Oscar History

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Entries in Neon Demon (9)

Jul 06 2016

Interview: That Neon-Loving Demon,Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn.Photographed by Tom Hoopsfor Lab MagazineNicolas Winding Refn,the Danish auteur whose made a career of candy colored violent films after grimier movies at home,is both exactly what you'd expect and unexpected.The expected: he's a little bit eccentric pacing the room rather than sitting,a little intimidating,and a little impish -- it's difficult to know if he truly means what he says in some instances,or if he has just mastered the art of provocation.The unexpected: he's relatively friendly,surprisingly generous about his collaborators despite the auteur's ego,very tall,thin and surprisingly attractive,something you wouldn't necessarily think since he's so often been photographed with inhuman gods like Ryan Gosling who make everyonebutother movie stars look crumpled and basic.

As we talk we find mutual ground in Christina Hendricks adoration ("the perfect woman,"he says) but elsewhere it's like he's speaking a foreign language and I don't mean Danish.His films,though quite serious on the surface,betray a dark sense of humor,and yet it still surprises me to hear him drop "I think it would be fun to make a spy movie"as we're saying our goodbyes.Why is this surprising?I couldn't quite tell you but such is the fascination of meeting this singular director,whatever you make of his increasingly divisive movies.

Our interview follows....

NATHANIEL: Let's talk about your opening scene.It's such a bold tableau.Did you ever worry you were coming on too strong.Like 'how will I top that first image?'

NICOLAS WINDING REFN: I'm setting the stage knowing that,if you look through the film,you'll see the same dynamic in all the other scenes of death and beauty.

NATHANIEL: So you're laying the theme.

NWR: I'm laying the theme right on.Most films -- storytelling in mass media -- start slowly,introducing.Eventually it gets to some kind of dramatic point in the first act.That means the second act is how do we solve it and the third act is resolution.But i don't necessarily believe that's the right order...

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Jul 05 2016

Halfway Mark: Achievements in Costume Design

We've celebrated themale performances,theheroes and villains,cinematography & production design.So let's hit Nathaniel's (c'est moi) favorite craft category costume design,as we wrap up our halfway mark festivities this week (actresses still to come).Who would I choose and who might Oscar choose if the year had ended June 30th?

(January to June theatrical releases only)

Achievements in Overall Costume Design
If I were drawing up my year end ballot right now (January to June releases) I'd pick these five films though there will inevitably be strong competition to come -- will any of them be nominated at year's end?

The Neon Demon,Erin Benach
While Benach doesn't manage anything as iconic as her scorpion jacket forDrive,few films do so you can't hold that against this film.Between the dichotomous looks of the innocent ingenue (half sexual / half innocuous flowing girlie dresses) to the rigid couture of her rivals,there's lots of texture and color and editorial looks to consider.

Sing Street,Tiziana Corvisieri
Corvisieri pulls from a surprisingly wide range of styles in this film to trace the DIY looks of "Sing Street,"the band within the film,and how their music video style translates into their schoolboy uniforms.Great fun on a costume level but always believably low-budget and "thrown together"(though they were surely well planned by Corviseri)

9 more honored costume designersafter the jump...

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Jul 01 2016

Halfway Mark: Cinematography & Production Design

We've celebratedthe male performancesandthe heroes and villainsof the year's first half.But before we get to the actresses --what?foreplay makes it hotter-- let's revel in the beauty of Cinematography & Production Design.These five choices in each category are what yours truly,Nathaniel,would nominate if the year ended on June 30th.Please share your list of praiseworthy achievements in the comments.Movies are communal and loving them should be,too.

(January to June theatrical releases only.Disclaimer: I have not yet seen The Mermaid which I hear is an eyeful)

Best Cinematography
If I had a ballot right now (January to June releases only...)

A Bigger Splash,Yorick Le Saux
From gold dust sunshine to postcard istas,from the ambient light of off white seaside architecture to intimate dinners by candlelight,Le Saux is always caressing the already sensual actors with light.

Embrace of the Serpent,David Gallego
In glorious black and white but for hallucinogenic sequences,the sharp contrast photography does wonders to make this already foreign world look ever more forgotten and alien.And there's something about that inky water that makes the whole picture more suspenseful in its rowing languours.

8 more honorees after the jump...

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Jun 28 2016

Review: The Neon Demon

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column atTowleroad

What are we looking at?

