When I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin in college, fellow women in my class responded not with applause, but anger. In the world of the post-feminist movement, I was surprised. They were furious with the heroine for embarking on an affair, not putting her children first, for not just â€œbeing happy enoughâ€ with her huge house, for not, in a nutshell, accepting her lot in life.
A similar scene occurs in Todd Fieldâ€™s latest film Little Children when Kate Winsletâ€™s character Sarah Pierce, knee deep in an affair, goes to a book group to talk about Madame Bovary and defends the need to keep wanting despite social constraints (like, say, a husband and a daughter).
It is this sentiment of intolerance toward the status quo which permeates every frame of Little Children. Based on the critically-acclaimed novel by Tom Perrotta, the film is very much about what defines happy, when we should give up, and the difference between right, wrong and the grey areas in between.
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One of the most accurate indicators of the Academy Awards are the Producers Guild of America nominees for Best Film. Two of the films are big studio productions, Dreamgirls and The Departed. The three other nominees are Babel, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen, the first two from studio art house divisions, and the last from Miramax, something of a return to the more modest productions that distinguished that company. It has also been noted in articles from Reuters and AP that the Producers Guild and the Academy do not always agree on the Best Film winner. Last years the Producers Guild named Brokeback Mountain as the Best Film, while the Academy honored Crash.
Animated feature nominees are Cars, Happy Feet, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Monster House and Flushed Away.
The Producers Guild Awards will be handed out on January 20 in Los Angeles.
Word on the street (and by “the street” I mean Variety) is that Spike Lee has signed on with Paramount to direct a biopic of recently deceased Sex Machine James Brown.
The project has been in development for a while, and Brown was actively involved before he passed away aged 73 early Christmas Day.
Lee will rewrite a script that’s already been through a few drafts, with production to begin either 2007 or 2008. Brown had an eventful 73 years, so it’ll be interesting to see how Lee treats certain events. For example, what to do with the fact that Brown replaced his eyebrows with tattoos in 1991?
The bigger question is… who will play The Godfather Of Soul on screen? Maybe Eddie Murphy? Add his Brownesque Dreamgirls performance to starring his James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party impression on Saturday Night Live and we might have a winner.
First up, that’s not a typo. It’s supposed to be spelled like that.
Second, this movie should be a disaster. I’m cynic #1 with “inspirational” movies, and that goes double for movies about the American dream, as if the USA is the only country in the world where poor people can make money. So this adaptation of Christopher Gardner‘s recent biography, about how one destitute man chased his dreams and become a millionaire should be unbearable in a Ron Howard at his worst kind of way.
Even worse, Will Smith – the Big Willy Smith who battles aliens, and evil robots and gets fat men laid – takes the title role, getting all serious and actorly. And even even worse worse, Gardner’s infant son is played by Will’s infant son, Jaden Smith.
But Happyness works. It works so well it made my face wet. It works mostly because it’s understated and doesn’t lay on the shmaltz too thick.
As Gardner, Smith shows he can reign in the bravado, or at least channel it to be dignified and determined. His Gardner still has that Will Smith charm, that Will Smith blockbuster smile. But he also has a crappy suit, grey in the roots of his hair and disappointment after disappointment heaped upon him.
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