Oscar Watch: The Glorias

The Glorias is one of the more closely watched titles currently playing at the Sundance Film Festival. This is a biopic of feminist activist Gloria Steinem with four actresses, including Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander, portraying her at various stages of life. In that sense, it resembles 2007’s I’m Not There. That unconventional Bob Dylan tale earned Cate Blanchett a nomination. The pic comes from famed theater director Julie Taymor, whose filmography includes 2002’s Frida which nabbed Salma Hayek a Best Actress nod.

Reviews are positive. However, as with everything else screening so early in 2020, time will tell when it comes to awards prospects. If The Glorias can develop buzz throughout the year, it will be interesting to monitor which performers garner attention. Obviously you start with Moore and Vikander (who have each previously won Oscars). Yet it’s supporting player Lorraine Toussaint who is being singled out for raves over Bette Midler (who could also contend) and Janelle Monae.

Whether any of the Gloria playing thespians and beyond are still in the mix months from now remains to be seen. Sundance has opened the door of possibility. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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Like a Boss Box Office Prediction

Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne headline the business themed comedy Like a Boss next weekend as Paramount Pictures hopes many girls will make a trip to view it. Originally slated for release last summer, Boss is directed by Miguel Arteta with a supporting cast including Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter, and Salma Hayek.

It’s been over two years since Haddish broke through in a major way with Girls Trip and her lucky streak continued with Night School with Kevin Hart. However, things have slowed down a bit as of late with Nobody’s Fool (which grossed $14 million for its start). Then there was last year’s crime drama flop The Kitchen with Byrne’s Spy costar Melissa McCarthy.

The lack of much comedic competition should help a bit, but buzz seems to fairly muted here. My guess is this makes a bit under what Fool accomplished and struggles to hit teens.

Like a Boss opening weekend prediction: $12.4 million

For my 1917 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/01/01/1917-box-office-prediction/

For my Just Mercy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/01/01/just-mercy-box-office-prediction/

For my Underwater prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/01/02/underwater-box-office-prediction/

Oscar History: 2012

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done an Oscar History post (about two and a half years) and I’m at 2012. It was a year in which Seth MacFarlane hosted the show – fresh off his comedy smash Ted. Here’s what transpired in the major categories with some other pictures and performers I might have considered:

The year saw nine nominees for Best Picture in which Ben Affleck’s Argo took the top prize. Other nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook (my personal favorite of the year), and Zero Dark Thirty. 

Many Wes Anderson fans would contend that Moonrise Kingdom should have made the cut. And I could certainly argue that The Avengers (perhaps the greatest comic book flick and the year’s biggest grosser) was worth a nod.

The nominations in Best Director were a huge surprise at the time. While Argo won the top prize of all, Affleck was not nominated for his behind the camera efforts. It was the first time since Driving Miss Daisy‘s Bruce Beresford where an Oscar-winning Picture didn’t see its filmmaker nominated.

Instead it was Ang Lee who was victorious for Life of Pi over Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

In addition to Affleck, it was surprising that Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was not included. And I certainly would have put in Tarantino for Django.

The race for Best Actor seemed over when the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was announced. And that’s exactly how it played out as he won his third Oscar over a strong slate of Bradley Cooper (Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

The exclusion of John Hawkes in The Sessions could have been welcomed, but I’ll admit that’s a solid group.

Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings over Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

Again, no major qualms here. I did enjoy the work of Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (for which she did get a Golden Globe nod).

Supporting Actor was competitive as Christoph Waltz won his second statue for Django (three years after Inglourious Basterds). He was a bit of a surprise winner over Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. Other nominees: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert De Niro (Playbook), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master).

Here’s a year where there’s a lot of others I thought of. Waltz won, but I think the work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django was equally impressive. There’s Javier Bardem as one of the greatest Bond villains ever in Skyfall. Or John Goodman’s showy role in Flight. As for some other blockbusters that year, how about Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers or Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike? And my favorite comedic scene of that year was due to Giovanni Ribisi in Ted…

In Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway was a front-runner for Les Miserables and there was no upset. Other nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), and Jacki Weaver (Playbook).

Judi Dench had more heft to her part as M in Skyfall that year and I’ll also give a shout-out to Salma Hayek’s performance in Oliver Stone’s Savages.

And there’s your Oscar history for 2012! I’ll have 2013 up… hopefully in less than two and a half years!

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Movie Review

Had The Hitman’s Bodyguard been made in the mid to late 1990s, it may well have involved three of the performers present. We have Samuel L. Jackson as one of the co-leads. There’s Gary Oldman overacting his tail off as the main baddie. And Salma Hayek adds a sassy flavor as a love interest. There would be no Ryan Reynolds, who would have been in his late teens or early 20s at the time. Instead, maybe Bruce Willis or Kurt Russell could have filled his role.

As such, the three actors mentioned are a bit older and filling parts we’ve seen them cast in before. Bodyguard is joyfully R rated, filled with action genre familiarities, and (to use a reviewer’s cliche) it hits the mark sporadically. Reynolds is Michael Bryce, former CIA officer and triple A rated executive protection officer. What is exactly gives one the distinction of being triple A rated in this particular field? None of the other character seem to know, but he seems supremely confident in the designation. Essentially, he’s good at not letting the people he protects (some of whom are nefarious types) die.

His unblemished record is thwarted early here and his career goes down the tubes. Bryce gets back in the game a couple years later when notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) needs a protector. He’s been imprisoned for some time and he’s a key government witness against a foreign dictator (Oldman) for his many crimes. There’s a whole army of the dictator’s henchmen who wish to keep Kincaid from the witness stand.

Much of the action here takes place in Amsterdam as Bryce tries to get his subject to The Hague to testify. Our two leads have a checkered history together and getting them to work together doesn’t come easily. Bryce believes his protection methods work best (don’t kill anyone) while Kincaid feels differently (kill everyone). The comedic banter between Reynolds and Jackson works well much of the time as they try to one up each other in their work.

Both principal’s have ladies in their lives. Elodie Yung is Bryce’s ex who he still can’t let go of. Hayek is Kincaid’s wife, apparently jailed simply due to her association with her hubby. Her character rivals his in their extreme use of the word mother****er, which had basically become Jackson’s catchphrase in countless pictures.

Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes keeps Bodyguard charging along with action set pieces that are competent and pretty much instantly forgettable. We get some backstory of the pair and how they met their women. This is done so in flashback sequences that are a bit superfluous and complete with ironically cliched song choices. For someone who’s played some very memorable villains, Oldman’s screen time is too limited to make much impact.

 

The stars of The Hitman’s Bodyguard certainly keep it watchable and there’s a select few genuinely funny moments splattered around the cartoonish mayhem. On the other hand, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Jackson have appeared in violent flicks before that you’ll remember in the morning. That doesn’t quite hold true here.

**1/2 (out of four)

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Box Office Prediction

Deadpool may never appear in an Avengers film, but he costars with Nick Fury next weekend when The Hitman’s Bodyguard opens. The action comedy brings together Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and looks to target the #1 spot over a rival competing for a similar audience. Patrick Hughes directs with Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek in the supporting cast.

It’s been a year and a half since the star power of Mr. Reynolds went way up with the aforementioned Deadpool. Since then, he’s appeared in supporting roles in Criminal and Life (both box office disappointments). Bodyguard, however, is his first headlining role since his winter 2016 blockbuster.

The pic could somewhat benefit from the dog days of August release and scarce competition – with one notable exception. Another action comedy with some big names – Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky with Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig – debuts against it and it’s getting solid reviews. Lucky could charm some viewers away, but the net result could be slightly lower numbers for both because they’re directly competing against each other.

I’ll say Bodyguard manages to come out on top with a debut in the mid to high teens, which should be good for the top spot.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard opening weekend prediction: $16.7 million

For my Logan Lucky prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/08/09/logan-lucky-box-office-prediction/

How to Be a Latin Lover Box Office Prediction

How to Be a Latin Lover hits stateside screens next weekend and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could be a decent sleeper hit. The rom com stars Eugenio Derbez, who’s a massive movie star in Latin America. Lover boasts a supporting cast of recognizable faces including Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Michael Cera, Raquel Welch, and Rob Riggle.

In 2013, Derbez directed and starred in Instructions Not Included, which shocked domestic box office prognosticators when it made nearly $8 million on only 347 screens. It eventually made $44M in the U.S. Lover is bound to be a huge hit in Mexico when it premieres on May 5.

I don’t quite expect Instructions numbers here. Then again, no one saw Instructions coming either. I’ll say it manages between $5-possibly $7 million for a respectable showing.

How to Be a Latin Lover opening weekend prediction: $6.3 million

For my The Circle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/19/the-circle-box-office-prediction/

Sausage Party Movie Review

The comedic team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (they were childhood friends) was first witnessed by mass audiences in 2007’s inspired Superbad. That pic was conceived by the duo when they were young and that teen spirit infused it with a refreshing authenticity. Their cinematic marriage has since shown their fondness for raunchiness and weed. Nothing has quite hit the effectiveness of their first collaboration. Some have come pretty darn close (Pineapple Express, This is the End) while others have come up a bit shorter (The Watch, The Interview, The Night Before). Most of their works have performed well or at least decently at the box office (The Watch is a notable exception) and Sausage Party is the kind of movie you get to make when studios let you do whatever you want. It ends up on the higher scale of their work.

Party gives us the rare instance of a truly R rated animated flick. Rogen and Goldberg’s affection for vulgarity is on full display and one suspects it was green stuff other than money that may have assisted in coming up with the concept. Here it is: the food and products in your local grocery store are alive and blissfully unaware of what happens to them after they walk out of the sliding doors. Rogen’s Frank is a sausage and Kristin Wiig’s Brenda is a bun and they’ve been waiting to connect once they break out of their respective packages. In their understanding, this will occur once they’re purchased by the Gods (who are actually just your everyday consumers) and enter the Great Beyond outside of Shopwell’s.

A returned jar of honey mustard (voiced by Danny McBride) tries to warn his market friends of what lies ahead when their dream of freedom is met. Many are skeptical and what’s often most surprising about Sausage Party is its allegorical themes pertaining to religion and sex with some expected drug humor thrown in. It’s also chock full of bad puns (some quite hilarious) and plenty of the living products representing their stereotypes. The most obvious and amusing example? The villain of the establishment (voiced by Nick Kroll) is literally a Douche. We also have Sammy the Bagel, giving Edward Norton a chance to be funny and essentially do a Woody Allen impersonation and his ex-girlfriend Salma Hayek coming out of her shell as Theresa del Taco.

As mentioned, Goldberg and Rogen are free to do what they want here and Sausage Party does have plenty of uproariously inappropriate moments. There are also times when their out there idea is funnier in concept than actual execution. Additionally, the final gag practically begs for a post-credits sequence that never materializes. Still, at a brisk 88 minutes, this Party is fresh enough for consumption of its creators fans.

*** (out of four)