Monday, August 31, 2009
And for that, it deserves a big picture in our blog. So far, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is the best picture of the year. Not only is Tarantino's best movie (my fav is... KILL BILL VOL.1), BASTERDS has the best performance of the year (again... so far): Christopher Waltz, an Oscar for best supporting actor just waiting to happen. BASTERDS is a masterpiece: more than a movie that can be seen as a jewish revenge, it's a movie a about cinema. A love letter to movies. Best description: CINEMA PARADISO meets KILL BILL VOL. 1 in a Nazi-occupied France. A movie that proves that cinema can be bigger than history. At least, show a different version. Oscar-worthy. B+ (P.S.: Why didn't I gave INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS an A? Not every movie can be THE GODFATHER, right?)
Our daily dose of Meryl: In their "Best of the Best: Summer Box Office" article, "The Hollywood Reporter" names Meryl Streep the box office queen of the summer:
Actress: Meryl Streep "There's never quite been a career like this," "Julie & Julia" director Nora Ephron says of Streep, who, at 60, has become an unlikely boxoffice franchise all her own. It's not just that she powered a biopic about cooking to $50 million-and-counting in domestic coin. This is the third summer of the past four in which Streep has toplined a warm-weather hit (2006's "The Devil Wears Prada" and 2008's "Mamma Mia!" combined for about $1 billion in worldwide gross). All while keeping her street cred as the consummate actor's actor. Megan Fox certainly couldn't have starred in "Doubt."
More about her, HERE (we know you want it)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Check out this priceless article "written by Meryl Streep" from "The Onion", happy friday everyone:
Name One Masterpiece Of Cinema That I've Starred In
By Meryl Streep
August 27, 2009 | Issue 45•35
My friends and I were sitting around yesterday having a casual conversation about how the one thing all great actors have in common is that they have all starred in at least one classic piece of cinema. For my good friend Al Pacino it's obviously The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon. For Robert De Niro there's Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. And for Diane Keaton, a no-brainer: Annie Hall.
The one actor who truly stumped us, however, was me. Now, I know I'm a good actress. I'm Meryl Streep. I've won two Academy Awards, and I have been nominated for 15. That's a record. But what my friends and I figured out is that the name Meryl Streep isn't really synonymous with one truly unforgettable film. It's weird to think about, but it's undeniably true.
Go ahead, try and name a classic movie I've starred in. Not a classic character I've portrayed, mind you, but an overall amazing piece of cinema. You can't. You just can't.
Right off the bat, you're probably thinking Kramer Vs. Kramer. That's what my friends and I immediately jumped to also! But let's be honest, Kramer Vs. Kramer isn't really a masterpiece in the same way that, say, The French Connection or On The Waterfront is a masterpiece. It's not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination; it's actually pretty good. I'd watch it if it were on. But if anything, it's more Dustin Hoffman's movie than Meryl Streep's movie. And when you think Dustin Hoffman, Kramer Vs. Kramer is a distant fourth behind The Graduate, Tootsie, and Midnight Cowboy.
Look, I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here. I'm just calling it like it is.
Of course, next Sophie's Choice comes up. Sure. Absolutely. That makes complete sense. But have you actually watched Sophie's Choice lately? Boy, talk about a movie that has not aged well. My performance is very good. No question. Oscar-worthy even. But if it weren't me delivering those long monologues, people would see Sophie's Choice for what it really is: a fairly routine melodrama, with a Holocaust backstory thrown in to make the love triangle seem less banal.
I looked at AFI's top 100 movies list and Sophie's Choice was No. 91, behind Forrest Gump and The Sixth Sense. And truthfully, all I could say was, "That's about right."
So now is when you have to start really digging into my filmography because you're starting to think, "Can it be true that one of this generation's greatest actresses, maybe even the greatest—a national treasure, you might say—has never been in a film as good as Network, which isn't even Faye Dunaway's best movie?"
The Deer Hunter. Yes! Actually, no. A couple things bother me about The Deer Hunter. One, it's overrated. Yes, I said it. And two, how long was I in the The Deer Hunter? Three, maybe four minutes? Truthfully, I don't really remember being in the The Deer Hunter at all. (Same goes for Manhattan.) Then there's Out Of Africa, which, come on. We all know that movie was kind of the worst. That and The Bridges Of Madison County...don't even get me started on The Bridges Of Madison County.
Marvin's Room? We're scraping now, aren't we? Doubt. Yeah, 20 years from now people are definitely going to be talking about the film adaptation of Doubt. The River Wild. Look, I like The River Wild. Solid thriller. Good cast. Not a classic.
Oh, and for those of you who want to say The Devil Wears Prada? Please. I don't need your charity.
The annoying thing about all of this is that I've worked with directors who have produced some of the finest films in American cinema. I'm just not in any of them. I do a movie with Robert Altman, but it's A Prairie Home Companion. Mike Nichols calls me up, not for Carnal Knowledge, but Heartburn. Does anyone in the world other than Mike Nichols own the DVD of Heartburn?
So here we are. I'm 60 years old without a One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or Bonnie And Clyde to my name. Meryl Streep: "Great actress, okay movies."
And by the way, The Manchurian Candidate is not a classic. Well, at least not the one I was in
Also from The Hollywood Reporter:
Gus van Sant feels 'Restless'
'Milk' helmer in negotiations with Columbia
By Borys Kit
Aug 23, 2009, 07:47 PM ET
Gus van Sant is in negotiations with Columbia to develop and direct "Restless," an original screenplay by first-time screenwriter Jason Lew.
Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Bryce Howard will produce for Imagine Entertainment.
The logline is being kept under wraps, though it is described as contemporary and distinctive take on young love.
Lew and Bryce Howard attended New York University together and it was there that Lew first wrote the story as a play. Howard, who had acted in plays with Lew, got a peek at the story and encouraged him to write it as a screenplay.
