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Entries in Matthias Schoenaerts (13)

Saturday
Sep132014

TIFF: A Little Chaos

TIFF 14 doesn't actually wrap until tomorrow night but my adventure in Toronto has come to an end. There are still a few writeups to come but here, for you, is my take on the Closing Night Film as I zip up the suitcase and head to the airport.

How to describe that thing where you thoroughly enjoy watching something that is neither objectively good, nor enjoyably bad? I imagine anyone who has an inordinate fondness for an entire genre or subgenre, quality be damned, will understand. Sci-fi and horror fans will line up nodding, I'm sure. But for me that genre is the costume dramedy.

Those with allergies to "light" costume period pieces should give this trifle from actor/director Alan Rickman a wide wide berth. For me, prone to enjoy both famous thespians playing dress-up and royalty porn as long as it neither are weighed down by the self-seriousness of Oscar-seeking biopics, this obscure fanciful tale flew by. Alan Rickman plays the King of France who wants a brand new something-he's-never-seen-before as new attraction for the gardens of Versailles. He's about to move the entire court there and the unveiling must be magnificent. A fountain it will be then and his royal gardener Andrè Le Norte (Matthias Schoenaerts in walking romance novel cover form with long luscious locks but broad shouldered manliness) hires the widow landscape designer Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet) to create it because he recognizes that she's actually a visionary immediately though he can't quite admit to it as he weighs her proposal.

Complicating matters is that the King doesn't handle failure well and Le Norte's future hangs in the balance and he wants things quicker than they seem possible. Also: Le Notre and De Barra are, SURPRISE! (just kidding), falling for each other.

There's a bit of proto-feminism wishfulfillment happening and a bit of romantic melodrama but the movie never totally commits to any one thread. Its paper thin, really, with nothing much in the way of thematic interest that's actually explored or depth of characterization. All hangups aside it was just great to see Kate Winslet on the big screen again but she could've done this in her sleep while blinded by silly hats and short of breath from a corse---oh, wait. But better light and unchallenging than embarrassing which is how things go in the movie's most obvious bid at self-seriousness with a "twist" flashback about Madame Barra's tragic past that the movie teases ad nauseum from early on.

The movie suffers from what looks like underfunding since it skimps on anything that might back up the central subject matter which is meant to convey and continually references about how lush, overgrown, and imaginative De Barra's work is. But again, an easy sit, especially if you're costume inclined. Winslet and Schoenearts work fine together though their romance feels more talent-based than physical. Since their work is dramatic they sometimes feel like they're in their own film. It's not unlike those classic Disney fairy tales, really, where the leads are drawn as "beautiful" realistic-ish humans while the side characters are from another species, with oversized heads or comic limbs. Among the ensemble, most of the actors are delightful even if no one is remotely challenged (oh look Stanley Tucci doing his fun gay sidekick schtick again!). Jennifer Ehle (far on the periphery) and Helen McCrory (near the center of the action as Schoenaerts shady wife) both manage to play into the movies preference for types and caricature while also slyly suggesting actual individual character. As a result their scenes feel like whole new films sprouting up like weeds inside the one we got but that's okay since this garden is wilted. C+

 

Also at TIFF: WildThe Gate, Cub, The Farewell Party, BehaviorThe Theory of Everything, Imitation GameFoxcatcher, Song of the Sea, 1001 Grams, Labyrinth of Lies, Sand DollarsThe Last Five YearsWild Tales, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on ExistenceForce Majeure, Life in a Fishbowl, Out of Nature, The Kingdom of Dreams and MadnessCharlie's Country, and Mommy

Saturday
Aug302014

Game of Links

Catching up on news & noteworthy we didn't cover the past couple of days...

Brangelina
Vanity Fair the details of the Brangelina marriage that we know. I'm really so happy for them as a longtime fan but...
Time knocks them for not keeping their promise to the gays. I knew this backlash would happen. But they did hold out a long time and they've done so much good for the world including for marriage equality that I think we should let it slide
Gawker asks the intriguing question: "Why is Angelina Jolia a movie star?"

Some of her movies have been well-received acting vehicles. Some of her movies have been gargantuan commercial products. There is no place where those circles overlap on the Venn diagram. 

It's worth pondering her atypical celebrity.

Absolute Must Read!
/bent has a fascinating long essay about HBO, Game of Thrones, and the distinct feeling that TV series are beginning to go for sex and violence just to have them rather than serve the story. It's a super interesting detailed piece that covers more than just Game of Thrones but past series as well and troubling gender politics and rape fantasies. 

More Linkage For Infotainment
Variety has intriguing film/stage news: Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men fame will be playing the legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder on stage in a play about the making of Double Indemnity. Good luck finding someone who can pull off Barbara Stanwyck!
The Film Stage a new trailer for Stephen Daldry's Trash. You guys no matter what I do, I cannot remember to watch this. I didn't see the first one either. I still know nothing about this movie
Deadline the first Oscar FYC screener to go out is actually Snowpiercer. That's a fun surprise. They're pushing Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress. I can't find a large enough photo of the screener online to tell who else they're pushing though. 

