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Entries in Jonathan Demme (20)

Thursday
Dec062018

Months of Meryl: Ricki & The Flash (2015)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 

#49 —Ricki Randazzo, a rock singer who returns home to the family she abandoned.

MATTHEW: Throughout his eclectic and gloriously unpredictable career, the late Jonathan Demme paved the way for peak performances from actresses as disparate as Mary Steenburgen, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, Oprah Winfrey, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Debra Winger. Like George Cukor before him, Demme was devoted to telling stories about women, which comprise the bulk of his narrative output. The director committed to shaping these narratives with the same heady, inquisitive vigor and nonjudgmental consideration that electrified all of his subjects, from Anthony Hopkins’ lip-licking Hannibal Lecter to David Byrne, who indelibly bopped around the stage in a business suit at least six sizes too big during Demme’s landmark concert documentary Stop Making Sense.

Ricki and the Flash, Demme’s final narrative feature, sometimes conjures the capricious, loop-the-loop feeling of a concert documentary in its depiction of the type of story that Demme loved to tell, that of an unorthodox woman shouldering her burdens and confronting any and all perils as she forges ahead with the life she has chosen to lead...

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Thursday
Jul262018

Months of Meryl: The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 

#30 —Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, manipulative mother of a Vice Presidential candidate brainwashed by an international cabal. 

JOHN: The one regrettable casualty of this feature-film series is, of course, Streep’s Emmy winning performance(s) in Mike Nichols’ 2003 HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Perhaps we’ll have time to dig into that series in the future, but suffice it to say we rank her work in it quite highly. In 2004, Streep signed on to her first-ever remake, Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate, playing a role made famous by Angela Lansbury in John Frankenheimer’s 1962 film. Demme’s version updates Frankenheimer’s film and Richard Condon’s 1959 source novel to contemporary times, made amid the the Bush/Kerry election and thematically enmeshed in the U.S.’s “War on Terror.” Denzel Washington stars as Ben Marco, a Gulf War veteran whose puzzling memories and twisted dreams of serving in Kuwait drive him to uncover the sinister forces driving fellow soldier and newly-selected, left-leaning Vice Presidential nominee Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) into national prominence. Shaw’s blandly robotic demeanor is operated by his manipulative mother, Virginia Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, heir to an American political dynasty but now working covertly for the ominous international private equity fund Manchurian Global...

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Wednesday
Oct042017

"American Girl": Tom Petty at the Movies.

By Salim Garami

What's good? 

In memory of the musical legend Tom Petty, I couldn't help thinking about how the movies essentially introduced me to my love for his music (much as movies happen to introduce me to a lot of music I come to hold close to my heart) and I wanted to have something to say about it.

So I looked to two wildly different films that utilize the quintessential Heartbreakers classic "American Girl", the jangly pumping tune about a young girl looking out in hopes of a world outside her balcony. It was his second big hit, riding on the success of previous single "Breakdown", and it's instantly recognizable in the Diddley-esque high chords strumming and the sort of bass drum kick-snare pattern that makes one pop up and ready to move. It's no less infectious than any pop song of the day in its simplicity. So it only makes sense that so many films and tv series would be eager to use it in their soundtracks.

Take It Easy, Baby, and Find Out Which Films I Choose After the Break...

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Wednesday
Sep272017

Wednesday
Aug092017

Soundtracking: "Stop Making Sense"

This week, Chris Feil's series on music in the movies ponders the concert movie...

Who killed the concert movie? While the subgenre never reached the commonality of the music video, that particular form’s rise is timed right around the concert film’s demise. But perhaps it was just a form that seldom met the heights of “you are there” excitement or insight into the performer as Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads’s Stop Making Sense.

For such a distinctive visually-defined group as the Talking Heads were in music video form, Stop Making Sense remains their defining document. As much as David Byrne is the creative spearhead of the band and that radical rebellious sound, Demme’s insight is what makes this more than just a filmed event or way to see a popular band if they skipped over your town. If a concert is a singular way to live in the full experience of a performer and their sound, Demme takes that to the next level by dropping us in the middle of this creative unit.

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Saturday
Apr292017

Tweetweek: La La Day, Demme Farewells, and the DC Aesthetic Summed Up

First things first.

This brilliant tweet was in response to a whole swath of new bitching online about La La Land when Los Angeles declared April 25th "La La Land Day". And why shouldn't Los Angeles honor a blockbuster movie that was about the glamour and dreams and careers of Los Angelenos and the city and the movies ?!? I was as happy for that announcement as I was when I heard that Moonlight got a street named after it in Florida the week before. They seemed like equally smart local government decisions to me but one was greeted warmly on twitter and the other was attacked. Honestly, people who can't let other people enjoy things are the worst kind of people I've decided. Don't be that kind of person. Fight the urge next time you hate a movie that other people love. Not ashamed to say I love La La Land and it's okay to wholeheartedly love it even if you agree that Moonlight deserved Best Picture from the nominees (as I myself do). It is possible (and recommended) to love more than one movie. Monogamy has no place in movie-loving, polyamorous is the only way to be once you've married the cinema. 

OH BUT YES, TWEETS OF THE WEEK. More after the jump including Labyrinth sequel, Aquaman aesthetic, and more Jonathan Demme farewells...

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