Thursday, January 25, 2007

Links: Starring Leo & Kate/Cate

Time Out London an interview w/ JCM on his Shortbus
fourfour loves the trash-factor of Notes on a Scandal
ModFab still smarting from the Dreamgirls snub. I haven't thought much about this since I'm not a huge fan but some of the Oscarwatch quotes do make a certain sense. The demographic thing is an issue. I think it was Cinematical (sorry no link) that told us on Ernest Borgnine's birthday that he had been quoted as saying he only liked four movies this year and half of those were Eastwood pictures. Academy demographics, the majority of them are old white males like Clint, do play in to the awards decisions each year. How they play in is up for debate of course. But it's foolish to think they don't.

Celebrity Gossip has new paparazzi shots of La Pfeiffer
Cinemarati the "best of year" countdown has hit the top ten. Check it out. You know I voted for this one at #8
Movie Blog has an interesting piece up on Leonardo DiCaprio finally overcoming that longlasting Titanic backlash (overexposure. too much too soon etc...) While I agree that it's been an interesting ride I have to say that I could scarcely concentrate on the article. I just couldn't get past the notion that anyone could look at Gangs of New York as the moment when they realized he could act. Leo could always act. That was never the issue. And in Gangs he is dishwater dull and completely blown off the screen by just about everyone (the awful Cameron Diaz excepted). He's better in almost everything else he's done. Bizarre. But anyway... I like Leonardo's work and I agree that he has overcome whatever stardom issues arrived post Titanic. It's interesting also that Kate Winslet, who just kept working in challenging character roles in itty bitty films like Hideous Kinky (which were called "career killers" at the time) is the one who had no trouble recovering from that sunken boat. Now, if only James Cameron would come up for air... (I know I know he's got a film in the works. But how many times have we heard that one before)


Anonymous said...

Nodding furiously in agreement with you re: Leo's talent. He's ferociously gifted, and that was utterly clear pre-Titanic. I actually think he's pretty amazing in Titanic anyway (seriously - take a look at the dialogue he and Kate had to try and sell, and you realise just how great they both were). But Gangs is unquestionably his worst work. An acting powerhouse on mute, willing to let another acting powerhouse (Day Lewis) march off into the thespian sunset.


right said...

It's interesting also that Kate Winslet, who just kept working in challenging character roles in itty bitty films like Hideous Kinky (which were called "career killers" at the time) is the one who had no trouble recovery from that sunken boat.

I don't think that's quite right -- there was never the level of obsession or mania over Kate post-Titanic as there was over Leo. Remember, the main reason Titanic grossed $1B was the hordes of fourteen year old girls going to see Leo dozens of time. Kate was never really up against that; all she got was lots of welcome exposure.

vince said...

RE: "Movie Blog" on Leo. I agree and disagree with what was written. I agree with you too, though. As far as Leo's acting ability, I never doubted it. I knew he was going to go far. "Gilbert Grape" ensured me of his talent. "Titantic" ensured me of his longevity. However, after "Titantic," Leo wanted to confront growing out of his baby face looks and teen bop image.

I think when Leo took on "Gangs," that was the moment when he began the process of shedding the baggage of his youthful celebrity. That was the film where he began working with a class of actors and directors that designated the new path that he was on. Granted, I'm talking about mostly his association with Scorsese. I'm not sure if that's what Movie Blog was trying to say, but that's what I think was going on.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully disagree Vince. I just see Gangs as a blip. You gotta remember, it emerged pretty much the same time as Catch Me in which he dripped with pitch-perfect character-specific charisma.

And it's hardly like he was working with cinematic or thespian slouches before Gangs.


vince said...

What I meant to say was that pre-Titanic (including Titanic), a lot of his choices were feeding into a persona that he implicited shunned and played against post-Titanic. "The Beach," to me, anyway, was somewhere between where he was departing from and where he was headed to. "Gangs" was a prime example of the direction he wanted to take his career.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I kinda thought he had that intent all along (Total Eclipse, Basketball Diaries?), and Titanic was just a casting curiosity at the time. Nobody figured on it becoming a phenomenon, so I don't think there was any deliberate intent to get to "megastar" status.

