Tag Archive: jennifer lawrence


cranston

Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Who Should Win: Cate has been here. You can kind of feel the people are wearing on J.Law.  No more ‘Hunger Games’ helps, but she may need to do the Natalie Portman/Anne Hathaway ‘lay low’ move for a minute (and she’s still really young which is part of it).  Brie should win here.

Who I’m Not Cheering For: Charlotte Rampling.

Who I’m Cheering For and Who Will Win: She’s paid her dues (which actors love) and from the Q&A I went to, she seems to have remain grounded from all the years before this.  Brie Larson.

Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – the Martian

Leonardo Dicaprio – the Revenant

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – the Danish Girl

Who Should Win: By degree of difficulty…it should be Redmayne going back to back right? That might be my Method bias…

Who I’m Not Cheering For: Matt Damon

Who I’m Cheering For and Who Will Win:

 

Police Shooting Missouri

So let’s start with something Rashida put out there last week:

We’ve all been talking about this and debating the issue of ‘privacy’ for the last week.  Seeing nude photos of one of the biggest movie stars in the world right now does that to the news cycle and the water cooler conversations.

By definition, privacy is ‘freedom from unauthorized intrusion.’  But in the social media age, how are we really defining that?  When every update of these apps we have on our phones tells you in (fairly) straightforward language, ‘You understand everything you say and every picture you post becomes the property of our public server correct?’  How are each of us as individuals drawing the line of where our private life really starts?’ All of us have a natural, healthy level of unease when we feel Big Brother is overstepping their boundaries.  But what if we’re voluntarily letting them in?  And now that we’re here, what if there’s an expected benefit from the ‘Too Much Information’ Era?  Let me put this another way…

As most of you know, I’m a born and raised Kansas City kid.  I’ve made a few St. Louis friends over the years, I’ve passed through St. Louis on road trips, I’ve done weddings and bachelor parties in St. Louis, I’ve been to Rams home games in St. Louis.  Until a month ago? I had NEVER heard of Ferguson, Missouri.  So how does this small town get onto (and more importantly) stay on the radar of the national media (and all of us)?  You know how.  For the purposes of this post, I don’t bring up Ferguson to call attention to the murder of a black kid (that no one’s been charged for), I bring it up for how the media was treated.  In the ‘Too Much Information’ Age, we had reporters and cameramen being told by the powers that be, ‘Shut It Down or Be Arrested.’  Now I haven’t been in school for a very long time now, but there’s a word that comes to mind when the people in power get overzealous in trying to control the information that gets out and the narrative of the story: censorship.

Too Much Information.  Or is it?  The common thread I see in the two stories is many people looking around and asking ‘Do we really still have this many people around who are that racist and/or misogynistic?  Or has the number, never really changed, but because we’re all so much more comfortable publicly expressing ourselves, we’re just more exposed to how people really feel?’  And if in the long run, we’re sincere about trying to break down any type of systematic racism or sexism or what have you (another debate altogether), is it really bad to know how people really feel?

If I had the answer to how our cultural definition of privacy is going to evolve in the next 5 years, I’d already be living in Zuckerburg’s neighborhood.  When I was a kid, everyone established their own line of where ‘Stay Out of My Business’ started.  Now, to various degrees, we’ve all pushed that line way back, and we’re still pushing it.  We want to stay connected to our friends and family around the world.  We want to buy anything we can imagine without ever leaving the house.  And so on.

Maybe the ‘private’ line really does disappear altogether, except for the extreme circumstances.  I’m not an old man yet, but I already know it won’t be my generation who makes the decision.

Brave New World we’re living in.

 

 

ba0d106e-c246-4359-b8ee-5ef872235e20_first-official-image-released-from-x-men-days-of-future-past-142959-a-1376897425

Alright, as always start with my point of view so you know how to take this…

Casual appreciation for the X-Men, I’ve seen all the films of the current generation and the spinoffs.  In terms of the comic books themselves, I hadn’t read this story going in, the last X-Men comic I read was ‘Old Man Logan’ which would be another great one off movie.

As far as this film goes, X-Men: Days of Future Past is, in my opinion, a great attempt to tie together all the strands of the X-Men films of the 2000s. The storyline of the movie, where it’s Wolverine who is sent back to the 70s to stop an assassination, is a perfect opportunity to bring the ‘young’ and ‘old’ X-Men casts together.  I’ve already seen some criticism about logic holes, but at least for me, once you throw out ‘time travel’ as the main push for your story, I instantly assume ‘parallel universes’ and ‘alternate realities’ and all that stuff, unless you try to gloss over something so major I can’t look past it on the first viewing.

So my casual, ‘want a fun summer, popcorn movie’ self loved this one.  The um, 20th Century Fox version of Quicksilver stole the movie and had a scene stealing sequence that should put the Flash to shame if DC gets their stuff together (another argument for another day).  There was a cute reference to the JFK assassination that could have been an eye rolling turnoff (see Watchmen), but because of the ‘who’ I completely bought it in this superhero universe.

