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Entries in Into the Woods (39)

Monday
Jan052015

Oh • Yel • LINK • Oh!

Gurus of Gold a new chart reflects the PGA nominations
Variety talks about the lack of screeners for Selma
NYT great profile of Patricia Arquette. People are laying the tributes on thick now for the Oscar campaign. 
THR you know it's Oscar season when people get fired for "smear campaigns" 
The Guardian exchanges pleasantries with Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher, American Sniper):

You've made a good movie for once."  

The Dissolve on the Razzie shortlists - nominations soon
i09 52 years of Spider-Man's mask a spiffy quick visual
Hollywood Elsewhere Josh Gad may play Roger Ebert in Russ & Roger Go Beyond
i09 Eddie Redmayne shares details of his audition for The Hobbit
Playbill Into the Woods breaks into the Billboard top 20 
Film School Rejects on How the Disneyfied Into the Woods loses its allegorical power, especially in regards to the AIDS crisis
Vulture how Looking is reinventing itself for Season 2 (premiering on Golden Globe night, fyi) 
Pajiba on an amazing Boogie Nights story involving Burt Reynolds 
/Film Matthew Vaughn, promoting Kingsman: The Secret Service thinks people have had enough of Nolanified superhero films and want more fun
Playbill god help us all. Cats is returning to Broadway. There are still so many 1980s musicals on the boards here. Wish we could have more originals and fewer returns. P.S. Cats is the first Broadway show I ever saw so I have a certain affection. But still...
Australia Womens Weekly Russell Crowe saying annoying things again. This time knocking actresses for wanting better roles when they're older
In Contention North Texas critics like Boyhood and the usual supporting players. Gyllenhaal & Pike for leads

List-Mania
Variety on ten big spenders. See the insane amount of money the studios spend on ads for their movies. Godzilla tops the list spending big to make big but The Judge also wasted a small fortune 
/Film a grab bag of lists about the film year
Vox Todd Vanderwerff's top ten list   
Adam Male 5 gay men share their top ten LGBT movies list (well, there unfortunately isn't much in the way of "L" here). Interesting to see so little overlap. Nobody ever interviews me for this sort of thing but my list would contain a few of these. 
Comics Alliance best comic books of the year 

 

How to Pronounced David Oyelowo
There's finally video of Brad Pitt schooling us all on David Oyelowo's name. Here you go!

 

 And while we're on the topic, Interview did a Q&Andy with him. On why he left the UK and came to Hollywood:

I had a very nice career in the U.K., but heroes of mine are Daniel Day Lewis, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and when I looked at the zenith of what they do, it came out of Hollywood. So my wife and I took the risk in 2007 of leaving the U.K., coming here, and hoping that I could scale those heights. 

Dizzying heights indeed but Selma's a great step up.

And Finally...
For those of you just returning from a long holiday, don't miss... 

#20-11 Best of the Year, (now updated with honorable mentions)
#10-01 Best of the Year, Nathaniel's List 
Unjust Pride DVD Sony has put the gay heroes in the closet 

..and more interviews with:
Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson Before Superhero Glory, Noah
Actor Finn Wittrock A Brief Scene in an Elevator
Actor Oscar Isaac  A Most Famous Year... Coming Soon
Cinematography Yves Belanger The Man Who Shot Reese 

Sunday
Jan042015

Box Office: "Into the Woods" Worth More Than Five Beans

Whenever I hear myself complaining loudly about the December glut I know I will have a comeuppance when I see the box office chart and notice once again that everything makes a ton of money during the Christmas and New Years. 

Everything that opens wide that is. It's still an awfully tough time to open an indie on a few screens or a foreign film (though distributors always try) as evidence by A Most Violent YearTwo Days One Night and Leviathan which need far more publicity than they can reasonably manage when everyone is talking about the behemoths like all-star musical and Angelina Jolie's epic and so on. Those films are at $300,000, $109,000 and $79,000 respectively.