The Neon Demon‘s first tableau features Elle Fanning,throat slit and reclining on a chaise lounge floating over a pool of photogenic crimson blood.It's so perfectly lit and shaped it begs to be honored as a metaphoric pedestal exalting her death.Is the obviously smitten man photographing all of this her serial killer who missed his calling as an art director?

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Jun 26 2016

Water Sports with Dory,Blake,and Dead Daniel

Moviegoers were content to keep swimming with Dory this weekend as the new releases didn't stir audiences.Well that's not wholly true.Moviegoers turned out for other water sports like water skiing on Daniel Radcliffe's corpse inSwiss Army Man(crowded houses but only available in NY & LA) and shark dodging with Blake Lively inThe Shallowswhich had a solid per screen average,a low budget,and surprisingly good reviews.That triple combo could signify big profits forThe Shallowsahead if the film finds legs in July,especially if it doesn't lose momentum over the 4th of July holiday week frenzy whenThe BFG,Tarzan,andThe Purge 3are all newly available to moviegoers.

The two films that had the toughest time this weekend were the 20 years later (aka way too late) sequelIndependence Day Resurgenceand the horror/fashion/noir/thriller/satire/whatsit/dramaNeon Demon,which risked a nearly wide opening (just under 800 theaters) but couldn't fill theaters -- Elle Fanning isn't bankable yet.Whatever happened to Dakota?*sniffle*

1000+ screens.arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
▫️01Finding Dory$73.2 (cum.$286.5)Review
02Independence Day: Resurgence$41.6 NEW
▫️03Central Intelligence$18.3 (cum.$69.3)
04The Shallows$16.7 NEW
05Free State of Jones$7.7 NEW
06The Conjuring 2$7.7 (cum.$86.9)
07Now You See Me 2$5.6 (cum.$52)
08X-Men Apocalypse$2.4 (cum.$151.1)Review,Podcast
09TMNT: Out of the Shadows$2.4 (cum.$77.1)
10Warcraft$2.1 (cum.$43.8)Six Questions

Fan Art by The Glitchway.Clickhere for more

Less than 1000 screens.Excluding previously wide.
01The Neon Demon$606KNEW
02Love & Friendship$490K (cum.$11.8)Review,Podcast
The Lobster$436K (cum.$7)Reviewish,Podcast

04Maggie's Plan$297K (cum.$2.2)Review
Genius$216K (cum.$807K)
06Weiner$115K (cum.$1.2)Review
Swiss Army Man$114KNEWReview

08Dark Horse$92K (cum.$493K)Review

09The Man Who Knew Infinity$88K (cum.$3.5)

The Hunt for Wilderpeople$85KNEWReview

What movies did you catch this week?

Somehow I kicked off the weekend by visitinga facade of thePsychohouse(Mommy issues for everyone!) with my bestie andThe Flick Filosopherwho was visiting from London.But I also caughtGenius,The Neon DemonandSwiss Army Manand more on those soon.

May 20 2016

Cannes's Latest Booing Victims

It wouldn't be Cannes without the reports of boos from the always feisty crowd.While reviews and early word from the festival's first days were mostly positive,the jeers are just starting to begin.This year's unluckiest victims have beenPersonal ShopperandThe Neon Demon.

If the reported response toThe Neon Demonis to be believed,it may be one for future Cannes lore.The most vocal detractors were hurling obscenities at the screen and many responses were repulsed by the film's more twisted,violent elements and shallow veneer.But the question remains: What else did they expect from a Nicolas Winding Refn horror film?Perhaps the boos themselves could have been expected as well,given the reaction to his previous effortOnly God Forgives.

Personal Shopperreunites director Olivier Assayas with hisClouds of Sils Mariastar Kristen Stewart as an assistant suffering from ghostly visitations.Its many early fans have defended it as misunderstood,ambiguous,and difficult to categorize,and Stewart hasgarnered some Best Actress buzzfor the festival.By my estimation,the film has inspired some of the best writing of the festival,likeRichard Lawson's aching take over at Vanity Fair.The first international trailer promises something unique indeed:

Neither film needs to worry: they join the long tradition of films that have been booed at the festival,includingTaxi Driver,Marie Antoinette,The Tree of Life,andInglourious Basterds.Not every film booed at Cannes turns out like Vincent Gallo'sThe Brown Bunny- so consider our excitement for bothShopperandDemonincreased.

Have you ever experienced booing in the cinema?