43 responses

  1. Jon
    May 19, 2014

    Sounds great and in line for a ton of nominations however I get the feeling from the review that it doesn’t sound like it will WIN the awards as many of us expect.

  2. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    3 for 3 for Miller, whose, even with all the Oscar nominations and critical acclaim, two previous, and specially MONEYBALL, are still much underappreciated. Not out until November, right? So I’ll probably not read much besides Sasha’s take. A surefire Oscar contender. Best Director included?

    Question: Would you say Miller is the best American director who started his feature career in the new millennium? Without examining at all, I probably think so….

  3. Igor Sousa
    May 19, 2014

    I don’t think so Bryce. I’d say that the films he’s worked benefited from great scripts rather than direction. I’d say James Gray and Jeff Nichols are more impresive directors than Bennet Miller.

  4. Jeremy
    May 19, 2014

    Bennett has a very classical Hollywood mastery of filmmaking, like Clint Eastwood. Its not showy and stylish, but he’s got such a great control over the tone and the rhythm of a movie. Psychological motivations of his characters become clear through Miller’s framing of them on a couch, or their position in a room, or the way he focuses on a foreground object. He doesn’t EXCITE people like PTA or Fincher, but he’s 2-for-2 in great movies from where I’m sitting, and all signs point to this being another big success for him.

  5. Nic V
    May 19, 2014

    Steve Carell has been slowly moving from the basic date night movie into more serious and complex roles. I thought his turn in Crazy Stupid Love was probably a peak in his career. Then I saw The Way Way Back where he plays a rather dark character and I had a bit of hard time relating to Carell in that performance. Not because the performance was bad but because it was not what I’d become used too. When I was looking at 2014 films and making notes Carell got my attention in this film and I made a note of “potential Oscar nominee”. But not only for Carell but for the film as well. It will interesting to see how this plays out down the road, as to whether the Academy will reject Carell because they have a perscribed idea of what Carell should represent on screen as compared to the work he’s been doing of late. I think Carell is succeeding where many “comic” actors have failed. As he should because he’s quite talented.

  6. Loody
    May 19, 2014

    @NIC V there is no way the Academy ignores Carell for his work in FOXCATCHER. The only question is whether they decide to GIVE him the Oscar for the performance.

  7. Pepper
    May 19, 2014

    Some of these reviews are making me wonder if this could be Ruffalo’s year, even if the film itself is too dark for Oscar recognition.

  8. JP
    May 19, 2014

    It got a rotten review from Slant Magazine. It means Foxcatcher is most definitely a great film that will score many Oscar nominations.

  9. Robert A.
    May 19, 2014

    “There is no way the Academy ignores Carell for his work in FOXCATCHER. The only question is whether they decide to GIVE him the Oscar for the performance.”

    To be fair, though, weren’t people saying the same thing about Jim Carrey in Man on the Moon back in 1999? With that said, I expect Foxcatcher will be a stronger overall film than Man on the Moon, which should work in Carell’s favor.

  10. Philipp
    May 19, 2014

    This review is, once again, a delightful read.

  11. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    I’m dying to see this film if not only to say more about his style (now throughout three features) that I can’t promise won’t sound like grand statements; something I was meaning to do more about McQueen last year before we started predominantly talking about less important things. Having revisited CAPOTE and MONEYBALL over this past year and based on Sasha’s review one thing is clear, great multifaceted love and fascination for the country.

  12. Mike
    May 19, 2014

    Great article Sasha !

  13. Jacob
    May 19, 2014

    Nic V, I would agree with the possibility that the Academy would reject Carell because this isn’t how they know him, but I think that because the role is so transformative that won’t be the case. Sasha said he completely disappears into the role, and he’s barely recognizable, which will help him. He’s not Michael Scott-like in the movie, he’s a completely different person. I’ve always admired his ability and I think this is the movie that will take Steve Carell from being just Michael Scott to being a respectable dramatic and comedic actor.

  14. Cara
    May 19, 2014

    I can’t believe a man got away with probation for raping a 3 year old all because he might not do well in jail…………. I fucking hate the justice system

  15. Bennett
    May 19, 2014

    I don’t think Academy will reject Steve Carell for being Steve Carell. They love Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill so why not extend this love to a way better comedian who’s been working hard the past years and, oh, has a previous snub under his belt (Little Miss Sunshine)?

