Lisa Cholodenko

Lisa Cholodenko

Director Lisa Cholodenko’s latest film, and her biggest success to date, was the domestic drama with paternity issues The Kids Are All Right. Starring names like Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson, The Kids Are All Right was an ensemble acting piece, and essentially a small in scope character study, so it may come as some surprise that the newest project the direct has in the works sounds like it’s going to be pretty plot-heavy. The Wrap reports that Cholodenko has signed on to make a political thriller called November Criminals. Set in Washington D.C., this Steve Knight- (Eastern Promises) penned script tells the story of a student who has to explore the underbelly of Washington society in order to investigate the death of a classmate. Those details, in conjunction with the film’s title, probably serve as a good indication that this story isn’t going to be a very kind representation of our current political system.

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Take that, Goodnight, Moon. According to Variety, The Kids are All Right director Lisa Cholodenko is in negotiations with Fox to take on the classic children’s tale of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst. If it goes through, Cholodenko will be shoving gum into Alexander’s hair, making him drop important things in the sink, and otherwise torturing the poor boy on the worst day of his young little life. The on-face comparison to Where the Wild Things Are is inescapable: capable director, classic children’s story featuring a young boy learning a lot of lessons in a wild, wild world. That’s a good thing. Of course, the tale is rooted in the real world, but it actually has a ton of potential. In fact, it’s already been turned into a television special and a musical play (see above picture). As for the film, newcomer Rob Lieber will be adapting, but it’s still early on in the development phase. Now when are we getting our Magic School Bus series?

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. As I mentioned in the Best Adapted Screenplay post, the process of making a film involves thousands of moving parts and pieces from the actors to the director to the caterers and beyond, but arguably the most integral aspect of the process is the script. I say arguable, but I’m only being polite. The script is the most important part of a film… it’s responsible for the words coming out of the actors’ mouths, for the shifts in story, for the very tale itself. Actors bring it to life and the director makes it a visual reality, but it all starts from the script. Some folks may argue otherwise, but an original screenplay is far tougher to write than one adapted from a previously existing source. The heavy lifting has all been done for you when the story beats are already laid out in a book, play, or previous film. An original screenplay demands the writer create and craft everything from scratch, from the characters to the story, and the ones who get it right deserve a bigger statuette than their “Adapted Screenplay” contemporaries. And yes, I’m kidding. Anyone who completes a screenplay, whether it be an original or an adaptation, whether it win an award or not, whether it gets produced or not… you have my respect and awe. The nominees are listed below with my prediction […]

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Culture Warrior

Amongst the universal critical applause currently being bestowed upon Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, one bit of praise seems to connect them all: that the film isn’t didactic or preachy regarding the same-sex couple at its center. In other words, it’s a film about a gay couple but doesn’t overtly shout that it’s about a gay couple; the premise isn’t addressed as if it were unique, exceptional, or odd – nor is it, arguably, a major source of the film’s comedy – rather the film proceeds without seeming intent on making a statement on gay couples or gay child-raising in contemporary society.

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The Kids Are All Right

The summer movie season is known for a lot of things… explosions, CGI overload, superheroes, and sequels to name a few. What it doesn’t really see a lot of are films dealing in human emotions, raw truths, and real life. The Kids Are All Right is one of the rare exceptions to that rule (that I just made up), and aside from implying that anyone would be sexually attracted to Julianne Moore it just may be the most honest film of the summer. Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) are California teens living with their two moms. Nic (Annette Bening) birthed Joni and Jules (Julianne Moore) birthed Laser, both through artificial insemination from the same sperm donor, and life has been fairly conventional up until now. Joni has recently turned eighteen and at the constant nagging of her brother has contacted the sperm bank in the hopes of meeting their biological father. Paul (Mark Ruffalo) is a laid back restaurant owner in a casual relationship with an employee (the stunningly beautiful YaYa DaCosta), and he’s both surprised and intrigued at the idea of meeting the end result of his past donations. Nic and Jules reluctantly welcome Paul into their lives and soon the calm and orderly existence they thought they had is turned upside down.

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The moment after The Kids Are All Right bursts open with a feverish soundtrack, it is easy to see that this movie has great energy. And great energy is a great start.

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beningruffalomoorekids

Indie film! Same-sex couples! Mark Ruffalo! It’s not all as sensational as it sounds, but Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are involved to let us know The Kids Are All Right.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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