Oscar Watch: The Father

French playwright Florian Zeller saw his play Le Pere (translation: The Father) debut onstage in 2012 to massive critical acclaim. Now Zeller has directed a version of it for the silver screen and it’s debuted at Sundance. The Father casts Anthony Hopkins as a man suffering from dementia who moves in with his daughter (Olivia Colman).

Sony Pictures Classics has already nabbed distribution rights and buzz suggests the performance of Hopkins is magnificent. Next weekend, Sir Anthony is up for Supporting Actor for playing a Holy Father in The Two Popes and it marks his fifth nomination. Yes, it’s early in the year but critical reaction opens up the very real possibility that The Father could mark his sixth. Of his current quintet of Academy recognition, he’s won once and that was his first recognition for his iconic Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs. He’s not expected to pick up the trophy on February 9th for Popes. 

Colman could find herself in the mix as well and it would come two years after she scored a surprise Best Actress victory for The Favourite. It’s not clear at this juncture whether Sony would campaign for her in lead or supporting.

Many Sundance selections garner a bit of fire that is doused as the season rolls along. I have a hunch that may not be the case here. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Black Christmas Box Office Prediction

Blumhouse Productions looks to scare up some Yuletide bucks this season with Black Christmas, the second remake of the 1974 slasher cult hit. Shot for a reported miserly $5 million (par for the course for its low cost and high profit studio), Sophia Takal directs with a cast including Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, and Cary Elwes.

Turning a tidy profit should be no trouble for the horror title. This genre is rather underserved at the moment and one would think this should at least double its budget out of the gate. That said, the 2006 Black Christmas rustled up only $16 million in its whole domestic run.

With the Blumhouse marketing machine behind this one, however, I expect Christmas to get past double digits for a solid start, especially considering the budget.

Black Christmas opening weekend prediction: $12.1 million

For my Jumanji: The Next Level prediction, click here:


For my Richard Jewell prediction, click here:


Green Room Movie Review

I’m sure any struggling band has horror stories of awful gigs when they were coming up, but the Ain’t Rights have it in the literal sense in Green Room. Jeremy Saulnier’s dark and twisted little thriller that puts this punk rock band in quite a precarious situation. The quintet includes bassist Pat (Anton Yelchin) and guitarist Sam (Alia Shawkat) and they are rather aimlessly traveling the Pacific Northwest in their beat up van going from depressing gig to another.

Their latest performance brings them to a remote location outside Portland (the visuals of Oregon are sumptuous before the pic gets quite claustrophobic) and it turns out to be a scuzzy bar filled with Neo Nazis. Despite their fear, the band plays on and is almost on their way to their next adventure when they witness a murder inside the green room. The proprietors of the establishment are not eager to let them leave and the band finds themselves trapped along with another witness (Imogen Poots). It turns out the place is run by group leader Darcy (Patrick Stewart). He calls the shots as to the future of the band in a long night filled with ain’t right carnage, box cutters, and guard dogs that respond to German commands.

Green Room is a horror movie in which the violence isn’t meant to provoke laughs. Some of the gory outbursts are truly squirm inducing and characters are dispensed of in a way that provides unpredictability. Stewart, in particular, seems to relish this role in which he has no likable character traits whatsoever. The story doesn’t exactly cover any new ground or add new dimensions to the genre, but it’s a straightforward bloody bit of well-crafted mayhem that should please enthusiasts.

*** (out of four)