After several drafts and a "gestation period," Bryce Howard brought it to her father Ron who, taken with Lew's perspective and originality, wanted to further develop it for Imagine. Lew kept on working on the screenplay with Imagine execs, who ultimately showed it to Van Sant. Grazer was looking to reteam with his friend, with whom he worked on the Imagine-produced "Psycho" remake.
Columbia's Doug Belgrad and Andrea Giannetti responded to the originality and raw emotion of the story and pounced on it. Giannetti will oversee for the studio, which aims to move fast on "Restless." The intent is to shoot the movie in Oregon for around $15 million.
WME-repped Van Sant last directed "Milk."
Check out these good news from The Hollywood Reporter:
Aug 26, 2009, 09:20 PM ET
Mike Leigh on Wednesday began production in London on his latest feature, currently untitled.
His first film since 2008's "Happy-Go-Lucky," Leigh's new project stars, in alphabetical order, Michele Austin, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Phil Davis, Karina Fernandez, Oliver Maltman, Lesley Manville, Stuart McQuarrie, Martin Savage, Ruth Sheen, Imelda Staunton and Peter Wight.
Only Bradley and McQuarrie have not worked previously with the director.
Many of Leigh's regular crew also are on board, including cinematographer Dick Pope, editor Jon Gregory, casting director Nina Gold, costume designer Jacqueline Durran and hair and make-up supervisor Chrissie Blundell.
Production designer Simon Beresford is working with Leigh for the first time.
Georgina Lowe produces, with Gail Egan as exec producer.
The film is financed by Focus Features International, the U.K. Film Council's Premiere Fund and Film4. International sales are being handled by FFI.
Good times. Germany and Austria do, what they can do best: getting on each other's nerves.
I've been bitching before about how much it sucks that "The White Ribbon" is not Austria's but Germany's entry. It's only fair though since the Germans paid most of the money and the movie's plot is set in Germany. Now Austrian officials are complaining, but in all honesty: first come, first serve.
Plus remember what happened a couple of years ago: Haneke's "Cache" was submitted by Austria, but rejected by the Academy since the dialogue was in French. Haneke is always good for some Oscar-hubbub (unintenionally though).
Check out an article from CBS News:
German officials have tapped Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon as the country's official candidate for the foreign-language film Oscar, vexing Austrian counterparts who had also been considering the Palme d'Or-winning morality tale as its nomination.
Born in Germany, Haneke was raised in Austria. He has worked in both countries and, for the past decade, has largely created films in French.
His films are often co-produced by firms in different countries: The White Ribbon, for instance, has French, Austrian, German and Italian producers.
Haneke's drama, set in Germany in the years leading up to the First World War, explores how a series of disturbing events unsettles life in a rural Protestant village.
The stark, black-and-white movie impressed the German Films Jury with "its narrative and esthetic quality, as well as its extraordinary characterization of a village community in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century," according to German news agency Deutsche Welle.
However, Austrian officials criticized the move.
"In my opinion, the film can only be submitted by Austria," Martin Schweighofer, director of the Austrian Film Commission, told APA news agency Thursday.
Austrian officials apparently had The White Ribbon on its list of films in consideration for submission to Academy Awards organizers, but they have not yet gathered to make the final decision.
Films from both countries have regularly been nominated in the Oscars' foreign-language film category in recent years, with Germany's The Lives of Others taking the title in 2006 and Austria's The Counterfeiters winning in 2007.
The U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the best foreign-language film nominees for 2010 on Feb. 2. The 82nd Academy Awards follow on March 7.
If you want to know more about the movie, click HERE and HERE.
Michael Haneke's Cannes-winner "The White Ribbon" has won another award. The movie will be awarded the Intl. Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Grand Prix for film of the year. The prize will be given out at the opening ceremony of the San Sebastian Film Festival on Sept. 18. Previous winners include There Will Be Blood, Volver and 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. Will Haneke find himself nominated for Best Director next year at the Oscars? His chances are only getting better so far. Make sure to come back to Countdown Oscar for more about "The White Ribbon", because there is some hubbub about to which country the movie belongs...
All about so far: HERE and HERE
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Inspired by this hot and sultry summer we ask you, dear readers, to tell us who your favourite femme fatale is! As is it with those ladies, you cannot always tell how dangerous they are so we have made a wide-ranging list of some obvious, some not so obvious choices. Take part in our poll and vote for one of these infamous gals:
You might be a fan of classic femmes fatales such as Mary Astor in "The Maltese Falcon", Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity", Anne Baxter in "All About Eve", Lauren Bacall in "To Have and Have Not" or Gloria Grahame in "The Big Heat". The 90s marked a good time for them: stand-outs are Linda Fiorentino in "The Last Seduction", Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" and Nicole Kidman in "To Die For" as well as Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in "Batman Returns" . The 80s provided us with two famous femmes fatales: Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" and Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction". Also included on the list are two more recent examples: Marisa Tomei as adulterous Gina in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the murderous Velma Kelly in "Chicago". You can also give your vote to Kim Novak in "Vertigo", Marlene Dietrich in "Witness for the Prosecution", Claire Trevor for her Oscar-winning performance in "Key Largo" or Faye Dunaway for her elegant work in "Chinatown".
Her part as Myra Langtry in "The Grifters" marked to be a star-making turn for Annette Bening. Bette Davis' blazing performance as Julie Marsden in "Jezebel" won her a second Academy Award, she could also win the poll if she's your fav.
Of course we also included beloved two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank for "The Black Dahlia", she might not have earned that second Oscar, but she earned the spot on our poll.
If you like none of our choices, tell us in a comment who your pick is!
Because that's what our readers want. 12% of you voted that Kevin Spacey most desperately needs a comeback, followed by Renee Zellweger and Nicholas Cage. Mira Sorvino (my personal pick), Jodie Foster and Gwyneth Paltrow each received 7%, while 6% think Goldie Hawn needs a comeback. Tatum O'Neal, Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. got 4%, 3% of you thought that Liza Minnelli, Richard Dreyfuss, Kim Basinger and Jennifer Connelly should have another hit movie. 2% voted for Geena Davis and 1% for Timothy Hutton. None of you thought Mary Steenburgen needs a comeback (well done, because if you look at her resumee, Steenburgen has been working steadily and diversely from indies to big romantic comedies). Thanks for participating and stay tuned for our new poll concerning shady ladies...
In one year we might get to see a pic like to one above because Laura Linney follows the trend of stars having their own TV shows. She even follows another trend: dying people (stories about dying people are the new biopics, right James McAvoy and Adam Sandler?). The three-time Oscar nominee (Best Actress 2000 for "You Can Count On Me" and 2007 for "The Savages", Best Supporting Actress 2004 for "Kinsey") will star in the Showtime comedy "The C Word" (I love this show already) about a woman, who is diagnosed with cancer and who reorganizes her life.
Robert Greenblatt, boss of Showtime's entertainment section told Variety: "Laura Linney is in that rare echelon of truly gifted actresses who fully embody the characters they play and we are honored to welcome her to Showtime. Cancer is not usually the subject of a half-hour comedy, but Laura saw what we did in this complex show -- a woman who gets a wake-up call that causes her to shake up her life and family. She will no doubt make this character both heartbreaking and disarmingly funny."
Laura Linney said of her new project:"How one lives fully while being tested by the unpredictability of life, and what one learns in the process, is always filled with endless possibilities for an actor."
Linney cleaned up the last award season by winning her third Emmy (after one Lead Actress/Movie award for "Wild Iris" in 2002 and a Guest Actress/Comedy award for "Frasier" in 2004), first Golden Globe and SAG-Award for "John Adams". BTW, check out Linney's outstanding work in "Wild Iris", a great showcase for her and Gena Rowlands, who played her overbearing mother.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Susan Sarandon goes to 'Wall Street 2'
Actress to play LaBeouf's mother in Stone sequel
By MICHAEL FLEMING
Susan Sarandon is negotiating to join the Oliver Stone-directed "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps" for 20th Century Fox.
Sarandon will play the mother of a young Wall Street trader (Shia LaBeouf) who falls under the seductive influence of Gordon Gekko. Michael Douglas and Frank Langella also star. Production begins next month in New York.
The drama was scripted by Allan Loeb. Stone and Douglas produce with Edward R. Pressman and Eric Kopeloff.
Sarandon is currently shooting "You Don't Know Jack," the Barry Levinson-directed HBO biopic of Jack Kevorkian that stars Al Pacino and John Goodman. She'll next be seen in the Peter Jackson-directed "The Lovely Bones," starring with Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Stanley Tucci.
I'm disappointed that it's not Austria's entry, but the Germans paid the most money for the production, so it's only fair. This is just one more proof of the incompetence of the Austrian film industry (and I use the term "industry" very loosely here) for which politics are to blaim. Anyway I've bitched enough for today, here's the article from the Hollywood Reporter:
'White Ribbon' to represent Germany for Oscars Palme d'Or winner opens in the U.S. in February 2010
By Scott Roxborough
Aug 26, 2009, 02:00 PM ET
BERLIN -- Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "The White Ribbon" will be Germany's official candidate for the 2010 foreign-language film Oscar.
A small-town tale of morality, depravity and the rise of fascism set on the eve of World War I and shot in stark black and white, "The White Ribbon" marks Haneke's return to his native German after a decade of success in French.
If nominated, it will be a first for the Austrian director, who enjoys auteur star status in Europe but has yet to break through in the U.S. Sony Classics is releasing "The White Ribbon" stateside, with a February 2010 bow planned, following the obligatory pre-Christmas Oscar qualification run.
A nomination would also be a first for German producer X Filme Creative Pool, which despite being the driving force behind films such as "Run, Lola, Run" (1998) and "Goodbye, Lenin!" (2003), has yet to receive an Oscar nom for one of its in-house titles.
"The White Ribbon" was set up as a four-territory co-production together with France's Films du Losange, Austria's Wega Film and Lucky Red of Italy. This pan-European approach is typical for Haneke but it has proved a liability in past Oscar campaigns.
The director's well-received Cannes Jury Prize-winner "Cache" (2005) was rejected by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences because the film, submitted by Austria, was in French not German. The Academy has since changed its rules to accommodate more polyglot productions.
The Academy will announce the 2010 best foreign-language film nominees February 2, 2010. The 82nd Academy Awards will be held March 7, 2010.
Wanna know all about "The White Ribbon"? We got it, click HERE.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
From "The Hollywood Reporter":
Justin Theroux kidnaps his 'Highness'
Joins Danny McBride, James Franco in comedy
By Borys Kit Aug 24, 2009, 11:00 PM ET
Justin Theroux has joined the cast as the villain of "Your Highness," a Universal comedy directed by David Gordon Green. Theroux joins Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel in the film, which centers on an arrogant, lazy prince (McBride) who must complete a quest to save his father's kingdom. Theroux will play Leezar, an evil wizard with a bejeweled magical staff who kidnaps a princess (Deschanel).
The film, which is shooting in Ireland, was written by Ben Best and McBride, who also is producing. Scott Stuber is producing via his Stuber Prods., and Universal's Scott Bernstein and Dave Targan are overseeing the project.
"Highness" marks a return of sorts to acting for Theroux, who appeared in such TV shows as "Alias" and Six Feet Under" and movies including David Lynch's "Inland Empire." He made a career switch when he wrote, with Ben Stiller and Etan Cohen, last year's "Tropic Thunder" and went on to work on "Iron Man 2."
Theroux is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment.
This is what the press has to say about Quentin Tarantino's newest effort:
"Variety" calls the movie "an entertaining fantasia", which is "by turns surprising, nutty, windy, audacious and a bit caught up in its own cleverness ". Also "Waltz stands head and shoulders above the rest with a lusty performance in the juiciest role" and "[Inglourious Basterds] features terrific production values across the boards, from David Wasco's rich production design and Anna Sheppard's fine costumes to Robert Richardson's clear-eyed, beautifully framed lensing and Sally Menke's sharply timed editing".
