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Entries in Super 8 (9)

Saturday
Jul282012

Kiki's Melancholia (& Other Saturn Triumphs)

Though I haven't yet seen any photographs of the Saturn Award event, held in Burbank this week and the last of the 2011 Film Awards -- arriving even later than the MTV Awards each year  -- we must rush to congratulate the one and only Kiki for her Best Actress win for Lars von Trier's apocalyptic arthouse amazement Melancholia. You may recall we also honored her right here in our Best Actress listThe Saturn Awards don't have anything like a prestigious reputation (often a problem with awards organizations voted on by fans) but they do have a long history (38 years!) which counts for something and you have to hand it to them this year that they're the only large non-critics awards group to honor Kirsten Dunst for her indelible embodiment of Planet Sized Depression though she did win the top Actress prize at a few film festivals (including the very definition of Prestige Reputation: the Cannes Film Festival) and was also honored by two critics orgs one minor and one major: Kansas Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics. 


 

A complete list of winners after the jump but if you're too lazy to click, please note that they seemed to love Super 8 best even though it didn't win any of their four Best Picture prizes. Wins and commentary if you...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan052012

VFX Oscar Upset: Rainbow Bridge of Asgard Shut Down For Repairs

This post is only illustrated with Hugh Jackman because I'm still reeling from that LES MIZ story! It's like a huge robot shaped like Taylor Swift just punched me!!!This just in (if this post were written last night. Pretend with me!)... The Academy has narrowed their Visual Effects race to ten players.

They'll have to cleave this list in half again by Tuesday January 24th, 2012 when the Oscar nominations are announced. Which five films will remain standing?

Captain America: The First Avenger
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Tree of Life
X-Men: First Class

 

GOODBYE TO YOU
What does this mean? Only that five previously eligible semi-finalists have been kicked to the curb.

No more Cowboys & Aliens (though the ADG bit). No more Sucker Punch (later lobotomized ladies!). No more Sherlock Holmes Part 2 (is it just me or is this movie feeling strangely nonexistent to the world despite being in the box office top ten) No more Thor (the hammer is his penis). No more Super 8.

The latter rejection seems like the biggest surprise to me. It's seemingly the only Movie about Movies containing scenes of the filming of other Movies to not catch on with awards voters this year since The Artist and Hugo and even Drive seem to be doing just fine, thank you).

Which half of the finalist list are you all in for?

Related: Current Visual Oscar Predictions

Wednesday
Nov232011

Super 8 and Makeup: A Love Story for the Oscars

Could you close your eyes, please?"

Super 8's leading character Joe Lamb is a movie makeup and effects fan. He taught himself how to do all the major Hollywood techniques with the Dick Smith mail-away instructions course. He can do beauty makeup, zombies, and bloody injuries. He's just a big budget and two years away from Oscar glory in 1979 when the film takes place.

The first Academy Award for Best Makeup was presented at the 54th ceremony, honoring films released in 1981. Since then, it has been a category that has confounded and confused Oscar prognosticators. What seems like a guaranteed nominee to a non-voting member of the Academy is ignored, while less well-received films with one good character go down as nominees. It feels like the standards and interests of the voters change from year to year almost on a whim. Will they go for full-body human transformations or bizarre alien creations? Cartoonish monsters in a kids film or grizzly beasts in an R-rated horror? Those tend to be the mainstays, except for the years where they go for elaborate period epics or subtle character-defining facial alterations.

Super 8 feels like the kind of film that could sneak in for a nomination because it forces the watcher to pay attention to the quality of the makeup. The protagonist lovingly talks about the same books that many modern makeup artists claim they used to learn the fundamentals of the craft. The Dick Smith books are still considered the gold standard and are constantly updated to reflect new industry techniques. Small details like this permeate the first hour of the film as a siren's song to makeup professionals and enthusiasts. If you talk enough about a film's makeup, people are going to notice the makeup.

What Joe Lamb the character accomplishes with a tackle box of grease-paint and some fake blood is at the calibre of professional work from the late 1970s. For every scene that pays tribute to 30+ year old techniques, there is another scene that acts as a stylish and gritty display of what modern practical makeup looks like in 2011. From the dirt and scratches covering the kids after the train derailment to the festering wounds on a character's head, there are very few scenes in Super 8 that just rely on everyday natural film makeup. It's a film that screams for attention for Deborah La Mia Denavar's makeup team.

Will horror nostalgia and blunt realism be enough to grab the attention of the voters? According to the rules for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, each film submitted for Best Makeup needs to get at least 15 votes to even be considered for a nomination. The top 7 vote getters (if more than 7 meet the 15 vote threshold) are then required to provide up to 10 minutes of edited footage to showcase the makeup techniques. All nominations are made based off of preferential ballots for the top 3 screened excerpts from films. That means a whole lot of films could be left out just because their written application of makeup techniques didn't grab the voters.

What films do you think will even make it past the 15 vote minimum to be eligible for a nomination?

Tuesday
Jun142011

l i n k 

Another day, another several celebrities with new ad campaigns.  Here's Angelina Jolie for Louis Vitton (reportedly she's not wearing any makeup here and wearing her own clothes) and Tobey Maguire for Prada.

