Sunday, June 21

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Film Fatales go mano a mano with the Avengers

The Avengers: Age of Ultron. 2015. Rated PG­13. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johannson, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Paul Bellamy. Directed by Joss Whedon.

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump­start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans. [IMDb]






Nicole: It's been three years since the first Avengers and in that time Marvel has completely altered the workings of their own universes to keep us fanboys and fangirls on their toes. No complaints. We're totally enjoying the ride. This sequel to the epic blockbuster runs right out of the gate with a breakneck action sequence that involves all principal characters: Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Don't blink. It's a mind bender.

elizabeth: Can I straighten my mind bender with a good flat iron? I don’t even know what I mean, but has it been three years? I ain’t a fangirl of this genre but you keep seeing these dumb movies so I have to try yet another intervention on you.

Nicole: I'm intervention-proof. This time around, The Avengers unite to save the world from Ultron ­­ one of Stark Enterprises' "programs" gone very, very wrong, very very fast. Ultron wants to destroy the planet and everything on it to start from scratch ­­ which, in his mind, is the only way to gain peace. He enlists the help of two "enhanced", who soon become known as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (no mention here of their paternity being that of Magneto's, as this is not a Sony franchise; instead their origin is tied to the plot, giving them both reason to side with Ultron's mission).

elizabeth: I have no idea what you just wrote.



Nicole: It's OK. I speak geek. But, what's fabulous about this film is less about the special effects (although stellar, as usual) but the character development. We learn an awful lot this go around about The Avengers...from the budding romance between Hulk and Black Widow to the secretive family life of Hawkeye. Not to mention, the little project Stark's been working on that manages to, oh, completely screw everything up. This film is also pretty heavy on the comedy angle. It's full of one liners you'll be quoting left and right. Particularly adept at the jibs and jabs is Ultron, this movie's mechanical baddie voiced by James Spader. He gives Stark a run for his money in the sarcasm department. But, a good deal of the character development is also a little dark and is provided courtesy of Scarlet Witch. Her powers enable her to access people's fears and turn them into a dreamlike reality. Each of our heroes is treated to one of these trips, and they aren't pretty. Are they glimpses of the future? Are they just insecurities? Only time will tell.

elizabeth: Only time will tell when this review will be over. I am thinking now.

Nicole: Not quite yet. Truth be told, I enjoyed the first crack at the Avengers much more than this sequel. But, that being said, this is a terrific movie. Lots of fun, lots of laughs, great special effects and interesting character development. So-­so ending, but I trust Whedon ­­ so whatever happens next, I'm on board.

elizabeth: Is it too late to go back to the Age of Aquarius? 

The Film Fatales gives THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON


Wednesday, May 20

...and they said it wouldn't last.

The Film Fatales celebrate three tempestuous years of backslapping, bitching and blogging -- mostly the latter.

Nicole: Just over three years ago, elizabeth (with a small e, like e.e. cummings, but female and with sass) suggested we try some kind of joint writing venture. Once I stopped ignoring her and paid attention, I thought 'Hey, that's not such a bad idea.' It soon became a question of not "If?" or "When?", but "What?" What in the world could two classy, big-mouthed broads like us share with the cyber-verse? Should it be politics? We ruled that one out right away. Both diehard liberals who tend to agree on every issue, we decided we just didn't need the headache of monitoring the comments section for potential threats to our safety. No, it needed to be something light, entertaining -- and  fun. So, we decided on movies. It was time the world had a female Siskel and Ebert. Obviously, I'm Ebert.

elizabeth: Yes, another brilliant idea on my part. I swear my next idea won’t pay either. But it has been a hoot. Dark, smelly rooms with no one in them except some lonely people and that would be the Film Fatales. I am glad we nixed the political slant. I can’t seem to voice my own opinions on my own Facebook page without people coming out of the woodwork to demand I change my mind. At least with the movies, I can say what I want and the hell with the rest of the unwashed nibbling at my feet. They remind me of your friends from The Hobbit.

