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Entries in Meryl Streep (158)

Monday
Jan192015

Fairy Tales, Witches, and Oscars. An 87 Year History

Over on Twitter Alex posed an interesting question to me and I thought I'd share it with you. Is Meryl Streep the first actor to be Oscar-nominated for playing a witch, or anyone in a fairy tale for that matter? As far as I can tell the answer is "in the way that you mean, yes" and "I believe so."

Though no witches in the fairy tale or broom-riding sense have been nominated before Streep, technically a witch star turn has won an Oscar and another spell-caster has been nominated. The first would be Ruth Gordon's diabolical coven leaderbusybody in Rosemary's Baby which we discussed in worshipful detail here.  And Sir Ian McKellen was nominated for playing "Gandalf the Grey" who, being a sorcerer, is basically the male equivalent of a witch. Otherwise, no witches. The famous witches we think of when we think of the movies weren't actually nominated. No, not even the greatest of them all, Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939). 

After the jump let's look back through cinema history and see how fairytale or witchy films like Into the Woods have fared at the Oscars shall we?  (This is an incomplete history. Feel free to share things I missed. Especially great witchiness.)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan162015

Supporting Actress: The Chart, The Poll, The Stats

It's funny how little news coverage there is now each time Meryl Streep breaks her own Oscar records. With her 19th nomination she's just 5 more away from DOUBLING the previous record holders (Jack Nicholson & Katharine Hepburn) whose record of 12 nominations she broke a dozen years back with Adaptation (2002), her 13th. Five would seem like a ridiculous number remaining to even mention (only roughly two dozen actresses have managed five nods in entire careers in the history of the world) but it's Meryl and she's nominated each time she makes a movie and makes them (almost) every year. Maybe she'll reach that big number before her 75th birthday in the summer of 2024?

Supporting Actress nonsense, The Arquettes, and more trivia after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan122015

Beauty vs Beast: Bombing The Globes

JA from MNPP here again, keeping the Golden Globes afterglow going with this week's double-edition of our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" poll. Looking for a communal villain at an awards show can be rough - one person's beastly Matthew McConaughey or nightmarish Alejandro González Iñárritu will be inexplicably loved by others (quite deranged folks, I'm convinced). But then there are the "Ooof" moments, when something lands with a quite resounding thud, and those are the times that well, those are what we'll most likely remember one two and ten years from now. Here are two of last night's "Ooof" moments. Which side do you fall down on?

I have my own opinions (read this tweet) as to what's going on with Jeremy Renner, who was all kinds of messy from the moment he hit the stage, but anybody who can make a long avowed J-Loather like me feel a pang of sympathy for her is sure accomplishing... something. On the other hand... the globes, they were definitely golden? As a statement of fact it's not false, exactly. Okay I'm stretching.

 

Next up...

That picture will never not crack me up. Personally I was down with Margaret Cho's North Korean schtick; what pushed it over the edge for me was the banality of her offered opinions, like the category mis-placement of Orange is the New Black. But I gather not everyone took to it so kindly! Meryl Streep, for instance, seemed genuinely mortified being roped into the routine. That said I don't know if you've heard this but Meryl Streep is considered a fine actress -- her horror might've been a ruse. A terribly terribly convincing ruse. (Maybe she'll win an Emmy for the performance next year?)

 

You've got one week to make your opinions heard; hit the comments and draw your battle lines. And yes, one week from now we'll know the Oscar nominations and the Golden Globes will be but a foggy hangover feeling; tis the nature of the awards beast.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's poll tackled Annie Hall in honor of Diane Keaton's birthday, and she easily la-di-da'd her way to a triumph, taking over 80% of the vote! Poor Alvy, this is gonna keep him in therapy for... yeah he's never getting out of therapy. Said brookesboy:

"I think some people think Keaton is getting by on charm in this role, but it's so much more than that. The seeming effortlessness in this performance is what makes it so special and enduring."

Sunday
Jan112015

The 72nd Golden Globes

We'll discuss in greater detail tomorrow but for tonight a skeletal live blog to remind us of what happened when

8:00 An opening monologue to intimidate all future Globe hosts. Amy & Tina are on fire with just about every joke landing, some more comfortably than others. Jessica Chastain sums up the reactions to the Bill Cosby joke below. [more after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec312014

Screener Adventures from American Snipers to British Painters (Pt. 2)

Previously... I shared brief thoughts about rewatches of Big Hero, Grand Budapest, Babadook well as The Homesman and Skeleton Twins.

