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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Emmy Aftermath - how to fix the Emmys?

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Entries in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (25)

Monday
Feb132012

The Girls With the Lisbeth Tattoo.

Jose here to talk about a movie and performance that The Film Experience hasn't spent much time with.

A little over eighteen months ago, I - like many of you I'm sure - found myself completely revolted by the fact that Hollywood had decided to remake The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a few months after the Swedish version had come out in our continent. Some people adamantly took sides with the "original" before the "remake" arrived. And not so surprisingly, almost every review of Fincher's version compares it to the one directed by Niels Arden Oplev.

 

These comparisons brought the two actresses who played Lisbeth Salander to the center of the discussion, with people debating who was better and why, pitting them against each other. I've even heard some say that AMPAS should be embarrassed for nominating Rooney Mara for the Best Actress Oscar when they denied Noomi Rapace of a nomination a year ago.

The truth is that Rooney and Noomi play very different versions of the same character. You want proof? Continue reading, but be warned, this article contains spoilers.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb022012

Oscar Symposium Day 2: Invisible Art & Self Love

Previously on the Oscar Symposium... we discussed and defined the business of actors elevating their movies, spent time at "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"'s stale office party mingling with the nine Best Picture nominees (only one of which we all seem to love) and agreed that Brad Pitt deserves Best Actor. Eventually Nathaniel's second favorite movie of the year (The Artist) took quite a beating so he sulked off to lick his wounds.

And here we pick up for Day Two of our three day symposium...

MARK HARRIS: While we're waiting for our host... Nick raised a really interesting point yesterday in his persuasive case for Plummer, which is: Just what the hell is a supporting performance anyway? I like his definition (and Plummer would probably get my vote too, for showing amazing restraint in a part that could be played as one Big Moment after another). But I'm also drawn to performances like Jonah Hill's, in a role that exists purely to give Pitt's character a wittily contrasting somebody to bounce off of, and like Melissa McCarthy's (my favorite in that category, I'm not ashamed to admit), even though she's more a standout in an ensemble than a pure supporting actress. Do any of you feel that there are supporting performances this year that are miscategorized? The French clearly do, since when the Cesars nominated Berenice Bejo for The Artist, it was for Best Actress.

NATHANIEL ROGERS: I plead the fifth on category fraud. I've said too much over the years about that whole... nightmare.

KURT OSENLUND: I'm going to flip it on its head and go 'lead to supporting.' By which I mean, I think I'm one of the few who still believes Viola Davis belongs in the supporting category. I'll admit this is a complicated stance. I think it's the film/text that's guilty of cheaply attempting to make Aibileen a lead character, giving her a tacked-on coda of "closure" and trying to reduce the shame of taking a black women's story and still handing it, mainstream-style, to a white redhead. By extension, I think awards bodies are guilty for taking the bait. Ideally, I'd like to see Meryl walk away with Best Actress, Viola walk away with Supporting Actress, and Octavia sit comfortably with a nomination, for a performance that's highly enjoyable, but shrill and stereotypical and nowhere near as soulful as her co-star's.

My short answer to the 'supporting to lead' question would be that, this year, I actually think all of the supporting stars are placed where they belong.

NICK DAVIS: I don't think the ending of The Help feels tacked on. I don't even think it feels like closure: we have no way to predict Aibileen's next move, much less to presume its ease.  And from those opening minutes with all of her backstory and daily routine, and through all of Davis's impeccable playing of heavily weighted scenes, I think she's definitely a lead.  I know her screen time must be small compared to other leads, but at the very least, she falls squarely in that Marge Gunderson/Hannibal Lecter category where her charismatic impress is so profound from the lead/supporting borderline that it pushes her handily over.  It helps that even the blocking and costuming and editing and lighting choices keep conspiring to shift focus from Skeeter to Aibileen whenever they share a scene.  Emma Stone is just giving away those scenes, as markedly as Meryl all but erased herself in the Doubt standoff.  I wouldn't want anyone watching me act opposite Viola Davis, either.

