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Entries in Carnage (12)

Wednesday
Jan182012

Ray of Link

Rope of Silicon early commercials starring the ascendant Michael Fassbender
W Magazine a horizontal pictorial of Fassy. I am more and more worried he'll be the surprise snub at the Oscars. I really am. May my prophecy fail me!
NY Times a profile of George Lucas on the eve of his supposed retirement from blockbuster filmmaking. But first Red Tails (2012)
24 Frames Octavia Spencer is getting choosy about her roles but Hollywood is still not awash in leading roles for acclaimed black actresses.

Pajiba on Michelle Williams body body body GQ photoshoot.
Guardian offers a guide of 20 pictures to watch for at the Sundance Film Festival which begins... tomorrow!
Low Resolution Carnage cast power rankings
FlavorWire on TCM's ten most influential silent films. See, The Artist is good for cinema. People are looking back. Silent films are so wonderful. I hope you've seen a bunch of them.

Kenneth in the (212) fans "react" to Madonna winning her second Golden Globe. LOL.
Boy Culture I knew Matt would have smart things to say about the Madonna Globe win and Elton John's ridiculous pissiness about it. Matt on Madonna's "ungracious" speech. 

What was narcissistic about Madonna's sweet speech, anyway? She accepted an award and thanked her co-writers and her leading lady. Sure, she forgot to self-flagellate, but...

Hee!

Guardian Speaking of The Artist. I knew we'd eventually get a story about total idiot moviegoers. Seems some people want their money back because they didn't realize it was a silent movie. Excuse me, I amend. Not idiots, Assholes. Silent films can be just as amazing as sound films.  
In Contention on the costumes of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Ultra Culture 14 Things That Armie Hammer looks like in J Edgar. Hee
Paper Mag has the season 5 poster for Mad Men but to give it context they include all the others too.

 

If you must know, not that *I'm* counting, that is 67 days away. How will you spend those days?

Wednesday
Nov092011

God of Linkage

A Socialite Life This is not Kate Winslet (to your left). This is Kate Winslet's new wax figure at Madame Tussauds. They went so recent what with the choice of that Emmy dress.
Vulture Stephen Dorff always gives great interview. He's mouthing off about chest hair and nipples on the set of Immortals. He said no to man-breasts for his workout regimen.
IMP Awards as predicted Carnage couldn't keep that brilliantly loud and colorful French poster look. Instead it had to go completely generic and dullsville for American audiences. Do NOT let your movie look like a unique experience; no one will buy tickets! 

The Wrap Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson and Tom Fucking Waits (!) will star in Martin McDonagh's new action comedy Seven Psychopaths. Eeep, love the cast, love McDonagh (Six Shooter, In Bruges). Make it be good! Please make it be good.
Deadline Jake Abel may be the male lead opposite Saoirse Ronan in The Host. They both appeared in The Lovely Bones.
The Playlist Elizabeth Olsen and Glenn Close to team up for Therese Raquin. Wasn't Kate Winslet supposed to do that once onscreen? The first time helmer is Charlie Stratton who will also write the screenplay.
MNPP [NSFW] doubles up on love for Dominic Cooper in The Devil's Double

and Ugh. How cute are these new We Bought a Zoo posters?

They make me want to love the movie muchly even though I pretty much hated the trailer.

small screen
Vulture Glee's Sue Sylvester Problem. Good piece. It's still a wildly inconsistent show three seasons in. 
Tyler Shields shoots the cast of the best new drama on television, Revenge.

I'm so addicted to this show. Are you watching? But I'm mostly addicted for the magnificent throwback performance from Madeleine Stowe (not pictured) rather than the hottish men so don't let this shot fool you. That said I ♥  Gabriel Mann, far left, who I've always liked as an actor but never to quite this extent. Speaking of... I did not see his recent plot twist coming at all.

P.S. I can't get over how Ashton Holmes (not pictured) looks nothing like he did as Viggo's son in A History of Violence. I barely recognize him six years later.

Tuesday
Nov012011

Feinberg & Friends

Scott Feinberg started a podcast at the Hollywood Reporter a month back. Each week he has a different guest and it's yours truly this week. I haven't listened to it but, then, I was there during the recording so that should count. (I have the same mundane problem as most of the verbal world in that I hate hearing my own voice. Editing my own podcast --returning soon-- is enough torture in that department.)

