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Entries in Planet of the Apes (27)

Thursday
Aug072014

199 Days 'til Oscar...

Not that I'm counting. I don't have one of those alternating colored construction paper link chains on my wall that I rip off every day or anything like I did when I was five while waiting for Santa. No siree. Do not have one of those. But if I did the colors would be gold leaf and red carpet. 

Mmmmm, where were we since we last spoke?

Release Date Shuffle
No press release or dropped hint or trailer dates should ever be taken at face value when it comes to release dates. These things change back and forth all the time but, at least for the moment, things are murky on a ton of titles and many of them are actressy: CarolFar From the Madding Crowd, MacBethThe Suffragette and more. And some pictures that were clearly designated as 2015 are obviously finished like Ron Howard's Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth all slimmed down so who knows what might transpire if a specific studio sees an opening. So let's talk about the stuff that's out already...

The Tiny Idiosyncratic Indies vs.  Large Mainstream Blockbusters
This summer I think you could safely argue that the big winners at the arthouse were the Polish film Ida which grossed more than last year's high profile foreign Oscar winner and Richard Linklater's critically adored 12 years in the making Boyhood. Music Box Films and IFC Films, which released the films, don't have high profile histories at pushing for Oscar nominations the way  Sony Pictures Classics and The Weinstein Co do but they should probably spend the money. If either maneuvers correctly, there will be at least one or two high profile nominations in store. This is why I wonder why more small films with Oscar potential don't try summer releases. If you have the goods and you're "small" it's better to be safely esconced at the top of the mountain when the "big" mainstream prestige films aren't even around and then defend your turf in the fall/winter rather than trying to climb up that insane awards mountain when all the 800 lb gorillas are also scaling it; more often than not they'll knock you right off by simply crushing your chances of enough media coverage for starters.

Whether or not Ida's box office bonanza results in Oscar traction I hope it keeps the lights on at Music Box offices for a long time. To understand just how huge the film has been for them some context: Ida is now second only to the French thriller Tell No One as their top grosser that doesn't star Noomi Rapace and start with the words "The Girl..." Further context: in terms of their recent memory hits Ida has now surpassed the combined grosses of the all star French comedy Potiche and the Rachel Weisz period drama The Deep Blue Sea (which got a little bit of awards traction).

Visual Effects is already a bloody battle. Can Guardians of the Galaxy win the nomination?

Response to this year's blockbusters is a bit harder to read at this early juncture since a) there are so many of them that have been solid doubles or triples but not home runs and b) mainstream blockbusters often need home runs to have voters thinking of them on par with the "serious" pictures. I can't say, for example, that Maleficent (big hit but not entirely respected) or Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy (big hits but Oscar doesn't take superheroes seriously outside of that orphaned billionaire in the batsuit) or Godzilla (divisive hit from ancient B movie franchise) are necessarily going to land tech nods but they'll probably try. The exception to all this 'solid player but not much more' business is surely Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which opened to much coin and such feverish raves you'd think it was a Martin Scorsese picture with Leonardo DiCaprio in an ape mask. But even that one is the 8th film in a 46 year old franchise that has only ever won 3 competitive Oscar nominations and one special Oscar... and 75% of those were from the 1968 original!

That's just one of the man reasons I think it's crazy that people are hoping for an Andy Serkis nomination though I'd be down for him to win a non-competitive special Oscar for pioneering a new subdivision of acting. If you missed the recent Podcast on 1973 the discussion of Linda Blair's performance led to the very relevant 2014 topic on how to judge "collaborative" work. 

I know, I know. You're all like... stop talking. Get to the updated Oscar charts. They're ALL updated, look at me finally updating!

PICTUREDIRECTOR & SCREENPLAYS
VISUAL & SOUND 
ACTRESS & ACTOR
SUPPORTING ACTRESS & SUPPORTING ACTOR
ANIMATED and FOREIGN 

Thoughts? Of course all this will be moot soon when the festivals shake things up with actual buzz rather than hype and some films without release dates securing distribution. We'll start on the foreign submission charts in the next couple of days since Hungary is the first to announce with the Cannes sensation "WHITE GOD" about those rampaging wild dogs.  

