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Posts tagged ‘Coen Bros.’

“Cafe Society” Worst Woody Allen Ever? S.O.S. Same Old Story

Kristen Stewart 1As you can see by this ultra glamourous pic above ^ of Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen has cast her against type, as a nice little goodie two-shoes,compleat with bows in her hair and ankle socks, in “Cafe Society”. Her character, Vonnie, has to appear so beautiful that the men in the movie fall madly in love with her. The men being Steve Carell as well as his nephew Jesse Eisenberg. And they’re all very good in this magnificently shot and styled paean to old Hollywood in the ’30s.

But this is perhaps the worst movie he’s ever done.It’s soooo boring. It’s that we’ve seen it all before. Over and over and over and over again. We expect more from the man who gave us “Midnight in Paris”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Blue Jasmine”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and his Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” But this is not that. Not by a long shot.

At least his other recent sub-par look at the glamourous life circa 1920 “Magic in the Moonlight” had a very strong performance by Colin Firth. And it’s always the younger woman/older man scenario, but at least focusing as much of this film on the young Jesse Eisenberg, the edge is slightly off that scenario, but only slightly. But it doesn’t last for long. Before it’s back to the Carell/Kristen plot-line. Ho-hum.Or rather ho-humbug.

Eisenberg, an actor I’ve always had trouble liking, is appealing in this, and more amourously aggressive than I can ever remember him being.

Kristen & Jesse 1

But try as they might, he, Carell and Stewart and all of the rest of this capable cast, just can’t rise above this bland, bland script.

I felt like I knew what lines the characters were going to say before they spoke them. Parker Posey, here a bubbly, throw-away blonde, is pretty much just window dressing. Corey Stoll is snidely effective as Eisenberg’s gangster brother.Blake Lively is, well, lively.

The only one who really broke through for me was Sari Lennick of the Coen Bros. “A Serious Man.” As Eisenberg’s hyserical, kvetchy sister-in-law and Stoll’s wife.

The biggest,.most consistent laughs in the film, and there are some, not much, but not enough, the most laughs come when Stoll’s character has killed some hapless or irritating sap, and throws the bodies into a ditch as a cement mixer pours cement on them in clearly a New Jersey setting.

Santa Loquasto has designed “Cafe Society” to a fare-thee-well and legendary lenser Victorio Storaro has shot it magnificently. It couldn’t look more glamourous, or be so empty. What a shame!

Do something NEW Woody!!! Surprise us!!! Don’t bore us…All our lives are too short for drivel like this.

#Woody Allen #Cafe Society #Kristen Stewart #comedy #Hollywood

Editors Noms minus PGA Noms = Best Picture Oscar Nominees

The A.C.E Nominations for their Eddie Awards were announced yesterday. Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.Awardsdaily.com has always maintained the nominations for Best Film Editing are more important than basically every other nominations when it comes to predicting and of course eventually winning, Best Picture at the Oscars.

This year I’ve tried to do a little adding and subtracting of my own here. Using the Producer’s Guild nominations of the Year’s Ten Best and minusing the A.C.E. Eddie nominees from them.

That leaves us with “American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “Gravity”, “Her”, “Nebraska”, “Saving Mr. Banks”, “12 Years a Slave”, and “Wolf of Wall Street”. I think we can now safely assume that these eight films will equal this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees.

So which Guild is stronger for the remaining “outliers” if you want to call them that. From the Eddie list, it’s “August:Osage County” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” finally turning up SOMEwhere in Guild land with Roderick Jaynes, who is the nom des plumes of both the Coen Brothers. Just FYI, the Academy’s Editing Branch doesn’t like the flim-flannery of this fictitious editor.

And the two films that got the PGA nods, but not the editors were, “Blue Jasmine” and surprisingly “Dallas Buyer’s Club.”

The Academy allows for at least five, and no more than ten nominees, which the Producer’s Guild goes for ten.

Of the remaining four films “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Dallas Buyer’s Club”, “August: Osage County” and “Blue Jasmine” remain in Oscar Purgatory. With my guessing “Llewyn” and “Dallas” having better shots than the other two films.

The Coens have a dedicated fan base in the Academy, and despite “Llewyn”s lact of support in the other guilds, I can see it getting nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Bruno DelBonnell) who was just awarded for his de-saturated, wintry work by the New York Film Critics, and maybe Best Sound and Best Sound Editing, along with Best Editing(the aforementioned Roderick Jaynes) and possibly even Best Directing, too. As well as Best Picture. Never mind the musical categories…That’s actually a VERY big haul for this Little Film That Could. Only the over-crowded Best Actor field I think it’s reasonable to assume will leave the brilliant Oscar Isaac out. Though wouldn’t it be wonderful if he got in?

