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Entries in Foxcatcher (24)

Friday
Dec272013

Oscars Postponed Pleasures (?)

[Here is guest columnist Matthew Eng to remind us of four films we may have forgotten. But they'll be back - Nathaniel R]

Postponements happen every year to a few among the many films on Oscar’s selective radar, to movies whose prospects look both bright and, well, bleak. It very nearly happened to Wolf of Wall Street, but for the skilled hands of Thelma Schoonmaker, who rescued the film from both a rumored four-hour running time and a dreaded NC-17. In cleaning up its act, though the film is still dirty, Wolf pushed Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan reboot Shadow Recruit out of its prime Christmas release date, but I’d wager that that project’s Oscar chances were already on the slim side. Let’s take a look back (and forward) at the four deferred features that tried to make it in time this year in order to win Oscar’s attention.

Foxcatcher (Dir. Bennet Miller)
Oscar Prospects: Picture, Director - Miller, Actor - Carell, Supporting Actor - Ruffalo, among others

Foxcatcher pretty much looked like a sure thing this Oscar season, considering the strangely fascinating true crime story at its center (the murder of Gold medal-wrestler David Schultz by a schizophrenic benefactor), as well as the main talent involved: director Bennett Miller, coming right off of Moneyball and reunited with Capote scribe Dan Futterman; star Steve Carell, transformed and intriguingly un-typecast as Schultz’s killer John du Pont; the ever-reliable and similarly-transformed Mark Ruffalo as Schultz; and a newly-revivified/post-Magic Mike Channing Tatum as Schultz’s brother/fellow Olympic wrestler. Following lots of general intrigue (primarily around Carell) albeit minimal buzz aside from an opening slot at the 2013 AFI Fest, Foxcatcher was moved by distributor Sony Pictures Classics from its late December release to a 2014 date that’s still TBD, in order to, you know, finish the movie. It’s a move thatseems pretty wise in retrospect, considering the already over-stuffed Best Actor line-up that the criminally under-sung and under-rewarded Carell (not even the Emmy?) would’ve definitely had to fight for a spot in. I expect that we’ll all be talking about Foxcatcher this time next year, but in the meantime, continue carefully placing needles in your Jim Parsons voodoo dolls and hope that that fantastically taut teaser reemerges on the web.

 

Grace of Monaco (Dir. Olivier Dahan)
Oscar Prospects: Actress - Nicole Kidman

On Oscar Sunday earlier this year, the Weinstein Company made news by buying domestic rights for La vie en Rose helmer Olivier Dahan’s latter-day Grace Kelly biopic for a planned December 27th limited release, building instant buzz around Nicole Kidman’s star performance as the late Princess of Monaco. Flash forward to today, December 27th, and here we are: Graceless. What happened? Aside from a rumor that footage from the film, completed nearly a year ago, would be premiering at Cannes, it seemed as though Grace of Monaco might have been nothing more than an actressexual’s giddy pipe dream, as Harvey Weinstein spent the greater part of the year stumping for seemingly every other movie on his already crowded docket, including Best Actress heavies Philomena and August: Osage County. Add in some early, pre-Weinstein criticism from Kelly’s children over the film’s presumed subject matter and a suspiciously delayed trailer that resembled a Dior commercial more than, um, an actual movie, and the odds weren’t looking so great for Grace and Nicole. Then, a week after the trailer’s release, Weinstein and Co. announced that they would be postponing the film until spring 2014, putting an end to any and all award buzz for Kidman, and subsequently rendering a dishy, ill-timed Vanity Fair cover story on the actress all but pointless. Meanwhile, in October, Dahan gave an embittered interview to a French newspaper, in which he bashed the trailer and called Harvey Scissorhands’ re-edit of the film a “pile of shit.” (Maybe Dahan can start a support group-cum-rebel rally with Bong Joon-ho and Wong Kar-wai?) It has yet to be seen whether Grace will be a spring treat or trifle, but it seems increasingly unlikely that Nicole will be a contender for a project with an such an already-dubious history behind it. One can only hope that Dahan doesn’t pull a Diana and further embarrass Our Darling Nicki.


