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Mike Leigh 4 Film Retro for his 75th

secrets and lies, vera drake, happy go lucky, and topsy-turvy

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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice

"This is the best Streep performance ever captured on film. "That's all."" - Dorian

"I support this movie, partially because I loved the Styron novel and, along with Schindler's List, it's one of the best American movies to teach people about the holocaust. Streep is sublime in it, and it's such a great role - she gets to play Sophie before the war, during the war, after the war, etc. " - Tom

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Entries in Dustin Hoffman (16)

Thursday
Feb012018

Months of Meryl: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Hi, we’re John and Matt and, icymi, we are watching every single live-action film starring Streep. Previously Julia, The Deer Hunter, Manhattan and The Seduction of Joe Tynan


 #5 — Joanna Kramer, a mother and divorcée embroiled in a messy custody battle.

It’s 1980. Kramer vs. Kramer is a critical and commercial smash (the top-grossing film released in 1979). The dawn of a new era approaches and one actress is anointed as its icon...

“The face is beautiful but anguished, haunted by sorrow, despair, determination and love. Can one face express all these warring emotions, with a grave dignity that adds a deeper beauty to the physical structure? Meryl's face can and does in the extraordinary first image of "Kramer vs. Kramer". This first shot of a superbly crafted film prints indelibly upon the eyes and consciousness of the audience the face of a young actress who, at 30, may become the strongest performer of her generation, first American woman since Jane Fonda to rival the power, versatility and impact of such male stars as Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino...

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Friday
Sep292017

NYFF: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Team Experience is at the New York Film Festival. Here's Manuel Betancourt on Noah Baumbach's new film, coming to Netflix on October 13th.

If the title hadn't clued you in just yet, Noah Baumbach's latest frames itself as a collection of short stories. Explaining this structure at a press screening during the New York Film Festival, the Frances Ha and The Squid and the Whale director said it had helped him create these discrete "stories" that together would tell a larger narrative about this (you guessed it) dysfunctional family.

We first meet Danny (Adam Sandler in full Punch Drunk Love mode), a middle-aged man who can't help but get needlessly irritated at the parking situation in New York as he heads to visit his father with his college-bound daughter in tow (Grace Van Patten, a revelation). Harold (Dustin Hoffman), who now lives with Maureen (Emma Thompson, having a ball in a much broader comedy than the melancholy film around her), is a sculptor who's made a modest name for himself. Jaded by the world, full of himself, self-assured of his scathing opinions about other people's work, Harold is an oppressive force, the kind of man whose ego all but fills the room...

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Tuesday
Apr112017

Noah Baumbach Heads to Netflix

Chris here. Consider me outright clamoring for whatever Noah Baumbach does next, even if Mistress America (and for that matter his DePalma doc) wasn't as long ago as it feels like. Time is a slow beast when you're waiting on beloved writer/directors. His next, The Meyerowitz Stories, is his most star-studded and it just got picked up by Netflix.

The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson (all hippied out to the left), Ben Stiller, and now Netflix mainstay Adam Sandler as a family reuniting in New York to celebrate their artist father. Baumbach's work has been an evolving array of comic tones, so where on his spectrum it will land from bitter pill Margot at the Wedding to the farce of Mistress America is anyone's guess. If nothing else, this could be his largest platform yet - especially if this noteworthy cast is also met with Baumbach's less misanthropic side.

Netflix, for what it's worth, already has confidence in the film: this will be one of their few titles that will also receive a theatrical release, along with this year's Oscar hopeful Mudbound

Baumbach's films have only been outside shots at best, aside from a screenplay nomination for The Squid and the Whale and some Globe-nominated performances. But if this could even be a comedy contender at the Globes, I suspect Netflix will need to put more than a toe in the theatrical waters to clearly mark its theatrical/television territory. Are you excited for Noah Baumbach's latest?

Monday
Aug082016

Beauty vs Beast: Koo Koo Ka Choose

Howdy and Happy Monday it's Jason from MNPP here on this, the day that the great Dustin Hoffman is turning 79 years old. How do you think he now views the concerns of his most famous character Benjamin Braddock of The Graduate, from the opposite vantage point of age? Of course he's much older now than Anne Bancroft was as Mrs. Robinson (now that I think about it I'm actually right around Mrs. Robinson's age myself! Weird!) so he probably looks back at Ben with tired eyes at this point. Heck I do myself, although I don't know if I entirely sympathize with Mrs. Robinson's self-destructive behavior either. But where do you stand? That's right it's time for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" ...

