November 28, 2007

November 28, 2007

Movie of the Week- The Savages- written and directed by Tamara Jenkins
Writer-director Tamara Jenkins used her own family drama as inspiration for her second biting film, The Savages.

The stellar cast toplines Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as estranged siblings forced to come together to deal with the downward descent of their father into dementia.

Just like Margot at the Wedding these characters are incredibly flawed, not very likable, but they are real. Not a pretty movie both aesthetically (I have never seen Laura Linney look so bad) and topically, the film deals with a reality many people in our culture now face; what to do with an aging parent who becomes too incapacitated to deal with him or herself.

Neither of the Savage (family name is quite appropriate) siblings is really emotionally able to handle this type of adult decision especially because they were never parented properly and have been estranged from both their parents for decades.

But they handle it the best way they know how and it brings a reconciliation between the siblings. They had one of those cordial but distant relationships with the added layer of competitiveness and narcissism. Dealing with their father is humbling and forces these two together which helps each of them get over themselves.

Jenkins' humor is raw and at times humiliating just like her first cult feature, The Slums of Beverly Hills. In fact it was her humorous take that got her the deal for this film from producer Ted Hope who had signed her "to write whatever she wanted to write, provided it had some humor to it."

Here are some of Jenkins' comments on her characters: "They're terribly human and incredibly flawed and completely screwed up and I adore them for it. They're these two mismatched, damaged people who are both in a kind of arrested development. Even though they're in middle age, they really aren't finished people yet, and that makes them very interesting."

Film will have legs through the awards season and opens today in NY at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Angelika; and in LA at Pacific Arclight and The Landmark
For further release information: The Savages

Awards Watch
The awards season has kicked off! Women & Hollywood will continue to highlight the women getting nominating and winning throughout the season.

Independent Spirit Award nominations which will be handed out the day before the Oscars were announced yesterday. (To qualify for the Spirits the film budget needs to be under 20 million)

Women nominated include:
Best Feature: "Juno" and "A Mighty Heart"
Best First Feature- "2 Days in Paris"- Julie Delpy
Best Director: Tamara Jenkins- "The Savages"
Best Screenplay: Tamara Jenkins- "The Savages"; Adrienne Shelly, "Waitress"; Mike White, "Year of the Dog" (film is about a woman)
Best First Screenplay: Zoe Cassavetes, "Broken English" and Diablo Cody, "Juno"
Best Female Lead: Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart"; Sienna Miller, "Interview"; Ellen Page, "Juno"; Parker Posey, "Broken English"; Tang Wei, "Lust, Caution"
Best Supporting Female: Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"; Anna Kendrick, "Rocket Science"; Jennifer Jason Leigh, "Margot at the Wedding"; Tamara Podemski, "Four Sheets to the Wind"; Marisa Tomei, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"
Best Documentary: "Lake of Fire," Director: Tony Kaye (about abortion); "Manufactured Landscapes," Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Best Foreign Film: "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Director: Cristian Mungiu (Romania) (about abortion); "Lady Chatterley," Director: Pascale Ferran (France); "Persepolis," Directors: Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi (France)
Producers Award: Anne Clements, producer of Ping Pong Playa and QuinceaƱera; Alexis Ferris, producer of Cthulhu and Police Beat

Gotham Awards were handed out last night in NYC
Breakthrough Award- Ellen Page for playing the pregnant teen in Juno (can't wait to see this later today). She said: "I'm so proud that there is a teenage character like her going out into the world."
Tribute award: Mira Nair

Barbra Streisand gets into the presidential race with an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I think its a given that Oprah's endorsement of Obama might have a more far reaching effect. But one can always hope.
Streisand Endorses Hillary Clinton (AP via USA Today)

Even though Amy Adams has been working for years, she's become a star at 33. While that's not too old, it's also not 19. She's got a slew of films coming up including Charlie Wilson's War.
Uber Focus Propels Amy Adams (AP via Miami Herald)