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Entries in witches (41)

Friday
Apr142017

Three Fittings: Fantastic Beasts' Odd Costume Win

New Series! Three Fittings celebrates costume design in the movies. The number is necessary self-restraint for we love the art of costuming too much.

By Nathaniel R

Dear reader, I didn't think I'd ever need to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016). I thought, solid reasoning given the golden trajectory of most franchises, that Oscar would want to move on after a year of regular craft nominations for the series. I thought, surely they'd never hand one of them an actual Oscar if they hadn't done so by now. But in the interest of completism, after Colleen Atwood's generous fourth statue for costuming this particular movie and its bluray release, I caught up. 

I was both impressed and utterly perplexed by what I found.

While Atwood does unusually understated work (for her), there are far fewer costumes than you might expect (approximately one per man, two per woman). Sussing out why they voted for this confident minimalism within a fantasy over more traditional costume perfection in Jackie, the primary color bliss of then-frontrunner La La Land, the erotic glamour of Allied, and the flouncy Most-ness of Florence, proves nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, here are three key looks to discuss:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar272017

The Furniture: A Tarot Reading with "The Love Witch"

 "The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in much more magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

Over the last year, I’ve written about a fair number films in which the costume design and production design are intimate companions. The Taming of the Shrew is the most recent example, a visual cornucopia that underlines Zeffirelli’s tendency to paint people and props with the same brush. Yet that flamboyant director was not actually the credited costume designer or production designer. His style, like that of most filmmakers, was the result of artistic collaboration.

Not so for The Love Witch, a much more literal “singular vision.” Director Anna Biller worked as both production designer and costume designer for her film, as well as art director, set decorator, editor, composer, writer and producer. The film’s strikingly unified aesthetic certainly can be attributed to this herculean labor, but that’s hardly the only impact. The magic of The Love Witch is in its details, the cumulative effect of Biller’s meticulous and varied craft.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan302017

Beauty vs Beast: Witchy Women

Jason from MNPP here, tackling one of my favoirte movies of all-time for this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- unless it's Halloween-time I mostly try to lean away from horror films for this series but I gotta make an exception this week, for Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of Dario Argento's fairy-tale giallo Suspiria getting released in Italy. I love that the movie came out just in time for Valentine's Day - with its lurid reds (not to mention a character being stabbed directly in the heart) it feels tremulously appropriate for the season.

It's also a timely moment to celebrate the movie because as you might've heard A Bigger Splash and I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino is currently right this minute in the process of remaking the film, with a starry cast including Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz. Oh and Jessica Harper, the star of the original film, will appear as well! If only Joan Bennett & Alida Valli, the wickedly cruel mistresses of the dance academy, were still around for cameos...

PREVIOUSLY One week ago we were still holding out hope for the hopeless, aka a ton of surprise Oscar nominations for Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster. But we're happy it got that one nomination at least, and that we got to give love to its two key supporting men - and of the two Ben Whishaw kicked John C. Reilly square in the chin, taking 70% of your vote. And I gotta go with what Nathaniel had to say:

"Team John always. I admire the committment, injuring himself for love. or rather "love""

Wednesday
Mar162016

Mercedes McCambridge Centennial: "Charlie's Angels" & "Bewitched"

Today is the Centennial of one of the most singular character actresses of the 1950s, Mercedes McCambridge, born in Joliet Illinois on this very day in 1916. We hope you've enjoyed our mini retrospective. We previousy discussed her sensational debut in All The King's Men (1949) her final Oscar nomination for the Texas epic Giant (1956) and her sorry fate in a teensy part in the Airport disaster series. (In the past, ICYMI, we've amply discussed The Exorcist in which she did truly legendary voice work as well as the fiery abandon of must-see western Johnny Guitar.) 

In The Concorde... Airport '79 article, Tim talked about the disaster genre's often ...um... disastrous treatment of aged film stars in cameos. But discarded stars of Old Hollywood also frequently collected paychecks through TV guest spots. On the small screen there was the same roulette wheel chances at success. In fact McCambridge was more frequently spotted on TV than in film, switching between both for her entire career after her launch in radio in the 1930s. Many early TV shows are impossible to see now but let's discuss her downright fantastic guest spots on Charlie's Angels (1978) & Bewitched (1968).

Murder mysteries and witchcraft -- and a chance to discuss two classic camp series (oh you know you want to!) follow after the jump....

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb152016

Beauty vs Beast: The Witches of Oz

Jason from MNPP here, trying to stop myself from making a deal with the devil to wish this entire week away before it's even really begun -- how can I hold off though? The Witch is out this weekend! I've been clamoring for the Sundance sensation since last year's Sundance, where it was a sensation, LAST YEAR, for Satan's sake. My patience is as worn-thin as the hair on a witch's chinny-chin-chin, yo. Anyway I was bothered and bewildered this morning to see that I have never used the most famous pair of witches of ever for our "Beauty vs Beast" series, so I'd say that it's high time we conjured this contest up (and we're talking about the 1939 film here, so keep Wicked out of it)...

