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Entries in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (7)

Monday
Sep292014

Watson & Lerman: Our wallflowers are making news

Manuel here to bring you some news on your favorite wallflowers.

Sam, otherwise known as Emma Watson, she of amazing feminist speeches at the UN, has been cast alongside Daniel Brühl in the Chilean set Colonia. I was worried there'd been some white-washing here but as it turns out Emma and Daniel are playing a German couple that gets embroiled in the violence and political unrest of the 1973 military coup. The film is directed by Florian Gallenberger (an Academy Award winner for Best Live Action Short) and has begun shooting in Luxembourg.

Charlie, aka Logan Lerman is about to be everywhere as Fury, that Brad Pitt-fronted World War II tank movie revs up its promotional machine. The film released a couple of character posters although the term is a misnomer since everyone but Brad gets to share their poster. That said, all of the posters look gorgeous, as if they were all advertisements for some military-inspired fashion spread.

(Oh, and I couldn't mention both these wallflowers without pointing you to Ezra Miller's new band's music video).

I love checking up on old co-stars as in my head each film is a bit like a graduating class. As Perks alumni go, this trio seems to be doing quite well for themselves, no? Are you excited for Emma’s movie, a clear step in the right direction as she grows into more adult roles? Are you not exhausted enough by war dramas to follow Pitt and Lerman into the testosterone-heavy Fury?

Tuesday
Jan152013

Tues Top Ten: The Year in Dance Scenes

Michael C. here. Over at Serious Film I've been handing out awards for 2012, but when I tried to name the dance scene of the year I realized 2012 was too packed with great contenders to choose only a single champion. So here is a more comprehensive list of the best scenes where characters couldn't fight their dancing feet.

Honorable Mentions

I consider Holy Motor's accordion scene more parade than dance otherwise it would surely top this list. Likewise I don't know quite how to classify Philip Seymour Hoffman's disturbing performance during The Master's nude party fantasy although it certainly impossible to forget. As for Magic Mike all the movie's dance scenes blended together in my memory, so maybe some Ladies of Tampa can enlighten me in the comments as to which one was the standout. 

 Top 10 Dance Scenes of 2012 

10. Take This Waltz 
I wasn’t as in love with this infidelity drama as many were, but it had a handful of great scenes where I could see what everybody else was so excited about. The finest was a house party where the secret life of Michelle Williams’ character threatens to spill out into public view on the dance floor to the tune of Feist’s terrific cover of Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time. 


9. Silver Linings Playbook (and 8 more films after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan042013

Congratulations to the WGA Nominees

Before approaching the Writers Guild Nominations with Oscary enthusiasmbe forewarned: only guild members are eligible for these prizes which discounts a good chunk of the movies one might otherwise expect to see honored each year. Hollywood isn't nearly as averse to working with non-guild writers as they are about non-unionized actors (Beasts of the Southern Wild was the only significant "ineligible" situation when the SAG nominees were announced a month ago). One of the reasons for this is surely the prevalence of writer/directors who are often members of the DGA without being members of the WGA.

The benefit of this is that by their script eligibility rules they are forced to award films that have been largely ignored in the grand scheme of year end hoopla. The curse is that when you are nominated from a smaller field of potentials it might not feel as notable.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY  
  • Flight, Written by John Gatins; Paramount Pictures
  • Looper, Written by Rian Johnson; TriStar Pictures
  • The Master, Written by Paul Thomas Anderson; The Weinstein Company
  • Moonrise Kingdom, Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola; Focus Features
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Written by Mark Boal; Columbia Pictures (ARTICLE

not eligible and therefore unsnubbed so you could still see them on Oscar's list
Django Unchained, Seven Psychopaths, Amour, Your Sister's Sister, Take This Waltz, The Intouchables, Middle of Nowhere, Rust & Bone and The Impossible 

Typically we only here of what's been declared ineligible so it's tough to know what other films were competing although I'd feel worse for actor/screenwriter Reid Carolin's absence for Magic Mike above if he'd also played one of the Cock-Rocking Kings of Tampa. That'd be putting it all on the line for your movie!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 
  • Argo, Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the WiredMagazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman; Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Life of Pi, Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel; 20th Century Fox
  • Lincoln, Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincolnby Doris Kearns Goodwin; DreamWorks Pictures
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his book; Summit Entertainment (LOGAN LERMAN INTERVIEW)
  • Silver Linings Playbook, Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick; The Weinstein Company

not eligible and therefore unsnubbed:
Les Miz, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Anna Karenina, The Deep Blue Sea, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The nominee list for the WGA is highly plausible as the final Oscar list in this category too, don't you think?

