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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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OSCAR BOUND?

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Sunday
Sep162012

Take Three: Series 3 Wrap-up 

Craig here with a wrap-up entry for the third and final run of ‘Take Three’, The Film Experience series that looked at three notable performances from a supporting or character actor's career. Click on the actors’ names for their respective Takes.

It’s perhaps fitting that last week’s Take Three featured Brad Dourif as, when the idea for the series was first mooted, Dourif was the first actor who entered my mind. It’s odd perhaps that I left him so long, but I’m glad he was included in the end. I was also glad to include a quintet of actors – bigger names, well versed in veering between lead and character actor roles – who have vast and interesting careers under their belts: Christopher Walken (one of Seven Psychopaths due in cinemas soon), John Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones (currently sexing it up with Streep in Hope Springs), Danny DeVito and Chris Cooper. Series 3 started off with one of today’s best, Melissa Leo (receiving acclaim this week for her role as Francine); she was closely followed by another, Anne Heche.

Actors who did a lot of great work during the ‘80s and ‘90s and still continue to add class and/or grit to cinema now, albeit in perhaps more peripheral parts, got some ‘Take Three’ love this series: the always watchable Vincent D’Onofrio was a joy to write about; ditto Michael Rooker. Both Rosanna Arquette and Alfre Woodard have their many admirers, and rightly so; I hope their Takes were enjoyed by their respective fans. As with previous years’ Takes on the likes of Isabella Rossellini and Harry Dean Stanton, my inclusion of some Lynch regulars continued: first Piper Laurie, then Grace Zabriskie (both of whom appeared in Twin Peaks) received well-deserved outings during this run. Classic horror and film noir female performances were also considered with entries on Barbara Steele and Ida Lupino, two of the finest character actors who worked most prominently between, respectively, the fifties and the seventies and the thirties to the seventies.

A range of some of the most essential contemporary supporting/character actors got the T3 treatment this time out, too. Two of today’s best British actors, Samantha Morton (currently chatting up R-Pattz in a limo in Cosmopolis) and Toby Kebbell (who shared screen time with Morton in Control) were featured. Eva Mendes (presently transfixing Denis Lavant in a basement in Holy Motors) and the versatile French actor Cécile De France are both cementing their places as two of today’s most alluring screen performers. Finally, it was a sheer pleasure to research and rewatch the three films for John C. Reilly’s Takes – and, as with many of this series’ actors with vast and varied careers, I wished I could have including at least six more Takes.

As a final note, I sincerely hope all Film Experience readers have enjoyed this and both previous Take Three series. It has been an absolute pleasure to write and I’ve enjoyed all the discussions and opinions in the comments section. Thanks for reading.

Although this is the last Take Three series, I may well be writing a new column next year. In the meantime, I’ll be reporting for Nathaniel from the BFI London Film Festival in October and you can also follow me on Twitter – @DarkEyeSocket – or at my own site here. Related links: season 1 wrap-up entry here and season 2 wrap-up entry here. (Both contain all previous Take Threes between them.)

So... who were your favourite Take Threes? Show any and all of these fine actors your love in the comments...

Saturday
Sep152012

TIFF: Four Short Takes

Amir reporting from Toronto.

The Place beyond the Pines
Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to his marriage drama Blue Valentine is a three-part genre piece about a stunt motorcycle rider (Ryan Gosling) who enters a life of crime when he realizes that a short fling in the past with Romina (Eva Mendes) has resulted in a son. When a young cop (Bradley Cooper) gets involved with his case, his criminal activities take an abrupt turn.

Fans of Cianfrance's previous film and also those who were expecting "Drive redux" based on the minimal promotional material available are in for a surprise, though in my case the surprise was a very happy one. This robust story of complex morality and corruption is told with grace and gravitas. It is intermittently both a white-knuckle action film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and a dense drama that explores father-son relationships. Think of it as a crime thriller with the emotional punch of Blue Valentine

Gosling gives yet another superbly intense performance but it's Cooper, and arguably Dane DeHaan, who steal the show with their surprising depth.

Prospects: Given the presence of two major stars and the potential to market the hell out of the genre elements, it could be a big hit, but the rumoured early 2013 release affirms my conviction that no one is expecting awards for this one.

Three more movies after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep152012

12 Word Reviews: Hope Springs, Timothy Green, Premium Rush

 When you get too far behind on film reviewing, you have to condense. It's brief capsule time. Let's catch up on movies we left behind as summer waned. Did you see any of them?

