Odeon/UCI back down in Alice in Wonderland dispute
The news that Odeon had refused to show Alice in Wonderland was discussed earlier this week, dependent on your viewpoint the good/bad newsis that the cinema chain announce today that they now WILL be showing the Tim Burton remake after an agreement was struck between the two parties. Full story here.
Cooper chooses another hangover over war
Bradley Cooper has pulled out of This Means War, a rom-com directed by McG and also featuring Reese Witherspoon. Initial reports suggest that Cooper pulled out because of scheduling conflicts between this and The Hangover 2, not because the plot of This Means War sounds pants.
New Nightmare on Elm Street Trailer
Looks pretty pointless and in parts looks like a shot for shot remake. Also features the most ridiculous villain voice since The Punisher.
A shortlist for Paranormal Activity 2 directors is announced….
…. and there is one definite surprise in Brian De Palma. While I would be interested to see what the Scarface director would come up with, my inclination is with Brad Anderson, the director of two fantastic films Session 9 and The Machinist (possibly Christian Bale’s best performance). Full shortlist here.
Marlon Wayans on playing Richard Pryor
This is something I am completely on board with. While he was in the Scary Movie series, White Chicks and Little Man, it’s easy to forget he was also fantastic in Requiem for a dream. I had him down on my list for “Actors We Could Make Great” and I think this could be the film to do it. In this article with the LA Times, Marlon defends some undefendable films, talks about getting the role ahead of Eddie Murphy and discusses why Pryor deserves a film about him. Note: White Chicks and Little Man grossed $215 million in total and a White Chicks 2 is on the way.
Zach Galifianakis is a miracle worker!
He must be, he carried everyone in The Hangover! Galifianakis is set to star in a supernatural buddy comedy (might sound like a made up subgenre, but check out the fantastic The Revenant when it finally manages to get released – makes Shaun of The Dead seem as funny as Epic Movie). Will be good to see ZaGa (it may catch on if I use it enough) shake his comedy muscles and no doubt I will be completely onboard by the time a director is announced.
Though I could gripe immediately with a bunch of the nominations given, I’m going to give the first part only of this over to the minor grips I have with the BAFTA nominations, announced this morning (and here in full via Empire Magazine).
The leading nominees, each with eight, are Avatar, The Hurt Locker and An Education. The overrating of An Education, at the expense of better British films like In the Loop and Fish Tank, is a little irritating, but the acting is so strong in the film that it seems to have elevated everything around it, including the nominated script by Nick Hornby and the nominated directing by Lone Scherfig. Avatar’s eight is mostly taken up with technical nods, which is entirely fair, but its picture nod, over Inglourious Basterds and Up, is predictable but wrong. Obviously, for those who read or listen to anything I say or write, know that I wholly agree with all The Hurt Locker nods, with my only desire to see much more attention given to Anthony Mackie in the supporting categories.
As with the Golden Globes, I can’t possibly pass this opportunity up to criticise the nomination of The Hangover for script, specifically given it is just a slightly adjusted take on Dude, Where’s My Car?. On personal taste, I probably wouldn’t have sought to reward the script for An Education, but kudos for adding District 9 which, despite a host of action movie tropes peppered throughout, is a much smarter film that the credit given would suggest.
The acting sections are all pretty good. That said, I wouldn’t have given Alec Baldwin a nod for It’s Complicated due to Anthony Mackie’s great performance in The Hurt Locker, but Baldwin is good so not too much annoyance there. Also very good indeed to see Christian McKay nominated for his amazing performance in Me and Orson Welles. Also great nod for Anne-Marie Duff for supporting actress in Nowhere Boy. This seems like the only place where Mo’Nique just might not win for Precious, so Duff and the others could nick it.
It’s a decent enough selection from BAFTA. They are slightly over-praising, as most have, An Education and, as most haven’t, Coco Before Chanel. The nomination of Audrey Tautou over the incredible debut by Katie Jarvis is jarring, but sometimes you have to give concession to BAFTA’s predeliction for costume drama, no matter the costume. But nothing but praise should be given to the nods for The Hurt Locker and District 9, though you might wish that some of the better British films, notably Moon and In the Loop, were given a little more attention outside of nods in those Brit-focused categories.
It would seem to me that the awards season should be used to reward the best films, the best performances in terms of the measurable quality of the product put out rather than the popularity of the nominees. The Golden Globes, as if edging, as my podcast colleague Tommy suggested today, towards becoming a glorified version of the MTV Movie Awards, has this year chosen to nearly-exclusively reward the popular choices.
I have no real problem with James Cameron getting best director; Avatar is an incredible achievement from a technical standpoint. But to reward that film, a confused hodgepodge of political allegory, predictable plot and stock characters, the prize for the best picture seems ridiculous. It is a huge milestone for technical filmmaking, but when put into 2D and playing on television screens across the land after its DVD release, the massive problems with the story and characters will become increasingly clear. To suggest other winners could easily be written off as me just griping that my favourite films didn’t win, but I don’t think many could deny that the success of the vision of The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds far, far surpasses that of Avatar as a piece of storytelling.
Outside of that, witness the prize handed to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, a mawkish TV movie-style sleeper hit, beating the nuanced skill of Carey Mulligan in An Education. Witness The Hangover, winner of Best Musical/Comedy, rewarded for managing to convince an entire audience that it was funny despite having only one good performance and then three douchebags, one terrible cameo and one borderline-racist gangster. It was a weak category, but at least (500) Days of Summer spoke to a sense of truth and actually could fit into being both comedy and musical.
There should be some sense of duty for awards that, rather than pander to bringing in the largest possible audience for the truly pointless televising of the ceremony, they should seek to reward those filmmakers that have made films which, even if they failed to connect with audiences, have something to say beyond ‘see how fucking cool this looks!’
Being in the UK, deciding what actually constitutes summer in our increasingly muddled weather environment is pretty darn difficult. Should we start with May? Well, if summer is the period of the year in which things were sunny and bright and lovely, then May, June and July are all out for us UK folks. Our summer never really arrived, overshadowed as it was by the constant humidity and rain. Instead of going with weather calculations, our summer will start in May, or the end of April to be precise, when the blockbuster season kicked-off in multiplexes, and plexes, across the land. Begin post-jump… Continue reading →