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Entries in Patrick Wilson (17)

Wednesday
Aug192015

HMWYBS: Angels in America (2003)

What follows is a republishing of a piece I'm proud of from our very first season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot (you can see the index of all six seasons here) when I was somehow far more concise with "Best Shot" despite feeling like I was overdoing it. I've added in notes and links for contributions from other Best Shot participants and I'd like to thank Manuel heartily before we begin for his fascinating contextual work on HBO's long history of LGBT films and series this summer and for sharing this week's HBO LGBT episode with us for our redo episode of this Great Work. Read that piece before you read this. Ready? Let's begin...

Tony Kushner's extraordinary two part stage epic Angels in America centers around two overlapping young couples in the mid 80s, struggling married Mormons, pill popping Harper and her closeted husband Joe and the gay couple Louis and Prior they become connected spiritually (Harper befriends Prior... in her dreams) and physically (Joe becomes Louis's other lover). But it's also about politics, immigration, religion, identity, and evolution and encompasses multiple other characters from Louis's outspoken gay friend Belize, to Joe's mother, to the evil lawyer Roy Cohn, the dead Communist Ethel Rosenberg, and a frequently orgasmic Angel who descends on many of the players. This masterpiece was adapted for the screen in 2003 by Oscar winner Mike Nichols. Along its journey it won 7 Tonys, The Pulitzer, and later 5 Golden Globes and 11 Emmys and here's the thing: it deserved every single prize. If you haven't seen it drop everything (seriously everything) because it is unmissable. I've seen it performed on stage three times in three different states with wildly different budgets and casts and seen the miniseries a few times too... and every single time it's a fascinating prismatic living thing, like it will always be teaching you, entertaining you, and provoking you.

Rather than limit myself to one shot I'm picking one from each of its chapter. This I can manage!

Chapter 1 "Bad News"

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug182015

Miscellania: Mad Munn Mortal Minority Musicians

Newsweek Before Straight Outta Compton: race and the black musician biopic
Awards Daily makes a great case for why Mad Men should win the Drama Emmy
MNPP playing lumberjack with Patrick Wilson
Vanity Fair Katey and Richard survey the summer movie season, get nostalgic for Mad Max Fury Road already
The Envelope talks to Lily Tomlin on her great year "If one looks at years that way."
Instagram Olivia Munn wire training for her superheroic antics as the X-Men's Psylocke. Physicality is getting to be so essential in the CG action age that I hope aspiring actors are taking gymnastic and dance courses


Vox why The Chronicles of Prydain is the best literary fantasy series (when do you suppose they'll try to film it after Disney's 80s botch job?) 
Interiors Film Journal looks at the dance scene in Tom at the Farm
THR looks back at unlikely hit Mortal Kombat when videogame movies were ridiculed
Towleroad Trans bodybuilder Aydian Dowling now a top 5 finalist for Men's Health "Ultimate Guy" cover contest
Self Styled Siren on an old book about a possibly violent but definitely tumultous John Barrymore marriage
i09 gets excited for the Minority Report tv show
Film Stage deleted scenes from Mad Max Fury Road
Starf*cker Matthew Rettenmund's (Encylopedia Madonnica, Boy Culture) new book is available for pre-order 

Today's Watch
On baffling uses of CGI... I didn't know this about 50 Shades of Grey or John Wick and definitely blocked out the "pear" from Star Wars. Repressed memory!  

Tuesday
Jul072015

Can't Buy Me Link

The Movie Scene weighs in on the twitter vitriol for Pixar's Lava
NYT on famed movie producer Jerry Weintraub (1937-2015)
Film Stage Penélope Cruz returns (finally) in Spanish drama Ma Ma about a teacher with breast cancer - I'd expect fall festivals
AV Club impressive mashup of Ant-Man trailer as 50s weird science type movie, complete with Vincent Price narration
/Film in very against-type casting news, Michael Fassbender will play The Big Lebowski's "Dude" in one of Jason Reitman's live-read events

