Sunday, October 22, 2017

Best Actress 2017: Emma Stone in "Battle of the Sexes"

It's been a month since I've had the chance to see a film involving a Best Actress contender. I had wonderful intentions of seeing Jennifer Lawrence in mother!, but based on the reviews and my low expectations of it's Oscar-earning prowess, I've held off. Instead, I swung by a local theater on Thursday after work to catch a screening of Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes.

Tennis has been a major interest for me since I was a kid. I've played off and on since I was 12 and have closely followed professional tennis ever since. Billie Jean King was before my time, but I was course aware of her from a young age, knowing that she had been the top ranked player at one point in the '70s. I've had the opportunity to attend matches at the national tennis center named after her in Flushing, NY, so I went into the film a little skeptical about what it may look like if they were going to reproduce major sections of her historic match against Bobby Riggs. I've since learned that the tennis scenes were portrayed by actual pros.

For those not familiar, the story surrounds the events leading up to Billie Jean King's exhibition matchup against former professional player Bobby Riggs. Spoiler alert: King beats Riggs after he had successfully defeated the then current number one-ranked women's player, Australian Margaret Court. It happens to be a socially topical story, as in the film King and other players on the women's tour are faced with overt sexual discrimination and a fight for equal pay. Emma Stone does a fine job in capturing King's struggle, as well as her mannerisms and speech. I have to admit, I tend to always see Emma Stone in her roles versus forgetting her and just seeing her character. But I didn't mind in this case, as she portrayed King as a very sympathetic and character, who unfairly had to hide her sexuality for fear of damaging her career.

The film has gotten wonderful reviews, particularly for Stone. I wonder if its release was a little too early for it to make a huge splash on the awards circuit, however. Its theme is wonderful and it's a crowd-pleaser as well, but in this year's delightfully stacked Best Actress race, not to mention that Stone is last year's winner, my guess is that she'll be the first one out the of top five for Oscar.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cher reportedly joining "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!"

Well isn't this an interesting twist! A few sources are reporting tonight that Cher is joining the cast of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!  Said to be in London currently rehearsing, she will evidently be performing two Abba songs in the film. No other details were revealed on her exact role or character name.

There's also been some speculation about Meryl's participation in the film. As I mentioned in my last post, filming has seemed to wrap in Croatia and we didn't see any pics of Meryl on set, sparking rumors that she wasn't involved after all. But I read this weekend that a possible reason that Meryl did not immediately comment on the Weinstein scandal (she released a statement four days after the story broke) was because her publicist said she was "off the grid" for several days. A film set in Croatia could possibly be "off the grid."

If Meryl is indeed still in the film and now Cher is joining, this latest piece of news is is just one more factor that is sure to get butts in the theater seats.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Poll #5: With which director would you most like to see Meryl work?

Despite Meryl having four projects either in the can, filming, or recently acquired by a studio, there's surprisingly been little news about her specifically in regard to these projects recently. We know Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is currently filming in Croatia (although on Instagram some cast members have apparently already wrapped which gives me pause since we haven't seen Meryl on set), The Post should have its first trailer any day now, Mary Poppins Returns is well into post-production, and The Nix was snatched up by Amazon. There have been about ten billion articles this week about Meryl's association with Harvey Weinstein, and if you're interested in discussing that, feel free to comment below. Of course I have my own opinions on the whole shit show.

So...I thought we'd throw in another poll! After poll #3, someone suggested asking with which director people would most like to see Meryl work.  I think that's a fabulous question to ask. But where to begin?  Well, take a look to the right and see if any of these folks seem suitable. I'm only listing folks that Meryl has never worked with in a live-action feature film. Looking forward to seeing everyone's thoughts.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Streep attends HBO premiere of Steven Spielberg documentary

Last night, Meryl attended the premiere of HBO's documentary "Spielberg." While this may not be particularly momentous news, I'm commenting on it because it adds to the buzz surrounding Spielberg's upcoming film, The Post, which of course stars our girl. The documentary is set to air on HBO tomorrow night (October 7), and I'm not sure if Meryl will be in it. She did briefly work with Steven in a cameo voice role in 2001's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. I'm guessing the documentary was primarily produced prior to their pairing for filming The Post this summer, but I have a feeling that Meryl will be included, thus her presence at last night's premiere.

Still desperate waiting for that trailer.

Monday, October 2, 2017

40 years of Meryl on the big screen

On October 2, 1977, Meryl Streep made her film debut in Fred Zinnemann's drama Julia. It was a minor role, but she managed to capture the attention of her co-star Jane Fonda, who, as Meryl has described, opened countless doors for her in the film industry. Only one year later, Streep would star in the film that earned her her first of twenty Academy Award nominations, The Deer Hunter. 1979 saw her win her first for Kramer vs. Kramer.  Together, the three films earned 29 Oscar nominations, with the latter two winning Best Picture. Not a bad welcome for a promising newcomer.

No one could've predicted the prestige Streep's career would achieve over the subsequent 40 years. While we likely can't expect another four decades of performances from her, with a slew of enticing roles in the pipeline over the next year, Streep is showing no signs of slowing down. Thanks for the incredible catalogue of performances you've given us, Meryl. I'll keep watching.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Did Amazon pick up "The Nix"?

Several months ago when I posted about the status of the limited series adaptation for Nathan Hill's debut novel The Nix, the project still hadn't landed with any specific studio. Hill had offered that maybe Netflix, Showtime, or Amazon would be in the mix to produce. Yesterday, Variety reported that Amazon Studios has increased its production spending for 2018, and among many other shows included in its pipeline, The Nix was listed as a current project in development.  I assume this means that The Nix has indeed found its home.

No word on when production was scheduled to begin, but having read the book, a lot of the action takes place during the summer, so maybe as soon as spring 2018? I wonder if the release would be likely for the end of next year or spring 2019, as the prime Emmy window tends to be in April or May, just before the deadline for qualification.

Regardless, I'm encouraged by this news, as so little concrete info has been released in some time on the status of The Nix. Always fun to look forward to new projects from Meryl!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trailer expected this week for "The Post"

I read on Awards Watch tonight that there is speculation in the Twitter universe that a trailer for The Post is expected before the end of the month, which means this week.

I'm not sure how much we can rely on this predictor, but apparently Clayton Davis from Awards Circuit also has reason to believe that a trailer will be released this week. It's not that crazy to expect that we get our first glimpse of the film at the end of September. I doubt it will be a full trailer, more likely a teaser running about 45 to 80 seconds.

I hope they're right!