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Entries in Kenneth Lonergan (15)

Friday
Sep122014

Stage Door: This is Our Youth

Here's Matthew Eng on a theatrical revival in NYC of interest to movie fans...

There’s always a bit of wariness involved when approaching our favorite artists’ earliest works, a back-of-the-brain hesitancy that carefully warns us to temper our expectations for these formative, often preliminary pieces. You know what I mean: those scrappily ambitious but almost inevitably uneven calling cards, the ones that were created pre-renown, even pre-agent. They were toiled over on the side, while dwelling in dubious “studio” apartments during stationary years spent wage-slaving in temp jobs, originally imagined while dawdling on a dorm mattress or in a childhood bedroom, when success was a foreign and totally faraway desire.

Success has surely been a much more familiar if nonetheless scattered concept for Kenneth Lonergan in the years since This is Our Youth broke out Off-Broadway in 1996, launching his own career on stage and screen, as well as those of original cast members Josh Hamilton, Missy Yager, and, most notably, that trusted Lonergan staple, Mark Ruffalo. I’m not overly acquainted with Lonergan’s playwriting aside from Youth, but as an ardent fan of You Can Count on Me and Margaret, it’s easy to see the same writerly penchant for considerate, character-driven narratives that would give us both Sammy and Terry Prescott, and (after much delay) Lisa Cohen and her entire, erratic orbit of friends, family members, and tragic, tenacious, and tough-talking passersby.

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Tuesday
Apr022013

Team Top Ten: Best Directors of the 21st Century

Steve McQueen didn't make the list but Fassy still loves him (as do many of our contributors)Amir here, to bring you the first edition of Team Top Ten, a communal list by all of Film Experience’s contributors that will sit in for our regular Tuesday Top Ten list once a month. For our first episode, we’ve decided to rank the best new directors of the 21st century. These are all directors who have made their first film after 2000. (Short films, TV and theatre work didn’t render anyone ineligible. Only feature length fiction and documentary films were considered.)  

I had a blast compiling the 18 lists of our contributors to arrive at the final ten because their submissions were incredibly eclectic and surprising. I’d made a bet with myself that Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) would top the list, and lo and behold, he failed to make the cut altogether, though by a very fine margin. Korean director Bong Joon Ho was also left off, despite showing up on more than a handful of lists. Jason Reitman, Joshua Marston, Rian Johnson and David Gordon Green all came very close too but this was a tightly contested race, evidenced by the three-way tie for our tenth spot. Overall, 71 directors got at least one vote. We travelled all the way from Japan to Portugal, from Greece to Mexico, via documentaries, comedies and superhero films. We loved stories about Muslim families, gay romances, World War II and the beautifully painted worlds of Sylvain Chomet. What we didn't like very much turned out to be actors-turned-directors, as current Oscar champ Ben Affleck got only a single vote, and George Clooney and Tommy Lee Jones failed to manage even that.

In the end, these are the twelve men and women Team Experience considers the best (thus far) of the 21st century crop:

=10. Michel Gondry
Human Nature, Eternal Sunshine, The Sciene of Sleep, Block Party, Be Kind Rewind, etcetera

Gondry's films are shaggy fantasies powered by a boundless imagination. They're more than a little goofy, speaking quirky as if it were a language, and they have an endearing handmade quality, with their maker's fingerprints visible around the rough edges. Bent as they are toward romance and optimism, Gondry's miniature worlds provide a little solace from reality.
- Andreas Stoehr

11 more directors after the jump

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Wednesday
Apr112012

Thirteen Links About Eleven Things

Antagony & Ecstasy remembers Whit Stilllman's great comedy Metropolitan (1990)
Monkey See Kevin Kline and a puppy because... well... Kevin Kline and a puppy!
Empire Ben Kingsley will provide the mustache twirling for Iron Man 3
Telegraph Tim Robey sees an expo reel from Ridley Scott's Prometheus 
MNPP who wore it best? 'cubist memory disintegration' with Colin Farrel & Jake Gyllenhaal

Movie|Line sums up all the "will Gary Ross direct The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire?" serialized drama that's been syndicated all over the internet. I've ignored it until this recap because who has time for meaningless speculation that reverses itself each day?
World of Wonder "The Hunger GAYmes"
Coming Soon Woody Harrelson joining the cast of Out of the Furnace (the new film from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper) as the villain
Cinema Blend still more Woody news. He's signed on for a cable series with his BFF Matthew McConaughey that sounds like a prestigey version of Cold Case. Why? His film career is going so well at the moment... stranger still is that Cary Fukunaga who has directed two terrific movies (Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre) and needs to keep stoking the early fires of his screen career has signed on to direct it.

The Mary Sue Tim Burton may be lining up another stop motion movie Night of the Living
24 Frames no full frontal this time for Jason Segel in Five Year Engagement
Flavorwire has an interesting list of the best platonic boy/girl friendships on tv. It is an underexplored realm.
Playbill Margaret obsessives take note. Kenneth Lonergan's next play "Medieval Play" opens in May. It's a story of two French knights described thusly.

A story of friendship, love, noble feats of arms, indiscriminate brutality, the progressive refinement of medieval table manners and the general decline of the chivalric ideal at the onset of the Great Papal Schism of 1378.

So in other words he's going to keep shoving as many ideas as possible into his narratives.

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