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Entries in Cate Blanchett (66)

Saturday
Jan032015

Tim's Toons: The Best Voice Acting in 2014

Tim here. Year-end listmaking mania tends to skip right by animation, with only a glance in the direction of a solitary film that doesn’t tend to reveal much imagination on the part of the listmakers (probably, if you are a critic in 2014, your favorite animated feature was The Lego Movie, unless it was The Lego Movie. But I hear some folks really liked The Lego Movie). The Annie Awards do what they can, but they’re weirdly over-politicized.

All of which is to say, it’s the perfect time, before 2015 has a chance to warm up, to throw a little more light on animated film in the year that was than just rubber-stamping a Best Animated Feature award and moving on. May I present to you this unranked list of

Six Great Vocal Performances from 2014

Alison Brie as “Princess Unikitty”, The Lego Movie
Yes, the exact same Lego Movie I just complained about showing up everywhere. It’s a chronological list, it had to come first. And of the many things that make this movie so delightful, Brie’s sugary embodiment of the flightiest fantasies of children’s playtime is the one that’s stuck the most for me, all through the year. Manic enthusiasm delivered at machine-gun, and outbursts of scorching anger in the same high-pitch register: it’s a straightforward comic turn, but a singularly enjoyable one.

Will Arnett as “Batman”, The Lego Movie
Okay, so I’m a hypocrite. Anyway, Arnett’s self-amused, gravelly take on the Dark Knight is as much a parody of Christian Bale’s growly Batman as anything else, which is a big part of the joke. But it’s also a pretty great performance of the iconic comic book character by itself. Mocking and sarcastic, of course (that is the primary mode of the film’s humor), but with enough puffed-up importance and overclocked drama that it’s absolutely easy to believe that this is a entitled rich guy putting on a show to fight crime.

Cate Blanchett as “Valka”, How to Train Your Dragon 2
Not every A-list award winner has what it takes to do voice acting, and history has witnessed more dreadful celebrity roles in animated features than wonderful, revelatory ones. But Blanchett brings nuance and depth by the bucketful, making a frustratingly under-written part one of the densest animated characters of the year. The social awkwardness that comes from years away from humans, and nervous romanticism while meeting her long-lost husband are all Blanchett’s contribution, not the script’s, and she carries it off while nailing a Scottish accent.

Signe Baumane as “Narrator”, Rocks in My Pockets
Stretching a definition: Baumane is also the film’s writer and director, and it’s not entirely clear that what she’s doing is “acting”. It’s more like sitting down to hear her tell us a story. But what a storyteller Baumane proves to be! Jabbing at punchlines with ebullient good humor, clucking at tragedies with mournfulness that doesn’t turn into outright misery, and pulling out a whole ensemble of affected voices to give life to her characters, Baumane’s treatement of her family history is even more involving and energetic because of her words than her images.

Ben Kingsley as “Archibald Snatcher”, The Boxtrolls
A gutter-born Cockney accent is enough to make Kingsley’s crisp voice almost totally unrecognizable, which is impressive enough to begin with. What elevates this beyond mere success as a bit of celebrity casting gone right is the pathos with which Kingsley invests the character: villains in children’s movies aren’t known for their ambiguous shading, but Snatcher, as performed by Kingsley, has just enough self-deluding desire to fit in with a world that doesn’t want him to come across as deserving our pity as much as our scorn. If I were going to rank these performances, there’s an excellent chance Kingsley would be my #1. (With a shout-out to Sean Patrick Doyle as well who did his singing, too.) 

Takeo Chii as “The bamboo cutter”, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
The late Chii’s final performance in a career stretching longer than 40 years is a nimble execution of a stock character rather than an attempt to seriously expand the limitations of that character. He’s a blustering, overbearing dad who bullies the world in attempt to get his daughter all the things she doesn’t actually want. But even through the language barrier, the sweetness of Chii’s performance, and the desperation as he tries to impress and bluff his way into social respectability, come through with touching sincerity and simplicity, the adjectives that best describe Princess Kaguya as a whole.

Who did I miss? What were your favorite vocal performances this year? For the record the Annies nominated these four for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature:  Cyndi Lauper as the voice of Nurse Cyndi - Henry & Me; Andy Garcia as the voice of Eduardo - Rio 2 ; Sir Ben Kingsley as the voice of Archibald Snatcher and Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of Fish in The Boxtrolls

 

Monday
Dec292014

2015: Blanchett's Year?

Manuel here bringing you some news on reigning Best Actress, Cate Blanchett.

2015 is shaping up to be quite the busy year for Ms Blanchett. She's currently on screens in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; she seems to have made the cut on Terence Malick's Knight of Cups; her costumes for the upcoming live action Disney film Cinderella have us breathlessly waiting to see what she'll be wearing to the ball; and then, of course, there's Todd Haynes' Carol (the most anticipated film here at TFE for 2014 which is all but confirmed to premiere in the spring; may it crop up at Berlin?)

