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Entries in A Better Life (3)

Monday
Jun242019

Showbiz History: For your eyes only, Mrs Miller... 

10 random things that happened on  this day (June 24th) in showbiz history

1916 Mary Pickford, a very savvy businesswoman, becomes the first female movie star to get a million dollar contract. That was on top of her $10,000 a week (The average US income was under $20,000 in 1916... for the whole year). Can you imagine how much money that was in 1916 ???

1960 Opening weekend for the musical Bells are Ringing starring Judy Holliday (reprising her Tony-winning Broadway role). It proved to be the Oscar winner's last movie, tragically, since she died at only 43 years of age from cancer.

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Saturday
Dec312011

Five Linky Pieces

But You're, Like, Really Pretty has fun reimaginings of all those actresses once rumored for the Lisbeth Salandar role like Evan Rachel Wood. Mia Wasikowska is actually the closest to a Rooney Mara look and Anne Hathaway is just so wrong. (My what big eyes she has!)

The Hollywood Reporter looks at the 'Contender Cast-Offs'. Those films we kept wanting to put into Oscar lists but which kept not having release dates like Wettest Country and On the Road

The Atlantic thinks A Better Life made a stunning case for immigration reform. (That movie sure is keeping itself in the spotlight well past its summer run!)

The New York Times has a fun piece on the personal angst of top ten lists by Dan Kois.

Empire grills celebrities on movies they enjoyed this year. Zac Efron likes "freaky" movies like The Skin I Live In and Shame (who knew?) and Emma Stone is a walking FYC for Bridesmaids which she calls a "game-changer". Patton Oswalt, who I can vouch for as a movie maniac since I've heard him gab about movies casually in person with fellow industry types loves The Tree of Life and Bellflower

Monday
Nov212011

Scene Work: Demián Bichir & Chris Weitz on "A Better Life"

In this new miniseries, we'll be discussing some of the most memorable individual scenes of the movies of 2011. So let's start with the penultimate scene from the immigration drama A Better Life. Have any of you seen it? 

At a recent luncheon honoring Demián Bichir (Weeds, Che), currently on the Best Actor campaign trail, I had a brief chat with the star and his director Chris Weitz. Our conversations kept drifting to two scenes in the movie, the aforementioned emotional peak when Carlos (Bichir) explains to his son, as best he can, the reason why he moved to America and had a child, and an earlier intense sequence that sets much of the plot in motion as Carlos (Bichir) makes a fateful mistake while shimmying up a palm tree in his day job as a gardener.

I told Bichir that I've always wondered how scary it is for actors to work on those slow build performances. Many performances have several peaks but A Better Life is quite a linear drama and Bichir keeps the performance very low key for a long time. It's all building to his intensely emotional monologue as he sits in a deportation center with his son. I wondered how nerve wracking that scene must have been for him. He plays the scene beautifully, with so much pent up painful intimacy. But as character arcs go it's very backloaded; his entire performance and indeed the film, rests on it.

That's why I had you. For me. For me. For a reason to live."

"Interesting," Bichir says, considering the question. "I try not to think about that. I never think ahead." he confesses, explaining that he tries to take the journey in sequence with the character, though he readily admits that you know the scenes in every script your first time reading through.

"So I don't think about it," he elaborates. "It's like in life. You know, when you're in love you don't think 'what if we break up?' You don't think about the fears or the negativity." The emotional place you have to get to you just work towards day by day, he explains. They were lucky to shoot almost chronologically which really helped him.

Oscar Campaigning and a unexpected Twilight diversion after the jump.

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