HOPE SPRINGS
A senior citizen couple seeks marital counselling.
12 WR: Fine performances take intimacy seriously. Near gem but pacing problems, atrocious music.  B
Oscar: Streep always has a shot in Best Actress and she's the film's best hope (sorry) beyond a screenplay longshot but I'm doubtful that this quiet surprisingly nuanced take on marriage and intimacy will survive the louder grabbier Oscar films. Plus when Oscar ignores Meryl, which is admittedly not often, it's almost always when she's playing contemporary and relatively ordinary women (here's proof.)

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
The story of a troubled 10 year gay relationship beset by sex and drug addictions
12 WR: Intermittently searing. Bruisingly repetitive. Cathartic for filmmaker (undoubtedly) but unshaped; needs dramaturg. C+
Oscar?: Not that kind of movie. 

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
A childless couple (Jennifer Garner & Joel Edgerton) inadvertently create the perfect child over a teary conversation. A naked boy with leaves on his legs emerges from their garden. Life lessons ensue.
12 WR: Adoption plea framing device = unmitigated disaster. Played with realism it's entirely oogie. D-
Oscar?: As likely as children crawling out of the earth that aren't zombies. 

COSMOPOLIS
A money man is chauffered around Manhattan in a limo (read: coffin) seeking a haircut as his fortunes vanish and the world falls into chaos.
12 WR: Forgets to adapt heady prose but actress cameos pop. Pattinson finally vampiric! B
Oscar?: The Academy is deathly allergic to Cronenberg but damn that Howard Shore score is good. 


FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL...

Roommates (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) run a phone sex business which complicates their friendship
12 WR: Weirdly chaste, claustrophobic, over/under art-directed (?!?) but actors obviously enjoying themselves! C+
Oscar?: lolz 

PREMIUM RUSH
A bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) delivering a package worth a lot of money is hunted by a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) down the crowded streets of Manhattan.
12 WR: Only works as found object: Lost 80s Film. Disposable (even to itself!) D
Oscar?: If they had a stuntman category...

Friday
Sep142012

Chart Updates: Actors and Foreign Films

The Oscar chart updates were temporarily stalled by my thwarted Toronto plans so just fixin' things up now. Enjoy the updates while I jaunt off to Fire Island for a 24 hour getaway. I've just seen The Impossible -- more on that soon -- so I'm accidentally living a rather perverse combo: tsunami picture then beach getaway.  

As always predictions are for entertainment purposes only. They should never be interpreted as endorsements though occassionally deserve has something to do with it.

BEST ACTOR
The big story here is a common one. There are enough buzzing performances to fill out an entire Golden Globe nominee pool, 10-wide, which means there are twice as many contenders as Oscar voters will be able to choose. Am I crazy to wonder if even Daniel Day-Lewis is safe for Lincoln? The trailer does not impress.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin makes huge gains as he's singled out in many Argo reactions. Ewan McGregor's wounded father in The Impossible also rises though I have to wonder if this isn't wishful thinking. He's one of the world's best and most endearing screen actors but he never quite wins Oscar hearts. Still, nomination-less or not, come what may... we will love him, until our dying day.

Finally, add Kiki's new man Garrett Hedlund to your For Your Consideration fields for On The Road. He's the focal point of the film's considerable libido which might work against him (this is one of the most sexually-charged performances since, say, Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley) but they're campaigning him as supporting which will definitely work for him given his enormous amount of screen time.

Garrett Hedlund is "On the Road" with cinematography by Eric Gautier

VISUALSAURALS
Gains for TIFF buzzing Cloud Atlas, On the Road and The Impossible.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM SUBMISSIONS
You can add Romania's Beyond the Hills which is from Cristian Mungui, the director of the magnificent 4 Weeks 3 Months and 2 Days (better luck this time!) and Portugal's Blood of My Blood to the list of submitted contenders. May the best five films win nominations.

CHART INDEX

Which buzzing fall film are you desperate to get your eyeballs on? I chose the beach over The Master (perverse I know given the rarity of P.T. Anderson pictures) but I'll get to that one Sunday...

Friday
Sep142012

Actress a Day: Joan Allen

My fingers were itchy for some sketching. So let's get back to Actress a Day...

Why Joan Allen today? 
Two reasons...

1) She finally nabbed a new leading role! She'll headline A Good Marriage which is based on a Stephen King short story about a woman named Darcy who discovers her husband and the father of her children has been leading a gruesome secret life. No word yet on who will play the evil husband but apparently the wife's role is juicy. Yay! We need some Joan back in our lives, don't we? [src]

2) In my failed rush toward Toronto I forgot to mention that I was a special guest on the Award Circuit Power Hour this week where we discussed festival buzz, the Best Actress and the Best Supporting Actress races. One of the things they do on the Podcast is a game called "Give Them an Oscar" and the holy name of Joan Allen was invoked. You can listen here.

So... what would you give Joan an Oscar for? Do tell in the comments.