Category Archives: News

Midweek Break: Trailers Galore!!

  • THE CAPTAIN MARVEL TRAILER IS HERE. Much excitement around these parts. I love the set-up, but I will admit I was hoping for a bit more in terms of Carol Danvers as a character. I’m sure that’ll be in the next trailer. Our first real look still makes me cry every time. Why isn’t it March yet??
  • Another big trailer dropped this week! I am also pretty excited for Mary Poppins Returns and will definitely be making a trip to the theater with my daughter in December. As much as the original is a treasured piece of everyone’s childhood, the cast here is spectacular, I think Emily Blunt is perfect, and yes, even Lin-Manuel Miranda’s apparent accent shenanigans can’t really be viewed as anything but a meta-nod to Dick Van Dyke’s much-reviled Cockney take.
  • This news just broke: Cary Fukunaga will take over directing the 25th Bond movie, replacing Danny Boyle. He’s apparently the first American director to do Bond, and I think he’s a terrific choice.
  • Finally, I’m having a conversation online right now about dream-casting James Bond as a woman. The initial proposal (not by me) was Lupita Nyong’o but I’m trying to think of some other great fits. Cate Blanchett sprang immediately to mind, followed by Emily Blunt. Mostly, though, I’ve decided that they should just slide Naomie Harris (who has appeared in recent movies as Moneypenny) into the role. She’d be perfect. Who would you pick?

tux

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Midweek Break: CAPTAIN MARVEL!!! edition

 

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Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Entertainment Weekly cover

Hi gang!  We’ve been watching S1 of Stranger Things (yes, I know, we’re so behind) so I didn’t watch a movie last weekend, which means you get this random amalgamation of film-related thoughts today. We’re almost done so maybe there will be actual movie-viewing this weekend.

  • It’s Idris Elba’s birthday! Just thought you’d like to know. Here’s a list of all his movies, ranked. He’s made some stinkers, hasn’t he? I take offense at the low placement of Rocknrolla, but whatever, man. Happy birthday, Idris!
  • Just a few days ago, I went on a mini-rant about how I had ZERO interest in First Man (Damien Chazelle’s biopic about Neil Armstrong, starring Ryan Gosling) or A Star is Born (although my feelings here are more complicated) because honestly, I just don’t care about handing out Oscars to more white guys. But the universe delights in reminding us of our hypocrisies, and so please enjoy this trailer for At Eternity’s Gatea screamingly Oscar-bait movie about Vincent Van Gogh starring Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac (yeah, yeah), and Mads Mikkelsen. The cinematography is what got me – it looks like Van Gogh painted. Stunning.
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL!! At my house, we are still anxiously awaiting the first trailer for the MCU’s next blockbuster, but we were quite excited about this week’s EW release of our first real look at Brie Larson and the cast. WHY ISN’T IT MARCH YET??
  • Have you seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? It’s a Netflix movie, based on a teen novel. My corner of the Internet is obsessed with it. I bring it up because it makes me think about a YA series I’d love to see adapted into a series or something: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan. The books are urban fantasy/romance, and the main protagonist is a British teen who is half Japanese (the main character in TAtBILB is half-Korean, apparently).  They’re fun, silly books and I feel like they’d fit right in with a lot of what pop culture is into these days.

 

That’s it for me! What are you all watching/paying attention to right now in the world of entertainment?

 

Midweek Break: Other Cool Stuff

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This may or may not become a (semi-) regular feature, depending on whether enough things pop up to warrant my interest. I’ll try to share  some cool movie-related items from the internet (and beyond!) that I think others might have fun with, as well as maybe a new trailer or opening I’m particularly excited about. Let’s do it!

I have long been a fan of Tom & Lorenzo, a couple who write primarily about celebrity fashion. They delve a bit into movie/television reviews as well, and are perhaps best-known for writing a series of posts analyzing the costumes on Mad Men. Today, however, I really want to plug an incredible series of posts they did recently called “Redefining the Hero,” about the costuming decisions for some of the big blockbusters of the past couple of years: Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi, and Black Panther. See anything in common there? Yeah. You want to check these posts out. They’re amazing.

