Here’s The Trailer for White Noise!


Earlier today, the trailer for Noah Baumbach’s upcoming White Noise dropped.  This film, which is an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel, is expected to receive a major awards season push from Netflix.  It’s a film that not only reunited Baumbach with Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver but which also co-stars Greta Gerwig, who has yet to receive an acting nomination despite directing two films that have been nominated for Best Picture.  It’ll be curious to see how Baumbach does with White Noise.  DeLillo is one of our most acclaimed novelists but other filmmakers have often struggled to capture the essence of his prose on film.

Here’s the trailer.  Judge it for yourself.

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For July


Little by little, the Oscar race is starting to become just a little bit clearer.  It’s still early, of course.  Really, it’s way too early to say anything for sure.  But it’s also hard to deny that certain films are now much more in the conversation than others.

The biggest development this month was the announcement that Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will not be released until 2023.  That takes it out of Oscar contention …. for now.  (For those who may have forgotten, it was originally announced, halfway through 2013, that The Wolf of Wall Street would not be ready until sometimes in 2014.  Everyone dutifully updated their Oscar predictions, striking The Wolf of Wall Street from their lists of likely best picture nominees.  Then, at the last minute, Scorsese announced that the film actually would be ready for 2013.  If something similar happens this year, Killers of the Flower Moon will go right back to being a huge contender because it’s Scorsese and he’s one of the best, regardless of what certain Marvel fans would have you believe.)  With Scorsese apparently out, it would now appear that Steven Spielberg is going to be the only member of the old guard with a film in the Oscar race.  Considering that many people believe that Spielberg’s West Side Story was snubbed last year when it only took home one Oscar (out of a total of sever nominations), The Fabelmans seems like it will be a major contender.  Admittedly, my hope that David Lynch will earn an acting nomination for playing John Ford in The Fabelmans may be a longshot but it can not be denied that it would be a cool development.

As for the other contenders, Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Everything Everywhere All At Once all seem poised to ride a combination of critical acclaim and box office success into the Oscar race.  Todd Field has finally returned with TarThe Whale has the potential to be a comeback vehicle for the always likable Brendan Fraser.  She Said, Till, and Women Talking all stand to take advantage of the current political climate.  And Babylon will presumably give Hollywood a chance to celebrate itself.

The Oscar picture is still a bit cloudy but, with so many major festival on the horizon, those clouds should be parting soon.

Be sure to check out my predictions for February, March, April, May, and June!

Best Picture

Babylon

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

She Said

Tar

Till

Top Gun: Maverick

The Whale

Women Talking

Best Director

Damien Chazelle for Babylon

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (The Daniels) for Everything Everywhere All At Once

Todd Field for Tar

Sarah Polley for Women Talking

Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans

Best Actor

Austin Butler in Elvis

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Adam Driver in White Noise

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

Harry Styles in My Policeman

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Tar

Viola Davis in The Woman King

Ana de Arms in Blonde

Danielle Deadwyler in Till

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks in Elvis

Woody Harrelson in Triangle of Sadness

David Lynch in The Fabelmans

Tobey Maguire in Babylon

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in Women Talking

Patricia Clarkson in She Said

Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Sally Field in Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

6 Performers Who I Hope Win Their First Oscar In The Next Ten Years: 2022 edition


We talk a lot about which performers and directors have been snubbed at Oscar time.

For movie lovers, that’s an important subject.  We all know that great actors like Peter O’Toole, Cary Grant, Albert Finney, and far too many others all went to their grave with several nominations but not a single competitive Oscar to their name.  Just two years ago, Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103 without having ever won a competitive Oscar.  And certainly, over the past two years, we have been made far more aware of the fact that everyone is going to die someday.  We always talk about how certain actors are overdue for their first Oscar but sometimes we forget that being overdue doesn’t always translate into an eventual win.  Sometimes, it translates into people watching a movie on TCM and saying, “How did that person never win an Oscar?”

With that in mind, here are 6 performers who I sincerely hope will have won their first Oscar by the time that 2032 rolls around:

  1. Bradley Cooper

Seriously, if you look up overdue in the dictionary, there’s a chance that Bradley Cooper would be used as the example.  He’s been nominated so many times and he has yet to win, though I do get the feeling that he may have come close a few times.  He deserved a nomination this year for Nightmare Alley and, if his role had been bigger, you could probably argue that he deserved one for Licorice Pizza as well.  One gets the feeling that Cooper is taken for granted, in the way that many effortlessly good performers are.  Maybe his upcoming biopic of Leonard Bernstein will finally do the trick.

2. Rachel Sennott

Rachel Sennott’s performance in Shiva Baby was one of the best of 2021 and it’s one for which she deserved to be nominated.  It’s impossible to imagine that film working without her performance.  Hopefully, it’ll lead to more worthy roles for her.

3. Chaske Spencer

Chaske Spenser gave one of the best performances of 2021 in Wild Indian.  Though the film may not have been widely seen, Spenser’s performance was powerful and unforgettable and, much as in the case of Sennott, I hope it leads to more worthy roles for him.

4. Ann Dowd

It’s hard to believe that Ann Dowd hasn’t even received an Oscar nomination yet.  Her performance in Mass was one of the best of 2021.  In a role that others probably would have used as an excuse to overact and show-off, Dowd gave a quietly devastating and emotionally honest performance.  Perhaps because Dowd disappears so effortlessly into her role, the Academy took her work for granted.  Perhaps the film’s subject matter was simply too grim for the voters.  Regardless of why the Academy didn’t respond to Mass, Dowd deserves an Oscar.

5. Adam Driver

It’ll happen soon.  And I bet this former Marine will give the best acceptance speech of the night.

6. Scarlett Johansson

Much as with Driver, it’ll happen soon.  Picking up both a lead and supporting nomination in 2020 was definitely a good start.

I can’t wait to see all six of these performers win their first Oscar!  Don’t disappoint me, Academy!

Icarus File No. 6: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (dir by Terry Gilliam)


For many years, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was a film best known for not having been made.

In the past, we’ve used the Icarus Files as a way to write about filmmakers who flew too close to the sun of their own ambition and who plunged down to the sea as a result.  However, in the case of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the sun is not director Terry Gilliam’s ambition.  Instead, the sun is a combination of shady financiers, natural disasters, and film industry silliness that seemed to all conspire to keep Gilliam from making his film.  And yet, unlike the real Icarus, Gilliam insisted on continuing to fly, regardless of how many times he crashed into the ocean.

Terry Gilliam first started to talk about adapting Migel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote into a film in the late 80s.  The tale of a Spanish nobleman who becomes convinced that he’s fighting giants when he’s actually only jousting with windmills, Don Quixote sounded like an obvious project for Gilliam.  Gilliam’s films have always dealt with the power and importance of imagination.  However, it’s often forgotten that Gilliam’s protagonists are often both saved and eventually destroyed by fantasy.  (One need only think about the end of Time Bandits, in which the young main character goes on the journey of a lifetime but then watches as his parents blow up in front of him.)  It’s easy to forget that Don Quixote dies at the end of Cervantes’s tale, having regained his sanity and having announced that his niece will be disinherited if she marries a man who has ever read a book about chivalry. 

From 1990 to 1997, Gilliam started pre-production on his version of Don Quixote several times, just for the production to be canceled.  Sometimes, this was due to Gilliam not being able to get the budget that he felt would be necessary to bring his vision to life.  Frustrated with the Hollywood studio system, Gilliam wanted to raise the money for and make his movie in Europe but this turned out to lead to a whole new set of financial and regulatory complications.

Filming finally started on the film in 2000, with Jean Rochefort playing a former film actor who thinks that he’s Don Quixote and Johnny Depp playing the director who fills the role of Sancho Panza.  Unfortunately, as shown in the poignant documentary Lost in La Mancha, the production seemed to be almost cursed from the start.  The footage from the first day of shooting was unusable, due to planes flying overhead.  The 2nd day of shooting was ruined by a flash flood that swept away much of the set.  Jean Rochefort injured himself and, despite his best efforts to act through the pain, he had to step away from the role.  Filming was suspended in 2000 and, for the next 16 years, Gilliam tried to find a way to get the stalled film started up again.  Many actors came and went, including Robert Duvall and, most promisingly, John Hurt.  Hurt agreed to play the role of Quixote but, just when it seemed that the film was finally going to go into production, Hurt passed away from pancreatic cancer.  A few months later, the original Quixote, Jean Rochefort, also passed away.  The film went back into limbo.

Finally, in 2016, a producer named Paulo Branco offered to fund the film.  Pre-production started up again, this time with Adam Driver in the Sancho Panza role and Michael Palin playing Quixote.  However, the project was soon once again stalled, as Branco wanted creative control of the film.  When Branco slashed both the budget of the film and Palin’s already reduced salary, Gilliam denounced Branco’s actions.  Branco suspended production but, by this point, Gilliam had already hooked up with another set of producers.  Jonathan Pryce replaced Michael Palin as Don Quixote and, finally, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was filmed!

