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Entries in Annette Bening (27)

Monday
Sep222014

Beauty vs Beast: There Will Be Beasts

JA from MNPP here welcoming you to another week's "Beauty vs Beast" showdown - this time around we're going good and bad and ugly and everything in between, heading out West to the oil fields of California at the turn of the previous century.

Over the weekend Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 film There Will Be Blood screened at the immense and ornate United Palace Theater here in New York with Jonny Greenwood's masterful (and criminally Oscar-ignored) score performed live by an orchestra, including Mr. Greenwood himself. I was there and it was, to put it mildly, as if somebody liquified all of Heaven itself into drug-form and shot it full-blast into my veins. That is to say -- I enjoyed it. So to keep my happy buzz thrumming just a little longer, let's head back to The Church of the Third Revelation and see where our loyalties lie - with Daniel Day-Lewis' boy-abandoning oil-man or with Paul Dano's oily-man of god who keeps crawling under his skin.

 

We should try to keep ourselves character-minded as we cast our votes (keeping in mind that Eli might be a squirmy little fraud but Daniel Plainview does some, um, very bad stuff), but on the actor side of the equation I do want to say that while Oscar was very clearly definitive about where its hosannas fell (and I'm not about to knock DDL's for-the-ages work) I do think Dano's performance has been under-valued. The film wouldn't work nearly as well as it does if he wasn't purposefully driving us into Daniel Plainview's long, cold, scary arms. But really they're all a bunch of bastards (in baskets).

PREVIOUSLY Last week we revisited the raining rose petals of the insular suburban world in Sam Mendes' American Beauty on the ocassion of its 15th anniversary, and faced the angry patriarch and angrier matriarch of the Burnham clan off - coming out ahead by one fashionable gardening clog, Carolyn (Annette Bening) marched off with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mike In Canada:

"I feel like a major turning point in the road to true grownup-hood is realizing that Carolyn is the true hero of American Beauty and that Lester is a thoughtless prick and the movie's attitudes toward them are a major flaw."

Monday
Sep152014

Beauty vs Beast: American Beauty vs American Beast

JA from MNPP here - it's that "Beauty vs Beast" time again! Over the past few months a lot's been written about the wonderful movie year that was 1999 now that we're a solid fifteen years away from it (Nathaniel touched upon this back in July) but seeing as how today, September 15th, marks the exact anniversary of the release of the film that would roll on to win that's years Best Picture, I figure it's time to pit some angry suburbanites against each other.

Yup, American Beauty turns 15 today. The dust on everybody's Oscars - Kevin's, Sam's, Annet... oh wait, nevermind (sorry Hilary Swank made me do it) - is fifteen years thick. (Of course if Annette had won that Oscar she'd have never let the dust get that thick - she'd strip down to her slip and scrub scrub scrub that sucker.) And all that built-up time, well it hasn't been too kind to the movie, if you ask me. But why ask me? Go read this piece at Decider on the film from just a week ago, it kind of says it for me. But now that I'm a little older the film (and Lester's) relentless villainization of Carolyn's character does indeed stick in my craw. But what about you?

 

Per usual you've got one week, seven days, to let the world know where you stand. Try not to get lost staring at plastic bags while stoned out of your mind, if at all possible.

PREVIOUSLY Speaking of being high, I'm still coming down from my John Waters high thanks to last week's retrospective at The Film Society of Lincoln Center here in New York (I saw him introduce Final Destination over the weekend! Shoot me now, it's all down-hill from that), but we can close the door on our Female Trouble themed poll at least... and nobody beats Divine. As Henry put it:

"Divine........there is only one Divine.......Christmas Trees beware the spurned Santa wish for Cha Cha Heels."

Thursday
Feb272014

Where My Girls At? Chastain, Farmiga, Kidman, Bening

And now another edition of "Where My Girls At?" which occurs whenever Nathaniel is longing for actresses who have temporarily gone missing. I'm focusing this one on the beauties we won't even be seeing at the Oscars this year. 

JESSICA CHASTAIN
Did you see this photo Jessica Chastain posted to her Facebook account?

