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Entries in Vanessa Redgrave (22)

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 ...

Monday
Feb102014

Link Shelf

Can we talk about the official Oscar site for a minute? The past few years they've really improved it but some things are questionable. Like their live blog of the nominee luncheon being just a series of photos or this weird article about the biggest Oscar surprises evers that seeks to rewrite history and imagine a world where everyone didn't know that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were winning Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. LMFAO. Everyone knew that. But I have to say that I love their nominee questionnaire. Especially the handwritten responses from various celebrities and filmmakers.

Okay, Links
Pajiba Fox News' hilariously dumb war against the "anti-capitalist" The LEGO Movie. Hahaha. I swear they get dumber every year over there and they were pretty stoopid to begin with
Glenn Dunks Laura Dern's greatest faces
i09 the cast of Frozen, including Idina, did a live concert. Will Disney finally wise up and realize original voice recordings are better than overproduced lame pop versions of the song? 
/Film Weinstein Co drops a lot of money on Imitation Game (2014). We already thought it was an Oscar contender and this confirms it

Oh and have you seen McConaughey on Graham Norton talking about his Wolf of Wall Street chant? For some reason Julianne Moore is there, too, and eager to hear it. (I missed this episode, obviously)


Cinema Blend Anne Hathaway considering taking the lead role in The Intern, vacated by Reese Witherspoon opposite Robert DeNiro (but why are there two recent comedies about middle aged or senior guys doing internships -- is this a business trend I'm unaware of or just Hollywood being dumb?)
Grantland Mark Harris on Oscar season turning ugly
Pillow Tweets [NSFW] W Magazine has compiled a bunch of photos of stars in various states of undress with their white sheets and pillows including current Oscar nominee Pharrell Williams, increasingly naked Miley Cyrus, Joe Manganiello, noted homosexual Luke Evans and many more.

BOOKS!
I wanted to take the time out to congratulate some online writer friends. Manuel Muñoz's first full novel "What You See in the Dark" was inspired by and evolves as kind of an adjacent story to the making of Hitchcock's Psycho (we've discussed it a few times because it's awesome) and it's now been translated into French - here's a review if you're a francophone! Christopher Smith, who once upon a time vouched for me for BFCA membership, left film reviewing to become a best-selling novelist.He just keeps churning them out!  

But the real reason I'm posting this is three more online friends have new books out or arriving soon! Kenneth in the (212) wrote the pop culture saturated memoir "Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?" which is available now. Dan Callahan, who was delighted when we coined the term 'actressexual' here (and definitely is one) has previously written a book on Barbara Stanwyck. His new book is  "A Life of Vanessa Redgrave" which doesn't arrive until May but I have a delicious looking copy on my coffee table because I am special. And last but not least, the Self Styled Siren (a must read blogger for you fans of classic cinema) also has a book coming out later in 2014 though I don't think we're allowed to share details just yet. Be assured that we'll discuss it when it arrives. I am officially now the only reasonably-somewhat-sort-of-well-known blogger I've ever met who never got a book deal. I am officially also quite happy for all of them. Well done! 

Wednesday
Dec182013

Top Ten: The Best Sister Acts in Hollywood History

Today's top ten list was inspired by the passing of the great Joan Fontaine, half of Hollywood's most embittered AND most successful sibling rivalry, all-female division. Usually when a movie star has a sibling, one is considerably less successful than the other which is why the Fontaine & de Havilland business was so enduringly fascinating. (If we're talking mixed gender siblings only Warren Beatty & Shirley Maclaine are truly comparable in terms of parallel mega-careers). I'm dedicating this list to the Talmadge sisters, silent screen stars (though most of their work did not survive) as well as the one and only Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac (her gorgeous elder sister who died way too young)... those Young Girls of Rochefort. But Rochefort is a long way from Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD'S TOP TEN FOURTEEN (ACTRESS) SISTER ACTS

The Sisters Mara: Kate & Rooney

14 Kate Mara (1983-) & Rooney Mara (1985-)
Rooney, currently playing Joaquin's ex-wife in Her, became a very big deal two years ago with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Kate is currently working the Netflix original House of Cards. If Hollywood futures are kind they'll climb this informal list.

13 more actressy-sibling sets after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
May172013

Ruth Wilcox’s May Flowers

They’re arriving so late in the day because Mrs. Wilcox is a nymph who travels at night.

As far as evocative film openings go this lush green opening for Howards End ranks among the top for me. Really, though, many films would be vastly improved if they open with a strolling Vanessa Redgrave. more...

Click to read more ...