 

 

Monday
Jul282014

Podcast: Charming Musicians, Frosty Survivors, Talking Apes

It's one-on-one podcast time this week. Nathaniel and Nick discuss two movies they're sympatico on (Begin Again and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and one which halfway divides them (Snowpiercer). 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.

Index
00:01 Intro & Scene Stealing
01:30 Begin Again: rough starts, Mark Ruffalo's abrasiveness, Keira Knightley overall excellence, how it compares to Once.
14:00 Why we're not talking Boyhood. Plus the difficulty of grading ambitious movies.
20:00 Snowpiercer: allegory, structure, and the fight over the final cut, Tilda Swinton of course. Plus Bong Joon-ho and Korean cinema.
35:00 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: highlight scenes, amazing imagery, franchise politics, Jason Clarke, and Caesar vs. Koba.
45:00 "Lost Stars" 


What is this picture doing here?
You'll have to listen to find out.

 

Begin Again Snowpiercer Dawn of...

Monday
Jul212014

Linkpiercer

Guardian Tim Robey has a lovely tribute to TV & film star James Garner (RIP) who I'll always remember best for Murphy's Romance and Victor/Victoria in the 1980s
Pajiba I'm more of a cat person but this gallery of big celebrities with tiny dogs is adorable
Criterion Collection on the painstaking restoration of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Thompson on Hollywood has an in depth look at the VOD decisions involving Snowpiercer from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein (so yes it's very one-sided... but interesting nonetheless)

The Dissolve 'when images match ideas' on Snowpiercer and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Pajiba has the talk with Marvel about the Edgar Wright Divorce  
Towleroad Andrew Rannells starts soon as Hedwig. (I'm excited. The role is big enough for multiple interpretations)
Theater Mania Michelle Williams wants to keep singing at the Kit Kat Club longer than expected. She's staying with Cabaret all the way through November 9th now (I guess she doesn't have to start promoting Suite Française for awhile still)
Details interviews Wentworth Miller, former Prison Break hunk and Stoker writer, on his career after coming out

And, finally, are you excited for Festival Season yet?

I'm trying to remain calm as I make plans but NYFF isn't making staying calm any easier what with their Opening Night Film (Gone Girl's world premiere) Centerpiece (Inherent Vice) and Closing Night (Birdman which is scheduled for Venice as well). Tomorrow TIFF holds their opening news conference and we'll hear more about their plans as well. Here's some speculation from a Toronto news site which suggests that Reese Witherspoon is going to be a major presence and you can probably safely assume that Maps to the Stars will also be there given TIFF's love of Cronenberg.

Sunday
Jul202014

What did you see this weekend?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continued to sell well (and should easily surpass Rise's gross) but the only box office story of much interest this weekend is Boyhood's incredible success at only 33 locations.  Though IFC Films almost never campaigns for Oscar nominations in any meaningful way, there are some whisperings that the response to Boyhood may change that. We'll see.

Raher than a top ten chart let's look at wide and platforming.  

WIDE RELEASES
01 DAWN OF PLANET OF APES $36 (cum. $138.9) Review
02 THE PURGE: ANARCHY $28.3 *new*
03 PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE $18 *new* 
04 SEX TAPE $15 *new*
05 TRANSF4RMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $10 (cum. $227.1)

UNDER 100 SCREENS
01 BOYHOOD $1.1 (cum. $1.8) Review
02 WISH I WAS HERE $.4 *new*
03 OBVIOUS CHILD $.1 (cum. $2.6) Review
04 IDA $.1 (cum. $3.3) Capsule
05 BELLE $.1 (cum. $10.4) Capsule

