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Jessica Lange's Triple Crown 

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Entries in Emma Thompson (33)

Monday
Apr182016

Emma Thompson's Category is: Hippie Chic Realness

Manuel here. I'm gonna keep it short and sweet and let wonderful being all around Emma Thompson do all the talking since her outfits for the upcoming Noah Baumbach film Yen Din Ka Kissa are loud! 

The film, as you may know already, stars Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, and Ben Stiller (three actors whose gifts for dry humor and acerbic comedy one hopes Baumbach will mine to great effect; he's done it before with Stiller, at least). But really—and I know I'm breaching Actor Month rules here at TFE—it's Thompson who I'm most looking forward to since her pairing with Baumbach (and with those outfits) is pretty promising. That she's described her character as a "dreadful, passive-aggressive alcoholic" is just icing on the cake, and has me thinking we may be seeing the bawdy side of Thompson we so often get on red carpets but so rarely on screen. Which boho look is your favorite?

Friday
Mar252016

Curio: "we went skinny dipping and did things that frightened the fish!"

Yes. that's a quote from Steel Magnolias. I apologize as this is entirely unrelated. It happens.

Are you familiar with "Fish Love"? It's a not-for-profit company from Nicholas Röhl and the actress Greta Scacchi. The goal? I'll just quote them here:

to raise awareness of the unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying the the earth's marine ecosystem. Since then, the Fishlove images have succeeded in bringing the subject of over-fishing to the front covers and pages of the world's media many times over. 

This year's catch is the adorable Emma Thompson and Greg Wise shot by photographer Jillian Edelstein to promote the endangered. But there's more (slightly nsfw) after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb192016

Berlin: 'Alone in Berlin' and 'Soy Nero'

 Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival. Two new reviews today.

ALONE IN BERLIN (Pérez)
Alone in Berlin, adapted from the novel ‘Every Man Dies Alone’ by Hans Falada and directed by former actor Vincent Pérez, is about justice, and you best believe that. The film wants you to know this so badly that it goes out of its way to shoehorn into the film a scene in which, one character tells his wife, “I have a mistress whom I obey, and her name is justice.” In another scene, a man proves his son’s involvement in the war by showing a picture of him in uniform in Poland, holding a dead child, as though he’s a trophy hunted on a Safari trip. If these examples pain you with their lack of subtlety, you won’t be delighted to know that they are only two of many, many instances in which the film throws its themes forcefully in your face.

Otto (Brendan Gleeson) and Anna Quangel (Emma Thompson) are a couple living in Berlin during the second world war. The film opens with a battle scene, in which their young son is shot to death on the field. Back in the German capital, to cope with the grief, Otto begins to write small anti-regime postcards, calling for a free press and the downfall of Hitler, and locate them at random places across the city with the help of his wife. As the cards begin to gain more attention in the repressed environment of the time, the Führer gets understandably upset, and Kommissar Escherich (Daniel Brühl) is assigned to find the culprit. [More...]

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Wednesday
Aug192015

HBO’s LGBT History: Angels in America (2003)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Gus Van Sant Palme d’Or winner, Elephant, which sparked some great conversations about the merits of that one shower scene. I’ll say this: that so many of us had such visceral reactions to his film is in itself worth celebrating. Also, from hate crimes to gender transitions to mass shootings, was HBO ahead of the curve or are we merely being shown how little has changed in this past decade?

This week we tackle Tony Kushner and Mike Nichols’ groundbreaking miniseries, Angels in America. It took Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play close to ten years to make it on screen. Beginning as a Robert Altman two-part TV movie (with rumored roles for Julia Roberts, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert Downey Jr. and Tim Robbins), later being offered to such varied directors as PJ Hogan, Neil LaBute, Jonathan Demme, and Gus Van Sant himself, HBO eventually stepped in and handed Mike Nichols Kushner’s miniseries script. The rest, as they say, is history. And since this is such a momentous piece of television history, we’re hosting it as a Hit Me With Your Best Shot celebration. (Later tonight, you can see Nathaniel's choices and those from other participants)

First my runner-up:

Orgasm as heavenly combustion. Lesbianism as holy communion. Emma and Meryl. There are so many things to love about this image (I love Hannah Pitt’s commitment to keeping her shoes on, for example), and it’s in a way a companion piece to my all-time favorite moment in the series.

My favorite shot: (and yes, I know it's cliché)

A New York City apartment. Amidst the Reaganite politics of the United States in the late 80s, former drag queen Prior Walter, a recently diagnosed AIDS patient, has been left by his partner Louis and finds himself all alone with fevers, sores, night sweats, visions of ancestral messengers, heavenly echoes of prophecy and the coming of an Angel. So ends “The Messenger” the third episode of the HBO miniseries (ie. the end of Millennium Approaches, the first half of Kushner’s play). By the start of Perestroika, and upon retelling his encounter with the female Angel to his friend Belize, Prior can’t help but remark that: “The sexual politics of this are very confusing.” The scene as written on the page is breathtaking. In Nichols’ hands it’s heavenly.

