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Posts tagged ‘Queen Elizabeth’

On seeing “King’s Speech” again, Helena & Colin totally rule the screen

It’s suddenly spring in New York City, after a horribly snowy winter, which probably isn’t completely over yet, SUDDENLY we’re having a day in the mid-50s temperature-wise! You don’t even need a coat today!

Well, spring was certainly in my step when I decided to see a 10:25AM screening of “The King’s Speech” which I hadn’t seen since that first early 9AM screening. The first press screening on the first day of TIFF’10, this past September. I knew it was probably going to be very, very good. I mean, it had Harvey Weinstein behind it, and that star-studded British cast.

I just wasn’t ready to have my mind totally blown by the quiet brilliance of this masterful film. Which I  instinctually knew was an instant classic. And that Colin Firth’s performance was one of the greatest ones I would ever seen on-screen. His stuttering, reluctant King George VI is one of the great screen performances, and has been hailed as such with Firth winning every single Best Actor award on his way to the Oscar podium.

I had the privilege of being of being the first one to broach the Big O news to Colin Firth himself, AND Geoffrey Rush AND director Tom Hooper, that beastly hot September morn in Toronto. And you can see their more than startled reactions at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltSHow

On seeing it a second time so early in the morning, I wanted to make sure that I saw it with an attentive, quiet audience. Who laughed at the appropriate moments, and were crying at the end. Just like they did in Toronto. And this half-full, respectful audience applauded at the end, just like they did in Toronto. I stayed spell-bound, just like I had in Toronto, all through the end credits and the lovely Alexander Desplat piano melodies. I remember that TIFF audience of hardened critics were all spell-bound, too. It’s like they were rooted in their chairs, totally blown away by the simplicity and beauty of what they had just seen. Nobody left at TIFF, til the end credits were finished. Then there was thunderous applause. We had seen the best film of this year or any year. We had seen a mastepiece.

All great films are their own miracles. And I have to say that if you want to really enjoy evenings in this month TMC’s “31 Days of Oscar” is just one wonderful night of cinema after the other. I’ve seen “The Heiress,” “Mrs. Miniver”, “Forrest Gump”, “Marty”, “Gone With the Wind” and “Twelve Angry Men” in just the past 10 days! Magnificent films, all.

And “The King’s Speech” is right up there with them. Seeing Colin Firth’s utterly brilliant performance again, this time I was even more astounded at the levels of pain he reached. Every time that poor man had to open his mouth and say something,  the inner torment, the hell that man expressed each time he had to utter even the most mundane and simple of declarative sentences was shattering.

His George VI is coming unglued in nearly every scene. And Tom Hooper’s direction is equally masterful. Always capturing the era(the 1930s) as if it was a doc happening right before your eyes today.

When Colin Firth ended our career-high interview(for me anyway…He kept saying “I don’t want you to leave. I just don’t want you to leave.” But alas I had to…) he stood up to shake my hand and I was astonished that he was a strapping 6’3″.

You see Tom Hooper and his excellent cinematographer always framed Colin to look short and small, which the real King George VI was, and Colin Firth, the man, isn’t at all.

This time I saw how he was always seated in ill-fitting chairs. The wide-angle lens Hooper uses makes this handsome man as plain and ungainly and painful to look at as possible.He is always shot looking out of place. Even in the most comfortable of surroundings, he is uncomfortable. He is always framed alone in very large, empty,slightly distorted spaces. He is trapped in the royal fish bowl, and he can’t get out of it. And only Helena Bonham Carter’s sweet supportive Queen Elizabeth penetrates those spaces.

Bonham Carter’s performance as the Queen just totally jumped off the screen at me this time. I was able to gauge her silences and the painful look in her large dark saucer eyes much more carefully. This is a portrait of a happy marriage made painful only by circumstance and the husband’s disability. The love between the two is palpable, and magnificently rendered by Bonham Carter.

The first section of the film is entirely hers, as she strikes out on her own, to find just the right Speech Therapist, for her beleaguered husband, then only the Duke of York. And simply a royal prince, who was never brought up to be the king.

Bonham Carter’s opening scenes are just a delight as she proceeds to a part of London she never in a million years felt that she would ever find herself in. Even her struggles with a lift(British elevator)’s caged door gates becomes a moment of hilarious business, and then it doesn’t go up. It descends to the basement. Which is where Logue’s apartments are. Or the scene as when she passes her husband off  to Logue as “Mr. Johnson,” a banker who has to give public speeches.

The second viewing just made me gasp at how strong her performance really is and how she does stand up in her own quiet way to the demands of the role of the ultimate supportive wife. And certainly the category of Best Supporting Actress is made for this sort of  classic turn.

She does not chew the scenery. She does not overact or over-react. Her calibration, guided by Hooper’s gentle, subtle directorial hand, is superb. And very, very moving. The last scene when the King actually has to do “The Speech” of the title of the movie, keeps cutting back to her, with her young daughter Elizabeth at her side, listening, her wide-dark eyes, pools of concern, and love and pain, and finally she is subtlely moved to tears,or  more accurately a single, beautiful tear as her husband rallies his country to war against the Nazis.

Her one tear reduces all the audience to tears, too.

And Kings and Queens, especially such sympathetic, heroic ones as these two, win our hearts and usually Oscars, too.

And Geoffrey Rush? He deserves his own separate piece – coming soon.

Oscar Race Now a Royal Flush. The Queen of England likes it. She really likes it!

OMG! Game, Set and Match!

Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth, just saw “The King’s Speech” and has issued a statement (and entered the Oscar race for the first time herself!) saying she found it among other things “moving and enjoyable.”!!!!!



OMG! *bows and courtesies at the same time* Your Majesty!!!

