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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Sunday
May262013

Review: "Behind the Candelabra"

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad

Too much of a good thing is wonderful."

That was a signature catchphrase of Liberace, the classical pianist who became a household name as a flamboyant nightclub entertainer. Liberace was born Vladziu Valentino Liberace but known by "Walter" or "Lee" to his intimates -- even the names were too many… too much! He didn't just popularize the catchphrase but lived it maintaining his most unlikely monster career for roughly four decades -- which is, what, a century in showbiz years?

The new biopic BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, premiering tonight on HBO, is smart enough to adopt it as tagline. But is it too much? Is it wonderful? Hollywood studios thought so, at least in regards to the first question. Director Steven Soderbergh hasn't been shy about telling the press that the story was too gay for the movie studios and while we can't know the ins and outs of how true this is or to what extent he tried to make it happen as a theatrical feature before going to television, it sounds trueish. Hollywood has been curiously reluctant to relive the mainstream success of Brokeback Mountain (a major hit grossing nearly $100 million in domestic release) even though they're usually downright shameless about cashing in on any success with quick imitation.

But bless Soderbergh for pushing it forward even if he's a weird fit for the material...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May262013

Cannes Closing Ceremony. Which Actress Do *You* Own?

I've been watching the Cannes closing ceremonies with Glenn and having a laugh or five. My favorite bits are many but include...

 ...host Audrey Tatou's chirpy "oh la la" before the Palme D'Or

...president Steven Spielberg's weirdly nervous reveals of the winners

...Bérénice Bejo's surprise at winning Best Actress (damn is she ever looking gorgeous). Well, she was getting so good at losing.

...Ang Lee's entrance (why does the mere sight of him always fill me with joy?)

Awesome female directors, stage orgasms and actresses we now own (???) after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May262013

Kidman in Cannes. Part 5.

Jose here. As the Cannes Film Festival came to its end two very sad things became obvious: first, who knows how long we'll have to wait to watch all the winners on screen and the second - perhaps most heartbreaking of all - is that there will be no more daily Nicole Kidman-sighting anticipation. Queen Nicole couldn't let us down of course and she showed up one last time looking absolutely regal.



Who She Wore:
 custom made Giorgio Armani.
Which Director She's Trying to Lure: ALL of them, This lavish silk dress is essentially a less controversial redux of her infamous bow-dress from the 2007 Oscars only this time she's using subtlety to remind them all that she is indeed a gift to the movie world.
What would Diane Arbus think of this: "I saw you through my window and right away I wanted to take a portrait of you." 

 two more & the wrap-up

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May262013

Cannes Winners

Steven Spielberg and his jury have made their preferences known!

Three Palms! Léa + Abdellatif + Adele

PALME D'OR
Blue is the Warmest Color (also known as La Vie A'Dele - Chapitre 1 & 2) by Abdellatif Kechiche
In an unusual move the actresses Léa Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos are apparently sharing the Palme D'Or with the director so they all three have matching scrolls.

UPDATE: Some people will call this a historic win because it's a gay-themed film but arguably other Palme D'Or winners have had at least some degree of gay subtext or gay elements (like Elephant or Farewell My Concubine).

GRAND PRIX:
Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Bros 

PRIX DU JURY (JURY PRIZE): 
Like Father Like Son by Hirokazu Kore-eda 

DIRECTOR 
Heli by Amat Escalante 

SCREENPLAY (PRIX DU SCENARIO):
A Touch of Sin (Tian Zhu Ding) by Jia Zhangke 

CAMERA D’OR (BEST FIRST FEATURE): 
Ilo Ilo by Anthony Chen 

BEST ACTRESS (PRIX D’INTERPRETATION FEMININE):
Berenice Bejo for The Past

BEST ACTOR (PRIX D’INTERPRETATION MASCULINE): 
Bruce Dern for Nebraska

Though Cannes wins are so prestigious as to render "how will it affect the Oscar?" type questions instantly crass, everyone loves to still ask them. And this is obviously very good news for Bruce Dern's future campaign for Nebraska.

 

In other 'down the line' news, I wonder if this will help Blue is the Warmest Color actually make it into theaters. It was picked up by Sundance Selects but we all know that small distributors sometimes hold their movies for so long as to render any heat they once had ice cold. Let's hope, especially, that they don't get Oscar dreams because a) that's not going to happen -- France always has a lot to choose from for Oscar submissions and they're far more likely to go with The Past if they're picking a Cannes title --  and b) distributors who have those delusional Oscar dreams tend to hold their movies until after nominations at which point they put them on the backburner when they aren't nominated. 

Au revoir until next year!

Saturday
May252013

Best Actress Predix: Authors & Astronauts & Immigrants (oh my)

And princesses too! Actually I'm predicting neither Princess Grace (Nicole Kidman) nor Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) for the eventual shortlist though their names will undoubtedly continue to come up. Yes, the Best Actress Chart has arrived. 

