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Entries in Vanessa Redgrave (25)

Wednesday
Mar092016

Say What? Maggie & Vanessa

(How did I miss this photo last month?) Amuse us by adding a caption or dialogue to this photo of Dame Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave taken a short time ago.

Friday
Jan012016

Who's Your Favorite Dame?

Imelda Staunton. Photographed by David Rose. [Source]Here's Murtada on his favorite subject; British ladies of a certain age who delight on screen and stage.

Happy New Year! Some Brits usher in the new year celebrating their newly bestowed knighthoods. This year Queen Elizabeth II honors, among others, Idris Elba and David Oyelowo. There are different designations to the honor. For example Imelda Staunton became a CBE i.e. not yet a Dame but well on her way. It’s obvious The Queen hasn’t ventured out to the theater in 2015 or Staunton would be Dame Squared for her triumphant Mama Rose alone.

This year’s newly minted Dames are British TV stalwart Barbara Windsor (EastEnders, the Carry On movies) and Welsh stage veteran Sian Phillips (Daniel Day Lewis’ mother in The Age of Innocence), who was once Mrs. Peter O’Toole.

But when we talk dames we mostly talk about the holy trinity who still have vibrant movie careers: Judi, Maggie and Helen. No last names necessary if you say Dame first. Oscars and other awards, big successes on the boards on both sides of the Atlantic and long thriving careers for all three.

But who is your favorite? To help you decide let’s dig a bit deeper. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul082015

HBO’s LGBT History: If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions...

Last week we looked at a number of HBO TV episodes from 1998 (wasn't '98 the gayest?) that gave us a broader cross-section of gay men on screen than the AIDS victim/activist/mourner trifecta we had so grown used to in the HBO films of the early 1990s. Today, we turn our attention to HBO’s first openly didactic piece of LGBT filmmaking with an anthology film helmed by a group of female writers and directors that aimed to trace a (narrow) history of the (white) lesbian experience in the twentieth century.

If These Walls Could Talk 2, much like the anthology film that gives it its name (they’re not really sequels per se, the first dealing with unwanted pregnancies), is comprised of three stories set in the same house and dealing with the same issue: namely, lesbianism. Taken together, the three short films that make up the piece (set in 1961, 1972 and 2000) track a by now familiar narrative of lesbian representation. The melodrama of the early 1960s, steeped in silence and euphemisms, gives way to a romance set against the backdrop of the vexed relationship between lesbians and feminism in the 70s, ending in a “new normal” vision of lesbian parenthood. Schematically we move from a couple to a community and then to a family. A fascinating progression but one which seems much too facile, especially when the first entry is by far its most rewarding. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep172014

A Year with Kate: The Trojan Women (1971)

Episode 38 of 52:  In which even Katharine Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave cannot save a 3,000 year old stinker.

As a budding theater and film student, my freshman year of college I landed in Intro to Set Design. The professor, a thespian in the grand academic style garbed oversized scarves and an air of intellectual enlightenment, explained to us that our final project would be a rules-free design for The Trojan Women by Euripides. “After all,” she said with a weary sigh, “you can’t make it any worse.”

Low praise for high art, but her reasoning was sound. Though The Trojan Women is subversive and surprisingly modern in theme, the play seriously lacks structure. (The year Euripides offered The Trojan Women at the Dionysia theater festival, he placed second out of two.) Beginning immediately after the downfall of Troy, The Trojan Women laments the enslavement, rape, and murder of the women of the captured city. Unfortunately, Euripides fails to tie his diatribe to a plot until late in the play, resulting in a funereal dirge. Like Euripides’s tragedy, Michael Cacoyannis’s 1971 film adaptation is full to brimming with good ideas that ultimately fail to coalesce into something great.

One of these actresses steals the movie after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May262014

Wet Hot Linky Monday

Things That Are Not Cannes-Related
Vanity Fair Leonardo DiCaprio in space: the auction! I love it whenever Katey Rich's inner Titanic fangirl comes out.
Coming Soon Wet Hot American Summer to be a series on Netflix now. And, much better news: its now middle aged original cast members will all be playing high school versions of themselves. Love it. Can't wait to see Paul Rudd's sloppy french-kissing again. That movie is such a scream
Playbill oooh, here's a fun unexpected list. Ten artists that are a Tony Award short of the EGOT  from Kate Winslet through Julie Andrews and on to um... Martin Scorsese?

Comics Alliance on how Quicksilver, not a major fan favorite superhero, was suddenly a hot property with two major motion pictures in the space of a year
Star-Ledger interviews Dan Callahan on that Vanessa Redgrave book we told you about a couple of weeks ago
Playbill Jim Parsons on coming out and how The Normal Heart affected his life
Vanity Fair Emma Thompson gives her usual great interview promoting her new comedy with Pierce Brosnan The Love Punch

I’d rather have root canal treatment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE than join Twitter"

Cannes -Cannes-Cannes
though everyone's flown home
Notebook Miriam Bale on her Cannes experience, David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars and Jean Luc-Godard
In Contention best and worst of the fest 
Critic Wire averages out the grades for this year's slates at Cannes. Highest grades go to Leviathan, Foxcatcher, The Tribe, Whiplash, Two Days One Night, Force Majeure, Wild Tales, Tu Dors Nicole and A Hard Day (the last two of which I haven't previously heard a peep about online.) 
The Telegraph Leila Hatami (A Separation) had to apologize for a public kiss on the cheek at Cannes which angered some Iranians. This world is madness and so wretched to women time and again.
Variety the 7 biggest surprises at Cannes Parties from Leonardo DiCaprio (all business even when peeing) to Lindsay Lohan getting kicked off a yet (um... how does the latter qualify as a 'surprise'?)

