Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 10/28)

  • Never a dull moment at The Awards Circuit, we began with two fantastic articles from our newest contributing writers, Nicole Melkonian and Tiff Chai. Nicole goes with her heart — which we are so thankful of — and lists the 10 Greatest Films by a Female Director. Tiff Chai, who is spearheading the site’s focus on international cinema, profiles one of China’s most talented, innovative and masterful filmmakers: Gordon Chan, who she dubs “The Chinese Scorsese.”

  • Mark Johnson and John H. Foote send us to the small screen to peel back even more layers of the month’s most talked about legends: Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock. Spielberg, while of course promoting Lincoln, uses his time on 60 Minutes mostly to discuss his own upbringing and childhood. According to Mark, and my wonderful parents, this special is a must-see! Meanwhile, John H. Foote gives us his thoughts on HBO’s “The Girl,” the effective creepiness unearthed by Toby Jones, and what effect this made-for-television movie could have on Fox Searchlight’s upcoming Hitchcock biopic.
  • On the latest episode of Power Hour, the staff discuss what direct impact Joaquin Phoenix’s “anti-Oscar” comments may have on his way to the podium, much less the nomination ballot. History has proven that The Academy forgives more than it shuns, especially in the light of magnificence. Whatever qualms you have with Phoenix as a person or the befuddling nature of The Master itself, there’s simply no moving past his brilliantly unnerving performance as emotionally-wounded war veteran, Freddie Quell. Yann Martel might have said that the story of Life of Pi will make you believe in God, but Phoenix’s performance might be more applicable.
  • After updating his Sizing Up series, this time focusing on the Best Actress race, Joey Magidson dove right into the best of the new releases. For his DVD-Pick-of-the-Week, Joey chose Steven Soderbergh’s indie smash hit, Magic Mike. Like Joey says, this is much more than just a “skin flick.” It happens to be a fantastic character study that transitions Channing Tatum from “that hunky dude” to “bona fide movie star with SERIOUS acting chops.” One of the year’s best, you also shouldn’t overlook Cody Horn’s fantastic supporting role as a young woman who’s very protective of her brother over what could be a reputation-killing career. Matthew McConaughey get’s all the acclaim, but the screenplay by Reid Carolin is where Oscar® should be looking — it’s tight and emphasizes character over spectacle. Although I prefer Soderbergh’s earlier-in-the-year Haywire to Magic Mike (I’m in the minority on this — don’t shoot me!), the director is two for two in my eyes this year, and is definitely one of 2012’s best all-around entertainers. For his vintage selection, Joey went with a film I’ve only seen once but really do love and appreciate, Darren Aronofsky’s deeply moving The Fountain in honor of this weekend’s Cloud Atlas.
  • In lieu of the month’s various new releases (Cloud Atlas and Silent Hill, for instance), you’ll notice many tie-in articles that make a grander statement about Hollywood in general. On the topic of video game movies (Silent Hill 3D and Wreck-It Ralph), I announced what I consider to be the “greatest” video game adaptations of all-time, hoping that in some way the studios can see that being the “greatest” simply doesn’t cut it in this genre. John H. Foote ran with Hitchcock’s biopic boldness and unveiled his own personal selections of famous directors in need of a biographical resuscitation on the big screen. Finally, Daniel Ashtiany challenged/pleaded with Hollywood to adapt these five books for our viewing pleasure.
  • As one festival ends (thanks Daniel for terrific coverage of LFF), another one begins! Look for The Awards Circuit coverage of AFI Film Fest to come your way very shortly. Nicole, Tiff and I will kick things off on November 1st, so stay tuned! Don’t forget to leave your questions for today’s recorded Power Hour episode. Have a fantastic week, and I just ask that you all continue to support terrific movies at the box office, especially those that deserve a serious boost, made by exceptionally talented individuals (Cloud Atlas, Middle of Nowhere, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Seven Psychopaths, Looper, End of Watch and The Master).Argois the first quality movie of October to take top billing at the box office, but don’t forget to spread the wealth!