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Entries in Coriolanus (8)


Tuesday Top Ten: Memo to AMPAS

Oscar ballots left the Academy offices today on their way to the 6,000+ members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. If you must concern yourself with the math of Best Picture voting, here is how it works. I've always found that the discussions of hard but unknowable facts like voting percentages (no one but the accountants see them) and the math and statistics that surround them obscure the more telling aspects of like mood and buzz. Those are equally invisible things but way more honest about their own unknowability.

Anyway, sorry to distract with math. Here are the top ten things we'd respectfully like to say to AMPAS members today as they mull over their abundant choices. We may contradict ourselves a few times but so it goes in Oscar season.


10 We Feel For You Even When We Complain!
It's true that you can't please everyone. That's especially true if you are making decisions that millions of people are invested in even when they claim not to be. Thick skin is handy. We assume you have it when people like us start storming the castle. (If we didn't love you we wouldn't care... so stop freaking out about your relevancy)

09 Take Your Time. Watch a Few More Movies.
You have until January 13th to turn in your ballot. Yes, it sucks that at least a hundred screeners arrive between November and now assuming you have nothing better to do during the holidays than prop open your eyes with toothpicks for a marathon session. I don't want to overwhelm you further with more options so I will only boldly suggest a triple feature before you send off your ballot: A SEPARATION, BEGINNERS and MELANCHOLIA. These three films -- and several others -- won't get as much press as the bigger name movies they're superior to (*cough* You Don't Need To Horse Around With The Girl With the Iron Lady Tattoo) but that doesn't mean you shouldn't vote for them! I single them out because they're good, under-discussed and I know you have the screeners.

[Update: You don't have the screener but CERTIFIED COPY is on Netflix Instant Watch so do yourself the favor. (Whoops that's a quadruple feature!)]

08 Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus
You also might want to give Coriolanus a whirl too to see why some people are so excited about Vanessa Redgrave again. It's been kind of a great year for actresses and actors of a certain age (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor may both skew the oldest ever). But don't throw that particular theme party at the Kodak and forget to invite the best one! That would be... weird.

"you are not my son"

07 On the other hand... consider rejecting the one-week qualifiers altogether.
We're not sure what went wrong in 2011 but the one-week qualifier shenanigans went viral this year. There were more of them than ever. Too many films are screaming "screw you!" at audiences and only courting YOU. This is not healthy for the cinema which is meant to be an art form for the masses. If you've ever worried about charges of elitism consider rejecting them entirely.

peek-a-boo releases, combating genre bias, and sticking it to loudmouth pundits after the jump!

Click to read more ...


'Attack of the 50 Foot Vanessa!' San Francisco Winners

I've long been saying that if Oscar voters actually see Ralph Fiennes Shakespearean adaptation Coriolanus -- it's an "if" because 80% of the contenders, even the teensy tiny ones, chose December as their best Oscar strategy -- it'll be tough to stop Vanessa Redgrave from crushing her Best Supporting Actress competition. Though Fiennes is the actor/director it's the legendary Oscar winner who walks away with the movie as his proud, fierce, monster mom, so proud of her son's battle scars she comes across as yet more bloodthirsty than he.

So today she picks up her second precursor after the British Independent Film Awards. San Francisco apparently likes their moms all sticky with a violent son's blood. See also their best actress winner: Tilda Swinton

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Winners
PICTURE The Tree of Life
DIRECTOR Terrence Malick, the Tree of Life 
ACTRESS Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
ACTOR... Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks, Drive

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SPECIAL CITATION "The Mill and the Cross"
MARLON RIGGS AWARD (Courage and Vision in Bay Area film community)
National Film Preservation Foundation 

All in all a very good showing for The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor and bloody mamas everywhere. Now excuse me while I do a happy dance for Certified Copy. YES.


Moët BIFA Awards Spread the Movie Wealth

The Stars gathered this evening in London for the Moët British Independent Film Awards which was ruled by one particular Tyrannosaur and also afforded Michael Fassbender his second best actor prize (following the Venice Volpi Cup) for Shame. He needs to keep nabbing these to stay in play for a very competitive Oscar race.

photo via @shamefilm

Photos and a list of winners after the jump.

Click to read more ...


10 Word Reviews: Hanna, Like Crazy, Puss in Boots, Coriolanus

Though I'm happy to have finally banged out a few thoughts on J Edgar, I'm never going catch up without engaging in some quickies. So herewith some miniature takes on things I've recently seen that I haven't written up. (And at the end of the post, a bit more on J. Edgar because you were asking... )

For Fiennes directorial debut he adapts one of Shakespeare's lesser tragedies
10WR: Swings with brutish fists, occasionally landing blows. Impactful locale choices. B 
Oscar? Supporting Actress. It will be all about beastly mama Redgrave chewing determinedly on her own anger. (Fiennes does the spitting for their amusingly Oedipal bond).

