Sunday, November 26, 2006

Letters from Iwo Jima: a 2006 contender

Clint Eastwood's companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, called Letters from Iwo Jima tells the WWII story of the battle of Iwo Jima, but from a Japanese perspective.

The United States release of the film has waffled and been speculated on for awhile, namely because if Flags of Our Fathers and Letter from Iwo Jima were released in the same year, Clint Eastwood would have two films competing against each other in the award season.

Well, after a lack-luster theatrical run and a luke-warm critical response to Flags of Our Fathers, Warner Bros. has decided to release Eastwood's Japanese re-telling December 20th in LA and New York in time for award season. As JW says, this film will have "an excuse to commercially" since it is not in English, and thus might usher it's way into a prime award potential.

As the award season goes on, more people are buzzing about The Departed, and less people are buzzing about Flags of Our Fathers and Babel. Will Letters to Iwo Jima begin to pick up more buzz in the days ahead. Also, Ken Watanabe should now be considered a major award contender for his lead role as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi.

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Anonymous said...

Don't believe everything you read from Oscar bloggers. A bigger collection of hopeless know nothings driven by their personal prejudices t'would be harder to find. Talk of 'locks' are quite ridiculous at this stage unless the person saying so is personally acquainted with the 6, 000 plus members of the Academy. D'girls, for example, is going to get very mixed reviews from the major critics and the all black cast may well harm its box office. But then what do we care about any of that stuff in the breathless rush to declare everything 'a lock' or 'a bomb'? Especially when most of these movies haven't even opened. And what's with Flags' alleged lukewarm critical response? Last time I checked there were nine straight ratings of 100 at Metacritic from the nations top reviewers. Internet reviewers and bloggers may have hated the film but that's going to mean zip to the Academy. Flags' underwhelming box office is also unlikely to concern them (and I wouldn't be surprised if Flags gets a rerelease on the back of interest in Letters or following Oscar nominations). Like Anne Thompson I suspect that when Letters from Iwo Jima is seen Flags' stock will rise accordingly because both films will be seen as one thematically coherent project. Add to that the Academy's admiration for what Eastwood has achieved and ... mind you I'm not saying Flags will win or anything but writing the film off now says more about the person doing it than anything else. Then again, when I read lines like 'If the mainstream critics liked Flags, they will like anything he does' you do kind of realise 'JW' can't be taken seriously.

Edmund Yeo said...

Sheesh, I wonder whether their blatant attempt in Oscar-baiting will turn anyone off. Kinda like Weinstein desperately campaigning for Scorsese's Gangs of New York back then and then poor Marty ended up winning none out of his ten nominations.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

I loved "Flags of Our Fathers," and I remain optimistic that the Academy will as well.

Craig Hickman said...

Chicago got mixed reviews and won Best Picture. I'm hoping Dreamgirls receives a similar fate.

But I agree: who can trust Hollywood when it comes to an all-Black cast?