Who wins ANOTHER Oscar this year? So many previous winners are back

My final shortlist is all Oscar winners -- which has only ever happened once (just last year in Supporting Actor ) but this is what my crystal ball is telling me so I obey. And anyway, it's a Previous-Actress-Winning Heavy year at least in terms of who got jobs headlining major motion pictures. Even lower in the charts there are a lot of Oscar winners, all told.  It's (maybe) that kind of year... though I could see a scenario where unOscared supporting chart players hop over to Lead Actress if they see a window and their roles are substantial enough (Adams? Harris? Winfrey?). And with 235 days left to go before Oscar nominations are announced, a lot could change: a quickly filmed or under-the-radar movie could hit it big on the fall festival circuit; holiday box office could shift focus around substantially at year's end; films could suddenly be moved to '2014 TBA' status.

Marion Cotillard will win Cannes Best Actress for... oh wait, people said this last year too and it didn't happenThe Wild Card
This time it's not a person but The Weinstein Co. themselves.  They've got more actress hopefuls than even they can handle since they're representing Grace of Monaco, The Immigrant, Philomena, August: Osage County and The Butler. (Does this clear the way for Sandra Bullock to win a second Oscar? I'm only mostly kidding) There is about a 1% chance that TWC will stay supportive of all of those films since they regular abandon their runts rather than nurturing them, to concentrate on the pick of the litter. Some of the ladies in question can generate some degree of media and internal industry interest even without puppet masters behind the scenes but not all of them. What do you think TWC will do when it's time to play favorites?  

Fun Trivia About The Top Ten on This Chart

  • They have 47 acting nominations and 11 acting Oscars between them
  • They range in age from 37 to 78 (will it really be a year skewing that mature?)
  • 6 of them have competed directly with Meryl Streep for Oscar glory but only one, Sandra Bullock, has ever prevailed in head-to-head combat. (7 & 2 if you count Nicole winning the only Best Actress nomination from The Hours.)
  • 3 Australians, 1 French, 3 Brits, 3 Americans

All First Wave Oscar Predictions
Index | Picture | Director | Actor | Actress | Supporting Actor | Supporting Actress |  Screenplays | Visuals | Sound | Animation 

Saturday
May252013

Cannes, Chastain, Critics

More Cannes prizes to discuss. We'll illustrate with Jessica Chastain at Cannes because.... she pretty! Always prizeworthy

Mmmmmcccchastainy!

 

 

FIPRESCI -International Federation of Film Critics
COMPETITION  Blue is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche (France, 2013)
This three hour lesbian coming of age drama stars newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos and the ever more impressive Léa Seydoux (Farewell My Queen, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Midnight in Paris ...and many more recently). It's considered a threat for tomorrow's awards from the competition jury, too. Wouldn't you just love to listen to Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz and Nicole Kidman arguing about its graphic 20 minute lesbian sex scene and whether that's just exploitative titillation or artistically justified storytelling?
UN CERTAIN REGARD  Manuscripts Don't Burn by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran, 2013)
PARALLEL SECTIONS Blue Ruin by Jeremy Saulnier (USA, 2013), a noirish revenge thriller, which played in Directors Fortnight. Radius/The Weinstein Co. picked it up for distribution

CANNES Ecumenical Jury
WINNER The Past by Asghar Farhadi (Iran, 2013)
COMMENDATIONS Miele by actress Valeria Golino (her directorial debut!) and Like Father Like Son by the acclaimed Hirokazu Kore-eda

Saturday
May252013

Cannes Endeth. Who Picks Up The Laurels?

Mr & Mrs Polanski hit the red carpet for the premiere of their picture VENUS IN FUREach year round about this time I find it greatly amusing that people think they have even the slightest idea who will win the Cannes prizes. It's a mystery - though Guy Lodge does a beautiful job of summing up the possibilities here.

You can tie yourself into absolute knots coming up with scenarios and discarding them. But buzzy frontrunners there are so watch out for the sapphic Blue is the Warmest Color, the Italian entry The Great Beauty, Asghar Farhadi's latest The Past (like his masterpiece A Separation, it's said to be an intricately scripted divorce drama), and the Coen Bros - who have great luck at Cannes -  for Inside Llewyn Davis... and watch for someone french-speaking to win Best Actress: Cotillard (The Immigrant), Bejo (The Past), Seigner (Venus in Fur), Seydoux and Exarchopoulis (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Do you have any hunches? I'm too busy fantasizing about what Nicole Kidman thinks of the competition films to make any guesses but I will admit to great curiousity as to whether the jury will feel any sentimental pull to give Soderbergh something for his final film Behind the Candelabra considering that he began his career with a Palme for sex, lies and videotape (1989). What a story that would be, right?