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Entries in Jane Eyre (13)

Tuesday
Feb182014

Interview: Michael O'Connor on "Fussy" Costumes & Principal Actresses

A curious reversal: I'm discussing Oscar-voting with costume designer Michael O'Connor, an Oscar winner for The Duchess (2008) nominated again for his work on the Dickensian romantic drama The Invisible Woman and he reveals that, though he takes voting seriously, he doesn't really think it's a good thing to know too much about the behind the scenes achievements on movies, beyond what you can see and judge visually. 

Michael O'Connor and one of his Oscar-nominated designs from The Invisible Woman

That’s why I don’t teach or do classes. I don't think it would be a good experience. I want the discussion when I’m doing it because it helps me work but when you watch [a movie] you shouldn’t know the discussions. When you watch a film sometimes and stay for the Q&A it’s changed the experience because now you know some of the secrets. Some of the magic is not knowing. 

And, yet, once you get Michael O'Connor talking about his craft, he doesn't quit (a wonderful problem in an interview) and his passion for Costume Design is always front and center. I'm not at all convinced that he wouldn't make a good teacher but his students would have to be quick, as he leaps from topic to topic, sometimes without warning. 

From our vantage point in 2014 his current status as an Oscar winning costume designer seems inevitable...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul102012

Tues Top Ten: Me Blogger, You Janes.

Today is the anniversary of the first day of Lady Jane Grey's infamous reign as the Queen of England. "Infamous why?" you ask. On account of its length, see. Her days as Queen numbered only nine.

They made a movie of the short event in 1985 (Lady Jane) which is all but forgotten today. Maybe it shouldn't be since it starred baby faced rising stars Cary Elwes and the now resurgent Helena Bonham Carter. HBC quickly became the go-to actress of choice for directors who wanted a porcelain dress up doll for their costume pictures. And by directors I mean the great James Ivory.

So herewith a top ten top nine list in Lady Jane's and Helena's honor...

TOP NINE BEST "JANES"

With apologies to four time Oscar nominee Jane Alexander, Susan Sarandon's delightful Jane Spofford, Jane Lynch (before Glee), Fun with Dick and Jane, and Demi Moore's G.I. Jane, Thomas Jane, and Jane Goodall. I'm sure I forgot someone wonderful but that's what the comments are for.

09 Jane Wyman
I didn't really understand Wyman until I finally saw Magnificent Obsession (1954) in which she can't see. I highly recommend that you don't remind blind to it because what a good picture that is.

Judy Bernly: What did you call this again?
Violet Newstead: Mowie Wowie!
Judy: Well, I love it.
Violet: Primo. 

08 "Mary Jane"
Or as Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton like to call it "Maui Wowie." Recently while watching a terrible 80s movie, (not 9 to 5 which is great) The Boyfriend and I were discussing which drugs make good movies and which ruin them. And Mary Jane is clearly the winner. Case evidence: Robert Altman's filmography. In the 80s Hollywood was on cocaine and it shows. Not in a good way!

Seven more classic "Janes" after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep042011

Linker, Donor, Oscar, Bye

By now you've heard the rumor, which some sources say is closer to actual fact, that Eddie Murphy will be hosting next February's Oscar ceremony. That's a major get if true since Murphy hasn't performed live in years and years and is the kind of Household Name that Oscar always prefers. I'm sure we'll talk more about this if it pans out. 

Lorell and Jimmy are through-oooooooooh 

No matter how great Eddie is -- should he host -- I know I won't be fully satisfied because what are the chances he'd invite Anika Noni Rose (who you know we love) onstage for something. TRUE STORY: Every single time I hear "Eddie Murphy" since 2008 I hear Anika Noni Rose's glorious voice in my ear. I included the sound clip that plays in my head every time in the post. You better listen!

MEANWHILE...
Have you seen Paul Smith's limited edition beautiful posters for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? They're minimalism and its most gorgeous and they're charitable too. All proceeds go to cancer.

This is my favorite from the batch.

I keep staring at it. But then I love minimalistic art. I think I must need room for my own projections of what an image, movie, or thing might be.

Ashley Judd & Michael Shannon & the aphidslinks!
Sunset Gun revisits Bug, mincing no words: "a masterpiece". I like this movie too but if you ever have a chance to see it on stage, that's where it really wows. So claustrophic and crazy and weirdly expectant of your co-dependency.
In Contention on George Clooney's tribute at Telluride. What a star that man is.
Awards Daily Sasha thinks Glenn Close has a real shot at the Best Actress Oscar with Albert Nobbs as career capper. She also likes The Descendants.
Super Punch stop motion recreation of the Johnny Quest opening credits. "WOW" and also: "What on earth for?" 
Terry Richardson has been shooting Jared Leto again. Those two. 
Movie|Line Stephanie Zacharek with a beautiful ode to Michael Fassbender in Shame and a funny jab at Al Pacino in Wilde Salome.

Today's Must Read
The Sheila Variations on Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre. Can we just cut and paste this whole write-up into her Best Actress FYC ads? Hopefully Focus Features takes a look at it.


Even if you haven't seen Jane Eyre (2011) it's an expansive essay taking on various schools (and limitations) of acting and it even has two beautiful shout outs to two of Nathaniel's all time favorite characterizations: Meryl Streep in Silkwood and Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? So I'm sensing that Sheila is a kindred spirit.

Oh and... uh... Happy Labor Day Weekend! 
I tried to take a vacation from blogging this week -- as i hinted in the "best of august" post -- and have now realized that I am unable. Constitutionally unable. Which is why you should all sign on as "subscribers" (in sidebar -- i've added a cheaper option for the brokest among you) so that I can keep blogging from here to eternity. I'm not suited for other types of work because I spend too much time dreaming about the movies.