Nicole: Ahh, the classic cassidy dig at my love for all things Tolkien. Never gets old. And in case that didn't read well the first time, I assure you that was sarcasm at its most biting. When I think back, I'm glad Cassidy (I call her such because she prefers elizabeth and I'm nothing if not accommodating) suggested we pen this blog together. And, I hope you can appreciate how difficult it is for me to admit Cassidy had a good idea. I've always been a huge movie buff, briefly studied film in college and penned a few dusty spec scripts -- so it was a natural fit. At least the money I wasted at the multiplex didn't seem so much of a waste anymore, but an investment...of sorts.

elizabeth: Shhh…the movie is starting.

Nicole: Don't "Shh" me like we both had to shush that rude woman in the aisle next to us during The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Memories...misty water-colored memories... What are some of my favorite Film Fatales moments? Hmm. That's tough. The two I recall with the greatest of ease are drastically different. Cassidy isn't fond of potty humor. She likes a smart joke. Somehow, I convinced her to see The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell and Zac Galifinakis as two sparring candidates who trade in dirty politics, on the guise of it being a topical movie we can comment on during election season. I did warn her she would likely hate it, and to expect a lot of crass jokes. What I didn't expect was the epic level of belly laughs Cassidy would belt out throughout the film, all while saying -- out loud, mind you -- "This is so stupid!" Ahh, that was an enjoyable exercise in schadenfreude, Cassidy. To hear you laugh at something you seriously detest -- a poop joke. LOL. Good times. The second memory comes courtesy of the cruel torture that was The Fault in Our Stars. I'm a crier. I will cry at the drop of a hat. So, it wasn't a wise decision for us to see this movie, as I could hardly make it through the trailer. But, we went. And, I cried so much I pretty much was dangerously dehydrated by the time the credits started to roll. It's become a habit of Cassidy's, in such numerous cases, to utter under her breath, "Big baby" if she hears so much as a sniffle out of me. It never fails to make me laugh, even if she is a heartless bitch.

elizabeth: Yes, I do remember being horrified by The Campaign. I had thought so much more of myself then to laugh at the idiotic plot, the complete lack of intelligent dialogue and seeing Will Ferrell making faces and threats. I will admit that I skipped breakfast that morning and I felt a bit lightheaded and then you put something in my popcorn. It is all coming back to me. My sainted father would not approve of me laughing as much as I did, but my father always said that Porkys was his favorite movie. So maybe I am more like my father than I thought. Nay.

And yes, you are the Mother of the Fandago Waterworks. Just for the record, I have sniffled at a few movies. Guess which ones?

Nicole: Listen, it is not for me to judge that you only cry during comedies. It's probably something to do with incorrect firing of synapses...and I would just seem insensitive if I pointed out your rare, yet strange, disorder. Who knows what the next three years of our blog will bring? (A gal can dream that, as a result of her glowing reviews, Peter Jackson will contact her to be the script supervisor for his follow-up to The Hobbit, The Silmarillion where she's also needed to occasionally fill in as a Rivendell elf...)  [Cue Cassidy rolling her eyes.] What I can say about the future of the Film Fatales is that we will gladly be bringing you more of the same sassy, opinionated, no-holds-barred film reviews. Thanks for your loyal support and hey, feel free to comment, share, tweet -- whatever. In return, Cassidy will do your taxes.



elizabeth: Aim higher. Why do you want to spend time with people who live in middle earth? Damnit, I want room service and I want Colin Firth to promise to never make a movie like “The Kingsmen” ever again. I want the word “sequels” to make Hollywood shake in their boots. I want good writing. I want, no, I demand excellent screenplays that don’t insult my intelligence. I want The Theory of Everything to move in with The Grand Budapest Hotel and have babies. And in closing, I would really rather not see people in the golden years making out like teenagers. I don’t need to hear dentures hit the floor during a dramatic scene. Okay, you can do it. I am all for love, Just not in front of me. 


Nicole: Colin Firth's lawyers called. They're renewing the restraining order.  

elizabeth: I am assuming the restraining order applies to you? 


Nicole: No. It applies to the person looking back at you when you stare into the mirror. See what happens when you assume? 


elizabeth: you win, Felix.

The Film Fatales give this post...


WOMAN IN GOLD

The Film Fatales develop a whole new level of art appreciation. 

Woman in Gold. 2015. PG-13. Starring Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruhl. Directed by Simon Curtis.  

Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family. [IMDb]

Nicole: History shows what a horrific blight on humanity the holocaust was, and still remains. Genocide, unfortunately, still prevails in many parts of this ever-turning globe, doomed -- it would seem -- to repeat the mistakes of the past without learning from them. Maria Altmann's story is just one of the many that exist to prove how many injustices the Nazis committed during WWII. Injustices that, although a little too late, develop into modern restitution. Maria Altmann's well-to-do Viennese family included her a painting of her Aunt Adele Bloch Bauer -- the subject of Gustav Klimt's inarguably most famous portrait "Woman in Gold." That portrait, like all of Altmann's familial possessions, was looted by the Nazi's during their occupation of Vienna. It came to Vienna's Belvedere Gallery through a legal technicality -- and remained in their possession until Maria Altmann pursued its rescue.


eiizabeth: I do love movies about individuals who take it upon themselves to right an injustice. They inspire me to want to do the same if and when a similar saturation comes up in my life. So many unsung heroes who rallied against the Nazis whether it was the brave families who hid Jewish families or Maria Altmann who decided that a family portrait stolen by the zombies who followed Hitler needed to be back with her family. When you think about what the Nazis did to millions of people, do you really think they had an eye for beauty? I think not.  

Instead of  being glued to their iphones or tablets and wondering what the Kardashians will do next, young people should be asked to  sit down to try to envision the horrors that came knocking on the doors of some many families in Europe during WWII. Woman in Gold does just that. You can’t leave the theatre without the realization that we still hate without reason in this world. 


Nicole: I wonder if there's anything Helen Mirren can't do, honestly? I entirely believed her portrayal of Maria Altmann -- from the perfect Austrian accent, to the stoic body language, to the no-brass-tax attitude. At times, I forgot it was Mirren on screen and I could swear she was one of my Germanic relatives. She certainly did her homework to nail this role. Ryan Reynolds, as Altmann's relative and lawyer Randol Schoenburg, also does a fine job. I wonder if people get how well-rounded Reynolds is as an actor. Since his resumption of action star status, Reynolds has been taking popular roles in lieu of meatier parts. He's not a one trick pony -- so it was a nice change of pace to see him in this film. 

elizabeth: I concur. Mirren’s steely determination and Reynolds’ evolution from  money seeking lawyer  to seeking justice for one older woman who longed to have back what was rightly her family’s, is inspiring. If Monument Men did not get you stirred up about man’s humanity against man, then I suggest Woman in Gold just might make you angry. Angry enough to care about not repeating our mistakes.

Nicole: This is an important movie that reveals in great detail the other forms of atrocity the holocaust wreaked on is victims. Year after year, pillaged works of art resurface. Each one has their own story. Unfortunately, not every story has the fortunate resolution of Woman in Gold. But, with each masterpiece that is returned to its rightful owners, the world gains back a little of its stolen humanity.   



The Film Fatales give WOMAN IN GOLD


Tuesday, March 24

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Film Fatales revisit the land of sequels and request a refund

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 2015. Rated PG. Starring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Richard Gere. Directed by John Madden.

As the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for two fresh arrivals - Sonny pursues his expansionist dream of opening a second hotel. [IMDb]







Nicole: When last we left Muriel (Maggie Smith) and Sonny (Dev Patel), they'd found a way to keep their joint business venture The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a long-term inn where ex-pats choose to live out their golden years, in business. The sequel reunites us, not long after the last film concluded, with all of the familiar faces...and some unnecessary new ones (I'm looking at you Richard Gere).



elizabeth: I loved this cast, but I would like to take them and drop them into another movie that does not resemble The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I was quite content and amused by Movie #1, but someone forgot to write a storyline that would resonate with the audience. I love Dev Patel’s energy and was a tad annoyed with Bill Nighy and Judi Dench’s pathetic dance (grab her and kiss her NOW!) and it hurts to say anything that is not positive about Dench and Nighy.

Nicole: Agreed. While a lot does happen (a lavish wedding, three proposals, two hotel purchases, one sordid affair, unwitting attempted murder, divorce, and dancing...there is A LOT of dancing), it all happens at the same pace and manner as the first film. So, what am I getting at? OK. I'll say it. Just like the first film, it's entertaining, but it's...well...it just is. Enjoyable. Check! Great cast. Check! Amazing scenery. Check! And yet... Meh.



elizabeth: My fear with doing any more sequels of this movie is that all the actors will have been killed off. Except for Richard Gere.

