Christian Bale Has Come to Warn Joel Edgerton in 1st Trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings!

Exodus: Gods and Kings, movie, poster, Sir Ridley Scott, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton

Poster #1 for Exodus: Gods and Kings

There have been a number of Bible-inspired films this year, most of them Christian themed. The two “blockbusters”, and the ones with any hope for post-season glory however, take their inspiration from the Old Testament: Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and now Sir Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings.
In true Hollywood twist, Aronofsky originally wanted Christian Bale to play the title role in Noah, but Bale had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. As we know, Russell Crowe, a frequent Ridley Scott collaborator, got that part and Bale was cast as Moses, in this Scott’s own biblical epic.
Ramses II is played by Joel Edgerton after Oscar Isaac (swiftly becoming a Sir Ridley regular) and Javier Bardem reportedly turned down the role.

As usual, I digress. 20th Century Fox has revealed three new posters for, starring Bale, Edgerton, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Indira Varma, Ben Mendelsohn, Golshifteh Farahani and Ben Kingsley. You can see the other two, as well as a few stills from the film, below.
Even more exciting, however, is the release of the first teaser trailer! The movie itself doesn’t come out until December, so this is but our first taste. Still, it’s a good one!

No disrespect to Mr. Aronofsky intended, but this is how I like my biblical epics – grand and glorious, not grubby with hyper-realistic dirt. THIS looks positively Cecil B. DeMille-esque!

Scott started this century by breathing new life into the tired swords and sandals genre with Gladiator, and then brought us a quasi-religious/historical action film with Kingdom of Heaven. The latter squandered the promise of a great story and (mostly) terrific cast and was hamstrung by a weak lead (I don’t think Orlando Bloom will be joining Scott’s merry band of players again soon), but the director seems to be back on form here. The clash between Moses and Ramses as played by Bale and Edgerton should be epic in the truest sense. (Not for nothin’ but does that battle charge across the sand remind anyone else of the final clash in Scott’s Robin Hood?)

Ridley Scott tackles the Biblical epic story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt into the Sinai desert and eventually to their Promised Land

With a script by the great Steve Zallian (Schindler’s List), along with Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (the pair responsible for the script for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed), Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in the US on December 12. Prime awards season turf, as well as just before the start of Hanukkah. It opens on Boxing Day, 26th December, in the UK.

A Few Thoughts on the Affleck Kerfuffle

Ben Affleck, Superman vs Batman, movie, casting news

courtesy imdb

Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen, Sucker Punch and of course, 300, is already hard at work on the sequel to this summer’s lucrative Superman movie, Man of Steel: Superman vs Batman.  This, by the way, is only a working title. By the time the flick hits theaters on July 17, 2015, I’m sure the producers will have come up with more memorable, something spectacular, that all the fans will love!

Again, my kingdom for a Sarcasm Font!

Regardless of what they call the next film, there will be scores of vocal fans who will hate the title.  In this matter only one thing is absolute: All of the fans will never be altogether happy about anything. Ever.

While the producers want the fans to be passionate about their projects based on much loved pop-culture icons; to look forward to the films and eagerly await the opportunity to plunk down their hard earned cash on tickets and movie tie-in memorabilia etc, they also know that they must be prepared to have every decision, every tidbit of news, met with skepticism by an army of magnifying glass-wielding nerds ready to separate the fly shit from the pepper.

This, of course, brings me to an observation about Snyder’s casting of Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

By now, anyone with access to a computer, and with any interest, knows that Affleck will be donning the cowl and the cape in Snyder’s movie and everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the matter.  That said, what follows, is mine.

I rather like it when a director or writer or god forbid a studio, instead of trying to be all things to all people, goes their own way and adheres to their own “vision”, whatever that may be.  Snyder, at his core, is a fan boy. He knows the world. He walks the walk and talks the talk. He knew that he wasn’t going to make every one of the legions of Superman fans happy with the movie he was making, so he made the movie he wanted to make. Whether you loved it or you hated it, you still had to buy a ticket to see it. Obviously enough people saw it and loved it, to have spawned the sequel.

