Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Rabbit Hole"

I probably need to start covering movies I'm not absolutely drooling for in this yes, no, maybe so trailer series. It gets hard to pick the "no" and "maybe" elements for a film like, say, this one here...



John Cameron Mitchell's RABBIT HOLE will hit theaters, albeit only a few of them we're guessing, on December 17th, a date obviously chosen with the perception that it will maximize Oscar prospects.

YES I am, for better or worse, what is known as a "fan" which is to say, once I love something, it tends to be intense (hair pulling excitement, joyful weeping... metaphorically speaking!) and it takes a lot for that love to die out . The word "fan" used to have both negative and positive connotations but now, I suppose, with the invention of the terms "fanboy" and "fangirl", the simpler word "fan" has lost some of its negative connotations.  So I'm okay. I'm still discerning. Unless you think I'm a closer to a Kidman "fanboy" in which case, well, yeah, maybe but shut up -- [hyperventilating, crying] She is awesome!

NO Grief as Major Theme is tricky to pull off. There are all sorts of movie potholes on that journey: pornographic actorly histrionics, pandering "everything happens for a reason!" sentimentality, monotony of tone, boredom of plot. Plus the best work in this genre is nearly impossible to live up to. The best grief dramas are always French (Ponette and Trois Coleurs: Bleu) or are one hour long and found in really unexpected places ("The Body"). But it could be I am just overly touchy on this subject because it cuts too close to the bone when it's sharp. When it's dull, it just makes an awful mess of an important and universal topic. I hope this one is sharp, even though that means it'll hurt more.

MAYBE SO Ever since I heard about the artistic teenager that becomes intermingled with the grieving family, I was curious about how John Cameron Mitchell, who proved a very visual director in his first two features (Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch), would work that in. I'm pleased to note that the marketing team has used it as a sort of guiding motif in the trailer. I love the linear drawing emphasizing the Academy Award titling, don't you? It somehow seems more playful -- and the Oscars should be cuz they're fun! -- than the boring title cards we usually get when studios want you to know that "A PRESTIGE MOVIE IS COMING!"

Even if this movie didn't have such great festival buzz and Best Actress hype, I would still be a YES as all three principle actors are people I either obsessively love (Kidman) have loved ever since I can remember and always will (Wiest) or generally quite like (Eckhart).

But maybe your reaction veers far off in some other direction? Are you a yes, no or a maybe so when it comes to Rabbit Hole and why?
*

61 comments:

Leo said...

This is without question a HELL YES! for me. I'm really curious as to what JCM will bring to the table this time around. This material seems miles away from his repertoire.

Plus, Nicole's delivery in this fantastically made trailer promises oodles of heart-wrenching and honest moments. I'm getting a Margot at the Wedding-by-way-of-Birth feel to her steely, but emotionally-charged delivery. She was terrific in both those films, so here's hoping.

Plus, Dianne Wiest! In my book, she can do no wrong.

SO EXCITED!!!!!

Amy said...

YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES.........YES, YES, YES, YES!

I am absolutely looking forward to this film with excitement.

YES, YES, YES...........YES.

Magicub said...

(histerycall crying) KIDMAN IS AWESOME!!!

Ed P. said...

Kidman seems to have a juicy role in Rabbit Hole and I think that the movie will be great not only because of the good quality that the movie itself seems to have, but also because of the three leads' performances that seem very good. Maybe this time the press will fall in love for Kidman again, after a mysterious Winter of hate for her...

Plus, Kidman and Wiest aren't in the Oscar nominees list a long ago and the Academy loves to give a nod this kind of actors/actresses.

Rob said...

The bit with Nicole crying in the car kind of wrecked me for a few seconds.

Looks like great stuff. I'm excited.

OtherRobert said...

I'm a yes because John Cameron Mitchell isn't afraid to hold a camera on actors interacting such that we actually see a relationship develop or a scene play out. There's no need for constant cross-cuts when a director knows how a scene should play out and knows how to get the actors to do exactly what is necessary. That is exactly what this film needs.

badmofo said...

This looks SO good. Kidman does grief like no other. The only thing that bothers me is there seems to be something off about Kidman's face. But that's just me nitpicking.

J.D said...

Y
E
S
!
!
!
!

gabrieloak said...

Miles Teller actually stands out in the film more than Dianne Wiest.

cal roth said...

Yeah, they're always French. The best? Under the Sand.

And, back to the movie, YES. Kidman? Wiest? Mitchell? Who cares? It stars SANDRA OH!

cal roth said...

