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Six Short Reviews

"While there was imagination to Swiss Army Man, I am on the hate side of it." -Chris

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Entries in interview (160)

Sunday
Jun262016

Interview: Rising Star Boyd Holbrook ("Narcos")

Boyd Holbrook © Flaunt magazine, Fe Pinheiro, photographerI regret to inform you that I cannot begin this story with the sizzling lede I'd intended. But the redacted story, of where Boyd Holbrook called me from and the new project he's working on -- were nevertheless a good reminder that he's been an exciting talent to watch. That's not just because he's so engaging onscreen but because he doesn't want to get stuck in a rut; it's hard to guess where his creative muse will take him next.

So let's jump to our real topic. Boyd Holbrook was calling to discuss his role as DEA officer Steve Murphy in the Netflix series Narcos. The debut season was nominated for Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes and before its second season airs, it's undoubtedly hoping for Emmy to follow suit (balloting closes tomorrow). The story revolves around the drug lord Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura, Globe nominated for Best Actor) and the attempts of DEA agents Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal) to bring him down. Though it's somewhat of a three-lead series, Holbrook and Peña are both on Emmy's Supporting Actor Drama ballot since Escobar is the subject matter. Holbrook's character is our window to the story and a handy historical reference guide as narrator. The early episodes have to impart a ton of information we couldn't be expected to know about both Colombia and the US in the late 70s and early 80s as well as technological limitations of the time in hunting and surveillance of your prey.

I talked to Boyd about the peculiar demands of the part, half-exposition and half-character work, but we begin with what I suspect is his multi-hyphenate inner artist [Interview after the jump...]

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Friday
Jun102016

Interview: 'Diary of a Chambermaid' Director Benoît Jacquot on Léa Seydoux and Literature

With the release of Diary of a Chambermaid, which reunites the director and star of the great Farewell My Queen, here's Jose with a new interview...

Octave Mirbeau’s 1900 novel Diary of a Chambermaid has been turned into a film no less than two times before, with filmmakers like Luis Buñuel and Jean Renoir taking on the task of bringing to life the tale of feisty, tragic chambermaid Célestine. Now, director Benoît Jacquot (Farewell My Queen) has re-teamed with Léa Seydoux to bring Célestine to life one more time. Jacquot’s adaptation injects Célestine with an even stronger sense of self awareness, she is often granted the power of breaking the narrative to address the audience, or herself even, and is given a sexual agency that forces audiences to see Mirbeau’s heroine under a different light. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Jacquot to discuss his take on the novel, working with Léa Seydoux, and how literature influences his work.

Read the interview after the jump.

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Friday
May132016

Interview: Agyness Deyn on Her Breakthrough in 'Sunset Song', and How Modeling Prepared Her for Film

Jose here. Agyness Deyn doesn’t have a very long list of screen credits, she played Aphrodite in Clash of the Titans, narrated a Rihanna video, and appeared in Pusher. That will undoubtedly change once directors see her gorgeous work in Terence Davies’ Sunset Song where she plays Chris Guthrie, a Scottish farm girl trying to fend for herself in the years before WWI. It’s a performance made of composed emotion, endless inner strength, and an otherworldly quality that makes one think of great work by Olivia de Havilland and Ingrid Bergman.

Many people will know Ms. Deyn from her work as a model, back in the mid-aughts there wasn’t an issue of Vogue where she didn’t appear. With her pixie cut, effortless chic and strong personality she brought a “punk/rock” edge to modeling. Since 2012, she’s been focusing her attention on film and Sunset Song is her first leading role.

I sat down to speak to Ms. Deyn about working with Terence Davies, her favorite actresses and how her life in the runway prepared her for her work on film.  Read the conversation after the jump...

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Monday
May092016

Interview: The Filmmakers, and Stars of 'Strike a Pose' Talk Madonna, Dance Moves and Movie Stars 

We're celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Truth or Dare" this week. Here's Jose having a brilliantly fun chat with its dancers who have an unofficial sequel, if you will, making the festival rounds...

