Behind the Candelabra

Gravity

Last year I took on the Golden Globes for the first time, did my research and made my assumptions, and my predictions wound up with only 9 out of 14 winners chosen correctly. This year I’m going more with my gut. I’m also going to have a try with the TV categories since we’ve been covering more and more of that stuff here at FSR. We’ll find out how well I do in my sophomore effort when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association holds its 71st Golden Globe Awards tomorrow night with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting. You should join me then for as-it-happens updated coverage on this site. I’m not calling it a “live blog.” It’ll be more like a concurring review of the show and results. I can’t guarantee that my predictions are going to help you win any bets or pools, but I’ll offer a friendly wager with anyone who thinks they can beat my score. Gimme your best shot in the comments.

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Cannes 2013

The Cannes Film Festival is all wrapped up for another year; the awards have been given out, and pundits are busy working out what’s going to go the distance in the coming awards season, and what will fall by the wayside. In my first time at Cannes, I managed to watch 41 films, including all 20 films In Competition, and have arrived at the 10 films that I feel were the best of show. Put simply, these are ones to watch out for:

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review behind the candelabra

There seems to have been a decisive change in the mainstream biopic recently. Instead of attempting to chronicle a public figure’s emergence into renown from childhood to death, several biopics find their subject in a way that assumes the achievement of fame to be a given from the get-go. Movies like Capote, Invictus, Hitchcock, and Lincoln (not to mention the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks) choose to examine a particular episode in the life of a well-known person instead of justify its subject’s achievement of fame by depicting a summary trajectory of youth to adult achievement. Sure, J. Edgar and The Iron Lady stand out as conspicuous exceptions, as signs that the conventions of the biopic are still alive and well. But this newer approach to the biopic (Invictus excepted) seems to allow a great deal of opportunities that conventional biopics don’t (to the point where they’re arguably no longer biopics): the ability to understand the exceptional individual not through a portrait of their entire life, but through a detailed examination of a more narrative-friendly set of select events and circumstances drawn from a particular point in their life. Such is the same with Steven Soderbergh’s latest (and purportedly last) film, HBO’s Behind the Candelabra. By taking a more modest and focused route to the biopic, Candelabra is a close and fascinating examination of the bizarre phenomenon of fame itself.

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review behind the candelabra

Steven Soderbergh has for years been a director who continues to work entirely in spite of himself; he presses on, releasing a film a year (if not more) while constantly expressing frustration with the industry and claiming that his next will be his last. With his latest effort – a production from the increasingly prestigious HBO Films banner – it appears that the director might finally be sticking to his word, and if so, he goes out with quite the belter to his name. Doing huge justice to the oft-sneered at TV film delegation, Behind the Candelabra is a studious project shot through with the high production quality, dedicated craftsmanship and superior acting of a great theatrical feature, and went down a storm at this morning’s world premiere. Soderbergh trains his focus on the final decade of Liberace’s (Michael Douglas) life, from meeting his most prolific lover, Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) to his eventual death from AIDS. After a chance encounter backstage, the two embark on a whirlwind romance that sees each confide more in each other than they ever have another person. Of course, complications inevitably arise, but their bond is one that endures at different levels right to the singer’s final deathbed conversation with Scott.

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Cannes 2013

This year, The Cannes International Film Festival opens on May 15th with a bombastically modern retelling of the Roaring Twenties and closes on May 26th with a South African-set crime thriller on the heels of apartheid. Everything in between looks amazing. The lineup boasts new Winding Refn, Chandor, Sofia Coppola, Miike, Denis, Coen Brothers and what looks like a nice symmetrical career send off for Steven Soderbergh, who’s bringing Behind the Candelabra there 24 years after winning the festival’s top prize with sex, lies and videotape. That means Soderbergh has an opportunity to join the elite group of multiple Palme d’Or winners, and the Coens and Roman Polanski have that potential as well. All others in competition have never won before. Plus, the non-competition films look equally fantastic. Read the full field, wipe that drool away and check to see what kind of deals you can get on plane tickets to France for May.

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Candelabra

It’s here! Finally, with the release of its first trailer, we get to catch our first glimpse of Michael Douglas donning sequins and feathers to play famed, flamboyant musician Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming biopic for HBO films, Behind the Candelabra, and—oh boy—it’s not a let down. Douglas looks like he had a great time with this one, and it should be a ton of fun watching him chew scenery for one of today’s greatest (non) working directors.

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Steven Soderbergh has been trying to get a movie about the life of Liberace off the ground for a while now. Or, more specifically, he’s trying to make an adaptation of a book called “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace” that was written by Liberace’s long-time live-in lover Scott Thorson. Thorson’s book details his relationship with the famous singer, what their last meeting was like, and gives a little bit of insight into both men’s childhoods. Even though it won’t be coming to a theater near you, Soderbergh will still get his wish, as HBO Films has greenlit the project for production. Don’t think that because HBO is doing this and not one of the big studios that it’s going to be any sort of B-level affair though. Very A-list actors Michael Douglas and Matt Damon have already signed on to portray Liberace and Thorson, so this movie is set to be a big deal, no matter where audiences can find it. Of the HBO distribution model, Soderbergh had this to say, “From the inception of this project, we’ve had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it. HBO’s fearless approach to original programming and their unparalleled ability to pull in viewers make them the perfect fit for us. Apart from my hair growing back, I couldn’t be happier.” Soderbergh himself will still direct the film from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese. I’ll bet Douglas and Damon are off in a […]

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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