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Entries in Oscars (12) (288)

Thursday
Oct112012

Thoughts I had looking at The Guilt Trip poster

presented without self censorship or editing as they come to me...

  • Initially I kept comparing this to Something's Gotta Give (2003) as to its awards chances -- Oscar Best Actress Nominee -- and now I'm embarrassed about that and wish I had compared it to Mother (1996) -- Golden Globe Best Actress Nominee.
  • Babs still gets top billing. As it should be but she hasn't made a movie in how many years?
  • those Focker movies don't count.
  • How much would your typical Barbra Streisand fan(atic) pay to have their cheek pinched by her? I'm guessing thousands because the prices they'll pay to see her in concert. Yeesh!
  • People who do not think Barbra is a brilliant actor have not seen Funny Girl or The Way We Were. They have maybe seen Prince of Tides or Meet the Fuckers.
  • Who else is in this movie? Wouldn't it be so weird if it was all Sleuth like two-hander?
  • My whole life I've loved the tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas day with family & friends. But now every movie opens on Christmas and it's so annoying! I'm buried in prezzies and I'd prefer them metered out a bit.
  • Do you think Abbas Kiarostami is totally dying to see this? Road trip!

Thursday
Oct112012

Cry Face, Dance Breaks, Doc Shorts

The Claire Danes Cry Face Project as wonderful as it sounds
iTunes Trailers Django Unchained got himself a new one just as the buzz was dipping to pin drop status
John August reacts to the lower-than-expected box office for Frankenweenie (which he wrote). I love how candid he is about temporary disappointments and what it all does or doesn't mean.
Nicks Flick Picks has been surveying the best of... 2012 in multiple categories (so far)
Movie City News on Seth MacFarlane's first Oscar sketch
Awards Daily Meryl Streep and other Hollywood power women are Drawing the Line about reproductive rights. Good for them! 

IMP Awards new character posters for Les Misérables
LA Times RIP to actor /sports star Alex Karras (TV's Webster). I'm disappointed that so few of the obits have featured Victor/Victoria in any memorable way! That's what I remember him best from.
Stale Popcorn on Bret Easton Ellis, Twitter and the Canyons trailer
/Film Shailene Woodley to become Mary Jane Watson in the new Spider-Man series. "Downgrade!" - crazed Kiki fan.
TV|Line Bryan Fuller's forthcoming Munsters remake series starring Portia deRossi may end with the pilot, which is airing as a standalone tv special this month
People did I forget to congratulate Audra McDonald and Will Swenson on their marriage? Two fine musical theater talents now legally fused into one power couple 
The Envelope on Lincoln's debut at NYFF. I love the opening 'graph referencing War Horse. Hee.

Steven Spielberg's long-gestating "Lincoln" finally arrived last night at the New York Film Festival, and as with any blessed event, the debut prompted a level of excitement not seen since ... well ... the last time Spielberg made a much-hyped, awards-season movie.

Must See
I can't stop watching this clip of Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung courtesy of Criterion

Apparently In the Mood For Love (one of my favorite films evah!) was originally conceived as a much lighter piece. Watching one of the all time great movie couples dance together all flirtatious/cool is multi-orgasmic. Try it! If you've never seen the movie get right on that. A wondrous film experience awaits you.

Oscar Documentary News!
Finally, the eight finalists for Oscars best Documentary Short have been announced. They are...

Paraíso (10 minutes) is about Mexican immigrants who clean windows on skyscrapers

  • The Education of Mohammad Hussein (Loki Films)
  • Inocente (Shine Global, Inc)
  • Kings Point (Kings Point Documentary, Inc)
  • Mondays at Racine (Cynthia Wade Productions)
  • Open Heart (Urban Landscapes Ic)
  • Paraíso (The Strangebird Company)
  • The Perfect Fit (SDI Productions Ltd)
  • Redemption (Downton Docs) 

You can read about all of those shorts at our newly updated Oscar Documentary Prediction Page. Enjoy

Thursday
Oct112012

Yes, No, Maybe So: Hitchcock

After a seemingly abrupt transition from 2013's slate to November 2012, Fox Searchlight isn't wasting any time with their Alfred Hitchcock bio. The official site is up, a new poster (to your left) arrives so shortly after the teaser poster, it wasn't much of a tease at all. And, now, the trailer.

It feels like a long time since a Yes No Maybe So breakdown, right? We course correct now to parse Hitchcock --  the trailer for the film about the man, not the man himself or his films! We'd be here for years for the latter. Based on the two minute evidence do we want to investigate the whole two hours? Why and why not? 

