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Entries in The Gift (3)

Wednesday
Jun212017

Director Joel Edgerton's "Boy Erased" Heads to Focus, While the Author of the Memoir Addresses Concerns

By Daniel Crooke

Give or take a big, broad Black Mass or two, Aussie toughie Joel Edgerton has proven himself to be a craftsman of restraint throughout his most recent crop of work, and continues to surprise audiences by subverting their expectations of how a man of his hulking size and stature should emote on the big screen. His performance in last year’s criminally undervalued Loving buries deep currents of sensitivity beneath the protective creases of his brooding face, and he manages to say more and speak louder through the locked intensity of his body language than the volume of his voice in Trey Edward Shults’s apocalyptic downer It Comes At Night

However, his most compelling work as an artist to date has been behind the camera...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug142015

Review: The Gift 


Jose
here. In between making appearances in what seems to be every single movie being made, Joel Edgerton has been doing his homework and studying the creepy thrillers of Michael Haneke and Roman Polanski, since he emulates both auteurs’ styles in his directorial debut The Gift. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as Simon and Robyn, a married couple who have just moved into their new home in Los Angeles when they run into Gordo (played by multitasker Edgerton who also wrote the screenplay), a former high school classmate of Simon’s who wishes to befriend them, but lacks the social skills to figure out that Simon isn’t interested in welcoming into his life.

We learn that back in high school, Gordon went by the nickname Weirdo and was the constant target of pranks made by Simon and his friends. Suggesting that we never really leave our high school roles behind, we see how Gordo turned into a self-loathing underachiever, while Simon became a successful executive who married the most beautiful girl in town - a former bookworm - and made a career for himself by bullying people in the corporate world. As strange things begin to happen in Simon and Robyn’s home, we are led to believe that maybe Gordon is seeking payback for the psychological torture he endured at Simon’s hands, and yet there is also a more perverse feeling of karmic retribution that at times makes us root for the sociopathic underdog. If he is a sociopath to begin with…

Edgerton’s film is filled with so many nuances that we are never truly sure of who is playing who. He manipulates the very same genre conventions he’s borrowing from, and instead of presenting Gordo as the perpetrator, he makes us wonder if by assuming the “odd dude” is the villain, we’re not becoming bullies ourselves. Combining elements from Gaslight, Funny Games, Repulsion and Caché, Edgerton weaves a stylish thriller that poses complex questions about human behavior without ever taking itself too seriously. There are scares galore, countless steamy shower scenes with damsels in distress, and more asshole-y behavior from Bateman’s character than you can imagine, and yet the movie feels fresh in its delivery. Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle if Keyser Soze had been the babysitter, The Gift playfully evokes some of the most beloved contemporary thrillers, not all of which are great films, but most of which prove to become irresistible on repeat viewings. Who knew Edgerton had this in him? 

 

Wednesday
Aug122015

Little Link on the Bloggie

Today's Must Reads
Cleo Journal has an excellent piece by Sara Black McCulloch on audience complicity, cat-fights, and star persona in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 
Grantland Mark Harris, typically brilliant, looks at this weird dispirited holding place (2015) before the next wave of superheroes are due to hit the movies for five plus years

Linkage
Variety Melissa Gilbert, that little girl from that Little House on the Prairie must have liked her role as SAG President some years ago -- now she's running for Congress in Michigan where she moved in 2013! Michigan politics are SO messy. Perhaps Laura Ingalls can help clean things up!
Gabby Sidibe loves Jussie Smollet cleaning her floors. LOL. Get all of that dirt, papi!
Criterion Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons look back on The French Lieutenant's Woman 
LA Times talks to the men behind Shaun the Sheep's dialogue free wonders
Rope of Silicon Angelina Jolie's By the Sea gets a hard "R" from the MPAA  


Empire Reese Witherspoon to produce and star in a supernatural thriller called Cold. She stays busy, that one
Defamer talks about the twist in Joel Edgerton's The Gift. I can't read this yet because I haven't seen the film but I love Rich Juzwiak's articles
The Hairpin "32 Things That Are All In Your Head" 
MNPP Gratuitous Miguel Angel Silvestre
The Film Stage PT Anderson made a music video again. This time for his Inherent Vice supporting actress Joanna Newsom
Uproxx a sequel to the one-off wonder Edge of Tomorrow is a possibility. Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossble - Rogue Nation) and Tom Cruise maybe thinking about it
Slate argues that the problems with the Fantastic Four might just be in the source material 
AV Club on the proliferation and pros and cons of the anthology format, post American Horror Story. Interesting but I dearly wish people would stop crediting Ryan Murphy with inventing a genre. Anthologies have existed since the beginning of television. He just popularized them again after a few decades when they went mostly extinct. It's like crediting Baz Luhrmann for inventing musicals or something.

ICYMI
Here at TFE we recently discussed that recent damning Miles Tellers profile in Esquire and The New York Times has now published "a brief history of the tough celebrity profile"  featuring Mira Sorvino, Cara Delevingne, Ernest Hemingway, and more. I thought I'd share it since we were just talking about Mira Sorvino at length in Mighty Aphrodite.

Stage Door
Playbill awww. Cyndi Lauper visited the stars of Fun Home backstage. Incidentally the show has been selling out houses for months now. That Tony win did good for a great musical. I keep wondering if anyone will dare make it into a movie?
CNN Benedict Cumberbatch is on stage in London as Hamlet but having trouble with fans who are filming him do it. Jesus, what is wrong with people? Just watch the thing you've paid to see.