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Entries in Mustang (9)

Saturday
Jul092016

Stream This: Mustang, The Big Short, Hello Dolly, The Painted Veil

In the effort to stay au courant we're going to try to do "new to streaming" weekly, alternating between Netflix and Amazon Prime sometimes, big lists, sometimes highlights. This will also give us a chance to link to previous coverage of the old films that are "new" again via the power of the internet. But first a last chance notice...

Last Chance Netflix (Expires July 16th)

-Y'all were watching I take it. Did you see us fight?
-No.
-Trap." 

Serenity
I've been curious to watch Serenity (and Firefly for that matter) again to see if you can easily chart Joss Whedon's growth from self-created warm-up to Studio-hire mega-success in The Avengers. He was always good at selling team dynamics, though. That was clear from the earliest episodes of Buffy. We previously covered Serenity in Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I miss Whedon as TV creator on his own urges -- Agents of SHIELD just did not do it for me.

New to Netflix
We've freeze framed nine more titles totally at random to share whatever popped up for your amusement. Here we go...

-Lot of smug looking people here.

- It's like someone hit a piñata filled with white people who suck at golf."

The Big Short (2015)
Remember when this was suddenly a major Oscar player last season. That took me off guard even though I was at the actual premiere. It won Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. Serious films with funny memorable lines are often popular in those categories.

I've decided to join the human race again.

Hello, Dolly! (1969)
Babs. Babs. You're really overworking this monologue...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb272016

César Winners: Mustang, Fatima, Michael Douglas and More...

Busy awards weekend, huh? The Spirit Awards commence this evening (Murtada will graciously live blog so yours truly can reserve last fumes of energy for Oscar night) but France's own Oscars, the Césars were already held. (We discussed their nominations earlier right here.)

<-- The glorious Juliette Binoche graced the poster for the big event and also presented best picture. Michael Douglas was the honorary winner (they love their Hollywood stars at the Césars in that particular way).

It turned out to be quite a Ladies Night as three films about women battled it out for supremacy: Fatima, an immigrant drama was the surprise Best Picture winner; Marguerite an operatic musical/comedy (based on the same story as Meryl Streep's forthcoming Florence Foster Jenkins) was the nomination leader and won multiple tech trophies and Best Actress; and, finally, the great Mustang (France's Turkish-language Oscar nominee and on my top ten list) took Screenplay, First Film and Editing prizes

The full list of winners and ceremony photos are after this amazing picture of 3 giants of French cinema: Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, and Emmanuel Béart

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb102016

The Grace of Keanu Reeves 

TODAY'S MUST READ ELSEWHERE
Our sometimes contributor Angelica Bastien wrote a great piece for Bright Wall / Dark Room called "The Grace of Keanu Reeves" in which she argues against the common dismissals of his acting ability. As a longtime fan of Keanu (Point Break/Private Idaho being the peak era of devotion) this was a joy to read.

One of her greatest points deals with "the crossroads of virile and vulnerable, territory previously charted by actors as legendary as Montgomery Clift, James Dean, and Paul Newman. But there's a difference.

These actors often seem to fight against the lustful gaze of the camera, while Keanu supplants himself to it. Where they seem cynical, disinterested, or too wounded as a romantic lead, Keanu is utterly open.

In "Point Break," he’s a hotshot with a gun and a badge. But he’s also an object of lust for the camera (and audience), with a disarmingly open smile. Furthermore, without the help of a woman—the short-haired pixie vixen surfer Tyler (Lori Petty)—he wouldn’t be able to integrate himself into the gang of robbers/surfers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). This artful dynamic—a woman of greater skill guiding a passive man into a world beyond his imagination—develops even further in "The Matrix" (1999). Some of this, of course, exists on a plot level. But Keanu tends to let his scene partners take the lead, becoming almost a tabula rasa on which they (and we) can project our ideas of what it means to be a hero, a man, a modern action star. 

