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Entries in Holly Hunter (16)

Saturday
Jul112015

YNMS: Holly Hunter vs. Superman: Dawn of Wonder Woman

It would be a lie to say that The Film Experience has been anxiously awaiting the latest trailer from Zach Snyder. But life can surprise you and the newly released Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice promo literally begins with this image of Oscar Winning Diva Holly Hunter!

Today is a day for truth."

And her line reading is so over-the-top IMPORTANT that I want it on a Vine loop. Like Jessica Lange screaming "Knotty Pine" or something. Is it too much to ask that Holly's Senator is like Cristal/Showgirls self aware of what kind of movie she is in?

For now we are free to imagine that this movie is actually an action drama about Senator Holly Hunter's vendetta against Superman wherein she cosplays Wonder Woman (briefly glimpsed though it's never clear who she is fighting in her cutaways) to lay waste to him. Featuring Oscar nominees Diane Lane and Amy Adams! (Those grim self-important steroid warriors are just there to sell tickets to fanboys and muscle-queens!)

So let's Yes No and Maybe So it this thing (okay the real thing - sigh) after the jump...

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Friday
Apr242015

Superman v Batman v Fantastic Four v Spider-Man v Indifference

Tom Holland for Spider-Man?We all know that eventually the superhero bubble will burst. But until then, they will dominate cinema. Still, even in their new golden age of popularity, there is a growing semi-intangible resistance out there to caring about each and every one of the films. I've been feeling that about Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice especially and it's a little strange that the Fantastic Four reboot has been so non-buzzy since the internet loves talking superheroes like little else. (Both films recently got new trailers, t'was time to discuss)

Spider-Man
Not that this indifference or in some cases outright hostility affects the box office mind you. Everyone seemed to hate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 last summer but it didn't stop the movie from making $708 million globally and it certainly hasn't dampened enthusiasm at Sony or Marvel for Spider-Man as a cash cow. They're already busy recasting Spider-man for the third time in less than 14 years. They've supposedly narrowed it down to five actors...

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Thursday
Apr162015

Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's The Piano

The Piano contains many stories. It is a love story between two outsiders: a mute woman, and an uneducated man. It is an allegory about oppression: a white landowner in New Zealand treats his wife and the Maori people like children or property. It is a study of conflicted characters: a repressed, oppressive landowner; his passionate, mute wife; the lower class man who falls in love with her; and her wild, intelligent daughter. It is a warning about the hazards of refusing to listen: a failed marriage, a soured initial seduction, and the climax of the film are all spurred by lacking communication.  The Piano also has its roots in the fairy tale “Bluebeard;” a sinister story about a newlywed who discovers that her husband murders his wives. But as we’ve seen, Jane Campion doesn’t do easy fairy tale morality.

Campion’s story opens with the only words we will hear its main character speak:

The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - not even me...

Ada (Holly Hunter) is a mute Scottish woman shipped to Victorian New Zealand to marry a stranger, Alisdair (Sam Neill). Ada carries with her the two possessions that make up her voice: her headstrong daughter (Anna Paquin), and her piano. Alisdair leaves the piano, to Ada’s dismay, but a former whaler named George (Harvey Keitel) senses the piano’s importance, and shelters it in his house. He uses it to start an affair with Ada. Considering that this is a story set in the Victorian era, it is a welcome surprise that Campion refuses to make Ada a victim of anything (except maybe circumstance). But that initial image, the piano on the beach, lingers. The incongruous image of a piano on a beach sets the theme for the film - melancholy, and tinged with magical realism.

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Saturday
Apr262014

ICYMI, A Smackdown Addendum

Busy busy week but that was mostly the team running around catching Tribeca Screenings. (We'll finish the write-ups very soon). But other than the film festival, I hope you didn't miss these five key posts from the week that was.

A Year With Kate reaches the Spencer Tracy years
Podcast Gets Under the Skin the gang's all back to discuss Noah and Under the Skin 
Looking Back at Pocahontas Disney's ambitious epic 
April Showers: The Piano Holly Hunter was the surprise star of the week because we also finally got to...
2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown Renée vs. Shohreh vs Holly vs Patty vs. Marcia Marcia Marcia. (What a strange Oscar year that was)

Film Bitch Addendum
For those of you wondering which actresses I voted for back in 2003 (many of you weren't around these parts in those early early days), here was my ballot which only had a little Oscar overlap. FWIW, David Cronenberg's Spider got a one week qualifier in 2002 but back then I went only by NYC release since I wasn't privvy to Academy screeners. Of course AMPAS ignored it as they do most one week qualifiers but Miranda Richardson was all kinds of haunting in it x 3. Curiously my finalists list suggests that I thought The Lovely Laura Linney was equal to Marcia back then within the confines of Mystic River. No more. The only part of the movie that's aged well for me at all is Harden's performance.

 

Today's Retro Watch
Given the 2003 Smackdown discussion, it's a great time to look back at this classic Cold Mountain sketch from French & Saunders as they poke fun at Nicole Kidman's whispering & posing and the Zeéeeee's overacting in the Cold Turkey DVD commentary track

Thursday
Apr242014

Supporting Smackdown '03: Holly, Marcia, Patty, Renée & Shohreh

For the latest edition of StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown -- which was delayed for reasons I won't bore you with again --  Stinky and I welcome you to a much-discussed Oscar contest, ten years back. This was not, as we've rediscovered, a particularly strong vintage despite a certain nostalgic pull for any storied shortlist that combines five very distinct performers. The truth of it is that most of 2003's acting races were messy affairs with little precursor agreement or too much of it. Further complicating matters was a mix of various stages of career momentum, a frontrunning film without any acting bids (Return of the King), and that semi-annual deadly combo that always mucks with Academy discernment: weak prestige pieces and much of the best work occuring in genres Oscar doesn't care for. The Best Actress race, for example, was historic but totally odd and disatisfying, and Best Supporting Actress coalesced around these five players...

THE NOMINEES


Shohreh Aghdashloo, a "discovery" at 51 though she was already famous in Iran, and previously snubbed character actress sensation Patricia Clarkson were the first timers. Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden and Holly Hunter were also included for anchoring gritty dramas as desperately confused mothers. And finally Renée Zellweger, the eventual winner, on her third consecutive nomination but her first for a drama after two lead nominations for popular comedies. (All legitimately supporting roles. That doesn't happen over a whole supporting field anymore)

You know who won the Oscar but who will win the Smackdown? Read on...

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Nick Davis, Guy Lodge, Joe Reid, Nathaniel R, Tim Robey, Stinkylulu and You (we tabulate reader votes as well and quotes from your ballots appear).

2003
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN

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Monday
Apr212014

April Showers: The Piano

The evening waterworks continue. Here's Andrew on a particularly gloomy shower.

The Piano is a moody movie. Moody as in unpredictable and volatile, and moody as in suggesting melancholy and mystery. Even before the story really gets underway the film's atmosphere is one of unease. And it's because it's not just the story that's moody but visually, too. As Stuart Dryburgh's camera observes the rough, muddy ranches of New Zealand the harsh exteremities of the terrain seem to be not just incidental but direct representations of the similarly implacable characters.

This is but one of the numerous ways in which the Gothic influence on The Piano shines through, where landscape informs elements of plot and characters. The Piano checks off a number of the prerequisites for Gothic drama: impulsive, sometimes tyrannical men, women in distress, heightened emotion, a mysterious atmosphere, a somewhat isolated locale, stormy weather and muddy terrains. 

Of the influence of the Gothic in the film, Jane confesses...

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