    I think it depends much more on the film itself and how the studio will sell it to audiences and within the industry.

  16. JJ
    May 19, 2014

    Sounds like the perfect movie for the Bryan Singer, men-who-exploit-younger men era.

  17. Bob Burns
    May 19, 2014

    thanks for writing about the ideas within the film. very good read.

    the very rich can be very scary.

  18. Nic V
    May 19, 2014

    Let me make one thing clear I think the transformation that Carell has gone through from Date Night to Crazy Stupid Love to The Way Way Back is nothing less that brilliant. I would hope that the Academy would do for Carell what they haven’t done for say Carey or in some regards Steve Martin. Martin went from the way out there comic to some quite fine mature performances and was ignored. I don’t think the Academy can ignore Carell but I also won’t be surprised if they do. I am a big fan of Carell and even more now with his move into dramatic roles because I actually didn’t like him in The Way Way Back. Not that I didn’t like his performance I didn’t like that he became the character that was written. So when Sasha says that he blends into this character I don’t find that hard to believe and I would suspect many Academy members may not find it hard to believe either. It was smart that we got a sense of Carell’s diversity by seeing The Way Way Back prior to Foxcatcher. I’m going to stay away from the Carell/Cooper/Hill thing because honestly I think Carell has more talent that either Cooper or Hill.

  19. Jerry Grant
    May 19, 2014

    Good question, Bryce. I think Bennett Miller is a good shot for best American director who started this millennium, and certainly a better choice than Jeff Nichols (James Gray?). It’s an interesting dividing line, because figures like Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan miss the 2000 cut off very slightly.

    Right now I see Bennett Miller and JC Chandor as our two most interesting and promising new American directors.

  20. Jerry Grant
    May 19, 2014

    Chris Nolan is British, my bad. Other reasonable choices would be Jason Reitman and Ben Affleck.

  21. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    Jerry, that group of filmmakers that you mention, and who miss the mark for just one or a couple of years, exposes the triviality of the exercise as not much more than a “stat”, albeit an interesting one. I do part ways with you by considering Jeff Nichols up there with Bennett Miller at the very top of those who got started this side of the divide, both well above Affleck, Reitman, Chandor. Having said that, all their follow-ups have for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are enticing premises. A MOST VIOLENT YEAR; MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN despite Adam Sandler; and the one we have to wait the longest for thanks to stupid MAN OF STEEL sequel, Ben Affleck’s LIVE BY NIGHT which reunites him with the Boston crime drama. By God, why did he ever want to be Batman?

    None of these, though, water my mouth more than the prospect FOXCATCHER, and Nichols’ “most grounded” film to date, the “sci-fi chase” MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, supposed to be in the best tradition of Carpenter’s STARMAN. I was hoping more -any!- reviewers of NOAH would make a comparison with Nichol’s TAKE SHELTER as another modern interpretation on the passage, but…sigh

    • Ryan Adams
      May 19, 2014

      ones to watch
      Rian Johnson
      Sarah Polley
      Ryan Coogler
      Duncan Jones

      Todd Field qualifies?

  22. Jerry Grant
    May 19, 2014

    They all have great things on dock. I don’t mean to give off the impression that I don’t like Jeff Nichols–”Take Shelter” was my #7 that year, and you’re definitely right about the biblical allegories, evoking also distinctly 21st century apocalyptic moods (economic and climate-related). I liked “Mud,” but probably not as much as you. I suspect Chandor will go farther than Nichols, but that’s only a suspicion and maybe based on my own personal preferences for Margin Call and All Is Lost–either way, Nichols and Chandor actually have a lot in common in their thematic interests, timeliness, and their exceptional directing. They both are thematically more embedded in the 21st century than Bennett Miller, in fact.

  23. m1
    May 19, 2014

    If we’re going with promising American directors, I would pick Ryan Coogler, J.C. Chandor, Jeff Nichols, Bennett Miller, James Ponsoldt, Derek Cianfrance, and Debra Granik at the very least.

  24. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    J.J. Abrams

  25. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    Oren Moverman
    David Ayer

  26. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    And, I’ll stand up for Zack Snyder.

  27. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    Cary Fukunaga

  28. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    Bennett is a romantic. I want to see this new film first before I set off.

