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Entries in comedy (65)

Friday
Apr182014

TCM: Anna Kendrick ♥s "The Women" (So do we.)

It's Diana's last report from the TCM Film Festival which closed this weekend. One more from Anne Marie is coming up and it's a wrap. Take it away, Diana...

Ben & Anna Kendrick at The Women screening

In one of the few overlaps in our TCMFF schedule, Anne Marie and I sat down for the all-star classic The Women (1939). We've both watched the film a countless number of times - it's such a treat. The El Capitan organist played a variety of film standards (including the Star Wars theme) as we chuckled and waited for the introduction. The cherry on top? Anna Kendrick, cool girl exemplar, was the special guest, there to introduce the comedy classic alongside TCM stalwart (and object of many TCM fangirls’ affections) Ben Mankiewicz.

 Walking out on stage, Kendrick sported a chic yet casual look with a black tee, black skinny jeans and black heeled boots paired with hipster glasses and gently messed hair. Within moments of sitting down, she nonchalantly revealed she was also still wearing her retainer. Kendrick opened up about how she stumbled on the film and fell head over heels for it, feeling the biggest connection to Rosalind Russell...

'While working on Broadway ' (Kendrick put laughing emphasis on the "way" and sidebarred that “it was a douchey thing to say, no matter how I say it”), the then 12 year-old Kendrick was introduced to the film by two older fellow actresses who considered the a rite of passage for the then-tween. Like many of us, Kendrick couldn’t keep the unbridled passion to herself and forced friends to watch it. Also, like many of us, she realized that not all tweens are that keen on a black-and-white 1939 comedy. Nonetheless, she persevered with her own interest in classic films, thanks in large part to a father who would rent things like The African Queen for them to watch at home to counteract her frequent video store choice of Spiceworld.

Stating that The Women is part of her D.N.A., Kendrick vowed that she would incorporate the Sylvia (Russell) leg-chair-hook “into a movie, if it’s the death of me.” (You know the one, early in the picture, when she’s gossiping in the Haines’ powder room and hooks the chair with her leg and without missing a beat sits down to dish even more.) Later on in the screening, that moment elicited a raucous amount of applause, thanks pretty much entirely to Kendrick’s introduction.

the cast of The Women (1939). Accept no substitutes

On a current note, Kendrick revealed a great, passive aggressive way actors give shade to each other on-set. Whereas Joan Crawford would knit while feeding lines to Norma Shearer during reaction shots on “The Women,” apparently the thing to do on a modern-day film set is to break strategically, meaning to laugh a bit too heartily and flub the scene all the while crediting your fellow actor with being too good and too funny. Not that Kendrick has done anything like this, just that she 'heard about it' from other actors.

Anna Kendrick on stage as a tweenWhen introducing the young actress, Ben Mankiewicz said that she was one of the few actors working today who could have easily been a star in any other Hollywood era. From her martini glass-shattering performance in Camp to her Academy Award-nominated performance in Up in the Air to her full-hearted introduction at this screening, Kendrick continues to win the hearts of new fans. As Mankiewicz predicted (and I agree), she’s on her way to legendary, award-winning stardom herself.         

 

Wednesday
Apr092014

A Year With Kate: Holiday (1938)

Episode 15 of 52 as Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which Katharine Hepburn is named Box Office Poison, which might be the best thing that could have happened to her.


WAKE UP! HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS

Practically all of the major studios are burdened with stars--whose public appeal is negligible--receiving tremendous salaries necessitated by contractual obligations...

Among these players, whose dramatic ability is unquestioned but whose box office draw is nil, can be numbered Mae West, Edward Arnold, Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, and many, many others... Hepburn turned in excellent performances in 'Stage Door' and 'Bringing Up Baby' but both pictures died."

