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Entries in Michelle Williams (38)

Thursday
Apr072016

April Showers: Blue Valentine

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Kieran Scarlett on Blue Valentine (2010).

What are you doing?

-What does it look like I'm doing?

Getting all wet and naked.

A shower scene between two clearly beautiful lovers (even with the aging makeup) has rarely felt less erotic and more heartbreaking. This exchange manages to perfectly illustrate the tragic state of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy’s (Michelle Williams) relationship in Derek Cianfrance’s modern masterpiece, Blue Valentine. Dean is still obliviously playful, too willing to overlook the realities of his disintegrating marriage in favor of ham-handedly ginning up passion and romance. Cindy feels trapped and hopeless, unable to seek refuge from her husband’s obtuse adulation even in the shower. Her voice drips with the weary impatience often heard in response to a child’s incessant questioning, which frankly is not too dissimilar to how Cindy regards Dean at this point. It’s very much an extension of the first time we see Cindy. She’s lying in bed in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and young daughter, very much equals in their oppressive childlike exuberance bound in and snap her from the slumber into the harsh reality that is this life in which she has found herself.

The traditional (and very valid) reading of Blue Valentine’s two-ply structure (the birth of a romance intercut with its slow, painful death) is that Dean and Cindy have lost something. Their love, once ideal and passionate has been suffocated under the stresses of parenthood and a whirlwind courtship turned into a long marriage. However, there are clear indications in the earlier years that bumps in the road litter their future. Dean wants to be whatever Cindy needs him to be, but lacks the motivation or introspection to figure out how to do so. And Cindy, still unsure of herself can’t begin to know exactly what it is she needs from Dean.

As satisfying as it is to watch them fall in love in their earliest interactions, this is clearly the dynamic from the beginning. As deeply enamored with one another as they are, Dean and Cindy enter each other's lives as solutions to a problem. This problem is bigger than her unremarkable relationship with the lug, Bobby Ontario (Mike Vogel), her eventual pregnancy or her desire to leave her abusive father’s house. It's bigger than Dean's aimlessness paired destructively with his need to be a savior. It’s a problem neither of them can identify, which makes the solution frustratingly out of reach.

So, in this moment, Dean and Cindy take a shower that’s anything but romantic. In the “future room” of this kitschy lovers’ motel, it’s the last gasp of a romance that may well have no future at all. Only a past, looked back upon with unreliable rose-colored glasses and a present where these two lovers, once white hot with passion, can hardly seem to look at each other. Even in the confines of a shower.

Monday
Dec212015

Michelle Williams (x2) Heading to Sundance

Manuel here. Michelle Williams has been surprisingly absent from our screens since she played Glinda in Oz the Great and the Powerful (2013). Though if you were abroad you apparently got to see her alongside Kristin Scott-Thomas in something called Suite Française? (No, it never opened in the US). That looks to change this year. The actress has two projects that will be unveiled at Sundance next month.

First up we'll see her reunite with Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt in Certain Women. Adapted from Maile Meloy’s short stories, the film will make its debut at Sundance and follows three intersecting stories of women in Montana. It co-stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, and Lily Gladstone.

She also has a role in Kenneth Lonergan's follow-up to Margaret, Manchester by the Sea. The fillm follows Lee (Casey Affleck) as he returns to his Boston suburb hometown after a family death, coming to terms again with his estranged wife (Williams). Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges also star.

It'll be a nice one-two punch of a return for the actress, especially coming from two such exciting writer/directors; Williams thrives in these low-key indie films so welcome her back with open arms. And, of course, if either of these films get her glowing reviews, might the actress be angling for Oscar nom #4?

Wednesday
Jul082015

HBO’s LGBT History: If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions...

Last week we looked at a number of HBO TV episodes from 1998 (wasn't '98 the gayest?) that gave us a broader cross-section of gay men on screen than the AIDS victim/activist/mourner trifecta we had so grown used to in the HBO films of the early 1990s. Today, we turn our attention to HBO’s first openly didactic piece of LGBT filmmaking with an anthology film helmed by a group of female writers and directors that aimed to trace a (narrow) history of the (white) lesbian experience in the twentieth century.

If These Walls Could Talk 2, much like the anthology film that gives it its name (they’re not really sequels per se, the first dealing with unwanted pregnancies), is comprised of three stories set in the same house and dealing with the same issue: namely, lesbianism. Taken together, the three short films that make up the piece (set in 1961, 1972 and 2000) track a by now familiar narrative of lesbian representation. The melodrama of the early 1960s, steeped in silence and euphemisms, gives way to a romance set against the backdrop of the vexed relationship between lesbians and feminism in the 70s, ending in a “new normal” vision of lesbian parenthood. Schematically we move from a couple to a community and then to a family. A fascinating progression but one which seems much too facile, especially when the first entry is by far its most rewarding. [More...]

