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Entries in Woody Allen (71)

Sunday
Aug022015

Podcast Smackdown (Pt 1) Sense & Sensibility & Mighty Aphrodite

You've read the Smackdown proper. Now, it's time for its podcast companion piece in which Nathaniel and his guests discuss the movies in greater detail.

Part 1: 40 Minutes
00:01 Introductions & who were we rooting for back in '95
05:45 Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite and broad comic caricatures in this particular category
14:30 Mira Sorvino’s career
17:26 Apollo 13
23:30 Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility, editing and ensemble work
34:00 Sister movies (Supporting or Lead for Kate & Mare?)

continue to part two

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow.  Please continue the conversation in the comments...

Smackdown 1995. Part 1

Tuesday
Jun022015

Q&A Pt. 1: The Queens (by which we mean RuPaul, Helen Mirren, Best Actresses)

Ask Nathaniel column time. You ask. I answer. Herewith seven recent reader questions. Since last night was the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race, we'll end with two similar questions about that show but first, more typical actor questions. You're always asking them. Not a complaint. Just a fact.

PAUL OUTLAW: Which directors would you most like to see work ASAP with these performers (it can be someone new or a former collaborator): Tilda Swinton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Fassbender & Tom Hardy?

Tilda: Anyone. I'd even watch her in a Michael Bay movie though I'd prefer her in an Olivier Assayas. Oh wait, that's my answer.

Gugu: Anyone. She's new enough that we don't know what we have yet other than GREAT POTENTIAL.

Fassbender: We know he can do intense heightened drama and various masculine genres with the best of them, but I'm wondering if he has something more low-key naturalistic in him or how he'd fare in more typically feminine genres. One of my favorite performances of his is Inglourious Basterds which I know is neither of those things but I like how arch and cerebral he seemed as opposed to physical. It was a different mode for him. So a little more of that. I'd be curious to see him in an Alexander Payne style dramedy or Joe Wright in swoony romance mode.

Tom Hardy: It's time for something really erotic. Filmmakers keep covering up his beautiful face and this must stop. We know from Bronson that he's completey unafraid of gratuitous nudity so I wanna say Jane Campion and/or another A lister who is ready to dabble in an erotic drama, their own Ang Lee Lust, Caution type detour if you will.

TYLER: There are four women who are winners of the Cannes Best Actress prize twice over: Barbara Hershey (USA), Isabelle Huppert (France), Helen Mirren (UK), and Vanessa Redgrave (UK). What do you think of this group? Your favorite performance from each?

To  help readers catch up if they didn't know this statistic, those women won for the following films

Vanessa Redgrave - Morgan! in 1966 and Isadora in 1969
Isabelle Huppert - Violette Noziere in 1978 and The Piano Teacher in 2001
Helen Mirren - Cal in 1984 and The Madness of King George in 1995
Barbara Hershey - Shy People in 1987 and A World Apart (shared with co-stars) in 1988

More Questions after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May162015

Cannes: Then and (Right) Now

Imperator Furiousa cleans up nice for CannesAs Cannes moves past that opening night international glamour, and into its heavy screenings opening weekend, there's a lot of reminiscing going around as well for those that aren't attending: Keyframe is looking at the 1985 festival -- which was heavily criticized for being too American --  to see what it tells us about the 2015 festival. And, of course, over at Nick's Flick Picks, Nick is looking back at 1995. He has corralled several critics to talk about and rewatch those films too, but that part hasn't been posted yet. Can't wait! But here's a little about what's been happening at the festival if you are, like 99.9% of the world including me, NOT in the South of France right about now, but wish to think about it intermittently. 

Out of Competition
Mad Max Fury Road premiered at Cannes just as it was opening in theaters. That's a good excuse to get celebrities at your premiere and stay in a global conversation but, as good as the movie is -- and whoa it's thrilling (easily the best Mad Max film and the best action film since probably the last time James Cameron made anything) though I think maybe "the sistine chapel of action filmmaking" might be overstating it a little -- why go to a movie that's in theaters when you're at this kind of Best of World Cinema That Will Probably Never Make It to Really Big Screens Near You? Which is not to say that you shouldn't go. You absolutely should if you're not at Cannes. It's INSANE. And that is a high high compliment since most movies with insane premise play things so conservative in their mise en scene, you know? Michael's review will be up shortly and I'm sure I'll talk about it more too.

Woody Allen's PARKER POSEY: THE MOVIE... excuse me, Irrational Man, has also premiered as his movies do, Out of Competition. Our friend Tim Robey offered delicious shade in his review:

The word “murder” arrives in the script the second Kant, and his theories of human reason, pop up at the start. Like the superb Crimes and Misdemeanors, and also like Match Point, this contains a killing...

But honestly, I don't care if it's another mediocre effort from Allen. I'm so excited that Parker Posey got a big part again in a movie that people will actually see. And I love that she totally stole the show at the events with her incognito wacky glamour.

Supposedly Inside Out, another mainstream English-language film premiering there, is also a return to form of sorts for Pixar, but pardon me if I take this Oscar buzz with just a giant lick of salt - I think the days of Pixar (and maybe animation in general) being up for Best Picture are over. Those kinds of runs don't last forever and once people stop thinking of you in that light, it can be hard to return. 

"The Lobster" character posters

Competition Buzz
Gus Van Sant, who has won big at the festival before, won't be repeating. His latest, Sea of Trees, which stars Matthew McConaughey as a suicidal man visiting Japan, was not well received. That's putting it lightly if you just skim the THR or Variety reviews. I'm choosing not to read or even skim reviews on The Lobster, but from what I've heard your guess is as good as mine to what it actually is and if it's great at being whatever that is. Our Little Sister, a Japanese family drama has been warmly received for being touching without being sentimental and Sony Pictures Classics will distribute in the US.  

