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Entries in Ray (3)

Thursday
Jan282016

Bye Instant Watch: Terms of Endearment, Tom Cruise, Big Fish...

What's leaving Netflix Instant Watch?

We should probably start covering that. It seems like a boring topic but we jazz up your public service announcements. I'll close my eyes and play with the control bar and wherever I freeze the movie I'll share the image. This weekend is your last chance to watch these films for free for who knows how long. Since there are Oscar titles in the mix, perhaps you can fill some holes in your Oscar lists of Things To See or Rewatch.

Ready? In chronological order of their film year, seven films leaving Netflix on February 1st...

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)

EMMA: I've got some good news. I'm unofficially pregnant. I mean I haven't got the tests back but I'm never late.

AURORA: [Pause] Well... No, I don't understand."

Look how crazy young Jeff Daniels is! Shirley Maclaine is so hilarious and complicated in this movie -- that long pause with cascading rejection of possible responses under frozen 'I don't understand' face. She's going to lose out since she doesn't want to think of herself as a grandmother. A well deserved Best Actress win, with Shirley obviously relieved about it "this show has been as long as my career."

Oscar Note: I know we've asked this before but how long before we get another girlie Best Picture winner it's been FOR-EV-ER. Terms of Endearment was nominated for 11 Oscars (an astounding amount for a contemporary-set film), winning 5. 

six more movies after the jump

THE TERMINATOR (1984) 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep232015

In Appreciation of Regina King

Kieran here to take a moment to praise the talents of the great underappreciated, enduring and (as of Sunday evening) Emmy-winning actress, Regina King. It was truly a wonderful moment when Taraji P. Henson, still reeling from that moment of Terrence Howard creepery, excitedly announced Regina King as the winner. The Emmys can often feel like a yearly recitation of the same list of names, but wins like Regina King's are what make awards shows that honor acting great. Like Melissa Leo or Octavia Spencer, it's always heartening to see hard working, talented and enduring character actresses finally get recognition.

My earliest memory of King was in Boyz N the Hood (227 is a little before my time) where she brought a welcome side-eye skepticism and levity to that male-centric outing, great as it was. I haven't seen the film in a couple of years, but her lines easily remain the most memorable and quotable. I feel similarly about her performance in Ray, a film that suffers from its trite biopic structure but comes to life most when King's Margie is on screen. She's consistently great, shoring up projects and roles that often don't deserve her, frankly.

King has worked steadily for the past three decades but prior to her nod for American Crime, she had never been nominated for an Emmy. Or a Golden Globe. Or a solo Screen Actors Guild Award (she was nominated with the cast of Ray in 2004). Or an Oscar. Given the breadth and longevity of King's career, this is a little shocking. She's clearly under-appreciated, even by me. I failed to cite her as one of my ten favorite Emmy nominees, though she was great on American Crime and wholly deserving of the win.

Hopefully seeing Regina King win an Emmy will prompt directors and producers, many of whom I'm sure she's already worked with (seriously...check out her IMDb. The woman never stops working) to unlock their imaginations about what she's capable of. She's shown her versatility in a wide range of genres and in roles of all sizes. The time has long passed for King to have her moment in a great leading role worthy of her talents.

What's your favorite Regina King performance? What director would you like to see her paired with? Discuss in the comments.

Thursday
Dec272012

Interview: Kerry Washington on "Django" & Diversity

Kerry Washington and I were both blindfolded if not gagged when we spoke about Django Unchained. Metaphorically, you'll understand. Neither of us had yet seen Quentin Tarantino's latest revisionist revenge flick when we found a window in her schedule to talk but talk we did.

Kerry Washington as "Broomhilda" in Django Unchained

Amusingly we had quite different feelings about not having yet seen it. I was desperate to attend a screening. Kerry was, apparently, not. When I asked her if she enjoyed watching her films she laughed with a "No!" and a shudder...

It's a process I force myself to endure. Usually not more than once.

For the rest of us the prospect of seeing one of the screen's most stunning actresses is a lot more enticing than 'something to endure'. Since Kerry's big screen roles have rarely been as sizeable as her talent, a key role from an A list auteur is something to treasure while we have it.

In Django Unchained, Kerry found herself in the unusual position of playing a relatively non-verbal part considering the dialogue heavy nature of Tarantino pictures. She plays Broomhilda von Shaft, the wife of freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx) who aims to rescue her from the sadistic plantation of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) where she currently resides.

Our conversation about Django, her TV work, and the politics of her screen career is after the jump.

Click to read more ...