Pajiba Your first look at Pedro Pascal in Netflix's new drama Narcos -- will it be Netflix's next big hit?
Kenneth in the (212) Seems that Amanda Peterson of the 80s youth hits Explorers and Can't Buy Me Love has died at only 43. No cause of death yet 
Playbill this sounds like a bad idea: Ian Fleming's James Bond aiming for a stage musical adaptation in 2017 or 2018
i09 every Justic League hero in one montage - yes, Batman v. Superman is trying to boost excitement via Comic Con -- including many so lame they'll surely never make the big screen
Comics Alliance Guardians of the Galaxy promos its new animated series with poster, etcetera 
Playbill have you heard this awful 'what are audiences coming to?' story? Some guy tried to charge his phone in on the stage (in a fake electrical socket) at the hit comedy Hand to God

Magic Mike XXL keeping the interwebs talking...
Peter Labuza on 35mm "whiteness" and filming black blodies in Magic Mike XXL
Pajiba unanswered questions about Mike's furniture career. You know, the important stuff
Salon on XXL's dedication to a thematic taboo: Failure 
Cosmopolitan has Disney princes reimagined as strippers -- hasn't this erotic Disney trend reached its sell by date yet? I mean the craze started, what, 11 years ago or something

Showtune to Go
In addition to Magic Mike being in the pop culture air lately, during channel flipping this week I caught Hugh Jackman's filmed stage show of Oklahoma! again and remembered how much I loved Patrick Wilson in it on Broadway and began wondering why he doesn't do musicals anymore? To be frank, I don't understand his career choices at all but he should definitely do another stage musical. It's a no brainer. So let's combine the two threads with a Tony clip of Patrick Wilson's stripper musical based on the 1997 Best Picture nominee which predated Magic Mike by a lot. (Lots of fun star cameos in this Tony clip including some we've lost -- Anne Bancroft. *sniffle*)

Monday
May182015

That Laundry Room Scene in "Little Children"

For The Lusty Month of May, we're looking at a sex scene each night. Here's Manuel

Why is it that a drenched body is so lust-inducing on screen and yet so horribly oppressive in real life? This question came to me as I began fearing the humid sweat-filled summer we’re bound to have very soon in New York, while pondering one of my favorite on-screen sex scenes...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb022015

Sundance: A Bleak Character Study Triple Feature

Michael C here to look at a trio of dark films that premiered at Sundance. What would Sundance be without some downbeat character studies? Every festival gets its share of films charting the process by which self-destructive people make a shambles of their lives. Some of them are utterly engrossing and have the audience hanging on the protagonist's every move. Many of them are a chore, dragging the audience through fifty variations of misery to no clear purpose. The type of film where you tip your hat to the artistry and to the gumption it took to get it made, while silently resolving that you never need subject yourself to that again.

(I Smile Back, James White and Patrick Wilson in Zipper after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov212014

Ten Great Performances from Mike Nichols' Films

Amir here. Mike Nichols was a true giant of show business, with a career that lasted more than six decades and sprawled across many different media and genres. Nathaniel's heartfelt eulogy already highlighted the dreamy number of classics he directed and the collaborations with Meryl Streep that resulted in some of her most memorable roles; but Meryl wasn't the only performer whom Nichols guided to career-best work.

Team Experience decided to make a list of ten great performances from Mike Nichols' films; we were truly spoilt for choice. If you want a testament to the man's sheer brilliance and chemistry with his actors, look no further than the missing names from our list. An equally long, equally illustrious alternative list can be made of the likes of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War, Jude Law and Natalie Portman in Closer, and many others. 

Here is our team's unranked, personal picks:

Anne Bancroft, The Graduate
Let’s talk about making difficult parts work. On the page, Mrs. Robinson is as slippery, duplicitous, and out-and-out a villainess as they come. But in the hands of the glorious Anne Bancroft, working with but also brilliantly against Nichols’ effervescent direction, Mrs. Robinson becomes someone different and deeper but no less mercurial or indelibly iconic. Fleetingly sensitive, impossibly stylish, and smarter than everyone else around her, Mrs. Robinson still makes life difficult for Benjamin Braddock, but complicates our sympathies and keeps a cryptic, critical, and spellbinding distance while doing so. That’s not just making a difficult part work; it’s making a difficult part soar. - Matthew Eng

