Oscar History

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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

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Entries in W.E. (17)


Links: 2011 Lists, Avatar Rides, W.E. Edits, Drive Colors, 

The Wrap have you heard this big news? Florida is getting an Avatar theme park. Florida is just overrun with theme parks, yes? How can they work in the hair sex thing? 
Movie|Line Madonna's W.E. will be reedited following festival savaging.
In Contention Now officially moved to the HitFix family. Check it out.
Movie|Line the movie Brad Pitt wants to be remembered for is... ??? Really? A personal pick I see.
Fuck Yeah Dementia I loled at this reworked moment from The Shining. [via]
Ultra Culture on Crazy, Stupid, Love. It's okay to want to f*** Ryan Gosling. Society says so! 

My New Plaid Pants discovers the Evil Gay (Rob James Collier) in the Emmy winning Dowton Abbey. And loves him.
Han Cinema we've been wondering if we'd see any foreign animated films in Oscar's weak animated eligible pool this year? Wonder if this could be one King of Pigs from South Korea. 
The AV Club and PopWatch both wonder if it isn't time that we all let go of Star Wars. As someone who grew up with them, seeing them in first release, I understand this issue too well.
Low Resolution, taking Nick's Flick Picks cue, is making a best of the first 50 he saw this year. Interesting and fine choices for acting honors including my Higher Ground gals (see previous interview
Some Came Running on Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method and the notion of what's cinematic. Interesting read for sure though I quit halfway through as it'll be better once i've seen the movie in question. My online reading is increasingly developing this pattern so my link lists are becoming cataloguing lists given that bloggers tend to write about movies so far in advance of your ability to actually see them.

Finally... since we're obsessed with Drive this week

Her breasts aren't real! Just sayin'.

Scanners I was just about to post this very framegrab from the Drive trailer. I hadn't noticed it until I accidently freeze-framed at this moment the other day and saw all the blurry breasts. LOL. It's a very breasty setpiece in the movie (and one of my favorite scenes; the strippers collective zombie like performances are perfection) But here it kicks off a host of observations about the color palette of Drive: teals, pinks, oranges and its orgasmic but nonsexual relationship with red.


TIFF: Michelle, Andrea and Felicity in buzzy films.

Paolo here. Day 6 of TIFF brings movies about love and passion crossing borders and oceans or trying to, despite the difficulties. Ladies and gentlemen, bring your handkerchiefs or roll your cynical eyes.

THE LADY (Luc Besson)

Most of you must already know about detained Burmese President-elect Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh), but her unlikely entry into political life happened so long ago that we, especially the younger generations, forget a few facts. First, that she lived in Oxford and bore two boys for her husband Michael Aris (David Thewlis), a professor of Southeast Asian studies and that the reason for her untouchable status in a military dictatorship is her ties to England. Second, that the reason the university intellectuals have chosen her as the figurehead of the Burmese democracy movement is because her father, a general, fought for the same goals after World War II.

The story of her adult life is now adapted to the screen as The Lady directed by Luc Besson. This movie allows Besson to diversify his CV but I personally couldn't avoid looking for his trademarks. Suu is Besson's female heroine, Michael his the Tati-esque old man, and a superstitious general is the campy, quirky villain. Besson keeps the violence to a reverent level this time, even if Suu's father becomes a martyr in the film's first scene. The Lady also has a few montages which chronicle the news of Suu's planned rallies spreading throughout the streets of Rangoon. They went on a bit longer than necessary.

As biopics go, The Lady has a surprsing lack of naturalism. Take this paraphrasal of one of Suu and David's conversations:

'The world reveres you as someone with no negative qualities.'
'I will list my negative qualities right now.'
'Your negative qualities made me fall in love with you.'

But because I like this, I'll call it 'classic English dialogue', pulled off well by Thewliss and especially Yeoh who has perfected a politician-style elegance; in a festival full of misanthropy, characters who are 'too nice' are a welcome change.

