Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Release Dates for new movies

A few weeks ago the Weinstein Company announced their lineup for the fall. However one film was missing. Today June 29th it was announced that Madonna's WE will be released December 9th. The film stars Abbie Cornise and it traces the fabled romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII. 

Warner Bros also announced that Clint Eastwood's new film J.Edgar will be released mid October while Steven Daldry's new film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will be released in December. Both these films will most likely be campaigned for Oscars.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Midnight in Paris Buzzlegoose Review

This is my full length review on "Midnight in Paris" that I wrote for Buzzlegoose in case you wanted to hear more of my thoughts on this fantastic film. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fox Searchlight and the Oscars

Fox Searchlight gets ready for the Oscars with a very distinct lineup. With a track record of Best Picture nominations that include Black Swan, 127 hours, Sideways and Little Miss Sunshine, there is no doubt that this studio will have at least one in the top 5-10 Best Picture nominations this year.

First and foremost, their film The Tree of Life, out now won the Palm d'Or and is at this moment Fox Searchlights best bet to claim gold come February. Terrence Malick is beloved by Hollywood and has an impeccable track record. The Academy may want to reward him after 5 great films. In any case other than The Tree of Life, Fox Searchlight has three other films that are potential to get Best Picture nominations.

On July 22, Another Earth which premiered at Sundance, opens in limited release. The film is about the discovery of a duplicate planet in the solar system, and an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer crossing paths in a tragic accident. The film is directed by Mike Carhill. 

Another Earth

On October 7, Martha Marcy May Marlene opens and it stars Elizabeth Olsen. The premise of the film is of a damaged woman who struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. Also premiering at Sundance, the film opened to rave reviews especially for its star Elizabeth Olsen. Sean Durkin directs.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Finally on December 16 The Descendants staring George Clooney opens. The films is directed by Alexander Payne and it is the first film by Payne since Sideways. The film is about a land baron who tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident. This is probably Fox Searchlight second best option for the best picture nomination.

The Descendants

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Last night, I saw Woody Allen's fantastic "Midnight in Paris." I would recommend that everyone try and watch it.  I will admit that Woody Allen is far from being one of my favorite filmmakers. While he does have some endearing classics such as "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," his more recent fare is mixed at best. I did like "Matchpoint" (2005) and "Vicky Christina Barcelona" (2008), but I wasn't particularly fascinated by either. Three years after his last successful film (Vicky Christina Barcelona), he has made "Midnight in Paris" which is arguably his best film of this century. The Woody Allen wit and humor is on full display (with his usual investigations on the nature of art which are finally properly integrated into a film without coming off as pretentious), but Allen brings back something that he hasn't taken advantage of in years: his ability as a visual poet. The film opens with a montage exhibiting Paris by morning, day, and night and the imagery already sets the mood of nostalgia on which the film centers. The performances are all solid, but the major scene stealer for me was Corey Stoll as the ever dangerous and hilarious Ernest Hemingway.

But Allen doesn't only go for laughs with this film. He taps into the every audience members desire to be transported to a different time and world and to liberate and free one self from the seeming monotony of modern life. It is only through this transportation, Allen's film purports, that one is able to truly appreciate and rediscover one's present time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weinstein gets ready for the Oscars

  Last week the big news was that the Oscars changed their rules for the best picture category. The Weinstein companies response to this news was setting release dates for their new films. Fresh off last years victory for "The King's Speech" the Weinstein company has now schedule four films to compete for this years big award.

Opening November 4, "My Week with Marilyn", a biopic about Marilyn Monroe starring Michelle Williams, Emma  Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper and Judi Dench. weinstein will definitely push Michelle Williams for Best Actress and possibly some tech awards. The film is directed by Simon Curtis who was nominated for an Emmy in 2004 for the show Pride.

Next up is "The Artist," which opens November 11. This film opened in Cannes to rave reviews and won Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. The film is about A former silent film star who has descended into alcoholism after the rise of the "talkies", but with the encouragement of his lover, an actress on the rise in the new industry, he reenters the business as a dancer. The film is directed by Michael Havanavicius. With lots a buzz already surrounding this film, it may just be the surprise at the Oscars.

The highly anticipated Margaret Thatcher biopic "The Iron Lady" opens November 23. The film stars Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent. There is already talk of Meryl Streep receiving her 17th nomination and possibly her third win. In addition after "the Kings Speech", many are saying "the Iron Lady" will be this years "King's Speech". However I doubt it, considering the director is the Phillipa Llloyd, the director of "Mamma Mia", a 
terrible movie. I'll be watching this movie very closely.

