Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘Manchester by the Sea’
As the calendar turns the page to 2017 let’s have a look back at the great people I met, wrote about or chatted with in 2016. Warren Beatty gave me his home telephone number, I drank cranberry juice with Denzel Washington, had Elvis’s girlfriend and JFK’s mistress on my radio show and fulfilled childhood dreams by hanging out with Iggy Pop and Cheap Trick. On stages, studios, in hotel rooms, on phones and even in the back of taxis, they spoke and I listened. Here’s some of the best stuff I heard this year:
Casey Affleck on throwing himself into the role of a depressed man in Manchester by the Sea: “It’s what you have to do. You have to go there, show up on set and be prepared to play the scene with the right feelings, the way it is supposed to be. I’m just not good enough to show up in a great mood, say good morning to everybody, check in with the kids and read the paper and then walk into the scene and be believably gutted in the way he is supposed to be. He carries around all this guilt, he’s devastated and filled with self loathing so I have to start way back in preproduction and try to slip into these bad feelings and stay there for as long as I can. If you just showed up and tried to walk through it or do anything but give 100 percent you’d really look like a jackass.”
Warren Beatty talking about casting Lily Collins in Rules Don’t Apply: “I believe very much in what I call ‘the blink,’” says Beatty. “That is the superiority of the unconscious knowledge as compared to conscious knowledge. The knowledge that when we sit and we really give it some thought, the thought we feel it is due. That thought can be misleading when we could have trusted our initial instinct, the blink. I think the unconscious has a lot more intelligence in it than the conscious.
“It was a blink with Lily. I can only say I loved the way she looked. I loved the way she sounded. I loved the way she talked. There was an integrity about her I felt I could believe in this circumstance and at the same time she looked like someone to me who Hollywood would want to exploit.”
Director Uwe Boll on why he’s quitting filmmaking: “I’ve been using my money since 2005 and if I hadn’t made the stupid video game based movies I would never have amalgamated the capital so I could say, ‘Let’s make the Darfur movie.’ I don’t need a Ferrari, I don’t need a yacht. I invested in my own movies and I lost money.”
The Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua on casting Denzel Washington: “I wanted to see Denzel Washington on a horse.” AND “My idea was, if Denzel walks into a room, the room stops. If Clint Eastwood walks into a room, the room stops. Is it because he’s a gunslinger or is it because of the colour of his skin? We’ll let the audience decide.”
Rebecca Hall on playing Christine Chubbuck in Christine: “I don’t think I have given [a role] like it before and I probably won’t again because it is one of those jobs that if you are incredibly lucky you get maybe three of them in a career. And that’s only if you are incredibly successful and lucky and often only if you were a man.”
Jonah Hill on how some people respond to his morally ambiguous characters: “A lot of times Wall Street bros will come up to me as if [Wolf of Wall Street] is their Goodfellas or Scarface. People see what they want to see. It is a little scary sometimes when people misinterpret.” And how he reacted after a crew of South African arms dealers approached Hill in a restaurant after seeing a trailer for War Dogs: “You don’t want to make it an overly uncomfortable environment while that is happening,” he says, “but you also don’t want to lie and be dishonest that you are agreeing with them. You don’t want to make them feel bad about their misinterpretation. It’s an unusual an awkward situation to be sure. In the end, we all want to be seen as heroes in our own story, I guess.”
Isabelle Huppert on the unique tone of her film Elle: “Sometimes you are in a Hitchcock thriller. Sometimes you are in a psychological study. Sometimes you are in a comedy and at the end of the day you are in none of those; you are in a Paul Verhoeven film.”
Riley Keough on what she learned while making American Honey: “I learned not to drink too much.”
Spike Lee on casting Jennifer Hudson as the mother of a slain child in Chi-Raq: “Do you know Jennifer Hudson’s history? It is known knowledge that Jennifer’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered in Chicago. I think that’s extra gravitas that you have with Jennifer Hudson in this film. This is not an act for her. She got hit directly by gun violence on the South Side of Chicago. I didn’t want her to think that I was exploiting her. I knew I wanted her for the part but there was some length of time before I got the courage to approach her. Also, when we did meet I was babbling. She said, ‘Spike, I know why you want me to do this film, so just stop. I’ll do it.’ I was trying to be sensitive and I turned out to just beat around the bush. I said, ‘I’ll just shut up and say thank you.’”
