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Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in gender politics (117)

Friday
Jun262015

Rose's Turn

Remember Rose McGowan?

We haven't seen much of her on the big screen in the past few years (her most recent feature was the Jason Momoa led reboot of Conan the Barbarian in 2011, which is unfortunate since we would have much rather seen her proposed reboot of Red Sonja). But the Charmed actress, who broke out in the mid 90s with memorable turns in The Doom Generation and Scream, is in the news again.

A recent twitter comment about her former agent and Hollywood sexism has pushed several buttons but more importantly she's been out promoting her new role behind the camera. She is developing a feature and she's also made a short film.

Here's her short Dawn that's hitting Oscar-qualifying festivals and is available in full on YouTube. 

Saturday
Jun202015

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Please welcome Kyle Stevens to The Film Experience team. You've previously heard him on the podcast, you can pre-order his book on Mike Nichols, and you should follow him on twitter as he is delightful. - Editor

Adapted from the hit radio play by Lucille Fletcher (who also wrote the screenplay), Sorry, Wrong Number follows Leona Stevenson, a headstrong young heiress who aims to one day be the sharpest battleaxe in the armory. She is also an invalid, relegated to her bed. We discover Leona telephoning inquiries into her husband’s whereabouts when the line fatefully clicks. She overhears a conversation between two men plotting a murder that night. For me, the whole movie hangs on the image of her listening to this narrative catalyst. It hovers over the entire film. Its power lets us never forget that this is Leona’s story, even when we get elaborate flashbacks from others. We recall it later when we see Leona disheveled and shining from tears and anxious sweat. Its tightness contrasts with the way the camera later wanders in and around people, tracing the distances between them that the telephone extinguishes. 

The magic here is all down to Barbara Stanwyck, giving one her best performances (and receiving the last of her four Best Actress nominations). We see Leona’s selfishness ebb as she intelligently listens to the heavies on the line. That is, Stanwyck doesn’t play an inner monologue. Her bright brown eyes and horseshoe furrows do not propose “Oh no!” and “What should I do now?”, as though telling us what Leona wants to say. Rather, Leona, in this moment, and for a change, is not about herself at all. She just listens. This remains a thing of beauty, reminding us how much intelligence just listening can demand. I don’t know of a better demonstration of the cliché that listening is one of those feats accomplished by only the best actors.

Written by a woman and showcasing a female character who fights for what she wants, Sorry, Wrong Number would probably be received as a feminist statement were it released today. But in the moment in which Leona hears unheard, I am reminded that it is not just the film’s gender politics that remain relevant. Over the complex lines of a switchboard (where, according to Hollywood, women controlled the flow of information), the epigraph warns:

In the tangled networks of a great city, the telephone is the unseen link between a million lives… It is the servant of our common needs—the confidante of our inmost secrets…life and happiness wait upon its ring… and horror…and loneliness… and death.”

The technology behind our phones may have changed, but in an age where we’d rather text than talk, we seem to still fear verbal connections. We worry about who’s listening, and we know, deep down, that the voice can give too much away.

Previously
Vintage 1948 - Best of the Year 
Supporting Actress Smackdown - The Schedule 

Sunday
Jun072015

Podcast: Smackdown Companion 1979

You've read the new Supporting Actress Smackdown. Now hear its companion podcast. Our panel widens its view from the supporting nominees to talk about the unique cinematic landscape of the late 1970s, the women's lib movement and concurrent movie gender wars, and which movies give the best period punch and which we've misremembered completely.

Host: Nathaniel R
Special Guests:  KM Soehnlein,  Kristen SalesBill Chambers, and StinkyLulu.

Contents

  • 00:01 Introductions and memory vs. reality w/ Breaking Away
  • 03:20 Gender Wars of 1979. Misogynistic or merely non-coddling and complicated? 
  • 09:00 Cynicism and Optimism in Starting Over and Manhattan, which is particularly self-critical and discomforting
  • 15:50 Contextualizing the movies. 1979 versus what was to come with shifting tastes. Do people still make movies about "how we live now?"
  • 21:00 Meryl Streep's command of subtext and Kramer vs. Kramer as a film 
  • 28:00 The oddity of Starting Over's comedy - we recommend
  • 31:30 Movies we wish we had had to watch for the Smackdown: Alien & All That Jazz and non-nominated supporting actresses
  • 36:45 Final random observations: valium, money in 1979, and new actors who weren't yet famous
  • 39:00 Meryl Streep then vs Meryl Streep now. Of course we spend the last five minutes on Meryl Streep.