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Monday
Jul212014

Linkpiercer

Guardian Tim Robey has a lovely tribute to TV & film star James Garner (RIP) who I'll always remember best for Murphy's Romance and Victor/Victoria in the 1980s
Pajiba I'm more of a cat person but this gallery of big celebrities with tiny dogs is adorable
Criterion Collection on the painstaking restoration of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Thompson on Hollywood has an in depth look at the VOD decisions involving Snowpiercer from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein (so yes it's very one-sided... but interesting nonetheless)

The Dissolve 'when images match ideas' on Snowpiercer and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Pajiba has the talk with Marvel about the Edgar Wright Divorce  
Towleroad Andrew Rannells starts soon as Hedwig. (I'm excited. The role is big enough for multiple interpretations)
Theater Mania Michelle Williams wants to keep singing at the Kit Kat Club longer than expected. She's staying with Cabaret all the way through November 9th now (I guess she doesn't have to start promoting Suite Française for awhile still)
Details interviews Wentworth Miller, former Prison Break hunk and Stoker writer, on his career after coming out

And, finally, are you excited for Festival Season yet?

I'm trying to remain calm as I make plans but NYFF isn't making staying calm any easier what with their Opening Night Film (Gone Girl's world premiere) Centerpiece (Inherent Vice) and Closing Night (Birdman which is scheduled for Venice as well). Tomorrow TIFF holds their opening news conference and we'll hear more about their plans as well. Here's some speculation from a Toronto news site which suggests that Reese Witherspoon is going to be a major presence and you can probably safely assume that Maps to the Stars will also be there given TIFF's love of Cronenberg.

Monday
Apr072014

Stage Door: Michelle Williams in "Cabaret"

Jose here. I have a confession to make that might make me very unpopular around here: I don’t get Michelle Williams. I understand the reasons why she’s beloved and acclaimed and why she’s earned three Academy Award nominations so far, but I can’t bring myself to declare myself as part of her fanclub. The reason behind this is that I can’t fully fathom her as a true sexual being, yet time after time she’s asked to portray characters for whom sex is an essential trait. For instance, as much as she aced the moves, comedic timing and picaresque tone of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, she played the most famous sexual icon of all time as a timid porcelain doll, whose internal turmoils kept her from having an emotional life. What is the point of having Marilyn onscreen if you’re not having at least mildly naughty thoughts about her?

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Sunday
Apr062014

April Showers: "Shutter Island"

We're going to be in for some weather...

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Tuesday
Sep242013

Top Ten Awesome People, 1980 Vintage

I suspect many of you weren't alive in 1980 but do you think of it fondly? To give you a little context, since we're discussing it in the Supporting Actress Smackdown: Jimmy Carter was having a rough last year as POTUS with the ongoing Iran Hostage Crisis and America was about to enter a neo-conservative phase; John Lennon was murdered; "Call Me" by Blondie spent the most weeks as the number one single; "Who Shot J.R.?" was insanely popular via Dallas, DC debuted the awesome 80s comic "New Teen Titans" to compete with Marvel's huge hit "Uncanny X-Men", while Marvel kept it young by adding Kitty Pryde and the disco-leftover superhero Dazzler; Sweeney Todd closed on Broadway and Evita debuted illustrating the shift in the musical theater landscape from the awesome challenging prolific 70s Stephen Sondheim era to the sing-along bombast of British mega musicals of the 80s epitomized by Andrew Lloyd Webber

a tiny sampling of popular 1980 things

But here's why we're here --  Let's savor 1980's cinematic crop for a moment. Are these movies (and people) and things aging well? Is there much left to savor? 

1980, the debut year of Yoda it wasBest Movies According To...
Oscar: Ordinary People*, Coal Miner's Daughter, Raging Bull, The Elephant Man and Tess were the best pictures nominees but they also really dug Fame (6 noms, 2 wins), The Stunt Man (3 noms) and Melvin and Howard (3 noms, 2 wins)
Golden Globe: Raging Bull*, Ordinary People, Tribute, The Stunt Man and The Elephant Man (drama) Coal Miner's Daughter*, Fame, Private Benjamin, Divine Madness, Nine to Five (comedy/musical)
Cannes: [tie] All That Jazz (USA) and Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior (Japan)
Box Office: 1) The Empire Strikes Back 2) Nine to Five 3) Stir Crazy 4) Airplane! 5) Any Which Way You Can
Nathaniel: At the time I was obsesed with only Xanadu and The Empire Strikes Back... so I haven't matured much since then because I still am.

Adorable 1980 Babies after the jump

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