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY 

  • The Central Park Five, Written by Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns; Sundance Selects
  • The Invisible War, Written by Kirby Dick; Cinedigm Entertainment Group
  • Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films
  • Searching for Sugar Man, Written by Malik Bendejelloul; Sony Pictures Classics
  • We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Written by Brian Knappenberger; Cinetic Media
  • West of Memphis, Written by Amy Berg & Billy McMillin; Sony Pictures Classics 

Sugar Man, Mea Maxima and The Invisible War continue to show real strength in the oncoming Oscar Best Documentary race.

 

Monday
Dec312012

Year in Review: The Best LGBT Characters

Over at my weekly (okay, bi-weekly) column at Towleroad, I put up my annual review of the best queer characters of the film year. The year's most acclaimed gay narrative feature was obviously Keep the Lights On but since I didn't personally respond to that one I had to look elsewhere for my favorite gay characters. Likewise, many will wish for more love for that dandy Cloud Atlas couple of Sixsmith and Forbrisher.

But I made room for films as diverse as On the Road, ParaNorman, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The most controversial bit of the top ten will probably be the section I like to call "The 'Are They Or Aren't They?' Box Set" which begins like so..

With the ever increasing number of gay-identified characters it's less of a parlor game to imagine the characters who might well be queer than it used to be but it's still fun: Tomboy does not always equal lesbian but regardless of her orientation  "Princess Merida" in Brave really shakes up the heteronormative Disney fairytale world merely by being utterly uninterested and even opposed to that Someday When Her Prince Might Come; The chorus of townsfolk who continually sound off on "Bernie" in Bernie argue about whether he's cruising for men on the sly or sleeping with rich widow Shirley Maclaine but both sound pretty gay to me...

...READ THE REST @ TOWLEROAD

 

Previously on 'Year in Review' 
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Ranking. (+ Silva)
The Year in of Snow White the apple muching fairest of them all was everywhere
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics, and more
Worst of 2012 Cloud Atlas, The Amazing Spider-Man, and more
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Summer Crushes Pt. 2

Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November

Thursday
Dec202012

The Perks of Being Logan Lerman: Son of "Noah"

"Wallflower" is probably not the right word to define Logan Lerman. Though he describes himself as "quiet" and makes more than a few self-deprecating comments, he isn't exactly a bundle of shy neurosis. Instead the twenty-year old actor has the kind of chill demeanor that comes from unfussy professional confidence. Once you stop to do the math, you realize he's already in his twelfth year of professional acting (his first screen role was one of Mel Gibson's kids in The Patriot , 2000).

Twelfth year!


Logan Lerman, photographed for Flaunt Magazine

So it's something of a perfect coincidence that his "senior year" in the public eye, if you will, would so perfectly coincide with a starring role in one of the best high school movies in ages. "Wallflower" doesn't describe him but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best illustration yet of his gifts as an actor. His soulful turn as the troubled young writer at the heart of the film won Lerman fine reviews and a well deserved nomination for "Best Young Actor" at the Critic's Choice Awards. 

This, you might say, is graduating with top honors. 

Interview after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec162012

Cross Country Critics Champs

To some extent I've lost my taste for covering the critics awards -- at least in depth -- since there are more each year and more which do that coy "nominations first!" thing to try to drum up publicity (it works since the web always needs content... even if the content is the same as the day before as so many of these awards prove!). I'm not trying to be a killjoy -- I'm really not! -- but I guess I have anger issues with my fellow critics since they are all so willing to abandon anything they loved during the year once the year end Oscar movies hit. I challenge everyone to go back and read what critics wrote about Michael Fassbender when Prometheus premiered and then wonder why they can't be bothered with them now... even when they go so far as to announce nominations ?!? Oscar has a bias against genre performances but unfortunately many of the same media voices who complain about this share the same bias in their own year end honors! Someone will have to explain to me how Alan Arkin in Argo and Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook for example are more exemplary examples of Great Film Acting than Fassy in Prometheus. I'd wait but I fear the wait would be longer than the running time of 25 historical epics combined  since who in their right mind would try and justify this verbally even if they votes say differently?

But look at me flying way off track!

