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Entries in My Week With Marilyn (14)

Tuesday
Jan312012

Curio: Oscar Unsheets, Part I

Alexa here.  Announcement of the Oscar nominations brings about a flurry of poster creations by design geeks around the net, something I love to follow.  Screenwriter John August has called them unsheets (a play on the term onesheet), and the label seems appropriate, especially since so many of these indie designs are now influencing real onesheets (like those Iron Lady campaign posters, for one).  With so many great designs out there, I'm devoting my Curio posts leading up to the Oscars to unsheets made from the nominated films.  This week I'm focusing on designs from films nominated outside of the Best Picture category, say for acting, Best Foreign Language Film, etc.  Enjoy the design candy!

Beginners by Sondy Bojanic.
A Separation by Pendar Yousefi.

click for more, including Albert Nobbs and Marilyn...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan062012

BAFTA Long List Losses

I've said it before and I'm forced to say it again. I'm *so* glad that the American Academy does not publish a long list. i.e. the semi-finals. You see, It's so much more bearable / engaging when you can imagine that straight up great achievements or achievements you really responded to personally but you knew might have trouble rallying huge swaths of support were in 6th or 7th place or 10th place in voting. The way BAFTA does it, however, you are forced to understand that Oscar buzz is everything and Super Size Mediocrities will always triumph over critical darlings or more challenging Art.

Take the Best Picture categories for a prime example. Notice that Weekend for example, a very British and very acclaimed film is not one of their "outstanding" homegrown products (they might want to check the reviews again) and notice that auteurist films frequently called masterpieces by their fans (The Tree of Life and Melancholia) are also absent. Other films ignored because you have to have space for The Lukewarmly Reviewed Biopics About Lady Actresses and Lady Politicians are... no, no. It's too horrible to start listing them!

Best Film The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

Outstanding British Film Arthur Christmas, Attack the Block, Coriolanus, The Guard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Iron Lady, Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Shame, Submarine, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tyrannosaur, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

BAFTA voters went crazy 4 My Week With Marilyn, longlisted many many times

Film Not in the English Language  Abel, As If I Am Not There, The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan, Calvet,  Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Incendies, Little White Lies, Pina, Post Mortem, Potiche, Le Quattro Volte, A Separation, The Skin I Live In, Tomboy and The Troll Hunter

More long list looniness with commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec262011

Box: Office - Ghostly Christmas

One of my favorite traditions when I was a kid and later a visiting adult was picking the movie to watch on Christmas day with the family. It was usually me making the final decision since I was the one forcing keeping the tradition alive. My favorite of these as an adult was Titanic (1997) because even my Dad loved it and he never loves movies. This Christmas evening movie-going tradition maybe isn't as strong as it once was with American families since the weekend didn't jingle merrily with box office change.

Nevertheless, it was definitely crowded with new releases, week old releases and all of those frustratingly shy Oscar hopefuls who refuse to go wide enough for audiences to enjoy them. The weekend was won by Ghostocol which you could categorize as a big hit were it not for that super-sized budget. Whose idea was it to give it a budget that was even higher than the domestic gross of its predecessor five years ago?

Box Office Top Fifteen (Estimates)
          ~ over 2000 theaters
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL  $29.5  (cum. $61.9)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS $20.2  (cum. $79)
03 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO  $12.7 (cum. $21.1) 
04 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED $12.6 (cum. $49.5)
05 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN $9.7 (cum. $17.7)
06 WE BOUGHT A ZOO  $9.4 christmas day only
07 WAR HORSE $7.5 christmas day only [STAGE VS. SCREEN]
08 NEW YEARS EVE $4.9 (cum. $34.2)
09 THE DARKEST HOUR $3 christmas day only 
         ~ under 2000 theaters
10 THE MUPPETS $2.1 (cum. $75.7)
11 THE DESCENDANTS $2.1 (cum. $32.3) 
12 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS $2.1 (cum. $43.5)
13 HUGO $2 (cum. $43.6)
14 THE SITTER $1.8 (cum. $22.3)
15 YOUNG ADULT $1.7 (cum. $7.1)

Talking Points
Pina, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy had the best per screen averages. I was at a Christmas party yesterday and the latter was definitely a movie people were talking about. The conversation frequently swerved to Benedict Cumberbatch (People knew him as the other new Sherlock Holmes -- the not Robert Downey Jr Holmes) and there were at least a couple of "I didn't understand what was going on!"s uttered. But the point is that people are interested in it. They should've opened wider. 

