Motifs in Cinema ’11: Loyalty and Solidarity

Perhaps because it’s one of the youngest artistic forms, cinema is often assessed in much different manner that literature, or the visual arts. We discuss it in terms of genre, not in terms of thematic offering. Comparing, for example, Corpse Bride and Up because they’re both animated leads to some dubious discussion especially when – like any art form – thematic elements examined in cinema and the way different filmmaker address them make for some stimulating discussion.Motifs in Cinema is a discourse, across eleven film blogs, assessing the way in which various thematic elements have been used in the 2011 cinematic landscape. How does a common theme vary in use from a comedy to a drama? Are filmmakers working from a similar canvas when they assess the issue of the artist or the family dynamic? Like everything else, a film begins with an idea – Motifs in Cinema assesses how the use of a single idea changes when utilised by varying artists.
Continue reading “Motifs in Cinema ’11: Loyalty and Solidarity”

Snap Judgments: 69th Annual Golden Globes Nominations

The Ides of March received four nominations. Unsurprising; it is perfect Globes bait.

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. My snap judgments for some of the categories are below. Continue reading “Snap Judgments: 69th Annual Golden Globes Nominations”

Snap Judgments: 18th Annual SAG Award Nominations

The Help received the most SAG Award nominations. I don't know why anyone other than Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were nominated.

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominees were announced this morning. This is the first guild to announce their annual nominations and a predictor of what else may come. (Side note: The Broadcast Film Critics nominations were announced yesterday. The Artist and Hugo received 11 nods each. That’s all you need to know.)

As usual there were surprise nominees and a few snubs. None of these snubs were too egregious (except for Parks and Recreation getting zero nominations on the television side of things, but I digress).

The Help continues to (unexpectedly?) receive accolades, receiving four SAG nominations. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy The Help – Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are fantastic – I just don’t think it deserves all the praise it has received.

Here are the nominees with my snap judgments below. Continue reading “Snap Judgments: 18th Annual SAG Award Nominations”

Trailer Fix: The Help

Adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel, one of the most enjoyable I books have read recently, The Help hits theaters in August. The trailer hit the internet yesterday.

Set in early-1960s  Mississippi, the film stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, a recent college graduate who returns to her hometown. She becomes aware of how her childhood friends treat their African-American maids when one Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) wants to create a law that requires “the help” to use separate, outdoors bathrooms. Skeeter teams up with two maids, beleaguered Aibileen (Viola Davis) and trouble-maker Minny (Octavia Spencer), to rock the system in the form of a newspaper column.

It is a great story set against the backdrop of the more violent moments of the Civil Rights Movement (Medgar Evers murder is one of the many events that has a significant role in the novel). The unexpected  relationship that develops between Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny carries the book. The women portraying these characters are dynamic performers, capable carrying a film. But I am hoping that The Help is not the next The Secret Life of Bees. (Sorry Queen Latifah but you are no Viola Davis.) I am also hoping that Emma Stone’s bad fake perm grows on me.

What are your thoughts on The Help?