In other news Chef, Jon Favreau's 'pulling in all his favors' all-star comedy crossed $25 million in its 11th week. The movie, a light sweet comedy about a chef whose career falls apart forcing him to reevaluate his choices, has been a true word of mouth hit in limited release. Almost by accident I saw it yesterday with a friend and her family who had decided they wanted to see a movie, any movie, at the last minute last night on our beach weekend. It was the perfect kind of casual entertainment for a group. Of course to enjoy its sweet father/son drama, it's shameless twitter-ad placements, and the enjoyable camaraderie of the stars, I had to turn off my inward groaning that not only did portly Jon Favreau have Scarlett Johansson as a love interest but his other love interest was Sofia Vergara - realism unbounded! (And worse still neither of them existed as people but to prop up his character arc towards becoming a better man.) But I guess when you write and direct and star and produce your own picture you can pretend that the world's most voluptous women would be totally into your mopey ass and exist only to meet your emotional needs when you crash. 

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND?

Monday
Jul142014

Aarrrr, matey. It's Captain Link!

John August Gregory Maguire (author of the novel "Wicked") looks at the original screenplay of The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Tom Huller look at this amazing commissioned poster for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Erik Lundegaard the first "Best Shot" entry elsewhere is up for tomorrow's Any Batman Movie fest. I love this article. Erik is so right about Adam West
Black Maria the nuance of silence in Ida  

Stage Buddy reviews the cast album of the Tony Winning "Lady Day"... won't someone please make it into a movie so Audra McDonald can have an Oscar?
Cinema Blend Stan Lee getting greedy in his old age - wants to cameo in DC movies, too 
The Film Stage Kurt Russell who starred in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof thinks The Hateful Eight will be going before cameras early in 2015 
The Playlist ranks all eight Planet of the Apes movies. Predictably Tim Burton's box office hit is dead last.
Previously TV 'disparate things' pits Parks and Recreation's party machine up against "that brief window when we thought Smash might be good." I trust you'll all vote for Smash. Do as your told!

Boyhood
Awards Daily thinks Boyhood leads the Best Picture race but I'd be surprised to see it even nominated myself. IFC doesn't really try for these things you know. I think there last nomination was in 2009 or something.
Guardian quibbling with Boyhood  

The Struggle
Film School Rejects has a think piece on the toxic culture of movie rumors as movie news. I've talked about this a lot myself as a way of describing what I don't want The Film Experience to be (just another site that cares more about movies that don't yet exist than movies that do) versus what it is (a movie site that cares about real movies from all eras and long after their opening weekend). As a generul rule we restrict ourselves when it comes to rumors (beyond quite often in these link roundups) much to the detriment of traffic since "future movies" is big business. I don't mean to pat myself on the back but I think it's a real problem for healthy film culture (which needs to be about actual films) and I'm always to curious to read articles like this from bigger sites which are news-focused on their feelings. It's a tough line to walk. I don't think we cover news enough at TFE but you have to be so careful that you're not just feeding into the meaningless of what's-next-what's-next at the expense of appreciating what there already is. Imagine if everyone in the US stopped reading every article about upcoming movies for an entire year. They'd have enough time left over to see a big group of classics and contemporary cinema and discuss them, too.

Christopher Walken in Pennies From Heaven (1981)

FINALLY...
You'd probably heard that Christopher Walken will be playing Captain Hook in the "Peter Pan Live!" event we should see sometime next year. "The Sound of Music Live!" set off a bunch of new plans for networks since live events are one of the only ways to get people to watch a program as its broadcast and thereby force them to sit through commercials. Walken is so amazing in musical roles which he almost never gets to do (see "Weapon of Choice" and "Pennies From Heaven" for starters). I don't remember this musical at all though I think my parents took us to a touring company when I was itty bitty to see it. Hopefully Hook gets to do some elaborate pirate jigs.  

Unfortunately it looks like they're looking for a female actress to play Peter Pan (Kristen Bell was an original choice) which is disappointing. Yes, that's the stage and film tradition but wasn't it originally the tradition only because of wirework technical issues and women being smaller and lighter. It's decades later now, time to get a real boy who won't grow up for the role.