Ok, Kidman, Wiest and Mitchell are great, too.

Hayden said...

Good for Nicole. I love her in these vanity-free roles. A decade ago I never would've thought to compare them but after Margot at the Wedding I'm feeling Nicole in these roles that almost give off a Laura Linney vibe.

But I also just watched Cynthia Nixon's guest spot on The Big C, so my mind's doing a weird triangulation with Rabbit Hole and Noah Baumbach.

Seeking Amy said...

I'm a yes, but I must say why the hell did they use The High Road by Broken Bells for this trailer? No, just no. Other than that, let's go.

Bryan said...

I'm getting a bit of an In the Bedroom feel. I guess that's good, though, because I love that movie... so, I'm a yes.

Anonymous said...

Definitely yes.
Especially beacuse of Kidman.

Bia said...

I'm ready for a Kidman "comeback." I also like the 'Unknown' trailer that dropped today.

Drew said...

It's fair. I think it was trapped by its sub-genre. It's shot well and acted well (with Wiest being the obvious standout, though Kidman's really strong too) but the technical proficiencies feel hamstrung by the expectedness of it all. I never felt particularly surprised by what I was seeing.

John Cameron Mitchell did a Q&A at the screening I was at and he said that his intention was to be an "invisible hand" guiding the material, which couldn't have been more evident. There's nothing WRONG with the directing, but I felt like the material could have used an inventive eye rather than an impartial one.

Amy said...

Funny, how on earth is Wiest the obvious standout, yes, she was brilliant in that tiny glimpse where she talked about loss but seeing as how Kidman featured in 2 minutes of the trailer, I'd say she ruled the trailer from the second she delivered her line in the group. Give credit where it is due, there is a reason why the TIFF reviews seem focused on her. Aaron is brilliant, too, you can see him startle when Kidman started talking, almost as if he was shocked she was spoke. Very real.

Jenn said...

Definitely YES. I mean, it's got Kidman + Wiest + Oh. I read the book and now can't wait to see it!

James T said...

I'm a "NO" because I hate films that are based on a well-regarded play and their central character is portrayed by a super-talented actress. ;)

Luke said...

Let's just all thank our lucky stars that the fantastic Dianne Wiest is back to doing quality films. Those stints on the small screen were making me pine...

eduardo said...

erm... this is a YES, no doubt about it. It seems like Cameron handles this in a very delicate and subtle way that most of those movies don't have. And Kidman's performance looks beautiful and restrained

Alex said...

I am a definite yes. Before I was a "yes, and I really hope they don't mess it up, because this kind of movie can be tricky" but now I'm just a "YES, I'm so glad this actually looks amazing."

Kidman seems to have found away to do histrionic wailing grief without looking hokey, so MAJOR props to her.

I'm usually such a proponent of spreading the wealth, but Dianne Wiest looks absolutely heart-stopping in this. I think a third Oscar could be deserved, but it's a type of role Oscar isn't accustomed to with her, and without a clear frontrunner...

Sebastian said...

Big yes from me. That trailer is everything I was hoping for at this point. December can't come soon enough (but that's how it always is with me and Oscar season).

Jeff said...

Yes, Yes YES! Kidman is my favorite actress so I will watch anything with her on it. She looks amazing. I specially like the part in the beginning "he is God after all why didn't he just make one" perfect line delivery, so emotional and ironic.

Ryan said...

the RABBIT HOLE trailer is awesome and I think the film will be too so long as it takes IN THE BEDROOM's subtle, quieter approach to living with grief.

plus, i'm so excited to see Wiest back on the big screen and in what looks to be an awards magnet performance.

crossing my fingers for kidman too

Anonymous said...

Are you all clones?

Anonymous said...

of nathaniel, I mean.

/3rtfu11 said...

Nathaniel to love Kidman is to appreciate fine art. I remember her early rise as Tom Cruise’s then beard. Nicole became better looking as the years went on, on the red carpet. Finally her critical breakthrough with To Die For which woke everyone up that she was more than a tall, pretty and pale porcelain figure. She doesn’t receive enough credit for EWS. She made the damn thing worth watching. I have yet to see Moulin Rouge (not a big deal since I just saw Fabulous Baker Boys this year along with Iris (Depressing as Hell) and Shakespeare in Love). Thank God for DirecTV.

I’ve screened three Kidman movies theatrically (Batman Forever, Cold Mountain, Dogville) I consider all three dreadful for their own reasons.

