Tag Archives: August: Osage County

August: Osage County: A Film Review

August: Osage County began life as a Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning play written by Tulsa’s own Tracy Letts.  Letts also wrote the screenplay, so I had no worries about the continuity between the play and the movie.  The cast is absolutely stellar, and there was no doubt these actors would pull the best from the script.  The whole movie is set, and they filmed, less than an hour from my home.  The excitement of a film of this quality showcasing the natural beauty of Oklahoma outshone my vague sense of dread after reading the summation of the play’s plot.

Set in rural Oklahoma, the story features an alcoholic father, a drug addict mother, a suicide, a marriage ending, racism, and the lasting damage people inflict on each other.  The description of the film as a “dark comedy” is certainly apt, and I knew without a doubt that the cast would deliver.  Seriously, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dermont Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale…what couldn’t you do with that kind of cast?

The cast delivered the performances I knew they would, each actor disappearing into amazingly well-written characters.  Characters that, I think, are universally relatable.  No matter their specific story, seeing something of yourself or someone close to you in them wasn’t a stretch.  Although, for those of us who drive these roads, shop at these stores, and are intimately familiar with the trappings of the film it may have been even a bit easier to relate. (When you’re fairly certain you shop at the grocery store some of the props come from…it is definitely close to home.)

Having heard English actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, with a convincing American accent in The Whistleblower, I didn’t wonder if he’d be able to pull off sounding like an American, but the man exceeded my expectations and sounded as  if he grew up down the road, mastering the particular accent and cadence of speech of Oklahoma without flaw.  Actually, all the actors did an amazing job with this.  Julia Roberts’s character had moved away from home to Colorado, and like many of us who have done this, lost most of her accent…except in times of stress when the “okie” slipped fleetingly through.

They did a lot of the filming locally, in Bartlesville, OK, and the film does a wonderful job of showing off the things I love about the local landscape.  The area is both stark and beautiful, miles to drive without seeing more than scattered farmhouses, not always in the best state of repair, and huge round bales of hay, and gently rolling hills.

AugustosagecountyThis script is funny in places, but it is truly the “dark comedy” it professes to be.  Although there are brief moments of levity, the overall feel of the movie is…downright depressing, be warned.  If your family is in any way, shape, or form dysfunctional (and really, whose isn’t?) this movie will pick at the scab.  Tracy Letts has done a phenomenal job with pulling the audience into these characters’ lives, and when I watched it, the vast majority of the audience in the theater stayed seated through the credits to collect themselves before leaving in virtual silence.  Honestly, it took a couple of days before I was really able to shake the contemplative mood that August: Osage County engendered, and it actually inspired a few changes in my own life…mostly in an effort to never become anything like the characters portrayed in the film.

Confession time. I’ve sat on this review for…a couple of months.  This is not an easy film for me to review because, while August: Osage County certainly deserves recognition and awards for the stellar quality of the film, there is no doubt about it.  This is a great film in every technical aspect I can think of.  Acting, cinematography, script, and I would never steer anyone away from watching it, but it also hit a little too close to home in places…a lot of places.  Be prepared, when you watch it, come armed with good, funny, friends…and puppies for after (who doesn’t smile at puppies?)…you’ll need it.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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Coriolanus