The Immigrant (Dir. James Gray)
Oscar Prospects: Actress - Marion Cotillard; Cinematography - Darius Khondji

After a mixed reception at Cannes, the Weinsteins picked up acclaimed but Academy-ignored auteur James Gray’s period piece about the personal travails of a newly-arrived Polish immigrant in 1920s New York, with a promising lead performance by Cotillard in the titular role. The Immigrant seemed poised for an Oscar-qualifying release this year, only to find its admittedly modest chances temporarily squandered when Weinstein announced that the film would be delayed until 2014. It’s hard to say if The Immigrant (whose release date is still TBA, despite making its way to festivals in Toronto and New York) was ever really going to be a true-blue awards contender outside of the continually captivating efforts of oft-ignored cinematographer Darius Khondji, as well as Cotillard. After that dazzling La vie en rose win she has become something of a perpetual Oscar afterthought, with, in order of likelihood, Rust and BoneNineMidnight in Paris, and Inception all failing to make Oscar's lineups And even if The Immigrant isn’t the film to bring her back to Best Actress glory, Marion still has her upcoming, David Michôd-directed, Fassy-married, presumably fierce-as-all-get-out Lady Macbeth to potentially get her there.


The Monuments Men (Dir. George Clooney)
Oscar Prospects: Uh, every category Columbia can buy a campaign for...? 

Let’s be honest: this was either going to be a monumental crowd-pleaser for Oscar to bear-hug, orit was going to be a larkish, star-filled period piece, potentially all-dressed-up with nowhere-but-Goodman to go. (Is anyone else getting a whiff of Leatherheads from over here?) Based on its new February release date, not to mention those highly doubtful and groaningly self-serious trailers, it seems that Columbia may have settled the confusion, but not before we were subjected to the baffling sight of George Clooney talking about the trials and tribulations of being a screenwriter in Hollywood, while sitting at the same Hollywood Reporter roundtable as Julie Delpy and Nicole Holofcener. But who knows? Maybe The Monuments Men will be the surprise hit of 2014 and not just a studio-sponsored Eurotrip for Clooney & Co. Maybe it’s the art-saving, Nazi-evading baby in the early winter bathwater. Or maybe it’s just the bathwater.

Sunday
Sep292013

Best Picture: October is The New December

one... two... three... do the release date shuffle ♬

Over the past couple of weeks the last quarter of the year has pulling its usual release date switcheroos, brushing detritus or unfinished masterworks (you decide) from its schedule. We can all act surprised if we so choose but we're only fooling ourselves when we do.

And they say, "Goldfish have no memory"
I guess their lives are much like mine
And the little plastic castle
Is a surprise every time

-Ani DiFranco "Little Plastic Castle"

This happens every year! So no more Foxcatcher in December. No more Grace of Monaco in November. Curiously both films had released trailers seemingly moments before they were pulled from the calendar. (Foxcatcher's trailer was quickly snatched back from view before I even had time to watch it but at least we had time to discuss Grace). 

In paradoxically more alarming / less surprising non-news [more]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug152013

Attack of The December Glut 

I shall honestly try not to complain about the studios weird habit of shoving everything into one month of the year this year. I shall honestly try! I know the complaint is as tired as their inability to think outside of the Christmas Box. This post is brought to you by tonight's news that Sony Pictures Classic will open Foxcatcher, the true crime story of Olympic wrestler brothers and the schizophrenic who murdered one of them, the same day as their other Oscar hopeful The Past (December 20th) from Oscar winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. This post was also brought to you by the sorry news that Spike Jonze's fascinating looking Her was recently pushed back to December, too, despite looking like a perfect fall title... like a Lost in Translation kind of moodpiece that could really use some air on both sides of it to breathe a little in the imagination.

Herewith the current schedule for the last month of the year so save up your pennies and let your friends and family know you won't be available for their parties and reunions because Hollywood is greedy-greedy-greedy and Scrooge-like. They want ALL your money and your time at the tail end of the year. Unless you wanna just wait until February and try to catch up after the Oscar nominations. That's so much less fun, damnit! See, I'm not a velvet rope kind of person. I don't believe in exclusivity when it comes to the movies. I want everyone invited to the Oscar discussion party. Not just people who do showbiz as their work or have lots of free time in December and happen to live in New York or Los Angeles. (sigh)

two musicals kick off holiday movie season: Black Nativity and Frozen

Thanksgiving Weekend
BLACK NATIVITY
FROZEN
GRACE OF MONACO - expanding in December
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM - expanding in December