Once filming was complete, however, Paulo Branco popped up yet again.  Claiming that he owned the rights to the story and not Terry Gilliam, he sued to keep the film from being distributed.  The courts ruled in Branco’s favor but Gilliam countered that he hadn’t used one frame of footage that had been shot while Branco was serving as producer and that, while Branco had the rights to his version of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, he did not have the rights to Gilliam’s.  While the lawyers argued, Amazon Studios withdrew from an agreement to distribute the film.  Once the case was finally settled, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was finally given a haphazard release in a few countries, often in edited form.

And that’s a shame because The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a delight.  It’s a film that is both playful and snarky, a celebration of imagination that also serves as a satire of Hollywood narcissism.  Adam Driver plays Toby Grummett, a director who returns to a Spanish village to direct an big-budget, epic adaptation of Don Quixote.  Ten years earlier, as a student filmmaker, Grummett shot a previous adaptation of Don Quixote in the same village.  When he tracks down the old shoemaker (Jonathan Pryce), who starred in his student film, he discovers that the shoemaker thinks that he is Quixote and that he’s become something of a tourist attraction.

And from there, the film follows Don Quixote as he takes Toby on a quest to fight giants and protect the helpless and to live a life of chilvary.  Along the way, Toby finds himself getting caught up in Quixote’s elaborate fantasy world.  It leads to a lot of comedy but there’s also something rather poignant about the old shoemaker’s attempts to be a hero and Toby rediscovering the love of fantasy and the imagination that he had when he was a film student.  And yet, it would be a mistake to assume that this film is simply a light-hearted fantasy.  The laughs are tinged with melancholy.  The enemies that Quixote and Toby meet are not just imaginary giants.  This a film that mixes comedy and tragedy in a way that few other films have the courage to do so.

As is typical with Gilliam’s later films, it bites off a bit more than it can chew but it’s still hard not to get caught up in it.  Driver and Pryce are both wonderfully cast and the film’s satire of the film business carries a sting to it.  Watching the film, it becomes apparent that Gilliam sees himself as being both Quixote and Toby.  The film’s ending seems to be Gilliam’s defiant message that he will always choose to fight the giants.

Previous Icarus Files:

  1. Cloud Atlas
  2. Maximum Overdrive
  3. Glass
  4. Captive State
  5. Mother!

Scenes That I Love: Adam Driver Has Read The Script in The Dead Don’t Die


Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die is a film that has definitely grown on me. When I first watched it, I thought it was intriguing but perhaps a bit too cutesy and enamored with itself. However, I’ve subsequently come to realize that, actually, Jarmusch finds just the perfect tone for his look at our zombie-saturated culture.

In the scenes below, Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny, and the wonderful Adam Driver all deal with the inevitability of doom that comes with being a character in a zombie film.

 

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For July


It’s that time of the month again!  It’s time for me to make my early Oscar predictions.

This year, the Cannes Film Festival really didn’t clear much up.  The French Dispatch was acclaimed but, in every review, there was an admission that, for everyone who absolutely loved it, there would probably be someone else who would absolutely hate it.  I did decided to include Red Rocket on my list of predictions, based on the Cannes reaction.  I’m still not a 100% convinced that it’s going to be a contender, of course.  But the idea of a Simon Rex movie being nominated for best picture was just too wonderfully strange for me to ignore.  That’s the same logic that led to me including Pig as a best picture nominee, by the way.

On the Ridely Scott front, the overacting in the trailer for House of Gucci really turned me off so I dropped it from all of my predictions.  The Last Duel looks like it might have a chance, however.

Anyway, the main thing to remember when looking at these predictions is that the majority of them are just random guesses, based on hunches and past Academy behavior.  So, as always, take them with several grains of salt.

If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May and June!

Best Picture

Belfast

A Journal For Jordan

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

Pig

The Power of the Dog

Red Rocket

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

 

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage in Pig

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal For Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being The Ricardos

Tessa Thomspon in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Simon Helberg in Annette

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Chante Adams in A Journal For Jordan

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Ann Dowd in Mass

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Ruth Negga in Passing

Finally! We have a trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel!


We’ve been waiting for a while.

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel has been a project that has had several projected release dates. It was originally expected to be a 2020 Oscar contender but, like many highly anticipated films, it kept getting moved back due to the Coronavirus pandemic. That was unfortunately, though I am ultimately glad that the film waited for the theaters as opposed to going the streaming route. One thing that all Ridley Scott films, good or bad, have in common is that they’re best viewed on a big screen.

This October, we should finally get to see The Last Duel. The film tells a a true story and features such Oscar-friendly actors as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver. Though Gladiator may have won best picture, Ridley Scott is still in the hunt for his first directing win. This year, he not only has The Last Duel in the hunt but he’s also going to have House of Gucci, featuring Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and, once again, Adam Driver.

