Archive for Hollywood

Oscar predix for the year in film 2019

Posted in the good with tags , , on February 9, 2020 by abzee

With the 2020s all set to roll in a matter of only a few hours, honouring the films of 2019 will be our vestigial link to the decade gone by. A lot has happened over the last decade… this blog, and the wonderful world of movies that we all love and argue over, has offered us a safe space from all that is out there. Things must change, they always do… and a 2020 vision at least augurs well. But for a nostalgist, certain things, at least the good ones, must also be constant. My inconsistent annual Oscar predictions being something that I would like to keep doing. Here then, on the last day of 2019, are my Oscar predictions for the 92nd Academy Awards. The actual nominations voting open on the 2nd of January, 2020 and the nominees will be announced on the 13th of the same month. The Oscars will be presented this time on the 9th of February, 2020.

1917-Movie-Trailer

Best Picture

1917 Universal Pictures
THE IRISHMAN Netflix
MARRIAGE STORY Netflix
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD Sony Pictures Releasing
PARASITE CJ Entertainment and Neon

If the Academy nominates six films, then
JOJO RABBIT Fox Searchlight Pictures

If they nominate seven, then
JOKER Warner Bros. Pictures

With eight nominations,
FORD V FERRARI 20th Century Fox

With nine,
LITTLE WOMEN Sony Pictures Releasing

And when ten,
THE FAREWELL A24

Potential SpoilerTHE TWO POPES Netflix
Dark HorseBOMBSHELL Lionsgate
Long ShotA BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Sony Pictures Releasing
Unanticipated Sneak-insKNIVES OUT Lionsgate, RICHARD JEWELL Warner Bros. Pictures

Continue reading

What the Movies Taught Me About Being a Woman (Manohla Dargis in the NYT)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , on December 1, 2018 by Qalandar

“I was a movie-struck kid, and I learned much from watching the screen, including things about men and women that I later had to unlearn or learn to ignore. I learned that women needed to be protected, controlled and left at home. I learned that men led, women followed. And so, although I loved Fred Astaire, I merely liked his greatest dance partner, Ginger Rogers. I was charmed by her sly smile and dazzled by the curve of her waist as she bent in his embrace. But I saw her as a woman in the great man’s arms, a message I didn’t learn just from films. … In the wake of Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo, I have been thinking a lot about what movies have asked me to dream, including the image of the forced kiss and all that it signifies about women and film. I’ve been thinking about what else I learned from them.”

 

Read the complete piece (embedded clips et al) HERE

Nicole Kidman Married Tom Cruise for Love — and Got Protection

Posted in the good with tags , , , , on October 18, 2018 by Qalandar

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Excerpt: “…That said, I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me — it was protection. I married for love, but being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed. I would work, but I was still very much cocooned. So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.

Of course I’ve had #MeToo moments — since I was little! But do I want to expose them in an article? No. Do they come out in my work? Absolutely. I’m open and raw. I want to have my well of experience and emotion tapped into, used — and I’m not just talking about sexual harassment. I’m talking about loss, death, the full array of life. But it has to be by the right people so it’s not abused again. I’m making a movie with Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie about Roger Ailes. [Kidman is playing Gretchen Carlson.]” Continue reading

Showman: New Yorker Profile of Sam Mendes

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2018 by Qalandar

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Excerpts: ““The director as a concept, as a cultural phenomenon, is dying,” he said. “Coppola of ‘The Godfather,’ Scorsese of ‘Taxi Driver,’ Tarantino of ‘Pulp Fiction’—these figures are not going to emerge in the way they did in the twentieth century. The figures who are going to emerge will come out of long-form television.” He continued, Continue reading

NewYorker.Com Review: Richard Brody on The First Man

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2018 by Qalandar

“The one scene that embodies the sixties onscreen is, to my mind, among the most contemptible scenes in recent movies. It takes place midway through the action, when Congress begins to question the value of the space program. Neil is dispatched to represent nasa in a meeting at the White House, where senators fret about “taxpayer dollars,” and while there he is summoned to the phone and informed of the deaths of three astronauts in an Apollo test. The point is clear: that the astronauts are risking their lives while Congress is counting beans and playing politics.  Continue reading

Ethan Hawke Profile (New York Times)

Posted in the good with tags , on September 3, 2018 by Qalandar

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Now he’s 47, but when he was much younger, Ethan Hawke read “Cassavetes on Cassavetes,” the indie filmmaker bible, and then went to hear the author’s widow, Gena Rowlands, speak. She looked out at the crowd and laughed. She said John Cassavetes was always disappointed because nobody would finance his movies; he’d always felt dismissed and disregarded. “‘And now here you guys are making a big deal out of him,’” he remembered her saying. She said that was nice, but that they shouldn’t miss the point. “‘Make a big deal of yourself.’ You know? Whatever indifference the world gives you, he felt it, too. So you’re just as good as he is. Like, go out and do it.”

