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Yes No Maybe So - Beauty & The Beast

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Entries in comedy (172)

Wednesday
May252016

Lukewarm Off the Presses: Beyond Ragnarok & Huppert Fever

Reheating some news we never got around to! But perhaps it's news to you...

Cate Blanchett will be playing Thor's next big bad "Hela". We assume she's the antlered one in this concept art so we cautiously look forward to that costume. But confession: I don't trust Blanchett in villainous mode (*dodges tomatoes*) since she overdid it in both Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Hanna and nearly so in Cinderella and I don't mean overdid it in a fun comic-book kind of way but just too much overall. Plus the Thor movies are easily the worst part of Marvel Studio's work to date. Other new players in Thor: Ragnarok will be Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (a character I loved as a kid so yay, Tessa). And of course Mark Ruffalo as the not jolly green giant and Chris Hemsworth as the guy with the hammer. For some reason they are forcing Sir Anthony Hopkins' Odin back on us (I thought he died in the ssecond movie?) and Tom Hiddleston is back under Loki's horns which is a pity because he deserves to use his time on other things, now, come on. They've wrung that character dry, they've leaned on him so much. 

Apparently the villain in Star Trek Beyond looks like this. It's actually Idris Elba underneath all that makeup. LOUD SIGH. First Oscar Isaac gets buried in ugly latex for Apocalypse and now Idris? Idris Elba is, and I think the internet will back me up on this assertion, one of the most attractive people on the planet. So why won't Hollywood show us his face? It is really pissing me off. This year he's onscreen as a tiger (Jungle Book) a buffalo (Zootopia), a sea lion (Finding Dory), and this alien but not as a human man you can actually look at. As a pasty white boy I am fully aware that there are people who think I shouldn't talk about race... but as a human person stuff like this is really getting to me. I am not one to jump on every perceived racial slight and proclaim racism (As I said much to the internet's displeasure this past season, I think #OscarsSoWhite was oft-misguided because the actor's branch is not the correct target for such things given both Hollywood and Oscar history) but I can't look at Idris Elba's career, and Zoe Saldana's career (note how she's always blue or green in her movies... until she was a black woman doing blackface -yikes!) and Lupita Nyong'o's career post Oscar (a CGI alien and a CGI wolf so far, but not an actress you can gaze at despite her considerable beauty) and not KNOW that Hollywood's race problem is dire and also, I'd wager, subconcious.

This is not complicated, really, if casting directors, directors, agents, executives, managers, and maybe even the actors on occasion would just think decisions through a little more, especially in regards to the optics. FACT: People like to look at beautiful actors. They always have. Stop hiding them from us! 

Isabelle Huppert is having a good year. I missed a lot of articles on Elle and Isabelle Huppert's time in front of the press at Cannes. In a new interview at the Guardian about Elle and her latest stage performance in Phaedra there's a lot of fascinating tidbits including her repetitive unwillingness to talk about other famous actors but her chatterbox response to questions about directors. She also wants to do more comedies...

Viewers do tend to think of her on-screen persona as a full-on neurotic, steeped in psychosexual anguish.

“Yes, but you can be a comic neurotic too.” So does she feel underrated doing comedy? “I certainly do feel…” she hesitates a moment; I take that as a yes. “That’s why I’d love to work with Woody Allen or Noah Baumbach – to do comedy in that New York vein.” But her serious roles, she insists, often contain more humour than is apparent. “Even The Piano Teacher – although I wouldn’t try to persuade anyone that was an out and out comedy…”

Whew. I was worried for a second. That film is not a knee slapper. As for Huppert in comedy. Can you handle that? I liked her in I Heart Huckabees and especially in 8 Women but in both she was working with or riffing on that dramatic neurotic performance so her comedy was stemming from perceptions of her as an actor, just as much if not more than her actual performances.

 

Monday
May232016

Review: The Nice Guys

It’s Eric, with thoughts on the new Gosling/Crowe comedy, The Nice Guys.   