And because we joke about it - Here is Candice Bergen's off-key hit single "Better Than Ever" from Starting Over.

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes tomorrow. THE NEXT SMACKDOWN IS AT THE END OF JUNE. WE'LL BE LOOKING AT 1948 SO ADJUST YOUR QUEUES ACCORDINGLY.

Smackdown Companion 1979

Sunday
Jun072015

Smackdown 1979: Barbara, Candice, Jane, Mariel ...and Meryl Streep!

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '79. Three divorcées trying to find themselves or build new lives (a white hot character type / movie theme in the late 70s) battled for the statue with a simple suburban mom and a precocious student at the 52nd Annual Academy Awards.

THE NOMINEES

 

Candice Bergen and Mariel Hemingway were first-time Oscar players in 1979, but they shared the interesting distinction of being previous Globe nominees in the long since cancelled category of "Promising Newcomer/Acting Debut" in 1966 (The Sand Pebbles) and 1976 (Lipstick) respectively. Barbara Barrie , the eldest nominee, was no stranger to good reviews having previously won Cannes Best Actress (for the little seen interracial romance One Potato Two Potato in 1964) but was largely considered a TV actress. She returned to the small screen immediately after her most beloved film role  -- in a TV series based on that film no less making her the rare performer (the only one?) to have received both an Emmy nomination and Oscar nomination for the same exact role! But the Kramer vs Kramer ladies were the marquee draws in 1979 and not just because the public response to their divorce drama was so seismic: Jane Alexander and Meryl Streep had been nominated before and would be again. Especially La Streep. No one could have then predicted that she'd continually obliterate Oscar records over the next thirty plus years but everyone knew she was the Next Big Thing. 1979 was the year of her true ascendance, a third consecutive year co-starring in a Best Picture contender (Julia, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer) and the small matter of two other much-raved about performances in the same year (Manhattan and The Seduction of Joe Tynan). 

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are author KM Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys") and film bloggers Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). There's also a must-listen Podcast companion conversation to the Smackdown where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado, the Smackdown...

1979
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 
An in-depth discussion after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun032015

YNMS: Suffragette 

Every day since Cannes wrapped it's become clear that the Oscar charts must be updated. We were already banking on Focus Feature's Suffragette for a Best Picture nomination but when we update we might get even more bullish after this new trailer and that prime October real estate (October has been very kind to Best Pictures of late - December is so passe). Anyway, let's not get distracted with Best Picture talk.

Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan as Maud, a working wife and mother who is recruited to join the growing movement and becomes a fierce activist. Mulligan, having a great year with Far From The Madding Crowd's success and a Tony nomination, will likely reap Oscar traction if people like the film but she's backed up by quite the ensemble of talented ladies. Meryl Streep is apt to get all the glory, as she does, for her small role as Emmeline Pankhurst, a catalyst for the story and an icon of Suffragette history, but I'll be interested to see which other members of the supporting cast can win any attention or praise (if any) for strong characterizations or memorable scenes once people start seeing the whole film. Suffragette will premiere at the London Film Festival. 

The trailer and our Yes No Maybe So breakdown -- which we'll do a little differently this time -- after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May172015

Podcast: Max & Furiosa On The Road

Nathaniel welcomes back Anne Marie and regular Nick Davis and new guest Kyle Stevens to discuss George Miller's critically drooled over action masterwork Mad Max Fury Road. Though is it really as good as they say? We look deep at that misdirection of a prologue, the hallucinatory visuals, and the central conceit vs the female characterizations. We even talk Oscars a little bit. There are a few spoilers so it's best to see the film before listening if you care about such thing.

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes.  


Companion Links
Michael's Fury Road review
Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero"
Kyle's Twitter Account - Follow him. He's fun!

Fury Roadcast