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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 Farewell My Queen (6)

Friday
Jan182013

Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously: The Honorable Mentions

Often during the calendar-straddling list-making frenzy of "top ten season" a scene or a line of dialogue or even a whole film will refuse to dislodge itself from any internal conversation you may have with oneself about the year. That moment for me this year was Kylie Minogue's cameo late in Holy Motors when she arrives in a trenchcoat, like some lost Casablanca love, to sing:

Who were we. When we were. Who we were back then?

It'd be ineloquent bathos, too crudely and redundantly stated, if it weren't sung. But this heightened musical longing for a lost identity, lifts and soars with pathos instead. The year's best films kept reinforcing this most interior of questions as they wrestled with their past selves towards an uncertain future.

Nathaniel's Top Ten of 2012
From all movies screened that received US theatrical releases...

ZERO DARK THIRTY (Kathryn Bigelow)
Sony/Columbia. December 21st 

[SPOILERS FOLLOW] My favorite exchange in Mark Boal's dense script occurs between a government official and a CIA operative. "What the fuck does that mean?" "It's a tautology". I laughed at the wordplay in the film but wasn't expecting the widespread tautological eruptions that followed the film's premiere as everyone bent themselves into self-affirming pretzels to debate its portrayal of torture in the film's opening scenes as if there were only one way to look at the damn movie... as if torture were the only thing worth discussing about the film! To Zero Dark Thirty's credit, though I too was discomfited by its suggestion that torture yielded useful intel, there's nary a comfortable or pandering moment in the film. Like The Hurt Locker before it, ZDT attempts something like an apolitical stance though how successful that is (or ever can be) will be left to each viewer to decide. In my mind, Bigelow doesn't suggest that you're meant to enjoy torture or even embrace the mission's success, exactly...

more on Zero Dark and 9 more triumphs after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec312012

Year in Review: The Best LGBT Characters

Over at my weekly (okay, bi-weekly) column at Towleroad, I put up my annual review of the best queer characters of the film year. The year's most acclaimed gay narrative feature was obviously Keep the Lights On but since I didn't personally respond to that one I had to look elsewhere for my favorite gay characters. Likewise, many will wish for more love for that dandy Cloud Atlas couple of Sixsmith and Forbrisher.

But I made room for films as diverse as On the Road, ParaNorman, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The most controversial bit of the top ten will probably be the section I like to call "The 'Are They Or Aren't They?' Box Set" which begins like so..

With the ever increasing number of gay-identified characters it's less of a parlor game to imagine the characters who might well be queer than it used to be but it's still fun: Tomboy does not always equal lesbian but regardless of her orientation  "Princess Merida" in Brave really shakes up the heteronormative Disney fairytale world merely by being utterly uninterested and even opposed to that Someday When Her Prince Might Come; The chorus of townsfolk who continually sound off on "Bernie" in Bernie argue about whether he's cruising for men on the sly or sleeping with rich widow Shirley Maclaine but both sound pretty gay to me...

...READ THE REST @ TOWLEROAD

 

Previously on 'Year in Review' 
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Ranking. (+ Silva)
The Year in of Snow White the apple muching fairest of them all was everywhere
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics, and more
Worst of 2012 Cloud Atlas, The Amazing Spider-Man, and more
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Summer Crushes Pt. 2

Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November

Saturday
Dec292012

Que Sera Sera, Whatever We'll Link, We'll Link

Roger Ebert delivers his top ten list with Argo up top. Ebert's always been a fairly mainstream Oscar-Friendly voice so it's no surprise to see three of the (presumed) top six Best Picture nominees at the very top. But it's nice to see lesser discussed titles like End of Watch and Oslo August 31st getting their due.
In Contention details a prestigious win that I didn't know about for the French film Farewell My Queen, one of my favorites
IMDb the most pirated movie of 2012 was... Project X. Huh. 


NPR ooh, I missed this interview earlier in the year. Doris Day reflecting on her life and career 
The Guardian here's a fun top ten list if you're feeling that new holiday weight: the best onscreen personal trainers from Mr Miyagi (The Karate Kid) to Pai Mei (Kill Bill)
/Film Test footage for animation/live action hybrid crimes against my childhood: Hong Kong Phooey and Marvin the Martian 

Les Línkables
Vulture Kyle and Amanda argue over Les Misérables with a side of Disneyland
Kelli Marshall pummels considers Les Miz of which she is (previously) a fan
The New Yorker on the consistent greatness of the property and "a continuity of culture" in which the old stories can still be the best
Guardian looks back on Tom Hooper's career. I always forget that the much-loathed director (at least on the internet) made so many wildly acclaimed TV films before moving to the big screen
International Business Times reports that the soundtrack is selling briskly -- I received mine yesterday (thanks Universal peeps!) -- and looks back at the most popular film soundtracks ever. Speaking of which...
Atlantic Wire the music is stuck in our heads forever... again.

