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Archive for January, 2011

Catwoman

So now we know we have Catwoman* in The Dark Knight Rises and that Anne Hathaway will be playing her. The next question how will she play her, and central to this what will she look like? Okay so the real question is what costume will she wear? Unfortunately Michelle Pfeiffer’s PVC won’t work in Nolen’s near real world setting, finding a balance between this and the character from the comics is essential for the success of the character.  The costume worn by the character in the comic book has changed over time as demonstrated by the cover of Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale by Brian Bolland:

Initially Catwoman had no disguise or costume, her first disguise was theatrically cat-mask, this was followed by a dress with a hood that had cat like ears, this was the start of the stylized catwoman costume we associate with the character now. Then finally came the iconic catsuit, initially it was coupled with long boots and a domino mask (and sometimes with a tail). The style and the colour has changed a lot over time too, starting with green (a popular voice for DC villains) and later changing to purple and grey. She has a dabbled with black PVC along the lines of her best screen version as portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s in Batman Returns. Around ten years ago the costume along with the character underwent a revamp opting for a catsuit that is said to be inspired by Emma Peel’s iconic leather catsuit from the 60’s TV show The Avengers. The most notable update is the goggles attached to a cowl. And this most recent incarnation is probably the closest we will see in the new movie. The key to the costume will be practicality, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something closer to Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff costume from Iron Man II than Michelle Pfeiffer’s.

Remembering the way Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox came up with the batsuit in Batman Begins a similar approach should be taken with catwoman. There are two ways this cold be conveyed in the movie: firstly if catwoman is introduced as an established character new to Gotham the way The Joker was a simple analysis of the outfit will suffice. If we see catwoman develop within the movie a little more fun can be had, for example Selina Kyle could purchase a vinyl or leather catsuit but find it uncomfortable and impractical. This will lead to her purchasing (or stealing) a high-tech suit, probably from Wayne Enterprises. Like the Batsuit some kind of military origin would make sense, the characteristics it should display include, a matt finish helping her blend into the background in dark alleys, the ability to mask her heat signature helping her to evade security systems, stab proof . It should be worn with a bullet proof vest over the top and a small backpack for her equipment and weapons. The addition of high-tech gauntlets and shin protectors hidden within a pair of chunky army type boots would make it possible for her to fight Batman “toe to toe”; her costume offering less protection but more flexibility. Her mask/cowl has been known to contain night vision glasses, this would be useful (and could lend itself to a point of fight scene in total darkness). Gloves with retractable claws could be a useful tool/weapon. She may have to dispense with the whip in Nolan’s world though. The other important thing about this outfit is its ability to blend into everyday life in a way Pfeiffer’s catwoman couldn’t; remove the gloves and cowl, throw a jacket over the top and she could walk down the street looking like any other person.

A lot will depend on how the character is introduced into the movie. Will she be established as Catwoman with a mysterious back story like The Joker in The Dark Knight or will we see the development of the character like with Batman in Batman Begins? Will she be a socialite, a hooker or even an amnesiac flight attendant (they are all variation of her origin from the comics). What will be the relationship be between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, will they know about each others secret identity. The best thing about the Selina Kyle/Catwoman character is her potential to have a large story arc. She Can be on the side of good or evil, and even walk the line between the two at the same time. A rise – fall – redemption story would be perfect.

For more on the character and how she could fit into the movie take a look at THIS.

*Assuming Christopher Nolan isn’t messing with us and Selina Kyle won’t be Catwoman in this movie.

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The obligatory Oscar Nomination post:

Best Motion Picture of the Year

  • 127 Hours (2010): Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, John Smithson
  • Black Swan (2010): Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin
  • The Fighter (2010): David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg
  • Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas
  • The Kids Are All Right (2010): Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray
  • The King’s Speech (2010): Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
  • The Social Network (2010): Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Ceán Chaffin
  • Toy Story 3 (2010): Darla K. Anderson
  • True Grit (2010): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
  • Winter’s Bone (2010): Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan

No surprises or complaints here. I’m still not convinced by the ten nomination category but it does give a few films like Winter’s Bone and Toy Story 3 a nomination they otherwise probably wouldn’t have got. So where will the Oscar go?

  • My Prediction: The Social Network
  • My Choice: Inception

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • Javier Bardem for Biutiful (2010)
  • Jeff Bridges for True Grit (2010)
  • Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network (2010)
  • Colin Firth for The King’s Speech (2010)
  • James Franco for 127 Hours (2010)

Still waiting for Biutiful and True Grit to be released in the UK so can’t comment on them yet.

  • My Prediction: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
  • My Choice: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
  • Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole (2010)
  • Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone (2010)
  • Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010)
  • Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (2010)

Strong category, the only one I haven’t seen yet on this list is Rabbit Hole.