The decision to go to the next level by tackling not one but two beloved super hero icons in the same movie, was itself met with a lot of hue and cry. Once the hubbub died down, thoughts naturally turned to casting. If Henry Cavill was guaranteed to repeat as Supe, who would be Batman?

It was known that Snyder (as well as DC Comics and Warner Brothers) wanted to go “40-ish”, a little older than Superman.  A lot of names floated around all summer. Some inspired, some downright preposterous.  One name that was never in the mix was that of Ben Affleck.

Snyder gave his reasons for what, at first blush would appear to be a head-scratcher of a decsion, thusly:

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is.

One, the role of Batman will likely be, if not a cameo, at most a supporting role in Henry Cavill’s Superman movie. Affleck will not be carrying the movie by any stretch, not to mention they’ll both be surrounded by the A-list likes of a returning Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

Second, I happen to like Ben Affleck. I’m on record with my opinion that he’s a better director than he is an actor (and his casting as Batman renews speculation that he will direct the Justice League movie), but I also think his thespian skills are wildly underrated.   Frankly, given the dark tone of Snyder’s first Superman movie and having seen Affleck in Hollywoodland, a movie for which I have long sung the praises, he could have pulled off The Big Blue Boy Scout (and watch him do pull-ups in The Town. He’s nearly as ripped as Cavill under that nice-guy exterior).  He’s not going to embarrass anyone, so lighten up.

Third, I don’t think any known actor would have satisfied the masses other than Christian Bale and that just wasn’t going to happen.  Bale’s Dark Knight was iconic, of that there is no doubt, but he said it over and over again. He was done. No one believed him. Maybe now they will.

I have to agree with film critic Scott Weinberg* who posited that

“The only reason Affleck seems weird is because you’ve seen him in 35 movies already. If he was younger (“newer”) it wouldn’t be an issue.  …If it’s a nobody, we’re all psyched, but if it’s someone we know, we’re all furious. Every time!”

He has a point. We lived in a web-less world  way back in 1988 (yes I know the movie came out in 1989), so news traveled slower and it was a bit more difficult to gauge public opinion, but do you think Michael Keaton was a popular choice for Batman?  More recently, do you think everyone was happy with the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker?   No and no.  Even without Twitter and Facebook, the internet was aflame with Heath-hate when Christopher Nolan gave him the job. Today, people genuflect at the memory of his performance.

Back to Affleck, my biggest concern, and I know I’m not alone in this, is that his next directorial effort, Live by Night, based on another book by Boston writer Dennis Lehane, will be pushed back. (He’s already dropped Tell No One.) Again I say, Ben is a good actor, but he’s a great director and I want to see that movie more than Superman vs Batman.  But that’s Just My Humble Opinion.

Besides, I’m more concerned with who Snyder is going to cast as Lex Luthor. *wink wink*

*via Twitter

Blue Light on Asgard: New Poster for Thor: The Dark World

Thor, The Dark World, movie, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, poster

Marvel via imdb

Marvel has just issued that brand new poster above for Thor: The Dark World. This one features most of the principal players bathed in an ethereal blue light  with Natalie Portman’s Jane front and center, in the protective embrace of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, her hair beautifully lifted by the chilly winds of Asgard. (It also has the UK release date of October 30.) The Dark World is Hemsworth’s other high profile film due out this fall (the first being Rush that I talked about here).

If ever an actor has benefited from a super hero movie, it’s Chris Hemsworth.

Christian Bale and Robert Downey, Jr were already stars when they climbed into the suits and masks of  the Dark Knight and Iron Man, respectively. Even Henry Cavill was a known commodity when he donned Superman’s red cape (even if this still came as a surprise).  But remember back in the spring of 2011 just before the first Thor movie was released? It wasn’t uncommon for anyone to ask, “Who is this guy?” when the star of Marvel’s flick was named.

