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Entries in Jessica Chastain (68)

Sunday
Sep022012

Review: "Lawless"

The article originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

A terrible performance... or a great one? You decide.

Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) doesn't believe the tall tales about the outlaw Bondurant Boys especially the ones about Forrest (Tom Hardy). Local Virginia legend has it that Forrest can't be killed, that he's immortal.  "Have you ever seen what a tommy gun does to 'immortal'?" Rakes sneers in a (successful) effort to terrorize the town's Forrest-fearing men into submission. Rakes then beats the youngest Bondurant brother Jack (Shia Labeouf) into a blubbering pulp. But, as it turns out, the Bondurant brothers are resilient enough to inspire tall tales. Forrest and his brothers make their living as moonshiners in this Depression-era Western and with Prohibition empowering organized crime, everyone is looking to be the top boss. The brothers value their autonomy but the guns are out and if an actual crime lord (Gary Oldman's "Floyd Banner") don't get them, then the even more crooked law enforcement (Pearce's Deputy) just might.

Such is the bloody conflict of John Hillcoat's Lawless, based on the historical novel "The Wettest County in the World" which was written by a grandson of the Bondurants (all childless during the movie) suggesting straightaway that at least one of them is going to make it out of the movie alive. Not that the film is shy about spoilers given its heavy handed foreshadowing and the past-tense narration. (You gotta Live to Tell).

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug032012

Jessica & Chaplin

Remember when we interviewed Jessica Chastain and it was so obvious that she was that beautiful semi-rarity among famous actors: a complete cinephile. Well guess what? To further underscore the point her dog's name is Chaplin. How cute are they together?

Answer: Very.

Chaplin recently visited her on the set of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His. Although I'm not sure about taking your best animal friend for a walk while wearing animal print. I'm glad Chaplin isn't her pet leopard.

 

P.S. Friend of TFE Katey Rich, met Chaplin on a set visit. He has only three legs! Now we must love him even more.

 

Saturday
May192012

Chastain @ Cannes

I was thrown for a giddy loop while watching the Lawless trailer last week when Jessica Chastain strolled into frame with this sassy rhetorical question:

Well... do I get the job?"

Oh, Jessica. You get every job.

Quoth Movie|Line two weeks back when she finally turned down a role (in something as fame-boosting as Marvel Studio's billion dollar superheroes franchise (Iron Man 3 to be exact):

Asked for their reactions, every other young actress in Hollywood sighed in unison, "Finally.

When I interviewed Jessica Chastain this past Oscar season she was name dropping international auteurs like Olivier Assayas and Michael Haneke as dream directors, as a true cinephile and would be auteur muse would. I guess when you kick things off with stellar co-stars and Terrence Malick you have license to dream big. Will she actually court them (or vice versa) while in the South of France?

Or maybe she's recalibrated to pursue Jacques Audiard (extremely worthy target) who has a festival hit with Rust and Bone. What do you think Jessica Chastain is doing at this EXACT moment over in Cannes? It's 2:15 AM there at this very moment but it's not like anybody sleeps during the festival.

Tuesday
May082012

Les Línkables

TMZ life imitating art - Shawarma sales skyrocketing in LA after The Avengers opening.
Coming Soon has a new photo from the set of Les Misérables. I'm choosing to interpret this set as an homage to Moulin Rouge!'s greatness
Acidemic would like you to know that 1933, not 1939 was the greatest year at the movies.
Playlist Maybe Edgar Wright is going to make that Ant-Man movie after all.

Antagony & Ecstacy looks back at Ang Lee's Hulk (2003) in the wake of the new green giant fever sweeping the nation. Really interesting piece.
In Contention Gene Kelly centennial tribute hosted by the Academy next week in LA. Someone go and tell me all about it. We'll celebrate his centennial here in August (the actual month of his birth)
Movie|Line Jessica Chastain finally passes on a movie. Hee!
SuperPunch has photos of Wal-Mart's The Avengers set. I include this only because its rabidly sexist. I believe when the camera spun around the heroes in that highly publicized shot it was The Black Widow and not Loki who was part of the heroic team. (sigh) 
Kenneth in the (212) Fun couples: Woody Allen and... Lindsay Lohan? 

P.S. This is the best thing that Kate Beckinsale has ever done.

 

Told ya!

