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Entries in Meryl Streep (196)

Sunday
Apr242016

Tribeca: Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray. (Including Meryl Streep)

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on 'Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray.'

There are many things to love about Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray, Kristi Zea's documentary on the iconoclastic visual artist: its impassioned chronicle of sexism in the upper echelons of the art establishment which long kept Murray out of the big leagues in the art world; its playful visual aesthetic which both borrows and reflects Murray's own, turning the screen into a malleable canvas; its understanding of space as mirror and echo of Murray’s personality (unsurprising given Zea’s Oscar-nominated work as a production designer); and then, of course, there's Meryl Streep's narration of the artist’s journals.

Murray died in 2007 of lung cancer and Zea had clearly begun working on this project before she passed: we get to see her talk about her long career as well as working on what would become her last piece, "Everybody Knows," which gives the film its title. But Zea recruited the Oscar perennial to bring to life the private and intimate musings of the artist. Much has been made of Meryl's uncanny ability to mimic accents and dialects, but listen closely and you'll note that her most lived-in (and even her most forgettable) performances rely on the candor of her voice. Think of the sibilant esses in Devil Wears Prada, or the shrill pitchy timbre in Death Becomes Her. In Zea's film she plunges us further into Murray's headspace with a well-placed suppressed giggle or an intentionally accidental pause. It almost becomes Murray’s final artistic collaboration, a fitting one for someone who broke glass ceilings and bore her feminism proudly.

Grade: B+

Wednesday
Apr202016

Lukewarm off the Presses: Hamilton, Banks, Anastasia, Cloak & Dagger. Plus Tony Buzz!

Nathaniel, back from the Nashville Film Festival where I juried on the "New Directors" competition. More on that once our awards are announced. Until then, I'm under hush order. But let's catch up on all sorts of movie & entertainment news that happened over the past handful of days that we didn't cover here.

• Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Pulitzer for his Broadway smash Hamilton and, giddy squeal, The New Yorker's television goddess Emily Nussbaum won the Pulitzer for criticism. If you haven't read her, you must. She's just wonderful.
The Golden Globes have clarified their rules for what drama and comedy mean in a probably futile attempt to get campaigns to stop trying to game the system.
• I forgot to mention that teen superhero duo Cloak and Dagger are getting their own TV show (yay! always loved them in the comic books) but Kate Beaton has two words for you "tit windows"
• Elizabeth Banks plans to direct a revival of the Charlie's Angels franchise and she's also playing the villain in the new Power Rangers movie resulting in a horrifying photo.
• Beloved bossy TV mom Doris Roberts has died. The supporting actress won 4 Emmys for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond and also had memorable roles on St. Elsewhere (another Emmy win), Remington Steele, and Angie. She was not only well loved by audiences but co-stars too.
• Carrie Fisher has officially blamed George Lucas for inspiring her writing career because his Star Wars dialogue was so terrible
• Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made some sort of weird apology video for that dog business in Australia
• Adapting animated features into Broadway musicals isn't just for Disney anymore. Anastasia (1997) becomes a stage musical this summer in London and is eyeing the 2016/2017 Broadway season
• There are some who are suspicious that this news is not really official but Nicole Kidman is supposedly returning to Broadway this fall with Photograph 51, after its London run
• Industry people got really excited about 3D high frame rate footage from Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk at a Future of Cinema Conference
• The Academy is STILL trying to explain their new voting rules. So do we get it now?

RANDOM CASTING & DATE SHIFTS
No links just news ICYMI: Daisy Ridley will headline a new film from Marielle Heller, director of Diary of a Teenage Girl called Kolma, a 'mystical' romance; Willem Dafoe joined Justice League (role unknown); Walton Goggins has replaced Joe Manganiello (they're so alike. um...) in History Channel's forthcoming Navy SEALs series Six; Naomi Watts will headline the Netflix psychological thriller series Gypsy (not the musical!) in which she plays a therapist who gets mixed up in her client's lives; Kurt Russell & Kate Hudson will star in the TV series Barbary Coast, a period drama about the gold rush in the 19th century; Kate McKinnon may star in the new back-to-school comedy Senior Year; Nicole Beharie, who was so amazing in Shame (2011) and then starred in TV's Sleepy Hollow, will play the lead female role in the remake of 90s thriller Jacob's Ladder; The Golden Globes will take place on January 8th, 2017 this coming awards season. 

THIS JUST IN
Slightly fresher news before we go

Two of Broadway's Funniest Ladies: Laura Benanti & Jane Krakowski, in "She Loves Me"

• Doug Kraner, a production designer on TV's "Gotham" and several movie hits including Uncle Buck, Sleeping with the Enemy and Enough, has passed away.
• A24 is on board a new James Ponsoldt (Spectacular Now) project a true story drama based on the book "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution"
• The Tonys are coming. The Tonys are coming. That means precursor madness. Yes, as with the Oscars there are many precursors to the Tony Awards. The Outer Critic Circle Nominees and Drama League have already announced their nominees (with Drama Desk to come next week). Since all the groups have slightly different rules for eligibility Hamilton is out of the way for some of the precursors (though obviously not for Tony) since it was eligible while it was Off Broadway last season. With the 800 lb gorilla caged (for the moment) that means good news for other musicals: She Loves Me, American Psycho, Bright Star and The Color Purple all appear strong going into the Tony nominations. The schedule is as follows:

April 28th. Drama Desk Nominations
May 3rd. Tony Award Nominations
May 20th. Drama League Awards (Hosted by Megan Hilty & Zachary Levi)
May 26th. Outer Critics Circle Awards 
June 5th. Drama Desk Awards (Hosted by Michael Urie)
June 12th. Tony Awards (Hosted by James Corden)

P.S.
Meryl Streep also recently spoke at the "Women in the World" summit and at the end of her speech she sings a snippet from Hamilton making this an even better week for Lin-Manuel Miranda and the upcoming Tony Awards.

