Films Watched: January 2012

Here is what I watched this month.

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What These Six Character Posters Tell Us About Contagion

The more I see of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, the more excited I get. The movie centers around a growing airborne epidemic, the race to cure it, and the resulting panic. So, it is a jolly good time. Contagion is overloaded with star power. The trailer hints that this cast of many Oscar winners have brought their A-game and can deliver great sound bites (“Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t touch anyone”).

Along with this trailer that just sucks you in, character posters for the six main stars of the ensemble have been released. Just for some fun, I try to guess what these characters will get up to during Contagion.

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Preview: Mildred Pierce

“This book simply says perhaps a dream come true may be the worst possible thing that can happen.” James M. Cain discussing Mildred Pierce.

Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Mildred Pierce premieres this Sunday. The more I read about it – the reviews of Kate Winslet’s performance as the title character are overwhelmingly positive – the more excited I get to see this miniseries. (A more accurate description of myself right now is that I am salivating at the mouth from pure exuberance.)

Joan Crawford won her only Academy Award for her portrayal of the title character in the 1945 version of Mildred Pierce. Mildred Pierce is one of those characters who has become, in some ways, synonymous with an actor. For that reason it is impossible to avoid the comparisons between Crawford and Winslet. Even though I adore the original film, the miniseries (I hope) will give the James M. Cain book more, much-needed depth and shy away from some of the contrived elements (ahem, that pesky murder plotline).

HBO has released four clips from Parts 1 and 2 of the five-part miniseries (embedded below). They offer a nice sampling of what to expect from the miniseries. Are you as excited for Mildred Pierce as I am?

Trailer Fix: Mildred Pierce

Since it was announced that Kate Winslet is starring in Todd Haynes adaptation of Mildred Pierce, I have been excited for this HBO miniseries.

This is second adaptation of James M. Cain’s 1941 novel. In 1945, Joan Crawford portrayed the title character, a 1930s housewife who tries to maintain her family’s social standing and her daughter’s love during the Great Depression. Notably, Mildred Pierce is a prime example of maternal sacrifice, a key concept in feminist film theory that Linda Williams discusses in “Something Else Besides a Mother” Crawford won an Academy Award for her performance.

In the upcoming adaptation, Winslet is Mildred Pierce and Evan Rachel Wood is her daughter Veda. After seeing the trailer (below), Mildred Pierce has quickly become something I am most excited for.