Still, I take the point. I just don't dig on him in Gangs remotely.


Lily said...

I think that Leo's probably the one of the most talented young (30ish) actors in hollywood today. While I agree that Leo's talent was obvious before Titanic, the first thing you thought abotu when you thought about Leo after that movie was his looks, not his talent. Therefore, i think that Gangs of New York was the turning point when many started to regard him as more than just a "cute piece of meat" though it was hardly on par with some of his more recent work. I don't know. I love him, and I know it's unpopular but I loved him in Blood Diamond too.

Agreed that Kate didn't have the Leomania to contend with. I was a preteen during the Titanic craze, and it was very "leoleoleoleo," if I remember correctly (that was a good 10 years ago!)

Anonymous said...

While I like his performance in DEPARTED a lot, the Leonardo performance that really caught me out was AVIATOR. I was amazed at how he pulled off 30 years of character development in that film, particularly on a second viewing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... See, I think the "megastardom" post-Titanic was an unhappy accident. Nobody anticipated it to be a phenomenon, so when he was cast in this "new blockbuster", I just took it as a casting curiosity, and that he wanted to work with an auteur within the action field for the experience.

Prior to that, it's not like he was averse to edgy choices (Total Eclipse; Basketball Diaries?)


Anonymous said...

OK, I pretty much made the same comment twice then because the PC crashed. Sorry!


vince said...

Yeah, he was definitely making edgy choices pre-Titanic, but he was also struggling with not being taken seriously enough. I just think after Titanic-mania, he made the conscious decision that he was going to only tackle explicitly adult material.

Bruno Packer said...

About ModFab post. This comments on racism about the Dreamgirls snub seriously got to stop! I mean, Ray was nominated. A bunch of people from different countries and races were nominated this year. Maybe AMPAS did think that the film did not live to its hype, and that it didn't deserve to be called a Best Picture nominee.

This rationalization is getting a little bit tiresome.

vince said...

I think the theory that Dreamgirls appeared as #2 on the initial balloting is a good one.

You can say that the Academy isn't racist and then point out the several black actors who have been nominated for and/or won an Oscar. I can buy that.

The questions that remains prompt me to make a comparison. Was Chicago really that much better of a film than Dreamgirls? Or, was it just lighter, more fun and easier to embrace?


well Chicago also had going for it that the musical had JUST returned from the dungeon of dead genres (moulin rouge having opened the door) and people were really excited. it was more an "of the moment" phenomenon

the bloom is off the rose a little bit after The Producers and Phantom of the Opera etcetera. so you have to be great as well to get attention.

i do think Chicago is a better film though. It's funnier, faster and the acting is better.

but i still think Dreamgirls just barely missed. It's not like the academy doesn't love musicals. They've nominated plenty of them.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Chicago was less sloppy and messy. Dreamgirls was sort of strange in that it never identified a rule. First they're only singing on stage, and then all of a sudden they're bursting out into song. And then 20 seconds into a song they cut to something else and just have the song as a soundtrack ("Listen", "Steppin' to the Bad Side"). Like, I wanna see performers perform, not hear them while they do other stuff.

I did quite like it though. There was some great stuff in there.

Anonymous said...

Me too. I actually liked -- albeit not loved -- it better than 'Chicago,' probably b/c Renee Zellweger bugged me to no end in the latter. She was miscast, painfully thin, bathed in harsh light (WTF?!), and simply blown off the screen by the talent and charisma of CZJ.

Granted that the acting in 'Dreamgirls' (notably on the part of Jamie Foxx and Beyonce) was amateur-hour and frankly embarassing at times, but there was enough musical meat to keep me enthralled for the duration, and it ended on a perfect note. Way to go, J-Hud!

Isobel said...

It might have been racism and homophobia working in tandem. The movie was directed by Bill Condon, after all, though people forget that. I was thinking that he would be snubbed even before the movie was.
I was 13 when Titanic came out myself, and had never heard of Leo because I was very asocial and knew nothing about pop culture. But later I saw Romeo+Juliet and The Aviator within a month of each other, and I've been madly in love with him since. I find that very amusing.