NOW PLAYING

reviewed - out in theaters

review index

HOT TOPICS


Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
"Bond on Banana"
2014
Mixed Media on Fruit, 9"x1½"

There is nothing about this I don't love.❞ -BRB

From the neck down, its pretty good. Guess your eyes weren't focused on his eyes.-Henry

Your next assignment: Shelley Winters on a Pineapple❞ -Jon

 

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?
Twitter Feed
Subscribe

Entries in Sandra Bullock (36)

Thursday
Jul242014

Tim's Toons: The voice of Sandra Bullock

Tim here. The mission statement of this column is “something to do with animation” (I suck at writing mission statements), which would seemingly preclude me from taking part in Celebrating Sandra Week here at the Film Experience.

But wait! As it turns out, there was exactly one time that Sandra Bullock voiced an animated character, in 1998’s The Prince of Egypt (as opposed to Gravity, where she was the only thing onscreen that wasn’t animated).

An adaptation of the Biblical story of Exodus, this was only the second film ever released by DreamWorks Animation (after 16 years, it remains one of their best). It was also the second DreamWorks film to favor a voice cast chosen for marquee value over skills in voice acting, building on a tradition that the studio would proudly continue for the rest of its existence. And in this case, it continues the longstanding Hollywood habit of populating stories from Hebraic scripture almost exclusive with non-Jews: Jeff Goldblum is the sole Jewish lead in a film whose voice cast includes Val Kilmer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Patrick Stewart, and Ralph Fiennes (the latter two aren’t playing ancient Hebrews, at least), alongside Bullock, one of the most famous subjects of the “Is she Jewish? I guess not” game of all time.

More to the point, that list of people includes nobody other than Stewart and Goldblum whose voice is so obviously distinctive that they’d necessarily make sense to put into an animated movie, but that’s DreamWorks for you. Among such company, Bullock doesn’t stand out as particularly grating or out-of-place (apologies to Nathaniel, but Pfeiffer pretty effortlessly takes Worst in Show, as far as that goes). In fact, watching the film for the first time with a particular ear for Bullock’s work, I’d go so far as to call her one of thebest members of the cast. Compared to Kilmer’s generic mid-Americanisms in the lead role, it doesn’t take all that much for anybody to stand out in the cast, of course, but Bullock is especially noteworthy in that she has the exact same liability as Kilmer – a voice carefully trained to sound like it comes from absolutely nowhere in particular, but probably Ohio-ish – and still manages to shade her line readings just enough to suggest a kind of formal pre-modern attitude, something that none of the other Americans in the cast ever really manage.

That being said, she has hardly any time to make an impression, with a role whose brevity is matched only by Helen Mirren’s (so, not an actressexual-friendly movie, basically). Bullock’s own unenthusiastic description from the officially sanctioned making-of featurette of 1998 is that her character, Moses’s biological sister Miram, “is sort of the believer, the one who holds on to the faith… She helps her brother cross over, and see where he came from.” And if that sounds like a stock character who gets nothing interesting to do, that’s because it’s exactly what she is (she’s also the lead singer of the Oscar-nominated song “When You Believe”, but Bullock didn’t do her own singing).

Still, she puts some heart into it, and a lot of earnestness, and it’s enough to put the character over as a real personality, even if she’s a bit one-note in her “Moses! Are you gonna lead the chosen people yet?” characterization.

It’s more then Goldblum doing Goldblum in ancient Egypt can claim. It’s a lot more than Martin Short and Steve Martin doing nothing at all but cashing checks can claim. The problem with the DreamWorks casting trend (that has since infected virtually all animated filmmaking in America, not just that studio) is that movie stars typically look more interesting than they sound, as true for the bulk of The Prince of Egypt as anything in the Shreks or the abysmal casting of Brad Pitt as the white-breadiest Sinbad in film history. And by all rights, it should apply to Bullock as much as anybody; but she pushes herself just enough to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s a largely unimaginative performance of a role that means only a little bit to the movie as a whole, but she manages to make a real impression, and given what she was working with, that’s a real, if small triumph.

more Sandra | more from Tim

Thursday
Jul242014

Sandra and The Kiss

We're celebrating Sandra Bullock as she hits 50. Here's Matthew Eng on her most infamous awards show moment - Editor 

I'm not sure why exactly the Critics' Choice Movie Awards need to exist, except as another obvious precursor ceremony for glorified Oscar season star-baiting with ridiculous genre-segregated acting categories (so glad we all got to rightfully recognize Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit as a nominee for Best Actress in an Action Movie!) and a prime airtime on the CW, and whose only (only!) difference from the Teen Choice Awards is that the former hands out actual trophies, whereas the latter gives out surfboards.

