Saturday, September 04, 2010

Venice Red Carpet: Somewhere, Norwegian Wood, Miral, Reign of Assassins

The Venice Film Festival progresses. Day 4 of 11 today. So let's pretend we're there for a moment and check in. You can't have a good glitzy A list international film festival without immortals like Catherine Deneuve showing up (pictured left). Why is she shielding her eyes for she is brighter than the sun. All in all things seem to be going well. Take the premiere of Black Swan for example. Opening films don't often make that much of a splash, divisive or otherwise.

Another big question mark film of the 2010 film season is Sofia Coppola's Somewhere (trailer discussion). It's her follow up to the poorly received but delicious Marie Antoinette (2006). She's back to the present day for this film about an actor (Stephen Dorff) visited by his daughter (Elle Fanning) at the Chateau Marmont.

The reviews have been mixed but more than most filmmakers I trust not any reviews about her work. Her girlish dreamy haze tends to cloud judgment. But here are a few...

Somewhere premiere: Sofia Coppola, Stephen Dorff, Laura Chiatta, Elle Fanning

Italian actress Laura Chiatta (The Family Friend) is also in Somewhere's cast which is why I included her here. Mostly because her lipstick is transporting me back to the early Aughts. It's all I can see. Is she wearing anything else?

I don't expect that the film will win Oscar traction (low key efforts rarely do and a late December release for a contemplative film won't help. Coppola whispers and Oscar hears only Oscar-bait shouting in the holiday months) but I'm still so excited to see it. Coppola is three for three in my book. Will this make four for four?

On to other films...

International Divas: Yeoh, Abbas, Kikuchi, Campbell

Michelle Yeoh, in town for Reign of Assassins, is a goddess. You knew that already. Her latest star vehicle was bought earlier this summer by the Weinstein Co which probably means we'll never see it (you know how they do). But since we can't look at the film, let's look at those shoes. The shoes... Gah! They're probably worth more than most people make in a year and she can probably kill those multiple assassins tailing her with them. Incidentally, Yeoh is also an assassin in the movie. What is with the cinema's complete fixation on assassins as protagonists? It's easy to understand them as villains but so many of them are actually the heroes of their movies. I shutter to think what this means about the human condition.
Hiam Abbas was in Venice for the premiere of Julian Schnabel's Miral but curiously Freida Pinto, "Miral" herself, was not. Maybe she saw some unflattering reviews coming.
I should note here that none of the negatives lobbed Miral's way in reviews tend to be awards season negatives with Oscar, given that earnest lectures and films which needily cry for approval are fixtures of every awards season. And nobody seemed to have a problem with Freida Pinto's inexpressiveness as an actress in Slumdog Millionaire -- don't try to tell me that's a new development.We just barely dodged that supporting actress nomination I think. And it would have been one of those semi-regular headscratchers for being "the girlfriend."

Norwegian Wood, another prestige adaptation of a novel, also premiered. Rinko Kikuchi, the most famous member of its ensemble cast (credit that Babel Oscar nomination), hit the red carpet. I don't understand this look at all. But it definitely reminds me of a expensive monochromatic version of that awful ruffled confusing short skirted thing Peach turned out on Project Runway two nights back. Oh, Peach... wwyt?
  • Variety "lovely but listless"
  • Indie Movies Online "the story is not quite as peerlessly handled by Tran as the aesthetic presentation"
Finally, I included Naomi Campbell in this roundup because I cannot for the life of me, imagine her actually sitting down to watch movies, only strutting through flashbulbs towards them. I know she's been in a few movies but has she actually ever seen one?

Action auteur John Woo (pictured left) received the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement and was also there as co-director of Reign of Assassins (with Chao-Bin Su, who also wrote the film).

Quentin Tarantino is the head of the Venice jury so we'll see what his jury does with their cups and statues next weekend. Stay tuned.

10 comments: said...

Post Venice so far, I'd say Black Swan is headed for the Golden Lion, and oscar noms for Picture, Director, Actress at least.

I think you're right about Somewhere having no traction with the Academy. It's too small, slight, and won't escape the Translation redux criticism. But SC fans will love it.

