Monday, July 28, 2014

The Ten Most Interesting Actresses Working Today

As with any list, this isn’t an exact science and it is something that could easily be altered tomorrow, but for some reason, I decided that I wanted to put down in writing a list of the ten most interesting actresses working in Hollywood today.  Note, this is not a list of the ten BEST actresses working today (although some of them would certainly constitute as such) but a list of the ones that I find the most interesting.  These are the actresses that I find to be challenging themselves from role to role; exploring new and fresh directors and characters.  They are actresses who I admire for their sheer aggression towards their craft.

So, while the rest of the world is swooning over Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley, I present to you the ten most interesting actresses Hollywood has to offer.

Oh, and before we get the rants from those suggesting that this list is too white and blonde, I just want to toss the conversation out there.  Finding women of color who are producing continually intriguing work is hard.  That isn’t to say that they aren’t out there, but they aren’t garnering the attention they deserve, thus not landing the roles they should be getting.  And while Zoe Saldana is certainly attempting to branch out, she’s not there yet, and Kerry Washington, who would have made this list a few years ago, is devoting her time to television pursuits, and this is about film.

But here’s to hoping that Lupita Nyong’o, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Carmen Ejogo and even Saldana can change things in the near future!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Winter is the best time of year to tell tall tales, right?

Back in July of last year I read and reviewed a book by the name of ‘Winter’s Tale’.  This 1983 cult classic by the author Mark Helprin was one of, if not THE, most rewarding reading experiences of my life.  Glistening with such profound insight, backstory and spiritual subtext, this science fiction novel of the supernatural kind was such a surprise for me.  Sitting down and opening up to page one, I had no idea what this story was about.  All I knew was that it had to do with true love, a flying horse and a villain that Russell Crowe was going to be playing in a movie sometime in the near future.

Yes, Crowe was my inspiration for seeking out the novel.

Now, I am not a stranger to the concept that film adaptations of complex novels are just never as good as the novel from which they stemmed, and so I was pretty much aware before I even sat down to watch ‘Winter’s Tale’ that it was going to pale in comparison.  I even made mention of that inevitability when I reviewed the novel last year.  I knew halfway through reading this book that there was just no way it could truly capture the grandeur, the majesty and the importance of this truly inspired and revolutionary tale.  I braced myself for epic disappointment, and based on the barrage of truly vitriol reviews, I had a feeling my premonitions were going to prove all too ‘on the nose’.

This movie is NOT awful.

Boarding the crazy train...

It feels weird to say that, when all was said and done, ‘Snowpiercer’ felt like the ‘Hunger Games’ for adults, without the Reality TV overtones, shot like an extended hallway sequence from ‘Oldboy’ (you know, the one where that guy kills all those people with a hammer) and an odd climax that reminded me of ‘The Matrix’.  What’s even weirder to me is the fact that this strange amalgam actually worked.  It is flawed, yes, and the more I reflect on those flaws the more they feel prominent, but I can’t help but feel like ‘Snowpiercer’ is one of those films we’ll all look back on fondly in years to come; a film that will establish a justified cult following and will become this tentpole for future ‘intelligent’ science fiction releases who want to deliver something unique and inspired to the audience.

With all the hoopla made over the trashy way that Weinstein Co. handled this distribution, I have to say that I’m seriously baffled he didn’t make a bigger deal of this film.  It has everything it needed to be a major blockbuster this year.  It has the reviews, the cast and the premise.  This is so much smarter than the barrage of senseless action flicks targeted at teenagers these days.  This has a political/social bite that makes it feel poignant, even when the plot holes are making the development of those themes feel somewhat incomplete.

But really, an apocalyptic action flick (because, this is pretty action packed, and the action is inspired and impressively shot) with a cast littered with box-office pulls (Evans, Swinton, Spencer, Harris and Bell all have their fan bases, but really…we all know that Captain America himself could have carried this to impressive heights).

But enough about that.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twice a Best Actor Bloggers Roundtable: Marlon Brando

We’ve reached the week that I’ve personally been waiting for.  MARLON BRANDO!  Marlon Brando has a reputation that is one of the best in the business, and while his final film output can be seen as hokey and ridiculous, it’s a shame for any young film lover to watch something like The Island of Dr. Moreau and then decide that Brando was a hack.  Marlon Brando was one of the finest actors of any generation, and his ability to evoke such human emotion helped change the face of acting.

Now, I’ll be honest.  I was hoping that Brando would win this series.  I had my fingers crossed that the seemingly undefeatable Daniel Day-Lewis was come in second place, because at the end of the day Marlon Brando is just one of my all-time favorites.

I’m not so sure that happened…

If only he had won for A Streetcar Named Desire, like he so richly deserved…

Once again, our esteemed panel!

Alex from And So It Begins
Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Mario from Two Dollar Cinema
Shane from Film Actually

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nymphomaniac; the gift that keeps on giving!

Look what I just found!  What I want to know is, where is the eroticon for quivering bush?  

Trailer Break x's 5!!!

Let's cut a trailer!
So, while the rest of the world is collectively masturbating to the new Fifty Shades of Grey trailer, let's take a few minutes to remember that we forgot that movie was even being made and talk about five other trailers floating around the web right now and collecting some varied attention.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Under the Skin

Alright, my participation in this wonderful series has been so embarrassingly spotty, but I couldn't NOT participate this week.  I almost forgot (not sure if I'm late yet) but thanks to Sati's glorious post, I was reminded that this was due today.

I'm just going to get into this.  If you haven't seen this film, see it now.  If you have seen this film, then you know why anyone who hasn't seen it needs to see it now.  There are few films I can recall that are this visceral, this haunting.

For me, it was really easy to select my favorite shot.  In fact, while watching the movie there was one moment, one look, one 'shot' that I knew when I saw it that it would last with me forever.  The reason for this is that it, for me, marked the film's thematic evolution.  It was this pivotal moment when everything that came before suddenly shifted into what was about to come.

And here it is...