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Entries in Bright Star (7)

Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Greig Fraser talks "Lion," his shifting style, and Jane Campion

Here's one mystery solved: Greig Fraser isn't pronounced any sort of fancy way. It's merely "Greg" with a silent extra "i". If you want to say it perfectly, though, you'll have to say it with an Aussie accent, mate.

We've been singing the praises of the cinematographer Greig Fraser for 8 years now, even if we often pronounced his name wrong while doing so. After the visually jaw-dropping calling card of Bright Star (2009) one of the new century's most undervalued and most transcendentally beautiful movies, his name appeared more and more regularly in major prestige films. Curiously though, despite his ever broadening range (he's aced virtually every genre he's hopped to and front) and quite a few critically lauded and Oscar nominated movies under his belt, he is just now enjoying his very first Oscar nomination for his evocative and resourceful lensing of the Australian hit and Best Picture nominee Lion.

Fraser (top left), Sunny Pawar, and director Garth Davis on the set of Lion

I was eager to talk to him about his ability to tackle any genre, his time with Jane Campion and the challenge of Lion. Here's our interview...

 

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Monday
Oct312016

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Happy Haloween. Please enjoy this Photo of Oscar nominee and birthday girl Sally Kirkland wearing a live tarantula Halloween isn't only for trick or treating and costume parties though it is most definitely for those things. It's also home to many fine birthdays and events on this day in showbiz history... 

1795 Poet John Keats is born. Two hundred and fourteen years later Ben Whishaw plays him beautifully in the still undervalued Jane Campion movie Bright Star
1864 Nevada becomes the 36th State. Without Nevada no Las Vegas, one of the favorite cities of filmmakers and storytellers. It is entirely untrue that what happens there stays there -- it's always broadcast!
1879 Oscar nominee Sara Allgood (How Green Was My Valley) is born in Dublin
1892 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Movies and TV haven't shut up about the Great Detective since they were invented as mediums. 
1906 George Bernard Shaw's Caesar & Cleopatra premieres on Broadway. 39 years and 11 months later the film version starring Vivien Leigh is released.
1922 Barbara Bell Geddes of Dallas and I Remember Mama fame is born in NYC
1925 Oscar winner Lee Grant (Shampoo) is born. Have you read her recent autobiography yet? 
1926 Harry Houdini dies

Mount Rushmore, River Phoenix and more after the jump...

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Monday
Jun062016

Stage Door: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's "Bright Star"

In Stage Door we talk theater, usually making some form of movie connection because that's how we do things...

I don't know anything about Bluegrass music but I wouldn't have connected it to the Melodrama form. If I tried to tell you the plot of Steve Martin's Broadway show "Bright Star," you wouldn't even believe it, so I shan't. Let's just say that if the plot were a movie it would be a silent film with wild eyed pantomiming it's so BIG with oversized emotional rug-pulling. I was just crazy about the music but the book not so much. (On the night I attended it was all worth it because Steve Martin made a surprise appearance. There he was as the curtain raised for Act 2, playing on his banjo. He was loving it and so was the very very appreciative crowd. How lucky that he picked our night to show up!)

Aside from the Original Score which just won the Drama Desk Award, the show's MVP is its Tony nominated lead actress Carmen Cusack who plays her character, beautifully, at two separate ages as a gangly uninhibited teenager and a much stiffer heartbroken woman in her 30s; when she fuses their temperaments at the end into the same woman, it's divine. Her voice can soar gorgeously and crash down to earth with equal potency. The Original Cast Recording is now available which might be the best way to experience the otherwise uneven night of theater. The highlight of this particular lucky night out on Broadway was the surprise appearance of Steve Martin playing his banjo as Act 2 began. He was loving it and so were his appreciative surprised fans in the theater that night. I was lucky enough to be among them. 

Bright Star is up for 5 Tonys: Musical, Book of a Musical, Score, Actress, and Orchestrations. 

More Theater
54 Below Molly Pope is doing a one night show in July based on A Star is Born. She's a stunning live performer -it's pricey but I have to be there
NY Times An ode to Broadway replacements Heather Headley & Marin Mazzie
NY Post Michael Riedel predicts a mini Hamilton backlash at the Tonys. It will lose in at least a few categories 
Theater Mania Once frequent Oscar nominee Marsha Mason is directing a production of Steel Magnolias in Pennsylvania (now running through June 18th). Jessica Walter is playing Ouiser which is great casting, don't you think? 
Broadway Blog Cheyenne Jackson has a new album out "Renaissance"

 

 

P.S. Jason and I also caught American Psycho again the day before it closed and during intermission, while chatting with Pushing Daisies / Hannibal TV genius Bryan Fuller (who also enjoyed the show) we all met a crazy fan who was wearing an American Psycho dress . A second time through I'm even more convinced of its brilliance. The Tonys really stiffed it but at least it picked up 3 well deserved Drama Desk Awards (Lighting, Projections, Design) 

Thursday
Apr302015

Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's Bright Star

Have you participated in Hit Me With Your Best Shot? Visual index coming tonight! 

As an end to this month-long series on Jane Campion, Bright Star presents a perfect kind of artistic summation for the writer/director. This John Keats romance is part of a tradition of filmmakers and playwrights making art about art. Though presumably about the life of an artist, the  finished play or film acts as its creator’s thesis statement about sublime inspiration (Minnelli’s Lust for Life), beauty and pain (Julie Taymor’s Frida), the thin line between madness and creation (Scorsese's The Aviator), or the creative process (Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George). Inevitably, these films and plays are as much about their creators as they are about their subjects.

Jane Campion had already made one such thesis statement earlier with An Angel at my Table, a biopic designed to explore the relationship between otherness and originality. By telling the story of Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) from the perspective of his fiance Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) in Bright Star, Campion explores not the creation of art, but rather art’s creative power. The audience sees Keats through Fanny’s eyes - Campion does love personal narratives - and so both Fanny and the film blossom into color. But first, we must be introduced to our young protagonist.

Campion's colorful thoughts on art and love after the jump...

Best Shot

"White. A blank canvas, or page."

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug042013

Mr & Mr Ben Whishaw!

Congratulations to Ben Whishaw who confirms he's gay and happily married to Mark Bradshaw, the composer.

Whishaw & Bradshaw

Here's a cute trivia note that too few sites will mention: Bradshaw scored Whishaw's rare romantic leading man gig in Bright Star (2009) where the actor played the poet John Keats. Good god that movie is underappreciated... except for here at TFE where it won multiple nominations in its year. If it brought them together it's even more lovely in retrospect. 

Bradshaw recently scored the Emmy-nominated miniseries Top of the Lake (it's mesmerizing - watch it!) and Whishaw will next be seen in Terry Gilliam's Zero Theorem, the next James Bond film reprising his "Q" role, and possibly a Ron Howard picture called In the Heart of the Sea

Wednesday
May292013

May Flowers in "Bright Star"

Andrew here using May Flowers celebrations to talk about one of my favourite 21st century films.

If you asked me to pick a single image to represent movies from 2000 onwards chances are that I’d choose this specific image from Jane Campion’s Bright Star. It’s still one of those movie images seared into my brain, four years after I first saw it. Campion’s 2009 film has so many things going for it, and Greg Fraiser’s peerless cinematography is somewhere towards the top. It’s not quite my favourite film of its year but it is, easily, my choice for “most beautiful” and that’s not just because it has the prettiest couple heading its romance. [more...]

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