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Entries in Anna Karenina (19)

Wednesday
Dec172014

Female Screenwriter Tops 2014 Black List

Manuel here to share some of the best unproduced screenplays written by women (according to industry insiders).

The Black List, now in its tenth iteration, compiles an annual list of the most liked unproduced screenplays. Since 2004, some of the screenplays featured on here have gone on to become Oscar-winning films like Argo, Juno, and The King’s Speech, as well as modest successes like Lars and the Real Girl, Charlie Wilson’s War and 50/50. Even current Oscar-favorite The Imitation Game topped the list in 2011. Other titles like Recount, Things We Lost in the Fire, The Beaver and Snow White and the Huntsman have been featured. That is to say, it’s quite a mixed bag (this year includes a screenplay for Wonka, for example, “a dark, reimagining of the Willy Wonka story beginning in World War II and culminating with his takeover of the chocolate factory,” which… well, to each their own).

This is the first year a screenplay written by a woman has topped the list:

CATHERINE THE GREAT by Kristina Lauren Anderson
Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia’s most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.

In terms of casting my mind immediately went to Keira Knightley but that might be the Anna Karenina flashbacks. Such beautiful, gorgeously designed flashbacks! While female monarch films (including former Black List entries, Grace of Monaco and The Other Boleyn Girl) have not been outright hits, wouldn't you love to see this on screen with... Alicia Vikander? Diane Kruger? Rebecca Hall? Who would you go with?

Though perhaps, like Elizabeth, this film would do well to introduce us to a fresh, exciting talent. A tall order, I know.

Three other female screenwriters made the Top Ten with decidedly genre entries: Aether (by Krysty Wilson-Cairns) is set in a near future London where a revolutionary technology can record sounds hours after they were made; Situation Comedy (by Cat Vasko) is about a young woman who stumbles into a mysterious courtyard where she is transported into a sitcom-like universe, becoming a major character on this “TV show,” and Tau (by Noga Landau) is about a woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper. Sadly, the rest of the list does not bear out that early promise. The full list of 70 scripts shared only features four other scripts written by women.

Do any of these films feel like the next Juno (still the most high profile female-written Black List vetted script)? Do you have any better suggestions as to who would/should play Catherine should Anderson’s film be produced?

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten: Most Deserving Oscar Wins of the Decade (thus far)

It's a special "top ten day" to kick off fall film season. Lists all day long. Enjoy!

As we move into awards seasons it's a good time to think positively and hope for the best. Though AMPAS is too high profile to ever get an entirely fair shake (people will always take them to task because one man's treasure is another's junk and because it's easier to remember the gross dereliction of their duties more than their classy moments) they don't screw up all the time. Some Oscar wins are highly deserved no matter how you look at it. Though it seems weird to call this young decade "the Teens" already given that we've just left the pre-teens, that's what it'll surely be called when it wraps in December 2019

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

Honorable Mention
 Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (2012 Supporting Actress)
"I Dreamed a Dream" and its fearful preamble "At the End of the Day" had seismic emotional impact. Performances this raw are always risky (and usually divisive!) but I'll never forget her confrontational mix of anger, sorrow, memory and beauty; a woman staring into the abyss, still stunned she's at the brink of it.

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

10ish  Christian Bale, The Fighter (2010 Supporting Actor)
Christopher PlummerBeginners (2011 Supporting Actor)
I couldn't decide which of these fine actors I wanted on the list and on an earlier draft I accidentally left both off as a result. Oops. Both are arguably leads, so it felt a bit strange to include them but they are two very fine instances of overdue actors finally winning the top gong. While they probably won at least in part as "whole career" honors, that much derided Oscar tactic that often gives actors Oscars for one of their lesser performances, doesn't always backfire; both were, happily, incredibly deserving.


09 Lupita N'Yongo, 12 Years a Slave (2013 Supporting Actress)
A close call, perhaps, with "It Girl" JLaw nipping at her barefeet. Or maybe not close at all given how much of its operatic sorrow the sometimes cerebral Best Picture owes to her proud wails and immeasurable pain.  "I'd rather it be you" 

8 more greats after the jump from Gravity to A Separation

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr042014

The Faces of Jude

Here's abstew on one of TFE's very favorite actors

This past Wednesday saw the limited release of the British film Dom Hemingway about a safecracker that is recently released from prison after serving 12 years. The marketing material is also quick to point out that he's played by Jude Law because it's not immediately apparent.(The film also stars The Mother of Dragons herself, Emilia Clarke, as his...daughter! Well, at least she's not the love interest. At least, I hope not.)

Sporting a couple gold teeth, the craziest mutton chops not normally seen outside of a Civil War reenactor, and more girth than usual (Law gained 30 pounds for the role and it's not even Oscar bait!), the role is certainly a departure for the man that was once Dickie Greenleaf. (Although he's still kinda sexy as Dom. Am I crazy?)

Even in his early roles it was often noted that Law was a character actor trapped in the body of a movie star. Although he's been named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive before, he's hardly an actor to rely solely on his good looks. Throughout his career he's been allowed to embrace the character actor aspect of his roles and experiment with his appearance along the way.