/Film The Maze Runner is being shown in "Panoramic Projection" which is a new thing that's apparently descended from CinemaScope.  
In Contention Kate Winslet and a bunch of acclaimed actors are starring in John Hillcoat's (Lawless) next feature in 2015 called Triple Nine
Out profiles Belgian superstar Matthias Schoenaerts
Empire Charlie Hunnam to play King Arthur for Guy Ritchie
The Wire explains the messy chain of events of that Bryan Singer sexual abuse lawsuit, which has now been dismissed 
Variety The Art Directors Guild has expanded their annual awards categories. Lots of interesting things will be honored now like storyboard artists and such 
Gizmodo wonders how NYC would respond to an actual Stay Puft Marshmallow Man attack. 
/Film Actor Bill Hader shares a list of his 200 favorites  (I was super happy to see Trouble in Paradise, Nashville, and L'Atalante... let's just say he has really good taste)
Vulture talks to Jessica Chastain about yet another season of multiple movies and her love of movies, even the bad silly ones.

But tonight I'm going to the movies and I really go to the movies any chance I can... I love 'em all."

Small Screen
Decider looks back at a very special episode of "The Facts of Life". Weren't they all? 
Variety on why the Emmy rules are so hard to fix
Variety talks to Allison Janney about her career and double Emmy night
TV Line great news: Enver Gjokaj, so brilliant on Dollhouse and not as well employed as he should be is joining the Marvel Universe via that Agent Peggy Carter show 
Pajiba David Fincher's Gap commercials  

DISCUSSION TOPIC
Do you ever find yourself reading a blog post or essay or watching a conversation and one casual remark will totally throws you out of the piece until it's all you can think of? That's what happened to me with that Hilary Swank comment the other day. It happened twice more last night. I was watching an interview with the star of Obvious Child, Jenny Slate, where she was all "I miss romantic comedies where women are complex". Me too! But then her example of non-complex is shade thrown Kristen Wiig & Bridesmaids way? HUH? That's one of the only great romantic comedies of the past decade with complex female characterizations. Then I'm over at Film School Rejects reading a take on the Honorary Oscars and they're complaining about no "career tribute" style Oscar nomination for Maureen O'Hara in that John Candy movie Only the Lonely (1991). And then Christopher Campbell writes:

Did they really need to honor Juliette Lewis instead?

What-the-what-now? Juliette was the best one in her category that year! Plus, sucking Robert DeNiro's thumb is really going above and beyond for art on account of gross.

Has this happened to you recently where you just can't with one sentence? 

 

Tuesday
Jun032014

Chart Feedback & Mystery Movies

ICYMI over the weekend, I finally unveiled the first round of Oscar charts and pontificating and naturally Best Actress generated the most commentary from you though I readily admit I expected a little more discussion than we got on Screenplay (wah-wah). But maybe that's because I find that topic inherently interesting.

When I'm working on reviews or charts or any topic that involves opinion-making (*cough*) I tend to avoid reading other people on the same topic until I'm finished. Naturally this approach has drawbacks because I forget things. For instance, Sasha Stone recently talked up Best Actress and threw out some names that aren't on my chart (like Diane Keaton in And So It Goes...)  and Kris, Guy, and Gregory at In Contention also talked up '20 movies that aren't on your radar' and my biggest miss there from the Oscar charts is surely the civil rights drama Selma from Ava DuVernay which stars the formidable young actor David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. I loved their last collaboration Middle of Nowhere and I'd be thrilled if this film was a) as good and b) made a bigger dent come awards time. Tom Wilkinson co-stars as President Lyndon B Johnson. If that film is finished in time it could rock the boat in more than a few categories.

The next chart updates will hit on June 22nd so we have a few weeks to mull over the field.

One movie that I can't stop thinking about is Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos. I expect this curiousity is due to the very vague info that's floating about. We know that Alan Rickman is directing and plays King Louis XIV. We know that Kate Winslet is the lead as a landscaper trying to design a fountain for the King. We know that the talented as he is hunky Matthias Schoenearts (who must have cloned himself he's in so many movies now) is Kate's love insterest. But not much else though it wrapped filming last year. It's an odd premise that sounds comedic but most vague reports list it as a drama or a romance. But the cast is marvelous. The film also features character actors like Stanley Tucci, Helen McRory, Jennifer Ehle and Emma Thompson's mom Phyllida Law. 

Which under the radar movie are you most curious about?

Monday
Nov042013

Say What? Carey & Matthias

Amuse us. Add caption or dialogue to this photo of Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust & Bone/Bullhead) and Carey Mulligan in the upcoming Far From the Madding Crowd.

AND THE WINNER IS

Monday
Feb042013

20 Days 'til Oscar: The Live Action Shorts

Amir here. Yesterday we had a look at the animated short films nominated for an Oscar this year. Today we’re moving on to the live action shorts. In a nice bit of symmetry with the animation category, this one also features two great films and three not-so-great ones. Collectively, however, these nominees are a much stronger bunch than last year’s.

