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 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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"Looking"'s Final Episode *sniffle*

"I'm crushed over this news but it appears "Looking" has been cancelled (confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter). But at least HBO will be giving it a special movie to wrap up the storylines." -Stan

We're also crushed. But thanks to Manuel for recapping this beautiful second season.



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Identical Twin Cousins?


Oscar Snub? Supporting Actress 1987

Witches of Eastwick 25th anniversary week ends this weekend. I intended to do much more but we'll see what little can be conjured still.

Cherries, Oatmeal, Satan and her weak husband just make her sick!

Film Experience Trivia: Veronica Cartwright was the star of the very first episode of Craig's "Take Three" series right here (well, at the old location) in 2010. He spotlighted her work in three genre pieces (Alien in which she was originally cast as Ripley (!!!) , Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Witches of Eastwick) concluding that she is the sci-fi-horror scream queen. On Witches:

Cartwright's skill at creating profoundly memorable characters is none more evident than in Witches: you see the very bile rise up in Felicia's face; she vehemently means every word in her religious rants, summoning up as she does some kind of wicked, wrathful acting goddess. With cherry-scented vomit (or even hospital oatmeal) smeared ungainly across her mouth, and spitting hellfire sermons at everyone who'll listen, Cartwright was unafraid to eschew vanity to maintain supporting performance perfection. If the "Alien" lead was stolen away, a Best Supporting Actress nod was more so here. Remote-control fruit-based possession doesn't get any classier than this.

...she exited the film way too soon. 

There were surely people at the time who thought she over reached but when you're the god-fearing counterpart to Jack Nicholson's Devil, you have to go big.

SO, LET'S TALK OSCAR 1987. Here's how the year shook out for Best Supporting Actresses but did you agree with their choices?  

The Oscar List

I saw Moonstruck for the first time in 2 decades last year. My god it holds up. Dukakis, Cher, the screenplay, Nicolas Cage even? All fantastic.

  • Norma Aleandro, Gaby: A True Story
  • Anne Archer, Fatal Attraction
  • Olympia Dukakis, Moonstruck (WINNER)
  • Anne Ramsey, Throw Momma From the Train
  • Ann Sothern, The Whales of August


The Globe List
the same list but for the following

  • Ann Sothern, The Whales of August
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Prick Up Your Ears ( also won the prestigious NYFCC Prize)


Vanessa, like Shirley Maclaine, is an oft-nominated Oscar caliber performer who also happens to have a surprisingly large list of snubs (despite the oft-nominated part) suggesting that if they don't love her work in a given year, they don't feel welcoming.

Martha Plimpton in a very unsettling scene in "Shy People". Good movie that's hard to find now.The Indie Spirit List

  • Karen Allen, The Glass Menagerie
  • Kathy Baker, Street Smart (also won the NSFC Prize)
  • Anjelica Huston, The Dead (WINNER)
  • Martha Plimpton, Shy People
  • Ann Sothern, The Whales of August


I haven't seen Street Smart or The Whales of August but I remember liking the other three performances quite a lot. Sometimes I think I should watch The Dead again as an adult because I'm pretty sure I didn't fully understand it as a teen. I'm always hoping (in vain) that Martha Plimpton's current fame as a dramatic stage star and Emmy nominated comedic lead on Raising Hope will remind people of what a fresh compelling presence she was on the big screen in the 1980s. So talented that one.

The BAFTA List

  • Maria Aitken, A Fish Called Wanda
  • Anne Archer, Fatal Attraction
  • Judi Dench, A Handful of Dust (WINNER, Oscar eligible the following year but wasn't nominated)
  • Olympia Dukakis, Moonstruck

Though I've seen all of these films I'll admit to trouble recalling Aitken and Dench's work in those films. But I haven't seen them in 20 years so...


Other Key But Less Kudo'ed Supporting Actresses in 1987

the scene to end all scenes for foot fetishist everywhere. Maggie Han and Joan Chen in THE LAST EMPEROR (1987)

  • Veronica Cartwright, The Witches of Eastwick (Saturn Nominee)
  • Joan Chen, The Last Emperor
  • Paulina Poriskova, Anna
  • Margaret Whitton, The Secret of My Succe$s
  • Dianne Wiest, The Lost Boys and September 
  • Sean Young, No Way Out 


Sean Young's current reputation as a Crazy Person is a bit unfortunate considering that in the '80s (when properly utilized) she was just on fire.

