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Entries in Jessica Lange (14)

Thursday
Oct232014

AHS: Freakshow "Edward Mordrake Pt. 1"

AHS rips its own plotlines off for this new episode (guest starring Wes Bentley)How do you make an episode in which almost nothing happens almost half-again as long as episodes where lots of things happen? I know not but Hollywood is getting very good at it lately what with all their supersized TV episodes and two part movie finales for quadrilogies where a trilogy (or less) would do.

In "honor" of the bloating, we're going svelte with a briefer rundown . 

Plot: A con artist and his protege arrive at the freakshow with nefarious plans. Bette and Dot still hate each other. Bearded Lady gets bad news. And, finally, ripping itself off completely Freakshow reboots Coven's Danny Huston plotline about a ghostly mass murderer from the past being unintentionally summoned to visit our makeshift family of weirdos.

Episode MVP: Kathy Bates. Ethel visits a doctor and learns she only has a year to live. Immediately gets hammered and then recalls her tragic story of exploitation. Special shout out to Kathy Dietch, the actress playing Ethel's younger self in flashbacks who's done a great if thankless job this season.


Musical Break: Jessica Lange sings after being conned by the newly arrived "spiritualist" Esmeralda (Emma Roberts) into believing there's still a chance for stardom. Lange has now sung twice in a season in which they've hired Patti Labelle and given her zip to do. Now, that's freaky.

Body Count
: Unknown. Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley), a man with two faces, massacres an entire circus freakshow in old timey flashback before hanging himself. And a group of birds are decapitated to piss me off on my couch. Enough with the decapitated birds Miss Julie Ryan Murphy!

Movie Reference
: A visual homage to a classic moment from John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) via Twisty the Clown.

Episode Grade
: D+

That's it for this week but for a NSFW bit after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct082014

AHS: Freakshow "Monsters Among Us"

The shadows that had sheltered me were banished by the blinding light of scrutiny. I knew I was about to enter the gates of hell but like the inescapable pull of gravity there was nothing I could do about it.

Sarah Paulson's opening monologue to the fourth season of American Horror Story: Freakshow is rather how I feel about AHS itself. It's hellish, purposefully, and I feel a gravitational pull to watch even though I never love it. Grande Dame Guignol (also known as Hag Horror), a wonderfully stylized actressy subgenre of horror, was dead until Ryan Murphy revived it but his take on it is way too fused with the Slasher, the grossest and most obvious subgenre of horror that refuses to die. 

This first episode of Season 4 begins promisingly enough with a patient average shot length and plentiful mood, though did we have to lift the Under the Skin score wholesale for what appears to be Elsa's (Jessica Lange) actual theme music this season? (I know the world is in love with Jessica Lange right now but Scarlett's ___ might well devour her whole.) Elsa recruits Siamese Sisters (Sarah Paulson as Dot & Bette) who murdered their mother. Meanwhile a scary clown with Leatherface like add-ons to his face (g-ross) in what appears to be a costume that hasn't been washed in years starts stabbing people gruesomely. He doesn't seem to belong to the actual Freakshow. We meet a wide cast of characters but Angela Bassett and her three breasts, Michael Chiklis as the Strong Man and Denis O'Hare as someone are as yet unseen. [More...]

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Friday
Aug292014

Thoughts I Had... on a bunch of new posters

We've neglected to share new posters so, let's do. A few brief thoughts, in the order they came, after each poster: Starred Up, Whiplash, The Seventh Son, Theory of Everything and American Horror Story: Freakshow.

Discuss!

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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. 

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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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