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Oscar Host Fiasco and Bridesmaids DVD Release

Posted by: Matthew Turner 11/11/2011 @ 10:31
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 447
Films seen in the last week: Trespass, Tabloid, Immortals, Arthur Christmas, The British Guide to Showing Off, Margin Call, Sing Your Song

FILM OF THE WEEK: Tabloid

Oscar Host Fiasco
Well, that was quick. If I'd written this blog post yesterday morning/afternoon, it would have been very different indeed, but I guess things move quickly where the Oscars are concerned. It all started when Oscars producer Brett Ratner stepped down as a result of public and industry outcry over some offensive comments he'd made while promoting Tower Heist followed by him digging an even bigger hole for himself by going on the Howard Stern Show and talking, bizarrely, about his sex life. Then Oscar host (and, crucially, Tower Heist co-star) Eddie Murphy dropped out of hosting duties in what the Guardian called
an unlikely show of Hollywood loyalty”, though since Ratner and Murphy are rumoured to be rebooting the Beverley Hills Cop franchise, perhaps Murphy wasn't entirely loyalty-motivated.



Anyway, this lead to what would have been the feverishly excited topic of this blog post had I written it yesterday, because Murphy's departure sparked an internet campaign to get the Muppets to host the Oscars, which duly took off on Facebook and Twitter (#MuppetOscars/@MuppetOscars), only to be dashed, less than 12 hours later by the announcement that longtime Oscar host Billy Crystal would once more be stepping into hosting duties.

Now, I'm a big fan of Billy Crystal and when someone cocks up Oscar hosting duties (like Anne Hathaway and James Franco last year) I'm the first to say “I wish Billy Crystal would come back”) but, I ask you, how brilliant would a Muppet Oscars have been? Hell, I'd have settled for Statler and Waldorf doing the whole thing. Seriously, who doesn't want to see the Muppets host the Oscars? Ah well. It was a beautiful dream while it lasted.

Films I Am Dying To See: J. Edgar
Unusually for me, I've been aware of J. Edgar almost since it was first announced. That's partly because I'm more or less a fan of Clint Eastwood's films (at least in the sense that I'm always excited to see his new film, even if none of them ever make it onto my top ten of the year) but also because I'm a huge fan of films to do with American history, particularly this period in American history (essentially the 1920s to the 1960s). I'm also a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and he looks pretty damn good on the evidence of this trailer.

So, fairly obviously, the film is a biopic of feared – and ultimately paranoid - FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio), tracing his life from childhood (unless those are flashbacks) through to his death in 1972, under Nixon's presidency. The trailer practically screams OSCAR BAIT (not to mention TOPICALITY, judging by the line “Sometimes we need to bend the rules a little in order to keep our country safe”) and I wouldn't be at all surprised if DiCaprio got a Best Actor nomination at the very least.



I'm not entirely sure that Judi Dench is the right casting for DiCaprio's mother, but I suppose Clint knows what he's doing. I can't quite work out who the ginger-looking woman is at 0m50s or 1m06s either (she looks like she's Hoover's secretary or Hoover's wife or possibly both) and the imdb is no help at all. Similarly, I can't tell if the woman at 1m14s is Naomi Watts in a ginger wig or not. There's also no sign of My Good Friend Ed Westwick in the trailer, though his Gossip Girl co-star Armie Hammer is front and centre as Hoover's right-hand man Clyde Tolson and he gets to throw stuff at the walls, Phil Mitchell-style.

Curiously, there's also no sign of Hoover's rumoured proclivity for dressing up in women's clothes – I'm basically going to spend the whole film wondering if they'll get around to that. I asked a reviewing friend who's seen the film if it's any good and he (or she) made a frowny face, which is a little worrying, but I'm looking forward to it anyway. It opens here on 20th January 2012.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Four new entries this week, with Errol Morris' terrific documentary Tabloid (for my money one of the best films of the year and certainly the best film of last year's LFF), Andrea Arnold's ultra-naturalistic take on Wuthering Heights, Bruce Robinson's Hunter S Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary and British ghost story The Awakening all entering the top ten. I'll also put in a good word for Jane Eyre (which, appropriately, I've dropped for Wuthering Heights) and Miss Bala, both of which are deep into their second runs and will be disappearing very soon. I guess that means this will soon be disappearing from tube stations, which will be a sad day indeed.

Four new interviews this week as well - we have a semi-exclusive round-table interview with Rum Diary (and Withnail & I) director Bruce Robinson (one of the most enjoyable round tables I've ever been to), a semi-exclusive round table with The Rum Diary star Amber Heard (also one of the most enjoyable, only for different reasons), an exclusive interview with Keith Chegwin (who made the weird and unnerving decision to sit knee-to-knee for the interview – no respecter of personal space is Cheggers) for Kill Keith and an exclusive interview with rising star Candese Reid for Junkhearts.

Elsewhere you can still read our press conference interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman for Jack Goes Boating, our exclusive interview with Stephanie Sigman and Gerardo Naranjo (star and director of the excellent Miss Bala), a press conference interview with George Clooney for The Ides of March, press conference interviews with Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and director Tate Taylor for The Help, our exclusive interview with Albatross star Jessica Brown Findlay (aka Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil) and an exclusive interview with The Greatest Movie Ever Sold director Morgan Spurlock.

1. Tabloid
2. We Need To Talk About Kevin
3. Weekend
4. Wuthering Heights
5. Melancholia
6. Midnight In Paris
7. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
8. The Rum Diary
9. The Awakening
10. The Silence

DVD of the Week: Bridesmaids (released 14th November, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Bridesmaids, which is easily the funniest comedy of the year. Directed by Paul Feig it stars Kristen Wiig (who co-wrote the script) as thirty-something Annie, who has taken a job in a jewellery store after the collapse of her bakery business and whose only romantic relationship consists of the occasional hook-up with non-commital Ted (Jon Hamm). When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged, Annie is thrilled when she's asked to be the maid of honour, but she soon clashes with seemingly perfect Helen (Rose Byrne), who has her own ideas for Lillian's wedding.

Long-time Wiig-watchers have been waiting years for her to get the lead role she deserves, so it's a treat to see her finally handed a part worthy of her talents and she duly obliges with a terrific comic performance that takes in everything from physical comedy to pratfalls and a winning way with a sweary one-liner. Needless to say, she's also utterly adorable and has sweet chemistry with both Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd (as a local cop who falls for her).



Interestingly, the film isn't the female version of The Hangover that the trailers seemed to promise – instead it's a much funnier, more original comedy that's consistently hilarious all the way through, thanks to Wiig's brilliantly written script and terrific performances from a superb comic cast (and a scene-stealing Melissa McCarthy in particular).

The excellent extras package includes: a choice between the theatrical and unrated versions of the film; a commentary with director Paul Feig and cast members Wiig, Rudolph, McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper; a gag reel; Line-O-Rama (multiple comedy versions of various lines); three deleted scenes; five extended and alternative scenes; and a gag commercial for Wiig's workplace (a jeweller's) in the film. No Making Of though, which is a shame. Needless to say, there's tonnes more extras on the Blu-Ray, but let's not go there right now.

Highly recommended and one of the best films of the year.

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