PREVIOUSLY Turns out it wasn't just at the box-office that interest in the Zoolander films turned out to be very unpretty indeed - the contest between Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller's mad sexy creations was pretty uneventful too. It was the male model with the most-est who strutted off with the win though, taking 52% of the vote. Said Steven:

"The reason for Zoolander over Mugatu..... Magnum!!!!"

Thursday
Jun112015

RIP: Ron Moody & Christopher Lee

Though their careers were dissimilar, their images were not. The cinema lost two of its most deeply enjoyable sharp eyed bearded villains this week: Oscar nominee Ron Moody (Oliver!), died yesterday at 91 years of age; screen legend Christopher Lee's passing was also just announced though he died last week at 93. Both of these British actors, born in the 1920s, were best known for indelible villains and sorcerers and  both were singers, too. From there, of course, the careers significantly diverge.

Ron Moody was always best known as "Fagin," the petty thief with a whole gang of young pickpockets at his disposal in the Best Picture winner Oliver! (1968) for which he received a Best Actor nomination and won the Golden Globe. The role stuck to him as forcefully as the Emcee clung to Joel Grey defining him for decades and decades and audiences of multiple generations. His movie career, though it spanned 33 films, didn't contain many other highlights but he did play the sorcerer Merlin in two Disney films Unidentified Flying Oddball and A Kid in King Arthurs Court. He returned to the stage often including revivals of Oliver! (He didn't seem to resent how much Fagin defined him, calling the musical "magic".)

If you ask people to name Sir Christopher Lee's most famous role, on the other hand, they might well hesitate. There is nothing definitive or, rather, there is too much that is definitive. He was a genuine screen legend and worked what seemed like non-stop from 1948 through 2015 appearing in nearly 200 films before his death. Today it's nothing new for actors to be defined by franchise stardom but Christopher Lee was doing forever. He was best known for decades as the face of "Dracula" for Hammer Horror in several films, "Fu Manchu" in multiple films and "Rochefort" in two Three Musketeer films. The actor's fame rose again late in life through prominent popular roles such as "Count Dooku" in the Star Wars franchise and the wicked sorceror "Saruman" multiple times in Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptations. 

Please share your favorite screen memories of these two acclaimed Brits. 

Monday
May182015

Beauty vs Beast: Wicca Wicca What

By the power of three, Jason from MNPP here today to make you see, make you see. If you can believe it Andrew Fleming's 1996 teen witch classic The Craft turned 19 years old two weeks ago, and it celebrated the last year of its teens with the news that greets so many other movies of a certain age -- it's remake time! Leigh Janiak, the female director behind last year's sufficiently creepy film Honeymoon, is gonna find four new girls to make light as a feather, stiff as a board, for a whole new generation. For a subset of 90s kids, this is like blaspheming the great Manon himself - inconceivable! Star Fairuza Balk (who's celebrating her birthday later this week - happy birthday, Fairuza!) weighed in with wise words on it; we have yet to hear from "natural witch" Robin Tunney. But what do you guys think? (Also: WHO WOULD YOU CAST?) And most importantly...

Whose team are you on?
Team Sarah0%
Team Nancy0%

PREVIOUSLY Last week's Kramer vs Kramer poll stayed incredibly close the entire seven days, and in the end it was only seven votes that handed Joanna (Meryl Streep) the win. Obviously y'all were as torn up over choosing as was that little boy's home life. Said Mike:

"I can't even say enough about these two marvelous performances. Both Oscars were well deserved. Still one of my ultimate favorite performances given by Meryl."

Monday
Mar022015

The Witches of Huntsman?

Manuel here with some casting news. I had this fabulous idea of celebrating Leo DiCaprio’s casting in that 24 multiple personality film with a list of the 24 various personalities he’s already played. But once I started listing them alongside one another I realized Leo definitely needs to spice it up; lately, when he’s not playing a grieving wifeless man he’s playing a wealthy soulless man. Why not embrace another full-on comedic role? His turn in Catch me if You Can is still one of his best. Why so dour lately Leo?

They do make quite the beautiful trio, don't they?

Instead, let’s focus on a film that’s become more of an actressexual dream than any of us ever hoped for. Did you hear that The Huntsman film now boasts Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain?

I’m secretly hoping the trio of actresses will make The Huntsman more of a Witches of Eastwick type film, or maybe they can all band together against the eponymous protagonist in a 9 to 5 style workplace comedy? I mean, none of us would complain about a tied-up Hemsworth, now would we? Or perhaps they can work in a fun musical number a la The First Wives Club? The mind boggles imagining this trio of ladies making the film crackle with wit and chemistry; perhaps this is much too optimistic for what is presumably another tentpole blockbuster. I mean, are they even bringing back Colleen Atwood?

What other actress trio would you love these gals to channel in this sure to be pretty (and pretty drab?) spinoff?