Nicole: I question the need for a sequel. The first film ended in a tidy fashion. It didn't leave me with any burning questions. I felt confident every character involved was moving in the right direction and would be happy...if not right then and there...then very soon. The thing with movies with very large casts, such as this, is that there's very little time to devote to each character. Then by adding additional characters with the intent to spice things up the opposite effect is haplessly achieved. But don't mistake me...this is a very enjoyable movie filled with enjoyable performances, namely Dev Patel, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. I don't think, however, it's required or grounds for repeated viewing.



elizabeth: You are too kind. I think I am going to watch Chucky’s 300 – the great grandchildren go to the moon to kill the cast from The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The Film Fatales give THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

The Rewrite

The Film Fatales realize The Rewrite could use a rewrite. 

The Rewrite. 2014. Starring Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, J.K. Simmons, Chris Eliot, Allison Janney. Written and directed by Marc Lawrence. In theaters & On Demand.

An Oscar-winning writer in a slump leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mom taking classes there. [IMDb]








Nicole: Great cast, huh? Shame none of the characters played by this terrific cast were developed well enough to do their acting skills any justice. But, wait... I'm getting ahead of myself. The Rewrite comes to us from the same creative team responsible for Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice, both of which not-so-coincidentally star Hugh Grant. Grant is anything if not loyal to his director friends, and most of the time it serves him well. Unfortunately, it didn't this time.


elizabeth: I was hoping we were going to have a Four Weddings and a Funeral or Love Actually movie for 2015. But no. I don’t want to write too much about this movie because it seems the writer did not want to write a screenplay that could bring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei together in a humorous romp. So boring.

Nicole: Such potential. Such opportunity. Such a loss. The Rewrite centers around Keith Michaels (played by Grant), a nearly washed up Oscar-winning screenwriter who is forced to leave LA and head to Binghamton, NY to earn some much-needed cash as a guest screenwriting instructor. Once there, he falls into all of the expected pitfalls that a once famous quasi-celeb turned professor might experience: shacking up with a student half his age, unwittingly sexually harassing a faculty member who sits on the ethics committee, and phoning in anything that has to do with teaching his class. There is very little that is likable about Keith Michaels, except, of course, Grant's signature adorably bumbling delivery. But, at least his character grows...he has an arc, which is more than can be said of any other character in the film.


elizabeth: You are being too kind. At 54, Grant should lose that adorable bumbling delivery of his 20s and 30s and had given us an actor with range which I think he is quite capable of doing. I just wonder if all of these actors needed to experience a month in Binghamton, NY. I see no other reason for this film.


Nicole: I dunno. I still have a soft spot for his type of characters. Let's face it... I will watch almost anything with Hugh Grant, because I'm shallow. Hey, at least I admit it. He ticks all the boxes in my book. But, he was not enough to turn this into a great film. Ultimately, the problem with The Rewrite is rather ironic...in that it's in dire need of a "rewrite." It meant well, and it could have been something special with a bit more effort. Still, it's not entirely unwatchable. It's pleasant enough--just don't expect to be bowled over.




The Film  Fatales give THE REWRITE

Saturday, March 14

Kingsman: The Secret Service

The Film Fatales buck up and do battle with British spies. 

Kingsman. 2015. Rated R. Starring Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson (blink and you'll miss him, Jack Davenport). 

A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. [IMDb]










Nicole: I do love a spy movie. I also love British movies. Combine the two, and I'm in heaven. That's why I'm so surprised that I have very mixed feelings about Kingsman...a film I've been anxiously waiting to see since I heard about pre-production. I mean, come on... British Secret Service, Colin Firth as a suave spy, bad-ass villain Samuel L. Jackson and a host of super-cool gadgets? How could it possibly go wrong? Well, it doesn't go all wrong, just 1/4 wrong. But, it's a pretty strong 1/4 in my book.


elizabeth: I am not a big spy fan because I feel my pea-sized brain can’t take it all in. Plus, I feel they are made for men. Some of the sexist stuff that goes on in this type of movie sets my feminist hair on fire. But I was convinced to go see Kingsmen because Mr. Colin Firth was draped in a Saville Row pin stripped suit. A modern day Mr. Darcy who has knives in the tips of his shoes.



