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Entries in Michelle Williams (72)

Tuesday
Jul022019

The New Classics - Meek's Cutoff

The New Classics is a weekly series by Michael Cusumano, looking at great films of the 21st century through the lens of a single selected scene. 

Scene: Emily takes charge
The lost pioneers in Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff travel with a bird in a cage dangling from the back of a covered wagon. It is a token of happier days, when nature was an ornament that decorated your home, not a force that drained the life from you with its punishing distances and barren terrain.

More than a sad joke, the little yellow parakeet also functions as a poignant symbol for the codes of society the pioneers carry with them into the wilderness, codes which become increasingly absurd in the context of their predicament. Lost, dying from thirst, and led by a guide who is either a charlatan or a mad man, the wagon train’s men still make sure to isolate themselves from their wives when discussing strategy.

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Friday
May312019

Fosse/Verdon - Finale!

by Eric Blume

Michelle & Sam as Gwen & Bobby

Fosse/Verdon wrapped its 8-episode run this Tuesday, and here’s a quick recap on the final three episodes, and some overall thoughts on this captivating mini-series.

Episode Six, “All I Care About is Love” 
Episode six concerned Fosse’s heart attack during the editing of Lenny (1974) editing and rehearsals for Chicago on Broadway.  It was one of the weaker episodes of the series, especially coming off the previous episode, the almost-staged-play episode with the characters locked in a Hamptons house, arguably the show’s high-water mark.  That episode gave director Thomas Kail (who went from Hamilton to TV with graceful ease) the opportunity to put in the nails early on and keep screwing tightly, with all the actors laser-focused on their objectives and obstacles.  Episode Six, on the other hand, contained some material handled directly in All That Jazz, and it felt more like a transitional episode for the final narrative haul of the show...

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Saturday
May112019

Fosse/Verdon - Ep. 5: “Where Am I Going?”

previously on Fosse/Verdon

by Dancin' Dan

Figures that the episode randomly assigned to the resident dance expert of Team Experience is the only episode of Fosse/Verdon so far that hasn’t had even the tiniest bit of dancing in it. I seem to be enjoying the show more than some of the rest of the team, and i've particularly marveled at the series’ recreations of some of Fosse’s best known pieces, some of which I have had the good fortune to dance myself. One of the choreographers who taught me told our ensemble that most of Fosse’s choreography is defined by tension - you must always be holding tension in your body somewhere in order to make it look and feel right. To that end, when we were dancing movements that were supposed to be more fluid, she told us to imagine that we were dancing through peanut butter. It’s an image that I now always associate with Fosse’s work, and I found it particularly apt for this episode. Even though there’s no dancing, there’s plenty of tension. Every character looks like they’re moving through peanut butter, pushing and straining to get what they want.

Bob Fosse had his unprecedented year of glory, and ended up in the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic for his troubles...

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Thursday
May022019

Fosse/Verdon - EP 4: "Glory"

previously on Fosse/Verdon

by Murtada Elfadl

I was looking forward to episode 4 of Fosse/Verdon because the trailers showed that it would mark the introduction of Margaret Qualley as Ann Reinking. Maybe Michelle Williams would get a real sparring partner to act against, as Sam Rockwell was not rising up to the occasion. That's mostly because the material he’s given is repetitive. How many notes can an actor ring out of tortured genius? Not many. Little did I know the actor who would actually match up fantastically with Williams wouldn’t be Qualley but rather Aya Cash as her best friend Joan Simon.

But before we get to that we have to deal with Bob Fosse’s mega year of 1973. This is the year he won an Oscar (for Cabaret), 2 Tonys (for Pippin) and 3 Emmys (for Liza with a Z)...

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Wednesday
Apr242019

Fosse/Verdon - EP 3: "Me and My Baby"

Previously: Episode 1 and Episode 2

by Eric Blume

Fosse/Verdon certainly isn’t flawless, but it’s very strong out of the gate in these first three episodes.  Hamilton director Thomas Kail guided the first two episodes with an assured hand, throwing us headfirst into the theater world with little set-up, allowing audiences to feel their way into the environment, and trusting that his two star performances will keep people hooked.  His instincts were right on, and despite some awkward editing and temporal shifts, the show is arresting, absorbing, and intelligent.

Episode Three is directed by Adam Bernstein, a very talented guy who won an Emmy for 30 Rock and was nominated for Fargo...

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Saturday
Apr202019

Fosse/Verdon - EP 2: "Who's Got the Pain?"

Previously Ep 1 - "Life is a Cabaret"

No, no, I know who he is. The one with the hats.

by Nathaniel R

The premiere episode of Fosse/Verdon took place (mostly) in 1971 when Fosse was rehearsing Cabaret but linear storytelling isnt remotely 'on trend' in TV miniseries right now, so we're hopping backward for Episode 2 to 1955 when Gwen Verdon was flush from her breakout Tony-winning turn in "Can-Can" and cast in "Damn Yankees". At a lunch meeting Hal Prince (Evan Handler) tries to sell Broadway it girl Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams) on his choice of choreographer. Gwen isn't sold, wiggling her hand dismissively for Fosse's most famous recurring choreographic accessory, the hat. It's but one of many fine gestural moments from a truly inspired Michelle Williams. Though it's too soon to know, she may well be giving us the performance of her career...

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