Stan Lee on naming his characters using alliteration —think Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdoch and Reed Richards: “It’s because I have a bad memory. If I could remember one of the names like Spider-Man, if I could remember his first name was Peter then I knew his second name began with a P. That is really the only reason. I have a terrible memory for names and by making the first and second letter the same, if I thought of one name I had a clue as to what the other was.”
T.J. Miller, star of Office Christmas Party: “Let’s talk comedy in a time of tragedy. I have a political obstacle to my social mission statement,” he says. “The social statement was, tragedy permeates our everyday lives, people are lonely, they’re scared, they have death anxiety, they don’t know how to attribute meaning to their own existence, so through comedy we can provide an opiate or distraction that permeates our everyday lives. Through satire we can hopefully frame the world in a way that people can laugh at. Also I aim to help people, through my stand up, to release the death anxiety. I aim to help people not take themselves so seriously.”
Queen of Katwe star David Oyelowo on working with nonactors on the film: “I actually took a bunch of the kids to see Jurassic World while we were doing the film and Madina (Nalwanga), who plays Phiona, sat next to me and was clutching me the whole time, terrified by the movie. She turned to me and said, ‘Is this what we are doing?’ I asked her if she had ever seen a film before and she said no. We were halfway through shooting a film in which she is playing the lead.”
Snowden co-star Zachary Quinto on how says working on Snowden made him think differently about even simple Internet searches: “I had this experience the other night. I was shopping for a washer and dryer online. I was Googling the consumer ratings. I left that search and went to another website and immediately the pop up ads on this other website, which had nothing to do with consumer reports or shopping, were about washers and dryers. What we are willing to sacrifice in our privacy without even thinking about it for convenience sake, what we’re willing to give up in our own freedoms and interests just in sitting down at our computers is shocking. You can take precautions. You can take steps to enact two-step verifications and put tape over your laptop (camera) and strengthen your passwords but all you need to do is shop for appliances and you are exposing yourself to some kind of tracking, a collection of data.”
Arrival director Denis Villeneuve on filmmaking: “It is a privilege when you can take a camera and ask people to sit for two hours in a theatre,” says Villeneuve. “It is nice if you take that privilege to explore something out of our reality, to bring some poetry to it.”
Moon Zappa on how she grew up with a rock star dad: “I longed for structure. When I saw John Hughes films I was, ‘Wait! People sit at a dinner table? Wait! People say sorry?’ Even to this day when I see somebody with a sweater draped over their shoulders, or a loafer or an exposed ankle, I’m like, ‘That is so exotic.’ I think if I had grown up in the repression my father encountered I would also have put two rocket boosters on my back, but growing up like that was too much. It was like fastball pitches every single minute.”
Most of these interviews went well and were a pleasure to do… but not all. Below is the terrible tale of a day wasted waiting for Idris Elba’s phone call.
Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear Me Now? Waiting For Idris Elba.
Idris Elba is a busy man. He’s released seven movies this year and has several more on tap for 2017. He’s on track to join Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the world’s highest earning actors after turns in the mega-grossing The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and Zootopia.
If you don’t know the name you haven’t been paying attention. Rev up Netflix and check out his work on TV shows like The Wire or Luther and movies like RocknRolla or Beasts of No Nation and become a fan. You should know he was once voted one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World and more than one twitter friend of mine refers to him as a “pretend boyfriend.”
Not only busy but good looking as well! I was pleased to be granted a fifteen-minute phone interview to discuss his debut in the Star Trek franchise as Krall, a hostile alien who causes trouble for Kirk, Spock and company in Star Trek Beyond.
I don’t usually write questions but I thought I might ask him if he watched Star Trek as a child. Would he consider himself a Trekker? Did he have a favourite Star Trek character growing up? Did he wonder what Star Trek fans would think of the predatory new character? Are there parallels between the film—and his character—and our world today? Has he considered what being part of the legacy of the show means?
