Audrey Tautou stars in the not so new biopic of the fashion icon
Had an opportunity to see Anne Fontaine's "Coco Avant Chanel" last night and while I can't review it at this time I will heap some praise on the gorgeous score by Alexandre Desplat you can already find online.
Desplat is a two-time Oscar nominee for his work in "The Queen" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," but his music has usually been hit or miss in my opinion with his score for "Lust, Caution" being his most memorable score to date -- before "Chanel" that is. To say his music makes the movie wouldn't be fair to the strong performance from star Audrey Tautou or the beautiful work of cinematographer Christophe Beaucarne, but it's close. Desplat's compositions will be heard by many moviegoers over the next few months as he's reunited with his "Golden Compass" director Chris Weitz for "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," scored Wes Anderson's animated "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" (assuming that actually makes it to screens this year).
Weinsteins are in the Oscar race, but can they afford it?
The bigger than expected $38 million opening of The Weinstein Company's "Inglourious Basterds" has fueled speculation that Quentin Tarantino's latest might be a new player for one of this year's wide open ten Best Picture slots. Well, with contenders dropping left and right either because (A) new release dates ("Shutter Island") have them in 2010 or (B) scuttlebutt that the films aren't the players the media think they are (nameless for now), the list of potential candidates is growing smaller and smaller by the week. In fact, even if it were still the traditional five slots people would be whispering about what a weak year it is. With 10? Yeesh.
Now, it's entirely possible "Basterds" could generate enough support within the Academy to crack the top ten, however, there's a long road till January, er, February 2 and Harvey's priority for Oscar is first and foremost Rob Marshall's star-filled "Nine." Luckily, Relativity Media co-financed a majority of movie musical and should support that marketing and awards campaign. But, its hard to believe the cash-strapped Weinsteins have the dollars to pull off a rumored "Crash" like campaign for "Basterds."
A sneak peek at 20 must see films at TIFF this year
As the end of summer draws to a close anticipation is building for the triumvirate of film festivals beginning over the next few weeks. The Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals will all features debuts of long awaited films from filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh, Michael Moore, Werner Herzog, Jason Reitman, Todd Solondz, the Coen brothers, Don Roos and Neil Jordan. A welcome change from some of the expected drudge of the last few months.
It's also the unofficial kick off to awards season as potential contenders nervously debut their wares to the critics and the pubic for the first time. "Slumdog Millionaire" began its buzz train at Telluride and Toronto last year and other unknowns such as "Juno" and "Michael Clayton" kick started their long campaigns in similar fashion. (Then again, there is always the chance of a disastrous debut such as the Toronto premiere of "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," a wound that picture truly never recovered from.)
Is it really a financial issue or does the movie not live up to its materials?
Well there goes one potential Best Picture candidate.
DHD's broke the news that's been rumored all over town the past few days that Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" is moving to a February 2010 release date. Paramount Pictures is not confirming the new date (yet), but outside sources say it's a done deal.
Based on a popular novel by Dennis Lehane, the thriller featured an all-star prestige picture cast including previous Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Max von Sydow and Michelle Williams as well as past winner Ben Kingsley. The trailer, to all accounts, played superbly and the film was considered one of the true potential critical and box office hits of the fall.
The Vanguard selection has a Charles Manson connection
The Toronto International Film Festival is right around the corner and HitFix is happy to announce that coverage will be provided by both myself and Drew McWeeny as we report on the films, interview the filmmakers and stars and, god willing, hit some parties.
Canadian films are always hit or miss at the Festival, but this writer has always done his best to make sure he catches a few because you never know when you'll see the next "Away from Her" or "Last Night" (one to Netflix if you've never seen it). One intriguing Canadian flick this year is the murder drama "Leslie, My Name is Evil" in the festival's Vanguard selection.
'Juno' director Jason Reitman's follow up ramps up for Toronto
One of the more intriguing last minute additions to the awards season calendar is Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air."
A dramedy based on a novel by Walter Kirn, "Air" centers on Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a traveling corporate downsizing expert whose dream of reaching 10 million frequent flyer miles is threatened when a new woman (Vera Farminga) enters his life.
