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Oscar History

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20th Century Women is Amazing

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Entries in Macbeth (14)


Half Century Halle (and other anniversaries)

On this day in history as it relates to showbiz...

1040 King Duncan is killed in battle and King Macbeth succeeds him. Shakespeare fictionalizes everything later for Macbeth. So many theatrical productions and movies follow. Out damn spot!
1932 The 1932 Summer Olympics end. This is the Olympic year when gorgeous Buster Crabbe became a gold medalist (pictured left). Hollywood then snatched him right up for movie serials and action adventure franchises including Tarzan The Fearless
1945 Japan surrenders during WW II (the six year war will last only two more weeks.) but movie makers all over the world have never stopped telling the war's infinite stories. On that same day Steve Martin is born in Waco Texas. It only takes him another 68 years to get the Oscar he totally deserved

1946 Two actor birthdays: Blacksploitation actor Antonio Fargas who became "Huggybear" on TV's popular Starksy & Hutch and Susan Saint James TV of McMillan & Wife with Rock Hudson in the 1970s and Kate & Allie with Jane Curtin in the 1980s
1959 Marcia Gay Harden materializes in LaJolla California, presumably already perfect 
1963 Emmanuelle Béart, Manon of the Spring herself, and 8 time César nominee is born in France. On the same day in Los Angeles Clifford Odets dies from stomach cancer. Many luminaries of stage and screen visit beforehand. He came to fame as a highly political playwright (four of his works became movies: Golden Boy, Clash By Night, The Big Knife, and The Country Girl). He was also fond of the actresses: married to Luise Rainer during her back-to-back Oscar wins and also took up with Frances Farmer -- he's played by Jeffrey DeMunn in the 1982 biopic Frances.
1965 Jane Fonda marries director/producer Roger Vadim. Together they cook up Barbarella (1968) which lasts forever unlike the marriage

Halle Berry Instagrammed this a month ago. 50 is apparently the new 30 for the extraordinarily beautiful people.

1966 Superstar Halle Berry is born in Cleveland. Becomes the first African-American Miss World contestant twenty years later. Hits the movies 5 years after that with Spike Lee's Jungle Fever  as auspicious debut. Happy half century to the Best Actress winner.
1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show gets its world premiere in London. It's the longest running film in theaters since it still shows regularly at many moviehouses around the world for weekly midnight screenings.
1980 Dorothy Stratten, a nude centerfold, is murdered by her boyfriend. The story was adapted to screen starring Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts by the genius Bob Fosse in Star '80 (1983), the influential artist's last film. 
1983 Mila Kunis is born in the Ukraine of the Soviet Union. Moves to Los Angeles seven years later and by the age of 11 she's already on TV
1987 Can't Buy Me Love opens in movie theaters. No one could possibly expect that nerdy Dempsey would reemerge years later into a sexy mature leading man that everyone called "McDreamy"

1992 Single White Female opens in movie theaters
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back starring Angela Bassett who still had hers (before she lost it and got it back heyyyy) hit movie theaters
2004 The cinematographer Neal Fredericks of sleeper phenomenon The Blair Witch Project (1999) dies suddenly in a plane crash on location for a film
2009 District 9 opens in the US, becomes a huge hit, and even goes on to Oscar nominations including Best Picture in one of the most surprising Oscar years ever (since no one knew when the year began that they'd shift to 10 Best Picture nominees and the studios definitely hadn't prepared for it.)


Silent Chambers and Spider Webs in "Throne of Blood"

The first time I saw a Jackson Pollock in the flesh, I had to sit down, dumbfounded, in my attempt to take it in. I was staring at just one painting (and there were several) for a good 15-20 minutes before I had to force myself to move on. While the artist's famous splatter paintings seem random there's such an intricate hypnotic depth to them once you're in their presence, like it's possible to slip right inside them and get lost. Each flick of paint, every solid drop, on top of another streak and another spill gives the impression that the painting goes on for years underneath no matter which detail pulls your eye in.


I kept thinking of that Pollock painting - bear with me through this unexpected reference point - while watching Throne of Blood (1957)...

Click to read more ...


Podcast: The Danish Girl, Youth, Macbeth, Chi-Raq

Nathaniel, Nick, Katey, and Joe all return for the latest episode of the podcast in which we discuss four new films that definitely bear their auteur's signature for better and worse. Listen in and continue the conversation in the comments. The more the merrier.

42 minutes 
00:01 NBR & NYFCC debrief
05:40 The Danish Girl
16:28 Macbeth's feeling of inevitability...or is it monotony?
22:56 Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, a bit of The Great Beauty and a lot of Jane Fonda
33:00 Spike Lee's new urgent joint Chi-Raq
39:45 Joe's new job & Nick's sudden activity

Further Reading for Context:
Nick's Danish Girl tweet
Nathaniel's Category Fraud Screed
Nick's "Favorites" Countdown

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes

Youth, Danish Girl, Macbeth


Cotillard + Fassbender = Scorching Hot

Murtada here. Are you ready for some sexy stuff at the movies? Now playing in limited release is the latest big screen version of Macbeth from director Justin Kurzel. Reviews have been mixed but there’s no denying the heat created by the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the titular parts. The screen almost combusts whenever they are together; they make Shakespeare sexy. And not just because of their considerable beauty, but rather because of what they bring out in each other. Fassbender raises Cotillard’s intensity and she is so tenderly natural that he can’t help but match her.

Sometimes one wonders how actors arrive at on-screen chemistry? Maybe it’s about surprising each other. That’s what Fassbender told the National Board of review about one of their scenes together:

 I don’t like to talk too much, with either director or actor, before doing the scene. [ ] She just picks up the ball and she runs with it, like that scene—the scorpion scene. I put my hand underneath her dress; I didn’t tell her I was going to do that, and she took it and she went with it and then she kisses me and then pulls away. She’s got this sort of repulsion, and then she reengages, and she’s like, “I love this man, I feel him, he’s sick.” All these things are happening on her face. That’s when you realize you’re in the presence of somebody great.

Here’s part of that scene, however for the exact part Fassbender is talking about you'll have to go to the movies.

It looks like Cotillard, Fassbender and Kurzel had a good time creatively; they are reuniting for Assassin’s Creed which is currently shooting.


BIFA Nominations: Amy, Ex Machina, Macbeth, and More...

We've already heard from the Gotham Awards (New York's indie awards) and now we're off to the UK for their rough equivalent the Moet British Independent Film Awards. The leaders are the absurdist festival sensation The Lobster (reviewed), the marital drama 45 Years - go Charlotte Rampling! (reviewed), and the long-awaited Macbeth (reviewed). Doesn't it feel like the latter has had buzz for about 16 months now without ever appearing in US theaters? Annoying. We still can't make sense of the US release plans for it. 

Best British Independent Film + Best Director
Amy”  Asif Kapadia
Ex Machina” Alex Garland
45 Years” Andrew Haigh
The Lobster” Yorgos Lanthimos
Macbeth” Justin Kurzel

The Lobster is may be the presumed frontrunner given its hefty 7 nomination total, but The Film Experience's position is that Ex-Machina deserves some awardage and it better be here because where else is it going to be, you know?

A 5/5 match with film and director suggests that the voting wasn't even close and those films were far out front though High-Rise, Brooklyn, and Suffragette also enjoyed multiple nominations

The complete list of nominees with brief commentary is after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Review: Macbeth

Andrew here to talk about a Shakespeare adaptation

There’s a moment in the recent adaptation of Macbeth that’s legitimately surprising for audience, even those who have read the play. Towards the end of the film Marion Cotillard appears on screen for Lady Macbeth’s moment of reckoning – that iconic “Out damned spot!” speech. The scene unfolds, naturally, in a different fashion than it does in the play. The monologue, though, becomes especially striking when the camera draws back to reveal “who” she is speaking to. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but a few of the persons in the row behind me gasped at the cutaway. It’s meant to be a jolting moment in the film, and it is, although it’s also a baffling one. The moment has stuck with me since I’ve seen the film as I’ve tried to make sense of it within the film’s framework. And, the more I think on it, the more it emerges as emblematic of this adaptation.

Let it not be said that Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not without ambition and energy. This Macbeth is transposed to the cinema in language that’s distinctly visual. This is a Macbeth about movement and space and contact, and then the ensuing loss of that same contact. The language of the film is restlessness and mournful agitation from its first shot and the entire fair is slick and confident, but I go back and forth on how effective it is.

Click to read more ...


Something Link-ed This Way Comes

The Movies
• How does The Intern stack up to previous Nancy Meyers releases at the box office? It's a bit too early to tell but I totally didn't know and was a bit surprised to realize that they were nearly all bigger hits overseas than in the US [Box Office Mojo]
• Sasha Stone comes up with a new sneaky way to define leading roles as supporting. She's calling them "anchors" as in "anchors to the lead," not "the other lead." Hee. Of course she doesn't mean Anchor as Category Fraud but a rose by any other name... [Awards Daily]
• Singing the praises of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and their upcoming slate for cinema-voracious New Yorkers. And really, sing these praises at full volume. [MNPP]
• Not everyone loves the new Macbeth [Shadowplay
• "The people behind [Sicario] understand that what makes a great thriller is not the abundance of shootings, murders or jump scares and plot twists - it's the fear that something horrible can happen at any moment." [Cinematic Corner

Off Screen
• Oh god. File under totally depressing: If even Meryl Streep doesn't understand what feminism is, the earth is doomed. One of the most successful things conservative thinkers ever did is fooling progressives (and women of any political stripe) into thinking it was a bad word [Refinery 29]
• I mean... Keira Knightley is awesome but shouting marriage proposals at her while she's trying to make her Broadway debut last night. Not cool, drunk stalker! [Playbill]
• "Homophobia unites people of different Christian faiths" - Dan Savage, hero, on the Pope/Kim Davis mishegoss [MSNBC]
• I missed this report last week but The Tony Awards might be leaving their regular home - considering different theaters [NYT]
• "The last time I saw Madonna was on September 6th, 1989, during the live telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. I was in my parents basement with my mother..."  Love these personal essays about stars when people can pull them off. Must Read. [The Hairpin]

Scream Queens
• Is Nick Jonas too into queerbaiting his fans? [Towleroad]
• Are any of you watching? It's such a mess, strains for laughs and (worst of all) revels in its misogyny (Murphy and his writers really need to stop putting words like "gash" into the girls mouths to demean other girls) to the point where you know it's not parody but just actual feeling disguised as parody. I'm only in it for Jamie Lee Curtis (fun but she's been better) and recent Emmy nominee Niecy Nash (making the very very very most of a small role - what a gift she is!). This quote from Towleroad's recap of the third episode made me LOL:

“Chainsaw” ...crammed in so many obvious red herrings, I think it qualifies as an aquarium.

Image of the Day
Michael Fassbender as MacBeth. I will never for the life of me understand what is taking so long with this movie (remember how long ago we saw the first images -- I swear it was 2013 -- or even why they're going to distribute it like a poor stepchild movie. (sigh).

click to embiggen

"Critics Choice" Ch-ch-changes
It's worth noting that the BFCA, of which I am a member -- yes, I'm still bragging about sitting with Jessica Chastain last year --  is making a major change. They're fusing their fairly new TV arm (which currently holds their ceremony in May each year) with their cinema body for one conjoined show starting in January that's 3 hours long. I don't understand what that will mean for current TV shows (two awards for their favorites in just a seven-month span?) but this will obviously make the Critics Choice Awards far more like their sworn enemy* the Golden Globes. Obviously to make this successful the BFCA will have to axe some of their odder categories from their ever-expanding roster but that was okay because things were getting seriously weird there in their attempts to cover everything but NOT officially categorize anything (resulting in weird 'it's an action movie but it's not... it's a comedy but it's not... it's a drama but... no, scratch that we don't say "drama" about anything --that's the default!') 

I have to admit that it seems odd to have two separate organizations do one event together. Just let us vote on both, and not have to be part of two organizations! Just change the name to Broadcast Critics Choice Awards, dropping the pesky film or tv separations. 

* I'm kidding though for all the heat the Golden Globe take from US journalists, it's perpetually hilarious that US journalists always want to be more like them.