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Entries in Mike Leigh (7)

Wednesday
Jan012014

Interview: Sally Hawkins on Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen, and Godzilla

One of the most delightful surprises of the season was the Golden Globe Supporting Actress nomination for Sally Hawkins in Woody Allen's latest hit Blue Jasmine. While Cate Blanchett rages through the movie like a force of nature as Jasmine (née Jeanette) and has won dozens of prizes, Hawkins has the less showy but difficult task of keeping the movie grounded and the mood breezy while navigating her screen sister's stormiest weathers. Blue Jasmine, which comes to DVD and BluRay on January 21st, is yet another reminder, that Hawkins is one of the stealth MVPs of current cinema.

Sally and I had spoken once before (at length) during the Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) press tour and getting reacquainted was unusually good fun; I've rarely laughed so much during an interview. To give you a sense of the easy rapport and how delightful Sally is in person, I've included a little audio segment of my favorite bit of our conversation, when we were talking about her key directors: Woody Allen (2 films together) or Mike Leigh (3 films together) again. 

Nathaniel: So anyway… Blue Jasmine. When I first saw it I thought ‘this is good’ But then it just wouldn't leave my head. So it’s moved up in my estimation.

SALLY HAWKINS: Those films that sit and resonate with you, that you keep thinking about, are really interesting.

Do you experience that when you're reading a script? Or is that something you don’t discover until you’re on set. Like ‘oh, this one is going to be good.’ [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May082012

"Maleficent" - Now With More Mike Leigh!

Had a private double take giggle last night when I read the news of Maleficent's latest cast members. Maleficent herself Angelina Jolie and Sleeping Beauty Elle Fanning will be joined by Brit prestige actors like Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson (who will be play the fairy queen aunt of Maleficent), Sam Riley (Control), Kenneth Cranham (Made in Dagenham), and.... wait for it... Mike Leigh thespian goddesses Imelda Staunton & Lesley Manville as Beauty's protectors (two pixies instead of three fairies).

Imelda and Lesley will protect Sleeping Beauty in "Maleficent"

Suddenly I was picturing Mike Leigh in the director's chair!

Imagine the gritty British realness. Picture Angelina Jolie rehearsing for six month to suit Leigh's process. Hee. The insights into Maleficent's psyche- the grotty castle home she's lived in for decades, centuries worth of raven droppings, her unspoken trauma from past society shunnings, the weight of the horns on her head and how it's left her with a permanently sore neck. Imagine Angelina and Miranda diagramming their entire history as relatives in a quiet rehearsal space and writing their own lines. The pixies vibe would include stunted maternal instincts and adoptive parent sorrow "We have to give the wee lass back?!?".

Mike Leigh's Maleficent wouldn't break $200 million but I'd buy several tickets. 

In the eternal "Pink... no Blue" fairy godmother debate, we figure Imelda gets the pink if she wants it.

She owns the pink. 

P.S. If they were to add a third fairy godmother, excuse me "pixie" who should join Imelda & Lesley to raise narcoleptic Elle Fanning? Cast it in the comments! 

Saturday
Dec032011

Link Hunters

The Guardian Ken Russell was nearly finished with a new screenplay adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, to be made as a risque musical. Will it still be made with a new director?
Nullco Preorder The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack and download a sampler
Rope of Silicon first look at Sam Worthington in Wrath of the Titans and a curious plot synopsis
Thompson on Hollywood talks to one or our favorite craftsmen, production designer Jack Fisk (of Terrence Malick and Mr Sissy Spacek fame.)
24 Frames Hugo steps up as a powerful Oscar contender.

Empire wonders if paranormal romance Smoke and Bone about an angel and a demon that fall in love will be the next big movie franchise? Have any of you read it?
Inside Movies Deliverance actor Bill McKinney has passed away. 
Wipe Your Feet "Watching Melancholia is like..." I love the movie but this is totally LOL. 
Pop Watch tries to imagine Buffy alum Michelle Trachtenberg as Bella Swan. Supposedly, it could have happened.
Hollywood News talks to Will Reiser about 50/50 and the power of Anjelica Huston. 
IndieWire Mike Leigh will head the jury at February's Berlinale. (This year's jury picked Oscar buzzing Iranian film A Separation as the best of the fest. Good luck topping that one!)

Finally, EW has released the first photo of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

I don't want to be bitchy about it since we've seen so little -- the trailer hits next week -- but doesn't it seem like revisionist fairy tale revisions and dark leathery bad-ass costuming are getting a little, shall we say, generic these days? How will this distinguish itself?

And when will Jeremy Renner star in a drama again after all this time spent Bourne Avenging Impossible Missions With Witch Hunters ? Does he want to be Samuel L Jackson that badly? Seems like a waster after his dramatic brilliance in The Hurt Locker.

Tuesday
Mar292011

New on DVD: Black Swan, Topsy-Turvy and More

Hi everybody. Michael C here again. A quick drop in to remind everybody that Aronofsky’s Black Swan, a film I consider the finest of last year, is hitting DVD shelves.

Having seen the remarkably in-depth behind the scenes featurette on the Swan DVD I can report that the real contribution that got screwed out of recognition was not Portman’s dancing double (igniting recent controversy) but Swan’s special effects team. On a limited budget, the effects of Black Swan are just as skillful as Inception’s. Swan's effects are often invisible (few stop to think how they are able to film in rooms filled with mirrors), but when they are intentionally noticeable they contribute to the film’s artistic vision. Why doesn’t that factor into award recognition? (Although I should point out that small scale f/x are no obstacle to Film Bitch Award recognition)

Though technically flawless I doubt the invasion of killer robots during Iron Man 2's climax is going to linger in anybody’s memory, yet I can confirm that Nina’s legs snapping violently backwards with a sickening crack has lingered since the film first screened. 

So I encourage folks to check out that DVD doc to fully appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this amazing film, although there may be a few points you will want to cover your eyes in order to preserve the magic.  And as long as we're shopping for movies another masterpiece hits Blu-ray today, under the Criterion Collection umbrella: Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy. Leigh's ode to the creative process is the staid and dignified white swan to Aronofsky's wild and subjective black.

Also hitting DVD or BluRay today:

 

Saturday
Feb262011

2010: Thyme and Time

As we close out the film year, moments from the 20th minute and 10th second of the films of 2010. Here's Mike Leigh's Another Year.

Mary: Brought you a little present, some thyme. It's nothing much.
Gerry: Lovely.

This is the first of many times we see Mary (Lesley Manville) visiting Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) at home. She always arrives frazzled and they're (almost) always welcoming. It's kind of great that the gift she brings is a homophone for something that she's so worried of running out of. They're all getting on in years.

Such a lovely film. It's up for the Screenplay Oscar. Did it ever make it to a theater near you?