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Entries in Val Kilmer (4)

Thursday
Jul242014

Tim's Toons: The voice of Sandra Bullock

Tim here. The mission statement of this column is “something to do with animation” (I suck at writing mission statements), which would seemingly preclude me from taking part in Celebrating Sandra Week here at the Film Experience.

But wait! As it turns out, there was exactly one time that Sandra Bullock voiced an animated character, in 1998’s The Prince of Egypt (as opposed to Gravity, where she was the only thing onscreen that wasn’t animated).

An adaptation of the Biblical story of Exodus, this was only the second film ever released by DreamWorks Animation (after 16 years, it remains one of their best). It was also the second DreamWorks film to favor a voice cast chosen for marquee value over skills in voice acting, building on a tradition that the studio would proudly continue for the rest of its existence. And in this case, it continues the longstanding Hollywood habit of populating stories from Hebraic scripture almost exclusive with non-Jews: Jeff Goldblum is the sole Jewish lead in a film whose voice cast includes Val Kilmer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Patrick Stewart, and Ralph Fiennes (the latter two aren’t playing ancient Hebrews, at least), alongside Bullock, one of the most famous subjects of the “Is she Jewish? I guess not” game of all time.

More to the point, that list of people includes nobody other than Stewart and Goldblum whose voice is so obviously distinctive that they’d necessarily make sense to put into an animated movie, but that’s DreamWorks for you. Among such company, Bullock doesn’t stand out as particularly grating or out-of-place (apologies to Nathaniel, but Pfeiffer pretty effortlessly takes Worst in Show, as far as that goes). In fact, watching the film for the first time with a particular ear for Bullock’s work, I’d go so far as to call her one of thebest members of the cast. Compared to Kilmer’s generic mid-Americanisms in the lead role, it doesn’t take all that much for anybody to stand out in the cast, of course, but Bullock is especially noteworthy in that she has the exact same liability as Kilmer – a voice carefully trained to sound like it comes from absolutely nowhere in particular, but probably Ohio-ish – and still manages to shade her line readings just enough to suggest a kind of formal pre-modern attitude, something that none of the other Americans in the cast ever really manage.

That being said, she has hardly any time to make an impression, with a role whose brevity is matched only by Helen Mirren’s (so, not an actressexual-friendly movie, basically). Bullock’s own unenthusiastic description from the officially sanctioned making-of featurette of 1998 is that her character, Moses’s biological sister Miram, “is sort of the believer, the one who holds on to the faith… She helps her brother cross over, and see where he came from.” And if that sounds like a stock character who gets nothing interesting to do, that’s because it’s exactly what she is (she’s also the lead singer of the Oscar-nominated song “When You Believe”, but Bullock didn’t do her own singing).

Still, she puts some heart into it, and a lot of earnestness, and it’s enough to put the character over as a real personality, even if she’s a bit one-note in her “Moses! Are you gonna lead the chosen people yet?” characterization.

It’s more then Goldblum doing Goldblum in ancient Egypt can claim. It’s a lot more than Martin Short and Steve Martin doing nothing at all but cashing checks can claim. The problem with the DreamWorks casting trend (that has since infected virtually all animated filmmaking in America, not just that studio) is that movie stars typically look more interesting than they sound, as true for the bulk of The Prince of Egypt as anything in the Shreks or the abysmal casting of Brad Pitt as the white-breadiest Sinbad in film history. And by all rights, it should apply to Bullock as much as anybody; but she pushes herself just enough to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s a largely unimaginative performance of a role that means only a little bit to the movie as a whole, but she manages to make a real impression, and given what she was working with, that’s a real, if small triumph.

more Sandra | more from Tim

Monday
Nov192012

The Linking Daylights

Variety's "The Vote" looks at all time great film scores
NYT remembers voice actress Lucille Bliss (RIP) the voice of Smurfette and Anastasia in Cinderella
Art of the Title Sequence has a cup of fresh coffee with Cabin in the Woods
EW watch Anthony Hopkins become Hitchcock in under a minute (though in real life it took an hour and a half each day 
In Contention Angelina Jolie campaigning for Ewan McGregor's work in The Impossible. Whoa

Unreality Marvel superheroines as Bond Girls
Salon uh oh Activists claim that 27 animals have died making The Hobbit films 
Pajiba shows us Val Kilmer and Joann Whaley's kids all grown up. Think they'll be actors? I always wished that Whaley had had a better career. Loved her in Scandal and Willow.
Movie|Line Ryan Gosling's beat up face on the Only God Forgives poster 
IndieWire first Joaquin and now Anthony Hopkins calling Oscar campaigns "disgusting" 
French Premiere the semi-finalist list for the Best Newcomer prizes at the Césars in France. Expect a nomination at least for Matthias Schoenaerts for his awesome double attention-grabber Bullhead and Rust & Bone  
The Playlist fun gallery of behind the scenes shots from Kill Bill
Awards Daily James Franco made a music video. Lindsay Lohan is in it 

And finally here's Jeremy Renner making fun of Hawkeye on SNL...

It'd definitely been the year or archery what with Brave, The Avengers and The Hunger Games among the top blockbusters. And now we have gifted archers on two television series: Revolution and Arrow... which is also about a guy who shoots arrows. That's kind of his thing. Before this trend dies a swift death from ubiquity, can someone please give actual archer and awesome actress Geena Davis a good role and combine the two?

Thursday
Dec012011

Congratulations to the Movie-ish Grammy Nominees !

Given that roughly 193,026 musicians can call themselves Grammy nominees for the first time or again in the wake of last night's announcement (so many categories), we'd like to congratulate those nominees that are somehow connected to the movies. But before we do that, tell me who has your vote for "album of the year"?

 

I have the Gaga and Adele CDs and love both. Do you recommend the others?

Anyway... Silver screen type nominees & best music videos after the jump
Including: Val Kilmer, Patton Oswalt, Daniel Radcliffe and more...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr222011

Batman at the Circus: 'Massacre Under the Big Top'

Kurt here from Your Movie Buddy, offering a circus-themed post to coincide with the release of Water for Elephants, 20th Century Fox's spring tentpole (nyuk, nyuk). My three-ring subject is a pivotal scene from Batman Forever, that neon-coated guilty pleasure that gave way to what's likely my most hated movie of all time. It begins with a cube of cheese:

I've really got to get you out of those clothes...

            "Excuse me?"

...and into a black dress. Tell me, doctor, do you like the circus?"

And with that, Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) and the bankly-named Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) head out for a very script-friendly first date, conveniently opening the door for The Birth of Robin. We soar into the Hippodrome, a waterfront arena just outside the downtown area of Joel Schumacher's rainbow vision of Gotham, and pass multiple instances of the production designer's imperialist-society-by-way-of-paper-mâché aesthetic.

Inside, Gotham's finest gather to watch the acrobatic stylings of The Flying Graysons, a carnie clan that includes Dick (Chris O'Donnell), his brother, and his mom and dad. To my knowledge, this setup adheres rather closely to the lore of the Batman comics, though Dick/Robin was just a wee lad of 10 when taken under Batman's cape.

Anyway (getting ahead of ourselves), the Graysons prove a crowd favorite.

Click to read more ...