We're discussing Best Picture, Costume Design, actresses who bare it all for the gold man, the double-supporting-actress nomination, and category placements for Carnage (everyone has officially gone supporting!) among other quick topics. Have a listen...

Thank you to Scott at the Hollywood Reporter for the conversation. We always love to talk Oscar.

Monday
Oct172011

NYFF: Second Opinions 

Serious Film's Michael C. here. The New York Film Festival just wrapped up its strongest year in recent memory, so I thought it was worth tossing in some additional thoughts on titles that Kurt and Nathaniel already weighed in on. We'll follow this up with a podcast. (coming soon!)

Carnage - Although it is difficult to spot any instance of Polanski's Carnage stepping wrong, it is just as hard to shake the empty feeling that follows in its wake. Deprived of the electricity of live performance the source material is revealed to be a sharply crowd-pleasing exercise in presenting obvious truths in the most entertaining way possible. The skill that went into the production from top to bottom cannot be dismissed, but still, for all the polished craftsmanship Polanski brings to the table he can't quite hide the artifice of the whole production. One never really believes it. Read my full reaction.  

A Separation - Asghar Farhadi's deeply absorbing drama ranks as the best film I saw at the NYFF. Farhadi recalls the best of Krzysztof Kieslowski with his ability to depict how our choices reverberate and ricochet through the world with consequences that could never be anticipated. Having secured a qualifying release date A Separation demands to be included on the Best Picture roster. Read my full reaction.

My Week With Marilyn - A waste of a great Michelle Williams performance on a shallow coming-of-age story with no real insight about the real person behind the image. The only thing that separates the protagonist from the rest of the people who want a piece of Marilyn is that he has a better seat from which to gawk. Read my full reaction

Pina - I was more excited for the idea of Pina than the execution. A 3D tribute to a brilliant dancer seems like a great use of the gimmick for once, but Wim Wenders insists on frequently interrupting the dance sequences with underwhelming info segments just as they are gathering momentum. Alright for what it is, with many memorable images, but it could have been much more.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - A strong debut from writer/director Sean Durkin with a very fine lead performance from Elizabeth Olsen as the escapee from a cult with a psyche as fractured as the title suggests. Durkin attacks the potentially sensationalistic material with an intelligence that impresses. He never once goes for the easy melodrama and as a result this foreboding story has a ring of truth and a tension that never lets up. As good as Olsen is in the lead, the performance that wowed me is John Hawkes in his second great supporting role in two years as the seductive cult leader. 

The Kid With a Bike - I second everything Kurt said. An extraordinarily moving film and the best child performance since The Sixth Sense.

A Dangerous Method - The big disappointment of the festival for me. Not an terrible film by any stretch, but a disjointed one, which never gathers any momentum as it continually leaps forward in time. As a result, the actors are left struggling to create believable character arcs the script doesn't support. Keira and Viggo fair the best playing characters that range from wildly hysterical to quietly enigmatic, respectively. It is Fassbender who suffers the most as the movie is never able to connect to the torrent of emotion supposedly churning under his surface.

The Artist - One of the biggest outpourings of cinematic joy since Amelie hit theaters a decade ago. If I have one minor complaint that prevents me from doing Donald O'Connor backflips off the wall (like Nathaniel did) it's that the story of the washed-up silent film star is simple in the extreme. But when the filmmakers tell this simple tale with such an explosion of creativity, and all the story beats go over like gangbusters, why quibble? Jean DuJardin is so charismatic in the lead role I wouldn't be surprised for him to get the Oscar just so everyone can have an opportunity to see him smiling on stage.

*

We hope you enjoyed our NYFF coverage.

Friday
Sep302011

NYFF: "Carnage" 

Though critics screenings have been well under way for some time, tonight is the official opening night of the New York Film Festival. The kick off film is Roman Polanski's Carnage, about which we should undoubtedly say a few words. And then scream them, as we lose our composure.

Moviegoers who have seen Yasmina Reza's hit play "God of Carnage" in any of its many stage productions, had just cause to fear a film version; it's very much a work of the stage. What if they cast the two young boys whose stick-wielding playground tussle prompts all the (psychological) carnage between their parents, who meet to discuss the fight? What if the movie leaves the apartment where the entire play takes place? What if the actors can't handle the tricky satirical tone that has to be rooted in internal drama but stylized enough to extract external laughs?

