tina Fey is irresistible! Just assume Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott from The Office and Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon from 30 Rock on a wildly-dramatic chase of their lives.

Grade: B
Opens May 14th

Opens April 30th

Opens May 7th

Opens May 27th

(Reviews in next issue)

Performances, overall, are a breath of fresh air. Mel Gibson’s role as Father Hess could be simply compared to his mesmerizing performance in Ransom, but in this case a priest struggling to regain his faith. Joaquin Phoenix exudes and controls his emotional feelings through some of the more difficult scenes. Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin both perfected their roles as brother and sister capitalized by fear from an unknown source. The sense of frightfulness in their faces illuminates gorgeously on screen.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan; 2002 Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin
There’s no argument that M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense may be his greatest achievement to date. Unfortunately, his next film Unbreakable was definitely more daring than perfect. Perhaps movie goers were expecting a little bit more in Unbreakable because of Shyamalan’s success from The Sixth Sense. For instance, he garnered Best Director and Best Picture nominations. However, what I found extraordinary in Unbreakable was the empowerment and essence of the performances from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Plus, Shyamalan takes on a story that is quite different from The Sixth Sense, directing and producing on a comic book. The film Signs, starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, is utterly gorgeous. Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, a former priest who recently lost his wife from a hit-and-run accident, who becomes intrigued after finding crop circles in his fields. His family, including his brother Merril (Phoenix), son Morgan (Rory Culkin) and daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin), believes the works of the crops are created by local neighbors. However, when more unexplainable events take place, and the news channels begin reporting crop circles appearing from around the world, they begin to believe something otherworldly could be to blame.

‘Shyamalan writes a perfect inclusion between humor and fear between the characters.’
After watching the film at least four dozen times, Shyamalan‘s trademarks are enacted perfectly – his use of the camera, his visual details and visual storytelling. However, the screenplay is the biggest achievement (Shyamalan received a reportedly $5 million from Disney to write Signs, making his screenplay the most expensive to date), Shyamalan writes a perfect inclusion between humor and fear between the characters. Realism is what Shyamalan has gained in high quantity because he is able to separate fact from fiction.

This strong adaptation from Witi Ihimaera’s novel, The Whale Rider, combines a coming-of-age narrative with Maori theology. The prologue depicts a very difficult birth resulting in death for both a young mother and her infant son. Fortunately, the twin sister survives.

Whale Rider
Directed by Nikki Caro; 2003 Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Cliff Curtis
We don’t often see mesmerizing child performances on screen. Why is that? Filmmakers must comply with regulations after regulations with child actors, since they’re allowed to work up to 6 hours a day. This makes it extremely difficult to cast a lead child in any motion pictures because of the constant struggles to relocate and recreate scenes under demanding time. However, we simply don’t want to exclude them out of the film industry because they are vital for commercial assets. For instance, the ensemble cast of the Harry Potter series has grossed over $5.4 billion worldwide. Unfortunately, child actors don’t get the recognition they deserve, however, when they do then success is enormous. For example, Anna Paquin, who stars in the television sitcom True Blood, won an Oscar at the age of 11 for her supporting role in The Piano. Haley Joel Osmont was 11 years old when he garnered an Oscar nomination in the supporting actor category for his role in The Sixth Sense. Other child stars like Dakota Fanning, I am Sam and Man on Fire, and Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine, have set the standard in Hollywood for aspiring young actors. However, what makes Keisha Castle-Hughes so unique? It’s simple! She had no acting experience whatsoever prior to the indie-film Whale Wider. Her performance went on to make Oscar history by becoming the youngest Best Actress Oscar nominee at the age of 13.

‘This simple story challenges the ideology that traditions may be broken.’
The family is descended from a long line of tribal leaders, which according to Maori tradition, the tribal founder Paikea rode to shore on the back of a whale. Pai (Castle-Hughes), the twin sister grows up, yet her grandfather, Koro rejects the idea of Pai as his female heir as chief because for thousand of years male heirs have succeeded. This simple story challenges the ideology that traditions may be broken. Writer/director Nikki Caro captures in the characters the true beauty of individuality, challenging traditions, and overcoming sexism in While Rider. The film illustrates a gorgeous landscape that incorporates sea photography, cultural fashion, and spoken Maori language.