It’s not just that this shot is beautiful, though it is what with those yellow hues, the gorgeously frayed roof, and Thompson’s pearly white Angel costume. For me, it’s one of the moments where Kushner’s own “pared down” style of Brechtian theatricality, and Nichols’ commitment to naturalism find a perfect balance. This “Gay Fantasia on National Themes” lives and dies in its tonal shifts, being both a gay melodrama (with its breakups, divorces, sex romps) and a feverish day-dream (with its angels, ghosts, sex romps). This one scene, with the Angel announcing that “The Great Work begins” is the apotheosis of both, underscoring both Prior’s loneliness and increasingly loose connection with the world around him after losing Louis, and highlighting the fantastical elements of Kushner’s script which connect the AIDS plague with issues of movement, migration, faith, and humanity. If the human race is to survive, they must stop. Stop moving. Stop wanting. Stop desiring. And perhaps more importantly, stop having sex. The allegory is both blunt and nuanced. By the end of the piece, Prior says he desires more life,

It just... It just... We can’t just stop. We’re not rocks - progress, migration, motion is... modernity. It’s animate, it’s what living things do. We desire. Even if all we desire is stillness, it’s still desire for. Even if we go faster than we should. We can’t wait.

I also love the framing; with its wide angle, it’s almost like we’re watching a stage (bonus: note Prior’s actressexual altar in the corner!) and while Thompson’s angel (a bemused bird-like creature) crashes the scene, you can almost see the wires showing (“and maybe it’s good that they do,” Kushner’s playwright notes point out). It’s not surprising this was used as the main image in the promo materials for the miniseries (it’s even the DVD cover!) as it so embodies the duality that so defines this piece: ethereal and corporeal, the heavenly and the earthly; heck, even the gay and the straight. Yes, the Angel and Prior copulate, but it’s as queer a configuration as one could ask for (“she has eight vaginas” we’re told). Yes, the sexual politics are very confusing. For they have to be. This is a messy, sprawling piece whose ragged edges merely mirror the fragmented world it is trying to depict and, in turn, change.

 Fun Awards Fact: In 2004, Angels in America broke the record for most Emmys awarded to a single program (11 of 21 nominations), a record then held by another landmark work on minority representation: ABC’s 1977 Roots: The Saga of an American Family. That record was later broken again in 2008 by another HBO megahit: Tom Hooper’s John Addams. You’ll take solace in knowing that Hooper himself lost the Emmy to Nichols in 2004 (where the former was nominated for Prime Suspect 6) and to Jay Roach (for Recount) in 2008.

Next week: We pause again on HBO’s television output by looking at three LGBT characters from three of HBO’s most talked-about television shows: The Sopranos, The Wire and Carnivàle (You can stream episodes of each on HBO Go and Amazon Prime). Any fans of these dark dramas? 

Sunday
Aug022015

Podcast Smackdown (Pt 2) Nixon & Georgia & 1995 Takeaways

You've read the Smackdown proper and heard Part One of the companion podcast. Now we're wrapping things up with Part Two in which Nathaniel and guests discuss a movie they all loved (Georgia) and the most divisive movie of the batch (Nixon). Big thanks again to this month's panelists: Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks), Guy Lodge (Variety), Kevin O'Keeffe (Arts.Mic), Conrado Falco (Coco Hits NY) and Lynn Lee (The Film Experience)

Part 2: 39 Minutes
00:01 Mare Winningham and Georgia’s Screenplay
08:45 Oliver Stone’s excesses -- extremely split opinions on Nixon
19:15 Off-Oscar: Other performances we loved from 1995 and another round of Emma Thompson and Sense & Sensibility
30:00 Best Original Song ???
33:40 Final Thoughts, recommendations and takeaways

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow.

Smackdown. Pt 2

Wednesday
Jul222015

1995: The Year Jane Austen Came to the Movies

Our look back at 1995 continues with Lynn Lee on an unexpected breakout...

Clueless turned 20 this week, but as the Internet has constantly reminded us, it hasn’t aged a day.  At once timeless ("a classic," as Cher would say) and delightfully dated, it’s a modern riff on a period piece – Jane Austen’s Emma – that's become something of a period piece itself. The latter aspect tends to draw attention away from the former, but I happened to see the movie again at a recent party and was reminded not just how perfectly it captures the ’90s, but also (1) how brilliantly it adapts Emma, and (2) how 1995 really was the breakout year for Jane Austen in film. 

Keep in mind that prior to 1995, the only film version of a Jane Austen novel was the 1940 B&W “Pride & Prejudice” starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.  1995 changed all that...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar132015

Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough, he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way. His adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director. Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V), Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn), Director (Henry V), Screenplay (Hamlet), Live-Action Short (Swan Song). People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn but it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative. Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie, Disney's live action Cinderella (2015) opening today, let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen? 

Click to read more ...