Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD

"Great post and comments. Yes, Streep had to navigate the rough waters of being in her 40's! I do think she smashed through the glass ceiling for women since she persevered and then became an even bigger star in her 50's." - Sister Rona

"One of my favourite movies from my teen years - I'm shocked at how long ago this was released. It was Meryl that sold this movie for me and is the reason I saw it. At the time, and I still feel this way, she is the reason to watch and believe this film." -Filmboymichael

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What did you see this weekend?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continued to sell well (and should easily surpass Rise's gross) but the only box office story of much interest this weekend is Boyhood's incredible success at only 33 locations.  Though IFC Films almost never campaigns for Oscar nominations in any meaningful way, there are some whisperings that the response to Boyhood may change that. We'll see.

Raher than a top ten chart let's look at wide and platforming.  

01 DAWN OF PLANET OF APES $36 (cum. $138.9) Review
02 THE PURGE: ANARCHY $28.3 *new*
03 PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE $18 *new* 
04 SEX TAPE $15 *new*
05 TRANSF4RMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $10 (cum. $227.1)

01 BOYHOOD $1.1 (cum. $1.8) Review
02 WISH I WAS HERE $.4 *new*
03 OBVIOUS CHILD $.1 (cum. $2.6) Review
04 IDA $.1 (cum. $3.3) Capsule
05 BELLE $.1 (cum. $10.4) Capsule

In other news Chef, Jon Favreau's 'pulling in all his favors' all-star comedy crossed $25 million in its 11th week. The movie, a light sweet comedy about a chef whose career falls apart forcing him to reevaluate his choices, has been a true word of mouth hit in limited release. Almost by accident I saw it yesterday with a friend and her family who had decided they wanted to see a movie, any movie, at the last minute last night on our beach weekend. It was the perfect kind of casual entertainment for a group. Of course to enjoy its sweet father/son drama, it's shameless twitter-ad placements, and the enjoyable camaraderie of the stars, I had to turn off my inward groaning that not only did portly Jon Favreau have Scarlett Johansson as a love interest but his other love interest was Sofia Vergara - realism unbounded! (And worse still neither of them existed as people but to prop up his character arc towards becoming a better man.) But I guess when you write and direct and star and produce your own picture you can pretend that the world's most voluptous women would be totally into your mopey ass and exist only to meet your emotional needs when you crash. 


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Reader Comments (26)

The Fault in Our Stars. It was better than I thought it would be but really lost me in the second half (Anne Frank house, really???). Plus the ending doesn't really make sense (out of character/unnecessary). I was with it for the first half, despite never really buying the male lead. But then his crying face turned into a "I'm trying really hard to cry/look like a platypus" face so that took me out of it.

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

I don't see anything unrealistic about Favreau having Scarlett and Sofia as his love interests.

I have Daniel Craig, Rupert Penry-Jones and Alfie Thomas as my lovers and it works just fine.

Of course, that's an imaginary world.......

Nice, dishy (bitchy) review Nat. You should do that more often.

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I finally caught up with 'Enemy' and 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'.

I thought the first was easily one of the very best of the year, while I'm in love with Budapest's aesthetic but not really its story.

Seeing 'Apes' on Tuesday with husband and parents.

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNicolas Mancuso

This week I saw Borgman, which is pretty wild, Howards End for the first time, which
was a satisfying box to check off my list, and I just got home from a screening of Temple of Doom, which I hadn't seen since I was a wee Michael.
I've got Ida, Begin Again and Snowpiercer next on my docket, and I've gotta say this summer is so generous with limited releases and indie stuff, I haven't seen a big Hollywood movie since Captain America at the beginning of the summer. There've been too many other film priorities.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Mike in Canada, how are you seeing these catalog titles theatrically?

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Watched a lot of blind-spots.

The Housemaid (original Korean version), Grand Illusion, King & Country, and Trouble in Paradise.