Let's take a look back at some of his most memorable looks!

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Saturday
Nov092013

Europa! Europa! EFAs Feeling Broken, Blue and Beautiful

The European Film Awards have announced their annual year-straddling list of nominees and featured heavily are several Oscar contenders from 2012 and 2013. Recognisable names like Keira Knightley, Naomi Watts (not for Diana, thankfully) and Jude Law rub shoulders with Felix van Groeningen, Fabrice Luchini and Luminita Gheorghium, which is just how we like it! 

However, like many award shows at this time of the year the biggest eyebrows isn't so much in what they nominated, but what they didn't. The cries of "snub!" will surely come thick and fast for Adele Exarchopolous and Lea Seydoux who failed to make the actress nominees for their soaring performances in Blue is the Warmest Color. Lucky then that the film picked up major nominations in picture and director for controversial Abdellatif Kechiche. Movies amassing big nomination hauls include Belgian Oscar hopeful The Broken Circle Breakdown, Italian Oscar hopeful The Great Beauty, and Germany's hit Oh, Boy! while films representing Romania, and Spain (albeit last year) also popped up prominently as did Francois Ozon's In the House.

High profile films amongst films that the EFA didn't find room for include Oscar-nominee Kon-tiki, Only God Forgives, A Hijacking, The Selfish Giant, Berberian Sound Studio (sadly - the best horror film of the last few years!), Borgman, and What Richard Did. Here's the list of nominees + the additional technical winners that have already been announced.

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Sunday
Apr282013

April Showers: “Anna Karenina”

 April Showers semi-daily @ 11 

 Andrew here to briefly talk about Anna Karenina, because  I relish any opportunity to talk about one of my favourite 2012 films.

Among the great many things about Anna Karenina I remain grateful for (Keira’s most adult performance, Marianelli’s most inventive score, great work from Durran are a few) Jude Law’s turn as Alexei Karenin is near the top. Prior to Anna Karenina I’d been experiencing something akin to cognitive dissonance with Jude for the last eight years or so. Other than the odd Contagion thrown in I’d been finding it more and more difficult to justify the reasons I kept maintaining that he was my favourite actor under 40. So, naturally, he had much to prove to me with Anna Karenina and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

The shower in question is brief but comes at a pivotal moment in the film. With a third of the narrative left Karenin, assured of his wife's infidelity, experiences an awkward dinner with her brother's family. He is too scrupulous to excuse or understand Anna’s cheating ways and when he receives a letter plaintive letter he rips it to shreds.

 
 
 

 With that tortured look, alone, I’m willing to forgive less than exciting work in the years preceding. It's not that post-2004 and pre-2012 Jude was slumming it, but he's not been pushing himself either. It’s one of the key reasons I would reach for Wright’s Karenina before any other. Karenin is not a footnote, but a full realised man. Wright and Stoppard are unwaveringly interested in ALL of their characters and the examination of Karenin is as compassionate and warm as that of the eponymous heroine. As the shredded paper morphs into a shower of snow it leads to one of the multiple glorious images of the film.

Seeing steadfast Karenin (and his good ethics) inundated in a shower of white does not seem accidental, to me. The idea of a jilted lover standing in a shower of rain is not unheard of, but of course Karenin - forever suffering in silence - is showered not in loud raindrops but snow which is not only as pure and immaculate as his morals are but silent, too. There is no pitter patter as this shower unfolds but a chilling soundlessness as the snow falls to the stage. Like Karenin himself, a man not out of love with his wife but too emotionlessly silent to show it, there is no sound. Poor cuckolded fool, though; shredded paper and all he’s at her bedside in the next scene.

Was anyone else as moved by Jude's Karenin last year? Did Wright's compassion for the cuckolded husband impress you too?

Friday
Feb222013

Final Oscar Predictions

This article has been cross-posted at Towleroad

Yesterday on Kathy Griffin's new show she began with an Oscar monologue and brought out a gold trunks-clad model with his hair cropped tight and his body sprayed gold. I'll let it slide that he wasn't actually bald but he stood with his legs spread far apart and his hands behind his back. 

Had he never seen an Oscar statue before?

UR DOING IT WRONG! 

As you may have guessed I hold the Oscars sacred. You might call it my religion. I've been watching them since I was a little kid and as an adult I have spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over them and even made something of a career out of it. [A struggle!]  But never before in my life have I had such a hard time predicting the winners.

Oh sure, Argo will win Best Picture and Daniel Day-Lewis who many of us first fell in love with as a blonde gay punk working in that Beautiful Laundrette will win for becoming President Lincoln but elsewhere in Oscar's 24 Categories there's an awful lot of room for pundits to embarrass themselves this year!

Best Director, for one, is baffling. The tech prizes look like a very bloody battle between at least three pictures (Anna Karenina, Skyfall & Life of Pi). And so on. AFTER THE JUMP my Oscar predictions. If I get everything wrong please forget we ever spoke of this! 

Click to read more ...