If there was time at the end I might even follow up on the rumours and ask if he even wants to play James Bond.
Then the first call came in. “Idris is running behind.” Cool. This happens all the time on press days. Then another call and another and another. My phone hasn’t gotten this kind of workout since a Nigerian Prince called over and over to solicit my assistance in moving his fortune to North America. Each time a publicist announced another delay with the assurance the interview would still happen. As the time wore on the actual length of my interview began to tumble downhill from fifteen minutes down to seven.
In all two hours passed from my scheduled start time until my phone rang for real.
“Hi Richard, I’ll connect you with Idris,” said the perky voice on the other end of the line.
A minute passed before Elba’s familiar husky London accent filled my ear. Hallelujah! Better late than never. We talk over one another. “Hello… HELLO… Can you hear me?” It’s a bad cell phone connection. It sounds as if we’re talking through two tin cans connected by strings but I’ll take it.
I ask him about his childhood memories of Star Trek.
“It was a show me, my mum and my dad watched together,” he says. “They both liked it. It was a show that really took your imagination places. That’s my early memory of it. It was a really imaginative show that showed space travel in a way that was different, you know?”
It took him 23 seconds to speak the 50 words that told me his parents liked Star Trek. I mention this because as soon as he stopped talking and I started asking the next question I heard a strange beep beep sound followed by… nothing. The great void. No more husky voice. And like that, poof. He’s gone.
“Are you still there? I think we just lost him,” the eavesdropping publicist said. “Let me get him back for you. Just one second.”
I had visions of the actor walking around Fifth Avenue desperately yelling into his phone, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” but in my heart I knew that wasn’t happening.
Minutes later she’s back. “I’m so sorry. We lost him. I know you only had a couple of minutes to speak with him…” actually it was twenty three seconds… “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with him.”
My interview with Idris was over. Still born. Terminated before it even really began.
Was I mad? Not really. Frustrated? Yes. Not only had I wasted the afternoon waiting for Idris but now I didn’t have a story to file.
My friends on social media didn’t exactly see it my way. “What do you expect?” wrote one person. “He is the hottest man alive.” Another chose to look on the bright side. “That’s 45 seconds more Idris than the rest of us.” (I hadn’t yet timed the actual quote when hit facebook to vent.)
In the end it’s not a big deal. I’m choosing to look at the bright side. I didn’t get to chat with him but I do have a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for Shortest (And Least Satisfying) Interview Ever.
Any year that gives us the day-to-day quest for beauty of “Paterson,” the wild eroticism of “The Handmaiden” and everything in between can’t be all bad. Sure, there were some stinkers and celebrity mortality galore, but when I think back on 2016 I’ll remember Lee and Randi unexpectedly meeting on the street, Ryan and Emma’s Mulholland Drive extravaganza, Lord Voldemort getting down to disco era Rolling Stones and the undeniable belief that every page is a possibility.
- A Bigger Splash: In 1969 the Alain Delon potboiler “La Piscine” (“The Swimming Pool”) had a look at beautiful people and sexual jealousy set against the backdrop of the Côte d’Azur. Forty-five years later director Luca Guadagnino makes the story his own, transplanting the characters to a remote island halfway between Sicily and Tunisia, replacing jealousy with desire and setting the whole thing to the slinky beat of The Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Rescue.” “A Bigger Splash” keeps the swimming pool but reinvents the rest of the story.
Rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) and her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) are living a quiet life on the coast of Italy. Very quiet. She is recuperating from surgery and can’t speak. Their tranquil time, however, is shattered by the arrival of Harry (Ralph Fiennes), Lane’s former record producer and lover, and his Lolita-esque daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson). He’s an impulsive first-one-in-the-pool, free spirit who invites strangers over to hang out (“You’re not speaking sweetheart so I had to make other plans!” he says.), she’s a flirty presence who says things like, “My trouble is, I fall in love with every pretty thing.” A day or so into the visit the sunny Mediterranean days take a dark turn as their shared history brings up some ghosts from the past.
“A Bigger Splash” is worth the price of admission just to see Ralph Fiennes, Lord Voldemort himself, strutting his stuff to disco era Rolling Stones. He unleashes some of the goofiest dance moves since Elaine Benes in what must be his loosest performance ever.
Come for the dancing, stay for the bawdy and boisterous atmosphere. The idyllic, sun dappled backdrop plays at odds with the noirish story as Guadagnino brushes his canvas with sexual tension, slowly adding layers to the story as he builds up to a startling climax. It’s a romp, with worldly people, loads of nudity, drugs and drinking, until it isn’t and the time comes to pay the price of living a wild life without regrets. As the characters manipulate one another Guadagnino manipulates the audience with flamboyant filmmaking, unexpected jump cuts and zooms, which demand your attention.
“A Bigger Splash” could have swum in the shallow end of the pool, but subtly and interestingly goes off the deep end.
- Deadpool: Don’t expect the usual kid-friendly superhero fare from “Deadpool.” He’s part of the Marvel family, a distant cousin to Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America, but he’s a superantihero, a weaponized bad attitude come-to-life with a chip on his shoulder and a raunchy quip on his lips.
“Deadpool” is unlike any other origin story. It’s a snarky, violent, fourth-wall-breaking collision between “Van Wilder” and Marvel Comics. The opening credits–which scream the movie stars God’s Perfect Idiot, A Hot Girl, A British Villain, A CGI Character and features a Gratuitous Cameo–set the tone. This isn’t your grandfather’s superhero movie. With one bloody shot across the bow “Deadpool” makes the other Marvel movies look a little less Marvel-ous. No joke is too crass. No lines are left uncrossed. Where the last couple of Marvel superhero films have felt like odes to market research, “Deadpool” feels like an antidote to the repetition of recent superhero offerings. Politically incorrect and rowdy, it’s a down-and-dirty movie that has more in common with “The Toxic Avenger” than “Iron Man.”
This may be the role Reynolds has been waiting for. It mixes-and-matches his skill at dropping a one liner with his physical side and finally gives his bland leading man mien some edge. Self-effacing, he pokes fun at his other attempts at superhero notoriety. “Please don’t make this super suit green or animated,” says the former Green Lantern and suddenly we forgive his past transgressions.
“Deadpool” won’t be for everyone. It’s occasionally a little too rude and crude, bloody and bowed for it’s own good but at least it tries to do something a little different in the well-worn context of the superhero genre. It exists in a meta universe where Deadpool is aware he’s in a movie–“Whose BLEEP did I have to BLEEP to get my own movie?” he asks.–while another character suggests the name Deadpool “sounds like a franchise.” I hope so. Like them or not, superhero movies aren’t going anywhere soon but at least every now and again there may be a new “Deadpool” film to shake things up a bit.
- Everybody Wants Some: Director Richard Linklater’s last film, the Oscar wining “Boyhood,” was a slice of life that showcased twelve years in the life of a growing boy. His new movie is also a slice of life but in a much-condensed form, spanning just three days in the life of a college baseball player.
Largely conflict free, this isn’t a story so much as it is a snapshot of a time and place. It’s a transport back to the time of waterbeds, “My Sharona,” fashionable mullets and trippy Carl Sagan cosmology. Linklater recreates the freewheeling feel of the era and the last blast of childhood before the responsibilities of adulthood. The temptation will be to label this a more innocent time, but that isn’t exactly accurate. These guys are just as interested in scoring with girls as they are soring runs on the field so innocent they are not. At most this is an affectionately nostalgic glimpse back into our recent past.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a charming reminiscence. Linklater gets the details right—including a crude warning against the pleasures of waterbed sex—but more importantly populates the film with characters that feel like real people and not stereotypes conjured up by a 1980s way-back machine. It’s troubling that the female characters are given little to do—perhaps Linklater’s next could be from the point of view of the woman’s experience—but the men are entertaining and compelling sorts whose conversations are occasionally inane, occasionally philosophical, just like real life.
