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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Adaptations (140)


Review: Far From The Madding Crowd

In Far From the Madding Crowd, a new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel, every eligible man wants Carey Mulligan’s winsome Bathsheba. But she cannot be tamed! (Funny how commitment phobia reads as strength in a female protagonist and weakness in a male protagonist). Or at least she won’t “settle” for less than what she’s already planned for herself. Nevertheless the wanting continues and the camera, observes her, often at a distance as with a memorable shot of Bathsheba laying back from her saddle, as if enjoying the tactile and visual sensations of the powerful creature beneath her and the vibrant foliage and sky above her.

(This review contains a general trajectory ending spoiler but it is based on a 151 year-old classic novel.)

Three bachelors and Bathsheba's issues after the jump... 

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A Letter to Todd Haynes

Dearest Todd,

Never ever under any circumstances take another 8 year break from the cinema. The reviews for Carol (2015) read at times like an ecstatic mirage, dehydrated desert critics stumbling upon a Haynes-flavored pool. Its weird ½ an actress prize at Cannes, for the unexpected ½ at that, feels somehow fitting given the prismatic way you like to view identity (Velvet Goldmine, I'm Not There, etc).

I can't tell you the joy I felt this morning waking up to the news that you've added a third project (!!!) to your upcoming slate after so much hibernation. Of the two we already knew about a TV series set in a 1970s commune sounds the most promising; it's an underexplored rich topic in terms of time period and political content -- you're counter culture enough to do it justice. The other project, the Untitled Peggy Lee Biopic is a swell idea, too. You're the one filmmaker who is creatively incapable of making a dully traditional biopic (Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story / I'm Not There) and Miss Peggy Lee lived through all your favorite eras. We already know that its star Reese Witherspoon can sing thanks to her Oscar winning role as June Carter Cash and though we can't quite picture her as one of your muses a la Moore (Far From Heaven / [safe]) or recently Blanchett, we can picture her as a Barbie doll and we know you like those. At any rate, the part is a good fit for her. Peggy has so many classic songs, she was indominatable enough to serve as one of the original inspirations for Miss Piggy and that six decade career / four failed marriages surely contain plentiful dramatic fodder.

But the happiest news may well be the newest. You're planning to adapt Brian Selznick's children's book Wonderstruck for Killer Films??? How wonderful. That bifurcated tale featuring a boy in the Seventies pining for his father and a girl in the Twenties dreaming of an actress should provide ample spark for your formidable creativity. 

an image from Wonderstruck

You're 54 now, Todd. There are only so many years in a life. I'm not telling you to rush through these next projects but please never ever under any circumstances whatsoever take an eight year break from the cinema again in which we only get a remake of something that was already more than wonderful enough to begin with (Mildred Pierce). It was a painful drought.

Your forever fan, xoxo

Nathaniel R


Cannes Review: Carol

Our friend Diana Drumm is in Cannes and will be sending a few reviews our way. First up, Todd Haynes hotly anticipated Carol... (note: this review contains a couple of spoilers for those who haven't read the book)

Within a year of publication, Patricia Highsmith’s first novel “Strangers on a Train” became a seminal Hitchcock thriller. After half a century, her second novel “The Price of Salt” (published under the pseudonym of Claire Morgan) is now a Todd Haynes romantic drama (under the succinct title Carol). Whereas the former concerns two male strangers duplicitous in murder, the latter is about two women finding love in constrictive 1952 New York City. Turning the pulp novel into a palpable parable, Carol is a master stroke in Haynes’s 21st century oeuvre (Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce, et al.), and harkens back to the pressurized strength of Safe and the sexual fluidity of Velvet Goldmine - both capturing and throwing off the starched restrictiveness of postwar America, and deftly upgrading the melodrama with social relevance.

Inspired by Highsmith’s own stint at Macy’s (and her affair with Philadelphia socialite Virginia Kent Catherwood), 20-something shopgirl Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) waits on and is struck by elegant “blondish woman in a fur coat” Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). A friendship builds between the two, to the jealousy of Therese’s huffy square boyfriend (Jake Lacy), who dismisses it as schoolgirl crush, and the consternation of Carol’s matinee-handsome, soon-to-be ex-husband (Kyle Chandler), who uses it as ammunition in their ongoing divorce negotiations. [More]

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Deadline RIP character actress Elizabeth Wilson from stage, tv, and film (Roz in Nine to Five & Mrs Braddock inThe Graduate!) passed away at 94
Bryan Singer James McAvoy as Professor X finally going bald of X-Men: Apocalypse
Towleroad Natalie Portman as Ruth Baader Ginsburg?! 
CHUD the ongoing drama of Jennifer Lawrence's paycheck for the upcoming Passengers, a sci-fi drama with Chris Pratt. She's not budging on her 20 million,which is double Pratt's salary though he's the lead. Will Sony cave to save face from all those wage disparity complaints after leaked emails?
Boy Culture tells us about a new LGBT movie That's Not Us about three couples on a weekend getaway. Sounds good
Empire Charlize Theron to star as a spy in The Coldest City, based on a graphic novel
Pajiba highlights from the Alex Garland's Ex Machina AMA 
Antagony & Ecstasy another fine take on Ex Machina 