Shirley MacLaine, Postcards from the Edge
When Suzanne Vale's mother comes to visit her in rehab we're not told that the woman we're about to meet is a movie star, but as soon as Shirley MacLaine swans in, we know. Adept at creating an audience wherever she goes, MacLaine's Doris Mann is a delicious caricature of the aging star: the Norma Desmond of the musical-comedy era. (Her "I'm Still Here" will floor you.) Her immense ego and her sincere motherly love coexist contentiously, with poignant results. Instead of hammering at monster-mother camp, MacLaine keeps her humanity close, never losing it to the absurd. -Margaret de Larios

Mike Nichols, Nichols and May
Before he was the wunderkind of Broadway or the well-respected Hollywood director, Mike Nichols was half of the smash comedy duo Nichols and May. Later in his career, Nichols would tell actors, “You made it funny. Now make it true.” This was his gift as a comedian: the ability to ground increasingly absurd situations - a phone call between a rocket scientist and his mother, a man losing his dime in a phone booth - in funny, true reactions. Nichols was the master of the exasperated double-take and the monotone quip, two skills he would later pass to actors. -Anne Marie Kelly

Mary Louise Parker, Angels in America
Upon winning the 2003 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries, Mary Louise Parker thanked her "mighty" director Mike Nichols by explaining "you could get a great performance out of a quiche". She was right. In "Angels in America" he turned her character, Harper Pitt, from a thankless supporting wife into a sublime exploration of self-discovery. As someone trapped in a marriage with a closeted gay man, Parker beautifully opened up to Harper's fears, disillusionment and horniness. Nichols had her acting opposite CGI penguins and still she remained perhaps the most recognizably human figure in the film. -Jose Solis

Julia Roberts, Closer
Patrick Marber's crude barbs are spat from her mouth but Nichols' work in drawing Roberts into twisted versions of her romantic comedy smashes is equally instrumental in making this, I'd wager, her best ever performance. Roberts unleashes venom and allows her infamously angular features to manifest much of her character's ugliness, in a way that speaks volumes of her trust in the man directing her. She is at the same lithely sexual in a way she'd never been before; Nichols found the panther beneath the kittenish America's Sweetheart, an even deeper level of revelation than her Oscar winning turn four years prior, and the closest she's ever felt to reality. -David Upton

Kurt Russell, Silkwood
I'm going to relish this sentence, because saying it feels like such a rarity, but Mike Nichols’ artistry was so often and so brilliantly focused around women that it can be easy to forget the sensitivity and intelligence he granted men. Kurt Russell is not an actor known for subtlety, but in Silkwood, Russell finds something in himself that defies the rough and tumble box Hollywood liked to put him in. He's just as masculine, just as strong as he ever was as Snake Plissken, but there's a self-assured playfulness to his acting in Silkwood. He's looser here – sexier! – than anywhere else. Masculine posturing was irrelevant in Mike Nichols world, and for that and much more I thank him. - Teo Bugbee

James Spader, Wolf
By 1994, Spader could play the venal yuppie with feathered hair and a predatory smile in his sleep. But it was under Nichols, in this savage parable of the New York publishing world, that his stock character reached its height. Playing the human villain in a story about werewolves and still feeling like the most dangerous person in the cast is no mean feat, but Spader did it with smarmy ease, while being the only member of the cast to successfully navigate the film’s wobbly shift into explicit horror, largely because his backstabbing striver was already a fairy tale monster. -Tim Brayton

Emma Thompson, Wit
Vivian Bearing would be the second of three roles under Nichols’ direction for Emma, and the most significant. University professor Vivian may be dying of cancer but she retains her Thompson-esque traits – that slightly sardonic piquancy, the quiet dignity, the wit. But even as the affectations are all Emma, the performance is suffused with Mike, his warmth, his quiet effectiveness. The film, invariably, depends on their duet. Mike’s direction trusts Emma, giving her room and allowing her to devastate as Vivian. In a career of superlative work it’s hard to call Vivian Bearing Emma’s best but it’s a type of performance I’m grateful to Nichols for getting out of her, in touch with her usual sensibilities as an actor but pushed just further to become one of the most superior displays of suffering on screen. -Andrew Kendall

Robin Williams, The Birdcage
Williams was at his best when he harnessed his boisterous madcap energy into a fully delineated character whose quieter moments shaded his brassy zingers. His Armand, which could have so easily turned into a caricature with his loud shirts, his bushy mustache and his campy sense of humor comes alive with Williams' warmth: "Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I'm a middle- aged fag. But I know who I am." -Manuel Betancourt

