Oscar History

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Two Teensy Reviews: The Dressmaker & Miss Peregrine

Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them when they arrived.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Tim Burton)
Story: A teenager (Asa Butterfield) who just mysteriously lost his beloved grandpa (Terence Stamp), seeks out the home and guardian (Eva Green) he grew up with overseas. The home is hidden in a time loop (!) and under seige by eyeball-eating supernatural forces (!!!)
Review: Intermittently engaging but ultimately generic even in its "peculiarities". Butterfield is dull in the lead but Eva Green delivers (as always) from the sidelines. The premise screams out for a fuller miniseries treatment to provide depth and pathos rather than what amounts to a rushed peek at an admittedly intriguing freakshow.
MVPs Beyond Eva: Props Department & Set Decorators (love those lead shoes, all the photos, and the weird details in the rooms)
Grade: C+ 
Oscar Chances: No. Too underwhelming overall and Colleen Atwood, a favorite of Oscar's costume branch, has other more high profile movies out this very year.

The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse)
Story: A sophisticated hostile fashion designer returns to her home town for... what exactly?
Review: Those who miss Kate Winslet and/or those who long for the 1990s era of popular eccentric Australian imports must not miss this sassy throwback. Others may scratch their heads at the spectacularly uneven results. Kate Winslet has a welcome ball but many of the character arcs (and even the casting) make no sense whatsoever. Pity about the jarringly sad final act.
MVP's beyond Kate: Liam Hemsworth whilst stripping / Sarah Snook's makeover
Grade: First Half: B+; Second Half: C
Oscar Chances: Perhaps an outside shot at costume design since they're such a crucial part of the narrative? But then who to credit? -- Kate Winslet's costumes are by a different designer (Margot Wilson) than the rest of the costumes (Marion Boyce).

If you saw these pictures, what were you favorite and least favorite things about them?

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Reader Comments (18)

I thought it was ok,seems Kate has entered a phase where the leads turn into supporting.she needs a Blue Jasmine now.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

I just saw The Dressmaker last night. I'm still not sure whether I think the movie's tone works, veering as it does between melodrama, slapstick, and black comedy. Fantastic costumes, though.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

Favorites from Peregrine: the Welsh setting. The sense that something is off about the title character beyond what is in the story. The sunken ship.

Dressmaker: the dismal landscape. Kate's red dress. Snook's post-makeover dresses. Weaving's character. Judy Davis.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Per the "depth and pathos" wishes re: a deeper dive: this was a major qualm I had with the source novel (HATED), so I'm not sure that would help.

Sarah Snook's makeover is indeed divine! The pleated collar gown she wears later on had me bowing down to the costume design

October 28, 2016 | Registered CommenterChris Feil

right on on the two grades for the Dressmaker. i loved the first half, snapping my fingers at Kate and Judy, the fashion, the makeover and Liam's abs.... then I don't know what happened.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

Also, it seemed like Winslet and Hemsworth's characters were supposed to be the same age, which...no.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

The Dressmaker has such a clear moment where it turns from being fun to plodding. It's so sad that it couldn't sustain the quirky tone that Kate and Judy set early on.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris James

I love that The Dressmaker is insane. It is. It's a rain soaked white underwear slow dance away from The Paperboy levels of terribly amazing in quality. It's dangerously brilliant and fantastically ghastly. I feel like it's supposed to be a far more believable spin on Durrenmatt's The Visit. Yes, a town might change its attitude toward someone they ran out decades before when offered beauty beyond which they ever imagined, but would that person ever truly be satisfied by such a resolution? And would such an attitude change ever be lasting?

I mean, The Dressmaker is a horror film, albeit a beautiful, high budget one made to the finest technical standards of prestige picture making. I love seeing people try to wrap their heads around it as some serious drama or character study when, really, it's closer to a big budget big cast spin on a Misery or May than a Carol or Elizabeth. It's fun to watch people try, though.

Embrace the absurdity. It's modern Gothic with some odd casting choices.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Judy Davis was the best part of The Dressmaker, most of the time. Such a hot mess of a film.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

I didn't know the Best Costume category only allowed one person to be nominated for a film?
Most of the other technical categories allow more than one, I think. Song writing, editing, script, I seem to remember partner nominees.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I didn't know the Best Costume category only allowed one person to be nominated for a film?

Unless there was a recent rules change, I don't believe there's such a rule. There were multiple winners in 2003 and 2001, to cite the most recent incidences.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

What is the point of Asa Butterfield?

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

adri & sean -- i didn't mean that. i just meant what if there are issues? for example on black swan, rodarte was not going to be costume design nominated if Black Swan had won a costume design nomination... so it's just a thing I was thinking about aloud.

October 28, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I flat-out LOVED The Dressmaker. Yes, the needle-scratch turn towards tragedy in the last act completely threw me for a loop, but as the film already dealing in extremes, it didn't feel as out of place as it could have. The idea that Winslet was somehow supposed to be the same age as Hemsworth and Snook was the thing that bothered me most, but I was having such a good time with it that I was totally willing to suspend my disbelief. It's one of the best times I've had at the movies all year.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Indeed, The Dressmaker is a film of vulgar extremes - likely a thematic representation of the Australian bush and society's continued antagonism towards women. I thought it worked great as a darkly hilarious work of Australian gothic. And, fwiw, in small towns like the one in the film, it's common for schools to mix the "grades" so Hemsworth and Winslet's characters could be years apart and still be in school together. Although I think there is some fudgering going on, Hemsworth is great (his best performance yet) and has great chemistry with Winslet and her flawless Aussie accent so I don't even mind it.

I do think costume design is a possibility. I doubt there's be any issue with the two designers - they've been nominated for and won prizes together already. If the studio decides to only cite on them, however, that'd be a different story.

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Saw The Dressmaker and thought this smalltown opera of a film has more pluses than minuses. It does not adhere to the conventions we usually associate with this film. But then it's not really a revenge drama, nor a social-realist romance, nor an out-and-out black comedy. It does have some magical moments for me. Judy Davis shines and delivers truly delicious lines of dialogue. I was not as smitten with the story lines involving Liam Hemsworth or Sarah Snook. I was more invested in the stories involving Kerry Fox and Julia Blake and Hugo Weaving.

October 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterowl

The only potential issue with a costume nomination is the separation of work. Yes, they can both be nominated, but if the voters prefer Kate Winslet's costumes to the rest of the cast, that can be enough to doom the campaign. There's an obvious reason why the work was split in the context of the film's narrative, and that's what needs to be sold for the campaign.

October 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

The Dressmaker had a great start. If only it committed to the camp promise. I swear, the genres and tones end up on shuffle and it overstays its welcome by at least 40 minutes. I really loved Hugo Weaving though. There are some great moments and some unforgivable stretches.

October 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

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