Off Cinema.
It's sometimes worth stepping out of the movie theater. Rarely but still...
The Realist for those of you who've spent too much time on Facebook
Playbill weirdest music news of the week. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider recording an album of showtunes with Broadway friendly guest stars

Wednesday
Feb292012

The Year in Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain was everywhere on movie screens in 2011 and then everywhere on red carpets in early 2012. She even made time to talk to us! After all those high heels and gowns and red carpets and interviews and awards shows during this year's annual industry love in (aka the entire months of January & February) does she feel like an old pro in the space of two months?

Do you think she'll be sleeping through the month of March or is she already packing her bags and heading to the next film set?


And how many movies do you suppose she already filmed during the days whilst gliding down the red each evening?

 

 

Tuesday
Feb282012

Tues Top Ten Pt 2: 84th Oscar Takeaways

It's (almost) all over but the dresses. But first we're counting down the ten takeaways from Oscar's 84th year. Your takeaways may vary of course but these are the ten things I expect I'll keep thinking about beyond the big night....

10 Direction is Everything
09 Fincher's Oscar Stride
08 Leggy Angelina Jolie
07 Movie Stars on Movies
06 A Separation's Win


Jessica and her Nana

05 Jessica Chastain is a Girly Girl
Just when we started thinking of her as a Serious Serious Actress she showed up in awards season all giggling, bouncy, girlish. This doesn't mean she isn't a serious actor of course but it was rather a shock, even after speaking with her. Celia Foote's uninhibited enthusiasm in The Help might be the closest we've seen to the real woman behind the chameleon. This impression continued on Oscar night when she brought her Nana and went all womanchild shy and cuddly after her clip. Later during the Best Actress presentation she looked enormously worried for Viola Davis. No wonder she's an actress; her face registers every flush of big feeling. 

04 Emmanuel Lubezki Is Never Going To Win an Oscar
I was more sure that "Chivo" aka Emmanuel Lubezki would lose the cinematography Oscar for The Tree of Life than I was sure who would win it. I predicted The Artist but the prize went to Robert Richardson (Oscar #3) for Hugo.  Lately AMPAS seems much more interested in cinematography as a complicated technical profession rather than a spiritual one that's all about light and tone and feeling. For the past three years Oscar has definitely preferred heavily processed CGI behemoths here. We hope they one day get back to movies that feel crafted by hand... and God. Like There Will Be Blood (which miraculously won).

Lubezki is brilliant but it's lost on the general voters. At least the cinematography branch knows his worth. He has the unique distinction of being nominated with frequency despite rarely lensing Best Picture nominees (which is rare) and despite not being inextricably tied to any one specific filmmaker (also rare). His nominations, all of them deserved (rarer still!), come from filmmakers as diverse as Alfonso Cuaron, Terrence Malick and Tim Burton.


03 Best Presenter: Emma Stone
Easy A was such a confident comic star turn that it was inevitable that she would ascend but it's delightful that she's just as funny at the big show as on the big screen. Entering the stage to present strenuously waving, emphatically gesturing, widely grinning, Emma Stone was so keyed up you had to ask if she was for real. Before she spoke you were caught for an instant on the line between 'is this a skit? and 'ohmygod she is really into this' which, as it turns out, was the skit.

We are here tonight to present the award for visual effectsTHIS IS MY FIRST TIME PRESENTING AN AWARD. Hiiiiiii. 

Waitwaitwaitwait let's stop rushing. We should have some banter.

What joy. Emma is just as funny as herself. Or maybe as Anne Hathaway, if you take this as a comic send up of that ill fated Oscar hosting last year. (In tonight's performance Ben Stiller will be playing the supporting of the less stoned but equally dull James Franco there only to bring his partner down). From Stone's unbridled enthusiasm to her ADD Show Person energy to the spontaneous singing... Was it too Mean Girl? I am crazy in love with Anne Hathaway myself but I laughed and laughed.

(Runners up: The Bridesmaids "SCORSESE!!!!!" [knocks back drink]. It was smart to give the six of them the three short film awards as their numbers dwindled on stage. I only wish they could've had a Sound of Music send off or some comic interstitial to shoo each other off the stage 'adieu adieu to you and you and you'. Distant third: Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr in "The Presenter")

02 Meryl Streep's Third Win. Be Careful What You Wish For
As previously discussed... but also the night's best speech. (Streep would have had a rival in Christopher Plummer but for his speech being in syndication for a couple of months now)

01 They Weren't Fooling Around With 'The Year of Nostalgia'
The Oscar Producers will see your Hugo and The Artist and The Help and War Horse and The Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris and every other backwards gazing collage of deeply felt memories, shared at the movies or privately recreated by or vicariously lived through the movies and they'll raise you Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Meryl Streep Winning, Tom Hanks all over the place, Cameron Diaz, and Billy Crystal thawed from his cryogenic freeze. If you squint your eyes a little this ceremony took place in...1994.

