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Entries in We Need To Talk About Kevin (9)

Friday
Aug172012

Ezra Miller is Queer

Ezra Miller, the devil child that could put Damien in a headlock and kick Rosemary’s Baby off a bridge a la Jack Black in Anchorman, has come out as "queer".

I'm queer. I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I've been trying to figure out relationships, you know? I don't know if it's responsible for kids of my age to be so aggressively pursuing monogamous binds, because I don't think we're ready for them. The romanticism within our culture dictates that that's what you're supposed to be looking for. Then [when] we find what we think is love – even if it is love – we do not yet have the tools. I do feel that it's possible to be at this age unintentionally hurtful, just by being irresponsible – which is fine. I'm super down with being irresponsible. I'm just trying to make sure my lack of responsibility no longer hurts people. That's where I'm at in the boyfriend/girlfriend/zefriend type of question."
-Ezra Miller to Out 

I’m not one for semantics, personally, so if there is a brouhaha abrewin’ regarding the use of the word ‘queer’ rather than ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or whatever label we’ve adopted/reclaimed recently, I’m not participating in it.

I will merely say that the young actor, so good in Lynne Ramsey’s We Need To Talk About Kevin (and one of the stars of the upcoming The Perks of Being a Wallflower) has appeared, in several interviews, to be kind, generous, self-possessed and remarkably aware of each action taken and word spoken on his behalf. I’m not going to say it’s brave (redundant/extraneous) or powerful (hyperbole); I’m simply going to say congratulations to a young, talented actor from my generation for taking a step into unknown waters. Beautiful abandon. 

Saturday
Jan142012

Home Alink

Self Styled Siren on Margaret. She has no affinity for mess.
24 Frames talks to Anna Paquin about the resurrected movie.
Roger Ebert's Journal on the Oscar lalapalooza. Very strange piece. What's going on here? Ebert seems suddenly willfully ignorant of various Oscar rules claiming, among other things, that The Artist would be ineligible for Oscars if it were in French. Uh, not so, Ebert, not so.
Towleroad new photos from Magic Mike, Soderbergh's stripper movie.

IndieWire ten shooting stars of European film, Elena Anaya (The Skin I Live in) and Alexander's little brother Bill Skarsgård.
Boy Culture Joan Crawford is not one of Rick's (Santorum) Fans! I love it. 
Deja View pencil tests and the challenge of designing Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
Stale Popcorn on rejected movie posters. I'd never seen some of these. Love a rejected poster from Bugsy that prominently features Annette Bening. 

We Need To Talk About Kevin McAllister...

The crazy thing is that if they wanted to go blonde for Kevin, couldn't Macaulay have worked? 

Monday
Dec262011

OFCS Nominations: The Drive of Life

The Online Film Critics Society is the latest group to chime in with their nominations for the best of 2011. They'll announce the winners on January 2nd but because they're a big group we deigned to feature their nominees this year. As in most years there are a couple of eyebrow raising choices (I really can't handle Editing and Screenplay nominations for We Need To Talk About Kevin! Shoot me now... with bow and arrow if you must.) but their Best Cinematography list is just... well, we should only pray we get an Oscar field that beautiful, that acclaimed, that challenging, that perfect, that War Horse evading.

The Tree of Life led their field of contenders with seven nominations including two for acting (Brad Pitt was honored there,  not for Moneyball) with Drive in hot pursuit with six. And for what seems like the first time in ages, Martha Marcy May Marlene was not left out in the cold, picking up three nominations including Original Screenplay for Sean Durkin (recently interviewed).

Full list of nominations with a few thoughts after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212011

Once Upon a Time in the Link

Slate has an amusing piece arguing against the Consider Uggie campaign for that wondrous terrier in The Artist
Academy Awards 265 have qualified for Best Picture. Here is the complete Official list. I can't hear anything from all the LOL'ing since it's alphabetical and starts with... wait for it... ABDUCTION. Teehee

Oscarmetrics Mark Harris makes a case for Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life, which we agree is one of the year's best performances. Oscar is often about "it's time" and given that both of Pitt's performance were A grade this year, isn't it? And I swear I was linking up to this one before I even realized I was name-checked. 

tomatoes - reviews worth reading...
Devine Wrath a lovely review of romantic drama Weekend which is now available on Netflix Instant Watch. What are you waiting for?
Capital New York Sheila O'Malley, one of my favorite critics, is wowed by Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

O, Hai...

Can I change all my BFCA and Indie Wire poll votes to this one?

top ten o' the day
Ali Arikan, a friend who is always worth a read, throws his top ten at the Chicago Sun Times from far flung Turkey. The Turkish film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which sits stubbornly beside my TV waiting to be watched (Oh the guilt-a-thon that is December!), tops his list. But for me I was most curious to read what he thought of two films I had remarkable trouble connecting to: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and We Need To Talk About Kevin (both of which I recently said a very few words on). I definitely appreciate what he has to say about Kevin though I don't like the film any better:

would reading the book help Nathaniel understand the love?A harrowing tragedy is at the centre of Lynne Ramsay's film, one we never quite see, although its repercussions we most certainly feel. The particulars of the event are at first ambiguous, and, paradoxically, it tends to become more so, thematically at least, once we find out the nature of it. Is it a mass killing at a high school? Or is there something deeper? Is the tragedy Kevin, a precocious psycho of a boy whose mother, Eva (Tilda Swinton), never really wanted? Is it, in fact, Eva's selfishness? Or is it, in fact, the apotheosis of motherhood that is the real tragedy? The anachronistic and misogynistic view that the female of the species was launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same?