Crazy College Kids Cuddling Cross-Atlantic 
10WR: Intermittently endearing / annoying, sensitively made. Starter kit for promising careers. B-
Oscar? Unlikely despite early buzz to the contrary. Best Actress is too crowded and romantic dramas don't win kudos for their male leads. On that note, I feel it's worth trumpeting that Anton Yelchin is every bit as strong as Felicity Jones in detailing the first crushing moments of love and the romantic confusion that often follows. Bonus points for giving us the most authentic "drunk but horny, trying to stay awake" face the movies have ever seen.

Crazy Post-Collegiate Kids' "NO CUDDLING!" Coitus
10 WR: 100% predictable but funny. Authentically acted despite proud sitcom leanings. C+
Oscar? LOL. But no embarrassment for Portman as post-Oscar performances go -- which it could have been. She's far better here than in The Other Woman. No really.

Puss invades another fairy tale (Jack and the Beanstalk) for treasure and personal redemption.
10WR: Indulgent backstories / setpieces bore. Charms with character and recurring gags.  
Oscar? Seems likely for animated feature but then they did ignore the last two Shrek movies. 

in which a teen killing machine is on the run from...  because of... with only .....
10 WR: Carnage-filled collision of fairytales/Catholocism. Ridiculous. Unique. Very watchable B
Oscar? Stylized teen driven genre pieces are not their thing so "No". But how about that Chemical Bros score, eh? Cinematography was compelling, too.

Already reviewed and interviewed but y'all kept asking about Oscar. I only have it predicted for two nominations right now, Best Makeup and Best Actor. The makeup is getting mostly bad reviews but bad reviews have rarely stopped them from honoring "Most Makeup" in the past. As for the Best Actor nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio, I agree with Mark who says in the review comments.

I don't want to live in a world where Leo is given out of some sense of obligation but Fassbender is snubbed for his miraculous turn in Shame.

... but we do live in that kind of world, even if this year happens to pan out differently.

Otherwise, I don't see a way the film can find much Oscar traction. The costumes and art direction aren't particularly showy (and it's a crowded year). The cinematography seems to be one of the more divisive elements and historically the cinematography branch isn't as enamored with Eastwood's filmography as other branches tend to be. Even when his films are Best Picture nominated they don't often show up. Unforgiven (Jack N. Green) is the only one of his four Best Picture nominees to receive a cinematography nomination and Changeling (Tom Stern) is the only other one of his pictures so honored.

What's next review wise?
More substantial takes coming on Melancholia and the Scandinavian Oscar submissions...


London: "Coriolanus", NYC, and an Oscar reject

David here with another report from the London Film Festival. First up, a Shakespeare adaptation with even more pedigree than usual.

"Anger is my meat. I sup upon myself." So proclaims Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) halfway through Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut Coriolanus. In person at the press conference, the raggedly bearded Fiennes' couldn't be more affable, but Caius Martius Coriolanus (Fiennes, following Olivier and Branagh by directing himself in a Shakespearian lead) lives, and perhaps fosters, a world of fearsome aggression. In both the narrative and the extra-filmic reality of the cast, the hierarchy makes itself apparent: as Redgrave powers her way through her titanic final monologue, her terribly veined neck strained upwards as she spits and crows at Fiennes, she burns through Fiennes' schizophrenic celluloid, a scorch mark on a scuffed rug. Redgrave outacts everyone in sight because Shakespearean dialogue is part of her bloodstream, but also because she is so precise in how much of herself she commits to each moment. Redgrave's vibrant poise and direct anger are graciously straightforward without compromising on character depth.

The remainder of Coriolanus cannot be gifted with such lavish praise.

Click to read more ...


Beauty Break: Vanessa Redgrave, Bewitching in Any Season

♪ if i ever i would leave you
how could it be in springtime?
knowing how in Spring, I'm bewitched by you so?
oh, no, not in Springtime...



...or Fall 

No never would I leave you.... at all ♫.


So excited to see Vanessa again in Coriolanus, aren't you? And potentially at the Oscars?

Just recently I was suddenly remembering how perfect she's been in virtually all the seasons of her career. I love her in Camelot (1967) but mostly for her gorgeousity and because the Arthurian Legends have bewitched me since I was a kid. My favorite Vanessa performances are off the top of my head..

  1. If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
  2. Julia (1977 -Oscar win)
  3. The Devils (1971) 

Share yours, please! Is it from the spring, summer, winter or fall of her career?