Patrick Wilson, Angels in America
In a cast full of established masters (Streep, Pacino) and future stars (Jeffrey Wright, Mary Louise Parker), it would take a truly great performance to stand out, and that’s exactly what Wilson gave in the miniseries that put him on the map. It’s one of the script’s showier roles, to be fair – a Mormon denying his sexual identity – but Wilson plays it with note-perfect sensitivity, confusion, self-doubt, and yearning. The actor’s subsequent decade of fine, but hardly complicated performances in limiting projects only serves to make his achievement here that much more impressive. -Tim Brayton

Wednesday
Oct082014

Linktime Stories

Cinematically Insane #DontTouchTCM when it comes to Turner Broadcasting layoffs 
Richard Kelly, of Donnie Darko directing fame, lurves Gone Girl and write a whole epic essay about it while also touching on Eyes Wide Shut and Fincher's music videos
In Contention interviews cinematographer Robert Elswit (Inherent Vice, Nightcrawler)
MNPP gives Quote of the Day to Michael B Jordan on his costumes for Fantastic Four. "snug"
Deadline Scarlett Johansson about to do an Edith Wharton miniseries that was originally supposed to be a Michelle Pfeiffer feature film in the 90s. *sniffle*

Empire first images of Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange and Brie Larson in The Gambler remake
Vulture the exact moment Jennifer Garner fell in love with Ben Affleck 
Antagony & Ecstacy on The Boxtrolls. Glad Tim loved it
Boston Globe Mark Wahlberg's compound is finished. Holy third nipple, is he planning to house everyone who has ever appeared in any of his movies?
IndieWire 11 things learned about PT Anderson / Inherent Vice at the recent press conference
The Dissolve interesting video about shooting sex scenes from Joe Carnahan. Starring Patrick Wilson! Who...speaking of...
The Playlist interviews Jason Reitman who talks about the initial indifference to Young Adult, his Labor Day "misfire" and the critical savaging of Men Women and Children. I haven't seen the latter film yet so I don't know if it's gotten a fair shake or not but Reitman does have a point about film criticism today:

When I talk to directors and actors, "Young Adult" is their clear favorite of my films. I don't think ten years from now people will go, "Oh wow, I didn’t realize "Labor Day" was a such a masterpiece." But what it has taught me is that I can't really gauge what a movie is in the moment. To bring it round back to ["Men, Women & Children"]: film criticism has become a tweet. The moment the movie plays, people are writing about it and there's no digestive period.  

We were right about Young Adult all along, bitches.

 

I love this bookOff Cinema
Arts.Mic on the good news on GLAAD's annual gays on TV report. But...
Slate chimes in with a a more dismissive response: why count?
Pajiba ranking Kyle Maclachlan's TV roles since Twin Peaks

<-- Encyclopedia Madonnica I backed this 20th anniversary edition of the book at Kickstarter. There's a couple more days left to back it and insure your own copy. The book meant so much to me back in the day before you could look up everything instantaneously and when there weren't elaborate comprehensive fansites to celebrities yet. Plus it was just damn fun with lots of trivia and silliness. When I first met Matthew Rettenmund (Boy Culture) here in NYC several years ago I was a wee bit starstruck because of it. And speaking of the big M...
Billboard looks back at the Bedtime Stories album for its 20th anniversary 

Finally...
Esteemed stage veteran Marian Seldes has died at 86. Her regal mischievious face appeared semi-regularly in movies and on TV but usually in tiny roles. It was the stage where she experienced her enduring glorious reign.

I unfortunately only saw her perform live once. It was Edward Albee's "The Play About the Baby" (which also starred David Burtka, pre NPH) a sort of abstract minimalist reinterpretation of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and she was a-maz-ing in it. One of my favorite stories about her comes from 1978's "Deathtrap" in which she co-starred with Victor Garber. The hit comic mystery became a controversial movie in 1982 (a gay kiss - GASP!) with Dyan Cannon and Christopher Reeve taking Seldes and Garber's roles for the big screen. But when the movie premiered, Marian was actually still doing it on stage. She was with the play for its whole four year run and NEVER missed a performance. Amazing.

Here are good obituaries at The New York Times and Playbill