Trucker looks like a heartbreaker.
Peter Knegt over at Indiewire asks the question, what are the top ten things the fall fests may tell us about Awards Season?
Here are his questions:
1. Are ‚ÄúPrecious‚Äù and ‚ÄúAn Education‚Äù the real deal? Knegt says you bet. [We agree.]
2. Can this female coming-of-age trend extend beyond those two films? Knegt says Fish Tank may be pushed to make way for An Education and Precious.[We say, it's about time.]
3. Is Michael Moore still capable of causing a stir? And can this equal a best picture nomination? Knegt says, “My prediction: Moore still rouses the crowds, but its quieter than usual, and talk of a best picture nomination dies quickly.” [We say, Best Pic is kind of a long shot unless you factor in those who are still bitter about losing so much money this year - on the other hand, if a doc is going to be nominated for Best Picture it will probably be one with more emotional impact - we say this without having seen the movie so perhaps we should shut up].
4. Is Tom Ford capable of making a good movie? Knegt wants to say, “it‚Äôll end up a poignant tale of gay love and loss.” Thinks it might be too soon to consider it seriously.[We say, bring it on.]
5. Did ‚ÄúThe Road‚Äù‚Äòs delays actually suggest anything about how good it is? Knegt says it will do better but still not good enough [we say, well, that's what they said about Hurt Locker and so far, so good on that score...maybe the whole push-back thing is the new in].
6. Will ‚ÄúBright Star‚Äù‚Äòs buzz translate Stateside? Knegt thinks it’s an uphill fight for this one. [We say, well, fanboys are louder than critics now and tougher to please with this type of subject matter - also, one feels a little dirty for even considering a film like this as a competitor, it being about Keats and all].
7. Is this really the year of Matt Damon? Knegt says, half yes, half wait-and-see. [We say, well, we already said].
8. Can Jason Reitman do it again? Knegt says he predicts it to be a hit at Toronto thus launching it into the race. [We say, Jason Reitman is hard not to like - and seems to be good at what he does. But lets not kill his chances with too much hype].
9. What film we‚Äôve never really heard of will all of a sudden be a major contender? Knegt says it’s better not to know. [We say, in other words, is there a Slumdog in the wood pile? It feels more like a No Country year than a Slumdog year but the waiting is the hardest part.]
10. Is the Toronto-Venice-Telluride trifeca still the awards launch pad it once was?Knegt says sure but the money might have an impact. [We say, Telluride? As always, it depends more on the movies and the timing than it does on the position and the festival - A No Country is a No Country is a No Country. It doesn't matter where it comes out, its reception would be the same.]
Meanwhile, check out their poll on which film has the best shot at a Best Pic nod – so far, An Education is in the lead. I’m worried for the whole A Single Man and A Serious mix-up. Anyone else?
I’m really just using this as an excuse to point to a Michael Cieply/NY Times piece that quotes our old and dear friend Dora — longtime readers will remember her as an old pal of this site. So I guess you’ll have to indulge me here — anyway, it does bring up a good topic – where are all the movies this year?
Companies like Summit Entertainment and Fox Searchlight have said they will be looking for movies at the festival. But anything less than a buying frenzy ‚Äî and there has been no sign of that recently ‚Äî would leave schedules short of movies as the awards season unfolds.
‚ÄúI will give you an estimate of 30 percent,‚Äù Dora Kappou of Film-releases.com said of her company‚Äôs expectation for the decline, taking into consideration last-minute buying.
A schedule compiled by Exhibitor Relations, which does not include the tiniest releases tracked by Film-releases.com, shows about 17 percent fewer films planned through the end of the year than its schedule did at this point last year.
The only thing I take issue with is the statement that Benjamin Button never found its footing – it absolutely did. It was smack in the middle of the race. A pointless backlash and Slumdog took it down. Let’s start those fights again, shall we? On second thought, let’s not.