The trailer for The Last Duel was released today. From what I saw on social media, the reaction was a bit mixed, with many pointing out that the visuals had a bit of a washed-out look to them. Indeed, watching the trailer, one wonders if it ever stopped snowing in 14th century France. Personally, though, I’m a little bit more concerned with Ben Affleck’s hair. Adam Driver and Matt Damon are usually well-cast in period films but, in the past, Ben Affleck has always come across like he can’t wait to catch the next train back to Boston. That said, there was a lot about the trailer that I did like. The sets look impressive and it really does seem like the type of story that usually brings out the best in Ridley Scott as a director.

Plus, I have to say that I really like the film’s poster, which has something of a Ken Russell feel to it. If anything, the poster actually has me more excited about seeing the film than the trailer does.

With all of that said and in mind, here’s the trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel!

Music Video of the Day: So May We Start, performed by Sparks, Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and Simon Helberg (2021, dir by Leos Carax)


This is from Annette, which made quite a splash at Cannes last week and which will be released on Prime later this year. As for Cannes, it’s got a few more days to go!

Enjoy!

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions for June


2013 oscars

It’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to post my monthly predictions!

What has chanced since I last made my predictions in May?  Though it was acclaimed by critics, the box office failure of In The Heights has probably ended that film’s time as an Oscar contender.  For all the musicals that are coming out this year, only Spielberg’s West Side Story really seems like a good bet to emerge as a major contender.  Dear Evan Hansen was pretty much eliminated from consideration as soon as its trailer dropped.  Tick, Tick …. Boom seems to be destined to be loved by theater kids while being dismissed by everyone else.  I’d love to see Joe Wright and Peter Dinklage nominated but my instincts are telling me that Cyrano will probably not be a huge contender.  In the end, West Side Story seems like the most likely musical nominee.

I’ve been reading up on Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which is set to premiere at Venice and then be released via Netflix.  Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, this sounds like the type of film that could potentially be a strong contender, depending on what approach Campion takes the story.  The main character of Phil Burbank is the type of bigger-than-life role that could lead to Oscar glory.  (The closest recent equivalent to Phil would probably be Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.)  Phil is a sharply intelligent but cruelly manipulative Montana rancher, the type who brags about castrating cattle while quoting Ovid and who goes out of his way to bully anyone who he considers to be effeminate.  Of course, there’s a secret behind all of Phil’s cruelty and how the film handles that secret will have a lot to do with how strongly the film comes on during awards season.  Phil is being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which is …. interesting casting.  (Personally, I probably would have begged Michael Fassbender to take the role.)  Still, it seems like Phil could be the type of change-of-pace role that, should Cumberbatch’s casting pay off, could lead to Oscar glory.

Coming up in July, we’ve got Cannes and we’ll be getting our first look at contenders like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch.  Though Cannes is hardly a reliable precursor, the Oscar race should start to become a bit clearer as the festival start up and the contenders — many of which we’ve been waiting to see for over two years — will finally start to be released.  Until then, take all predictions with a grain of salt!

If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May.

Best Picture

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Parallel Mothers

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Bill Murray in The French Dispatch

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing

 

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For May


It’s that time of the month again! It’s time for me to go out on a limb and attempt to predict what will be nominated for the Oscars. Of course, trying to do this early in the year is a fool’s errand. We all know that. That’s actually part of the fun.

As of right now, the list below is full of familiar names, a few films that were acclaimed at Sundance, and a few random guesses. A lot of the predicted nominees are films that were expected to be Oscar contenders last year but which were delayed due to the pandemic. (Looking at you, West Side Story.) Some of them are contenders that I personally would just like to see nominated, even though it probably won’t happen. (I’m not going to jinx anything by pointing out which nomination about which I’m specifically thinking. You’ll probably be able to guess for yourself.) Over the next few months, the Oscar picture will become a bit clearer. Many of the contenders listed below will be forgotten about. Meanwhile, new contenders will emerge. My point is, take it all with a grain of salt and don’t put down any money just yet.

Two big developments to keep in mind:

First off, the Academy is officially going back to having a set a number of nominees. Next year, ten films will be nominated for best picture. Not seven. Not nine. Ten. Personally, I’m thrilled by this development. Nothing irritated me more than when they used to announce those weird, seven-picture lineups. (As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like odd numbers.)

Secondly, the Academy is going back to the old eligibility dates. Yay! What that means is that only films that are released between March and the end of this year will be eligible to compete for the Oscars. More importantly, it means that the best film of 2021 will not be released in 2022.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month! Don’t take them too seriously. If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for March and April.

Best Picture

CODA

The Duke

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Passing

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Jim Broadbent in The Duke

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal For Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Ana de Armas in Blonde

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Al Pacino in House of Gucci

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing