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TWO OPINIONS ON MAPS TO THE STARS
Nathaniel's Julianne Spazzing & Glenn's Cronenberg Finger Wagging 

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Entries in The Hobbit (26)

Tuesday
Nov052013

Dr Linkgood

Yahoo attends a Hobbit fan event and discovers that Gandalf has a potty mouth
Movies.com inspired by the return of Chris Hemsworth as "Thor" they must ask "what's the best movie starring a man with long blonde hair?" Duh! It's a tie between the complete filmography of Brad Pitt and The Legolas of the Rings trilogy starring Orlando Bloom's Youth.
Deadline now here's a biopic we weren't expecting: Hair metal band Motley Crue to get the bio (of sorts) from the director of Bad Grandpa.

Atlantic Wire the Emmys weren't enough. Netflix wants an Oscar and scoops up hot documentary The Square (reviewed right here) relabelling it a 'Netflix Original' 
In Contention Nebraska in a double bill with Paper Moon for old timey charm? Yes please. 
AV Club why Schwarzenegger's Last Action Hero failed 20 years ago and why it needs to be rediscovered  
Playbill Sadie Sadie Married Lady! Congratulations to the fabulous Megan Hilty (Smash) who just got hitched. 
i09 Benedict Cumberbatch surprises Harrison Ford with a pretty great Chewbacca impression 

Today's Watch
Awesome Greta Gerwig dances her way through this awesome new video "Afterlife" from Arcade Fire, directed by Spike Jonze 

Saturday
Jan262013

29 Days 'til Oscar: Best Make-Up & Hairstyling

The Academy recently changed the name of the Best Makeup category to Best Makeup & Hairstyling but in truth hairstyling, wigs and whatnots have long been part of the diverse criteria for which Oscar voters are meant to reward Achievements in Makeup. But how does one define "achievement"? True to awards season in general (it's not just Oscar voters, mind you) the definition is usually "most=best". Sadly nearly almost all the golden statuettes in this category have gone to prosthetic effects -- werewolves, dwarves, you name it! It's the one category other than visual effects where genre films regularly lord it over more "noble-minded" efforts... (though strangely zombie pictures are the exception since they never even make the finalist list). 

So, how refreshing would it be if the Oscar went to the Hair and Makeup team of Les Misérables this year? I was surprised to hear on the podcast that my co-conspirators were almost universally opposed to this particular nomination but I actually think it's the strongest nominee in this category. It's got a very consistent boldly stylized feel and a shit ton of traditional wigs and prosthetics work if you're also looking for "Most" in your "Best". They've aged Hugh Jackman and scarred him up, imagined really putrid diseased miserables of many sorts, made Cosette even prettier than usual, and even dipped Helena Bonham-Carter's wigs in coffee and tea for "more character" - though I suspect it's not the first time her head has been dipped in vats of dangerously hot liquids.

More traditional nominees can be found in The Hobbit and Hitchcock this year...

...wherein actors are heavily buried in prosthetics to appropriate the look of inhuman things: dwarves, orcs, master auteurs. 

My advocacy for Les Miz might have a little to do with the fact that I love the film, but I do try and differentiate individual categories from overall feelings as much as I humanly can (as all awards voters should since great work is found in bad films and vice versa) but mostly it has to do with the actual achievement. And, as a bonus points, Les Miz also wins by virtue of my tiebreaker manifesto "Spread the Wealth!". I assume that The Hobbit is the frontrunner given voting habits in this category and yet I don't wish for the Oscars to become the Emmys and just hand the same statues to the same series each year as their small screen counterparts do. Given Peter Jackson's shameless story stretching for billions, this category could be tied up for decades if they keep handing Middle Earth Makeup Oscars (it's already won twice). Under the umbrella of "spread the wealth" it's also worth noting that the Les Miz team (Lisa Westcott & Julie Dartnell) is the only nominated team that has no Oscars among them*: Hitchcock's Howard Berger previously won the gold for The Chronicles of Narnia (as well as an Emmy for The Walking Dead); Peter King and Tami Lane on The Hobbit team both already have Oscars, his for this particular franchise and hers for The Chronicles of Narnia

Q: Why does Lisa Westcott have no Oscars despite two nominations (Her Majesty Mrs Brown, Shakespeare in Love) prior to Les Miz?
A: Because she doesn't do werewolves or fantasy creatures. 

