February 05, 2017

Tag Archives: kate winslet

Casey Affleck moves closer to leading man status with “Triple 9”

As much as this week is pretty much dedicated to the run up to the Academy Awards, we can’t completely forget about new releases, now can we? The most notable of which for this week is obviously Triple 9, which boasts an incredible cast from top to bottom, on par with any Oscar bait movie. Personally, I didn’t care for the film too much, but what it does sport is a leading man role for Casey Affleck, who is deserving of many more of these. He’s been knocking on the front door of the A-list for some time now, so hopefully it’s about to happen for him.
The film is a crime drama about desperate men. A group of ex military and/or current Atlanta cops are pulling off bank heists for the wife of a jailed Russian mob boss (Kate Winslet). When she informs their leader (Chiwetel Ejiofor) that a hit on a Homeland Security installment for something that could get her husband free is next, the group initially finds the request impossible. Then, one of the cops on the crew (Anthony Mackie) essentially offers up his straight laced new partner (Affleck) as bait. They’ll pull a “999”, which is code for officer shot, and kill him, sending every officer to that scene and leaving them to pull off the job. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. John Hillcoat directs a script from Matt Cook, while the cast, in addition to the aforementioned Affleck, Ejiofor, Mackie, and Winslet, includes Clifton Collins Jr., Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Teresa Palmer, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Michael Kenneth Williams, and many more. A lot of them are wasted, frankly, but as mentioned above, it’s good to see Affleck get a leading man role.
I have a lot of problems with the movie, but the cast does give it the old college try. Winslet has fun with her part, though only Affleck really emerges completely unscathed. He plays it straight and doesn’t seem nearly as silly as the rest of the cast does when things fall apart. There’s a great procedural sequence during a search of a house that highlights the talent we know Hillcoat has as a filmmaker, but most of the time everyone falls short of the mark. Affleck comes off looking the best, but this definitely won’t be a project that will get him any kind of awards love, that’s for sure.
Speaking of […]

Kate Winslet and Alicia Vikander are duking it out for Best Supporting Actress

With less than a full week now until the Academy Awards, we’re continuing to focus in on a few of the races that might still be up in the air. In terms of the big eight (minus Best Picture, which I’ll tackle in a few days), the only category up for any real amount of debate is Best Supporting Actress, where the case can be made that Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs is sneaking up on Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl. Can Winslet wind up pulling the upset on Vikander at the last moment? Let’s discuss it a bit now and see if we can figure that out…
Best Supporting Actress has been a weird category all season long. There was a long period where Vikander, along with Rooney Mara for Carol, were potentially going to go Lead, as opposed to Supporting. Once we finally got the nominees, which in addition to Mara, Vikander, and Winslet, including Jennifer Jason Leigh from The Hateful Eight as well as Rachel McAdams from Spotlight, it was then a matter of seeing who would do best with the precursors. We never got a strong sense, though after a while it seemed like Vikander and Winslet were pulling away. Now, we’re at a point where it seems like they’re the only two logical winners. The question is, which one will emerge victorious?
The case for Vikander is a pretty simple one to process here, in that she’s won the most this season in the Supporting Actress race. She beat Winslet head to head at SAG, which holds a lot of water, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that she’s poised to be the next big thing. Her film seems to be slightly more preferred to Winslet’s, while it also engages the heart more. This does set her up nicely to be the frontrunner, though I’ll concede that it doesn’t make her an unbeatable one. If you’re a betting man or woman, I’d bet on Vikander, but she’s not in an invincible position, not by a long shot. She is, however, the prohibitive frontrunner.

