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DAY FOR NIGHT -another great movie about movies

I'm not sure if I like it more than 8 1/2 or Singing in the Rain, but when the majestic trumpet music plays, it reminds me of why I love cinema in the first place. The actors are terrific in this film as well. However, nothing will top Topsy-Turvy for me about the mystery,repetition, and heartbreak of the artistic process.❞ -Lars

 

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Entries in Ezra Miller (3)

Friday
Jan112013

Awards Leftovers: The Editors, The DPs, The Gays

The Editors
Do you have any thoughts you need to get off your chest about the ACE Eddies? They barely received any play coming as they did on the heels of the Oscar nominations but I wanted to mention them anyway since I love 'the invisible art' and it's what I think I would have done had I gone into filmmaking (if not casting). This year their drama nominees Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall, all received Oscar nominations but for the latter which was bumped to make way for Silver Linings Playbook, the only Comedy recipient to transfer with AMPAS. Also nominated in comedy or musical: Les Misérables, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, and Ted.

"I know this will sound batshit crazy but your editing is just not as good as the editing in Silver Linings Playbook! which is also better than Skyfall"

This is not meant as a knock on Playbook since I know its fans are sensitive about my generally "meh" reaction to it (and distaste when pushed) but I actually have no problem with its nomination here in comedy. But that it should be the one chosen over the impeccably odd combo of razor sharp pathos and cool comic timing of Moonrise? And then bump out the action stylings of Skyfall? Me no understand.

Seamus McGarvey photo courtesy of the IECThe DPs
Likewise I forgot to mention the
American Society of Cinematographers who chose Seamus McGarvey from Ireland  for Anna Karenina, Danny Cohen from Britain for Les Misérables, Claudio Miranda from Chile for Life of Pi, Janusz Kaminski from Poland for Lincoln, and Roger Deakins from Britain for Skyfall. All of these men went on to Oscar nominations but for Cohen who was replaced by Robert Richardson of Massachusetts for Django Unchained.

The Gays
Another group that waited to announce their nominees until Oscar time was The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association or "GALECA" who hand out the Dorian Awards. Full disclaimer: I became a member this year. I'm happy to be a part of it but, as with my BFCA membership, I don't always want to be associated with the results ;) That said, I joined this group because I like the presence of groups who, by their very nature, are forced to step outside the Oscar pool. You can't exactly nominate Argo and Lincoln for your LGBT FILM OF THE YEAR prize you know? Well... maybe 'Argo Fuck Yourself' and Lincoln. (haha. i'm here all week) But of course they also have a FILM OF THE YEAR prize which finds room for the titles you'll be totally sick of by Oscar night.

LGBT FILM OF THE YEAR 

I assume Keep the Lights On can't lose since it's the only LGBT film that's also nominated for Film of the Year but I'm personally trying to decide between Gayby and Perks for my vote. Both are so adorable I just want to cuddle with them. 

Complete Gayness after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov242012

The Perks of Being Anna Karenina's Guardian

By the end of each and every November I am buried in piles and piles of screeners in addition to screening invites each night (I'm not complaining) that all arrive within the same two week period (I am complaining). To give each film a fair shake you'd have to do nothing but watch movies for two weeks before ballots are due -- I'm terrified at how quickly my Critics Choice voting begins! In order to see all the films you want and rescreen those you have foggy memories of you'd have to a) give up Oscar parties, networking and campaign luncheons, b) turn down filmmaker interviews c) decline visits from family and friends and choose not to attend any holiday parties with them d) abandon your blog, your writing, and any work for clients and consulting jobs and thus all your money and e) refuse to sleep.

As I am unwilling and/or unable to give up any of those things, I admit to a certain distressing ohgodImafailure feeling each November. This is a longwinded way of saying that I'm super far behind and overwhelmed and I hope you'll all be patient though I know your first instinct is probably sympathy-free; "Bitch, you already saw Les Miz. Shut it!"