W.E. (Madonna)

The title of Madonna's much-discussed new film, is an acronym for the most gossiped marriage in the past century between Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy). The couple belong to a story within the story, which is an obsession for  fairytale-stricken Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), who comes close to the couple's property six decades after their exile. Wally is bored of her neglectful husband while befriending a foreign Sotheby's security guard (Oscar Isaac). I'll assume that Madonna took on this story in engender her own so-called feminist perspective, and she brings a sympathetic and sometimes humorous light to the maligned woman. I would have preferred to see a movie based on "Famous Last Words," Timothy Findley's novel about Wallis.

More on what I liked about W.E. and disliked about Like Crazy after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Stars... They're Just Like Us!

They also have to deal with obnoxious people walking backwards or stopping suddenly when everyone else is moving forwards!

This post is brought to you by Nathaniel's hatred of tourists in Times Square where he unfortunately found himself once this weekend. Tourists can magically transform a breezy 8 minute walk to a subway to a 35 minute nightmarish ordeal of erratic human movement. Turning 8 minutes to 35 is a feat as miraculous as feeding thousands with five loaves of bread ...only way less altruistic.

P.S. This amusing gif comes to us via my friend Matt's blog where he runs to Madonna's defense (as he do) about the gleeful takedowns of W.E. in Venice. Matt also shared an incredible video of previously unseen "Vogue" video footage. Lots of blooper-like stuff after the two minute mark. It's always so fun (though rarer than it used to be) to see Madonna laugh at herself / her surroundings.


A Dangerous Method: Frozen Surface, Dangerous Interior

[Editors Note: We have two correspondents from Venice this year. And I feel the need to remind everyone that these opinions do not reflect the opinion of management; Nathaniel is without opinion as he is not in Venice. But he is enjoying reading these reports. Here is Ferdi from Italy, critic for, offering us bite sized opinions again. Enjoy. - Nathaniel]

I love David Cronenberg unconditionally and I know from past experience that his movies are not what they seem at the very first. We have to recognize that they always need more viewings, they are so complex. A Dangerous Method is a beautifully shot period piece. It's wonderfully acted movie especially by Michael Fassbender (heartbreaking) and Viggo Mortensen (Brilliant and should be in the supporting actor race). It's about the relationship between Carl Jung, patient-psychotic Sabina Spielreinand Sigmund Freud. Cronenberg has directed period pieces before (M Butterfly, Spider, Naked Lunch) and he's not new to melodrama either (in many of his movies there's a deep melodramatic soul). The origin of psychoanalysis, which explores what is inside the body and invisible to the eye fits his radical cinematic world perfectly. Still, A Dangerous Method seems the least Cronenberg-esque of his movies. Although the score and the  visuals are stunning -- lighting, sets, costumes, all gorgeous and perfect -- there's something missing here. If this frozen, crystallized surface is marvelous, maybe the inside world must be a dangerous place, crowded with demons: sexual repression, animal instinct, guilt, death, desire. And this is the place where Croneberg wants to go. 

Viggo in Venice © Fabrizio SpinettaFassy as shot by our correspondent Ferdi himself!


The first section is the best, powerful and alarming, with Keira Knightley sadistically used by Cronenberg as a shouting beast; she vomits out all her inner demons in a physical acting style that's sometimes difficult to watch. When the therapy and the love affair take root, everything begins to slow down. The narrative style normalizes and the movie changes into a beautiful restrained drama packed with visual elegance. There are still some moments blessed with the typical, disturbing Cronenberg-touch but my first impression is that the auteur could have gone further and deeper with this material. 


Madonna uses the camera as a little girl who has just received a toy she wants so badly that she forgets to read the instructions. W.E., her second directorial effort, tries to emulate the flourishing visual style of Tom Ford's A Single Man (and even abuses the melodramatic violins of Abel Korzeniowski). It also too closely resembles the narrative structure of Julie & Julia insisting parallelism between two stories: the romance between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson and a never convincing contemporary story about a bored and depressed young woman who becomes obsessed with the American adventuress.


