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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in interview (104)

Monday
Feb162015

Interview: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on 'Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

Jose here. In Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Israeli goddess Ronit Elkabetz returns to play a part she’s lived with for more than a decade. In 2004, Ronit and her brother Shlomi teamed up as writers and co-directors of a film trilogy that would concentrate on the experiences of a woman as seen through the roles society imposed on her. In the first installment, To Take a Wife, Viviane must deal with being trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian), in 7 Days, Viviane must sit Shiva and come to terms with the fact that she is obligated to mourn despite not feeling pain. In Gett, which opened this weekend on the heels of its Golden Globe Foreign Film nomination (Oscar passed it by), Viviane is trying to gain her freedom from Elisha, but finds that practically impossible given that her husband hasn’t committed any “sins” against her; her request is deemed invalid by the strict rabbinical court.

In the years since her breakthrough in Late Marriage (2001), also an Israeli Oscar submission, and the first Viviane installment, Ronit has become the face of Israeli cinema having delivered brilliant performances in films like The Band’s Visit and Or. Gett also reveals her growth behind the camera with a much more sophisticated directorial technique, as she and Shlomi tell the story from a very subjective point of view. With their use of the camera and precise shots, they allow Viviane to have the freedom of thought society continues to deny her. A perfectly cast ensemble makes the film a worthy spiritual companion to A Separation and Zodiac, in a way, as they all explore the frustration that comes along with endless, inefficient bureaucratic processes.

During their recent visit to New York City, I talked to Ronit and Shlomi about their collaborations, their unique use of cinematic language and how Gett has rightfully become a sociopolitical sensation in Israel.

The interview is after the jump...    

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb132015

Interview: Tomm Moore on "Song of the Sea" and the Oscar Race

Tomm Moore, 38, is enjoying his second Oscar nomination for Animated FeatureOne of the semi-unexpected joys of the birth of the Animated Feature Oscar category in 2001 has been the steady stream of international cartoons that the Oscars have spotlighted. The first truly big surprise was a nomination for a film few had heard of at the time called The Secret of Kells (2009) -- that "what's that?" nomination has become something of a tradition in the category since then. The Oscar nomination for that hypnotic and singularly gorgeous tribute to Irish folklore did a lot to put Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation studio, on the map.

Cartoon Saloon's co-founder and Kells co-director Tomm Moore has crafted another magical Irish winner in Song of the Sea, an adventure about a boy who discovers his little sister is a "selkie" and holds the key to saving all the faerie folk who are slowly turning to stone (long story!). 

I had the pleasure of speaking to Moore by phone where he was in San Francisco on his Song of the Sea tour and about to meet with Pete Docter (Up). He peppers his conversation with plentiful references to other animation giants (also sharing a story about hanging out with the Big Hero 6 team). It all paints a wonderful picture of a very tight mutual-appreciation niche within Hollywood's larger ecosystem.

We talked Oscars, storytelling, and Cartoon Saloon's next project...

NATHANIEL:  This is your second time nominated for the big show. Does it feel different this time?

TOMM MOORE:  For sure yeah. It’s more fun because we know a little bit more what to expect and am able to enjoy it a bit more rather than just be like “what?”

NATHANIEL: It’s been five years since your last movie.

TOMM: In the meantime I’ve joined the Academy myself and I understand a little bit better how it all works. 

Moore's favorite film of 2014 and the responsibility of kids movies after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan102015

2014's Interview Index

Nathaniel leaves for Los Angeles for the Critics Choice awards mid week and Michael we'll join him at Sundance the following week. It's high season! Can you handle all of these things happening at once every day? If you've missed any of our chats, they're listed below. It's one of the only perks of a life of movie blogging to be able to meet talented people and grill them about their gifts and work (albeit in a usually rushed way!). Hope you enjoy reading them!

The Actors
Joan Chen & Zhu Zhu (Marco Polo)
Carrie Coon (Gone Girl)
Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / Terminator: Genysis)
Laura Dern (Wild)
Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year)
Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods / The Last 5 Years)
Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)
Timothy Spall (Mr Turner)
Marisa Tomei (Love is Strange / The Realistic Joneses)
Finn Wittrock (Unbroken / Freakshow

Auteur Theory
John Carney (Begin Again)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Stephan Haupt (The Circle)
Jennifer Kent (The Babadook)
Hong Khaou (Lilting)
Chris Mason Johnson (Test)
James Marsh (Theory of Everything)
Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea)
Matthew Warchus (Pride)
Daniel Ribeiro (The Way He Looks)
Toa Fraser (Dead Lands
Liv Ullmann (Miss Julie)

Behind the Scenes
Cinematographer Yves Belanger (Wild)
Composer Antonio Sanchez (Birdman
Composer Patti Smith (Noah
Composer Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson (Noah)
Production Designer James Chinlund (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Producer Guillermo del Toro (The Book of Life)
Producer Joanna Natasegara (Virunga)
Screenwriter Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy

Oscar Parties / Cocktails / Banter
Allen Leech, Alex Lawther, Matthew Beard (Imitation Game Party)
Ava DuVernay, Common & John Legend (Selma Luncheon)
Ava Duvernay, Niecy Nash, and Lorraine Toussaint (Selma Premiere)
Jessica Chastain, J.C. Chandor, and Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year Premiere)
John Boorman (Hope & Glory Memory and Current Ballot) 

Celebrity Guests For Our Devout Actressexual Readership
Dana Delany (Amazon's Hand of God) shared A+ stories in our '73 Smackdown. Such a movie buff! 
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl) one of Hollywood's best scene stealers, guest-blogged with hilarious Oscar memoir
Melanie Lynskey (Happy Christmas, HBO's Together) participated in our '64 Smackdown and cursed herself for picking a bum year 

and...