Mr. Hawke found that so moving, the idea of ignoring what the world was telling you about yourself and instead living only by standards that you had, yourself, carefully defined for your life and work. He vowed right then that he would do whatever it took to make good art on his own terms, no matter what anyone said. He would take himself seriously, even if no one else did.

Read the complete piece HERE.

How Superheroes Made Movie Stars Expendable (New Yorker, May 28, 2018)

Posted in Refugee, the good with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2018 by Qalandar

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[A thought-provoking and informative piece (with far broader implications than its title might suggest), that ties into several themes that have been the subject of discussion on this site over the years — Qalandar]

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Excerpts: “…When movies were mostly one-offs—and not spinoffs, sequels, reboots, or remakes—they had to be good. A little blunt, too, maybe. Conjuring a universe out of nothing, bringing it to crisis and back again, all in under two hours, required, if nothing else, craftsmanship on a level admired even by European snobs. Continue reading

Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories (New Yorker)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2017 by Qalandar

It’s hard to believe that this sort of conduct could remain out of the public eye for this long if it weren’t part of a wider problem in the industry, and the forms of exploitation that we all know have formed part and parcel of the film industries all over the world.  Even as we digest the allegations against Weinstein, we would do well to remember that this offers a glimpse into the system, and should not interpret this simply as an aberration — Qalandar

Excerpt: “…For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now––Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older—has never come out.””

Read the complete article HERE

the BOmbay report (2016): 15th Jan–21st Jan

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by abzee

It is week 3 of a Box-Office experiment that attempts to understand Box-Office beyond the numbers, and hopes to arrive at the less tangible, but perhaps more genuine, indicator of how well-liked and well-received any film is/was.

We will be taking into account all the screens in the Mumbai region, inclusive of Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali as well. The films will be assigned points based on an algorithm that takes into account parameters such as- a) how many screens did the film open on; b) the capacities of these screens; c) the occupancy in comparison to the capacity; d) daily sustenance/growth/drop in the occupancy; e) change in the number of screens in successive weeks; f) change in capacities; g) occupancy in relation to changed number of days and screens; h) occupancy in relation to newer and existing releases; and so on.

These points, the Audience Interest Index (AII), encapsulate buzz, desire to watch translating to actual occupancy and finally acceptability… and that most prestigious of all goals- trending.

 

Top Ten Films In Mumbai (15th January 2016 – 21st January 2016) 

A staggering 28 films released in Mumbai this week, of which those in the Marathi language numbered the most with 5 releases, while there were 4 releases each in English, Hindi and Tamil. Of the English releases, The Hateful Eight also released on IMAX screens. Wazir, which had released last week, also expanded to IMAX in its second week. Bhojpuri and Telugu had 3 releases a piece.

With 13 films ending their run, the total number of films playing at the cinemas this week was 44! If you count Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which resumed screening at Maratha Mandir this week, that number is 45.

More films did not mean more viewers however. The overall AII for this week is 89.69 compared to last week’s 133.62, a drop of 32.87%. With lesser viewers and an incredible amount of new releases, Wazir still remained the number one choice, even if the number was low. In fact many films operated in the middle range this week, so much so that this week’s 15th ranked film has earned twice as many AII points than last week’s number 10 film.

Honourable mentions then to the Tamil film Rajini Murugan and the Telugu release Nannaku Prematho as both put up impressive AII numbers despite not making it to the top ten.

Rajini Murugan performed the best of all the Tamil releases with 105 AII points, while the Telugu language Nannaku Prematho did even better with 119 AII points. Continue reading

the BOmbay report (2016): 08th Jan-14th Jan

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2016 by abzee

Week 2 then, of a Box-Office experiment that attempts to understand Box-Office beyond just the numbers; and hopes to arrive at the less tangible, but perhaps more genuine, indicator of how well-liked and well-received any film is/was.