Let's be clear: W.E. is not a truly bad movie. Last night Un Eté Brulent by Philipp Garrell, which screened in the official selection, was much more awful. It's just that W.E. is very easy to attack. Abbie Cornish is beautiful to watch although her character is ridiculous and Andrea Riseborough is really very good as Wallis , but W.E. seems only a long commercial spot from start to finish. It's empty, superficial and naive and maybe also a little dishonest. It's all about Madonna's obsession with fashion, beauty, richness, music, and British Royals. That's it.



Venice, Day 3: Keira's Confession, Kate's Challenge, Madonna's Stumble

Manolis, from the Greek site Cinema News, reporting from Venice for The Film Experience.

Madonna and her W.E. cast © the wonderful photographer Fabrizio Spinetta who is sending us great shots for TFE. 
Before today's report some thoughts about Madonna's W.E. which I had the privilege of seeing; there were so many people outside the cinema trying to find a ticket. It was difficult to turn your back to Madonna and her W.E. cast who were sitting on the Balcony behind the audience, but once the lights in the Sala Grande were off, you could focus on the openings shots of her film. 


The movie reminded me a lot of Julie and Julia. It has a similar structure but the bonding between the two Wallis’ (Cornish and Riseborough) is more vague and unfocused than that of Adams and Streep. And let’s face it, a Streep this film doesn't have. Andrea Riseborough has the showiest role, but the film doen’t help us connect her character or her motives, or help ups sympathize with her or even understand what she sacrificed for her relationship with Edward (which was Madonna’s aim as stated in the press conference). The love story of the modern day couple (Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac) proves more interesting than one of the most notorious love stories of all time. 


I think that the biggest mistake that Harvey Weinstein made with W.E. was leaking that it was an Oscar contender. Sure, the film has some chances in Costume Design, Music (a great score by Yann Tiersen and Abel Korzeniowski) and even Make Up (hello, Old Age!) but apart from that not much more. But the script which was co-written by Madonna is unfocused and full of cliches and predictable ‘twists’ . Madonna’s directing style fares slightly better but her visual choices are all over the place. The rich production values help make the viewing pleasant but this is not a serious oscar contender.


A Dangerous Method


This is already the third film of the competition (after The Ides of March and Carnage) that was based on a play. David Cronenberg's new film is drawn from true life events and the relationship of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). Fassbender and Mortensen are excellent giving restraint utterly believable performances of these famous figures. Vincent Cassell is also good in a very small role (six minutes?). The Art Direction of the movie may have also been impressive but I couldn't see the scenery; Keira Knightley was chewing on it. Knightley's performance has caused disputes between the critics here. Some are impressed other's believe it's the film’s fatal flaw. Sorry Keira fans, but I am with the ones who did not enjoy her overracting. She cycles through every facial expression known to human kind. Needless to say that a Best Actress Oscar nomination is not out of the question. Sabina is obvious Oscar Bait and people often confuse best acting with most acting. Other strong Oscar prospects include Supporting Actor (Viggo), Adapted Screenplay and Costumes. 
Cronenberg, Knightley, Mortensen, Fassy, Sarah Gadon, Cassel are all in Venice!
I am an actress so of course I'm crazy."
Keira Knightley confessed at the press conference for the film. Other highlights from the press conference included Michael Fassbender's research for the role of Jung which he said was reading "Jung for Children: The Idiot’s handbook" and Mortensen thanking a fan for giving him a mascot doll of his favorite team San Lorenzo. When asked what he learned about psychoanalysis while making the film, David Cronenberg replied "I found out that of all my actors that are here need psychoanalysis."


Mildred Pierce


At the Mildred Pierce press conference Winslet suprised most of the audience when she confessed how difficult the role was.
...without question, my most challenging job since Titanic. Working in a TV series is much more difficult than in a film." 
Tomorrow in Venice: the premieres of ALPS (Giorgos Lanthimos Dogtooth follow up), James Franco’s Sal Mineo biopic, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and Al Pacino’s Wild Salome.