Since then, Hemsworth has reprised the role in The Avengers, of course, but he’s also played the titular Huntsman in Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman, beating out other notable names like Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender for the role. (Well, Viggo Mortensen and Hugh Jackman had to pass first, but let’s not quibble). He’ll appear in the sequel to that movie, as well as the sequel to The Avengers: Age of Ultron (which will make his fourth time wielding Thor’s mighty hammer.) Aside from fairy tales and comic books though, there’s not only Rush, but Ron Howard has signed him up for his followup film as well. In the Heart of the Sea, costarring Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw and Benjamin Walker, goes into production next month. In the meantime, we’ll be able to see Michael Mann’s (Manhunter, Heat, Last of the Mohicans, Ali etc etc) latest effort, Cyber, about American and Chinese computer hackers costarring Viola Davis, due out sometime in 2014.

He’s also made modest hits of two movies filmed pre-Thor, Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods and the execrable remake of 80’s cult favorite, Red Dawn, on the strength of his name alone. (Although to be fair, Hemsworth may have been the draw, but CITW is actually pretty clever.)

Not bad. From obscurity to A-list faster than Thor can conk a Frost Giant with Mjolnir.

Seems like  this would be a good time to show you the first trailer, just in case you’ve managed to miss it for the past couple of months:

This is a pretty good first look, basically giving us an overview of the finished product, without lighting in any one place very long or providing a lot of detail. Considering that the production was fraught with problems, I guess we’re lucky we have anything to look at at all.  Jamie Alexander, who plays Sif, was out for a month after having slipped a disc and chipping 11 vertebrae. Patty Jenkins (Monster) was originally hired to direct, but left due to that old bugaboo, “creative differences”, with Marvel. Whatever those were, they almost cost them Natalie Portman as well. When Jenkins left, she wanted to bail, but her contract forced her to continue. Alan Taylor, best known for having directed six episodes of “Game of Thrones”, was eventually brought on. Composer Carter Burwell had a few of those C.D.s as well and was replaced by Brian Tyler (Law Abiding Citizen, Iron Man 3).

Still and all, this sequel features most of the cast from the original including Portman as Jane, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Stellen Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig,  Rene Russo as Frigga, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg (he of the Cowardly Lion locks), Kat Dennings as Darcy and Idris Elba as Heimdall. In addition, Zachary “Chuck” Levi comes in to replace Josh Dallas as Fandral, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim/Kurse, and the great Christopher Eccleston plays Malekith. (Eccleston replaced Mads Mikkelsen, who had to drop out because of “Hannibal”. I’m not sure how I feel about this. No matter how good Eccleston’s Malekith is, I won’t be able to stop wondering what Mads would have done with it.)

Synopsis:
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Thor: The Dark World opens in the UK on 30th October and November 8 in the US.

Obsessive BAFTA results post w/PICTURES!!

I did pretty well. 13 out of 20 which is 65%.

I stumbled where I have been stumbling this entire awards season. In the Supporting Actor category, if I go with Bale then Rush wins, if I go with Rush, Bale wins. I’m sticking with Bale for the Academy Awards though. (Get your acceptance speech ready Mr. Rush.)

In the Supporting Actress category, my reasoning was sound but I picked the wrong Englishwoman! What was I thinking lol.

And in the directing category, the one time I figured I’d be right about Tom Hooper, David Fincher wins! Who’d a thunk that one, especially after the rout enjoyed by The King’s Speech overall? I think it was a stab at not appearing to be biased. I know the Oscar ballots aren’t due until Friday, but I’m sticking with Hooper after his DGA win. I also have to stick with Christopher Nolan for Original Screenplay despite his BAFTA loss to David Seidler for The King’s Speech.

Can I just say how very disappointed I am that HTTYD did not win in the Music category? I’ve said from the beginning how much I enjoyed Alexandre Desplat’s score for The King’s Speech, but JMHO, there was not another score last year that made me feel like John Powell’s gorgeous, sweeping, transporting score for How to Train Your Dragon.

Oh and just to make myself feel better, even though I called Roger Deakins right at the BAFTAs (because he’s British,) Wally Pfister beat him for the ASC award and I want to reiterate that I am choosing Pfister over Deakins for the Oscar.