I own a very modest DVD collection featuring The Hours (the worst), Fur (if you don’t consider yourself an artist understandable why you’d reject it), Margot at the Wedding (difficult as a film but features an Oscar worthy performance from Kidman), and Birth (the ending is everything I howl in delight – I can’t believe how many people don’t get this movie).

Damn I hadn’t intended to write an essay but you don’t write enough about her.

BillBill said...

YES! I loved the trailer! Still wish that Cynthia Nixon had a shot at the lead role, but Nicole Kidman looks aces and blew me away in that car scene! Hope this can also get Aaron Eckhart on the map with the Oscars and Dianne Wiest back with another nomination.

Vansh said...

"Even if this movie didn't have such great festival buzz and Best Actress hype"

I'm sorry Nathaniel but you're completely wrong. We can't deny the incredible success RH and Kidman had @ Toronto this year and everybody are talking about the movie as one of the possible contender for best pic noms and Kidman is third after Bening and Portman in Oscar race. Great reviews so fare an a big hype. Give for this time the merit Nicole finally deserves to have.

Dempsey Sanders said...

Its a yes for me as I like the majority of the cast, with an obvious Wiest being the favourite.

Isabel Archer said...

Yes!

Yes pretty much time ago, before the trailer, just like any other good fangirl/boy.

Plus, I'm in a postHours period (Just saw it an hour ago)

Derreck said...

It does seem a little Oscar-baity and one of those types of movies with a plot strung together with bunch of scenes that that can be used as nomination clips.

But i have a huge Kidman bias, so i'll see it anyways. Plus, the play got so much good reviews and i'm quite curious to see what Hedwig does with a film about grief. (i prefer to think that Hedwig directed this film because it tickles me.)

on a side note,

i finally watched Dogville! i feel so happy that i finally got to it. it's the first Von Trier movie that i actually like. Plus, I loved the ending. I'm sure that makes me a horrible, horrible person...but i think that just illustrates one of the big points of the film.

chris na Taraja said...

Emphatic YES!!!

mrripley said...

I am a lifelong nicole fan to way back when - the bangkok hilton/billy bathgate days.

the last few years have left me unimpressed esp Australia where her extensive surgical proceedures became too distracting plus the flop big budget films although i found margot at the wedding good but again the plastic surgery put me off.

I LIKE WHAT I SEE IN THE TRAILER BUT THERE IS NO MOVEMENT In THE FACE AND THE LIPS ARE TOO BIG HOW CAN SHE PLAY A WORKING CLASS ORDINAIRY MOTHER WITH HOllYWOOD BIG BUCKS SURGERY,SHE HAS BECOME LESS BELEIVABLE IN ANY ROLE DUE TO THIS.

i am not a hater and still think she is one of the top 3 actresses to emerege in the last 20 years or so.

I just like my faces to look like they are lived in,sorry nic and nat.

/3rtfu11 said...

I’m a very naïve person. I don’t see Kidman looking false. Now Meg Ryan she’s done for “fucking up” her lips trying to compete with Jolie.

jane said...

Does anyone else think it could be nominated for Best Picture ? It looks baity enough, and it has that SERIOUS AMERICAN DRAMA feel to it. How funny would that be if Kidman get a nod not as an actor but as producer ?

Kaye said...

OH HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glenn said...

It's not a yes from me, it's a "well duh!"

This looks amazing.

Mirko said...

YES, definitely...but I must say that Kidman and Mitchell in general have always YES from me :-D

and I agree that THE BODY was awesome and so FOREVER was

Mirko said...

YES, definitely...but I must say that Kidman and Mitchell in general have always YES from me :-D

and I agree that THE BODY was awesome and so FOREVER was

Fernando Moss said...

3 words: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL... I didn't need a trailer to be an ABSOLUTELY YES! But really, that trailer only helps my YESNESS...

Anonymous said...

"THERE IS NO MOVEMENT"
Lol, you're didn't see the trailer obviously.
Keep nasty useless stupid comments like this one for yourself. Expecially when videos and pics show the contrary.

NATHANIEL R said...

i get why people don't like actresses to get surgery (to me that ruined Lange and Dunaway and a few other people) but i think the only thing Nicole has done wrong is that she keeps messing with her lips. They were never alll that plump even in her youth so just let them be what they are! but as far as i understand it, plumping up your lips is not permanent so otherwise i don't get why people have such issues with her face.

she is hardly the only actress to use botox. i feel that's as common as a dinner salad.

Lev said...

There's more going on there than just some botox and collagen to the lips. You do have eyes. It's sad that she can't seem to age gracefully.

Yes to the trailer. The play's wonderful. Read it. It's so worth it.

