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"While it doesn't seem groundbreaking, I know I will watch it eventually because of the four legends in the cast." - Rebecca

"Adored both Bergen and Keaton (and Garcia!), liked Fonda and unfortunately, thought Steenburgen kind of drew the short straw here. Overall, had a ball!" - Andrew


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Entries in Best Actress (517)

Sunday
May062018

Review: "Tully"

by Chris Feil

With Juno, screenwritwer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman made a quippy comedy on teen pregnancy with more subtlety than first meets the eye. Pairing again for Young Adult, they approached the bitter delusion of its alcoholic protagonist with patient and understated compassion. Now arrives their third collaboration Tully, an equally gracious and hilarious look at personal growth and self-awareness, this time with motherhood at the forefront.

It’s a special thing when we get even one great comedy with such a deep well of empathy for its subject, but Cody and Reitman have gifted us with an unimpeachable trilogy on empathy that challenges audience bias. And Tully is their riskiest entry yet.

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Monday
Apr302018

April Foolish Predictions: Best Actress ! 

by Nathaniel R

 

Yes, we (currently) think Glenn Close will win the next Best Actress Oscar. Yes, there are multiple reasons why that might not happen but for now we're predicting that it shall. At long last! A number of elements are there to help make that happen on paper, including (and this is no small detail) a fine role that doubles as a nifty meta commentary about Glenn Close's own Oscar history (and more largely the plight of accomplished aging women who gone unrecognized whiles others are fêted). There are things that could derail this prediction of course: an undeniable event performance (think a Monster or a Blue Jasmine  though those never make themselves clear until a film is screened) or considerable career momentum (Saoirse Ronan?) or 'welcome to the big leagues' fever since Oscar loves a young leading lady (Kiki Layne?). But those are what-if scenarios just like Close winning. 

Even if you take Glenn Close as a done deal for a nomination --  which of course you shouldn't since it's nothing is certain this early on -- it still looks like a good year for leading women nonetheless. 

Eight questions to consider for the comments after the jump...

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Thursday
Apr122018

Months of Meryl: A Cry in the Dark (1988)

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

 #15 — Lindy Chamberlain, a New Zealand matriarch wrongfully convicted of her child’s murder.

MATTHEWOne evening in August 1980, Azaria Chamberlain, the two month-old daughter of New Zealander couple Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, was taken while the family was camping near Ayers Rock. She was never found again. Seconds before Azaria disappeared, Lindy claimed to have seen a dingo rummaging through the tent where her daughter lay sleeping, putting forth the soon-to-be-infamous story that a dingo had taken and perhaps eaten her baby. A seedy, sensationalist media frenzy ensued, with the Chamberlains’ faces splashed across the covers of obsessive tabloids and speculative segments of nightly news programs as many, including the Australian high court, viciously questioned the veracity of the family’s explanation.

None of Meryl Streep’s vehicles have entered the cultural lexicon with quite the same measure of gleefully ubiquitous parody that has surrounded and even overshadowed Fred Schepisi’s 1988 docudrama A Cry in the Dark, also titled — and released in Australia and New Zealand as — Evil Angels after the John Bryson true-crime bestseller that first chronicled the Chamberlain family’s legal ordeal. A Cry in the Dark’s devolution into little more than a widely-known (though often misquoted) punchline has proven to be both admittedly hilarious but also fairly odd, especially considering the gruesome events from which this gag originates...

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Thursday
Apr052018

Months of Meryl: Ironweed (1987)

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

 #14 — Helen Archer, a dying homeless alcoholic.

JOHN: Behold, the most devastating sequel to Heartburn imaginable. Directed by Hector Babenco and adapted by William Kennedy from his own Pulitzer-winning novel, Ironweed follows Francis (Jack Nicholson) and Helen (Streep), two homeless drifters biding their time and eking out their lives in Depression-era Albany. At nearly two and a half hours long, Ironweed is a bleak, wrenching study of poverty with nary a promise of redemption in sight. We’re talking about a movie whose most uplifting and musical scene is chased with a crushing dose of hopeless reality, a movie in which dogs assail a woman’s frozen corpse outside a church, digging graves is considered a good day’s work, and ramshackle vagrants pray they drink enough liquor to die in their sleep. It’s a tough sell and an even tougher sit, but Ironweed features one of Streep’s most spellbinding transformations.

Helen Archer does not make her entrance for a good twenty minutes. First we watch Nicholson’s Francis dig graves, slug whiskey, and fecklessly address the headstone of his deceased infant son, who he dropped and killed in a drunken daze. In the basement of a church serving free hot meals for the homeless, Helen slips through the door, a regular who, after some time away, returns to more of the same, reuniting with her moribund companion Francis. Streep’s Helen is shrewd enough to get herself warm and fed, but something about Helen suggests that she isn’t entirely there; it’s almost as if she is suspended halfway between life and death, past and present.

Helen, who we will come to learn is a former singer and concert pianist, constantly recollects the glory of her dashed dreams with utmost clarity, as again Streep is able to conjure a memory so expressively that one believes it to be as true as fact...

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Tuesday
Apr032018

Glenn Close and the next Best Actress competition

by Nathaniel R

Glenn Close is "The Wife"

Happy news to share or remind you of if you've already known (this is not a 'breaking news' specific post, just newsy). Sony Pictures Classic is NOT waiting until the dread last weekend of the year to release the new Glenn Close vehicle The Wife.  (Post Christmas releases in Los Angeles and New York rarely work for Oscar hopefuls but studios have been loathe to give them up, hoping that Oscar fever will rescue their commercial prospects despite not putting the effort in of releasing them before Christmas). The post Christmas pray-for-a-midnight-miracle attempt is what doomed Annette Bening's chances two years in a row for Best Actress nominations (20th Century Women and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool were released on December 28th and December 29th respectively in 2016 and 2017).

No, The Wife is trying the summer player / Best Actress momentum game (which works out more often than New Years Eve hopefuls). The film hits theaters in limited release on August 3rd and will platform from there. I think it's the best work she's done in a couple of decades so I'm hoping y'all like it too. Whether or not her perpetual "overdue" status paired with what we're assuming will be strong reviews (at least for her if not necessarily the film) will lead to a nomination or win will depend a lot on her as yet unknown competition; it's not the undeniable kind of ferocious big meaty star turn but more of a finely calibrated character study. But who will that competition be...

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Thursday
Mar222018

Months of Meryl: "Out of Africa"

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

 

#12 — Karen Blixen, aristocratic Danish author who owns a coffee plantation in Kenya during the first decades of the twentieth century.

JOHN: Did Karen Blixen once have a farm in Africa? Like a marching zombie with arms outstretched, Karen intones this mantra via voiceover several times during Out of Africa, either because she remains in disbelief at her accomplishment or feels compelled to remind the viewer of a reason to focus on Ms. Blixen amid Sydney Pollack’s African travelogue.

Out of Africa tells the tale of Karen Blixen, a headstrong woman who relocates from Denmark to Kenya circa 1914 to marry her lover’s twin brother (Klaus Maria Brandauer), run a short-lived coffee plantation, and eventually fall in love with English game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). Out of Africa was a project that piqued but ultimately eluded such directors as Orson Welles, David Lean, and Nicholas Roeg. As envisioned by Sydney Pollack and distributed by Universal Pictures in 1985, it's a colossal Hollywood production that endlessly reveres the natural beauty of its Kenyan environs while dodging engagement with the colonialist specificities of its time and place...

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