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Alicia Vikander cast as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Only supporting actress winners are allowed to play this role!

"What on earth can Alicia bring to this role, and why bother? Good luck." - Tom F

"How long must we wait for Dianne Wiest as Lara Croft!?" - Mike

 

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Tuesday
Sep162014

Review: The Guest

Hey, folks. Michael Cusumano here to give some love to one of the under-the-radar gems of 2014.

Watching Adam Wingard’s The Guest lets the viewer experience what it would be like to fish an unexpected masterwork out of a bargain bin full of trashy VHS horror movies. The film is a superior example of what Rodriguez and Tarantino attempted with Grindhouse, at once a glorious homage to the horror schlock of the late 70’s and 80’s and a skillful subversion of the same. Wingard’s movie walks this tricky tonal tightrope with swagger, oozing stylistic flash and scored with a soundtrack of pseudo-80's synth you will want to make out with. I think it’s safe to say The Guest is going to achieve cult status pretty much the instant the light from the projector hits movie screens.

The plot could be easily summarized as Bourne meets Halloween, but that glib pitch meeting capsule would scarcely hint at the layers of wit built into this movie. The story opens on all-American soldier David (Dan Stevens) recently returned home from overseas, arriving at the doorstep of the family of his dead brother-in-arms in order to pay his respects, deliver his friend’s final message to his family, etc. Laura (Sheila Kelley) invites David to stay in her son’s old room after she is moved in equal parts by grief over her dead son and David’s piercing blue eyes...

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Tuesday
Sep162014

An Evening With Patty! (Also "Maze Runner," Something Something?)

Patty Clarkson last night in NYCLast night I attended Teen Vogue's Maze Runner screening and though I'll be writing it up for my gig at Towleroad later this week, I must share with you, my devout fellow actressexuals and the only ones who will understand, that I made the night all about Patricia Clarkson.

I didn't even realize she was in the movie until she was there at the reception and I was powerless to stop myself from beelining straight toward her while the other guests of the studio and fans (who presumably won a contest or something?) spent the evening squealing about Dylan O'Brien who plays "Xander" excuse me... "Stiles" on Teen Wolf, the only non-supernatural teen on that very popular show, now officially run by dadaists. (Yes, I still watch it but it doesn't make a lick of sense anymore... not just from episode to episode but within something as easy to manage as a one hour block! It's like they're just making it up as they film. Each scene!).

I've met the great actress twice before at events and she is an absolute delight one-on-one, super funny, gorgeous, and above-all charismatic, kind of like her 1950's social butterfly "Elle" from Far From Heaven (2002) without, you know, the nasty betrayals and the constant subtly racist/anti-semitic/homophobic shade-throwing. She joked about wishing her latest director was 20+ years older so she could date him ("is your father single?" LOL) and was still obviously high off the reception of her starring role in Learning To Drive in which she takes driving lessons from Ben Kingsley. In a surprise turn of events that two-hander nearly nabbed the People's Choice Award from The Imitation Game in Toronto as first runner up. The film hasn't been picked up yet that I'm aware of but given the crowd-pleasing response at the festival (sadly, I was not part of that crowd as it slips through the cracks of my 25 screenings) someone really ought to. I mean, David Poland is smart about these things.

 

 



Is Hollywood listening?

P.S. Can we get Patty back in key supporting roles in prestige pieces where she once regularly cropped up, please? It's a real shame she only has one Oscar nomination to her name, despite deserving at least three (High Art, Far From Heaven, Dogville).

 

 

Tuesday
Sep162014

Amir Sat on a Branch Reflecting on TIFF

Amir here, looking back at the Toronto Film Festival that recently wrapped up.

"Girlhood," superior to Boyhood and one of the best of TIFF 14

You may have noticed that after a few years of covering the festival to various degrees for The Film Experience, I was completely absent from this space for the past ten days, mostly because of a personal decision to enjoy the films without sweating over writing. TIFF is a big festival, maybe the most frantic and hectic in the world, with more choices than one can physically experience over ten days. Nathaniel and I shared so few films from the program’s sprawling lineup, we could have each written about every single thing we saw and you’d never know we attended the same festival. It’s this overwhelming scale that made me want to take a break from reporting, and yet, I feel unsure about how that affected my festival experience.

Writing about films for me is a passion born out of the necessity to articulate my thoughts on the things I watch. Maybe that process of writing makes the films more memorable? Isn’t it so that writing, even about bad films, makes us appreciate good cinema all the more? Without recording my memories, details about this year’s films have fled my mind quicker than ever. My feelings about some of them have been diluted a bit, too. There is something missing, even though I had the best festival experience of my life, meeting more people than ever and watching some terrific films. Maybe this pessimism is just a withdrawal symptom. Let’s stay positive!

As has become something of an unplanned tradition for me – with precedents including Oslo, August 31st and Closed Curtain – my favorite film of the festival came my way on the last day.

MORE...

"The Look of Silence" will be in theaters next summer

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Tuesday
Sep162014

Curio: Actorly Outerwear 

Alexa here.  Sweater and jacket weather is upon us, that brief time of year where I can pretend to be strolling through the Upper West Side autumns of Woody Allen, or imagine myself on the golden Central Park stroll of Harry and Sally. (My actual fall look is a bit more Julianne in Still Alice, but we can't all be slaves to fashion.) As I drag my wool and leather out of mothballs today, I thought I'd share some outerwear creations for men, inspired by some signature roles of the actors who wore them.  

