Oscar History

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Entries in NYC (85)


Robert Wise Centenary: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

For Robert Wise's centennial, we're looking back on a random selection of his films beyond the familiar mega-hits (The Sound of Music & West Side Story) which we are far more prone to talk about. Here's Nathaniel on the Paul Newman boxing drama...

The poster art for Robert Wise's 1956 biopic on Rocky Graziano reminds us that the more things change the more they stay the same. We're still getting taglines like "A girl can lift a fella to the skies!" (see: Theory of Everything) but Pier Angeli's role as Rocky's wife Norma in the Paul Newman boxing pic is actually fairly minor. She straightens him out primarily by giving him something consistent to hold on to in a life that's been previously totally adrift in noncommittal boxing matches for money and petty crimes. Not that his crimes were always petty, mind you, but we'll get to that in a minute. 

Up until Somebody Up There Likes Me Paul Newman had been doing minor TV roles and successful work on the stage. But his film debut in the biblical epic The Silver Chalice (1954) was an embarrassment. He won poor reviews and later stated...

 The moment I walked into that studio I had a feeling of personal disaster..."

Newman's Breakthrough after the jump...

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"Share a Diet Coke with..."

Whenever I buy a Diet Coke I feel friendless because invariably I don't have friends in town with the random name I get. The other day I got a "Maddy" and a "Rick". But look what one of TFE's favorite loyal readers, Evan, saw in the deli!

How great is that?

Talk about accidental brilliance. Sadly these West Side lovers were discovered on the East Side. "East Side Story" just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

The most exciting "Share" I've ever gotten is this one. He's fictional but you can't have everything. 


NewFest: "Futuro Beach" and "Gerontophilia"

This double feature review was originally printed in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opened the annual LGBT film festival Thursday night, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.


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Open Thread & Movie Naps

What's on your cinematic mind? Discuss as I finish a few more Oscar charts.

Anyone know which Manhattan movie theater this is? I thought Film Forum at first but the building next to it looks wrong.

I woke up thinking about Ingmar Bergman movies because in Summer Wishes Winter Dreams (1973) Joanne Woodward and her mother Sylvia Sidney take in Wild Strawberries. Joanne immediately falls asleep which you should never do at great movies. Bad Joanne, bad! But how funny is it that one of the Oscar nominated films of 1973 has a  Bergman scene in it in the same year that the Academy went wild for Cries and Whispers? And then I thought about how evil it was for me to program two awesome but gruellingly enigmatic movies in a row for Best Shot (Under the Skin then Cries & Whispers) but they are going to make such amazing 'hit me with your best shot' episodes. Movies that leave a lot of room for the audience to wander around in deserve audiences that will do the wandering if you what I mean. 


Happy Pride! Complete the Sentence...

Today is the big day here in NYC! 

Play safe and have fun.  And if you're staying in, watch a great movie. And complete this sentence:

My favorite LGBT movie is _______ because  _________ but the one I've seen the most is _________ .


Tribeca: "5 to 7," Or Why Frustrated Writers Should Back Away From Final Draft

Tribeca coverage continues with Diana on 5 to 7 with Anton Yelchin & Glenn Close

Based on the imaginings of an out-of-touch, middle-aged writer-director, 5 to 7 is about a 24 year-old “writer” (Anton Yelchin) who becomes involved with the 33 year-old wife of a French diplomat (Berenice Marlohe). Brian lives in Manhattan, presumedly on his parents’ dime (Glenn Close and Frank Langella, both painfully misused), and attempts to write, his creative juices facilitated by posting a multitude of rejection letters on his wall and playing lonely man wiffleball in his apartment. Arielle also lives in Manhattan  and is oh so very “French” -- husband, two kids, posh neighborhood, and ability to balance high heels with a well-fitting dress.

Spotting Arielle in front of the St. Regis, Brian pursues her through quips that sound more like early drafts of “wit” rather than the finished product (think Woody Allen without the neurotic charm). She tosses words back at him that are meant to signify mutual attraction. When they do end up in a hotel room together (after she hands him the key), there is zip chemistry between the pair, cringingly highlighted all-the-more when Arielle tells Brian that he is a natural lover and asks whether his other lovers had told him that. That’s the crux of the problem with this film - we are told things consistently through voiceover and character iteration (Brian loves Arielle, Arielle loves Brian, Brian’s mother can see that they love each other), but we’re rarely shown anything substantial enough to back up these assertions. [More...] 

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IndieWire the winners at SXSW Fort Tilden (narrative) and The Great Invisible (doc). You may recall that Short Term 12 was the big discovery last year so let's hope Fort Tilden hits theaters soon. But mostly I'm leading with this because the still released has kittens in it. Kittens!

But mostly I led with that because the first still released has kittens in it. Three. Kittens. Kittens, I say.


Ahem. Some links...
LA Review of Books Charles Taylor on Meryl Streep's recent string of gorgon roles and particularly August: Osage County. Really interesting article but Streep fanatics should steer clear since it is merciless. (Slightly confused about what this essay is doing at a 'Review of Books' since none are mentioned.) 
Golden Globe I hadn't seen this before - celebrities fav movies. Turns out Robin Wright loves Werner Herzog, Carey Mulligan loves Steven Spielberg, Emile Hirsch has very Oscar-bait taste, and Julia Roberts loves The Mexican most of her own ???
MNPP [NSFW] Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of Everest
The Playlist on Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill Criterion release and his dissatisfaction with his post Sex, Lies and Videotape pre Out of Sight period 

Towleroad "Hodor" (Kristian Nairn) on Game of Thrones comes out in an interview 
Movie City News on "popcorn time" and piracy
The Wrap supposedly four actors fighting for the Doctor Doom role in The Fantastic Four: Eddie Redmayne, Sam Riley, Domnhall Gleeson, and Toby Kebbell. I'd say that wasn't a great get considering the face will be covered with a metal mask... but then origin stories, you know, they'll have some time before the face plate.
Variety uh-oh chest thumping Celine Dion could be back at the Oscars again in an Original Song performance. She gets a duet with Miss Piggy "Something So Right" in the new Muppets film 

I don't normally post any fundraiser things beyond the site's own need for funding, detailed here. For instance, I had to make a ruling on no campaigns for indie movies simply because I get so many requests every week it'd be a part time job just putting up those posts with no added value for you the reader. But for movie theaters I'll make an exception. Brooklyn is home to so many cinephiles it'd be a pity if they lost another old theater. So if you want to help save the Brooklyn Heights Cinema -- which needs to update its equipment or be shut down -- here's the info!

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