Because they weren't on the stage but at after parties. Many beauties after the jump...
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Because they weren't on the stage but at after parties. Many beauties after the jump...
I would like to personally thank Anne Marie for being an awesome L.A. tour guide, personal GPS, and screening companion during my week long trip. Here's her first of two roundups from the festival that just wrapped. I'll have more to say myself over the weekend - Nathaniel
Last week AFI invaded Hollywood Blvd for the 2013 AFI Fest, a free film festival presenting a handful of buzzworthy features and old classics. Though it may not be the largest festival in Los Angeles, it is one of the flashiest given the star-studded evening galas and tributes, and it made good use of the newly renovated and renamed TCL Chinese Theater. This, my first festival on the job, saw me running up and down Hollywood Blvd like a film-obsessed Alfred P. Doolittle yelling, “Get me to the Chinese on time!” By the time I’d wiped the glitter from my eyes and caught my breath, I’d seen 9-ish movies in 7 days. Not bad for a neophyte with a day job! Here’s what I saw:
Day 1: Saving Mr. Banks - A Disney movie about a Disney classic is going to be heartwarming and sweet in all the ways you’d expect. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks have delightful chemistry. Considering how long we’ve been missing these two (am I the only one who feels like Emma Thompson’s been mostly absent since at least An Education?), having both Thompson and Hanks triumphantly return together in the same film is a Disney-manufactured miracle. Nathaniel actually chatted with Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell, so he can fill in the rest.
Day 2: August: Osage County - I saw the play in 2008, and I’m still wondering if that helped or hurt my viewing of the film. Tracy Letts blessedly adapted the play to the screen, so the biting language that made the original so good remains intact. There’s a definite nomination in store for him. Of course the most buzz surrounds the actresses: Meryl is Meryl is Meryl so enough said there. Continuing this year’s trend of strong performances from actresses I don’t usually like (the first being Sandra Bullock in Gravity), Julia Roberts gives her best performance in a long while. I think that fact is what might be overshadowing Margot Martindale buzz-wise, which is unfortunate because Martindale rips through her role like a tornado on the prairie.
As for the sisters: I was partial to Julianne Nicholson, while Nathaniel seemed to prefer Juliette Lewis. One thing on which we both agreed was that nobody does the film festival dress like Juliette. Hot. Damn.
Day 3 Part 1: Cleo From 5 to 7 - The Godmother of the New Wave Agnes Varda was AFI Fest’s honored icon this year. Here's more on her pre-screening interview. But I would like to take this opportunity to say again that Cleo From 5 to 7 remains a masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it while you’re waiting for the rest of these movies to open.
Day 3 Part 2: Out of the Furnace - The second film by Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper is a relentlessly bleak portrait of the death of smalltown America. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck play two blue-collar brothers, one imprisoned for a mistake and the other out of the army and into illegally boxing for money. Both play their parts admirably (assisted by Zoe Saldana and Forrest Whitaker) but are overshadowed by the shockingly terrifying Woody Harrelson playing a sociopathic redneck. Harrelson’s performance, as well as haunting desaturated cinematography and gritty production design, made this a movie that stuck with its audience after the film ended.
Day 3 Part 3: When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism - A happy accident led me to this film by Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu. I stood in the wrong line, and was surprised to find myself watching a movie perfectly suited for people who are on their fourth movie in twenty-four hours. When Evening Falls… is a simple movie framed in unbroken master shots: a fictional director and his lead actress discuss nudity in film, eat together, have sex, and argue over a single wordless scene they’re supposed to shoot the next day. The motivations of the scene are so constantly debated back and forth - why would she eavesdrop coming out of the shower? why does she put on clothes? - that the audience is primed and waiting. Eventually, the much-debated action happens in reverse - the director steps out of the shower to eavesdrop on her - and the audience comes to its own conclusion. As concept films go, this is the simplest I’ve watched in a while, and I appreciated it for its simplicity.
Thus concluded the first half of AFI Fest. Old Hollywood and New in Part 2!
It hadn't even occurred to me that August: Osage County wasn't the first collaboration between George Clooney and Juliette Lewis. Nearly 20 years ago the two starred together in From Dusk till Dawn battling vampires in Texas with Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and a python-loving Salma Hayek. A lot has changed since then and it's doubtful you'd find either making a gory horror flick again, but it was nice to see Lewis post this photo of the pair on Instagram.