TOP SIXTEEN
01 HOBBIT 3 $21.9 NEW (cum. $220.7) Five Beautiful Armies
02 INTO THE WOODS $19 (cum. $91.2)  InterviewReview
03 UNBROKEN $18.3 (cum. $87.8)  Interview
04 WOMAN IN BLACK 2 NEW $15.1  
05 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3  $14.4 (cum. $89.7)
06 ANNIE  $11.4 (cum. $72.6)
07 IMITATION GAME $8.1 (cum. $30.8)  Reviewsecond take
08 HUNGER GAMES 3 $7.7 (cum. $323.8) Review
09 THE GAMBLER $6.3 (cum. $27.5) Review
10 BIG HERO 6 $4.8 (cum. $211.2)  Review / second take

11 WILD $4.5 (cum. $25.8) Reviewinterviewpodcast
12 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $3.7 (cum. $61.2) Review
13 PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $2.8 (cum. $78) Review
14 BIG EYES $2.6 (cum. $9.9)  Brief note
15 INTERSTELLAR $2.4 (cum. $182.7) ReviewPodcast
16 TOP FIVE $2.1 (cum. $23.7) Thoughts
17 THEORY OF EVERYTHING  $1.1 (cum. $24.7) Reviewpodcast
18 THE INTERVIEW $1.1 (cum. $4.9)
19 HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 $0.9 (cum. $53)
20 FOXCATCHER $.09 (cum. $7.9)  Reviewsecond Takepodcast


It's worth noting that Into the Woods is already the 7th most successful musical of the 21st century and seems likely to vault over most of its competitors. Whether it can surplant Chicago (also by Rob Marshall) as #1 is the question.

Of the top 20 the Imitation Game had the most crowded theaters followed by Into the Woods. Meanwhile in platform release the big story is still two mainstream movies which go wide very soon. Selma and American Sniper are both already at $2 million and go wide next week and the week after respectively. Expect huge numbers for American Sniper which continues to pack houses whether or not it wins Oscar nominations the day before its release. Incidentally Still Alice opens the day after the nominations, finally showing its face to regular citizens.

 

Meanwhile everyone still thinks Cake doesn't exist. What did you see this weekend?

 

Friday
Jan022015

MGM's Into the Woods (1949)

I don't know who made this time-travel brilliance or I would credit their awesomeness (please citizens o' the internet, credit your artwork!) but I got it from the New York Theater website and found it highly amusing. What if Into the Woods had been made by MGM circa 40 years before Stephen Sondheim wrote it!

If you're having trouble reading it the credits go like so...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan022015

Year in Review: Women in Hollywood Box Office

Two yummy year in review lists per day. Here's Manuel to talk money 

Last year’s Box Office Top Ten is, as we all know by now, populated with talking raccoons, fighting robots, dangerous apes and superheroes of web-slinging and shield-throwing capabilities, so for this end of year report, we’ll focus instead on female-led films and how they fared with the public. It's a celebration of a corner of Hollywood more in line with the TFE sensibility.

Note: I am using “female-led” quite strictly (though, as always, quite subjectively in some cases).


Ensemble films like Guardians of the Galaxy, The LEGO Movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Godzilla are missing from the list below because, while they feature female characters in key roles, they remain male-centric, at best making their female-character (or if we're lucky characters) central amid an obscenely male-skewing world (Saldana in GOTG, Lawrence in XM:DOFP). At worst they side-line their actresses totally - what are Keri Russell and Elizabeth Olsen even doing in their respective films?.

After the jump see what the top 11 female-led films of 2014 grossed last year (along with other lists)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec312014

Screener Adventures from American Snipers to British Painters (Pt. 2)

Previously... I shared brief thoughts about rewatches of Big Hero, Grand Budapest, Babadook well as The Homesman and Skeleton Twins.

