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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Cate Blanchett (70)

Friday
Mar202015

We Can't Wait #1: Carol

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated. Here's Matthew Eng with our #1 choice, which incidentally also topped this list last year when we used wishful thinking to pretend it would be done early...

Who & What: Living genius Todd Haynes directs playwright and Mrs. Harris scribe Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s gently subversive lesbian novella (originally published under the much grittier-named The Price of Salt) about a sensitive shopgirl (Rooney Mara) who falls in love with the lonely society dame of the title (Cate Blanchett) in lush 1950s New York. 

Why We’re Excited About it: The cinematic “comeback” of Haynes, returning to the big screen a full eight years after I’m Not There (despite a six-hour pit stop at HBO for Kate Winslet’s Mildred Pierce), is obviously incentive enough. But he’s also compiled a cast so charismatic, it basically makes you salivate: Mara and Blanchett, of course, but how about Ace Team Player and Perpetual Dreamboat Kyle Chandler as Blanchett’s snooping husband?

Lots more and several photos after the jump...

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Sunday
Mar152015

Review: The New "Cinderella" Is a Real Beauty

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad.

The Game of Thrones Stark family was fond of the imminent warning "Winter is Coming" but their King of North, actor Richard Madden, doesn't need to worry this time. He's due a much happier Royal ending as the latest charming Prince to hit the movie screens. Winter is most definitely never coming to Kenneth Branagh's luxe adaptation of the most beloved of fairy tales, Cinderella. From its opening vista of a well-to-do country estate, filled with warm yellows and verdant greens and one very happy family, a pleasant merchant and his sunny wife (Ben Chaplin & Hayley Atwell) and their kind daughter Ella (Downton Abbey's Lily James), this Cinderella screams springtime and summer.

Its timing couldn't be better after this particularly long winter.

Spoilers if you're freshly arrived from another universe: Ella's loving parents are not long for this world and after imparting their wisdom and reinforcing her enchanted goodness (yes, she talks to animals), they take turns dying. Lady Tremaine, the stepmother, is introduced inbetween those deaths in clever multi-tasking voiceover courtesy of Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter. [More...]

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Saturday
Feb282015

The New Oscar Actress Hierarchy - 33 Most Beloved Women

This is your daily reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner!

 I thought it might be fun to revise the Oscar Acting Hierarchy which I did once very long ago, I believe in connection with the rapid rise of Kate Winslet through the ranks. 

What follows is a List of 33 34 All Time Favorite Actresses of Oscar... restricted to women with 5 or more nominations. Only the acting statistics are accounted for so Emma Thompson, for example, is not ranked. If you included her screenplay win or had she been nominated for Saving Mr Banks last year than she would have been on the list. If you counted non-acting nominations, you'd also see Shirley Maclaine jump a rank as she was nominated for documentary once. Now that virtually every major star is a producer these types of extra nominations stats are going to get progressively murkier in Oscar lists of the future so we're opting not to include them. 

How the ranks were determined. Number of nominations determines general placement. Once that's established wins are most important. In the event that someone has the same exact stats in nominations and wins, the tiebreaker factor in rank is that lead counts more than supporting. If the tie stubbornly remains the tie is broken by endurance (thus Vanessa Redgrave beats Kate Winslet though they have the exact same stats because her nominations are spread across 26 years instead of 13). Further mitigating factors: Three statues is so uncommon that it gives the actress a phantom extra nomination in terms of ranking (thus Ingrid Bergman trumps Geraldine Page). Honorary statues (Oscar or Jean Hersholt) give the actress a phantom extra boost with the same affect as an additional nomination and win (thus Liz Taylor jumps Jessica Lange)... unless she never won a competitive Oscar in which case it only counts as a phantom win or nomination (thus Kerr cannot pole vault up to do battle with Lange or Blanchett) which of those to be determined by the gatekeeper (yours truly). In the event that someone has multiple wins they may vault over the next immediate rivals if said rivals have never won a competitive Oscar and/or half or more of their nominations are in supporting (thus de Havilland trumps Glenn Close & Thelma Ritter despite having less nominations but can't displace Kate Winslet. This also accounts for two women with only 4 nominations entering the 5 nomination only "Most Beloved" ranks.) 

OSCAR'S HOLY TRINITY 
And Thirty More Royals 

after the jump

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Thursday
Feb262015

Red Carpet Lineup: Lead Actresses & The Aussie Invasion

It's the final poll of the 87th Oscars and our last red carpet lineup for awhile *sniffle*. In addition to those things this is your daily reminder that Julianne Moore won an Oscar. Because it needs to be repeated often as healing balm for our beleaguered actressexuality.

Who was best dressed on Oscar night? 

 

 

 

NATHANIEL: Please welcome back Anne Marie and Margaret to discuss these ladies (and five more, too). 

ANNE MARIE: Best Actress! Obviously, we must start by repeating the best news, which is that JULIANNE MOORE IS NOW AN ACADEMY AWARD WINNER. I get tingles when I write it.

MARGARET: BLESSED BE.

NATHANIEL: Thank you. This will serve as our daily reminder (Hee! Are you sick of the daily reminders yet?) But I have to say that beyond Juli as the season ran on I came to love this lineup abundantly. It's the best possible lineup we could have gotten given the media's reticence to admit that there were intersting and worthwhile performances happening all year long in all kinds of films. I even grew to love Felicity Jones in a way (I think she gets an unfair wrap as a coattails nominee when a lot of that movie depends on her emotional fluidity and stubborness. But I hate this dress. It's so off color and pale as to make her fade away.

MARGARET:  Felicity Jones' supportive-wife staple aside, how few 'types' there are! A really great array of characters, only improved by their great performances.

NATHANIEL: I even grew to love Felicity Jones in a way. Yes, it's a type. But I think she gets an unfair wrap as a coattails nominee when a lot of that movie depends on her emotional fluidity and romantic willfulness. But I hate this dress. It's burying her. It's so off color and pale as to make her fade away.

Reese & Rosamund & Aussie goddesses after the jump...

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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...

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