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Entries in Kathleen Turner (17)

Thursday
Sep012011

Q&A: Young Directors, Male Actresses, Awesome Marisa

My apologies straightaway that this week's Q & A is so late. A particularly nasty bout of insomnia derailed me for over a day. I was without rail. Back on track now and the time has come to answer your questions, 10 of them at any rate.

BBats: What young director (3 or less films) are you most excited about seeing over the next decade?
Nathaniel: This is a great question but difficult because then you have to really stop and think about who made which pictures when and you have to set aside people you've been rooting for forever that will seemingly be 70 before they birth a third feature (I'm talking to you Jonathan Glazer and Kimberly Peirce). It'd be weird to say John Cameron Mitchell since he's been making great movies for a decade now but in fact he's only made three. Still it's hard to argue with that diverse, unique and cathartically vivid trio: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), Shortbus (2006), and Rabbit Hole (2010). I would follow him anywhere though I might be shoving him from behind while doing so because he's too freaking slow. 

My list would have to include 34 year-old Cary Fukunaga who has made two features but already has a great sense of the camera's place in storytelling as well as a place's place in storytelling (Sin Nombre) if you get me. On top of that he's got a steady hand with strong actors (Jane Eyre). 

Cary Fukanaga, Xavier Dolan, and Steve McQueen

I'd also go with 22 year-old Xavier Dolan who sure can make pretty pictures (I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats) and can also act inside of them. His influences are super apparent but he's very young and it should be thrilling to watch that already glorious image-making while on the soundtrack a filmmaking voice find itself. I'm very curious as to how Andrea Arnold's career will develop. She already has an Oscar from that gritty compelling short film Wasp (2003) and Fish Tank was so special. Finally, there are two filmmakers who are about to unveil their sophomore feature after a startling debut: 37 year old Joachim Trier (will Oslo August 31st equal Reprise or prove too similar?) and 42 year-old Steve McQueen (will Shame top Hunger... but then how could it?) which means that my list is already up to five and your question was singular so I'll stop there. But the three names in bold are the ones I can't stop thinking about this year.

Roark: What's your favorite movie in your least favorite genre?
Nathaniel:  I'm not crazy about westerns but I love Howard Hawks's Red River (1948). I was going to say "horror" but then when I stop to recall how many I do love (Psycho, Carrie, Rosemary's Baby being the holy trinity) it becomes clear that I far prefer horror to westerns. 

Luke and Adrian: Best Post Oscar move for Natalie Portman?
Nathaniel: Laying low now that she's had her money-guzzling year. Wait it out until something challenging but different than Black Swan comes around. I'm guessing it would be a lot easier for her to find her next Closer than her next Black Swan so if I were her management team I'd be looking for a high profile prestige ensemble drama... or even a highly stylized but lighter something... She was terrific in Wes Anderson's Hotel Chevalier and the short treated her like a star. Directors who know how to frame her spectacular face and amp up her sexuality in deeper than surface ways tend to get the best rewards; too many Your Highnesses and Friends With Benefits and that Oscar win won't age well.

Evan: What three movies are you most looking forward to from the remainder of 2011?
Nathaniel: Shame for the McQueen/Fassbender reunion, The Skin I Live In for the Almodóvar/Banderas reunion, and I Don't Know How She Doe.... KIDDING! and  A Dangerous Method for the Cronenberg/Mortensen reunion. Look at me all Director/ACTOR things instead of actresses. Where am I? WHO AM I?

Mr W: And are you going to revive you reader spotlights any time soon?
Nathaniel: Yes. The new fall season of The Film Experience kicks off on September 13th and we'll also go back to honoring you... the collective you, I mean. Not that Mr. W isn't worth honoring :) 

Tom M: Which Male Actors (past and/or present) come closest to having careers/images/appeals like the actresses you love? (Not necessarily asking about your favorite actors but if there are any actors that trip your actressexual wire...if that makes any sense.)

my answer, plus Woody Allen and an ode to Marisa Tomei if you click-to-continue

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug012011

Your Fav' Eighties Ladies!