What came next in the home-screening adventures, you ask? Here I am to answer. I haven't had as much time as I'd hope (aint that always the case) but I've been trying to cram movies in. Here are a handful of notes on movies from the screener stack.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Credit where credit is due: For once a Clint Eastwood movie is not filmed like its sinking into an inky black void where color is a total affront to sober intent. It turns out Tom Stern can make movies that take place in reasonably well lit places. Okay, okay, let's not get carried away. It's still largely colorless but this time there is daylight though the subject matter remains brutal. I'm not sure what to make of its dead-eyed killings which aren't filmed with any rah-rah glee that you'd think would accompany the movie's conservative America is #1 conservatism. Even its one note patriotism is presented rather than, I think, fully endorsed: Chris Kyle, very well played by Bradley Cooper though there isn't much in the way of an arc, memorably refuses to engage with any criticism and is all "God, Family, & Country" in each scene. But something about its very matter-of-fact presentation and inarticulate hero wore me down after awhile despite gripping action sequences. I have no idea how Oscar might respond but my hunch is it's either full hog or both sound nominations only a la Lone Survivor

Meryl's Insane Bankability Continues! Well done, diva.INTO THE WOODS
Reviewed by ranking its musical numbers here. It was the second time I'd seen it having watched it on a big screen originally. Weirdly I think the cinematography, which often looked too muddy and dark on the screen works a little better on a TV. But anyway...  let's hear it for Disney for a great opening weekend. It's important that musicals do well so that we get more of them! Into the Woods won not only the biggest opening weekend ever for a Broadway adaptation but the biggest of Meryl Streep's career, as well. I imagine we'll continue to talk about Into the Woods for a while --  multiple Oscar nominations coming -- so I'll let this be all for this post.

THE JUDGE
I already peed on that here but it keeps haunting me like bad trip flashbacks. Especially the dye job on Vera Farmiga who deserves better Hollywood, come on. Also that scene where RDJ is like superhero-lawyer and stops a bar fight with the power of his wily words!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
A love letter from Tangiers & Detroit to all of you who recommended this movie throughout the year. Though I was once the type who would rush to anything vampiric, I'll readily admit that Hollywood's overuse of the bloodsuckers finally wore me out; I've been avoiding all such movies for years now. But I should have trusted Jim Jarmusch to come at it from an entirely different angle and I don't know how I missed that it was shot by Yorick Le Saux who won my silver medal for cinematography in 2010 for I Am Love. Detroit has never looked so beautifully haunted, Tilda and Tom couldn't have been a more exotically languid well-cultured pair, its slow moods weren't trying but contemplative, and the ending was pitch-perfect delayed gratification.

Excusez moi


MR TURNER
A surprise. If you only listen to this movie as opposed to watching it (which is what I sometimes do when The Boyfriend is watching TV) it sounds rather like a horror movie. I'm not kidding. There are a lot of scary animalistic noises supposedly emanating from human people (not just Spall's famed grunt speak) and the score by Gary Yershon might be the creepiest outside of Under the Skin this year.  

P.S. Speaking of The Boyfriend...
This time of year chez moi he watches a ton of screeners since he doesn't go to many critics screenings with me. I usually don't watch carefully (having already seen them) and drift in and out as I'm working. He is unpredictable about movies. He loved Pride and Ida (as most sane people do), thought Mr Turner was "good. well made" but clearly had no passion for it. Cried huge apartment-flooding puddles during Still Alice and Wild, and inexplicably H-A-T-E-D both Force Majeure and A Most Violent Year (what the what??? x 2). Finally, he was paying so little attention to Love is Strange that I had to make him shut it off. That wonderful movie from Ira Sachs is too delicate for half-watching. It requires your full attention or that glorious final 15 minutes just won't resonate. 

Have you ever learned something new about a movie you loved by catching only pieces of it or hearing it in the background?

Monday
Dec292014

Reviewish: Into the Woods, Musical Numbers Ranked

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic Into the Woods. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Cinderella's family mocking our movie musical anxiety

When it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review...

Click to read more ...