Something has happened to Academy voters. Is it really true that they’ve all just aged out to the point where they really can’t tolerate any loud noises? The truth is that you can’t really say “The Academy” anymore because there isn’t such a thing. The guilds now decide what wins Best Picture, but more specifically the Producers Guild. In scheduling their awards earlier than the Directors Guild, the PGA has now become the dominating force in the race. Oscars 2012 felt like a staged coup against the branch of the Academy that dared to “snub” Ben Affleck. We’ll never know what the race would have looked like had Affleck gotten a director nomination. Argo might still have been their consensus pick – after all, it is in keeping with their pattern of late.
A friend of mine who adamantly refused to go see Django Unchained with me has been asking what I know about Dead Man Down telling me that it ‘looks bangin.’ Then this morning another buddy sent me a link to an interview with Terrence Howard. Neither of these guys even watched the Oscars, so they’re not endorsing Dead Man Down for that reason. But the buzz is interesting. A controversial youtube video called “Elevator Murder Experiment” has gone viral with over 2.6 million views, and even though 93% of readers responding on Rotten Tomatoes say want to see it there are no legitimate mainstream reviews at all yet on RT or metacritic. Dead Man Down is directed by Niels Arden Oplev, making his American film debut alongside former collaborators Noomi Rapace and composer Jacob Groth who wrote the score for Oplev’s first adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The screenplay is by J.H.Wyman writer/producer of Fringe, one of the few shows on TV that can genuinely be called exciting. Cinematography by Paul Cameron who won a BAFTA (with Dion Beebe) for the crisp oily glisten of Collateral. Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper and Isabelle Huppert lead a top-notch cast. So why the lockdown on reviews? I’ll find out with my friend tomorrow. But part of the answer may be that anticipation for Dead Man Down is building just fine without reviews.
The Terrence Howard interview and Elevator Murder Experiment can be seen after the cut by anyone who has the energy to click to another page.
Matt Zoller Seitz and Leigh Singer have compiled this video essay with a funny opening:
Oh, hello there, reader.
I know why you’ve come. You’re here at Press Play to watch Leigh Singer’s awesome supercut of fourth-wall-breaking moments in cinema, aren’t you?
Yes, of course you are! Fess up. Don’t be shy. So saucy! Just look at you, with your bashful, “Oh, dearie me, I just popped over to see if anybody had a new piece up, and oh, look, eye candy, I guess I’ll stick around and watch a minute or two.” Very convincing! Are you a professional actor? A model, perhaps?
What Maisy Knew stars Julianne Moore and Alexander Sarsgaard and tells the story of a divorcing couple and how that impacts a child’s life. One of the best in the business it’s hard to believe Julianne Moore does not yet have an Oscar but I guess she was never the prom queen in any given year. Their loss. What Maisy Knew is by the filmmaking duo who made The Deep End with Tilda Swinton (a great film if you have not yet seen it). Scott McGehee and David Siegel, adapted by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne.
We’re tinkering with a few different options for redesign and you just lived through one of them. Aren’t you proud of yourself for that? We have a couple more to try out on you until we settle on one, including maybe having a professional give it a whirl. We know there are specific things we like and need. So hopefully we’ll find a way to have the best of all possible worlds. But in the meantime, back to “normal.”
Frances Ha was all the rage at Telluride but was held back for this past awards season. It will be too easy for critics and viewers to look at Frances Ha and see Girls but there are differences. The script was co-written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig and is one of the few stories to come out that is really a kind of Five Easy Pieces only about a young woman coming of age.