I’ll bet this project looked amazing on paper.   Bring writer/director Shane Black back to the comic buddy picture world where he started with 1987’s Lethal Weapon.  Set the film in the disco-cool world of 1977 Los Angeles.  Hire two accomplished dramatic actors, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, to play the leads, two low-life losers on the fringe of detective work unexpectedly uniting to hunt for a girl involved in a series of murders in the porn industry.  Throw in a cute daughter for Gosling’s character for some sweetness.  

Click to read more ...

Friday
May202016

Posterized: Writer/Director Shane Black

Shane Black with Ryan Gosling at the Cannes premiere of Nice Guys this weekSince we've already done "Posterized" episodes on both Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, who co-star together in this weekend's new comedy Nice Guys, let's look at the man behind their bantering bros curtain, Shane Black. The 54 year-old director hit the big time with his very first produced screenplay 29 years ago, the smash hit buddy action flick Lethal Weapon (1987).

He's stuck to the high-concept action/comedy genre like glue thereafter making obscene amounts of cash during the heyday of that genre (the early 90s). If he's not interested in stretching, at least he does them better than most. Eleven years ago he finally moved into the director's chair for the underseen critical darling Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). Strangely for a successful creator in a lucrative genre that isn't exactly relegated to the arthouse, he's not been that prolific in his 29 year career. (If you're curious about how it all shook out this old piece at Grantland is a must read)

Boy movies, least of all buddy comedies, aren't a thing TFE is known for so it's a little bit of a curveball today in Posterized but we're curious:  How many of his 8 films have you seen? 

Screenplays: Lethal Weapon (1987), The Monster Squad (1987), The Last Boy Scout (1991), The Last Action Hero (1993), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996); Screenplay & Directing: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Iron Man 3 (2013), and Nice Guys (2016).

And which is your favorite?

Monday
May162016

Complete the Sentences

Comment Party to celebrate our new laughing banner. Please complete the sentences....

"The movie that makes me giggle the most is _______________ because _____________."

"The [Actor/Actress] that regularly makes me laugh the hardest is __________."  

Tuesday
May032016

Visual Index: Death Becomes Her's Best Shot(s)

This is as good a time as any to tell you that May is "Girls Gone Wild" month at The Film Experience. You know we love a good theme week/month at the site! And with Thelma & Louise and Madonna's Truth or Dare both celebrating 25th anniversaries this very month, it was the only conceivable plus awesome theme to build the blogging around. So we'll be celebrating reckless divas, fierce warriors, psychotic beauties, and blonde venuses all month long. Well that and Cannes hoopla of course.

And we'll start Girls Gone Wild right now with actress Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) and her frenemy author Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn) who drink a seductive potion to appease their vanity with spectacular Oscar-winning results. My choice for Best Shot will be up tomorrow as I'm running behind -- when I love a movie too much it takes me so much longer! -- so I'll keep updating this gallery if you're also running late. 

DEATH BECOMES HER
Director: Robert Zemeckis; Cinematographer: Dean Cundey
Click on any of the 14 shots to read its accompanying article

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr272016

Dark Comedy or Sick Nihilism? "The Mother" and "High-Rise"

Tribeca is over and we're almost done catching up with reviews. Here's Nathaniel on a potential Oscar submission from Estonia and a twisted thriller from the UK.

Mother
The festival described this crime comedy as Fargo-like and that's true to a degree. It takes place in a small town where everyone seems to know each other...ish. The local customs are amusing or peculiar to the outsider (namely, us). There's also a noticeable undercurrent of 'and all for a little money' despair about the human condition that tugs at both the red herrings and the true crime. A young ladies-man teacher named Lauri (Siim Maaten), something of a slacker/dreamer as he had big plans but never moved out of his parents home, has been in a coma for months following a shooting. While his long suffering mother attempts to care for him alone (the father is no help), a parade of visitors including friends, lovers and policemen keep bursting in to bear their souls or search his room on the sly. The director Kadri Kousaar (yay for female filmmakers!) keeps the camera as invasive as the guests, and we're often looking where we shouldn't be behind doors or curtains or seeing things from odd angles. One of the best sustained jokes in this deadpan comedy (it's not really a movie for guffaws but heh-heh touches) is that no matter how many times there's a knock at the door, the parents are surprised even though their house has become Grand Central Station.

