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Saturday
Apr192014

YNMS²: Foxcatcher & Gone Girl

Unless you count the LEGO Movie's probable Best Animated Feature bid and the Sundance bow of Love is Strange (I'm still hopeful - it's playing Tribeca right now) 2014 hasn't seen much in the way of Oscar contenders just yet. Recent trailers are changing the collective shrug to raised eyebrows - between The Homesman (previously discussed), Jersey Boys (if you're feeling very generous), the Cannes lineup announcement and these two trailers from past nominated directors Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) and David Fincher (Gone Girl) the body is ready for the first wave of Oscar predictions. We'll manage them before April wraps.

Both of these trailers have been around for a bit and both blissfully play more like teasers despite their length; the job of a trailer is to sell a future ticket, not to make you feel like you've already seen it so you don't need one.  Foxcatcher's traiser was actually released last year and then swiftly pulled before we could get to it but it recently resurfaced and Gone Girl has been kicking around for a week but I've heard your plea to discuss so a couple of quick notes follow

GONE GIRL

Yes. What's not to love really? Remarkable use of music and uncomfortable juxtapositions in the montage. Plus, Rosamund Pike's gorgeousity turning to the camera just in time for the vocals of "She" is just a marvelous 'we're-making-a-star here' relief given that her career, though healthy, deserves more fame and a richer choice of scripts. That final shot of her in the water is so disturbing. (Yikes). And though they aren't prominently featured in this trailer the supporting cast is really good with a lot of underused faces like Sela Ward and Missi Pyle. 

No. I got nothing though I guess I hope Fincher takes a break from crime thrillers soon and that greenish color palette which was fun for a couple of films but three in a row. It's approaching Eastwood's inky black and Soderbergh's yellow as a default rather than an artistic choice.

Maybe So. Casting Ben Affleck as your leading man has to be considered kind of risky, right? Aristically speaking. He's not the terrible actor some say he is but neither has he ever proven himself a great one. 

FOX CATCHER

Yes. Another minimalist peak at a crime drama, this one being a horrible and super weird true story. It has a very good chance of being riveting given the cast, the story and the writer/director (Bennett Miller of Capote and Moneyball fame). The "A coach is..." speech here is beautifully judged as a teaser framing device, especially with that pathetic shuffle into the gym with the pistol out. Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum seem like a pretty great trio to hang a movie on. And did I just spot Vanessa Redgrave?!? ( "Yes, please" times so so so many.)

Also Yes. Channing Tatum in a singlet

No. I dread any potential "sweepers" in any of the acting categories -- just on principle because there are ALWAYS more than four great performances in a film year -- so though I've long thought Steve Carell was an Oscar calibre actor (I nominated him right here for Little Miss Sunshine) I don't relish seeing him win everything because he went the prosthetic and vocal affectation route. He looks good in the trailer, don't get me wrong. I just know that no matter how brilliant he is, he'll be wildly overpraised merely because of this and the meat of the role. 

Maybe So. I suppose the ultra specific details of this tale might not help it with accessibility for the masses, or even to feel potent thematically. But we'll worry about that later if it happens.

 

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So ?
And does the strength of your answer coincide with your faith in their Oscar play? 

 

Saturday
Apr192014

Lost River, I Anxiously Await Thee

Oooh, it's another new image from Ryan Gosling's Lost River (formerly titled: How To Catch a Monster) and I love this macabre club entrance that Christina Hendricks is standing in front of.

Does this image remind anyone else of the abandoned amusement park in Joe Wright's Hanna

Maybe all images of redheads with bobs and big animalistic mouthdoors would naturally be in dialogue with one another. Never mind.

If you haven't read the official synopsis it goes like so:

....weaves elements of fantasy noir, and suspense into a modern day fairytale. Set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city, Billy, a single mother of two, is swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery, if their family is to survive. 

None of us have any idea if Gosling will be a good director or not but it'll be exciting to find out. The film will premiere at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. One thing that's hugely puzzling, though, is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Iain de Caesteker plays a character named "Bones" who I've been led to believe is Billy's teenage son, though the synopsis is a bit confusingly written in this regard. Caesteker is 26 and Hendricks is only 38... so he's too old to play a teenager and she's definitely too young to play his mother so I hope people are confused about who the son is. 

Saturday
Apr192014

I Met Thelma Schoonmaker at the TCM Film Festival

Our coverage of the TCM's 2014 festival in Los Angeles wraps with Anne Marie on legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker

Thelma in the editing bay...

Thelma Schoonmaker is surprisingly calm. Not just calm, calming. As I sat listening to her twice at TCMFF--first at the introduction for A Matter Of Life And Death, next at an hourlong interview--I marveled at the three-time Oscar winning editor's stillness. Considering she is the preferred collaborator of Martin Scorsese, an infamously energetic director, one would think she'd need reservoirs of energy to tackle the boxing matches in Raging Bull or the tense chases in The Departed.

Schoonmaker wasn't at TCMFF to speak about herself, though...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr182014

Happy Easter Weekend. Complete the Sentence...

I totally forgot it was Good Friday today. Herewith a #faithbased edition of complete the sentence because that's trending now.

"My favorite Biblical movie is ________________ because _______________."

I really wish _________ would make a bible movie because _________ ."

 

 YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THE COMMENTS. I'll get us started. 

P.S.
if you'd like something more secular, check out the ten greatest bunnies in motion picture history 

Friday
Apr182014

April Showers: Thelma & Louise

waterworks all month long... this one's from the vaults

Tonight's shower is provided by mother nature rather than traditional indoor plumbing. That's appropriate since Thelma & Louise (1991) is elemental: all wide open spaces, blazing sun, dusty earth and women as hard driving forces of nature.

