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Saturday
Aug012015

Yes No Maybe So: "Room" and "Spotlight"

We have heard your complaints about not featuring the Room trailer just yet. It was not from lack of love for Brie Larson (who improves every single movie she's in) as you'll remember we were among her greatest cheerleaders for a Best Actress bid for Short Term 12. It was merely lack of time. But do you think she'll get closer to the Best Actress lineup this year?

The Room trailer follows this poster along with our Yes No Maybe So commentary. That plus the new Tom McCarthy film Spotlight, and its all-star cast, which is also tipped as 'Oscar bound' or at least testing very very well...

ROOM

yes - Beautiful implies a daringly sustained mood of both creepy menace and loving emotional bonds. The inside/outside hallucinatory-ness of it looks compelling. The way Brie says "room" sets such a stage. Plus there's Brie Larson with a child actor and she already proved in Short Term 12 that she was absolutely great with them. 

no - Is this trailer showing us the ending? Not necessary.

maybe so -though it's based on a novel it looks visual enough to be a cinematic experience that stands on its on (which is quite a trick to pull off if you've got mostly just one small set. But if you've read the book, speak up. I'd love to hear what you thought of it.  

 

SPOTLIGHT

I know there are things you cannot tell me. But also know there's a story here."

yes - that opening line is kinda perfect for introducing a movie story, true or otherwise, no? Quick flashes to so many good actors: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Brian D'Arcy James, Billy Crudup, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Jamey Sheridan, Len Cariou, and... very nice to see Liev Schrieber get a chance to do something outside of Ray Donovan mode. McCarthy's past filmography (Win Win, The Station Agent, The Visitor) mostly suggests that every film of his is worth seeing. 

no - ...but then there was The Cobbler which was absolutely eviscerated by those who saw it. Can he recover quickly from that Adam Sandler stumble?

Confession: I'm actually not a big fan of Mark Ruffalo in shouting crusader mode onscreen. Offscreen I like him like that just fine. Stop the frakking! But onscreen it seems to coarsen his performances are bit. His best work is always with more intimate quiet characters (his two best performances: The Kids Are All Right and You Can Count On Me

maybe so - however exciting the story could be scene for scene, exposé stories about horrific behavior don't have room for a lot of nuance since they're Good vs. Evil so they risk feeling cookie-cutter coddling. Feel Good in the Sense that you can cheer on the good guys and hiss at the villains and then never think about the movie again. But that rarely makes for great movies outside of more stylized genres that can have playful fun with "types" like Action films and such. So the actors will really need to bring every bit of nuance and charisma and chemistry to make it impactful. 

THREE QUESTIONS TO GO:

 

  1. When they do one of these title cards are you always sad for the people who don't get the awards stamps by their names? (Also: How does Billy Crudup not even warrant billing on this card? Has his star fallen that hard?)
  2. How pissed are you that Michael Keaton doesn't get "WINNER" by his name and has to settle for "NOMINEE"
  3. Are you a Yes No or Maybe So on these two pictures?

 

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Reader Comments (28)

One of the most frequent complaints about the Room trailer is that it gives away too much. IT DOESN'T. They get out of Room at the halfway point and the second half focuses on their struggle to reconnect with the world after their captivity.

August 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterConMan

The trailer is really only showing what should be 30-45 minutes of the movie.

August 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'm a big fan of the book. It's written completely in Jack's point of view, including his limited vocabulary. The movie is going to need a strong point of view to be as effective and the trailer looks very promising on that end. Brie Larson is just flawlessly cast. In the book, Ma is written only as Jack sees and understands her, so there's moments that you get implications that Jack doesn't or you're left to infer quite a bit as a reader.

Also, Joan Allen could register if they don't cut too much from her character.

August 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I am VERY excited for Room (although I'm not as high on Brie Larson in this role as you all), and while it may have been more compelling to have the trailer only show scenes from the part of the book that takes place in Room, it would be VERY off-putting in many ways. But that's really only a third to a half of the book anyway. And a lot of what happens when they break out of Room is actually more interesting than what happens in it in many ways; it's sort of like the dramatic inverse of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - we don't hear a lot of the stories of what happens to these kinds of kidnap victims after they're out in the world. That said, this trailer leans heavy on the inspirational/feel-good side of things, and the book is MUCH more complicated than that, so that's my big concern.

I am DEFINITELY a YES for Spotlight after that trailer. I love these kinds of stories and that cast is just stellar. And it does always make me feel bad for the non-Awardees/Nominees in the cast (especially when it's someone like Rachel McAdams who really should have gotten a nomination for Mean Girls... at least a Globe one). But whenever I don't see a name like Billy Crudup's in the cast card I usually assume they have a smaller part than I imagined.

August 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Spotlight looks iffy but glad you pointed out Liev. He is super underrated. Brie was brilliant in Short Term 12, hope she proves she is not a one hit wonder with this.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Anybody giving Brie Larson lead roles after her work in Short Term 12 makes me happy. The film looks great and while I hadn't responded to Lenny Abrahamson before last year's Frank I trust Emma Donohue to adapt her novel similar to Gillian Flynn last year because really authors of good novels always do the best job at adapting because they have the best understanding for the text. The trailer had to give away they get out because it happens early and if they hadn't it would make the film hard to sell only showing them in the room.

Spotlight didn't do much for me and while I've liked these actors in the past this film just does nothing for me.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

The premise and the imagery makes "Room" a yes for me but the trailer felt a little... incomplete? I don't know. Maybe I'm just used to trailers give up more details. Either way, I'll definitely see it. As for "Spotlight"; I'm a maybe. It certainly has a topic worth delving into - and I like quite a few of the actors involved - but it looks like it could be too on-the-nose; and I'm also getting a State Of Play vibe from the whole thing.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

RE: your questions

1. I feel;

a) bad if all of the ensemble got awards stamps except for only one actor/actress without it.
b) weird if some got 'globe' stamps while the others got 'oscar' stamps in the same title card (see 'Sicario'). I mean, consistency, c'mon.

and Yes, Billy Crudup star power is almost non-existent at this point (not to dig at his acting ability or anything).

