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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Ewan McGregor (38)

Monday
May112015

Question of the Week: Assign Those "Inside Out" Emotions

Tomorrow night the Q&A series in which Nathaniel answers reader questions returns. But here's an appetizer you didn't order, courtesy of the chef, our Question of the Week. What does Carlos, who dreamt it up, win? He wins the choice of the next banner theme (to replace the food one up top). It has to be a theme that can be conveyed in small pics, otherwise it's hard to read in banner form. So let me know, Carlos.

CARLOS: Inside Out opening at Cannes makes me wonder: which performer or specific performance do you think excels at enacting each of the emotions (joy, fear, disgust, anger and sadness) featured in the movie?

NATHANIEL: What a fun question! But before I answer it with gendered actors show of hands -- were you irritated that they gendered these emotions on their computers over at Pixar? They did that with monsters too and why? There's no reason why pure emotions or monsters for that matter should have to read feminine or masculine.

Since the question hangs on pure expression of emotion, these are literally my purest answers in that I didn't censor myself and named the very first actor that came to mind.

My choice for "Joy" is Ewan McGregor because of how pure and transcendent and contagious his giddy romantic open-hearted smile is (in Moulin Rouge! especially). "Fear" I have to give to Drew Barrymore who made one of the most memorable opening scenes and characters out of only that in Scream. "Disgust" is Catherine Keener who always looks put out by everything (but truth be told I'd prefer her to take a year or two off now for some creative rejuvenation so this isn't the only thing she's giving).  

"Anger" is an emotion that's all too well represented in our macho cinema so let me come at this answer sideways with a surprise. Hear me out. I will take Heather Graham as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights from that scene in the back of a limo where they're trying to do an improv porn shoot and years of degradation finally busts some sort of dam in her and *stomp stomp stomp" byebye-prettyboy-face, sorry not sorry. It's still one of those chilling and exhilarating 'pure' emotions I've ever seen smeared across a movie screen. (It's actually my current banner on our Facebook page)

"Sadness"... that one is reserved for Michelle Pfeiffer since I always need her back on the screen and since the movie that made me fall for her was Ladyhawke (1985) where she literally has the line

I am sorrow."

...and I believed everything her face told me from that day forward.

 

Thursday
Apr232015

Link-sync for your life!

Silver Screen
Pajiba on the way the media is handling Kristen Stewart's current love life. Somehow I had missed this story (cuz I don't care about celebrity dating) but this is a joy to read.
MNPP Apparently this new movie Beyond the Reach features Jeremy Irvine in states of undress for basically the whole movie but all I can think watching him run barefooted in the desert is what I felt watching Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner sprinting across ice in the nude: OUCH
Grantland Mark Harris on all the Wonder Woman  movie creative shuffling, director and script(s):

I use the word “movie” reluctantly because right now, Wonder Woman is certainly not one: It is a release date (June 23, 2017), and it is a promise to stockholders (as the third of 10 upcoming connected DC Universe films that are meant, between 2016 and 2020, to show that DC can play on Marvel’s field), and it is a recognizable — albeit dusty — title. Right now, that’s all it is. It’s certainly not a movie in the sense of being an entertainment product that starts with an idea and then results in a script that is good enough to attract a director and stars.

MNPP has a great costume design suggestion for Ewan McGregor now that he's been cast as Lumiere in Beauty & The Beast
Shadowplay revisits Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) on Bluray. I loved those Harryhausen movies when I was a wee bairn
Cartoon Brew here's a new contender for Best Animated Feature this year - The Boy and the Beast. Kidding - they don't really like anime and there's no US plans just yet
In Contention reports from Cinema Con with breathless response to a clip of Johnny Depp in Black Mass 

The Rock with a little TayTayOther Screens & Surfaces
The Snap talks Lip-Synch Battle which is fun if you ask me: the complete Hathaway vs Blunt episode is glorious and The Rock doing Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" --what has been seen cannot be unseen. Louis Virtel compares it to RuPaul's Drag Race and finds it considerably lacking. I myself find their goals and souls as shows so different as to only see comparison in the extreme basics (i.e. people move their mouth to other people's recordings)
IndieWire TV's obsession with remakes, revival-sequels (Hello, Fuller House) may well end the Golden Age
Playbill Lily Tomlin wants to do a new one woman show. Yes please.
Boy Culture remember these Raoul Bova kisses Madonna commercials? I didn't! So cute
EW Daredevil renewed for season 2 with a slight change in show runners (basically an exit and a promotion)
Comics Alliance Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood, who play former lovers and badass SHIELD agents may lead the Agents of SHIELD spin-off. Two-part question. 1) Since they're the best part of the existing show this side of Ming Na Wen, you sure you wanna hobble your still creatively struggling original? 2) You already have a spin off of sorts (Agent Carter) which is better than the original show. Why not pour resources into that?

