The last time Melissa Leo was nominated for an Academy Award, in 2009 for the blue-collar drama Frozen River, she was perhaps a sentimental favorite among critics but a decided longshot to beat out Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and eventual winner Kate Winslet.
Anything could happen between now and February’s Oscar telecast, but Leo, 50, is already earning accolades for her supporting role in The Fighter, David O. Russell’s biography of hard-knocks Lowell, Mass., brawler Micky Ward. (The San Francisco Film Critics Circle ranked her nuanced portrayal of a domineering mother as among the year’s best.)
The fifth San Francisco International Animation Festival kicks off tonight at the Embarcadero with Here Comes the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized, a colorfully eccentric interpretation (by four different artists) of the acclaimed 2009 album by indie-rock stalwarts The Decemberists. The festivities wind to a close Sunday with Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, Brent Green's moving tribute to a Kentucky hardware-store clerk who, during the 1970s, built a crazy-quilt house to cure his wife's cancer. Elsewhere:
Never mind the barely functional story line that provides a flimsy backdrop for Will Ferrell’s improvised riffs and Mark Wahlberg’s empty-headed rants in The Other Guys, the latest collaboration from Ferrell and Adam McKay.
Since teaming up after coinciding runs on Saturday Night Live – Ferrell as the show’s most charismatic star, McKay as its head writer – they have lampooned TV talking heads in 2004’s Anchorman and asinine adrenaline junkies in 2006’s Talladega Nights. Here, they target buddy-cop clichés, among them two rock-star detectives straight out of Michael Bay’s playbook.
Max Payne isn’t about to win any popularity contests. He’s a brooding, self-centered avenger with a badge, obsessively working a single cold case – the murder of his wife and child. He greets the friendly advances of a new co-worker with an icy stare. And he’s lousy at parties.
Payne came into existence as the star of a bestselling series of video games, and he is suitably fleshed out here by Mark Wahlberg, who flashes his menacing scowl as often as he lays waste to a gang of tattooed thugs. Though he is joined from time to time by Mila Kunis, on hand as a leather-clad Russian assassin, Max Payne is mostly a one-man show, and a rather confusing one at that.