Film Bitch History
Oscar History

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Eyes Wide Shut (5)


Five (Other) Times Nicole Kidman Should Have Been Oscar Nominated

With Nicole Kidman returning to the Oscars this weekend as a nominee, here's Abstew on a handful of roles for which Oscar did not recognize her...

When I was a child there was an Oscar almanac that I would consult for my Oscar obsession (this was long before the days of the internet). The list of actors with multiple nominations didn't begin unless the actor had 5 nominations or more. Ever since then I've had it in my head that 5 is the magical number when it comes to Oscar; a sign of a better actor, showing that their body of work over the years is worth recognition, rather than the "one and done" that so many actors face. Since Nicole Kidman has always been one of my favorites, I've thought it odd that she's been nominated a relatively low number of times compared to the quality she produces. Certainly she ranks with Kate and Cate, for example, who both have 7 nominations...

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Linker by the Dozen

Salon talks to Patricia Clarkson about her career and why she never married or had kids
Pajiba 25 best triple exclamation point quotes from (recent) movie history. I added the (recent) because you know how people do with lists. It's always our lifetimes + one classic. But it's a fun list
Daily Telegraph interviews actress Rachel Griffiths on juggling career and family. "You can't win" she says
Antagony & Ecstasy remembers Eyes Wide Shut and wonders what would have happened if Stanley Kubrick had had more time with it

Gawker Bill Murray doing voicework for Jungle Book as "Baloo"
Film Stage first images from Rosewater, Jon Stewart's directorial debut
Towleroad a review of The Way He Looks. So bummed I missed this Brazilian romance at NewFest. Keep hearing good things
/Film Harry Shum Jr will co-star in the as yet untitled Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel (it's based on the book Iron Knight Silver Vase but I'd be VERY surprised if they kept that title). So glad he found a post-Glee role. Love him.
Awards Circuit polled their whole staff on '10 greatest performances'... but i don't do 100s of click throughs to see all the lists so someone tell me who has the best taste ;)

super world
Comics Alliance on the importance of Superman's forelock curl
Variety looking back at Marvel's Phase 1 and Phase 2
Kate Mara Fantastic Four is a wrap. Cute photo of the cast 

...and finally. 8 Bit Video attacks The Avengers. These things are so cute but I long for them to do something less expected than a blockbuster action movie. You know?


I apologize in advance for this but why does my brain always want such incongruous things as 8 Bit Far From Heaven: Help Cathy retrieve her flying scarf. Find Cathy's philandering gay husband. Train is about to depart. Or 8 Bit 12 Yea-- no, too soon. 8 Bit Black Swan Slam your psycho mother's fingers in the door for points. Pirouette until you transform into a bird. Kill your doppelganger.   8 Bit The Hours: Think you can buy the flowers yourself? Load your pockets with stones. How long can you stay underwater? Make a birthday cake while a need child looks on. GO!


Burning Questions: Movie Killing Scores?

Michael C. here to take a cue from the Summer movie season and release the first Burning Questions sequel. 

The story goes that at the eleventh hour the original score to Chinatown was deemed a film-ruining disaster and composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and given just ten days to write a replacement.  Miraculously, the score Goldsmith delivered turned out to be the quintessential film noir soundtrack. When the AFI listed the 100 greatest film scores Goldsmith’s trumpet-laced masterwork ranked #9. So a happy ending, which is one of the rare times when that phrase can be used in conjunction with Chinatown.

This is a terrific example of the filmmakers having the resources – and more importantly the will – to strive for perfection even if it meant taking a risk late in production. We’ve all heard enough terrible soundtracks to know tales such as this are bound to be the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps commissioning a new score would be too much of a hassle or too big an expense. Maybe the filmmakers in question are blind to the damage the music is doing to their movies. Then there are those unfortunate cases which are merely the victims of their times. Today’s trendy soundtrack is tomorrow’s time capsule punchline.

These musical misfires are the subject of today’s column. A few months back I posted a colum asking for the names of great soundtracks wasted on lousy movies. This time it’s the opposite question: Which scores are movie killers? I’m talking soundtracks that seriously distract and detract from otherwise quality movies. 

I’ll get the ball rolling with these three unfortunate cases that never fail to aggravate me:

Ladyhawke (Score by Andrew Powell)
I chose Ladyhawke as a particularly odious offender, but really, on the subject of disastrous scores, one could simply type “The 80’s” and move on. So many of that decade’s artificial, synth-heavy scores that have aged like rotten fruit, stinking up countless otherwise strong movies. (Manhunter, I’m looking in your direction) Ladyhawke’s music is so bad I wonder if the film would actually work better as a silent film. Or hit the subtitles and play a classical music channel on Pandora. Any random shuffle has got to be an improvement 

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Score by Ira Newborn)
This is also an eighties title, but I think it’s such a uniquely awful case of a score bringing an otherwise terrific comedy to a screeching halt that it deserved to be singled out. Exhibit A on why experimental scores and comedy rarely go together and why you should never, ever mix snippets of the film’s dialogue into the score.