Here are the nominees and the results (my predictions are in red, the winner in italics):

BEST FILM

BLACK SWAN – Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin
INCEPTION – Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
THE KING’S SPEECH – Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Cean Chaffin
TRUE GRIT – Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, Christian Colson, John Smithson
ANOTHER YEAR – Mike Leigh, Georgina Lowe
FOUR LIONS – Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Mark Herbert, Derrin Schlesinger
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Nigel Cole, William Ivory, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

THE ARBOR – Director, Producer – Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – Director, Producer – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz
FOUR LIONS – Director/Writer – Chris Morris
MONSTERS – Director/Writer – Gareth Edwards
SKELETONS – Director/Writer – Nick Whitfield

DIRECTOR

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle
BLACK SWAN – Darren Aronofsky
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tom Hooper
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – David Fincher

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BLACK SWAN – Mark Heyman, Andreas Heinz, John McLaughlin
THE FIGHTER – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
THE KING’S SPEECH – David Seidler

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Aaron Sorkin
TOY STORY 3 – Michael Arndt
TRUE GRIT – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

BIUTIFUL – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Jon Kilik, Fernando Bovaira
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Soren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev
I AM LOVE – Luca Guadagnino, Francesco Melzi D’Eril, Marco Morabito, Massimiliano Violante
OF GODS AND MEN – Xavier Beauvois
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES – Mariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella

ANIMATED FILM

DESPICABLE ME – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois * although we know this is where my heart lies
TOY STORY 3 – Lee Unkrich

LEADING ACTOR

JAVIER BARDEM – Biutiful
JEFF BRIDGES – True Grit
JESSE EISENBERG – The Social Network
COLIN FIRTH – The King’s Speech
JAMES FRANCO – 127 Hours

LEADING ACTRESS

ANNETTE BENING – The Kids Are All Right
JULIANNE MOORE – The Kids Are All Right
NATALIE PORTMAN – Black Swan
NOOMI RAPACE – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
HAILEE STEINFELD – True Grit

SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRISTIAN BALE – The Fighter
ANDREW GARFIELD – The Social Network
PETE POSTLETHWAITE – The Town
MARK RUFFALO – The Kids Are All Right
GEOFFREY RUSH – The King’s Speech

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMS – The Fighter
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – The King’s Speech
BARBARA HERSHEY – Black Swan
LESLEY MANVILLE – Another Year (because she’s British and they gave her Melissa Leo’s spot)
MIRANDA RICHARDSON – Made in Dagenham

ORIGINAL MUSIC

127 HOURS – AR Rahman
ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Danny Elfman
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – John Powell COME ON!
INCEPTION – Hans Zimmer
THE KING’S SPEECH – Alexandre Desplat

CINEMATOGRAPHY

127 HOURS – Anthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak
BLACK SWAN – Matthew Libatique
INCEPTION – Wally Pfister
THE KING’S SPEECH – Danny Cohen
TRUE GRIT – Roger Deakins

EDITING

127 HOURS – Jon Harris
BLACK SWAN – Andrew Weisblum
INCEPTION – Lee Smith
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tariq Anwar
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara
BLACK SWAN – Therese DePrez, Tora Peterson
INCEPTION – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat
THE KING’S SPEECH – Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
TRUE GRIT – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

COSTUME DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Colleen Atwood
BLACK SWAN – Amy Westcott
THE KING’S SPEECH – Jenny Beavan
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Louise Stjernsward
TRUE GRIT – Mary Zophres

SOUND

127 HOURS – Glenn Freemantle, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Steven C Laneri, Douglas Cameron
BLACK SWAN – Ken Ishii, Craig Henighan, Dominick Tavella
INCEPTION – Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick
THE KING’S SPEECH – John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Paul Hamblin
TRUE GRIT – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F Kurland, Douglas Axtell

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Nominees TBD
BLACK SWAN – Dan Schrecker
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Nicolas Ait’Hadi, Christian Manz
INCEPTION – Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb
TOY STORY 3 – Nominees TBC

MAKE UP & HAIR

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Valli O’Reilly, Paul Gooch
BLACK SWAN – Judy Chin, Geordie Sheffer
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 – Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
THE KING’S SPEECH – Frances Hannon
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Lizzie Yianni Georgiou

ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING AWARD

GEMMA ARTERTON
ANDREW GARFIELD
TOM HARDY (WOOHOO!)
AARON JOHNSON
EMMA STONE

A pretty good night for The Weinstein Company. Harvey got nearly as many shout-outs as Tom Hooper and Colin Firth.