For "The Hollywood Reporter" the film was "suprisingly tame" and "for a war movie there is very little action". The review also states that "The film is by no means terrible" but "lacks not only tension but those juicy sequences where actors deliver lines loaded with subtext and characters drip menace with icy wit". Also: "Diane Kruger's role as a German movie star is close to being unnecessary" and "even Pitt...and Laurent... don't get a chance to explore their characters in any depth".
"Entertainment Weekly" says "Tarantino builds his movie as a collage of interlocking set piece — cinematically dazzling, to be sure, enhanced by an meticulously chosen retro soundtrack — rather than a linear progression" and that "Austrian actor Christoph Waltz triumphs, heroically, over Tarantino's brash, cine-drunk tall tale...[Waltz] centers Inglourious Basterds with the welcome subtlety of his performance".
"For anyone professing true movie love, there's no resisting it." says the "Rolling Stone" about "Inglourious Basterds". Peter Travers praises the cast but singles out Waltz: "Waltz is a wonder. His dazzling, diabolical performance blends seductive charm and monstrous malice (in four languages). Listen up, Oscar."
Manohla Dargis from "The New York Times" writes that " Mr. Waltz, gives this unwieldy, dragging movie a much-needed periodic jolt" and that "rarely has one of his movies felt as interminable as this one and its 2 hours 32 minutes". "Mr. Tarantino is a great writer and director of individual scenes", but Dargis notes that "the conversations in “Inglourious Basterds” are often repetitive and overlong".
Roger Ebert proclaims that "“Inglourious Basterds” is a big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others and demonstrate once again that he’s [Tarantino] the real thing". Ebert also says that "Christoph Waltz deserves an Oscar nomination" and calls the movie "bloody entertaining".
If you can't get enough here you can find more reviews of Tarantino's newest lovechild: Metacritic. com
The line-up for the upcoming Venice Film Festival has been enhanced: Angela Ismailos documentary "Great Directors" about ten contemporary directors such as Todd Haynes and Richard Linklater has been added as well as the docudrama "Green Days" by Hana Makhmalbaf about the recent unrest in Iran. "Great Directors" is the first work by Ismailos, Makhmalbaf has been part of the Venice Critic's Week in 2003.
Other additions are: Joe Dante's "The Movie Orgy - Ultimate Version", an homage to B-movies of the 50s and 60s and Peter Greenaway's "The Wedding" about the painting "Wedding at Cana" from 1563 by Paolo Veronese. "The Wedding" is part of a series of films by Greenaway about the works of master painters. The Venice Film Festival will run from September 2nd to September 12th (and expect some red-hot coverage from the Lido at Countdown Oscar!)
Elizabeth Banks will play the leading role in the Paul Haggis-thriller "The Next Three Days", which will also star Oscar-winner Russell Crowe. Banks will play the part of Laura, who has been imprisoned and accused of murder, Russell Crowe will play her husband, who tries to save his wife. Shooting of "The Next Three Days" will start in September. Haggis' movie is based on the French thriller of 2008,"Pour Elle" which was directed by Fred Cavaye and starred Diane Kruger.
Monday, August 24, 2009
From Variety: A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that the Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Michael Jackson's death a homicide.
The finding makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed against the doctor who was with the pop star when he died.
The official says the coroner determined a fatal combination of drugs was given to Jackson hours before he died in his rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released.
Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol in Jackson's system along with two sedatives, the official says.
Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, is the target of a manslaughter probe headed by Los Angeles police.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Bye Bye Oscar. From EW: Martin Scorsese’s upcoming movie Shutter Island has been pushed from Oct. 2 to Feb. 19, 2010, Nikki Finke reports on her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog. The movie, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio, had reportedly tested well with audiences and already started to generate Oscar buzz. Finke reports that among Paramount’s reasons for the push are concerns that the financing isn’t available to market the film the way the studio wants to, as well as questions about DiCaprio’s availability to promote the movie internationally.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Watch here the AVATAR trailer. I'm a little bit... surprised. Just like when I first saw Jar Jar Binks... I will see this new James Cameron movie but I have to say it looks very ridiculous. Sam Worthingon plays Jar Jar Binks
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Who said that history doesn't repeat itself? Last year, July 26th, I wrote that the supporting actor race was over after seeing Heath Ledger's performance as Joker. "Heath Ledger is just fantastic. The supporting race is over. Warner will promote him. The movie is a big blockbuster. The Oscar nominations will be announced exactly one year after his death. Ledger's tragedy and triumph. Everyone will vote for him. But don't try best actor. It's best supporting actor", I wrote.
And now, it seems that I'm forced to write the same. Christopher Waltz with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is the frontrunner for the best supporting actor Oscar. I'll write more about the movie in a couple of days but only Stanley Tucci (THE LOVELY BONES) can stop Waltz. The New York Observer says Waltz is "unforgettable", EW writes that he "triumphs, heroically, over Tarantino’s brash, cine-drunk tall tale", Village Voice says Waltz' character "is the movie’s most crowd-pleasing creation" and EMPIRE writes "an enormously complex creation, so much more than a typical movie Nazi".
Is the best supporting actor race over again? Or Waltz will lose momentum to other actors (Hollywood favs) like Tucci?
It's was obvious that Countdown Oscar readers want Meryl Streep to be the next president of the Academy. It seems we have to wait (at least give her a third Oscar). Tom Sherak (photo with Guillermo Del Toro) is the new president of the Academy. Who is him? I didn't know either. Check Imdb (lol). Movieline has the only story with fun facts:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced the election of Tom Sherak as its new president, replacing the termed-out Sid Ganis. A few other notables settled into new roles behind him — including Tom Hanks and Kathleen Kennedy as vice presidents and Pixar genius John Lasseter as secretary — but 40-year Hollywood veteran Sherak is just enough of a behind-the-scenes insider that he requires a proper introduction. Learn a few things and say hi after the jump!
