In Review: Ammonite

After delivering a stifled and stoic romance with God’s Own Country, Francis Lee returns with a film that is largely similar to his previous effort. Ammonite is a new closeted duet mired in harsh natural elements and punctuated with hungered sexual catharsis., and centered on a protagonist of few words. Again, Lee makes an unfeeling physical world to embody the limitations faced by gay people in a straight world; here it’s all crashing waves, frozen stone, and shaly mud. But Ammonite takes us back nearly two hundred years, offering a fictionalized account of paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and a love affair with the married Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan).

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filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actress of 2015

Here’s the start of filmmixtape’s first Best of the Year superlatives. Yes, some things will be coming at their own pace – I have a few major things to see. It may be late, but I’m a completist, dammit. I’m starting off with what is always my favorite category: Best Supporting Actress.

best-supporting-actress-2015

Rose Byrne – Spy

  • Every withering word out of her mouth in etched in marble. Byrne’s comedic gifts are absurdly under-valued against larger comedy names, and she’s been found unexpected honesty in hilarious performances in Neighbors and Bridesmaids. But she’s never been this uproariously precise or taken given broad humor this much brains.

Nihal G. Koldas – Mustang

  • Her grandmother is as both funny and urgent as the film needs her to be, but she’s never as anonymous as her character’s standing in the film’s patriachy. An extension of the film’s quintet of girls, she’s terrified, passionate, and loving in her own way. So much of the danger we feel for the girls come from the equal mix of fear and compassion on her face.

Sarah Paulson – Carol

  • Suggesting a complete life sideways of the love story at the film’s center, Paulson is dynamically present in every one of her few scenes. The Abby she creates is never the expected stock friend role in a love story – she shares a deeper connection to Carol and grants more kindness in Therese than some throwaway. She finds variety and range, crafting an Abby that is randy, defiant, and devoted.

Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

  • She aces the high degree of difficulty: compellingly human beyond even sexual intrigue, but never humanly articulated. Like the film, she maintains tension by never overplaying her hand into outright menace or innocence. Still fascinating on multiple viewings, it’s a uniquely physical performance though she’s often perfectly still.

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

  • Verbally dexterous as necessary to Aaron Sorkin’s relentless screenplay, you can clearly sense the actress energized by the challenges she aces along the way. She fleshes out Joanna Hoffman as more of a complete person than the rest of the ensemble floating in Jobs’s orbit, every bit believably disarming Jobs in the final act by digging deep and finding the film’s emotional core.

See who almost made the cut and filmmixtape’s winner after the jump!

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A Peek of The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Actress Roundtable

Every Oscar season, the major media outlets get the year’s most talked about artists in rooms for delicious conversations on their craft. The one I naturally anticipate the most: The Hollywood Reporter’s Actress Roundtable. This year’s participants are Cate Blanchett (Carol & Truth), Jane Fonda (Youth), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Helen Mirren (Trumbo), Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).

You can read the major points online now, along with some brief clips, but the full conversation should be online in the weeks to come (also to be available on Sundance TV beginning January 10). Be sure to also take a look at filmmixtape’s current Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress predictions!

If you haven’t seen the teases on Twitter, Variety’s always charming Actors on Actors series is coming soon as well.

Side note: kudos on the colors ladies! Brie’s sharp vermilion, Carey’s smooth mustard, Jennifer’s cozy sage! I’m starting to hate the phrase, but this is what YAS QWEENs are made of.

In Review!: “Steve Jobs”

The conceit of the “greatest hits” biopic has been dying out in recent years. Besides a certain predictability and generic result with even the most well-intentioned of them, we as audiences are becoming more comfortable with less strict adherence to accuracy and are asking for a more insightful connection to the figure depicted and to our cultural relationship to that figure. Steve Jobs, while populated with accurate details but wholely disinterested in strict factual depiction, is more of an impressionist experience in iconography.

fassbrighter-1024x436Director Danny Boyle is no stranger to characters who see themselves as separate or outside of the flow, and the titular Jobs is a force pushing himself upstream against the current of other people’s limitations, as written by Aaron Sorkin. Expect verbal fireworks.

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