8 items from 2016
This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad
It takes a gifted singer to sing this horribly. Every other note is wrong. No phrasing goes unmangled by shortness of breath. No lovely moment meant to soar cannot be shattered by a flat ear-piercing decibel. The central conceit of Stephen Frears new comedy Florence Foster Jenkins is that Florence, a considerably wealthy patron of the arts played by Meryl Streep, lives for music but is ghastly at it. The inside joke, given the casting, is that we all know La Streep can sing with the best of them. She followed the "is there nothing she can't do?" revelation of Ironweed's tragic showstopper "He's Me Pal" (1987, Oscar-Nominated) with transcendent country crooner feeling in Postcards From the Edge (1990, Oscar-Nominated), and just kept on singing whenever a movie gave her the opportunity all the way up through last year's Ricki and the Flash »
- NATHANIEL R
Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies that have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way. Hector Babenco (1946-2016) - Brazilian Filmmaker. He was nominated for an Oscar for directing Kiss of the Spider Woman. His other movies include Ironweed, Carandiru, At Play in the Fields of the Lord and Pixote. He also acts in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls. He died of a heart attack on July 13. (THR) Chief David Bald Eagle (1919-2016) - Native American Actor. He was a technical advisor for and appears in Dances With Wolves. Earlier he was...
- Christopher Campbell
She's known as the greatest living actress - but acting isn't Meryl Streep's only talent. We know she's funny, a great mom, a total pro at public speaking, an amazing cheerleader and she can sing. In fact, her daughter Mamie Gummer says it¹s pretty much Streep¹s favorite activity. "She loves, loves, loves to sing," she told Entertainment Weekly. "[She] loves it more than almost anything." As she's set to hit the big screen in a musical role in Florence Foster Jenkins this month and is in talks for yet another in Mary Poppins Returns - alongside her Devil »
- Diana Pearl, @dianapearl_
Héctor Babenco died on July 13, 2016. His adaptation of Manuel Puig's Kiss Of The Spider Woman, screenplay Leonard Schrader, starring Raúl Juliá, William Hurt and Sônia Braga, received four Oscar nominations - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay with Hurt winning Best Actor.
Tom Waits was in two of Babenco's films, William Kennedy's Ironweed, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep (both Oscar nominated) and the adaptation of Peter Matthiessen's At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, screenplay by Babenco, Jean-Claude Carrière and Vincent Patrick, starring Tom Berenger, John Lithgow, Daryl Hannah, Aidan Quinn and Kathy Bates.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
The late Roger Ebert called the cinema “a machine that generates empathy,” and that’s as good a definition of the power of movies as you’re likely to hear. The director Hector Babenco, who died last week at 70, made a dozen films in his lifetime, and it’s fair to say that he’ll be best remembered for just two of them: “Pixote” (1981), his ripped-from-the-gutter drama of Brazilian street kids stealing and whoring and murdering to survive, and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1985), a tale of two accused criminals — one a macho political prisoner, the other a drag queen who doesn’t think about politics but, in a different way, is even more of a political prisoner — who fight and talk and bond after being thrown together into the same jail cell. The first film was a scalding cry of agony and ecstasy from what used to be called »
- Owen Gleiberman
Argentine-born Brazilian director Héctor Babenco died on Wednesday at São Paulo’s Sirio-Libanes Hospital in Brazil after suffering a heart attack, according the Associated Press. He was 70.
His most famous film, “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. Babenco was the first Latin-American to be nominated for achievements in directing.
Babenco first gained notice for 1981’s “Pixote,” about the rough life of boys growing up in the slums of Sao Paolo. An arthouse hit, it won the L.A. Film Critics foreign film prize.
In addition, Babenco featured Lgbt characters in his films in an era that seldom highlighted these issues. William Hurt, who portrayed a homosexual man imprisoned for having sexual affairs with an underage boy in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the sensitive window dresser.
Roger Ebert said of the film, »
- Arya Roshanian
Babenco was born in 1946 in the Argentinian coastal resort of Mar Del Plata before he left home to live in Europe in the early 1960s and finally settled in Sao Paulo in Brazil in 1969.
He broke out internationally in 1981 with the Brazilian slum drama Pixote and went on to make Kiss Of The Spider Woman, which challenged the establishment with its bold depiction of gay characters four years later.
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
'Broadcast News' with Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter: Glib TV news watch. '31 Days of Oscar': 'Broadcast News' slick but superficial critics pleaser (See previous post: “Phony 'A Beautiful Mind,' Unfairly Neglected 'Swing Shift': '31 Days of Oscar'.”) Heralded for its wit and incisiveness, James L. Brooks' multiple Oscar-nominated Broadcast News is everything the largely forgotten Swing Shift isn't: belabored, artificial, superficial. That's very disappointing considering Brooks' highly addictive Mary Tyler Moore television series (and its enjoyable spin-offs, Phyllis and Rhoda), but totally expected considering that three of screenwriter-director Brooks' five other feature films were Terms of Endearment, As Good as It Gets, and Spanglish. (I've yet to check out I'll Do Anything and the box office cataclysm How Do You Know starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.) Having said that, Albert Brooks (no relation to James L.; or to Mel Brooks »
- Andre Soares
8 items from 2016
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