2. FURIOUSLY.

3. Yes for both films. Big yes for Spotlight. I loved all Tom McCarthy films (haven't seen The Cobbler). This one seems different from his usual feel-good films so I'm very curious.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJija

"How pissed are you that Michael Keaton doesn't get "WINNER" by his name and has to settle for "NOMINEE""

Not at all. I don't find him extraordinary in any way shape or form. I'm most excited for Liev here, surprisingly. Something fresh from him outside of the, as you say, Ray Donovan mode, will be much appreciated.

ROOM looks great. Did you deliberately pair these two films about child abuse? These are gonna be a rough double feature!

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Ruffalo is always fantastic. His warmth shines through no matter what. He's the one I'm excited about in that ensemble.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

That frame of actor credits from Spotlight is hilarious. The sheer amount of agent-ing that surely produced that much obfuscation about who is the lead, or a lead. I think if you draw lines between all their names it makes Cassiopeia.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

"...and (Academy Award® nominee) Stanley Tucci."

The all-important "and" credit.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Aside on those credit rundowns of actor credits next to awards; the Affleck one always bug me. It will say "Academy Award Winner" next to his name when he's acting in a film. He won for writing, not acting. The movie lawmakers need to ban this. Ban I say!

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Zitzelman

The consistency others point out bother me a lot less. In fact, I would be ok if it said "Emmy Nominee John Slattery" (and Liev Schreiber too I guess).

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkin

Oh, boy, here we go...

(1) I know the Academy Award tag is supposed to lend credibility and gravitas to the title cards, but it does seem to draw more attention to the actors who *haven't* been Oscar-nominated than to those who have. That said, the ancillary award listing possibilities for each of the non-Oscared actors is deliciously plentiful: BAFTA/People's Choice nominee or MTV Movie Award/ShoWest/Teen Choice Award winner Rachel McAdams; Critics Choice/Emmy/Prism Award nominee or SAG Award winner John Slattery; and, my favorite, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Film Award nominee Liev Schreiber. (Yes, I realize he's won a Tony and has been Emmy and Golden Globe nominated, too, but that would be hilariously awesome to see on a title card.

(2) Keaton absolutely should've won an Oscar for Birdman. (I wonder if his winning one would've catapulted his name to the top of the title card sequence?)

(3) Room looks very good, and I'm a qualified yes on Spotlight. (I was rewatching The Station Agent last week, and it really is a gem of a little picture. Hopefully Spotlight will hew more to that film than The Cobbler, which...oof!)

P.S. Affleck actually won an Oscar for both writing (Good Will Hunting) and producing (Argo). At least you don't see (yet) two-time Academy Award winner!

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Question: Would Tucci have been put higher on the title card if he was nominated for Julie & Julia instead of The Lovely Bones? (At least if he was nominated for Julie & Julia, most people wouldn't want to scrub their brains of "oh, yeah, THAT was an Academy Award nominated performance".)

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

1. Little bit sad, yes.

2. Not at all angry. Redmayne was slightly better and the category was mostly disappointing since they missed Oyelowo, Gyllenhall, Spall, Fiennes et al.

3. Yes to both.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Brian Zitzelman, that is my pet peeve as well, so dishonest. Franky I judge Affleck and other who let this happen.

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchinoiserie

After Oyelowo and Gyllenhaal weren't nominated, then I was Team Redmayne all the way. Glad he won over Keaton whose film did JUST fine with awards.

Can't wait to see ROOM!

August 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

"How pissed are you that Michael Keaton doesn't get "WINNER" by his name and has to settle for "NOMINEE""

Not very.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSanty C.

The combination of McCarthy and John Slattery make Spotlight an automatic yes. The whole cast looks amazing, although it certainly doesn't appear to be a Bechdel movie.

Room looks disturbing. I've never heard of the source material. I'm a maybe so.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I have been waiting for the Room trailer for a while, and I am a little disappointed. When you are reading the book, there is a real tension after the boy escapes but that the mother might be killed in retaliation or relocated to a new spot before the cops can locate where the Room may be. It wouldn't have been hard for the trailer to only show the boy and his grandparents for Act 2 and preserved that suspense for the movie.

For those of you who have read the book, am I crazy to think that Mother is almost a supporting actress level character?

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

I am totally a yes though, because I want to see "Academy Award Nominee" before Brie Larson's name.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

Huh. I read Room and don't remember it the way others do. Yes, it deals with their story once they escape but I don't remember it taking up as much as half the book. I thought the trailer gave away way too much of them in the real world but I did read it a few years ago.

Either way I'm a total Yes.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Yes for both! My girlfriend read Room and loved it, so I'm definitely looking forward to it. And Spotlight is right up my alley - can't wait for that one. The subject matter, the setting, the excellent cast.. should be amazing. :)

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterT-Bone

Room gave away FAR too much from the novel. Spotlight looks very 90s conventional. MAYBE to both films with okay only trailers.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRien

I'm late to the party but big YES's for both.

August 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I'm definitely a yes for Room! Brie Larson is a fantastic actress and I'm really intrigued by the plot. Also, the cinematography looks quite lovely.
Honestly, Spotlight doesn't really interest me all that much. I suppose if it gets nominated I'll see it. Personally I'm happy Redmayne won the Oscar. I thought he was absolutely brilliant. Not to mention he's just an adorable person :)

August 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteramapofyourstars

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