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Yes Not Maybe So: Bombshell

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Entries in Sienna Miller (12)

Tuesday
Jun252019

Podcast: Last Black Man in San Francisco, Toy Story 4

by Murtada Elfadl and Nathaniel R

 

Index (49 minutes)
00:01 Toy Story 4. Fun but was that necessary?
06:57 Emma Thompson shines in Late Night. Deserves a bigger audience.
20:10 Sienna Miller's character study American Woman 
32:00 We highly recommend the stylized, moving The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
47:11 The wrap-up 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Late Night and Last Black Man in San Francisco

Thursday
Jul062017

First Look: Sienna Miller in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof"

Why is it that Sienna Miller has had quite a successful and diversified stage career, but can't seem to break from the suffering wife roles that have marked her film work? Miller always gives these roles more than they ask of her, so you would think she would be given a role with more narrative heavy lifting. This year, she got to flex a little more muscle in The Lost City of Z (out on DVD next week) within the trope, giving the film its haunting final note.

Miller's next stage role is a similar suffering wife, but of the iconic sort: she will be playing Maggie in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London's West End beginning next week. Miller joins a growing list of actresses like Scarlett Johansson and Anika Noni Rose that have played the role in recent years - this play never seems to go away. Unbroken's Jack O'Connell plays her closeted husband Brick. Take a look at Miller in rehearsals and muse on her career in the comments.

Sunday
Apr232017

Review: "The Lost City of Z"

by Chris Feil

A sprawling, formally immaculate epic like James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is a rare enough to seem like a novelty these days, and Gray’s rendering makes the film feel no less precious. It plays almost like a delicate jewel box on the screen, as if any minute it will crumble to our modern touch. Z looks and breathes of a bygone era.

Charlie Hunnam stars as Colonel Percival Fawcett, an unheralded military man who rises to prominence for exploring the uncharted Amazon in the early 20th century. His first expedition leads to an obsession when he discovers signs of an ancient ruins, suggesting a developed civilization previous undiscovered by western eyes. Fawcett’s three increasingly less successful journeys could be seen as indicative of the virtue or punishment of an obsessive goal, depending on your vantage.

While the film’s trajectory is familiar to epics over the most recent decades, what sets the film apart is its complex emotional terrain...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct192016

NYFF: The Lost City of Z

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on the Closing Night film from James Gray.

Most of us aren't fortunate enough to have our lives live themselves in a perfect three-act structure. "Here I was born, and there I died," says the ghostly Madelaine in Vertigo, with an entire lifetime intuited by a comma - that's just second-act stuff, after all. Colonel Percival "Percy" Fawcett -- the real-world explorer whose explorations formed the basis first for David Grann's book The Lost City of Z and now the movie from The Immigrant director James Gray -- made three trips into the Amazonian jungle searching for his El Dorado, lending his life-story the perfect apparatus for yarn-spinning. A beginning, a wandering middle, and something approaching an end...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

YNMS: "Live By Night"

by Chris Feil

Ben Affleck's Live By Night, his directorial follow-up to Argo, has been long-rumored to pop up as a late entry into the 2016 Oscar race. Could Warner Bros. be out for some Best Director retribution after Affleck famously missed the nomination for that film? Don't be surprised if its January debut is preceded by a quick qualifying run in the hopes of making up for that sting.

Now we have our first look at what Affleck has been working on between Batman gigs. His second Dennis Lehane adaptation, the film finds the director in his crime saga sweet spot before also taking over the Batman directorial duties. Will this be one to savor before he's wrapped up in that studio monster? Take a look at the first trailer:

Let's break down the Yes, No, Maybe So of this first look...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr272016

Dark Comedy or Sick Nihilism? "The Mother" and "High-Rise"

Tribeca is over and we're almost done catching up with reviews. Here's Nathaniel on a potential Oscar submission from Estonia and a twisted thriller from the UK.

Mother
The festival described this crime comedy as Fargo-like and that's true to a degree. It takes place in a small town where everyone seems to know each other...ish. The local customs are amusing or peculiar to the outsider (namely, us). There's also a noticeable undercurrent of 'and all for a little money' despair about the human condition that tugs at both the red herrings and the true crime. A young ladies-man teacher named Lauri (Siim Maaten), something of a slacker/dreamer as he had big plans but never moved out of his parents home, has been in a coma for months following a shooting. While his long suffering mother attempts to care for him alone (the father is no help), a parade of visitors including friends, lovers and policemen keep bursting in to bear their souls or search his room on the sly. The director Kadri Kousaar (yay for female filmmakers!) keeps the camera as invasive as the guests, and we're often looking where we shouldn't be behind doors or curtains or seeing things from odd angles. One of the best sustained jokes in this deadpan comedy (it's not really a movie for guffaws but heh-heh touches) is that no matter how many times there's a knock at the door, the parents are surprised even though their house has become Grand Central Station.

But who is responsible for the shooting and why is everyone acting so suspicious or guilty about their history with Lauri? While the story revolves around the mystery surrounding the son, the mother is the star of the picture (in case the title didn't clue you in). Despite a difficult character to dramatize with Elsa being barely verbal and moving throughout like a resentful silent martyr to her drudgery, Tiina Mälberg is terrific in the role. And it's her first movie! She makes the character alternately funny and intriguing and, in the odd moment here and there, when her mostly surpressed emotions bubble up Mälberg earns the reveals and keeps the character cohesive. Grade: B/B+

P.S. The Estonian film industry is tiny, producing a couple handfuls of films a year so we have to take any release that makes its way to American festivals seriously as a potential Oscar submission. The country enjoyed its first nomination in the foreign language film category with Tangerines in 2014 (a joint production with Georgia). 

High-Rise
Another film where the laughs land uncomfortably -- because boy is this nihilistic -- is Ben Wheatley's adaptation of J.G. Ballard's "High-Rise". The allegorical satire takes place (almost) entirely within a high-rise apartment building where the 1% (Jeremy Iron as the architect) lives at the tippity top and everyone else is more or less at his mercy and subject to suffer for his follies if things don't work quite right in the building. Doctors like Tom Hiddleston's Laing, a brain surgeon, are somewhere around the floor and so on down to lower floors where families (Elisabeth Moss & Luke Evans) with seemingly endless children struggle to get by. The eventual societal breakdown is revealed from the very first image which is rather an odd choice; it kills what might have been gut-churning momentum. We already know the downward spiral will have the adults going  Lord of the Flies on each other and Laing will be living in shambles  as one of the society's only survivors. 

If you can get past the nihilism and poor treatment of animals, the film has plentiful pleasures including a smart performance from Hiddleston and rich filmmaking from every department. Clint Mansell contributes another intriguing score but the MVP is the eye candy from fascinating production design through to the very attractive cast. A crisp white shirt has never looked so pornographic as it does here on Tom Hiddleston but he's also wearing a lot less, which his fellow resident (Sienna Miller - yes her again) notices and appreciates straightaway immediately spinning the interpersonal web of craziness that will grow and grow from the moment Laing moves in on every floor. Ballard's novel was written in the 1970s but the film never plays it like a period piece really despite the flare of some clothing and hair and prop details, which helps keep it out of time and universal; the film isn't going for realism but allegory anyway. Not all of this works, the pacing is a particular sore point since the film gets mired down on its way to where we know its already going and he doesn't quite stick the landing, but I left convinced that director Ben Wheatley is someday going to make a great film. Grade: B