Do you like podcasts? I am not the biggest fan out there, but I have one podcast that I follow religiously. It’s called You Must Remember This, and the tagline is ” The podcast about the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century.” The host, Karina Longworth, is a Hollywood historian who uses recent scholarship and technology to delve into stories (sometimes salacious, sometimes not) of Hollywood and Hollywood-related people. It’s a really fascinating look at the industry and the people; Longworth does a good job of keeping things academic as opposed to merely gossip-y, and has a tendancy to look at things through a feminist lens that I personally appreciate. The current season (there are three, I think?) is called “Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon” and it promises to be just as engaging as past seasons.

I suppose I should mention the trailer for Life Itselfan ensemble cast drama from Dan Fogelberg (This is Us). It doesn’t really look like my kind of thing, but the cast is worthy of attention: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and Mandy Patinkin star. Opens September 21.

The Spy Who Dumped Me opens on August 3, and I’m thinking (pending reviews) about making it my next “Female-Driven Ladies’ Movie Night” outing. Co-written and directed by Susanna Fogel and starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. Looks like it could be fun!

I’d love to hear what you think of these suggestions or if you have any of your own!

Have you heard about…

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Twelve Years a Slave?

Not to disparage you, dear reader, but I often forget that everyone does not check in daily with IMDb the way I do, and so I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about a movie I’m eagerly anticipating. “This opportunity” being the birthday of Chiwetel Ejiofor, the film’s lead. He’s a really good actor; you may have seen him in Serenity, Children of Men, American Gangster, or Salt. I’m excited about Twelve Years for many reasons, but the main one is that I hope it garners some well-deserved recognition (of the award season variety) for Mr. Ejiofor. If nothing else, we all get to laugh at everyone who has to try pronouncing his name. Anyway, happy birthday to him! Now, about this movie…

Twelve Years a Slave is a true story, based upon the memoir of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a black man who was born free in New York, then kidnapped and sold into slavery prior to the American Civil War. The story follows his experiences in slavery, and was a best-seller after its release in 1853. The film is directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame), and boasts a really impressive cast which includes Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, and Alfre Woodard.

So, McQueen is fairly acclaimed for his two films, Hunger and Shame, both of which star Michael Fassbender, and there’s a lot of positive buzz surrounding Twelve Years, which has the potential to be a more mainstream hit for the director. The support and participation of Brad Pitt (whose production company, Plan B, has a credit as well) lends the film a bit of class and star appeal, and the cast is seriously first-rate. Originally slated for a late December release, there has been talk of the film getting a bump to October, based on strong test-screenings. While there’s no trailer yet, you can see some stills from the movie here.

In short, I think that this movie has great potential. Excellent cast, acclaimed director, good story. I’m excited to see it, which isn’t always the case with heavy material. How about you? Does this brief primer whet your interest at all? I know a lot of folks out there are big fans of Cumberbatch and of Fassbender (myself included) so I’m hoping their involvement will draw in some audiences. I’ll be keeping an eye on the reviews for sure, and I’ll be crossing my fingers for favorable reports; hopefully I’ll make it out to the theater myself. Stay tuned!

Reboot

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In case anyone has been concerned, yes, I am still alive. I am even still watching movies, albeit not as many as I used to. I have no excuse for being absent from this blog, really, but I’m going to be making an effort to get back to business. What I’m not going to do is try to backtrack; I’m a little too far out from some things I’ve seen recently, so writing full reviews would be hard. Instead, I’ll recap a bit for you, and we’ll move forward.

Here’s what I’ve been watching lately!