The film’s protagonist, Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) is sent to Congo by her employer TraviCom to locate her lost finance, after his crew is found dead unexplainably. With the help of Dr. Peter Elliott (Dylan Walsh), a primatologist from UC Berkeley who devised a way to communicate with gorillas through sign language, and his female ape, Amy, Dr. Ross funds Dr. Elliot’s expedition to send Amy back to the African jungle.

‘Congo was meant to create a franchise of its very own on the popularity of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park ’
Directed by Frank Marshall the adventure aspects of the film still hold up extremely well especially the ensemble cast of actors, at the time, (Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Ernie Hudson, Tim Curry, and Grant Heslov), all work well together. What makes this film intriguing is the favor of the exotic location and Marshall insistence to use the continent of Africa as a character (however, don’t be fooled, the film’s location was principally shot in Costa Rica). Though, expertly staged and performed these are the aspects of the film that make it an enjoyable jungle adventure which many lesser films fail to accomplish.

Directed by Frank Marshall; 1995 Starring: Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh
An exuberant and fast-paced film, Congo was meant to create a franchise of its very own on the popularity of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, based on the bestselling author by Michael Crichton, without the mystery of giant dinosaurs roaming around this film; however, the filmmakers had to rely on the adventure of exotic Africa. Congo is definitely no Jurassic Park, as a matter of fact, Congo received several nominations from the Razzies Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Director, though the film is marketed as a killer apes adventure which was misunderstand and quickly forgotten up until its initial release.

Marcus Aurelius and Commodus are historical realities and they are portrayed ably by Richard Harris and Joaquin Phoenix respectively. Russell Crowe is a younger Robert De Niro in the lead as Maximus. Connie Neilsen portrays Lucilla, an old flame to Maximus and is as regal and elegant as a member of the Roman nobility should be. Oliver Reed is the slave-owner that Maximus is set to work for, and sadly passed away during the making of this film, but he will rest assured that he went out giving one of the best performances of his life.

Directed by Ridley Scott; 2000 Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson
Historical epic films are definitely the most challenging to create in Hollywood. A perfect example, Academy Award winning film Ben-Hur sets the standard of excellence in terms of recreating the period of Jesus Christ. Ben-Hur was an extremely expensive production, $15 million in 1959, requiring nearly 300 sets which scattered 340 acres, nearly tens of thousands of costumes, one million props, and 15,000 extras. Ben-Hur went on to win eleven Academy Awards becoming the most successful and recognized film of all time. Ridley Scott’s Gladiator follows the tradition of historical epic films, at its best. There’s always the balance between accuracy and entertainment. For instance, Ben-Hur focused on accuracy rather than Gladiator, which focused on entertainment. However, Gladiator does illuminate its momentum with special effects, action sequences, production sets, costumes, languages, and of course, performances. Russell Crowe manages to put in a worthy Oscar-winning performance combining masculine physicality and sensitivity, however supported by talented, and Oscar nominated, Joaquin Phoenix, who portrays Commodus.

‘Crowe gets many opportunities to play the role that he is associated with, the action hero.’
Essentially though Gladiator is an action movie, and there is plenty of that. From the opening battle scene onwards the action hardly lets up. Crowe gets many opportunities to play the role that he is associated with, the action hero. The fights are hard hitting and hypnotic, the choreography makes each one unique, and the cinematography is stunning. Most of the backdrops, especially when the story moves to Rome are created through Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). Lastly, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is also a fantastic and stirring classical undertaking, worth owning in its own right.

Diane Kruger
This young, talented actress gained worldwide recognition by starring in several blockbuster films such as Troy, National Treasure, and recently, Inglorious Basterds. Diane Kruger, born Diane Heidkruger in Algermissen, Germany, aspired to become a ballerina and successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School in London. Unfortunately, a permanent injury dashed her ballet career, thus she returned home where she became a successful model in Germany and France in the early 90’s. However, what makes Diane Kruger stand out in the field of other aspiring actresses? Her ability to master three languages: German, French, and English, and definitely act in all three (see: English, National Treasure; French, Joyeux Noël; German, Inglorious Basterds). Even though she’s only 33 years of age, we will definitely see more of Diane Kruger to come. Inglorious Basterds

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