While the film belongs to Susan Sarandon's Louise, Geena Davis's Thelma is the maddening/adorable one. Among her many exasperating yet endearing qualities is her uninhibited horniness for one J.D. (early Brad Pitt). In the still above, Louise has booted the caddish hitchhiker out of their car since the friends are getting hotel rooms for the night. J.D. struts away into the rain shower, fully confident that Thelma's eyes are still on him. He even kicks up a boot heel, a private little show for her, as the car drives away.

There he goes. I love watching him go.

Wrangler butts drive her nuts... or something.

 

If you've seen more than two or three movies in your lifetime you'll know that this lustfully observed exit will not be J.D.'s exit from the movie. But Thelma apparently hasn't seen so many movies. She's surprised (and thrilled) when he comes a'knocking on her hotel room door later that same night.

J.D. is such a skilled charmer that the outcome of his neighborly call is never in doubt. The aw shucks grin is ease itself. He even knows just how to pose in the pouring rain so that the water runs, just so, off his cowboy hat. This 'I'll get out of your hair now' wet puppy act is all pretense. He's no puppy but a dog. He knows he's getting out of the rain. He knows he's getting into her bed.

Do you remember the first time you saw Brad Pitt in a movie? This was mine. 
 

Friday
Apr182014

The Linkae

After Ellen "Return of the Lesbian Villain"
/Film Sharon Stone does Mrs Robinson at The Graduate live-read
KCRW Tilda Swinton guest DJ special. She's a fan of Marilyn Manson, Björk & Bowie. We could have guessed as much!
Vanity Fair Daniel Radcliffe does the Proust Questionnaire 

What is your greatest regret? I’m 24! I think it’s a little early for all that

Pajiba Cameron Diaz vs Kiki Dunst in the battle of the vapid remarks
AV Club Tony Kushner working on another Steven Spielberg project The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Sounds intriguing but anything that keeps Tony away from writing that Viola Davis as a politician movie is a problem for me
Judgmental Maps NYC by stereotype
Variety a new memoir on Ethel Merman. When is she getting a biopic for chrissakes?
i09 Why were there so many giant insect movies in the 1950s? 
/Film on potential superhero crossover movies. Only when the mega-corporations are out of ideas/money 

Today's Watch
The Normal Heart trailer. Will this be yet another TV movie that we have to wonder how it would have fared at the Oscars had it been released theatrically? At the very least the doctor role would've resulted in a nomination no matter who played it. That's the part once slated for Barbra Streisand decades ago with Julia Roberts taking over for Ellen Barkin who won the Tony on Broadway (why wasn't she asked to reprise it given her connections to Ryan Murphy?) so expect Julia at least to be up for the Emmy.

 

Exit Question: Is it just me or does the type here inadvertently imply or perhaps subliminally predict that Matt Bomer and Taylor Kitsch will one day be Oscar nominated actors?

Friday
Apr182014

Yes No Maybe So: "Jersey Boys"

From Tommy Lee Jones directing himself and The Swank we turn to another far more accomplished actor-turned-director. Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars in his career from two films (Unforgiven & Million Dollar Baby) but the 83 year old director has had a bit of a rougher run than usual in recent years, critically speaking. He's back with Jersey Boys based on the Broadway jukebox hit about the Four Seasons.

Let's divvy up our reactions to the trailer.

YES
• There will be a lot of music 
• Counterprogramming in the blockbuster realm of summer movies could help with critical reception so that's a smart move.
• Newish handsome actors in plum star-making position (if the movie is good and they ace it)
• Clint went from two-a-year to radio silence for two years. Maybe the time off did him good? This is, the longest break he's ever taking from directing since between The Gauntlet (1977) and Bronco Billy (1980). Maybe the time off will rejuvenate him...

NO

•... because Changeling/Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009)  Hereafter (2010) and J. Edgar (2011) were a dire quintet with hard-to-miss quality drops-off between each.
• The moment when Clint Eastwood's name comes up and it's paired with a suddenly plaintiff piano note is almost self-parodic considering his somber repertoire and his unfortunate desire to score all of his own movies. Something must have drawn him to this topic but have he and his chief accomplice (other than himself) Tom Stern smothered the joy from the Four Seasons music?
• People narrating directly to camera like they're still on the stage. Pass me the advil. Or revolver. Insufferable 
• Do we need more film celebrations of goodfellas bro-centric style Jersey? 
• If this is a hit, maybe Clint Eastwood will feel emboldened to remake A Star is Born with Beyoncé as he'd originally hoped. And nobody needs that remade. Again. (Three times would have to be enough right?)

MAYBE SO
•  Jersey Boys is a traditional biography (with a ♪ beat) and Clint is Clint so traditional forms ever so slightly tweaked (Unforgiven, Letters From Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby) are exactly what produces his best work.
• There doesn't look to be as much color and joy as one would expect from a pop culture musical but it doesn't look as inky, heavy and self-serious as recent Eastwood flicks and that has to be considered a smart change of pace at this juncture.
• Doesn't look like an Oscar play (not that that couldn't happen) which is something of a surprise.
• It's kind of a relief not to see famous miscast faces or at least it's a treat to get new faces, since the musical is about new stars. John Lloyd Young, playing Frankie Valli, won the Tony on stage. It's been a long time since a Tony winner was afforded the opportunity to transfer with their star-making vehicle. Not that you can't biff it if you stick with the original cast (see: Rent for a "why not to do that") but it doesn't happen enough not to celebrate it when it does. One can only assume that Meryl Streep turned down the role of Frankie Valli.