As an aside, how glad do you think Clooney is that The Momunents Men got booted into 2014 and so doesn't have to spend months promoting it for awards season alongside August and Gravity?
As a secondary aside, will Juliette Lewis have her own Dallas Buyers Club soon? A role that, like Jared Leto's this year, makes audiences remember that she was once an incredible actor who just couldn't find a spot in the Hollywood system and so turned to rock music? I can only hope so!
As a third aside, don't we all look forward to Nathaniel's thoughts on August once he returns from AFI Fest? I know I do!
I ♥ celebrities. Always have. Always will. Even when I find them insufferable I have to stargaze. Having met so many of them now I'm fully aware that they are only people just like you and me that but for one lucky break or important connection or family wealth or extraordinary quirk of DNA or once-in-a-lifetime talent or deals with Beelzebub or being in the right place at the right time or any number of reasons, they'd be on this side of the 'net obsessing on celebrities just like you and I. Well, actually in the age of twitter, the lines are ever blurring and who is on what side anyway. Everyone loves celebrity. Even celebrities. Here's a sampling of some celebrity or celebrity-adjacent tweets I enjoyed from this year's very memorable Golden Globes.
ZACHARY LEVI (Chuck)
I wanna be the illegitimate offspring of Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell in my next life.— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) January 14, 2013
Wiig and Ferrell did really have the crowd roaring. Wiig is dependably hilarious but they worked so well as a team riffing on one single joke across five nominees. (P.S. After Tangled, shouldn't Hollywood be asking Levi to work in musicals?)
MATT OSWALT (Puddin' strip)
Golden Globes isn't over until Tommy Lee Jones is ziplocked and put back in the freezer between Mickey Rourke and some venison— Matt Oswalt (@Puddinstrip) January 14, 2013
Tommy Lee jones was enormously grumpy. It's true, internet. It's true.
Well, lookie here. It's our first official photos from August: Osage County. Albeit tiny blurry ones.
UPDATE: What the text on that page says
This glossy promotional item with photos of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, and Ewan McGregor and The House (!) where it all goes down was emailed to me by a reader who is currently attending the American Film Market.
Streep with dark hair always makes me think of Silkwood which is never an unpleasant thought and coincidentally also takes place in Oklahoma. If A:OC is anywhere close to Silkwood's quality everyone wins.
P.S. I'm wild for Juliette with red locks.
P.P.S. Back to this year's Oscar race!
Next Movie Evan Rachel Wood & Juliette Lewis would rather they play Janis Joplin than Amy Adams! Agree?
Hark! A Vagrant stops for Quiz Time with Queen Elizabeth. If only Elizabeth: The Golden Age was this (intentionally) funny!
Stale Popcorn loves the costumes of Argo (as do I)
Playlist will we see a Fincher-helmed sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. So many questions. So few answers but I am going to say a hard "yes" on my guesswork on this one. I have my reasons.
Salon wonders if horror has reached a new golden age and whether European (Spanish to be precise) cinema is to blame.
i09 Wally Pfister, the Oscar winning cinematographer of Chris Nolan's filmography will direct his own feature now. Johnny Depp to star.
/Film Zero Dark Thirty and Stand Up Guys have adjusted their release plans to barely show in 2012 but still be Oscar players. Oy... I hate this part of the otherwise glorious last quarter of each year. In related news: yes, I'm fully aware that I need to add Jessica Chastain to my Actress chart. Updates this weekend!
Playbill Whatever happened to that Soapdish remake? Never mind, it's now being adapted into a musical. Quite a starry lineup they're gathering for a reading: Kristin Chenoweth & Jane Krakowski? Blonde musical comedienne sensation x 2 !
Gawker 'my pussy is the temple of learning' Madonna's Sex and Erotica turn 20 years old this week. I love them both muchly. If only they were movies I would devote the whole week to them. Please do not say "Body of Evidence" as its the only embarrassing part of that Madonna 92/93 trifecta that's no cause for celebration. (Should I write about them anyway and just force the film connections?)
Cinema Blend Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone for Cameron Crowe's next movie?
Pajiba on the Empires of the Deep trailer. Hmmm Errrr. The only recognizably non-computerized thing in it is one shot of Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) One senses this won't be her Resident Evil poor thing.
In Contention talks to the very busy very awesome character actor John Goodman