Okay so now that that’s over, I did promise you some pictures. How about some pics from last night of one of Harvey’s 2012 awards season class*?


*for Coriolanus of course!

SAG Awards Predictions Post

Tonight is the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony, essentially a big, televised dinner party for actors to congratulate themselves. While I love watching and wouldn’t miss it except in the case of famine, flood, biblical plague or nuclear disaster, ( This show is only 17 years old. I haven’t missed one yet) I do wish the other Guilds got equal face time.

The best part of the SAG telecast, for me, is the opening where the camera pans around the room and stops on seemingly random actors who tell us how and when they got their SAG card and then proclaim proudly,  "I…am an actor!"  (Bit of trivia: This tradition was started when Tom Hanks came onstage and took his worn and battered SAG card from his pocket and told the story of how he’d gotten it, and that the card in his hand was the original. The following year, he told the story of how his wife, Rita Wilson, had gotten hers for an episode of "The Brady Bunch.")

At this awards show, the "winners" take home an attractive bronze statue called "The Actor" and since it is peer recognition, the recipients can get very emotional. Makes for great tv. One thing this guild does right is the category called "Best Ensemble Cast."  It is wonderful that a handful of actors are singled out for what should be singular performances, but all actors deliver their dialogue not to blank walls or in a vacuum, but to other flesh and blood actors (unless they’re working with Muppets, animals, green screens or Megan Fox) whose reactions affect the performance. In other words, they need to work together and as a whole in order for the movie, television show etc etc to be considered a success. JMHO, but this is the most important award of the night since it is the only one of its kind.

They also recently added an award for ensemble STUNT acting which is very, very cool.

The nominees for

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

The Black Swan
The Fighter*
The King’s Speech*
The Social Network
The Kid’s Are Alright

I’ve been rooting for The Fighter to win this award since I saw it, simply because I want to see the actresses who played the seven Ward/Eklund sisters on that stage. And while only the principals are named in the nomination,

  • Amy Adams – Charlene Fleming
  • Christian Bale  – Dicky Eklund
  • Melissa Leo –  Alice Ward
  • Jack McGee –  George Ward
  • Mark Wahlberg – Micky Ward

if "the sisters" were invited to come out to support the film, they will make it up onto that stage.  Failing that, I’m rooting for The King’s Speech, because just like The Fighter, the Best Supporting and Best Actor nominees could not have existed one without the other. This award would be a way to show that “they” get that.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

Jeff Bridges – Rooster Cogburn, True Grit
Robert Duvall – Felix Bush, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg – Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth – King George VI, The King’s Speech*
James Franco – Aron Ralston, 127 Hours

Robert Duvall was a surprise, although if more people had seen the film, Get Low, it might not have been. The film was a quirky little hidden gem about a cantankerous, curmudgeonly hermit who plans his own funeral party, while he’s still alive and Duvall IS the movie.  I don’t however, think Colin Firth will be beaten.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

Annette Bening – Nic, The Kids Are Alright
Nicole Kidman – Becca, The Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Ree Dolly, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Nina Sayers, The Black Swan*
Hilary Swank – Betty Ann Waters, Conviction

I fear Annette Bening will go home a bridesmaid yet again since Natalie Portman seems to have this one sewn up. (Both won a Golden Globe, but since the HFPA is the only award giving body that differentiates between Comedy and Drama, Drama almost always trumps Comedy.) 