In other retrospective news... I'm never eager to call Oscar "racist" the way so many pundits do. The truth is that they can only choose from what's put in front of them in any given year. Roles for actors of color have never been as juicy nor as abundant as those offered white actors in English language fare and when they get plum opportunities they usually win attention. That said, if there's a "racial" issue with Oscar it's one that doesn't get any attention. For whatever reason, Oscar rarely ever nominates Asian actresses for anything even when they achieve international stardom or headline blockbusters of the arthouse or the multiplex (think Gong Li, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh) -- both of which are achievements that get European foreign-language actresses nominated on occasion. They don't even notice Asian actress when they're key players in movies that voters can't otherwise get enough of (Joan Chen right here or Ziyi in Crouching Tiger) I'm not saying Chen should have been nominated -- I haven't seen the movie in way too long -- but wouldn't she have been in other circumstances considering that she plays a drug-addled royal in a Best Picture winner?

Do you like Cartwright in Witches or do you wish she (and Jack) would tone it down? Which performances do you most wish you'd seen from 1987 that won attention? 



The Lord of the Links: The Return of the Link

whoa. no link roundups in forever. time to catch up on movie news and/or must see web droppings

Yahoo Movies Fine Thelma Adams piece on Prometheus' "foreign object" sequence. [shudder]
24 Frames Noomi Rapace and Sigourney Weavers' Alien franchise screen tests
IndieWire six life saving tips for cinematographers from the great Darius Khondji (Se7en, Evita, Midnight in Paris, and more...)
Empire Penelope Cruz will star in her fifth Pedro Almodóvar movie Fleeting Lovers (title may change) which starts shooting this summer. Yay! Double Yay! All About My Mother star Cecilia Roth is also in the cast.
YouTube if there's anything I hate about YouTube it's the ability to name your videos "official". But this "Official" Les Miserable trailer starring (gulp) Katie Holmes is kind of a good prank... I mean Nightmare!
In Contention production designer J Michael Riva (Django Unchained, The Color Purple) has passed away at 63.

Awards Daily Singin' in the Rain is getting a 60th anniversary rerelease on July 12th. Just in time for the Gene Kelly Centennial. And yes, if I can manage it here at the Film Experience July and August will house a big Gene Kelly retrospective right here at the Film Experience. He's up there with Montgomery Clift in my favorite (male) movie star charts after all.
Life of Pi the tiger growls memorably for the first time on the official website. Also he looks amazing.
Movie|Line Better three years late than never. Xavier Dolan's award winning debut film (and Canadian Oscar submission in its year) I Killed My Mother is FINALLY getting a US theatrical release. 
Guardian hears that The Avengers might get a three hour version for theatrical rerelease this fall. Considering Joss Whedon's comments on the deleted material (indulgent, killing the rhythm) and his own feelings about different versions of the same story (no) perhaps this is a very bad idea.
Queerty the red band ass abundant Magic Mike trailer.

filmmaking tips
IndieWire six life saving tips for cinematographers from the great Darius Khondji (Se7en, Evita, Midnight in Paris, and more...) 
Movie|Line twenty-two pieces of storytelling advice from a Pixar artist
LA Times offers up awards show tips for the Oscars (hey, that's sorta filmmaking tips) via the Tony Awards though I will continue to hate everyone and especially every writer who suggests very publicly that we don't need to see Costume Designers winning their prizes. A pox on all your craft-hating houses!

casting news we don't have much to say about but we should probably share anyway...

