Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Streep-inspired scene from "Little Women"

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Greta Gerwig described how Meryl inspired a specific scene in Little Women. That scene was released yesterday:



Granted, the scene doesn't even include Meryl, only the great Florence Pugh (Amy March) and Timothée Chalamet (Laurie). But it's a poignant scene and lesson for what it was like for women in the nineteenth century.

Incidentally, following multiple screenings, Pugh is garnering quite a bit of buzz these days for awards recognition. Kind of fun that her likely Oscar clip was essentially written by Meryl.

Little Women opens Christmas Day. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New TV spot for "Little Women"

A new TV spot for Little Women was revealed yesterday on Twitter:


There are a couple brief new clips of Meryl in this, with a playful tone throughout. Reactions to screenings continue to be overwhelmingly positive. Can't wait for Christmas!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Ariana DeBose joins "The Prom"

They've traded out one Ariana for another: Grande for DeBose. Playbill is reporting that Ariana DeBose has been cast to play "Alyssa" in the The Prom, the role for which Ariana Grande had originally been slated. Her character plays the girlfriend of the lead character, "Emma," which is yet to be cast.

I hadn't heard of DeBose prior to his news, but she got her break in 2009 on the television show So You Think You Can Dance, and was recently nominated for a Tony for her role in the the Donna Summer musical, Summer. She'll next be seen in the role of Anita in Steven Spielberg's upcoming adaptation of West Side Story. 

Filming for The Prom is set to begin next month.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Panel discussion on "Little Women"

SAG-AFTRA released a video yesterday of the panel discussion following a screening of Little Women over the weekend:


Some great viewpoints from director Greta Gerwig and the cast. And of course Meryl on her role of Aunt March. I've only seen the 1994 version of the film, and that was only after I learned that Meryl was going to be part of the version. Nor have I read the book, so I'm excited to see how Gerwig has managed to give us something fresh and new on the story.

The film opens on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Positive first reactions to "Little Women"

There was a screening of the final cut of Greta Gerwig's Little Women in Los Angeles last night. Social media "impressions" were allowed as of midnight today, and the responses on Twitter have been overwhelmingly positive. Just a few:




General consensus seems to be that Gerwig's direction is masterful, Saoirse Ronan as Jo is wonderful, and Florence Pugh as Amy is a major scene-stealer. Oscar buzz for all, including best picture, adapted screenplay and production design.  Word is Meryl's role is small, but provides some comedic relief.

Little Women will be released in theaters on Christmas Day.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Film review: "The Laundromat" (2019)

Netflix released The Laundromat to streaming yesterday, and I got the chance to watch it last night. There's been a bit of controversy around it, and as recently as a couple days ago, the two men on whom much of the film is based, filed a lawsuit to prevent Netflix from releasing the it. After its Venice premiere in late August, dozens of reviews have trickled in. I can't avoid taking notice of course, and it's difficult not to get a biased view of what to expect, considering it hasn't exactly received universal acclaim. In fact, it's been fairly poorly reviewed. I tried to put that aside and watch the movie with an open mind.

It's a pretty fast run, at only 96 minutes. The film opens with Ellen Martin (Meryl) on a trip with her husband in New York, where their boat capsizes, killing her husband and many others. The attempt to secure an insurance settlement leaves Ellen out of luck, as she learns that the company that was supposed to handle the restitution has essentially been able to weasel out of it...through convoluted, but not necessarily illegal, channels.

Ellen tries to track down the company, leading her as far as the Caribbean, but to no avail. Along the way, we're treated to behind the scenes explanations from Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, who portray the real-life lawyers Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca (of the infamous Panama Papers law firm Mossack Fonseca), describing step by step how the rich are basically screwing the little guy and getting away with it.