Nicole: Let's discuss what's right about about Kingsman...and there's a lot. First, the casting. This was a dream-worthy cast... Colin Firth, who is impeccable as the lead "Harry, aka Galahad" spy of the Kingsman -- a level of the British Secret Service so secret most people don't know or believe it exists. Kingsman is led by Arthur (Michael Caine. Let's face it, you simply cannot have a movie without Michael Caine. It's one of the Ten Commandments). Also on hand are tech guru Merlin (Mark Strong--wonderful in this role) and Lancelot (Jack Davenport), whose untimely death sets the Kingsman on the hunt for his killer and the search for his replacement at the "round table." The new recruits, led by newcomer Taron Egerton, are run through the paces to test their skills and abilities to pass muster as a future Kingsman worthy of replacing Lancelot. And, eventually, they end up embroiled in the hunt for baddie Samuel L. Jackson (often amusing), who has a taste for murder yet can't stand the sight of blood. The cast is stellar. No complaints. Moving on.


elizabeth: It pains me, but I agree about the casting. But there was only one strong female role and she was quite naughty. Sofia Boutella’s Gazelle had a way with cutlery that I have never seen before. Mark Hamill is unrecognizable as Professor Arnold. Samuel L. Jackson was slightly amusing, but he does something in the movie that I never want to see again in my life.  Mark Strong. who I mistook for actor Stanley Tucci, keeps the movie moving. He was also quite good in The Imitation Game, so I think I need to see what other movies he has done. And, Colin Firth can do no wrong.


Nicole: No, he cannot. The choice of music for certain scenes was totally ingenious. Visually, this is a fabulous looking movie... From set direction, to wardrobe, to styling, to visual effects (even if the last few scenes are heavy handed and a tad ridiculous)--it's all good. It's a fun romp with a sense of humor...but, on that point is where one of the first flaws occurs, in my opinion. With a movie of this nature, the filmmaker needed to make a decision...is this going to be a humorous parody? Or, is this going to be a kick-ass, effects-laden action movie? There was a bit of an identity crisis going on here. Some of the jokes fell flat in the face of gratuitous violence. In their defense, I get what they were trying to do based off the comics. I just just think it could have been more palatable without some scenes that crossed the line (namely the church scene and some of the final scenes). Also, some of the jokes were cheap and corny (I'm looking at you, Princess Tilde). Look, I'm no stranger to gross-out parodies of genre films (Shaun of the Dead is among my favorites), but perhaps I went in with expectations that were too high and I left a little let down.


elizabeth: I was thinking it was going to be a funny romp into the world of secret service, but why the hell the director had to mix it up with some really revolting violence is beyond me. You lost me forever. The storyline was on acid and not the good kind. Some of the last scenes were beyond asinine and director Matthew Vaughn should have to spend five minutes with Gazelle. That will teach him.

Nicole: What I loved about this movie, I really loved. What I disliked, I really disliked. That is a shame...because it's holding me back from counting this among some of the best films I've seen. And dammit, if that ain't a real pain in my arse.

elizabeth: The only thing I loved about this movie was how Colin looked in a well-made pair of trousers. He can walk away from me anytime.

The Film Fatales give KINGSMAN 



Sunday, February 8

The Film Fatales' Oscar Picks: 2015


The Film Fatales nod off at the 2015 Oscars...

It's...yawn...Oscar time...yawn. Welcome to the most boring and tedious yet of award seasons. With a decidedly lackluster cast of nominees, this is bound to be the longest ceremony in history. The sheer lack of diversity is probably what pisses us off the most, but we won't turn this into a grandstand (or maybe we will). In any case, here are our picks for the 2015 Academy Awards. With very few exceptions to mention, let's hope 2016 offers us much better options.

Best Actor

    Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
    Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
    Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
    Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
    Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? David Oyelowo -- Oh, I'm sorry...he wasn't nominated by a clearly color-blind Academy. Yea, I said it... and I'd say it again. Of the available choices, Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmayne should, but won't, win.
  • Who will win? Michael Keaton.

elizabeth:  
  • Who should win? There is only one choice if you ask me and you just did. It’s Eddie Redmayne’s performance from The Theory of Everything. His performance is right up there with Daniel Day Lewis’ role in the 1989 film My Left Foot. Actors (and actresses for that matter) who can convey so much with a simple eye movement or a small smile rule in my book. I am just glad that I was around to see both performances.
  • Who will win? You really want to ask me again?

