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Cannes Winners

"Marion Cotillard has had a movie in contention for what, the last 4 years or so? She will eventually win the prize, or more likely be head of the jury one day." - Tom

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Entries in Oscar Trivia (209)

Saturday
May162015

'Cate Blanchett Will Slay You'

Next Season on the WB This Season at Cannnes: Cate, the Cinephile Slayer

It's not really "news" per se to share the information that Cate Blanchett has won another round of extravagantly positive reviews for a performance; that's kind of her thing, and habitual happenings aren't news. But the early round of Carol reviews are in and everyone loves it. 

 The adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel "Carol" (or "The Price of Salt" depending on when it was published) about a married woman (Cate Blanchett) carrying on with a younger shopgirl (Rooney Mara) has been our Most Awaited feature for two years running in our annual We Can't Wait series. It's been EIGHT YEARS since Todd Haynes had a movie out. To prevent overhyping, I'm not going to fully read any reviews but here are some blurb whore quotes that could sell tickets whenever they decide to release the movie.  My gut says December and I'm not happy about waiting that long:

And the acting slays you: Cate Blanchett, especially, somehow leaps over her own highest standards with a subtlety that’s little short of phenomenal.
-The Telegraph 

A superbly realised companion piece to his 50s Sirkian drama Far From Heaven... creamily sensuous, richly observed."
-The Guardian

The success of the material ultimately rests on the formidable strength of its actresses, both credibly buried in their roles."
-Indiewire 

Carol is both a beautiful miniature and a majestic romance"
-The Wrap 

Oscar Trivia For the Road...
The last time Cate indulged in the lesbian angst subgenre she was the younger woman and she and her co-star were both Oscar-nominated as were the Screenplay & Score. Coincidentally the last time Todd Haynes had a real Oscar hit, the film also received 4 nominations and also lost each of its categories. Will history repeat itself? Against my better judgment I skimmed several reviews and frequent mentions of the films "quiet" and "restraint" and "careful pacing" don't make it any kind of Oscar slam dunk, but then again Oscar is only icing. What's more important is this --  new Todd Haynes cake! 

Wednesday
Mar252015

A Star is Born Again... With Bradley Cooper as Midwife. 

A Star is Born is like the undead of showbiz movies. Every so often it rises from the grave. The oft told tale of a young actress whose star rises as her alcoholic svengali husband's star falls has four film versions What Price Hollywood? (1932) A Star is Born (1937) A Star is Born (1954) and A Star is Born (1976), the latter shifting the story to the music world instead of the movies. Incredibly ALL of them were Oscar nominated for something or other for a total of 18 Oscar nominations, 3 wins and an Honorary plaque to boot! But we've actually gone without it for quite some time now. The last version, the Streisand (critically reviled but a major hit), was a full 39 years ago so it's unsurprising that there's been talk of a remake for quite a while now. Especially considering that each version has ranged from somewhat successful to blockbuster sized and statistically you'll receive about 4 nominations and an Oscar for your troubles should you make your own.

What was surprising, apart from Oscar security, about the proposed fifth version was that Clint Eastwood was the one that wanted to do it. With Beyoncé no less! So Streisand's music-word detour for the unofficial franchise stuck... at least with ol' Clint. Despite Eastwood's Barry Allen-like speed, that ability to take a project from glimmer in his eye to finished movie in theaters in 6 months, he somehow never got it made and has now passed the project on, supposedly to...

Bradley Cooper (?) his American Sniper star. Cooper wants Beyoncé back on the project who has vacated it since it entered development hell. 

So saith several outlets and noisy funny twitter. Bradley will also star in it. Why an actor at the heighth of their white hot career would want to try directing is a little puzzling -- don't get distracted, secure your possible place in the pantheon of movie stars! -- but Coop wouldn't be the first. Costner, Gibson, Eastwood, Foster, and Jolie all moved over while they were still bankable movie stars... some to stay in that chair and lose interest in acting altogether. 

Related / Recommended:
Mike's Movie Projector found an original review from 1954 of the Judy Garland version.
TFE and you can always revisit our Best Shot episode on that classic film Or...
Nick's Flick Picks incredible piece on Judy Garland's five-star performance 

Sunday
Mar152015

Box Office: Wild Tales of CG Mice and Mike Leigh's Success

For today's box office charts, since there isn't much news beyond Cinderella's expected but terrific opening, here's two charts. 1) The unavoidable movies and 2) the movies you have to seek out. The quality differential is damn frightening. Every single one of the platform toppers are really good! If only audiences could have better taste... sigh... but it's not all their fault. The studios have trained moviegoers to not seek quality since quality is harder to sell and easy marketing hooks are a far more fail safe option with which to run a business since quality (a tough job) is neither here nor there. And once people stopped seeking quality, it got harder and harder to find even if you were seeking. The story of the dwindling of the American arthouse. Well, that and the fast turn-around to DVD and On Demand.

