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Entries in Mike Leigh (26)

Tuesday
Jul092019

Watch at home: Strange things to tell the bees during the Peterloo massacre

Nathaniel R giving you the heads up on what's newly available to screen at home.

DVD/Blu-Ray/Rental
High Life - In which Dr Juliette Binoche gets nasty with her patients and Robert Pattinson mopes around in outer space while caring for an infant.
Tell It to the Bees - In which Dr Anna Paquin seduces her new friend Holliday Grainger (fine performance!) in a small homophobic British town in the 1950s. But it's actually a sentimental family movie of sorts. Watch out for the unintentionally hilarious killer bees! 

Also newish on blu-ray and/or DVD: Pet Sematary, The Best of Enemies, LittleAfter, Mojin: The Worm Valley, and Gotham (the complete series). 

iTunes 99¢ Deals
Titles you can rent on the cheap this week include the orgiastic French film Climax, 2016's Best Picture winner Moonlight, 2017's very best film Lady Bird, the new horror classic The VVitch, Bong Joon-ho's popular South Korean monster movie The Host, and the charming Eighth Grade.  They're also offering up Don Jon & Under the Skin in a stealth attempt to remind you of what a genre-hopping ridiculously talented and versatile actress Scarlett Johansson is. Be happy that she shakes off the Marvel shackles very soon (Black Widow is currently filming). Who knows what pleasures await when she can step out of that one genre and into all genres again!

Streaming this week

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Tuesday
Jun042019

The New Classics - Happy-Go-Lucky

Michael Cusumano here to discuss a scene I find myself thinking about all the time.

 

Scene: Scott's meltdown
When you pause to consider how mundane the actual events of Mike Leigh’s films usually are, it’s funny to think how many moments from them lodge permanently in the memory.  Barely a weekend goes by that I don’t see some kind of world-ending cataclysm portrayed in expansively budgeted detail and what does my brain return to over and over again? Lesley Manville in Another Year retreating to her glass of white wine or David Thewlis in Naked stalking a security guard through the dark to harangue him about the meaning of life.

The famous Mike Leigh technique of crafting screenplays from extensive improvisations yields scenes that unfold with the convinction of real life...

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Thursday
Oct252018

Showbiz History: Marsha marries Neil, Barbra is "Guilty," and Blue is the Warmest Color

7 random things that happened on this day (October 25th) in showbiz history

Neil Simon & Marsha Mason

1881 Pablo Picasso is born in Malaga Spain. He's been played onscreen by everyone from Antonio Banderas to Anthony Hopkins. Okay so just guys named Tony... never mind. 

1973 Legendary Playwright Neil Simon marries the then little-known actress Marsha Mason, who is acting in his Broadway production "The Good Doctor" just months after his first wife's death. Mason's screen career takes off the very next year with an Oscar nomination for Cinderella Liberty. Then she & Simon make films together that Oscar really loves for the next decade like Goodbye Girl, Only When I Laugh, and Chapter Two... 

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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.

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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...

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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...

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