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Doc Corner: McQueen

"It's an excellent film, very well balanced, full of fascinating talking heads, and beautifully put together." -Edward L

"This should be the fashion documentary that makes it through to the final 5." - Peggy Sue

"I saw this in the UK last week. I was fascinated --especially the relationship with Blow and reflections on his gender politics. Would recommend." - catbaskets

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Entries in Best Actress (527)

Thursday
Jul192018

Months of Meryl: The Hours (2002)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#29 —Clarissa Vaughan, a higher-up and hostess of the New York literary scene attempting to throw a party for her dying friend.

MATTHEW:  Even before Meryl Streep stepped before the cameras as the unraveling hostess Clarissa Vaughan on Stephen Daldry’s The Hours, the actress already possessed a role in Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer-winning, tripartite meditation on love, loss, and Virginia Woolf. Early on in Cunningham’s 1999 novel, Clarissa, while shopping for flower, catches sight of a movie star who may be Streep or Vanessa Redgrave or, much less excitingly for Clarissa, Susan Sarandon emerging from her trailer with an “aura of regal assurance.” Streep’s ephemeral appearance in what will prove to be one of the most pivotal days of Clarissa’s life signifies, quite literally, the sublime; her quasi-cameo is a perfect encapsulation of one of those chance, indirect encounters with a famous face that we use, with varying levels of embarrassment, to distract us from the mundanities of our daily routine, a glimpse of the extraordinary amid the everyday. That Streep the Star, who was gifted a copy of "The Hours" by Redgrave’s late daughter Natasha Richardson, is removed from Daldry’s film speaks to the many, many excisions that occur within any page-to-screen transfer, but it also informs us that Streep’s cinematized Clarissa Vaughan is simply beyond distraction...

I will always appreciate Daldry’s version as a rare if principally partitioned meeting of three extraordinary screen stars...

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Thursday
Jul122018

YNMS: Mary Queen of Scots

by Chris Feil

As promised yesterday, the Mary Queen of Scots trailer has arrived. Think of it like the less demented and much more traditional flip side of an actressy coin to the antics of that trailer for The Favourite. Becauseonce again we've got some heavily costumed fireworks on our hands.

And what take does this version of the oft rehashed history have to offer? The film jumps off from the amicable relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, played respectively by last year's Best Actress nominees Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan. Then begins a rivalry for the throne, but this film plays handily with the underpinnings of affection both women have for one another and the men underneath their power forcing their hands. As your middle school history books will tell you, it doesn't end well for all parties.

This is one of our more anticipated Oscar players of the season, so all eyes are on what Ronan and Robbie have in store as their awards stars continue to go upward. But will the movie have the goods? Take a look at the new trailer and we'll break down the Yes No Maybe So...

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Wednesday
Jul112018

Soundtracking: "The Rose"

by Chris Feil

History may never let us forget that The Rose began as a Janis Joplin biopic before objections from her family and even its eventual star, Bette Midler. And sure, the similarities remain: a tragic end after a life of drugs, booze, and emotional bruises so deep that they bled out into the vocals.

But the unfortunate side-effect of the Joplin adjacency is that Midler’s achievement is overshadowed in the public consciousness. It’s Joplin as template only and its songs are nearly all covers of other blues and rock artists, and still Midler creates her own unique persona and musical identity. When so many actual biopics fail to discover the inner humanity of an artist, she ends up capturing the the crushed spirit of an entire genre...

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Thursday
Jun282018

Months of Meryl: One True Thing (1998)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 

#26 — Kate Gulden, a suburban wife and mother dying of cancer.

JOHN: Here’s one true thing: Carl Franklin’s One True Thing is neither a Lifetime movie, an extended soap opera, nor a “chick-flick.” One True Thing is, in fact, a melodrama centered around a middle-aged woman dying of cancer, embellished with music and openly soliciting your tears. The maternal melodrama, a genre which Streep has revisited frequently, remains near the bottom of the genre totem pole, regularly maligned and dismissed by critics for all their attributes: it is proudly emotional, scored and scripted to produce waterworks, and an undisguised movie, unconcerned with presenting realism through its formal elements. One True Thing, like most contemporary maternal melodramas, is familiar and stylistically plain, and the film is admittedly hampered by a hackneyed framing device, but it also takes seriously issues central to women’s lives, exploring a mother-daughter relationship and issues of long-term marriage, especially the concessions made and female labor expended in keeping a household running smoothly. One True Thing deserves to be taken as seriously as Saving Private Ryan or any other masculine meditation on violence released in 1998. To immediately write off the film, and the genre to which it belongs, is to devalue and belittle the feminine concerns it explores...

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Wednesday
Jun272018

1994's Unsatisfying Best Actress Race 

1994 was our year of the month for June so before the month closes, a couple of more forays into that year. Here's Nathaniel R responding to a reader request during the Supporting Actress Smackdown to discuss the actual leading nominees.

It's an age old question and the answer is (nearly) always the same. 

Q: What happens when all the best stuff in a film year is within genres Oscar doesn't care for?
A: The Academy sticks to their traditional loves even if it means providing history with a weak shortlist that they'll judge harshly!  

Some recent years have suggested that Oscar is loosening up in this regard. The swell of new members might be helping along with the increased visibility of critical passion (the plethora of precursor awards constantly saying "but this is great! won't you please look at it?" seems to have shifted Oscar voters a bit more towards critical passion and away from "Oscar Bait"). But overall they stick to what they love (dramas, message movies, epics, biopics, etcetera). This is especially true of the Acting branch which rarely met a teary face it didn't fall for and continually sticks up its nose at laughing or screaming or unusual faces given their aversion to comic genius, horror films, and auteur experimental or sci-fi/fantasy work. Which brings us to 1994's BEST ACTRESS LIST...

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Thursday
Jun212018

Podcast: Disobedience and Tully

An intimate convo this week as Nathaniel R and Nick Davis discuss recent flicks. This was recorded right before Nathaniel's birthday but we are late uploading it. Here it is now for your enjoyment. Lots of Tully and Disobedience talk (among other films) all without spoilers if you haven't yet caught those early release gems!

Index (40 minutes)
00:01 Silliness about Nathaniel's Birthday
03:30 Favorites of 2018 thus far including Diablo Cody & Charlize Theron's brilliance in Tully
10:25 A long anedcote-filled conversation about Sebastian Lelio's Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz. It's quite discussable from a number of angles
25:00 On Chesil BeachDeadpool 2 and Ready Player One
30:15 Let the Sunshine In, and Grace Jones, Bloodlight and Bami
34:45 More randomness including Book Club and the exquisite beauty of Michelle Pfeiffer in Wolf

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Disobedience, Tully, Ready Player One