1. Sherak is a visiting assistant professor at UCLA, where he shares his decades of experience in marketing, distribution and production on movies including Romancing the Stone, Aliens, the first three Die Hard films and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with rapt undergrads. His more recent work at Revolution Studios, which yielded titles like Daddy Day Care, White Chicks and America’s Sweethearts, tends not to be on his syllabus.
2. He was a late adapter to the Internet, actually attempting (and failing) to keep Harry Knowles’s moles out of an early, top-secret Titanic test screening in Minneapolis, according to the film’s biographer Paula Parisi:
Sherak was appalled that the strictest secrecy tactics didn’t keep the cyber spies away. This time it had worked out in their favor but next time they might not be so lucky. The working press were at least governable to some extent because studio execs could always complain to someone’s boss on the golf course, but the Internet guys wrote whatever the hell they pleased.
3. Nikki Finke loves him! As evidenced by Tuesday’s delightful headline, “WHAAAAAT? Tom Sherak New AMPAS Prez,” and her own warm-hearted welcome citing Sherak’s failures at Revolution, his championing of prodigious philanthropist (and casual homophobe) Jerry Lewis for this year’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar, and his support of the expanded Best Picture category at next year’s Academy Awards. “What an AWFUL decision. […] What a tool. What a moronic Board Of Governors.” There’s a bouquet of flowers in there somewhere.
4. Sherak is a charity devotee himself, having helped raise more than $35 million over 17 years as the chair of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Dinner of Champions.
5. He is eminently quotable talking about his successes as well as his missteps — especially his missteps, according to one Web site that gathered some of his most profound wit and wisdom. Even more fun is linking the comments to their respective subjects, if you even can:
“We expected to play flat. I think this has to do with the huge fan following.”
“Any time you have a comedy with Jim Carrey and the Farrelly brothers, you’d love to see it do more.”
“The bottom line is, if you don’t ask, you are not going to get it. But the one thing about Hollywood is that it is very hard to bully anyone when you are asking for that kind of price.”
“Young girls, The audience skewed toward young girls. It’s a sappy love story.”
I still think Meryl was better :)
This is the first look at INCEPTION, the new Christopher Nolan movie, with Leonardo Di Caprio, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lucas Haas and Cilian Murphy. Di Caprio is CEO that becomes involved in a blackmailing scandal. Cotillard plays is wife. Great cast, great 2010 Oscar hope.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It's August and after some failed expectations (PUBLIC ENEMIES and even UP) and some surprises (THE HURT LOCKER and that trailers from THE LOVELY BONES and AN EDUCATION), we have a new list. NINE is still with momentum... and 13 nods. PRECIOUS and AN EDUCATION are up and Carey Mulligan is finally the best actress frontrunner. And hello Meryl, now that she is the lead for JJULIE & JULIA.
1. NINE (=)
2. THE HURT LOCKER (up)
3. THE LOVELY BONES (up)
4. INVICTUS (down)
5. AN EDUCATION (up)
6. UP (down)
7. PRECIOUS (=)
8. AMELIA (down)
9. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
10. CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (new)
1. Rob Marshall, NINE (=)
2. Kathryn Bigelow, THE HURT LOCKER (=)
3. Clint Eastwood, INVICTUS (up)
4. Lee Daniels, PRECIOUS (up)
5. Peter Jackson, THE LOVELY BONES (new)
1. Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS (=)
2. Daniel Day- Lewis, NINE (=)
3. Jeremy Renner, THE HURT LOCKER (=)
4. Hugh Dancy, ADAM (new)
5. Johnny Depp, PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
1. Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION (up)
2. Meryl Streep, JULIE & JULIA (up)
3. Michelle Pfeiffer, CHÉRI (down)
4. Hilary Swank, AMELIA (=)
5. Abby Cornish, BRIGHT STAR (new)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Stanley Tucci, THE LOVELY BONES (up)
2. Alfred Molina, AN EDUCATION (down)
3. Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (=)
4. James Gandolfini, IN THE LOOP (new)
5. Matt Damon, INVICTUS (=)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Mo´Nique, PRECIOUS (up)
2. Patricia Clarkson, WHATEVER WORKS (down)
3. Judi Dench, NINE (=)
4. Susan Sarandon, THE LOVELY BONES (new)
5. Emma Thompson, AN EDUCATION (new)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. PRECIOUS (up)
2. NINE (down)
3. AN EDUCATION (up)
4. THE LOVELY BONES (up)
5. INVICTUS (down)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. THE HURT LOCKER (=)
2. A SERIOUS MAN (up)
3. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (new)
4. BRIGHT STAR (up)
5. UP (down)
BEST ART DIRECTION
1. NINE (=)
2. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS (up)
3. THE LOVELY BONES (new)
4. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
5. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (down)
1. NINE (=)
2. THE HURT LOCKER (=)
3. PUBLIC ENEMIES (=)
4. SHUTTER ISLAND (=)
5. AMELIA (new)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. NINE (=)
2. CHERI (up)
3. AMELIA (=)
4. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
5. BRIGHT STAR (new)
1. NINE (=)
2. THE HURT LOCKER (=)
3. SHUTTER ISLAND (up)
4. THE LOVELY BONES (new)
5. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
BEST MAKE UP
1. AVATAR (new)
2. NINE (=)
3. STAR TREK (new)
1. AVATAR (up)
2. CHERI (new)
3. INVICTUS (up)
4. UP (new)
5. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
1. NINE (=)
2. UP (=)
3. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (=)
BEST SOUND EDITING
1. NINE (=)
2. THE HURT LOCKER(up)
3. PUBLIC ENEMIES (down)
5. STAR TREK (=)
1. NINE (=)
2. AVATAR (=)
3. PUBLIC ENEMIES (=)
4. THE HURT LOCKER (=)
5. STAR TREK (=)
BEST VISUAL EFECTS
1. AVATAR (=)
2. STAR TREK (=)
3. DISTRICT 9 (new)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
1. UP (=)
2. PONYO (=)
3. CORALINE and THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (tie)
Here are photos of Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts on the set of Allen's still untitled London project. There is no further info on the plot, but we do know who's also part of the cast: Academy Award nominees Josh Brolin and Pauline Collins as well as Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto. Here's to an award-friendly role for Naomi!
Glenn Close and the movie-musical version of "Sunset Boulevard"? A couple of years ago there was some talk about the movie with Close starring as Norma Desmond, but now imdb says the movie is "in production" and that Liza Minnelli is rumored to play the famous silent screen diva. I'd love for Minnelli to have a big comeback, but Glenn Close still is a force to be reckoned with as seen on every episode of "Damages". She won a Tony Award for her work on Broadway (pictured above) and a film version of the musical would be her chance for a long-overdue Academy Award, right? But maybe the pictures really got small and television big...
Sony sets writer to spin 'Spider-Man'
James Vanderbilt to pen upcoming sequels
By Michael Flemming
As Sony Pictures Entertainment preps a fourth installment of "Spider-Man" to begin production early next year, the studio has quietly engaged screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen "Spider-Man 5" and "Spider-Man 6."
Vanderbilt was the first writer on "Spider-Man 4." Director Sam Raimi brought on "Rabbit Hole" playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to rewrite him, and Gary Ross is now rewriting that script. The studio is enthusiastic about where it stands as the picture begins prepping for an early 2010 production start for a May 2011 release.
Raimi didn't embrace all of Vanderbilt's ideas, but execs at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios have. Vanderbilt has been hired to pen the fifth and sixth movies, which have an interconnected storyline. That's what was originally discussed when Vanderbilt signed on to write "Spider-Man 4," but the idea of shooting a fourth and fifth film back to back with the original cast was scrapped.
Sources said it was unclear whether Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be back. If they aren't, Vanderbilt's script would be the blueprint for a franchise reboot. After committing to his fourth "Spider-Man" film, Raimi signed on to direct a new franchise based on the massively multiplayer role-playing online computer game "World of Warcraft" for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Maguire and Dunst were locked into the first three pictures and made a new deal for "Spider-Man 4." It's unclear how long they want to continue with the series.
Then again, Raimi was initially doubtful for "Spider-Man 4" because he expected to direct "The Hobbit," but returned after Guillermo del Toro got the job.
Why is Vanderbilt writing when so many variables are undecided?
The most important thing is for Sony to prime the "Spider-Man" pump more frequently. The lapse between films has grown with each blockbuster. The second film came only two years after the first, but it took three years for a third installment, and four years will have passed when "Spider-Man 4" opens in summer 2011.
Sony Pictures toppers Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton may well have a new franchise following last weekend's strong opening of "District 9." And after "Angels and Demons" grossed some $500 million worldwide, they will certainly move forward and extend the "Da Vinci Code" franchise with an adaptation of Dan Brown's fall publishing release, "The Lost Symbol." But "Spider-Man" remains the studio's most important film franchise, and Sony doesn't want to wait half a decade for the next outing.
While the "Spider-Man" movie business is booming, Sony has widenedits footprint on the franchise and become one of the investors in the Broadway musical version of the webslinger; the "Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark" tuner recently experienced a funding hiccup on the way to a planned March premiere.
Although there's been speculation that the show, which will cost upward of $35 million to produce, may not get off the ground, the project is too important to the "Spider-Man" partners to be tabled, sources said. The musical has "The Lion King" director Julie Taymor and songs by U2's Bono and the Edge.
Vanderbilt's most recent script credits are the Sylvain White-directed "The Losers" for Warner Bros. and David Fincher's "Zodiac."
He's repped by WME and Fuse Entertainment.
Buckle up for "Funny People Part 2" starring James McAvoy: "I'm With Cancer", a novel by Will Reiser based on his experiences battling cancer, will be made into a film. Reiser himself wrote the screenplay, Nicole Holofcener ("Lovely and Amazing", "Friends With Money") will take over the directing department. Seth Rogen, among others, will be executive producer of the movie.
Other film news HERE and HERE.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt will star in the sci-fi thriller "The Adjustment Bureau", written by George Nolfi ("The Bourne Ultimatum"), who will also direct the movie. Damon will play a congressman, whose career is in danger when a mysterious ballerina enters his life. Both become lovers, but mysterious forces keep them apart. Anthony Mackie, who can currently be seen in "The Hurt Locker", will also play a role. Shooting is set to start in New York.
For more upcoming films, click HERE.
Here it is, the photo everybody was waiting (isn't it, Guillermo?). Salma Hayek plays a bearded lady in "Cirque du Freak". Oscar worthy? Academy loves beautiful actresses playing ugly ladies. Salma Hayek? Toooooooo ugly this time. Frida is hot right now :)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I finally got to watch „Funny People“, written and directed by Judd Apatow. First of all, the reviews pretty much hit the nail on the head: this is not a great picture overall, but a good movie, and certainly a transition for Apatow.
The film starts with a couple of prank phone calls. That is nothing new or fresh, but at least it’s funny. The story is nothing new either: A famous comedian gets the news of being terminally-ill and then starts to reorganize his life. Luckily though, there are some twists to it. And again, it’s funny (if you’re into that kind of humor).
George Simmons, the main character, is famous, stuck-up, he puts people off and is often unlikeable. One could argue, that playing a comedian is “not far away from home” for Sandler, but this character is the linchpin of the movie, and the performance in this role is what makes or breaks the film. So Adam Sandler had quite a challenge to carry a movie with a character like that, and as “The New Yorker” noted, he is a revelation here.
You would think that Apatow would give his wife Leslie Mann a standout role in his prestige picture, but he didn’t. Mann got to display her comedic gifts in “Knocked Up”, but here she is relegated to ultimately playing the nice ex-flame of the leading man. Leslie Mann has a nice screen presence, but there are only glimpses of an interesting character. The real standout female role is played by Aubrey Plaza, who wonderfully portrays a nerdy, acerbic comedian, caught between Ira and his roommate Mark (Jason Schwartzman) and who “probably would fuck James McAvoy and Jude Law”. Too bad that her character does not get a lot of screentime. Now let me get to Schwartzman’s role. I understand the role’s purpose in the movie, but there was one fact that threw me off: He is a highly-paid sitcom actor, why is he still living with Ira (Seth Rogen) and Leo (Jonah Hill)? I know that Apatow’s films are about “bromance”, men sticking together, but that just didn’t make sense and was a bad move. And especially since Mark always puts the others two down. Seth Rogen does what is asked of him, to act as the “voice of reason” for George, while Jonah Hill occasionally steals the spotlight from him with his one-liners. Eric Bana’s arrival as Laura’s husbands Clarke provides the last third of the movie with a new, needed dynamic, and Bana is good at what he does.
There are also several cameos by real-life comedians and even Eminem, which make George’s status as a famous comedian more believable and grounds the movie in reality.
“Funny People” runs a little long and feels bumpy along the road, but it all culminates in a great third act, which was something I didn’t expect. The way Apatow ties all the strings together at the end of the movie is surprising, funny and most of all feels real.
Also, the disease is never the centre of the story, there is not one sentimental or soapy moment in the movie, which is worth mentioning.
There are genuinely human, and of course funny scenes in “Funny People”, but overall the movie misses a tightness, a certain density, that would have made it more dynamic and effective. Still, “Funny People” is a step in the right direction for Judd Apatow.
For more about "Funny People", click HERE.
See this as a little appetizer. And yeah, I know it's technically 5 Oscars, but let's not get all fussy about the details. This picture was taken after the 58th Academy Awards in 1986. It shows Sally Field (Best Actress 1979 for "Norma Rae" and Best Actress 1984 for "Places in the Heart"), Meryl Streep (Best Supporting Actress 1979 for "Kramer vs. Kramer" and Best Actress 1982 for "Sophie's Choice") and Jessica Lange (Best Supporting Actress 1982 for "Tootsie" and Best Actress 1994 for "Blue Sky"). Streep as Karen Blixen in "Out of Africa" and Lange as Patsy Cline in "Sweet Dreams" both received nominations again that year, but lost to Geraldine Page. Sally Field, as the previous year's winner, served as the presenter of the Best Actor category, which was won by William Hurt for "Kiss of the Spider Woman".
Saturday, August 15, 2009
And I thought PUBLIC ENEMIES was going to be the last disapointment of the year. Think again. UP, the 10th movie of Pixar, has a very creative idea for a storyline but fails to develop it. A journey than promises to be bigger than life is only big because we have one of the best animated character ever - Carl Fredricksen, probably the most deep and real character we have ever seen in an animated picture. And Carl, with the voice of Ed Asner, is our guideline and our emotional attach to this movie. Him and 1000 ballons. UP fails when dogs appears (you'll see) or when the ending is too poor for a Pixar movie.
That's probably the problem with Pixar right now. We expect Pixar to be bigger and better n any new movie. Althought all this criticism, UP is still one of the best pictures of the year, so far [My God, mid August and I still thing THE HANGOVER is the best picture... ]. UP will easily win the Oscar for best animated feature and I'm not 100% he can get a best picture nod. I hope UP can make it, after WALL.E unfairly missed it.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This film was supposed to be released this summer, BUT Universal Pictures did some changes, was posponed to be in teathers until january 2010, something happen' (could be that "Twilight: New Moon" will be openning in November), and the studio decided that this film will be released on October 24th, 2009! Honestly, can't wait to watch Salma Hayek as the bearded lady, lol. As a matter in fact she had early Oscar buzz for this role in the supporting category, but for what I've seen in the trailer, this wont be happening for this film.
Cast: Academy Award® Nominee John C. Reilly, Academy Award® Nominee Ken Watanabe, Academy Award® Nominee Willem Dafoe, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Massoglia, Jane Krakowski & Academy Award® Nominee Salma Hayek.
Previous INFO of "Cirque du Freak" HERE
I know, we've already put this trailer before, but those were in the italian and very indie version, this is the official american trailer.
BTW...Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger seems to be a strong candidates for Oscar. Let's see how this could work for the Oscar buzz now that the film will be released on sept 18th.
Written and Directed by Academy Award® Nominee Guillermo Arriaga.
Cast: Academy Award® Winner Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, John Corbett, Joaquim De Almeida, Jose Maria Yazpik, Danny Pino & Academy Award® Winner Kim Basinger.
Natalie Portman's newest movie "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The film, directed by Don Roos ("The Opposite of Sex"), stars Portman as married Harvard Law graduate. As she tries to cope with the death of her newborn child, she also has to figure out how to build a relationship with her stepson. The movie is based on the novel by Ayelet Waldman. Oscar-nominee Portman also served as an executive producer, Emmy-Award winner Lisa Kudrow stars as well.
Toronto will also feature Demi Moore's newest...ah whatever. The drama "Mother and Child" starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington will premiere too. The film tells the story of a 50-year-old woman, who gave her daughter up for adoption 35 years ago and is also about an African American woman, who wants to adopt a child. This leaves me with the shocking conclusion that, as we all know, when Annette Bening and Hilary Swank both have movies shown in the same calender year, the Academy automatically votes Swank the Best Actress of the year. I guess the Best Actress race is over, folks.
Several other flicks will be shown as well: "Agora" starring Rachel Weisz, "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinski", "The Road" with Viggo Mortensen and these two.
„Public Enemies“ is a nice surprise with Michael Mann’s fresh, ambitious approach to its subject matter and main character. Everyone who expects a big, loud, sensational bonanza of a picture with lots of bang bang will be disappointed. Many will also be disappointed by Johnny Depp. Unfairly so. This movie doesn’t feature one of his imaginative Willy Wonka – prancing pirate performances that we have so comfortably became used to.