MARK: At last, a fight! I'm going to strongly disagree about Viola Davis, who not only carries the emotional weight of The Help, but has considerably more screen time than past lead-performance winners like Frances McDormand in Fargo. Kathryn Stockett's novel isn't Skeeter's story, even if Skeeter is a storyteller -- it's told from the first-person perspectives of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. (So, if the movie were really true to the book, Octavia Spencer would probably have to be considered a third co-lead.) To me, Skeeter's "...and then I wrote the book" storyline feels as inorganic to what The Help is really about as the closure the movie gives Davis. The movie's emotional strength -- what there is of it -- lives in Aibileen's struggle; she's arguably even the title character. Yes, the movie is technically Skeeter's story, but only in the way that Training Day is technically Ethan Hawke's. So I'm happy Davis is where she is.

After the jump: The Help, Best Screenplay, and Masturbatory Movies

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan312012

Curio: Oscar Unsheets, Part I

Alexa here.  Announcement of the Oscar nominations brings about a flurry of poster creations by design geeks around the net, something I love to follow.  Screenwriter John August has called them unsheets (a play on the term onesheet), and the label seems appropriate, especially since so many of these indie designs are now influencing real onesheets (like those Iron Lady campaign posters, for one).  With so many great designs out there, I'm devoting my Curio posts leading up to the Oscars to unsheets made from the nominated films.  This week I'm focusing on designs from films nominated outside of the Best Picture category, say for acting, Best Foreign Language Film, etc.  Enjoy the design candy!

Beginners by Sondy Bojanic.
A Separation by Pendar Yousefi.

click for more, including Albert Nobbs and Marilyn...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan112012

ASC Nominees. Cinematography With the Soldier-Spy Tattoo

The cinematography guild has spoken and, like the Art Directors, Directors, Producers and Writers they're totally packing off for a vacay in the snowy murderous isles of Sweden with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. What the hell is going on over there in Hollywood?* There was once a time, believe it or not, when instant remakes of foreign films were looked on suspiciously (from an artistic standpoint, not a financial one). Even The Departed which won rave reviews and eventually the Best Picture had some early doubters due to its remake nature. And Dragon Tattoo doesn't have those "masterpiece!" reviews. That said Jeff Cronenwerth is an amazing DP and like all of Fincher's films this one is beautifully put together. (We just wish he'd chosen material more worthy of his immense gift is all.)  

The ASC Nominees

 

  • Jeff Cronenwerth (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
  • Robert Richardon (Hugo)
  • Guilliaume Schiffman (The Artist)
  • Hoyt van Hoytema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

 

Emmanuel Lubezki, A.S.C., G.E.N.I.U.S.An excellent list all things considered.

I've given up hoping for Emmanuel Lubezki (100% certified genius) to ever win the Oscar and I suspect this year he'll lose again especially because The Tree of Life doesn't seem to have much AMPAS support. I expect the Oscar will go to either Schiffman or Richardson. The whole of the Academy votes on the winners and they often vote on their favorite film as opposed to how it's shot and lit. 

But will these five men carry over to the Oscar nominations? Usually one person is dropped for the Oscar list.

* My three theories
a) Everyone is waking up and going "D'oh!" about The Social Network losing last year. Sorry Fincher!
b) Everyone loves violence against women (sadly this is obvious in pop culture) especially when its got the sheep's clothing of a sort of feminist icon wrapped around it.
c) Hollywood just really likes the movie and its freshest in the memory.

Saturday
Dec312011

Five Linky Pieces

But You're, Like, Really Pretty has fun reimaginings of all those actresses once rumored for the Lisbeth Salandar role like Evan Rachel Wood. Mia Wasikowska is actually the closest to a Rooney Mara look and Anne Hathaway is just so wrong. (My what big eyes she has!)

The Hollywood Reporter looks at the 'Contender Cast-Offs'. Those films we kept wanting to put into Oscar lists but which kept not having release dates like Wettest Country and On the Road

The Atlantic thinks A Better Life made a stunning case for immigration reform. (That movie sure is keeping itself in the spotlight well past its summer run!)

The New York Times has a fun piece on the personal angst of top ten lists by Dan Kois.

Empire grills celebrities on movies they enjoyed this year. Zac Efron likes "freaky" movies like The Skin I Live In and Shame (who knew?) and Emma Stone is a walking FYC for Bridesmaids which she calls a "game-changer". Patton Oswalt, who I can vouch for as a movie maniac since I've heard him gab about movies casually in person with fellow industry types loves The Tree of Life and Bellflower