Ben Affleck‘s Argo completed its Cinderella rise to the top of the heap during awards season by claiming the Oscar for Best Picture at Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards. When the nominations were announced on January 10th, the glaring omission of a Best Director nod for Affleck at first seemed to kill the film’s chances of winning Best Picture. After winning nearly every major award in the interim, Argo surged ahead from underdog to frontrunner and ultimately beat out conventional favorite, Lincoln. Argo‘s feat is particularly amazing in light of the fact that it is only the fourth film in Oscar’s 85-year history to take Best Picture without a nomination for Best Director. (The most recent was Driving Miss Daisy, 23 years ago.)
Just days away from the Academy Awards ceremony in which they are both up for Oscars for their work on Silver Linings Playbook, it has been announced that director David O. Russell and actress Jennifer Lawrence will team up again. Russell has signed on to direct Lawrence in The Ends of the Earth, a “fact-based love story about a powerful oil tycoon who has everything stripped from him after he is caught in an affair.” The script for The Ends of the Earth is from Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio.
This will mark Russell’s third collaboration with Lawrence, as she is slated to have a cameo appearance in his next film, an as-yet-untitled drama starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, which is due to begin filming in March. Russell will likely take on The Ends of the Earth after this next project is completed.
Silver Linings Playbook is up for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Russell, Best Actress for Lawrence, and Best Actor for Cooper. It is currently ranked #10 among 2012 films on Flickchart.
“Why is he splitting them up?”
“Why are they so long?”
“Why must he take something we love and ruin it?”
No these are not reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. They were the assumed reaction of the tens of people who read Part 1 of my 2012 wrap up; where I dissected the year of Channing Tatum, had two Lincolns square off, and looked at one of the two live action Snow White adaptations. Part 2 will start with…
2 Films, 20 Dwarfs
Snow White and the Huntsman featured Chris Hemsworth as a hunter whose prey is apparently trees since his weapon of choice is an axe, and Kristen Stewart as a Snow White who went to the distinguished school of parted lip acting. There’s a love triangle that nobody cares about – and I’m not talking about director Rupert Sanders, K. Stew, and R. Patt – and Charlize Theron acting with as much subtly as a nuclear explosion. The dwarfs were entertaining but tragically underused.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was what I expected. It’s similar to The Lord of the Rings trilogy in a lot of ways but is not as good as any of them. Where we came to know and love every character in that series we only really get to know Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin in this. Meanwhile there are a mess of other dwarfs that are only distinguishable by variations of hair above the neck, and sometimes that doesn’t even do enough to make them stand out. Did it need to be a trilogy? No. Is the book being dragged through the mud? More like dropped in a puddle before quickly being grabbed and dried off quickly. As long as fans of The Lord of the Rings series don’t go into it expecting it to be world shattering they should enjoy themselves. I should mention I didn’t see it in 48fps but I heard mostly negative things about it.
And the Winner Is: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - even though Peter Jackson obviously thinks “dues ex machina” is Latin for giant eagles.
Summary (from Fox): Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.
Matthew Vaughn surprises (me at least) with a fun, if a little cheesy and convenient, summer superhero movie.
Winter’s Bone and Animal Kingdom. Both feature the dark consequences of crime and trust issues, and both are the breakout efforts of new talented directors (David Michôd and Debra Granik). But the question is which one is better?