By Sarah Skilton
Bening vs. Swank
years Oscar Showdown between Best Actress is very familiar. Once
again Hilary Swank and Annette Bening go head-to-head. In 2000 they faced
a similar situation; Swank
was nominated for BOYS DONT CRY and Bening for AMERICAN BEAUTY,
with Swank claiming victory.This time around, Bening is up for BEING JULIA,
in which she (not surprisingly) gives due diligence to the role of an
aging actress, receiving some of the highest marks in her career in the
process. Swank plays a boxer in the Clint Eastwood-directed MILLION DOLLAR
BABY. Will she emerge 2 for 2, or concede to Bening this time? And will
it be DiCaprio for THE AVIATOR or Jamie Foxx for RAY? Check out the big
show live on February 27.
Shades of Gray
Jennifer Garner is in final negotiations to play a woman named Gray in
the upcoming film CATCH RELEASE, written and directed by Susannah Grant.
Grant previously received an Oscar nom for her screenplay ERIN BROCKOVICH
and also wrote Sandra Bullocks laffer 28 DAYS. CATCH RELEASE is
an ensemble dramedy and a departure for Garner, whose big-screen roles
thus far have included a stoners girlfriend in DUDE, WHERES
MY CAR?, a ditzy prostitute in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, a 13 YEAR OLD GOING
ON 30, and of course the title character in ELEKTRA, the DAREDEVIL spin-off
that pretty much tanked last month. Hopefully CATCH RELEASE will better
showcase her more serious acting chops, as well as remove the pressure
of carrying a film by her lonesome. Its been speculated that the
reason few people went to see ELEKTRA is because they can already watch
Garner kick butt for free on her weekly series ALIAS, so hopefully they
will be willing to check her out in a completely different capacity.
When the script opens, Gray is mourning the death of her
fiancé, and ends up moving in with his ex-roommates while they
all deal with the loss in their own way. She also discovers quite a few
disturbing secrets about the man she loved, and bonds with one of his
previously unknown friends in a manner that surprises them both.
Despite the sad, touching subject matter, the dialogue and situations
are extremely funny and I believe Garner is perfect for the role. Audiences
tend to accept television stars making the transition to film only when
they are part of a team, so this is an excellent opportunity for Ms. Garner
to expand her fan base and provide a future for herself post-ALIAS.
Indie Watch - Sundances Little Brother
While most of my brethren shivered at Sundance, I checked out the Palm
Springs International Film Fest a mere hour and a half away. Considered
among the top 10 U.S. Festivals, they showcase 200 films over a 12 day
period. At the opening Gala, Nicole Kidman was awarded the festivals
Chairmans Award, and Samuel L. Jackson (now appearing in COACH CARTER)
received a Career Achievement Award for Acting.
my favorite film wasnt a foreign language one, but did take place
entirely on location in Spain and starred WB heartthrob Joshua Jackson.
The film is called AMERICANO and was written and directed by relative
newcomer Kevin Nolan.
Anyone who has ever traveled abroad and not wanted to come home will feel
a joyous and melancholy pull during this movie. Known primarily for his
role on DAWSONS CREEK, Joshua Jackson is utterly charming as a twenty-something
American back packer. The entire movie seems real, which makes his dilemma
(to return to the States and a new but unspecified corporate job, or stay
in Spain) relatable, meaningful and important, in a way that, say, saving
the earth from a meteorite never will be.
There were a few technical difficulties: sound in particular
and some shaky DV camera-work, but its all authentic, particularly
the thrilling Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. And talk about
dedication: The actors performed the run twice, without any insurance!
In one scene, you can actually see Josh patting a bull as it runs by him.
Though the tale is simple, its no less profound.
The romance between Jackson and the gorgeous Leonor Varela, playing free
spirited Adele, grows in a fashion you believe; the kissing scenes appear
unrehearsed and heartfelt, not lip-smacking embarrassing. If and when
this film gets wide distribution, its an excellent date movie. And
if romance isnt your thang, go simply to see the Spanish countryside
in all its glory. Youll feel like you traveled with the characters,
and you may never want to return.