Do check it out. And share your feelings about Keanu in the comments. This article brought the guilt down that I have yet to see John Wick (2014). 

Wednesday
Jan272016

César Noms: Mustang, Marguerite, Melanie, and More...

Kristen Stewart's César win last year for Clouds of Sils Maria was historicThis year's César nominations (i.e. The French Oscars) have been announced. Due to the oddities of release schedules statesides, especially when it comes to subtitled pictures, many of the French films we've been discussing as "best ofs" like Girlhood, Saint Laurent, and Clouds of Sils Maria were 2014 features in France and honored accordingly. The only real crossovers with our current awards season are Denis Gamze Erguven's Oscar nominated Mustang (now playing in very limited release in the States) which is all over their nominations and two of their "Foreign Film Nominees" Hungary's Son of Saul and Italy's Youth which will compete with last year's US Best Picture winner Birdman.

Their nominations were led by the prestige vehicle Marguerite (which is "loosely based" on the story of Florence Foster Jenkins who is getting her own American biopic starring Meryl Streep this year) and Arnaud Desplechin's My Golden Days which are both expected to receive US theatrical releases in 2016. (If you see a link, it goes to our review of the picture, or past articles about the actor or director)

BEST FILM 

  • Dheepan, Jacques Audiard
  • Fatima, Philippe Faucon
  • The Measure of a Man, Stephane Brize
  • Marguerite, Xavier Giannoli
  • Mon Roi, Maïwenn
  • Mustang, Deniz Gamze Erguven
  • Standing Tall, Emmanuelle Bercot
  • My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin

Let's discuss their nominations and various beautiful Frenchies after the jump. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan252016

Best of 2015: Nathaniel's Top Fifteen

When you devote your life to the movies, you come to cherish the movies that give back as if they're devoted, in return, to you. Yes, you, specifically. Our consumption of movies may be communal but in some ineffable way, especially when it comes to list-making, they're deeply personal; movies in conversation with your soul. At least if you're doing it right. It's painful enough to "rank" a top 15 for 2015. So I included a second tier of favorites. The 30 best of the year, according to your host, took place all over the world as we know it (Germany keeps popping up as does seemingly every place with an arid climate in an odd but starkly beautiful coincidence) to weirdly recognizable places beyond it (Why, Jakku, you look so much like Tattoine!). The unifying thread might be that however alien their perspectives and locales (inside a young girl's brain, locked in a 10 x 10 shed, or chained to the back of rusted death machines in hallucinatory sandstorms), they resonated as if deeply familiar.

Nathaniel's top 30 films of

If you're looking for __ you won't find it:
I liked Magic Mike XXL -- you may recall that Magic Mike (2012) won the Film Bitch Bronze medal here in 2012 as third best of its entire year -- but can't join the unexpected bandwagon of critics who decided they loved the sequel well after it left theaters. I did enjoy it a lot, though. Also just missing the list, not from an absence of affection exactly but "best?" attributes, is Ridley Scott's disco-lite outer-space romp The Martian. I'm far less keen on recent Oscar nominees like The Big Short, Straight Outta Compton, The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa, Trumbo, Son of Saul, and The Revenant but they need not cry from my qualms, indifference, or distaste (depending on the picture) since they have stadiums full of cheering sections elsewhere

And this list is about positive, nay giddy, love. So on to the best of the best. 

15 (Very) Honorable Mentions in Alpha Order
Please seek out: The Troubles via Yann Demange's electric debut '71; Desiree Arkhavan's hilarious bisexual Iranian-American hipster romcom (a genre we didn't even know we needed but love) Appropriate Behavior; Spielberg & Hanks's absorbing Bridge of Spies; Disney's girlie lush live-action Cinderella spin; Olivier Assayas's actressy-angst at those Clouds of Sils Maria; Celine Sciamma's infectiously observed but profoundly sad GirlhoodLily Tomlin & Paul Weitz's Grandma focused road trip; the waking nightmare game of sexual tag in It FollowsIceland's formally compelling beast and man oddity Of Horses and Men; Brazil's smart socioeconomic collisions in The Second Mother; Paul Feig & Melissa McCarthy's Spy romp; Disney's easy money $4 billion bet The Force Awakens; Tom McCarthy's soulful journalism procedural SpotlightAaron Sorkin's presentational Steve Jobs triptych; Xavier Dolan's queasy, queer, razor blade dangerous Tom at the Farm; and the director, crew, and cast who pulled off that continuous shot jaw-dropper stunt that was Victoria... and pulled it off with feeling. 

