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Entries in film critics (150)

Wednesday
Sep072016

Natalie Portman, Round Two?

by Nathaniel R

Anyone fearing a fiasco like Naomi's Diana or Nicole's Grace of Monaco can breathe a sigh of relief in regards to the latest prestige pic about an obsessed-over hugely influential royal icon household name. Pablo Larraín's Jackie, a portrait of the most famous First Lady in the wake of her husband's assassination, is getting great ink. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are tossing out blurb-ready words like "remarkable," "meticulous," "profound," "incandescent" and many many more slobbery adjectives. (Though it should be noted that Larraín makes tough movies that never coddle audiences which might prevent this from being a breakout.)

Anyone fearing another round of Natalie Portman Mania at the Oscars might want to tense up, though. Her reviews are truly glowing. Will Natalie get to quote her Black Swan self about Oscar a second time?

He picked me, Mommy.

Sunday
Sep042016

Podcast: Smackdown Reflections and Film Critics on Acting

Nathaniel talks to Sheila O'Malley, one of the best film critics on acting, as they reflect on recent Smackdown adventures, the chaos of acting careers, and the problems with "best" designations.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Acting training, Geraldine Page, and critics who "get" acting
06:45 Glenn Close and Robert Redford Reveries in The Natural
14:00 The quality of acting fields & self-selecting "Oscar movies"
20:45 Romancing the Stone and the "realm of fantasy" versus the "gritty" farm wife movies. Why do some movies hold up so well over time?
27:00 Peggy Ashcroft and Lindsay Crouse. Plus: making out with Ed Harris.
33:00 The rumors about Swing Shift and Jonathan Demme's original cut. Did we lose a masterpiece?
40:18 Sheila's connection to Gena Rowland's Honorary Oscar.

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?  

P.S. Read more about Sheila's Gena Rowlands tribute here.

a conversation with Sheila O'Malley

Wednesday
Aug312016

Links: Movies (and TV) Matter, Garrel Picks Pics, Oscar's Centennial

Thrillist "Why everyone was wrong about Warcraft" - the summer's most underrated movie?
MNPP great moments in movie shelves hits Young Frankenstein
The Wrap looks at Colton Haynes winning an HRC award. Why Colton, exactly?

Criterion Louis Garrel chooses movies from the Criterion closet. He likes Jacques Tati, Loves of a Blonde, and Amarcord among others
FlavorWire looks back at Madonna & Sean's Shanghai Surprise in its Bad Movie Night column
Telerama (in French) Alain Guirardie talks about his filmography - he thinks he can do better than Stranger by the Lake
SBS hilarious satire video on White Fragility in the Workplace
Slate pits Bad Moms against Ghostbusters because women have to be pitted against each other!
NY Times on current film restoration anxiety asking the following question which I swear is going to give me regular nightmares:

What happens to an art when its foundational medium disappears? 

Today's Must Read
Richard Brody at the New Yorker wrote a great piece called "Why Movies Still Matter?" that examines the critical circularity that leads people to write things like "Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?” We're all inside this ororborus! Help. My favorite part is his contention that the rise in popularity of serial television is actually emulating the college experience. Interesting.

The experience that the watching and the critique of new serial television resemble above all is the college experience. Binge-watching is cramming, and the discussions that are sparked reproduce academic habits: What It Says About, What It Gets Right About, What It Gets Wrong About. There is a lot of aboutness but very little being; lots of puzzle-like assembling of information to pose particular kinds of questions (posing questions—sounds like a final exam), to explore particular issues (sounds like a term paper). For these reasons, television’s actual competition isn’t movies or museums or novels but nonfiction books, documentary films, journalism, radio discussions, and general online clicking. Serial television is designed to gratify the craving for facts to piece together and analyze. The medium seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success.

Then he goes on to investigate the personal versus the public in our cinema experience. Love this piece. So much to think about and not judgmental about those film or television! Or to quote another great writer...

 

  

News
EW Emily Blunt hears what Julie Andrews says about her casting as Mary Poppins Returns
Guardian Anne Hathaway to star in Live Fast Die Hot  the adaptation of a bestseller about new motherhood and responsibility
Variety Richard Linklater is making a sequel (of a sort) to The Last Detail (1973) called Last Flag Flying
/Film early photos from Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes, his new streaming series
Towleroad Matt Bomer has signed on to play a trans sex worker in a new film called Anything. They're still not casting trans actors for trans roles which is a shame. Especially since we actually have famous trans actors now, proof that there's no reason to not cast them or think they can't win media attention themselves 
Variety Stranger Things renewed for Season 2. (I liked Season 1 but a continuation of that story seems like a mistake to me. Better an anthology template!)
Comics Alliance Stranger Things' breakout "Barb" (Shannon Purser) will guest star on CW's Archie adaptation Riverdale
Awards Daily Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply will open the AFI Fest this year in November 

FINALLY
In case you haven't heard ABC and Oscar have extended their contract. The Oscars will now be held on ABC through 2028 now. In extremely related news: 2028 is when the 100th Academy Awards will be held so imagine that centennial. If you'd like TFE to be around for that (so far away) please consider joining our monthly donaters --see sidebar -- because it's so not easy to keep making this site work each year, financially speaking. 