So grumpy, me, I apologize! All that said, this year has had a bit more variety in critical winners than some recent years and I do some love reading awards lists. So let's hit four cities and one multi-city stop after the jump and see what they liked most this week... The results are not uninteresting. MORE

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov242012

The Perks of Being Anna Karenina's Guardian

By the end of each and every November I am buried in piles and piles of screeners in addition to screening invites each night (I'm not complaining) that all arrive within the same two week period (I am complaining). To give each film a fair shake you'd have to do nothing but watch movies for two weeks before ballots are due -- I'm terrified at how quickly my Critics Choice voting begins! In order to see all the films you want and rescreen those you have foggy memories of you'd have to a) give up Oscar parties, networking and campaign luncheons, b) turn down filmmaker interviews c) decline visits from family and friends and choose not to attend any holiday parties with them d) abandon your blog, your writing, and any work for clients and consulting jobs and thus all your money and e) refuse to sleep.

As I am unwilling and/or unable to give up any of those things, I admit to a certain distressing ohgodImafailure feeling each November. This is a longwinded way of saying that I'm super far behind and overwhelmed and I hope you'll all be patient though I know your first instinct is probably sympathy-free; "Bitch, you already saw Les Miz. Shut it!"

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THREE MOVIES I HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT

Rise of the Guardians
Santa isn't the main character but he's the character I kept thinking about while trying to organize my thoughts. Santa has "naughty" and "nice" tattoos and the movie is that way, too. In every respect it's a mixed bag, no matter how many gifts it has stuffed inside. Despite confusing character design (why are tooth fairy and easter bunny so scary looking?) and steady but strange characterizations (Santa laughs a lot but there's no vocalization whatsover that might be interpreted as a "ho ho ho"), the characters were sort of endearing. I really enjoyed Sandman, who doesn't speak but communications through shape-making, and Jack Frost who is visualized here as a teenbeat icy hipster twink. The film is often gorgeous but it's also so over-designed as to be instantly forgettable as it leaps from busy lair to busy lair of these iconic characters. The story is both overly familiar and alien (what's with that 'listen to the man on the moon' messaging?) and nonsensical. Most of it all it just smells weird; that's the aroma of frenzied "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?" flop sweat. C-
Oscar? There is still plenty of debate as to which toon will win the Best Animated Feature this year, but given the strength of the field, Guardian's chaotic overkill doesn't bode well for its chances.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Logan Lerman is Charlie, an introverted troubled high school freshmen (hence the title) who finds solace in writing and literature and renewed energy for life when a group of "misfit" seniors take him under their wing. The best moments of this adaptation of the beloved best-seller resonate with tender universality but the screenplay (and I assume source material) are problematic. High school is traumatic enough without actual trauma as ever present backstory. Why all the gilding of such a delicate lily? B+/B
Oscar? Traction would be a stretch in any category given that youth oriented films, no matter how heartfelt and soulfully performed, are rarely recognized. Still... this is a significant leap forward for all three of its principles: Logan Lerman does his best work yet anchoring the film; Ezra Miller proves he has a much wider range than After School and We Need To Talk About Kevin suggested; and yes even Emma Watson -- who longtime readers will know I've been ice cold on -- impresses.

Anna Karenina
Brief Thoughts: If Joe Wright's brazenly theatrical take on this oft adapted classic about a respectable Russian wife who loses her place in society to her obsessive affair with a young soldier isn't the year's strangest film (The Master and Holy Motors fight for that honor), it's still one of the most compelling high wire acts. The stylization, which mostly turns on an ever shifting stage set and constant art and film history referencing, isn't always consistent and the film feels like an almost-musical so often it borders on torture (for musical aficionados at least). But there's something about all the eye-popping scenic changes, grand acting gestures, mobile camera, and plot riffing rather than storytelling that give the film a propulsive self-absorbed energy that dovetails perfectly with the stubborn sexual obsessiveness of Anna herself.  B+
Oscar? The film will undoubtedly prove too divisive for major prize-gathering -- hell, I'm the target audience and even I am of two minds about it -- but it still has a fighting shot at the eye candy categories or, as we like to call them, the Moulin Rouge! prizes (a film it often recalls). If the actor's branch is feeling daring, they might want to take a closer look at Keira Knightley's huge star turn. She's getting braver and more adept at stylization all the time. She's the ideal model for Joe Wright's picture-making. Knightley will never be everyone's favorite actress but there's much to admire in this gutsy editorial posing performance.

Recent Reviews / Discussions
Les Misérables (first screening)
Lincoln (on the podcast)
Skyfall (review)
The Master (with a little Holy Motors thrown in) 
Silver Linings Playbook (Beau's review)