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

This was our next AFI list movie, and we didn’t enjoy it. It seems like sort of standard late sixties fare; bleak, gritty, and so on. I will say, though, that Dustin Hoffman’s performance is incredible, and that the resemblance between Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie (he’s her dad) is kind of disturbing.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Oh, you guys. When RDJ and Jude Law fail to entertain, something is wrong.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

This is more like it. Possibly my new second-favorite superhero movie (right after The Avengers). The script and direction of Shane Black were awesome, and all of the acting was top-notch. RDJ as Tony Stark continues to put in a performance that ought to receive more real recognition. Highly recommended.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

I’m really late in seeing this, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Seeing this many awesome British actors in one place is great, but the plot was just a little too opaque, and honestly, I can name half a dozen other Gary Oldman performances that he ought to have received Oscar nominations for. It’s a very well-made movie, but it’s really hard to follow, and is ultimately unsatisfying.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Why yes, this does mean that we have seen two films in the theater recently. I know, it’s a miracle. I felt sort of ambivalent about seeing this one; the first one was fun, and I like Eric Bana, but this one didn’t have a favorite actor to recommend it. I’m by no means a novice to the world of Star Trek, but I’m not a die-hard, either, so I could’ve gone either way. However, this was a really fun watch. I was further impressed with the re-characterizations of Spock, Bones, and Kirk (Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Chris Pine), and was happy that a few female characters (Zoe Saldana and Alice Eve) were given a reasonable amount to do. Benedict Cumberbatch was physically impressive but emotively inconsistent as the main baddy, and hey! Peter Weller shows up! The story and plot struck me as fairly solid, although the last 30 minutes or so get a bit bogged down, and could’ve been edited more strenuously. A totally worthwhile addition to summer blockbuster season, though.

I also recently rewatched some favorites, which I don’t get to do all that often. I don’t think I’ve written a love letter to Gosford Park yet, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

How about you? What’s been on your radar lately?

2013 Oscar Nominations

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I’ve been debating all morning whether or not to talk about the Oscars, and since I was just asked whether or not I was going to, I guess I will. My caveat is that I have seen VERY few of the nominees this year, and my perspective, as such, comes from my overall thoughts about the performers in question, from a fair amount of industry reading, and from my understanding of how Oscar politics tend to function. Additionally, I feel in no way qualified (ha) to talk about anything beyond the “major” awards, so we’ll just be looking at the Big Five. Shall we?

Best Picture

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

If I have not done so before, please allow me to express some slight frustration at the still-new “up to 10” clause here. It’s like they choose 9 nominees every year just to validate themselves, or something. Anyway. Prior to the announcement, my money had been squarely on Zero Dark Thirty. However, given the state of the nominations as a whole, I’m changing my bet to Lincoln. Because really, who doesn’t love Spielberg? I expected a smaller field this year, so the fact that they expanded out to accommodate Django Unchained, Amour, and Beasts of the Southern Wild is interesting, although it seems like a way for the Academy to make themselves look braver than they really are. Life of Pi is getting a lot of industry love because it was previously considered “unfilmable,” but Lincoln is still the front-runner here. Again, everybody loves Spielberg.

Best Actor

  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight

I’ll just repeat what every film writer is saying, and what I myself said a year or so ago, upon learning that he would play the role: Daniel Day-Lewis has this in the bag. Cooper and Jackman will likely have their day, and I saw somebody refer to Denzel Washington as “the Meryl Streep of actors,” meaning if he’s in a movie, they’ll nominate him. Joaquin Phoenix is the surprise here. The Master had some early buzz, but then Phoenix made snarky comments about stumping for awards, and so he’d largely been written off. This is the most stable category this year, although John Hawkes is a major snub for his role in The Sessions. Mostly, though, I’m just wondering whether or not DDL will actually show.

