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Entries in Jess Weixler (7)

Wednesday
Sep112019

Get Yourself Chained For Life

by Jason Adams

There is a fascinating film opening in New York today and in L.A. on Friday which I feel the need to give y'all some heads-up on if you're unawares -- Chained For Life stars Teeth (and It: Chapter 2!) actress Jess Weixler and Under the Skin actor Adam Pearson as a pair of actors who meet each other on the strange set of a surreal sorta horror film. She's the lovely leading lady, while he's the disfigured man in the shadows that's there to add that distinct touch of surreality that film-makers have been othering others with as long as there's been film.

From there in the grand tradition of movies-set-within-movies -- you could very much call this film Day For Night meets Freaks -- writer-director Aaron Schimberg dissolves the barriers between the two, tackling the heady subject of what we as an audience want to look at, why we're conditioned in that way, and ways around to something better.

If that sounds didactic it's not -- it's also a hypnotic mystery full of spell-binding imagery and suprising sweetness. I reviewed the film in more depth last year when it screened at the Fantasia Fest last July, you can read it here, but here's a choice bit:

"This is one-of-a-kind mad scientist movie-making stuff, riveting in ways I hardly expected going in - it unfolds itself, paper cranes and finger puppets, nesting dolls dissolving from one to the under to the under. It is, quite frankly, a lovely thing to behold."

If you're in New York Schimberg will be doing Q&As at screenings of the film tonight and tomorrow at the IFC Center -- then it hits the Nuart in L.A. Friday and they're promising a national roll-out after that, so stay tuned. I very much recommend checking this one out.

Wednesday
Aug082018

Bye, Fantasia

by Jason Adams

The 2018 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal just finished its three-week run on August 2nd, and yours truly covered it here from my perch six hundred whole kilometers away thanks to the wonders of the internet and the great generosity of the fest's programmers. We introduced the fest right here, listing what looked of interest. And now down below here's a round-up of what we eventually reviewed (you can click on the film titles to read each review):

Fleuve Noir -- Vincent Cassel and Romain Duris circle each other suspiciously (with sexy results!) in this off-beat crime-thriller from Julia director Erick Zonca

Knuckleball -- A kid fights off home invaders in a super dark twist on Home Alone 

Blue My Mind -- Add mermaid to the list of movie puberty hells getting the updated girlhood spin in this beautifully acted and photographed Swiss flick

Cold Skin -- Lovecraft meets Old-timey Lighthouse Keeper Sweater Porn

Chained For Life -- This movie (within a movie) starring Jess Weixler about our culture of beauty fetishization is a real trip and a half

Cam -- Madeline Brewer from The Handmaid's Tale proves she's no one-eyed fluke in this candy-colored Lynchian spin on online sex-work (PS Cam just got picked up for release this fall so stay tuned!)

Saturday
Jul212018

Fantasia 2018: Chained For Life

by Jason Adams

Somewhere between Francois Truffaut's Day For Night and Tod Browning's Freaks falls Chained For Life - a rag-tag group of actors (including the ever and always welcome Jess Weixler of Teeth fame) and crew assemble at a hotel turned plastic-surgery spa to shoot a strange little movie, and on the second day a gathering of differently abled persons of the sort that might have long ago populated a circus tent (a little person, a so-called "bearded lady," a giant, some conjoined twins, and most importantly Adam Pearson, the disfigured actor you oughta recognize from Under the Skin) show up to add surreality to the proceedings. 

Writer-director Aaron Schimberg is aware that in 2018 you can't get away with othering these people the way you once might have been able to though, so he goes meta about it. The film-within-the-film reveals itself as a Nazi-tinged rip-off of Browning's Freaks early on, while the day-to-day movie-shooting is all paper plates at the catering tent and make-up chair confessionals. Only slowly do the two halves begin to bleed together, and in the most unexpected ways at that...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun262018

Big Beautiful Losers

by Jason Adams

Have y'all been keeping an eye on the ever-ballooning cast of cool cats that've joined the It sequel? This week brought one of the names that's made me the happiest - Jess Weixler, star of Teeth and Jessica Chastain BFF, has joined It: Chapter II to play the wife of Bill Denbrough, aka the leader of the "Losers Club" who will be played by James McAvoy in the sequel. (Chastain herself is playing grown-up Bev, the lone girl in the Losers.) We've been clamoring for good stuff for Weixler ever since she wowed hard with Teeth in 2007 but even though she's worked steadily she's remained under-the-radar. The role of Bill's wife will probably definitely still under-exploit her talents, but it'll be good to have her around all the same.

