Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good news for "The Good House"?

Variety has revealed that Roadshow Films has purchased a 33% stake in FilmNation, the company that was planning on producing The Good House with Meryl and Robert De Niro.  Nary a word has been reported about the develpment of this project in over a year.  I've been bugging Joe for a while now whining that I haven't heard any news about whether it was happening, assuming it had been put to pasture for the unforeseeable future.

Well, that still may happen, but a glimmer of hope shines through when a reputable source is quoted as saying "The first two movies scheduled to begin production next year under the new financing structure are The Founder with John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) directing a biopic of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc; and The Good House starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro and based on Ann Leary’s book."

Meryl recently said in an interview that after filming Florence Foster Jenkins next May, she won't be doing anything for a while.  Well, what's a while?  A year?  Six months?  If Florence is wrapped by July, it's absolutely possible that Meryl would be ready to film by September or October.  I don't imagine either of these films having particularly grueling shooting schedules, and she won't even have to learn a new language or how to play an instrument.

Fingers crossed this actually does happen. I really enjoyed the book and would look forward to Meryl teaming with De Niro in a great story.  Although I love when she learns challenging new skills for her roles, that of Hildy Good won't have any "gimmicky" aspects to her, i.e a major accent (maybe slightly Bostonian),  physical skill or greatly altered appearance.  Critics get too distracted by those things (even though they add to the performance), and it irritates me that the marvelous performance Meryl gives is then unnecessarily denounced.

Here's hopin'.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Streep continues nominations run with BFCA nod

The Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominees this morning, and Meryl was recognized with two nominations, Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble for Into the Woods.  BFCA has six nominees for acting, so those joining Meryl include the following:

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)

Swinton is the only true surprise, but she's been getting a few nods from critics' groups.  Not a good sign for Laura Dern (Wild).  Streep is in good shape for an Academy Award nomination, with the next major televised show nominations being BAFTA, which will be announced January 9.

The Critics' Choice Awards will be presented Thursday, January 15 (the day of the Oscar nominations!).

Congrats again, Meryl.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Film review: "The Homesman" (2014)

I actually saw this a while back but am finally getting around to posting my thoughts on it.  As is my tradition, after any new Meryl film I see, regardless the size of her role, a "review" is required.  News came of Meryl's involvement in this project over two years ago, with filming completed by spring 2013.  After teaming with Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs in 2012, Streep was happy to make a cameo in this Jones-directed Western.

Taking place in the mid 19th century in the Nebraska Territory, the story follows a devout spinster, Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), as she steps up to volunteer her services in escorting three women (Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer and Sonja Richter) who have gone insane on the harsh frontier, across the Great Plains to Iowa, where they can then be handed off to a reverend's wife (Streep) for safe passage to family on the east coast.

Not long after her journey begins, Cuddy encounters claim jumper George Briggs (Jones), and saves him from an impending lynching.  In return for his life, Cuddy makes Briggs swear to help her on the journey. If they reach Iowa as intended, $300 would be his payment.  Briggs agrees and the two make their way across the frontier, encountering thieves, "Indians" and inclement weather.

Having been unsuccessful in securing a husband for herself, Cuddy ultimately suggests that she and Briggs marry and try to make a life together.  Briggs declines the offer, but when Cuddy propositions him later that night, the two sleep together.  The next morning, Briggs wakes to find that Cuddy has hanged herself from a nearby tree.

Temporarily considering leaving the insane women behind, Briggs reconsiders when they begin to follow him into a river.  After being shortly sidetracked at a hotel that shows little hospitality (Briggs burns it down in frustration) the quartet finally reach Iowa and the women are delivered to Altha Carter, the reverend's wife. This brief appearance in a film involving her daughter (Gummer) is similar to Streep's showing in 2007 in Evening, a film which co-starred Meryl's eldest daughter Mamie.



After Briggs' delivery is complete, he decides to have a gravestone made for Cuddy, only for it be accidentally knocked into the river as he drunkenly makes his way out of town.

It's nice to see a good story with a woman mostly at its center, albeit in a life where she would rather commit suicide than go on living unmarried.  Cuddy's "plain" appearance had essentially isolated her, and although quite capable of managing on her own, Briggs' rejection was one too many for her.  Uncharacteristically seducing him, she couldn't live with herself after this "sin."

Jones is great as the incorrigible wanderer, and Swank, although as effective in her role, shows me little I feel I haven't seen from her before.  There's not much to say about Meryl's role, aside from her being her usual convincing self.  The trio of "touched" ladies had some pretty physical acting to do and for the most part didn't seem too over the top, although at times their condition seemed unfittingly bizarre.

The film is wonderfully shot against the beautiful backdrop of New Mexico.  It's interesting how the picture, although essentially set in the wilderness of the 1800's, has a kind of contemporary feel to it, enhancing a certain melancholy feel to the story.  It's unlikely I'll watch it again anytime soon, but with an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm thrilled Meryl was involved in a highly-praised film following the mostly panned summer release of The Giver. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Streep receives 29th Golden Globe nomination

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced its nominations for film and television excellence and as expected, Meryl has been nominated for her role in Into the Woods.  This comes off the heels of her SAG nomination just yesterday.  This puts her in very good standing for an Academy Award nomination next month.  Streep currently holds the record for Globe wins with eight.

I realized that I didn't mention my Globe predictions in yesterday's post, so I can't really say whether all my guesses made it in, but I feel validated that my SAG guesses ended up being 5/5 for the Globes. Ha. The full list in Meryl's category is as follows:

1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
2. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
3. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
4. Emma Stone (Birdman)
5. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

A full list of nominees can be seen here.  The Golden Globe Awards will be presented Sunday, January 11.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Streep recognized by Screen Actors Guild

As expected, Meryl was recognized by the Screen Actors Guild this morning with a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as the Witch in Into the Woods. This brings her SAG nominations total to a whopping 16.  Congratulations, Meryl.  I was a bit disappointed to see that the cast for Into the Woods wasn't also recognized for best ensemble, but of course I'd rather Meryl be nominated than the other way around.  

A few surprises:  Naomi Watts sort of came out of nowhere with her supporting role in St. Vincent, as did Jennifer Aniston in Cake.  Robert Duvall in The Judge and Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler also weren't expected among most, but all four were certainly in the conversation on many prognosticators' lists.

The list for Meryl's category includes:

1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
2. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
3. Emma Stone (Birdman)
4. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
5. Naomi Watts (St. Vincent)

The full list of nominees can be seen here.  The SAG awards will air simultaneously on TBS/TNT on Sunday, January 25.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SAG predictions

The SAG nominations will be announced tomorrow morning at 8:00 am central.  I expect Meryl to be nominated in Supporting for her role as the Witch in Into the Woods.  Of course there's a chance she misses, but with the early word of mouth the film, and particularly Meryl, has received, she should be in really good standing for consideration.  My five picks for Meryl's category are as follows:

1. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
2. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
3. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
4. Emma Stone (Birdman)
5. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)

Laura Dern could very well sneak into the fifth slot for her role in Wild, with a smaller chance for Carmen Ejogo in Selma.  I'll add my Golden Globe predictions (which are announced Thursday) tomorrow after SAG announcements are made.

In related news, yesterday was the world premiere of Into the Woods, with Meryl present on the red carpet. She's looking pretty good these days.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

New interview for "Into the Woods"

Not really much to add to the interview, but as usual, some lovely pearls of wisdom from Miss Meryl.