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Entries in monologue (35)

Friday
Jan082016

A Very Batty Birthday

Today is the inception date of one of the world's all time most compelling screen characters. It's Replicant, Roy Batty (of Blade Runner fame). Oh the places he'll go... 

Or, rather the things he'll see in his short life: Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; C-beams glittering in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate.

We speak of course of Replicant N6MAA10816 Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) of Blade Runner fame. Who will be incepted at some point... today (gulp). Given how prescient so much of Blade Runner was, particularly in its inarguably genius production design (which hilariously lost the Oscar to Gandhi - okay, Hollywood *rotflmao* you do you!), this shouldn't surprise us.

With Alicia Vikander's gloriously sly Ex Machina performance winning recent honors (BAFTA & Globe nominations) for a brand new potentially classic synthetic antagonist, this is a perfect time for us to honor Rutger Hauer's greatest performance yet again. Hauer's work as Roy Batty has long since become a personal symbol of what heights actors who are in tune with their film's message, their auteur's vision, and their genre's style can soar to... even if awards bodies have historically always had trouble understanding the level of difficulty and the mad genius that shapes the best genre acting, nearly always to their detriment since these performances often become classics examples of great screen acting nearly the very second people are done cordoning of the movies that house them as "sci-fi" or "horror" or "comedy" and have started thinking of them as simply "a classic."

After the jump a slight reworking of a tribute written by yours truly in 2007 on the occasion of his film's then 25th birthday...

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Monday
Dec222014

Monday Monologue: Henry II's Eulogy

Anne Marie here to celebrate the holiday with a furious monologue from my favorite Christmas movie. "Christmas movie" is a terrible description for Anthony Harvey's 1968 film The Lion in Winter, though it is technically correct. This is a political thriller of one very long Christmas night between Henry II of England (Peter O’Toole), his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), and their three conniving sons as they battle over who will be the next King of England.

And you thought your family was dysfunctional.

While we've written extensively about Katharine Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance in The Lion in Winter, this Monologue Monday before Christmas I'd like to shine the spotlight on Peter O'Toole's underawarded performance as the manic, magnificent Henry II of England. The movie is filled with great dialog for the Irishman to chew on, but O'Toole's best (or biggest) moment comes midway through the film, after a midnight meeting with the King of France.

A eulogy for a king after the jump...

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Monday
Nov102014

Monologue: Cheng Pei-pei in "Lilting"

Andrew here.

Last week’s BIFA nominations saw a mix of expected names and surprises, but the inclusion I was most excited for was the citation of the quiet, lovely performance of Cheng Pei Pei in Lilting. Lilting premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to good reviews but it’s the type of smaller film, one in a dozen each year, that seems destined to be forgotten by the time the year draws to a close. It’s a shame, because even when its story falters slightly Lilting remains a thoughtful, and affecting, piece.

Like a profound monologue Pei-Pei has towards the end of the film. Up to this point in Lilting, Hong Khaou (writer and director) has elongated the crisis of when Junn will find out that her dead son’s friend, Richard, who keeps visiting her at her convalescent home is actually his ex-lover. Though it threatens to lag in the middle, Lilting begins and ends with aplomb. The audience has been wondering just why Richard doesn’t just tell Junn the truth. And, in his final big scene as he explains to Junn, Whishaw is fantastic. And like mother oftentimes do, Junn reveals she already knew Kai was gay and launches into a monologue of her own.

“It’s pathetic for a mother to fight for her own son’s attention. I felt so jealous of you…”

It's not so much a justification for Junn's passive aggression towards Junn, so far but instead an essential glimpse into Junn – a lovely clarification of this heretofore inscrutable woman.

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Monday
May262014

Cannes Monologue: Norma Rae

Andrew's Cannes-inspired subseries in our Monday Monologue tradition ends with Sally Field in Norma Rae, one of only four Best Actresses to win both Cannes and the Oscar...

 

Is Julianne Moore finally going to get that Oscar? Blame it on the human urge to tie everything down to laurels, but it seems that's biggest wishful-thinking question coming out of Cannes after the awards ceremony. It’s not enough that she’s recently joined Juliette Binoche as one of the few  “European Best Actress Triple Crown” winners –the allure of Oscar is hard to resist. Cannes and Oscar rarely measure up, of course, but it seems like a good excuse to look back to one of only two performance to manage both Best Actress wins in the last 50+ years: Sally Field in Norma Rae (1979)...

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Wednesday
May212014

Cannes Monologue: Certified Copy

Andrew with another Cannes-themed monologue… 

At 50 Juliette Binoche remains one of the cinema’s finest actors – excellent in multiple languages. Though her time in Godzilla (now playing) is short, we can look forward to much more in Words and Pictures and Cannes entry Clouds of Sils Maris, the latter written specifically for her. Can Olivier Assayas film capture as many of her finest assetts as her Cannes winning turn in Certified Copy (2010)?

 

Certified Copy, my favourite of the decade (thus far), is remembered most often for its cerebral nature, a puzzle we must solve. Yes, much of it is rumination on theory but it's theory with passion and feeling. For all of its technical and intellectual merit, it’s also a love letter to Binoche from writer/director Abbas Kiarostami. 

Given it’s musings on what’s real and what’s a copy, Elle (Binoche’s character) might not quite qualify as a “real” woman - her name literally translates as “She” – as much as a platform for Kiarostami and Binoche to examine temperaments, hers change at the drop of hat, and ideas. The film makes you work but is all the more rewarding for it. Late in the movie, Elle and James head to quaint restaurant. They are no longer an affable writer and beleaguered fan they were at first but a beleaguered married couple.

She heads to the bathroom to put on lipstick and a pair of earrings. When she returns he doesn’t notice, too annoyed with the subpar wine. She tries to quell his moodiness. [More...]

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Tuesday
May132014

Cannes Monologue: Secrets and Lies

Andrew with a Cannes edition of our monologue series...

The 2014 Cannes Film Festival begins tomorrow and The Film Experience is doing its part to keep things Cannes focused with our list of favourite Palme D’Or winners, Diana’s upcoming coverage on the ground, and more. To continue the party let's turn to the Palme D'Or winner that topped my own team ballot, Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies (1996).

Brenda Blethyn plays Cynthia Purley, a woman who spends much of her time jabbering away (often incoherently). Like Anne Baxter, featured last week, it’s Brenda’s domination of her scenes that fool you into considering her scenes are more monologue-driven than they actually are.

[18 year-old spoilers follow...]

Secrets and Lies has a fine ensemble but it's impossible to look away from Brenda Blethyn's fantastic turn even when you want to - Cynthia can be draining, even overwhelming and exhausting to watch. Cynthia's arc is composed from a string of breakdown scenes wherein she's reacting to family secrets and issues and they are all pitched perfectly. The one which is most significant comes midway through the film when she meets the daughter she gave up for adoption some decades ago when she was a teenager.

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Monday
May052014

Monday Monologue: Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri

Hollywood's found religion again so here's Andrew on The Ten Commandments

Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956) is the epic by which all biblical epics should be judged. There's something for everyone: romance, drama, melodrama, religious feeling, glorious Edith Head costumes and a wide scope.  And, yet, despite so much to choose from and no matter the scene, I always find my eyes settling on Anne Baxter, my pick for MVP and the Best Supporting Actress of 1956 (she wasn't nominated). Baxter’s husky tones and lilting line-readings are so memorable that it's easy to reconfigure the film and the dialogue as a series of actressy monologues...

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