Funny thing about the Tarantino movie. It takes some time to grow on you, or it did on me. I wanted to hate it. I even came home from it thinking, MEH. It was nothing about nothing, yet again. A meaningless story, a haphazard, albeit entertaining spin on cinema violence — a childish revenge fantasy – a big zero. But, strangely enough, as the evening wore on and the film sunk in I began to think about it differently. Part of it was my discussions, admittedly, with Ryan, with some of you commenters and a few Facebook peeps. But a different part of it was the film itself. There is a kind of passion there that doesn’t exist in any other film this year by any other director. Do I dare sit through it again and actually enjoy it this time? I kind of want to. I horrify myself with this declaration, yet there it is. Anyway, for those wanting to read something intelligent about the film, check out Jim Emerson’s wonderful piece over at the Sun Times. With great screen caps and thoughtful observations Emerson, I think, kind of nails it in a way I’ve not yet read, or certainly not related to in any real way. Does it make it Best Picture material?
Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is about World War II in roughly the same way that, I suppose, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is about a haunted hotel. The war is indeed the setting, but that’s not so much what the movie is about. I also don’t see it as an act of Holocaust denial or an anti-vengeance fable in which we are supposed to first applaud the Face of Jewish Revenge, and then feel uncomfortable sympathy for the Nazis. The movie comes down firmly on the side of the Jews, and of revenge, of an early end to the war and the saving of thousands of lives, with barely a quibble.
I think I just don’t have any room left in my brain’s hard drive to tackle this thing, that must explain why I choose not to think about it. Good thing others are. The folks over at Film School Rejects have worked it all out – thanks to reader Loyal who brought it to our attention. They’ve clarified in a way a dolt like me almost understands. Starting with:
The reason for the new system is fairly simple. With 10 Best Picture nominees, and (for the sake of simplification) 6,000 votes, it would technically only take 601 votes for a movie to win Best Picture (if one film got 599 votes, and the eight others all got 600). That movie would have a clear plurality which is all that was required to win under the old system. The problem with this is fairly obvious and two-fold:
- A movie earning just over 10% of the Academy‚Äôs favor winning is absurd. And, in my even-more-absurd example, the film wins with just one vote. Not exactly a huge margin of meaningful victory.
We know it’s happened before. We just know it. They continue:
One of the performances this year I’m most curious about is Robin Wright Penn as Pippa Lee in Rebecca Miller’s upcoming film (Miller is married to Daniel Day-Lewis and is the daughter of Arthur Miller). I missed this Fall Preview in NY Mag a while back and it features Penn. Here is a bit of it:
Penn plays Pippa, a woman who is not so much crazy as emotionally dormant‚Äîthe gracious, dutiful wife of a much older, charismatic book publisher (Alan Arkin). When they move to a retirement community in Connecticut, her seemingly perfect marriage begins to crack. As the older Pippa (Blake Lively plays her as a young adult), Penn elucidates a largely internal awakening that feels entirely organic. ‚ÄúRebecca and I talked at length about the emotional calluses of age. She said, ‚ÄòIt‚Äôs the onion‚Äîlet‚Äôs just peel it very slowly,‚Äô‚Äâ‚Äù says Penn, who developed the part with Miller over the course of a year. ‚ÄúThere are so many layers to Pippa. It was the chance to portray the unveiling of an identity, but without rushing to answer every question.‚Äù
It’s a horrible thing to say but I’ll just say it anyway. Often, a divorce or a bad breakup can do wonders for an actress in the Oscar race. Here is a TV clip about Pippa Lee:
Two sides of the Inglourious Basterds debate on the web, both well worth the read. Funny, I can kind of see both sides of this thing, without having yet seen the film (will see it today). But as a half-Jew with a big chunk of my heart eternally devoted to the pain of those who suffered in the Holocaust – and as a child who had Hitler fantasies (I imagined over and over how I would have killed him) I’m excited to see the way this urge is to be satisfied. Kim Morgan, never one to mince words, and one with a true love of cinema, writes her defense of the film, and mentions in the article this piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum. It seems to me that Kim is reacting to the film critics — the fans (and fanboys) are on her side; they all love the movie. But the Kenneth Turans, the Manohla Dargis’, the David Denbys and the Jonathan Rosenbaums? Not so much.