Best Actress

    Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
    Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
    Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
    Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
    Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"

Nicole:
  • Who will win and who should win? Julianne Moore. Enough with Reese already. Yawn.

elizabeth:
 
You are right this is boring. Not with the performances, but who should be winning...
  • Who will win? That would be Julianne Moore. I plan on not seeing that movie even though the book was so compelling. And what has Reese Witherspoon ever done to you?

Best Supporting Actor

    Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
    Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
    Edward Norton, "Birdman"
    Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
    J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"

Nicole:


God, this is possibly the most boring Oscars ever.
⦁    Who should win? Ed Norton or Mark Ruffalo.
⦁    Who will win? It's between Simmons and Hawke.

elizabeth: 
  • Who should win? Who cares? Okay, I can’t give it to Mark Ruffalo because I like him in hot roles like Begin Again, which was just a great movie. 
  • Who will win? J.K. Simmons to take the Oscar because I find him very believable in his Farmers’ Insurance commercials.

Best Supporting Actress

    Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
    Laura Dern, "Wild"
    Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
    Emma Stone, "Birdman"
    Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? No one. This is a crapshoot. Look, I love Meryl, but she doesn't deserve it for Into the Woods. And, frankly, I don't care if Arquette was terrific in Boyhood -- she's one-dimensional and her performances are generally as exciting as watching paint dry. Dern -- meh. Knightley should have been nominated for Begin Again instead, but the Academy doesn't nominate feel-good films. And, Emma... well. Not for this, but soon and often.
  • Who will win? Arquette.

elizabeth:  

And the Oscar for being so crabby goes to.....you. 
  • Who will and should win? I agree about Keira Knightley in Begin Again, so I would vote for her since she covered two roles in 2014 that were quite different and she gave terrific performances in both.

Directing

    Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
    Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
    Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
    Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
    Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? Wes Anderson. Because he's quirky and shit.
  • Who will win? Inarritu...because he out-quirkied the King of Quirky, Wes Anderson. Oh, and the Academy loves daring and experimental shit, like 15-minute long takes.

elizabeth:

Just give it to all of them. Why not make everyone happy?


Best Picture

    "American Sniper"
    "Birdman"
    "Boyhood"
    "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
    "The Imitation Game"
    "Selma"
    "The Theory of Everything"
    "Whiplash"

Nicole:
  • What should win? SELMA!!! Dammit. Selma should win. Good God, is this thing on? 
  • What will win? It's gonna be Birdman, isn't it? I may not even watch this Oscar ceremony. Honestly.

elizabeth: 
  • What should win? The Theory of Everything. Selma was fabulous, but playing with history does not sit well with me. It could have been as compelling with showing that LBJ was on board with the Voting Rights Act. Young people should know that.


The 87th Academy Awards will be held on 
Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT on ABC. 

Play along at home with this printable ballot
or sound off in the comments section with your own picks. 


 

Tuesday, February 3

Film Fatales Picks for the 2015 BAFTAs

The Film Fatales skip across the pond to attend the top in British film award ceremonies, the EE British Academy Film Awards -- better known at the BAFTAs. It's a far classier award show than the Oscars, which probably means these two broads probably won't get by security. So, we'll probably just be watching stateside along with everyone else on BBC America Sunday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. EST.





DIRECTOR
  • Alejandro G. IñáRritu Birdman  | Nicole's Pick
  • Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • James Marsh The Theory Of Everything
  • Richard Linklater Boyhood | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Damien Chazelle Whiplash

RISING STAR
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Nicole's Pick
  • Jack O’Connell
  • Shailene Woodley | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Margot Robbie
  • Miles Teller

FILM
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson
  • The Theory Of Everything Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony Mccarten | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Birdman Alejandro G. IñáRritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole | Nicole's Pick
  • The Imitation Game Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman
  • Boyhood Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland

LEADING ACTOR
  • Eddie Redmayne The Theory Of Everything  | Nicole's Pick & Elizabeth's Pick 
  • Ralph Fiennes The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Benedict Cumberbatch The Imitation Game
  • Jake Gyllenhaal Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton Birdman

