Tag Archives: Oscars

Celebrity death match, Oscar special: Marilyn vs. Maggie

At least some of the Academy voters will like Michelle Williams’ hot display as Marilyn Monroe, but will it be enough to take down the iron lady of Hollywood, Meryl Streep? I would be delighted if it is. Here’s empireonline.com on Williams’ chances as well as her competitors:

Why she’ll be going home with Oscar

This is Williams’ third nomination and second in as many years. Who’d have thought Jen-from-Dawson’s-Creek had it in her?

It’s a terrific turn that gets under the skin of an icon and plays both her vulnerability and strength – and icons don’t come any bigger than Marilyn Monroe.

Williams has won a huge number of critic’s awards in the pre-season and was nominated at SAG too. She’s hit the campaign trail too, giving interviews and good red carpet throughout the last few months.

Why she might be stood up

She didn’t win the SAG award, which might mean that her acting brethren aren’t really behind her.

As with The Iron Lady and indeed The Help, the film is perhaps not quite as good as its star’s performance. (on a personal samovieguy note – while true, this should be a moot point)

Can anyone really play Marilyn Monroe well enough to make Hollywood happy? Is that even possible?

To read the full feature on the other ladies’ prospects, follow the link: http://www.empireonline.com/features/oscar-nominations-2012-best-actress/p5

My one hour and forty-three with Marilyn

Hey all, sorry I skipped a review last week, I know my loyal readership are probably still hurting from that. But worry not, this week I’m back and I’m bringing some class with me. That can only mean it’s British. But don’t worry, it’s not all high and dry, they have the f-word there too.

So, My Week With Marilyn tells the unlikely true story of a young man, Colin Clark (played by Eddie Redmayne) forcing his way into the movie business with sheer determination only to have the world’s biggest star, the inimitable (but wait, I’ll get to that) Marilyn Monroe, arrive in England to shoot a movie with Laurence Olivier as soon as he’s succeeded in doing so.

The movie opens with Michelle Williams acting as Marilyn in a movie and bewitching British audiences with Colin among them. And in the same way she transfixes the boy, Williams proceeds to light up the screen all the way through. As soon as the curtain lifts you are witness to a truly dazzling performance from an extremely talented actress. Of all the Dawson’s Creek kids I guess we should have had our money on her all along. I mean, she was always even more serious than the rest.

Not only is she completely transformed into Marilyn Monroe in appearance and little idiosyncrasies, but once she gets going “on-screen” she has the same exotic, enchanting appeal of the actual Monroe. She is fun and flirtatious in Monroe’s good moments, but she also shines when her pill-addled character doesn’t.

And where Williams spearheads the movie to create a pleasing timewarping feel, the picture follows suit by being presented in a wonderful grainy texture that makes it resemble old film footage of a real Monroe visit. It really is quite lovely to take in.

Then there is the support. Kenneth Branagh, for one, is just fantastic. Much like the weirdo behind me, who once or twice raised his voice during the screening, I wanted to shout out: “More of this, Kenneth, less of Thor!!!” He is tremendously entertaining as serious thespian Laurence Olivier whose patience is tested to the brink by Ms Monroe. Redmayne is sufficiently enthusiastic, overawed, smitten and heartbroken as and when required, while Dame Judy Dench and even Emma Watson do a fine job too, even though they’re just there to colour in the edges.

This movie is about Marilyn and what a complicated, troubled yet incredibly gifted young woman she was. And also how screwed up her idea of love was. I mean, this is no place for someone as “young and innocent” as Colin to get involved in. So subsequently it’s also a bittersweet romance, a little one-sided, a little unrequited, of the besotted boy who would do anything to help someone who is tragically beyond helping. She would peak with her next film, the timeless Some Like It Hot, and after that make only two more movies before passing away from an overdose at age 36.

The whole thing, despite feeling slow at times, is a whirlwind affair and, while having left a lasting impression on the boy, its effect will probably wear off in audience members not long after leaving the cinema. On occasion the romance and the damaged aspect of Monroe can become somewhat cloying, but the movie is a softly handled, sumptuous and charming study of what will forever remain a fascinating figure of the silver-screen. And someone give Williams the Oscar, Meryl already has two.

I feel like such a muppet

So I went to watch The Muppets over the weekend in my first visit to the cinema this year actually. It was between that or We Need to Talk about Kevin, a discussion I thought I’d rather not have on a Friday afternoon. So the Muppets it would have to be. I mean, it wasn’t completely an exercise in futility, it’s roped in an Oscar nomination for best song after all, so let’s call it research for the Oscars.

Anyway, just in case you don’t read the rest of this blog, let me tell you up front: avoid this. Especially if you are childless. I thought I’d go looking for my inner child, but I’ve never felt older in my life. I’m not even sure the kids got it, what with all the crying and not sitting still, but then again in the post-movie interviews they weren’t the most lucid commentators I’ve come across, so I can’t say for certain. (I didn’t really question the kids afterwards, their mothers made sure of hurrying them away from the strange man who didn’t belong in that particular theatre!)

Again, to illustrate my misguidedness going in, I was more excited about seeing two of my favourite movie people ever together on screen than seeing the muppets. But Amy Adams and Jason Segel added nothing. Adams’ small town charm in the form of Mary was unbearable. Meanwhile, Segel was in an annoyingly chipper mood which I couldn’t stand either, constantly staring down the camera from the corner of his eye, obviously having a great time and wanting you to know it. This is his pet project, after all, and I now feel foolish for getting drawn in by childlike enthusiasm. While working on this movie both actors hopefully had ample time to pursue other movies or at least read a few scripts, because they were mostly props and didn’t have to act much at all.

The story itself is pretty cheesy and couldn’t have taken too long to cook up. In a wink to the Muppets waning real-life appeal, Gary (Segel), his girlfriend Mary (Adams) and his brother Walter go on a trip to Los Angeles to see the Muppets Studio, oh and celebrate an anniversary or something. The thing is, Walter is a muppet. Or I guess he’s a puppet, wanting to be a muppet. There’s a message about how you see yourself and finding your purpose in life and all kinds of stuff, but I don’t know and don’t care… anyway, the trio find the studio in a derelict state, with a greedy oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) wanting to buy it for nefarious purposes. So they round up all the Muppets in no time and plan to piece together a show to raise enough money to save their studio. So far, so nothing’s happened yet.

The show they put on is at least an improvement and Jack Black’s input actually helps things along (who would’ve thought you’d say that about any of his recent work). There’s also a slew of other cameos, which was heartening as they obviously believe in the movie, but that’s about as much I can say. And I suppose it’s better watching the Muppets sing and dance rather than the humans, because the songs of the latter feel more like someone trying to imitate Brett McKenzie’s work than it being the real deal. There is none of the awkward charm we’re used to seeing in Flight of the Conchords, instead it’s just awkward and embarrassing. By the time Chris Cooper starts rapping I seriously considered walking out, just in case I one day meet the man and have to look him in the eye with some sort of respect. I also seriously don’t see how they got nominated for best song, it would appear the academy got a little sentimental on us here.

Anyway, this is starting to feel like a bit of a rant, and I think in the end it’s my fault for going to see the movie. Muppets fans will probably love the movie, anyone else should probably opt for talking about Kevin, even though I’ve heard that is harrowing in another way to this. Or just watch Space Jam again, a fantasy cross-over which manages to be both silly and fun at the same time.