Of course, there‚Äôs a difference between Alex‚Äôs ultraviolence and the Basterds‚Äô Nazi-hunting, Apache-style scalping. I know that the anger lies in Tarantino making a movie in which Jews viciously retaliate against Nazis, which, to some critics, makes the Basterds just as hideous as their goose-stepping enemy. I know that certain critics believe that QT‚Äôs spectacular alternate universe of fantastical revisionism, one in which Hitler meets his maker all bloody and burned in (of course) a movie theater, is a form of Holocaust denial (Jonathan Rosenbaum, specifically). But‚Ä¶really? I‚Äôve not read a critic (and perhaps I‚Äôve missed one) who actually believes a person will walk out of the theater thinking that‚Äôs how it all went down. That Adolf didn‚Äôt off himself in a bunker and, instead, was burned alive after the director of ‚ÄúHostel‚Äù and ‚ÄúHostel II‚Äù pumped his face full of lead. (And for anyone who‚Äôs stood up for Eli Roth‚Äôs movies ‚Äî god, wouldn‚Äôt that be awesome?). But the idea that Tarantino is going to eradicate memories of the Holocaust is almost as ludicrous as believing Col. Hogan really did convince Col. Klink he was psychic, and that the episode ‚ÄúPsychic Kommandant‚Äù really did happen. I realize there‚Äôs a lot of dummies in this country, but‚Ä¶do I say it? Please.
‚ÄúWhen Jews Attack‚Äù by Daniel Mendelsohn, a two-page spread in the August 24 & 31 issue of Newsweek, begins to help me account for what I find so deeply offensive as well as profoundly stupid about Inglourious Basterds [sic sic ‚Äî or maybe I should say, sic, sic, sic]. A film that didn‚Äôt even entertain me past its opening sequence, and that profoundly bored me during the endlessly protracted build-up to a cellar shoot-out, it also gave me the sort of malaise that made me wonder periodically what it was (and is) about the film that seems morally akin to Holocaust denial, even though it proudly claims to be the opposite of that. It‚Äôs more than just the blindness to history that leaks out of every pore in this production (even when it‚Äôs being most attentive to period details) or the infantile lust for revenge that‚Äôs so obnoxious. When Mendelsohn asks, ‚ÄúDo you really want audiences cheering for a revenge that turns Jews into Nazis, that makes Jews into `sickening‚Äô perpetrators?‚Äù, he zeroes in on what‚Äôs so vile about this gleeful celebration of savagery. He also clarifies the ugly meaning of Tarantino‚Äôs final scene when he points out that Nazis carved Stars of David into the chests of rabbis before killing them ‚Äî a fact I either hadn‚Äôt known before or had somehow managed to suppress.
Love it or hate it, it’s becoming the second most talked about movie of the year, right behind Antichrist.
Thanks to Craig over at LiC for the tip-off that first, Steve Pond (Oscar guy who wrote for The Envelope – often has the inside scoop on the goings on within the Academy, and almost always pro-Academy, in my opinion, not that there’s anything wrong with that) has written that there will be a change in Oscar’s final vote for Best Pic – it all makes my girly head spin but why don’t you give it a shot:
Instead of just voting for one nominee, the way Academy members have almost always done on the final ballot, voters will be asked to rank all 10 nominees in order of preference — and the results will be tallied using the complicated preferential system, which has been used for decades during the nominating process but almost never on the final ballot.
As a result, a film could be the first choice of the largest number of voters, but find itself nudged out of the top prize by another movie that got fewer number one votes but more twos and threes.
It sounds crazy, but there‚Äôs good reason to make the change at a time when dividing the vote among an expanded slate of 10 nominees could otherwise allow a film to win with fewer than 1,000 votes (out of the nearly 6,000 voting members).
Voters will be asked to rank the 10 best picture nominees in order of preference, one through 10. Davis says that the category will be listed on a special section of the Oscar ballot, detachable from the rest so that a separate team of PricewaterhouseCoopers staffers can undertake the more complicated tabulation process.