What came next in the home-screening adventures, you ask? Here I am to answer. I haven't had as much time as I'd hope (aint that always the case) but I've been trying to cram movies in. Here are a handful of notes on movies from the screener stack.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Credit where credit is due: For once a Clint Eastwood movie is not filmed like its sinking into an inky black void where color is a total affront to sober intent. It turns out Tom Stern can make movies that take place in reasonably well lit places. Okay, okay, let's not get carried away. It's still largely colorless but this time there is daylight though the subject matter remains brutal. I'm not sure what to make of its dead-eyed killings which aren't filmed with any rah-rah glee that you'd think would accompany the movie's conservative America is #1 conservatism. Even its one note patriotism is presented rather than, I think, fully endorsed: Chris Kyle, very well played by Bradley Cooper though there isn't much in the way of an arc, memorably refuses to engage with any criticism and is all "God, Family, & Country" in each scene. But something about its very matter-of-fact presentation and inarticulate hero wore me down after awhile despite gripping action sequences. I have no idea how Oscar might respond but my hunch is it's either full hog or both sound nominations only a la Lone Survivor

Meryl's Insane Bankability Continues! Well done, diva.INTO THE WOODS
Reviewed by ranking its musical numbers here. It was the second time I'd seen it having watched it on a big screen originally. Weirdly I think the cinematography, which often looked too muddy and dark on the screen works a little better on a TV. But anyway...  let's hear it for Disney for a great opening weekend. It's important that musicals do well so that we get more of them! Into the Woods won not only the biggest opening weekend ever for a Broadway adaptation but the biggest of Meryl Streep's career, as well. I imagine we'll continue to talk about Into the Woods for a while --  multiple Oscar nominations coming -- so I'll let this be all for this post.

THE JUDGE
I already peed on that here but it keeps haunting me like bad trip flashbacks. Especially the dye job on Vera Farmiga who deserves better Hollywood, come on. Also that scene where RDJ is like superhero-lawyer and stops a bar fight with the power of his wily words!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
A love letter from Tangiers & Detroit to all of you who recommended this movie throughout the year. Though I was once the type who would rush to anything vampiric, I'll readily admit that Hollywood's overuse of the bloodsuckers finally wore me out; I've been avoiding all such movies for years now. But I should have trusted Jim Jarmusch to come at it from an entirely different angle and I don't know how I missed that it was shot by Yorick Le Saux who won my silver medal for cinematography in 2010 for I Am Love. Detroit has never looked so beautifully haunted, Tilda and Tom couldn't have been a more exotically languid well-cultured pair, its slow moods weren't trying but contemplative, and the ending was pitch-perfect delayed gratification.

Excusez moi


MR TURNER
A surprise. If you only listen to this movie as opposed to watching it (which is what I sometimes do when The Boyfriend is watching TV) it sounds rather like a horror movie. I'm not kidding. There are a lot of scary animalistic noises supposedly emanating from human people (not just Spall's famed grunt speak) and the score by Gary Yershon might be the creepiest outside of Under the Skin this year.  

P.S. Speaking of The Boyfriend...
This time of year chez moi he watches a ton of screeners since he doesn't go to many critics screenings with me. I usually don't watch carefully (having already seen them) and drift in and out as I'm working. He is unpredictable about movies. He loved Pride and Ida (as most sane people do), thought Mr Turner was "good. well made" but clearly had no passion for it. Cried huge apartment-flooding puddles during Still Alice and Wild, and inexplicably H-A-T-E-D both Force Majeure and A Most Violent Year (what the what??? x 2). Finally, he was paying so little attention to Love is Strange that I had to make him shut it off. That wonderful movie from Ira Sachs is too delicate for half-watching. It requires your full attention or that glorious final 15 minutes just won't resonate. 

Have you ever learned something new about a movie you loved by catching only pieces of it or hearing it in the background?

Monday
Dec292014

Reviewish: Into the Woods, Musical Numbers Ranked

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic Into the Woods. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Cinderella's family mocking our movie musical anxiety

When it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review...

Click to read more ...

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