Over the past couple of months we've been holding "Best Character" polls for Oscar's Best Actress category history. We asked not who should win the Oscar but which characters own real estate in your memory. Previously you selected Miranda Priestley, Clarice Starling and other iconic bitches as your favorites from the Nineties and the Aughts. 

But what of the 1980s? Here are the results. *asterisks indicate Oscar winning performances.

Three unarguably iconic characters: Sophie, Celie and Aurora

1981-1985

 

  1. *SOPHIE ZAWISTOWSKI (Meryl Streep) from Sophie's Choice
  2. CELIE (Whoopi Goldberg) from The Color Purple 
  3. *AURORA GREENWAY (Shirley Maclaine) from Terms of Endearment
  4. KAREN SILKWOOD (Meryl Streep) from Silkwood
  5. VICTORIA GRANT (Julie Andrews) from Victor/Victoria

 

Diane Keaton's wondrous performance in REDS (1981) has not been forgotten.Runners Up: To complete the top ten you'd need (in descending order) a third Streep with KAREN BLIXEN from Out of Africa, Debra Winger's EMMA GREENWAY from Terms..., Jessica Lange's rendition of troubled movie star Frances, and with nearly a tie for tenth place Katharine Hepburn's *ETHEL THAYER from On Golden Pond and Diane Keaton's LOUISE BRYANT from Reds

Observations: The Streepster's reascendance in the Aughts has obviously polished her earlier work to a healthy shine which would partially explain her tremendous lead as "Sophie" (well, that and the performance itself) and Karen Blixen's near top five placement, despite being hardly as memorable as Sophie or the other Streep/Karen. 

Weakest Showing: While Jessica Lange was an Oscar favorite in the 1980s, her JEWEL IVY in Country received 0 votes. But then Oscar's oft-derided "Year of the Farm Wives" fared terribly, with all three of the farm women failing to muster much enthusiasm. And to think they could have had Kathleen Turner's fiction writer Joan Wilder from Romancing the Stone in there. (She would've hit the top five most memorable characters, don'cha think?)

1986-1990

Dangerous Ladies ruled the Late Eighties

 

  1. LT ELLEN RIPLEY (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens
  2. ALEX FORREST (Glenn Close) in Fatal Attraction
  3. *ANNIE WILKES (Kathy Bates) in Misery
  4. SUSIE DIAMOND (Michelle Pfeiffer) in The Fabulous Baker Boys
  5. MARQUISE DE MERTEUIL (Glenn Close) in Dangerous Liaisons

 

Runners Up: Completing the top ten in descending order are Julia Robert's Pretty Woman VIVIAN WARD (who initially looked like a top three threat but kept fading throughout the course of voting), Cher's *LORETTA CASTORINI in Moonstruck, Streep's SUZANNE VALE (AKA CARRIE FISHER) in Postcards from the Edge, Anjelica Huston's hard as diamonds LILLY in The Grifters and in a tie for tenth place Holly Hunter's JANE CRAIG from Broadcast News and Jessica Tandy's *MISS DAISY the one who who drove right over the Pfeiffer/Oscar dream. Damn you, Oscar voters!

Observations: Looking back it looks like Meryl Streep owned the first half of the 1980s while Glenn Close threatened her dominance in the decade's second half. And to think they might go at it again this year?!? This poll was the most contentious of the six polls we've held with very small differences in rank between the winners and much in the way of surges and drops. A certain formidable alien fighting woman was always out front but Alex Forrest refused to be ignored and wouldn't allow her a huge lead. Spots 3 through 10 shifted repeatedly with my beloved Kathleen Turner's PEGGY SUE just missing the top ten. [Sniffle]

Fonda and Bridges in THE MORNING AFTER (1986)Weakest Showing: Jane Fonda's ALEX from The Morning After  (which Nick and I tried to recall on the "1986" podcast) received 0 votes from the nearly 800 cast. Of Fonda's seven nominations it's her last and (obviously) her least remembered. It's currently available on Netflix's Instant Watch. Sadly Sally Kirkland's ANNA only barely registered. Kirkland is best known to today's audiences as that crazy-dressing lady who sometimes shows up at the Oscars but that surprise nomination for 1987 was hard-earned. Don't believe me? Watch the movie on Netflix Instant Watch.