Also saw Love With a Proper Stranger in observance of Natalie Wood's birthday. Why wasn't Steve McQueen in more rom-coms let alone one- or just a straight drama- with Natalie Wood?!?!?!? Anyway, the movie is solid if totally of its time but the co-leads chemistry is just something special.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Weekend was too beautiful to go to the movies or stay in. But late tonight, Victor Victoria, because it was the only James Garner movie I had on DVD, and I already miss him.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Pre-weekend I saw The Purge: Anarchy (sliced me up) and Boyhood (not sliced bread). During the actual weekend, I saw Kingdom of Heaven (sliced up Christians) this past afternoon because it was the best movie on TV at the time.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I watched The Great Beauty for the fifth time in nine months. When I saw it the first time, I never realised I would keep returning to it, but it is so fascinating, and gets better with each viewing.

I'd like to see Boyhood. I have this week off work, so should be able to see it.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I watched 22 Jump Street. The movie is funny in an unsurprising manner, you laugh exactly when they wanted you to. But the closing credits is the best I've seen in a while.

I also wanted to watch The Fault in Our Stars, but my boyfriend can't stand teen love story + depressing cancer drama (he's still bringing up the fact that I tricked him into watching 50/50 up to today), so he lobbied to watch a movie called The Anomaly, which doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. It stars Noel Clarke which I am not familiar with and a hot Ian Somerhalder. It's kind of like Source Code with the plot line of someone's mind projecting to another body, except that Source Code is so much more mesmerizing and less confusing.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

3rtful: I'm in Montreal, and we have a couple of really good rep houses that show older movies - often on film! One of them has really picked it up of late - it's doing Taxi Driver, Dr. Strangelove and The Way We Were next week!
(Full disclosure: Howards End was a DVD rental, though.)

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I caught a couple of films at NZIFF.

Black Coal, Thin Ice - unfortunately, they had the incorrect version and thus there were no subtitles. Due to my lack of Mandarin I was a little lost but it all looked brilliant, the lighting especially.

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter - my new favourite film of the year so far. Rinko Kikuchi is incredible, the film is funny, dark and poignant. The score and sound design were gorgeous. The whole movie felt so visceral.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNico

I saw Life Itself. I really enjoyed it, but I've been a huge Ebert fan for most of my life, so i expected I would. I didn't really learn anything new from it, though. I thought I'd cry all the way through it, but it wasn't really that sad, mainly because Ebert had such a matter-of-fact view of his illness and death. I will watch it again when it ventures to CNN or Netflix in a few months.

I also caught up with Under the Skin, which I need to unpack a lot more, but I think I liked it. Visually stunning, though. And as I posted before, I watched A Touch of Class and thought it was painful - one of the worst best picture nominees I've seen. Unbelievable they went with that over The Way We Were and Paper Moon.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I saw 'Under the Skin' on Redbox. Definitely a great film, felt so Kubricky. The surreal trap that ScarJo lays for her male victims in the black room felt too surreal at first in the context of the movie, but I got used to it. I could stand to watch this again. The ending was surprising, sad and perfect all at once. After his previous movies, the director can now clearly be described as "gifted" :-)

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlea

I saw SEX TAPE, was surprised at the actual amount of sex and in this. I could easily see how this could've been cut down from NC 17!

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Boyhood AND Under the Skin. Best movie-weekend in a long time!

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I loved 'Boyhood', but found 'Under the Skin' to be a fifth-rate art-house film--the kind that people praise when they haven't seen any other art-house films.

Seriously, why do people love this movie? It's punishing to watch, and Scar Jo basically rides around in a car for half of the movie. I'll take the entertaining 'Holy Motors' over something like this any day.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I finally saw Blue is the Warmest Color...Adele and Lea were incredible and gorgeous (and totally snubbed by Oscar)...the cafe scene at the end was magnificent. Very breezily paced for a three hour film. The big sex scene was over-the-top and unintentionally comical.