Where this truly leaves me scratching my head is the Big Fat Fact that means both “Her” and “Saving Mr. Banks” get in for sure for Best Picture…grrr…

And shockingly no “Philomena” ANYwhere!

“Llewyn Davis” SWEEPS Nat’l Soc.of Film Critics! Oscar Isaac Best Actor!

After feeling really terrible for the past two days about “Inside Llewyn Davis”s being shut out of the PGA and the DGA, things have suddenly perked up with ILD winning FOUR count’em FOUR National Society of Film Critics Awards! Best Film, Oscar Isaac Best Actor, and the Coens Bros. for  directing. Also M Bruno.Delbonnel the super superb cinematographer won  for making Greenwich Village looked like I remembered it as a kid. New and clean and dreamy.

This is a wonderful honor for Oscar who, if you haven’t listened to my interview with him which is posted below, has FOUR films opening next year. Imean, this year.Maybe more.

And part of me wonders if this was just in reaction to the shut-outs of the WGA and PGA.  Like “Argo” last year. But the ballots would all have had to be in before the WGA and the PGA announced, right?

In any case, Cate Blanchett AGAIN won Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine”so there’s now no stopping her and of all people, James Franco won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alien in “Spring Breakers” and Jennifer Lawrence pops up again in Best Supporting Actress for “American Hustle.” They are soooo lucky she was in that movie! I found it unwatchable except for her.

The bad news is that “12 Years a Slave” placed third in Best Picture. Behind “Llewyn” and “American Hustle:(ugh) and the same for Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor and Lupita Nyong’O for Best Supp. Actress. They just missed out and both came in second. This makes me sad.

But the good news is that the National Society of Film Critics is NOT a well-known predictor for the Oscars. NOT.AT.ALL. Considered the most intellectual of all the critics’ groups that vote on the Oscars, we have to keep repeating “There are no film critics in the Academy”. At least 200 times.

Anne Thompson of http://www.indiewire.com calls it “A Last Ditch Effort to Save the Coens”! You can read the complete list of winners and where they placed, including their voting tallies there.

So take it for what you will. But it’s not the end of the story and this race is CLOSE!

I think this helps “Llewyn” get into Best Picture and Dulbonnel, too. He also won the New York Film Critics for Best Cinematography. Could help the Coens into the Best Director race. And for sure the Best Original Screenplay category. But THE FIVE are so locked for Best Actor, I don’t know if this means that Oscar has a chance. I hope he does.

Go Oscar! Isaac, I mean…

More Oscar Upsom Downs. WGA announces & AGAIN no “Llewyn Davis”!!!

Yes, it’s more Oscar Ups ‘n’Downs or Upsom Downs, as I like to call it.

Let’s see the Writer’s Guild just announced and it’s up for “American Hustle” and “Lone Survivor”(which almost made my Top Ten List) and Harvey Weinstein even succeeded in getting back in this(after being out of it for only a day. Yesterday. Toldja there’s no stopping Harvery!) with an Adapted Screenplay nomination for “August:Osage County”. Which saw Pulitzer and Tony winning playwright Tracey Letts butcher his own script IMHO.

“After Midnight” which put me to sleep got a Best Original Screenplay nod. ZZZZZZ…

But AGAIN “Blue Jasmine” turns up in Original Screenplay for Woody Allen. “Blue Jasmine” is just getting stronger and stronger, and will garner Woody his upteenth Original Screenplay nomination if he lands the Oscar nod. And as I said, expect Sally Hawkins to get in, too. In Supporting Actress.

And “Dallas Buyer’s Club” is showing surprising strength, too. It’s turning up right where it should be.

And the controversial “Wolf of Wall Street” scores, too! Unbelivable.

However, the down of DOWNS is no love for “Inside Llewyn Davis” which after two down days is RRRRREALLY bad news.

And no screenplay nomination for “Gravity” YAY!

Of course, there’s the caveat that several of the main contenders this year of years including “12 Years a Slave” and “Philomena” weren’t even eligible.

Once again, Kris Tapley is first out of the gate at http://www.hitfix.com

And herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre they are, FWIW. They mean SOMEthing but not EVERYthing, because of the “ineligibles” as Kris calls them.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“American Hustle,” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures
Blue Jasmine,” Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
“Dallas Buyers Club,” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features
Her,” Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.
Nebraska,” Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

August: Osage County,” Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company
Before Midnight,” Written by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan; Sony Classics
Captain Phillips,” Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures
“Lone Survivor,” Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures

Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/dallas-buyers-club-lone-survivor-wolf-of-wall-street-land-wga-nominations#f35iUgtZvdEYKIV8.99

Oscar Shocker! PGA nominates no Weinstein films nor “Llewyn Davis”!!!