Jannas said...

"It's sad that she can't seem to age gracefully."
I'm sorry? You all are talking like she's a plastic freak. Let's cut the crap please!
Sh's a stunning woman!! I can't see a big deal.

Andrew R. said...

There was one moment in the trailer where Kidman looked like Sigourney Weaver. "Get away from my kid, you bitch!"

I'm a maybe so. It just didn't stand out, and considering the release date issues this film had, it shows a lack of confidence. Kidman, Wiest, and Eckhart look good though.

J.D said...

Nathaniel, glad to see Kidman back in your Oscar predictions

Lev said...

Nothing stunning with the way Nicole looks now. Deal with it Jannas.

okinawaassault said...

Jessica Lange had surgery? If she did it's the second cleanest surgery since Sting.

Anyway, I'm a yes and I will see it again. I didn't realize how well shot and well acted the film is until I saw the trailer again. Nicole Kidman hitting her shoulder like that? Jesus. She's one of the best actresses we have now.

stjeans said...

soooooooooooooooooooooooooo YES! It's time for Kidman hate show to end. SHE'S SMART (except when choosing husbands) TALENTED & RISK TAKER (wich is VERY rare for a superstar of her staure)!!

Deborah said...

I genuinely find the intense botox disturbing. Not because it's up to me to decide what someone does with their face, but because I find looking at it disorienting. I watch her face and it's like she's there/not there. Emoting/emotionless. Vibrant/flat. In addition, Kidman is an actress that always plays at a bit of remove. She does brittle brilliantly -- like The Others -- but she's hard to take. Not on the fanwagon.

That said, I love JCM and this is a very fine cast and worth at least waiting to see if it gets good reviews.

So I'm a Maybe.

cinephile said...

MAYBE SO.
It's turning to a NO when I hear people raving about Kidman's performance only based on what they've seen in this trailer. And also, why is Kidman the only reason to give this movie a YES? I mean, Australia, Bewitched, The Invasion, Stepford Wives, Nine... It's like saying every movie with Julianne Moore is a sure yes. Because after the last 7 years we know it's not (even though I think Moore is a far better actress than Kidman).

Anonymous said...

Why would hearing other people's raves make YOU not like something? That's dumb. Stand by your convictions and either like something or not like it, but don't hide behind a tired excuse like you didn't like something b/c everyone else loved it. Hopefully you're more complex than that.

cinephile said...

Maybe because of being annoyed? Anyway, it wasn't that serious. But it IS true that the hype about a movie can influence your opinion (not referring to this one at all), because you have too high expectations to be really amazed of what you see (e.g. Dark Knight and Slumdog Millionaire for me) or you go in with low expectations and go out positively surprised.

Anonymous said...

What you said before struck me as that kind of "if everyone likes something, then by definition I'll hate it, b/c I'm above the plebs" tone that irks me so much. It reeks of not being able to separate the actual work from the hype, in this case the work of *OMG-ACTRESS!* Nicole Kidman. But you're right, it's nothing that serious at all. Love or hate away or anything in between. It's all good.

cinephile said...

By saying "It wasn't that serious" I was referring to the sentence "It's turning to a NO when...." - this sentence wasn't meant that seriously.

Janice said...

Oh YES. I need to see this NOW.

And (full disclosure) Yes I am a Kidmanologist and fan (or fangirl, whatever) but just those few moments excited me like - well, Leo's hybrid of MATW/Birth seems very apt - with a touch of The Human Stain (the kitchen scene). That bit where she hits herself, that touch of self-harm, self-hatred, got me, I just about choked on that. She makes me feel that I've been where ever her character is - in emotion if not in the specifics of the event. This to me is Kidman at her best.

And she's great at brittleness and distance but in these two minutes there's a wonderful warmth that I think few of her directors know how to pull out.

This does make me want to see In the Bedroom btw. (no I never have, shockingly enough, although this trailer implies a healing that In the Bedroom certainly does not.) Add in JCM, Aaron, Dianne and Sandra, and there's no "no or maybe about it for me.

Anonymous said...

"THERE IS NO MOVEMENT"
Perhaps it's time to schedule an eye exam, eh?

The "no movement" squad seems to have a few "frozen" brain cells permanently stuck on the "no movement" phrase. How else to explain they even expect Kidman's forehead to "move" in STILL photos.

Anonymous said...

Just a question for the "NO MOVEMENT" folks ...

Considering all the rave reviews Nicole got from TIFF, what do you think the reviewers were raving about her performance? That her face has "no movement" but her arms and legs did all the work? lmao!