Tuesday, August 21, 2007

DVD: Berry, Browncoats, Betty

Ugly Betty I don't usually mention TV DVD releases but this series collects delectable B list movie actresses like Gina Gershon, Lucy Liu and Rebecca Romijn who all ought to get better movie roles than they do, don'cha think? I bet executive producer Salma Hayek (left... and how pregnant is she!?) ups the star ante in the second season.

The Cult of Personality
Broken English I am Nathaniel's guilt for abandoning Parker Posey. I haven't seen so many of her recent efforts. What's wrong with me? Must correct that.
(Collectors Edition) Joss Whedon fans have another DVD to snatch up as the movie version of Firefly gets an extras-loaded edition. Now if only we could get the Buffyverse revived for television or movies.

She Owes Us
Perfect Stranger "Halle Berry, [shakes head disapprovingly] have you seen your filmography lately?"

Oscar Completists
The Lives of Others won the foreign film Oscar this past February. I still haven't seen it but I'll tell you this. After Pan's Labyrinth stole Children of Men's cinematography Oscar I wanted it to lose the big one. Payback is a bitch.


Curtis said...

P.S. Did you catch the trailer for "I'm Not There" on IGN. No Julianne in it. ):

Nick M. said...

Please, resist the urge to rent Broken English, despite the awesomeness of Parker Posey and the hotness of Melvil Poupaud. It's absolutely horrendous.

Daphne C. said...

Right on about Pan's Labyrinth stealing the Oscar. A travesty !

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe that Ulrich Mühe is dead. :(

J.D. said...

To be honest, so did I. Something like that is not cool, or even sane. And then after actually seeing Pan's, I did indeed understand why it won. That doesn't mean I agree with it at all, but still. But then again, it's also my #2 for '06. But guess what's my #1? Yup.

J.J. said...

Yeah, see Live of Others for Mühe. It's a tremendous and selfless performance. (And the movie is better than Pan's.)

MadHatter said...

Saw both Pan's Labrynth and Lives of Others. I loved Pan's Labrynth, but it really doesn't hold a light to The Lives Of Others. How exciting for you that you still haven't seen it yet that you still get to experience it for the first time.

Rent it. NOW. No, right now. Go to Blockbuster NOW.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess even I haven't seen The Lives of others yet, a complete art movie bluff, DVD is coming out on 17 september so I gotta wait.

On the other hnd just wathced Atonement this sunday and McAvoy is gettign nominated for the movie. Its a fantastic movie and will be loved by the AMPAS. not too sure about Keira though, she is in it for about half an hour and although good not nomination worthy.

Actresses playing Briony are superb especially the one playing the teenaged Briony, really had me at two scenes. Its a lock in for best Actor, Pic and Supporting Actress.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Nat, go and see "The Lives of others" as soon as you can.
It is a tremendous film - not just because of Mühe but it's certainly a mesmerizing performance.
How I'll miss that man and his acting.

Anonymous said...

Has Nicole Kidman seen her filmography lately ,surely you can't talk about Halle she's been in more post-Oscar disasters than Halle.

Pan's Labyrinth>>>Children of Men.

Although I love them both.

Anonymous said...

I think maybe Nicole Kidman's Skin Color has blindsided some into thinking that she has made some great movies post Oscars ( most of them have been horrible). I think this is part of the bias that goes on in Hollywood against people of color. They will gladly bash minorities who've made some bad movie choices, but they will decidely look over the White ones. I'm personally sick of it.

Anonymous said...

I too was made when Pan's Labyrinth beat Children of Men for Cinematography, but when I revisited it again earlier this week, I had to admit that it was a beautifully shot movie. Certainly a much better choice than some of the pedestrian winners in the past.

Best Foreign Language Film should have gone to Pan's Labyrinth. I don't see why Germany has been hogging this category the past few years. They should spread the wealth. Germany is quickly becoming the new Italy and France, a default nominee rather than a worthy competitor. This would have been Mexico's first and much deserved win.

- Adam

Anonymous said...

Oh, and about The Lives of Others, since it wasn't released in New York until January of this year, does that mean it would be in the running for your year-end awards if you catch it on DVD? (I think that was the case with Spider in 2003?)

I also had a question about Once, which I hope to see this weekend. Would you classify it as true musical, a performance movie, or a movie that has music in it?

- Adam

J.D. said...

Okay, so Germany had 4 noms out of 5 years, and 2 wins, but how didn't those four films deserve it? I haven't seen Nowhere in Africa or Downfall (the latter I REALLY do too), and Sophie Scholl is ************ masterpiece. And what's so wrong with Italy and France's glorious pasts? Eh?

Glenn Dunks said...

It's not Germany's fault that they're producing some great cinema these last few years. Lives of Others is a better film than Pan's Labyrinth, but even outside of that it's a film more in line with that the Oscar foreign film voters go for.

The movie is good though. The performances, the direction, the design, the photography, the book shop scene at the end. And, yeah, Ulrich Muhe. I guess he left his greatest performance as his last.

Anonymous said...

The Lives of Others – rent it now! I wasn't too keen on seeing it but went anyway – it is a great piece of work, what an ending. Really robust filmmaking.

Halle - can't wait for her to wow me again in Things We Lost In the Fire. Let's just hope she does wow.

Ugly Betty - overrated.

As for Atonement, I too saw it on Sunday at one of the UK previews in London. I'm still coming to terms with its beauty. It really will stay with you for days (and probably longer). I've already booked to see it again tomorrow at another preview screening.

I don't want to set the film up too much – I know how that can sometimes dampen one’s reactions. But it is pretty much faultless filmmaking as far as I'm concerned. Every conceivable aspect coalesces into this elegant (yet in no way prestige-y) whole. It walks that fine tightrope majestically.