You know how this works by now so let's join Alfred & Alma during the making of Psycho...

YES

  • 'The Making of Psycho'... we wouldn't have such predictable allergic reactions to biopics if more of them would stay tightly focused on one chapter in someone's life. Cradle-to-grave is just so frought with cliff notes inelegance.
  • Psycho is my favorite Hitchcock film, so I'm happy to watch a "making of". Psycho wasn't always my favorite Hitchcock but it just kept climbing the charts over the years until there was no film left to hurdle. But honestly I'd be just as happy to watch "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Torn Curtain" -- pick a film any film -- because behind the scene and screen is a place I love to spend time.
  • This Shot!

 

More 'yes,' the trailer and some 'no's and 'maybe so's after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct102012

Million Dollar Marion

Jose here, still reeling from Rust and Bone this past Sunday (going again today in a couple of hours because it's that good). My first reaction after watching it was: wow, Marion Cotillard truly has been trying to prove to us all her Oscar win was no accident.

I am not a fan of La Vie en Rose but year after year I have found myself more astounded by Cotillard's work. She was heartbreaking in Nine and was the only thing in Inception worth anyone's time, but it's in Rust and Bone where she provesonce and for all  that she's one of the most fearless actresses of our time. Most people think she's a shoo-in for a Best Actress nomination but I'm not sure this will be so easy, given that her character isn't likable at all and we know that AMPAS likes to like its leading ladies; even Margaret Thatcher and Aileen Wuornos had redemptive qualities in their movies.

Cotillard's Stephanie doesn't give a damn if someone likes her or not. When we first meet her she's just been beaten by a guy in a club and she just picks herself up and goes home to her boyfriend, whom she resents for asking for an explanation. After a gruesome accident leaves her disabled, she doesn't change her ways; instead she finds herself a f*** buddy (Matthias Schoenaerts) and becomes involved in some shady business. Can you imagine Million Dollar Baby's Maggie Fitzgerald becoming fiercer after her accident? Rust and Bone is surprising in more than one way and its extreme lack of sentimentality will surely leave some perplexed. But Cotillard is phenomenal. There is one particular scene - set to Katy Perry's "Firework" of all things - where she doesn't speak, but communicates so much through her eyes and face that she should be a frontrunner. She is that good. 

Tuesday
Oct092012

12 Word Reviews: Pitch Perfect, Gayby, Frankenweenie...

The screenings are everywhere. It's harder and harder to keep up. Herewith some twelve word reviews of things I've seen recently in order to catch up. Naturally, I cheat (sort of) a couple of times. Twelve words is so few... just you try it!

Gayby (OPENS FRIDAY!)
Best friends from college, gay Matt and straight Jenn, decide to have a baby together... the old fashioned way. Hilarity ensues. Personal lives get confused.


12WR:  Plotty but very funny. Celebrates rather than regurgitates stereotypes. Awesome Showgirls joke! B+
Oscar? Not weighty enough even for Spirit Awards but warm and funny enough to age well on DVD shelves despite the "now" topic. It's best hope for awards is turning itself into a sitcom for the Emmys. I'd totally watch this crowd weekly (and it'd be way better than The New Normal which suffers from Ryan Murphy's now familiar Preachy Bull in Broadly Caricatured China Shop voice)

Pitch Perfect
College freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick) joins an acapella group The Bellas. They need to break free of their lame repertoire if they ever hope to win a competition. 
I loved this one while I was watching it and didn't love it in the morning so two reviews...
12 WR (Positive) Weak story, weaker filmmaking; FUN anyway. Key cast shines with great lines. B
12 WR (Negative) Lazily constructed on vastly superior Bring it On template. Funny quick fade. C
Oscar? It's 'Aca-Awkard' to even bring that up. No.

Frankenweenie
Young science-loving Victor resurrects his dead dog Sparky in a Frankenstein like experiment. Once the word gets out the townsfolk lose it.
12 WR: Inventive setpieces, surprises, awesome character design ("Whiskers!") justify expansion of classic short. B/B+
Oscar? It would surprise me if it wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature and it could also feature into sound categories but the lukewarm response at the box office has me suddenly doubting its frontrunner status.

Our Children
Belgium's Oscar submission! A bicultural family slowly crumbles through dependency and depression.
12 WR: Fascinating thematic subtext undermined by miserabilist March-Toward-Doom structure. Suffocating close-ups. C+
Oscar? I doubt it as its very dour without much in the way of catharsis. But I've been wrong before about this always fascinating category.

