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Everybody Wants to be Us

Graduate Student at Loyola University Chicago. Check out the blog for what I'm currently obsessed with in film and culture. Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet, Christian Bale, Jesse Eisenberg, David Lynch, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Daniel Radcliffe are regulars here.

#michelle williams

Fall/ Winter Preview

It has been a great year at the movies for me so far and it’s only September. Over the next few months, Hollywood will unleash its prestige films- titles they’ve been saving for Oscar season- and I will be in a constant state of elation seeing, talking, and blubbering about these films.  I’ve picked out some 36 titles I’m planning to check out between now and late January.  Here are the films I am most excited about and want to put on your radar.

1) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


I decided to not read the books or see the Swedish films once I heard David Fincher would be taking a pass on the best selling series.  Fincher should have been crowned Best Director at last year’s Oscars, so I’m hoping for some vindication this Christmas.  

2) A Dangerous Method


Fassbender, Fassbender, Fassbender Fassbender, and Fassbender

This film about the beginnings of psychoanalysis features Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung to Viggo Mortienson’s Sigmund Freud.  Did I mention Micheal Fassbender was in this?  

3) Tinker Tailor Solider Spy


My favorite prestige title to say 5 times fast stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Benedict Cumberbatch in a spy thriller based on the Alec Guinness mini-series and John LeCarre novel.  

4) Carnage


Roman Polanski’s newest film stars Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, and Christoph Waltz as two New York couples trapped in an argument after their kids get into a fight.  I’m expecting verbal fireworks.  

5) J Edgar


Now is the time.  Leonardo DiCaprio needs to get the Oscar this year.  J Edgar may be the vehicle with Clint Eastwood directing this biopic.  Say what you want about Eastwood’s directing, but he has a good track record of directing Oscar winning performances.  Year of DiCaprio- you heard it here first.

6) Hugo


Sometimes I wonder when I’ll be able to show my unborn children their first Scorsese film.  How long will it be until little Marty and I can sit and watch Taxi Driver together?  Thankfully, Scorsese has directed a children’s film, in 3D to boot, so I won’t have to wait until my kids are of age to introduce them to my the master.

7) Ides of March


George Clooney stars and directs this political thriller featuring Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Marissa Tomei.  

8) Melancholia


I wish I had a t-shirt that said, “I survived Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST.” Early chatter about Melancholia hasn’t reported any fainting or vomiting and Kirsten Dunst won best actress at Cannes for her starring role, so I’m unreservedly excited to see this film. 

9) My Week With Marilyn


Every time I see promotional material with Michelle Williams as Monroe for this film, I get chills.  I think Williams has the chance to bring something about this iconic star to light that devotees and cultural novices never imagined.  

10) Drive


Another dose of Gosling this summer in an intense drama about a stunt man who moonlights as a getaway car driver for criminals.  Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, and Albert Brooks make up the rest of the cast.

The Marilyn Effect: My Week With Marilyn

I’ve often said that if Martin Scorsese ever dropped by my desk and asked me to follow him, I would in an instant and never look back.  I love movies, admire the people that create them, and long to be apart of the magic.  That is probably why I completely fell for Simon Curtis’ “My Week With Marilyn” starring Michelle Williams as the iconic bombshell.  The film is based on the memoirs of Colin Clark, a young Oxford grad who spurns the professional wishes of his family to, as he put it, “join the circus” of the British film industry.  He stages a daily vigil at the offices of Sir Laurence Olivier to get a job on his next film, then titled “The Sleeping Prince,” later re-named “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Finally the last stumbling block to production comes through and Colin joins the production department of the new film starring Sir Olivier and the world’s biggest star: Marilyn Monroe.  

The film’s early scenes pip along at a brisk, fun pace. Yet when we get our first glimpse of Michelle Williams as Monroe, time in the film and even in the theater, seems to stand still. She is absolutely breathtaking in the role, playing the part at several different levels seamlessly.  Williams plays the screen siren who enchanted us, the woman who drove directors mad with her quirks, insecurities, and inability to memorize lines, the woman who broke hearts without even trying, and the woman who just wanted to be loved and respected as an actress.  

The film plays on all our images of Marilyn Monroe, often with characters commenting on her brilliance, allure, and incorrigibility toward authority.  During one of the many takes of a simple scene in “The Prince and the Showgirl”, Monroe suddenly clicks in and nails the scene.  One character cooes to Sir Olivier, “When Marilyn gets it right you don’t want to look at anyone else.” Indeed and the same can be said of Williams’ performance across the board.  When she’s on screen, she’s the only person you ever want to watch.  It’s not just about the beauty, while Williams gets all the physical details right. She’s not doing an impersonation.

Williams’ performance seems to call down Monroe’s spirit and lets it shine through the screen. In the film, during an excursion to Windsor Castle, Marilyn and Colin descend the stairs and meet a gaggle of paid staff waiting eagerly to see her. With a sly grin, Marilyn playfully whispers in Colin’s ear, “Shall I be her.”  She then plays the pin up; posing for her fans, winking, and blowing play kisses at the crowd.   Williams owns that Marilyn Monroe charm, intelligence, sweetness and vulnerability throughout the movie; giving each scene it’s own new Monroe discovery. Her performance moved me greatly and I do expect her to be near the top of my Oscar picks come February.  

Aside from Williams, there is a lot to enjoy about My Week With Marilyn. With an all star cast including Dame Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond, Toby Jones, Derek Jacobi, and Emma Watson.  Branagh is blissfully hilarious and touching as Sir Lawrence Olivier. His exasperation with Marilyn is mixed with an awe that I found lovely.  He says toward the end of the film with a touch of wonder, “Directing a movie must be one of the best jobs ever invented.  Marilyn has cured me of ever wanting to do it again.”

Dominic Cooper is once again his wonderful self as the suave, yet brisk agent Milton Greene. Eddie Redmayne was lovely as Colin Clark.  He stands in for all of us who long to be a part of the magic of filmmaking.  His longing for Marilyn is partly from the character and partly a cipher for us, the viewing public who were utterly fascinated by her.  My Week With Marilyn is a magical film dedicated to everyone who’s ever fell in love with star on the screen and reminds us the brightest star we ever had (or ever will have) was Marilyn Monroe.

I think she nails it.

Williams’ performance seems to call down Monroe’s spirit, letting it shine through the screen. In the film, during an excursion to Windsor Castle, Marilyn and Colin descend the stairs and meet a gaggle of paid staff waiting eagerly to see her. With a sly grin, Marilyn playfully whispers in Colin’s ear, “Shall I be her.”  She then plays the pin up; posing for her fans, winking, and blowing play kisses at the crowd.   Williams owns that Marilyn Monroe charm, intelligence, sweetness and vulnerability throughout the movie; giving each scene it’s own new Monroe discovery. Her performance moved me greatly and I do expect her to be near the top of my Oscar picks come February.  

My full review here

(via danieldaystreep)

This has been a great year for actresses. Across genre and age, I’ve seen many meaty, substantial, and memorable roles for women. So many actresses have given stunning performances, that picking five nominees, let alone picking one, will be difficult. 

At the top, I’ve got Michelle Williams for “My Week With Marilyn.” Her performance is a wonder. After her is Viola Davis in “The Help.” While I don’t love that film, many of the performances make it worthwhile, with Davis on top bringing a dignity to her role and the film. Alongside Davis, is Tilda Swinton in “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Swinton has always been an aloof player for me, but here she feels dangerously close. She brings you into the anguish of the character. Add to this list Elizabeth Olsen, who will surely clean up the independent awards circuit for ” Martha Marcy May Marlene.” Olsen will be a star and I see an Oscar nod in her future. I’ll be happy if any of those four take home the gold, but I’ll agonize over it until the envelope opens. 

Many other actresses that could be in the five, but I would love to see Kristen Wiig for “Bridesmaids.” Comedies don’t get enough love and her performance is the best of the genre. Some acclaim for Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia” would also be good   Mia Wasikowska and Saoirse Ronan gave great performances in unique roles in “Jane Eyre” and “Hanna” respectfully early in the year. Perhaps the Academy will remember their efforts.

This has been a great year for actresses. Across genre and age, I’ve seen many meaty, substantial, and memorable roles for women. So many actresses have given stunning performances, that picking five nominees, let alone picking one, will be difficult.

At the top, I’ve got Michelle Williams for “My Week With Marilyn.” Her performance is a wonder. After her is Viola Davis in “The Help.” While I don’t love that film, many of the performances make it worthwhile, with Davis on top bringing a dignity to her role and the film. Alongside Davis, is Tilda Swinton in “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Swinton has always been an aloof player for me, but here she feels dangerously close. She brings you into the anguish of the character. Add to this list Elizabeth Olsen, who will surely clean up the independent awards circuit for ” Martha Marcy May Marlene.” Olsen will be a star and I see an Oscar nod in her future. I’ll be happy if any of those four take home the gold, but I’ll agonize over it until the envelope opens.

Many other actresses that could be in the five, but I would love to see Kristen Wiig for “Bridesmaids.” Comedies don’t get enough love and her performance is the best of the genre. Some acclaim for Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia” would also be good   Mia Wasikowska and Saoirse Ronan gave great performances in unique roles in “Jane Eyre” and “Hanna” respectfully early in the year. Perhaps the Academy will remember their efforts.

 “I had [a picture of Monroe] in a field of trees in Roxbury, Connecticut. She’s wearing a white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s got her arms spread and she’s laughing. There was just something about that image of her—so lovely and joyful and free. I’ve always thought of her as that woman-child, not an icon, which is probably why I let myself approach the role… Everybody has their own idea of who Marilyn was and what she means to them. But I think that if you go a little bit deeper, you’re going to be surprised by what you find there.”
-Michelle Williams in Vogue about playing Marilyn Monroe

 “I had [a picture of Monroe] in a field of trees in Roxbury, Connecticut. She’s wearing a white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s got her arms spread and she’s laughing. There was just something about that image of her—so lovely and joyful and free. I’ve always thought of her as that woman-child, not an icon, which is probably why I let myself approach the role… Everybody has their own idea of who Marilyn was and what she means to them. But I think that if you go a little bit deeper, you’re going to be surprised by what you find there.”

-Michelle Williams in Vogue about playing Marilyn Monroe

The Marilyn Effect: My Week With Marilyn

I’ve often said that if Martin Scorsese ever dropped by my desk and asked me to follow him, I would in an instant and never look back.  I love movies, admire the people that create them, and long to be apart of the magic.  That is probably why I completely fell for Simon Curtis’ “My Week With Marilyn” starring Michelle Williams as the iconic bombshell.  The film is based on the memoirs of Colin Clark, a young Oxford grad who spurns the professional wishes of his family to, as he put it, “join the circus” of the British film industry.  He stages a daily vigil at the offices of Sir Laurence Olivier to get a job on his next film, then titled “The Sleeping Prince,” later re-named “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Finally the last stumbling block to production comes through and Colin joins the production department of the new film starring Sir Olivier and the world’s biggest star: Marilyn Monroe.  

The film’s early scenes pip along at a brisk, fun pace. Yet when we get our first glimpse of Michelle Williams as Monroe, time in the film and even in the theater, seems to stand still. She is absolutely breathtaking in the role, playing the part at several different levels seamlessly.  Williams plays the screen siren who enchanted us, the woman who drove directors mad with her quirks, insecurities, and inability to memorize lines, the woman who broke hearts without even trying, and the woman who just wanted to be loved and respected as an actress.  

The film plays on all our images of Marilyn Monroe, often with characters commenting on her brilliance, allure, and incorrigibility toward authority.  During one of the many takes of a simple scene in “The Prince and the Showgirl”, Monroe suddenly clicks in and nails the scene.  One character cooes to Sir Olivier, “When Marilyn gets it right you don’t want to look at anyone else.” Indeed and the same can be said of Williams’ performance across the board.  When she’s on screen, she’s the only person you ever want to watch.  It’s not just about the beauty, while Williams gets all the physical details right. She’s not doing an impersonation.

Williams’ performance seems to call down Monroe’s spirit and lets it shine through the screen. In the film, during an excursion to Windsor Castle, Marilyn and Colin descend the stairs and meet a gaggle of paid staff waiting eagerly to see her. With a sly grin, Marilyn playfully whispers in Colin’s ear, “Shall I be her.”  She then plays the pin up; posing for her fans, winking, and blowing play kisses at the crowd.   Williams owns that Marilyn Monroe charm, intelligence, sweetness and vulnerability throughout the movie; giving each scene it’s own new Monroe discovery. Her performance moved me greatly and I do expect her to be near the top of my Oscar picks come February.  

Aside from Williams, there is a lot to enjoy about My Week With Marilyn. With an all star cast including Dame Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond, Toby Jones, Derek Jacobi, and Emma Watson.  Branagh is blissfully hilarious and touching as Sir Lawrence Olivier. His exasperation with Marilyn is mixed with an awe that I found lovely.  He says toward the end of the film with a touch of wonder, “Directing a movie must be one of the best jobs ever invented.  Marilyn has cured me of ever wanting to do it again.”

Dominic Cooper is once again his wonderful self as the suave, yet brisk agent Milton Greene. Eddie Redmayne was lovely as Colin Clark.  He stands in for all of us who long to be a part of the magic of filmmaking.  His longing for Marilyn is partly from the character and partly a cipher for us, the viewing public who were utterly fascinated by her.  My Week With Marilyn is a magical film dedicated to everyone who’s ever fell in love with star on the screen and reminds us the brightest star we ever had (or ever will have) was Marilyn Monroe.

Golden Globe Predictions

I’ll be enjoying this year’s Globes with a room full of Jesuits.  Fun will be had by all. Here’s what’s nominated and what I want to win.  

Best Motion Picture — Drama

  • "The Descendants"
  • "The Help"
  • "Hugo"
  • "The Ides of March"
  • "Moneyball"
  • "War Horse"

This is a decent slate of films, except for “The Help.” I want “Hugo” to win because it has great momentum and could use a push into Oscar voting season.  

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
  • Viola Davis, “The Help”
  • Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
  • Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin

I have not seen Queen Meryl in “the Iron Lady” so I might change my mind tomorrow, but I’m betting on Ms. Davis for her dignified and powerful performance in “The Help.” Tilda Swinton could be a dark horse for either Streep or Davis. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • George Clooney, “The Descendants”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
  • Michael Fassbender, “Shame
  • Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
  • Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

This is also a stellar category, but Fassbender is the clear winner in my eyes.  

Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical

  • "50/50"
  • "The Artist"
  • "Bridesmaids"
  • "Midnight in Paris"
  • "My Week With Marilyn"

I’m sticking with Woody Allen this award season. “Midnight In Paris” is THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR!  If “The Artist” wins, i will be enraged. If “Bridesmaids” wins, that will be a strong sign that the comedy will be nominated for an Oscar.

Michelle Williams in “Take This Waltz” 

This trailer looks like “Blue Valentine” but not as depressing.  

EXCITED!!!!

I love Michelle Williams in “My Week With Marilyn” 
myfilmhabit:

 “I had [a picture of Monroe] in a field of trees in Roxbury, Connecticut. She’s wearing a white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s got her arms spread and she’s laughing. There was just something about that image of her—so lovely and joyful and free. I’ve always thought of her as that woman-child, not an icon, which is probably why I let myself approach the role… Everybody has their own idea of who Marilyn was and what she means to them. But I think that if you go a little bit deeper, you’re going to be surprised by what you find there.”
-Michelle Williams in Vogue about playing Marilyn Monroe

I love Michelle Williams in “My Week With Marilyn” 

myfilmhabit:

 “I had [a picture of Monroe] in a field of trees in Roxbury, Connecticut. She’s wearing a white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s got her arms spread and she’s laughing. There was just something about that image of her—so lovely and joyful and free. I’ve always thought of her as that woman-child, not an icon, which is probably why I let myself approach the role… Everybody has their own idea of who Marilyn was and what she means to them. But I think that if you go a little bit deeper, you’re going to be surprised by what you find there.”

-Michelle Williams in Vogue about playing Marilyn Monroe

Movies for the 4th!

It’s an embarrassment of riches at the cineplex for July 4th weekends. With agonizing temparatures ahead, why not spend it in the blissfull air conditioning of the theater.  I still need to see “Brave” and possibly “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,” but I will be seeing most of these films in the next week and a half. Since the holiday is in the middle of the week, you have two weekends of movies to enjoy. 

This Weekend 

"Your Sister’s Sister"

Love this film starring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Rosemarie Dewitt.  It’s funny with unexpected twists that both wrench and warm your heart.

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" 

Charming, hilarious, and quite devastating at the end, “Seeking” showcases Steve Carell wonderful range (like in “Dan in Real Life) and also let Keira Knightly shine sans corset-period dress.  The soundtrack is also lovely. 

"Moonrise Kingdom"

A must see of the year.  Following two troubled kids on a journey to discover what they could be with someone who loves them. Music, performances, costumes, everything is beautiful. 

"Magic Mike"

Seeing this TONIGHT.  So excited.  It’s getting decent reviews as well.  In Soderbergh I trust. 

"The Invisible War"

A new documentary about sexual assault in the military.  The DOD figures that over 22,000 service women and men were raped last year.  The film as already had an effect, making it possible for survivors to report rape to superior officers.  Director Kirby Dick also made “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and “Outrage”- two excellent films that dig into institutional secrecy, corruption, and hypocrisy.  

"To Rome With Love"

When I was in Rome with my fellow Ignatian Educators, I knew that Woody Allen would be there soon after to film his latest starring  Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, and Ellen Page.  It will be fun to go back to Rome with Woody Allen.

"Ted"

This film is like the really raunchy version of “The Velveteen Rabbit” and I can’t help wanting to check it out.  Also, Mark Walberg and Mila Kunis are two actors I enjoy.

July 6

"Beasts of Southern Wild"

Everyone is loving this film so I’m going to see if I love it too. 

"The Amazing Spider-Man"

Even though I wish this movie DID NOT EXIST, I may still see it. I’m a fan of almost every person in it and I adore the “Spider-Man” universe.  But I miss Raimi and Maguire intensely.  

"Savages"

Yeah. Oliver Stone.  Drug trade. Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek going sinister.  Totally seeing this. 

"Take This Waltz"

Directed by Sarah Polley and starring Michelle Williams, I have been very excited to see this drama about a woman struggling in her happy marriage with feelings for another man.  I think it’s available on VOD, but will be playing in Chicago on the 6th. 

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