Saturday, November 14, 2015

Guillermo Del Toro tries being Bronte

Visually Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a big sumptuous meal. So visually full at all times that it masquerades a thin plot and uninteresting lead character and almosts gets away with fooling us into thinking it a great film. Jessica Chastain full on Mrs Danvers mode might be the best part. Read my full review at The Film Experience.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A gushing fan moment with Cate Blanchett

Everybody I know knows how much I love Cate Blanchett. They have also heard me babble incessantly about Carol for more than 3 years now. Still I thought I was a functioning human being who can get up and ask a simple question at a festival screening. Turns out that’s not the case.

My long weekend of Carol events at the New York Film Festival started Wednesday night with a talk with Ed Lachman. He was articulate and eloquent. The most interesting tidbit to me however was that he mentioned that in addition to the screenplay, Todd Haynes presents his cast and crew with a “lookbook” that illustrates how he envisions almost every frame in the movie. A storyboard of sorts I guessed.

The anecdote was on my mind all through the standby line for Friday’s premiere, even as I waited in the soaking rain. I thought about it while I watched Todd Haynes being interviewed Saturday morning. It stayed vivid in my mind because every frame of the movie drips with meticulous beauty. By the time I got to seeing the movie for the second time in less than 24 hours it was crystallized into a question for Cate about the beautiful way she posed and was framed in the movie and if these lookbooks helped her performance.

So when the time came for the Q and A, I asked her. I thought going on about Lachman and lookbooks would be too much so I decided to edit. Or maybe I just got lost in the moment and completely lost my train of thought. Here is what I think I said:

My question is for Cate. The performance is emotional and moving. Just everything. But I wanted to ask about the look and the pose. In every frame, it’s  just perfection. How did you manage that?

The moderator Amy Taubin paraphrased it as “how did you manage to be perfect in every frame?” Which let’s face it, is probably what I meant anyway. Taubin knows a fan when she sees one.

The moment became hilarious. The Alice Tully Hall audience erupted into laughter and applause. Even Haynes almost fell out of his seat laughing. Cate, I think, was a bit embarrassed by my effusing love for her performance. Still she managed to be as generous as she always is and deferred the credit to her fellow actor saying “It was all in the gaze, looking into Rooney’s eyes”. And after a beat said a very sweet and short “but thank you” to me.

If you’ve seen the movie you probably got what I meant. And look at the way she's posing in these photos. She is perfect. And that moment of utterly embarrassing myself is one I will treasure.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Busy away with Marion Cotillard, Eddie Redmayne and Robert Pattinson

The last month has been busy but off this blog. Like Tootsie with two personalities. One here. And One at The Film Experience.

I talked about Cate, Nicole & Keira doing stage all over the globe.

Welcomed Emily Watson away from the frumpy mothers she's played recently.

Worried about the release plans of Macbeth. Wondered what auteurs see in Robert Paatinson.

Waxed poetic about Elizabeth Debicki's costumes in U.N.C.L.E. And Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling's in La La Land.

Analyzed the posters and release plans of Beasts of No Nation. The first picture from A Bigger Splash and Eddie Redmayne's big fall Oscar campaign.

I've been busy. Read all of it here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Salamat Omar. And Faten.

In my mind Omar Sharif is always linked with Faten Hamama, his 1950s leading lady. I reminisce about the movies they made together and others Omar made in Egypt at The Film Experience.

Check it out let me know what you think.

Omar and faten in 1961's River of Love

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First Half 0f 2015 in Movies - Surprises & Disappointments

Some movies give you more, some less.


Infinitely Polar Bear

The reviews I read were midling at best. And the idea of Mark Ruffalo being all crazy and lovable while Zoe Saldana is trying to emote was not appealing. Surprised on both counrs. That Ruffalo is warm and grounded is nothing new but he adds a reckless childlishness to his physical performance that makes him appealling without falling into the cliche of playing "crazy". And Saldana finally looks as relaxed on screen as she is sashaying on the red carpet. This might be her best performance to date. And director Maya Forbes' love for her family shines through in how tenderly she handles this semi autobiographical story.


I thought another static art movie I cannot do. However the minute it stared I was lost in the suptuous visuals. The screen was overflowing with gorgeous color. I could not look away. The plot may be obtuse but it worked. I can't describe but watch and let it wash over you. It's exhilarating.


Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max or ONE LONG LOUD HEADACHE. I undestand what some find exciting about it. And yes the visuals are stunning, so are the stunts and effects. Plus how can I not endorse the strong feminist message at its center. However I left with a headache, it was relentless with no payoff. Only intermittent enjoyment here. And Charlise Theron remains a limited actress. She had one emotion, anger. Two if I'm generous, the other being disgust.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Avoid at all costs.Cloying, simplistic and lame.

What are some of your surprises and disappointments so far?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

First Half of 2015 in Movies - Best Dance Moments

Oscar Isaac dancing with Sonoya Mizuno in Ex Machina is a pretty great moment that has rightfully gone viral.

But you know what's even better, Karidja Toure and the fantastic ensemble cast of Girlhood, Celine Sciamma fantastic movie, lip synching and dancing to Rihanna's Diamonds. Just try to resist falling in love.

What are some of your favorites? Did you see both these movies? Tell all n the comments.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot : Magic Mike

A few male strippers gather in a gym to workout and practice some new moves. A seasoned stripper teaches the new kid a few moves. They are looking at a mirror. Are they checking each others' moves or lost in a reverie of their own reflections? 

What else is happening in this shot? There's a mumbo jumbo motivational speech meant to rally up the young one. But it's all about that mirror and what they see and how they are completely lost in it.  The beauty of the bodies on display, the unsparring committment to the vanity of believing their own hype, that's what they to beleive to survive. This world in a brief few minutes.

This has been my contribution to The Film Experience's masterful series Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Why : Because Matthew McConaughey looks fantastic and acts the hell out of the scene. Years of his sometimes charming, sometimes puzzling public persona has lead to this moment. He emerges a great character actor and a star for the ages.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Irrationally Excited for this Duet

Stone & Phoenix in first still from Irrational Man
We are feeling this will be more Blue Jasmine than Magic in the Moonlight. Just a hunch. Of course Stone is a favorite here and something about Phoenix working with her and Woody Allen characters and dialogue spells magic to us.

We hear this has a Crimes & Misdemeanors vibe. And Stone and Phoenix are such opposing actors, extreme intensity vs effortless charm. It might be dynamite.

Hope we are right. Come at us July 24th.