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Entries in Remains of the Day (2)

Wednesday
Nov132013

True Oscar Stories: Hey Nonny, Nonny

Emma Thompson was nominated for Best Actress in 1993 for Remains of the Day in which she is very good but it really should have been for Much Ado About Nothing, in which she is utterly radiant, the classiest and most consummate romantic comedy lead the 90s could have ever dreamt up.

The following year, the Oscars made the same mistake nominating Winona Ryder for period drama Little Women instead of the post-collegiate comedy Reality Bites, which I'd argue is her single greatest screen performance if less iconic than her star turns in Beetlejuice or Heathers. 

The moral of this story: Even when they're great, comedies have such a tough time being appreciated in their time. Soon you'll be able to add Frances Ha (2013) to that infinite list of under-rewarded laughers!

Thursday
Sep222011

Dangerous Expectations

For what it's worth...


I saw A Dangerous Method last night and enjoyed it. With the New York Film Festival press events in swing (the festival proper starts on the 30th) and other screenings happening to the side we've arrived at our favorite time of year... Prestige Picture let out of the gate! As we speak, Michael and Kurt are watching Lars von Trier's Melancholia (which I've already seen and found fascinating and difficult to let settle) so you'll be hearing about these two movies shortly and later on when they open, too. Fall season is best because even when the movies aren't perfect they offer plenty to talk (and argue) about.

This adaptation of The Talking Cure (a phrase used in the movie unlike its new title) won't hit until November so my proper review will wait but I wanted to note straightaway that it wasn't quite what I was expecting -- almost stately, subtle and one might even say uptight to the point of refusing catharsis. Keira Knightley handles her difficult role well and without vanity, jutting her jaw out grotesquely and contorting her body to the point that it's even more alien and angular than one might have ever found it before. It's as if she's never read any of the critiques of her beauty. (I would like to note that I don't take kindly to the common hateful screeds about the actual looks of actors that are so popular on the web but this is rather like Sarah Jessica Parker -- who I personally love to look at -- agreeing to co-star in a picture entirely about horses.)

Freud (Viggo) and Jung (Fassy)Loved Viggo as Freud but was quite surprised to have difficulty with Michael Fassbender for the first time. I'm guessing that repression is, like depression, difficult to act in a mesmerizing way. For what it's worth my favorite male portrait of stifling repression is probably Anthony Hopkins in Remains of the Day who I would have handed the Oscar to in 1993. I am not overly fond of Hopkins so maybe I just have issues with male repression onscreen? A point of comparison: I was similarly unwowed by Daniel Day-Lewis when he made The Age of Innocence which is the picture my mind kept drifting towards.

As to Oscar speculation: I suspect that if there is Oscar play then The Age of Innocence is a far better comparison than Remains of the Day. But I suppose it all depends on whether AMPAS is in a repressed well appointed 90s period piece mood (they've kind of moved away from that lately, right?) and how the competition holds up when all the game pieces are on the board.