The buzziest title thus far is the Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul. It's winning very generous reviews and it's also a debut feature which means that even if the competition jury surprises by stiffing it -- every year the press acts like they know what the jury will do and it never works out that way -- it could still win the Camera D'Or (which has a separate jury, just for debut films). Now we have to wonder if those titles will be the Oscar picks for Japan or Hungary.  I'm going to assume yes on the latter so I've updated the Foreign Film wild guesswork on the Prediction Charts.

Finally...
Yes, we will have another fashion lineup soon. But for now please accept our vote for the worst person in Cannes this year: Russian celebrity Elena Lenina. This is a film festival. Imagine sitting behind her at any of these premieres. Her 'do is suddenly your protagonist, whether its a Holocaust tragedy, a Woody Allen dramedy, or an insane action flick. Screw the narrative. 

True confession: Even when I see a person with high hair completely outside of movie scenarios like, say, on the street or in a talking head box on the news or several tables away at a restaurant my first thought is always 'oh god, please don't sit in front of me at the movies!'.

Be considerate of the comfort of your fellow moviegoers, readers -- shave your head!

Friday
Jan302015

Random Bits & Open Thread

A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet, that I told you about at TIFF, has moved to Dec 31st. Worst release date evah. I will assume from now on that all Dec 31st releases are the Oscar contractual eligibility equivalent of the January dumping ground for mainstream movies

• ♪ This shit, that ice cold, Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold ♫

• Speaking of January garbage, I find this poster for Wild Card wildly pornographic. (Like every image of Jason Statham. Shut up) 

• Is the Superbowl this weekend? Guess that means blockbuster movie trailers hit web Sun/Mon & we get backed up on YNMS

• Woody Allen's 2015 is called Irrational Man. The best (potential) news is that Parker Posey is in the cast. And since every other Woody movie is terrible and we just got through a dire one maybe this one will be good?

• I promise I'll go see Paddington this weekend. Need my Nic'

• Why haven't you voted on the Beauty vs. Beast: Hud edition yet. This one is a close match. 

WHAT'S ON YOUR (CINEMATIC) MIND? 

Monday
Jan122015

Beauty vs Beast: Bombing The Globes

JA from MNPP here again, keeping the Golden Globes afterglow going with this week's double-edition of our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" poll. Looking for a communal villain at an awards show can be rough - one person's beastly Matthew McConaughey or nightmarish Alejandro González Iñárritu will be inexplicably loved by others (quite deranged folks, I'm convinced). But then there are the "Ooof" moments, when something lands with a quite resounding thud, and those are the times that well, those are what we'll most likely remember one two and ten years from now. Here are two of last night's "Ooof" moments. Which side do you fall down on?

I have my own opinions (read this tweet) as to what's going on with Jeremy Renner, who was all kinds of messy from the moment he hit the stage, but anybody who can make a long avowed J-Loather like me feel a pang of sympathy for her is sure accomplishing... something. On the other hand... the globes, they were definitely golden? As a statement of fact it's not false, exactly. Okay I'm stretching.

 

Next up...

That picture will never not crack me up. Personally I was down with Margaret Cho's North Korean schtick; what pushed it over the edge for me was the banality of her offered opinions, like the category mis-placement of Orange is the New Black. But I gather not everyone took to it so kindly! Meryl Streep, for instance, seemed genuinely mortified being roped into the routine. That said I don't know if you've heard this but Meryl Streep is considered a fine actress -- her horror might've been a ruse. A terribly terribly convincing ruse. (Maybe she'll win an Emmy for the performance next year?)

 

You've got one week to make your opinions heard; hit the comments and draw your battle lines. And yes, one week from now we'll know the Oscar nominations and the Golden Globes will be but a foggy hangover feeling; tis the nature of the awards beast.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's poll tackled Annie Hall in honor of Diane Keaton's birthday, and she easily la-di-da'd her way to a triumph, taking over 80% of the vote! Poor Alvy, this is gonna keep him in therapy for... yeah he's never getting out of therapy. Said brookesboy:

"I think some people think Keaton is getting by on charm in this role, but it's so much more than that. The seeming effortlessness in this performance is what makes it so special and enduring."

Monday
Jan052015

Beauty vs Beast: The La-Di-Da Lady

JA from MNPP here, back from the holidays and welcoming everybody to the year 2015 with a brand new round of "Beauty vs Beast." This week we're tackling one of our most favorite actresses and her maybe probably most definitely most iconic role - yup it's Diane Keaton's 69th birthday today and so la-di-da la-la y'all...

 

So all of you left-wing Communist Jewish homosexual pornographers have got one week to make your voice heard - vote and then tell us in the comments which neurotic you wanna chase lobsters with. And happy birthday, Diane Keaton!

PREVIOUSLY I wasn't here last week and so Nathaniel took over and man, did he come up with a doozy - in The Battle of the Tildas, the winner was... Tilda! Snowpiercer Tilda, to be specific - the Minister Mason made like a good shoe and trounced over Wes Anderson's old-lady-drag competition. (For the record, Mason's my pick too.) Said commenter Marsha Mason:

"I think Tilda in Snowpiercer was the supporting performance of the year. Showy and even a little cartoonish maybe, but it meshed perfect with the art design and surreal feel and everything else about that movie. It was perfect for a fantasy world take on real sociological problems."