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Entries in Jesse Eisenberg (13)

Thursday
Apr212016

Thoughts I Had... The "Cafe Society" Poster

Look at this amazing poster for Woody Allen's Cafe Society (2016). The film will open the Cannes Film Festival and also, a little closer to home, the Seattle Film Festival this May. It will play near you this August as counterprogramming to Suicide Squad and Pete's Dragon.

After the jump, thoughts I had as they came to me unedited. Share yours, too, why don'cha...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar282016

Movie v Its Ensemble

Spoilers Ahead - Many of you have surely taken in the large spectacle clashing of Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for either popcorn fun or schadenfreude curiosity after the critical drubbing. Even the film’s fans and apologists have to admit that substantial missteps were made.

One of the most gruesome of the film’s plentiful sins is how it hangs its enviable cast completely out to dry. This is a cast of Oscar winners, legends, and future greats (poor Scoot McNairy!) giving it their all, but still completely out to sea. The luckiest are the ones that are still used too sparingly: Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane don’t have time to make a mark, despite giving the grim actioner its only laughs.

But the film has a huge actor problem. There are many moments of its cast being underserved, undervalued, or placed into outright embarrassing situations. And there’s one glaring example I just can’t get past...

Click to read more ...

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...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr242014

Tribeca: Eco-Thrills in "Night Moves"

Tribeca coverage with Glenn on the latest from Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff, Wendy & Lucy)

“Reserved, even by Kelly Reichardt’s standards.” That was the line I used to describe this Portland director’s latest, Night Moves, after its screening at Tribeca. Having premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival, it’s understandable that it didn’t make all that much noise in the intermediate months given it’s such a quiet, guarded film despite its eco-thriller roots and name cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. Like all of Reichardt’s films, however, it is that very low-key ingredient that makes it memorable. While it doesn’t soar to the breathtaking heights of Meek’s Cutoff, which just like Night Moves took a genre prone to testosterone-filled violence and twisted it into a elegant mood piece, her latest is a surprisingly thrilling experience even when its director seems to be actively trying to go against those genre instincts.

Eisenberg and Fanning star as Josh and Dena, young environmental activists with an unclear history. He works at an organic farm while she works at a women’s retreat and spa while attending meetings big on ideas but low on execution. Despite not being terribly friendly to one another they are off purchasing a boat and joining Sarsgaard’s Harmon in a location out of the city. The three plan on blowing up a dam that was built to allow people to “play their iPods non-stop” and killed native species in the process. They are environmentalists, but others will call them terrorists. In fact, one of the very best moments in the film is a lingering shot of an armed police guard at a rural farmer’s market. Society has always looked upon the environmentally conscious with a suspicious unease – consider why green political parties can never truly rise up against their more capitalist competition despite most people agreeing that two party systems are corrupt and terrible either way you cut it. Maybe that’s just me getting carried away, however.

What I found so interesting about Night Moves is the way Reichardt handles the thriller elements. She uses silence and performance to spike tension. An extended scene where Dena purchases fertilizer, using her baby-faced (how does she now look younger than her sister Elle?) to manipulate and disarm the garden store employees, casually throwing in a blunt-forced nudge to the sexism that is still alive and well – “You’d sell it to me if I looked like those guys.”  She allows her actors faces to guide the audience. When the detonation occurs, her camera remains tightly focused on Eisenberg, Fanning and Sarsgaard; their reactions being the audience trigger rather than overbearing orchestral demonstrations and pyrotechnics.

This take on the material is to be expected from, say, a film about a woman and her dog or a desolate Oregon Trail western, but I imagine many audiences will bump heads with the way she handles it here. It reminded me a lot of Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, choosing to take a somewhat impressionistic approach rather than the sensationalist one that the material could typically result in. I appreciate that and these are always the type of films that tend to stick in my head longer than, say, Zal Batmanglij’s The East from last year. I didn’t too much like the way Fanning’s character devolved, especially given the way the screenplay by Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond had developed the feminine elements of the story, but even then the keen eye of Reichardt and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt allow for an overcast beauty throughout.

There’s little here that Reichardt non-devotees will find to sway them, but for me she remains a brilliantly talented name in modern film. I would easily rank her alongside the likes of Aaron Katz (whose Land Ho I reviewed at Sundance and is also playing at Tribeca) and Sofia Coppola as one of the most interesting American voices working in today. Night Moves is reserved, but is grounded in a reality that is more thrilling than most of what Hollywood throws our way.

Wednesday
Feb052014

Link Mommy, Link!

