Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow and Sexist Praise

The Daily Beast features this article by Nicole LaPorte on the sexism facing director Kathryn Bigelow in the Oscar race. There are some interesting points to the piece, mostly covering double standards of expectations about appearance and behavior that are broader and deeper than the Academy Awards. But the gem of the article comes from a quote attributed to Tom O'Neil, who writes the Gold Derby blog for The Los Angeles Times:

"The beauty pageant is a big part of the Oscars. To be very cruel about this, Oscar voters are old guys who tend to vote for women they want to sleep with."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Erector Set: The Movie

If this article at News In Film is to be believed, a movie based on the Erector Set toy is forthcoming (and no, it's not an adult film).

And according to the conclusion of the article, no toy line is safe. In the near future we will see sequels to Transformers and G.I. Joe, and adaptations of boardgames Clue, Monopoly, Candy land, and Battleship.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sounds of Cinema Preempted in Mankato

Sounds of Cinema will not be heard on February 14, 2010 on 89.7 KMSU FM as the station will be partnering with KVSC to broadcast a weekend-long trivia show. You can find out more information about the trivia show here.

Sounds of Cinema will be broadcast as usual on 89.5 KQAL FM in Winona. This weekend's show will be the annual Valentine's Day episode with my usual irreverent approach to the holiday, including music from films like Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quentin Tarantino on Rachel Maddow

Here is a clip of Quentin Tarantino being interviewed by Rachel Maddow about Inglorious Basterds. They get into a little more depth about the themes of the film than most interviews and Maddow shows a much better command of the ideas in the movie than some professional film critics.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stumping for Oscar Gold

The Daily Beast features this article by Nicole LaPorte on the Best Actress Oscar race and the competition between Meryl Streep, who is nominated for Julia and Julia, and Sandra Bullock, who is nominated for The Blind Side. Aside from ignoring the fact that neither of these movies were all that good, what the article exposes is the extent to which Oscar statuettes are campaigned for, much in the same way politicians stump for political office.

An excerpt:

Observers are also noting how aggressively Bullock is hitting the campaign trail—and no one in these parts pretends anything less than campaigning is taking place in the Champagne-fueled weeks leading up to the Oscars. Since the fall, the actress has been on an all-out crusade, involving pit-stops on all the morning and late-night talk shows. She's been the belle of Blind Side cocktail parties, such as the one last December held at Il Cielo in Beverly Hills, where Bullock held court in a red velvet dress, shaking hands and chit-chatting with journalists. Last weekend, she received a special award—the vague, slightly foreign-sounding Riviera Award—at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which is conveniently located in the tony town that many Academy members call home.

But Bullock's sweat shows how badly she wants it. And the Academy likes its stars to want what it bequeaths.

"Academy members are quite delighted to watch this circus, because it means that what we as members do is meaningful," said one.
This is nothing new; campaigning for awards has been the norm for quite a while. But it is more alarming in the way the campaigning has gotten out of control. According to this entry from Nikki Finke's blog, during last year's Oscar race studios spent extravagant amounts of money on promotional items directed at a Academy voters while laying off their work force and cancelling or scaling back future productions. And the downfall of studio specialty divisions like Warner Independent Pictures, Miramax, and Paramount Vantage (which, ironically, produced many recent Oscar winners and nominees) was facilitated in part by the amount of money these divisions spent on their Oscar campaigns.

And this leads finally to this question: what is the payoff? Most of these films are out on DVD by the time the winners are announced, so there may be a slight bump for DVD rentals and sales but in the long term what is gained? Even if films win an award, it is given to them not based on quality but on how effectively the studio and the film's stars licked Academy member's boots. And when that is the case, an award titled "Best Picture" loses all meaning.

Review Archive Redux

The Sounds of Cinema Review Archive has been redone to match the new design of the website. The new layout should allow for easier navigation and quicker access to reviews.

You can find the archive here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2010 Academy Award and Razzie Nominations

The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning. You can find the full list here. This year is different in that the Academy has expanded the number of Best Picture nominees to ten, including:
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglorious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

The nominations for the Razzie Awards have also been announced. You can find the full list here. The Worst Picture nominees include:

  • All About Steve
  • GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
  • Land of the Lost
  • Old Dogs
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The Razzies include a few special categories this year for worsts of the decade. Nominees for Worst Film of the Decade include:

  • Battlefield Earth
  • Freddy Got Fingered
  • Gigli
  • I Know Who Killed Me
  • Swept Away

The "winners" of the Razzies will be announced on March 6th and the winners of the Academy Awards will be announced on March 7th.

Monday, February 1, 2010

David Brown 1916 - 2010

From Variety:
Producer and former studio executive David Brown, who produced Oscar-winning films including "The Sting" and "Driving Miss Daisy," died Sunday at the Manhattan home he shared with his wife Helen Gurley Brown. He was 94.Career Highlights Chocolat ('00) Angela's Ashes ('99) A Few Good Men ('92) The Player ('92) Driving Miss Daisy ('89) Cocoon ('85) The Verdict ('82) Jaws 2 ('78) Jaws ('75)

Partnered for many years with onetime studio boss Richard Zanuck, Brown produced hits of the 1970s and 80s including "Jaws," "Cocoon" and "The Verdict," his own personal favorite. A courtly man, fastidious about his attire, Brown was a voracious reader and dedicated storyteller. Few commanded his knowledge of studio lore and his talent for summoning up stories about the Hollwood titans of generations ago. He and Zanuck seemed an ideal team, given his zeal for writing and Zanuck's dealmaking prowess.

Few travelled as gracefully between the publishing and filmmaking worlds as did Brown, and he seemed at home in both environments.

After separating from Zanuck in 1988, Brown tackled several other notable productions including Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men" and Robert Altman's "The Player."
Those of you wanting to learn more about Brown and his career (including some interesting behind the scenes information on Jaws and Jaws 2) should read his memoir, Let Me Entertain You.