Friday, June 27, 2014

Luminous Jessica

Jessica Chastain looks so good in this trailer for The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby. I can't wait to see her front and center in an emotional drama. I know she'll make me feel it all deeply.

It has been a while since I saw a trailer for the first time on the big screen. Everything comes out online first. Usually I'm on my phone waiting for the endless trailers to end. Not this time. The minute Chastain's wondrous expressive face appeared on the big screen I snapped to attention. The camera really loves her. Just watch below so we can all fall in love again with this actress.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Shannon Revelation

Shannon as Ionescu's Everyman Berenger in The Killer

Sometimes I watch an actor for the first time and I sit up and snap to attention "Who's that?". Their presence is so commanding I immediately want to see everything they have ever done. This has happened to me with Blanchett in Elizabeth, Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass and Emma Stone in Easy A.

And sometimes a performer I was aware of on the periphery of pop culture stuns and moves me with a performance I wasn't expecting. This has happened with a couple of recent Oscar winners; Mo'Nique in Precious and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.

And then there's another level that doesn't happen that often. Someone I had an opinion on, even respect for, stuns me with layers and shades I wasn't expecting that a performance elevates their standing in my eyes. This is what happened a few days ago on a beautiful summer evening when I sat at the new Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn catching Michael Shannon in Eugene Ionescu's The Killer.

The play was fine. It was exactly what you'd expect from Ionescu; an obtuse, absurd rumination on life, sin, salvation, fear and death. Not exactly a fun night out but definitely thought provoking and intense. Shannon matched the play's big themes and intensity with his own intense performance. But he added power, passion and a disarmingly warm presence on stage that invited the audience to join him on the journey.

The performance was so commanding, alive and thrilling I was aware that I was watching something miraculous the whole time. Even when I got lost in the play's abundant and meandering dialogue I never lost the connection with Shannon's transcendence on stage. What a exciting theatrical experience. And it confirmed Shannon as one of the best actors working today.

Shannon is 39 now. I'm guessing he has the respect of his fellows actors. As he enters his 40s I suspect he may get the movie career of someone like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and become the go to character actor that can lead movies.

Nonetheless he's become one of my favorite actors. I can't wait to revisit many of his movies and look forward to whatever he's doing next.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cate and Amy

Cate and Amy earlier this year on Golden Globes weekend

Tonight Amy Adams will present Cate Blanchett with Women in Film's Crystal award. I'm in love with the friendship between these two actresses at the top of their game. Remember after being nominees together at this year's Oscars Cate and Amy went on an excursion to tattoo parlour to celebrate Cate's win. Not sure if both got mementos but Cate definitely did. At the time I thought it was something in honor of their mutual friend and collaborator Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It seems though their friendship continues to blossom and I love it.

Cate named Amy, alongside producer Kathleen Kennedy as her industry idols;

"because they are brilliant at what they do - blending genius with practical application. But they are genuinely nurturing and enthusiastic about the work of others. They have subtle enduring panache".

Ladies I'm expecting Viola/Meryl levels of love and admiration from you tonight. Gimme.

Update: Alas the report from Variety must have been wrong because it was Laura Dern and not Amy that presented Cate with her award. Dern is rather lovely and heart breaking in the currently playing The Fault in Our Stars.

Dern & Blanchett at the WIF Crystal Award presentation