The Ageless and Unforgettable Among Us

Actress Bette Davis once said, “Evil people you never forget them. And that’s the aim of any actress-never to be forgotten.” Which actress gave the most unforgettable, Academy-Award-winning performance this year? Was it Jessica Chastain, whose CIA agent arrived fresh off a decade-long search for Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty? At the age of nine, first-time nominee Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest-ever Best Actress Nominee, on hand to tame the Beasts of the Southern Wild while hoping to claim the ultimate Hollywood prize.

How about Emmanuellle Riva, another first-time nominee who, at the age of 85, is the oldest Best Actress contender in Academy history. Her performance in Amour as a former piano instructor deteriorating both mentally and physically won’t soon be forgotten, but will Oscar remember her? Then there’s Jennifer Lawrence, whose Silver Linings Playbook contained memorable moments, but will she play a part as an Academy Award winner? Naomi Watts proved receiving a nomination is not The Impossible task when portraying a mother vacationing in Thailand with her family during the 2004 tsunami. Can she survive surrounded by such impressive competition?

Whoever’s name is announced on February 24th, each actress gave an etched-in-your-mind, age-defying performance. Only one will win. I, for one, can’t wait to find out!


Fairy Tales, Terror and a Silver Linings Story

This weekend at the movies reminded me of a Jewish proverb I once read that stated, “Do not ask questions of fairy tales.” Okay, so I won’t inquire why this week’s #1 at the box office was the long-delayed fairy tale with a twist Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. The poorly-reviewed film, which was originally scheduled to be released in March 2012, followed the path leading to the top spot, bringing in $19.0 million in its first weekend out of the forest. Following in their breadcrumb-covered trail was the terror-seeking Mama with a non-terrifying $12.9 million. Sunshine and blue skies were clearly evident from the #3 spot, where the Silver Linings Playbook continued to be viewed by the masses with $10.0 million. Zero Dark Thirty continued to deliver the gloom at #4 with $9.8 million. New release action flick Parker rounded out the Top Five with a dismal $7.0 million.

Save for a sunny Silver Lining, it was a pretty dim week at the movies. How long will the darkness last? For that matter, how long can a twisted fairy tale lead the star-studded way? Will the Mama Love soon fade into the cinematic sunset?

Why question? From seaside days to starry nights, I plan on enjoying the show this week in all its darkness and light…

Who Will Rule the Box Office Family?

J.D. Salinger once said, “Mothers are all slightly insane.” If you’re judging from a movie perspective, he had a point (Psycho and Mommie Dearest creep to mind). Ready for some slightly insane Mama drama this week occurring in a movie theater near you? Will last week’s #1 film, the horrified Mama, continue to rule the (movie) family this week? Is Zero Dark Thirty’s gloomy ride at #2 over? Does the Silver Linings Playbook contain the secret to a long box-office run?

Shaking up the creative canvas this weekend is the all-star ensemble comedy, Movie 43, which will need 43 entertaining movie moments and counting to outshine the aforementioned competition. Also opening is the crooks with looks Jason Stratham/Jennifer Lopez flick Parker. Do they have a shot at stealing the limelight while knocking the Gangster Squad out of the Top Five? Then there’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, on the hunt for their own piece of the box-office pie.

Assassinators and action stars, Mama’s and Movie(s) 43, Parkers and Playbooks, not to mention fairy tale heroes! Sadly, everybody can’t be the best. Who will be defeated?

From seaside days to starry nights, may your weekend be hard to beat…

Actors, Applause and Academy Awards

Actor Laurence Olivier believed, “The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.” So, which of our Academy Award Best Actor Nominees created the biggest universe?

Was it everyone’s All-American, Lincoln? Golden Globe winner Daniel Day-Lewis, with five nominations now under belt, could walk away with his third Oscar for his performance as the 16th President of the United States. Then there’s first-time nominee Bradley Cooper, whose universal sky has been clear blue following his performance as a bipolar man involved with an emotionally-challenged woman (Jennifer Lawrence) in Silver Linings Playbook. Denzel Washington took a challenging Flight to the Best Actor category, playing a media hero who lands a plane while under the influence. Can he influence the voters? Then there’s the always-entertaining Golden Globe winner Hugh Jackman, playing an ex-con on the run with a song in his heart in Les Miserables. Should voters put him out of his musical misery? Finally, Joaquin Phoenix was The Master in the role of a disturbed, hard-drinking drifter looking for guidance. Will Oscar show him the award-winning way?

