Monday, February 28, 2011

One reaction. Bambi.

Bambi is one of many Disney films that has been in my film collection since childhood, yet it is only now that I may consider it the greatest achievement from Walt Disney animation. And evidence that the studio could have developed in a more ambitious manner...

Each second of the film is bursting with beauty; the decidedly naturalistic animation that often grows into brave dreamlike sequences, the score that punctuates the action where dialogue would seem intrusive, and the simple narrative whose conflict derives from organic development rather than the presence of a super-evil villain. Although these are present within much of Disney's output, they are never function as crucially as they do here. The next animated feature to be released, Cinderella, was a much cheaper and more generic tale that set the box-office alight and steered Disney into forging a narrative format of a protagonist facing the villain in order to reach their goal. Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, The Rescuers etc. seem somewhat confined to such formatting. They are good (and often great) films but the studio's daring artistic ambition may have faded with Bambi, simply put it seems their goal was to entertain rather than to explore animation.

So Bambi can be seen as a Disney rarity. It is less a fairytale and more of a fable, a tale that strips the excesses of humanity to examine life at its most basic. It is both a lesson and a celebration of birth, death, friendships and love. Absent are the magical attributes of characters, fanciful dreams and dastardly villains, Bambi presents a natural world that exists within our own yet remains entirely novel. If the film had been a greater box-office success, originally, perhaps the Disney studio would not have fled to the fairytale format and would have continued more ambitious filmmaking.

That is not to say that I would want to rob the world (and myself) of such gems as Peter Pan, 101 Dalmations and Beauty and the Beast, but I can't help but wish Disney remained as brave a studio as it was when originally created. Perhaps now is the time for such a renaissance?

Monday, February 28, 2011

10 thoughts on...the 83rd Academy Awards.

1. In my short time of watching the Academy Awards, I never thought I would say the following...the show was thoroughly entertaining. It wasn't just the blessing of a terrific host in Anne Hathaway (more on her later) but it felt like a celebration of cinema without the usual desperation to be 'hip'. There was not a Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron or Miley Cyrus in sight while the congratulations were reserved for the nominated films. Hoorah!
2. Anne Hathaway is a godsend. Endlessly endearing and painfully talented, Hathaway is one of the richest assets Hollywood has to offer right now. I am less enthused about James Franco, but he didn't spoil the show.
3. I was very happy to see Tom Hooper win Best Director. His work on The King's Speech is impressive, and the film is indebted to his work. The disapproval that has built online is unfair and quite frustrating. David Fincher is a great director but The Social Network is not his greatest work, and if you are voting for the best of 2010 then Hooper is a very solid choice indeed (although I still wish Darren Aronofsky had somehow taken the gong).
4. Was Reese Witherspoon trying to channel her inner Julianne Moore in A Single Man?
5. I was very sad to see that Mike Leigh was absent from the ceremony.
6. Colin Firth gave the most genuinely humbled speech of the evening. He almost seemed shocked (how could he have been after sweeping every award?), and it was definitely deserved. I hope this is not, as he suggested, the peak of his career.
7. There were so many things wrong about the Best Supporting Actress category. Firstly, Kirk Douglas was not fit to present any award, particularly one where he could make sexual advances on five four innocent women. He was embarrassing. Secondly, how did Melissa Leo manage to pull this off? Her performance is nothing short of predictable while her vulgar personality should have tarnished all the momentum she had built. I was genuinely shocked to hear her name called out. Then there was the acceptance speech itself...it was atrociously crude. (The worst bit may have been her robbery of Douglas' walking-stick as they left the stage). I hope this is the end of her career. I never want to hear of her again.
8. I'm disappointed that Tangled did not win Best Song. Boo!
9. I think Sandra Bullock should present the 84th Academy Awards. Her introductions to the Best Actor nominees was terrific, she enchanted the audience as always.
10. This has been one of the more entertaining award races in the last few years. The majority of nominees were deserving (rare!) while it is tough to fault most of the winners (other than Alice in Wonderland and Leo). Hoorah!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cinematic advice.


"I know how you feel, Dumbo, but you'll have to pull yourself together. What would your mother think of ya, if she saw you crying like this?"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the winners are...the Academy Awards 2011.

Picture
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: The Social Network
Wish: Black Swan and/or Toy Story 3

Director
Win: David Fincher for The Social Network
Upset: Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Wish: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Actor in a Leading Role
Win: Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Upset: None
Wish: Colin Firth

Actor in a Supporting Role
Win: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Upset: Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Wish: Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right

Actress in a Leading Role
Win: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Upset: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
Wish: Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole, Natalie Portman or Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

Actress in a Supporting Role
Win: Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Upset: Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech or (*shudder*) Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Wish: Amy Adams for The Fighter

Animated Feature Film
Win: Toy Story 3
Upset: How to Train Your Dragon
Wish: Toy Story 3

Adapted Screenplay
Win: The Social Network
Upset: Toy Story 3
Wish: Toy Story 3

Original Screenplay
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: The Kids Are All Right
Wish: Another Year

Art Direction
Win: Alice in Wonderland
Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: True Grit

Cinematography
Win: True Grit
Upset: The Social Network
Wish: Black Swan

Costume Design
Win: Alice in Wonderland
Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: I Am Love

Documentary (Feature)
Win: Inside Job
Upset: Exit through the Gift Shop
Wish: Exit through the Gift Shop

Film Editing
Win: The Social Network
Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: Black Swan

Foreign Language Film
Win: In a Better World
Upset: Incendies
Wish: Dogtooth

Make-Up
Win: The Wolfman
Upset: Barney's Version
Wish: Barney's Version

Music (Original Score)
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: The Social Network
Wish: The Social Network

Music (Original Song)
Win: "I See the Light" from Tangled
Upset: "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3
Wish: "I See the Light"

Sound Editing
Win: Inception
Upset: True Grit
Wish: Toy Story 3

Sound Mixing
Win: Inception
Upset: True Grit
Wish: The Social Network

Visual Effects
Win: Inception
Upset: Hereafter
Wish: Inception

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"We have a whole life to live together...you fucker!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My favourite shot of...BAFTA Awards 2011.

