Principal photography on Michael Mayer‘s The Seagull (Sony Pictures Classics, 5.11) began on 6.29.15. I love anything and everything written by Anton Chekhov, but something obviously didn’t pan out with this puppy or it would’ve opened sometime in ’16 or at least ’17. How could watching Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Billy Howle and Elisabeth Moss performing Chekhov’s greatest play…how could that not be a keeper? I last saw The Seagull on the B’way stage in ’08 (Kristin Scott Thomas, Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, etc.). before that I saw at the Public Theatre in ’80 with Chris Walken as Trigorin.
I’ve been spitballing 2018 releases for several weeks, but now I’m attempting to focus on films that will probably stand out in terms of great reviews, Best Picture nominations and award campaigns.
It’s now March 6th — less than six months away from the start of the ’18/’19 award season. And right now (stop me if you’ve read this before) eight films are the leading Best Picture hotties — Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, Adam McKay‘s Back Seat, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, Barry Jenkins‘ If Beale Street Could Talk, Bryan Singer‘s Bohemian Rhapsody, Bjorn Runge‘s The Wife, Mimi Leder‘s On The Basis of Sex, and Josie Rourke and Beau Willimon‘s Mary, Queen of Scots. (8)
Tell me which others should be included….please. Richard Linklater‘s Where’d You Go, Bernadatte? Terrence Malick‘s Radegund? Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner? Felix von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy? Yorgos Lanthimos‘ The Favourite (reign of Queen Anne in early 17th Century)? Joel Edgerton‘s Boy Erased starring Lucas Hedges? (6)
Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (Netflix).
Saoirse Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots.
Director Barry Jenkins (l.) during filming of If Beale Street Could Talk.
Felicity Jones (l.), Armie Hammer (r.) during filming of Mimi Leder’s On The Basis of Sex.
Upmarket Genre: 1. Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria (Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth); 2..Steve McQueen‘s Widows (Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Andre Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell); 3. Ron Howard‘s Solo — A Star Wars Story (Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton); 4. Lynne Ramsay‘s You Were Never Really Here; 5. 20. Stefania Solluima‘s Soldado (Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener — Columbia, 6.29.18).; 6. Steven Spielberg‘s Ready Player One (Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance); 7. Jennifer Kent‘s The Nightingale (19th Century Australian revenge saga) w/ Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganambarr, Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie. (8)
Likeliest Best Foreign Language Feature Contenders: Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma (Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Yalitza Aparicio, Daniela Demesa, Enoc Leaño, Daniel Valtierra); Asghar Farhadi‘s Todos lo saben (Spanish-language drama w/ Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Barbara Lennie, Ricardo Darin, Inma Cuesta, Eduard Fernandez Javier Camara);Laszlo Nemes‘ Sunset (a young girl grows up to become a strong and fearless woman in Budapest before World War I), w/ Susanne Wuest, Vlad Ivanov, Björn Freiberg; Paolo Sorrentino‘s Loro (life of Silvio Berlusconi); Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s The Wild Pear Tree, and Olivier Assayas‘ E-book. (6)
Possible Strongos: Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers (Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Rutger Hauer, Riz Ahmed, John C. Reilly); Felix von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy with Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet; Xavier Dolan‘s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates); Spike Lee‘s Black Klansman (John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins — Focus Features). (4)
There’s one reason why there’s no decent Bluray of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby‘s The Thing From Another World (’51), and that’s because 97% of those who support the Bluray/streaming market care only about John Carpenter’s 1982 version. The Carpenter is cool but I’ve seen it twice in my entire life (partly because the physical effects suck), and I’ve watched the Hawks/Nyby at least 15 or 20 times. I think this many have something to do with the latter’s social-political undercurrent (early ’50s paranoia about commies and flying saucers) plus that wonderful overlapping Hawks dialogue.
In any event I was about to complain again about the absence of a Hawks/Nyby Bluray (don’t even mention the discredited Japanese disc) when lo and lo and behold I discovered that an HD streaming version of the ’51 version (and running a full 86 minutes) is now available to rent or buy. In my book that’s as good as a Bluray — problem solved.
3:20 pm update: Forget it! I’ve just looked at the Amazon high-def version and some ignorant asshole decided to crop this 1.37 film at 16 x 9. Amazon occasionally sells/rents films with the wrong a.r. and this is one such occasion.
I can’t believe I lowered myself into the steaming booger vat of The Bachelor last night. Arie Luyendyk, Jr. struck me as an unregenerate hound who masks this tendency with sensitive tearful conveyances and EMO moments. And I really hate it when someone takes forever to lower the boom on a significant other with a clean and declarative “we’re done for now”, especially when they convey exactly what’s on their mind with an endless series of non-verbal signals. The payoff line is Becca’s “are you fucking kidding me?” and the editors bleeped it?