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Entries in Genius (7)

Wednesday
Aug 23 2017

Emmy Review: Outstanding Period/Fantasy Costumes

by Nathaniel R

The television Academy split up the costume categories at the Emmys just a few years ago.Given that all awards bodies default to period work over contemporary work if they have a choice between the two (sigh) it's good that they did this.Now contemporary costumes will be able to actually win prizes!This period category,then,feels more like a continuation of the original Emmy category "Outstanding Costumes for a Series"

The nominees are...

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Tuesday
Dec 27 2016

Cinematic Shame...with a "Stay Positive!" Twist

Year in Review.Every day a new wrap-up.Tonight,the "worst"of the year...

Since we are absolutely determined to make 2017 the greatest year it could possibly be despite oppressive circumstances,let this post serve as last call for excessive negativity.Get it all out of your system in the comments,mkay?We'll also put a positive spin on these dubious "awards"for ungreat things at the movie theaters this year...

WORST OPENING SCENE(S)
Hacksaw Ridgebegins with such overworked hokey cartoonish Americana and Andrew Garfield plays his eventual pacifist hero as such a Forrest Gump style village idiot that it's something of a miracle that the movie becomes a surprisingly watchable war drama thereafter.

Even Garfield manages to turn his initially quite awful (sorry) performance around in the final hour of the film.I personally haven't seen a decent / good movie start so much like it was a terrible movie sinceJuno,have you?

WORST MIDDLE
Suicide Squadis so inept that it never gets past character introductions.Criticisms that it was just a movie trailer with a real movie running time proved to have deadlier aim than Will Smith's Deadshot.

Best Acting in Bad Movies,and other "Honors"after the jump....

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Thursday
Jul 21 2016

Teensy Reviews: 6 Films We Didn't Review Properly

These reviews could fit in a tweet.Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them when they arrived,though he sometimes dropped hints of his feelings in other contexts.

IN THEATERS

Swiss Army Man(Daniels)
Story: A suicidal man (Paul Dano) finds companionship and a new zest for life when he meets a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe)
Review: Wobbly start,Self sabotaging end.But,Oh!,those imaginative mental heights in the middle.
Grade: Middle Hour:A-/ The Rest:C+

Genius(Michael Grandage)
Story: An account of the long working relationship between famed editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) and one of his literary finds Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law).Let us not mention the women (Nicole Kidman,The Lovely Laura Linney) lest we rage again at the terrible gender politics
Review: The work of an editor is shape & rhythm,so why is a film about a great one lumpy and lead-footed?Over and under-acted at once.
Grade:D-
Extra:Amir's festival review

The Shallows(Jaume Collet-Serra)
Story: A grieving med school dropout is attacked by a shark and stranded in the ocean alone.Can she survive?Review: Mechanical,but that's meant as a compliment.It plays.Slight with just enough bite (sorry).Bonus points for Steven Seagull.
Grade:B

ON DVD & BLURAY

The Bronze(Bryan Buckley)
Story: Two former Olympic champions (Melissa Rauch & Sebastian Stan) fight over a promising new female gymnast
Review: Rude and daring.But its suffocatingly narrow comic tone mars the promising conceit,good jokes,and a lunatic sex scene.
Grade:C+

How to Be Single(Christian Ditter)
Story: Four single girls (Dakota Johnson,Leslie Mann,Rebel Wilson,Alison Brie) try to find themselves...and maybe a boyfriend...in Manhattan.
Review: Unexpectedly involving performances.Fun.And yet,as uneven and generic as first dates.One entire storyline needs to go.
Grade:B-

10 Cloverfield Lane(Dan Trachtenberg)
Story: A woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up chained up by a man (John Goodman) in an underground shelter.Should she fear the man or the apocalypse he swears is raging outside the bunker?
Review: Discomforting.What it lacks in scope,it makes up for in propulsive plotting: from frying pan to fire to inferno.
Grade:B

Tuesday
Feb 16 2016

Berlin: 'Genius' starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth

Amir Soltaniis covering the Berlin International Film Festival,TFE's first time at Berlinale!Here is his take on Michael Grandage'sGenius.

Berlinale is known for inviting one or two Hollywood pictures to the festival every year to add glamour to the sprawling selection of mostly arthouse curios.One of those films in this year's edition was Michael Grandage's first feature as a director,Genius.A period piece based on a true story,the film came to the festival with high expectations,given the distribution deal with Lionsgate already in place,and the pedigree of everyone involved,including thrice Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan,and Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in the cast.But this was all before the film was screened and faced walkouts and unintentional laughs.

Maxwell Perkins (Firth) was the editor and invisible hand behind some of the biggest American masterpieces of literature in the 1920s,including novels by Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) and F.Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pierece).Perkins is a family man,living in an expansive estate with his wife Louise (Laura Linney) and five daughters.As one would expect of the editor responsible for taming wild characters such as Hemingway and,eventually,Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law),Perkins is a gentleman of the highest order,calm and gentle,but serious all the same.[More...]

