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Entries in Maggie Gyllenhaal (14)

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...

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Monday
Jul162018

Maggie & Marcia

Anyone remember that John Sayles movie Casa de Los Babys. It popped into my head for no reason whatosever today. What a cast that had. So many actresses actressing all over the screen: Harden, Gyllenhaal, Hannah, Moreno, Taylor, Steenburgen, and more.

Thursday
Oct262017

Beauty Break: Happy National Pumpkin Day!

Norma Jean (aka Marilyn before fame) in a pumpkin patch in the 40s

To celebrate this day, more beautiful people with pumpkins after the jump...

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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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