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Entries in A Royal Affair (4)

Sunday
Feb032013

Lawrence & Hoult Reunited... At the Box Office

Jennifer Lawrence recently split from X-Man boyfriend Nicolas Hoult and now they're reunited ...sort of... at the box office. He's a sort of dead heartthrob with a thing for a charismatic blonde in Warm Bodies while she's a charismatic blonde with a thing for a barely living headcase in Silver Linings Playbook.

Top of the Box Office
01 WARM BODIES $19.5 *NEW*
02 HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS  $9.2 (cum. $34.4) 
03 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK  $8.1 (cum. $80.3)  Beau's Review
04 MAMA  $6.7 (cum $58.2) 
05 ZERO DARK THIRTY $5.3 (cum. $77.7)

In other movie/money news: Bullet to the Head, the only wide release going up against the zombie romcom Warm Bodies, came in at #6 which is amusing since that's how you generally kill the walking dead; The Best Picture nominees continue to make a lot of bank in the bottom half of the top dozen box office with those long legs at the box office;  A Royal Affair which is competing with Amour for Best Foreign Film just crossed the $1 million mark in US arthouses, always a significant line for subtitled pictures. Amour has reached $2.5 million, the lowest grossing Best Picture for decades... though it's still in under 100 theaters. (Expansion still in progress. Stay tuned.) Globally speaking it's still slightly behind Caché and The White Ribbon as the most successful Haneke picture. 

What did you see this weekend? Or were you all about The Superbowl?

Monday
Jan072013

Favorite Trios! Three Days...

...until Oscar nominations arrive. So let's celebrate with our three favorite threesomes trios this year.

3. The Crown Princes in Brave 
I love Hamish, Hubert & Harris primarily because I share their weaknesses for pastries. If I had seen the pastry before them I would have been doomed to a life of furry hibernation. Cast a spell on a pastry and I will be magically defeated. Actually, even without a spell, a pastry will defeat me. Bonus points: we need more ginger characters in the movies. Apparently redheads are going to be gone in 60-75 years time, genetically speaking, so stock up on them now!

2. Royals + 1  in A Royal Affair
King (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), Queen (Alicia Vikander) and Their Personal Physician (Mads Mikkelsen)
Doctor Streunsee bills himself as the royal's personal physician but he's really more of a political adviser with a pinch of therapist / gynecologist when it comes to this royal marriage. This movie is good. See it.

1. "The B Faces" in Bachelorette Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), and Katie (Isla Fisher) are
coke-snorting, bed-hopping, mean girls and though they're cruel to each other and especially to their fourth wheel Becky (Rebel Wilson), the one who is no longer a bachelorette, they're actually friends with shared messy history and statis problems. That's an uncomfortable sometime truth of long-term friendships that you don't often see dramatized in movies. Anyway, we can't get enough of them. Or at least we suspect we can't. Doesn't it seem like the type of movie we'll all know by heart in ten years time? 

Friday
Dec212012

Foreign Film Oscar Finalists Offer Surprises and a Cold Snap

Each year, while I struggle to keep up with the foreign film submission charts and my sisyphean effort to find screenings or screeners of the 50 to 70+ films each year, Oscar's Foreign Film Nominating Committe cuts me off at the knees in my efforts. They always axe the bulk of the submissions and narrow the field to nine just as I've begun to make headway. Each year, I struggle to understand why nine? Ten (or more) would surely be easier to take for the finalists who did not find themselves Oscar nominated the following month. They could content themselves with a 50/50 chance, and consider it a toss of the coin misfortune rather than 'Nah, we don't like you so much!' 

"Kon Tiki", Norway's most expensive movie ever, is an epic adventure about explorer Thor Heyerdal. The Weinstein Co will handle US distribution.

The finalists, a surprisingly chilly bunch whether through auteur sensibility or subject matter (Austria, Canada, Romania) or actual wintry or wet physical temperatures (Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland) are...

  • Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director; REVIEWED
  • Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;
  • Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director; REVIEWED
  • Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;
  • France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
  • Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;
  • Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
  • Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director; REVIEWED
  • Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director

Oscar Season Giveth
We knew that short of a voting catastrophe, Amour -- winner of numerous scrolls, plaques, and "you're great!" knicknacks --  would be here and perhaps need only fend off France's global hit for the gold. But I'm personally most thrilled for the delightfully ugly Chilean entry No which seemed like a longer shot than it turned out to be. (I had predicted it as a finalist but I admit that that was more wishful thinking than savvy prophesy!) Voters tend to favor traditionally "beautiful" movies in this category but No purposely goes for a cruddier VHS-inspired look and that aesthetic decision turns out to be super effective in the film's seamlessly well edited mix of acted and found footage from the Chilean political upheaval. As a Scandinavian Nut (my ancestry is Danish and I speak very broken Norwegian) I'm always happy to see those countries in the mix. I haven't yet seen Kon-Tiki but A Royal Affair is a fine costume piece that starts out deceptively traditional only to reveal itself in the telling as a surprisingly resonant political drama. That said, it's modern resonance is deeply  nfortunate. Tis a pity that we still have to fight the wars that should have been won from The Enlightenment centuries ago! But no, the rich are still preying on the poor, and still using shamelessly self-serving deceit and distortion to insure that a great many normal civilians keep buying into the system that oppresses them in favor of wealthy parasites -- just check out what Boehner and the GOP are up to every day!

Oscar Season Taketh Away
I personally loved The Philippine entry Bwakaw which is no longer in the running. I knew it was a more modest effort than they usually go for but I hoped its well modulated character study about a senior citizen and his beloved dog would melt their hearts. I had also hoped to see Spain's clever Snow White riff Blancanieves in the mix in the off chance that I could find a way to propose to Macarena Garcia and/or Sergio Dorado at an Oscar function (kidding! but they are beautiful) or be able to discuss silent films at the Oscars for the second year running (not kidding!).

The most high profile omissions are surely festival noise-makers Caesar Must Die from Italy, Fill the Void from Israel, and Barbara from Germany -- all three countries are frequent Oscar fixtures. The snub for the Golden Lion winner Piéta from South Korea isn't as surprising since Oscar is weirdly resistant to Asian cinema if the names Akira Kurosawa or Ang Lee aren't prominent in the credits.

How are you feeling about the Foreign Finalists and which do you think we'll be nominated? [SEE THE UPDATED CHART

Sunday
Jun242012

Oscar Prediction Updates Galore ~ Halfway Mark!

In the upcoming week(s) we'll take a look back through the first half of the film year (and try to tie up loose ends from 2011. I know I know. I have time management issues). But what of the 2012/13 Oscar season? The term halfway mark is completely deceiving when it comes to awards season. We're not at all halfway to Oscar. In fact we've only just begun. We've seen a few mainstream genre pieces that are likely to factor in at least a little (The Avengers, Brave,  Prometheus) but this weekend brings us our first orphan Best Picture contender in the critical darling Beasts of the Southern Wild. We're not at all halfway through the real contenders but since we're halfway through the calendar, it's time to update the charts. 

BEST PICTURE and DIRECTOR
With Gravity pushed back to 2013, let's bet on the other big budget big risk, Ang Lee's adaptation of Life of Pi. The website to that film is up and running now and I keep hitting refresh to watch the tiger's leap and roar. Roooooowwr. Reload. Roooooowwwr. Reload. Roooowwwwrr. Reload. It thrills me every time. I blame my love of both cats and Oscar punditry multiplied by OCD. 

ACTOR, ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTOR, SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lots of shuffling on these charts, particularly within both supporting categories. Those players don't come into easy focus until the fall. Newbies on these big charts include the first time actors who play father/daughter in the riveting Beasts of the Southern Wild (interviews real soon), Michelle Pfeiffer in People Like Us (just discussed), Michael Fassbender in Prometheus (just discussed), Isla Fisher from The Great Gatsby and Matthew McConaughey from Magic Mike. Lots more on that film coming which wasn't quite what I was expecting but which I thoroughly enjoyed.

FOREIGN FILMS new chart!
Denmark's  A Royal Affair made big waves at Berlinale and its easy to picture a sumptuous expertly acted costume drama winning AMPAS attention. Cannes hits from lauded auteurs like Haneke, Mungiu, Audiard and Garrone could also be submitted from their countries though it's far too early to know. Any other suggestions? 

And more... VISUAL and AURAL CATEGORIES see gains for Life of Pi and The Avengers the latter of which is probably too big now to ignore at $600 million even though Oscar hasn't been crazy about superhero flicks. Beasts shakes up the adapted SCREENPLAY chart but the original screenplay category is a complete mystery. It's anyone's guess.

There's no changes to the ANIMATED CHART because, quite frankly, I lost the thread there. I've only seen Brave this year. Make more of an effort with the toons, I must.

As always your armchair punditry is welcome in the comments. Where am I off base? Which hunches do you think are smart ones? Make your case or describe what you see in your crystal ball.