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THREE MOVIES I HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT

Rise of the Guardians
Santa isn't the main character but he's the character I kept thinking about while trying to organize my thoughts. Santa has "naughty" and "nice" tattoos and the movie is that way, too. In every respect it's a mixed bag, no matter how many gifts it has stuffed inside. Despite confusing character design (why are tooth fairy and easter bunny so scary looking?) and steady but strange characterizations (Santa laughs a lot but there's no vocalization whatsover that might be interpreted as a "ho ho ho"), the characters were sort of endearing. I really enjoyed Sandman, who doesn't speak but communications through shape-making, and Jack Frost who is visualized here as a teenbeat icy hipster twink. The film is often gorgeous but it's also so over-designed as to be instantly forgettable as it leaps from busy lair to busy lair of these iconic characters. The story is both overly familiar and alien (what's with that 'listen to the man on the moon' messaging?) and nonsensical. Most of it all it just smells weird; that's the aroma of frenzied "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?" flop sweat. C-
Oscar? There is still plenty of debate as to which toon will win the Best Animated Feature this year, but given the strength of the field, Guardian's chaotic overkill doesn't bode well for its chances.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Logan Lerman is Charlie, an introverted troubled high school freshmen (hence the title) who finds solace in writing and literature and renewed energy for life when a group of "misfit" seniors take him under their wing. The best moments of this adaptation of the beloved best-seller resonate with tender universality but the screenplay (and I assume source material) are problematic. High school is traumatic enough without actual trauma as ever present backstory. Why all the gilding of such a delicate lily? B+/B
Oscar? Traction would be a stretch in any category given that youth oriented films, no matter how heartfelt and soulfully performed, are rarely recognized. Still... this is a significant leap forward for all three of its principles: Logan Lerman does his best work yet anchoring the film; Ezra Miller proves he has a much wider range than After School and We Need To Talk About Kevin suggested; and yes even Emma Watson -- who longtime readers will know I've been ice cold on -- impresses.

Anna Karenina
Brief Thoughts: If Joe Wright's brazenly theatrical take on this oft adapted classic about a respectable Russian wife who loses her place in society to her obsessive affair with a young soldier isn't the year's strangest film (The Master and Holy Motors fight for that honor), it's still one of the most compelling high wire acts. The stylization, which mostly turns on an ever shifting stage set and constant art and film history referencing, isn't always consistent and the film feels like an almost-musical so often it borders on torture (for musical aficionados at least). But there's something about all the eye-popping scenic changes, grand acting gestures, mobile camera, and plot riffing rather than storytelling that give the film a propulsive self-absorbed energy that dovetails perfectly with the stubborn sexual obsessiveness of Anna herself.  B+
Oscar? The film will undoubtedly prove too divisive for major prize-gathering -- hell, I'm the target audience and even I am of two minds about it -- but it still has a fighting shot at the eye candy categories or, as we like to call them, the Moulin Rouge! prizes (a film it often recalls). If the actor's branch is feeling daring, they might want to take a closer look at Keira Knightley's huge star turn. She's getting braver and more adept at stylization all the time. She's the ideal model for Joe Wright's picture-making. Knightley will never be everyone's favorite actress but there's much to admire in this gutsy editorial posing performance.

Recent Reviews / Discussions
Les Misérables (first screening)
Lincoln (on the podcast)
Skyfall (review)
The Master (with a little Holy Motors thrown in) 
Silver Linings Playbook (Beau's review) 

Friday
Aug172012

Ezra Miller is Queer

Ezra Miller, the devil child that could put Damien in a headlock and kick Rosemary’s Baby off a bridge a la Jack Black in Anchorman, has come out as "queer".

I'm queer. I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I've been trying to figure out relationships, you know? I don't know if it's responsible for kids of my age to be so aggressively pursuing monogamous binds, because I don't think we're ready for them. The romanticism within our culture dictates that that's what you're supposed to be looking for. Then [when] we find what we think is love – even if it is love – we do not yet have the tools. I do feel that it's possible to be at this age unintentionally hurtful, just by being irresponsible – which is fine. I'm super down with being irresponsible. I'm just trying to make sure my lack of responsibility no longer hurts people. That's where I'm at in the boyfriend/girlfriend/zefriend type of question."
-Ezra Miller to Out 

I’m not one for semantics, personally, so if there is a brouhaha abrewin’ regarding the use of the word ‘queer’ rather than ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or whatever label we’ve adopted/reclaimed recently, I’m not participating in it.

I will merely say that the young actor, so good in Lynne Ramsey’s We Need To Talk About Kevin (and one of the stars of the upcoming The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has appeared, in several interviews, to be kind, generous, self-possessed and remarkably aware of each action taken and word spoken on his behalf. I’m not going to say it’s brave (redundant/extraneous) or powerful (hyperbole); I’m simply going to say congratulations to a young, talented actor from my generation for taking a step into unknown waters. Beautiful abandon.