Should we do the 1970s?  
What do you make of these 80s polls?
Did your fellow TFE readers choose well or would you like to stalk them with Alex Forrest's butcher knife, Ripley's flame-thrower or Annie's hobblin' hammer and right the wrongs they done?

Sunday
Jul172011

Podcast: Nick & Nathaniel Circa 1986

Before you ask again, please note that I have submitted the podcast to iTunes. Hopefully the submission process will take. The podcast can be heard at the end of this post.

Today, we have a special retrospective podcast for you today. Since Nick has been revisiting Cannes 1986 in all its sidebar and competitive glory and Nathaniel has been gagging on Aliens and Peggy Sue Got Married lately for their 25th anniversarieswe decided to join forces.

Topics include & spin off from:

  • Robert Altman's Fool For Love (1985)
  • Aliens (1986) vs. Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) vs. Platoon (1986)
  • Sigourney Weaver's "Ripley" or Kathleen Turner's "Peggy Sue"?
  • Molly Ringwald, Farrah Fawcett, Marlee Matlin, Kim Basinger, Beatrice Dalle and dozens more 80s actresses discussed
  • Three French Films: The Green Ray, Betty Blue and Therese
  • Spike Lee, Woody Allen, James Cameron and David Lynch
  • Our favorite films of 1986 -- we share a #1 favorite which has to share the #1 spot in both our cases. 

We'd love to hear your opinions on these topics as well as your memories (constructed or actual) of the 1986 Film Year.

Podcast: Revisiting 1986

Thursday
Jun162011

Best Shot: "Peggy Sue Got Married" ... Her Second 25th Anniversary

Hit Me With Your Best Shot is a series where we look at favorite images and choose a "best shot" from a pre-selected movie. The moments that most define a film, elevate it, or merely gives us the most visual pleasure. "Best" is a fluid adjective. TWO WEEKS FROM NOW (June 29th) we'll be discussing Luchino Vischonti's Rocco And His Brothers (1960). Won't you join us? It's supposed to be awesome.

Francis Ford Coppola's PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (1986).

It's all in the transitions with Peggy Sue Got Married. And with Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner), who begins the picture distraught over her impending divorce and ends the picture by rejecting that new future (divorce) and for the recent past (troubled marriage). In the present tense, she's attending a high school reunion (a celebration of the past) while worrying about her future. And soon, after collapsing on the reunion's stage, she's thrust back into her own past... but aware that she shouldn't be there and viewing her past from the vantage point of the future. She's always out of time.

Note the way Coppola frames her at key moments, like this one above, where he separates her from things she is very much a part of, like this 25th High School Reunion. (I figured the movie's 25th anniversary year was a good time to revisit it and I'm so glad I did.)


In the lead up to the most magical and compelling shot in the film, she returns to her childhood home and considers knocking as the door drifts open of its own accord. Again we see the heroine separated visually from the main setting of the story, but in both cases she's about to enter into the present, whichever present that is, but she's doing so very tentatively. She either doesn't want to be there or she does but happens to be terrified. It's hard to live in the present but it's even harder when that present is the past.

The best shot in the film comes very early when Peggy Sue enters her childhood bedroom. Coppola moves the camera around the room and accelerates in a dizzying circle until we're back with the middle aged woman as she rediscovers her adolescence. There are no edits (THANK YOU!) as Peggy repeats the circling, rediscovering the room she grew up in. She seems utterly bewitched by the simplest things like a shoe on the carpet, her record player, a wee book. The room is lit so softly and superbly by the late cinematographer Jordan Cronenwerth and he was deservingly Oscar nominated for this picture! [Trivia note: His son Jeff was nominated just last year in the same category for The Social Network]. When Peggy finishes her tour, we've seen Kathleen Turner go from hypnotic trance to simple joy to confusion and then back to terrified, still not at peace with her time travelling.

