Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mother Knows Best

Can I tell you how happy I am that the French/Belgian/Australian co-production previously known as The Grandmothers has decided to change its name? While Two Mothers certainly isn't a title that will get bums on seats, it's certainly a step up from The Grandmothers. Especially for a film that deals with sexuality. Recent release The Sessions also took a few stabs at getting the title just right (previously going by The Surrogate and Six Sessions) for their sex forward film and ended up with the relatively bland, but polite and inoffensive, one that it goes under now. It's true that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover (or, in this case, its title), but audiences are by and large not going to want to see something called The Grandmothers when they know it's about sex. Especially as it is in this case inter-generational sex. Jeepers.

I'm not sure what to really expect from Anne Fontaine's film other than a lot of beach scenes featuring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright in bathing suits as their respective children, played by Xavier Samuel and James Frencheville, cavort around in the waves. I admired Fontaine's last film, Coco avant Chanel, from a technical standpoint, but found its emotions rather muted. Hopefully casting Watts and Wright, arguably more rangy performers than Audrey Tautou, will free the director up somewhat and allow for a looser movie that befits its (apparently) carefree, sensual story. Two Mothers will screen at next year's Sundance Film Festival and Indiewire got a hold of some official stills.

Is it just me or is Robin Wright giving off a distinct Jessica Lange vibe in that shot with Xavier Samuel in their romantic embrace? Two Mothers has no local release date, but it has a distributor in the form of Hopscotch/eOne and it's certainly a project that will get people talking out of Sundance. Truthful portrayals of sexuality, especially involving "older" women always do.

On a different topic altogether, but have you read this piece on Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby? Actor Jason Clarke spoke to Indiewire about his breakthrough role in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, and had this to say about the much maligned process of turning America's greatest ever novel into a 3D visual effects showreel.

"The furniture and everything is built for 3D. That's the level he's coming at you with," Clarke said. "The tables are longer at an angle for 3D. The dresses are designed so they'll come out. Not only is she [Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's production designer and wife] detailed in making them but also she's detailed in making them in 3D. You'll see." Clarke then pantomimed a camera angle as it cruises into a room, saying, "There'll be a fan there so as you come in, everything is in 3D. It just needed some scratch and sniff. That's why I say it'll be amazing and there's never been anything like it."

This actually sounds amazing and I don't care what anybody says. Catherine Martin is gunning for two more Oscars, isn't she? It would certainly follow the pattern, too. She was nominated for the art direction of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, then won the art direction and costume Oscars for Moulin Rouge!, and was then nominated for the costumes of Australia. These branches obviously like Martin so it's not too far of a stretch, and if she's specifically tailoring her designs for the 3D medium? Sounds too hard to resist!

In other news, how smart was that film's distributor to shift it off into 2013? At the time people were saying it was obvious sign that the film was in trouble (despite Moulin Rouge! doing the exact same thing and garnering a Best Picture nomination for its trouble) and because it wasn't finished. Well, sure, the film probably wasn't finished, but now that Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, and (if we're to believe the few noodlings of approval out there) Django Unchained have all hit their critical landings with perfect scores, the big studio adult vote is going to be severely split. No room for Baz and Gatsby this year anyway, even if it was released to acclaim.

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