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Entries in Jessica Lange (11)

Friday
Feb282014

"Is it a crime to look at Lange?"

Jessica Lange is now the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty line at 64, photographed by David Sims below. (Take that previously daring Lancôme with Isabella Rossellini as their international spokesface until she was in her dotage at 44). 

What a second act Jess's career! After a very long rough stretch (approximately 1996-2008 which saw the likes of Hush and Bonneville and a couple of barely released movies) she's really on top of it all again... except the movies. What can we trace the revival back to? Many of you would shout "Grey Gardens!" from 2009, but I think the secret might be her honorary place in David O. Russell's I ♥ Huckabees with its Jessica Lange photo fetish.

Is it a crime? Is it a crime to look at Lange?!

Question: If she made Titus (1999) or Big Fish (2003) now, and gave the exact same performance she gave then, post career resurgence, do you think she'd get a Supporting Actress nod? With Oscar, timing is often everything. 

Friday
Jan312014

GALECA & GLAAD: Gay 'Best of the Year' Honors

Though I complain about the proliferation of awards groups some of them serve more of a purpose than others, even if they're also lining up to honor the same things as every other group. Like AIDS related Best Picture nominee Dallas Buyers Club twhich some gay critics don't like at all and on principal but which factors into both of the gay-specific awards recently announced.

Now, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has made really suspect endorsements over the years (Let us not speak of I Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larry) but they've also highlighted and fought against a very real problem so you have to respect their greasy wheel existence if not always their execution of message. 

As per usual, GLAAD will hold a bicoastal bifurcated awards ceremony, first in Los Angeles in April and then in New York in May, long after Oscar season is over. GLAAD's film (and other medium) nominees as well as the nominees and winners of GALECA (the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) are after the jump with commentary and in some cases links. It's always bugged me that when magazines, blogs, and web articles are nominated for prizes the nominations list rarely have an easy way to check out the nominees so I figure I'm doing a public service by including them. You're welcome. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan072014

Interview: Sarah Paulson's 12 Years of Breakthroughs

There are few things in cinema more satisfying than watching those with true gifts prosper and develop. Overnight sensations are exciting but watching careers that build slowly, continually showing new facets and amassing fans piecemeal is a richer experience. Such is the case with the actress Sarah Paulson. With her key role as Mistress Epps in the likely Best Picture contender 12 Years a Slave and her starring role on the anthology series American Horror Story (returning to TV tomorrow night), it's time to get our appreciation on.

I first noticed her in that undersung fanciful homage to 1960s romcoms Down With Love (2003) though her carer stretches back into short-lived television gigs in the mid 90s. When we sat down to talk recently, I confessed to Paulson that I had been completely intimidated by her when I met her at a party for Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011). I had no explanation for this - at the time she hadn't played anything as scary as her plantation wife. "You had an inkling," she mused suggesting I had seen Mistress Epps coming.

But who could have? Who knew she had that in her?

Herewith our conversation...

NATHANIEL:  12 Years a Slave is a big moment in your career but it's not your first "breakthrough" really. I'm wondering about how you experience these things internally. When did things change for you, personally, as an artist? 

Sarah Paulson & Jessica Lange. They've got history

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Monday
Nov252013

Why Michelle Pfeiffer Probably Won't and Probably Shouldn't Do "American Horror Story"

I've mentioned this topic in the comments but enough people are interested that I should sound off in a more official capacity. Recently, given that most people know that Jessica Lange plans to depart after Season 4, Ryan Murphy has started dropping casting wishlists for future seasons of American Horror Story. He name-checked both Reese Witherspoon (errr...okay?) and Michelle Pfeiffer (duh!). Pfeiffer is, of course, the most logical choice with which to fill the imposing vacuum that will be Lange's absence as the anthology's resident grande dame guignol. Like Lange, she's a huge respected talent from the 80s (formative years for Murphy) who can really tear it up onscreen but who today's younger TV-watching legions might still feel a certain "discovery" mania about since she hasn't been properly utilized in years.

There's only three problems.

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Thursday
Oct172013

American Horror Story Coven: "Bitchcraft" & "Boy Parts"

So Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy have finally done it. After years of wooing me with meaty roles for actresses of a certain age (meat served bloody raw) in their American Horror Story anthology series, I am down for watching it as it airs. It's been clear for some time that the creative team's orientation is fully aligned with the Actressexuality™ named and promoted by TFE for several years now. Thus, a natural kinship exists even if yours truly is squeamish about horror. I have been mostly agnostic when it comes to Jessica Lange my whole life (though I thought her "Sister Jude" on Asylum was easily her best work since the 80s) but when it comes to two-time Oscar winner Lange paired with Sarah Paulson, Oscar winner Kathy Bates, Oscar nominee Gabby Sidibe, Lily Rabe, AND Oscar nominee Angela Awesome Basset? Uncle! I surrender to your casting voodoo. 

Kathy Bates in "Coven"

Please to Note: I did try to watch the first two seasons but in both cases, I eventually bailed after a few episodes from the gore and the, how to put this, unwatchable epileptic fits of lensing and editing and framing. Listen, I can live with frenetic editing (you kind of have to since the late 80s) knowing that when I need a fix of long takes that let me enjoy great acting, I can always seek out auteur films. (Odd that it would be auteurs, who so thoroughly OWN their pictures, that would be the only ones to just hand said pictures to the actors on occasion). But it's not just the genre or the typical short attention span in cutting that has previously made AHS unpalatable for me.

The show, or at least the first handful of episodes of its previous seasons, often appeared to have been shot and edited and framed by a group of wild, bug-eyed, A.D.D. addled 12 year old boys... albeit uniquely pervy pre-teens who were raised in asylums and jacked off to photos of grande dame actresses while horror movies were projected on continual loop on the grey walls of their prison. The only break in horror programming was obviously the complete filmography of Jessica Lange.

...or at least the lobotomy scenes from Frances (1982).

It wasn't just quick cutting but canted cameras, baroque flash cuts, inebriated camera swerves, you name it. But let's put that behind us and move on to Season 3's first two eppys after the jump. Spoilers ahead obviously.

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