I never reported on Amazon Studio’s Cinemacon presentation, which happened at a Thursday (3.30) luncheon. It still seems as if their biggest attraction and potentially hottest award-season title (maybe) is Michael Showalter, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon‘s The Big Sick (6.23), which opened to big acclaim at last January’s Sundance Film Festival and will probably do well commercially, at least in hip urban markets.
But if Sick comes up short during award-season (a fate that often befalls relationship comedies), it’s possible that Todd Haynes and Brian Selznick‘s Wonderstuck will carry the weight. A time-flipping drama (two scenarios separated by 50 years) with a strong emotional current, pic stars Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Amy Hargreaves, Millicent Simmonds, Oakes Fegley and James Urbaniak. The trailer (which has a kind of swirling, flirting-with-euphoria quality) got me going. Haynes doesnt fool around.
Tied for third place among Amazon’s most appealing ’17 films: (a) Richard Linklater‘s Last Flag Flying, a decades-later sequel to The Last Detail with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne (the kind of film that could really benefit from a Cannes debut), and (b) Mike White‘s Brad’s Status, about a 50ish dad (Ben Stiller) dealing with vague frustrations about his accomplishments plus the seeming fact that his college-age son (Austin Abrams, who doesn’t resemble Stiller in the least) is likely to do better. Both were trailered, both look great.
No footage from Woody Allen‘s Wonder Wheel, in which Kate Winslet allegedly shines in a lead role. (Many Allen films have premiered in Cannes in recent years, but I wonder if Wheel will make it in time.) Amazon emcee Bob Berney made no detailed mention of Lynne Ramsay‘s You Were Never Really Here, which shot early last fall; Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria remake, which probably won’t come out until ’18 (Sundance or Cannes) in order to avoid competing with Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, was also downplayed.
During Sundance I called Sick “a diverting, highly original romantic saga — dry, droll, low-key humor for smarties and hipsters that really comes together emotionally during the last 25% or 30%.” But as I wrote on 3.13, it’s probably facing an uphill struggle for a Best Picture nomination because of Zoe Kazan’s character, based on Nanjiani’s real-life wife and co-writer. She gets too angry at him for too long a period, freezing Nanjiani out because he doesn’t stand up to his dictatorial Pakistani mom by confessing that he has a white, non-Muslim girlfriend. Kazan is too much of a hard-ass — the audience is kept in limbo for too long.”
The real relationship, in fact, is beteeen Nanjiani and her parents, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. This is where the action is, the source of most of the heart stuff.