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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in The Hours (18)


Interview: The Filmmakers Behind Spanish Oscar Submission 'Flowers' on MacGuffins, Preserving the Basque Language, and 'The Hours'  

Jose here. Flowers is centered around a mystery which sees construction site office worker Ane (Nagore Aranburu) start receiving flowers from an unknown admirer. Week after week, beautiful flowers arrive on the very same day, then one day they stop. Is it a coincidence that they stopped right after Ane's construction site co-worker Beñat (Josean Bengoetxea) passed away in a car crash? We soon meet Beñat's widow Lourdes (Itziar Ituño) and her mother in law Tere (Itziar Aizpuru) whose relationship only seems to weaken in the aftermath of Beñat's death. Flowers is beautifully constructed by José Mari Goenaga and Jon Garaño (who co-wrote and co-directed the film) who know how to take audience members along on a journey and understand how important it is to have us participate in trying to solve the mystery.

Meditative and melancholic, Flowers, is a worthy follow-up to their equally beautiful For 80 Days, and has been chosen as Spain's official Oscar submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category, a historic achievement since it's the first Basque film chosen for the honor. Individually Goenaga and Garaño have done it all, from animated films to documentaries, but their work together has a truly haunting quality, not to mention exquisite performances. I spoke to the filmmakers to discuss their Oscar hopes, making films in Basque and the movies about women that inspire them. 

JOSE: When I first reached out to you, Flowers didn’t have a US release date, now it’s opening on Friday. Are you excited about that?

JOSE MARI: We’re a little bit nervous, the film opens in NYC on October 30 and on November 27th it opens in Los Angeles, which is part of our press agents’ strategy to capture the attention of AMPAS voters. We’re nervous because we don’t know how people will receive it, and the commercial run will undoubtedly affect how it’s perceived by the Academy.

More on Flowers after the jump.

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Nicole & Lee, Reunite for Interview Magazine

You've heard the news by now that Nicole Kidman will make an appearance on TV's mega-smash "Empire" at some point to be determined. Apparently her guest gig was meant to have happened already but her London run in Photograph 51 prevented it (hmmm. which role was it originally we wonder - have you been watching Season 2?)

Interview magazine, smart devils that they are, hooked her back up with Lee Daniels for their latest issue (with photos by Fabien Baron) and it's clear that the two were tight as bandits on the set of The Paperboy (2012) and feel each other as kindred spirits. 

LEE DANIELS: Nic! Hi, honey. I just spoke to Chris yesterday. He told me that you were having the time of your life in London. 

NICOLE KIDMAN: I am. I'm having a really good time here. 

DANIELS: I was disappointed to hear that because, of course, I want you on my set. [both laugh]

The interview is full of "naughty" memories like why Nicole was dancing in the rain with Zac Efron in his undies in that infamous film, and her fearless dive-in commitment and 'use everything' approach to acting.

DANIELS: Does your personal life ever bleed into the work? In other words, if something is fucked up in your personal life—family, husband, kids, parents, friends, what you're going through—does any of that ever bleed into your work?

KIDMAN: Yeah, but we're taught to bring everything—the state of being, the environment—and use it. If it's raining, or the other actor doesn't know his lines, everything has to be used. So your own emotional state comes into play, and I certainly remember that happening a lot on, say, The Hours, when I was going through an enormous amount of turmoil. And even though it was appropriate at times for the character [Virginia Woolf], at other times it wasn't. But I would just bleed it in; it would manifest in different ways. For me, the idea of having a plan, that you've got to hit this particular place, shuts down other possibilities. And that's probably why I work well with you because you're also like that. You see something, you jump on it. Jane Campion is the same. You are very similar in the sense that everything is so detailed, and everything you see, or sense intuitively, you focus on and pull out. 

There's also asides to talking theater with The Lovely Laura Linney (!), and how her voracious reading habits as a child (Tolstoy at 12, hee) led her to acting.

It's a must read so go there...


Beauty Break: Now They Can Get Married! 

Since it's Pride Weekend and the Supreme Court has ended the silly intrastate / interstate fights about whose marriages count in the US, here's the only way we can think to celebrate. A beauty break gallery of LGBT couples from the big screen who can now get hitched or stay hitched wherever they move!