The case for Winslet is slightly more flighty, if that makes sense. It puts a ton of credence onto the BAFTA and Golden Globe wins for her, though they came when she wasn’t up against Vikander. That’s what gives me the real pause. If not for that, I’d look for the highly regarded and well […]

Golden Globe results: Surprises and Upsets everywhere as ‘The Martian’ and ‘The Revenant’ emerge victorious

Wow. Just…wow. As much as I try to prepare myself for the unexpected, last night’s 73rd Golden Globe Awards was still something else. My predictions, along with everyone else in the industry, were way off, as curveball after curveball came our way. It turned out to be a very good night for The Revenant, with The Martian also having a strong showing. As good as it was for those two, it was a poor night for both The Big Short and Spotlight, as shut outs were pitched. Hell, even Steve Jobs managed to come back from the dead and take home a pair of prizes. It was impossible to see all of this coming, though a few things were potential upsets heading into the night. Still…wow.
Where to start? Well, at the beginning, I guess. Nothing turned out as we expected it to, leading the night to be anything but routine. The Globes gave a big boost to Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film The Revenant, as it led the way with three wins, emerging victorious in Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for Leonardo DiCaprio, and Best Director for Iñárritu himself. The Martian and Steve Jobs were the only other two movies to win multiple awards, as the former took Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) for Matt Damon, while the latter took Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Kate Winslet and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin. Other big wins went to Brie Larson for Room with the Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) category, Jennifer Lawrence for Joy with the Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) category, and Sylvester Stallone for Creed in Best Supporting Actor. Most of those were surprises too, to one degree or another. We even got an upset in Best Original Song, as “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre won. The only non surprises, outside of DiCaprio and Larson, were Inside Out winning Best Animated Feature Film, Son of Saul winning Best Motion Picture (Foreign Language), and Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight taking Best Original Score.
Below you’ll see all of the aforementioned wins in the film categories (even though that really does cover it), along with the television categories, which was highlighted for me by Oscar Isaac winning an award for his performance in […]

Hollywood Contenders – “Steve Jobs”: Oscar predictions for November

Maybe I was just distracted by watching the New York Mets in the playoffs this fall, but I think the time is flying folks. It’s already November, which is getting to be late in the game. A couple of precursors have already announced their nominees, we only really have four unseen major contenders left (The Big Short, The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant), and some presumed frontrunners in a couple of categories have emerged. At the same time though, we’re almost done with the year and no category is locked up yet (yes, not even Best Animated Feature…the closest one would be Best Foreign Language Feature). Simply put, it’s an exciting time and a perfect moment to update my Academy Award predictions yet again.
The big thing people have been debating (besides if The Martian can actually win in the big categories, but I’ll be tackling that in an article early next week) is how much Steve Jobs is hurt by the lack of a strong box office. Some think it’s barely been affected, some think it’s dead in the water. Me? I think the truth is somewhere in between. I’m of the opinion that wins might be a struggle now without the public interest that was expected, and even a few down the line nominations might be tougher to get, but the majority of its campaign should remain the same. Voters don’t consider box office like analysts do, so this is more perception than actual reality. Steve Jobs was hurt by bombing financially, but it’s still very much in the race. It’s certainly something to keep in mind though, moving forward…
Here now is how I see the Oscar nominations, as of the beginning of November:
1. Spotlight
2. The Martian
3. Room
4. The Revenant
5. Joy
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Steve Jobs
8. Brooklyn
9. The Big Short
10. Carol
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. Son of Saul 15. Sicario 16. In the Heart of the Sea 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Beasts of No Nation 20. Macbeth 21. Mad Max: Fury Road 22. Black Mass 23. 45 Years 24. 45 By the Sea 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Our Brand is Crisis 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Ridley Scott – The Martian
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – […]

Steve Jobs Bombs at Box Office

The word is in, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs didn’t make it at the Box Office. Expected revenue for this weekend is around $7.5 million from over 2,490 theaters.
Only a few critics have been backing this less-than-flattering biopic. Both Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet’s performances are great.

Some of the critics have been brutal:
‘Steve Jobs’ Bombs: What Went Wrong With the Apple Drama
‘Sorkin’s script fails to shout and quip its way to anything approaching dramatic vibrancy’
In his latest work (Aaron Sorkin), Steve Jobs, the cringing for me started at the outset with his typical outpouring of clever sentences that in a better dramatist’s hand might lead to dazzling repartee
NOTE: Apple and Jobs’ wife, Laurene, have expressed their disapproval of the film. She called it “fiction.”

