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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Charlize Theron

'Snow White and the Huntsman' is a tale darkly told, critics say

June 1, 2012 |  1:27 pm

"Snow White and the Huntsman" brings a spooky shroud of dread to the Grimm fairy tale, and the resulting film is polarizing critics
"Snow White and the Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, takes the opposite tack of this year's earlier adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale, "Mirror Mirror." That film's bubbly fun has been traded for a spooky shroud of dread, and the resulting film is polarizing critics. Many reviewers praise the film's special effects and production design, but a significant portion also find the narrative uneven and overstuffed.

The Times' Betsy Shakey gives a positive review, calling the film "a baroque enchantment filled with dazzling darkness" and "an absolute wonder to watch [that] creates a warrior princess for the ages." Director Rupert Sanders makes a "brilliantly inventive debut," and "the film's Alexander McQueen-esque illusions of grandeur do a very good job of masking its flaws." Perhaps the biggest shortcoming is the anemic love story; as Sharkey says, "what this revisionist fairy tale does not give us is a passionate love." But Hemsworth "has a great screen presence" as the Huntsman, Theron's turn as the evil Queen Ravenna is "chilling," and "none of it would work without Stewart's steely Snow White."

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Oscars 2012: 'Snubbed' Albert Brooks, Patton Oswalt tweet woes

January 24, 2012 | 10:55 am

Click here for more coverage of the Oscar nominations

"You don't like me, you really don't like me," Albert Brooks tweeted Tuesday, a few hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to recognize his performance as brutal gangster Bernie Rose in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" with an Oscar nomination. Those nine words were all that fellow rejected actor Patton Oswalt ("Young Adult") need to get him going on a Twitter rant that pretty much encompassed every overlooked actor in this year's Oscar race.

It began with Oswalt asking Brooks to join him for a drink at the Drawing Room. "Me and Serkis have been here since 6 am," he tweeted, referring to Andy Serkis and his failure to obtain an acting nod for his motion-capture work in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

FULL COVERAGE: The Oscar nominees

"See you later tonight," he continued. "Serkis has Pogues on the jukebox and Fassbender just showed up in a pirate hat." Michael Fassbender was also ignored, with academy voters not recognizing him for his role as a sex addict in the harrowing drama "Shame."

Oswalt was not content to settle with the actors. "We're definitely going to run out of booze. Charlize & Tilda just pulled up in a stolen police car." Neither Charlize Theron nor Tilda Swinton was rewarded for her work in such prickly films as "Young Adult" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

His absurdist scene continued, begging Brooks to meet him. "Dude, get down here. Gosling is doing keg stands and Olsen and Dunst literally just emerged from a shower of rose petals."

Ryan Gosling received no love for either of his compelling roles in "The Ides of March" and "Drive." Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and Kirsten Dunst ("Melancholia") were unable to crack the competitive lead actress category.

Oswalt then invoked Dunst's controversial director Lars von Trier, who made waves in Cannes last year with some ill-considered remarks on Nazism: "Von Trier just pulled up in a pass van dressed as Goering. 'Let's go to Legoland! With a boozy hurrah, we're out."

Looks like Brooks missed his chance to accompany his fellow snubbies with Oswalt's final tweet. "Oh. My. God. Just pulled up to Legoland. DiCaprio's rented the park for the day. Dibs on the Duplo Gardens!"

It's a shame we won't get more commentary from Oswalt. His voice on the campaign scene was, to say the least, quite refreshing.


And the nominees are...

Oscars 2012: Who was snubbed? Who surprised?

Oscars 2012: Surprises? Getting naked doesn't guarantee a nod

 -- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Patton Oswalt during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12 in Los Angeles. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


"Beginners," "Tree of Life" tie for Gotham Film Awards

November 28, 2011 |  8:07 pm

Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical drama "Beginners," about a young man whose widower father comes out of the closet, and Terrence Malick's mystical family epic "Tree of LIfe" tied for best film of 2011 at the 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards given out Monday evening in New York City.

"Beginners," which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, also won for ensemble cast. Felicity Jones took home the breakthrough actor award for her role as a lovestruck British woman in 
"Like Crazy." Breakthrough director honors went to Dee Rees for "Pariah." The documentary prize went to "Better This World."