  • My Prediction: Natalie Portman for Black
  • My Choice: Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale for The Fighter (2010)
  • John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone (2010)
  • Jeremy Renner for The Town (2010)
  • Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
  • Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech (2010)

Again a strong category, The Fighter isn’t out yet but I have seen all the others. I am really pleased and surprised to see John Hawkes make the list.

  • My Prediction: Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • My Choice: John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams for The Fighter (2010)
  • Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech (2010)
  • Melissa Leo for The Fighter (2010)
  • Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (2010)
  • Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (2010)

The King’s speech is the only one I have seen in this category so I will reserve judgment until I see a few more. Really disappointed that Lesley Manville didn’t make the list for Another Year.

Best Achievement in Directing

  • Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (2010)
  • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit (2010)
  • David Fincher for The Social Network (2010)
  • Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech (2010)
  • David O. Russell for The Fighter (2010)

 

  • My Prediction: David Fincher for The Social Network
  • My Choice: David Fincher for The Social Network

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

  • Another Year (2010): Mike Leigh
  • The Fighter (2010): Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
  • Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan
  • The Kids Are All Right (2010): Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
  • The King’s Speech (2010): David Seidler

 

  • My Prediction: Inception – Christopher Nolan
  • My Choice: Inception – Christopher Nolan

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

  • 127 Hours (2010): Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
  • The Social Network (2010): Aaron Sorkin
  • Toy Story 3 (2010): Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
  • True Grit (2010): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Winter’s Bone (2010): Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

 

  • My Prediction: The Social Network -Aaron Sorkin
  • My Choice: The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
  • The Illusionist (2010): Sylvain Chomet
  • Toy Story 3 (2010): Lee Unkrich

 

  • My Prediction: Toy Story 3
  • My Choice: Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

  • Biutiful (2010): Alejandro González Iñárritu(Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (2009): Giorgos Lanthimos(Greece)
  • Civilization (2010): Susanne Bier(Denmark)
  • Incendies (2010): Denis Villeneuve(Canada)
  • Outside the Law (2010): Rachid Bouchareb(Algeria)

Unfortunately I am yet to see any of these yet so can’t really comment.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • Black Swan (2010): Matthew Libatique
  • Inception (2010): Wally Pfister
  • The King’s Speech (2010): Danny Cohen
  • The Social Network (2010): Jeff Cronenweth
  • True Grit (2010): Roger Deakins

This one often goes to pretty pictures and not the best photography and lighting.

  • My Prediction: True Grit – Roger Deakins
  • My Choice: Black Swan – Matthew Libatique

Best Achievement in Editing

  • 127 Hours (2010): Jon Harris
  • Black Swan (2010): Andrew Weisblum
  • The Fighter (2010): Pamela Martin
  • The King’s Speech (2010): Tariq Anwar
  • The Social Network (2010): Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

 

  • My Prediction: The Social Network – Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
  • My Choice: Black Swan – Andrew Weisblum

Best Achievement in Art Direction

  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
  • Inception (2010): Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
  • The King’s Speech (2010): Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
  • True Grit (2010): Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

 

  • My Prediction: The King’s Speech – Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
  • My Choice: Inception – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

  • 127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010): John Powell
  • Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
  • The King’s Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
  • The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

What’s wrong with this list? Where is Daft Punk for Tron Legacy?

  • My Prediction: The Social Network – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
  • My Choice: The Social Network – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

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X-Men: First Class

You just can’t get away from comic book movies this week. After yesterdays exciting news that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle we have some images from the new X-Men movie “First Class”. Telling the story of a younger Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and the origins of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. There isn’t much information on the plot is but it appears antagonists of the movie will be the Hellfire Club led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), it isn’t clear which side Emma Frost (January Jones) will be on. It is most likely that she will take on her White Queen persona but we will have to wait and see.

The Group photo appears to show the young X-Men in the traditional blue and yellow uniforms. This is an interesting development, when the original movie was in production there was a lot of fanboy complaints about the new costumes. It has been suggested that Cyclops’ “yellow spandex” comment was written by Bryan Singer as a direct response to this. The costumes in the other photos have a real retro look to them suggesting a possible 60’s or 70’s setting, that could be interesting.

Since I first commented on this movie last year there have been a few changes to the rumoured cast. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are playing Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto respectively as reported. January Jones and not Alice Eve was cast as Emma Frost. Jennifer Lawrence not Amber Heard will play Mystique. Nicholas Hoult not Benjamin Walker will play Beast. The cast also includes: Kevin Bacon – Sebastian Shaw: Rose Byrne – Dr. Moira MacTaggert: Jason Flemyng – Azazel: Oliver Platt – Man in Black: Lucas Till – Alex Summers/Havok: Zoë Kravitz – Angel Salvadore.  Bryan Singer who directed the first two movies is onboard as producer with Matthew Vaughn fresh from Kick-Ass directing. The movie is set for release in June next year eleven years after the first movie.

