Time to have a little guess again at which films could be nominated for Oscars in a couple of months time, just entirely based on hype and vague attempts to understand the predictable nature of the Academy. So, for debate and conjecture’s stake, enjoy these predictions for the Oscar nominations in 2010, post jump. Continue reading →
As we are prone to do, it feels like to kick-off the Oscar buzz season as awards from major film festivals begin to roll in and the ceremony approaches. I realise that this may feel like the kind of wishing-life-away feeling that it given as you walk into shops in mid-September and see Christmas stock out all over the place, but these will get more frequent as we get closer and can begin to actually predict what could win. This is more to provide an interesting gauge of how buzz works, how it changes and how wrong we could well end up being by the time the awards come around.
So, just for the big few categories, here’s what seems like it’s going to cause a stir this year: Continue reading →
Michael Haneke has won the Palme d’Or for his acclaimed The White Ribbon (review by Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian). The film, described by IFC’s The Daily as “a two-and-a-half hour parable of political and social ideas set entirely in a north German village in 1913 and 1914”, marks the first Palme d’Or win for Haneke following a number of other awards successes for the German provocateur at the festival. He has in the past won prizes for Hidden, The Piano Teacher and Code Unknown, but this is his first win of the top prize.
Alain Resnais, an outside member of the Nouvelle Vague and creator of the time-warping masterpieces Last Year in Marienbad and Hiroshima, Mon Amour, was given the Special Jury Prize in honour of his Wild Grass (review by Daniel Kasman at The Auteur’s Notebook). The Grand Prix was given to Jacques Audiard’s The Prophet (review by Anthony Kaufman at indieWIRE). The director prize went to Brillante Mendoza for his violent drama Kinatay, already torn a new one by Roger Ebert. The eminent Chicago Sun-Times voice essentially opens his review with an apology to Vincent Gallo over his past assertion that The Brown Bunny was the worst film in the history of the festival.
Ebert goes on to say:
“After extensive recutting, the Gallo film was redeemed. I don’t think editing is going to do the trick for “Kinatay.” If Mendoza wants to please any viewer except for the most tortured theorist (one of those careerists who thinks movies are about arcane academic debates and not people) he’s going to have to remake his entire second half.”
Onwards with Cannes however, The Prix de Scenario for Best Screenplay was given to Feng Mei for the Lou Ye-directed Spring Fever (review by Sukhdev Sandhu at The Telegraph). That has itself been surrounded by controversy over the decision by Ye to screen the film in Cannes without the approval of the Chinese government.
The Camera d’Or for Best First Feature was given to Australian Warwick Thornton for Samson and Delilah (interview here and review, by The Telegraph’s Sandu, which indicates the love to have come for this film), his indigenous realist drama.
Very nicely, the Prix du Jury was given to Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (review by The Guardian’s Bradshaw) and Park Chan-wook’s horror film Thirst (review by Twitch’s Todd Brown). Arnold, whose outstanding Red Road won the Jury Prize in 2006, had been tipped for a possible Palme d’Or this time round but will instead have to settle for outstanding reviews yet again.
The acting honours provide the most curious choices. Tarantino’s lukewarmly received Inglourious Basterds (review by Spout’s Karina Longworth) saw Christoph Waltz take home the Best Actor Prize while Charlotte Gainsbourg won Best Actress for her performance in Lars von Trier’s hugely controversial Antichrist.
Probably the most notably absentees from the possible prize winners are Jane Campion’s Bright Star, her story of the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawn, and Ken Loach’s fondly-tipped Looking for Eric. Bright Star was another beloved by critics in the UK while Looking for Eric didn’t quite live up to all expectations but was mostly liked too. Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void, his follow-up to the equally loathed and admired Irreversible, seemed to spark little in the way of notice for those attending the festival, but did at least bring some searching analysis from those who did take notice.
The new adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights has managed to pick up Bond girl Gemma Arterton and Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass, Ed Westwick. It’s to be directed by Peter Weber, of the Girl with the Pearl Earring.
/Film notes interesting that this casting does mean that the two leads will be roughly the same age as their characters, surely something close to unheard-of in Hollywood. It has gone through a number of casting changes over the past few years, including the likes of Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Abbie Cornish all being attached and latterly quitting.
It could undoubtedly prove a good choice. Arterton has proven herself a pretty charming screen presence, in other period dramas no less, while Westwick is the best thing about the ridiculously addictive Gossip Girl.