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Thursday
Dec 17 2015

Berlinale - Which films will Meryl Streep soon be judging?

Murtadahere to talk Berlinale which runs February 11th through the 21st.The Berlin Film Festival just announced titles for its Panorama section.These are possibly movies we will be talking about all through 2016,as we are still talking about45 Yearswhich made its debut there all the way back in February.

Gerwig and Hawke in Maggie's Plan

Among the titles is TIFF and NYFF entryMaggie's Planfrom director writer Rebecca Miller and starring Greta Gerwig,Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore.Gerwig has admitted during a Q&A at NYFF that she based her character's look on Miller's style.That got us fantasizing that the movie is a roman a clef about how Miller married Daniel Day Lewis soon after he was involved with Isabelle Adjani.After all Moore is playing a sorta crazy European.

Another interesting title is John Michael McDonagh's War on Everyonewith Michael Pena,Alexander Skarsgard and Theo James.All you fans of The Guardshould be excited.Other titles include films from Ghana,Morocco and of course France.The full list is here.

Firth and Law in Genius

But more importantly who does Meryl get tojudgeaspresident of the jury?

First is Michael Grandage'sGeniuswhich stars the man who presented her withthat 3rd Oscarand her co-star fromThe Hours.Geniustells the true story of the relationship between famous American novelist Thomas Wolfe (played by Jude Law) and iconic editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth).Nicole Kidman is playing Aline Bernstein a costume designer who was in a romantic relationship with Wolfe.Other literary greats depicted in the film are Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West ) and F Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce).

Previously thought to bepremiering at SXSW,Jeff Nichols'Midnight Specialwill now premiere first at Berlin.Starring Michael Shannon,Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst,it's the tale of a boy who may have supernatural powers and all the bad guys in his pursuit.

Actor/Director Vincent Perez (Queen Margot) rallied up Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson to play a couple who start working against theNazisafter the death of their only son during WWII inAlone in Berlin.Daniel Bruhl is the SS Officer on their tail in the first of two 2016 movies where he plays a member of that infamous group,the other being the Jessica Chastain vehicleThe Zookeeper's Wife.(Not at Berlinale).

These titles join the previously announced opening film"Hail,Caesar!"which will be playing out of competition.Yes it's the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen but more importantly has Tilda Swinton giving Dame Helen Mirren (Trumbo) a run for her money by playing a version of Hedda Hopper.Who will beCapoteand who becomesInfamous?

Kidman,Thompson,Moore,Swinton.Who's first on your list based on these descriptions?

Monday
Apr 06 2015

April Foolish Oscar Predix - Supporting Actors

As is the case every year the supporting categories are incredibly foggy early on.One rarely knows which supporting players have big roles (unless they're co-leads campaigning fraudulently which we should always expect).And then there's the matter of who will steal scenes and who will be reduced to glorified cameos even if their roles sound good on paper.

Will Poulter and Tom Hardy heading to shoot scenes for The Revenant

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about this Foolish early punditry: Supporting players,unlike leads,almost never win traction unless their film is also well liked.That adds yet another layer of clouds blocking future vision.

All of which makes April Foolish supporting pictures an exercize in fantasy.But it's fun!The chart is now up forBest Supporting Actorand to start things off I'm predicting an all newbie lineup.But looking over the general foggy field one could have genuine with high hopes for a couple of respected actors who've never had a real Oscar shot like Tom Hardy and Kyle Chandler,actors who have been mistreated by Oscar like Ralph Fiennes (future cinephiles will be driven mad puzzling how he missed forGrand Budapest Hotel) and Kurt Russell (tell me again how he missed forSilkwood?) and actors who fit right into Things Oscar Does like Seth Rogen (comic gone serious),Bradley Cooper (you like me you really like me) and so on.The chart is big and extensive because it's silly to rule anyone out before most films have begun screening.

Among films with large casts that we suspect are teeming with possibly eventful supporting players but who can really say are Warren Beatty's Untitled Howard Hughes Project,Quentin Tarantino'sHateful Eight,and the press expose of the Catholic Church scandal drama known asSpotlight

Some of "Spotlight"s key cast members: Keaton,Schreiber,Ruffalo,McAdams,Slattery,James

And that's not all.There's also the head-injury medical sports dramaConcussionled by Will Smith,an FBI drama led by Emily Blunt calledSicario,and the all star period literary dramaGeniuswhich features Jude Law,Guy Pearce,Dominic West,and others as famous authors.There's also the Hollywood Blacklist dramaTrumbowhich is headlined by Bryan Cranston but features a lot of other actors as famous showbiz figures

Do you have any suspicions aboutthis fieldor any wild card predictions?