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Entries in Debra Granik (6)

Saturday
Feb232019

Winners of the 34th annual Independent Spirit Awards 

by Nathaniel R

Richard E Grant getting his supporting actor trophy from Glenn Close at the Spirit AwardsBy the time the Spirit Awards roll around each year we've completely forgotten about their nominations. They're the group with the the longest annual stretch between nominations and trophy handouts each year! As a reminder We the Animals led in number of nominations this year despite not showing up in the top category. Unfortunately it was entirely shut out of actual wins. The nomination leaders within the Best Feature category were Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and You Were Never Really Here, which all at least won something.

After the jump the winners list and cute photos and such...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan102019

Interview: Ben Foster on "Leave No Trace" and Acting as Therapy

by Nathaniel R

Ben Foster discussing "Leave No Trace" last summer when it openedWhen I first met Ben Foster he was promoting Rampart (2011), a hard and angry movie about corrupt cops in which the acting was (unsurprisingly) terrific, he would barely speak about himself. Time has mellowed him, or at least made him more lighthearted about his own intensity. He ended our last interview begging for a screen comedy but sadly that project has never materialized. In person he's friendly and thoughtful and funny, never as impenetrable or scary or tragically sad as he has been is in his famous roles. In fact he's a happy new father, having had a daughter with his wife, the actress Laura Prepon, just over a year ago.

We met last month to discuss Debra Granik's award-winning drama Leave No Trace. He plays Will, a former soldier who has shut himself off from society with only his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) for companionship.When Will and Tom are found living in the woods at the beginning of the film, social workers attempt to reintegrate them into society. The daughter immediately adapts but the father is tougher to reach. Leave No Trace is moving and insightful and beautifully acted so that's where we begin as we discuss his career, his early days in acting, and what's next.

Our interview, has been edited for clarity and length...

with Director Debra Granik on set

NATHANIEL: Projects like Leave No Trace live or die based on the chemistry between the leads, so how can you prepare for a two-hander like this. Were you involved in casting? 

BEN FOSTER: I was involved in casting so far as Debra said 'I found someone I really like, and she's in New Zealand, here's the tape'. It was recorded on her phone and I watched like 30 seconds before I was like 'Oh yeah, that's it.'  

Instant approval. That's so cool.

She has a quality --you see it in person and you see it onscreen, she's lit from within. [In awe] She's one of them.

And I assume you trusted Debra a little bit on unknown actors, too, because she's famous for that Jennifer Lawrence discovery...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May012018

YNMS: Leave No Trace

Chris here. Now that the summer movie season has arrived (and earlier than ever) we're on the hunt for counterprogramming wherever we can find it. Enter film festival darling Leave No Trace, a drama about a father and daughter (Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie) struggling to reacclimate to society after living off the grid.

The film is director Debra Granik's narrative follow-up to the Oscar nominated Winter's Bone, which you will recall helped place none other than Jennifer Lawrence on the map. Trace debuted at Sundance and has been hitting regional festivals nonstop ever since, and will get another large platform when it plays Cannes' Directors Fortnight sidebar. That should build a whole bunch of word of mouth before the film arrives on June 29.

From the looks of the trailer, we're promised a film much less grim than how the film comes across on paper. Take a look and we'll break down the Yes No Maybe So...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov162014

Stockholm: Wrapping Up with Uma, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA!

Glenn's last report from the Stockholm Film Festival...

The Stockholm International Film Festival is now over and as I try and drain the last remaining symptoms of jetlag out of my body (not to mention any recurring dependence on restaurant food, great wine, and luxurious European comfort that such a trip offers) it’s time to take one last look back. I will miss seeing the image of Uma Thurman lording over her loyal subjects as I walk down Drottningattan every day.

The FIPRESCI jury – combined of myself, Quirijn Foeken of The Netherlands, and Dieter Wieczorek of France – awarded our price to Hungry Hearts from Italian director Saverio Costanzo. The film stars Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher (you may remember her from I Am Love) as a couple whose impending child brings about an avalanche of potentially fatal paranoia. It was the first film that we saw at the festival and despite some rallying by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Tales, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross, it just felt right.

For what it’s worth, this was my top ten, hastily scribbled on a napkin...

(ABBA, Bergman’s chair, drinks with Debra, Force Majeure, and more after the jump…)

 

Now that the winner of #sff14 has been announced, I can share this list of my top ten from the festival and what I voted for.

A photo posted by Glenn Dunks (@glennwithaniphonecamera) on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:20am PST

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct072014

NYFF: Debra Granik's 'Stray' Doc

New York Film Festival is in its final week and here is Glenn on Debra Granik's documentary 'Stray Dog'.

Debra Granik’s last film was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award and catapulted its lead star into super-stardom. Naturally, she hasn’t made a film since. Just like Patty Jenkins, Kimberly Peirce, Courtney Hunt and more, it appears newfound success doesn’t necessarily breed an open door (or open checkbook) to future career possibilities for many female directors. We were recently talking about this in regards to Kimberly Reed, but artists tend to find a way to release their creativity, and so while Granik wasn't able (or at least hasn’t yet managed) to get adaptations of Russell Banks’ novel Rule of the Bone or a signposted HBO series off the ground, she has taken on the reigns of a documentary, a first for the Tennessee native.

Granik and her producing partner Anne Rosellini discovered the title character of Stray Dog, a Missouri-living biker and Vietnam veteran, when filming Winter’s Bone in 2009. Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall looks imposing, but as Granik’s wonderfully quiet and observant documentary shows, he is a man with demons. Much like all the other men who returned from the Vietnam war and others like it, he can’t get the images of death and destruction out of his head. Throughout the film he and his friends all struggle to hold back tears – many unsuccessfully – as they recall the nightmarish visions they witnessed for the sake of their country (a country that shamefully doesn’t do its due diligence in helping them).

Material like this is rife with the possibility of condescension. The idea that highbrow audiences will be watching this film and marveling at how they never knew those motorbike-riding hicks from the flyover states could be so gosh-darn nice, entertaining and feel good. Luckily Granik’s film swerves away from that, never letting the material approach caricature or colorfully adding mocking stylistic affectations or local music to make a point that, lol, they have such adorable small town attitudes (another NYFF doc, Red Army about a Russian hockey team, does just that).

One of the film’s most interesting passages comes late in the runtime as Alicia, Ronnie’s Mexico-born wife, goes back home to fetch her two children to come back and live with them. The boys with the lack of English and expectations of California sun and palm trees as seen in the movies makes for a fascinating transition and I almost wish it hadn’t have arisen so late in the production and had allowed Granik to follow it further. However, the story of the boys is nicely juxtaposed to that of Stray Dog himself. All of them are grabbing at the American dream, but Ronnie has been doing it for decades, hoping to stop the horrors of war from squandering the life he’s been able to make for himself. B+

Saturday
Jan082011

Podcast: "You Haven't Seen The Last of Us" Pt. 2

You listened to Part One already, right?

PART TWO (23 min)
Topics Include:

  • Why is 127 Hours still falling like a rock?
  • Will there be a surprise nominee Best Pic nominee? If so, what?
  • Deep thoughts about the rise of James Franco
  • Art Direction & Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland, Inception
  • Nick predicts an Oscar night Black Swan gag from Anne Hathaway
  • Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, Hans Zimmer, Trent Reznor, Daft Punk?
  • Debra Granik and Best Director
  • "Hip Young Directors" Chris Nolan, David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky
  • Burlesque

Podcast: You Havent Seen Pt 2