On the other hand, Bening could spoil the pregnant ballerina’s night. The Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival honored her this past week with the American Riviera Award. Last year they honored Sandra Bullock with the same award and the year before that, Kate Winslet. Do you see the pattern? Both of those women went on to win SAGs and then Oscars for their respective years. It could be complete coincidence…could be…. (JMHO) (2008 they honored Julie Christie who won the SAG for Away From Her, but lost the Oscar to Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose so maybe it’s only the SAGs they’re in league with.)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

Christian Bale – Dicky Eklund, The Fighter*
John Hawkes – Teardrop, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner – James Coughlan, The Town
Mark Ruffalo – Paul, The Kid’s Are Alright
Geoffrey Rush – Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech

Geoffrey Rush is a SAG favorite; an Actor’s Actor. I wish he and Christian Bale could share this award, but then they’d have to give a leg to Jeremy Renner.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Amy Adams – Charlene Fleming, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – Queen Elizabeth, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis – Lily, The Black Swan
Melissa Leo – Alice Ward, The Fighter*
Hailee Steinfeld – Mattie Ross, True Grit

Just as the tide seems to have turned for The Social Network, the awards buzz seems to have cooled for Melissa Leo and is now circling Hailee Steinfeld. I’m sticking with my original choice.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:

Green Zone
Inception*
Robin Hood

Okay, I’ve seen all three of these films and I can certainly see why the stunt actors division of the Screen Actors Guild would nominate them. Just watch the credits and you’ll see there are seemingly hundreds of names listed for each.  Think about the climactic battle on the beach in Robin Hood, any number of scenes in Inception. Green Zone was a war zone. Incredible stunts in all three. I’m going with Inception. Again, I have to cite the fight in the hallway that was done without CGI , but with a room that turned and the hotel scenes in zero gravity.

I’m not talking about television here, although since this is actors honoring actors, if Edgar Ramirez does not win for Carlos…well, I don’t know what I’ll do…but I’ll do something! *shakes fist* (Seriously, we all know Al Pacino is a great actor. He’s an All-Star. If they had an Actors Hall of Fame, he’d definitely be in on the first ballot.  In the immortal words of Marty Feldman, "What are you doin’ in there! Give someone else a chance!")

Thanks for reading.

My daily moment of Zen…

old school…for my homies…

The Fightah is a Winnah

Peter Keogh, writing in The Boston Phoenix, compiled a list of the year’s best "Boston" accents on film. thephoenix.com/Boston/movies/112435-six-boston-accents-worthy-of-oscar/

Prior to having seen The Fighter, I would have agreed with him that Jeremy Renner’s accent in The Town should be at the top of the heap. It was spot on perfect and yes, even better than "native" Ben Affleck’s.  (Renner deserves a nomination for the role in any case.)

I would also agree that Boston/Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg’s is not as good as Christian Bale’s, but for different reasons.  For one thing, Bale is British (they seem to have an easier time with regional American accents like those in the Northeast and the deep South, probably because they all drop their ‘R’s) and a talented mimic of accents. (Bit of trivia: he has used a different accent for every single role.) For another, he seems to be the only one who gets that Lowell is not Dorchester (or Charlestown or Boston.)  Just as you wouldn’t mistake a Geordie accent for one from Manchester, Liverpool or southeast London, not all Massachusetts accents are the same either, even if they all seem equally hard for actors to master. (Mel Gibson, or anyone else, in Edge of Darkness? Please.)

(In fact there isn’t really any such thing as a "Boston" accent anymore, in my opinion. Like any cosmopolitan city and especially one with 92 colleges and universities in a 50 mile radius, its inhabitants come from all over.  However, if you’re dealing with a movie about Massachusetts natives in a specific town or neighborhood, then you’re talking about a specific accent with its own attendant colloquialisms.)

So having said all that, I vote for Christian Bale’s accent in The Fighter as the best of the year. I also have to say that while I don’t get all of the comparisons the television ads are making, ("It’s Rocky, The Blindside and The Departed rolled into one…") the movie itself is one of the best films of the year. 

The Blindside? Didn’t see it so I cannot comment on whether the comparison is apt. The Departed? The only thing The Fighter has in common with that film is that they both contain otherwise talented actors struggling with local accents. I’ve lived here for more than twenty years and I can’t do justice to all the variations. (Another Brit, Ray Winstone, probably does the best job. Oh and that one had Mark Wahlberg in it too!)

