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Entries in Leos Carax (6)

Tuesday
Dec172013

Interview: Greta Gerwig on "Frances Ha" and Movie Musicals

Greta at the "Her" premiere in LA last weekTrue stars are always spectacularly themselves onscreen, even when acing the particulars of a new character. And make no mistake, Frances Ha's Greta Gerwig is a star, despite her deceptively modest indie trappings. Even the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation, notoriously reluctant to honor non-household names, could see it. They nominated her last week for a Golden Globe alongside little unknowns like "Meryl Streep" and "Amy Adams" for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical last week. In its own peculiar way Frances Ha is the film that most belongs in that category, being both musically inclined (Greta's Frances is a struggling modern dancer) and very very funny. The actress dances through Frances Ha, which she also co-wrote, with such endearing inimitable style that she's finally ascended, becoming the "GRETA GERWIG!" she was always going to become. 

I talked to this gifted actress recently about the somewhat arbitrary nature of movie awardage but we quickly moved on to two topics far closer to her heart: creative collaboration and movie musicals. When it came to the latter, her voice lifted with as much energy as her titular character exhibited in those spirited spinning runs down Manhattan streets in Frances Ha.

Nathaniel R: Everyone movie fan I've ever talked to about you remembers vividly the first time they saw you in something. I think this is a huge compliment to you.

GRETA GERWIG: That's really nice.  

What do you attribute that to?

I don't know. I think it's sort of "Who let her in the building?" I think it has that effect on people. [Laughter] But I'm glad I'm memorable!

[Three actors Greta loves and movie musicals after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

Best Director. My Choices and Theirs.

This is one of those awards seasons in which I curse my time management skills. I prefer to post my annual Film Bitch Awards in the traditional Oscar categories before the nominations to avoid undue influence from the west coast, however subtle that influence may be. I didn't manage in time this year, partially due to Oscar's rushed schedule. Imagine my joy when both Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke were nominated for an astonishing debut and a culmination of gifts respectively for Oscar's Best Director list. Then imagine my frustration when I realized that nominating them both a week later -- though they'd been irreplaceable factors in every lineup I considered naming -- would seem like sloppy seconds. I had predicted that Haneke's decade long ascendance as a World Great would be enough for Oscar's Director's Branch to recognize him this year but I was genuinely surprised to see Zeitlin's work on Beasts of the Southern Wild recognized instead of big Hollywood names. I personally don't care who they had to shove aside to make room for him because he absolutely deserved the kudos. If it looks like I am only copying AMPAS's two most brilliantly fringe nominations this year, so be it. They're the only Oscar choices that show up on in my nominated director's field.

No really. To me Soderbergh is an OBVIOUS choice for any lineup this year

I imagine that my most controversial choice will be Steven Soderbergh but that strikes me as madness and typical of the dearth of imagination that most awards bodies (and, yes, to their shame critics groups) suffer once you've dropped them anywhere outside a 5 mile radius of "prestige". Consider how wrong Magic Mike could have gone in any number of ways but instead it's this beautifully subtle and earnest slice-of-life drama and character/ milieu study despite the pelvic thrusts and plentiful ass cheeks. (But points to Soderbergh for not skimping on those either for the sake of "reputable" filmmaking.)

MY NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Have you voted on the Oscar poll yet in this category?

Wednesday
Jan022013

Holy Motoring in Reverse

I wonder...

Juliette Binoche in 'Lovers on the Bridge'

Guilliame Depardieu (RIP) in "Pola X"

...will all this top ten film critic affection for Leos Carax's Holy Motors redirect anyone to his earlier work? He's not prolific which makes maintaining one's reputation for brilliance easy but makes winning or maintaining a fanbase difficult.

Consider this a public service announcement. Do not under any circumstances miss Lovers on the Bridge or Pola X should you have a chance to see them. They're nearly as weird as Holy Motors and possibly even more magical. (FWIW Pola X is my favorite from his filmography)

Monday
Nov192012

The Masters of My Eyeballs

I like getting lost at the movies. I live for the moments when you dive into the blue box. Ever since Mulholland Drive, that's what I've called that delirius feeling. That's when a movie with a tractor beam size pull just sucks you in until you're fully immersed in its world. Sometimes it's only for a moment. Sometimes it happens in fits and starts. With masterpieces it can last for the whole running time once you've stopped resisting. In these moments we've left the movie theater behind; the projectionist isn't the only one projecting.

Paul Thomas Anderson movies usually give me just this blue box sensation. I ate at the diner in Hard Eight. I hung out on porn sets and called Julianne mommy while high on coke in Boogie Nights. In There Will Be Blood I fell right in the oil well with Daniel Day-Lewis but only one of us emerged again after that prologue. I even lost myself a time or two in Punch-Drunk Love flights of rage and whimsy. 

 THE MASTER and HOLY MOTORS after the jump

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Sunday
Oct142012

NYFF: "Holy Motors" Must-See Carax Madhouse

Michael C. here on the closing day of the 50th New York Film Festival.

Every once in a while a movie like Leos Carax’s Holy Motors comes along to remind everyone that movies are capable of anything. It is not just that the film eschews formula. It isn’t just a work of originality. Carax wants to pop your brain out and soak it in weapons grade hallucinogens then set you loose in a Paris where nightmare logic is matter-of-fact reality and you can’t get from scene to scene without stumbling through some new looking glass.

The plot is easily summarized. Monsieur Oscar (Denis Levant, amazing) walks out of his expensive home in the morning, waves goodbye to his wife and kids and drives off in the back of stretch limo. In the limo is a theater troupe’s worth of costumes and props and a fully stocked make up mirror. Every time he steps out of the limo he is a different person, whose life he lives for an hour or two. 

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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