Off-topic (but still related) it's interesting how both `The American' and `Never Let Me Go' are complete love/hate deals with critics. I'm wondering if this kills NLMG's chances for the hallowed ten. (American never really had a shot.) As with Somewhere, the criticisms seem to be that the emotions aren't worn on loud sleeves, and therefore people can't engage them. Distressing to see this from critics, who should be championing subtlety and directors not trying to cram sentiment down our collective throat. In all 3 cases, the criticisms just make me want to see the films even more.

Ángel Ramos said...

WOW. I know it is wrong. but I'm in love with Elle Fanning

Andrew R. said...

Right now, I think that Miral is an alternate. Here are the 15 main contenders IMO.

TOP 10:
Another Year: They love Leigh...but they might want to reward someone new.

Black Swan: If we had 10 nominees in 2008, The Wrestler would've been the 10th one-seriously, one of my favorite sites calculated who nominees 6-10 were for every year since 1944....but it might be a bit naughty for them.

Fighter: They love boxing movies...but they reward Rocky and not Raging Bull?

Inception: It's awesome, made money, and Nolan is very overdue...but will sci-fi continue to get in?

Kids Are All Right: It's very funny and well acted...but Bening and Moore have been better.

King's Speech: It's Oscar's thing...but how good is the acting?

Never Let Me Go: It's definatly got great source material...but again, sci fi.

Social Network: The marketing is great...but it's kind of "now!" Facebook, which I don't even use, might be obsolete in a few years.

Toy Story 3: It's great...but will they nominate animation? And is it always going to be Pixar?

Way Back: They love WWII...but this one could fall hard.

127 Hours: Trailer is good...but it's way too dependent on Franco. Plus, his role in Howl might split votes.

Love and Other Drugs: Great cast and hopefully great script...but this looks like it'll be nominated on hype alone.

Miral: It's their thing, and Diving Bell was 2007's 6th nominee...but the reviews are meh.

True Grit: Coen Bros are awesome...but it's a remake, and they are going to not get nominated eventually.

Winter's Bone: It's very good...but it doesn't have the momentum of TS3/Inception/Kids.

Alex said...

Seeing an Oscar nomination for Elle Fanning would be awesome, but child actors almost never get nominated if they aren't in a major Best Picture contender like Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense, The Piano, etc, which is probably why Dakota didn't make the cut for I Am Sam.

ferdi said...

Movies I've just seen these past 3 days at the Venice Film Festival.

Black Swan: A/A-
Miral: c
Somewhere: B+
Potiche: B+/A-
Meek's Cutoff: B


Ferdi -- i should have asked you to guest blog :(

ferdi said...

My dear Nat, it should have been a true honour. Maybe next time? Today I was at the press conference of MEEK'S CUTOFF. Kelly Reichardt is as brilliant as her movies. She explained so many things about her work that now I love MEEK'S CUTOFF much more. It's so atypical, original, intimate and visually amazing that I can't stop thinking about it. Maybe it's a B+/A-. Michelle Williams is really great. Women, as always, rock (see Coppola as auteur and Portman/Deneuve as actresses. And also Ozon. Ok, it's not a woman, it's gay... but, who cares!)

john said...

Pinto was not at Venice due to personal circumstances that meant she had to go to India and miss Venice.

Anonymous said...

@Nathaniel R: I don't know why u hate freida so much.In all ur post u have only negative things to say about her.If she is not talented why would they hire her to play lead role in big budget films like Immortals 3D($80 mill),Rise of apes 3D($90 mill) and Black thirst(jean jacques annaud film) with banderas.As far as Miral its a Julian schnabel film.The director and script writer are the ones who should be blamed for making a bad film.Even great actors perform badly if the script is not gud.Freida got positive reviews(for Miral) from top critics like Derek malcolm,Justin chang and the ones from HR and Independent(UK) which aren't mentioned here.

Donna Cregg said...

Great Analysis, I can't wait to see all these films. I'm particularly interested in seeing Miral. The subject matter and trailer reminded me a lot of Attack on Darfur, which I got on dvd yesterday. They are both really important films, highlighting how violence between groups leads to unnecessary suffering. Hopefully after seeing these films, people are inspired to reach out and help those in need.