Erica Rivas in WILD TALES. Her wedding doesn't go as well as CINDERELLA's.

WIDE RELEASE
01 Cinderella $70 NEW Review
02 Run All Night $11 NEW
03 Kingsman: The Secret Service $6.2 (cum. $107.3) Review
04 Focus $5.8 (cum. $44)
05 Chappie $5.8 (cum. $23) Review

PLATFORM RELEASE
01 Wild Tales (68 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.8) Review
02 '71 (65 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.3) Review
03 It Follows (4 Theaters) $.1 NEW Review
04 Mr Turner (89 Theaters) $.1 (cum. $3.7) Review & Interview
05 Red Army (58 Theaters) $.07 (cum. $.4)  

Oscar nominated Dick Pope and Mike Leigh on the set of Mr TurnerIt Follows, the latest buzzy horror had the week's best per screen average. More artistically leaning horror films have been on a real roll lately creatively but the public interest hasnt yet been piqued so they haven't peeked. Mr Turner is closing out its run soon but it did well... Mike Leigh movies tend to gross right below that region in the US. The ones that Oscar likes do best which probably isn't a surprise:  Secrets and Lies (5 nominations, all in top 8 categories) grossed roughly quadruple what his films usually gross; Topsy-Turvy (4 nominations... mostly in craft categories and his only film to win Oscars, 2 of them) is his second most popular; Vera Drake (3 Oscar nominations, all in top 8 categories) and Mr Turner (4 Oscar nominations, all in craft categories) grossed slightly more than his usual releases. This explains why SPC is so obsessed with releasing them in December but it's a pity because some of them without obvious Oscar hooks need more time to build. Another Year, I maintain, would have been far more successful if released in the fall because it's quiet and contemporary and its power sneaks up on you. 

TFE Recommends: Do yourself a huge favor (if you haven't yet) and take a group of friends to see Argentina's Oscar nominee Wild Tales. It's so funny and comedies are always best with a group. Super accessibly entertaining too as long as your friends know how to read or can speak Spanish. I'm dying to hear which is your favorite from the six short films within the film. I'm partial to "The strongest" (#3) and "Until death do us part" (#6) but they're all good.

What did you see this weekend? If you saw Cinderella chat about that here. I liked it but I really wanted Lucifer to eat those damn CG mice. 

Wednesday
Mar042015

Release Date Jockeying: Hey Studios, Keep Spreading the Wealth!

The conversation about the 87th Oscars had barely died down yet when you could hear rumblings about the 88th Academy Awards. It's not just the "will they go back to five" question but the sudden jockeying for release dates for the oncoming battle. Today we've had two new November announcements (Brooklyn & The Danish Girl) to go along with the previously announced titles of potential interest. 

And so far... miracle of miracles, things look pretty balanced... but will that continue?

Titles That Might be of Awards Interest In Some Way
Not a complete list of releases - links take you to articles

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar042015

Back to Five? Back to Reality. (On the Best Picture Problem)

Back from a fantasy, yes...

By now you have read the rumor that the Academy is considering going back to only five Best Picture nominees per year. I've been amused by the headlines about this as they're extremely telling before you even get to the editorials. Consider Awards Daily's jaded / defeated "As They've Always Wanted" (Sasha likes the expanded field) or In Contention's even angrier / more insulting "Wants to Go Backward" (Gregory also likes the expanded field). Oscar bloggers have, for the most part, enjoyed the expansion because it gave us more to write about.

I never personally liked it. Oh sure it was fun the first couple of years in the way sudden upheavals in any tradition can feel thrilling in either an adventure film or horror film way. It also prompted fun guessing games about what might have been nominated in years past. But as a lover of Oscar history who enjoys comparing all eras too each other in out-of-time conversation, it was ultra-disruptive. How to compare years with 5 versus years with 8 versus 9 versus 10? Pick a number and stick with it. I understand that people have enjoyed the diversity of genres that the expanded field brought us but that only worked the first two years. [Lots more...]

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Monday
Mar022015

Ripley is Forever

There are few movie characters as iconic as Lt. Ellen Ripley, the accidental but determined warrior so superbly played by Sigourney Weaver four times over in the five film Aliens franchise (1979-2012). Soon to be six or seven if Ridley pursues his Prometheus sequel and Neill Blomkamp and Sigourney actually make good on their plans to bring Ripley back in 2017 on the heels of their first collaboration Chappie (opening Friday). 

While James Cameron's Aliens (1986) hogs most of the attention when it comes to Weaver's franchise headlining work (including a well deserved but very out-of-comfort-zone Oscar nomination for Best Actress) she's actually pretty stellar in all four of the movies. [More...]

Click to read more ...