Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We Can't Wait #8: THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

If you're just joining us, Nathaniel and Film Experience team are discussing the movies they're most looking forward to this summer and beyond. We've covered the musical Burlesque, Dustin Lance Black's What's Wrong With Virginia?, the Jake & Anne show Love and Other Drugs, Graham Greene adaptation Brighton Rock, Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, The Coen Bros' True Grit, the potential sleeper It's Kind of a Funny Story, the glitzy sequel Sex and the City 2, the epically epic Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Sofia Coppola's Somewhere. Which brings us to this buzzy Sundance hit...

Joni (Mia Wasikowsa) & Laser (Josh Hutcherson) want daddy

The Kids Are All Right

Directed by:
Lisa Cholodenko
Starring: Juli, The Bening, Ruff, Ubiquitous Mia and Josh Hutcherson
Synopsis: Laser and Joni have two mommies (Julianne Moore and Annette Bening). They ask to meet their biological father the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) and their mothers comply. This requests sets off a chain reaction of drama and comedy as all the family members struggle to redefine their relationships.
Brought to you by: Focus Features who won the bidding war for the film at Sundance
Expected Release Date: July

Nathaniel: This is a strange case for me to include in the We Cant Wait: Summer and Beyond countdown, since I've already seen it. But you two both really want to see it. And in truth, I can't wait to see it again so there you go. We can't wait. The movie is vividly acted, generous to its characters and both funny and dramatic. Y'all are in for a treat though I still fear overhyping something that's the very definition of "small gem". What's the draw for you?

Craig: The main draw for me is Julianne Moore. I'll watch literally anything she's in - I'd willingly crawl the length and breadth of the country to watch her read the dictionary on film! I'd say she fights Jennifer Jason Leigh for top spot of my favourite American actresses working today... Hmmm, Kill Bill 3 with Jules and Jen fighting - I'd willingly crawl the length and breadth of..... you know. Anyway, Moore's not roundly renowned her her comic turns, but I don't think she's actually been that bad in any comedy film, even if the films themselves haven't been, er, quite so good - I'm looking at you Evolution and Laws of Attraction. But thinking back to her performances in The Big Lebowski, Cookie's Fortune and An Ideal Husband, she was really comfortable doing humour - and those three movies varied widely in the funny stakes. I've always thought she should do a Woody Allen film (they should align their schedules one day!) where the comedy would be more observational and based on good one-liners, wit etc - and that feel is what I'm hoping for with The Kids Are All Right, I guess. It's safe to say that both Moore and Annette Bening will have the dramatic elements of Kids covered, too - they can both dash off any number of scenes of intense drama in their sleep. I love the trailer's amiable, easy-going feel, and it's being being sold on a well-balanced comic-tragic dynamic. The "go easy on the wine, hon, it's daytime" - "ok, same goes for the macro-managing," bit, then the teary scene later ("I've just felt so far away from you lately") have my hopes up for a range of varying work from them both.



Jose: I just love that these two goddesses got together. I'd actually refused to see the trailer until yesterday (I obviously loved that it uses Vampire Weekend and Madness) but it kinda confirmed one of my worries: that they will try to sell the movie like another of those so awful "look at how indie and quirky I am" dysfunctional people comedies. I'm sure that this is mostly for marketing reasons and the movie will actually be dark and moody and be more Todd Field then Diablo Cody. Please don't contradict me if I'm wrong Nat. Lie to me...

Nathaniel: You can't handle the truth? Sorry going to give it to ya anyway: The truth is that it's neither of those things. I'm happy to report that I thought not once about Cody or Field while watching it -- both have their place in the world but I really don't need either of them to be their own subgenre of film. This is its own thing. But if you were hoping for dark and moody, er... shift your expectations immediately.


This is much lighter on its feet that Lisa Cholodenko's other commendable efforts (High Art and Laurel Canyon). It's no miserable epic about stifled unhappy women. For that you'll need The Bening's other summer 2010 Oscar pitch (Mother and Child). The Kids... is feel good as in, it feels good to watch it. You smile when you think about it months later as I am doing right now. My cheeks hurt.

Jose: Thank you for ignoring my wishes, that was a pretty truth to handle. You know what I'm talking about, though, right? Indies nowadays are either somber & suicide inducing or falsely clever & annoyingly sarcastic. I'm thrilled this is a horse of a different color and now I'm really dying to see it.

Nathaniel: As some of you may have noticed I wasn't quite as enamored of Julianne Moore's comic turn as I was of The Bening's but I'm happy to report to Fellow Moore Devotee Craig, that some of my critic friends thought Julianne was best in show... so maybe it's just me. For me, Bening just killed in this. And she's super in Mother and Child, too.