That being said, I remain eternally grateful to this over-bloated awards pageant for providing us with perhaps the single greatest, or at least most-rewatchable moment of the 2009 Oscar season five years back: the Meryl-Sandra kiss...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul222014

Celebrating Sandra with "Hope Floats"

With Sandra Bullock's 50th birthday approaching we'll be looking at a few of her films. Here's Andrew Kendall on a little discussed '98 picture. - Ed.

Is it strange that when asked to celebrate Sandra Bullock’s birthday with a film from her oeuvre I immediately turned to the 1998 (ostensible) romantic drama Hope Floats? Despite the 80 million dollars at the box office the film was not quite a hit and critics were not impressed. Yet, whenever I’m asked to stump for a Bullock performance I tend to turn to Birdee Pruitt not necessarily as the “best” Bullock, or not even quintessential Bullock but my favourite Bullock.

The well-intentioned, sometimes – oftentimes – too treacly Hope Floats from writer Steven Rogers (who did a better job handling domestic dramas that same year with Stepmom) and direct Forrest Whitaker (who helmed his strongest film three years earlier with Waiting to Exhale) is a movie I feel warmer towards than I should. It gets a bit turgid in the middle falling prey to the lazy, but not necessarily inaccurate, complaint that it’s probably too long. But I can’t turn my back on the easy warmness of the film, mostly because of its able bodied cast – Harry Connick Jr being just the right amount of cocky and charming, Mae Whitman giving one of the best children performances of the nineties, and Gena Rowlands giving the type of performance that would net an aging actresses an Oscar nomination if this was 1940s (think Gladys Cooper in Now, Voyager). And, of course, Sandra Bullock – the lead performance the film lives and dies by. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun102014

Speed Freaks

TFE is really into 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries and elsewhere you see mostly 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th business. I assume this is because recent stuff gets more traffic, but whatevs. I can only do me. So I didn't even consider Jan de Bont's Speed (1994) for celebrations here though I liked the movie quite a lot and Keanu Reeves was my (imaginary) boyfriend at the time.  There's a lot of good stuff 'round the web on Speed today if you're so inclined. Crave has a road map tour of L.A. so that you can retrace the movie's drive and derailments (that seems dangerous!), In Contention has an indepth report with Keanu, Sandra and the director and Huffington Post interviews Joss Whedon who did uncredited writing on the movie. My point is this: There are a lot of Speed freaks celebrating today.

I have only one thing to share but it's the most important of things.

LITTLE REMEMBERED FACTOID

Speed (June 10th, 1994) followed Little Buddha (May 25th, 1994) into theaters. It was all Keanu all the time in the summer of 1994, with and without guyliner... with and without pop quizzes.

Have you seen both?

Tuesday
Mar112014

'The World is Round, People!' But Can It Spin a Little Differently?

Blue Jasmine was one of Woody Allen's biggest hits, earning $94 million globallyGeena Davis and I have been harping on gender disparity in film for ever and I've also spent a lot of time on its sister problem: ageism focused on women. But in the past couple of years it feels like the conversation has finally reached the mainstream. 

Every website, even the most misogynist-friendly, now knows what the Bechdel Test is and that the majority of movies still fail it even though it's super easy to pass. Cate Blanchett's Oscar speech got a lot of attention and Kevin B Lee recently had a major cinemetrics piece in the New York Times about women's limited screen time and now, as The Wrap reports, a new study out of San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film shows how bad the problem is not just in lead roles (only 13% of the films in the top 100 of last year) but in ageist double standards (women over 40 account for only 30% of female roles while 55% of male roles are for the over 40 set) and in racial representation (73% of all female roles are for caucasian women).

All of this despite the fact that Cate's Oscar speech was total righteous truth-telling. [More...]

Click to read more ...