“Public Enemies” doesn’t rely on what the public perception of John Dillinger is or comments on his crimes, it “plainly” shows the events in his life and how they have shaken up the U.S. Mann’s direction doesn’t glorify Dillinger, it portrays him as brooding, smart and charming man. Dillinger was too smart a man, not to be affected by Depression and the difficult time which followed. There is a kind of world-weariness in the character, which is effectively shown by Depp. He had a showly role on his hands but never goes for a big performance, kudos to him.
He has great support from his cast: Best Actress-hopeful Carey Mulligan, Giovanni Ribisi and Lilly Taylor play small roles, while Christian Bale, Billy Crudup and Marion Cotillard play more substantial parts.
Christian Bale nails Melvin Purvis’ determination, he is forceful and authoritative. Bale heightens the effect with his quiet, almost mumbling diction. Kind of the “Meryl Streep in Prada” effect if you will: the quieter, the more intimidating. Billy Crudup does strong, convincing work as J. Edgar Hoover. Marion Cotillard as Dillinger’s girl Billie Frechette gets surprisingly much to do for a female supporting role in a gangster movie. Her chemistry with Johnny Depp works very well and their relationship provides the core of the movie for me.
Also worth mentioning is the crisp cinematography, which contributes to the pictures mood. Way to go, Michael Mann!
In my opinion “Public Enemies” would be a good choice for the Oscars. It deserves several nominations especially in the technical categories, it would also make for solid noms as Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor. How that turns out, is still to come of course…
According to Variety, Kate Winslet will star in a mini-series adaptation of Mildred Pierce, a thriller based on James M. Cain’s novel about a bored housewife-turned-entrepreneur undone by her own lust for power. Joan Crawford won an Oscar for playing the title role in a 1945 film version of the novel. I’m Not There director Todd Haynes will direct the mini-series, which HBO is said to be interested in buying.
From EW: Meryl Streep is already generating a heaping portion of Oscar buzz for her winning lead turn in Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, but there’s a tasty side dish in the film that I’m worried might get overshadowed: Namely, Jane Lynch’s performance as Dorothy McWilliams, beautifully gawky sister of Streep’s Julia Child. In the course of just a few scenes, Lynch manages to bring to life all the mysterious joy and excitement of sisterhood. Indeed, when Dorothy finally crosses the pond to reunite with Julia — remember, their separation was endured without the modern pleasures of Skype or email or all that good stuff we now take for granted — their effervescent reaction is as real and delicious as the boef buouorguignon and chocolate-almond cakes that take such prominent roles in the film.
So who’s with me on the campaign to at least get Lynch in the running for Best Supporting Actress? And while we’re at it: Shouldn’t we start a parallel petition in the Best Supporting Actor category for costar Stanley Tucci?
From EW: Carey Mulligan, Britain’s next great export, who can be seen in the upcoming Sundance smash An Education (Oct. 9) has just been cast as Michael Douglas’s daughter in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps for Twentieth Century Fox. The 24-year old, who played one of Keira Knightley’s little sisters in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice, and will star opposite her again in Fox Searchlight’s Never Let Me Go, will co-star as the estranged daughter to disgraced corporate titan Gordon Gekko. Her character will also be romantically linked to Shia LaBeouf’s eager Wall Street trader in the film. Scribe Alan Loeb penned the latest draft of this drama that also has Josh Brolin and Frank Langella in talks for various parts. Filming is set to begin this fall in New York.
Read all about Carey Mulligan here and watch her Oscar road.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
From NEW YORK magazine: For teachers of the method, shaping a character begins with psychological self-plumbing, but some actors find that by getting the externals right (cadence, physical mannerisms, wardrobe), they can cut a direct path to the soul. That’s the case with Meryl Streep as the middle-aged Julia Child in the comedy Julie & Julia: What begins as a great impersonation becomes a marvel of sympathetic imagination. The performance is transcendental. Streep’s voice is deeply musical, starting in the chest and erupting into that burbling falsetto with its trills and diphthongs. The voice is Streep’s way into Child’s pleasure centers, and the body—stiff-shouldered, sloshing around like an ocean liner—follows along in a kind of daffy interpretive dance. Streep isn’t tall, but she’s photographed carefully and projects height; she understands that the six-foot-two Child learned not to be ashamed of her size but to go with it. Her Julia is a force. At one point, she falls into bed with her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), and one’s instinctive response—“Julia Child having sex … Ewww …”—gives way to, “Julia Child having sex … Awesome!” Anything to hear that voice in full, happy throttle!
This is a Nora Ephron movie, which means cartoonish extroverts pulling faces. But Streep kicks it up about a million notches, and Ephron is an enthusiastic cook, so the film has some foodie texture. It’s a shame the protagonist isn’t Julia but Julie: Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who, in real life, distracted herself from a messy existence with a blog that chronicled her effort to cook all 524 dishes in Child and Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Powell’s book about that yearlong homage/ordeal is fast and fun, and the recipes are so out-of-fashion (aspic!) it’s like a voyage back in time. But when Ephron cuts between Paris in the fifties and Queens in 2002 to show Julia and Julie as they both achieve autonomy through cooking, The Godfather Part II this ain’t—the connection is strained. (The Child material is based on her memoir My Life in France, written with her nephew, Alex Prud’Homme.) Julie’s character doesn’t even track. She’s referred to as a “bitch,” but all we’ve seen is the patented Ephron adorable klutz. (Adams is too good to waste on Meg Ryan parts.) Ephron should make a film about the person she herself is (smart, acid) instead of the cutie-pixie of her dumb fantasies.
Julie & Julia is full of holes, but you don’t even care when Streep is onscreen. In one scene, Julia greets her sister at a train station, and the marvelous Jane Lynch makes a whooping entrance, a giantess even more ebulliently uncoordinated than her sister. Tucci’s Paul gazes on them like a man in clover. Tucci has a wonderful, easy presence here: My guess is his bedazzlement with Streep merged with Paul’s bedazzlement with Julia, and the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts. When actors like these are cooking, it’s better than haute cuisine.