First up is Death of a Shadow, a Belgian-French co-production starring Franco-cinema’s it-boy Matthias Schoenaarts. It’s a fantasy film about a soldier whose job it is to capture the moment of death on a camera that registers shadows. The images are stored in a collection by the (very creepy) patron of his photography. Eventually, his love for a woman called Sarah pushes him to make her lover the final victim of his photography. It sounds concept-y, and quite frankly, it is. The visual effects leave a bit to be desired, but the much bigger problem is the complete lack of emotional resonance. The biggest achievement of Death of a Shadow is the impossible feat of making Schoenaarts look unattractive.

Four more shorts after the jump including the probable Oscar winner

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan252013

César Noms: "Amour" vs "Rust & Bone" vs "Holy Motors"

Editor's Note: You may have figured out over the years that The Film Experience is more than a little fond of France and French cinema. Sadly I've never been to France. This year I've asked my friend in Paris, Julien to keep us up to date so he sent in the following article about this year's nominations. You should follow Julien Kojfer on Twitter because he's great. Just pretend you understand French whenever he goes there! - Nathaniel R

Julien takes it from here.

Three Films that also made waves Stateside

Here’s one for all you francophiles out there. France’s very own AMPAS, the César Academy, revealed its own set of nominees this morning. Since I’m guessing a lot of you won’t be familiar with most of the anointed films and performers, I’ll guide you through the major categories - a usual mixed bag of auteurist fare, populist hits, and biopic dreck.  

BEST PICTURE

  • Amour
  • Rust and Bone
  • Holy Motors
  • Farewell, My Queen
  • In the House
  • Camille Rewinds
  • Le Prénom (What’s in a name) 

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Michael Haneke for Amour
  • Jacques Audiard for Rust and Bone
  • Leos Carax for Holy Motors
  • Benoît Jacquot for Farewell, My Queen
  • François Ozon for In the House
  • Noémie Lvovsky for Camille Rewinds
  • Stéphane Brizé for Quelques heures de printemps

The major categories were bumped up from 5 to 7 nominees since the last couple of years, which makes no sense to me whatsoever, but who cares. The über-frontrunner is obviously Amour, which will be difficult to deny considering that Palme d’or and those 5 Oscar nominations.

This is Michael Haneke's 2nd Best Director nomination at the César Awards. He was previously nominated for Caché (Hidden)Rust and Bone seems to be the main challenger, but since Jacques Audiard has already triumphed twice at the César for his two most recent efforts, voters will presumably see no objection in handing the César-less Haneke his due. Also keep in mind that César voters are notoriously generous to foreign auteurs: Roman Polanski has won the Best Director prize thrice (and for English-speaking films to boot: Tess, The Pianist and The Ghost Writer) and past best director winners also include Joseph Losey (American) for Monsieur Klein, Andrzej Wajda (Polish) for Danton, Ettore Scola (Italian) for Le Bal and Denys Arcand (Canadian) for The Barbarian Invasions

The other nominees make for a surprisingly strong lineup: Farewell, My Queen (on Nathaniel’s own Top Ten list) is superior costume fare from respected veteran Benoît Jacquot; the deliciously sly In the House is François Ozon’s best film since 8 Women; Noémie Lvovsky’s Camille Rewinds is so charming and heartfelt that it manages to make you forget how blatantly it rips-off 80s classic Peggy Sue Got Married; and of course Leos Carax’s astonishing Holy Motors is everyone’s favorite comeback story of 2012 (I’m sorry, Ben who?) 

MORE AFTER THE JUMP including Cotillard vs. Riva

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec012012

A Lively Live Action Short Race: Bryce Dallas Howard, Matthias Schoenaerts & More...

Yesterday the finalists list for the Live Action Short film category at the Oscars was announced. Bryce Dallas Howard could be an Oscar nominee in just 39 days time! But Ron Howard's daughter is not the only familiar face in the mix here. 

Matthias Schoenaerts in "Death of a Shadow"

One film about mountain climbers, The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars features popular 80s stars Nastassja Kinski (Tess herself) and Julian Sands. Another, Death of a Shadow, stars the rapidly ascending Belgian god Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead & Rust & Bone). He plays a dead soldier who hopes to win his life back by capturing thousands of shadows of dying men and women.

Father and Daughter will be nominated together if "when you find me" wins the nomination on January 10thThe 11 wide finalist list, which also features multiple films about children in war-torned countries (a frequent subgenre within award-winning short films), goes like so:

  • A Fábrica (The Factory) 
  • Asad 
  • Buzkashi Boys 
  • Curfew 
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) 
  • Henry  
  • Kiruna-Kigali 
  • The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars 
  • 9meter 
  • Salar 
  • when you find me 

More info and trailers on the Animated, Shorts & Documentary Oscar Chart Page