Richard Roeper has named (500) Days of Summer his number film of the summer. As follows:
Best movies of the season:
1. ‚Äú(500) Days of Summer‚Äù
2. ‚ÄúInglourious Basterds‚Äù
4. ‚ÄúThe Hurt Locker‚Äù
5. ‚ÄúDistrict 9‚Ä≥
Honorable mention: ‚ÄúPublic Enemies,‚Äù ‚ÄúJulie and Julia,‚Äù ‚ÄúHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,‚Äù ‚ÄúThe Hangover,‚Äù ‚ÄúFunny People,‚Äù ‚ÄúStar Trek.‚Äù
And speaking of Inglorious Basterds, I was remiss in not posting this interesting Mark Blankenship column from HuffPo on the deeper meanings of the Tarantino film:
Maybe I’m alone here, but I say the film is about something more.
To begin, I’d argue that Tarantino has consciously chosen to make a movie about hating Nazis because Nazis are the only people that most of the Western world agrees to hate. And since most of us concur that their actions were evil, Hitler and the Nazis often become abstracted into general symbols for dark deeds. I mean, it seems like every time one politician wants to belittle another, or a student wants to complain about a teacher, or hell, a fry cook wants to bash her shift manager, they all resort to calling their enemy a “Nazi” or “Mrs. Hitler” or some such thing.
I haven’t seen all of them so I would feel uncomfortable with such a list. I know that Hurt Locker and 500 Days would be on it. Off to see District 9.
In a deal worth $4 Billion, thousands of Marvel superheros, sidekicks and villains are being blended into the Disney family. THR has details:
Disney acquires ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters to be overseen by Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who is charged with cherry-picking when and where they’ll show up within Disney’s vast empire, including online and in video games.
What does this mean for Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, and Spidey?
“We’ll take a look and see, but the bottom line is we like what they’ve been doing so far,” Disney studio head Richard Cook told The Hollywood Reporter.
Translation: the bottom line is the bottom line.
‚ÄúWe believe that adding Marvel to Disney‚Äôs unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,‚Äù said Robert Iger, president and CEO of Disney.
Enchanting! Well then, when you put it in those terms, it makes my soul want to be devoured!
Why Film Awards Are Still Important
As Oscar season wakes up from its long nap, there are yet still more voices, every day more voices, flooding the niche. Can the niche hold? It seems as though the beast that is the “Oscar blogger” has not scaled back – most film bloggers and journalists are now Oscar bloggers somehow. It’s the contest, no, it’s the movies. No, it’s the celebrity, no, it’s the movies. No, it’s the excitement. No, it’s being right. No, it’s the movies. It’s the movies. It’s always about the movies. Isn’t it?
Although it’s still early yet, Venice and Toronto are right around the corner. Twitter has spun the spindle even tighter so that now, instead of one sentence judgment calls on films like District 9 and the Avatar footage, we’re going to get one sentence conclusions, those of us choosing to read, on films we’ve all been waiting to see. If you think it was a pointless, shallow practice before, just wait until Twitter chews it up nice and bloody. On the other hand, the immediacy of the event will be heard, experienced, in real time to give followers a taste of what it is like to discover films that could be this year’s Oscar contenders, just as it also will give us a taste of which films will not.
It seems strange that the American Cinematheque would be honoring Matt Damon with a Lifetime Achievement award already, yet that is exactly what they’re doing. This is probably going to be Matt Damon’s year in that he’s got two big films coming out – The Informant and Invictus, now that the Green Zone has been pushed to next year. The Informant has Damon gaining 30 pounds to play disgraced corporate whistle blower Mark Whitacre, and in Invictus he plays Francois Pienaar. Two completely different roles for the versatile, under-the-radar Damon. Matt Damon was one of the best and most underrated performances in The Departed, overlooked by the Academy. But the real crime i his career is being snubbed for his brilliant portrayal of a sociopath in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Foreign Language Film
Live Action Short