Color me shocked! The PGA, probably the most powerful Hollywood Guild these days, in terms of being an Oscar precursor nominated ten films but NONE of them from the Weinstein Co. Harvey’s head must be exploding this morning. No “Philomena”, no “Butler”, no “Long Walk to Freedom”, no “August:Osage County.” Also no “Inside Llewyn Davis” which really bums me out, having just seen it again last night and found it exhilarating.

This means none of those films will be nominated for Best Picture, most likely. But Harvey being Harvey won’t allow this situation to remain status quo. Watch “Philomena” his strongest film kicks out “Her” my guess. And for all the possible acting nominees from all these films, this is not good news either. Forest Whitaker, Oprah,Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, but probably not the great Judi Dench are all now officially on the ropes, vulnerable.

Harvey will just work harder. Which is what he does best. I can’t remember him having such a bunch o’ bad news.But nothing stops him. NOTHING. ONE of his films will get into the Academy’s top ten.

And “Llewyn”s being left out makes me very sad…

Below are the ten nominees. Thankfully “12 Years a Slave” is right where it should be. But surprisingly they nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street”!!! And the disliked “Saving Mr. Banks”!!! The power of Disney…And the super tech-y “Her” which I didn’t think would be to their taste. The Director’s Guild nominations are coming up too on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Thanks to http://www.hitfix.com for this list ~~~And check out Kris Tapley’s EXCELLENT analysis on what all this means. Can’t wait for him and Anne Thompson to do their Oscar Talk podcast, but I’m guessing they’ll wait until after the DGA on Tuesday and BAFTA on Thursday. They’ll have one up next Friday I bet.

Kris, who like myself, is a big “Llewyn”/Oscar Isaac fan (as are Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com) thinks there’s still hope for ILD with a lot of Coen Bros. fans in the Academy. If they nominated the less relatable “A Serious Man”, they’ll nominate “Llewyn Davis.”

Here’s the list below~

“American Hustle (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Jon Gordon, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle

Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

Captain Phillips (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin

Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Producers: Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter

Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman

Her (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay

Nebraska (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa

Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producers: Ian Collie, Alison Owen, Philip Steuer

12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers:  Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner

“The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Riza Aziz, Emma Koskoff, Joey McFarland

 

Video

Oscar Isaac ~ Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor Comedy/Musical for “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Meet Oscar Isaac, the breakthrough performance of the year in the Coen Bros. unique, haunting “Inside Llewyn Davis” which is also nominated for Best Film Comedy or Musical and Best Music by T-Bone Burnett. A Juilliard Graduate, he’s had a considerable stage and film career before he got this Big Break  as Llewyn Davis, the loser folksinger who just can’t catch a break.

A.O.Scott of the New York Times named it “The Best Picture of the Year.”

Oscar was named Best Actor by the Toronto Film Critics and “Inside Llewyn Davis” was named Best Picture. Also the Village Voice and Film Comment magazine named “Llewyn” Best Picture. And it won Best Picture at the Gotham Awards and Oscar accepted the Award in a very thrilling acceptance speech on behalf of the Coens who weren’t there.

Re: Oscars ~ What Do the Independent Spirit Nominations mean? A lot if you’re the Coens.

In terms of Oscar, what do today’s announcements of the Independent Spirit Nominations mean? I think this year they may mean more than they’ve ever meant before, since Oscar is looking like it’s going Indie in a big way this year.

The only films that weren’t eligible were the mega-budget ones like “Gravity” and “Captain Phillips”, but also middle range budgeted films like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “August: Osage County” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”

So that showed some surprises, like the  Best Actor category nearly matching what have been predicted all along. And they even expanded this highly competitive category to six. Wish the Oscars were flexible enough to do something like that!

Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Bruce Dern(Nebraska), Matthew McConaghey(Dallas Buyers Club), Chiwetel Ejiafor(12 Years a Slave), all turned up. As did Michael B. Jordan(Fruitvale Station) As did Oscar Issac for “Inside Llewyn Davis”. He’s the one I can tell you for sure right now will NOT turn up on the Oscar shortlist of five. Nor will Jordan.

Someone who MIGHT surprise in Supporting is John Goodman, for his blown-out, slightly comatose, drugged-up jazz musician. It’s a small part, but he steals the film. And Goodman has NEVER EVEN BEEN NOMINATED! Not ever! For shame!

Apart from Goodman’s mega-bolt jolt, I was very disappointed with “Inside Llewyn Davis”. Shockingly so. I was really psyched to see this movie that has been heaped with critical praise since Cannes.