Tuesday
Aug232016

Best of the 21st Century?

by Nathaniel R

Mulholland Drive voted the best film of the 21st century (thus far)Though we may collectively scratch our head at the need to do 21st century best of lists so often and at odd intervals. After 16 years? Ermm, okay? Lists usually get people talking. The BBC polled 177 critics (of which I was, alas, not one) and the results were both enjoyable and annoying, as with all lists.

Some notes:

• I won't see Toni Erdmann for another few weeks so I can't speak to its quality but it's odd to see it on a "best of the century list" when the film has only opened in one country (France) outside of its home countries (Germany/Austria). It starts opening in other countries next month and also hits the Toronto Film Festival. So that seems...early

 • Did Christopher Nolan really need 3 pictures in the top 100? I maintain that Inception does not hold up and is relentlessly and numbingly expository for anything beyond a single viewing and it's even kind of annoying during that first plunge. Cinema about dreams should be mysterious...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug072016

Seventeen (Links) Again

Variety TCA Awards announced with top honors going to The People vs OJ Simpson, Black-ish, The Americans, Mr Robot all of which enjoyed big Emmy nominations and Crazy Ex Girlfriend which did not. GRRRR
TheaterMania Nina Arianda talks Florence Foster Jenkins (I just saw the movie and she's bliss to watch in it, so lively)
• The Observer Thelma Adams on John Waters restored Multiple Maniacs
Broadway.com Glenn Close might be reviving Sunset Boulevard on Broadway
The Film Stage Martin Scorsese says Silence will be ready for release this year as planned. (But that means Paramount has 4 major titles to juggle this Oscar season.)


Interview talks to Little Men breakout Michael Barbieri who's already lined up two major projects afterwards
i09 Deadpool 2 will take aim at superhero sequels in its jokey fourth wall breaking

Controversies
• Nerds of Color Why is the Kubo and the Two Strings cast, set entirely in Japan, so white? Good question. And why on Earth is Rooney Mara doing this again after being raked over the coals for taking Tiger Lily in Pan? I asked it about the also totally Asian Guardian Brothers which as an all white star voice cast (Kidman/Streep/etcetera) despite being about Chinese legends and people got mad at me, as if animated films should have different rules and it's okay because everyone does it. It's not okay. Stars with huge bank accounts need to stop accepting these roles, they have innumerable other ways to make a quick buck. It just looks bad for everyone. Animated studios need to stop doing this. The voice talent is not the stars of animation, it's the animation itself. ACCEPT YOUR STRENGTHS. Big ups to Disney who cast racially appropriate actors for Big Hero 6 and Moana, trusting the material was there and you don't need big movie star names on posters when their faces never appear in the film.
After Ellen this is some bullshit - Delta Airlines edited the kisses between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara out of Todd Haynes' Carol
• Slate good piece on understanding angry conspiracy theory behavior via angry Suicide Squad defenders
• Slate another interesting piece on what's wrong with numbers based movie review systems
• Comics Alliance Cara Delevigne proves she has complete ignorance about modern film criticism when she announces that they just don't like superhero movies. Oh, Cara. no. They just don't like yours. If anything critics are too easy on superhero movies which usually win pretty favorable review percentages.

ALSO from Tonga. And one of 11 out male athletes at the gamesOlympic Fever
• Broadway.com 5 random Broadway talents that should be Olympic sports
The New Yorker "Olympic Events I would win if they existed"  
Towleroad on that Tongan flagbearer 
Outsports a record number of out LGBT athletes are at the Olympics this year. Most are women, two of which are even married to each other.
Outsports None of the male out athletes are from the US begging the question - why don't American male athletes come out? The out men are from the UK, Tonga, New Zealand, Brazil, Finland and The Netherlands.

Wednesday
Aug032016

Queen Viola. And Other Links

Bless Viola Davis forever
A TMZ reporter asks her if Suicide Squad will net her another Oscar nod. Her face at this question! Her quote while laughing:

No. But that's okay. I'll stick with it. 

We'll take it she means acting and not critically lambasted supervillain movies. P.S. Have you heard about the hilarious petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes because of  Suicide Squad's abyssmal approval percentage (worse than Batman v Superman's score!). I guess we need a PSA on what "aggregate" means and also a PSA on how to find a good therapist in your neighborhood. In more Suicide Squad news, THR has a story about its rushed production and competing edits. Worth a read if you're curious (but just ignore that confusingly written subheader). 

Showbiz
Vulture Mark Harris on the indie boom for actresses over 60: Streep, Smith, Danner, Field, Mirren and hopefully more to come...
Times Talk Meryl Streep will be doing one on August 11th so watch the live webcast
Awards Daily Cheryl Boone Isaacs reelected as Academy president
Awards Daily TV on how a new rule may hurt shows with multiple nominees in various Emmy categories
TFE ICYMI we looked at David Harbour's best work --> He was glad to see stage work on it

Off Cinema
The Washington Post The once prolific Stephen Sondheim, who hasn't written a musical since 1999, reportedly has a new one nearing the finish line!!! 
Playbill Cheyenne Jackson lists his favorite theatergoing experiences - fun group
Social Justice For All "How very dary you Hillary" a change of heart from a former Bernie man
Esquire "A few words about progress. And grace. And American cool." Gorgeous piece on Obama's place in history and his Democratic Convention piece.

P.S.
Look at this perfect instagram from the Academy! 

 

#Oscars #movies #greatmovies #oscarweekend

A photo posted by The Academy (@theacademy) on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:00am PDT