    Al, aye and so will I! (Re: Snyder)

    Abrams? I love his first STAR TREK and two thirds of SUPER 8, but not much more. Much like Snyder, he’s superb at casting.

    Ayer, Moverman, Polley, Coogler, Granik, Jones, Johnson, Ponsoldt, oh I do got my eye on them!

    Where in the world is Todd Field? Breaks my heart that man hasn’t made a movie in eight years. Did he become a Carthusian or does he not give a shit anymore about the rest of us?

    • Ryan Adams
      May 19, 2014

      Bryce, you probably know, there’s a really entertaining romantic novel primarily set in 1960s Italy called Beautiful Ruins. The story spans 4 or 5 decades. Last we heard, Todd Field is attached to direct that.

      Would have been great if they had gone forward with Todd Field’s adaptation of Blood Meridian — but he’s also rumored (for two years already) to be interested in another ultrabloody western novel called Creed of Violence.

      Those are two of the best books I read last year. Sasha read Beautiful Ruins last year too. It has Hollywood elements that I won’t reveal, because you’ll have more fun discovering on your own.

  29. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    Oh man, Fukunaga. YES. Oh my.

  30. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    I really need to re-watch Little Children. Hell, even In the Bedroom.

    Bryce, I agree, Abrams and Snyder are great at casting. As for Super 8, do you think it got a little campy at the end?

  31. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    I just really really hope that Foxcatcher doesn’t fall to the same fate as The Master and Inside Llewyn Davis, where they were considered early front-runners, or at least early contenders, and then….

  32. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    I just thought about the movies that held over until the following year, and then either didn’t win Best Picture, or wasn’t even nominated.

    Gangs of New York – 2001 (I’d like the think this could have beat A Beautiful Mind) / 2002 (Lost to Chicago)

    The Road – 2008 (Possibly a BP nom) / 2009 – Nada

    Shutter Island – 2009 (Possibly a BP nom) / 2010 – Nada

    The Monuments Men – 2013 (Unclear, maybe a BP nom?) / 2014 – No chance

    Foxcatcher – 2014…. (we’ll see)

  33. Al Robinson
    May 19, 2014

    And then there’s the oposite. What IF The Wolf of Wall Street HAD been held over until this year??….

    I’d like to think it would have a decent chance. Last year nothing was going to beat 12 Years a Slave, or even Gravity. Nothing.

  34. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    I haven’t read Beautiful Ruins but been aware of it since you and Sasha raved about it; time to fast track it.

    Al, not campy, and the shift was expected, just disappointingly generic and unimaginative — from the design of the alien to the ‘talk’. I do love all the kids stuff before the mayhem though, when they’re making the movie, etc. Not altogether similar, but ATTACK THE BLOCK succeeds in those areas SUPER 8 let me down.

  35. Bryce Forestieri
    May 19, 2014

    Fow now, I’ll just go to bed thinking of who could Field cast as The Judge…

    • Ryan Adams
      May 19, 2014

      Max von Sydow as The Judge?
      James Cromwell as The Judge?
      David Lynch as The Judge?

  36. Cameron
    May 20, 2014

    Nick Cassavetes?

  37. Radich
    May 20, 2014

    Great review, Sasha. I’m really looking forward to this one.

  38. Andre
    May 21, 2014

    This was my most anticipated film of 2013 and it has been firmly placed as my most anticipated film of 2014.

    These raves make me all the more anxious to see it.

    Re: best American directors since 2000; I would place Bennett as a VERY close runner-up to Shane Carruth.

    “Upstream Color” is, in my opinion, the greatest film to come out within my lifetime (and my #5 film of all time) and “Primer” is also a groundbreaking piece of filmmaking.

    Having said that, “Capote” is ALSO one of my favourites of the aughts and “Moneyball” is the very definition of what a smart, family-driven crowd pleaser should be. It is also masterfully done; this is what commercial adult dramas should aspire to be.

    The story behind this film has fascinated me for ages. The fact that such a talented director is depicting it drives me mad with excitement. It even lets me look past my lack of respect for Channing Tatum as an actor!!

  39. Andre
    May 22, 2014

    I meant “family-oriented” regarding “Moneyball”.

    Sorry.

    Also, all my best, Ryan! :)

    • Ryan Adams
      May 22, 2014

      Andre, thank you. I haven’t forgotten that I owe you an email.

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