What will you take away from the 84th Oscars? 
Are you already dreaming of the 85th?

Thursday
Feb232012

Breakthroughs

"More please!"

...That's my chief criteria for nominating actors for Breakthrough prizes at this site's own annual gongs, the Film Bitch Awards. (For new readers the name is a long story. We're not so bitchy about the movies unless by bitchy you mean so in love with them that we hold them to high standards). We're hoping that Pariah is only the first great performance from Adepero Oduye (pictured left).

Rather than hand Her Lady of Sudden Ubiquity (Jessica Chastain) the gold silver and bronze this year, we're giving her a special "body of work" medal.

It's not our usual practice to nominate someone whose been working as long as Olivia Colman alongside debut artists like Martha herselves Elizabeth Olsen, but Colman was completely unknown to us here in the US.

You can see the Breakthrough nominations under the Film Bitch pulldown menu up top. We've also started handing out medals in the Oscar adjacent categories. Check them out!

P.S. Here's a cute video of the remaining nominees Tom Cullen & Chris New from "Attitude"'s photoshoot if you haven't seen it.

Friday
Feb032012

Oscar Symposium Day 3: Farewells and Futures

On Day 1 of the symposium we partied with the Best Picture field and considered Star Vehicles. On Day 2 we discussed movies that are hopelessly in love with themselves (to good and bad effect), the forever contentious Lead vs Support debate, the invisible arts of editing and screenwriting. We pick up there. Nathaniel was admitting he wasn't entirely comfortable falling for Margaret.... 

Nader & Simin: A SeparationNATHANIEL:  I've scraped my knees up on cold hard pavement. I too was caught up in #TeamMargaret excitement. I love it when critics remember that part of their job is to advocate for buried treasure rather than merely rubber stamping the critical darlings over and over again (Did Michelle Williams really need to hog the majority of critics awards for My Week With Marilyn, which is straight down the middle awards bait? They didn't see anything off the golden path that was worthy of praise?). But when I finally saw Margaret, I left somewhat dejected. There's a lot to love. But there is also just an awful lot. It plays, to me, like a series of brilliant pieces that haven't quite been shaped to fit the genius-level mosaic they're intended for. Or maybe I was just thrown by the length and those phone calls to daddy. Lonergan is a brilliant writer but a brilliant actor not so much.

And maybe I was still just high on A Separation (my choice for Best of the Year) which illuminates a bit of the same ground in terms of personal actions creating ripples that we can't possibly grasp the full reach of. And they both show us how flawed people (i.e. all of us) can get tangled up in very difficult moral, social, religious, political and ethical webs they probably helped spin.

KURT: I'm glad you brought up that comparison between A Separation and Margaret, because it's definitely something I was thinking about while watching the latter (in between all the reveling in how Lisa initiates an allegorical, post-9/11 war that's ultimately futile and only reaps money for people who don't deserve it). Though vastly different in structure (one drum-tight, one manic and sprawling), these two scripts hold a lot of similarities, and are, in my opinion, at the tip-top of the year's best.

I'm also glad that Mark brought up Margin Call and Tinker Tailor in the same thought bubble because I found myself linking those two in my head a lot as well. Both films are essentially corporate dramas with power players coping with crisis, and both teem with a kind of impenetrable language you really have to crack. I hail from the team that doesn't really buy all the "Speak to Me Like a Golden Retriever" crap, because A) I don't believe those folks would actually expositionally coddle each other, or need coddling, in that way, and B), as mentioned, the movie keeps promising through dialogue that it's clearing things up, when it's really just thickening its fog of jargon. I do believe Chandor took a highly commendable crack at presenting this world, and I don't know if I've seen anyone do it better in terms of writing (Oliver Stone certainly didn't), but there's a lot of pretense about those scenes that irks me. (I prefer his small details, like the gross arrogance the company shows by firing Tucci's head risk manager, and little shots like the one of Demi and Simon Baker in the elevator with the cleaning lady.)

...and we've reentered MI6 where we began!

As for Tinker Tailor, there isn't a lick of coddling, just a glimpse into a radically rarefied world, filled with so much code talk, names and lingo it's like Tolkien does MI6.

Symposium Wraps with Bridesmaids, eye candy and film futures after the jump.

Click to read more ...

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