And the sales...
The Tribe the tough Ukranian picture The Tribe (the one in sign language without subtitles) has three major European countries nailed down (+ Japan) for distribution. Will we get it in the US? Pretty please? 
The Wonders, the Grand Jury Prix winner is also selling briskly to multiple markets

And a final P.S. on the sales. Sony Pictures Classics who got three of the buzziest Sundance titles early this year were also buying at Cannes. I guess they want a handful of Oscars and not just to dominate the foreign film and documentary again. At this writing here's their upcoming slate:

  • Land Ho! - Sundance comic hit about two old pals vacationin in Iceland [July, review]
  • Magic in the Moonlight - the latest from Woody Allen, which we just discussed [July]
  • Love is Strange - if it's handled delicately and smartly and the critics rally it could be a dark horse Oscar player. Either way, it's going to become a classic down the road. [August, review]
  • Whiplash - Sundance and Cannes hit a father and son drama with Miles Teller as a drummer with a tough dad [October]
  • Foxcatcher - a good bet for multiple Oscar noms but is it too chilly to win statues? [November, review]
  • Mr Turner - this handsome art biopic could be a major player for Mike Leigh [December, review]
  • Infinitely Polar Bear - their only purchase that baffled me at Sundance. But it's got recognizable stars [Opens TBA, reviewed]
  • The Salt of the Earth - buzzy Cannes documentary [Opens TBA]
  • Red Army -another Cannes doc about the Soviet Union hockey team during the Cold War [Opens TBA]
  • Jimmy's Hall - the new Ken Loach from Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Saint Laurent - YSL biopic from Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Wild Tales - the Argentinian comedy won major raves at Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Leviathan - this Russian film from the director of The Return and Elena was expected to win big at Cannes had to settle for Screenplay. I always worry when these things happen post-buy that the distributor will then put them on the backburner. Hope that isn't the case here. [Opens TBA]

Today's Watch
Mutant super powers aren't just for human anymore. Kittens!

 

Tuesday
May132014

Visual Index ~ Blow-Up's Best Shots

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic is Michelangelo Antonio's new wave classic Blow-Up (1966) and we're dedicating it to Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave, the first biography written about her which is released this week from Pegasus Press. I read an advanced copy on my cruise last month. The author is Dan Callahan, who I know here in New York City and who is a tried and true Actressexual™ (and loved that word the moment Nick and I coined it). He's previously written a book on Barbara Stanwyck so you know he has good taste. Because he values actresses, the biography is more concerned with her gift onscreen and stage than her scandal-laden politics, though those details are there, too. (Dan also picked his favorite shot from the movie for our little weekly viewing party.)

Imagine my surprise when Vanessa Redgrave was barely in the movie! I had remembered the film quite differently but this movie is a slippery one, as you can tell from the write-ups. We had more dissenters than we usually get when we pull films directly from the canon.

Blow-Up's 7 Best Shots?
as determined by the brave cinephiles playing the Hit Me With Your Best Shot game
[Click on the images for the corresponding articles]

As critical an indictment of the camera eye as anyone who made his living on the backside of a camera could possible make." 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

The photographer as minotaur in his own labyrinth...
- The Film Experience 


More than just a simple glamour shot..."
-The Film's The Thing 


 

We're just as paranoid as Thomas is...

- The Entertainment Junkie

 

 Redgrave makes you ask all of these questions and far more."
- Dan Callahan author of "Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave" 

Creating his own story using still frames..."
- Intifada


The guy can’t decide what he should be doing, and I think that’s my problem with the movie..."
-Coco Hits NY

I took my cues from Antonioni and his lead and went for something that captivated me simply for the mood it conveys..."
- Film Actually 

 

NEXT ON HIT ME
Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000). This film was part of our first season of Best Shot so this one, like Mean Girls last month, is a reprise. But if you weren't with us in 2010, now's the time to join the cause before the Mutants Strike Back in X-Men Days of Future Past which opens on the 23rd.

Tuesday
May132014

Frames Within Frames in Labyrinthine "Blow-Up" 

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic is in honor of the release of the book Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave.  Imagine my surprise, given that dedication, when I watched Blow-Up for the first time since I was maybe 17 or 18 and realized that Vanessa is barely in it! Oops. Her presence looms large and plays tricks with the memory. Is it because we are constantly staring at her photograph and she takes on mythic dimension. Or is it because the actress herself is adept at playing not quite a flesh and blood woman but a projection, a prism of Mysterious Woman? 

But, then, Vanessa aside. What isn't tricky about this enigmatic classic? The plot, as skeletal as it is, centers on a womanizing fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who sneakily follows a statuesque beauty (Redgrave) and her lover on their stroll through the park. He snaps away. Later he becomes convinced that while he was shooting them an actual shooting took place and he's inadvertently caught a murder in progress on the negatives. But has he? I love this noncommital bit of dialogue between the photographer and his friend late in the movie...

Click to read more ...