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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd 

 

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Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in Jim Broadbent (8)

Wednesday
Feb182015

Best Live Action Short: Sally Hawkins Takes the Lead

Glenn here again, and as if yesterday’s look at the Best Documentary Short category didn’t prove it, there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when predicting the short categories. In live action short especially they go with serious issues, except when they don’t. They frequently go foreign, except when they don't. They're not overly thrilled with big stars or Hollywood directors, except when they are. It’s all a bit of a gamble, really. This year’s contenders, however, seem a little easier to decipher in terms of what has the potential to win and what hasn’t a hope in hell. Sorry, Butter Lamp, but I think that means you. You will always be my winner.

 

The Nominees:

Aya, dir. Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis (40mins)
Boogaloo and Graham, dir. Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney (14mins)
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak), dir. Hu Wei and Julien Féret (16mins)
Parvaneh, dir. Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger (24mins)
The Phone Call, dir. Mat Kirkby and James Lucas (21mins)

Right now it seems pretty hard to look past The Phone Call given it stars an Oscar nominee (Sally Hawkins) and an Oscar winner (Jim Broadbent) and is emotional in ways that many will find belies its 20-minute runtime. Despite the curio factor of both doc and live action short Oscars potentially both going to films about suicide prevention hotline operators, I still feel rather confident over that prediction. It's certainly feels like a more complete film than, say, Boogaloo and Graham, which has wisps of nostalgia floating through its brief runtime and its cute children with pet chickens, but feels relatively light-weight compared to the rest (it gets to The Troubles right in its final shot, which seems like a more logical place to begin, but maybe that's just me).

I was a fan of Parvaneh about an Afghani girl in Switzerland and her friendship with a partying street kid, which feels like the most likely usurper to the throne given the Academy has shown an affinity towards films that bridge between the races. Maybe my hatred of the Israeli nominee Aya is clouding my judgement on that one, but what I do know for certain is that the best of an okay bunch is the sublime Butter Lamp, set in Tibet and focusing on a nomadic photographer who arrives in a village and who, in vignette form, has to deal with locals for whom photography isn't that common. It's wonderfully observed and it's an amazing example of how a film can thrill with restraint. I audibly gasped in the final shot despite it being so very simple. If it pulls a highly unlikely win out of the hat then I will scream with joy, but I think it's impressive festival haul (plus win at the Golden Horse Awards) will have to suffice.

Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Parvaneh
Should Win: Butter Lamp

Monday
Feb022015

Sundance: Oscar Hopeful "Brooklyn" is Beautifully Old-Fashioned

Nathaniel's final review from Sundance

Late last year while interviewing Yves Belanger on his lensing of Wild (2014) and his ongoing working relationship with Jean Marc Vallee I noticed he had a non-Vallee project on his forthcoming filmography called Brooklyn. He spoke highly of the experience, an about face from Wild's all natural light mandate. He said it was much more stylized lighting, an 'old fashioned romantic drama'. He hoped people still wanted to see that sort of thing.

If the reaction at Sundance is any indication (and a word of caution: Sundance fever is 50/50 for the real world at best) the people will welcome it with open arms... and tear ducts.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov212014

All The Short Film Oscar Finalists. Plus Sally Hawkins!

With yesterday's announcement of the live action short film finalists we have our finalists in all three of those miniature categories. You can read more about all of them on their Oscar chart. It's exciting to see how many debut filmmakers or people who've never been recognized before are in the running. Some of them are about to have a life-changing experience. Take Shawn Christensen who won the 2012 Live Action Short Oscar for Curfew. He's just taken that all the way to his first feature which is an expansion of that. It's called Before I Disappear and it hits On Demand AND iTunes a week and some theatrical later I believe.

If the nominees don't have a life-changing moment -- it's hard to get a movie made period. Even if you've won awards -- they can at least have a glamorous one in the Dolby with all the movie stars.

As per usual in the live action short film category we have a handful of films about young children (always a favorite Oscar subject in foreign and short categories) but the one I'm most excited about is naturally the one that stars Mike Leigh regulars Sally Hawkins & Jim Broadbent. You can watch that in full right here. Hooray.