Quick Impressions - in this unique experiment we celebrated the non-famous working actor, day players and/or possible future stars. Thousands of showbiz dreams are embedded in every frame of your favorite movies from the principles on down to the one-liners. In this three episode tryout we talked to actors who worked on Gone Girl, The Boxtrolls, and American Horror Story: Freakshow. Should we resume for 2015?

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2013's Index - Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Paulson, Sally Hawkins, etc
2012's Index - Nicole Kidman, Eddie Redmayne, Kerry Washington, etc.
2011's Index  -Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Corey Stoll, etc.
2010's Index - Julianne Moore, Kirsten Dunst, Juliette Lewis, etc.

 

Thursday
Jan082015

A Quick Chat with Jenny Slate Who Will Love Her Future No Matter What!

Jenny Slate, one of last year's biggest breakthroughs, started 2014 on a career high and still hasn't come down. Obvious Child was so buzzy at the 2014 festival that you can be reasonably sure that comedies from the forthcoming 2015 festival will see themselves held up in comparison 'what's this year's Obvious Child?'  After a successful limited release, Jenny Slate found herself on red carpets and snow she's up for a Critics Choice Award a week from today.

Best Actress in a Comedy, Critics Choice Movie Awards
Rose Byrne – Neighbors
Rosario Dawson – Top Five
Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent
Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins

Whether or not she wins it, it seems likely that she'll enjoy herself. Perhaps it was her character Donna Stern's abrasive caustic humor that led me to picture someone either darkly funny or like the stereotype of the sad clown but instead the new star is relentlessly cheerful and super positive, and determined to stay that way. She even makes lemonade from lemons when I mention This Means War.

Here's our conversation...

NATHANIEL: This has been such a huge year for you? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10? 

JENNY SLATE: Oh man. I guess i’d give it an 8 but I feel like most years I usually rate them pretty highly because I like life!  But this has been the most satisfying year of my career so far: Obvious Child really changed things for me.  [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan082015

Interview: Chadwick Boseman Gets On Up to a Big Movie Career

With the Get On Up DVD just out this week, let's take a look at the fast rise of Chadwick Boseman. He'd already headlined one surprise hit (42) when he delivered his first huge performance as Godfather of Soul James Brown. Critics casually and regularly mentioned "Oscar" in their reviews but the precursor awards didn't bite (the Golden Globes forcing that film into Drama when films of its kind usually compete in Musical surely didn't help). But individual honors aside, there's no arguing that Boseman is at the beginning of a big career.

When I sat down with him last year (though less long ago than that sounds) he was unusually cagey about future career plans. Chalked it up to caution, I did, at the time. But cut to a very short time after the interview: News broke that he'd spend at least a couple of years in a form fitting black lycra (?) costume as T'Challa, The Black Panther (2017). That surely accounts for some of the shifting in his seat and long pauses when I grilled him about his future plans and what kinds of roles he's looking to play post-Brown over coffee. He must've already known and been sworn to secrecy since these multi-year multi-film deals don't happen overnight.

Here are highlights from our conversation about both his James Brown work, his relationship with those flamboyant costumes and Alex Proyas' forthcoming Gods of Egypt (2016) which arrives before he dons the T'Challa costume. 

NATHANIEL R: Let’s start with something crazy. Could you do the splits before Get On Up? [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan062015

Interview: "Virunga" Producer Joanna Natasegara

 Here's Jose with an interview with a PGA nominee on her Oscar finalist in Documentary

Virunga chronicles the battle being fought in the beautiful Virunga National Park in Congo, where a British oil corporation is putting in peril the lives of the world’s last mountain gorillas. The gorillas are defended only by a group of brave rangers, led by Prince Emmanuel de Merode, who dedicate their whole lives to defending the cause. Shot with urgency by first time feature filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, few other films last year felt as alive as this, as it combined thriller elements with an important call to action. It's available on Netflix.

The film continues earning mentions in non-fiction categories this awards season. First it was shortlisted among the documentary films that made it to the last round before Oscar nominations are announced, and now it has also earned a Producers Guild of America award nomination. We spoke to one of its producers, Joanna Natasegara, about working in the jungle, the role of a producer and why it’s essential for us to help Virunga National Park.

JOSE: How did you get involved in the project?

JOANNA NATASEGARA: Originally Orlando had been working on the film for about a year with Emmanuel, and based on their discussions they realized that their ambitions around the objectives of the film, meant they had to bring someone on board who could make sure all their goals could be achieved and I have a history of working in social impact films, so we were introduced at an event in the UK, and at the time we talked about it and Orlando realized he wanted me to be the producer, because the scale of the film meant he needed an extra pair of hands.

JOSE: I’m sure this was one of those projects that made you go “I have to do this”...

Click to read more ...