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Entries in Crooklyn (4)

Monday
May132019

Showbiz History: Valentino's Wedding, Shirley's Discovery, Frasier's Ending

Six random things to celebrate on this day (May 13th) in showbiz history...

1919 It's the centennial today of the silent film Broken Blossoms starring Lillian Gish (which you can watch in full on YouTube), an interracial weepie romance with Richard Barthelmess in "yellow face" as a Chinese Man that Gish falls for. Some critics consider it D.W. Griffith's best film

Valentino and Rambova

1922 Silent film superstar Rudoph Valentino, who made millions swoon all over the world, weds costume and set designer Natacha Rambova at the age of 27. Valentino would then be arrested for bigamy since he'd been divorced for less than a year at the time (which was legally a no-go back then in California)...

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Wednesday
Aug162017

One Film, One New York

Have you heard about NYC's fun new free arts event? On September 13th they'll be playing one famous shot-in-and taking-place-in New York film, chosen by the public, all over the city in all five boroughs, at the public screening outdoor venues and in some theaters. The five options are The Wedding Banquet (1993), On the Town (1949), Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), New York New York (1977) or Crooklyn (1994) and were selected by the film critics of the New York Times. You can vote on which one here but the best thing about it is whichever film wins, the public wins because they're all good films.

Where would your vote go? I'm still trying to decide on mine. I'm only sad that this date is during the Toronto International Film Festival so I'll have to miss it. *cries*

Thursday
Nov122015

Spike Lee's Overlooked and Exuberant "Crooklyn"

TFE is celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners this week. Here's Kieran discussing one of Spike Lee's warmest and most underappreciated films.

For better or worse, you can often feel a larger thesis statement, be it about race and/or American culture at large, running through much of Spike Lee’s work. His films also feel incredibly male in their perspective. Even his few films that foreground women (She’s Gotta Have It and Girl 6) feel enveloped by the male gaze, despite their many other virtues. These are just a couple of reasons why Lee’s semi-autobiographical slice-of-life dramedy Crooklyn feels like a bit of a curio.

Crooklyn is set in the summer of 1973 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Lee himself grew up. Nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) is the only girl in a brood that includes four rowdy brothers. Though often put-upon and teased, Troy is tough, clever, funny and every bit the daughter of her equally strong-willed mother, Carolyn (a radiant Alfre Woodard). More so than any other film Lee has directed, Crooklyn is wholly interested in the inner-life, motivations and perspective of its female characters. Even Woody (Delroy Lindo), the family patriarch and easily the most fleshed out male character in the joint still feels like an afterthought compared to how focused the narrative is on Troy and Carolyn. How Alfre Woodard's anchoring performance failed to garner any Oscar traction, especially when one looks at the outlet mall fire sale irregulars that were the Best Actress nominees of 1994 is confounding.

More...

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Tuesday
Jul032012

Take Three: Alfre Woodard

A great 1990s duet: PASSIONFISH with McDonnell & WoodardCraig here with Take Three. Today: Alfre Woodard

Take One: Passion Fish (1992)
After dismissing a string of unsuitable nurses, recently paralysed TV actress May-Alice (Mary McDonnell) opts to hire Alfre Woodard’s mysterious Chantelle in John Sayles’ Bayou drama Passion Fish. Chantelle enters the film out of nowhere, off a bus and into May-Alice’s house. She doesn’t let on any overt details about her life, but there’s a hint of intrigue about her, something amiss and troubling. It's evident in the slightly trembling nervous manner in which Chantelle goes about her new position. McDonnell’s icy actress will gradually thaw as a result of her dependency, but not before she attempts to make life miserable for Chantelle – who’s having none of it.

Chantelle is headstrong and defiant and she doesn’t suffer defeat readily. Woodard embodies these traits, but never adheres to over-familiar actorly tics in the way she conveys them. When wheeling May-Alice outside for exercise, Chantelle leaves her to fend for herself with a sarcastic motivational response.

Mary Alice: I want to go back inside!...It’s uphill!
Chantelle: So's life!"

Instead of merely showing us McDonnell’s abandoned reaction, Director John Sayles shows us Woodard's nurse pensively thinking in a swing chair. Chantelle is not the concrete-hard carer she likes to make everyone think she is. [more on Passionfish and two more takes after the jump]

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