She wrote:

That's a wrap for me on A Most Violent Year. Working with talent like JC Chandor and Oscar Isaac are the reason I love my job. I'm a very lucky girl. xxjes

Somehow I hadn't clocked this new project but it's an 1980s NY set thriller (so that explains the look) about an immigrant (one presumes that's Isaac, who seems to symbolize any "foreign" element these days to Hollywood) trying to capitalize on business opportunities but beware of Violence! Decay! Corruption! I miss Jes, don't you? I know that's insane since I saw her live in September at TIFF and because before she disappeared from movie screens after Mama she was everywhere for over a year. But Mama opened in January 2013 and almost 14 months is a lot of time without her given how we were introduced, you know? 14 months is a long time for her to be absent from screens but she'll be back soon since she's already completed three more pictures (Miss Julie, Interstellar, and this one) with another, Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak moving right along for 2015.

VERA FARMIGA
The other day I was staring at pictures of my last multiple Oscargasm (when was yours?) and since it was 33% Farmiga, I was like "hey, where she be?" I know I know. You can watch her on television weekly if you so choose but I guess my despair at great actresses going the TV route is that if you don't like the show they're on (or the character they play) that's the main thing they'll be doing for years so you lose them. With an off movie you can just move on and wait for the next one. But in addition to The Bates Motel she has movies on the way. Her latest, a Romanian set crime comedy Closer to the Moon with Mark Strong just started screening at festivals in December. In October we'll see her in the large and Oscar friendly supporting cast of The Judge which stars Robert Downey Jr (in his first big dramatic role outside of franchise culture in five years) as a man who returns home for his mom's funeral to find that his dad is accused of her murder. She might costar in a Bronx set comedy called The Locals with Shirley Maclaine and Alan Arkin (but that's two years away and who knows if it'll actually happen). And finally, she'll star in the sequel to The Conjuring for an October 2015 release. That film was such a smash hit last year that it's basically spawned two sequels. There's one coming up this October, sans Farmiga, focused on Annabelle the doll - I guess Chucky's absence created a vacuum? 

 

pics from the Queen of the Desert set

NICOLE KIDMAN
She's working herself into the ground which is just how we like it: more more more. 2013 was a quiet year with only Stoker offered (for which she was Saturn-nominated) but the next two years are full plates. She has two films with Colin Firth hitting soon, the thriller Before I Go To Sleep and the period drama The Railway Man (which I've already seen - unfortunately it doesn't give her very much to do as the supportive wife to a man struggling with his prisoner of war past). Paddington Bear, in which she plays the comic villain (a change of pace for her) and Grace of Monaco, in which she plays uh Grace of Monaco are also emerging in 2014, the latter at the Cannes film festival. Four movies means the return of Kidmania!  But the upcoming project that's most exciting, given the upgrade in the director's chair, is Queen of the Desert from the always interesting Werner Herzog. She's playing Gertrude Bell and since that's a biographical part, we can hope it's another opportunity for endless red carpet walks. Our #1 Aussie auteur-collecting goddess has posted a couple of pictures to her facebook account including an amusing "Meet Barbie" featuring her camel co-star (which seems to have disappeared from her page? weird or I'd link). Two more films have been announced, one is even an Australian picture, but a lot can happen before movies get before the cameras so we'll wait to anticipate those. 

 

Berenice Bejo on the set of The Search

THE BENING
Yes, that's a picture of Berenice Bejo above. I shall explain. I was hoping the success of The Kids Are All Right (2010) would keep her in leading roles into this decade but so far she's only had small supporting roles in indies that barely anyone saw. The Face of Love is a lead but unfortunately will suffer the same fate. So we look further ahead. Her next film Imagine is a comedy starring Al Pacino from the very successful screenwriter Dan Fogelman (who is sitting in the director's chair for the first time) but the ensemble cast is peppered with name actors like Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer and Bening herself. The Bening is also making her third film with Warren Beatty this year. After 20 some years of development (no one will ever claim Beatty as the Hare in a race) it's suddenly filming but I believe Bening's role is minor since the focus is on two young actors. I love Warren Beatty (both as a director and as an actor) and I've been waiting for him to reemerge for 13 years now (Bulworth was so underappreciated) but since I am not fond of either of the film's lead actors (Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich) I will safely be able to keep my expectations way down and just look forward to it as a chance to spot more (presumable) star cameos than a movie has had since The Player. One potentially very interesting project, also currently filming, is The Search from the Oscar winning director of The Artist Michel Hazanaviciuz. It's a reworking of the Montgomery Clift classic but with a gender swap in the leading role (his wife Bejo) as the adult who forms a bond with a child in a war torn country. Since Bening is the biggest name in it, I assume she's got a large supporting role. 