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep152014

Thoughts I Had...While Admiring the Beauty of Brangelina in "By the Sea"

abstew here with some random thoughts on the just released new stills from the newest directorial effort of Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, By the Sea. EW received the exclusive pics (hence the magazine's watermark on the photos) and a mini-interview with the writer/director/producer and star that pairs her up on screen with new husband Brad Pitt (their first on-screen partnering since the film that brought them together and launched a million tabloid magazine covers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Set in the 1970's, Jolie stars as a former ballet dancer travelling France with her American husband (that would be Pitt, naturally). Their marriage is beginning to show signs of strain and they find themselves drawn to the inhabitants of a small costal town on their journeys...and comedy ensues! (But probably not):

  • Damn. I feel like they just announced this film was in the works and we already have photos after one week of shooting...and just three weeks after a super secret marriage? Beautiful, talented, and hyper-organized. That Jolie-Pitt household must run like a well-oiled machine. Which I guess it would have to considering how many children there are to juggle as well.
  • I love that instead of going on a traditional honeymoon, Brad and Angelina chose to spend 8 weeks filming a domestic drama together. Apparently Angie's calling it a "Workingmoon". Ugh.
  • God, they're both so pretty. Just look at that face. If Madonna were singing about movie stars of today it would be, "Angelina: Gave Good Face."
  • I'm getting serious Sophia Loren vibes from Angie in this pic. 
  • Everyone is always complaining that Angie is a movie star without the movies to back it up. After the commercial success of Maleficent, could this be the critical hit that boosts her film legacy?
  • Film about a failing marriage, starring Hollywood's biggest real-life couple - is it too much pressure to already compare this to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 
  • Although the last time we had Angie in a lush European setting we got everyone's favorite Musical or Comedy The Tourist, so...yeah, maybe too much pressure. I should settle for something in between the two.
  • But how great would it be if Brad and Angie were both nominated for acting Oscars in the same year for the same film? Maybe throw Jon Voight in there too just to make it a complete family affair.

  • Honestly, can we get Brad Pitt an acting Oscar already?! They can keep it on a separate shelf away from the producing Oscars and give Angie's Best Supporting Actress acting statue some company. And Zahara, Shiloh, and lil Vivienne can dress them up in doll clothes.
  • Sideburns, creepy sunglasses, and pornstache? Yep, this is definitely set in the 70's.
  • Although staring into that mirror, I half expect him to reenact the final scene in Boogie Nights. "I am a star..."
  • Isn't Mélanie Laurent in this as well? I want a picture of her, too! God, she's so good in Beginners and Inglorious Basterds (with Pitt!).
  • I actually didn't like Brangelina's last on-screen pairing, but there was no denying their combustible chemistry. I'm curious if after almost 10 years together they'll still be able to make that spark between them light up the screen. And I know we generally wait for an actual trailer before utilizing Yes, No, Maybe So, but I'm already a Yes...

Universal is releasing By the Sea sometime next year (most likely in the Fall). But in the meantime, we'll have countless red carpet and awards show appearances this season for both stars as Pitt has Oscar hopeful Fury opening October 17 and the Angelina Jolie-helmed Unbroken opens Christmas Day.

Monday
Sep152014

Beauty vs Beast: American Beauty vs American Beast

JA from MNPP here - it's that "Beauty vs Beast" time again! Over the past few months a lot's been written about the wonderful movie year that was 1999 now that we're a solid fifteen years away from it (Nathaniel touched upon this back in July) but seeing as how today, September 15th, marks the exact anniversary of the release of the film that would roll on to win that's years Best Picture, I figure it's time to pit some angry suburbanites against each other.

Yup, American Beauty turns 15 today. The dust on everybody's Oscars - Kevin's, Sam's, Annet... oh wait, nevermind (sorry Hilary Swank made me do it) - is fifteen years thick. (Of course if Annette had won that Oscar she'd have never let the dust get that thick - she'd strip down to her slip and scrub scrub scrub that sucker.) And all that built-up time, well it hasn't been too kind to the movie, if you ask me. But why ask me? Go read this piece at Decider on the film from just a week ago, it kind of says it for me. But now that I'm a little older the film (and Lester's) relentless villainization of Carolyn's character does indeed stick in my craw. But what about you?

 

Per usual you've got one week, seven days, to let the world know where you stand. Try not to get lost staring at plastic bags while stoned out of your mind, if at all possible.

PREVIOUSLY Speaking of being high, I'm still coming down from my John Waters high thanks to last week's retrospective at The Film Society of Lincoln Center here in New York (I saw him introduce Final Destination over the weekend! Shoot me now, it's all down-hill from that), but we can close the door on our Female Trouble themed poll at least... and nobody beats Divine. As Henry put it:

"Divine........there is only one Divine.......Christmas Trees beware the spurned Santa wish for Cha Cha Heels."

Monday
Sep152014

Open Thread. What did I miss?

THE LEFTOVERS just gets better and better. how phenomenal is Ann Dowd any way?It occurred to me yesterday while making an exceedingly poor attempt to fully recuperate from TIFF madness (I should have been resting my strained eyeballs but instead I was emptying the DVR) that I had missed two whole weeks of regular news. I joked about this on twitter but I'm 150% sure that I missed something I'd actually like to have known about!

It's easy to miss things, even if you're fully immersed in the industry. (An example: I was talking to Felicity Jones at that Theory of Everything party about her scenes with Charlie Cox, who is so sweetly crush-worthy in the movie, and she somehow hadn't heard that he was the new Daredevil for Netflix!)

What movie things, besides TIFF and the standard Oscar buzz, have been on your mind these past couple of weeks?

Catch me back up. Fill me in.