Nic + Jules 4ever

Seven more couples after the jump

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Top Ten Best Julianne Moore Performances

abstew here for a Tuesday Top Ten. Julianne Moore is known simply as 'God' at The Film Experience. That was Nathaniel's nickname for her even before the site was launched. It's winking hyperbole, sure, but if there's any other actress working today deserving of that moniker, it's this talented redhead who has given us countless transcendent performances for more than 20 years. This past Thursday, Moore earned her 5th career Oscar nomination for her beautiful performance in Still Alice and all signs indicate that this is the year that she will finally take home the gold. Since many are seeing this eventual win as honoring her impressive body of work, I could think of no better time than to look back over Julianne Moore's 10 Previous Best Performances. With such iconic creations as Amber Waves and Cathy Whitaker over the years, Moore's divinity has already been proven, but a golden statue still seems like a worthy offering. All hail, Julianne Moore!   

10. Maps to the Stars (2014)

Director: David Cronenberg
The Role: Havana Segrand, a self-centered, ageing Hollywood actress obsessed with playing her dead movie star mother in a film.
Awards: Cannes Film Festival Best Actress, Golden Globe Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy nomination

Why this Performance: I can't say that I'm a fan of the film as a whole (too many storylines and tonal shifts that seem unfocused and chaotic), but amid the chaos is Moore's livewire, crazy-committed performance. For an actress that has been working as long as Moore has, it can sometimes be difficult to surprise your audience with something they haven't seen before. But with Havana, Moore is able to suppress her natural intelligence and compassion as an actress by playing an actress so unlike her: needy, vapid, dim-witted, and something Moore could never relate to, untalented. In scene after scene we see Moore in unflattering positions (including one on the toilet that I'm sure most Oscar-nominated actors would balk at), but perhaps the most shocking thing about Moore in the film is that even after all these years, there's an excitement in knowing that she can still astonish us.   

9. Short Cuts (1993)

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Curio: In the Kitchen with Meryl and Barbara

Alexa here. This week is cookie week in my house: the kitchen gets covered in flour and sugar in my attempt to craft cookies pretty as Martha's. I thought I'd try some new recipes this year, inspired by the world of film instead of M. Diddy. When I heard about The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents Christmas in Tinseltown I thought I'd check it out; I was sold when I saw it included Robert Mitchum's recipe for egg nog and Joan Crawford's recipe for angel food cake. First, though, I decided to try my hand at Barbara Stanwyck's family recipe for Christmas Kipfels during my yearly viewing of Christmas in Connecticut. With a little modification (rolling the dough instead of folding it, similar to rugelach), they were a snap.

With this recipe you won't need help from Felix

And so delicious!  So I was inspired to seek out other celebrity cookie recipes.  Another resource: Silver Screen Suppers, where you can find loads more of Joan Crawford's recipes. But when I stumbled upon Meryl Streep's family recipe for thumbprints (featured in Good Housekeeping) I knew I'd have to try it. After all, she showed some serious skills cracking those eggs in The Hours, clearly she knows her way around the kitchen. So of course, I dialed up The Hours and got to baking...

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Women's History Month: Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf

Our Women's History Month posts, celebrating real actresses as real women conclude with abstew on Virginia Woolf & The Hours.

Virginia Woolf

Born: Adeline Virginia Stephen was born January 25, 1882 to Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Duckworth Stephen in London, England. Her father was an author, historian, and critic while her mother was known for her beauty, even posing as a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters. 

stone-filled pockets and golden statues after the jump...

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7 Days Til Oscar. Dallas Buyers Club & AIDS Pictures

Unless I've missed a random nomination somewhere -- and you may correct me gently in the comments if I have --  it occurs to me that Dallas Buyers Club is the seventh non-documentary motion picture with a prominent HIV/AIDS story to receive Oscar nominations. (There have been more films with supporting characters who were living with HIV, but these are the major films that are more focused on it*).

Oscar's history with this feature topic stretches back 23 years through one Best Picture nominee, a pre-McConaughey Best Actor, two foreign films, and 1990's Longtime Companion after the jump

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