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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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"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

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Box Office: "New Year's Eve" Drops Its Ball & a Milestone for "The Help"

Despite overloading with stars, some more bankable than others, New Year's Eve didn't exactly get moviegoers partying. Might this be an end to Garry Marshall's holiday franchise. Since he's working backwards chronologically given that he started with Valentine's Day, one supposed Christmas was going to be next.

Trivia Note: This is Michelle Pfeiffer's second "Ingrid". One assumes the first one (White Oleander) wouldn't like this mousy character too much!Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen
01 NEW YEAR'S EVE new $13 
02 THE SITTER new $9.8 
04 THE MUPPETS new $6.9 (cum $65.7)
05 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS new $6.5 (cum $33.4)

06 HUGO new $6 [Scorsese & Team] (cum $33.4)
07 THE DESCENDANTS $4.3 [Michael's review] (cum. $23.6)
08 HAPPY FEET TWO $3.6 (cum. $56.7)
09 JACK AND JILL $3 (cum. $68.5) 
10 THE IMMORTALS $2.4 (cum. $79.8) 

11 TOWER HEIST $2.3 (cum. $74.1)
12 PUSS IN BOOTS $1.6 (cum. $141.8)
13 J EDGAR  $1.1 [Nathaniel's review] (cum $34.7)

Talking Points
Young Adult and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy started off in teensy-tiny release (sigh. why must so many movies do this?) garnering solid per screen averages... especially Tinker Tailor. That fake out release for We Need To Talk About Kevin (Oscar qualifying) also had fairly full houses though it'll be removed from theaters next weekend just as its gaining steam. Sigh.

• The Weinstein Co is obviously keeping The Artist very close to their vest grooming it for an Oscar explosion. Despite promising first two week numbers it added only 10 new screens and is inching towards $1 million. Will the caution pay off or smother its ignitability with crowds?

• Despite a good week of awardage, Margin Call seems to be on its last legs creeping towards a $5 million gross in its 8th weekend.

• And believe it or not, The Help -- currently in the thick of Oscar campaigning and DVD releasing -- finally crawled past Bridesmaids this weekend to become the single biggest unexpected blockbuster of the year, 11th for the year overall and the 2nd biggest female led film (after Bella's wedding of course).

Sadly, The Helps #11 finish means the top ten this year is ONLY franchises. All original films were shut out which is basically the movie version of coal in the stocking of future moviegoers. Alas, we do it to ourselves! Such is the stagnating power of habit and pre-sold entertainments. No originals? DANGER. DANGER. Stop sending this message to Hollywood. If a franchise is getting weak, skip its next installment! Wait for the DVD.


'Attack of the 50 Foot Vanessa!' San Francisco Winners

I've long been saying that if Oscar voters actually see Ralph Fiennes Shakespearean adaptation Coriolanus -- it's an "if" because 80% of the contenders, even the teensy tiny ones, chose December as their best Oscar strategy -- it'll be tough to stop Vanessa Redgrave from crushing her Best Supporting Actress competition. Though Fiennes is the actor/director it's the legendary Oscar winner who walks away with the movie as his proud, fierce, monster mom, so proud of her son's battle scars she comes across as yet more bloodthirsty than he.

So today she picks up her second precursor after the British Independent Film Awards. San Francisco apparently likes their moms all sticky with a violent son's blood. See also their best actress winner: Tilda Swinton

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Winners
PICTURE The Tree of Life
DIRECTOR Terrence Malick, the Tree of Life 
ACTRESS Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
ACTOR... Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks, Drive

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SPECIAL CITATION "The Mill and the Cross"
MARLON RIGGS AWARD (Courage and Vision in Bay Area film community)
National Film Preservation Foundation 

All in all a very good showing for The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor and bloody mamas everywhere. Now excuse me while I do a happy dance for Certified Copy. YES.


Sally's Short Suspense

Sally sings a lullaby she wrote in "African Chelsea"A confession: I've never been this caught up in the drama of the short film categories before. But this year I await Oscar's finalist list on pins and needles. At least four former Oscar players are involved in shorts from the long 70ish wide semi-finals list (the actual list has been hard to come by with no AMPAS press release detailing it). One of them is 80s nominee Sally Kirkland who I've always felt a certain kooky fondness for. She campaigned tirelessly for the actressy drama Anna back when campaigning wasn't so loudly expected of people. She was rewarded with a spot in the 1987 Best Actress list which turned out to be one of the greatest in Oscar's entire history. There's not a dud or even a "just good" performance in that shortlist; they're all freaking great. Sometimes you've got to work for the nomination when your film is small.