Last but not least is the Shakespeare adaptation of Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes. The film opened at Berlin Film Festival to very good reviews and received a lot of buzz. The film stars Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain. The film is about the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. The film opens December 2.

I am interested in seeing which of these films receives a Best Picture and how successful Weinstein is this year at the Oscars. As for excitement level. I must say, I feel its a week line up compared to last years. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oscar race gets even more interesting

Yesterday June 14 it was announced that when Oscar nominations are announced in January there may not be 10 Best Picture nominations. The Academy stated that there could be from 5 to 10 nominees. In other words there could 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 nominees. This all depends on how the film does when voting is done. The new rule states that in order to get a nomination it must receive "5% of first place votes in order to receive a nomination." In 2008 the Academy changed their rules after critics and audiences complained about The Dark Knight not getting a best picture. However in 2009 films like the Blind Side were included in the Best Picture nomination. This made critics and audiences concerned about the legitimacy of the Academy. Were they trying to get an audience or were they trying to recognize the best films. With this new rule precursors and bloggers will have an even harder time at predicting. In addition I have a feeling that even more films that deserve awards will get snubbed. For example this year critically acclaimed films such as The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, Jane Eyre and Win Win may get snubbed because of their early release dates. However it is too soon to tell what the Academy will vote upon. 

In the mean time I want to look back at last years batch of Best Pictures. (I will eventually look back at the past decade and see how many best Pictures I would ultimately have put in.) 
The King's SpeechThe Social NetworkTrue GritBlack SwanThe FighterInceptionToy Story 3127 HoursThe Kids Are All RightWinter's Bone

After having watched all ten and seeing the Oscar nominations I think that both Inception and Black Swan were not particularly loved by voters. Inception because it did not get the director and editing nominations and Black Swan because it got snubbed in every technical category and screenplay after dominating precursors. Winter's Bone probably would not have been in the nominations because of its low gross. The rest of the batch seemed loved especially True Grit and 127 Hours which received surprising nominations. 

In my opinion if I would have been an academy voter I would have taken True Grit, and Winter's Bone out and put The Ghost Writer in. 

I want to hear your opinions and want to know what you think of this new rule.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Tree of Life Review on Buzzlegoose

A few days ago, I published an abbreviated review for Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." Here is my full length review published on Buzzlegoose.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Anna Karenina Casting updates

Joe Wright, the director of Atonement and Hanna will reunite with Saoirse Ronan and Mathew McFayden in his new adaptation of Anna Karenina. Kiera Knightley is currently set to star in the lead role. Jude Law and Aaron Johnson also star. Filming will begin in September in Russia and the UK.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Tree of Life Review

Just got back from watching the mesmerizing and transcendental Tree of Life. The film is so extraordinary and rich that I cannot write enough to describe how taken back I was from it. I have always had an affinity for Malick's oeuvre. My admiration for his work stems from his ability to push his narrative ability further and further from film to film. "The New World" was a misstep in my opinion and Malick going overboard with the narrative structure. However, I found the performances and visuals so beautiful that I was able to overlook its often plodding nature. Now Malick has not only returned to form in "The Tree of Life" but has placed his stamp on filmmaking. Many have criticized the "lack of narrative direction" of the film, but my experience is that the freedom of the narrative structure only serves to express Malick's ongoing search for cosmic unity within the chaos. The film ranges from moments of great tragedy, comedy, subtle terror, tenderness. It is an all encompassing journey that reaches out and touches every possible human experience. It knows no emotional bounds.I would also emphasize that the structure is in the vein of James Joyce's stream of consciousness in that Malick holds nothing back in the editing. Contrasting juxtapositions run rampant throughout and the film is abundant in references and hommages to cinema greats such Tarkovsky, Fellini, and Kubrick amongst others. The use of music takes the film to another level. I'd even argue that the music is just as essential to the storytelling as the visuals. Not to mention the tremendous creation of life sequence that initiates the film
s second act. That is a true virtuoso performance at its best. References and comparisons to 2001 are not out of place here. I could go on and on, but I will be posting a published review in the coming days that will elaborate on my opinions of this tremendous masterwork.

I'd love to hear any contrasting thoughts or opinions on the film.