WHAT is going on."

This fluctuation of mood in the space of one scene, is in perfect synch with the spotty brilliance of the movie which finds funny, sad, silly and mysterious ways to dig into the crazy moodswings of those hormonally charged teenage years while simultaneously commenting on middle aged "it's all behind me" panic. You could say the same of many time travel or body switching movies, but Coppola's vision is more adult than much of this peculiar subgenre. The movie is quite funny but it's also shot through with despair. Even the finale, a "happy ending" has a strange undertow of defeatist compromise, despite the fantastical happenings proceeding it. Even if you can go home again, you can't reboot your life; you have to make peace with it.

Peggy Sue peaked early. And so it is with Peggy Sue Got Married which is wonderfully compelling in the first third, less so in the second, and sputters and collapses at the finale. In a way the movie's primary weakness is absolutely fitting. It showed such promise during its youth! Does the movie's minor reputation reflect merely that it's an older person's film -- people Peggy Sue's age, who had the most to gain from its high school in the late 50s nostalgia would be hitting 70 about now -- or is it simply a result of its own shortcomings?

Arguably the movie is only a minor footnote now, but I still love it. If it's remembered it's mostly within the context of Coppola's career and family trivia (his daughter Sofia, her accomplished filmmaking career way ahead of her plays Peggy Sue's younger sister and his nephew Nicolas Cage gets the male lead) or as the  for the peak of Kathleen Turner's short-lived mega stardom. It had a disappointing Oscar run. Turner's wonderfully playful work, which is complicated but looks easy (that's Oscar death!) is still a real beauty of a star turn 25 years later. The final image that really stung on this revisit, is not a single shot but two of them, fused in a slow melancholy dissolve.

Peggy Sue has just broken up with her boyfriend again in an attempt to save them both from their 25 years-later divorce. She sits tired and despondent, lights a cigarette and we dissolve to the next scene. The beautiful thing is that it looks just like a memory: Soulful, colorful, lively... but half-imagined.

Check out these other Peggy Sue articles!

  • Movies Kick Ass "Reverse Dorothy"
  • The Entertainment Junkie "one woman's hall of mirrors" -- this is a really interesting take celebrating my least favorite scenes. It's making me rethink them!
  • Film Actually loves the film's quotability. It does have great lines. And hair. And teeth. And eyes.
  • Missemmamm really loves Peggy Sue and shared her favorite moments
  • Awwww, the Movies Peggy's wild night.

 

Monday
May022011

Links: Carrey, Turner, Pearce, Jordan (Hal), Thurman

Serious Film Jim Carrey's Oscar snubs. Will Mr Popper's Penguins bring more?
Variety Will The Hurt Locker team triumph again? Turns out the movie Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal were already working on to shoot this summer was about the very team that just killed Osama Bin Laden.
The Film Doctor questions why Fast Five is so popular... and attempts to answer.
i09 worries about Green Lantern in advance. Too much mythology?
Hollywood Reporter Wait. I thought Soderbergh was retiring? And now he's doing Magic Mike, a male stripper drama with Channing Tatum?

AV Club Remember when we were discussing Guy Pearce and why he doesn't get major parts? Well Ridley Scott to the rescue. Pearce has been cast in Prometheus, the is-it-or-isn't-it-an-Aliens-sequel?
Scott Feinberg likes Kathleen Turner in The Perfect Family. Will it find distribution and warm reception outside of Tribeca's fest?
La Daily Musto bizarre story about the Tribeca screening of the documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life. I was there and was very close to this row where Security was called. It was quite odd but here's the whole story.

Remember when Nicole Kidman did a commercial for Schweppes? Now Uma Thurman is making bank with the beverage. Here it is.

How many of my favorite actresses will they employ?