After this short trailers for five more of the shorts if you click to continue...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec042011

Interview: Olivia Colman on "Tyrannosaur" and Mumsy Meryl Streep

British actress Olivia Colman speaks softly and with great modesty but perhaps that's wise. Her talent speaks loudly on its own behalf by way of ntroduction. Though British audiences have embraced her comic talent for years now, international audiences are just now getting to know her as a dramatic force. She's utterly devastating as a meek Christian shop owner in the violent drama Tyrannosaur. The film, directed by the actor Paddy Considine (In America), is gathering a small but very vocal fanbase who think Colman really ought to have a Best Actress nomination in her very near future. Later this month, she'll be onscreen again as Carol Thatcher daughter of The Iron Lady, but even if you exited the first movie only to immediately enter the latter, you'll scarcely recognize her from one film to the next.

We spoke briefly on the phone recently about her rising stardom, drama and comedy acting muscles, and having a living legend as a co-star.

Olivia Colman is a true believer in "Tyrannosaur"

Nathaniel: Have you been able to soak in all of this attention from Tyrannosaur? Your name being on the awards radar here in the US and such?

OLIVIA COLMAN: Not really. it's quite surreal. Because it's not my first job. I'm 37 and i've been working for a long time. So... [long pause]  This job means so much to me that I'm thrilled that people are liking it. That's the best thing about it, that other people are taking it to their hearts as much as we all did.

Nathaniel: Your involvement with Tyrannosaur goes way back. You were also in Paddy Considine's short film "Dog Altogether" about the same characters. Did this feel like a do-over? What was it like going back?

COLMAN: lt felt different. A lot of the scenes from the short were also in the feature and the reshooting of those scenes that we'd done years before were the hardest to film. It's weird because it's like an echo. You can hear yourself. You've already said it but years ago. It felt very different apart from that because we suddenly had a sense of a much longer journey. In the short I didn't know about Hannah's backstory at all. 

Nathaniel: This gave you a chance to dig deeper then?

COLMAN: Yes. It's lovely to get your teeth into it.

Nathaniel: In terms of Hannah's religiosity and her generous nature. How did you approach constructing her? A lot of religious characters in cinema aren't, well, sympathetic like this. 

COLMAN: It was so clear from the page. Paddy had written it so beautifully you just had to do what was written, really.  I knew who she was straightaway. Even if she hadn't been a Christian of good faith, she would still have been a good person. Her faith is sort of her protection and her armor but even without it, I would have known who she was.

Nathaniel: Paddy is such a brilliant actor but he's not in front of the camera for this one. So what it was like being directed by a fellow thespian?

COLMAN: Amazing! It made such a difference. I don't imagine all actors can direct at all. I think probably a lot of them would be terrible but he was so comfortable on that side of the camera. He knew how difficult he found it in front of the camera and he made sure we never felt like that. We always felt safe. He's an extraordinary creature. He would say exactly the right thing to get you to the right place. I've said this before but I think he could get a performance out of a log. He's amazing, just taps in. Everybody wanted to make him proud. And he's a great leader of people. A little thumbs up at the right moment would made someone feel 10 feet tall.

For those of us who don't act, we always assume that sets of intense brutal dramas like this one must be sober or difficult to be on. But maybe it's not like that exactly. 

The "jolly" Tyrannosaur team

[Olivia on working with Meryl Streep and Michelle Pfeiffer... AFTER THE JUMP.]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun012011

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "MOULIN ROUGE!"

In the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series we look at pre-selected movies and name what we think of as the best (or at least our favorite) shot. Anyone can play along and we link up. Next wednesday's topic is Fritz Lang's noir "The Woman in the Window".

But tonight, we celebrate Baz Luhrmann's "Spectacular! Spectacular!" which went wide on US screens ten years ago on this very day.

MOULIN ROUGE!


SHE'S CONFESSSSSSSIIIIINNNNGGGG!
She suddenly had a terrible desire to go to a priest."

We begin with a confession.

Though I was an early veritably possessed cheerleader for Moulin Rouge! since I beheld its genius on opening night at the Ziegfeld theater in NYC, though I saw it five times in the movie theater (a post '80s personal record), and though I named it Best of the Aughts when the decade wrapped, I hadn't actually sat down and watched Moulin Rouge! in full for at least five years. This wasn't intentional. I wrote about the movie so often from 2001 to 2005 that at some point I just put it on the shelf, afraid of breaking its spell. I worried, sitting down in the dark, the remote far from me as if I were back in the temple of the movie theater, 'would it still thrill?'

A silly question it was. From the first frames I was swept up. By the time Zidler and his diamond dogs came rushing at the camera (best shot!?!), a chaotic swishing mess of vibrant color, sexual promise and mashed-up music, I forgot to take any notes at all. By the time Satine, the sparkling diamond, descended from the ceiling onto the dance floor, I had completely blanked on the the "best shot" assignment. So, returning to skim again today, a decision: I would only choose a shot from the film's second half, which I haven't written as much about.