You could finally give the gift of Marilyn. But did the wide release come two weeks too late?Same goes for My Week With Marilyn. It doubled its screen count, finally going wide this weekend for the holiday, but the widening came too late. The movie's moment, if you will, was definitely back around Thanksgiving time when competition was slightly less severe and it had that new girl sparkle in a weekend that was otherwise all about the little kiddies. Now it's competing with other adult appeal movies and it's not entirely fresh news in our fast-paced pop culture. The big expansion five weeks later saw dwindling revenues and it landed on the worst opening weekend chart. Did they not think Marilyn was a brand? Movies are obsessed with selling us the familiar and there's no way that MARILYN didn't have enough branding to open wider earlier. It isn't a French film without dialogue with no stars, after all.

Did you hit the theater and does your family always do this on Christmas?

 

Monday
Dec192011

It's Michelle/Marilyn for Dallas, Florida, Vegas and Chicago

The critical map continues to unfold with only three films scoring repeatedly: The Artist, The Descendants and The Tree of Life. All of them recently picking up another "best of year" prize. I had expected Hugo to feature more prominently after its high profile NBR win but that hasn't come to pass. But isn't it awfully nice to see a year with three major critical players even if you don't much like one of them (for me that's The Descendants). In short: Death to sweeps!

Michelle Williams is dominating the critics awards

While she's not quite a sweeper Michelle Williams is going to be on a lot of airplanes if she intends to attend all of these critics ceremonies that plan to honor her work in My Week With MarilynAfter the jump prizes from... Chicago and St. Louis who both just announced, Dallas Ft Worth, Florida, and Las Vegas (which I missed last week oopsie).

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec152011

Parties: Overheard at Guild / Oscar Functions

I thought for fun I'd collect several bits from conversations to share with y'all. A couple of the following bits were said directly to me, some were part of group conversations, some were merely overheard at screenings or events. All are anonymous and shall remain so of course but are fun for awards geeks and movie fanatics to think about. I am not a fiction writer so these are all actual quotes (or paraphrasals, rather, since I don't walk around with a tape recorder.) One thing that's important to remember but easy to forget about the Oscars is that the 6000+ voting members are individuals with individual taste. They are no monolithic unit though the world likes to imagine them sharing one gold plated borg-mind.

While mostly it is fun to talk with voters, one discouraging thing you quickly realize is true that I'd personally always hoped was false is this: many of the voters wait until right about now to start watching the movies. A lot of conversational roads have abrupt dead ends like "I haven't seen that yet but it's on the stack!" In short: they don't go to the movies as often as movie fanatics. Or, as one actress told me recently, "I see a lot of movies but I see them either long before they're in cinemas or long after." It made a lot of sense to me once I stopped to consider the inside mechanics of this Business we call Show. 

On to the (silent) sound bytes on My Week With Marilyn, Moneyball, The Artist, Young Adult and more.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov262011

Alice Doesn't Link Here Anymore

The Hairpin "Our Bella Ourselves" is one of the best pieces I've read on The Twilight Saga and the communal anger over its terrible central role model.
Paper Mag cute piece on future Oscar nominee Jean Dujardin, describing his character George Valentin in The Artist.
Nick's Flick Picks has revived his top 100 project
Inquirer Christian Bale praises Tom Hardy & Anne Hathaway on their work in The Dark Knight Rises
Towleroad George Michael hospitalized for pneumonia and not doing well. 
Sunset Gun "I Am One of Your Fans" on actresses playing other actresses
Little White Lies interviews Eddie Redmayne of My Week With Marilyn. I love it when actors actually talk about the career management portion of their job:

Informally you’re part of a group of up-and-coming British actors making waves in the States right now. Is there a sense within that group of having made it?

Yeah. Well… Working and spending time in the States, it’s interesting to see the group of actors and actresses from my generation, who all started around the same time, getting so much respect. It’s wonderful, and at some point I’d love to work with some of my mates in that capacity, because it’s exciting, having started off as jokers trying to get a gig, thinking that our paths could meet.

Who are we talking about, exactly?

Dom Cooper, Andrew Garfield, Ben Whishaw, Charlie Cox… We’re not best mates, I’d say more close peers.

And what a fine group they are, right?

It's a Marty Marty Marty Marty World
THR Hugo looks to be overperforming a bit at the box office in a nice surprise.
Awards Daily Samples from the Hugo soundtrack. Do you think Howard Shore will see another nomination? 

