Monday, November 17, 2014

Random Thoughts

It's far too early to get a sense of how Unbroken will be generally received but an "intense" film with "unrelenting visceral brutality" sounds like a film that people may respect more than they will love.    A "largely positive" reaction and "warm applause" from a premiere audience is reassuring although more or less expected.  The two-week embargo after the early premiere doesn't help diminish perceptions -- however unfair -- that Universal is somehow "hiding" it.  I imagine that the premiere was pushed early to allow Brad to fly to Sydney from Tokyo instead of making 2 trans-Pacific round trips, but in the absence of any explanation from the studio, the two-week gap is making excitable bloggers suspicious.  Sasha Stone is the 4th movie writer I've read who used "hide" or "hiding."

Other than the brief comments in the Variety report, all we know so far comes via Kris Tapley -- that Unbroken has stirred "mixed reactions" from early press screenings for those with "long lead deadlines."  There had been very early buzz that Unbroken was "too violent" and it doesn't sound like Angelina toned it down very much, if at all.   But early reactions can be unreliable as Tapley himself notes that Selma also had mixed early reactions -- and went on to receive an almost rapturous reception at the AFI.  He noted that the opposite was true for Interstellar which had very strong early buzz and a mixed wide reception.   I also recall Tapley reporting that he spoke to someone who "hated" American Sniper, calling it typical late-Eastwood, but AFI reactions were much more positive and no one "hated" it.

We should know where Unbroken stands when the NYCC and NBR release their lists and the embargo lifts on December 2.  Until then, its best to temper expectations.  And lowered expectations may actually help the film.

-- Fussy 


Will Angelina Jolie earn a Best Director Oscar nomination this year for 'Unbroken'?

Jolie's upcoming film tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic athlete who became a prisoner of war during World War II. It's based on the wildly successful book by Laura Hillenbrand.

By , Staff Writer

Angelina Jolie's upcoming film, "Unbroken," based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand, is being released during peak Oscar season on Dec. 25. Will the film earn a Best Picture nod or give Jolie a Best Director nomination?
"Unbroken" tells the real-life story of Louis Zamperini, an athlete who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. During World War II, his plane crashed in the Pacific and he became a prisoner of war with the Japanese. The film stars actor Jack O’Connell as Zamperini as well as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actor Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Divergent” actor Jai Courtney, among others. Hillenbrand's book was published in 2010 but was still at number two on the IndieBound trade paperback nonfiction list for the week of Nov. 13.
Jolie’s previous directing work includes the 2011 film, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe.
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Actor O’Connell appeared in the UK series “Skins” and the 2014 film “300: Rise of an Empire,” among other work, but may be unfamiliar to some moviegoers. Jolie recently praised his work at the Hollywood Film Awards, according to E!.

“As a director, to have Jack in front of your lens is a gift,” she said. “He makes every moment honest.”
Meanwhile, she also discussed her relationship with Zamperini at the recent Australian premiere of the film.
“I think as a human being, as a mother, as someone who works internationally, I needed desperately to know a man like Louis Zamperini in my life, to know that there is hope,” she told Reuters. Zamperini died this past July.
Some industry watchers are predicting either “Unbroken,” Jolie, or both will earn nods at the Oscars this year. Entertainment Weekly writer Nicole Sperling noted that “the epic true story of Louis Zamperini has Oscar bait written all over it” and that “Angelina Jolie… will surely give the boys a run for their money” for a Best Director nod, while Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times predicted that “Unbroken” will get a Best Picture nomination but that Jolie will be skipped over when the Best Director contenders are named.

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