Movie of the Week - Things We Lost in the Fire
Things We Lost in the Fire is the American debut of the acclaimed Danish director, Susanne Bier (After the Wedding). It is a brutal and intense depiction of grief and recovery.
Halle Berry plays Audrey Burke a woman living a privileged life in the Seattle area with her two children and husband Brian (David Duchovny). On a typical ice cream run on an ordinary evening, Brian is shot to death trying to intercede between a man beating his wife on the street. Berry is understandably devestated as is Brian's best friend since childhood Jerry (Benicio Del Toro), a drug-addict whom Audrey resents because Brian refused to give up on him. But fate brings them together because they both loved Brian the most. Audrey brings Jerry into their home giving them both a second chance.
Bier spends a lot time focusing on her characters and their raw emotions. There are multiple close-ups of Berry's eyes and face, and these close-ups enhance the rawness of their emotions.
Both Berry and Del Toro are terrific, especially Del Toro. His scenes of a drug relapse and then detox are brutally real and hard to watch.
Even though Berry won the Oscar for Monster's Ball and is one of the top film actresses, she still has to fight for this role. "I think most actors have to fight for the good parts...they're so few and far between, especially for women. Audrey wasn't written as a black character, so I wasn't the first thought on anyone's mind."
Bier was nervous that in coming to America worried that she wouldn't have the same artistic freedom she enjoyed in Denmark. But she was proved wrong: "coming to American, I was expecting that I would experience certain restraints, like being asked to make the movie more mainstream, but in fact it was quite the opposite," she says. "I received comments like, 'be more courageous, be more daring...make it more dangerous.'" (Since these quotes come from the press materials I think they are probably a bit generous.)
Bier is a top-tier artist and we should all welcome her with open arms into American theatres. The film opens in 1,142 theatres today.
Some words for Shonda Rhimes
Private Practice the new show from Shonda Rhimes just got a full-season pick-up at ABC. Here's what I want to say to Shonda: either get Amy Brenneman some meds or shut her up. I am so angry that she is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown (and she's the shrink!) cause she got dumped by her boyfriend who then quickly married a younger woman. Yes, it sucks, but enough already. Also, Audra McDonald is constantly bitterly angry all the time. What I like about Grey's Anatomy (the flaws within each character), I hate on Private Practice. Give those girls some backbone.
USA Today talks to the Oscar prognosticators
Here's what they say about the actresses who have a chance at the nomination
Female contenders from the past nine months have a strong chance this year because pundits see few flashy roles for women in the as-yet-unreleased films. That bodes well for Jodie Foster's vigilante in The Brave One, as well as Angelina Jolie's take on Mariane Pearl in the docudrama A Mighty Heart.
Julie Christie stands a strong chance for her role as a woman slowly forgetting her husband as she enters the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in the heartbreaking Away From Her. "She's one of those actresses, like Judi Dench or Helen Mirren, who is so iconic that she can't be ignored," Stone says.
Another likely actress contender is Keri Russell for her cynical, pregnant piemaker in Waitress. "It's from Fox Searchlight, and they are incredibly good at pushing their movies," Stone says of the studio behind last year's Little Miss Sunshine and The Last King of Scotland. "They're pushing hard on Waitress."
O'Neil adds La Vie en Rose, starring Marion Cotillard as singer Edith Piaf. It's a tiny film, but he believes voters make room for non-commercial films. "They hold on to the box office week after week after week," he says. "And they find their audience."Pre-Fall Premieres Shift Oscar Race (USA Today)
Joanna Langfield of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists gives her take on the recent Warner Brother controversy.
As I've been saying all along, it's up to us women to support these movies.
Some of these femme made and/or oriented movies will be good. Some will not. But they are being made and released–along with a lot more male-oriented pictures. Whether they make money (and therefore, encourage the funding of similar projects in the future) or not is, ultimately, not only up to the studios, the critics and media, it’s also very much up to the ticket buying public.The Femme Flick Flap (Alliance of Women Film Journalists)
Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer at Nova will be awarded the 2007 pioneer award on December 7 by the International Documentary Association.
Toni Collette to star in Showtime series The United State of Tara from Steven Spielberg. Collette will play the mother of two teenagers who have some sort of dissociative identity disorder. Diablo Cody the new "it" girl writer is executive producing and writing. (Variety)
Screen star Deborah Kerr dies at 86 (Reuters)
Naomi Watts who is set to star in a remake of The Birds talk about her career and why she is drawn to dark roles.
Naomi Watts Talks about Hollywood the Hard Way (The Guardian)
Laura Dern and Diane Ladd will star in Bruce Dern's directorial debut Hart's Landing making it a family affair. Picture is written by Ashley Reed. Story "centers on a daughter attempting to regain custody of her son and seeking out her father -- who left her when she was 3 years old." (Variety)
Leslie Bibb will headline Miss Nobody. Also cast Missy Pyle and Kathy Baker. (Variety)
Damages Marathon- if you've missed this FX show starring Glenn Close today is your day to stay in bed and watch the whole thing. (FX)
The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard- Masterpiece Theatre presents how an average woman gets sucked into politics and winds up as Prime Minister in England. (Sunday, 9pm- PBS)