Thursday
Apr212011

Stage Door: Kathleen Turner in "High"

The Film Experience has always loved talking up theater, the true 3D experience. So let's do it weekly, even if it's brief. We'll make it movie adjacent: films adapted from stage, movies hitting the boards in a new form or worthy crossovers of any sort... that sort of thing. The lines in entertainment are much blurrier these days, aren't they? Many actors now do all three (tv, film, theater) with increasing regularity, don'cha know, no longer defining themselves as one medium actors.

Kathleen Turner on Opening Night | Turner w/ Evan Jonigkeit in "High"

I recently had the opportunity to see one of my all time favorite actresses on stage again: Kathleen Turner. Her major film career dwindled in the 90s but she's become a regular on Broadway and she's now starring as a foul-mouthed nun in Matthew Lombardo's drama "High". But not for much longer. It was announced yesterday that the show is closing Sunday after only 8 regular performances. Ouch. We're two weeks away from Tony nominations and we'd assumed that Kathleen would be nominated. But maybe not.

So is the play really that bad? The answer is a simple no. But it is a play that lacks the mythic enormity that you sometimes just have to have to fill up a big house with energy if not ticket buyers. Lombardo's last play "Looped" about the final movie performance of Tallulah Bankhead (played by Valerie Harper) had a similar problem though it was a much stronger show all told and was really helped by a transcendent sequence in the second act that was creatively staged as Tallulah remembers performing Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Both Looped and High are very simple in format -- which is not really a problem if the writing or story are superb -- but they rely too entirely on the star charisma of the lead actress, who is often monologuing, to really push them over.  High recounts the counselling sessions between a recovering alcoholic nun / social worker who is working with an unrepentant gay hustler and drug addict who has recently been involved in the overdose death of a teenager. How involved he was he won't say. The show has only three characters and while the nun and the drug addict have somewhat meaty if very traditional arcs, the Father character who pushes them together, just doesn't work in the writing or performing.

I'm glad I saw it and I hope Kathleen is Tony nominated being much stronger than the show but even she of that inimitable arresting rasp and considerable star charisma is unable to elevate it beyond its limitations. It might have worked far better as a made for TV movie, not for the subject matter exactly but for the intimacy that that medium can bring to small human struggle stories.

Stage/Screen News of the Moment
New York City Opera remember that Oscar nominated 60s movie Seance on a Wet Afternoon? It's now an opera by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz. Should I see it and write about it?
Playbill an unauthorized musical parody of The Silence of the Lambs comes to Off Broadway in June.
Rama's Screen has the breakdown on the Rock of Ages cast -- who is playing who -- including a new character to be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. So happy about this one as we needed Velma in another musical. I haven't seen the show -- I was put off by the American Idol stunt casting at the opening -- but now I'm curious and I have heard that it's very funny.

Saturday
Mar262011

"Maggie the Cat is Alive!"

Tennessee Williams Centennial Week Wraps

Maggie the Cat, the sex-starved slip-covered wife at the heart of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (discussed earlier this week) is not just alive, she keeps coming back to life. True to her feline symbolism she's had several of them, eight bigs ones actually. Who will risk playing Maggie the Cat's ninth major life and how soon will that be?

Here is a history of the key Maggies for those who love the play... or just if you like to see major actresses in their lingerie. Have you ever seen a production of this play anywhere or just the 1958 film? Do tell in the comments. Would love to hear Tin Roof stories.

1955 ~ Original Maggie

Barbara Bel Geddes, originated the role on Broadway in the 1956 and won a Tony nomination. (She lost to Julie Harris in "The Lark"). Other Key Roles: I Remember Mama (1947, Oscar nomination. Lost to Claire Trevor in Key Largo), "Midge" in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), "Mary, Mary" on Broadway (1961, Tony nomination), and "Miss Ellie Ewing" on Dallas (1978-1990, 3 nominations/1 win at the Emmys)

1958 ~ Legendary Maggie

 


Elizabeth Taylor slinked, steamed, pawed and nagged her way to consecutive Oscar nomination #2 in the 1958 film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Suddenly Last Summer was Oscar nom #3 in 1959. Then a win for her fourth consecutive nomination for BUtterfield 8 (1960). Many more Liz photos in the gallery section of the site. If you've been away, catch up on the Liz commemorative posts.