 

December 6th
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS -- expanding for Christmas
OUT OF THE FURNACE 

Dave and Mark Schultz... to be played by Mark Ruffalo & Channing Tatum in "Foxcatcher"December 13th
AMERICAN HUSTLE --expanding for Christmas
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SEMI-COLON FILM TITLES
SAVING MR BANKS -- expanding for Christmas

December 18th-20th
HER -- going wide in January  
THE MONUMENTS MEN  
THE PAST  -- expanding in January
FOXCATCHER  -- expanding in January 

December 25th
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
LABOR DAY -- expanding in January 
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Ralph Fiennes directing) -- expanding in January 
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

That's it. That was my last ever rant this year about December glutting!

The point is to really embrace and enjoy the serious movies that open before the holidays. They are rare beasts that deserve your love. In fact, go pledge yourself to Blue Jasmine again!

Thursday
May232013

Early Bird Predix: "Best Supporting Actor"

And here we go... the acting categories you've all been very impatiently waiting for in TFE's first wave of Oscar predictions for the year.

Will Previously Honored Movie Stars With Weird Character-Actor Hairdos Rule This Year?

As faithful readers know I like to keep my crystal ball risky with the bouncing and hope it doesn't shatter. In the first wave of predictions "what if" scenarios and "wild cards" are espectially compelling in the Supporting races. I mean why not? So little is yet known about future important matters like Amount of Screen Time, Nature of the Ensemble Roles, Best in Show Scene Stealing and even Post-Production "we'll fix it in post" Switcheroos where a film is rethought to better spotlight its MVPs. This early on there's no point in making boring predictions in which Oscar favorites hog all the categories though sometimes they do -- witness last year's All Previous Winner boredom in this category. Which is why I'm taking a few big risks like imagining an implausible Tim Roth comeback in a Nicole Kidman vehicle or suspecting that stage actor Sean Mahon (so charming recently as an unexplored love interest in Higher Ground) will make the most of a key role in Philomena.

I'm betting on a field of non-winners and (Oscar) newbies. For now... That said sometimes you have to go "default" as I've done by predicting Javier Bardem. From a distance his new role as an Weirdly-Coiffed Embodiment of Evil for an Oscar-friendly Director (sound familiar) seems an awful lot like his roles in No Country For Old Men & Skyfall but considering that he almost got nominated for doing this again - in a Bond film no less ! -- I decided against pretending that his fellow actors don't just worship the ground on which he walks.  

And what of the Ensembles and Potentials For Category Fraud?

Foxcatcher has three major male roles: schizo John duPont (Stave Carell) and two wrestling brothers played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo (not pictured)

The one I'm most curious about in terms of story structure and "best in show" business is Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it's based on a true bizarre story about a wealthy eccentric (played by Steve Carell) who was also a schizophrenic and the two Olympic wrestling brothers (Channing Tatum & Mark Ruffalo) who he became friends with which did not end well for any of them. It's a three-handed story. Channing Tatum gets top billing but the screenplay is based on that brother's unpublished? memoirs so he might be your narrator/audience proxy (a la Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby) which means that Tatum will be demoted to supporting even if he's the lead. My guess is Carell with the showiest part is lead and the other two are relegated to supporting despite very large roles. Now pedigree-wise a movie starring Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum who have 1 nomination and a lot of obstacles to Oscary respect between them (TV fame, light comedy history, hunkaliciousness) shouldn't scream "Oscar nominations for all!" but Bennett Miller is quality. He's only made two narrative features (Capote & Moneyball) but his favored milieu (true stories about famous or infamous men) is right in Oscar's wheelhouse and both of his previous pictures won a lead and a supporting acting nomination. 

Since Hollywood is always very focused on testosterone heavy stories there are usually multiple options of acting glory for men in any given film. Take these examples: The Counselor is headlined by Michael Fassbender but my guess is the colorful supporting cast (led by Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem) will pull focus; I know nothing (yet) about the breakdown of characters in The Monuments Men but there are A LOT OF THEM so who is to say which Friend o' Clooneys (Damon, Goodman, Balaban, Murray?) was given the best role or the most camera attention?; Wolf of Wall Street is also a sausage fest but it seems more likely to be The Leo Show - Wall Street Edition than anything else; I've noticed quite a lot of "Benedict Cumberbatch for the Oscar!" mania after the August: Osage County trailer premiere and, sure, he does emote more in the context of the trailer than anyone besides Julia Roberts but that role isn't really that big or that great and the men (Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper) may find a hard time getting around the female driven narrative for any Oscar attention of their own in such a crowded film.