The ending is terrible and shocking and depressing. And it has one of those Coen Brothers  abrupt endings, like in “No Country for Old Men” or “A Serious Man.” BAM! And then suddenly when you least expect it, it’s over.

I’m up and down on the Coens. And so, shockingly were the Indie Spirits,  and while nominating “Inside Llewyn Davis” for Best Feature, and Oscar Issac for Best Actor, they did not even nominate them for either their directing or writing!

I felt cheated, bitter, by “Inside Llewyn Davis” and soooo disappointed.  I felt like a great opportunity had been missed. And all that hype that’s it had! For what?

But then that’s what Llewyn, their Welsh-descent, folk-singing failure is feeling. So maybe it’s right that I felt that way. That’s what was intended. I was feeling what Llewyn was feeling. Did I over-identify with something inside myself that I didn’t want to see?

It’s their attempt to examine failure in show business and self-destruction and what happens to the middle-of-the-road talented. They end up as road kill, this film is saying.

And a contemplation of the mediocre, ends up being, well, not that interesting, really.But it’s haunting…I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Oh! But they want to identify with, to LOVE Llewyn, and by gosh, they try every cinematic trick in the book to engage you with this semi- likable, stumble-bum of a failure. He fails at EVERYthing!

Carrie Mulligan turns up almost unrecognizably as his some-time girl friend/folk singer, Jane, who simply yells at him “YOU’RE A LOSER!””You suck!” She repeats over and over.

But the film wants you to identify with his struggle, and you do, sort of, but then you get kicked in the teeth quite literally and  harshly by the quixotic conclusion. As Llewyn does.

Oscar Issac, who’s first major film role this is, has to carry nearly the whole damn thing. That and an orange-colored cat. He and the cat are the plot. The cat becomes the symbol of Llewyn’s career, and the love/hate relationship with this  cat, who isn’t even his, is meant to show us Llewyn’s best side, his humanity.

“Oh! You see he can’t be that much of a loser! He likes animals!”

But it’s not enough to hang a picture on.But that’s precisely what the Coens’ have done. They want us to examine, really examine failure.

Oscar Issac has beautiful, large, dark soulful eyes, which the Coens’ and their camera keep getting lost in. And I did too, except when you look inside Llewyn Davis, there’s not much there. He’s a middling singer. And a big-time clusterfuck. Or rather, HIS CHARACTER is. The Coens’ have set Issac an almost impossible task.

Try to play a middlingly talented, not very nice guy, bent on destroying everything around him that’s good. A great part. And a fine, dangerous line to walk for an actor. A tight tight rope balancing act between alienating everyone while not alienating the audience from yourself as a talent. Tough stuff. And you have to say that Issac gives it everything he’s got.

However, it’s nice to see Greenwich Village looking like it did in the early ’60s, when the film is set. And folk music to me is no big whoop. Never was.

And I never dug Bob Dylan, who is supposed to be lurking in the shadows, as the arbiter of change. What change? To me  there was none.

So I left this film feeling totally down on it, like Llewyn is on his whole life, not just his music. So this kind of non-traditional movie, is the sort of film that the Indies would shower nominations upon. But they seemed to feel the same way about it that I did. Mixed. Or mixed up.

And I bet the Academy does, too.  Although if, in a field of ten, the Coens’ “A Serious Man” can get a best picture nod out of AMPAS, then who knows? “Inside Llewyn Davis” could, too. The Coens have an ardent fan base of admirers in the Academy.

But like “A Serious Man”, it won’t win anything. MAYbe a “Best Original Screenplay” nod, and a Supporting Actor nom for John Goodman, too. And T-Bone Burnett was in the background taking care of all the musical numbers, which were many.

And like “Les Miserables” last year, all of the songs were sung live, and not pre-recorded, and in front of a live coffee-house audience. Who also seemed half-dead.

This is a very tricky high-wire act the Coens are trying to pull off. Making a full-blown Hollywood movie movie about an abject failure. A mediocrity, who no one loves. A singer who can sing well, but not THAT well. An unsympathetic sympathetic character is then what? Simply pathetic?

Why should we waste our time? And awards?

E.T.A. Tonight “Llewyn Davis” won Best Picture at the Gotham Awards! And Oscar Issac bounded on to the stage to accept for the Coens who were not there(They probably thought “12 Years A Slave” was going to win, and so did I, but it got NOTHING!) and Issac wowed the crowd by saying, he was so proud and happy to be accepting the award for the Coens. “It’s a movie made in New York about New Yorkers, filled with New Yorkers,” And everybody loved him.

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