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Entries in Cate Blanchett (56)

Thursday
Aug142014

Stage Door: "King Lear" in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park shutters for another year this Sunday August 17th, so you only have a couple more chances to see King Lear. I can't claim that King Lear is one of my favorite plays and as far as interpretations of it go, nobody is ever going to beat Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985), you know?

The Bening and John Lithgow star in "King Lear" in Central Park

John Lithgow headlines and is quite strong as the rapidly declining hot-tempered looneytunes King who stupidly gives everything away to his two eldest daughters (Annette Bening and Jessica Hecht) while shunning the youngest who truly loves him. Lithgow is having a good year; I urge all of you to see his excellent work in Love is Strange when it opens later this month. I had entirely forgotten about the B story in King Lear which is like a reflection of the A story, in which another father is (literally) blinded when it comes to his sons. I didn't fully love this production where much of it was good but few things excellent. Oddly, I was most drawn to the actors I was least familiar with like Jessica Collins as Cordelia, Eric Sheffer Stevens as Edmund, and Steven Boyer as Fool. Most disappointing for me was The Bening. You know that she is my beloved but her lines were spoken without a lot of discernable emotional content (one review claimed "learned phonetically" which I thought was terribly mean but it's not her finest hour). She does memorably fire up in the final act once her loins are ah stirred by the bastard troublemaker Edmund. 

I love the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park but I wish they would go back to the time when they did more non-Shakespeare things in this summer event series like Mother Courage and Hair and Into the Woods and whatnot. This summer they only did the Bard. You know what play would be excellent to see outdoors? Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana.

WHAT OTHER PLAYS DO YOU THINK WOULD BE GREAT IN AN OUTDOOR SETTING?

P.S. What about Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert in The Maids?

You're probably wondering why I haven't written about "The Maids" starring Huppert, Blanchett and rising actress Elizabeth Debicki (remember that wonderful first impression she made in The Great Gatsby?) and that's because I didn't get tickets. Above my price range but Shakespeare in the Park is free which is definitely within my price range! Here's a collection of reviews to read if you're interested. I've talked to two friends who've seen it and they both felt exactly the same: Debicki was best in show. How's that for a surprise... and a career-maker, at least on stage.

Saturday
Jul262014

Live from Comic Con: Batman, Wonder Woman, Galadriel

Anne Marie here, sleep deprived and dazed after a night camping out to cover the big studio announcements for you. Folks, my group camped in line for fifteen hours to get into Hall H, and we still barely got into the back of the hall. Over 6,000 geeks camped out to see what Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, and Marvel have to offer, so the studios are going to have to work hard to meet or exceed expectations. Here's what happened.

Cate Blanchett, Channing Tatum and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun112014

An Awards Aftermath Question For All

The annual Women in Film gala, which is held today always celebrates several names but the big prize is the Crystal Award and Amy Adams will present it to Cate Blanchett for "Excellence in Film". A few months later Matthew McConaughey might well be honored with an Emmy for True Detective but even if he doesn't win that he'll be collecting will the American Cinematheque prize in October. And future fall honors aside, he was just handed another trophy by Spike TV last week as their "Guy of the Year"

In short, Oscar's Homecoming King and Queen are not yet done being showered with praise and tributes. We just saw an illustration of this afterglow effect with Bryan Cranston's Tony win for "All The Way". Did he win because he was the best in the category or because it's all the rage to honor him given the super duper success of that protracted final season of "Breaking Bad"? Wouldn't he immediately be the favorite to win the Oscar this next season if he had a substantial role in a movie, solely from all this goodwill. 

McConaughey, Blanchett, and Cranston aren't done collecting trophies this year

Right or wrong, and the debate will forever rage, the Oscar is viewed as the pinnacle of showbiz prizes. So what's with grabbing more trophies as you ski-lift down from that peak? Aren't they redundant? Why do organizations feel the need to rubber stamp Oscar's choices instead of starting the drums for someone else. Aren't they afraid of viewer fatigue or sloppy seconds?

And, a better question, why do the actors go for it? They all seem so exhausted after awards season that you'd think they'd hide away for a few months thereafter instead of doing more monkey dances for more trophies that don't mean a great deal in the long run.

I'm curious to hear theories. 

Tuesday
May272014

Beauty Vs Beast: Lions Vs Lambs

JA from MNPP here - last night I learned that one way to know a specific horror movie has left a deep mark on your brain is if you can identify it down to a scene just by hearing the screams of the actor(s) in said horror movie. It's like Name That Tune, but the nightmare version. I was minding my own business last night watching TV when what should erupt from the other room but horrible, blood-curdling shrieks. Thankfully I immediately knew the shrieks and felt no need to call 911 - my boyfriend was watching The Silence of the Lambs and those were the cries of Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) as she first gets a good look at the walls of the hole she's been tossed in by her captor Buffalo Bill.

A terrifying moment, to be sure, in a movie filled to the brink with them. And that alone might've been enough to inspire this week's edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast," but if you add on the second season finale of NBC's series Hannibal just aired this past week (please tell me we've got some fans up in here - it's blowing everything else on TV out of the water right now) along with the fact that last week was Brooke Smith's birthday (love her) and it's Ted "Buffalo Bill" Levine's birthday in two days, and we've smack-dab in a cannibal maelstrom. What a delicious place to be!

Instead of having her face off against one of the killers it seemed best to leave Clarice Starling out of this competition - partially because she'd clearly be the easy winner, but moreso because the film itself uses the over-the-top grotesquerie of Bill as a mask to deflect us from Hannibal's true face. Are we fooled? Do Hannibal's manners trump Bill's, uh, dancing skills? Let it be known!

 

You've got until Monday to vote, and to spill some love and chianti out for your picks in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we pit the difficult-to-love ladies of Notes on a Scandal against each other, and y'all told Sheba to find herself another park-bench to sit on, the spot next to Baraba (Judi Dench) was taken. Armondo summed up the thought process it seems like most of us went through in the choosing...

"Sheba is hot and all, but apart from being immoral, she is so superficial and selfish that you cannot help but find her grating. It is like she has never matured and still thinks she is a young girl without nothing to worry about. And she is guilty of her own downfall (though she still thinks herself blameless). Barbara in the other hand is just a sociopath and a weirdo, but she's still aware of the effects of her actions (for better or for worse). So there's that at least."

Monday
May192014

Beauty Vs Beast: To Covet A Heart

JA from MNPP here, with perhaps one of the least cut-and-dry editions of our "Beauty Vs Beast" competition yet -- in honor of Cate Blanchett being awesome at Cannes let us compare and contrast the beauties and the beasts (mostly the beasts) within the two wicked school-teachers at the heart of 2006's Notes on a Scandal.

Let's get our moral compromise on...

 

Well which is it gonna be, folks? The flighty pederast or the cruel closet-case? Choices, choices, choices. And please let us know what your reasons are for choosing what you choose in the comments. It's an up-hill battle loving either of the ladies.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we we were riding in hot on the back of Zac Efron (full stop) ... and Seth Rogen in the comedy-hit Neighbors - where did your loyalties fall? At 60% of the vote we kept it high and tight and Hollywood pretty with Efron, although Seth definitely put up a good fight - he's got surprising stamina, that one. MeIAmMariahTheElusiveChanteuse (aka Greatest Name Ever) captured the crude center of the conundrum:

"My heart is saying Seth, but my hole is saying Zac. So conflicted."