The Bening's Oscar Nods: '90 The Grifters, '99 American Beauty,
'04
Being Julia, '10 The Kids Are All Right or Mother & Child ???

I'm not going to be so foolish as to say "it's her year!" because Oscar will undoubtedly find some pretty young thing to obsess over or some "we didn't know you could do it" actress to reward once the time comes. Nevertheless, for the Bening-obsessives out there, this summer will have to rank as the most exciting Bening-specific season since Fall '99 when we first met Carolyn Burnham.

I like to imagine Annette giving herself pep-talks on her way to the promotional circuit for this bipolar summer of hers. "I WILL SELL THIS HOUSE MOVIE TODAY."
*

21 comments:

Dimitra said...

I really liked the trailer, it looks very promising. And with great cast too!

mrripley said...

I worried about annette when she did that awful remake of the women with meg "i'll only work in this town again in dtv movies" ryan but she definitley got her mojo on track this year.

my only worry hears the jaws theme is hilary sank in betty ann waters.

mrripley said...

Sank or Swank who cares!!!!

adelutza said...

I too thought Moore was better in it, though probably because she's the more "likable" character in the film. But both of them are great and I predicted Benning for the nomination only because I can't see Moore being nominated alone and I don't think they would nominate two actresses from the same film.

But, regardless of nominations, I will never forget the night I saw this at the Library in Park City, in a theatre full of big shots, and me 5 feet away of Julianne Moore.

vg21 said...

I love Annette, I can't wait to see this moovie and really hope she gets her Oscar for this. Annette and Julianne in one film, this is a must see :).
adelutza, I bet you will never forget that night. Lucky you:)!

Katey said...

I totally understand the instinct to tone down praise on this movie so it doesn't get overhyped, but I can't-- I love this movie so much I can't stop talking about it. I love it even more after seeing it twice. I want it to win every Oscar. I would happily live in this movie.

See, now I've ruined all your good work :)

Andrew R. said...

If Bening loses to Swank FOR THE THIRD TIME there will be riots. I can live with Swank winning in 2004 but 1999 was ridiculous.

James T said...

The truth is that I really hope the trailer isn't indicative of the movie. It's just so "more of the same". Mia looks incredible though even if she doesn't have to do much in what the trailer shows.

Andrew R - Did you mean to write the opposite?

Volvagia said...

No, Andrew R., '04 was ridiculous. '99 wasn't for one reason: Many Academy members were probably uncomfortable having American Beauty be a big five winner so soon after The Silence of the Lambs. The shortest wait between the three big five winners was the sixteen between One Flew and Silence, with an average wait of twenty-three years. It was never going to happen in '99. It could have in '04.

Robert Hamer said...

@ Volvagia: Well...that, and Swank deserved it in '99.

Arlo said...

Maybe Bening could get two nominations, one for Lead and another for Supporting? Depends on the campaigns I guess.

Anonymous said...

Lol at "The Kids are All Right" being shortened to "Kids" . . .

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

It's all about Annette for me. I have to say hearing she had these two films coming out this year has really gotten me excited, and I love the ostensible tone of her character in "Kids..." It's as if Sydney from The American President grew up, got more neurotic and turned into a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Nat and others, I think Julianne Moore deserves her Oscar before Benning gets hers...lol. Was there a post about who's more "deserving" than the others?

mrripley said...

I don't wanna rain on any1's parade barbra style but a lot of us inc me were screaming pfeiffer's assured nom fron the rooftops last year and look what happened let's not hyperbole this film.

I too see bening up for lead and maybe moore for supporting.

Janice said...

"The same goes for the micromanaging..."

That's a far more charming version of what goes on with my sweetie (so, yes, I'd already like to live in this movie, and I've only seen the trailer). In other wor

This looks like a film anyone could enjoy (except for those "ucky, lesbians,blah blah" types - and they are more numerous than we'd like to imagine, Nat) but I'm not adverse to a film that might actually bring out lesbian moviegoers to the theater? (Those of us who normally stay at home watching our DVD's from Netflixs because the cineplex has nothing to offer us.)

Kyle S. said...

Haven't seen "The Grifters." Hated "American Beauty." Loved "Being Julia." Can't wait for "The Kids Are All Right." Don't know much about "Mother & Child" yet.

And that's my Bening Oscars rundown for your enjoyment.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Kyle -- get thee to The Grifters immediately. It's SO good. Huston & Bening are both fantastically worthy of their nominations and it's one of Stephen Frears very best films.

ferdi said...

I agree with you Nathaniel: The Grifters is a fantastic postnoir, maybe the best Stephen Frears movie (pair with Dangerous Liasons). And Huston and Bening are extraordinary. Amazing movie!!! One of my favourite of all times.

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Catherine said...

Yes yes, really looking forward to this, especially for the Bening. I feel a rush of endolphins just thinking about it!