Moulin Rouge! famously borrows, sometimes with song and other times visually, from dozens of famous musicals but it's comic/tragic masks are not unlike the work of the great Stephen Sondheim. In many of Sondheim's most famous musicals, he starts out light and comic and you leave the theater at intermission for fresh air that you don't even need since you're already walking on it. Within seconds of returning to your seat, he's out to crush your heart. Into the Woods provides a famous and literal example: the first act, which is a play on famous fairy tales, ends with the "ever after" part. When you return for the second act you're left to wonder what comes next and that "happily ever after" part sure turns out to be a false bill of goods.

And so it goes with Christian and Satine's romance, which comes on, like the whole of Moulin Rouge!, in a heady hallucinatory rush of color, comedy and eroticism and then dives straight into tragedy after the (literal) romantic fireworks. Consider the juxtaposition of the shots above, one when Christian sings "I-I-I-I-I-I will always love you" (best shot!?!) and Satine is fully on board" and the much later shot of Satine, realizing she has to give Satine up singing "today's the day when dreaming ends" (best shot?!?) which she sings with her eyes glassy, not really looking at the caged bird sharing the frame, who we already know she feels a kinship towards (Someday I'll Fly Away). Both shots are audaciously clichéd, but that's how Moulin Rouge! plays it, boldly throwing ALL tropes at you and daring you to not reembrace them in a fresh dizzying form.

Zidler himself precipitates this vacant "you're dying"/ 'I'm already dead' staring and the longer I live with the movie the richer the Zidler/Satine relationship becomes. So for the moment, and there are roughly 100,000 shots worthy of the name "best" in the film, this is the one that absolutely kills. A slow cold zoom out on Zidler performing Zidler as The Maharaja (aka also the Duke) claiming Satine all over again. It drains the last life from our heroine. Art is imitating life and then life will imitate the art again.

She is mine. She is mine."

The cinematography by Donald McAlpine which so deserved the Oscars that year (sorry LotR), loves to shoot Nicole Kidman with blue light whenever she is bereft of love. Even in the "Elephant Love Medley" when she's first resisting Ewan McGregor she's lit in blue while he is glowing with warmer light right behind him. By the end of "Spectacular! Spectacular!", beginning with the exact moment when she coughs on stage, all the hot pink light which had been battling it out with the blue, vanishes to leave her like this.

She is mine. She is mine."

She always was... Zidler's that is. Christian was never able to steal her away, only playing with her in her gilded cage for that Summer of Love, 1899.

Madonna's classic "Like a Virgin" number is only used comically in the film, to mock the prostitute/john Satine/Duke relationship. But it could just as well have been used dramatically, with Satine in Christian's arms; thawed out, shiny and new. This beloved movie, ten years familiar, can still touch you for the very first time. It hasn't lost a drop of heart or magic in a decade's time. 

 

18 Children of the Revolution
Visit these fine blogs for more on this "Spectacular! Spectacular!"

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Monday
May162011

The Harvey Girl.

 Jose here with one for all of you Streep obsessives.... which is, hmmm, 88% of TFE readers? Last week The Weinstein Company acquired distribution rights for Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher movie The Iron Lady. Apparently Harvey Weinstein was so impressed with Meryl (duh?) that he just had to have this movie.


What does this mean in terms of Oscar? Meryl probably has it in the bag. Consider: Back in the glory days of Miramax, Meryl was nominated for Music of the Heart (one of the most forgettable performances in her oeuvre) and people like Émilie Dequenne, Julia Roberts, Cecilia Roth and Nicole Kidman were snubbed. Meryl had no chance of winning that year but still...

Fast forward nine years and Meryl was back to represent Miramax with Doubt. Difference is that by then, the company had nothing to do with the Weinsteins and Harvey was hard at work getting Kate Winslet her Oscar. Meryl was inarguably the runner-up that calendar year but it would be interesting to think how things might have gone, had Harvey been pushing Meryl and not Kate. Let's not forget that back in 01, Miramax (under Harvey) won Jim Broadbent an Oscar for Iris, in the year of Gandalf and Don Logan.

Harvey Weinstein is as much of an Oscar obsessive as we are and 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of Meryl Streep's first Best Actress nomination (The French Lieutenant's Woman). Will he be using this as an angle in his campaign?


Related:
Current Best Actress Chart (next update when Cannes concludes)
Streep Posts and Old Streep Posts