Now let me talk about Jennifer Lawrence for a minute…

One of my aces asked me about her randomly a couple years ago; ‘What do you think of Jennifer Lawrence?’  (That he had to ask was foreshadowing for where this is going).  I thought she was cool in Winter’s Bone, in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle she’s great. In the queue for a year but haven’t gotten to Hunger Games yet (foreshadowing).   I’m stealing this analogy from Bill Simmons, but for my nerd generation, a large part of her appeal is, in interviews and awards season, she comes across as ‘a cute girl you can hang out with who happens to be a movie star.’  It’s a personality thing, complimented by not being hard on the eyes.

I say all that to say, sitting in a crowded movie theater filled with a bunch of 12 year old boys, I finally caught on to ‘that other’ demographic that’s driven her up the A list say fast.  Every time Mystique showed up on screen, you could just feel the puberty in the air.  It was hilarious (and a reminder to me on who almost all studio movies are made to cater to).

Anyway, long story short, best X-Men movie I’ve ever seen.  I think this genre has peaked out, but still, in my adult life, this has been amazing:

A Dark Knight Trilogy based on my life that raised the expectations on what comic books films could be…

A tight Avengers film that’s as close to a live comic book as I’ve ever seen…

Those great Superman films that…

(oh…)

(trying not to laugh…)

No I kid, I kid.  He started it all.  There have been great Superman films.  I’ll still stop channel surfing when I see that one sequel come on that I thought was fun.  What year was that made?

(Checking IMdB…)

Oh…1980…

pg2_g_pippen_sy_576

 

As this post is about me as a writer, let me do a solid to start.  If you’re a blog writer, screenwriter, joke writer, or a like minded member of our ilk, what’s the dreaded word no one wants to hear or be accused of?  Stealing.  There’s no foolproof method of course, but I recommend my friends at Grammarly to help out.  Use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker online because every story has been told, and if you have a feeling the story you’re telling is destined for greatness, there’s a chance someone already beat you to it.

Now, what am I writing these days?

Well, the ‘indie’ project I’ve written is the latest version of my teenage, sci fi project ‘The Legend of the Cursed Angel’.  I’ve taken my Star Wars and refashioned it as a low budget webseries, with a stronger emphasis on every episode raising the stakes on ‘how does this end?’ and less emphasis on ‘planets exploding’ and other such nonsense it’s just completely impractical for me to pull off.  It’s a ‘movie star’ type part for yours truly, and when I figure out which way I want to go the other major part, I’ll at least get the pilot episode shot.  Science fiction, and movie star stuff, I know that doesn’t really scream ‘indie’ but as I joked about with one of my co-stars, when you’re name dropping Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal in your script, you’re not exactly screaming Hollywood either…

On the Hollywood side, I’m in the middle of my feature rewrite for ‘Lady In My Life’.  The ‘people’ like what I did in the last version fine, but my quest to be original broke way too many genre rules (damn System), so now it’s telling the story I want to tell in a form everyone can recognize while still doing it in a way that is so unique anyone who sees it will know it is ‘my voice’ and it stands out from the pack (welcome to the life of Hollywood screenwriting).  I’m already more than halfway there so that doesn’t really concern me; the other part of writing for ‘the Bank’ is the first thing ‘the Bank’ is going to do is envision who they can put in your story to make money.  In the last revision I did, I (of course) and Kerry were high school sweethearts who had a baby when we were teenagers, and now that kid (Michael B. Jordan) of course is about to be a man, and…Page 1.  And who would play the present day love interests?  Everyone who offered suggestions, I’m still digesting all of them: Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita, Alison Brie, Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Jurnee Smollett, Kerry, Beharie, Alba, Zooey.  And no, I’m not deliberately looking past the wife/mother character, she is the ‘Lady’; in the current version of the script though, I’ve framed it as a father/son story and how each reacts when given similar choices.  And if that framework sounds like it borrows from one of my favorite/greatest movies ever but using it in a more comic form…you may be on the right track there slugger.

So that’s what’s up with the nonstop writing so far in 2014.  When we progress into acting and/or directing, I’ll keep you posted.

 

