And another one, as they say, bites the dust. Well, for this year, anyway. Most Oscar pundits had George Clooney's WWII adventure "The Monuments Men" placed fairly prominently on their prediction lists, and with the unveiling of a high-toned new trailer last week, the all-star attraction seemed primed for the season ahead. That is, until Sony Pictures dropped the bombshell that the film would not be ready for release this year after all. "The Monuments Men" thus becomes the highest-profile film so far -- following others like Sony Classics' "Foxcatcher" and The Weinstein Company's "Grace of Monaco" -- to bow out of the awards race before it's begun.
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McKayla Maroney and Richard Schiff are visiting "Bones"
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It's morning round-up time, with thoughts on last night's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Trophy Wife" and "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I like yoga, Tuvan throat singers and NASCAR...
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The best Oscar-related piece on the internet comes from Salon critic Andrew O'Hehir, who examines our fascination with the awards, as as we concede that they mean little in the grand scheme of things: "The Oscar race has things to teach us, every single year; but on the other hand, the manufactured narrative that gets spun out of it is almost entirely devoid of meaning ... like electoral politics with the ideology shoved under the carpet." The difference this year, he says, is that neither of this year's two apparent race-leaders fit the usual Oscar formula: "12 Years a Slave" is a "valuable historical corrective" and "formally audacious," while "Gravity" "may have too much catharsis ... a remake of Kubrick’s '2001' made by HAL." [Salon]
Anytime it's taken the better part of a decade to make a sequel to a film, it is at lastly somewhat likely that the sequel is going to suck. It's no one's fault, per se, but it's just one of those things. Maybe it's hard to go back to something after that long. Maybe it's hard to recapture whatever made the thing special in the first place.
That will not be the case with "Anchorman 2."
At this point, I've seen enough of the film to be very confident that they have recaptured the exact voice that made the first "Anchorman" so much fun. I find myself frequently amazed at how much of an institution the first film is at this point considering the response when it was released. People seemed to enjoy it, but there was no immediate sense that it was going to turn into a phenomenon that people quote constantly, or that it was going to eventually become part of the pop culture lexicon. I love that the film finally found its audience, and that there is so much passion for it now.
Coming around to the final of the four acting categories this season, Best Supporting Actress isn't as jam-packed as the Best Supporting Actor field, but it's pretty dense in its own right. What's more, while it's not exactly "wide" open, there is room to navigate and we could end up with a surprise or two.
Certain parts of "Sons of Anarchy" inevitably feel like a little boy's fantasy of what it means to be a grown-up man: a tough, cool guy who wins every fight, scores with any woman he wants and outsmarts every rival. But to the show's credit, "Sons" has always been equally interested in its female characters, routinely giving them the same level of badass cred as the guys. There's plenty of reasons to quibble with the way certain characters are (or aren't) developed, but when it comes to storytelling "Sons" rarely discriminates based on gender. Maybe that's one reason the character of Venus van Dam works so well.
It's interesting watching things shake out so relatively late in the season. First Sony Classics decided that, rather than push "Foxcatcher" out there at the end of the season, it would wait and allow further considerations time to breathe in the editing room. Now that company's parent, Sony Pictures, has shuffled George Clooney's "The Monuments Men," which has been test screening and had a scoring session booked in London yesterday, out of what is already a crazily crowded year.
One of the things I always find interesting is when a show that is bound by budget and time to one geographic location is written as a globetrotting adventure, requiring them to convince us that they've gone around the world despite the evidence of our eyes. "Alias" is a great recent example of this, a show that turned Burbank into every corner of the world.
This week opens in Hong Kong, where Renshu Tseng, a street magician (played by Louis Ozawa Changchien from "Predators") is doing very basic tricks for a crowd. Only when he sees a particularly striking woman does he create real fire in the palm of his hand, freaking out the crowd. It seems to work, though. She is turned on enough by the trick to go home with him, and he talks to her about the difference between real magic and tricks. He seems nervous to show off the real thing up close, but he ends up giving in.
He tells her about how his gift started to manifest a few years ago, and her response seems like a rational one: she calls in backup to abduct him.