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Entries in siblings (12)

Sunday
Sep112016

Alexis Arquette (1969-2016)

Alexis Arquette, the youngest sister of the Arquette acting family, passed away today at the age of 47 after a lengthy illness. She was the fourth of the five Arquette kids, all of whom became actors, with Rosanna Arquette leading the way to fame in the early 80s. Alexis was surrounded by all her siblings when she died as they listened to her favorite songs. She passed during David Bowie's "Starman." (So many sad goodbyes in 2016.)

Born Robert, she took the name Alexis early on, long before coming out officially as transgendered. Onscreen her first appearance was uncredited in the Bette Midler comedy Down & Out in Beverly Hills  (1986).

as "Georgette" in Last Exit to Brooklyn

Her official debut though was as the trans prostitute "Georgette" in one of Jennifer Jason Leigh's most critically acclaimed showcases Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)... 

 

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Wednesday
Aug172016

1984: John Cassavetes' Farewell "Love Streams"

by Bill Curran

The story of an irredeemably chaotic, forever ailed pair of siblings—Robert (John Cassavetes), a louche, bestselling (but never working) author and alcoholic, and Sarah (Gena Rowlands), his troubled, manic sister just divorced and now separated from her daughter—Love Streams doesn’t care much for a Story, capital “S”.  There is no dissolution or sea change in Cassavetes’ swan song*. If one of the chief pleasures of any good narrative is the suggestion of lives lived before and after the story itself, it’s striking to note that, unlike previous Cassavetes works like Faces and A Woman Under the Influence (with their forever altering moments), Love Streams exists on a continuum. We know Robert and Sarah will never really change. And there is a poignant resignation in realizing at the film’s end, as a thunderstorm pounds the windowpanes of Robert’s home and Sarah’s new companion’s car, that we’ve witnessed only a beautiful stepping stone in their zigzagging roads to nowhere.


Instead, the film achieves a dreamlike intensity, moment to moment, by giving free reign to Robert and Sarah’s thoughts and associations...

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Monday
Jun202016

Olivia @ 100: The Dark Mirror

We're counting down to Olivia de Havilland's historic 100th birthday (July 1st!). Team Experience will be looking at highlights and curiosities from her career. Here's Jason...

I'm proud of my fellow Film Experience members Dan and Josh for keeping their focus on the films so far in this series, but it seems kind of impossible to talk about Olivia de Havilland's 1946 thriller The Dark Mirror, which has her playing good and evil twins, without diving into the gossipy froth of her legendary lifetime rivalry with sister Joan Fontaine. The Dark Mirror sits somewhere between an exorcism and a single-gloved slap-fight - Fight Club via Film Noir. It offered Olivia the chance to play versions of both her and her sister's popular images, exaggerated and unloosed upon one another.

In a 2015 Time magazine piece on the sisters' feud it's said that Olivia was known for playing "pretty and charming, naïve" (like Melanie in Gone With the Wind) while Joan's roles were more "moody, intuitive and emotional." (Think the second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca.) Those broad descriptions fit the broad characters of Terry and Ruth Collins to a tee -- one's a suspected murderess, coarse and vulgar but forthright, while the other is noble and suffering do-gooder who seems to be allowing her sister to walk all over her and orchestrate a cover-up. But which is which (and who'll win that damn Oscar???)

To her profound credit de Havilland clearly relishes tearing into both roles and complicates the "good" and "bad" aspects of both women every chance that she gets - the real tragedy by the film's end is seeing what made the two women so unique begin to dissolve away, swap out. Early on, showing exquisite control over her body language and voice, de Havilland manages to make it clear which sister is which even beyond the aid of the oft black/white costuming.

But even more impressively as the film progresses and the sisters start playing each other she makes Ruth-by-Terry and Terry-by-Ruth their own creations, allowing each sisters' perspective on the other poke out from underneath. We can always tell who's in control... 

...until we can't. Not to spoil anything but there is a moment where the mirror cracks and the film upends our understanding of who's who and who's doing what, the violence of the moment hinging entirely on de Havilland's performance, and it's a corker. And sure, I can only conjecture, but it seems that this sort of performance-playing with public versus private personae might've been informed by being one-half of an Oscar-winning sister duo bobbing along on the top of the world. And come with the scars to prove it.

Thursday
May052016

The Family Fang 

Eric here, covering actor Jason Bateman’s second directorial feature, The Family Fang.  Or, as we lovers of actresses like to better position it, the new Nicole Kidman! Nathaniel covered it in brief from Toronto but now it's in limited release.

The Family Fang is a bit of a reunion picture for Kidman:  it’s written by her Rabbit Hole writer David Lindsay-Abaire and brought together by that film’s same producers.  While Rabbit Hole ranks among the finest in the astonishingly large canon of Great Kidman Performances, she doesn’t get to scale the same heights here, mostly due to the limitations of the story and script.

Kidman plays Annie, a flailing Hollywood actress who returns home to take care of her injured brother Baxter (Bateman), who is recouping with their estranged parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett) after a freak accident.  We learn at the start of the picture that Annie and Baxter were used, from birth, as participants in their parents’ live, staged performance art pieces (Annie was Child A; Baxter, Child B).  The parents caught on in art circles as avant-garde pioneers in the 70s, and the film traces their reunion all these years later...

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Sunday
Apr102016

Beauty Break: Happy National Siblings Day!

Let's hear it for siblings, fictional and otherwise! Today is National Siblings Day so I dedicate this to my sister and brothers even though they're not movie people and won't read this. But let's look at beautiful photos of three of our favorite sets of screen siblings. Starting with the most successful of all...

Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty and more after the jump...

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Thursday
Mar312016

The Sisterly Bond Between Leading Ladies of "Togetherness"

When the mood strikes, we'll be sharing our TV MVPs of the Week. Here's Daniel Crooke...

Before last week, Togetherness was simply that great show conducting the most shrewdly hysterical act of open-heart surgery on television. Of course, since then, HBO tragically axed the Duplass Brothers’ tender Northeast LA dramedy after two seasons. On Sunday’s “Geri-ina,” (replaying tonight at 11) Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet reminded us how their performances as sisters Michelle and Tina breathe with such a beautifully intimate got-your-backness. When Michelle needs Tina to create a diversion at a snobby fundraiser so she can snoop on her double-crossing charter school frenemy (who also happens to be the host) they exchange a lifetime of ocular shorthand as Peet shoos her along and humiliates herself for her sister’s dream: belting Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” to a roomful of upper crusters. Peet’s berserk timing and Lynskey’s deft, actualized determination belong to one another, fighting dirty in the name of justice.

Amy Jellicoe, you have two fabulous heroines heading your way in HBO Heaven.