Small Screen
Coming Soon NBC picked up a series based on Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. I know it was probably impossible to top Samantha Morton's precog but the series will focus on a precog only a male precog zzzz. No offense Stark Sands who I've enjoyed in other things!
/Film ... and that's not the only movie becoming a TV series. Next season will also give us serialized versions ofUncle Buck and Limitless 

Cannes News
Cannes Mother of the French New Wave Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) to receive an Honorary Palme D'Or. Yaaas.
Film Doctor UK advice for filmmakers attending Cannes -- this is from last year but there are lots of practical thoughts that apply to any year, non filmmakers and other smaller festivals, too
Guardian with Gaspar Noé's Love on the way a look back at the festival's history of erotic cinema
Awards Daily Sasha geers up for Cannes but still seems hung up on last year's awards race dramas

Playbill looks back at very tight Best Musical races from the past (West Side Story vs. The Music Man, etcetera) with Fun Home, Something Rotten, and An American in Paris battling it out on Tony supremacy this season
Gold Derby Outer Critics Circle Awards. With Fun Home ineligible American in Paris snatches up trophies. Kristin Chenoweth prevails in the very tight Best Actress race (will Tony go for Chita, Cheno or Kelli O'Hara?)

Showtune to Go
With American in Paris celebrating its Tony nominations, why not a little Gene Kelly to brighten your Monday? Here's Kelly doing "Tra La La." Hollywood never had a more cheekily charming male movie star, give or take Cary Grant.


Do you ever read books just because they'll "soon be a major motion picture"?

That's today's burning question since the April Foolish charts for both screenplays are up this May 2nd (shut it - I tried to finish by April!) and, as per usual, the year's Adapted Screenplay competition looks fairly robust while the Original Screenplay competition is harder to parse since the films don't come with as much pre-release prestige. My whole life I've tended to prefer films written originally for the screen -- this year I'm most curious about what Diablo Cody has written for us with Ricki & The Flash --  but Oscar feels differently and Adapted Screenplays are often where it's at for them.


See the two charts here and tell me this:

Have you read any of these books that are 'soon to become major motion pictures' in 2015  do you plan to? And which book-to-film for 2015 do you suspect will only become a "minor motion picture"?


Drama Desk Nominations, Tony's More Inclusive Cousin

Lin-Manuel Miranda as "Hamilton"The Drama Desk Nominations for the 2014/2015 theater season have been announced and the Tony Awards follow suit in a week's tim (theater seasons run summer to spring). The chief difference, besides the level of fame, is that the Drama Desk categories have more nominees but also more eligible contenders since Off Broadway productions (and there are lots more of those) are also considered for the top prizes. Hamilton, the new hip-hop Off Broadway musical about the founding fathers from Lin-Manuel Miranda of "The Heights" fame dominated with 13 nominations but it's not eligible for the Tonys.

It's also impossible to get tickets to and popular with celebrities (Madonna famously was barred from going backstage after using her cel phone -ugh - but everyone's been to it including Michelle Pfeiffer). In the reverse situation, "Fun Home," which is an absolute must see and could lead the Tony nominations, is not eligible for the Drama Desk nominations since it was already eligible in its Off Broadway run last season. "Hamilton" is moving to Broadway in the summer which means it'll be eligible for the 2016 Tony Awards.

The full nominee list, which also included a lot of nominations for screen-to-stage transfer "Let the Right One In" is after the jump...

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Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 4) the Original Gone Girl

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca -  Nathaniel introduced us to our nameless heroine whose youthful, clumsy charm lands her the brooding Maxim de Winter. Abstew attended their nuptials and the first of the second Mrs. de Winter's trials at Manderley. Then Anne Marie ventured into Rebecca's room to see how deep Mrs. Danvers obsession goes. Will our mousy leading lady ever find the peace and love she desires at Manderley or will the ghost of Rebecca prove too great an obstacle?

Part 4 by Angelica Jade Bastién

We begin where Anne Marie left off, with #2 (aka The Second and Less Fabulous Mrs. de Winter) getting her wish for a costume ball. After failing to come up with a costume to her liking Mrs. Danvers offers to help. But, #2 soon learns that Mrs. Danvers version of help is quite dangerous. 

1:16:06 Costume balls, much like Halloween, allow people to become what they deeply want to be even if it’s just for an evening. For #2 this is especially true as she takes Mrs. Danvers advice and dresses up as Lady Caroline de Winter based on one of the many family portraits that punctuate the walls of Manderley. Lady Caroline represents everything #2 is not: poised, beautiful, disarming. 

While some of our team hasn't warmed to Joan Fontaine in this nameless role, I agree with Anne Marie's estimations. Fontaine perfectly embodies her. When we first see #2 in her costume she is nervous with desire, unsure of her decision. She carries herself with a sort of clumsiness I remember from my high school years; trying to have some sort of grace but instead bristling against the confines of early womanhood. Which makes me wonder how old is #2 supposed to be exactly? [More...]

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