Pretty soon everyone will be humming "One Day More" or "Master of the House" and will not be able to stop, and there will be nowhere to escape it. We will all become Les Mis zombies like it's the '80s or something. It might be fun for the first few days, communal and all that, but after a couple of weeks, we'll all be wishing for the same sweet sickness that sent Fantine to heaven.

It's true. Just yesterday I sang the most amazing Les Miz MegaMix in the shower.


Click on the photo if you missed my earlier post on Zero Dark's screenplay

Today's Must Read
Salon Andrew O'Hehir has written the piece on Zero Dark Thirty I've been longing to read. This provocative essay looks at all sides of the argument and the confusing evasions of Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow, and doesn't retreat to the frustrating polarized agendas we've been reading like "it's Reifenstahl-level evil and totally pro-torture!" or "people who think so aren't paying any attention" (Subtext: it just can't be pro-torture because I've already expressed my love for it and what does that say about me?!?)

Sunday
Jul292012

Catwoman and Marie Antoinette Would Just HATE Each Other

Shortly after writing about The Dark Knight Rises I got all frustrated remembering how audiences are ignoring the bracing terrific French drama Farewell My Queen so I couldn't resist doodling about them together. Enjoy!

That arthouse drama about The Terror would make for an eye opening double feature for fanboys, an educational footnote if you will, for Chris Nolan's awkward political metaphors about the unruly 99% and how hard they are on those put upon benevolent 1%ers!

Speaking of bags upon bags of money and who's got it... this weekend's box office charts.

Box Office Fifteen
01 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES $64 (Cum. $289) Review
02 ICE AGE 4 $13.3 (cum. $114.8)
03 THE WATCH $13 *new*
04 STEP UP REVOLUTION $11.8 *new*
05 TED $7.3 (cum $193.6)
06 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN $6.8 (cum $242) Review
07 BRAVE $4.2 (cum. $217.2)
08 MAGIC MIKE $2.5 (cum. $107.5) Review
09 SAVAGES $1.7 (cum. $43.8) 
10 MOONRISE KINGDOM $1.3 (cum. $38.3) 

11 MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION $2.5 (cum. $62.7) 
12 TO ROME WITH LOVE $4.2 (cum. $12.9) Review
13 BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD $2.5 (cum. $4.1) 
14 MADAGASCAR 3 $4.2 (cum. $209.5)
15 THE AVENGERS $2.5 (cum. $616) Review

Just outside the top 15, French import and international feel good hit The Intouchables is really rising. It's about to hit $5 million in the US and still expanding. Outside of TDKR, the most crowded theaters (i.e. per screen average) were for two indies in very limited theatrical release: NC-17 rated Killer Joe (with Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon based on the Tracy Letts play) and Ruby Sparks with Paul Dano as a writer and Zoe Kazan as his creation. 

What did you watch this weekend? Besides The Olympics of course

Sunday
Jul152012

Review: "Farewell My Queen"

An abridged version of this review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad 

There are numerous reasons why the Marie Antoinette story has fascinated artists and storytellers for centuries now. From the Court's commitment to theatrical flamboyance with a blind eye to the consequent suffering of the masses (modern pop culture echos were seen as recently as The Hunger Games this spring), to the complexity of the Queen's intimate lonely gilded cage tragedy played against the backdrop of a vast messy violent history. One could argue that the now mythic story is super relevant all over again in this era of rampant socioeconomic injustice and the angry gap between the 1 and 99%. 

Benoît Jacquot clues you in early that he means to tell the famous story differently in the just released French import  Farewell My Queen. For one, it's told "backstage" through the stressful lives of the servants. Consider it the French Revolution: Downton Abbey Edition... without Maggie Smith or the jokes.

The German actress Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) plays the troubled big-spending transplanted queen, Léa Seydoux (Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol), the film's actual lead, is her bosomy devoted servant Madame Laborde, and Virginia Ledoyen (8 Women) is the Queen's Object of Affection, the Duchess de Polignac. The French people were so unhappy with this rumored affair that the ostensibly powerless Duchess was fairly high on the list of the 286 heads demanded for the guillotine! [More...]

Click to read more ...