PREVIOUSLY We are smearing our sad clown make-up off this morning and waving an over-sized glove goodbye to International Clown Week - last week's competition of clown couples in Short Cuts fell on the "Julianne Moore & Matthew Modine" side, probably because of the film's still infamous full-frontal fight scene - said Mark, speaking truth to privates:

"The genius of Moore is you watch her face in this instead of her special lady place."

Tuesday
Mar292016

Today's Must Read: Streep's "Kramer vs Kramer" Breakthrough

This new book on Meryl's rise will be released at the end of AprilIf you haven't yet chanced upon it or been directed there by multiple excited tweets, make sure to read this excerpt / reworking of a passage from a forthcoming book by Michael Schulman on Meryl Streep's rise to fame via Kramer vs Kramer that's currently gracing Vanity Fair. We've talked about Kramer vs Kramer multiple times here at TFE and it's been heartening to see the critical tide at least slightly turning in the blockbuster drama's favor of late. For a long time cinephiles seemed to despise it, due in no small part to its Oscars. When you beat noticeably ambitious artistic and stylized masterpieces like Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz to the Best Picture crown there's bound to be a backlash if your film is merely human-sized, no matter how resonant and superbly acted it may be. But, a truth, that's always worth noting in movie buff wars: every year has multiple films worthy of praise and just because one gets singled out in the moment, it doesn't mean its worthy of your ire.

But I digress. Read this piece! Here's a bit about the fantasies, realities, and fictions around Meryl Streep's audition --  nobody actually knows which is which since the accounts are different depending on who is interviewed:

Meryl marched into the hotel suite where Hoffman, Benton, and Jaffe sat side by side. She had read Corman’s novel and found Joanna to be “an ogre, a princess, an ass,” as she put it soon after to American Film. When Dustin asked her what she thought of the story, she told him in no uncertain terms. They had the character all wrong, she insisted. Her reasons for leaving Ted are too hazy. We should understand why she comes back for custody. When she gives up Billy in the final scene, it should be for the boy’s sake, not hers. Joanna isn’t a villain; she’s a reflection of a real struggle that women are going through across the country, and the audience should feel some sympathy for her. If they wanted Meryl, they’d need to do re-writes, she later told Ms. magazine.

The trio was taken aback, mostly because they hadn’t called her in for Joanna in the first place. They were thinking of her for the minor role of Phyllis, the one-night stand. Somehow she’d gotten the wrong message. Still, she seemed to understand the character instinctively. Maybe this was their Joanna after all?

That, at least, was Meryl’s version. The story the men told was completely different...

Friday
Jun052015

Q&A Pt. 2: Rain Men, Paperboys, Oscar Greats

We had too many good questions last week to keep it all confined to one post. So now that you're read part one, so here's part two of the week's reader question roundup. I saved all the Oscar questions for this round to motivate me to update those Oscar chart this weekend. Ready? 

SONJA: Why do we mourn/rage about "undeserved" wins so often? In reality it doesn't change anything....

It's as useless as making your bed in the morning but we still make our beds, right? Or in my case throw the comforter haphazardly across the sheets - close enough! Listen, I consider it a sign of good character to mourn poor choices from awards bodies as long as one does so pointedly and briefly and doesn't allow it to become part of one's whole character like hating an actr- OH WAIT OOPS.  

People like to be dismissive about awards and say 'they don't matter!'  but it's simply not true. THEY DO. Awards permanently influence resumes and entire careers by way of their temporary affect on opportunities and, yes, praise (once considered a "great" it takes decades for the petals to fall off that rose... it took decades for people to start getting snippy about Al Pacino & Robert DeNiro's work!

Plus it goes in the history books. Baby cinephiles decades later still look these things up and watch the movies that were awarded to teach themselves movie history. I speak from experience. I know this to be true.

CASH: Dustin Hoffman's win for "Rain Man" baffles me...

more after the jump...

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