But who is responsible for the shooting and why is everyone acting so suspicious or guilty about their history with Lauri? While the story revolves around the mystery surrounding the son, the mother is the star of the picture (in case the title didn't clue you in). Despite a difficult character to dramatize with Elsa being barely verbal and moving throughout like a resentful silent martyr to her drudgery, Tiina Mälberg is terrific in the role. And it's her first movie! She makes the character alternately funny and intriguing and, in the odd moment here and there, when her mostly surpressed emotions bubble up Mälberg earns the reveals and keeps the character cohesive. Grade: B/B+

P.S. The Estonian film industry is tiny, producing a couple handfuls of films a year so we have to take any release that makes its way to American festivals seriously as a potential Oscar submission. The country enjoyed its first nomination in the foreign language film category with Tangerines in 2014 (a joint production with Georgia). 

High-Rise
Another film where the laughs land uncomfortably -- because boy is this nihilistic -- is Ben Wheatley's adaptation of J.G. Ballard's "High-Rise". The allegorical satire takes place (almost) entirely within a high-rise apartment building where the 1% (Jeremy Iron as the architect) lives at the tippity top and everyone else is more or less at his mercy and subject to suffer for his follies if things don't work quite right in the building. Doctors like Tom Hiddleston's Laing, a brain surgeon, are somewhere around the floor and so on down to lower floors where families (Elisabeth Moss & Luke Evans) with seemingly endless children struggle to get by. The eventual societal breakdown is revealed from the very first image which is rather an odd choice; it kills what might have been gut-churning momentum. We already know the downward spiral will have the adults going  Lord of the Flies on each other and Laing will be living in shambles  as one of the society's only survivors. 

If you can get past the nihilism and poor treatment of animals, the film has plentiful pleasures including a smart performance from Hiddleston and rich filmmaking from every department. Clint Mansell contributes another intriguing score but the MVP is the eye candy from fascinating production design through to the very attractive cast. A crisp white shirt has never looked so pornographic as it does here on Tom Hiddleston but he's also wearing a lot less, which his fellow resident (Sienna Miller - yes her again) notices and appreciates straightaway immediately spinning the interpersonal web of craziness that will grow and grow from the moment Laing moves in on every floor. Ballard's novel was written in the 1970s but the film never plays it like a period piece really despite the flare of some clothing and hair and prop details, which helps keep it out of time and universal; the film isn't going for realism but allegory anyway. Not all of this works, the pacing is a particular sore point since the film gets mired down on its way to where we know its already going and he doesn't quite stick the landing, but I left convinced that director Ben Wheatley is someday going to make a great film. Grade: B

 

Monday
Apr252016

Everybody Wants Some Podcasting !!

NathanielNick, and Joe kick off a whole new season of the podcast by hitting the road with Michael Shannon and family in Midnight Special and going back to college with Richard Linklater's baseball boys in Everybody Wants Some!! We believe its our 8th season, so we'll just go with that.

42:30 minutes 
00:01 The Crucible Broadway & Film
02:12 The Slumdog Oscar Year
05:00 Everybody Wants Some!! delightful & sexy
15:00 Pro & Con on Midnight Special
32:00 Hello My Name is Doris,  Zootopia
40:30 Favorite Prince songs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Please continue the conversation in the comments. Did you "want some!!" and where do you fall in the all-over-the-place reactions to Midnight Special.

Everybody Wants Season Debut