- The Handmaiden: Set in 1930s Korea, “The Handmaiden” is an epic story of madness, con games, double crosses, double-double crosses, kinky sex, desire and more. Director Chan-wook Park adapts Welsh writer Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith,” wringing every ounce of lascivious pleasure from its sprawling story of sex and intrigue.
Chan-wook Park’s films have never shied away from lurid, sensational imagery, and “The Handmaiden” is no different. Unapologetically erotic and convoluted, the film revels in its ridiculousness, luxuriating in every plot twist and turn. Told from multiple points of view with an ever-changing character dynamic, it demands your attention.
What begins as a con game ends as a (SPOILER ALERT) a triumph of undervalued women who use the manipulation of the men in their lives as a weapon. It’s a complicated revenge story, ripe with detail and secrets. As vaguely trashy art house cinema goes, however, it doesn’t get much more enjoyably escapist than “The Handmaiden.”
- Hell or High Water: The real stars of the new neo-western “Hell or High Water” aren’t the top line cast, Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. All are terrific, but the main attractions are the Fast Cash and Debt Relief signs that dot the West Texas landscape. They’re the reason we’re here and the engine that propels this story of outlaws, buddies and banks.
Echoes of the Coen brothers ricochet throughout “Hell or High Water.” Aside from Coen regular Bridges, the movie exists in an amoral universe populated by down-on-their-heels types, done in either by poor life decisions, circumstance, age or temperament. English director David Mackenzie places these characters amid sun bleached landscapes and the hardened faces of citizens asserting their Second Amendment rights. It feels like the Coen Brothers but only because Joel and Ethan has visited this nihilistic comedy territory several times before. Mackenzie hasn’t simply made “No Country For Old Men Lite,” he’s combined interesting characters with a languid pace that apes the speed of life in West Texas to create a potent portrait of a time and place.
Set against the backdrop of West Texas’s perpetual economic downturn and those ever-present Fast cash signs, it’s a story not just about the four men but the circumstance that pitted them against one another.
“Hell or High Water” is two buddy movies in one. As one of the brothers Foster is reliable in his familiar man-on-the-edge role, but it is Pine who impresses. He underplays Toby, never doing more than he has to and avoiding the theatrics of his “Star Trek” films. It’s a career best performance that shows there is more to him than larger-than-life franchise work.
As the heavy-breathing lion in winter Bridges brings both gravitas and a light touch. His skill as a Ranger is evident but so is his offbeat sensibility. “Now that looks like a man who could foreclose on a house,” he says when meeting a recently robbed bank manager. It’s a throwaway line but Bridges brings it to life in a way that made me wonder if there is a more comfortable presence on screen than Bridges? He is matched in ease and charm by Birmingham who is a perfect foil for Bridges.
With its unhurried, deliberate pace Nick Cave’s suitably moody score and Mackenzie’s eye for detail “Hell or High Water” is more than a stop-gap between Coen Brothers neo westerns, it’s one of the most richly satisfying movies of the year so far.
- La La Land: “La La Land” reinvents the traditional big screen musical by playing it straight. The original songs and new story feel like something Gene Kelly would approve of but not quite recognize as the form he helped perfect in Hollywood’s Golden Age.
The real and the unreal collide in a film that values naturalism in an unnatural genre. Mia and Sebastian burst into song, dance on city streets but do so in the most unaffected of ways. It looks and feels like an old-school musical—the camera dances around the actors and it’s always magic hour—but Stone and Gosling are very contemporary in their approach to the material. Woven into the romantic, joyful script are real comments on the setting—“That’s LA, they worship everything,” says Sebastian, “but value nothing.”—a sense of the pleasure and pain that accompany passion, whether its for a person or a career and melancholy when things don’t quite work out. It’s a movie that dances to it’s own beat. By times bright and garish or atmospheric and moody, it’s never less than entertaining.
Gosling is a charming leading man and equal match for Stone whose remarkable face and expressive performance give the movie much of its heart. Director Damien Chazelle is clearly smitten with his leading lady, allowing his camera to caress her face in long, uninterrupted close-ups.