Jennifer Lawrence

Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor:
Barkhad Abdi
Bradley Cooper
Michael Fassbender
Jonah Hill
Jared Leto
Who Should Win
MALIK: Another category that could go a few different ways and not really be ‘wrong’.  I love what Fassie did in 12 Years, but I was really affected by what Leto did in ‘Dallas’. He’s the frontrunner for a reason.
ART: Jonah Hill. Really? Yes. Really….? No. I really liked what Barkhad Abdi did in Captain Phillips. He was great. But, a win ain’t happening. He gets the “it’s great to be here” award. Fassbender was sadistic and electric. But, Leto took his performance to the next level. His may be the only guaranteed win I can see.
Who Will Win
MALIK: Abdi has been making a little more noise, but I still think this is Leto’s to lose.
ART: Leto. No doubt. He hit on all cylinders.
Who We Want to Win
MALIK: Got to go with Leto.  The extended layoff in between movie roles is just icing on the cake of ‘if you’re one of the guys comfortable enough to take chances, you should be working more.’
ART: Leto. Just a great example of inhabiting a character.
Here’s the nominees for Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins
Jennifer Lawrence
Lupita Nyong’o
Julia Roberts
Jane Squibb
Who Should Win
MALIK: Lupita was the Best Supporting Actress this year. The End.
ART: No doubt. I like Jennifer Lawrence. I respect Jennifer Lawrence. I think she’s great and I get why Hollywood is in love with her at the moment. But, this race isn’t close. Lupita blew everyone away with her performance in 12 Years and also is doubling right now as the person most likely to get away with murder if the jury is made up of African American women.
Who Will Win
MALIK: Look, I love Jennifer Lawrence.  She’s beautiful, she’s talented, she still has that ‘realness’ and a spark to her that we all respond to. But THIS year, for the 20 or so minutes of screen time she had in American Hustle, that’s not the Best Supporting Actress role this year. It just isn’t.  But we shall see…
ART: We’re saying the same thing. I agree. Except, I’ll add this… Nothing against J.Law personally, but her role in American Hustle – I’m not even sure it served an essential purpose in the story. It feels and smells like Oscar bait. She was excellent in Winter’s Bone. Here, she was just a crazy lady in 70s clothes. Nope.
Who We Want to Win
MALIK: Lupita, of course.  She’s undeniable; I know I’m far from the only person writing parts with her in mind now,  just because we want to see her keep showing up on our movie screens.
ART: Lupita. My only question? Is Hollywood ready to actually use her talents in prominent roles after this awards season? I don’t want to sound cynical, but I am really curious to see.
Tomorrow, we look at Lead Actor and Actress…

‘American Hustle’

 

amyadamshustle

Don’t know if it’s the best film of the year, but I get why everyone is into American Hustle.  It’s fun.  It’s a lot more fun than most of the ‘serious’ stuff that gets promoted for awards season.

As the opening title card suggests, the film is loosely based on the well known ABSCAM stings the feds used to bring down power players in the 70s.  The story of this film centers around the con artist played by Christian Bale, who in true Method form (fist pump) put on a ridiculously amount of weight and even developed a serious (a little too serious) slouch for his character.  He partners early on with Amy Adams’ character, who also reinvents herself as a con artist…

Amy Adams…I think the first time I noticed was as the innocent in another con film (ironically), Catch Me If You Can.  And over time, she’s done well picking parts that use her sexuality but remind you she’s a true actress as well.  I say that to say that forever I’d see her in something and say, ‘Not that long ago, Julianne Moore would’ve played that.’  And the costume design (the only Oscar lock in my opinion) goes a long way, but in this film, HO. LY. CHRIST.  She’s not ‘kind of doing a young Julianne Moore thing’ anymore, she just took her dirty heels and grinded them all in Julianne Moore’s couch.  Amy already arrived, I’m just saying that comparison is done now (at least in my mind).

Everybody in the cast delivers.  The current It Girl, Jennifer Lawrence, pulls her weight to no surprise (figured she was in the story more, but her character turns the story a couple of times).  The homie Louie C.K. has a nice supporting role as the put upon boss of Bradley Cooper’s character.  And even though I knew he has a scene, I was still very happy to see one of my all time favorite actors do a nice cameo to further the story.  Not ruining it if you don’t know who I’m referring to.

I think the film wants to be GoodFellas… but there were a few places I thought I could have been tighter.  But still, solid film, all the way around.  Worth seeing.

Oscars 2013 – Best Actress

 

naomiwatts

Toughest major category to call this year.  Let’s get to it.

The nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role are…

  • Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
  • Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts in the Impossible

Who Should Win: Ahhhhhhhhhh.  Mannnnnnnnnn.  It may be the only major win for this film, and it was a genuine lead role in a genuine solid film, so I’ll pick Chastain here.

Who I Want to Win: As in ‘Who I’ll be cheering for?’ If you have to ask…

Who Will Win: My gut tells me that this is the official Hollywood coronation of young Miss Lawrence.  Right face, playing the Game to perfection right now, can be setting herself up for a real run at Meryl’s career (which she’s implied she might want to do).  We shall see.

Back to the Ac-Tors tomorrow…

 

Silver Linings Playbook

 

220px-Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster

Ending the week with another potential ‘award film’.  Silver Linings Playbook is a love story, but where are two main characters are extremely effed up to say the least.  The guy (played by Bradley Cooper) is coming out of a stint in an institution after a violent end to his marriage. The girl (yet another great feather in the still very young cap of Jennifer Lawrence) is a widow who hasn’t completely moved on from the circumstances of her husband’s death.

This film moved in a lot of different directions in my opinion.  A few minutes of a classic ‘sins of the father’ story, where we get Robert DeNiro being an actor again; stretches of ‘boy meets girl’ which is the meat of the story; and (where I thought the film was strongest) some long stretches in the first and second act that tackle the great dilemma of when, internally, you know you got it for somebody else but you didn’t get or haven’t emotionally gotten to the closure of your last relationship.  Is there even such a thing as closure or is that really a Hallmark/Hollywood thing that’s completely made up?

The film isn’t bad at all but I wasn’t head over heels for it.  Like I implied a lot going on.  My take away (which I already knew) is that Jennifer Lawrence is going to have as long of a career as she wants doing whatever she wants to do.

Have a great weekend!