 

 

I'm not sure what I'll do next weekend when I will actually not have an internet connection and must stare at actual friends all day...and not through a computer screen? GROSS.

Diesel Sweeties designed the perfect t-shirt for people like me -- and maybe you -- who can't stop working.

HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY IF YOU'RE CELEBRATING!

ANIKA DREAMGIRL

Tuesday
Jul052011

Halfway Honors. Best of 2011 Thus Far

This year seems to be off to a slow start but here's what I'd choose as the best of the year thus far. I've excluded films that are still waiting for their proper release like Andrew Haigh's finely tuned miniature gay drama Weekend (which has been collecting festival trophies and which I loved) and Paddy Considine's discomfiting abuse drama Tyrannosaur which I did not love but which boasts impressive acting.

TOP TEN PICTURES (alpha order)
The Arbor, Beginners, Bridesmaids, Certified Copy, Jane Eyre, Midnight in Paris, Poetry, Rango, The Tree of Life and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. You can see a complete list of what I've seen here.

[Notable films that I did plan to see but will have to catch on DVD include: Hanna, The Housemaid and Win Win]

DIRECTOR
Clio Barnard - THE ARBOR
Lee Chang-dong - POETRY
Abbas Kiarostami -CERTIFIED COPY
Terrence Malick -THE TREE OF LIFE
Mike Mills -BEGINNERS

notes: I gave Barnard the slight edge over Apichatpong Weerathesakul mostly because I far prefer "Joe's" earlier effort Tropical Malady to Boonmee. But not without some hesitation. I appreciated the bold experimentation of The Arbor, a documentary/narrative hybrid about the life and work of playwright and screenwriter Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue and Bob, Too). I just wish the film had been tighter and less relentless in its last 45 minutes. It had already done so much surgical socioeconomic surveillance damage by that point that rather than feeling devastating it started to feel exhausting. But it's definitely worth a look.

ACTRESS
Juliette Binoche - CERTIFIED COPY
Yun Jeong-Hie -POETRY
Mia Wasikowska - JANE EYRE
Kristen Wiig - BRIDESMAIDS
Michelle Williams -MEEKS CUTOFF

actors and the supporting crop and even a few technicals if you just...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May052011

Waif vs. Waif: Mia Wasikowska vs. Saoirse Ronan

[This guest post is from Ester Bloom, recently reader-spotlighted. She and I were speaking off-blog about how much we missed the old shuttered website Fame Tracker. Ester whipped up this homage to one of their best series "Two Stars: One Slot". We hope you enjoy. -Nathaniel R.]

Battle of the Stars With Unpronouncable Names

Mia & Saoirse on May 2nd, 2011 at the Met Costume Gala

Saoirse (“Sur-shuh”) Ronan and Mia Wasikowska (“Vash-i-kov-ska”) burst upon the scene at roughly the same time: In 2007, S. Ronan lent much-needed eeriness to Joe Wright’s Atonement in her first major role and received an Academy Award nomination. In 2008, Mia W. elevated both the HBO series “In Treatment” and the Daniel Craig vehicle Defiance, earning a place as one of Variety magazine’s “Actresses to Watch” in the process.

Since then, neither actress has sat on her hands. S. Ronan gave critics something to praise about Peter Jackson’s misconceived but lush adaptation of The Lovely Bones. Mia W. brought gravitas to Tim Burton’s misconceived but lush adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and helped made 2010 The Year of the Teenage Virgin with her role as the daughter in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right.

Mia W. skipped ahead with a career-defining turn as the fierce, independent, young star of Jane Eyre, matching the intensity of Michael Fassbender. S. Ronan caught up by embodying another titular character: the fierce, independent, young star of Hanna, where she matched the intensity of Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.

Mia as "Jane Eyre" & Saoirse as "Hanna"

Both parchment-skinned, fiery-eyed women hail from the former British Empire: though S. Ronan was born in New York, she was raised in Ireland, and Mia W. is from Canberra, Australia. They are only five years apart in age, and in many ways they could be sisters: they share a self-possession and a grace not easily found among Hollywood starlets. (Try to imagine either of them falling out of a limo, half-dressed.)

But where do they go from here? S. Ronan appears later this year in another popcorn flick about teenage assassins called Violet and Daisy directed by Geoffrey Fletcher (an Oscar winner for the screenplay of Precious). It could be good—Hanna is good, anxiety-inducing fun—but the presence of Alexis Bledel as a co-star doesn’t inspire confidence. After that, S. Ronan will return to form (and to screen with Cate Blanchett) in another, hopefully better, Peter Jackson vehicle, The Hobbit.  

Mia W. has chosen a more indie route, joining the crew of Gus Van Sant’s Restless and Rodrigo Garcia’s Albert Nobbs, as well as several other small-budget projects. 

Both of these steely sylphs have it in them to succeed despite their tongue-twisting names. Who has the edge? S. Ronan’s Hanna scared the bejesus out of audiences and Manohla Dargis, and she is already one of the youngest actresses to get an Oscar nomination; she has proven she can play to the mainstream and to art houses. Mia W. could manage a Best Actress nod this year for Jane Eyre and has plenty of other roles that will be catnip to Oscar on the horizon, but she hasn’t yet proven her box office chops. We have faith in both and this could easily be a draw, but Mia W., with more serious projects coming up, gets the edge.

Advantage: Mia W.