Best Actress

  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Some big surprises here. Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis were both outside chances, and both have pulled through, making Oscar history. Riva, at 85, is the oldest nominee ever, and Wallis, 6 at the time of filming, is the youngest. Still, this is Jessica Chastain‘s statue to lose. I don’t think that Lawrence or Watts will beat her out, and (again, not having seen any of the films in question) I don’t really think they should. She gave some major performances last year in the supporting category, and I think she’s getting her recognition now. Plus, it’s my understanding that she really carries Zero Dark Thirty.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

I think Best Supporting Actor is my favorite category. It’s always such a great-looking list, and this year is no exception. A very strong field indeed: all of these men already have Oscars. I have heard the most buzz in Tommy Lee Jones’ direction, and given the strength of Lincoln in general, I’d say he’s a pretty safe bet. The fun thing, though, is that you clearly cannot count any of these men out, and you can expect to see them around again soon.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

This is, for all intents and purposes, a two-way race. Sally Field has gotten good reviews for Lincoln, but let’s face it: Anne Hathaway‘s powerhouse performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” is what she’s up against, and I don’t think she’ll make it. Plus, she’s gotten plenty of accolades over the course of her career, and Hathaway has been putting in her dues for a while now. It really is her year.

Best Director

  • Michael Haneke, Amour
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

And now we come to the drama. One of the issues with allowing up to ten Best Picture nominees is that some of the directors of those films get left behind, and that is in serious evidence this year. Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (ZDT), Tom Hooper (Les Mis), and Quentin Tarantino (DU) are dealing with some mixed emotions today, for sure. The choices in this category have a direct correlation to those in the Best Picture race, and so we can fairly reasonably assume that none of their movies will win the top prize. My money is on Steven Spielberg and Lincoln to make a fairly clean sweep of the proceedings, although it can be argued that Ang Lee is seriously overdue.

The race this year has been pretty interesting, with no film staking a clear claim to Best Picture status. Adding in technical awards, Lincoln leads the field with 12 nods, and that sets up a strong challenge to all other comers. I think that voters were impressed with Life of Pi, but since it’s more a visual piece than a character-driven one, I don’t think it’ll come out on top. Silver Linings Playbook seems to be playing the “scrappy underdog” role, represented last year by The Artist, but the competition is very different this time around. Lincoln seemingly has it all: it’s a film with serious pedigree, from subject matter to supporting cast, and the truth of the matter is that the Academy almost always follows a more established route. I’m open to surprises, but this year, I don’t expect too many.

And now, your turn. What are your predictions for Oscar night?

Movie Limbo

Hi there. You may have noticed I haven’t had much to say recently. There are multiple reasons for this: the biggest one, I suppose, is that I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past six months; toddlers take up a lot more time than infants do. Aside from that, though, my family is making a big move in less than two weeks, and I’ve just been going like mad trying to get us ready. Every day I tell myself: Go blog! And every day I sit down and stare blankly at the computer screen. There’s even a lot to write about, but I am just not focused these days. And so, I think I’m going to take a bit of a break. I’ll pop back in for big stuff (mainly Les Miserables) but I will probably lay low for the holiday season and hope that life has settled itself by the New Year. As always, thank you so very much for reading: I am always so excited that I’m not entirely just doing this for myself.

Here’s a run-down of what I’ve been doing lately (that’s movie-related).

  • We watched Harvey. It’s fantastic. Possibly the most impressed I have been with Jimmy Stewart to date.
  • We also watched The Queen. Very interesting from an historical perspective, and good performances all around; obviously Helen Mirren’s was superb. The movie overall as a little uneven, I thought. Also, I think I’ve decided I’m just not a Michael Sheen fan.
  • New Year’s Resolution: see more movies in the theater. Since we have a small person, that’s been difficult, BUT we are moving closer to family, so in theory we’ll have more opportunity to get out.
  • I had a reader question, and I absolutely wanted to write an entire post addressing it. I might try to pop back in for that!
  • I am so excited for Les Miserables, I can hardly stand it.
  • This movie looks super-fun, don’t you think?

  • Happy holidays to you and yours! I look forward to chatting with everyone again soon.