 

Monday
Apr182016

Who did Hugh Grant make cry & Meryl's most dubious

Murtada here. Graham Norton always manages to coax stories out of his visiting guests that somehow they never divulge on this side of the Atlantic.This week his guests included Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, selling Florence Foster Jenkins. Norton brings up a recent interview in which Grant claimed all his co-stars hated him. Julianne Moore, Rachel Weisz, Emma Thompson, Sandra Bullock and Drew Barrymore are name checked. Clearly the Music and Lyrics (2007) set was not a happy one as this is what Grant said about Barrymore:

She made the mistake of giving me notes. How would you take that?

Meryl's response is perfect and gets the biggest laugh. Deservedly. She knows how to land a line!

Meryl divulges the one movie in her oeuvre she isn’t happy with. I thought it would be Still of the Night (1982) which she has spoken about before. But it’s actually The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981).

It's a fun talk show moment. And wouldn't we all love to get a glimpse of Renee Zellweger's 48 pages long emails. Do it Hugh, put them on twitter! Is The French Lieutenant's Woman really Meryl's most dubious moment on screen?

Tuesday
Mar292016

Today's Must Read: Streep's "Kramer vs Kramer" Breakthrough

This new book on Meryl's rise will be released at the end of AprilIf you haven't yet chanced upon it or been directed there by multiple excited tweets, make sure to read this excerpt / reworking of a passage from a forthcoming book by Michael Schulman on Meryl Streep's rise to fame via Kramer vs Kramer that's currently gracing Vanity Fair. We've talked about Kramer vs Kramer multiple times here at TFE and it's been heartening to see the critical tide at least slightly turning in the blockbuster drama's favor of late. For a long time cinephiles seemed to despise it, due in no small part to its Oscars. When you beat noticeably ambitious artistic and stylized masterpieces like Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz to the Best Picture crown there's bound to be a backlash if your film is merely human-sized, no matter how resonant and superbly acted it may be. But, a truth, that's always worth noting in movie buff wars: every year has multiple films worthy of praise and just because one gets singled out in the moment, it doesn't mean its worthy of your ire.

But I digress. Read this piece! Here's a bit about the fantasies, realities, and fictions around Meryl Streep's audition --  nobody actually knows which is which since the accounts are different depending on who is interviewed:

Meryl marched into the hotel suite where Hoffman, Benton, and Jaffe sat side by side. She had read Corman’s novel and found Joanna to be “an ogre, a princess, an ass,” as she put it soon after to American Film. When Dustin asked her what she thought of the story, she told him in no uncertain terms. They had the character all wrong, she insisted. Her reasons for leaving Ted are too hazy. We should understand why she comes back for custody. When she gives up Billy in the final scene, it should be for the boy’s sake, not hers. Joanna isn’t a villain; she’s a reflection of a real struggle that women are going through across the country, and the audience should feel some sympathy for her. If they wanted Meryl, they’d need to do re-writes, she later told Ms. magazine.

The trio was taken aback, mostly because they hadn’t called her in for Joanna in the first place. They were thinking of her for the minor role of Phyllis, the one-night stand. Somehow she’d gotten the wrong message. Still, she seemed to understand the character instinctively. Maybe this was their Joanna after all?

That, at least, was Meryl’s version. The story the men told was completely different...

Wednesday
Mar162016

Q&A: Australian Greats, Leading Men, and Camera Muses

It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments. 

INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?

This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar. 

This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?

TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).

I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.

KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?

[more Q&A after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar102016

YNMS: Florence Foster Jenkins

Murtada here. Stephen Frears recent output has been uneven. This month, his Lance Armstrong biopic The Program was met with lukewarm reviews and a VOD purgatory release, while Lay the Favorite (2012) and Tamara Drewe (2010) were both immediately forgotten. However he does well when teamed with grand actresses in intimate dramas (The Queen, Philomena). So we are cautiously optimistic about his collaboration with Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins. The story, of an amateur opera singer, known and ridiculed for her very bad singing and her complete delusion about her abilities, is intriguing.

Let's break down the newly released trailer..... after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar032016

If these were offered as doll sets each year...


yes, that's the whole decade* thus far

 

 

...I would need a bigger apartment.

... Also I would go bankrupt. (Especially when trying to hunt down 1950, 1973, 1961 and 1939)

(On a Related Note: Did you see Jose's Best Dressed List?)

 

* Well, not quite the whole decade. Judi Dench was the sole no-show for her nomination for Philomena so that's 59 of the 60 nominees above as they were be-gowned on Oscar night. If you could only afford 1 of these 6 doll sets which year would it be?