Anyway back in September Chris asked y'all to offer up casting suggestions for the adult versions of the first film's kids and y'all actually got some names right in the comments! Pat yourselves on the back! The rest of the cast besides Chastain & McAvoy (Eleanor Rigby reunion in the house) are as follows: Bill Hader is Richie, James Ransone is Eddie (that one's my favorite), Jay Ryan is Ben, Isaiah Mustafa is Mike, and Andy Bean is Stanley. Oh and Xavier Dolan is playing a character that everybody figured would get cut from the film adaptation... but I'll refrain from details to keep this spoiler-free. Plus Bill Skarsgard will be of course be back doing his Pennywise thing. What do we think of the new cast? 

Sunday
May182014

Cannes Beauty: Jess & Jess

BFFs Jessica Chastain and Jess Weixler (best known for Teeth and The Good Wife but she plays Chastain's sister in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) hit the Cannes Film Festival. Great gowns, yes?

 

Tuesday
Sep102013

TIFF: "Eleanor Rigby" Was Written For Jessica Chastain

Jessica outside the Elgin in TorontoOne of my fondest memories of TIFF 13 will be the simple fact that I sat in the same theater with Jessica Chastain for what appeared to be one of the most personal moments of her career. The theater, the Visa Elgin in Toronto, is a giant spacious ornate beast that holds well over a 1000 people but still... I was there! And so was Jessica! Proximity glory even from the balcony, people. 

The event was the premiere of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her and the movie, a two part romantic grief drama that runs 3 hours when combined (and which probably shouldn't be separated), will undoubtedly have a difficult path to audiences. So its first screening was in the biggest theater it will ever see to the most appreciative crowd it might ever get. That audience included a few members of the film's principal cast most of whom hadn't yet seen it.

Jessica Chastain was in tears afterwards detailing her friendship with the writer/director Ned Benson. They first met ten years ago when she approached him at a film festival where his short was playing asking to show him her reel because she loved his movie! (Take that Nicki & Naomi). This film, his feature debut, appears to be a giant loving personal gift to her or maybe its her gift to him since she stars and also produced it. Consider that Jessica's self proclaimed "favorite actress in the world" Isabelle Huppert plays her mom, that her beloved co-star from The Help Viola Davis plays her confidante and professor and that her very best friend "practically my sister" Jess Weixler (The Good WifeTeeth a few years ago) plays her best friend & actual sister in the film and you know how personal this all runs.

Jessica, her friend Ned Benson (the writer/director) and her co-star James McAvoy

The bow on this Jessica gift? The film, or films if you will, is/are wonderful. But more on them later.

Despite a premiere/movie that is all about loving and struggling with losing her (she's Elle Rigby), she deflected the light, getting most tearful when she expressed her feelings about her friend and debuting director's long journey to this premiere. 

I'm just so happy for him."

Jessica's First (of Many to Come) Oscar Ceremony in Feb 2012

When we (i.e. all of us) first met Jessica Chastain as an actress a couple of years ago now, her performances were so varied and and wave-like in their multitudes that who she was as a star offscreen was a tantalizing mystery. By the end of her first year in the limelight her offscreen persona was visible to all at the Oscars. Turns out she's just a big softie, a gushy sentimental girlie girl, a walking warm fuzzy. She probably loved unicorns as a child and probably still dots her "i"s with hearts! Which is all completely endearing... especially since her screen performances have told such a different story and cinema's iciest and least sentimental actress, Isabelle Huppert, happens to be her personal favorite.

Don't you love the rich disparity? 

 

 

Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
The Past from Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi & Cannes Best Actress Berenice Bejo
Queer Double FeatureTom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness 
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars