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Entries in Mike Leigh (23)

Friday
Feb232018

Mike Leigh at 75: "Secrets & Lies"

By Salim Garami

What's good?

Timothy Spall's character Maurice Purley in Mike Leigh's 1996 Palme d'Or winner Secrets & Lies is a photographer and every scene we see him at work involves his usually-successful, sometimes-not-as-much attempts to amiably convince his clients to take a big smile before he takes the photo. Sometimes it's a direct appeal and sometimes it's just by making an off-hand joke that catches them. Usually it's preceeded by a very slight window of sadness implying a long and exhaustive story on the subject's part. It feels like a very reflexive move on Mike Leigh's part: Secrets & Lies, like most of Leigh's works, is a humanist tale of some very messy and sometimes sad parts of a large story but Leigh imbues it with a sense of delicate compassion, sometimes injecting a sense of humor about the situations, but always wanting the best for its characters.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb222018

Mike Leigh at 75: "Vera Drake"

by Eric Blume

Mike Leigh nabbed his second Best Director nomination and his third Original Screenplay nomination with his 2004 film Vera Drake (he has yet to win any Oscars despite seven nominations across those two categories).  Imelda Staunton scored an Actress nod as well for this tale of the vibrant eponymous character who “helps girls out” as part of her many job and family responsibilities. Her actions carry a brutal cost, and the film still carries incredible power.

Fourteen years later, Vera Drake has aged beautifully, perhaps in part because Leigh has structured and staged it in a classical framework...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb202018

Mike Leigh at 75: On Wallpaper, Topsyturvydom and Empire

"THE FURNITURE," by Daniel Walber, is devoted to Mike Leigh this week for his 75th birthday. (Click on the images to see them in magnified detail.)

Topsy-Turvy is a subtle, even deceptive film. It moves like a light-hearted showbiz comedy, almost a Victorian Waiting for Guffman. Yet there’s much more going on. Why is it so long, for example? What is Mike Leigh trying to express with so many characters? Why "The Mikado"?

These are questions that can be answered by paying close attention to its production design, the Oscar-nominated work of Eve Stewart and Helen Scott. This is a film about London at the peak of the British Empire, a metropolis gobbling up the riches and the bric-a-brac of the entire world. And the chosen entertainment of its people, eager to take in the sights and sounds of their imperial fantasies, were the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan.

The first to appear in Topsy-Turvy is "Princess Ida", a fantastical lampoon of Victorian mores that took place in a sort-of Pre-Raphaelite, Medieval court. 

The version presented here involves a stage flanked by a traffic jam of trees, vine-covered Classical architecture and a great many helmets and snoods...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb192018

Mike Leigh at 75: Happy-Go-Lucky

With Mike Leigh turning 75 tomorrow, we'll be looking at a few of his films. Here's Chris Feil

Of Mike Leigh’s many great films, Happy-Go-Lucky is perhaps the one the has grown most in its potency. Though his films reward multiple viewings, here is one that has grown all the more meaningful as the world around us has become increasingly fraught with depressing news; the benefit of positivity is at once essential and ignored. The film is both a character study of its relentlessly gleeful protagonist Poppy, played to perfection by Sally Hawkins, and about how the world works against her optimistic state of being.

The pull to submit to anger and gloom weighs heavy on our times, and an outlook like Poppy’s can seem so very far away indeed. 

Ten years on now, Happy-Go-Lucky feels prescient to the dire state of the world, as if we are becoming more like those annoyed by her cheeriness. Some of us who once saw ourselves in Poppy might have even succumbed to the numbing anger of the every day in the intervening years...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec102017

44 days til Oscar nominations. Screenplay stats!

by Nathaniel R

With only 44 days until Oscar nominations and lots of confusion as to what might be nominated for screenplay (there are seemingly 7 locks for Original and only 1 contender for Adapted -- the math doesn't work. Haha!) let's use today's numerical trivia prompt for writing awards. Fact: Oscar's 4 favorite screenwriters have 44 nominations between them for writing. That's a lot of hogging of writing honors. They are...