A second October Oscar predictions update

With only a week or so to go until Halloween, we’re really racing to the end of the 2015 awards season. As such, I think it’s more than prudent to take another look at my Oscar predictions today, something I’ll be doing more and more often going forward. Obviously, a number of X factors make predicting the Academy Awards in October little more than educated guesswork, but that’s how you slowly move towards answers. I’ve got a few big question marks still, but this represents one of my more fact based takes on what the race could ultimately shape up to be like. That’s something, right?
What I really tried to focus on this time was nailing down a potentially weak Best Actor race as well as where to put those pesky unseen contenders like The Big Short, Concussion, The Hateful Eight, Joy, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Currently, I have them all scoring nominations, with all but one getting cited in multiple categories. You obviously can’t quite know what to do with them, but with some awards hopefuls like Carol, Spotlight, and Steve Jobs being known entities, it pays to be a bit bullish. I’m playing it a little bit conservatively with Joy right now, but in the next update I might be going close to all in on that one. Sit tight for more on that hunch, but take a gander at what I currently think Oscar will do below…
Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
1. Spotlight
2. Steve Jobs
3. The Revenant
4. The Martian
5. Room
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. Joy
9. The Big Short
10. Carol
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. Son of Saul 15. Beasts of No Nation 16. Sicario 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. By the Sea 20. Our Brand is Crisis 21. In the Heart of the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Black Mass 24. 45 Years 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Mad Max: Fury Road 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs
3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
4. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
5. Ridley Scott – The Martian
Next in line: 6. John Crowley – Brooklyn 7. David O. Russell – Joy 8. Todd Haynes – Carol 9. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of […]

Hollywood Contenders: Steve Jobs Didn’t Work

By Michael Russnow
In his latest work, Steve Jobs, the cringing for me started at the outset with his typical outpouring of clever sentences that in a better dramatist’s hand might lead to dazzling repartee. However, the key word is dramatist, the ability to fashion together plots and conversation that compel us to pay attention, through comedy or tragedy or a mix of both. The mere stringing together of shrewd phraseology that, for the most part, is not believable patter among characters, doesn’t work no matter how intriguing we believe them to be.
So, whether it’s Jobs played by Michael Fassbender, who does an awfully good job with what he has, or his key aide and ally Joanna Hoffman played by Kate Winslet (who seems to develop a thick eastern European accent in the middle of the film not indicated early on) or Steve Wozniak, well portrayed by Seth Rogen, the exchanges are so intuitively profound without anyone giving a moment’s thought to what they are about to say or where they’re saying it that it ceases to be about people in conflict. It’s as if they were robots with access to a terrific thesaurus.

To read more go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Michael Russnow’s website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com
Read his new book, Hollywood on the Danube, available at https://www.createspace.com/4497564 and on Kindle & Amazon sites.

A first crack at Golden Globe predictions

Now that we’re well into the fall months and about to enter the tail end of the 2015 movie release season, I wanted to take my first crack at some Golden Globe predictions. I’ll be mixing these in with Oscar predictions going forward, but early Globe picks are always interesting to me, especially since sometimes you’re still guessing category placement and just what the tastes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will look like at the time. They’re almost impossible to accurately guess off the bat the first time around, but that little factoid has yet to stop me from trying all the same. Here goes nothing!
What you’ll notice below is that things more or less reflect how I see the Academy Awards going, but with some slight changes. Obviously, the Comedy or Musical categories open things up to some other contenders, though we won’t know for a bit still how certain contenders will decide to compete. We know that Joy is likely to go Drama, but The Big Short and The Martian, for example, are two that could go the Comedy route. I have pretty much the same winners here as with Oscar, with the exception of Ridley Scott winning Best Director, on the potential strength of The Martian going Comedy and winning Best Picture in that area and getting Matt Damon that Best Actor win as well. The Drama category at the Globes still is where the Best Picture winner for Oscar likely will come from, with Spotlight and Steve Jobs facing off for now, though The Revenant is an X factor spoiler here. We’ll have more HFPA analysis coming soon, but these predictions should suffice for now…
Here you go folks, my initial look at how the Golden Globe awards could shape up:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Spotlight
2. The Revenant
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Joy
If there’s a sixth: Brooklyn
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. The Martian
2. Trainwreck
3. The Big Short
4. Love & Mercy
5. Our Brand is Crisis
If there’s a sixth: Grandma
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
3. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
4. Johnny Depp – Black Mass
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
If there’s a sixth: Tom Hanks – Bridge of Spies
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Matt Damon – The Martian
2. Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
3. Bill Murray – Rock the Kasbah
4. John Cusack – Love & Mercy
5. Bill Hader – Trainwreck
If there’s a […]

Which films have benefitted most from screening at the 53rd New York Film Festival?