Friday
Feb142014

Cinema's Greatest On-Screen and Off-Screen Couples

Here's abstew with a Valentine special!

In the dark of the movie theatre is where we fall in love. Romantic films have influenced our lives and how we love since the dawn of cinema. And as we watch–perhaps on a first date–the actors fall in love on the silver screen, we swoon. More often than not, if you believe location rumors, that passion on-screen finds its way into the real-life relationships of the actors involved. In honor of Valentine's Day, let's celebrate those cinematic couples who's love burned bright on and off the big-screen.

Here are five of Hollywood's most iconic lovers...

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh

Click to read more ...

Friday
May312013

Belated Birthday Flowers: Carey, Annette, Helena

Belated Birthday May Flowers ~  Andrew here.

It’s the end of May and with the end of the month comes the end of May Flowers (*tear*). This past week saw three significant birthdays pass by for The Film Experience – Helena Bonham Carter (May 26), Carey Mulligan (May 28) and Annette Bening (May 29). Although we didn’t carve out proper time at TFE to fête each of them  – a combined celebration of May Flowers will surely suffice. True, they’re all at different stages in their career but if there’s one thing that we at The Film Experience know it’s that actresses are the flowers in the garden of cinema and we just couldn’t survive if they stopped prospering. So, on with the celebration. 

First up, Carey Mulligan...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar052013

Tues Top Ten: Stars Without (Competitive) Oscars

Do you miss Oscar season or are you glad it's over? I'm feeling a little bit of both right now, which is why this image that a reader sent me is so great. It's Glenn Close & Michelle Pfeiffer on Oscar night in 1989, when they both lost for their roles in Dangerous Liaisons (1988). Michelle did take the stage as a presenter that night (alongside Dennis Quaid).

Who knew that the Merquise de Merteuil and Madame Tourvel could exhibit any such tenderness for each other? (Or maybe the Merquise is just looking for the softest spot on Tourvel's neck in which to sink her fangs?)

So the picture got me to thinking about stars who've never won Oscars despite multiple nods. (Of course the most egregiously mistreated stars in Hollywood are the great actors who've never even been nominated... but that's a different list.) For this Tuesday Top Ten, I thought we'd do things a little differently and the rank will be determined not by my opinion but by Oscar's through the number of nominations. I determine the order if stars have the same number of losing nominations.

TOP TEN WORKING FILMS STARS
WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS WHO'VE
NEVER WON A COMPETITIVE OSCAR

Honorable Mentions: Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Parker, Kirk Douglas (yes, they're all still alive), Jane Alexander, Debra Winger, Diane Ladd and Marsha Mason each won three-to-four nominations but since none of these famous actors are working much or at all in features anymore, I decided to make this a list of top “working” stars instead. As for the bottom third of the top ten list, since there are a lot of stars who’ve earned three nominations without ever winning, I had to make judgement calls as to who to include. So my apologies to: Laura Linney, Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver (and others with 3 nominations) who just-missed here.

Johnny Depp, The Dangerous Liaisons girls and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb182013

My Loyal Subjects...

Editor's Note: [trumpets! ♫♩] Please welcome back to The Film Experience our favorite very special guest.

Tis I, The Bening!

I thought I'd share a picture of my recent audience with loyal subjects like you in New York. Were you there? Someone made a terrible mistake and I was not on a raised dias. But the kids, they were all right.

Except this one who forgot to bow.

It's been two years since I last addressed you but I know that you have not forgotten about me. Especially not during Oscar Season where thoughts are surely never far from me. Who do you think we voted for? 

Your guesses will amuse us even more than Ms Swank's current film career!

Her Majesty, Annette.