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Tag: Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (1-7 of 7)

Road to Sundance: 'Precious' pushed all the right buttons in 2009

December is the heart of Oscar season, yet by the time we finally see who wins the trophies on March 2, we will have heard the nominees answer the same red-carpet questions and tell the same late-night television anecdotes — about process and weight loss and legacy, etc — that we’ll practically be able to write the winners’ acceptance speeches for them. It’s refreshing, then, that right in the middle of this circus will be the Sundance Film Festival.

Every January, in Park City, Utah, a fresh crop of movies is unveiled at independent film’s grandest showcase. What separates Sundance from other prestigious festivals, say Toronto or Cannes, is that it specializes in that your-life-will-never-be-the-same moment. From the day Steven Soderbergh screened sex, lies and videotape in 1989 to the standing ovation Ryan Coogler received earlier this year for Fruitvale Station, Sundance is the place where dreams come true. To be there when it happens, to see filmmakers and actors engaging with appreciative audiences who are watching their work for the first time, is one of the best things about the business. “I haven’t been in a movie before, so everything is so Entourage,” said Gabourey Sidibe, when Precious premiered at Sundance in 2009. “We’re walking up Main Street and everyone’s like, ‘You were so wonderful.’ ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see your movie.’ Oh my God. That is sooooo Entourage.”

How can you not love that?

And it’s not just the rags-to-riches stories that make Sundance such a special place. When talent comes to Sundance — be they no-names or Oscar-winners — their well-rehearsed pat answers simply haven’t taken shape yet. Sundance is the first time they’re meeting the press for their project and they aren’t always 100 percent prepared — which is a wonderful thing. Stay out of his own way, and a journalist might even enjoy a spontaneous, human conversation with some amazing artist who is just as excited to share what went into the process of creating their art. Sometimes, if the spirit moves them, they might have have an impromptu dance party, like Sidibe and her Precious co-stars did at the EW Studio. READ FULL STORY

'The Paperboy' trailer: Nicole Kidman does WHAT to Zac Efron?!

Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy — his follow-up to 2009’s Precious — is bound to be divisive. At Cannes, the film garnered both boos and a 16-minute standing ovation. (EW’s own Owen Gleiberman understands both reactions: “I wanted to do a catcall and clap encouragingly at the same time,” he wrote after seeing its premiere.) It’s fitting, then, that the movie’s just-released trailer also seems divided against itself. The clip’s first 45 seconds or so seem to promise a relatively straightforward thriller about a southern belle with a no-good fiance (Nicole Kidman) and the short-shorts-clad kid who pines for her (Zac Efron). And then things get weird.

Between the gratuitous half-nudity, the cheesy split-screen effects, the campy music, and the fleeting glimpse of Kidman peeing on Efron to soothe a jellyfish sting — seriously — The Paperboy seems like it could be the cinematic equivalent of Stefon‘s favorite clubs. But hey, what would you expect from a film with a poster that looks like the cover of a Jacqueline Susann novel? Watch the clip in all its pulpy glory after the jump.


Mo'Nique to announce Oscar nominations on Jan. 25

Mo’Nique, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar last year for her terrifying performance in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, will announce this year’s nominations on Jan. 25. She and AMPAS president Tom Sherak will reveal the nominees in 10 of the 24 Oscar categories at 5:30 a.m PT at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The attacks on 'Precious' are starting to say more about the attackers

In response to the six Academy Award nominations received last week by Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, the New York Times editorial page decided to honor the movie by publishing… another blistering attack on it. In theory, that’s okay with me: Precious, in the very spotlight of its success, has been a movie of genuine controversy, and there’s no reason that it can’t continue to bear criticism along with praise. But this particular piece of invective, by Ishmael Reed, the venerable poet, novelist, and essayist (he was born in 1938), was notably revealing in the recklessness of its venom. What it demonstrates is that the taking down of Precious has become a holier-than-thou form of racial-sociological bloodsport.