Amy Schumer is back
...and it is a glorious thing. Here are two sketches getting attention right now, "Football Town Lights" a Friday Night Lights spoof as hilarious indictment of rape culture and "Last F**kable Day" guest starring Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Hollywood sexism and ageism. Cue the think pieces en masse -- never mind they're already all over the place.

Finally...
The Eisner Award Nominations (basically the Oscars of comic books) have been announced and it's a great year for female driven series especially the celebrated title Ms. Marvel. I find it strange that they don't have a superhero specific category since comic books have changed so much to include so many types of stories but if you're looking for traditional superheroes Hawkeye, Batman, Daredevil. Elektra, and Silver Surfer were represented in some way or another with a nomination or two.

a page from "The Last Mechanical Monster"Sadly, it's really hard to find solid info about the Eisner Awards. Many webpages are out of date and they don't have their own as far as I can tell so it's difficult to know which series have been nominated previously. Obviously they aren't followes as rapturously as other awards! I'm always personally most curious about the webcomic prize because I always want to do one and I rarely get anywhere (sigh). Those nominations are as follows -- I'm only familiar with Nimona but it's pretty great, so I'll be sampling these others.

 

 

Saturday
Feb142015

Bad Movie-thon

Jose here. Ah, it’s Oscar season and all movie lovers can talk about is who was snubbed or who will and should win. While basking in the glow of acclaimed movies and conversations about the merits of sound editing and screenwriting is nothing to frown upon, most people forget that new movies are released each week, yes, even during Oscar season. And yes, most of these releases are of dubious quality, but sometimes you can only watch your favorite Best Foreign Language Film nominee so many times before you want to go see something new, right?

But what to choose among the pile of critically lambasted offerings that 2015 has brought us so far? I saw a bunch of them, to bring you this concise report.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan272015

Sundance Quickies: Dope, Last Days in the Desert, Nasty Baby

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance with three quick takes

DOPE
The biggest sale at Sundance was this no-stars comedy about three geeky high school seniors who are obsessed with 90s hip hops (that's a character detail and joke factory -- not the plot). Malcolm (Shameik Moore joyfully charismatic in the lead role) a Straight A student who dreams of Harvard and his two best friends Jib (Tony Revolori - just as strong as he was in Grand Budapest Hotel) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons from Transparent in her feature debut) live in "The Bottoms" an impoverished crime-ridden neighborhood. Malcolm gets mixed up with Dom (Rakim Mayers aka A$AP Rocky), a local dope dealer, and soon the three friends are on the run from cops, drug dealers, gang members and continually out of frying pans and into other fires. The film it most reminded me of is Go (1999) for its parade of memorable characters, smart fast comedy, and crime plot but this one is lighter.  Dope has inarguably high energy and fresh laughs for the first hour but, like many comedies, it overstays its welcome as it wants to be taken more seriously in the second half (tightening the second hour before release would be of huge benefit). Regardless, those huge laughs, great racial politics jokes and its endearing central trio could well make it a sleeper smash. B/B+

Funny Coincidence: I saw this directly after The Diary of a Teenage Girl and both movies feature a shot of a horny teenage girl licking a photograph. In this case it's lesbian drummer Diggy licking the 2 Live Crew album cover. Ha!

LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT
In this film, shot in natural light by that DP without peer Emmanuel Lubezki, Ewan McGregor plays Jesus near the end of his 40 day fast and desert wanderings. McGregor also plays the Devil which gives this film the entertaining kick it needs to survive lots of contemplative moments / scenes of Jesus just staring into and walking around the desert thinking about the shit that Sons of God think about.I liked the film's invention of a troubled family Jesus meets (Ciarin Hinds and Tye Sheridan as father/son -- though thankfully their dramatic parallels to Jesus and his  "Daddy" as Satan hilariously calls God are not so neatly correlative as to be obnoxious.) Satan wears a beautiful dangly gold earring (I guess because vanity is evil? Or because they wanted to make fun of one earring wearers?) but otherwise he looks exactly like Jesus. The film is by Rodrigo Garcia, a director I've always wanted to love given his actressexuality -- though weirdly this film is almost entirely male -- but have never been able to because his films tend to be a bit sleepy. This one is smartly reined in at 98 minutes but it does feel a bit slight, exercize-ish, despite the heavy topic. B-/C+

Ewan McGregor revealed in the Q&A afterwards that he did a lot of studying to play Jesus (scriptures, books, etcetera) and none to play Satan ("the devil came naturally"). Hee!