Smart money seems to be on Daniel Day-Lewis, but the Hollywood universe has taught us there is no sure thing (only nervous studio executives).

Find the answers February 24th when the Academy Awards illuminate our television screens and be sure to stop by next Wednesday for a look at this year’s list of Best Actress nominees…

Lighting the Hollywood Way

Og Mandingo once said, “I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” Were the folks responsible for Zero Dark Thirty, last week’s #1 at the box office, inspired by the late author’s prophetic words? No matter, the stars continue to shine for the Oscar-nominated thriller, albeit from a slightly lower rung on the ladder, placing the film at #2 with $17.6 million earned during the long weekend. The also-Oscar-nominated film, Silver Linings Playbook, opened nationwide, playing the field at #3 with $11.4 million. The Gangster Squad legally held court at #4 with $9.1million. The Russell Crowe/Mark Wahlberg thriller, Broken City, broke in to the box office arena at #5 with an underwhelming $9 million. What are we missing? Oh, the #1 film at the box office! That honor went to a PG-13-rated horror of a Mama, whose star Jessica Chastain holds the distinct pleasure of being in this week’s top two box office films. Audiences endured the darkness of a movie theater to see some scary looking stars, bringing in a Mama-loving $28.1 million.

Who would have thought motherly love, in all its glorified horror, would beat the big boys at the box office? I’m looking at you, Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose Last Stand we can barely see from the #10 spot).

From seaside days to starry nights, hope your week produces its own form of light leading to the most magnificent stars…

An Adventurous Week in Film

Following Sunday evening’s Golden Globe event (congratulations Ben Affleck!), a weekend filled with action, adventure, assassinations, oh, and a few award hopefuls awaits us complimentary of the big screen. Last week’s box office champions are in for some tough competition in the form of an Austrian and an Australian. Their latest films enter the movie ring this weekend, hoping to receive a warm welcome. Will Broken City break Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in to a coveted seat among that impressive Top Five? Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking The Last Stand, hoping to come in first, but will our previous week’s #1, Zero Dark Thirty, have the last laugh? Speaking of laughs, will a Haunted House continue to reside at the #2 spot? What about the Gangster Squad? Is it a crime to want a shot at a loftier locale than last weeks #3? Django Unchained and Les Miserables, last week’s #4 and #5, respectively, have been in the box office ring the longest. Is their time almost up?

So many questions! The answer? I predict an entertaining weekend at the movies no matter where our contestants may land.

From seaside days to starry nights, may your weekend be filled with fun beyond question…

Award Season off to a Silver Linings Start

Film director/producer Cecil B. DeMille once said, “I win my awards at the box office.” Ironic words coming from a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as Oscar winner in 1953 for both the Irving Thalberg award and The Best Picture Oscar for The Greatest Show on Earth. It’s been 60 years since his win, with a long list of Oscar hopefuls and winners following in his memorable path.

In honor of those starry contenders competing outside the box office, I’ll be recognizing this year’s Academy Award winner wannabe’s every Wednesday, starting with the nominees for Best Picture. An eclectic group of stories was told in 2012, but which was the most Oscar worthy?

Will the dedicated but doomed Lincoln outlive the seaworthy Life of Pi? Is Les Miserables more miserable and darker than the stalwart Zero Dark Thirty crew? Can the sentimental Amour out love the political Argo? In between dealing with movie-manufactured chaos, have the Beasts of the Southern Wild taken the time to read the entertaining Silver Linings Playbook (and have they learned that love, in all its dysfunctional glory, trumps natural disasters?) Finally, will Django Unchained release voters from their contribution in Hollywood’s ultimate election?

Tune in February 24th for these answers and more and check back here next Wednesday for a peek at Oscar’s illustrious actor nominees.

From seaside days to starry movie nights, hope your week is award winning…