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen follow-up Sucker Punch has run into a little further casting trouble with two more of his leading cast members dropping out of the project.
First, lead Amanda Seyfried left owing to commitments with other projects, notably her filming schedule for HBO’s Big Love. Now it seems that Emma Stone and Evan Rachel Wood have joined Seyfried in leaving the project, leaving only Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens from the original five named for the movie.
According to the report on /Film, both Stone and Wood have dropped out owing to scheduling conflicts. I would have to partially go against the assertion made in the /Film article however by saying that this must, just must, have to do with both the disappointing Watchmen box-office and, more than that, with the negative press given to Snyder’s direction of the film.
He certainly picked up praise for taking on the project in the face of such potential fanboy backlash, but his actual direction of the movie was it’s biggest problem, lacking the kind of nuance and emotional intention which goes hand-in-hand with better directors who had been interested in the project.
Anyway, back to Sucker Punch. Joining with Stalwarts Cornish and Hudgens, and Seyfried’s replacement Emily Browning, are Donnie Darko’s Jenna Malone and Dragonball: Evolution’s Jamie Chung.
I’ve seen Malone in a few projects in the past but she’s never struck me or been particularly memorable, outside of her turn in Darko. I literally know nothing about Chung at all so I’ll just give her the benefit of the doubt for now.
So the questions are being raised and the production is beginning to role into gear for Snyder big follow-up. Whether he needs to deliver is unlikely as Watchmen will have given him currency for a little while. But with so many dropouts already, this production is starting to feel troubled from the outset.
Following the move by Amanda Seyfried to drop out of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, it appears a replacement has been found.
Emily Browning, most recently in The Uninvited and previous in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, is being rumoured as the replacement for Seyfried in the role of Baby Doll, the inmate of a mental asylum who lives inside a fantasy world in which she imagines escaping alongside her fellow inmates.
I know literally nothing about her as an actress but, given the rest of the casting, she does fit the attractive, young starlet category Synder appears to be seeking.
Kevin Smith is to launch outside of his comfort zone (no View Askew, no Scott Mosier producing) to direct A Couple of Cops, a buddy movie to star Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Could provide an interesting view on how Smith is developing as a director and possibly give the world another really good buddy movie which, on premise, seems closely in the vein of late-80s Shane Black-style stuff.
Zack Snyder is forming an all-girl cast for Sucker Punch, about girls in a mental asylum who fantasises about escaping with all her inmates. Likely to star the likes of Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone. Doesn’t specifically make me too excited but I would be interested to see what Snyder does next because he handled the entire Watchmen saga, the build-up and movie, with aplomb.
Megan Fox has begun to take up some new offers which are likely to offer very little new to her current persona. Fox has reportedly joined the cast of Jonah Hex alongside Josh Brolin and will star in Fathom, an adaptation of the comic series. Cinematical reports that Fox has been a fan of the comic series for some time and is helping to bring it to the screen, likely making her the dream girl for many, many JoBlo readers around the world. Maybe however she should get a little praise for understanding that she has limits and using her talents in the most lucrative way possible. Hats off to Ms Fox.
Leonardo DiCaprio is to team with Christopher Nolan on the latter’s post-Dark Knight project, Inception. the film has been described as a science fiction piece ‘set in the architecture of the mind’ and was also written by Nolan. You’d have to suggest that this won’t garner anything near the level of business Dark Knight did but it’s good to see Nolan is nourishing his filmmaking skills elsewhere, something that would have been advisable to Sam Raimi back in the day and would most likely have provided the world with better Spiderman sequels.
Talk is rife on what the next Danny Boyle movie will be. Reports emerged early in the week, very speculative, that he could direct the next James Bond. Later however, it seems he is closing in on doing a remake of My Fair Lady, putting of another project called Hanna, about a teenage assassin.
Also in the news: Jim Jarmusch’s Limits of Control has a trailer; Mickey Rourke, Vince Cassell and Alice Braga will star in an adaptation of Paulo Coehlo’s 11 Minutes; A viewpoint from Slate on how a Tarantino Watchmen would look; Barry Sonnenfeld will direct an adaptation of Korean film Scandal Makers; Keira Knightley is to star in Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s amazing novel, which you should probably read instead now Knightley has signed up; A three minute clip of The Boat that Rocked has turned up; Ed Zwick is to direct In the Heart of the Sea by Nathan Philbrick; Ridley Scott has talked a little more about his Monopoly movie.