There's a new somewhat provocative piece up at the LA Times Envelope about her current director Brent Roske's campaigning for "African Chelsea" the short she's currently co-starring in. Campaigning for short films is not, you see, the norm... though people do do it. I've recently been in contact with the short's director Brent Roske and I reached out for a comment today on working with Sally. Turns out he plans to do it again and quick-like no matter what happens with the short film race.

I've just finished writing an inspiring dramatic feature that Sally will be starring in called 'Alice Stands Up'. I'm hoping I can get her in the Best Actress discussion next year."

Ah, directors and their muses. We love it when they stand by their divas. It's probably too much to hope that a miracle like Anna could reoccur again but we wish him luck in trying. Shine that spotlight on Sally! 

Sally Kirkland sure was vivid in "Anna". Have you seen it? It's available on Netflix Instant Watch

Shorts, Animation, Documentary Charts
Melissa Leo talks "The Sea Is All I Know", another shorts prospect
La Luna interview (Pixar Short)


Naked Gold Man: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Competitive Season

I wish there were festive holiday songs for Oscar junkies. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Steamroll", "All I Want for Oscars is You", "Let it Snub, Let it Snub, Let it Snub", "God Rest Ye Merry Shortlisters", "Do You Vote How I Vote" etcetera.... The mood is definitely upon us!

This weekend while LA, NY online, and Boston were handing out their prizes and BFCA voters were mailing in their ballots a certain movie that few had yet seen was screening for Oscar voters and it's likely to be a big deal (though whether it will make the BFCA due to the voting deadline today, remains to be seen). Let's just say that I heard sniffling and whispered "wows" during the credits at the guild screening here in NYC.

The AFI's TOP TEN LIST was also released this weekend. It went like so...

  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • J. Edgar
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

It reads like an odd experiment in Oscar predicting from two months back before people had seen all the films (plus Bridesmaids. The AFI always includes at least one populist hit to represent the film year).

But bringing us back to the now, it's time for a chart update to reflect all of this madness.

These past couple of weeks have definitely proven to us that The Tree of Life has not been forgotten, that The Help is in a good place (The actors branch is large and we suspect they like it) that Thanksgiving is a very smart holiday to start your heavy Oscar campaigning (See: Hugo, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn and The Artist). We're not aloud to talk about the three last films to arrive (War Horse, Dragon Tattoo, Extremely Loud) but let's just say when it comes to Oscar, I'm bearish on the first two and bullish on the last having now seen all three. I'm also pleased to note that Moneyball is well liked. At an Oscar dinner I attended for Rango recently, it was the consensus favorite of my table. 

Strangely the film that hasn't been coming up in conversation that much is Midnight in Paris but I blame this on the emergence of so many new films all at once. Moneyball doesn't always come up organically in conversation but when it does it's, in my experience, usually "oh, I love that." It's the job of the new films arriving to wow voters and erase memories of early favorites. It's the job of the early arrivals to remind voters how much they loved them in the first place; that's the push forward and the pull back.



20:11 Just Go With The Eagle. Never Say Never!

Year in Review Fun... Much more to come! Herewith the 20th minute and 11th second of the movies of 2011 in chronological order of US release dateIt's like flipping channels for snapshots of the film year! For those who like a mnemonic challenge, I've written the film titles in invisible ink below each screencap (you can highlight to see them). Would any of these tiny glimpses make you want to stop channel surfing and watch?

january | february | march | april

Part 2: February

- I even stole some once.
- I know. "

THE ROBBER Very intense movie. They're supposedly going to remake it with Andrew Garfield rumored for the title character.


-We passed that on the way up.
-I know."

Hotels make people naughty. They do! This is a still from ...THE OTHER WOMAN ... which I did not like at all.

He's a blue?! Not a blue!!!"

GNOMEO & JULIET   ...... which is hoping for animation and original song nominations.

Seven more snapshots after the jump. How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...


LAFCA & NYFCO Part Ways Over The Artist

Could Fassbender be eyeing Oscar?Andreas here. Want to see end-of-year craziness in action? Look at today: first, the Boston Society of Film Critics announces their awards, then before they've finished, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Online start tag-teaming it! It all starts to blend together sometimes -- Emmanuel Plummer won for something called Drivemaids? -- but no worries, we've got it straightened out:

First, the LAFCA winners...