The Royal Family, never, NEVER comments on films, let alone biopics of a family member, in this case the Queen’s late father and mother, George VI and his queen, also named Elizabeth, and she LOVED it evidently. She found it “moving and enjoyable” and many other things that you can read about over at www.indiewire.com

I just can’t believe it! I thought this was going to be a quiet weekend for TKS, what with it not qualifiying for the WGA(Writers Guild Award) on a technicality. So it was going to be a low-key weekend for Colin & co. Then BAM! This bombshell lands! And I couldn’t be more surprised and delighted.

“The King’s Speech” tells the story, a very painful story, of a reluctant king who stammered, and yet wanted to do the right thing by his country. Then WWII breaks out, which is how the film ends…

And I just think and I’ve said this ever since I saw this brilliant, moving film at the Toronto Film Festival in early September, that I thought it was one of the best films I’ve ever seen IN MY LIFE!

I didn’t expect to respond to it as profoundly as I did, which is a tribute to all involved, the list of names I don’t have to repeat yet again, but all EVERYBODY, EVERYONE is going to get showered with first the BAFTAS, all 16 of them, then the Oscars, all 12 races. I said it was going to be a sweep.

And I was just settling down to explain why in my Oscar blog here, but Her Royal Highness swept in and just did all my work for me. She explained why “The King’s Speech” is going to be the King’s Sweep. As in EVERY SINGLE OSCAR. Every single category.

I was going to break them all down one by one and now I don’t have to. The Queen of England just did it for me. Any Academy members, who one hears from all corners, that they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it already, and now with the Queen telling them what to do, will write “The King’s Speech” down and as Colin Firth put it to me, in another context, “Tick all the boxes.”

NEVER! NEVER has the Royal Family broken its’ code of silence which is the historic stance they take to anything written about them. They NEVER respond.

But for the QUEEN to tell voters all over the world that SHE LOVES THIS MOVIE ABOUT HER PARENTS, by god, they are all going to return the compliment and vote every single nominated member in.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone said this at first, as noted a few posts back. “It’s coming for everything.” www.awardsdaily.com Then she back pedaled on this week’s Tom O’Neill Gold Derby to basically only Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Original Screenplay for David Seidler.

THEN she wrote one of her 4000 word State of the Race pieces, beautifully, eloquently, and elegantly as always and called it “A Tale of Two Movies” Admitting TKS would get BP. So that pushed her win count to four. Mine has remained at 12 for 12, not since “Ben Hur” or “Titanic” THAT kind of sweep…and now, we have a real reason ~ The QUEEN OF FUCKING ENGLAND likes it! She really likes it!

So the Academy members can just relax and check all twelve boxes. And they will gladly do as the Queen commands. More than any other American group except the Tony voters, the Academy is Anglo-philic to a fault.

Tom Hooper just won the DGA. Done. Sasha (and me, too) thinks that Geoffrey Rush is in, over Christian Bale. DONE.  And the Up in the Air, confusing as always Best Supporting Actress category is now Helena Bonham-Carter’s to lose. If the QUEEN OF ENGLAND said she loved how her father was portrayed, AND HER MOTHER, TOO. Helena B-C wins it, as I always said she would. DONE.

Everybody agrees on David Seidler. And the costumes and the art direction which MIGHT have gone to “Alice in Wonderland” are now also part and parcel of this Royal Flush. Best Editing is always won by the film that wins Best Picture, so that’s in TKS shopping cart, too….

Best Cinematography…well, MAYBE the overdue Roger Deakins would have been the choice, given his many nominations and no wins, but now people are starting to talk about the incredible use of the wide-angle lens that the genius director Tom Hooper uses in TKS to such devastating effect. Making for one thing the 6’3″ strapping Colin Firth look like a small, scared man, which King George VI was. Well, the more that gets talked about and seen. And EVERYBODY is now going to watch that screener, if they haven’t already, and check off every box.

And what’s left? The Score. Check. Sound Mixing, all those crowd scenes in front of microphones, all the stuttering scenes, every splutter, every click, every stammer, though those are a brilliant actor’s(and director’s) creation, every single throat catching murmur…and the silences, too. That’s all sound mixing. CHECK.

I think we’re about done now.

And looking at those below the line categories I would say that only Roger Deakins is any real threat, so 11 nominations out of 12 MIGHT happen. But they’ve been snubbing Roger Deakins for decades, and maybe they’ll snub him here, too.

It’s going to win EVERY SINGLE BAFTA AWARD next week in England. And so not to be out done, the Academy will just hand over all the Oscars, in its’ arsenal, too.

Chris Tapley, over at www.incontention.com just floated the boat that MAYBE Michael Arndt will get the Best Adapted Screenplay for “Toy Story 3” which I personally loved. And so did a gagillion other people all over the world…And then “The Joy of Typing” could end up with NO-THING! Which is pretty much exactly what it deserves.

Her Royal Highness, the Queen of England herself, is now telling Oscar AND Bafta voters what to vote for, and this annoucement is SOOO perfectly timed, too. Basically obliterating the WGA pre-ordained “Typing” triumphs this weekend.

God Save the Queen!!!!

Queen of England saw “King’s Speech” & LOVED IT!

Never has a member of the Royal Family seen a film and commented publicly on it! See www.indiewire.com Anne Thompson, of Thompson on Hollywood just shot me the email blast that went out to the world. “Your move, Social Network!” said Anne, and I quote.

GAME OVER! My TV show is coming on in NYC on Ch.56 on Time Warner Cable in Manhattan. It’s on Bill Dawes, “Lombardi” and football! My first EVER Super Bowl Show!

Must dash! But you can see it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

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