We are starting only with Mumbai for now. We will be taking into account all the screens in the Mumbai region; that is inclusive of Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali even.

The films will be assigned points based on an algorithm that takes into account parameters such as- a) how many screens did the film open on; b) the capacities of these screens; c) the occupancy in comparison to the capacity; d) daily sustenance/growth/drop in the occupancy; e) change in the number of screens in successive weeks; f) change in capacities; g) occupancy in relation to changed number of days and screens; h) occupancy in relation to newer and existing releases; and so on.

These points, the Audience Interest Index (AII), hope to be an all-encompassing indicator  of buzz, desire to watch translating to actual occupancy and finally acceptability… and that most prestigious of all goals- trending. As this is a new experiment, we may get a true picture only as we go along.

 

Top Ten Films In Mumbai (08th January 2016 – 14th January 2016)

10) CHAURANGA (Hindi)

  • New Release
  • AII Points- 45

Continue reading

Alan Rickman passes away… RIP!

Posted in Refugee with tags , , on January 14, 2016 by abzee

Within three days of David Bowie’s demise! Also at 69! Liked the notes he hit as an actor… a reliably theatre performance but nuanced and full of actorly pauses.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/14/alan-rickman-giant-of-british-film-and-theatre-dies-at-69

Alan Rickman, one of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past 30 years, has died in London aged 69. His death was confirmed on Thursday by his family who said that he died “surrounded by family and friends”. Rickman had been suffering from cancer.

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A star whose arch features and languid diction were recognisable across the generations, Rickman found a fresh legion of fans with his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films. But the actor had been a big-screen staple since first shooting to global acclaim in 1988, when he starred as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’s sardonic, dastardly adversary in Die Hard – a part he was offered two days after arriving in Los Angeles, aged 41. Continue reading

the BOmbay report (2016): 01st Jan-07th Jan

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2016 by abzee

I’ve admittedly never been a Box Office kind of guy. While I’ve enjoyed the spirited Box Office debates and arguments looking from the outside in, rarely have I engaged with it as passionately as many members whom I admire and loathe do. Anyway, the idea for this weekly post (at least that’s the plan for now) came by way of a rather random exchange that I had with one of the esteemed members of this blog- Qalandar, an individual I am proud to have as a friend as well.

During his visit to my place during the Ganesh festival in September this past year; we were talking about Bahubali, and he casually remarked how he would like to see it on the big screen again. And I, just as casually, remarked that it was still playing at few cinemas, a long run at the cinemas which he was pleasantly surprised to learn of. That conversation stayed with me. Box Office figures tell you about opening days, first weekends, weekly nett and grosses and so on. But surely, the perception of a film and its acceptance cannot be arrived at only by how much it has made. Yes, the numbers matter… but there must be a meter to gauge a film’s continued ability to attract moviegoers and keep a steady flow coming in of those wanting to see it. In these times when new releases eat up all screen space, if a liked film from the previous weeks has come down to but a few screens, it will naturally have a ceiling on how much it can make with those amount of screens. But if it sustains those screens, and keeps churning out the numbers on the lower end consistently… surely that is a phenomenon in itself that cannot be ignored.

Continue reading

Abzee’s Oscar Predix for the year in film 2015

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2016 by abzee

With just a week to go before the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards are announced, and a day prior to the ballots being closed for the same… here then, in keeping with my annual tradition, are my predictions (in alphabetical order) for the Oscars 2016.

Best Picture
THE BIG SHORT
CAROL
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
SPOTLIGHT
THE REVENANT

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I’ll probably regret not including THE MARTIAN in this list, but over the past few weeks THE BIG SHORT is gaining late season traction; and with its Academy friendly ensemble, I suspect it will sneak in at the expense of the one-man show from Mars. But how cool is it to have FURY ROAD in that lineup, and an almost sure lock at that.

If the Academy goes with 6 films in this category, then naturally the film that gets in will be
THE MARTIAN
If they nominate 7, then
INSIDE OUT
If 8,
BRIDGE OF SPIES
9,
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
And when 10,
ROOM

The gritty SICARIO has every chance of getting in as well, while BROOKLYN is a dark horse. CREED and EX MACHINA are long shots.