Can we call a one year moratorium on dwarves, elves, monsters and prosthetic biopics in this category and give it to the zombie whores and scarred bread thieves for once !?!

While we're on the topic... here are the Film Bitch Award's Makeup Nominees for 2012

 

Thursday
Jan172013

Link-o-logy

Indiewire Robert Redford on whether or not he'd start the Sundance Film Festival again today
Gold Derby on Leo DiCaprio's slightly odd Oscar history 
Los Angeles Times Kathryn Bigelow pens an editorial on torture and her depiction thereof
Stale Popcorn on the Hitchcock meets Lynch vibe of the Bates Motel posters 
Observations on Film Art has a passionated detailed essay for fans of The Hobbit
CHUD Trey Parker and Matt Stone have lots of money. And now a movie production company to spend it.


Movie|Line looks at Bradley Cooper's showbiz past including a nude beach humiliation?
In Contention wants Argo to win Best Picture
Salon wonders what the Golden Globes mean to us, culturally, and to the industry they celebrate
Unreality looks at a study of the colorology of movie trailers. Turns out blue and orange are the winners. I could've told you that without the study. Most overused colors ever in the movies.  
The Advocate has an odd story about anti-gay harassment at a movie theater. At a Barbra Streisand Guilt Trip no less. (Wrong crowd, asshole.)
The Envelope Fox Searchlight will rerelease Beasts of the Southern Wild this weekend in about 70 theaters to celebrate its Oscar nominations. If you haven't seen it, go. It deserves the big screen treatment 
Broadway.com is Miss Julie next for über busy Jessica Chastain? 
Guardian Shortcuts  Les Misérables provoking buckets of tears

Finally... did you hear that the cast of Les Misérables will  be singing at the Oscars? Yes, the whole cast! Which either means they're reworking Original Song nominee "Suddenly" as a rousing choral piece or Hugh Jackman gets to take the stage twice. Either way, we win.

Thursday
Jan032013

Tolkien at 121

JA from MNPP here to wish the author JRR Tolkien a terribly post-mortem happy 121st birthday. Here he was born (in 1892) and there he died (in September of 1973) - twas hardly a moment for you, you took no notice. (Sorry I have that Vertigo quote permanantly on tap, even if inappropriate.)

Anyway! Even if Nathaniel's boycotting The Hobbit, there's a lot of us (a whole heckuva lot, judging from its receipts) who weren't so strong and submitted ourselves willingly to another three hours in Hobbiton and beyond - my reaction to the film was actually one of surprised like, if not really love; I'd convinced myself in a post-Lovely-Bones world (shudder) that Peter Jackson had lost that ineffable something that made him so special, and I was wrong. I thought the film was like slipping back into a warm bath - cozy and quite fine. If I weren't so enamored with PJ's take on Tolkien's world I might find the probably obscene money-grab (point Nat) of stretching this lil' book out to nine hours less palatable, but I do, I do like PJ's take on Tolkien's world an awful lot, so I ended up more okay with it than I anticipated myself being in the end. Ask me again after he's piled the latter six hours on and we'll see how I feel but for now, he's reconvinced me at giving it a go. What's did y'all think?

I saw a joke going around on Twitter about how we'll be getting an epic series of films for The Silmarillion next; nevermind that all the good stuff's apparently somehow making its way into the three Hobbit movies already - where there be gold, there be dragons. Where would movie-making even be without JRR today? How many helicopter shots of groups of people striding across pretty landscapes would we have missed out on? I shudder to think.

Sunday
Dec302012

Had Your Self a Misérable Little Christmas?

