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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 | instagram | letterboxd 

 

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Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in Ang Lee (15)

Thursday
Jun252015

Corset Kate: Winslet's Best Period Piece Performances

With "A Little Chaos" opening tomorrow, abstew looks back at Kate in corsets. - Editor  

Oscar winner Kate Winslet returns to the screen tomorrow in A Little Chaos (in select theaters and available on VOD). It's a fictionalized story of how the elaborately lush gardens at the Palace of Versailles were constructed for King Louis XIV. The film is a reunion for Winslet and Alan Rickman (who stars as Louis and also directed the film), who haven't worked together in 20 years. But more importantly, the film reunites Winslet with the corset, getting laced-up again for the first time since 2004's Finding Neverland. For the first few years of her career, Winslet only appeared in period pieces (it wasn't until 1999's Holy Smoke! that she finally starred in a film set in modern-day) so it's time to look back on three of her best performances in those waist-cinching garments! (For purposes of this list, I decided to not include her 1950s set films - a girdle just isn't the same...)

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Proving that the period piece was a good fit from the start, Winslet's first Oscar nomination came for her wildly romantic turn as Marianne Dashwood in the Best Picture nominated adaptation of Jane Austen's first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. But director Ang Lee had to be convinced that Winlset was the right actress for the role as he hadn't cared for her film debut in 1994's Heavenly Creatures. And even after casting her in the role, on the first day of filming, he was unimpressed with her work, telling her that she'll have to be better. The criticism must have lit a fire under her because Winslet completely throws herself into the role with determination and gusto. Her Marianne is all bleeding heart that she pins tellingly on her sleeve for the world to see. Incapable of hiding her turbulent emotions, she allows herself to be ruled by love. And Winslet plays her without judgement of her impulsive nature, embracing Marianne's romanticism and temperament. But even the strongest wildfire can't blaze brightly forever. In the most heartbreaking scene of the film, Marianne's passionate ideals are extinguished as she walks across the moors to gaze upon the home of the man that has abandoned her. Influenced by her devotion to poems and romance novels (as preparation, Winslet read and studied works of the period to achieve Marianne's mindset), she is willing to die for her dreams of love. But instead of death, Marianne experiences a rebirth, allowing herself some of her sister's practical reasoning. Able to look at things with a little more understanding. Marianne's transformation could very easily feel like the character has become defeated, but what Winslet does beautifully is bring Marianne a newfound maturity without losing the spark that makes her still believe in the possibility of love. 

Jude (1996)

In this little-seen, but devastating film, Winslet gives one her most complex performances as Sue Bridehead, an independent and headstrong woman in late 1800's England. As the tragic events unfold in Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's controversial novel Jude the Obscure, Winslet's magnetic star-turn saves it from becoming a dreary slog. Her early scenes with Christopher Eccelston's Jude, as they begin to get acquainted, have an easy playfulness, especially in a flirty pub scene in which Sue smokes and drinks beer with the bar patrons. It's reminiscent of Winslet's below-deck escapades in Titanic but the scene here plays earthier and sexier, as Winslet seems more relaxed and natural than she ever does as Rose. And the two actors have wonderful chemistry together, willing us to want their characters to eventually get together despite the fact that they are cousins and already married to other people. Unfortunately Sue's constant need to defy convention, her refusal to comform to the standards of Victorian society, becomes their ultimate undoing. No spoilers here, but the tragic incident hits you like a gut-punch. For most of the harrowing scene, Winslet is silent and still, completely numb to pain. It's in the scene directly after that we get our catharsis as she lies facedown on the ground, twisting her body as she lets out animalistic howls of despair. We are no longer watching an actress give a performance, but viscerally feeling the character's bottomless grief. 

Hamlet (1996)

In a part that has been played on film by Jean Simmons, Marianne Faithful, and Helena Bonham Carter, the definitive screen version of Shakespeare's ill-fated heroine Ophelia, has to be Kate Winslet. In Kenneth Branagh's unabridged, 4-hour version featuring such esteemed thespians as Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Richard Attenborough, Judi Dench, and John Gielgud, it is Winslet that emerges as the film's most memorable player. And it's all the more impressive because, unlike most British actors, Winslet never trained in the classics. Later she even turned down an offer to appear in Sam Mendes' The Bridge Project, performing in Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya, because she didn't feel like she could tackle them properly. It's surprising because on film, Winslet is an actress never afraid of a challenge and her Ophelia works precisely because of that fearlessness. This is an Ophelia not afraid of her sexuality, a young woman discovering the harsh realities of men's actions and what it means to give yourself to someone. Winslet endows her with womanly understanding while still maintaining the fragility that leads to her downfall. Ophelia is definitely a showy part with its descent into madness, but instead of being overly theatrical or studied, Winslet plays those scenes manic and unhinged, surprising us with bold execution and raw modernity. Which is not to say she's incapable of delivering Shakespeare's language the way it is intended. It's just that she's not slavishly devoted to it, more concerned with capturing Ophelia's state of mind and allowing the text itself to feed her emotions. In a 400-year-old play, the most often produced of all of Shakespeare's work, Winslet interpretation helps you feel like you're witnessing it for the first time.

