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Entries in Maggie Gyllenhaal (9)

Sunday
Sep162018

Women on the Verge at TIFF: abandoned wives, kindergarten teachers, and activists

by Nathaniel R

Why does anyone make movies about men? No, really. Female characters are inherently more fascinating. That's not only because they're allowed a wider range of feeling onscreen due to repressive gender norms which discourage men from embracing a full range of emotion, but because women's stories are more infrequently told and, thus, fresher. Herewith four recommended movies about women on the verge of either nervous breakdowns, or major crimes. 

WILDLIFE and WIDOWS
Chris has already reviewed these intense dramas about abandoned wives here and here. We'll have plentiful opportunities to discuss them during Oscar season but I just want to second his surprise rave of Wildlife  because it's spot-on. I'll admit, though, that I'm ever so slightly cooler on Widows than I initially thought. I attended the very starry premiere (seriously that cast!) and the screening and movie were both so electric that I was like 'favorite of the fest. wow' But it doesn't linger in quite the way you'd expect given how exciting it is in the moment (it's going to be a big hit). Still, it's the film from TIFF that I'm most eager to see a second time. 

WOMAN AT WAR
Woman at War is the story of a childless choir director Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir in a no-nonsense charismatic turn) who moonlights as a fearless environmental activist in her spare time. Halla has caused enormous problems for a local corporation by knocking out their power again and again. She evades capture with impressive physical skill, careful planning, and paranoid routines; there's a funny recurring shot in which she places her cel phone in a refridgerator before speaking to friends in person about secretive matters. Just as her corporate sabotage is beginning to make real world waves, she learns that she's going to be a mother via adoption proceedings she began years prior. How can she do both?

The Icelandic writer/director Benedikt Erlingsson arrived with Of Horses and Men, an indelible Oscar submission in 2013. This tense, twisty, and provocative sophomore feature is even better and confirms that that was no mere fluke. He's a singular talent, able to imbue sly visual and narrative humor with idiosyncratic depth of feeling. His boldest move in Woman at War, one that risks being a distracting comic gimmick but somehow elevates the picture into the sublime, is an on-camera orchestra. They give the picture a score that doubles as both interior monologue and greek chorus, commenting on but also entangled in Halla's complex possibly disastrous passions. Highly recommended!

THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Maggie Gyllenhaal is terrific and troubling (no surprise. That's kind of her thing) as a teacher who becomes obsessed with a student. Her favorite little student composes beautiful poems on the spot with little warning that the muse has struck. Fearing that his prodigious talent will wither and die if it's not nurtured she begins to step outside her proper place in the classroom and walks right into his life outside. For all of Mrs Spinelli's madness, the complicating factor is how right she often is when her behavior is all wrong. Despite the fascinating central character there's something that feels incomplete or slight about this intriguing drama that's remained difficult to put a finger on. Regardless, the final scene haunts and a great ending can go a long way. 

 

Wednesday
Jul182018

Thoughts I Had... Rewatching "The Dark Knight"

by Nathaniel R

Why so serious? Yes, you're 10 years older on this anniversary of The Dark Knight's release and probably watching the world burn with significantly less glee than The Joker would but still. Lighten up! At least we have the movies! I was commissioned to write a piece about The Dark Knight's Oscar history elsewhere but I jotted down more film-centric notes during a recent rewatch and will now share them here.

This a chronological skip through the movie. It made such a cultural impact you surely remember its release and maybe even the circumstances in which you saw it. If so, do share in the comments. Ready? Let's press play...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul102017

A First Look at HBO's "Deuce"

Chris here. David Simon is something of an HBO perennial, delivering the likes of The Wire, Treme, and the Oscar Isaac-led mini Show Me A Hero to much acclaim. He's back (along with his frequent collaborator George Pelecanos) this fall for another round of prestige grit with crime series The Deuce, an NYC-set look at the rise of the porn industry and its violent underbelly.

Now before you go calling this HBO's next Vinyl, consider that it also gives us twin James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal in several wigs. There is a lot to take in for a seemingly familiar series: a logo that looks like it belongs in an Atlantic City lounge, campy period detail, dialogue that feels intentionally cheesy. I'm not sure if the tone is supposed to be slightly off-kilter, but there are enough bizarre elements to make The Deuce more intriguing than another severe Goodfellas retread. While the first look below features a lot of the expected plots points for such material, it also hints that we could be getting some peak form Gyllenhaal among its glossy production value. The Deuce debuts September 10.