The film doesn't provide the answers, instead offering a glimpse into Eva's psyche, both before and after the events that sent Kevin to prison. Eva's emotional self-immolation doesn't betray just an "oy vey iz mir" pity-party of one, but also a sort of solipsism: a misappropriation and transmogrification, perhaps, of Henley's "Invictus," with Eva not just as the master of her fate, but also the executioner of her soul.

Finally...
IndieWire has year end critics consensus polling. I participated this year though as usual I'm still screening before I publish my own lists (I have about three more things I'm trying to see and two that need rewatching). The results are interesting but ...odd. Especially the supporting categories. Here's the 25 most well regarded films... the big surprises for me being A Dangerous Method (I guess those who love it, really love it) and Midnight in Paris which I expected critics to have turned against by now in the grand tradition of "if it's too popular, it's no longer cool to like it." Critics have a much higher tolerance for slow contemplative cinema as you can see. It'd be interesting to do a study of the average running time of this batch of films... or perhaps more revealing would be a study of the ratio of cuts per minute of film. After all it's hardly unusual these days for the top grossing mainstream blockbusters to have bloated running times as well. Only one of the top ten grossers of the year is shorter than an hour and 45 (that'd be The Hangover Part II) but do all of them really have 2+ hours worth of story to tell? I'd guess not. 

Are you with consensus or far from it this year???
I tend to vary greatly by year though this year I'm definitely toward the middle of consensus rather than full in or way afield. I've found 2011 to be ridiculously enjoyable on the big screen. 

Monday
Dec192011

We Need To Talk About Tweet Length Reviews

December (sigh)... it defeats me every year. In 2012 I'm going to start training for it like it's the marathon. Because it is! Maybe I'll try to write one December 2012 article each week all year long so that when the time comes I'll have plenty of time for all the events / screenings / interviews / awards articles. "too many things too many things too many things" to quote Boogie Nights. So here are some things I've been seeing that I have no time to talk about. But let's carve out a teensy bit anyway. None of these will make much of a dent on my "best" or "worst" lists so let's cross them off the eternal to do list with tweet length reviews... (I use to try for seven to ten words but that ends up being a series of adjectives. Giving myself a few more characters now.)

Dear Mr. Spielberg. Jamie Bell is very nice to look at. Were you not aware of this? Thanks.

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
In which Tintin and his dog Snowy seek out a pirates treasure through a series of infinite setpieces
Review: Oft described as "endlessly fun" and the endless part is true. Inventive and spectacular looking but utterly exhausting. Pirates again? B-/C+
Oscar? The Animated branch might reject it under the umbrella of "mo-cap is not animation!" disdain. Me I have no problem whatsoever with mo-cap but I prefer it when it looks less realistic (like in Monster House). If you're aiming for real-looking human characters, just let me see the actual actors. Jamie Bell is very nice to look at and hiring him only to hide him away is a disservice to eyeballs everywhere.

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
Will a child be left without a gift on Christmas? Three generations of Santas spring into action.
Review: Gimmick thoroughly mined for madcap fun though it's a shade too busy. Wonderful voice work. Plenty of heart, too (which Tintin lacks). B
Oscar? Given the generally anemic animated film race, it will be a real shame if this one from Aardman doesn't score a nomination. But I think it will. 

KUNG FU PANDA 2
In which Po realizes he was adopted and fights the peacock who is trying to end Kung Fu and conquer China.
Review: Disposable with uneven humor but the palette is pure wow. I was as hypnotized as Po whenever the peacock fanned those white and red feathers. B-/C+
Oscar? Though it's the second highest grossing animated film of the year, I don't expect it to score with Oscar voters. The Globe snub is telling but depressing. If you have to have a sequel in the lineup why Cars 2? KFP 2 is better looking and funnier and has a better story and a better hero and villain. Better on all counts.

MARGIN CALL
In which a group of 1%ers and financial analysts predict / cause the economic apocalypse
Review: This involving horror film about our powerlessness and corporate greed is boosted by perfect timing though not quite above telefilm level. B
Oscar? Given the multiple "first film" prizes J.C. Chandor has won, I'm guessing this has a really solid shot at an Original Screenplay nomination. But if any of the actors were going to have found favor yet, I think we would have seen some SAG interest... at least in Ensemble

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
In which... no, I don't know what happens and I really truly was paying attention.
Review: Super handsome filmmaking, ace score, gifted ensemble but too restrained to feel, too info-crowded to follow: B
Oscar? Even when a movie has incredible craft elements, it rarely gets nominated if voters don't love the film as a whole. I'm doubtful this one will pick anything up. But maybe one nomination, two max in visual categories or screenplay.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
In which a woman gives birth to a bad seed and suffers greatly for it.
Review: Miscast and weirdly art-film parodic in its repetitions / obviousness. Tilda's eyeballs feel the horror, though. B-/C+
Oscar? I'm more surprised than you are that Tilda gained traction for this one. I thought the film too inaccessible but apparently that Julia, I Am Love momentum finally pushed her over some kind of art goddess edge and she's back in the Oscar conversation where she nearly always belongs.