Finally, Sons of Norway reports that Martin Scorsese may take on the adaptation of the novel The Snowman soon. But a word of caution before you race out to buy the book in the hopes of getting a jump on a future Scorsese. This is one busy busy busy 69 year old man. The IMDb, while not 100% reliable on such things as future projects, lists over a dozen projects on his current docket and since he's not as fast as Eastwood and Allen, he'll be in this 80s before we've seen them all. I respect the author Jo Nesbø's approach to a film adaptation; he wouldn't sell without director approval. Scorsese was at the top of his dream list of five. 

Wednesday
Nov232011

Do Movies About Movies Win Oscars?

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) has had it with the movies in "The Artist"Over at Fandor's Keyframe blog I'll be musing about the Oscar race on a biweekly basis. This week's topic is the unusual abundance of movies about movies in this year's Oscar race from Marilyn Monroe (My Week With Marilyn) to George Melies (Hugo) to Hollywood's seismic sound shift in the late 20s (The Artist). But one thing I didn't dwell on too much in the article (which I hope you'll go and read!) is the lack of Oscars won for movies about movies.

Everyone predicting a win for The Artist (2011) before the nominations are even announced should consider the following list and sobering fact: No movie about movies has ever won Best Picture.

Movies About Movies: How Do They Do With Oscar?
(Best Picture Nominees are in red) 

Janet Gaynor (already an Oscar winner) was nominated again for playing an actress who wins a fictional Oscar in "A Star is Born"1930s
What Price Hollywood (1 nomination. 0 wins)
A Star is Born (7 nominations. 1 win + 1 honorary) 

1940s
Was Hollywood too busy with patriotism to make movies about movies? Or were they still too enamored by live theater to turn their cameras on themselves?

1950s
Sunset Blvd  (11 nominations. 3 wins)
The Bad and the Beautiful (6 nominations. 5 wins)
The Star (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Singin' in the Rain (2 nominations. 0 wins)
A Star is Born (6 nominations. 0 wins)

1960s
Sweet Bird of Youth (3 nominations. 1 win)
8 ½ (5 nominations. 2 wins) 
Inside Daisy Clover (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Oscar (2 nominations. 0 wins)

1970s
Day For Night (4 nominations. 1 win) 
The Way We Were (6 nominations. 2 wins)
The Day of the Locust (2 nominations. 0 wins)
California Suite (3 nominations. 1 win)
All That Jazz (9 nominations. 4 wins) 

1980s
The Stunt Man (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1 nomination. 0 wins)
The Kiss of the Spider Woman (4 nominations. 1 win)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (6 nominations. 3 wins. 1 special achievement.)
Cinema Paradiso (1 nomination. 1 win) 

Baby Herman (a handful off camera) and Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)... which would have been a worthy Best Picture contender.

1990s
Postcards from the Edge (2 nominations. 0 wins)
Bugsy (10 nominations. 2 wins)
Barton Fink (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Chaplin (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Player (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Ed Wood (2 nominations. 2 wins)
Boogie Nights (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Gods and Monsters (3 nominations. 1 win) 

Jude Law as Errol Flynn and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator"2000s
Shadow of the Vampire (2 nominations. 0 wins)
Mulholland Dr (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Adaptation (4 nominations. 1 win)
The Aviator (11 nominations. 5 wins)
Tropic Thunder (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Nine (4 nominations. 0 wins)
Inglourious Basterds (8 nominations. 1 win) 

2010s
The Artist (we shall see)
My Week With Marilyn (we shall see)
Hugo (we shall see)

A semi-random selection of movies about movies that Oscar ignored: The Cameraman, Man With a Movie Camera, Sullivan's Travels, Stand-In, Peeping Tom, Contempt, Beware of a Holy Whore, F For Fake, The Last Action Hero, Stardust Memories, Blow Out, The Majestic, Irma Vep, Living in Oblivion, Be Kind Rewind, Guilty by Suspicion, Los Angeles Plays Itself,  etc...

You'd think that Hollywood's High Holy Night, which is one big self-congratulatory spectacle, would embrace movies about movies and they do to a point. But perhaps even Hollywood's notoriously fulsome egos feel sheepish about taking it all the way. Do they fear it would be overkill, the back-patting night of nights morphing into something far more orgiastic, a daisy chain of self regard? 

What are your favorite movies about movies? Do you think The Artist can buck the trends here?


Related: my new keyframe article and a previous roundup on Keyframe "top ten films about filmmaking" which I also had the pleasure of contributing to and which should give you plenty of rental ideas.