I haven’t responded to the previous moralistic debunkings of Precious — and there have been a number of them — because I figured that the most passionate argument I could make against them is everything I’d already said in my original review. But just briefly: The best way, the only way, to counter the insidious charge that the movie traffics in clichés and stereotypes of African-American poverty and victimization is to say that the difference between a cliché and a portrayal of genuine life will always come down to the specificity of what you’re seeing. READ FULL STORY

'Precious' and its box-office crash: Is it failing to cross over?

Close to a year ago, on a cold gray snowy evening, I walked out of the world’s very first showing of Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (it was then called Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire) during my very first day at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Like so many others who have now seen this film, I was moved, devastated, uplifted, blown away; as I walked over to a shuttle bus stop, my mind was still reeling from the movie. Yet I think that if someone, right then and there, had told me that the picture I’d just seen would be talked about less than a year later as a hot contender for the Academy Awards, I might have looked at that person as if they’d lost their mind. Over the years, I have loved and championed too many Sundance films only to see them get released into the real world and go nowhere, and Precious, with its uncompromising drama of abuse and despair, certainly didn’t look or feel like an Oscar movie.

Yet as everyone knows by now, Precious is the powerfully bleak inner-city drama that may just end up getting to go to the ball. In a turn of events that surprised and thrilled me the moment it happened, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry signed on to be two of the film’s executive producers, taking this honest and artful little movie under their wing. The result of their devotion, along with a brilliant campaign by the film’s distributor, Lionsgate, has been that Precious, in six carefully planned weeks of release, has grossed $38 million — three times as much as The Hurt Locker, and even more than the crowd-pleasing romantic hit (500) Days of Summer. Even as it got beyond a handful of theaters, its per-screen averages were off the charts. Just today, the film was nominated for several Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. By any standard, Precious is a triumph of American independent cinema, an example of what can happen when talented people devote themselves to making something happen.

Yet the fairy tale, I’m afraid, has now run into something of a road block. Every successful movie, in its own way, waxes and then wanes with audiences, but over the last few weeks something startling has happened to Precious: After burning up the box office, it quite suddenly went cold. READ FULL STORY

'Precious,' the National Board of Review, and the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things

Monty Python fans will recognize the RSFPTOTOOT immediately — the esteemed members were, according to one of the Python lads’ greatest sketches, men who gathered annually for useless meetings until one day, one of their ilk declared the whole thing rather silly. And the group disbanded. I thought of the RSFPTOTOOT today when the National Board of Review — the American cinema world’s organizational equivalent — announced its choices for the year’s top 10 movies, and Precious was missing from the list. Now, I realize this omission is pretty theoretical stuff to the millions of moviegoers who have yet to see the movie. But trust me, this counts as an extremely silly snub.

Well, I was briefly starting to work up a head of steam about the matter — why is Movie X on the list but Movie Y isn’t, who are these Board Reviewers who READ FULL STORY

Toronto: Some closing thoughts, and Todd Solondz’s unhappy sequel

tiff_iconHere are a few last, random thoughts on the Toronto film festival, which came to a close yesterday:

It Was a Very Good Year. In the week I spent there, almost everyone I talked to seemed to agree — as did I — on the generally exciting quality of the movies. The fact that so many of those films connected with the anxious urgency of the moment lent the programming (intentionally or not) a certain seductive coherence. At times, coming out of a movie like Collapse or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, it was almost like attending the Whole Earth on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown film festival — and I mean that as a compliment.

Best Film I Saw. Hands down, Up in the Air. An exquisite reminder of everything that a Hollywood movie can still be, Jason Reitman’s sublime comedy about a jet-setting down-sizer addicted to the frictionless pleasures of life on the road touched a nerve as deep as any film at the festival. Yet it also gave George Clooney the chance to prove, yet again, that he’s the most effortlessly compelling old-style-meets-21st-century movie star now working. READ FULL STORY

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