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Entries in RIP (98)

Thursday
Apr212016

Farewell to the Prince

The beautiful ones,
You always seem to lose.

-"The Beautiful Ones"

Glenn here with some words about today's very sad news about the death of iconic musician and sometime actor/director, Prince Rogers Nelson. “Purple Rain” wasn’t the first time I ever heard Prince. Hell, I wasn’t even alive when the all things purple took over the zeitgeist in the summer of 1984. No, the first time I think I was consciously aware of who I was listening to was in 1991 when I laid eyes upon a video for the single “Diamonds and Pearls” on early morning music television. I was young, but already obsessed with music; making sure I watched the top forty countdown on Rage and recording my favourite videos from Video Hits onto an over-growing pile of VHS. I had been clocked into Madonna for a year or so by this stage, and Michael Jackson was regular fixture of my music listening habits with “Black & White” becoming a pop culture phenomenon at roughly the same time Prince came into my world. He was so different to anybody I'd seen before - his small frame and wild hair so at odds with the image of maleness that, especially growing up in suburban Australia, was preoccupied with overwhelmingly over-the-top masculinity.

If you ever need proof of some sort of other-worldly intervention in play in this life, then consider those three musicians were all born within just a couple months of each other. (More after the jump)

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Tuesday
Apr192016

Ronit Elkabetz (1964-2016)

Terrible news to report today. The great Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz has passed away at only 51 years of age. 

Her last film proved to be her biggest hit (Gett: The Trial of Viviane Absalem) -- we interviewed her right here -- but that courtroom drama was far from her only gem. We first fell (and fell hard) for the intense raven haired beauty in the astounding Late Marriage (2001) where she played the older woman in a sexually intense love affair with a slightly younger man (Lior Ashkenazi) whose parents were eager to marry him off to a "proper" bride and end his long-standing bachelordom. She won the Ophir (Israel's Academy Award) for that film, one of three wins for her as Best Actress.

If you've never seen "Late Marriage," you really must.She also starred in Or (My Treasure) (2004), the international hit The Band's Visit (2007), and other films in both France and Israel. In the past ten years she'd branched out from acting and with Gett she was directing and writing (along with her brother Shlomi), while continuing to dazzle in front of the camera. Awards groups took notice. She won prizes at the Hamptons, Chicago, Palm Springs, San Sebastian and Jerusalem film festivals for Gett and that last feature also resulted in multiple Ophir nods and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film. 

Elkabetz was battling cancer and is survived by her husband and three year old twins. She will most definitely be missed, her rich expanding career cut suddenly short.

Monday
Apr042016

Chus Lampreave (1930-2016)

Almodóvar aficionados, like you and I, have been dreading this day. But every great movie face eventually only still flickers on screens and in our memories. The great Chus Lampreave, so memorable in so many Pedro Almodóvar movies, has died at 85 years of age. She had been home bound recently in Almería.

Her film career began when Pedro was just a pre-teen. She was given her first acting job by the director Jaime de Armiñán. Like many directors after him, he worked with her repeatedly, including in the Oscar nominated film My Dearest Senorita (1972). She came to international fame via her relationship with Pedro Almodóvar though. She joined his troupe early on as one of his subversive nuns in Dark Habits (1983). She was always easy to spot with those coke bottle glasses, that tiny frame and inimitable voice. Dark Habits was the first of eight collaborations with Pedro over the next 26 years in which her comic timing and deliciously matter-of-fact next door neighbor / elderly relative charisma were always put to great use. After Dark Habits she appeared in Labyrinth of Passion, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Flower of My Secret, Talk to Her, Volver and Broken Embraces.

After the jump a bit more plus photos of some of her most memorable roles...

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Wednesday
Jan202016

Bowie Beauty Break & "Lazarus" Farewell

Pt 1 Bowie & Velvet Goldmine
Pt 2 Curio Finale
Pt 3 Beauty Break

A picture released by the family last week to accompany their announcement that they will be having a private ceremony. They are overwhelmed by the public outpouring of love but wanted to remind everyone that they welcome all the tributes and celebrations (as people see fit) but they are not officially endorsed or organized by the family.

Have you been listening to David Bowie for a week solid now? If you haven't we forgive you. Where even to start with that discography?  Bowie loomed so large in music and cultural history that we needed more time to process, so a week later here's the final piece of our goodbye -  a beauty break to think of him more visually instead... or at least to give you visual accompaniment to go along with your playlists elsewhere.

Musicians have been catching the acting bug since the movies began to wildly varying degrees of success. Some that showed early promise simply didn't care enough to continue doing it (Annie Lennox, Björk, Courtney Love, Tina Turner), others who seemed to want it badly, didn't really have the gift for it (Madonna, Prince), a few have been successful at it despite not being "good" at it (Elvis). There are other musician/actors on whom the jury is still out of course (Justin Timberlake/Lady Gaga). And then there have been people like Cher who were so good at acting that people eventually or temporarily forgot they were musicians. Finally there's David Bowie, our subject today, who occupies the odd ground of being of the cinema but also quite apart from it. (Are there other musicians who have had a similar relationship to the movies -- maybe Sting?)

After the jump, a visual tour of his filmography...

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Thursday
Jan142016

Alan Rickman (1946-2016)

Heartbreaking. Alan Rickman, one of the UK's most treasured showbiz mainstays has passed away at the age of 69. Though he occassionally dabbled in directing (The Winter Guest and A Little Chaos) he was best known as an actor of stage, tv, and big screen.  He's inarguably best known and beloved for the many years as Professor Snapes in the Harry Potter series. But for me, his career always makes me nostalgic for the early 90s. His career was energized by the success of Die Hard which led to a bunch of movies. 

When I saw Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) I was shocked that any film could contain so many performances that were all over the map in terms of quality - a chaos of acting styles and fumbles but he was always fun hamming it up as the Sherrif of Nottingham. I immediately typecast him as a villain. A year or two after Robin Hood I discovered in short succession the intense incest drama Close My Eyes (in which he is horrified to discover that is brother-in-law Clive Owen is sleeping with his wife), the claustrophobic thriller Closet Land in which he terrorized my then obsession Madeline Stowe (at the peak of her powers from roughly 1990-1994). But all my limiting ideas that that inimitable voice and the stern face meant he was a screen baddie were blown apart by this next one. My best girlfriend had fallen for this romantic comedy Truly Madly Deeply in which he plays Juliet Stevenson's ghost lover and demanded I see it. I fell hard. For them and the movie.

It's a great rental / streaming idea if you haven't seen it. This scene, which gives it its title, is my single favorite moment in Rickman's filmography.

What's your strongest memory of Alan Rickman's career?

Monday
Jan112016

David Bowie (1947-2016) and a little Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Pt 1 Goodbye to Bowie

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century lost a long battle with cancer in the wee hours of the night as Golden Globe parties were still going, a sobering end to a frivolous evening.

Though it's perhaps inappropriate given Bowie's towering iconicity in pop culture, I couldn't help thinking of Todd Haynes when I heard the news. More...

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Sunday
Dec272015

Haskell Wexler, 1922 - 2015

David here. As time runs out on 2015, the world sees the loss of another cinematic great. Cinematographer Haskell Wexler, double Oscar winner, passed away today. [More...]

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