I got a text just before we arrived at Circle Cinema for the Nation Theatre Live broadcast of Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston as Caius Martius Coriolanus and Mark Gatiss as Menenius.  “It’s packed already,” the text read.  Truthfully, I wondered how my friend defined “packed”.  Every show I’d seen to that point had filled maybe half the theater, so I couldn’t figure out why she was worried.  Then, I walked into the door.  The line to enter the theater snaked around the corner, through the gallery, and nearly out the back door…hmmm.  Maybe I was wrong to doubt my dear friend. (Sorry about that!)  It was definitely packed.  Fortunately, we had already purchased tickets, so I picked them up and we joined the crowd.  The theater was filled.  As the play began, people were still searching for seats.  It brought joy to my geeky literary heart that so many had turned out for Shakespeare. I’ve been looking forward to this event for…a while, and it was worth the wait.  Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s later plays, and it is one that I hadn’t read or seen before the broadcast.  Considering how much I love Shakespeare, that alone would have made the evening a success.  With a cast such as this, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be an outstanding performance, and I was right.  This production was at the Donmar Warehouse, in London’s West End.  The Donmar is a converted banana ripening facility, so it offers a rather unique space for the production of a play.  With limited space, and therefor stage settings, the use of the walls became essential, and the actors really become the focus.  I love watching Shakespeare performed, because his humor, and sometimes snarkiness, don’t always translate as well on the page.  The beauty of the language really shines through when you can see and hear everything.  When actors are hurling words across the stage, sound and rhythm of the language impact mood and pacing of the story as much as anything else.   Watching the characters, language, and story come to life on the stage permits me to experience well-loved, worn out volumes with fresh eyes.  I knew this would be a great performance going in, but this cast still blew me away. http://youtu.be/2VA3ZSaC2nU In Tom Hiddleston’s performance as the main character, I saw not only a great warrior who was a terrible politician, but also a man who spoke from his heart, didn’t see any need for prevarication or deception, and no reason to sugar coat the truth.   Caius Martius isn’t someone who’s easy to like, his arrogance and surety that there are people meant to rule and others meant to be ruled is off-putting, to say the least. He makes comments about the common people comparing them to measles and remarking that they stink.  Hiddleston’s performance takes him beyond that into a character that has shining moments of humility and caring scattered through…you know, like a real person.  Caius Martius Coriolanus was a man who loved his mother, wife, and child, and wanted to make them proud.  You end up pulling for this guy, even as part of you wonders if you should. Menenius, played by Mark Gatiss, probably came out on top as my favorite character in this play.  Menenius battles as skillfully with wit and humor as Coriolanus does with muscle and sword.  Gatiss’s skill at playing the intellectual politician is evident to anyone who has ever seen Mycroft in the BBC’s Sherlock, but Menenius uses humor and warmth to defuse rising tensions and utilizes sentiment as readily as intellect.  Watching Gatiss’s Menenius deflate overblown egos with a handful of well placed words and a smile, wielding his scarf almost as both a prop and weapon is a joy. Aufidius, the general of the opposing army, played by Hadley Fraser impressed me as a character as well.  Aufidius and Caius Martius met in battle several times, each time Martius emerged victorious.  Aufidius wants nothing more than to defeat this enemy, and swears he would kill him while he was sleeping if the opportunity presented itself.  However, when Caius Martius Coriolanus is banished from Rome he makes his way to Aufidius’s home. Fraser’s character accepts Coriolanus’s offer of service to his former enemy. There is so much I loved about that scene.  The bending of Martius’s stiff pride to ask for help, and putting his life in the hands of his enemy.  Aufidius’s final acceptance of the offer…these actors!  Can I go again? http://youtu.be/1d30XZhnRWs The theater at Circle Cinema was filled with my kind of people.  Shakespeare, Sherlock, and Loki fans alike were out in force, and it made my geeky heart grow three sizes bigger.  I overheard mentions of Loki and Mycroft all over the place.  Both Hiddleston and Gatiss got a cheer during the opening interviews with cast members and directors. Some people even drove 5 1/2 hours just to see the performance, and this was a friendly bunch who struck up conversations with strangers. (Other people do it too.  It isn’t just me!) The whole evening felt like it was spent in a theater packed with friends.  Really, can we do this again? Actually, I have attended four viewings at Circle Cinema in less than two months.  Considering, I maybe went to a movie once a quarter…I thought, maybe I should just become a member, so I did.  Supporting a non-profit independent movie theater is a no-brainer if I get to continue to see these kinds of things.  Other great shows that are coming soon are the National Theatre Live broadcast of Frankenstein, Jerusalem (showing now), Nebraska (showing now), August: Osage County (showing now), Inside Llewyn Davis (showing now), and so many others.  Since three of those feature Benedict Cumberbatch, I would say someone is a member of the Cumbercollective, but that dude just released a wealth of work this past year.  Check out the trailer for Frankenstein below.  Who could resist that?  It looks awesome! http://youtu.be/bLS48tH9Y14 ‘Til next time, Jessica

 

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Awards Season…Oscar Nominees

Since I offered up the Golden Globe winners, I thought it would only be fair to tackle the next big news in the round of award season happenings.  This morning the nominees for the Oscars were announced….yes, I included all of them.  I’m not sure whether to say “you’re welcome” or “I’m sorry”.  Most of us are only watching for maybe half of these, but not all of us.  If you are watching for the best makeup and hairstyling…no worries, it is there.  I promise.  Keep scrolling.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Best Actress
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Actor
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Adapted Screenplay
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Best Original Song
“Alone Yet Not Alone,” Alone Yet Not Alone; music by Bruce Broughton, lyrics by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy,” Despicable Me 2; music and lyrics by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go,” Frozen; music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song,” Her; music by Karen O., lyrics by Karen O. and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; music by Paul Hewson, Dan Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, a.k.a. U2; lyrics by Paul Hewson, a.k.a. Bono

Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

Best Documentary — Feature
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
Omar, Palestine

Best Original Score
John Williams, The Book Thief
Steven Price, Gravity
William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks

Best Cinematography
Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
Roger A. Deakins, Prisoners

Best Production Design
Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration), American Hustle
Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration), Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration), The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration), Her
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration), 12 Years a Slave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club
Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, The Lone Ranger

Best Costume Design
Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster
Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
Michael O’Connor, The Invisible Woman
Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave

Best Film Editing
Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten, American Hustle
Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa, Dallas Buyers Club
Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity
Joe Walker, 12 Years a Slave

Best Visual Effects
Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould, Gravity
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick, Iron Man 3
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier, The Lone Ranger
Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton, Star Trek Into Darkness

Best Sound Mixing
Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro, Captain Phillips
Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro, Gravity
Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland, Inside Llewyn Davis
Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow, Lone Survivor