Secret Life of Arrietty
Arrietty is a "borrower" a little person living inside a house. Will a new sickly human living in the house expose her and her family?
12 WR: Delicate, lovely, quiet... but too much so! Needs more pizazz. Limited characterizations  B-
Oscar? Ineligible for the Animated Feature race

Tuesday
Oct092012

NYFF: Lincoln's Unfinished Noisy Debut

Is DDL marching toward a third Oscar?I wasn't able to attend last night's "secret" -- we're stretching the definition--  Lincoln debut at the NYFF due to prior commitments but as I lined up for Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa premiere at 9 it was clear that we would not be filing in anytime soon. Lincoln was running well over. It had supposedly begun at 6:15 and we were informed we wouldn't see our movie until 10:00 pm. For a few biophobic moments I wondered if Lincoln could really be 3 ½ hours long; much much longer than the Gettysburg address!  I can't confirm a running time but I imagine the stars bowing and blurbing "I loved working with ____" sucked up some of the 3 hours and 45 minutes that Lincoln filled the cavernous Alice Tully Hall.

As the Lincoln crowd exited, one woman who joined the Ginger & Rosa line was asked how it was.... After a long pause she unenthusiastically announced that the acting was great. And then...

It was obviously written by a playwright. A LOT of words."

Damn you, Tony Kushner. Hee!

The playwright behind Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes, Only Those Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy, and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures has probably heard this particular complaint before but I imagine he feels a bit like Amadeus did when he heard "too many notes." (Remember that?)

LOTS MORE AFTER THE JUMP....

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct062012

Best Actor Bait. The Key Word Being Bait.

The Oscar Prediction Chart Updates continue with the leading and supporting men. Best Actor seems especially confusing this year what with so many major stars or past Oscar nominees arriving with generally infallible bait right there in the roles. Let's do a quick chart. Here are, arguably, the five most infallible types of Oscar Bait and who is serving them up. (Obviously many of these men are still awaiting critical consensus on their performances or the fourth column would be larger.)

BEST ACTOR
In that chart right there I've only visually (and alphabetically) included  the top ten ranked men from my prediction chart. Now I'm even less enthused about Matt Damon's Oscar chances for Promised Land since he doesn't figure into these five columns at all. One might call him overdue if he didn't have that early writing Oscar (Good Will Hunting) but as it stands now he has no surefire hook for his Oscar campaign. This is not to say that "crisis of conscience" isn't a form of bait for leading men. That's a fairly common hook in leading roles but it's hardly the iconic carrot to dangled in front of voters like, say, debilatating suffering, addiction or ol' fashioned biographical dress up are.

If Anthony Hopkins is terrific as Hitchcock it's going to come down to the wire as to which of the top six men are given the boot on nomination morning since they're all packing serious bait as they fish for votes.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The supporting categories are the last to lock down since so much what happens there depends on coattails from leading players and Best Picture nominations. Though you can safely lock up Philip Seymour Hoffman who is already a default Oscar player before you account for his enormous amount of screen time or the kind of reviews he won for The Master. Beyond Hoffman it's still anyone's game though reactions to Lincoln, which premieres Monday at the New York Film Festival, will certainly tell us whether David Strathairn is in the hunt for his second nomination. He's currently my only predicted Supporting Actor nominee who hasn't yet won the Oscar so if he's strong and the field really turns out that way, a win wouldn't be out of the question.

As for the men who have never been nominated, I'm particularly frustrated that Michael Fassbender who was so sublime in Prometheus is fading from the conversation but I expected as much since Oscar don't do sci-fi. I'm also frustrated that Matthew McConaughey who is inarguably having the best year of his career, isn't winning traction. Frustrated by not surprised. Though Oscar himself is famously nude and male and popular with the gays, He isn't generally turned on by the sexualization of male actors. That shiny Global icon is famously resistant to the matinee idol type ignoring them altogether or making them wait until they're gray and less sexually potent for their Oscar glory. Oscar just doesn't like leading men who trade on their own eroticism. Witness the Oscar fate of Michael Fassbender in Shame last year. McConaughey's selfploitation in Magic Mike (and to a lesser but more compromising degree in The Paperboy) is probably working against him no matter how much he's stepped up his game this year. 

Which actors are you banking on at this point? Where would you flipflop contenders on our charts?