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Entries in Take Shelter (7)

Friday
Nov042016

Posterized: Jeff Nichols

With the romantic civil rights drama Loving opening in limited release today let's survey the short career (thus far) of writer/director Jeff Nichols. He turns 38 in a month but he's already made 5 pictures. With each subsequent effort pictures he seems to edge a wee bit closer to mainstream awareness and already has critics in his corner. The Oscar attention that will likely hit Loving, which focuses on Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) and their battles with Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws, will be a major step in that direction. None of his films to date have received an Oscar nomination of any kind though they've been in the "best of year" conversations.

How many of his films have you seen?


Shotgun Stories (2007) - Spirit Award John Cassavettes Nominee
Take Shelter (2011) -5 Spirit Award nominations with 1 win, Gotham Nominations for Feature & Ensemble
Mud (2013) - Spirit Award Best Direction Nomination, Robert Altman Award Win
Midnight Special (2016) 
Loving (2016) - Gotham Nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress

Fun Trivia Note: Michael Shannon has appeared in every single one of the director's films. In Loving though he only has a bit role as a magazine photographer who takes famous photos of the couple at home which raises their profile nationally.

Tuesday
Dec272011

Interview: Jessica Chastain's Big Year / Big Future

Jessica Chastain was in Morocco when we spoke, jurying on a film festival. Or was she in Toronto filming a movie? No, maybe she was right here in New York City or in Los Angeles for a premiere or event? Who can say. It's been a dizzying year. Her definition of "staying put", I quickly discover, is staying in one place for a whole week. "I don't think this is a normal year for an actor," she says understating the case.

Chastain reigns over 2011's movies

She sounds bright and cheerful and ready for more movies, believe it or not, though she admits that the year has been tough on her personal life. This past summer she starred in two of the most talked about films of the year (The Tree of Life and The Help) and in the fall she was doing press for four more (The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Texas Killling Fields). 

Though her characters are already multiple, she is but one woman. The movies we're seeing all at once she made over the span of a few years and she helpfully provided the order when asked:

  • Wilde Salome ("My first film. It hasn't come out yet")
  • Jolene 
  • Stolen ("very small role")
  • The Tree of Life
  • The Debt
  • Coriolanus
  • Texas Killing Fields
  • Take Shelter
  • The Help ("I went straight from the set of Take Shelter")

I figure her sudden ubiquity is a good place to start the conversation...

"I'm fine right here" 

Nathaniel R: It's almost like you've sprung full grown from the head of Zeus for moviegoers.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Which is so funny because I've been working so long!  But it does feel like this year with people starting to see my films they're asking "Where did you come from?" Well, I trained. I have been working for a long time.  You guys are just getting caught up . I didn't come out of nowhere.

NR: It just feels that way for us! I want to ask you about Take Shelter first. Long suffering wives of male leads -- how shall I put this? This type of part always runs the risk of feeling like a thankless stock role. How did you make it feel as specific as it does? That marriage is so vivid.

JC: It's funny. I think I teased Jeff [writer/director Jeff Nichols] quite a bit when we first started working together. I'm sure they were like "oh no…" because I do a lot of work before i show up on set. My script, it's not necessarily filled with answers but there are a lot of questions that I write down. In a scene in Take Shelter I might write down 'When's the last time he told me he loved me?'  Something like that which gets me thinking 'hmmmm, okay...'

For that movie I did that throughout the whole script. I had to make it so specific because my entire subtext in that film is "what's wrong with you?" but I can't say that the same way in every scene so I had to look for what's happened before each scene to make it as specific as possible. I really wanted to grasp it so much that on our first day I really embarrassed Jeff and Mike [Michael Shannon]. We're at lunch. The three of us sat down and I've got some questions. I looked at Jeff and said 'When do they have sex? I just wanna know.' Mike's mouth opened up, Jeff turns beet red.

'what's wrong with you?' Now, ask it in multiple unspoken ways.

