Readers, we are living an era of ill-advised remakes of already great (or at the very least, already classic movies). Titles allegedly in the re-works include: Red Dawn, Red Sonja, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Total Recall, Barbarella, Short Circuit, and The Karate Kid. So this morning's report from Variety about a new adaptation of James M. Cain's novel, Mildred Pierce, had me exhaling a huge sigh. According to the report, Todd Haynes, who wrote and directed I'm Not There and Far From Heaven, is slated to write and direct a miniseries staring Kate Winslet with the possibility that it will air on HBO.
While I'd watch Winslet do anything after her guest appearance on Extras, and she can surely go toe-to-toe acting wise with the original film's star, Joan Crawford, who won an Academy award for the role, I wondered if a new version would have anything different to offer.
It's hard not to feel ambivalent about the Oscars. The nominations and winners are decided by a set of disparate criteria (artistic achievement, industry clout, reputation, studio alignment, marketing dollars) and a voting body that is largely irrelevant to most moviegoers. Still, getting nominated - and winning! - contributes handily to the artistic credibility and financial success of those lucky enough to receive a nod. Oscars also play a big part in helping studios decide what and whom to finance. Which is why it's really no surprise that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button cleaned up in the nominations this year: it's just another Forrest Gump.
So what's there to cheer and jeer about in the Oscars this year? Some thoughts after the jump...
In the week leading up to the release of the film Revolutionary Road, there was quite a media ballyhoo about Kate Winslet reading Betty Friedan's 1963 feminist classic The Feminine Mystique to prepare for her role as April Wheeler, as well as Winslet's declaration (albeit tepid) that she is a feminist ("I think I probably am. I mean, not in a bra-burning way. But I think I am a feminist, yeah.") Now that the film is in theatres, the connection between the film and feminism has continued to be the subject of much conversation. Over at HuffPo, blogger Melissa Silverstein goes so far as to write that the film "should be required watching for all young women who think that feminism is irrelevant." But in all this talk about feminism and Revolutionary Road, there hasn't been much dialogue about film's relationship to its source, the 1961 Richard Yates novel of the same name, or the way that the character of Frank Wheeler has been re-imagined. Casting a critical eye on the way the novel has been adapted calls into question just how revolutionary the film really is... More after the jump...
Warning: Major spoilers ahead for both novel and film.
As the Oscar buzz starts to build (already!) this month, get ready to hear a lot about Kate Winslet. The five-time Oscar nominee is likely to be both a Best Actress and a Best Supporting Actress nominee (Oscar rules prohibit her from being nominated twice in one category) for her two upcoming films, The Reader and Revolutionary Road. Winslet has been focusing most of her promotional efforts on Revolutionary Road, which is directed by her husband, Sam Mendes, but she won't need to work hard to generate hype for The Reader. It's already underway, and much of it has to do with Winslet's full frontal sex scenes.