Tilda and her demonic boy(s)

I would also like to note that I really was rooting for this film before seeing it because I think Lynne Ramsay's previous feature Morvern Callar (2002) is ten kinds of amazing but I was sorely disappointed. I hope it doesn't take her 9 more years to deliver film #4.

I'm still trying to get full reviews out for Iron Lady, War Horse, Albert Nobbs, Extremely Loud and Melancholia (lol. Hi several months later!) cuz I got shit to say. We shall see. I need to stop time for one week to catch up. Perhaps I should call up Hamish Linklater from The Future and get on that?

Monday
Oct312011

BIFA Noms: "Tyrannosaur" Triumphs, "Weekend" Wobbles

Herewith a few comments about the just-announced British Independent Film Awards. You may recall that last year they heavily favored The King's Speech and strangely snubbed Mike Leigh's Another Year in Best Film.

BIFA loved "Kevin" but wasn't crazy about "Weekend"

I should warn you up front that I'm apt to spend the whole time bitching about the strange snubbing of Weekend in all but one category. 

British Independent Film
Senna
Shame
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tyrannosaur
We Need To Talk About Kevin

They unfortunately snubbed the acclaimed gay romance Weekend (Dear reader, I did warn you. DEAR NOTE, I SHALL HIT THEE FREQUENTLY!) which was a perfect fit given the "British" and the "Independent"... not to mention that it's a better film than some of these titles. But then, that's award season for you. Right from the start there will be winners and losers and unexpecting favoring of certain titles that nobody was expecting major awards runs from. Not sure what to make of the lineup other than that the deep preferencing for Shame, Tyrannosaur, and Kevin reminds us that when seeking kudos, ambitiously arty but thunderously grim depression can be an easier path to glory than optimistic and delicately carved miniatures. Again, where is Weekend?

Best Director
Ben Wheatley, Kill List
Steve McQueen, Shame
Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur
Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Best Debut Director (The Douglas Hickox Award)
Joe Cornish, Attack the Block
Ralph Fiennes, Coriolanus
John Michael McDonagh, The Guard
Richard Ayoade, Submarine
Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur 

Paddy Considine directs Olivia Colman to greatness in "Tyrannosaur"

I am of the opinion that when one separates directing categories one should not be eligible for both. More direction and acting nods after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct212011

We Need To Talk About Linking

MTV Tom Hiddleson singing the praise of his new Thor 2 director Patty Jenkins. He just loves Monster (2003) and Kenneth Branagh assigned it to him as prep before Thor 1; how weirdly coincidental.
Go Fug Yourself has kind words for Amanda Seyfried and hilarious words for Justin Timberlake.
Awards Daily Sasha thinks this has been a weak year for cinema -- I'm guessing because of the lack of consensus on a single masterpiece. I'd say the opposite. I can't get over how good this year is. It's so exciting to be looking at an awards season that might not have a frontrunner. Consensus makes it boring. Bring on the passionate discussion of what is "Best" please!

Acidemic in praise of crazy "chicks of death" dangerous women from Flash Gordon (1936) through Rosemary's Baby (1968) to Trouble Every Day (2001)
Reelizer How beautiful is this poster for The Iron Giant by Kevin Tong? Me want.

"The Iron Giant" © illustrator Kevin Tong

Movie Morlocks Kimberly from Cinebeats on Werner Herzog's excellent adapation of Nosferatu starring Klaus Kinski. Such a good movie. 
MNPP JA loves Carey Mulligan and thinks you do, too. Exciting projects she's lining up. 
/Film taking storyboarding to the next level with Darren Aronofsky's Noah's Arc movie.  

Ultra Culture bitches about Rotten Tomatoes in order to praise Terri (which was recently nominated for one of Gotham's prizes)  
Towleroad Zachary Quinto to play a gay ghost on American Horror Story


Empire
 offers up a final We Need To Talk About Kevin poster with "Joker" coloring. I love movie posters but when a movie makes this many and keeps changing it up I start to worry that they don't know what they're selling anymore. 

Finally...

The Lost Boy thinks that Viola Davis is going to win the Best Actress Oscar. That seems to be going around. Here she is at the Women in Hollywood Awards.

 

The imagination is so potent. And that's really why we're actors because it's the power of transformation, the power of not being you, of going into a world that is different but ultimately real. And I always felt I had that I had that power even as a little black girl with the afro and using the crisco for moisturizer for my skin. I always felt that everything was possible. That I always had the power to be anything i wanted to be.

As I was walking the red carpet someone asked "What sets you apart from everyboy in the room?"

"Well... I'm black."

[Laughter] and then she launches into an honest and beautiful speech about Cicely Tyson "throwing her a rope" as a young dreaming girl and the need for stories about women of color in the movies. She is awesome.