OSCAR'S 20 FAVORITE SCREENWRITERS
(Numbers below are for screenwriting categories only)
01 Woody Allen (16 nominations and 3 wins)
He's also been in the Acting and Directing races. Classics include Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan and more...
02 Billy Wilder (12 nominations and 3 wins)
He's also been in the Directing and Producing races. Classics include Sunset Blvd, The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, and more...
03 John Huston (8 nominations and 1 win)
He's also been in the Acting, Directing, and Producing races. Classics include The African Queen, The Asphalt Jungle, Prizzi's Honor and more...
04 Federico Fellini (8 nominations but he never won for writing)
He's also been in the Directing, and Producing races and of course his films have taken multiple Foreign Language Film Oscars. He's the Academy's favorite Italian... yes, even more than Sophia Loren. Classics include La Dolce Vita, I Vitelloni, 8½ and more...

It's perhaps no surprise that all of these writers are also directors and thus were in charge of bringing their own words to visual life. With greater control comes greater consistency in results. Without checking before you hit the jump can you guess which working writers are next in line to join this group?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan152016

Post-ApocaLinktip 

Time is a real bitch. Between interviews and standard blogging and technical difficulties and Globes and Film Bitch Awards and a cold, your host has had a difficult couple of weeks that he definitely didn't plan well enough for. But this rought start to 2016 shall not deter him. Please stick with us and cheerlead in the comments and we'll make 2016 the best year yet at The Film Experience even though these past 10 days or so have not gone half as planned. (Note to self for 2016: You can't cover everything... the link list is your friend. Also please win the lottery so you can hire a full time staff of 5? 10?) 

Here's some reading elsewhere while we continue to update Oscar charts, try to collect ourselves (still trying to decide how to approach the #OscarsSoWhite issue which is getting such shoddy or agenda-filled or misleading coverage elsewhere). And maybe eating lunch or sleeping would be nice at some point! 

Good LOL
The Toast "Signs You're About to be in a Sinister Homoerotic Subplot in a Midcentury Drama" 

Extra Extra Read All About It
Boy Culture 50 stars turning 50 this year. Which should we celebrate here at TFE?
Film School Rejects talks Ryan Coogler's strong beginnings and bright future and the matter of his Black Panther gig
Gizmodo Inside Out might get a sequel? Blargh.
Variety Dan Hagerty (best known as "Grizzly Adams" from TV died this morning at 74
New Now Next Nico Tortorella gives you tips on how to maximize your Instagram account (of course if you look like Nico Tortorella you probably won't need any tips to get popular on Instagram
Playbill the David Bowie scored musical Lazarus set to close this next week off broadway might get a second life
The Guardian Mike Lee talks about what he's up to, his past film, his politics and his next project Peterloo (date TBA) about a Manchester massacre in 1819.
Vanity Fair Jacob Tremblay, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Bryan Cranston and more doing their best Scarlett & Rhett Gone With the Wind finale impressions
Just Jared The great Emma Thompson remembers her co-star the late Alan Rickman (RIP)
Slate looks at the treatment of the romantic rival in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and wonders why it isn't as subversive/progressive as other parts of the show. Are any of you watching this? There are true fans among TFE's team (including me)
MNPP whenever you need a Michael Fassbender fix, Jason will provide. 
The Guardian wonders if the Star Wars universe will replace the Marvelverse with the public within the next few years 

Year in Review Stuff
Reverse Shot gets grumpy with "offenses" to take down awards biggies like Son of Saul and Sicario. Though I'll admit reading the take on The Overnight makes me glad I skipped it.
Coco Hits New York who recently joined the team here at TFE has shared his list of the best of 2015. It's a good long read with interesting choices so enjoy. I love what he writes about Alicia Vikander's work in Ex Machina

For playing man as she plays machine, and for not disappointing a movie that builds its mysteries around her.