Tonight’s Movie: Into the Woods
With the Academy Award nominations due to be announced tomorrow morning, most movie blogs and websites are busy trying to predict what names will be called before dawn. I don’t have the expertise to join them, nor have I seen enough films to really get a sense of how things will shake out. However, despite my feeling that 2014 was a bit of a dud at the movies, I still have some nominations I’d like to see in the morning. I’ve broken them down below into three general categories based on their likelihood, with some seemingly locks for a nomination, others possible but less likely, and others that will never happen no matter how much I want them to.
2014 has come and gone, and while there were some definite highlights to the year of movies, overall I’d say it was a bit disappointing compared to years past. There were some movies that I really loved, but I wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic in 2014 as I usually am for the world of cinema. However, things are looking up for 2015, with a lot to be excited about, plus there are still a few movies I need to catch up on from 2014 that I either missed or haven’t gotten around to (Big Eyes, Selma, The Imitation Game, etc.). But now that 2015 is underway it’s time to take a look back at the highs and lows of 2014 at the movies. Instead of a traditional top 10 list of movies, I like to list out my favorite cinema-related things from the year. Some of them are movies, but others might be scenes, characters, moments, or even just announcements. So without further ado, here are my top 10 and bottom 3 of 2014 at the movies.
I rarely pay much attention to those around me in a movie theater. We all have experienced a myriad of awful behavior from both adults and children, and it’s driven some people to stay home and simply watch movies on Netflix (or pirate them), but I’ve mostly learned to tune them out. There are exceptions, when I want to see how people react to a particular moment in a film I’ve seen before, but mostly I ignore people rudely talking or checking their cell phones and such. However, I started to notice an interesting trend during Into the Woods that brought a lot of questions to my mind, particularly as it pertains to the state of musical films in today’s pop culture landscape. And it all made me wonder whether movie musicals will ever be popular enough again to have a regular place at the table of major film genres, and why, exactly, people stopped loving musicals.
The production of Into the Woods has been a series of ups and downs for theatre fans around the world. The film’s mere existence is worthy of excitement, but the presence of Disney overseeing the relatively mature Stephen Sondheim musical was cause for concern. Sondheim’s involvement (along with the original show writer James Lapine) allayed some fears, but his interviews caused a lot of confusion about what changes had been made, what songs had been cut, and how “family friendly” the film had been made. The A-list cast and director Rob Marshall brought some Hollywood glamor to the movie, and all that remained was to wait and see how it turned out. The end result is a fairly faithful, extremely well made adaptation of a musical that is perhaps better suited for stage rather than screen.
This year’s D23, a conference every two years exclusively for members of the D23 fan club, was full of news about upcoming projects, but unfortunately it wasn’t the news that people were expecting to hear. There was no Star Wars casting announcement, no surprises from Marvel or Pixar, no Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. What there was, however, was lots of smaller casting announcements, plus an in-depth look at some films which we previously only knew the title of. I’m a D23 member, but I wasn’t at the conference this year, but read on for the highlights of what was announced and shown, along with some of my opinions. Continue reading