Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New look!

I really don't know why I decided to change the background of the blog, but I snooped around a little bit and a simple "travel" look on Blogger caught my eye because of the sort of 3-dimensional aspect of scrolling the text against the fixed background.  I enjoy the contrast and the original black and white pic of Meryl still looks okay with the new settings.  Hopefully y'all don't absolutely detest it.  Let me know if  it's difficult to read or something.

Quick note...I saw on Gold Derby that there is apparently a screening of Ricki and the Flash in California tonight.  Also seen rumors that it might compete in Cannes?  I doubt that, but would love it if were true.  Stay tuned for reactions in the event that a screening actually took place.

Hope you don't hate the new look.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"Suffragette" gets an official U.S. release date

Deadline is reporting that Focus Features has given Meryl's upcoming film Suffragette an October 23 U.S. limited release.   This date sets the picture up nicely for awards consideration.   Carey Mulligan will no doubt be in contention for for her lead role.  From the buzz I've been hearing, the film itself may actually not be a pile of crap, either.  It's an important story and my only disappointment is that there hasn't already been a similar film in the United States.

In other news,  there was a casting update for Florence Foster Jenkins today.  Big Bang's Simon Helberg has signed on to play Meryl's accompanist, Cosmé McMoon, in the film.  Previous reports have suggested filming will begin in May, with Stephen Frears directing both Streep and Hugh Grant in the lead roles.

Looking forward to both!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Into the Woods" out on Blu-ray and DVD

Into the Woods is now in stores on Blu-ray and DVD, so of course I had to stop at Target on my way home from work to pick up my copy.  Moronically I didn't realize at first that it's probably on Itunes as well (how I watch all other movies these days), so held off on a physical copy and have now downloaded in HD. Still have to update operating system to watch the bonus features, but a lot of them have already been shown on Youtube, so I'm not foaming at the mouth in wait.  It'll be nice to see/hear a clear version of Meryl's cut song "She'll Be Back" once I take the time to restart the old Mac mini.

In other news, last night James Corden debuted on the Late Late Show.  Several celebrity guests, including Meryl, lent their talents to the first episode.  Meryl's cute part starts at 5:04.

She looks like she's dressed as the Virgin Mary, which is an interesting coincidence considering I re-listened to her audio recording of The Testament of Mary this week.  I'll take this as a sign that the universe is heeding  my plea and she'll evenetually portray Mary in a film version of Testament. After listening to it again, I thought how nice it may actually work as an HBO film.  Easter release some day?  Ha.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How close did Meryl come to winning each year?

There was a thread started last week on the Gold Derby forums entitled "Where Meryl Streep finished with her 16 losses."  It's been fun to see people's rankings and thoughts/explanations as to where they thought she fell every time she's been nominated for an Academy Award.  I haven't added my two cents up to this point, but one of my most faithful readers suggested I provide my rankings.  Ask and ye shall receive.

I'm not going to go through the trouble of listing and ranking every nominee.  I'll simply list the year (of film release) for each of Meryl's nominations and where I think she may have ended up in the voting lineup.  If you're interested in the list of other nominees, they can be found by searching here.  We obviously know she finished first in 1979 (Kramer vs Kramer), 1982 (Sophie's Choice) and 2011 (The Iron Lady).  Here goes...

1978 The Deer Hunter: 4th
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman: 2nd
1983 Silkwood: 4th
1985 Out of Africa: 3rd
1987 Ironweed: 5th
1988 A Cry in the Dark: 3rd
1990 Postcards from the Edge: 5th
1995 The Bridges of Madison County: 4th
1998: One True Thing: 5th
1999: Music of the Heart: 5th
2002 Adaptation: 2nd
2006 The Devil Wears Prada: 2nd
2008 Doubt: 2nd
2009 Julie & Julia: 2nd
2013 August: Osage County: 5th
2014 Into the Woods: 3rd

Of course these are just my best guesses, and I'd be happy to provide my full ranking on individual years if anyone's interested.  Difficult years for me were 1978, 1983, 1995 and 2014.  I'm fairly confident in her 2nd place finishes in 2002-2009.  It helped set the stage for what many thought was her "overdue" status for a third win in 2011.

Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Focus Features acquires "Suffragette"

Among other sources, Deadline is reporting that the American distribution rights to Meryl's upcoming film Suffragette have been acquired by Focus Features.  A U.K. release date has previously been announced as September 11, with a U.S. date likely not far behind.  This is good news for the film, as Focus is a strong awards campaigner, and the powers that be were likely pleased with its potential success.  Hopefully this means the movie is actually decent.  Looking forward to a trailer soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Academy Awards analysis (2002)

Jeeze it's been almost two years since I've posted in this tag.  There has simply been too much other Meryl news since then with four film releases and multiple rumored projects. We return to this section to cover a year which saw what many thought would be Meryl's return to the Oscar stage.  This was probably the closest Meryl came to winning the Academy Award since 1982' Sophie's Choice, with the trophy ultimately going to Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago.  With Streep's 13th overall nom, she had surpassed the great Katharine Hepburn for most-nominated actress.

Coincidentally, it was during this awards season that I became an über fan of Meryl.  During winter break of my first year of grad school, I holed up and watched like fifteen Streep films in one weekend.  The buzz around her work in both Adaptation and The Hours was a little more special that year because Meryl hadn't been in a feature film at this point for three years. Perhaps the performances, both directed by what some would call "auteur" directors, made her seem somewhat fresh in their eyes.  Few had seen Streep in such a challenging, nuanced role as that of a reimagined take on author Susan Orlean.

Early predictions saw Meryl as the favorite, but Zeta-Jones, bolstered by the enormous box office success of Chicago, slowly began snapping at her heels.  As Zeta-Jones was in the lead category for Musical/Comedy at the Globes, Meryl ended up taking her first win there in twenty years.  An apparent category mix up at the SAGs left her off the nomination list for both of her films, but she eventually made the top five for Supporting Actress at the Oscars, her first in that category since Kramer vs Kramer.  

The full list in her category that is as follows:

Kathy Bates (About Schmidt)
Queen Latifah (Chicago)
Julianne Moore (The Hours)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago)

I saw Chicago in the the theater four or five times (once actually in the city of Chicago ha) so was thrilled for Catherine, even if I thought Meryl was clearly the best that year.  By the time the ceremony rolled around, which some thought may not happen because the United States's invasion of Iraq had happened just a few days prior, it was pretty much expected that Zeta-Jones would take the prize.   Alas, the event (sans the typical red carpet hullabaloo) went on as planned and Meryl had now lost nine consecutive times at the Academy Awards.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Streep to join Freida Pinto for U.S. premiere of "India's Daughter"

This news has been out for several days.  I typically don't post on topics unrelated to Streep's screen work, but after having watched India's Daughter, I felt compelled to share.  Meryl regularly lends her name to important topics and causes, and this is certainly no exception.  On Monday, she will join actress Freida Pinto for the U.S. premiere of this BBC documentary which addresses the social outcry following the brutal gang rape and murder of Indian medical student Jyoti Singh in the nation's capital of Delhi in 2012.

The film sheds light on the negative aspects of a deeply ingrained misogynistic cultural attitude, the awareness of which is paramount in addressing the importance of early and ongoing education.  It's a crying shame that it has taken the death of a promising, independent, young woman to shake a nation's status quo.  The message no doubt transcends nations and cultures, and I'm so glad Meryl has added her voice.

Although graphic and at times difficult to watch, it's under an hour in length and I encourage everyone to take a look. The film has unfortunately, although not surprisingly, been banned in India.  It was available on You Tube and then apparently removed due to copyright infringement, but I found it still accessible in the U.S. at the time of this posting.  I don't know how long it will stay up.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cast of upcoming "Suffragette" celebrates International Women's Day

Meryl joined her cast members from Suffragette to pose for a photo promoting International Women's Day March 8. The film of course depicts the early days of the women's suffrage movement in the U.K.  Streep is joined in the photo by Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan, among others.

The film is set for release in the U.K. on September 11. Considering it wrapped last spring, could we at least get a few more production stills?  Teaser perhaps?

In totally unrelated news, last night Meryl's IMDb Pro page was updated (again) to include the rumored role of Cruella de Vil in a live-action version of the famous character from Disney's 101 Dalmations.  Glenn Close is listed as an executive producer.  Ugh, I don't know what to think about this considering all the potential projects Streep has in the pipeline.   No official word yet of course.  I need concrete details, Hollywood!  I tend to like that Meryl does more than fewer roles, and she never really does the same thing twice.  With the success of Maleficent and now potentially Cinderella, why not be the next big villainess to crank up box office receipts?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Streep to team with Spacek for remake of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"?

Hoboy.  This has been quite the week for rumored projects.  First we had Meryl's name mentioned to be joining Angelina Jolie's Africa.  And now, as of last night, Streep's IMDb Pro page has her attached to team with Sissy Spacek in Walter Hill's remake of the cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?  Recall almost three years ago when it was announced that Hill was hoping to helm the picture, with most articles happened to list Meryl as one of their top choices for one of the roles.

I have found no other results online that link Meryl to this project.  In fact, I've found no news of the project whatsoever, aside from the updated page on IMDb Pro.  Although Streep and Spacek are listed as "rumored," there are several filmmakers listed in the project's description, including producers, a casting director and writing credits.

This does not seem in any way related to the picture that Ryan Murphy was hoping to make for HBO which was to include Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon depicting a behind-the-scenes look at Joan Crawford and Bette Davis's experience making the original 1962 film. Whether the HBO project was based on the script Best Actress, we may never know.  I can't decide if I'd prefer to see Streep in an original screenplay such as this, which chronicles Davis and Crawford (which I've suggested in the epilogue to my re-imagined filmography), or a reinterpretation of this revered film from the last days of Hollywood's golden age.

As always, time will tell as to whether this (in whichever form) ultimately comes to fruition.  Regardless, the thought of this remake now seems a little less "lame" than I originally considered in mid 2012.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Streep to join Jolie and Pitt in "Africa"?

An interview with Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey was posted yesterday on the South China Morning Post.  Before you say why the hell is that news?, hear me out.  In the interview, Leakey discusses the upcoming Angelina Jolie film Africa, which is to be based on his memoir Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's National Treasures.  Brad Pitt has been mentioned to star as Leakey, Jolie (in addition to directing) his wife and according to this new article, Meryl as Leakey's mother, Mary.

Ok, a few things.  Leakey is not directly quoted as mentioning Meryl, although I'm not sure why that would come out of nowhere from the writer of the article, Sarah Lazraus.  Rest assured I've emailed the managing editor of the journal to see if we can get confirmation from Lazarus as to what her source was for including Meryl's name.  Hopefully she's not just confused about Meryl lending her voice to the upcoming documentary Shout Gladi Gladi, which focuses on women's health in Africa.  I can recall when Into the Woods was still unconfirmed that a phone interview Meryl did with a Chinese reported bascially solidified her involvement.  This makes it a little more difficult for me to simply disregard this latest bit of news based solely on its seemingly obscure source.

Regardless, this could be an enticing project were Streep's participation to come to fruition.  Some might scoff at the idea of Jolie directing Meryl, but I don't imagine this being a large part.  So why would Streep bother, you wonder?  Well, she is certainly one to involve herself in what she considers important causes.  Advocating environmental and animal conservation seems reasonably within that scope.  Plus, Mary Leakey was no slouch when it comes to making a name for oneself.  She and her husband Louis were revolutionary in the field of paloeanthropology, substantially contributing to our current understanding of human evolution.  For these reasons, I'd be thrilled if Meryl lent her talents to this story.  Another character with a British accent, no less.

From what I understand, filming is tentatively expected to begin this summer.  Meryl will likely wrap Florence Foster Jenkins by July, which would give her a few weeks at the end of the summer to film if she had few scenes.  Hopefully it wouldn't get in the way of the potential shooting of The Good House, which if we are to believe reports from FilmNation, will start production this year.  Early fall seems a reasonable start to that project.  On paper, scheduling wouldn't be an issue for the new project.  We'll just have to wait and see if Africa is a legit connection for our girl.