It seems Cate is adding another project to her 2015 resume, one that places her a tad outside the big screen. She's currently collaborating and shooting with artist Julian Rosefeldt on the latter's newest video installation called Manifesto:

Manifesto combines artist manifestos of different types and times with contemporary mundane situations, all performed by CATE BLANCHETT. The project is an attempt to show that these manifestos have contributed not only to art history but also to the way we think and to what we are today.

Above you can see one of the twelve looks Blanchett will don in the installation, currently being filmed in Berlin. Always up for an artistic challenge, Blanchett's entire dialogue will be made up of the manifestos in question (the Futurists, Marxist, Dadaist, etc.); needless to say, it sounds fascinating, so if you're in Sydney, be sure to catch it when it premieres next year and tell us all about it.

I keep trying to figure out which manifesto this funeral scene could be representing; any one care to help me with that? With 2015 primed to be another banner year for Cate, which of her projects are you most excited for? And yes, you may include her sure-to-be-radiant appearance at the Oscars to announce Best Actor.

Monday
Dec222014

Red Carpet: Best Looks of 2014

Year in Review. Two yummy look backs each day!

Jose here. With awards season underway, and a whole new roster of red carpet superstars about to be born (Felicity Jones, we salute you), it's time to celebrate the absolute best red carpet looks of the year that was, which have us revisit a few familiar faces and welcome the return of old fashioned, ridiculously grand Hollywood glamour!

2014's Best Red Carpet Looks


10. Lupita Nyong'o in Ralph Lauren 
Nyong'o was the breakthrough star of 2013 with each of her looks besting whatever it is she had worn to the previous event and the celebration continuing on through Oscar night. The MVP was this red column gown with sewed in cape that she wore to the Golden Globes, which made her look like a true fashion superhero.

9. Emma Stone in Thakoon
While pink is usually a big no-no on the red carpet (only SJP and Gwynnie have succeeded in pulling it off in the last couple of decades) leave it to Emma Stone to not only wear two contrasting shades of pink, but also pull off a bare midriff, a side braid and silver accessories (!!!!) effortlessly. Kudos for sticking to a young brand and showing starlets that you can be sexy while remaining almost practically covered. 

Felicity Jones, Fan Bingbing, and perennial chart-topper Cate Blanchett come after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec202014

Doubleplus Suave

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Monday
Dec152014

The "Knight of Cups" Pastiche Tease

I understand that people are talking about the Malick teaser today? I feel stymied by this one (shockingly I'm a "no" at first glance so I'm skipping the traditional YNMS) but I shall share a few thoughts. Mostly, though, I feel Cate Blanchett sums it all up for me in her early teaser line-reading. So long as you pretend that she's me and I'm talking to Terrence Malick instead of Wandering Bale Sun-Logged in the Egyptian Desert Hollywood Wilderness...  

You're so different these days. What's going on with you?

Between the club music and what looks like a mash-up of several very familiar -- though I can't quite place them -- films, I just don't get it. Something about this Knight of Cups teaser smells like selling out. By which I mean there's a strong whiff that that is also happening thematically as Christian Bale goes Hollywood and loses himself in decadence and luxury and money and La-La land. But perhaps the love of a good one can savzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Splash with me cold water. I rise!

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec082014

Beauty vs Beast: All The Cool Girls

Jason from MNPP here, saying tis the time for a round of "Beauty vs Beast" once more. This week we're finally tackling one of this year's biggest movies, David Fincher's Gone Girl - financially it's the biggest hit of its director's career, and critically, well a lot of people loved it and are hoping to see it figure prominently in the upcoming awards races. (I am not one of those people; I reviewed it at NYFF saying "a lot of what makes Amy into 'Amazing Amy,' what makes her particularly spectacular on the page, is the deeply darkly funny specificity of her voice, unpeeling like an onion, and that falls away from the movie just when I needed it most.") Anyway there's a good chance Rosamund Pike will be nominated for her performance as Amazing Amy, and it'll probably show up in some other categories as well. And if there's a bigger He Said She Said movie of 2014 I certainly missed it, so let's see who we side with!

 

I might have gone a little vague there in the Cons maybe...? The Pros were easy to be spoiler-free on, but listing these two's Cons without giving away too much of the game, that defeated me. If y'all have seen the movie you've certainly got your own laundry list of them, so tell us all about it in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we tackled the sisters of Blue Jasmine for Woody Allen's birthday, and even though Sally put up a helluva fight, as with the Oscars we couldn't help ourselves from lavishing our love on the showier gal. The Great Cate makes one more successful trek to the podium! Said Jakey:

"Jasmine, because when my life falls apart, I also wonder why I can't just get a Stoli with lemon."