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Entries in Love is Strange (5)

Friday
Jan232015

A Quick Chat with Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei with Tracy Letts in "The Realistic Joneses" (L) and John Lithgow in "Love is Strange" (R)

Jose here. Last week I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Marisa Tomei about her new film Loitering with Intent (out in theaters and VOD) and I couldn't help but mention to her that she ended up giving my favorite supporting performances of 2014 both on film (Love is Strange) and on Broadway (The Realistic Joneses). Much to my delight - and evolving psychic abilities - my fellow Team Experience members agreed with me and she ended up winning our Best Supporting Actress award as well, so I thought I might share this fragment of our conversation...

JOSE: Pony from The Realistic Joneses and Kate from Love is Strange are such rich characters!

MARISA TOMEI: I looooove Pony!

JOSE: Pony reminded me of Honey from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Did you have her in mind at all?

MARISA TOMEI: No, other than that she was around a lot! Because Tracy Letts’ wife, Carrie Coon, played Honey on Broadway the year before (laughs) and I did keep thinking she’d be much better in this part...but then I got over that. I wasn’t really drawing any parallels though, other than that I’m drawn to those kinds of parts and that I like the part of Honey and that their names are so cute…

JOSE: And you were so amazing as Kate in Love is Strange.

MARISA TOMEI: They were the same producers as this. I got that because while we were shooting Loitering with Intent and going to get a sandwich or something, one of the producers, Jay Van Hoy, said “ I think one of our actors is dropping out of our movie, do you wanna be in it?” (laughs). He then said that Ira [Sachs] was directing it and Ivan Martin and I had gone to see Keep the Lights On and we loved that movie. I was familiar with Ira’s work and so it all came around.

JOSE: Both characters are so heartbreaking and they both feel so lived in…

MARISA TOMEI: I didn’t have a lot of heartbreak with Pony, that was really easy, because she really didn’t think that deeply, so I don’t think she made compromises for her husband, he made a lot of compromises for her actually. I think both of them were in a bargain, a whole “let’s not talk about stuff” deal. A lot of times before I’d ask myself what was my preparation, and I feel stupid for saying this (laughs) but sometimes my preparation would be visual. I’d think “pink” and also did a background story and my regular homework...but in general it was a lot of hoola-hooping and thinking in pink.

Of course, I was sent home with visions of Marisa Tomei as Kay Thompson in Funny Face. God, does she always make me think pink. What about you dear readers, were you in love with either of these performances? What are some of your favorite Marisa Tomei characters?

Monday
Jan052015

Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously we looked at ten runners-up -- practically an alternate top ten if you will the year was so good. Now on to the list you've been waiting for as our own awardage begins. 

The years best films marched in the streets in London and Alabama, cruised Scotland with nefarious intent, uncovered skeletons in Poland, and jogged around DC. They performed on the stages of Manhattan while also house hunting there; neither activity is for the faint of heart. Only two of them sprang from books though another cast its biggest spell while holding one. Two taught us about history in ways that felt absolutely relevant and useful to how we live now and one let us watch 12 years of it unfold. The thing that unites all ten is the imagination, fine judgement (when to employ a light touch and when to hit hard) and technical prowess of the filmmakers and actors, lifting their scenes, themes and stories however mundane, silly, deep or fanciful to greater heights that we could have reasonably expected.

With deep appreciation...

NATHANIEL'S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2014

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
(Anthony Russo & Joe Russo)
Disney. April 4th
138 minutes 

The public has been more than generous with Marvel Studios over the years as they stumbled into surprising glory given that they were playing with a half deck having sold so many key characters. Ten films in: perfection! Captain America: Winter Soldier artfully dodges nearly every typical superhero movie problem (as well as general sequel problems) with a stunning grasp of mood, total commitment to a "square" character, a smart choice of villain, and thrilling action scenes that feel authentically dangerous (a complete rarity in blockbusters) rather than like stop-and-gawk "setpieces" with no actual stakes. Add in Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson both embracing their supersized charisma and physical perfection (while deepening their rapport and characterizations) and you have the year's best popcorn entertainment.

 

THE BABADOOK
(Jennifer Kent)
IFC Films. November 28th 
93 minutes 

You can't intellectualize away its terror, though reviews and many a future masters theses will try. This alarming horror film, a brilliant debut for Australian director Jennifer Kent, is as hard to shake as its title character whether you take it as a straightforward monster film, a mental illness or grief allegory, or get hung up on its minefield of taboos (mothers who don't much like their children / over-medication of children / weapons in schools). It's as rich and imaginative a study of depression in its own creepy-crawly way as Lars Von Trier's Melancholia so it's wonderfully apt that Jennifer Kent once apprenticed with the Danish provocateur

Eight with more than enough Great after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

Gotham Nominees: Boyhood vs. Birdman vs. Budapest

The Gotham Awards juried nominations have recently surplanted the ancient NBR as the first real awards nomination/wins of the film year. That it happens in October is more than a little crazy, but what'cha gonna do? The New York centric film prizes, think of it as the Spirit Awards's East Coast Cousin albeit with far fewer prizes will be held on December 1st. Since they only have six categories and four separate juries (composed of critics and programmers), multiple nods aren't as easy to come by as they are at other shows but a handful of films managed it: Boyhood, Birdman, Dear White People, Nightcrawler, and Under the Skin.

