I’m not an expert on the writings of Louisa May Alcott. Thus I can only judge the new movie Little Women based on what I saw on the screen. I was most impressed. My wife, on the other hand, is seeped in the story. She enjoyed it immensely.
I understand that this is a reimagining. Writer/director Greta Gerwig drew on Louisa May Alcott’s life and letters, as well as the original source. It was not strictly chronological, which confused me early on, but it soon made sense.
We really enjoyed Gerwig’s previous film, Lady Bird, which also starred Saoirse Ronan. In Little Women, she plays a Jo March that is talented, but with doubts. The Oscar-nominated Ronan was also excellent in Brooklyn and Atonement.
It seems that Gerwig has developed a troupe, of sorts, besides Saoirse. Timothée Chalamet, best known in Call Me By Your Name, was a young musician in Lady Bird, and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence in Little Women. Tracy Letts embodied Henry Ford II in the Oscar-nominated Ford v. Ferrari; he was the father in Lady Bird and Mr. Dashwood in this film.
The former Hermione Granger
They were all fine performers, as were Emma Watson as Meg, Eliza Scanlen as Beth, and the always reliable Laura Dern as Marmee, among others. Apparently, the role of the aunt was expanded, which I suppose happens when one gets Meryl Streep for the role.
But Florence Pugh as Amy was a revelation. She was a force. The performer has been in a number of movies, none of which I’ve seen, and most of which I never heard of. Her Academy Award for best supporting actress nomination was well deserved.
I’d already put Alexandre Desplat’s original score on my wishlist. I’m glad he, Greta for adapted screenplay, and costume designer Jacqueline Durran all got Oscar nods. I’m sorry, though that Greta Gerwig got left off the ballot for best director; what remains is that burger joint, five guys.
In the Best Documentary Feature category, I expectedwanted Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (re: Fred Rogers) and Three Identical Strangers
When Roma came to the Spectrum Theatre, I said to my wife, “We need to see that film.” The weekend we were finally available, it had just left.
Yes, I suppose I could see it online, but I know I won’t. Currently, I have movies I’ve recorded weeks ago. I can’t find the block of time to watch them as they were meant to be viewed, i.e., in one sitting, without interruptions.
Roma was actually the second film in that category this year. In the summer, we both wanted to see First Reformed; alas, it didn’t happen. Links to my reviews, but only the first appearance on the list.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
*Olivia Colman, The Favourite
*Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
*Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? – my pick
Best Actor – I would have bet money on Ethan Hawke in First Reformed getting nominated
*Christian Bale, Vice – he was REALLY good Dick Cheney
*Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
*#Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody – I suspect if I see this, this will win out
*Viggo Mortensen, Green Book – never felt like a starring role
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma – will win
*Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
*Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman – my clear favorite
*Adam McKay, Vice
*#Pawl Pawlikowski, Cold War – hasn’t played yet in Albany
Best Supporting Actress
*Amy Adams, Vice – she was very good
Marina de Tavira, Roma
*Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk – a tossup between her and Adams
*Emma Stone, The Favourite
*Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor
*Mahershala Ali, Green Book – practically a leading role
*Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
*Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born – too small a part
*Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? – my favorite role
*Sam Rockwell, Vice
*Green Book – my choice
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – a Netflix film that I’ve never seen advertised in a theater around here
*BlacKkKlansman – since it won’t win Best Picture, this would be a nice consolation prize
*Can You Ever Forgive Me?
*If Beale Street Could Talk
*A Star Is Born
Best Original Song
*“All the Stars,” Black Panther
*“I’ll Fight,” RBG
*“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns – this DID make me a tad weepy, maybe perhaps
*“Shallow,” A Star Is Born – give Gaga SOMETHING
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Best Original Score
*Black Panther – Ludwig Göransson evokes Africa, my #1 pick
*BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard’s eclectic-sounds, my #1A pick
*If Beale Street Could Talk
*Isle of Dogs
*Mary Poppins Returns
Best Film Editing
Best Foreign Language Film
*#Cold War (Poland) – opened this weekend in Albany
Never Look Away (Germany)
*#Shoplifters (Japan) – saw it this past weekend; worthwhile
Best Animated Feature
*Isle of Dogs – very quirky; liked it a lot, and it’s not a sequel
*Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – at this writing, still playing
It’s a sloppy solution to a particular problem brought on by Hollywood losing its ability to make mass market films that are actually ‘good.’