From a trickily edited opening song-and-dance number in a traffic jam to a spectacular dance among the stars to heartfelt human feelings, “La La Land” doesn’t just breathe new life into an old genre it performs CPR on it, bringing its beating heart back to vibrant life.
- Loving: Imagine falling in love with someone, getting married and having a baby or two. For many people that is the dream but for interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving it was a nightmare of racism and injustice.
“Loving” is an important slice of American history told in a quiet, heartfelt way. Director Jeff Nicholls doesn’t clog up the story with dialogue. Instead he follows the first rule of filmmaking, show me, don’t tell me. For instance, when Mildred and Richard leave Virginia for the less-than-bucolic DC, the looks on the actor’s faces tell the tale, no words required. He allows the performances to underscore the potency of the story. Watch the way Mildred and Richard respond to one another physically after the arrests. Their tentative public displays of affection shows the fear that comes along with being told your relationship is illegal and wrong. It’s subtle, beautiful acting.
“Loving” is a understated movie. Some have suggested it may have benefitted from a bit more anger, but that, for me, would feel like a betrayal to the characters who fight the good fight with dignity and love.
The movie is simultaneously a powerful look at a different time and, when it asks, “What is the danger to the state of Virginia from interracial marriage?” a timely and universal reminder that Loving v. Virginia was just one of many steps humanity has to take before everyone is afforded fundamental rights.
- Manchester by the Sea: “Manchester by the Sea” is one of the year’s best films. If you want to know why, read on. If not, go buy a ticket now. You won’t be disappointed.
“Manchester by the Sea” is many things. As a finely acted look at grief and the aftermath of heartbreak, it has few peers among this year’s crop of films. But it’s also very a funny odd couple/buddy flick that isn’t afraid to flip flop between drama and comedy. This is writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s tempest in a teapot, a smallish film that roils with big emotional moments.
Casey Affleck is the core of the film. He’s in virtually every frame and while understated he bristles with feeling. It is a tremendous performance that never fails into morbidity as he skilfully keeps he character alive, both physically and metaphysically. Every day is a struggle for Lee and he deals with his trauma the only way he knows how, with blistering honesty and by drinking and fighting to feel something. There is emotional truth in every mumbled line and come Oscar season expect to hear a lot about this performance.
Affleck shares several scenes with Michelle Williams, but one in particular stands out. For most of the film we only see her in flashbacks, when she was married to Lee. Cut to present day and a chance encounter on the street. In a master class of acting the two rehash and come to grips with the trauma that tore them apart. It heartbreak laid bare and it is a stunning scene.
I fear I’ve made “Manchester by the Sea” by the sea sound like an exercise in Sturm und Drang but it’s not. It deals with very real, very difficult human situations but does so with honesty and a great deal of unexpected humour and wisdom.
- Moonlight: “Moonlight” is a film about a young man trying to find a place for himself in the world. “At some point you got to decide who you going to be,” says an early mentor. “Can’t let anybody make that decision for you.” Director Barry Jenkins splits the story into thirds, each examining a different time in the life of Chiron, a young, gay African-American man, as he comes to grips with who he is.
“Moonlight” is a movie that beats with a very human heart while subverting expectations with almost every scene. Jenkins has placed obstacles in the way of the story telling—multiple actors playing the same characters, and a lead who is succinct almost to the point of being mute—but overcomes those hurdles with a combination of social conscience, fine acting and interesting characters who constantly defy pigeonholing.
Mahershala Ali, an actor best known as Remy Danton on “House of Cards,” is a standout as a drug dealer who allows the personal cost of his business to weigh on him. He’s a tough guy with a heart and his performance in Part I sets a high bar which is met by Harris and all three of the young men who play Chiron.
Each deliver performances characterized by deep inner work that reveals the truth behind the façade Chiron uses as a front. There’s a remarkable consistency in the trio of performances, so by the end of the film, when Chiron is asked, “Who is you man?” his answer, “I’m me. I don’t try to be nothing else,” rings true and real.
- Paterson: The Jim Jarmusch movie is a week in the life of Paterson, the man and the place.
