Now is the time for the Awards contenders to be out there to there meeting the guild voters and press. Paramount just had a cocktail party for their two heavy hitters, the wildly original “Anomalisa” (review below) and the exhilarating “The Big Short.”
Adam McKay co-wrote and directed “Short,” based on Michael Lewis’s best selling book, “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” about the housing fiasco starting in the early 2000s. Adam is on a roll, his film is garnering kudos and his “Funny or Die” website he founded with is frequent writing partner and best pal Will Ferrell is still one of the buzziest sites around.
McKay told me that, “I made this film, not just for the financial people or for the elite, I made it also for the people in the heartland, who don’t know what really happened. “ Steve Carell, who stars in the film, agreed and added, “I didn’t know. I was horrified. The damage to so many people was unconscionable.”
Carell said he is looking forward to playing Bobby Riggs to Emma Stone’s Billie Jean King in the upcoming “Battle of the Sexes,” about their 1973 epic tennis match. “I worked with Emma in ‘Crazy, Stupid Love,’ she’s one of the most down to earth, honest, and talented actresses I’ve ever worked with. I can’t wait to play Riggs, he’s larger than life, over the top, and I love as an actor to go there, to play that kind of role.”
What Carell also might have to look forward to is awards action for his performance in “Short.” Lovely Jennifer Jason Leigh was there talking about her layered beautiful performance as the voice of Lisa in Charlie Kaufman’s and Duke Johnson’s brilliant “Anomalisa.” Jennifer– hot in the 80s, hot in the 90s, then out of commission for a bit, is a hot actress of the moment. She’s also in the upcoming “Hateful Eight.”
“It is kind of cool this is happening,” she told me. “I’ve been in the business a long time, and I’ve had ups and downs. But I just love Lisa. To me she’s Everywoman, with the hurts we all have. I am so proud of this movie.” Jennifer is so right on.
This film achieves what every filmmaker dreams, it’s singularly original, truly stunning and literally takes your breath away. Made in stop motion animation, which is a painstaking process, each animator literally worked two seconds of film per day; “Anomalisa” is pure brilliance. Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson and written by Kaufman, the film depicts the story of an author of a customer service book, Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) going to Cincinnati from his home in Los Angeles to give a talk.
Stone is a coward, a victim, who shows no self-love for himself and lies to all under the umbrella of his narcissism and self-pity. He meets a fan name Lisa whom he takes up to his room after some drinks in the hotel bar. There are graphic sex scenes in animation, that make you squirm a bit.
Jennifer Jason Leigh gives Lisa just the perfect shading, from heartbreak to strength. In doing so, Lisa shows Stone a window into his soul, and how to have the courage in life to make honest braver choices for ourselves. “Your voice is like magic,” he says to Lisa, and he is right.