Friday
Feb102017

What's Next for Gyllenhaalics?

Remember the ol' internet nickname for Gyllenhaal fans circa 2004-2006, "Gyllenhaalics"? We never stopped using the term because it never became irrelevant for us. Both Jake and Maggie have continued to do amazing work well past their initial breakthroughs in the early to mid Aughts. Let's check in with what the wonder siblings are up to after the jump...

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Friday
Sep182015

Team Experience: 2015's Best Emmy Nominees

Andrew here with some more Emmy treats.

In anticipation of Sunday's big night for TV, the television lovers at The Film Experience are bringing to you a special Team Experience top 10 list.Sure, each year a handful of Emmy nominees leave us scratching our head in confusion, but we wanted to celebrate the citations that the voters got right this year and compiled our list of favourite nominees. Unlike usual Team Experience top 10s, though, we're offering you a look at each of our individual top 10s.

Nathaniel always points out how interesting individual ballots in awards tends to be more dynamic than the final tally and to celebrate the wide range of nominees in the prizes still to be handed at Sunday's ceremonies. So, we disregarded the already decided on categories from the Creative Awards ceremonies and from the 26 categories to be decided on Sunday, our twelve person team each submitted their favourite of the nominees.

Unsurprisingly, our individual ballots were full of Actresses. Go below the jump to see them all.

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Tuesday
Jan132015

The Golden Gyllenhaals. And Final Best Actor Predictions

In the cascade of perfect smiles, smh laughter at outre jokes, and general 'oh god the camera is on me now and I don't have a script' that is awards show reaction shows you may have missed the Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal had pride of place at Sunday's Golden Globe ceremony, and received the very first reaction shot as Tina & Amy entered to host, their joke quote, "the 72nd and final Golden Globe Awards". The very first reaction shot. Even Oprah had to settle for second billing. 

It was a good night for the Gyllenhaals. They started the festivities with family nostalgia listening to "Graceland" in the limo (as they said on the red carpet), Maggie won for Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries for The Honourable Woman, Jake was a very proud sibling and a nominee, and Jake's current Broadway co-star Ruth Wilson ("Constellations") was also a winner taking Best Actress in a Drama Series for The Affair.

Maggie's acceptance speech was a beauty

I love that she doesn't even disguise that she's "complicated" which Gone Girl reminds us is a code word for "bitch." Will any of this reminder of her screen power that the industry got in The Honourable Woman transfer back to the big screen in better parts?

Even Frances McDormand vaguely put up with Maggie's speech.. well, half of it anyway. She started fanning herself at one point which looked very dismissive oncamera until we read afterwards that the air conditioning was not working in the building, which explains all of the celebrities looking like they forgot to powder before taking the stage. 

But What About Jake?
He didn't win but with Nightcrawler picking up so much steam at various guilds, it seems reasonable to expect him to show up in the final five for Best Actor. I've decided to bet big and risky on Nightcrawler in my final Oscar predictions, so I'm saying he's in.

My Final Predictions
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything 

Now, it is a tight race and anyone could fall out, really, with the exception of Redmayne & Keaton -- either of them missing would be a shocker. If someone does stumble my guess is that it's not Gyllenhaal since his film garnered so much surprising love late in the game, but either Oyelowo (if Selma underperforms) or *gasp* Cumberbatch... in kind of a Leo/Titanic moment. Bradley Cooper may be gaining steam with American Sniper but of the 9 performances left standing at this point (my predictions: plus Carell, Cooper, Fiennes, and Spall) Cooper's is literally the least showy. It's not too often where the least showy triumph, even if he is very good as the blindly patriotic kiling machine. But Just about the only attention-grabbing aspect of his turn is that he gained weight. He has approximately one scene you might call an 'Oscar clip'. Now, that might not stop AMPAS from nominating him if they're in a very Cooper place (Oscar, like the Emmys, does get into ruts where anything will do for certain performers) but are they? His two nominations were for super popular actors-branch obsessions with the whole cast receiving nominations. He'd have to pull this one off on his own.

Finally, my heart wants to predict Ralph Fiennes as the surprise that makes every bit of sense once it happens. But my head tells me that's entirely too much wishful thinking. The Oscars would never give me both Fiennes and Gyllenhaal. That would be too much abundance for this pundit whose taste in male actors is generally not sympatico with Oscar voters.