It was unclear whether the film would even release in 2009, but Reitman has worked quickly enough to ensure that and a debut at this year's Toronto Film Festival (although Telluride wouldn't be out of the question too). Reitman's family has a long history with the festival and its given a great kick off to his last two features, "Thank You For Smoking" and the Oscar-nominated "Juno."
Believe the 'Basterds' hype for Christoph Waltz
Finally had a chance to see Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" tonight and it lived up to the growing hype its received since screening here in the states over the past few weeks. Word wasn't so positive after the film premiered at Cannes, but there has been quite a turnabout since.
Clearly Tarantino's best work since the first half of "Kill Bill" (unless you insist on judging that epic whole), "Basterds" may wear out its welcome a bit, but it features some truly great performances.
First off, how nice is it to see Diane Kruger actually enjoying herself on screen instead of her painful work in the "National Treasure" franchise and "Troy"? Her portrayal of fictional German screen star Bridget von Hammersmark is almost a revelation if you didn't realize her European resume has been turning heads for the past decade. Let's hope this puts her back on the radar of A-list directors in the states.
Another international actor who should get some more U.S. attention after "Basterds" is Daniel Bruhl. Moviegoers may recognize him from his small role in "The Bourne Ultimatum," but it's his charming turn as Fredrick Zoller, a Nazi war hero who tries to seduce Soshanna Dreyfus (a fine Melanie Laurent) that should boost his profile in the English-making movie world. Bruhl is certainly no stranger to the industry after his breakthrough role in 2003's "Good Bye Lenin!" but "Basterds" shows he may be ready to make a bigger step outside of continental Europe.
Tom Hanks becomes Vice President, Pixar's John Lasseter gets busier
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced tonight that its Board of Governors has elected Tom Sherak the new president of the organization. He succeeds Sid Ganis who served out the maximum four one-year alloted terms.
Additionally, Tom Hanks (yes that Tom Hanks) was elected "first" vice president and longtime Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy and Phil Robinson were elected to the other vice president slots. Hawk Koch was elected treasurer and Pixar and Disney Animations studios head John Lasseter was made secretary (good lord, where does the man find the time?).
Oscar Contender: Can Swank fly away with a third statue?
For Hilary Swank, "Amelia" is a labor of love.
The two-time Oscar winning actress executive produced the biopic of legendary aviator Amelia Earhart and stuck by the production through fits and starts over the years. In fact, Fox Searchlight didn't come on board until a few weeks into filming. But it's not hard to see why.
"Amelia" was directed by Mira Nair who had a sleeper hit with Searchlight's "The Namesake" and has a long resume of excellence with "Monsoon Wedding" and the HBO TV movie "Hysterical Blindness" to her credit. She's recruited a crew with many accolades of their own including composer Gabriel Yared ("The English Patient")and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh ("The Piano"). The screenplay is by Oscar winner Ronald Bass ("Rain Man") and Anna Hamilton Phelan ("Girl, Interrupted") bringing more prestige to the production. In front of the camera, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor climbed on board as George P. Putnam and Gene Vidal respectively, the two men in Earhart's life. Both actors are no strangers to awards season having starred in such favorites as "Chicago" and "Moulin Rouge." But, the focus of "Amelia" is clearly Hilary Swank.
Is it just a great thriller or something more?
As a rule, I don't read scripts. So much happens between the page and the screen that you can be terribly misguided by a screenplay alone. Unfortunately, a few years ago my curiosity got the better of me and I took the time to read Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel "The Lovely Bones."
Having never read the original source material my interest was tapped by the logline in numerous reports about the project, anecdotes about how good the book was and, lastly, curiosity on where Jackson would go after the -- at this point -- underrated "King Kong." What I found was a powerful and imaginative work that was filled with rich characters and an emotional ending that, in all honestly, truly moved me. So, I put the script down and marked this film as one to watch. And in the meantime, what an interesting life "The Lovely Bones" has had.