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Entries in Alan Arkin (3)

Thursday
Oct042018

"Slums of Beverly Hills" Revisited

Chris Feil is looking back at the films of Tamara Jenkins...

Tamara Jenkins doesn’t get nearly the love she deserves as one of the most rich voices in contemporary American comedy. Though maybe we could blame that on her short filmography that nevertheless remains pristinely unimpeachable. Or maybe it’s because she leaves us wanting for painful lengths of time between films, and makes it worth the wait. Her newest, Private Life, arrives Friday on Netflix after more than a decade since she gave us The Savages. And before that there was another decade gap following her 1998 debut Slums of Beverly Hills.

The film is most notorious for being the breakthrough role for Natasha Lyonne as the film’s hilarious teenage heroine Vivian. She belongs to another of Jenkins’ dysfunctional but affectionate family units, carted around 1970s California with her shifty father Murray and two dumbass brothers. Hers is a summer of firsts - her first bra, her first period, her first lay and first orgasm (separate, of course) - but Jenkins and Lyonne make it not-so-typical compared to less sharp coming-of-age tales. Opposite Alan Arkin as the father and Marisa Tomei as her fuckup aunt, Lyonne is a natural, exhaling comic brilliance by simply existing in Vivian’s restless malaise.

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Friday
Oct272017

50th Anniversary: Wait Until Dark

by Tim Brayton

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Wait Until Dark. The grotty thriller was initially mostly sold on the basis of a third-act gimmick (the climax takes place in total darkness, and theaters were instructed to turn down all security lights and such things for the climax). And yet here we are, half a century later, and gimmick or not, the film holds up extraordinarily well. It's one of the best thrillers of its generation, with two of the best genre performances ever, one from brand-new screen actor Alan Arkin (it was just his second feature film role), the other from beloved screen icon Audrey Hepburn, functionally at the end of her career (she'd retire for nine years, and only made four more films over the next 22 years).

Quite a strange Audrey Hepburn vehicle it is, too...

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Wednesday
Dec122012

SAG Nominations: Bless Them For 'Charlotte Bless'

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, now in their 19th year, are often a bipolar experience to read through. I'm annually enraged by the rules dictacting who receives a nomination when an ensemble nomination happens, but generally speaking there tends to one thing worth being super-thrilled about in the mix beyond all the sleep-inducing reiterations of every Oscar pundit's list.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRADLEY COOPER / Pat - “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln - "LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
JOHN HAWKES / Mark - "THE SESSIONS" (Fox Searchlight)
HUGH JACKMAN / Jean Valjean - "LES MISÉRABLES" (Universal Pictures)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Whip Whitaker - "FLIGHT" (Paramount Pictures)

In with Bradley Cooper. Out with Joaquin Phoenix? The Master enters the Oscar nomination period looking shakier than ever. We could see a complete shut out or 4 or 5 nominations for the handsome, well acted but ultimately not too accessible film. It might just be the year's biggest wild card at this point.

It's worth noting that people often emphatically exaggerate the meaning of "snubs". For all we know Phoenix's no show here was a matter of one vote, rather than anything to do with the movie (though it probably isn't well enough loved) or his feelings about awards campaigns. MORE...

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