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Entries in Oscars (12) (288)

Saturday
Jun092012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Django Unchained"

If Quentin Tarantino can make us wait an average of 2 years and ten months between each movie (I'm counting Kill Bill as one and assuming Django Unchained will arrive on schedule. But will it?) than you can all forgive me for not jumping on every piece of Tarantino news-- even the excitement of a trailer -- the minute it arrives. 

What's your name?"

His name is Django. The D is silent. Let's stay silent no more about the trailer ... or the teaser the teasler... the traiser? Aren't teasers support to be 1 minute long? We'll break this traiser into three pieces as we do.

YES


  • Things that are off the chain: the shot of the blood sprayed cotton, the self-aware zoom-in on Leonardo DiCaprio casts gleefully against type, Django throwing off his coat, the shot reverse shot of Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington in the water (dream sequence?). More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun042012

Review: "Snow White and the Huntsman"

This article was originally published in my movie column at Towleroad

"Fairy tale revisionism" has been rapidly climbing the Hollywood idea chart. In the past few years we've seen Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel in Tangled, Red Riding Hood, and Snow White in Mirror Mirror (reviewed here).  There are several more on the way including Angelina Jolie as Maleficent terrorizing Sleeping Beauty Elle Fanning. This weekend Snow White returned to theaters for the second time in three months. Her timing is apt since the apple-munching princess is celebrating her 75th big screen anniversary (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937). Why so many fairy tales? Modern Hollywood thrives on branding so the more familiar the movie before it arrives the better. And what's more familiar than fairy tales?

Tale as old as time. 
True as it can be…  ♫

Oops wrong fairy tale. Regret to inform that Snow White and the Huntsman does not have a theme song sung by Angela Lansbury but let's borrow that song anyway as framing device. Snow White and the Hunstman does have a theme song but it's a less catchy dirge-like ballad. One of the seven dwarves coughs it out at a funeral until Florence and the Machine take over on the soundtrack as the heroes rise up against evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) in montage. 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. If you can suspend your disbelief that Kristen Stewart is "the fairest of all them all" in a beauty contest with Charlize Theron, read on...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May302012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Les Miserables"

Q: You know what I always wanted for Christmas?
A: A miserabilist musical epic about whores, convicts, slum lords, revolutionaries and starving street urchins in 19th century France.

Thanks, Santa!

And thanks, Baby Jesus! Even though your dad was not as forgiving as Fantine (Anne Hathaway) dreamed. Les Misérables trailer and discussion after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
May212012

Monologue: Annette Bening. Still on the Grift.

1990 was the year in which I saw the least amount of movies in theaters. I was overseas and when I returned I devoured everything. I don't recommend missing an entire year of cinema but I also can't deny that it's fun to catch up in massive marathons. My favorite shiny new  plaything that year turned out to be Annette Bening. She had appeared in two movies before her breakthrough (The Great Outdoors and Valmont, the latter of which was barely released) but I wasn't familiar with her. In 1990 she ascended. She swiped a scene wholesale from Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge (in a way we didn't see again for another 18 years when Viola Davis rationalized away her son in Doubt) and sparkled and teased as Myra Langtry in The Grifters. She deservedly won her first Oscar nomination but the bid was doomed. "You in danger, girl" Ghost was a juggernaut and Whoopi Goldberg was impossible to deny..

Myra, delighted and curious, realizes her boyfriend is "on the grift"

Director Stephen Frears, then at his creative peak hot off Dangerous Liaisons, handed Bening The Grifter's pivotal centerpiece. It's not one scene exactly nor an unbroken monologue but a shifting series of impressions and exchanges in which Myra reveals her past (in voiceover flashback) and begins to rope in her future, altering the game board on which mother and son con artists Roy and Lily Dillon play (John Cusack and Anjelica Huston, the latter giving a mammoth Oscar-worthy performance.)

After Myra witnesses her boyfriend Roy "working the tat on those sailor boys"  she drops enough strange lingo to choke a lesser actress in an effort to rustle his cautious feathers and reveal himself.

Oh come on, Roy. 'The tat,' what you do for a living.❞

More including new Bening films...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May192012

"I can't believe we're doing this"

I assume that many of you have seen the very brief daydreamy clip from The Paperboy (2012) in which Zac Efron fantasizes about Nicole Kidman in a wedding dress before she kisses the camera. I can't stop watching it. I love the overlapped images and Kidman's accent and the snap back to reality. After the strange Shadowboxer and the moving but divisive Precious we all know that director Lee Daniels is confident (or over confident if you will) about bizarre flights of fancy in imagery and performances that run racing to the cliff's edge.

All of which might make him an ideal candidate to direct the ever fearless still underappreciated Nicole Kidman. I say "underappreciated" about this major star and Oscar winner only because she takes a lot of guff from critics, general audiences, and media types who all seem giddy about disparaging her work for shallow reasons. She's clearly one of the most important actors of either sex in the past twenty years and it seems obvious that future generations will still know her thanks to that auteur-friendly filmography. I'm gushing and I haven't seen the movie yet. (I hate when people do that so apologies.)

As for Zac Efron. First he duets with Michelle pF'in Pfeiffer (New Year's Eve) and then lusts after Kidman (The Paperboy)? This is the closest I've ever felt to him... and the most envious. Who's next: The Bening, Juli, Tilda, Ms Hathaway, Kiki Dunst? HE'S INSIDE MY MIND !!!

*deep breaths deep breaths*

The Paperboy premieres on Thursday May 24th at Cannes, in the last rush of films before the jury makes their decisions. Can Kidman give Marion Cotillard a run in Best Actress? Or will some non-Oscared international actress emerge triumphant?