Awards Season Gets Underway
Two lost souls on the highway of life—that’s what a well-acted but benign little trifle called Arthur Newman is about. Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is a meek, unhappy man who decides to fake his own death, leaving his wallet and passport behind on a Florida beach, and starts over again with a new identity as Read More
The red carpet was aglow with the incandescent twinkle of Hollywood’s stars on Monday night at the 22nd annual Independent Film Project Gotham Awards. With Oscar winners Matt Damon and Marion Cotillard amongst the evening’s honorees and the likes of Jack Black, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and so many more blazing a trail through the double doors of Wall St.’s Cipriani’s, it was no wonder that the less glamorous side of the velvet rope was a veritable press feeding frenzy. Lucky for us, then, that we had sharpened our claws.
As the guests took their seats for the ceremony, The Observer was whisked upstairs to a private viewing room, lest we cavort too rambunctiously with the delicate A-List crowd. There we watched over the evening’s events like demi-gods looking down from the heavens upon the cherubs pecking away at their meals, with eight year old nominee Quvenzhané Williams and 13 year old Jared Gilman leading the underage coterie.
The awards soon got underway, much to the delight of the recipients. Honoring their intentions as champions of independent cinema, the jury not only rewarded the biggest Hollywood names but the industry’s up-and-comers for their contribution to film. Beasts of the Southern Wild writer and director Benh Zeitlin was undoubtedly the big winner of the night, scooping statuettes – well, glass cuboids – for Breakthrough Director alongside the Bingham Ray Award, dedicated to the late film executive.
Spring Arts Preview
Lynn Shelton, writer-director of the titillating but underwhelming male psyche exam Humpday, about two straight guys who test their macho friendship by making a gay porn film about having sex with each other on camera before fizzling out at the last minute, has come up with another actionless talkathon called Your Sister’s Sister. What is it with this talented low-budget indie filmmaker whose gabfests take on brave ideas and then talk themselves to death, gasping for breath between monologues? I’ve seen Your Sister’s Sister twice, and fallen asleep in the same place both times. It’s a credit to the actors that it ended up winning me over in spite of myself.
The Hunger Games (Gary Ross) March 23
Your children have been refreshing Fandango daily to see if tickets are available yet for the movie based on Suzanne Collins’ kiddie novels—think of them as Twilight, except with actual murder instead of benign vampirism. Games promises a chaste love triangle and lots of angst for the tween Read More
When it was unveiled last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a loopy satire about England’s efforts to bring salmon fishing to the Middle East for political reasons, got initial reviews that used words like broad, uneven, undemanding, syrupy and contrived. As comedy sinks lower by the day, this charming little film by polished director Lasse Hallström looks better all the time. Mr. Hallström may have suffered an unjust setback in popularity recently, but the veteran director of such diverse accomplishments as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat has lost none of his wit, visual artistry or skill at moving a story along with grace, constantly surprising the viewer with unexpected narrative choices.
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival is to open with the Universal Pictures comedy The Five-Year Engagement, which is to star Jason Segel and Emily blunt as a long-affianced couple. (The increasingly busy Mr. Segel wrote the film, as well.) The full slate–which per tradition and mission is to consist, largely, of independent films–is Read More
Matt Damon is always a vigorous and resourceful actor, but his fans don’t seem to support him in roles that wander too far away from fatuous, farfetched fiction. Despite what amounts to little more than a sleepwalking cameo in the deadly Cohen brothers remake of True Grit, this deserving actor has not had a hit Read More
Running time 125 minutes
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self
Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring Benicio Del Toro,
Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt
Rating: Two and a Half Eyeballs out of Four
Old monsters never die. They just keep coming back, in an endless series of unnecessary remakes. So get Read More
The Young Victoria
Running time 100 minutes
Written by Julian Fellowes
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
Starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong
In the otherwise somber The Young Victoria, vivacious Emily Blunt, who did so much for stiletto heels in The Devil Wears Prada, puts a modern spin Read More
The Great Buck Howard
Running time 87 minutes
Written and directed by Sean McGinly
Starring Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt
In The Great Buck Howard, John Malkovich finally plays one of his most accessible roles in one of his least pretentious films. I don’t even like movies about young mentalists, mediums, Read More