Oranges and Sunshine US Release, Happy Feet Two, Year-End Accolades

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

First off, sorry this entry has been delayed for so long. In addition to prolonged power failures, health issues and work issues, this is generally a chaotic time of year. 😉 There hasn’t been any breaking news on Hugo, or his current project Cloud Atlas, for some time. (Hugo was still in Berlin as recently as December 9; I have no idea whether or not production will continue through Christmas.) No new casting confirmations have been announced, but Halle Berry did give the New York Times some broad hints about the range of her characters.

But I have promised a compilation of Oranges and Sunshine material from the recent, all-too-brief US theatrical release for some time, and I need to deliver on that. 😉 Unfortunately, Cohen Media never opened the film beyond its announced list of about twenty US locations and did very little to publicize it. Emily Watson did a handful of interviews for the US media, but most of these were only posted online, and didn’t attract the attention they deserved. Nonetheless I have saved all of the US coverage and reviews, and I’ll share a selection here.

US Reviews: The Village Voice, The New York Times, Cinespect, Time Out New York, New York Observer, Living in Cinema, Whistleblower, Bloomberg News, Christian Science Monitor, Working Author, Tonight At The Movies, YouSayToo, Glendale News Press, RamaScreen, Paste, San Francisco Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, TwinCities.com, Dallas-Fort Worth Entertainment, BerkeleySide, Boston Herald, Roger Ebert

Emily Watson interviews: Looseleaf Report, Collider.com, Working Author, Celebs.com, MovieWeb (includes Jim Loach)

Jim Loach interviews: ShockYa

Margaret Humphries interviews: Social Workers Speak, LA Times, ShockYa, Tonight At The Movies (includes Jim Loach),

Coverage of O & S’s Hamptons Film Festival premiere: Showbiz 411, Huffington Post

Unfortunately, the US DVD release date has not yet been announced, though I’d guess it will probably happen early next year. This is the sort of film that could have a fulfilling second life on DVD, since many of the fans eager to see the theatrical release never got to. The British and Australian DVDs have been available for several months now and have similar bonus features. The Aussie DVD features Hugo more prominently on the cover art, but the UK DVD is much less expensive– I ordered a new copy from Amazon UK for only $12 including shipping to the US.

I’ve compiled a selection of trailers, interviews and other video publicity for Oranges and Sunshine here; this includes clips of Hugo and David Wenham at the film’s Australian premiere in June as well as the worldwide promotion done by director Jim Loach, author/social worker Margaret Humphries and lead actress Emily Watson.


Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson in Oranges and Sunshine

Fortunately the film’s been more properly appreciated in its overseas release (particularly in Australia, where it was one of the biggest home-grown hits of the year.) While Oscar nominations for any of the cast are highly unlikely at this point, Hugo, Emily Watson and David Wenham have been nominated for awards in less glitzy (but also less political and publicity/fame-driven) venues. Hugo, David Wenham and Emily Watson were nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor and Best Actress respectively by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (the AACTAs, formerly the AFIs), and the film itself was nominated for Best Picture and several other awards. (Read more in the Hollywood Reporter and Encore Magazine). Hugo was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Emily Watson for Best Actress at the international, much more crowded Satellite Awards as well. The Satellite Awards will be handed out on December 18, the AACTAs on January 30. Hugo probably stands a better chance of winning the latter, as the film made its strongest impression in Australia. (Also, Hugo won’t have to compete with Christopher Plummer there.) 😉

Happy Feet Two performed more modestly at the box office than its Oscar-winning predecessor did, and received a more mixed critical reception as well. I saw the film in 3D and wasn’t sure where the hostility was coming from…. the plot is a mess, but so was that of the original Happy Feet. 😉 I would guess people who enjoyed the first will enjoy this one. The animation in particular is gorgeous, much better than that in some of the year’s more vaunted animated sequels featuring pandas and cars. If you’re only going because Hugo’s among the voice cast, you might be disappointed– he has maybe ten lines. Noah the Elder remains a crochety, feisty old geezer but is no longer Mumble’s enemy, so he’s not as central to the plot. (Characters played by Sofia Vergara, Anthony LaPaglia, Common and Pink are also in the film much less than you’d think given the advertising.) Noah’s big moment involves a showdown with some villainous and incontinent skuas. 😉 (You can read my full review at my personal LJ). I did enjoy Hugo’s voice work, and the fact that Noah was able to reform without much change to his essential personality. But your reaction to the film will probably be based more on how you like the rest of it– the chaotic plot (it’s basically two different films coexisting), the characters, etc.

NoahHappyFeet2“Damn skuas!” 😉

The most interesting reviews are as follows (these are both positive reviews and mixed ones that make interesting points):
Roger Ebert, Filmonic, Boston.com, Prizm, Entertainment Weekly, Toronto Globe and Mail, Knoxville.com, Salinas Californian, DNA, Free Press Journal, KoiMoi, Comingsoon.net, Perth Community News, Galveston Daily News, At the Movies (Australia), The Reading Eagle, The Manicunean

There’s also an extended interview with director George Miller in Animation Magazine. Hugo didn’t do any publicity for Happy Feet Two; he rarely does promotional work for voice roles and has been busy in Berlin in recent months. 😉 Curiously, no footage of him from character voicing sessions has emerged either (as did during promotion for the first film), just the photograph I shared in an earlier entry. There’s an extravaganza of footage of other actors, though, as well as most of the film’s trailers and teasers, and Trailer Addict.

Finally, Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya, which had a sold-out run at The Kennedy Center in August, is popping up on year-end Best Of lists in the Theater category, including those of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, which placed the very top of its list. Anticipation is already high for Hugo Weaving’s next theatrical role for the STC, that of the Vicomte du Valmont in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The production debuts next 30 March.  Here’s the latest publicity photo:


Pamela Rabe and Hugo Weaving, from STC’s promotional email

The Hobbit’s first promotional trailer will be debuting any minute now (you can read a breathless description of its contents at the ever-reliable TheOneRing.Net.) Once it’s online, I’ll repost it here. Unfortunately, Elrond isn’t prominently featured. 😉 You can also read a lengthier new synopsis at many sites, including Flickering Myth, and an interesting article about the development of the Gollum character at MovieWeb. Next year at this time, we’ll finally get to see what the whole thing looks like. 😉

HOBBIT BREAKING NEWS: Warner Bros has announced that “The 15-minute satellite feed for “The Hobbit” trailer will stream on Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, then again Dec. 21 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.” No specifics on whether this means they’re actually screening 15 minutes of footage or not… most early descriptions of the trailer clock it at only about a minute and a half. The trailer will also screen in theaters before showings of Peter Jackson’s new animated collaboration with Stephen Spielberg, The Adventures of Tintin, which opens 21 December in most US cities. For more info, and a new pic of Martin Freeman as Bilbo (possibly on the Rivendell set, definitely with Dwarves in the background) see The Examiner, USA Today or HeyUGuys,co.uk .

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