[The Help, The Tree of Life and Chastain's future plans after the jump.]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov292011

Spirit Awards: "Take Shelter" & "The Artist" Lead the Nominees

The New York Film Critics Circle isn't even finished with its announcements yet and now we've got The Spirit Award nominations. They have the longest lag time between nominations and ceremony since they aren't even held until the day before the Oscars. Like the NYFCC they've been swerving ever closer to Oscar over the years, often championing a runner-up type of candidate like, say, Sideways or Black Swan. That could be good news for The Artist or The Descendants this year depending on which takes the lead in the Oscar race. Though if you believe the nomination tallies here this could be a very big night for Take Shelter.

BEST FEATURE
50/50 (3 noms total) -review
Beginners (4 noms total) -review
Drive (3 noms total) -review
Take Shelter (5 noms total)
The Artist (5 noms total) -review
The Descendants (4 noms total)

I'm super fond of ½ of this lineup and whenever you're super fond of ½ a lineup you should smile. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the way awards season is aiming to go, The Descendants is my least favorite from their preferred lineup.  

FULL LIST OF NOMINEES AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov082011

Parties: Kneel Before Michael Shannon, Compare Tattoos with Amy Ryan

Party Reporting! It sounds like the cushiest job ever except that the pay is in free drinks and bite sized foods and you can't make rent with that. You can however find them delicious, which I do. So... I hit two movie parties last week and though neither were as decadent or as exciting as that Michael Fassbender / Shame party -- it's hard to beat the Top of the Standard for decadent opulence -- both were for good causes:  Michael Shannon and Woody Harrelson's Oscar Campaigns for Best Actor. Now, these technically weren't Oscar parties. There are strict limitations and quotas surrounding those. But all movie events for critically acclaimed films or performances have the same endgame in mind, don'cha know, so they're all virtual awards parties.

The winner is... [opening virtual envelope] .... ohmigod it's a tie! The first winner is "Whoever Networks Well" and the other winner is "the Actual Honoree of Whichever Event You're At". 

Rampart After-Party
I spoke briefly with Michael Shannon, who at 6'3" made me feel much shorter than I am (5'10"). He's far more handsome in real life than one expects given the often twitchy uncomfortable / confrontrational characters he's known for. A movie reporter friend of mine had already engaged him in conversation was talking with him about William Friedkin so I blurted out that I loved Bug on stage and on screen. The look on Shannon's face suggested to me that this is perhaps not usually the first thing out of a stranger's mouth. I also asked him if he was feeling intimidated at all about walking in Terence Stamp's iconic shoes...er boots... for in the new Superman film. He was on a break from Man of Steel (2013) but indicated no fear at the prospect. He did say that when people ask him about the movie they almost always say or ask if he'll be saying the classic line "Kneel Before Zod!"

He did not gift me with the answer to this constant question... though to my credit I did not directly ask. This isn't a Superhero Movie News Blog.

I also thanked Oren Moverman (Rampart's writer/director) for giving so many great actresses parts, however tiny, that were worthy of them for a change. I'm talking bout Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Robin Wright and even Harriet S Harris who I had run into the week before accidentally outside of a screening.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP: Moments with Courtney Love, Amy Ryan, Celia Weston and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct202011

Gotham Awards: The Tree of Marcy May's Sheltered Descendants

The Gotham Award nominees were announced today. Though they're not affiliated I like to think of them as the East Coast Spirit Awards on account of the similar types of films they tend to honor (independent and lower budgeted films) and the slightly confusing windows of eligibility. The ceremony will be held on November 28th, 2011 here in NYC which is the same day that the New York Film Critics Circle have just announced as the date on which they'll name their winners. So mark those calendars. Awards Season begins in earnest on Monday November 28th, 2011. So the season will be almost exactly three months long this year what with the Oscars arriving on Sunday February 26th, 2012.

Best Feature:

  • Beginners (Mike Mills)
  • The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
  • Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt
)
  • Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols
)
  • The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

'One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same.' The black sheep of this shortlist family is The Descendants which is decidedly more mainstream than the other contenders: big movie star, crowd-pleasing rather than crowd-risky, obviously on its way to Oscar nods.

Several categories and few opinions after the jump.

Click to read more ...