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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 | deviantart 


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Ang Lee (19)


Beauty vs Beast: The Red Jungles of High Society

Jason from MNPP here with this week's episode of "Beauty vs Beast" for your fun-time entertainment -- while it's certainly not as important numerically as the approaching 100 year anniversary of Ingrid Bergman (which we're celebrating with great enthusiasm here at TFE) I think it's a happy enough happenstance that today marks the 113th anniversary of the birth of the terrific actress Norma Shearer and we should likewise celebrate her. And what better way than with that grand dame of cinematic cattiness, George Cukor's 1939 classic The Women? Shearer plays the betrayed society wife Mary, whose husband can't resist the shopgirl charms of (one two three - hiss!) Miss Crystal Allen, played by a totally game Joan Crawford. There's no way to play if you don't enter the kennel...

PREVIOUSLY Last week we also took on a "good wife" trampled by some dark-haired hussy, facing down Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver in The Ice Storm. And the hussy won! The hussy always wins. (As we'll probably find out in another week when this Women poll's results come in.) Said Joe:

"Both women were brilliant in this. This is my favorite Ang Lee film. I'd give the edge to Sigourney. Outside of the Alien films, this is her best work. It's SHOCKING that she was not nominated for an Oscar that year. I mean, Minnie Driver??"


Beauty vs Beast: Mothers in the Storm

Jason from MNPP here wishing all of you a happy Monday and a happier August - where has the time flown? I've been off "Beauty vs Beast" duties for a couple of weeks because of real-world-stuff that's all quite boring, but I'm back now and rarin' to go. Positively rarin'. Today's pick it a little random but not really when I lay it out -- there was that article about Brokeback Mountain's upcoming 10 Year Anniversary last week which got me thinking about Ang Lee and then yesterday's Supporting Actress Smackdown got me thinking about Joan Allen and yadda yadda I re-watched The Ice Storm last night and yadda yadda here we are. See? Simple. More difficult I think will be the choosing... but let's reach in the bowl and fish somebody's keys out...

PREVIOUSLY Whilst I was away Nathaniel whispered my favorite siren song of sweet sweet Gyllenhaals and asked you guys to pick your favorite Jake flavor -- he's basically a box of Neopolitan Ice Cream; they're all so delicious, why choose? But choose we had to and straight-up Beautiful Jake (a la Brokeback and Love and Other Drugs) beat out his more Beastly iterations. Said San FranCinema:

"Had to vote for Beauty. Brokeback Jake...I just can't quit him!"


Podcast Smackdown (Pt 1) Sense & Sensibility & Mighty Aphrodite

You've read the Smackdown proper. Now, it's time for its podcast companion piece in which Nathaniel and his guests discuss the movies in greater detail.

Part 1: 40 Minutes
00:01 Introductions & who were we rooting for back in '95
05:45 Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite and broad comic caricatures in this particular category
14:30 Mira Sorvino’s career
17:26 Apollo 13
23:30 Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility, editing and ensemble work
34:00 Sister movies (Supporting or Lead for Kate & Mare?)

continue to part two

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes.  

Smackdown 1995. Part 1


Best Shot Visual Index: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)

I was so certain that I owned Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon that I didn't bother to rent it at all for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode. Come Tuesday night I discover that my dvd had vanished into the clouds after apparently leaping from its perch near the top of the dvd shelf. Worse still it's not available for rental on iTunes or Amazon but only for purchase and if I'm going to purchase something I still want the physical object. Old school! Which means that I will be late yet again with my own entry as the host which is all but inexcusable but par for the course this week (experiencing meltdowns backstage - this too shall pass?). But an unexpected development, just this week the sequel -- the reason we were doing this, was moved back to 2016 from its expected August bow.

But please do visit these articles elsewhere on Ang Lee's much Oscar nominated, much earning, much ripped off classic. I know I will. The film won 4 Oscars including cinematography for Peter Pau and probably just missed the Best Director win too since Ang Lee took the Globe, DGA and BAFTA that year. Imagine if he'd taken the Oscar that year. He'd have 3 wins by now.

(click on the pics for corresponding articles)

 Almost like Cupid’s arrow...?
-I Am Derreck 

When you look at this image, you could easily mistake the film for a traditional Western... 
-Film Actually  

That Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon focuses on the traditionally Chinese conflict between reason (li) and emotion (qing) is unsurprising, the way the movie expresses the conflict through images, however, is anything but. 
- Coco Hits NY

 If I made a list of ‘top 10 overrated movies’ this would definitely make that list...
-54 Disney Reviews

a portrayal of love as the light in the darkness...
-Antagony & Ecstacy 

Lee's romanticism is also utilized simply to make interesting, unexpected choices... 
-The Entertainment Junkie

Honestly, it’s not a surprise that this is the same director as Brokeback Mountain when you come to think of it, since it’s clear that the man knows how to make emotional self-imprisonment believable and dangerous...
-Movie Motorbreath 

It's all about Zhang Ziyi. For someone so small, she has immense screen presence...
-Sorta That Boy 

Where is Michelle Yeoh's international superstardom?
-Paul Outlaw

And finally...

Nathaniel's Placeholder Best Shot
For the record, in closing, this is the single image that my mind races to first when I am reminded of the film. I'm not saying it will be my "best" upon a close rewatch inspection, but I remember the whole scene vividly and fondly and the entire movie felt this way to me the first time I saw it; a magical film transcending the standard laws, balancing delicately and easily in the treetops while breathing rarified instant-classic air.

I'll update this list when more articles come in including my own - you should still join us since the sequel is delayed and we can continue to add articles. Perhaps I'll choose a shot from each half hour as penance? It's been so long since I've seen it and I'm eager to have it memorized again before the possibly ill advised sequel arrives which is no longer next month but early 2016.

Sunset Blvd (1950). But you can't choose the infamous "close-up" for Mr DeMille at film's end so if that's your shot your choice must be "second best shot". I am starting on this one FRIDAY so that there is no way in hell I'll be late for my own event next Wednesday. If you've always wanted to try "best shot," here's you classic opportunity with a film from Old Hollywood about Even Older Hollywood that nonetheless never gets old. 


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?


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 ...


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...