The film jumps around a lot, including side stories of wealthy African and Chinese families, conveying the nature of the often cruel and even murderous lengths individuals went to protect their astronomical assets. I tend to agree with many of the reviews that suggest that the film might not always know where it's going, or that it simply would be better to more closely follow Ellen's story. I realize I'm biased toward Meryl, but Ellen is really the one person we're meant to care about in the film, and I believe the film would be stronger with a little more length to follow Ellen's story a bit more closely.



Now to the controversy. There are a handful of viewers who accuse Streep of engaging in "brownface," in the film, in that she is attempting to portray a woman of color. Meryl plays a dual role, the second being a Panamanian office worker. On paper it totally sounds like "what the f*ck are you thinking?" but in the context of the film, there really isn't anything overtly offensive about it. I'm not going to get into a long-winded narrative about what constitutes blatant disregard for racial inequality, or insensitive depictions of minorities on screen. Suffice it to say, I, like the vast majority of folks who have posted online reviews, find little to no real issue with it.

Steven Soderbergh addressed the concern, which he anticipated, in a recent interview. I'm satisified with his explanation. I just wish I were a little more satisfied with the film. Since it's on Netflix, we're not concerned about box office, but I think if we're going to hope for any awards attention this upcoming season, it'll definitely be for Big Little Lies.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sizing up Best Supporting Actress...for TV

Things are looking pretty bleak in regard to Meryl's awards chances for The Laundromat. I'll write more about my thoughts when I'm able to post a review after it's released to Netflix Friday, but I thought it would be a good idea to touch on what her chances are for recognition for her television performance this year: Big Little Lies. I'll still keep track of her chances in the film department, hopefully commenting on my thoughts of other actresses in the hunt. After all, if anyone has the chance to be a spoiler or surprise nominee, it's Meryl.

I've tended to sort of forget already that she has a very good shot of seeing some love at the Golden Globes, SAGs, and eventually the Emmys for her role as Mary Louise Wright. The interesting thing, of course, is that we won't get nominations for the Emmys until next summer. The timeline for eligibility is not the calendar year, rather June 1-May 31 of any given year. Since BLL was not released until June, it was not eligible for last month's Emmys. It will, however, be eligible for both the Globes and SAGs, as they, like the Oscars, are based on calendar-year eligibility.

With that in mind, we should identify who the likely candidates are for recognition this upcoming winter awards season. Globe and SAG nominations are already going to come out in early December. We need to be aware that Meryl will likely fall into a different category next year in each of the Globes, SAGs and Emmys. This is due to how they group performers. For example, the Globes clump all supporting roles together (regardless if they're from a drama, comedy, miniseries or television movie). The SAGs don't have supporting categories for TV at all, which may give us a Meryl nom essentially in lead. And the Emmys have about a trillion categories, of which Meryl will no doubt fall into Supporting Actress in a Drama series. BLL will have to compete in drama series, unlike last year when we all thought it was only going to be a limited series. But after a second season, that was no longer possible.

So...we're going to see Meryl potentially "competing" against different groups of actresses in each of the three awards bodies! I'm exhausted just thinking about all the permutations of different performers and categories, but I think I'm going to just start (in this post at least) with the Golden Globes.

Gold Derby has predictions for both the "experts" and "editors" which pretty much have Meryl ranked #1 or #2 across the board.  Helena Bonham Carter is going to pose a big challenge, as next month we will see her as the latest iteration of Princess Margaret in Netflix's The Crown. Patricia Arquette has already won an Emmy for her role in the limited series The Act (which was horrifying and amazing at the same time), and is sure to be in the running. Laura Dern won pretty much everything for her supporting role in BLL the first time around, and she's got a lot of buzz this year for her film role in Marriage Story, so we can't leave her out--but I honestly think Shailene Woodley was the best of the Monterey Five in season two. Chernobyl was a huge success for HBO, and Emily Watson already scored a nom with the Television Academy. And Jessica Lange (The Politician) is a perennial television favorite these days. I'd love to see one of the ladies form When They See Us make it in. I personally thought Niecy Nash was great in that limited series.

This is going to be a fun season.