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Entries in Shirley Maclaine (18)

Tuesday
Nov102015

The Honoraries: Debbie Reynolds in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (1964)

This week we're celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners. Here's abstew on Debbie Reynolds' favorite role.

Molly Brown is my favorite of all the roles I've played. I love something about almost every part I've done, but I identified with Molly as soon as I met her. In the sometimes blurry line between art and and real life, Molly is the woman I've become as the years have passed. I'm right there with her when she declares, "I ain't down yet!"

-Debbie Reynolds Unsinkable: A Memoir

In her decades long show business career, amid the watchful eye of media scrutiny, Debbie Reynolds has endured trials and tribulations and come out the other side of it stronger. Caught in a Hollywood scandal, the original jilted girl-next-door (long before Jennifer Aniston was even born), Reynolds stood by while then husband Eddie Fisher left her and her two young children for screen siren Elizabeth Taylor. Her luck with men didn't improve later as second husband Harry Karl spent years gambling away her hard-earned money, leaving her with mounting debts to cover. Even her dream of finding a permanent home to house her legendary collection of movie memorabilia never came to pass and forced her to put them up for auction. So you can see how playing a character like the real life Molly Brown, who survived the sinking of the Titanic, earning her the moniker "Unsinkable", would find a kindred spirit in the guise of feisty spitfire Debbie Reynolds. The actress, like the legendary woman, simply doesn't know what it means to be defeated...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May022015

The Forever Link

Before We Get Started...
Here's the only sane reaction to the news that The Lovely Laura Linney (who has barely been on movie screens these past five years) has joined the cast of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. This comes from Aaron Fullerton on Twitter:

Laura Linney was cast in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and, for her sake, I hope she simply introduces it like an episode of Downton Abbey.

The Links
NY Times profiles Tom Hardy on the cusp of even wider stardom with Mad Max: Fury Road
The Guardian looks at five great moments from Shirley Maclaine's career
CHUD Director Josh Trank (Chronicle) has left the as yet untitled Star Wars spinoff film
EW interviews Matthias Schoenaerts about Far From the Madding Crowd, being called "the Belgian Brando" and his favorite movies (he loves David Lynch!)
Coming Soon from Shakespeare to a video game adaptation? The MacBeth team (Fassy, Cotillard, and director Justin Kurzel) are doing Assassin's Creed together.
The Dissolve Helen Hunt reuniting with the director of The Sessions for a road trip movie. Dakota Fanning co-stars
The Dissolve Because A24 is the best one of their next projects will have Cary Fukunaga telling the true story of a father who went on a cross-country walk to work through his grief about his gay son's suicide
Deadline Channing Tatum to star in an adaptation of the old sci-fi novel "The Forever War" from the 70s which is about soldiers fighting an endless war with no clear concept of why they're fighting. Apparently the novel has ideas about the future including the eliminating of heterosexuality (?) and the melting pot creating one homogenous race that are hard to imagine in movie form, given Hollywood's timidity about race and alternative sexuality 
MNPP a fun new poster for the horror comedy Cooties 


Superhero Mania
Time Out the first ten Marvel films in 40 gifs -- this would have been so much faster than that Marvel Marathon I attended!
Comics Alliance shares 11 in universe or comics references within the movie
Bryan Singer keeps releasing photos of his new X-Men team from the set including Jean Grey () in acid washed jeans and Jubilee in that familiar yellow jacket
Mark Ruffalo is calling Marvel out on their lack of female action figures
Pajiba collates a list of actors and directors considered for all the Marvel movies - what a difference many of them would have made
Dark Horizons they've narrowed down the new Peter Parker to Asa Butterfield and Tom Holland. Holland is the better actor but immensely less famous so let's hope they realize they don't need pre-movie fame for one of the most globally famous heroes ever created

Showtune to Go!
Remember Robin De Jesús, that awkward drag-loving teenager from Camp (2003)? He recently turned 30 and here he is from his new cabaret show #TheStruggleisReal (May 4th at 54 Below) doing Miley Cyrus ("Wrecking Ball" is totally a standard already) and reminding us that there was more to that movie than Anna Kendrick's breakout. 

Monday
Mar302015

TCMFF Wraps with Hollywood History & more Shirley MacLaine

Anne Marie here in Hollywood, reporting on the end of the TCM Classic Film Festival.

The 6th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival came to a close last night after four days. Though the theme of the festival was History According to Hollywood, the diverse programming of the festival showed that not only was TCM celebrating historical events and the films that portrayed them, it was also highlighting the this histories of the films being made, and - most importantly - the shared histories of the audiences that watched them.

It's impossible to cover everything the TCMFF screens (though The Black Maria did try), so instead I attempted to focus on the diversity of the programming. I watched Greta Garbo kiss a woman and renounce her throne for a man in Queen Christina. I watched two Pre-Code Hollywood musicals, Lubitsch's The Smiling Lieutenant and 42nd Street. I saw Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a Tennessee Williams-penned movie called Boom! that was so bad that it made Lindsay Lohan in Liz and Dick look like Meryl Streep. I saw Christopher Plummer honored twice, but as a result missed Sophia Loren. I had three festival highlights: the French Revolution film noir Reign of Terror, a program of single reel films run using a hand-cranked projector from 1905 (have you seen a short called The Dancing Pig?), and the newly restored 1919 Houdini film The Grim Game, constructed from the only surviving complete print.

But by far, the most valuable asset to TCMFF is its star power. Reader's choice film discussed after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar292015

Shirley MacLaine talks "The Apartment" at TCMFF

Anne Marie here in Hollywood, reporting the way it crumbles. TCMFF-wise, that is.

Shirley MacLaine knows how to command a room. TCM Classic Film Festival honored the Oscar winner's 6 decade career with a screening of The Apartment last night, but when MacLaine  made her entrance to a standing ovation at the TCL Chinese stage, it was clear that the honor was all ours. Dressed in red & black sequins (reminiscent of Doris Mann), MacLaine sparkled with charm. But it's not just her incredible charisma. When a sound glitch caused feedback, she turned with a mischievous gleam in her eye and called out,

"Whoever's in charge of that: Fix it!"


Much of that no-nonsense professionalism Shirley MacLaine attributed to her friend, legendary director of The Apartment, Billy Wilder...

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