So take a look at the chart and tell me with your own crystal ball where you think mine is malfunctioning and which prophesies you also deem most likely to occur. (Up next: Best Actor)

Friday
Jan042013

Amir's Most Anticipated Films of 2013

Ewan McGregor and I (from TIFF). What movies do you think he's looking forward to?Amir here. For most of us moviegoers the first day of January doesn’t coincide with the start of a new film year. We wait for the release of films like Zero Dark Thirty or Amour in our corners of the world. But to wish you all a slightly belated happy new year, I thought there’s no better way to semi-start 2013 than with a top ten dozen list of possible cinematic treasures that await us.

It was a tough task to narrow down but that’s the fun in list-making. I know I’ll be first in line when Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac hits the screens, or when Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s long-awaited follow-up to the masterful Birth, is unveiled. And how could I not be excited about Side Effects from the always intriguing Steven Soderbergh, or Les Salaudes, the newest film from Claire Denis, one of our greatest living directors? James Gray’s Nightingale almost made my list, as did Park Chan Wook’s Stoker and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. Joachim Trier, whose last film Oslo, August 31st was my favorite of 2011 (2012 for many US critics) is working on an English-language debut called Louder than Bombs,  too. I’ll be there for all of them, but if I had to pick only a dozen films to watch this year? Here they are....


12. I’m So Excited

An apt title for a film on a list of this kind, but that’s definitely not the only reason I’ve included it here. Pedro Almodovar, everyone’s favorite Spanish auteur, is going back to the realm of comedy with this story of intersecting romances and dancing gay flight attendants on an airplane.

I’m So Excited stars a whole lot of Spanish stars like Javier Camara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Duenas, Paz Vega and my biggest crush of the moment, Blanca Suárez. Almodovar’s regulars Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are apparently in for small roles. 

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep302011

Persona Non Linka

Thank you to Glenn for drawing our attention to this Melancholia poster starring Lars von Trier (one of a series). When was the last time you saw a director on his own movie poster?


I mean apart from Hitchcock's Psycho -- the one where he warns you about not entering the theater late -- I can't think of one (unless the director is also the lead actor of course). It's impish fun to use von Trier this way in marketing since anyone buying a ticket to Melancholia is going to know who he is. But the "persona non grata" Cannes seal in the upper left corner is the real design coup here. Well done, whoever thought of it.

Links!
My New Plaid Pants chooses five fav Gwyneth Paltrow performances. Where the hell is Flesh and Bone? That'd make mine.
Thelma Adams recruits female pundits and critics to talk Best Supporting Actress
EW is eager to meet all of your Avengers needs 
Flickr More Drive art. See also this week's Curio column
i09 selects the ten best sci-fi death scenes. Number 2 should be number 1, duh!
Shakesville offers up Princess Bride Monopoly (click image to view larger). Well done.  

Source

Awards Daily new pics of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe 
Form is Void Have you ever seen Jim Henson's Time Piece (1966)? It gave him his first and only Oscar nomination (Best Live Action Short Film). It's "surprisingly spicy."

Finally, it seems that Bennett Miller will follow up Moneyball with Foxcatcher which is the story of crazy rich person / killer John DuPont, the heir to the DuPont fortune who killed an Olympic wrestler on the massive DuPont estate. His defense claimed paranoid schizophrenia but he was still found guilty. Steve Carell will play the challenging role. And, given what Carell has been able to do in Little Miss Sunshine and even Crazy, Stupid, Love. is there any reason to believe this couldn't be an Oscar nominated  next career step? This project is so fresh it doesn't even have an IMDb page yet (though I suspect that will change today given that this news is all over the 'net)

I guess Bennett Miller is only going to do true stories that are essentially tiny- window biopics of famous or somehow notorious men: Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher? It's a niche but at least everyone agrees that he's good at it. As for tiny-window biopics -- they're the best kind! The only good kind.

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