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Entries in Ellen Burstyn (18)

Tuesday
Sep262017

The Martyr Mothers of Darren Aronofsky

by Jorge Molina

With his latest film mother!, Darren Aronosfky immerses us in a hellish landscape of biblical allegories, nightmarish house parties, and scenery-chewing performances. It's his most polarizing film so far, and he takes the audience to emotional and visceral places he hasn’t before (hello, newborn baby).

And yet, something remains hauntingly familiar about it. Aronofsky has mommy issues. Throughout his filmography, mothers are figures of unflinching and painful devotion. Women who lose themselves in the love they have to give, a trait which ultimately becomes their doom. They are designed to bestow upon...

 

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Saturday
May132017

Tweetweek: Pink Typography and Tough Pizza

Tweets of the Week. If we couldn't joke about movies the current political climate would be enough to drive us all off the ledge wouldn't it? So here are two tweets that most helped me get through the week by LOL'ing instead of crying.

After the jump: Depp's "technique", ongoing Kidmania, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Huppert, flat earth, fun photos... and Dick

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Monday
Aug292016

The Furniture: Wiener-Dog's Sickly Green Cages

by Daniel Walber

Wiener-Dog is a deceptive movie. It is technically a sequel to Todd Solondz’s cult classic Welcome to the Dollhouse, but only for about a quarter of its running time. It’s actually an anthology, built around the often tragic life of an adorable, stoic dachshund. Each stop is totally separate from the last, each new character a slightly different riff on solitude and bitterness.

Yet even this structural diversity is deceptive. For while the film contains a variety of stories and locations, it is essentially one long expansion of a single set. The opening credits play over an anonymous animal shelter, where Wiener-Dog patiently waits to be adopted. One side has bars, the other a clear panel. The bright light highlights the sickly green walls, like the antiseptic glow of a dystopian hospital.

Wiener-Dog makes it out, but the cage lingers...

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Saturday
Aug272016

Tweetweek: Braindead Marquees and Out-of-the-Box Casting

I don't know if I like the sound of this double feature...

After the jump funny tweet games, supportive boyfriends, The Night Of casting, a dissolve from The Godfather, a proposed franchise for Hugh Jackman, FYC Ellen Burstyn, and a little webslinging... 

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Saturday
Jul162016

Emmy Nom Aftermath Finale: Happy Thoughts

We'll return to the Emmys at a later date (the gap between their nominations and their ceremony is enormous) but for now, one last Emmy post. To end on a happy note I asked Team Experience two final questions:

  1. What's your single favorite acting nomination?
  2. What's your favorite non-acting nomination?

Our answers follow and yours should, too.

FAVORITE ACTING NOMINATION

Margaret de Larios: I honest-to-god pinched myself when I saw that Constance Zimmer was nominated for UnREAL. The Emmys have been so predictably blind to the sensational programming coming out of the CW these days, it was easy to believe that they would similarly ignore product from the notorious schlock-factory that is Lifetime...

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Thursday
Apr212016

Tribeca: Custody

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on "Custody".

"I wanted to have the film center on female characters." That was James Lapine in a post-screening Q&A of his latest film, Custody, which premiered this past week. And boy has he delivered. Steering pretty far from familiar ground for him (he of Into the Woods and Six by Sondheim fame), Lapine has crafted a mosaic-like portrait of the labyrinthine bureaucracy that are the family court proceedings in New York City. Sara Diaz, a young single mother of two (Catalina Sandino Moreno, putting those wounded eyes to great use), finds herself embroiled in a custody battle when an accident leaves her son with a black eye that forces the school to call child services. Sara is assigned to a freshly minted lawyer, Ally Fisher (Hayden Panettiere, in her most mature role to date) who quickly realizes there's more to this case than her client leads on. This makes pleading her case at Martha Schulman’s court all the trickier, especially as the city is still reeling from a previous tragedy caused by a failure in the system; all involved are committed to not letting another child be sent back to a negligent household.

The structure of the film is such that we see the court proceedings but also get to know these characters: we see Schulman (Viola Davis, imperious and sympathetic in equal measure) as she struggles with marital problems, and see Sara adjusting to the increasingly frustrating ordeal of being separated from her kids, while Ally finally attempts to bring closure to a family secret. And while these three actresses are fantastic all around, coloring their interactions with the complexity and nuance which Lapine's script demands, it is Ellen Burstyn, in two key scenes as Ally’s grandmother, that gives everyone a master class in acting. She's helped by a prickly (and at key times light-hearted) script that grapples with Big Issues but wraps them in personal stories that never feel (solely) didactic. 

That is, until the last 20 or so minutes when Lapine inexplicably gives Viola and Catalina two monologues that play like bluntly-written thesis statements for the film. They’re impassioned pleas that nevertheless sell the screenplay short, giving viewers who would dub this a "TV movie on the big screen" all the Law & Order/Boston Legal comparisons you'd ever need. 

Grade: B / Performances all around: A