LEADING ACTRESS
  • Felicity Jones The Theory Of Everything | Nicole's Pick
  • Julianne Moore Still Alice | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Reese Witherspoon Wild
  • Amy Adams Big Eyes
  • Rosamund Pike Gone Girl

SUPPORTING ACTOR
  • J.K. Simmons Whiplash | Elizabeth's Pick 
  • Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher
  • Steve Carell Foxcatcher
  • Edward Norton Birdman
  • Ethan Hawke Boyhood  | Nicole's Pick

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  • Keira Knightley The Imitation Game  | Nicole's Pick
  • Imelda Staunton Pride
  • Emma Stone Birdman
  • Patricia Arquette Boyhood | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Rene Russo Nightcrawler

SELMA

The Film Fatales wonder why, nearly fifty years later, the more things change, the more things stay the same...

Selma. 2014. Rated PG-13. 128 Minutes. Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Oprah Winfrey, Niecy Nash, Lorraine Toussaint. Directed by Ava DuVernay.


Oscar Best Picture Nominee
A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. [IMDb]

 



Nicole: 1965. 2015. With recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island...one could say not all that much has changed in fifty years time. But, I must be careful in painting this picture with such a broad brush. For, in doing so, I dilute Dr. King's message...his hard work...his legacy. Still, I wonder what he would make of today's headlines after so many years of progress: one step forward, two steps back. 



elizabeth:  I think this country’s collective soul has to rise each day and ask how can they make the lives of all the people who live here better. I think that was the essence of Dr. King. Knock us down. We shall rise again. I think what resonated most with me is that we lost Martin Luther King decades too soon. Like an artist, he was not done with his masterpiece. If you were brought up with a B&W TV, you saw what was going on in this country in the South. You saw men and women being beaten and hosed, you saw the body of a young boy who whistled at a pretty girl and you heard the cries of the families whose little girls went to church but never came home. It was a very scary time in this country, but we had the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading us out of the darkness.


Nicole: Selma begins with MLK receiving the Nobel Peace Prize juxtaposed with the horrific church bombing that took the lives of several black children. MLK may have won the prize for peace, but came home to an America that was anything but peaceful. Selma depicts King's efforts to make change in the blockage of black voter registration in a small Alabama town. A series of small civil disobedience measures lead to an eventually successful march from Selma to Montgomery, the seat of hate manger George Wallace's governance. It is a chilling retelling of one of the most important civil rights movements in American history. 




elizabeth: Two things haunted me while I watched Selma. The first thing was that I was ashamed to be white. I know I didn’t do anything to the people of Selma, but my race was so repugnant in their behavior to people who just wanted to live their lives and raise their families. I was ashamed. The second thing was the creative telling of the relationship between King and LBJ. I know it made for more tension (like living in Selma and surroundings areas weren’t stressful enough), but Lyndon Johnson was on board for the Voting Rights Act and he worked to see it pass. An opportunity was lost to show two powerful men; one black, one white, coming together to foster change. I love the idea that corporations are paying for kids to see this very important movie, but they will grow up believing a Hollywood distortion.


Nicole: Personally, I'm no fan of President Johnson. He deserves credit for passing the Voting Rights Act (which they reference in the film) and for making an impassioned speech that helped progress the Civil Rights Movement, but he was a horrible and notorious bigot who played politics to his own advantage. He was no Kennedy; that's for sure. Regarding the performances, Oyelowo is remarkable as Dr. King. Not a trace of his English accent can be detected. His cadence and delivery is so very like King's, it's a wonder he didn't snag an Oscar nomination...a tremendous oversight on the part of the Academy. So, too is Ejogo's performance as Coretta Scott King captivating. At times, her likeness was so uncanny, it was jarring. Hers was a tempered, quiet, yet strong portrayal that deserved recognition. I'm really perplexed by the decisions made this year. 




elizabeth: Who cares who gets nominated for an Oscar? Okay, I do. But, we make it seem that a performance is diminished because of a bunch of old white men who voted for the nominations. Let’s just be glad that Oyelowo and Ejogo brought the Kings to life on the screen. I want to thank David Oyelowo for bringing Dr. King to all who see this movie. I want kids to want to be like this man of quiet courage. I want them to work for peace and equality. Screw the Oscars.


