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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.

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Taylor Kitsch’s Very Bad Year


I believe in #33, but I can’t justify seeing “Batteship.” The Peter Berg board game adaptation tanked against “The Avengers” this weekend.  This blow comes after historic bomb of Disney’s “John Carter” which cost $250 mil and made $71 mil in the US. I saw “John Carter” - in 3D- and really enjoyed it for what it was. The visual effects were stunning and Kitsch is incredibly fetching without a shirt. The plot was confusing at times, but not too much.  

Taylor Kitsch is a great actor despite these set backs.  I could say that confidently based on “Friday Night Lights” but I will also add indie from last year “Bang Bang Club” to the evidence list.  He is the only person in that film worth believing and watching.  

Kitsch has one more 2012 release with Oliver Stone’s “Savages” with Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, and Aaron Johnson.  I’m looking forward to this.  I hope Kitsch veers more to smaller, character-driven pieces and waits for the right big budget film to employ his talents. 

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.

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.

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