Greer takes over for Buckley in the Carrie remake

  • Jean Dujardin is in talks to join Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Amy Ryan and Dane DeHaan may join an upcoming non-documentary take on West Memphis Three currently starring Colin Firth and Allesandro Nivola (my god how many movies will this story inspire by 2020?)
  • John Madden's "Exotic Marigold" follow up is a comedy called Murder Mystery and may star Charlize Theron
  • Judy Greer (recently interviewed right here) wins the gym teacher role in Carrie, previously played by the great Betty Buckley. I only wish I weren't so dreading the movie.

off cinema
Gawker an alligator eating a croc? 
Sound Cloud she may have lost the Tony but Jayne Houdyshell keeps giving it from Follies. She rerecorded "Broadway Baby" as a solo for a compilation. It's wonderful! 
Cinema Blend an amusing piece about that George Bush head on spike story from Game of Thrones 

Zachary Quinto, Claire Danes, Chris Rock, The Fanning Sisters... and that's just a tiny sample.Finally...

 Have you seen the Paramount Pictures celebration? They gathered 116 stars together -- NOT photoshopped, actually there -- for a Centennial Photo.

The photo is so big you have to scroll to get the whole thing on your computer. You can mouse over it to enlarge see who's in the shot but without doing so I spotted George Clooney, Jamie Lee Curtis, George Takei, Julianne Moore, Meryl, Mark & Marty, Jane Fonda and Eddie Murphy straightaway. Watching the video gives you a closer look at the star networking. Watching stars mingle is the best part of starry events... though they never share enough.

It makes you wonder who knows each other and who doesn't. And who really does or doesn't want to be talking to whom. Did the stars who haven't had a good role in decades bee-line to the directors present (Lynch, Fincher, Scorsese, etcetera) or have they given up but for anniversary shindigs to honor their past glories? All I know for sure is that photo events like this make me happy.


Twins: The Poetry of "The Twins"

Are you enjoying the twins series? I can't tell but if not, what do you have against Geminis?


A few days ago my mind flashed violently back to Minority Report (2002). I blame the recent screening of Prometheus (2012) since both films belong to the school of Gah!mazingly Art Directed Sci-Fi Movies that are nonetheless problematic given their collisions of greatness and "really?" moments. The other thing tying them together is one Not Entirely Human performance (Samantha Morton as "Agatha" / Michael Fassbender as "David") that is so damn enjoyable and smart that you can forgive a lot just for the pleasure of watching the actor do his or her best genre thing.

Fact: Samantha Morton and Michael Fassbender are inhumanly great actors.

Twins have always fascinated non-twins and not just from the visual double takes. Their assumed psychic connections suggest all sorts of telepathic supernatural and psycosomatic implications once you let your mind wander.  [The poetry of twins after the jump...]

Click to read more ...


Reunions from the Edge

Meryl Streep has been out and about celebrating co-stars this week including Postcards from the Edge mom Shirley Maclaine who was honored at an AFI celebration.

Meryl, who turns 63 next Friday, is older now than Shirley was back when she played her mom in that great showbiz comedy. Stop spinning so fast, world! Excuse me... stop twirling so fast.

And just this past Tuesday, Meryl was all smiles on the red carpet posing with friend/co-star/rival* Viola Davis at the Women in Film Awards who she handed an award to.

From EW

Davis returned the love as she accepted the award. “I have a confession,” she said, sharing how touched she was when Streep sent her a card after [Doubt] wrapped.... “Okay Meryl, I framed the card,” Davis said. “So you can never come over to the house.” 

So cute.

*honest to god when I first saw the press room photo I thought Viola's award said "WTF" but that was just my image-altering fear of the Great Streep vs. Davis Oscar Debates Resurging To Destroy My Sanity again.



Mad Men @ The Movies Knocks Out the Cobwebs

Only the most surface reading of Mad Men would suggest that it's The Don Draper Show. His (forged) identity is, like most identities at some point or another, a prison. But it's also a prism and if there's a single best thing about the show it's the way in which he is reflected in his protege Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and, to varying lesser extent, in the vibrant supporting cast. So it felt like a total gift when Mad Men's writing team chose to set their final scene (season?) together in a movie theater. Just for us, surely!

Don has had a rough week and heads there for solace only to find Peggy, who has recently flown his Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce coop already there. Don suggests it's far too early in her new job to be ducking out from work. To which she responds.

Just knocking out the cobwebs. Someone told me this works."

Movies to recharge, comfort, and shake out the writer's block? No wonder we can't get enough of this show.

Click to read more ...