 

Do you agree with these three choices as Kate's best work in a corset? If not, what's your preference?

Monday
Jan052015

Foreign Language Oscar Winners: What Are They Up To?

Manuel here to talk auteurs abroad. Did everyone hear (pun alert) about Pedro Almodóvar’s upcoming film, Silencio? We don’t seem to have much else other than its title (“It’s called Silencio because that’s the principal element that drives the worst things that happen to the main female protagonist”) and that Pedro doesn't think it will star one of his regular muses. But it made me curious as to what other Academy Award foreign auteurs were up to. Below the jump then, find a non-exhaustive list of the future projects of recent Foreign Language Film winners.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May272013

Maggie Cheung & The 50th Anniversary of The Golden Horse Awards

For those of you who still miss Maggie Cheung (i.e. all people with good taste who've seen anything she's done) you should know that she's been named the Ambassador for the 50th anniversary of the Golden Horse Awards (one of three major Oscar-like awards for Chinese language films). She's a good choice since she's won five (!) of them (from six nominations, only losing for Dragon Inn from 1992), the most of any actor. Nominations are announced in October with a November 23rd ceremony in Taipei.

Since it's the 50th anniversary they're pulling out all the stops and famous actors and directors are talking about what the awards meant to your career. In this promo video you can see TFE favorite Tony Leung Chiu Wai (only one of the great living movie stars) as well as other recognizable faces like director Ang Lee and hotties like Aaron Kwok and Shu Qi (which...where's she been lately?)

The best news is that elusive Maggie has shot a one minute commercial (though we hope it's more like an abstract short film) with the acclaimed director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and cinematographer Lee Ping Bing (the cinematographer of In the Mood for Love!). It's not available yet but stay tuned...

Thursday
May232013

Kidman in Cannes. Part 4.

Jose here. Late last night I found myself cursing at the heavens for not making Nicole as ubiquitous as Uma, Kate Beckinsale and Diane Kruger were during their own Cannes jury duties. Then she went and did this:
 


Who She Wore:
 Valentino. And not just Valentino, but the Valentino Anne Hathaway refused to wear to the Oscars (because Amanda Seyfried was wearing something similar...) ending up with the satin Nipplegate and that awkward PR thing the day after. Like they say, one person's garbage is another person's treasure and the truth is that Nicole could retire from red carpets forever and this look would still be talked about for decades to come. She even outdid Fan Bingbing!
Which Director She's Trying to Lure: I want to say Ang Lee, but that's only because he's there and I'm too distracted by the dress' prettiness to think harder.
What would Margot think of this: something about weddings? Really, the dress is impeding my ability to think. 

After the jump, more of Nicole in the dress and a look we forgot in Part 3...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May162013

Reader Spotlight: Peter Chan

We're getting to know the Film Experience community one-by-one. It's taking a long time, bless you! Today we're talking with Peter, a script supervisor.

Peter working on the set of a movie!

Nathaniel: When and why did you start reading TFE?

PETER: I was referred to it from Kenneth in (212) and thought TFE catered to the fun side of film I adored and come awards season... glued. I haven't looked back.

Nathaniel: You work in the industry, right? What's your favorite part of the biz?

PETER: Yeah. I've been a script supervisor primarily for independent features for close to 8 years. It's still strange to me that I get paid to do what I do. Though there are definitely bad days, I generally love what I do. It's great to be on the scene and be so close to the process. My favorite part of this nutty business on the independent level is seeing how sometimes unforeseen elements (ie. weather, talent illness, location flooded) can force the creative team to come up with last minute solutions to make that particular scene work. It really becomes a collaboration and it's a great example of why I love working indies. Some of the best stuff from projects I've worked on resulted from this.

Terrifying, really!Do you remember your first movie?

When I was 6, my dad brought me and my sister to see The Land Before Time. It was very traumatic. Me and my sister cried our eyes out from all the death and abandonment. My dad had to take us out of the theater because I'm sure everyone was staring. I vowed to never go to the movies ever again, thinking it's just a big, dark room where bad things happen. Little did I know....

