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Entries in Oscars (70s) (52)

Monday
Sep172012

Oscar Vintage 1975: Carol Kane in "Hester Street"

A brief situational history: last year at a very crowded luncheon for the eventual Best Picture winner The Artist, I spotted the actress Carol Kane in the crowd. I'm not, as it happens, terribly shy about approaching actresses I admire at these things; they're there to mingle. But Oscargeek guilt and actressexual self-admonishment settled in before I could. "You've never seen Hester Street. Until you have, you may not speak with the Carol Kane!"

Our recent collective viewing of Dog Day Afternoon, reminded me of how much I love her face. The main attraction is, of course, those huge deer in headlight eyes. The small features around it are mere accessories and the whole doll-like delicacy is framed by a tangled mess of curly blond hair. 

the first shot of Kane in "Hester Street", an immigrant just off the boat in Ellis Island

[More on Hester Street and Oscar '75 after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep112012

With Six You Get Link Roll

Movies.com has all the distribution deals from TIFF so you can see which films are coming your way in 2013
Deadline Kate Winslet's Titanic screen test!
Culture Monster Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert to team for Jean Genet's The Maids. Alas, not for the screen.

Pajiba 20 Lessons Hollywood can learn from this summer
Flickr Truly amazing photoset of California billboards from 1974/1975 including billboards of Oscar interest

Today's Must Read
"Extraordinary Machines" by Steven Hyden which looks back at the celebrity coupledom of Paul Thomas Anderson and Fiona Apple, the way they were, and the way they are now divergent.

It had been his intention to write a conventional 90-minute comedy for Adam Sandler, whom he met while tagging along with Apple when she performed on Saturday Night Live in 2000. What he actually made was more like a Fiona Apple song — a disorienting mishmash of bright melody and percussive dissonance, with a main character who was odd and oddly compelling and prone to oddly explosive, out-of-nowhere outbursts. Unfortunately for Punch-Drunk Love, Fiona Apple songs were still a few years away from returning to fashion, and the film died at the box office.

It's a really insightful piece about two of showbusiness's most fascinating artists. So go read it.

Tuesday
Sep112012

Take Three: Brad Dourif

Craig here with the last ‘Take Three’. For this final, and slightly differently themed, entry I chose Brad Dourif, perhaps one of the finest character/supporting actors. Next week there will be a special wrap-up post for this third season of Take Three.

Take One: Dourif & Auteurs
The sign of a great character actor can often be seen in the directors they work with. Of course not all will be universally lauded names (character actors don’t get to pick and choose like A-list stars), but when they repeatedly work with filmmakers of high regard you know there’s something special about them. Dourif has worked with some of the most visionary and celebrated directors working. The likes of Werner Herzog and David Lynch, whose off-kilter approach perfectly chimes with Dourif’s, have cast him time and again. Herzog first cast him in the mountaineering-themed Scream of Stone (1991) which led to The Wild Blue Yonder (2005) and the 2009 double The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (in the former he had a one-off scene as Nic Cage’s bookie and in the latter he played Michael Shannon’s ostrich-farm-running uncle). But his most mesmerising performance for Herzog was as The Alien in Yonder, where he talked us through documentary footage, ice ages and space missions with oddball charm and an innate ability to unnerve.

He was Lynch’s go-to character actor in a pair of his ‘80s films, Dune and Blue Velvet. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug222012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Dog Day Afternoon"

Forty years ago today, Sonny Wortzik held up a bank on a hot Brooklyn day. It did not go well. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) was nominated for six Oscars -- the kind of nominations that go to well liked contemporary pictures that aren't thought of as particularly "visual" achievements -- winning only for Best Original Screenplay, but it's actually quite beautiful to look at. Credit, then, to director Sidney Lumet who understood the frantic extremes of humanity better than most auteurs, the casting director and the fine actors who are riveting yet absolutely recognizable as people who might actually be bank tellers, cops or pizza delivery boys  and the cinematography by Victor J Kemper whose camerawork and lighting ably capture the flickering nuances on faces and add considerably to the film's sweaty moody desperation. 

Consider these two shots: the first is Carol Kane as a bank hostage and Lance Henriksen as an FBI man.


They're shots that define what "Character Actor" means or at least what it should -- God, what faces!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug212012

Have You Ever Seen "Jaws" On the Big Screen?

If not, don't miss your big chance Thursday night!

Bruce & Steven. True Love Always

Many readers think I'm anti-Spielberg -- when you're critical of any sacred cow people think you hate him/her -- but I love the early stuff as much as anyone. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is amazingly "open" in a way too few films are, Raiders of the Lost Ark is about as fun as adventure films can be, and the blockbuster that created Summer Movie Season, Jaws, is impeccable.

Cinemark's Classic Series is a Thursday night moviegoing option in dozens of cities, large and small (sadly it doesn't play in Manhattan though I can't really complain about our access to revivals). The fall series, which you can buy individual tickets to or in bulk for $30, features:

  • August 23rd, Jaws
  • August 30th, High Noon
  • September 6th, Doctor Zhivago
  • September 13th, Chinatown
  • September 20th, The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • September 27th, The African Queen

Oscar buffs will need to have seen all six at some point, so if you haven't, why not cross them off your list ASAP? I hate The African Queen (yes, it's true) but the rest of the series looks delicious and the films have been digitally restored for the occasion. Jaws, Chinatown and Doctor Zhivago in particular strike me as perfect options to seek in revival houses or in screening series like this because they're all slow boil movies paced in a way that pays off enormously in the long haul but is absolutely unlike how movies play out these days so it's best to see them on the screen without the interruptions that you'd get at home.

I wish I could see Jaws tomorrow night! 

It may have scarred me as a child (even though I didn't see it until the 80s) but I love it anyway. See it for me tomorrow night! Or for yourself if you've never seen it all blown up real good. 

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