Other awards given out included:

The Best Film Not Playing At a Theater Near You: "Scenes of a Crime"

Festival Genius Award, which is voted on by filmgoers online: "Girlfriend"

Spotlight on Women Filmmakers "Live the Dream" Grant: Lucy Mulloy, "Una Noche"

The awards are presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project, which is the oldest and largest U.S. organization of indie filmmakers. It is one of two key awards given to independent films. Nominations for the other, Film Independent's Spirit Awards, will be announced Tuesday.

PHOTOS: 21st Gotham Film Awards arrivals

Besides the competitive awards, career achievement awards were given out to actors Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman, director David Cronenberg and co-chair and chief executive of Fox Film Entertainment Tom Rothman.

Last year's top winner, "Winter's Bone," went on to receive four Oscar nominations including for best picture and lead actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The Gotham's 2009 selection, "The Hurt Locker," won the Academy Award for best picture, director and original screenplay.


"Descendants," "Beginners" among Gotham Independent Film nominations

Gotham Awards give top prize to 'Winter's Bone'

— Susan King

Photo: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Photo credit: Andrew Tepper.

Jason Reitman's new film 'Young Adult' pops up in L.A.

November 2, 2011 |  1:01 pm

  Patton oswalt

"I wonder what people will blog about after this," director Jason Reitman pondered aloud in the middle of a freewheeling Q&A Tuesday night after a screening of his new film, "Young Adult."

The marquee at the New Beverly Cinema read simply "Surprise Screening," but inside Reitman was presenting "Young Adult" to a public audience in Los Angeles for the first time. Announced Saturday via the New Beverly website, the show was the finale of a two-week run of such "pop-up" screenings at venues in Toronto, Minneapolis, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco before the film's limited theatrical release Dec. 9. A limited edition poster by a local artist in each city was given away to audience members.

Joining Reitman onstage before and after the screening were stars Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and Elizabeth Reaser, along with the film's writer, Diablo Cody. (Oswalt took to his Twitter feed later in the evening to say, "that was the full-throttle drunk-est Q&A I've ever done.")

As the film opens, Mavis Gary (Theron) is struggling to finish, or even start, the final book in her series of young adult novels. Impulsively heading from her apartment in Minneapolis to the small Minnesota town where she grew up, she strikes up a wary friendship with a guy she ignored all through high school (Oswalt) while trying to rekindle a relationship with an old flame (Patrick Wilson), whose wife(Reaser)  just had a baby. 

"Young Adult" reunites Cody and Reitman after their previous collaboration as writer and director on the smash hit "Juno." Aware that whatever they did together next would be compared with "Juno," Reitman said that  "this movie you can't compare to anything," and likened its mix of tones to "an ugly mirror" reflecting back upon each viewer.

Many assumed that "Young Adult" would premiere at September's Toronto International Film Festival, where his previous three features have shown. (Reitman's family is also a substantial donor to the festival; the new Lightbox facility where "Young Adult" screened post-festival sits on Reitman Square.) The plan to skip festivals altogether in launching the film, opting instead for the pop-up screenings to "make our own film festival," as Reitman put it, is an unusual move, especially for a film looking to launch a carefully calibrated awards run.

"I think the struggle that we go through with every movie we do is how to do something that's unique and speaks to the movie and captures the right audience and gets the right amount of attention because you're doing something that's new," Megan Colligan, president of domestic marketing and distribution at Paramount Pictures, which is releasing the movie, said outside the New Bev after the screening.

"A lot has been made of this idea that 'Up in the Air' started [in Toronto] and got a lot of heat and it was too much to sustain," Colligan said, alluding to the much-touted film's failure to take home any Oscars in 2010 despite six nominations.

"But it's actually a ton of energy you have to put in whenever you launch a movie in September and you don't release the movie until December and you have to screen and do Q&As for such a sustained amount of time. Doing 'The Fighter' and 'True Grit' last year and having very successful campaigns that started really late, we realized there was something fun about introducing yourself to the world at a time that really suited the campaign for the film."

"Often at this point in the process you feel like a salesman instead of a filmmaker," noted Reitman, "and all I've felt on this tour is I'm a filmmaker sharing my movie. I feel different. I feel like a different person in this process."


'Breakfast Club' reading: Jason Reitman heads to detention

Patton Oswalt on 'The Breakfast Club' and the art of the script 

Charlize Theron talks Kristen Stewart, taps into Rage

-- Mark Olsen


Photo: Patton Oswalt co-stars in Jason Reitman's "Young Adult." Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times 


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