7 items from 2013
As we inch closer towards the release date of August: Osage County, the movie adaptation of Tracy Letts‘ Pulitzer winner starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, and everyone else I’ve ever loved, it’s time to give props to a dying art: movie versions of great plays. I personally loved Rabbit Hole (2010), but was ultimately underwhelmed by Pulitzer-based films Doubt (2009) and the unbelievably awkward Carnage (2011). To preserve the legacy of kickass play adaptations, here are ten legendary examples of stage triumphs that translated wonderfully on celluloid.
This Academy Award-winning epic (161 minutes) has a dynamic Mozart in Tom Hulce, but it’s impossible to think about Amadeus without first recalling the gripping and one-of-a-kind work of F. Murray Abraham as his adversary Salieri. (Wow, those two words sounds too much alike.) Jealousy is arguably the most recurring theme in great theater, but the command and despair of Abraham »
- Louis Virtel
Congrats to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Commander John Harrison in today’s new release Star Trek Into Darkness, for waking me out of cryosleep and forcing me to remember how hot a good movie villain can be. Star Trek Into Darkness is shaping up to be a killer sequel to J.J. Abrams‘ unbeatable 2009 original, and in honor of Cumberbatch’s sinister, dead sexy allure, we’re counting up the 10 hottest villains ever!
Tom Hiddleston is a jovial and cool-seeming guy in interviews, but in Thor, the thespian’s unflinching intensity and sheer weirdness make for an unusual, cartoonish, but sexy villain. If Loki is a trickster, the greatest trick he ever pulled was challenging Chris Hemsworth’s sexiness and succeeding.
Nothing makes a villain hotter than sardonic one-liners, and Christian Slater spouted them without hesitation as J.D. »
- Louis Virtel
We've all got to do our part to help with the Scotus situation today, kids. I know I'm doing mine: Here are eight fabulous female performanes in courtroom movies to inspire you for the day ahead. Even if they drive younuts, you still qualify to look glamorously insane like Frances Farmer.
Joanna Kramer ditched her family not because she was bored of parenting (which I would've completely understood), but because her despair was so significant that she felt it best to remove herself from the home she shared with her obnoxious husband and tolerable son. Later, when she wanted custody of the scamp, she delivered a tearful monologue about painting clouds on bedroom walls and the misery of the Kramer household, concluding with the defiant line, "I am his mother." Meryl famously wrote most of this great soliloquy, and knowing Meryl's talents, she probably also sewed her own costume, »
Author Agatha Christie was one of the most famous writers in history, writing over 60 detective novels, a handful of short stories, and a few plays from the 1920s until her death in 1976. Her work has been translated into over 30 films, including Midnight on the Orient Express, Ten Little Indians, and Witness for the Prosecution. Deadline reports that Paramount has just purchased a spec script from writer Allison Schroeder called Agatha, which offers an action adventure take on what happened during the eleven days when the real Christie actually went missing in 1926 and, Easy A director Will Gluck is attached to direct. Details are being kept close to the chest at this point, but the tone is described as "a female Sherlock Holmes meets Romancing The Stone." This wouldn't be the first time a real-life mystery provided the basis for a narrative feature: last year, James McTeigue gave us The Raven, »
- Ben Pearson
Five underrated Oscar speeches. Five opportunities to applaud fine podium behavior. Let's go.
This is one of my all-time favorites: Ingrid Bergman, who had probably forgotten all about her tiny, insignificant part in Murder on the Orient Express (which, by the way, is mysteriously popular among Agatha Christie stories despite having the most ridiculous, unenjoyably stupid conclusions in her entire catalog -- how is that trash heap more well-known than the glorious Witness for the Prosecution? Tell me!) won her third Oscar in 1974 against, among other notable performances, Madeline effing Kahn in Blazing effing Saddles. But Ingrid knew how weird this win was: In her speech, she immediately announced that sometimes the Oscars' "timing is wrong" before cheering on fellow nominee Valentina Cortese, explaining how Cortese's performance in Day for Night illustrated wonderful truths about acting, and announcing that »
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
United States, 2013
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) suffers from depression, and her condition doesn’t get any better when her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is finally released from prison after serving time for insider trading. After a suicide attempt Emily convinces Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) to take her on as a private patient rather than admitting her to the hospital. While sleepwalking on an anti-depressant prescribed by her new shrink Emily commits a brutal crime
Side Effects works in fits and bursts, shifting the focus of the film from Emily to Dr. Banks somewhere around the midpoint and alternating between tragedy, thriller, and commentary. It feels fresh, but it has many forebears. Thriller fans will recognize elements »
- Neal Dhand
By Joey Magidson
Everyone knows the saying “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” right? Well, that’s certainly the case, but there are always times when it just doesn’t seem right for a film to leave Oscar night empty handed. Tons of worthy films aren’t even nominated each year, but there is also no shortage of flicks that receive a solid amount of nominations and wind up winning nothing.
A lot goes into actually winning an Academy Award. Quality, of course, comes into play, but a little less than I’d prefer. Politics has its place, too, both in terms of capturing the zeitgeist and also in campaigning for the win. Oscar voters love to be wooed. One can occasionally win without campaigning, but by and large the Academy wants you to want it.
While it’s not included below, Up in the Air »
- Joey Magidson
7 items from 2013
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