Nicole: This movie is required viewing... As a people, we seem doomed to repeat history. Perhaps the more we educate ourselves, the less complacent we will become...and just maybe refuse to make the same mistakes. 


elizabeth: Maybe if we stop killing the peacemakers we can talk about real change.





                                                       The Film Fatales give SELMA

Sunday, January 18

The Imitation Game

The Film Fatales watch Cumberbatch CumberCrack code. 

The Imitation Game. 2014. 114 Minutes. Rated R. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Mark Strong, and Matthew Goode. Directed by Morten Tyldum.
 

Nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Film.
 

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. [IMDb]






Nicole: Life is sometimes not fair. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Life is "often" not fair. And so it can be said of Alan Turing's life. That name should resonate as one of the most important names in modern history; unfortunately, it doesn't. But perhaps all that is changing, what with celebrated biographies; not one, but two recent films; and a posthumous pardoning by Queen Elizabeth in 2013, it's been brought to the forefront just how brilliant a mathematician Turing was and how very much  our society owes him on so many levels. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
 

elizabeth:  I have to say that I did not know anything about Alan Turing and his life because of one word: Math. But once I started to read more about his life and the absolutely horrific behavior of others upon him, it got my attention and I wanted to see this movie. (Plus, Nicole was bugging me to go see her boyfriend play the role of Alan Turning.)


Nicole: Well, don't I have to sit through your boyfriend, Robert Redford's, movies? It's only fair. The Imitation Game centers primarily on the era of Alan Turing's life during which he built the machine that would eventually break the Nazi enigma code, thus ending WWII approximately two years earlier than anticipated. His genius was such that his magnificent invention and the execution of it remained top secret until fifty years after the war. And, so, Turing lived in relative obscurity for the remainder of his life until some nosy detective unwittingly uncovered details about Turing's private life. It may shock some of you to know that not very long ago people in the UK and other Western countries were put in prison or sentenced to mandatory chemical castration for acts of homosexuality, but that, in fact, is a very sad truth about our collective Western history. Such was Turing's fate. As a thank you for his service to his country, and the entire world ... not to mention developing what would become the computer... he was subjected to insane amounts of estrogen injections. He tolerated two years of this horrible sentence before he committed suicide. That's not a spoiler, btw. It's history.
 

elizabeth: It is very hard to write my review of this movie without getting a tad political. WTH? I think more people than not knew about the castration and the injections; people just didn’t care and as Dickens put it (more or less) it decreased the surplus population. No matter how brilliant this man was, they could not get over his personal choices. Like it was their business. Okay, back to the movie. Director Morten Tyldum put together an amazing cast of actors who brought you back in time to WWII. I think Kiera Knightley is in it for the long run and I, for one, can’t wait to see how she develops as an actress. Benedict Cumberbatch blew me away with his turn on Turing. His eyes spoke volumes and the pain he felt from feeling on the outside and the fear of being “found out” made me exhausted from knowing how this movie was going to turn out. The injustice of it all felt like a strong slap across my face.


Nicole: I could not agree more. Turing is brilliantly portrayed by the incredible Cumberbatch, who could sit on a folding chair on a blank set, read the phone book out loud...and audiences would be riveted. He is, by far, one of this generation's most talented actors. And, therefore, justly deserves all the accolades he's receiving for this role. (The Oscar will likely go to Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of another brilliant scientist, Stephen Hawking, in The Theory of Everything. But, mark my words...Cumberbatch's day will come.) If Turing could see this performance, and I'd like to think he can, he would greatly approve. And, I hope, it's some small recompense for the dishonor we treated him to while he lived.

elizabeth: I don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch has to worry about his day coming. It has. A statue of Oscar will not make his work better. It is already almost too good. And I applaud the man, Cumberbatch, who felt that the life of Alan Turning needed to be told and that he would talk to anyone about Turing so that praise and recognition will come to the man who made it possible for us to write our reviews on a computer.


Nicole: Lastly, I will say it was nice to sit beside Cassidy and share some tears as the credits rolled. It reminded me that she sometimes does have a human heart, despite all previous claims. (Cue sassy comeback in one...two...)
 

elizabeth: Yes, I do have a human heart. It is in the refrigerator.  

The Film Fatales give THE IMITATION GAME