BEST FEATURE 

 

  • BIRDMAN
  • BOYHOOD
  • GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
  • LOVE IS STRANGE
  • UNDER THE SKIN

Very happy to see the intensely moving Love is Strange, in constant danger of being undervalued, show up. Especially since it didn't show up anywhere else. 199 films were eligible for these honors.

BEST ACTRESS (they don't have lead or supporting designations)

Big year for GUGU with Belle as breakthrough and a nom for Beyond the Lights

  • PATRICIA ARQUETTE, Boyhood
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON, Under the Skin
  • GUGU MBATHA-RAW, Beyond the Lights
  • JULIANNE MOORE, Still Alice
  • MIA WASIKOWSKA, Tracks

Given that Still Alice is only getting a qualifying Oscar run and there's no proof that it will even play in NYC by the end of the year (LA is the only required theatrical run) I think it's weird to nominate Julianne Moore at the Gothams, however excellent she is in the picture. I wonder what criteria they use for eligibility?

BEST ACTOR (they don't have lead or supporting designations)

 

  • BILL HADER, The Skeleton Twins
  • ETHAN HAWKE, Boyhood
  • OSCAR ISAAC, A Most Violent Year
  • MICHAEL KEATON, Birdman
  • MILES TELLER, Whiplash

Interesting to see Oscar Isaac show up but not Jessica Chastain when the same nominating committee chose for both categories. 

BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR OR ACTRESS

 

  • RIZ AHMED, Nightcrawler
  • MACON BLAIR, Blue Ruin
  • ELLAR COLTRANE, Boyhood
  • JOEY KING, Wish I Was Here
  • JENNY SLATE, Obvious Child
  • TESSA THOMPSON, Dear White People

Slightly odd choices by the breakthrough committee. I love Boyhood and Nightcrawler but it seems weird to single out Coltrane or Ahmed from either, not only because they aren't the MVPs but because their performances just aren't at the same accomplished level as their co-stars. 

BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR

 

  • ANA LILY AMIRPOUR, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • JAMES WARD BYRKIT, Coherence
  • DAN GILROY, Nightcrawler
  • ELIZA HITTMAN, It Felt Like Love
  • JUSTIN SIMIEN, Dear White People

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • ACTRESS
  • CITIZENFOUR
  • LIFE ITSELF
  • MANAKAMANA
  • POINT AND SHOOT 

I haven't yet seen Life Itself (I know I know) but I increasingly suspect, based on everything I've read about it, that hero worship is really getting in the way. It's not that I don't appreciate Ebert's work or that I don't understand the need to honor him for a special life in this very specialized field. But as with Oscars view of documentary, sometimes subject matter trumps execution in terms of awardage. Critics complain when that happens. Except when it happens to a movie about a film critic ;) I reserve the right to change my mind and consider it very worthy if I see it but I just wanted to point out that this is always a real danger in awardage for all groups, not just Oscar, the effect of subject matter trumping execution. 

Monday
Jan272014

Podcast: Sundance Debrief and DGA Reactions

On this week's special cross-country podcast recorded live from Utah, Nathaniel welcomes back Katey Rich in New York, Nick Davis in Chicago, and special guest Guy Lodge, also in Chicago en route to London. Guy and Nathaniel share their Sundance favorites, the chief crossover being Richard Linklater's Boyhood

Other Topics include: The Producers Guild of America and Directors Guild winners and what that might mean for 12 Years a Slave and Gravity come Oscar night, categories where we'd enjoy ties on Oscar night, and favorite "overheard" bits in movie theater lines regarding Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Which tie would you love to see this year?

Sundance Debrief and Oscar Ties

Friday
Jan242014

Sundance LGBT Greats: "Love is Strange" & "Appropriate Behavior"

Sundance coverage continues with Nathaniel on two terrific new LGBT films. (This article was previously published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad)

Alfred Molina & John Lithgow get hitched in Love is Strange's opening scene

I'm popping in, once again, from the snowy mountains of Park City, Utah, where I've been attending the 30th annual Sundance Film Festival. It kicked off the day of the Oscar nominations a week ago and in my golden-statue-mania I keep imagining it would have felt more festive had it coincided with Robert Redford's first Oscar nomination in 19 years for All is Lost. But it was not meant to be. Still Redford's legacy lives on in the most celebrated American film festival. Two of the best films at Sundance 2014 are LGBT films. Hopefully they'll both hit theaters or on demand or however we're watching movies next, and very soon.

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR is the perfect Iranian bisexual hipster coming-out comedy that you didn't know you needed or even wanted. But it's really good and really funny. The absurdly talented Desiree Akhavan (who some of you may know from the lesbian web series The Slope) wrote, directed and stars in the film as Shirin. She's a sharp-tongued bisexual twentysomething who is reeling from a breakup with Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) her activist vanilla girlfriend, and acting out sexually in Brooklyn.  

More on Appropriate and the possible awards hopeful Love is Strange

Click to read more ...