NASTY BABY
Kristen Wiig just keeps on overachieving, doesn't she? After conquering comedy she keeps on impressing in dramatic roles, too. She's got a beautifully authentic rapport with writer/director/star Sebastian Silva (who is most famous for his Golden Globe nominated terrific Chilean film The Maid). Silva and Wiig play Freddy & Polly, best friends who'e been trying to get pregnant for months but it hasn't been working. They enlist Freddy's hesitant boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe in his first feature since 2008's Rachel Getting Married -- he was the guy Rachel married!) to do the sperm donor duty. Meanwhile a crazy neighbor keeps harassing everyone on the street and Freddy struggles to realize his art project "Nasty Baby" in which he wants to explore how disgusting babies of all kinds are by investigating their "gross cuteness" -- it gets a big laugh in context, trust -- and he plans to explore that by rolling around naked making baby sounds? It's a video installation, just go with it. It's all an ultra specific urban slice of life dramedy -- so ultra-specific in fact that I assume this will be a very hard sell for many. Making it even more difficult for potential audiences is the sharp left turn it takes into uncomfortably suspenseful territory toward the end. But despite what will surely be a hard road to find its natural fanbase, I admired it for being so wholly itself... or maybe its two selves. Or its three selves? The end credits are set to the cast doing roller disco for totally inexplicable but delightful effect. And the cast -- including the little seen Mark Margolis (who you'll recognize from Darren Aronofsky's movies) as a protective old gay in the neighborhood -- just felt wonderfully organic. B

Friday
Oct242014

Scandinavians in London: New Films From Those 'Royal Affair' Lovers

A couple more reports from London and Chicago festivals heading your way. Here's David on three new films starring either Alicia Vikander or Mads Mikkelsen, who formerly sizzled together in Denmark's recent Oscar nominee "A Royal Affair" - Editor

Alicia Vikander

That Testament of Youth was made the Centrepiece Gala at the festival seems, sight unseen, predictable: supported by the Mayor of London, the Gala slot is one of the few that really demonstrates the festival's support of homegrown cinema, and the story told here is as British as you can get. 2014 marks the centenary of World War I, and with it comes this adaptation of Vera Brittain's iconic memoir. James Kent's film keeps his focus to the period of the war itself, beginning at its end; Vera (Alicia Vikander) looks oddly distraught amidst the celebrating crowds packing London's streets. Testament of Youth is a compassionate reminder of the emotional and physical toll of war on a whole nation - which is what Brittain's memoir proved too, in 1933, not long before the second, more devastating war hit.

Kit Harington and VikanderWhile the film is impeccably upholstered, with Consolata Boyle's costumes and Robert Hardy's photography particularly impeccable, it's the character work that makes Testament of Youth such an involving experience, especially through the veil of a 'period' film. Vikander is quite simply luminous, but the camera is drawn as much to the stubborn, robust manner she gives Brittain as much as it is the softer romanticism of the character's winsome independence. The film is decorated with familiar faces giving sturdy turns along the way: Miranda Richardson, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Hayley Atwell all have their striking moments.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep222014

BAZ DAZZLED!

Manuel here with some Spectacular Spectacular news!

This one goes out to those Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin fanatics out there (there’s still a number of us, right?). Since releasing The Great Gatsby ...sorry, two-time Academy Award winner The Great Gatsby, Baz has been flexing his muscles elsewhere: he directed some beautiful shorts for the Prada/Schiaparelli exhibit at the Metropolitan museum, he directed the musical stage adaptation of Strictly Ballroom currently playing in Sydney, and threw quite the lavish party (does he throw any other kind?) to commemorate the opening of Melbourne’s newest mall, Emporium. We’ve also been hearing whispers of him possibly directing the long-gestating Stanley Kubrick project on Napoleon for HBO. While we wait, those of us in the tri-state area (or those visiting) may get our Baz-fix from the holiday windows at Barney’s this winter in what the retail company is calling a “Baz Dazzled Holiday”; a title which is equal parts flamboyant, ridiculous, and flashy which is to say, Baz in a nutshell.

Style. Fashion. Razzle-dazzle. It really feels like a match made in Spectacular Spectacular! heaven. Let’s throw suggestions out here for what Baz & Martin might come up with for Barney’s. Are you hoping for some holiday pop mish-mash worthy of a Shakespearean couple, or maybe for a 1930s glitzy winter wonderland?

Also, I wouldn’t be doing this news tidbit any justice if I didn’t in some way shoehorn in this picture, taken during New York Fashion week of Baz and his two Moulin Rouge! stars, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor which Nat may have missed in his TIFF-frenzy. They do make quite the dapper trio, don't you agree?