Does it have anything in common with Rocky? Of course it does. It’s about a down-on-his-luck boxer.  If Wahlberg is Rocky then Bale is a combination of Paulie and Mickey. It has its Rocky-esque moments to be sure. There wouldn’t be a movie if it didn’t.  This time they’re set to Whitesnake instead of Bill Conti. (More trivia: 2nd soundtrack from a Mark Wahlberg sports film that I must have. The first: Invincible)

Before I get to the main event, I have to say that the entire cast of this film deserves to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. (Why there is still no Oscar nor Golden Globe in this category is a travesty.) Melissa Leo is a fierce harridan of a mother, even if she tries too hard with her accent,  in the same vein as Jacki Weaver’s in Animal Kingdom, only without the murder. Although if the situation arose…. 

Amy Adams must have been either pregnant or had just had her baby when she filmed this movie. Her body is soft and lushly curvacious in a fleshy non-Hollywood way and unabashedly flaunted in low cut tops and tiny skirts. Her accent might not be the best, but she plays a tough, working-class bar wench better than I ever thought she would and certainly better than Enchanted could have suggested.

The main reason I want the cast nominated for a SAG though? I HAVE to see the "actresses" who played Dicky and Micky’s seven sisters up on that stage to accept it. I have no idea where they found those beauties. I can only assume they’re as local as the real members of the Ward/Eklund clan that fill out the credits.

I have to marvel, (and I know I’m not the first,) at Marky Mark’s transformation into Mark Wahlberg, in-demand, Golden Globe Award nominated actor and producer. Take a look at his list of credits on imdb just as an actor. It’s pretty impressive, with very few missteps. His acting chops get better with every role and since 2007’s We Own the Night, he’s also a producer. In addition to Entourage, he’s a producer for HBO’s "Boardwalk Empire" alongside Martin Scorsese (among others.)  Is there anyone who could have predicted that those names would appear in the same sentence? 

A lot of actors seem lately to have discovered that the best way to get a good role is find it for yourself and have turned to producing their own films. (Gerard Butler, no dummy, has entered this arena and I fully expect the caliber of his acting choices to steadily improve because of it.) Wahlberg is listed among the producers for The Fighter, along with Darren Aronofsky and Ryan Kavanagh and many others. (Does Ryan Kavanagh OWN Hollywood yet? He’s everywhere. The soundtrack is even on Relativity Records. Relativity Media seems to be the only game with money to spend these days. I want to start a campaign for them to back the next Bond film so the damn thing will get made already!)

Much has been made about Christian Bale’s performance and his physical transformation for his role as Dicky Eklund and indeed the first 20 minutes of the film you can’t take your eyes off of him. Not to mention, he’s always good. Christian Bale hasn’t given a bad performance since his first in Empire of the Sun and yes, I’ve seen Newsies.

But the movie belongs in equal part to Wahlberg. He underwent an amazing physical transformation as well. (Girly moment: Damn he looked good! Not ‘Gerard Butler in 300’ good, but still…)  Like the brothers sparring in the ring, the movie seems to trade punches, jabs and heavy hits from both actors, shifting its focus accordingly. Dicky is all bluster and showboating. Micky is quiet perserverance. They are two sides of the same coin and i don’t see how one could be singled out over the other. One of the last thoughts I had as the credits rolled was that a more appropriate title should have been "The Fighters."

It occurs to me I need a rating system. Thumbs are obviously taken, as are tomatoes, popcorn tubs and now scally caps. Of course, I could always go with stars. Those seem to be exempt from trademark. They’re also ordinary. This is my blog, I don’t want to be ordinary if I can help it. I think, for now, I’ll go with wee tigers (or as we say in these parts…tie-gahs)

As my first rated film, I will not-so-arbitrarily give The Fighter    (out of 5) That felt tremendous!  Ahhh what power I wield! LMAO

Alright ya greedy bastids…here’s ya treat: