Post by tinalouise on Oct 30, 2009 19:13:01 GMT -5
Another event and another chance to chat with Wes, Jason and also Meryl Streep.
Apple Store, Soho 103 Prince St. 212-226-3126
Meet Filmmaker Wes Anderson and Actors Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"
Join visionary director Wes Anderson as he and actors Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman discuss their new animated film, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," based on renowned author Roald Dahl’s classic book. Anderson utilized classic handmade stop motion techniques to tell the story from the best-selling children’s book. 20th Century Fox will release "Fantastic Mr. Fox" in theaters on November 13. November 11, 7:00 p.m.
In 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' The Dazzle Is In The Details by Kenneth Turan
Fantastic Mr. Fox goes to your head like too much champagne — which is what you'd expect with George Clooney and Meryl Streep voicing Mr. and Mrs. Fox, the Nick and Nora Charles of the forest world.
The film follows the plot of the Roald Dahl book, which is a battle of wits between the larcenous title character and the combined forces of Boggis, Bunce and Bean. They're not a law firm, but three of the meanest, nastiest, ugliest farmers in Mr. Fox's part of the world. And the richest.
Mr. Fox swore off robbing these three once he and Mrs. Fox became parents, but he still has the yen. Working with Kylie the Opossum, an old partner in crime, Mr. Fox plans that film-noir movie staple, One Last Job that will set him up for life. Mrs. Fox, not surprisingly, is unamused when she catches them in the act.
As written by director Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, the film's ultrasophisticated characters do run the risk of sounding a little too arch. Then again, they're animals, which is a big help when it comes to keeping things grounded.
Fantastic Mr. Fox has been made in the painstaking process known as stop-motion animation, a technique that's brought all kinds of things (giant peaches, dogs named Gromit) to life over the years. Here it reanimates the career of filmmaker Anderson, whose love of quirky details is tailor-made for this.
Stop-motion allowed Anderson to create his own very specific environment, complete with animal puppets that sport real hair and an autumnal palette with no use at all for the color green. He even found places for his usual cohort of actors — people like Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson — as voice talent. "I'm a wild animal and a husband and father," our hero declares, and this movie succeeds because of its ability to strike the right balance between those poles.
The (Surprisingly) Real Feel of 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' by David Edelstein
Wes Anderson has a cult of worshippers, but I often find his films a little precious and mannered, a series of colorful dollhouses with people posed like puppets in the center of the frame. Now, in Fantastic Mr. Fox, he has made an animated film in which the puppets are so vivid they seem like people.
It's still the work of a filmmaker who likes to preen, a dandy. But it jells because the hero, the wily master thief Mr. Fox, is a dandy, too; he even wears double-breasted suits inspired by Anderson's own showy wardrobe. And it jells because the animation fits the story. Anderson opted to use stop-motion — the old-fashioned time-lapse animation that gave us both the 1933 King Kong and this year's sublime Coraline. So instead of the smooth, computerized feel of most modern animation, there's a slight jerkiness to the characters' movements that brings out their weight, their substance. I don't know how, but I felt as if the puppets themselves were taking pleasure in their own movements. Anderson's ultra-composed frames have never seemed so magically alive.
The script, by Anderson and Noah Baumbach, embellishes Roald Dahl's brisk, cheerfully wicked kids' book, but the thrust is the same. Mr. Fox can't resist the challenge of stealing from his new neighbors, three nasty farmers named Boggis and Bunce and Bean — "one fat, one short, one lean." He pulls off three splendid capers, but doesn't reckon on the vindictiveness of the farmers — especially the skeletal Bean.
George Clooney does the voice of Mr. Fox, and at first I couldn't stop picturing his handsome mug. But Clooney is doing his best work in years — he even parodies his Ocean's Eleven master thief. Like his director, Mr. Fox is wonderfully precise. As he assembles a team of animals to help him fight the farmers who've laid siege to his underground hideaway, he calls them by their English and their Latin names.
The soundtrack contains tunes from the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones, but also Burl Ives, Mozart, and "Ol' Man River" — disjunctive, but then the whole movie is disjunctive, like the cultural bric-a-brac in Anderson's teeming brain. You'll find your eyes roaming the frames and laughing at the flourishes and textures, at symmetry that's slightly unbalanced so the screen is a seesaw. There are gags so ingenious they'd have made Bugs Bunny director Chuck Jones gasp.
The actors bring their own kind of wit: Bill Murray as a militant badger, Michael Gambon as creepy Bean, Wally Wolodarsky as Mr. Fox's nervous opossum sidekick and best of all Willem Dafoe as a hep-cat, knife-wielding rat security guard. Meryl Streep is the sharp, practical Mrs. Fox, who at one point slaps her reckless husband's face. You don't see stuff that serious in many animated family films.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is weighed down by a serious motif that runs through Anderson's work: the son who tries desperately to forge a bond with his unappreciative father. Mr. Fox's boy Ash (Jason Schwartzman) doesn't have his dad's athletic prowess, and he's hurt when Mr. Fox sees a chip-off-the-old-block in his cousin. Problem is, Ash is a bit of a drag, and his efforts to prove himself are the movie's lone concession to formula. A small price to pay.
For all the engineering behind Fantastic Mr. Fox, it still feels handmade, as if the artists were in the room, manipulating everything onscreen. When it ended, I wished they'd come out and take a bow: animation director Mark Gustafson, cinematographer Tristan Oliver, designer Nelson Lowry, the whole team. And of course Wes Anderson, who for the first time has a right to preen.
Note from Texasgal: I don't agree with that last sentence: "....who for the first time...."
I don't normally post anything about audio interviews because I don't think anyone is interested. But just in case someone is interested, I heard Wes Anderson is to be interviewed on Terry Gross' show, "Fresh Air," on Monday, 11/23.
Find her show on your local NPR affiliate. If your affiliate doesn't carry her show, you can listen online or by podcast after the broadcast. Search for: Fresh Air From WHYY. Click on that and look for "Today's show" or "Podcast."
Today Judd Apatow was on Terry's show.
Last Edit: Nov 20, 2009 19:32:20 GMT -5 by texasgal
I enjoyed Wes' conversation today with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air." It's cute the way Wes gets so tongue-tied. That seems to happen a lot on NPR. Don't know why, and usually it annoys the heck out of me. But with Wes, it sounded cute.
Btw, Terry did not ask him about his support of Roman Polanski. The conversation stayed with FMF. Some short sound-bytes, including one with Owen's voice, were played.
Even tho I will not support this movie for reasons previously stated here is some news on it....
Streep's, Baldwin's Awards Complications
Published: November 25, 2009
Is Meryl Streep having an even better awards-worthy year than we recognized? And is Alec Baldwin in line for a extremely rare feat? It’s possible that she is, and he is, and the “It’s Complicated” co-stars could have some nice awards-season complications of their own.
For months, awards-watchers have been talking about Streep possibly having two nomination-worthy roles this year, and of the potential conflict between Sony’s best-actress Oscar campaign on behalf of Streep’s performance in “Julie & Julia” and Universal’s push for the same award for “It’s Complicated.”
“J&J” seems to be her likeliest bet, though Universal has derided suggestions that they’ll soft-pedal their own campaign in deference to the Sony film as “nonsense.”
Overlooked in all of this is that she also has a third role that might be in the awards picture – not at the Oscars, mind you, but at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Wes Anderson’s animated feature “Fantastic Mr. Fox” has qualified in the “outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture” category.
Of course it’s a longshot, though “Mr. Fox” is well-liked and the ensemble cast is starry enough to attract attention, with the likes of Streep, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe and Owen Wilson.
It also puts Clooney in the running for a trifecta, given his performances in “Up in the Air” (where he’s an almost certain nominee for both the Oscars and the SAG Awards) and “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (where he isn't).
Streep’s “It’s Complicated” co-star Baldwin, meanwhile, continues to pick up some buzz for his supporting performance in that film, though until the film begins to screen more actively (which it will do imminently), it’s hard to tell just how reliable the reports of his fabulousness are.
But assuming that he really is in a position to land a supporting-actor nomination, it got me wondering: with Baldwin co-hosting the Oscar show with Steve Martin, when was the last time an Oscar host was also a nominee?
It hasn’t happened often, and not since the 1986 Oscars. That’s when Australian actor Paul Hogan co-hosted the show with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, and was also a nominee – not for acting, but for co-writing “Crocodile Dundee.”
The last time an acting nominee was also a host was the ’75 Oscars, when Walter Matthau was a best-actor nominee for “The Sunshine Boys” and a host alongside Goldie Hawn (again), Gene Kelly, George Segal and Robert Shaw. Two years earlier, Michael Caine was one of four co-hosts, in addition to being a best-actor nominee for “Sleuth.”
But when it comes to taking home Oscars on a night when he’s also working, the champion is the guy who turned his purported failure to win Academy Awards into a running joke. Bob Hope never won a competitive Oscar, but he was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, two honorary Oscars and two “special awards” – and all five presentations came during shows he hosted.
Presumably, Hope didn’t use that “the Oscars, or as it’s known in my house, Passover” line on those particular shows.