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Entries in Meryl Streep (284)

Thursday
Nov082018

Months of Meryl: August Osage County (2013)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.  

#45 —Violet Weston, the cancer-stricken, drug-addicted matriarch of an Oklahoma family.

MATTHEW: Tracy Letts’ high-octane, Pulitzer Prize-winning family drama August: Osage County was the toast of the 2007-2008 Broadway season, which made a cinematic adaptation all but inevitable and the star involvement of Meryl Streep an equally foregone conclusion. The vituperative, pill-popping Violet Weston is the crowning achievement of Letts’ play and arguably the meatiest dramatic role to come along for sexagenarian actresses in the past 15 years. The part has been previously interpreted on stage by the Tony-winning Deanna Dunagan (who originated the character in the initial Steppenwolf production), Estelle Parsons, and Phylicia Rashad, any one of whom could have bowled us over in an alternate film, as might have rumored candidates like Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This isn’t to take away a single merit from Streep’s no-holds-barred work, but rather acknowledge that Streep herself is the rare and defiant exception who proves the rule that actresses over the age of 50 are anathema to Hollywood’s gatekeepers.

Before falling in love with the eye of the camera, Streep was first and foremost a creature of the theater...

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Thursday
Nov012018

Months of Meryl: Hope Springs (2012)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#44 — Kay Soames, a lonesome woman trying to revitalize her stagnant marriage

JOHN: Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep have screen personas as disparate as the parts of a taijitu. While Streep actively courts her audience with vital charisma or some captivating form of transformation, Jones seems just as satisfied to pretend that the audience isn’t there, rarely soliciting our sympathy or even our attention. What a surprise, then, to see each actor force the other to explore previously untapped potentials in this later stage of his/her career and deliver a performance as nuanced and exciting as the very best work in their respective filmographies.

In David Frankel’s Hope Springs, Streep and Jones are Kay and Arnold Soames, a couple married for 31 years who now regard each other like estranged roommates. They rarely speak to one another aside from the occasional “good morning” and “good night.” A hug a day is the extent of their intimacy; they haven’t had sex in almost four years...

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Thursday
Oct252018

Months of Meryl: The Iron Lady (2011)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#43 —Margaret Thatcher, the polarizing British prime minister.

MATTHEW: After decades of heavy speculation about when, not if, Meryl Streep would finally win her third Academy Award, the most widely admired actress of all time picked up another trophy for a performance that may best be remembered as a textbook study in How to Win an Oscar. Despite stiff, down-to-the-wire competition from The Help’s eminently deserving Viola Davis, who transcended lackluster material in much the same way that Streep herself did in her most acclaimed tour de force, the actress sailed to victory after a season’s worth of ovations and exposure. The months preceding Streep’s first Oscar win in nearly 30 years found the acting legend accepting her eighth Golden Globe, her fourth New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, her second BAFTA Film Award, her very first Vogue cover story, a Kennedy Center Honors lifetime achievement tribute, and endless publicity concerning one of the most challenging roles of her late career, that of Margaret Thatcher in what should rightfully be called Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, but might just as suitably be described as Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady. And when one truly considers the sheer size and notoriety of the role, who could have possibly topped Streep that year? Conversely, when truly considering the actual performance that returned Streep to Oscar glory, away from all the myth/history-making hubbub that surrounded it, one could be forgiven for wondering, Is that all there is?

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Thursday
Oct182018

Months of Meryl: It's Complicated (2009)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 

#42 —Jane Adler, a successful bakery owner caught in a love triangle with her ex-husband and her architect.

JOHN: Quick: name a recent American movie starring a 60-year-old woman who, in attempting to enliven her long-deferred sex life, is pursued by not one but two enamored men. Additionally: name a film like this that grossed over $200 million worldwide. Perhaps the only correct answer is Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated, which is itself a testament to both the rarified and barrier-breaking career of its leading lady, the one and only Meryl Streep. “Only” because, well, who else but Streep could get a movie like this off the ground and steward it toward a box office tier reserved almost exclusively for inane, teenager-courting blockbusters? In her 2011 Vogue cover story, Streep remarked that “in the period of Silkwood, [It’s Complicated] could never have been made, with a 60-year-old actress deciding between her ex-husband and another man. With a 40-year-old actress it would never have been made.” It’s Complicated is a star vehicle that is in some ways completely uncomplicated, but in other ways downright revolutionary, showcasing the effervescent charisma of its beloved star while also demanding that audiences consider a woman who undoubtedly exists in the real world but hardly ever graces the big screen... 

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Tuesday
Oct162018

Two New Films Coming from Steven Soderbergh

by Nathaniel R

Steven Soderbergh is a liar. He "retired" around the time of Side Effects / Behind the Candelabra (2013) and has since made two feature films and two TV series. Ha ha. That kind of lie we like. Good filmmakers should never retire. They should hold cameras in their hands until they drop. At any rate, add two more films to Soderbergh's huge resume. That's four films since retiring 5 years ago. Teehee...

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Thursday
Sep272018

Months of Meryl: Mamma Mia! (2008)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.  

#39 —Donna Sheridan, a dancing queen, hotelier, and single mother of a bride-to-be.

MATTHEW: When it comes to motion picture musicals, the old adage certainly holds true — they really don’t make them like they used to. But when it comes to Mamma Mia!, the 2008 cinematic adaptation of the long-running jukebox stage show/certified cash cow that’s still chugging along on the West End and in numerous cities across the globe, one could justifiably say that they, thankfully, never made them quite like this.

Structured around the music of ABBA, the story is thin but not automatically dire, at least on paper: Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) is an unusually deceptive 20-year-old engaged to be married to Sky (Dominic Cooper) and living on the fictitious, picturesque Greek island of Kalokairi, where her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) owns and operates a modest yet crumbling hotel...

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