Reading that “wake up call” on the morning of May 3rd, 1938 had to sting. The Manhattan Independent Theatre Owners Association bought a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter and the Independent Film Journal to air its grievances, and the effects for Kate were immediate. Here’s how quickly the dominoes fell... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar202014

50 Years in the Pink

Tim here, extending our unexpected and unplanned tribute to 50-year-old Peter Sellers movies by one day, following Diana’s lovely tribute to The World of Henry Orient. For today marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of The Pink Panther, the arch-‘60s caper film that begat Sellers’ iconic Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the pratfall-prone Frenchman who remains the actor’s most famous character this side of a certain wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi (and Dr. Strangelove ALSO opened in 1964, which was just an all-around great year for Sellers).

The film itself is a fascinating relic, a by-turns hilarious and lumpy encapsulation of what European high society looked like as filtered through the comic sensibilities of Blake Edwards of Tulsa, OK. Scenes of breathless physical comedy rub elbows with elegant caper film machinery and deadening longeurs as Claudia Cardinale rolls around on a tiger skin while suffering from a wobbly case of dubbing. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb202014

Interlinker

The New Republic Mark Harris interviewed on the politics of movies and Oscar races
Guardian Meryl Streep joins the period drama Suffragette as feminist icon Emmeline Pankhurst. The film stars Carey Mulligan with Helena Bonham-Carter and Romola Garai in the supporting cast (but it sounds like Streep's got a glorified cameo)
Dissolve a graphic designer looks at Her 


Gurus of Gold if you haven't checked out the charts lately, you should. David Poland has posted "if we could sway the Academy and there's not much time left to do so. 
Daily Beast Michael Musto talks to an Oscar voter about how friendliness at luncheons affects his vote and how scandals don't  
MNPP on the bad wigs in Bryan Singer movies. Ugh. Quicksilver, one of my favorite characters, looks just atrocious
Twitter an account sharing Top Gun scene by scene... almost frame by frame. LOL
TFE have you voted on our recent polls? Bette Midler? Beauty vs. Beast: Hustle? Who you want to win the pic & acting Oscars?
Josh Cooley a Pixar artist does really fun cartoons of R rated movies, like this one from Psycho...

Moving Picture Blog classy low-key Oscar campaigning from Jeremy Irons circa 1991. An SNL classic
First Showing talks to Matthew McConaughey about the ambitions of Interstellar 
Slate great piece on that makeover moment at the tale end of Frozen's "Let it Go" -- that's the only part I don't like myself and this is exactly why!

Exit Vids
The Onion nails it again while talking Netflix. This is exactly what I use Netflix for though I pay a lot more than $5 a month! Also the "Kid Oscars"... I think the Captain Phillips one is best because methinks it's funnier when kids adlib rather than read dialogue.

Tuesday
Feb182014

12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen

Tim here, with your daily dose of Oscar numerology. We’re now in the third year of the Academy’s undoubtedly well-intentioned "some random number that always turns out to be nine" approach to selecting Best Picture nominees, and for some of us, this is irritatingly arbitrary. But it could be so much worse. Think of how awful it must have been to been a rabid Oscar fanatic in the first decade of the award’s existence: depending on the year, there were anywhere from three to twelve Best Picture nominees, until it was finally nailed down at a nice, round ten at the 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.

The magic number of the day being 12, I'd like you to join me, for a closer look at 1934, the first of two years with 12 nominated films (for space reasons, I am alas compelled to leave 1935 to fend for itself) - the first year, as well, that the awards corresponded to a single calendar year. What can we learn about the Academy’s tastes and habits down the decades from each of these?

BEST PICTURE It Happened One Night (released by Columbia)
What It Is: One of the greatest of all screwball comedies, in which the sexily odd-looking pair of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable cross country and banter.
The Slot It Fills:
The long-abandoned "comedies are a valid form of artistic expression like anything else" spot. But, of course, the period in which the film came out was unusually good at producing top-notch comedies starring the best movie stars of the day.

Only 11 more slots to fill after the jump

Click to read more ...