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I am now officially excited about The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s third Batman movie. The LA Times has announced that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle. In an article about why Catwoman should be in the next Batman movie I suggested her as a dark horse for the role. The interesting thing about the announcement is that it doesn’t actually say she will be playing Catwoman, it only refers to her as Selina Kyle. This leaves the characters role in the movie open to interpretation and speculation, will Selina Kyle become Catwoman within the movie? The debates will be endless until the movie comes out next summer, however the character fits into the plot I expect the movie to be as brilliant as the first two. The only issue, as talented and as sexy as Hathaway is, can she live up to Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns? And, if that wasn’t exciting enough it also says that Tom Hardy will play Bane.

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My Thoughts, for what they are worth:

Best Motion Picture – Drama: The Social Network took the award, I’m not surprised or unhappy at this as it is a great movie, personally I would have given it to Inception.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Not the strongest category (okay so it contained some utter crap to be honest) but the best of the nominated film won: The Kids Are All Right.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech was a great choice, hopefully he will walk away with the Oscar and BAFTA too.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama: I really wanted Jennifer Lawrence to win for Winter’s Bone but can’t complain about Natalie Portman for Black Swan as I haven’t seen the movie yet. What I can complain about is UK distribution and the fact I haven’t been able to see Black Swan yet!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Paul Giamatti won for Barney’s Version, again this one isn’t out over here yet so don’t know how good he is in it. I am just glad Johnny Depp didn’t win for the two mediocre movie he was nominated for (sorry Johnny, nothing personal, they just weren’t much good)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening won for The Kids Are All Right, she was great in the movie (as was co star Julianne Moore) but I would have given it to Emma Stone for Easy A with Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs a close second.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: The winner was Christian Bale for The Fighter, no surprise, it isn’t out here yet, so I will have to reserve judgment, I will say both Andrew Garfield in The Social Network and Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech were brilliant.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Melissa Leo won for The Fighter that as I mentioned above I haven’t seen yet, in fact the only nominated movie in this category I have seen is The King’s Speech and really enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter’s performance.

Best Director – Motion Picture: David Fincher won for The Social Network, I would have been happy with him or Christopher Nolan for Inception. In some ways I think Fincher deserved it more than Nolan as he made such a great movie out of so little.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network was absolutely the right winner.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture: No decent songs in this category but the winner is Diane WarrenYou Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from Burlesque. Her first win after four nominations.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture: Trent (Nine Inch Nails) Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network were deserved winners, A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours is also worthy of note.

Best Animated Film: I can’t complain at Toy Story 3, it was the only animated movie I saw all year.

Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World from Denmark won, unfortunately I haven’t seen this or any of the other nominations.

I will skip over most of the TV awards as I don’t watch most of the winning shows but will mention Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama that went to Katey Sagal for the hugely underrated Sons of Anarchy.

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As a valued member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) every year I have to vote for the UK equivalent of the Oscars. Okay so that isn’t true I’m not and academy member but like may other British people I do get the chance to vote in “The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award”. in past years it has been an easy choice for me, this year I haven’t made my mind up yet. The nominations are:

 

Gemma Arterton: Hardly a newcomer having already appeared in several high profile movies including a Bond film, Arterton has had a busy year with Tamara Drewe, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Clash of the Titans, none of which were any good, but The Disappearance of Alice Creed (a 2009 movie that was released in 2010) was fantastic and she was the best thing about it.

Andrew Garfield: As the new Spider-Man Garfield has taken his first steps towards A-list stardom but his performance in The Social Network also proved he is a great actor. (Garfield is already a BAFTA winner having won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor in 2008 for Boy A)

Tom Hardy: A strange choice for this list as his real breakout role was Bronson in 2008, he did however give a scene stealing performance in Inception, the best movie of 2010. (Tom Hardy was nominated for BAFTA TV Award Best Actor in 2008 for Stuart: A Life Backwards, but lost out to Andrew Garfield, see above)

Aaron Johnson: Following 2009’s Nowhere Boy with Kick-Ass Johnson really is a rising star. It will be interesting to see what range he has as he matures.  He also appeared in Japanese horror maestro Hideo Nakata’s Chatroom and made my Breakout Performances of 2010 list.

Emma Stone: I feel sorry for whoever gets cast as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man Reboot as she could be in real danger of been overshadowed by Stone’s Gwen Stacy. Easy A was one of my most pleasant surprises of 2010 and thought Stone was fantastic. I don’t know why I was surprised as she was great in Zombieland in 2009.

Last years award went to the unfairly maligned Kristen Stewart (I voted for Carey Mulligan) and the previous winners were: Noel Clarke (2009), Shia Labeouf (2008), Eva Green (2007) and James McAvoy (2006). The full nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 18, and the awards ceremony takes place on Sunday 13 February.

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