PICTURE The Descendants (runner-up: The Tree of Life)
DIRECTOR Terence Malick for The Tree of Life
 (Runner-up: Martin Scorsese for Hugo)
SCREENPLAY Asghar Farhadi for A Separation (For Your Consideration!)
ACTRESS Yun Jung-hee for Poetry
 (Runner-up: Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia)
ACTOR Michael Fassbender for A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, and X-Men: First Class
 (Runner-up: Michael Shannon for Take Shelter)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Jessica Chastain for everything
(Runner-up: Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs)
SUPPORTING ACTOR Christopher Plummer for Beginners
 (Runner-up: Patton Oswalt for Young Adult)
CINEMATOGRAPHY Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life
 (Runner-up: Cao Yu for City of Life and Death)
PRODUCTION DESIGN Dante Ferretti for Hugo
 (Runner-up: Maria Djurkovic for Tinker Tailor)
 (Runner-up: The Arbor)
 (Runner-up: The Adventures of Tintin)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM City of Life and Death
 (Runner-up: A Separation)
NEW GENERATION The creative team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene
BEST MUSIC/SCORE The Chemical Brothers for Hanna
 (Runner-up: Cliff Martinez for Drive)


Commentary and NYFCO awards after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Boston Society of Film Critics. Beantown Loves... 

would you be so good as to participate in the bean lottery? Please submit your bid for the number of beans in the bottleBeantown critics have assembled today to announce their prizes. LAFCA and the NYFCO critics are also announcing later.

Awful lot of bean vote counting going on today. In Boston's case they're being very leisurely about it. We'll see how quickly the other associations move. I only illustrated with Melancholia's wedding bean lottery because I was just watching it last night and here we are this morning and never mind...

The winners!

PICTURE The Artist (Runner up: Hugo and Margaret)
DIRECTOR Martin Scorsese for Hugo (Runner up: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist)
ACTRESS Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn (Runner up: La Streep. Guess Boston liked their biographies above all else this year) 
ACTOR Brad Pitt for Moneyball (Runners up The Clooney & Fassy)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (runner up: Jeannie Berlin for Margaret
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks for Drive (runner up: ???) 
SCREENPLAY Moneyball (runner up: Margaret
CINEMATOGRAPHY Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life (runner up: Robert Richardson for Hugo)

The Supporting Actress Competition. "That's a lot of energy to deal with!"

There's one or almost one for #TeamMargaret. I wish I'd seen it. Alas. But McCarthy picks up her first critics award for Bridesmaids. Will more follow? The BFSC claims it was a "very competitive category" this year. By which perhaps they mean Jessica Chastain vs. Jessica Chastain vs. Jessica Chastain vs. All of the Bridesmaids perhaps?

I'm wondering if Albert Brooks won in a landslide for Drive. Possibly he did as they didn't announce a runner up. 

DOCUMENTARY Project Nim (runner up: Bill Cunningham New York)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Incendies (runners up: A Separation and Poetry)
FILM EDITING (in memory of Karen Schmeer) Christian Marclay for The Clock (runner up: Thelma Schoonmaker for Hugo... see previous post)
NEW FILMMAKER (in memory of David Brudnoy) Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene (runner up: JC Chandor for Margin Call

At last Durkin beats Chandor to a prize. I knew some group would have to go that way. Both are good films but some have issues with the ambiguity of Durkin's work (see my Fandor contemplation of the problem.)

ENSEMBLE CAST CARNAGE (runner up: Margaret. Poor #TeamMargaret... bridesmaids but never the bride)
USE OF MUSIC IN FILM *tie* DRIVE & THE ARTIST (runner up: The Descendants... which, lol, um... okay. Hawaiian music for Hawaii? Award worthy decision-making right there!)

Boston joins #TeamMargaret. Sort of

They also handed out several local prizes and honors which you can read here. And they made a special plea to Fox Searchlight to start backing Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret. The film kept getting runner up notices. Poor #TeamMargaret ... always the bridesmaids but never the bride. In their words:

The Boston Society of Film Critics expresses its regret that Fox Searchlight refused to distribute screeners of the film "Margaret" and scheduling only a last-minute screening after numerous requests. The film, which received an extremely limited release, was a favorite of many BSFC members and could have won several awards had it been made available for viewing within a reasonable timeframe.  Despite this disadvantage, "Margaret" was a runner up in three of the BSFC’s award categories. We encourage Fox Searchlight not compound this oversight and to make screeners available to the voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and so give the film a fair chance in the upcoming awards competition.