Eyes Wide Shut (Score by Jocelyn Pook)
I have struggled with this title since it came out, but if there is one thing that will always stand between me and fully appreciating this fascinating waking nightmare of a movie it is that godforsaken plink-plink-plink piano score. I can imagine a psycho killer from Hannibal using this music to torture a victim tied up in their basement. Before you say it, yes, I freely admit that this may have been exactly what Kubrick was going for, but even if I believed this to be true (I don’t) it would make no difference. The music is viscerally alienating in a way that bypasses the intellect entirely, like jackhammers or squeaky balloons. Just thinking abou it sets me on edge.

Previous Burning Questions
You can follow Michael C. on Twitter at @SeriousFilm. Or read his blog Serious Film


Curio: Hollywood's Garage Sale

Alexa here.  The 2012 Hollywood Legends Auction, held recently by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, made some news because it included the first sale of Whitney Houston's belongings since her passing. I recently perused the catalog and was interested to see many items from Rue McClanahan's estate (Golden Girls caftans!) and artifacts from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's life together (including some patio furniture). There were hundreds of interesting film curios, including costumes, original artwork and odd, lifelike mannequins. Also fascinating was how much many of the items went for.  Why did Debbie Reynolds' Singin' in the Rain Costume fetch $10,000 more than Natalie Wood's Gypsy ensemble? Who knows.  Here is a small selection of the hundreds. You can flip through the catalog here.

Orson Welles self portrait, sold for $8,960.

Eyes Wide Shut mannequins, sold for $1,408.


Cabaret, Cleopatra, Gypsy and more after the jump...

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Q&A Pt. 1: Sexy Time, Big Scares, Grace Casting, Favorite Kubrick

As an apology for always taking so damn long with these Q & A columns, I'm doing two this week, but shorter just so I can get some questions done. I'm glad the feature is so popular so thanks for your patience when your questions aren't selected or delayed a week. Here we go. You asked. I select eight to answer... for now. Part Two in a day or three.

MARK: Do you think the success of The Help and Bridesmaids will get more female oriented films made, black or white?

Sadly I do not. It's actually not that rare for a female-driven film to become a big success. Everyone in positions of power just has collective amnesia about it the following year or assumes that it's a novelty even though novelty should imply "one off" and not something that occurs pretty much a couple of times a year. ;) 

KOKOLO: What is your favorite Kubrick film?
I haven't been a completist about everyone's favorite director but mine. But of those that I've seen my preference is The Shining. I don't like the ending very much but otherwise I love everything about it and I think it's spectacularly creepy. But this could be because I saw it in a spectacularly creepy way for a first time in (wait for it) a cabin in the woods without another house around for miles, surrounded by the pitch black of a forest. I was SO scared. And don't you think that the circumstances in which you first view a movie have a real longlasting impact on you (provided it's a great movie to begin with)?

As for Kubrick in general, I find his films somewhat alienating which I suppose is the point but he's just not a favorite of mine. We're all allowed our off-consensus feelings about "the masters" aren't we? I actively dislike Eyes Wide Shut (1999), hate its faux shocking orgy sequence and cheesy-ass pay cable looking fantasies and the molasses performance beats drive me utterly wild... not in the good way. No, I don't even like Kidman in it very much. I keep meaning to give it a second chance but... every time I see a scene out of context I hate it all over again. I do however worship the opening sequence with Nicole Kidman stripping in front of the mirror.

But because I have never written about Kubrick I will now allow of you to choose one of the following (I skipped ones I didn't feel like writing about) and I will rent and write about whichever one you choose before the end of November. Drum roll... GO!



BIA: Which actresses would you put on a shortlist for this new Grace Kelly movie?

Please god no. We don't need this movie! Unless it's an alternate reality fantasy in which Kelly loses the Oscar to Garland. Hee. But in all seriousness, I did look at my list of actresses in the right age range -- yes I keep age range lists like I'm some casting director! I am an actress nerd. I couldn't come up with anyone suitable - Grace Kelly was 25 at the peak of her movie fame and 27 when she married the prince and retired. [If you're curious some blondes in the 20something age range -- I'm not endorsing them just listing them...

Grace casting, Sexy & Scary movies and more after the jump...

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