Without further ado and with deep appreciation...

NATHANIEL'S TOP 15 OF '15
🎶 they're speaking my language baby 🎶 

 

I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
(Brett Haley)
Bleecker Street Media. May 15th
92 minutes 

A movie as unassuming as Blythe Danner's still waters star turn, and as gently surprised by its twilight romanticism as the wonderful theme song. It's easy to imagine this film becoming a staple, a comfortable blanket to wrap yourself up in on lonely nights; an old dear friend that understands the value of finding new ones.

You're a good drinking buddy!"

 

CHI-RAQ
(Spike Lee)
Roadside Attractions. December 4th
119 minutes 

By no small margin the most uneven and sometimes downright sloppy movie on this 15 wide "Best" list --  stop reading the teleprompter Samuel L Jackson, learn your damn verse! But, a permanent truth: perfection isn't everything. Vitality of voice, with something actually worth saying, counts for quite a lot with so many polished but empty-headed and safe pictures clogging up each year's awards pipeline. Spike Lee won an Honorary Oscar shortly before anyone saw his reworking of Lysistrata, transported to contemporary Chicago (nicknamed Chi-Raq for its crime rate troubles). Nobody knew that his best movie in 15 years was about to hit to make that statue feel retroactively less of a tribute to past highs (Do The Right Thing, 25th Hour, etcetera) and more of an "it's about damn time!" honor for a still relevant artist. Chi-Raq is... Crazy. Funny. Sexy. Anguished. Silly. Mad. Experimental. Sickening. Sober. Even Optimistic. In short, "It's 'EVERYTHING!' as the queens say. Now if only everyone would go see this bold bawdy and beautiful everything. And, did someone say "Queen," I can hear Miss Helen (Angela Bassett, who also Got Her Groove Back of late) shaking her head at the meager box office receipts.

Y'all make my tired ass tired!" 

 

SICARIO
(Denis Villeneuve)
Lionsgate. October 2nd
121 minutes 

If Denis Villenueve's movies get any more tense they're going to explode by the second reel.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov202015

Mustang Interview: "There’s not just one way of being a director or looking at the world." 

France's Oscar submission Mustang (previously reviewed) focuses on five orphaned sisters going through adolescence in a Turkish village where hormones are considered to be the ultimate evil. Worried about their reputation, their grandmother decides the best way to care for them is by marrying them off as soon as possible, but the sisters have very little to say in the decisions made for them. They don’t understand why hanging out with boys is wrong, or why they should be married to strangers. Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, in her feature length debut, tells a revelatory tale of oppression, but for all the hardships on display in the film, she keeps the style playful and fresh, reminding one of what it feels like to be a teenager oblivious or careless of the darkness in the world.

Most impressive of all, is the director’s work with the five actresses playing the sisters - Lale (Günes Sensoy), Sonay (Ilayda Akdogan),Nur (Doga Zeynep Doguslu), Ece (Elit Iscan) and Selma (Tugba Sunguroglu) - who through subtle touches make us believe these young women have always lived together, and have formed an indestructible bond. In a bold, wonderful move Mustang was selected as France’s Foreign Language Film submission for the Oscars, and with the warm response it’s received in festivals all over the world, it might make it all the way to the final five. I spoke to Deniz Gamze Ergüven and was not surprised to realize she’s as smart, refreshing and sincere as her film.

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...