Elizabeth is not the only two time Oscar winner who played Maggie. Lots of stars have slinked around in that white slip: Jessica Rabbit, a Dreamgirl, and even one of Elizabeth's few rivals in 60s Movie Superstardom. 

1974 ~Cognoscenti's Maggie


Elizabeth Ashley's early 60s film breakout gave way to a highly acclaimed theatrical career with lots of guest starring TV roles on the side. She won raves and a Tony nomination for the sexually charged 70s revival of Broadway. People Magazine featured her in their Stage section at the time.

'I was one of those people who became a 'star' very young, and I turned into a monstrous human beging - Bessie von Bitch, they called me. I was in analysis forever.'

She now sees herself as made for the stage - 'a leading woman who can handle anything they've got, but God knows I'm not a movie star.'

Other Key Roles: The original Corie from Broadway's Barefoot in the Park (Jane Fonda got the movie role); "Mollie" in Take Her She's Mine" (1962 Tony Award); Monica in The Carpetbaggers (1964, Golden Globe nomination); Jenny in the Best Picture nominee Ship of Fools (1965); Recently played Mattie Fae in August: Osage County (replacement).

Jessica Rabbit, a Dreamgirl and some crazy oroborus-style Jessica Lange trivia after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar162011

linker like me

Did you see last night's Glee "Original Song"? I always feel so melancholy at Regionals episodes because I know that means no Glee for awhile. For a show I often actively dislike on account of lazy writing, wasted opportunities and ridiculously unnecessary pandering (People loved the show before it started pandering to them! Why bend over backwards to worry about what people might like now?), sometimes the show makes it really hard for me to pretend that I don't just love it, warts and all. So many highlights in this one, from Brittany's always dependable split second deadpan "favorite song: my headband" to a rare Mercedes showcase "Hell to the No" to a gay kiss played emphatically and without apology, to the return of undergirding themes (Rachel's future completely obvious stardom versus small town limitations) to that killer joyous finale "Loser Like Me" in which the kids learn the age old oppressed minority trick of turning insults into empowering F-you pride. Anyway, loved it. I still wish that show I loved last year about small town Broadway geeks trying to find their voices would come back but the new now old Glee is still great cathartic fun when it remembers to be.

Gold Derby on Mark Wahlberg's dreams of The Fighter Mickey Ward 2. Some sound-Oscar-reasoning from Wahlberg's Fighter alter ego Mickey Ward.
Awards Daily Natural Selection (feature) and Dragonslayer (documentary) win jury hearts at SXSW
Just Jared Seann William Scott taking care of personal and health matters in treatment. Best wishes. I think he's adorable even if he has way too many consonants in his name.
Movie|Line Ewwwww. They're rebooting Daredevil now?
Playbill Kathleen Turner (nearly back on Broadway in High) will be interviewed in the Times Talk series in May. Tickets available.
Movie|Line bizarre lengthy Tarzan audition tape
Gordon and the Whale Hey, if Alessadro Nivola gets Michael Fassbender's cast offs, maybe Fassbender should say no a little more often? I love them both but Nivola has been way too neglected and I don't want Fassy to burn out.

Beatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade in BETTY BLUE

Acidemic "Beatrice Dalle My What Big Teeth You Have." Beatrice is on my mind as I just watched this newish french flick Domain where she is typically vivid and dangerous feeling, even while simply strolling through a park or ordering a glass of wine.  Have you ever seen Betty Blue? Still one of the craziest movies ever to snag a Best Foreign Film Oscar nom.
Towleroad Remember that story about Jake Gyllenhaal being photographed in a men's room at SXSW. It's been animated. (The transformation into Jack Twist is a funny touch.)
Serious Film revisits Viggo Mortensen's Oscar worthy work in A History of Violence.