Clockwise from top: Carlton, Madonna, Luis, Gabriel (RIP), Jose, Kevin, Oliver, and Salim (aka "Slam")

Jose here. I was four years old when Madonna went on her Blonde Ambition Tour, but I distinctly remember being hypnotized by the woman with the pointy bra on TV that was making the Pope very upset. Fast forward a couple of decades and not only am I a huge Madonna fan, but I’ve made more sense of that specific era in her career thanks to the revolutionary documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare. So I was thrilled when I found out Dutch filmmakers Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan had made Strike a Pose, a documentary about the male dancers that were so prominently featured in the tour and the film. For Madonna fans, the names of Carlton Wilborn, Kevin Stea, Oliver S Crumes III, Salim "Slam" Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza, Luis Xtravaganza Camacho and the late Gabriel Trupin (1969-1996), are akin to those of Christ’s disciples. Not only for the devotion that comes with fandom, but also because we have each developed our own mythologies about who these men were (they choreographed the “Vogue” video!)

Read the conversation after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Interview: Alba Rohrwacher on the Gender Politics of 'Sworn Virgin' and the Actresses She Loves



Jose
here. In the ancient Albanian tradition of “burrnesha”, a woman takes a vow of chastity in exchange for having all the freedom of a man. Once she swears eternal virginity in front of a group of elders - all men of course - she is allowed to live in the community under a new male name that also brings benefits that will allow her to carry guns, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, work, play music and be in the company of other men. By the time we meet Mark (Alba Rohrwacher) in Sworn Virgin, he has pretty much forgotten who Hana, her former identity, was. Feeling incomplete, he decides to leave his isolated village to visit his sister (Flonja Kodheli) in Italy, where he discovers he is living within a prison of his own making.

Sworn Virgin
is director Laura Bispuri’s debut film, but one wouldn’t guess that from the boldness with which she tells her story and especially because of the performances she gets from her actors. Rohrwacher, who is on a roll, having premiered Virgin at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 after winning the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for Hungry Hearts, a few months before, gives her finest performance to date. I had the opportunity to talk to her about her recent films (both Virgin and Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales open this week in New York), working with Bispuri and some of her favorite actresses.

Read our conversation after the jump.

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Wednesday
Apr132016

Interview: 'The First Monday in May' Director Andrew Rossi, on the Met Gala, Anna Wintour and Why Fashion is Like Performance Art 

Jose here. The very first time I went behind the scenes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, there was an image that immediately caught my attention. A big, bright yellow sign commanding walkers to yield to the works of art in transit. It didn’t only make me wonder how many pieces by Da Vinci, Rodin, Renoir, Van Gogh, Warhol, Kahlo and many other established legends had travelled through the corridors I was walking in, it also made me wonder how many Alexander McQueen and John Galliano gowns had followed them. If the idea of fashion as art remains to some a topic of debate, it has never been so at the Met where it plays an essential part in raising awareness of the Museum’s outreach through the Costume Institute.  

 

A photo posted by Jose Solis (@josesolismayen) on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:20am PST

For decades, the Costume Institute has been holding a Gala to raise funds to preserve and expand its collection of over 30 thousand costumes and accessories that range from centuries old furs, to iconic dresses worn by Jackie O. The Gala is at the center of Andrew Rossi’s documentary The First Monday in May which was chosen as the Opening Night selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Our conversation with Rossi after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr062016

Interview: Chris Cooper on 'Demolition', Creating Characters, and His Favorite Actors

April is Actor Month at TFE. Here's Jose in conversation with one of our best.


In person, Chris Cooper exudes the same suave charm he has onscreen, when we sit down to discuss his work in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition and I refer to him as “Mr. Cooper” he shakes his head and says “call me Chris”. From his oddly approachable John Laroche in Adaptation, to his tough but sensitive Tom Smith in Seabiscuit, Cooper has perfected the art of creating “the memorable everyman”. In Demolition he plays Phil, a man who must cope with the death of his daughter in an accident, and has to learn how to forgive his son-in-law Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) for having survived. Most of Cooper’s scenes involve harsh encounters with Gyllenhaal’s character, who has lost all sense of societal propriety rather than paying tribute to the legacy of his wife.

When I speak to Vallée about the qualities his cast brought to the film, he explained “I observe and try not to interfere with the actors, they use all the space around them, they put stamina and spirit into it”, you can see this in the way with which Cooper in particular moves as if he’s completely unaware that his character exists at the service of a story. He couldn’t seem more comfortable in this fictitious man’s skin if he tried. I spoke to Chris about his process, how he uses external elements to discover the men he plays, and to celebrate Actor’s Month we ended up discussing his favorite thespians.

Our conversation follows...

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