Adam Driver is Paterson, a poetry writing New Jersey bus driver from Paterson, New Jersey. He lives with Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), a dreamer who wants to open a cupcake shop and make them rich or, maybe, become a country singer and their dog Marvin.
“Paterson” is a wonderfully leisurely movie. It’s not in a hurry to get where it is going, instead luxuriating in the mundane aspects of Paterson’s life punctuated by on-screen depictions of his poetry. What could have been insufferable turns into a beautifully rendered portrait of people who find beauty and art in every day life.
There are small conflicts sprinkled throughout, a bus breaks down and lovers quarrel, but “Paterson” isn’t about that. It’s about gentle, loving performances from Driver and Farahani and the beauty of overheard conversations and the day today of regular life.
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Santa isn’t the only one who makes lists in December.
Every year around this time I put together my annual best and worst movies lists. This year I’m changing it up. 2016 was a corker of a year in and out of movie theatres. It felt like 365 days of bad road so I’m going to concentrate on uplift; the very best of a bad year.
1. A Bigger Splash: This look at beautiful people, jealousy and desire is worth the price of admission to see Ralph Fiennes, Lord Voldemort himself, strut his stuff to disco era Rolling Stones. He unleashes some of the goofiest dance moves since Elaine Benes in what must be his loosest performance ever.
2. Deadpool: As played by Ryan Reynolds Deadpool is part of the Marvel family, a distant cousin to Iron Man and Captain America, but he’s a refreshing super-antihero, a weaponized bad attitude come-to-life with a chip on his shoulder and a raunchy quip on his lips.
3. Everybody Wants Some: Director Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood was a slice-of-life that showcased twelve years in the upbringing of a growing boy. His latest movie is also a slice-of-life but in a much-condensed form, spanning just three funny and affectionately nostalgic days in the life of a 1970s college baseball player.
4. The Handmaiden: This is an epic story of madness, con games, double crosses, double-double crosses, kinky sex, desire and more. Director Chan-wook Park wrings every ounce of lascivious pleasure from the film’s sprawling story of sex and intrigue.
5. Hell or High Water: Echoes of the Coen brothers ricochet throughout Hell or High Water but with its deliberate pace, Nick Cave’s moody score and Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster as the leads, it’s more than a stop-gap between Coen Brothers neo westerns, it’s one of the most richly satisfying movies of the year.
6. La La Land: From a trickily edited opening song-and-dance number to a spectacular ballet among the stars to heartfelt human feelings, this Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling musical doesn’t just breathe new life into an old genre it performs CPR on it, bringing its beating heart back to vibrant life.
7. Loving: Loving is simultaneously a powerful look at a racist time and, when it asks, “What is the danger to the state of Virginia from interracial marriage?” a timely and universal reminder that Loving v. Virginia was just one of many steps humanity has to take before everyone is afforded fundamental rights.
8. Manchester by the Sea: Manchester by the Sea is a finely acted look at grief and the aftermath of heartbreak but it’s also very a funny odd couple/buddy flick that isn’t afraid to flip flop between drama and comedy.
9. Moonlight: Moonlight is a compelling film about a young man finding a place in the world. Director Barry Jenkins splits the story into thirds, each examining a different time in the life of Chiron, a young, gay African-American man, as he comes to grips with who he is
10. Paterson: Paterson luxuriates in the mundane aspects of a poetry writing bus driver’s life, and is punctuated by on-screen depictions of his poetry. What could have been insufferable turns into a beautifully rendered portrait of people who find beauty and art in everyday life.
Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 38:33)
Movie critic Richard Crouse breaks down his top picks for holiday viewings, and the films that have Oscar written all over them: Holiday movies: Office Christmas Party, Bad Santa 2, Almost Christmas. Oscar picks: La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Live By Night.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. If you are one of those people who likes to see all the movies that will be nominated for Academy Awards then run out and see “Manchester by the Sea” right now. If you are one of those people who likes to learn all about the movies that will be nominated sit a spell and listen to Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams talk about making “Manchester.” Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Denise Donlon stops by to tell a funny and touching story about her friend Leonard Cohen. C’mon in and sit a spell. There’s always room for one more at the House of Crouse.