On Saturday, the 53rd annual New York Film Festival came to a close. I’ve been at the festival for a number of years now, and I have to say…NYFF is always something special. The 2015 incarnation of the fest was no different, though for my money it wasn’t quite as jam packed as last year, but that’s another story. What’s easy to see though is that a handful of films definitely benefitted from playing at the festival, especially in terms of Oscar. Below you’ll see my take on who and what is sitting in a prettier spot for Academy Award attention than before NYFF began…
First of all, which were the movies that played at NYFF that had some level of awards aspirations? Well, titles of that nature included The Assassin, Bridge of Spies (a special Gala presentation), Brooklyn, Carol, The Lobster, The Martian (a special surprise inclusion), Miles Ahead (the Closing Night selection), Mountains May Depart, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs (the Centerpiece selection), The Walk (the Opening Night selection), and Where to Invade Next. Those dozen flicks, to one degree or another, would like to appeal to the Academy. The question is just if they can and if so, then how much? Well, that’s what we’re going to be discussing right now.

In terms of Best Picture, Director, or the Screenplay categories, there’s some definite contenders. I’d say Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, and Steve Jobs are strong players, potentially, with Son of Saul as a possible spoiler. Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, and Carol will have a tougher time in Best Director than in Best Picture due to the expanded lineup, though each will have a chance as well in Best Adapted Screenplay (especially Brooklyn, which could be a Screenplay lock for Nick Hornby) or Best Original Screenplay, depending on the situation. The Martian is an X factor (Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard are in play though for sure), with Son of Saul being the same, albeit a longer shot. Steve Jobs definitely emerged the strongest, now potentially in line to compete for wins all around (for Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin), not just nominations. As for The Walk? It had hopes initially, but those seem to have faded outside of technical categories. The Assassin and Mountains May Depart are far more limited in their chances, though Son of Saul seems like the foreign title that will eat […]

“The Big Short”: An October Oscar predictions update

Happy Friday friends! It’s not only the end of the week, but the beginning of the month of October as well, so obviously it’s time for a new set of Academy Award predictions. It’ll be an interesting new set as well, considering the things that I’ve seen since last time. Honestly, with Miles Ahead debuting tomorrow at the New York Film Festival, the list of unseen titles is shrinking by the day. As such, there’s hopefully a bit of clarity in the race, while also suggesting which categories will be the stronger ones this year and which ones will be the weaker ones (in fact, look for a piece on that next week). Right now though, I’ll give you a quick preview and then dive right into these Oscar predictions!
The big things to keep in mind with this Academy Award nominations update is that I’ve seen Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs, and more firsthand. That can help clarify things a bit. What’s most noticeable here this time around is that Spotlight and Steve Jobs seem like the frontrunners for the major non acting categories right now (Aaron Sorkin especially seems like he could have Best Adapted Screenplay in the bag). I’ve also dropped Bridge of Spies from most categories, just to see how that feels. The new addition of note here is The Big Short, obviously, which I think could be our late year surprise. A lot will depend on how things like The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant do, but assuming they’re up to snuff, the one unexpected hit could be The Big Short. We’ll see, but it’s something to keep in mind…
Here now is how I see the Oscar nominations going down, as of today:
1. Spotlight
2. Steve Jobs
3. The Revenant
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Brooklyn
6. Room
7. The Martian
8. Joy
9. The Big Short
10. The Danish Girl
Next in line: 11. Carol 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 15. Son of Saul 16. Beasts of No Nation 17. Sicario 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Our Brand is Crisis 20. Truth 21. By the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Suffragette 24. The Walk 25. In the Heart of the Sea 26. Trainwreck 27. Freeheld 28. The End of the Tour 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Danny Boyle – Steve […]

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