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Entries in Philip Kaufman (2)

Sunday
Feb052012

Yes, No, Maybe So: Nicole vs. Juli. September 2012

Since there weren't enough prizes in the world for Claire "Temple Grandin" Danes and Kate "Mildred" Winslet, who will be our next "Her, again?" awards gobbler?

Will it be Nicole Kidman in Hemingway & Gellhorn vs. Julianne Moore in Game Change? The last time they faced off in awards season (2002) they were actually co-stars and Nic' won for The Hours (Julianne losing for Far From Heaven and The Hours albeit in two separate categories) . Or will they both be trumped by someone we're not thinking of yet when the Emmys role around in September 2012 and this whole awards circus begins anew? 

In this corner, Nicole Kidman as Martha Gelhorn in Hemingway and Gellhorn...

Yes - Philip Kaufman is directing and he's made some amazing films in the past like The Right Stuff and Henry & June. The last time Nicole Kidman lowered her voice this noticeably to play a ballsy writer, she won the Oscar.


No
- Isn't there a danger of this gorgeous Star strolling through the rubble of war reminding people of Australia? They didn't much like that one. Four minute trailers always have the problem of making the oncoming product seem overstuffed, unduly episodic and desperate for attention. "And then this happened. And then this happened. And then this happened. And then this happened. Interested? No?" Uh... [Cue: flop sweat, razzle dazzle] Uh... Oh... okay the first part is shit but the second part is REALLY nifty! Ok.... she'd go ♫. I'd go ♫. we'd gooooo. ♫"

Maybe So - The success of this may well rest on the chemistry between Clive Owen and Kidman. Do they have it? And can Clive Owen work his way around the very vivid recent memory of Corey Stoll in this role via Midnight in Paris?

In this corner Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in Game Change... 

Yes - It might be fun to watch Juliannne Moore attempt biopic mimicry because it's not the sort of thing she's known for. And at this point we'll take anything that might win her an award. Has there ever been an actress as major who hasn't won any major prizes? She wins nothing. No Emmys, No Globes, No Oscars. 

No
- "Fair and balanced" has been wiped clean of all meaning ever since Fox News took over the world, but where will this film fall on the scale of fair representation? On the one hand, it might be super to watch a take-down of Sarah Palin. But then again, the target is just so easy so it might feel way too cheap shot-like. On the other, excessive humanization of seemingly soulless political monsters through the magic of warm actresses (see also The Iron Lady) comes with its own queasiness, the humanization of dehumanizing idealogies.

Maybe So
- Will anyone be ready to sit through more Sarah Palin when she's been so torturously around ever since 2008?  And can Juli work his way around the very vivid recent memory of Tina Fey in this role via Saturday Night Live?

"I have to win this thing. I so don't want to go back to Alaska!"What kind of bet are you laying down?  

Better yet, do you see awards attention beyond our leading ladies for these HBO Movies? Both have amazing casts. Hemingway & Gellhorn is giving us Clive Owen, Parker Posey, Robert Duvall, David Straithairn, Rodrigo Santoro and Molly Parker (in awards bait position of scorned wife). Game Plan is giving us Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Sarah Paulson and a ton of others in small roles.

Be brave in the comments and make some Emmy calls now!

Sunday
Oct232011

The Unbearable Linkness of Being

The Hollywood Reporter Dianne Wiest to headline The Corrections. I know this will be old news to some but I can't believe I haven't mentioned it. A lead role for Our Miss Wiest, only one of the greatest living actresses in the world.
Tom Shone grades the movies. I love when critics explain their grading systems as it's always such a personal and inexact science. Only six "A+" ever.
Film Studies For Free looks back briefly at Brokeback Mountain, which happens to be one of Mr. Shone's six "A+" films.


Salon offers up a library of film criticism essentials
They Live by Night great piece on the super complicated editing challenges of The Tree of Life.

We had folders for Earth, Sky, Water, Animals, Miscellaneous, and then within those, bins that were more specific."

Guardian on Amélie's (2001) cultural endurance. The whimsical worldwide hit is now ten years old.
Laughing Squid "Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses"
Felix in Hollywood "can someone please explain this picture to me?"Tallulah Bankhead lol.
Awards Daily They aren't reading the Best Picture nominees in alphabetical order this year. Nor will the board show us how many titles will be announced. Suspense! 

Kaufman on the set of Quills (2000) with Kate WinsletFinally, a very happy 75th birthday to the writer/director Philip Kaufman, who people unfortunately rarely talk about these days. Why this is is surely a combo of his infrequency of working (only 12 features in a 47 year career), his lack of masterpieces, and his films being soundly of the adult persuasion in an era when the movies have become increasingly 'you know... for kids.' (I mean, even Scorsese is making family pictures now.)  My favorites from Kaufman's oeuvre are three: The Right Stuff (1983) which was nominated for 8 Oscars though Kaufman was oddly not one of them - they had to make room for Ingmar Bergman in Best Director which we shan't ever complain about but it's strange that the competition that wasn't dropped came mostly from what one might call "actor's films" which are usually the first to go when the lone wolf directorial nod comes-a-calling; The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988, Kaufman's sole nomination - Best Adapted Screenplay); and the NC-17 scandal that was Henry and June (1990). This trinity of "bests" is not-so-coincidentally composed of consecutive projects. When artists are on a roll, they're on a roll. It always seems to come in waves, doesn't it?

He's finally made another movie. His thirteenth film is Hemingway and Gelhorn (2012) which stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. 

Have you seen any Philip Kaufman pictures?