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What did YOU see this weekend?

 

Elle. Basically the same movie as The Piano Teacher but sillier. Huppert is great, but when is she not? -Jonathan

The Edge of Seventeen because I needed something light and fun. So delightful, and anchored by a wonderful Hailee Steinfeld performance. - Marina

 

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Entries in Casey Affleck (4)

Tuesday
Oct042016

NYFF: Manchester by the Sea

From the New York Film Festival here's Jason on the new film from Kenneth Lonergan.

The scene that we've been waiting for all during Manchester by the Sea comes pretty much where you might expect it to, that climactic slot about 3/4ths of the way in right where stories usually come to a head. And yet, and yet, the way that it comes showcases what makes Kenneth Lonergan such a fascinating writer and director. The way we get to this emotional head is typically, for this director, winding - the film is suffused with flashbacks that don't so much announce themselves as they do sneak in through the window and climb into bed beside you, surprise spooning you til sunrise. So when this climax comes where it should come, well that in itself is a surprise, but one you only notice in hindsight.

But it's more than that. Without going into specifics about what happens, what's so fascinating about this scene (and I'm using it as a microcosm for the whole film here) is how it lays there in wait in the broad daylight for its sneak attack. It just happens. And in Lonergan's hands this feels like the sweet hard mess of real life - broken boat motors and a bumped head; the moments where we catch up while our friend is bringing the car round and suddenly the world around us crumbles. Miniature hurricanes that don't announce themselves but sweep you up and slam you down without actually moving you an inch.

Manchester by the Sea is awash in such flashes, such sudden floods. Casey Affleck gives an astonishingly light performance of utter devastation. We spend the film putting together the puzzle of him only to find out the puzzle is broken and the pieces are vanishing in our hands as we gather them up. The actor makes us gather faster, and gather harder. He makes us want to sort it out alongside him. That his performance and the film are so much much funnier than you're anticipating only makes its foundation of bottomless grief all the more vertiginous - it is, like honest-to-goodness life, disorienting with drilled deep possibilities of goodness, and honesty, and pain.

Wednesday
Sep212016

The Best Actor Competition... What is Going On Here? 

Only two men seem to have even remotely locked up their positions in the current Best Actor race and one of those only on reputation / material alone since no one has yet seen Denzel Washington's adaptation of Fences. So is it really Denzel for this third Oscar versus Casey Affleck for his first or is there more going on? There had better be since there are five nomination slots. Ten if you think of it in terms of Golden Globe excitement come year's end.

Since romantic male leads have historically had a tough time finding Oscar nominations from the male-heavy Academy body (romance is for girls. ewwwww, cooties) I know it looks weird to suggest that both Joel Edgerton and Ryan Gosling are looking likely but at this stage the field is what the field is. Gosling in particular, an actor whose work I've always deeply loved don't misunderstand, would seem like a clear miss. Think about it. He's headlining a musical which relies heavily on his effortless dreaminess, vibrant musicality, and physical grace. Not that those aren't award worthy attributes but Oscar is very gender-rigid about which adjectives are award worthy and if you say "dreamy, musical, and graceful" they'll think Best Actress. Which is why Emma Stone is much more locked up as a competitor at this stage, even though, musically speaking, she isn't as natural a dancer or musician. (Please note: Gosling also plays piano like a pro or can fake it better than pretty much any other actor I've ever seen.)

Edgerton & Gosling's chief competition looks like very young men (in terms of Oscar-voter tastes) in the form of Miles Teller (if his movie's a success), Dev Patel (if they don't do something fishy with the campaign), and Joe Alwyn (if he's tremendous in his debut and people love the movie). I know some are banking on Matthew McConaughey in Gold or Andrew Garfield in Silence (both sight unseen) but I'm suspicious in both cases. Just a hunch. 

That's where we'll find the gold.

The lack of heavy competition in this race means that Tom Hanks will finally be back after missing so recently for his arguably best work in Best Picture nominees. We can hope that the lack of excitement in this race (to date at least) will inspire more passion votes, too. If voters aren't feeling the leading men this year they could always look at off center giants like Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic. I'd be shocked if there's five stronger leading male performances than his this year -- not that "deserves" got much to do with it. 

The New Best Actor Chart - Thoughts? 

Monday
Jan252016

Sundance Buzz Pt 1: Birth of a Nation, Manchester by the Sea, Tallulah

Let's check in with the high altitudes of Sundance for a moment. Before we begin a word of 'don't believe the hype' caution. Sundance has the dubious distinction of being the single festival with the highest ratio of critical raves morphing suddenly to real world mehs. Altitude sickness? Long delays between festivals and premieres? Who knows. The buzz sometimes translate (Precious) but you can't ever fully trust it and sometimes it's the films with very quiet receptions that the real world actually embraces (last year's key examples: I'll See You In My Dreams and A Walk in the Woods).

Let's talk about eight new films after the jump, okay?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec062012

Once Upon a Time in the Link

I have been remiss at sharing good stories and posts from around the web so I hereby return to it.

Pop Matters Jose takes another look at Marion Cotillard's work in Rust & Bone and contemplates Oscar
Pop Elegantarium Alexa loves the screwball comedy of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook 
Sam Hiti Once Upon a Time in the West fans should check out this artists tumblr 
The Hot Blog David Poland on the NYFCC winners
Cinema Blend two Woody Allen classics coming to Blu-Ray this January 


EW top ten lists from popular critics Owen (Lincoln @ #1) & Lisa (Zero Dark Thirty @ #1). They both choose one Oscar hopeful among their "5 worst of the year" lists, too.
E! Online Rose McGowan is the latest actress trying to achieve Michelle Pfeiffer's now immortal Scarface look 
Antagony & Ecstasy wonderful piece on Life of Pi by one of the web's best critics 
The Carpet Bagger talks to the editor of Flight about the plane crash scene 
My New Plaid Pants who wore it best: animated decapitation
In Contention I totally forgot to mention the Golden Satellite nominations. Lots of love for Les Miz but also weird nominations for films that never opened in the States like Kim Ki-Duk's Piéta so I'm not sure what their criteria is for eligibility anymore

Coming Soon Anne Hathaway recently burst into tears when asked about doing a Catwoman spinoff, adding

...assuming there was enough Kleenex in the world, I would love to do a spin-off

 

 


Vulture Speaking of Anne Hathaway. Sort of. a screening of Les Misérables that I would've killed to be it for Academy and Globe members. Hugh Jackman sang and lap danced for birthday girl Amanda Seyfried 
Gawker on the 13 most powerful images of naked celebrities for 2012 
In Contention Pedro Almodóvar, as you know my favorite living filmmaker, will be getting an Academy tribute in London. I'm so jealous of Guy Lodge right now who gets to attend these London events
Stale Popcorn Glenn on Australia's film award nominations (formerly AFI and now called AACTA) . The musical The Sapphires leads.
Cinema Blend Casey Affleck stayin' creepy. He aims to play the Boston Strangler in a new film 

Finally, Grease superstars of yore, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made a new video together for their Christmas album.

No comment. My inner child loves Livvy & Grease too much to comment. (Other than that John Travolta who not so unrecently commanded $20 million a movie maybe could have spared two hundred thousand dollar bills so this didn't look like it was made for two!)