Do you have a dream project as filmmaking goes?

Oh boy... As a scripty, I'd love to be part of another smart comedy. I love the vibe it sets to the behind-the-scenes team and the relationship it creates amongst cast & crew. On the far-reach scale? A period musical. Oh yeah... my brain gets orgasmic just thinking about that. Someone should really be remaking Newsies now that it's doing well on stage.

these are a few of his favorite things ♫

Name your three favorite movies in each genre.

Sci-Fi/ Fantasy: Gattaca, The Fifth Element and Blade Runner
Horror: The Exorcist, Ringu & does Stephen King's "It" count? I still can't watch the whole thing in one sitting and am relieved once that spider monster thing appears because I know I made it and now I can just enjoy the campiness.  
Comedy: Best In Show, Mean Girls & try to not judge too hard, but Rookie of The Year. I wanted to be Henry Rowengartner so much as a kid.... "Pitcher has a big butt...". That movie will always have a place in my nostalgic heart. -
Drama: Ordinary People, A Streetcar Named Desire & Grave of the Fireflies
Musical: The Sound of Music, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge!

Take away an Oscar. Regift it.

I know Humphrey Bogart was great in The African Queen, but I think it's a travesty that Marlon Brando didn't win for A Streetcar Named Desire. He transformed the way I see how a performance can truly elevate a film.

Which move would you want to live inside of?

As a young kid, it was being a Von Trapp kid in The Sound of Music. As a grown-up kid, The X-Men universe for sure. I don't know what mutant power I'd have (it'd probably be a lame one) but living in a world where it's a reality would be awesome. The strange thing is that I'm not sure if I'll be part of the X-Men or the Brotherhood... Haha.  

Hmmm. If you don't know it's The Brotherhood ;) What's the last movie you saw before these questions?

Bluebird, a film I worked on last winter had its world premiere during this year's Tribeca Film Festival. And yes, Roger Sterling is just as cool as you think he is in person!

Wednesday
Apr242013

Ladies and Gentlemen and Kidmaniacs, I Give You The Cannes Jury

Cannes is just three weeks away and the final jury lineup has been announced. We knew Steven Spielberg would head the jury but his team was still semi-secret. They are...

Just months after competing for an extra Oscar, they'll be discussing other people's movies

Competition Jury

  • Daniel Auteuil (French actor/director)
  • Vidya Balan (Indian actress)
  • Naomi Kawase (Japanese director)
  • Nicole Kidman (Australian actress/producer)
  • Ang Lee (Taiwanese director/producer/scriptwriter)
  • Cristian Mungiu (Romanian scriptwriter/director/producer)
  • Lynne Ramsay (British scriptwriter/director/producer)
  • Steven Spielberg (American director) PRESIDENT OF JURY
  • Christoph Waltz (Austrian Actor)

 

Only one thing is certain about the outcome based on the composition of the team: By May 26th, Nicki's auteur lust will devour their collective imagination and they'll surely be competing for her hand in filmmaking. Which one of these directors will she work with next? (I mean, besides Steven Spielberg who Kate Capshaw aside, isn't particularly excited by actresses.) Can her first Romanian picture be far off? I'd most love to see what Lynne Ramsay could wrangle out of Kidman but I assume that Ramsay might have difficulty getting funding for her next picture given the ugly fallout from her sudden departure from Jane Got a Gun

Some years ago I made this visual and it still applies. But you just change the names as the years go by and Kidman recalibrates her attacks. Always plotting for legacy, that one!

Despite the media blitz that accompanies Cannes headliners, the competition jury is never the only jury at Cannes. It's just the one with all the headliners. There are multiple less glitzy but not necessarily less talented juries overseeing other prizes as well. 

Short Films Jury

  • Maji-da Abdi (Ethiopian actress/producer)
  • Jane Campion (New Zealand, director) PRESIDENT OF JURY
  • Nandita Das (Indian actress/director)
  • Semith Kaplanoglu (Turkey, writer/director/producer)

Un Certain Regard Jury
This jury decides who to spotlight in the realm of up-and-coming filmmakers (the ones Cannes isn't yet ready to include in the Competition lineup. Last year their prize went to the Mexican feature After Lucia which Amir wrote about here.) This jury lineup has not yet been announced but Thomas Vinterberg that handsome Dane who made the dogme masterpiece Festen (A Celebration) in the late 90s and whose current  feature The Hunt is winning him the best reviews he's seen since that startling debut will preside over this jury.

Can't wait to see which films they all embrace... and which auteurs win Nicole Kidman's hand.