I know most would say this is not the kind of film the Academy would go for...and I'm not sure if screeners went out to the academy...but why not put together a highlights reel for the actors? If the distributor knows the Academy won't watch a three hour film, a least put a series of clips together highlighting the actors work, so they can a least secure nominations for them...Lea and Adele were more than worthy. I love Meryl, but I would have taken her out just to put Adele in Best Actress.

So glad Adele is in Sean Penn's next film...she's also doing an action film with Idris Elba!

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMB76

I saw Begin Again and was really surprised by it, mainly because with all the recent "there-are-not-enough-strong-female-roles" discussions everywhere, how come Keira's part has not been lauded as a huge step forward in that direction. Here is an independent, morally and ethically strong woman who does not need a man to define herself nor her talents. I never approached the movie as a rom-com, but as a character-driven story in which behavior was not what the audience expected or needed, but what the human beings depicted in the story needed in order to be true to who they are and their wants. So, here is to Keira, who delivered an original portrayal of a woman, which for me was one of the best female characters of the year.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Goodbar

Saw UNDER THE SKIN but kept it at that as it was WAY too nice to be cooped up indoors this weekend. That said, I've decided to see BOYHOOD tomorrow after work, rain or shine or zombie apocalypse!

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I saw Begin Again and Under The Skin and was put to sleep by both. Thank God for Snowpiercer on VOD as I missed it in theaters ( if it really played here ) and I really loved it. That one I should have seen on the big screen.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

Chef - amiable and succeeds brilliantly in rendering the culinary world, but is held back by some unnecessary indulgences, such as an ending that finds the perfect little emotional, optimistic point to end, and then throws the protagonist a few unnecessary additional wins that don't especially feel earned.

Begin Again - By comparison, Begin Again finds an ending that it optimistic but at the same time stops short of conforming to all expectations, and has a bit of a wistful note (though it should be noted, in fairness, that in the process of subverting expectations regarding the seemingly inevitable romantic entanglement of the leads, it also does broadly the same thing as Chef in throwing the male lead back together with his ex-wife at the end even though the movie wasn't really about that; both movies almost seem to treat the men reconnecting with their kids as also reconnecting with their spouses by proxy). Terrific soundtrack that I will definitely buy, and as a Keira Knightley fan, it's lovely to see her in a lighter role for the first time in a while. I also quite liked Hailee Steinfeld; I believe this is the first movie I've seen her in since True Grit.

The Immigrant - Superb, from start to finish. It's amazing how much Gray was able to do with $16 million; this looks better than many movies that cost much more than that. Indeed, the atmosphere of old New York is conjured with a skill I seldom see in the cinema, and considering how many movies are set in past New York, that's saying something (it's probably the most-filmed city in the world). Marion Cotillard gives one of her best performances, and Phoenix and Renner are good too (the latter playing rather against his usual type). The film has a very Catholic feel (even beyond the protagonist being Polish Catholic).

Sense and Sensibility - I don't think there's a more versatile director than Ang Lee currently working. I've loved pretty much everything he's done, apart from The Ice Storm (which sucked), and this is one of his best. I'd love to get this on Blu-ray, as I imagine it would look stunning; Criterion or whoever should get on that.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

@Sean C.

Criterion already did.

Ang Lee is overrated. Asian man directs movies about white people and he's so special.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I saw only two movies - My Straight Son at Lincoln Center's Latin Beats program (I liked it, it has a vibrant, pleasantly Almodovar-lite vibe), and Goodbye First Love on Netflix (nifty episodic coming of age tale tracing ten years in a French teenage girl's life) - while catching up on TV (still slowly chipping away at Masters of Sex season one) and enjoying the lovely weather.

I'm very excited to see The Immigrants pop up on Netflix. I'm going to try to watch that this week.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I also quite liked the two movies of his about Asian people that I've seen.

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I saw" Dawn of Planet of the Apes" which is good but not as interesting as "Rise" I really missed James Franco and the dreadful "The Canyons" how can a film with so much nudity, sex and depravity be so dull La Lohan was ok- but they really needed a real actor in the James Deen role- yes James Franco- who I'm sure would have been a willing participant in the bi sexual orgy...

July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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