Best Sound Editing
Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns, All Is Lost
Oliver Tarney, Captain Phillips
Glenn Freemantle, Gravity
Brent Burge, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Wylie Stateman, Lone Survivor

Best Documentary — Short
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Best Live Action Short
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Best Animated Short
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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And the Winner of the Golden Globe is…

Did you watch the Golden Globes last night?  I missed the Golden Globes last night.  I was still in recovery after watching His Last Vow, the final episode in Season 3 of BBC’s Sherlock.  (Recovery?  Really?  Yes, recovery.  Don’t worry, there will be a post about all of Season 3, just not until it airs in America.  If you would like to discuss, pretty please email me at ilovegeekology101@gmail.com!)  That however, is not the point.  The point is I missed the Golden Globes.  I like watching the actors go down the red carpet and listening to the interviews more than the award show itself (unless I can keep that on in the background while I do other things…like baseball on television….well, baseball before the NLCS anyway.)  So many films that I want to see were nominated in some form or fashion last night (there’s a full list of nominees and winners below).  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to see all of them yet, but here is my list…
  • 12 Years A Slave – Everything I’ve read about this film says it will be stunning, but I missed it when it was in theaters here in Tulsa.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t work a trip to the movies into my schedule (well, not if I wanted to sleep anyway).
  • August: Osage County – The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play was written by fellow Tulsan, Tracy Letts, and it was filmed just up the highway from here.  Even if there was no local connection to the film, I would still want to see it.  It opened in Tulsa on Friday, so I’ve still got a little time there.
  • Nebraska – Another film that I’ve heard (and read) people rave about.  It was still playing at the Circle Cinema here in Tulsa last week…let’s see if I can manage it. *gulp*
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • American Hustle
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Gravity

All of these movies are ones that are/have been on my list of things to do.  So why haven’t I?  Hmmm….well, sometimes being a grown-up just sucks….and that’s all I have to say about that.  What about you?  Have you seen any of these films?  Are there any that you would recommend that I haven’t listed?  Let me know if I’ve made good choices from the Golden Globes list, and what I need to see before the Academy Awards come along!  Tell me about the best/worst dressed people in your opinion too.  I missed all the handsome men being all dashing in their tuxedos and the glamorous beautiful women in their designer gowns…help a girl out and tell me who I need to go find pictures of…please?

Full list of winners from Golden Globes 2014
Matthew McConaughey won best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in Dallas Buyers Club (Picture: AP Photo/NBC)

Golden Globes 2014: Film winners

Best motion picture – drama

WINNER: 12 Years a Slave

Captain Phillips

Gravity

Philomena

Rush

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – drama

WINNER: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – drama

WINNER: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Best motion picture – comedy or musical

WINNER: American Hustle

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – comedy or musical

WINNER: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis

Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – comedy or musical

WINNER: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Julie Delpy, Before Midnight

Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best director – motion picture

WINNER: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O Russell, American Hustle

Best screenplay – motion picture

WINNER: Spike Jonze, Her

Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan, Philomena

John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave

Eric Warren Singer, David O Russell, American Hustle

Best foreign language film

WINNER: The Great Beauty

Blue is the Warmest Color

The Hunt

The Past

The Wind Rises

Best animated feature film

WINNER: Frozen

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Best original song – motion picture

WINNER: Ordinary Love, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Atlas, Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Let It Go, Frozen

Please Mr Kennedy, Inside Llewyn Davis

Sweeter Than Fiction, One Chance

Best original score – motion picture

WINNER: Alex Ebert, All Is Lost

Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Steven Price, Gravity

John Williams, The Book Thief

Hans Zimmer, 12 Years A Slave

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture

WINNER: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Daniel Brühl, Rush

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture

WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Golden Globes 2014: TV winners

Best television series – drama

WINNER: Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

The Good Wife

House Of Cards

Masters Of Sex

Best television series – comedy or musical

WINNER: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Big Bang Theory

Girls

Modern Family

Parks & Recreation

Best performance by an actress in a television series – comedy or musical

WINNER: Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl

Lena Dunham, Girls

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Best performance by an actor in a television series – comedy or musical

WINNER: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Michael J Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best performance by an actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television

WINNER: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra

Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge

Idris Elba, Luther

Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Best performance by an actress in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television

WINNER: Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor

Rebecca Ferguson, White Queen

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

Helen Mirren, Phil Spector

Best performance by an actress in a television series – drama

WINNER: Robin Wright, House Of Cards

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Taylor Schilling, Orange Is The New Black

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Best performance by an actor in a television series – drama

WINNER: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

James Spader, The Blacklist

Best mini-series or motion picture made for television

WINNER: Behind The Candelabra

American Horror Story: Coven

Dancing on the Edge

Top of the Lake

White Queen

Best performance by a supporting actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television

WINNER: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Corey Stoll, House of Cards

Best performance by a supporting actress in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television

WINNER: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge

Janet McTeer, White Queen

Hayden Panettiere , Nashville

Monica Potter, Parenthood

Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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