The first two fears involve the dread "open it up" problem that hover like dark storm clouds over so many stage-to-screen adaptations. If you don't "open it up" you run the risk of your movie feeling weirdly hemmed in and even cheap. If you do "open it up" you run the risk of arbitrary and awkward resizing that feels more like nervous approval-seeking then an attempt to serve the material. With Roman Polanski, an expert at claustrophic storytelling, guiding the tight-quarters squabbling perhaps we shouldn't have worried.

The trouble-making sons of Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster and John C Reilly) and Nancy and Allen Cowan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) do appear in the film but in a wonderfully smart and ambiguously played framing device. This change from the play stays magically true to the spirit of the source material but is also entirely new and right for the change in medium (which is EXACTLY what adaptations should strive for). So the first thing Roman Polanski does right is that even though we do technically leave the confines of a realistically sized New York apartment (i.e. small) both visually and physically (the apartment building's hallway), we never once feel as though we've escaped the crowded private hell of two married couples. For a smartly succinct 80 minutes (it happens in real time) you are trapped with the parental quartet and their justifiable concern: what to do about a violent encounter between their children. The comedy and drama of the play-turned-movie are the ways in which said real and justifiable but basic-sized problem morphs, twists, pivots, wiggles, shrinks and expands -- it just can't hold its shape -- until it's a series of problems both microcosmically petty (home cooking, name calling, cel phones) and gargantuan unsolvable (Genocide! Corporate Greed! Marriage!).   

For the most part the actors all do solid work. Christoph Waltz, in the film's best and most nimble performance, ably suggests that Alan is a bit of a sadist and the only one who is actually enjoying all the squabbling and suffering (until he isn't). John C Reilly has the biggest about face, appearing to be the most accomodating character (and the dullest actor) until alcohol and aggravating phone calls from his mother loosen him up. Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, two of the screen's most formidable actresses are both good. Kate is best with Nancy's comedic outbursts  (her weak stomach and quick inebriation, just as in the play, provides some of the most memorable moments) but one wishes for more character detail in the inbetween when she isn't the focus of the scene. Foster has the most difficult role. Penelope is an extremely uptight and self-righteous Africa-obsessed mother and she's the one character that's simultaneously the worst at keeping it together and the one most concerned with keeping it together. Though Foster has fine moments her comedy is the wobbliest; one ends up pitying Penelope more than laughing with or at her which is a strange place to end up inside of a viciously dark comedy. Still, there's a certain go-for-broke original bravura in Foster's vein-popping despair (hers is the performance least like the original play's), that one has to admire it even while one mentally recasts. 

As Carnage winds down... Stop. Winds down? Yes, though Polanski often comes up with clever angles by which to watch the four characters interact, the film does run into some trouble with momentum which the play didn't have. The hallway scenes offer new and funny ways of thinking about the fact that the couples can't seem to end their evening even while their hatred for each other grows, but they strain credulity as well. If you're that close to leaving... There are strange lulls just as things are reaching fever pitch, and the ending itself is one of those and weirdly sedate.

Despite Polanski's very smart and controlled approach to the material, one almost wishes he'd taken a page from Jodie's book and just gone jugular. He employs so many different techniques to keep you visually stimulated: depth of focus, variety of shot lengths, staging, camera stability (things get a bit shakier in time with the copious alcohol) that one almost wants to scream at him to commit to one of them, embrace it feverishly and "DO IT UP REAL BIG LIKE!!!" Take your cues from Winslet's ugly vomiting, Foster's whiny-screaming or Christoph Waltz's man-pouting and let your hair down a little. Lose your composure. Risk bloodying yourself up but good.

Carnage (2011) is maybe the best film version one could hope for given the absolute stageyness of the source material but it's good enough that it leaves you wanting one that you didn't dare hope for. B/B-*

Previously on NYFF
Miss Bala wins the "must-see crown" from judge Michael.
Tahrir drops Michael right down in the titular Square.
A Dangerous Method excites Kurt... not in that way, perv!
The Loneliest Planet brushes against Nathaniel's skin.
Melancholia shows Michael the end of von Trier's world. 

* Carnage is unique enough that the grade probably doesn't suggest how "see worthy!" it actually is. It's also the kind of property one might conceivably feel differently about on a second pass. For those of you wondering Carnage's best bet Oscar-wise is an Adapted Screenplay nomination. Since no consensus seems to have formed about "best in show" acting traction will be hard to come by for a shared movie.