I have been a fan of Rosamund Pike's for some time. She is perfection in Pride and Prejudice and An Education. In fact I would have most definitely given her an Oscar nomination for the latter. But it was not until last Sunday's BAFTA Film Awards that I fell in love with her...someone give her a role worthy of her talents!!

NOTE: these talents do not include presenting an award without a teleprompter.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And the winners are...BAFTA 2011.

Film
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: None
Wish: Black Swan

Outstanding British Film
Win: Another Year
Upset: Four Lions
Wish: Another Year or Four Lions

Director
Win: Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Upset: David Fincher for The Social Network
Wish: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Original Screenplay
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: None
Wish: The King's Speech

Adapted Screenplay
Win: The Social Network
Upset: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Wish: Toy Story 3

Film Not In The English Language
Win: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Upset: The Secret In Their Eyes
Wish: The Secret In Their Eyes

Animated Film
Win: Toy Story 3
Upset: None
Wish: Tangled (not nominated)

Leading Actor
Win: Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Upset: None
Wish: Colin Firth

Leading Actress
Win: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Upset: Noomi Rapace for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Wish: Natalie Portman

Supporting Actor
Win: Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Upset: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Wish: Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are Alright

Supporting Actress
Win: Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech
Upset: Lesley Mansville for Another Year
Wish: Amy Adams for The Fighter

Original Music
Win: Inception
Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: The King's Speech

Cinematography
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: True Grit
Wish: Black Swan

Editing
Win: The King's Speech
Upset: Inception
Wish: Black Swan

Production Design
Win: Alice In Wonderland
Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: Black Swan

Costume Design
Win: Alice In Wonderland
Upset: Black Swan
Wish: Black Swan

Sound
Win: Inception
Upset: Black Swan
Wish: Black Swan

Special Visual Effects
Win: Inception
Upset: Alice In Wonderland
Wish: Black Swan

Make Up & Hair
Win: Alice In Wonderland
Upset: Black Swan
Wish: Made In Dagenham

Sunday, February 13, 2011

6 ways to celebrate...the 67th year of Stockard Channing.

  1. Be the victim of Sesame Street's Mad Painter.
  2. Remind yourself there are worse things you could do.
  3. Welcome a charming young man into your home who will claim his father is Sidney Poitier. WARNING: you will be subsequently forced to reevaluate your life.
  4. Initiate the creation of A First Wives Club. (Without committing suicide please.)
  5. Become the First Lady of the United States of America. And steal each scene you're in.
  6. Duet with Aaron Tveit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dreaming.


"I'm looking for corny in my life...it's all those movies!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dreaming.

"Far from Skid Row,
I dream we'll go
somewhere that's green."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One reaction. Never Let Me Go.

Too often filmmakers seem to believe that a good source novel will translate into a good film if you simply present a collection of 'best of' moments and attached credible actors. These filmmakers tend to create bad films. Another example of this is Never Let Me Go.

The novel is a text rich with cinematic potential...not that you would think so after seeing this adaptation. The first half feels like a very extended opening sequence where the mystery behind the 'special' students of Hailsman is explained to death. It is neither imaginative or particularly engaging. Then we're whisked off to the main plot that neglects the science-fiction to tease the audience with a love triangle...that never comes to fruition. Instead we get some moody moment which are even less engaging than what came before. It is only in the final scenes, where the desperation of Cath (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) is at its peak, does the film become engaging. And that is frustratingly brief. The story has lost its soul through this transformation to the screen, and it is the stale script that is to blame.

It is clear that a film which needs to state its underpinning conflict within its final moments to a disengaged audience needed a better script. Shame on you Alex Garland.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

10 moments to cherish...Sigourney Weaver during the live recording of The Graham Norton Show.

  1. Being inches away from the woman herself. Obviously.
  2. The fact she shared more with her character from Working Girl rather than any of her other creations. (This is meant as a compliment. BIG TIME).
  3. Hearing her admit that she fancied a gorilla.
  4. Revealing her panties from Alien were from the one and only Marks & Spencers. Recession chique!
  5. Sharing her moments of boredom with the nature of filming this pre-recorded show. I swear I saw her yawn!
  6. Watching her relive that chestbuster scene in Alien.
  7. Knowing that she dresses up as Batman during Comic-Con. Valuable information.
  8. Watching her laugh squint her eyes as she tried to watch the monitor. Presumably she wears glasses when not in front of cameras?
  9. Sharing her huge enthusiasm for her science-fiction cinema.
  10. The moment when Sigourney ran towards me and took me in her arms...(if only!)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Who's that girl?

Tomorrow I'll be in the presence of Sigourney Weaver. Yay!

Monday, February 07, 2011

"When did you last see your father?"

"Was it when they buried the coffin? Put the lid on it? When he sailed his last breath? When he sat up and said something? When he last recognised you? When he last smiled? When did you last see your father? The last time he was healthy; active? The last time you had an argument about something? Those weeks in which he tried to say goodbye were like series of depletion. Each day I thought he couldn't get less like himself. And each day he did. So I've been trying to recall the last time I saw him, the last time he was unmistakably there. In the fullness of being...him."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011