Another big cash grab day is ahead for the movies as New Year's Day approaches. But for this weekend the winners are clear. Django Unchained & Les Misérables much ballyhooed "Sad Off" was a true contest for wintry dollars with Tarantino's controversial slavery comedy revenge fantasy eventually pulling out in front of the musical. But the war for profit puts Les Miz in winner's position since it's already equalled it's budget in just the first six days. Django has a ways to go for that milestone but let's not nitpick as they're both true hits. 

Box Office Chart repurposed from Box Office Mojo

In fact, it's been a good box office year for Oscar-buzzing players. Affleck and Spielberg's pictures were both $100 million grossers with Lincoln still going strong. Pi & Playbook have solid sales - they didn't embarrass themselves. Of the front-running Oscar six only Zero Dark Thirty has been little seen but that's a function of timing and platforming rather than audience choice. If Zero Dark Thirty doesn't delay its expansion for too long it seems certain to demolish The Hurt Locker's gross in no time.

Did you see both Django & Les Miz over the break?

I almost went to The Hobbit but abruptly changed my mind and tweeted as much:

 

 

Oh sweet relief! I really do feel it.

Sunday
Dec162012

The Box Office: An Expected Journey

I was so enamored with Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings trilogy a decade ago that it hurts my heart to see him now as merely Smaug, a monstrous collector of coin or even as Gollum, hanging so tight to his precioussssssss (Middle Earth) that he's lost sight of everything that once made him an artist and not a brand. It happens to a lot of über successful people. It's grown increasingly difficult to shake the feeling that his days as a great filmmaker are long gone and maybe ended with the remarkable fantasy trilogy, perhaps casting off to Grey Havens with the elves at the end of The Return of the King. Since then Jackson has made one beautiful but wildly bloated epic (King Kong) that suggested he might have a George Lucas problem (no one willing to tell him "no"), one outright terrible misfire of a whatsit? (The Lovely Bones) that suggested he might not know what the hell he's doing anymore and now The Hobbit, which was a relatively short book that has been stretched into three long films for only one reason: coin.

Maybe that's not a charitable assumption since I haven't seen the film (I REALLY don't want to spoil my Lord of The Rings experience which was beautiful and just-right) but if three big films was enough to cover (grandly) three thick books, three big films is too much to cover one thin one. But on that sordid topic of coin -- we haven't discussed box office in a month -- The Hobbit earned a ton of it though surely not as much as intended given that that seems to have been its entire intent as a cash cow prologue. 

Box Office Top Twenty - Actuals
01 THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY $84.7
02 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS  $7.4 (cum. $71.3) Capsule Review  
03 LINCOLN  $7.2 (cum. $107.8) Podcast Discussion
04 SKYFALL  $7 (cum $272.3) My Review & Deborah's Review
05 LIFE OF PI $5.4 (cum. $69.5) Michael on the Ending
06 THE TWILIGHT: AN EXPECTED ENDING   $5.1  (cum. $276.8)
07 WRECK-IT RALPH $3.2 (cum. $168.7)
08 PLAYING FOR KEEPS $3.2 (cum $10.8)
09 RED DAWN $2.3  (cum $40.8)
10 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK $2 (cum $16.9) Beau's Review

11 FLIGHT  $1.9  (cum. $89.4) Review
12 ARGO $1.1 (cum. $104.9)
13 HITCHCOCK $1 (cum $3) Review
14 KILLING THEM SOFTLY $1  (cum $14.1)
15 ANNA KARENINA $.9 (cum $8.3) Capsule Review

In other moneyed news: Lincoln continues to illustrate that Abraham had long legs and still knows how to use them (100+ million and counting for a talky drama about ideas. WTH? Sasha points out that it's now in the money lead of all the Oscar contenders); Silver Linings Playbook continues to underwhelm (not that it had a chance to break out given that it's a mainstream movie that peculiarly decided to pretend it was an arthouse film); And  Anna Karenina ought to be proud of that gross given the cold shoulder it's gotten from awards bodies. 

Where did you spend your precioussssss coin this weekend?