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Entries in Bel Powley (7)

Friday
May252018

Review: Mary Shelley

by Jason Adams

In the summer of 1816 one of the most legendary of literary happenings occurred - the poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary went to stay at the poet Lord Byron's house near Lake Geneva for the summer. Mary's step-sister Claire wrangled them an invite (or so she said) since she was having an affair with the spitefully torrid Lord himself. Also joining them at the house was the Lord's physician John Polidori, who also fancied himself somewhat of a writer. And birthed from those weeks of most gothic merrymaking was basically the entirety of the horror genre to come: Mary Shelley would come up with her lovely little monster Frankenstein, while Polidori would write "The Vampyre," the inspiration for a certain Bram Stoker a swift generation later.

The story of that time and place has been well-trod by fiction before...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep132017

TIFF: Elle Fanning is "Mary Shelley"

Our ongoing adventures at TIFF

In the summer of 1816 legendary Romantic literary figures Mary Shelley (and stepsister Claire Clairmont), Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and Dr John Polidori were holed up in a Swiss estate and challenged each other to write scary ghost stories. From that fateful contest two famous works of horror emerged ("Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus" in 1818 and "The Vampyre" in 1819 -- neither of them actual ghost stories!). Ken Russell attacked this collision of authors with his trademark sexual abandon and visual insanity in Gothic (1986) and his wasn't the first or last film to stare with fascination at that morbid contest 201 years ago. We return to that summer for a good chunk of Haifaa al-Mansour's Mary Shelley but with far different intent.

Haifaa al-Mansour, the first Saudi female film director (she previously directed Wadjda) is more interested in the trailblazing of Mary Shelley (née Godwin) as a female author -- and the unique challenges that came with her gender in the literary world of 1818 -- than in the creation of Frankenstein...

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Tuesday
Mar072017

Today in History: Joan Crawford's Oscar, Bel Powley's Rise, Loretta Young's Emmy

Need to feel festive today? Think on these anniversaries or birthdays today in showbiz history and celebrate accordingly. 

1914 Director Morton DaCosta was born in Philly. Though most of his career was on the stage he did direct three features: Auntie Mame, The Music Man, and Island of Love, the first two of which were Best Picture nominees!
1933 The game "Monopoly" was invented -remember that time when it seemed like every "brand" was going to become a movie and Ridley Scott was going to make this one?
1942 Televangelist wife and pop culture makeup icon Tammy Faye Baker is born. 

Much more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Leasing Las Vegas

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on Detour.

You know what will make me feel like it's the late 1990s again real quick? (If you answered "There's a Clinton in the White House" you're a little ahead of yourself, but just by a few months.) What will make me feel like it's the late 1990s again real quick is watching a movie about verbose criminals getting themselves into hyper-violent timeline-warping shenanigans - Things To Do In Denver When You're 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag; that ol' Pulp Fiction addiction. 

Do you guys remember that time Oliver Stone tried to out-Tarantino Tarantino (even though Tarantino was always really trying to out-Stone Stone) and made U Turn? That's the Tarantino-ish that Detour reminded me the most of. And U Turn's not a bad thing to be reminded of! U Turn is nuts, in a never not entertaining way! And there are chunks of Detour - which tells the story of a law student (Tye Sheridan) enlisting the aid of some do-badders (Emory Cohen and Bel Powley) in a plot against his step-father - that feel vibrant with that same sort of something-borrowed storytelling flair. Director Christopher Smith (already responsible for the tremendously under-valued thrillers Severance and Triangle) employs real visual wit, and busts out all the toys from the toy-box (De Palma lover that I am I cannot resist a split-screen) to pop and pizazz us.

But the film ultimately doesn't have the conviction of a Stone working his own mirrored riff (much less First Tier Tarantino) and it's more the fault of Smiths' script than it is of direction - the characters are never Characters, Capital C for Characters, like they need to be for something this stylized to take. These are all good performers (even in a role this underwritten you can't take your eyes off of Bel Powley; she is the real deal) but Detour never quite stops feeling like kids play-acting at big people parts. (And kids play-acting Tarantino can work; I have seen Go. We have all seen Go!)

Grade: C+

Sunday
Feb142016

Red Carpet: BAFTA PreParty, Sci-Tech, and WGA

Eight beauties for you this afternoon as we get closer and closer to Oscar and more and more awards are handed out. We'll know the BAFTA winners in a few hours (though they still don't televise it live making it hard to take seriously in this day and age) but here are four women from the pre-party.

Sandy Powell (just interviewed!), Dakota Johnson, Cate Blanchett, and Bel Powley. Was the dress code black and white? 

 

Olivia Munn co-hosted the Academy's Sci-Tech Awards. Meanwhile at the WGA Awards, Adepero Oduye (gorgeous in yellow!) showed up to support The Big Short, Gina Gershon, and Diane Lane were also out on the red carpet. Olivia's busy but these other three deserve bigger roles than they've been getting -- they've got the talent and the charisma for them. Hopefully the guild members, all writers after all, will be inspired by their presence to create richer roles for them or actresses like them. 

WGA WINNERS
Original SPOTLIGHT
Adapted THE BIG SHORT
Documentary GOING CLEAR
Television FARGO

We've every reason to expect that Original and Adapted will tilt the same way at the Oscars on the 28th but what do you think is running second in both races? We're guessing Inside Out (Original)  in distant second and Room (Adapted) a closer second.

Sunday
Jan312016

Personal Ballot: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough

Ready to start pouring over Nathaniel's annual Film Bitch Awards? The time is now. As longtime readers probably have gleaned, in my secret alternate fantasy life I became a casting director. It's one of the three jobs in movies I always thought I'd be terrific at (the others being editing and screenwriting). This is not bragging. It's fan-fic journaling. All cinephiles are allowed, indeed encouraged (at least here), to harbor such 'in another life' fantasies! The natural pull of casting is probably what keys up the interesting in SAG's Ensemble category so much even though they don't ever seem to absorb the meaning of the word but just pick five pictures they liked. 

Now that SAG has had their say, here are the Film Bitch Nominees in the casting friendly categories:  Casting, Ensemble, and Breakthrough Performers. You'll see major shout outs to Sicario and Brooklyn in particular, both the casts and their casting directors (Francine Maisler and Fiona Weir, respectively). It's still mortifying that they were looked over in terms of communal acting whenever ensemble prizes were handed out anywhere. Diary of a Teenage Girl, which we probably haven't talked about enough, is also honored twice over. 

And a note to remember as you read them: If a performer is nominated in one of our regular Oscar-adjacent acting categories they are not eligible for Breakthrough (so no double dipping) which is why you don't see Jacob Tremblay from Room for example since he was already nominated in Leading Actor