It seems that half of the websites I read regularly have weighed in on how dumb the new Oscar awards are; see Ken Levine’s take, e.g.. As Dustbury put it, “This modifies the common complaint that “Hollywood is out of ideas”; it’s just that Hollywood is out of good ideas.
If you somehow missed it, W’s In & Out describes it: “The Motion Picture Association of America has announced plans to institute a new Oscar category for ‘Popular Film.’ The news was vague, with little insight into what it actually means, but the general thought is that it would be meant to honor big blockbuster franchise films and, theoretically, at least lure fans of those types of film into watching the broadcast.
“Never mind that the show is still one of the highest-rated broadcasts of the year and brought in 26.5 million viewers last year—the odd decision has been met with backlash, especially amongst people who view the broadcast because they love the pageantry and competition between actresses or those who, you know, consider film to be an actual art form and expect integrity from the medium’s most cherished prize. It’s a sloppy solution to a particular problem brought on by Hollywood losing its ability to make mass market films that are actually ‘good,’ and the changing landscape of live television.”
And, just out of idle curiosity, what HAVE been the most popular films in 2018? As of August 10, 2018 at noon EDT, according to Box Office Mojo, where I go for all my movie box office statistical needs (totals in millions):
6 Ready Player One (WB) $582.0 worldwide, $137.0 (23.5%)
7 Operation Red Sea (WGUSA) $579.2 worldwide, $1.5 domestic (0.3%)
8 Detective Chinatown 2 (WB), $544.1 worldwide, $2.0 domestic (0.4%)
9 Ant-Man and the Wasp (BV) $430.1 worldwide, $198.7 domestic 46.2%
10 Rampage (2018) (WB) $426.2 worldwide, $99.3 domestic (23.3%)
I’m fascinated about items 7 and 8. Operation Red Sea (Chinese: 红海行动) is a 2018 Chinese action war film. Detective Chinatown 2 (Chinese: 唐人街探案 2) is a 2018 Chinese comedy-mystery buddy film. For the 25th Beijing College Student Film Festival, ORS won Best Film, and DC2 snagged Students’ Choice Award for Favorite Film.
There’s no guarantee Black Panther will win, if that’s the patronizing plan. Maybe it’ll be the sixth Mission: Impossible -Fallout, which is 13th on the box office list AND has a 97% positive ranking at Rotten Tomatoes. Or Operation Red Sea, or Deadpool 2. This new Oscar awards plan has been almost universally panned and I hope it is axed.
Kathy Bates took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel.’
Though Kathy Bates had been working regularly on film since at least 1977, and I undoubtedly had seen her in some of those shows and movies, the first place I really recognized her was in the 1990 movie Misery.
“I’m your biggest fan” undoubtedly affected readers of the Stephen King novel, but to see her Annie Wilkes interact with Paul Sheldon (James Caan)… let’s put it this way; I haven’t seen that movie since I viewed in the cinema, and it STILL makes me shudder. She captured the Best Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe.
My favorite scene of hers, though, was in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), the bit in a parking lot here or here, when Evelyn Couch got tired of being treated like an old davenport. The vicarious pleasure I felt was surprisingly strong.
From IMBD: “Kathleen Doyle Bates was… raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls… One of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson’s doctor.
“By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene… She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel,’ which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful ‘Fifth of July’ in 1981.
I have enjoyed her work in several other TV shows and films, including:
* a prostitute in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1991)
* the unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic (1997)
* the villainous Miss Hannigan in a Disney version of Annie (1999)
* quirky, liberal mom Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt (2002), for which she received a Best
Supporting Actress nomination
* well-to-do Jo Bennett in the latter stages of the US version of The Office (2010-2011)
* Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)