Career-best work from McAvoy and Knightley, who actually appears for about 1 hour of the film's 2-hour running time. It's a bit of a Nicole Kidman/The Hours scenario but more than enough to qualify her for Lead Actress placing, and my gosh she would deserve it.

Vanessa Redgrave delivers a one-two punch (even though I'd read the book and knew what was coming) in an astonishing 5-minute performance. How you read her ambiguous performance determines how the film ends for you, exactly what McEwan intends in the book. I'm campaigning strong for her Supporting Actress slot. Saoirse Ronan is excellent; the weakest link is Romola Garai for me, but she has a difficult, almost entirely internal character to nail.

The cinematography is gorgeous – the 5-minute tracking shot on the Dunkirk beach is bewildering. And apparently McGarvey used a 10-dernier Christian Dior stocking over the lens to capture that look of the film’s 1st part. Durran’s costumes – Keira’s being inspired by Lee Miller as mentioned by Wright at the Q&A that followed the screening – have a lyrical beauty to them. The sound editing is crisp and spot-on: the buzzing flies in the 1st part help convey the stifling atmosphere and uneasy sexual tension. Wonderfully edited, with sequences overlapping and going back on each other. It rewrites the concept of film time as always being in the present. And what a score by Marianelli. The Oscar has his name on it already.

And what you’re left with for days after is a series of beautiful images. Joe Wright acutely understands visual language: the uneasy sexual tension of the 1st part; Keira Knightley lounging on a diving board in glowing white swimcap; James McAvoy’s soldier set against a Marcel Carné film in a Dunkirk cinema (itself one of the film’s finest metatextual moments – when you see it, just think back to the sex scene, incidentally one of the most erotic I’ve ever seen); 20 or so Vanessa Redgraves confronting you from a modern-day TV studio edit suite.

If a better film is released this year, then we're in for a real embarrassment of riches. Atonement can be added to that select list of pitch-perfect literary adaptations, last updated by Brokeback Mountain.

Anonymous said...

amir_uk, I love you. I'm at the point now where if this film isn't a damn near masterpiece, I will be personally offended. If Hampton pulls of the ending (a tricky proposition) than that oscar is his without a second thought.

re: The Lives of Others vs Pan's Labyrinth

I thought both were overrated, though I much preferred Lives of Others. Children of Men was royally robbed of the cinematography award. I agree that Germany's been on a roll lately - Sophie Scholl, Requiem, Head On, The Edukators...

Nicole Kidman vs Halle Berry

I disagree


adam --yes i go by release dates in NYC. so i didn't count Spider's one week qualifyer in LA. I've actually been tempted to disqualify one week qualifiers in general (even if they open in NY) though I haven't gone that far yet. The tactic just feels so completely false to me. You're not really a 2002 movie if you play one week and then open for real in 2003. my feeling at least. it's just born of cynicism, that strategy.

as for how i'd classify ONCE. I guess as a performance movie? Though I don't really see the difference between that and a musical.

re: ATONEMENT --i'm getting to the point with it that I don't wanna hear anymore about it. like i am with I'M NOT THERE. i just wanna see it. But i'm awfully glad that it's the main horse i backed in my year in advance oscar predictions

Anonymous said...

Arkaan - Hampton does pull off the ending. Astonishingly well, I might add. Although, Wright has a lot to do with it as well, seeing as he decided that the screenplay needed to be rewritten from scratch when he came aboard the project. Originally the whole structure of the novel with its flashbacks and concurrent sequences had been removed; with it the leitmotiv of the work would've been removed.

The ending is the only part that has changed from the novel though - I reread the book after seeing the film just to make sure, and it's all faithfully there. Except that some of the war episodes in France are collapsed into one, pragmatically because of the budget, but also in a way that is more suited to a visual medium that can portray different levels of action on the same plane/in the same frame (the 2-D novel just cannot do this).

But importantly what Briony does and says in the ending is almost identical to the book (some of the more symbolic lines are even lifted straight out of the book - and how you interpret Regrave's reading of these is what determines if the film has a happy or tragic conclusion). It's just the setting has been translated into one which works better on film. That's what I mean when I wrote earlier that Wright has a genuine intuition for visual language - which makes him so successful at page-to-screen work.

Sorry Nathaniel, no more Atonement talk, I promise. You'll get to see it in a few weeks anyway at Toronto, will you not??

Anonymous said...

Germany has been producing great cinema, but not in terms of the titles they're submitting. Nowhere in Africa played into the foreign committee's love of emotional sensationalism and just look at the critical consensus...basically a well-made, forgetable drama, but definately not up to par with what qualified that year...Hero, The Man Without A Past, City of God, 8 Women, and Lilja 4-Ever all deserved the trophy more than it.

The preference for Downfall and The Lives of Others had nothing to do with their excellence as films so much as the committee's fondness for European filmmaking...that's something I've heard voters openly admit to.

- Adam

Anonymous said...

Children of men was a bit overrated , so I wasn't mad that it lost.

I really didn't like The Lives of Others. Not my style.

Nicole Kidman has NEVER wowed me.
I haven't a clue why people find her so fascinating.

Anonymous said...

About my Once, I guess I was just trying to see if it was a "performance movie" in the way Ray and Walk the Line were, where the songs really are not there to move plot or reveal character development the way they do in a musical. I was actually hoping it was a musical in the latter sense.

- Adam

Anonymous said...

The thing that pisses me off about one week qualifiers is that generally, THEY DON'T WORK!!!!!!!! They make it harder to see the film, actively work against the film (recall Rushmore's jawdroppingly awful release) and piss me off. They should not be allowed.

amir_uk, can you email me (wwtwatchmen (at) gmail.com)?