Continue reading

Pynchon’s Blue Shadow (NYRB)

Posted in Refugee with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Qalandar

[On Inherent Vice, I definitely agree with the fantastic piece below — one of the best I’ve ever read on an adaptation — that the film is not less than the book. It truly does illuminate aspects of the book for me (and vice versa!) such that I arrived at a deeper appreciation of both. Qalandar]

Excerpt: “Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (2009)—his extravagantly convoluted version of the private eye novel, set amid the detritus of the end of the 1960s—is the kind of verbal construct that at first glance seems inherently unsuited for filming, certainly not as a widescreen spectacle with an all-star cast. To say that Paul Thomas Anderson has faithfully and successfully adapted it to the screen is another way of saying that he has changed it into something entirely different. Perhaps the novel really was crying out for such a cinematic transformation, for in its pages people watch movies, remember them, compare events in the “real world” to their plots, re-experience their soundtracks as auditory hallucinations, even work their technical components … into aspects of complex conspiratorial schemes.”

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CBR Trashes Fantastic Four

Posted in Refugee with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Qalandar

Excerpt: “The bad buzz around 20th Century Fox‘s “Fantastic Four” reboot has been brewing for months. Red flags included rumors of reshoots, negative fan reaction to what appeared to be significant deviation from the source material, and director Josh Trank‘s abrupt departure from his enviable “Star Wars” gig. Of course, reshoots don’t always spell doom (consider “World War Z”), and Trank says he chose to walk away from “Star Wars” to avoid being obligated to a second franchise. So, perhaps these news items have no bearing on the finished “Fantastic Four.” Regardless, it’s shocking a superhero movie can be this boring.

 

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The Decline of the American Actor (The Atlantic, Jul-Aug 2015)

Posted in the good with tags , , on July 27, 2015 by Qalandar

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Excerpt: “Actors can’t do what they do in isolation, as writers and painters and composers can. The theatrical arts are collaborative, both in the microcosm of an individual production and in the macrocosm of the culture that does, or does not, sustain them. It’s fair to say that American culture isn’t providing a high level of sustenance right now, and actors—like so many others in the every-man-for-himself climate of 2015—have to figure out, on their own, ways to get what they need. The question is whether they can muster the imagination, and the stamina, to maintain their technique (and their spirits) while dealing with the sort of material available to them in this movie culture: cop dramas, superhero adventures, rom-coms and bro comedies, the occasional earnest, glacially paced indie. It’s not impossible, but it can be a heavy lift.”

Fantastic Four Teaser

Posted in the bad with tags , , , , on January 28, 2015 by Qalandar

This looks better than the last one for sure! Although, boy, am I sick of movies based on comic books — Qalandar.

What Drives Al Pacino? (New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , on October 3, 2014 by Qalandar


Excerpt: “…Most actors of Pacino’s stature—Brando, Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro—began in theatre and rarely returned. Pacino, however, craves the derring-do of working in front of a live audience, an activity he compares to tightrope walking. Stage acting, he likes to say, quoting the aerialist Karl Wallenda, is life “on the wire—the rest is just waiting.” Onstage, in the zone, he told me, “you’re up in the sky with the theatre gods—love it, love it, love it.” As a list of some of Pacino’s more esoteric stage work demonstrates—Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie,” Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” Shakespeare’s “Richard III” and “The Merchant of Venice”—the theatre is where he goes to challenge himself and to think. “There are more demands put on you when it is on the stage,” he said.

To Pacino, there is no such thing as a fourth wall. “The audience is another character in the play,” he said. “They become part of the event. If they sneeze or talk back to the stage, you make it part of what you’re doing.” …”

Read the complete piece HERE.

A Note on BOYHOOD (English; 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2014 by Qalandar

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Excerpt: “What’s the film about? What are all coming-of-age books or movies about? But just when I thought that the film’s ambition was to represent a young, creative consciousness, Boyhood surprised me: “I thought there would be more” are an anguished Olivia’s last words in the film, articulating both her drive and the naïveté underlying it. There isn’t, really, but that doesn’t make the ending bleak: the film’s last shot is of Mason and a new friend after they’ve just agreed that life isn’t about seizing the moment, but about the moments seizing you, because they’re all there is.”