How many of them do you think make more money posing for ads than actually acting? Even the ones who command huge actorly paychecks.

oh yes... a few links

Self Styled Siren a fun post on romantic choices, "sleeve tuggers" and The Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Alt Screen celebrates Buster Keaton in College.
Men's Journal spends manly time with Kyle Chandler.
Cinema Blend a retro poster for Captain America: The First Avenger
Super Mercado a fan poster for "The Case" that movie within the movie Super 8

Off Cinema
The Daily Beast thorough critical rundown of new TV season. Pan Am with Christina Ricci sounds great and they say it's sexy, too.
Basket of Kisses roots for Mad Men hard at the inaugural "Critics Choice" for television.
Londonist
8th Annual Naked Bike Ride. This looks like it would hurt. They do some naked bike riding in that Flemish movie The Misfortunates. Have any of you seen that? It's surprisingly affecting, despite being relentlessly sozzled and depressed.

Tony Aftermath
The ratings were up 10%. Yay!
BlogStage has video highlights of the Tonys. I added a couple of these to my live blog in case you're just joining us and want to catch up.
La Daily Musto takes off the blindfold on those Tony related "blind items"... this link is for theater obsessives only, though.
Sarah's Tumblr
thought the Tonys were fine but this shirtless photo of Gene Kelly made her night.
Movie|Line thinks the Oscars should take after the Tony Awards. But some of this oft-heard advice is impossible: You can't get rid of the precursors. Oscar has no say in those. They'd have to collapse on their own. Plus, the technicals should not be cut (though maybe the "short film categories" could go without spoiling that it's a night about cinema. Still I like my Oscars long. But they do need to have more spirited presentation. HIRE NEIL PATRICK HARRIS & HUGH JACKMAN AS A DUO. (see also TFE's live blog for their wonder-twin-powered duet)

 

Monday
Jun132011

Box Office: Elle Fanning Ascends and 8 More Notes on "Super 8" 

It was a debutante ball or a "Sweet 13", if you will, for Elle Fanning at the Box Office this weekend. J.J. Abrams Super 8, an attempt to recapture Spielbergian 80s sci-fi glory, opened larger than expected, and Elle's star continues to rise. Are you newly won over?

"SuperElle" © Nathaniel R
A HUGE week in the Fanning household this has been, eh? Dakota graduated from high school, became the new face of "Oh Lola" and younger sister Elle starred in a #1 hit, following in big sister's footsteps still (Dakota's already done the #1 weekends with Twilight: New Moon and War of the Worlds... which Super 8 bears more than a little resemblance too with its sinister alien antics, great build up and then strangely lame final act. "Uh, we have to wrap this up now so... THIS"

I meant to write a proper review - sorries! -- but instead you get list/notes. MINOR SPOILERS

  • first 45 minutes pretty wonderful, fun period work, enjoyable inside-moviemaking jokes for nerds.
  • Elle Fanning's "acting" scene in the movie within the movie (an amateur zombie film) before the cargo crash is awesome. The extra, out of focus in the background, totally forgetting his business to stare at her ? Hilarious/perfect.
  • That EPIC cargo crash is the first sign of trouble. The explosions and destructions go on and on and on and on (overkill!) and not one of the kids gets a scratch despite running through fireballs and 10 ton debris falling all around them. It looks like a war zone thereafter but their car is also indestructable.
  • All the "what's going on?" withholding is wonderful...until it's not. At some point the audience is supposed to catch up to the story.
  • I used to think J.J. Abrams "lens flare" issues were cute and I didn't understand why they bugged people but MY GOD. Stop with the electric blue horizontal lines ruining so many otherwise pleasant images.
  • The scene where the sheriff tells his deputy to go home and hug his son. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) can convey so much with so little. He's one of those actors who understands the less is more truism. The deputy knows that this is good advice, but he also knows he's not going to do it.
  • Elle Fanning is positioned to receive the most praise (this happens to obsessed over "love object/muse" roles) and she's quite good in it but the real find here is 15 year old Joel Courtney in the lead role: Such an expressive face, so natural on camera, entirely absent any child-actor showboating tricks and gimmicks.
  • An extended race sequence with massive explosions and tanks and destructive nonsense near the end is entirely useless to the narrative and a sign that the movie is in trouble.
  • The overt sentiment works well when it's calm and focused in the first half but starts to feel like an uncomfortable skin graft toward the finale.
  • As in War of the Worlds, it just falls apart at the end, as the heroes essentially do too little that's heroic other than survive and the storyline just kind of resolves itself lazily. The end.
  • But bonus points for including the amateur zombie movie over the end credits!

Oops. That was way more than 8 notes.
Grade? I'm still mulling that over. It's very uneven.

U.S. Box-Office (Estimates)

01 SUPER 8 new $37
02 X-MEN FIRST CLASS $25 [review] (cumulative $98.8)
03 THE HANGOVER PT. 2  $18.5 (cumulative $216.5)
04 KUNG FU PANDA 2 $16.6 (cumulative $126.9)
05 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES $10.8 (cumulative $208.7) [review]
06 BRIDESMAIDS $10.1 (cumulative $123.9) ♥
07 JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER new $6.2 
08 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS $6.1 (cumulative $14.2) ♥
09 THOR $2.3 (cumulative $173) [review]
10 FAST FIVE $1.7 (cumulative $205)

What did you see over the weekend?
And if you caught it, how did you feel about Super 8?