Vanity Fair interviews director John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Road) on his controversial Superbowl ad for Coke. I personally loved it. The right-wingers hate its reminder of America as melting pot.
NPR Jehane Noujaim's The Square, nominated for Best Documentary, is having trouble getting screened at home in Egypt 
Theater Mania interviews the great Charles Busch (Die Mommy, Die!) about his career and new play "The Tribute Artist" in which he does impressions of Marilyn, Bette Davis, and Katharine Hepburn among others. (I met Mr Busch at the anniversary Cabaret screening last year and he was so sweet)

Gothamist Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar campaign hits Lincoln Center soon for screenings and discussions of Children of Men and Gravity here in NYC. Ah c'mon Lincoln Center. Throw in Y Tu Mama Tambíen (still his best picture) and we'll totally be talking!
Pajiba on the whitewashing of Egyptian mythology on screen. Why not cast people of color. Joel Edgerton as Ramses? Gerard Butler as an Egyptian god? Ummmm
LA Times Spike Jonze acceptance speech at the WGA's for Her 

Coming Soon.
Mookie provides us with a list of the most exciting Chinese films coming this year. Lots of auteur epics and stars: Chang Chen, Tang Wei, Gong Li, and Takeshi Kaneshiro
Empire Russell Crowe's next drama Fathers and Daughters is from Italian director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) is loading up on starpower.Also cast: Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Quvenzhane Wallis, Octavia Spencer and Diane Kruger. 
THR Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe will costar in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees about two suicidal men
Empire Alicia Vikander (yaaaasss) and Kit Harrington (well, he pretty) to co-star in World War I drama The Testament of Youth directed by James Kent. Incidentally Kent has had a long career in TV films but this will be his first feature.
Deadline an update on Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) and his third film The Lobster 

 Finally...
You have undoubtedly read in several places that Jonah Hill & Leonardo DiCaprio are both now attached to a film about the Olympics bombings of 1996. This time Hill will play Lead and Leo supports. It's based on this Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell so we assume it will be called American Nightmare in release (or something else) since that's more generic and that they'll pretend it's not based on anything if the Original Screenplay category looks like an easy get in 2015. (Why am I so cynical?). Certainly the two worked well together in WoWS. Can they recapture the magic and double Oscar nods again? The Wire wonders which movie duo they're aiming to be. 

And in case you missed it at Funny or Die... here is "Jesse Eisenberg's" leaked audition tape for Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. I LOL'ed the most at the little pantomime of breaking Batma... well, I'll let you watch it.  

 

Saturday
Sep072013

TIFF: Boogie Nights Revisited as Radio Show

Jason Reitman's Live Reads have long since gained "event" status on the West Coast and occasionally here in Toronto. Last year's TIFF event, a live reading of  American Beauty won so many raves that I knew I had to be there for the live read of Boogie Nights, another 90s classic and one much dearer to my heart. ... My crotch? Somehow Boogie Nights played much dirtier read aloud which got me to appreciate the unbelievable balancing act of the movie all the more. Somehow Mark Wahlberg's dumb sweetness, Julianne Moore's eager-beaver maternal warmth, Melora Walters and Don Cheadle's lost soul puppy love and the entire cast's totally committed work in Paul Thomas Anderson's classic elevate the material (already great to begin with of course) into something both stylized and authentic and totally endearing.

This time through without the visuals what I appreciated most was the comic glories of its dimwitted poetry.  Like this from Dirk:

You don't know what I can do! You don't know what I can do, what I'm gonna do, or what I'm gonna be! I'm good! I have good things that you don't know about! I'm gonna be something! I am! And don't fucking tell me I'm not!

Or literal dimwitted poetry like this from Reed...

I love you, you love me | Going down the sugar tree |  We'll go down the sugar tree, and see lots of bees: playing, playing |  But the bees won't sting, because you love me

more

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun022013

Box Office: Little Willie Style

Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Will Smith quit headlining movies very abruptly 5 years ago. He stuck a toe back in box office waters last year for another Men in Black but the one-time king of summer movie blockbusters couldn't even beat a Jesse Eisenberg ensemble picture or a 6th edition of a long-in-the-tooth franchise with no bankable stars outside of that franchise? That's some sort of wake-up call but to whom and for what? Will? The Smith Family Players? M Night?

For his next trick, he'll make Will Smith giant-sized bankability disappear

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN
01 FAST & FURIOUS 6 $34.5 (cum. $170.3)
02 NOW YOU SEE ME  $28.5 *NEW* 
03 AFTER EARTH  $27 *NEW* M Night Shyamalan's Fall
04 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS  $16.4 (cum. $181.1) The Dumbing Down of Star Trek
05 EPIC $16.4 (cum. $65.1)
06 THE HANGOVER PART III $15.9 (cum. $88)
07 IRON MAN THREE $8 (cum. $384.7) Reviewed & Podcasted
08 THE GREAT GATSBY $6.2 (cum. $128.2) Reviewed & Dreamt About
09 MUD  $1.2 (cum. $16.8)
10 THE CROODS $.6 (cum. $180.5)

In limited release Frances Ha nearly cracked the top ten in its third week and will pass Margot at the Wedding's gross quickly. The real test will be if it can break through to Squid and the Whale levels without the aid of awards buzz since we're not in the season.  Meanwhile, Before Midnight, which in a perfect world would be a $100 million blockbuster, wasn't very aggressive in expansion in its second week. I wonder what the future will hold for it?

What did you see this weekend?
I binged (hence the lack of posting) with two oldies having big anniversaries Adventures in Robin Hood and Cleopatra - good christ but that movie is a slog to watch in one sitting! - and three 2013 offerings (The East, Mud, and What Maisie Knew) so I should write something about something soon, shouldn't I?