BORN AGAIN or PHOENIX IS AS PHOENIX DOES: Phoenix and Irrational Man


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Warning: SPOILERS
phoenixIn the U.S., much has been made of the lack of women’s roles in film, especially as they reach, in movie terms, the unmagical age of 40. There are many reasons for this, but the main one, I suggest, is that American filmmakers (directors, writers, producers) seem to have absolutely no interest in creating movies with women as central characters.
Though I’m not saying this isn’t a problem everywhere, it does seem to be far worse in the U.S. In other countries, especially of the European variety, for whatever reason (perhaps a topic for another time), actresses of all ages, but especially older ones, don’t seem to have that serious of a problem in this area.
In fact, it is not unusual for directors overseas to constantly use the same actress over and over again, often creating roles and movies as vehicles for them. Claude Chabrol loved, while Michael Haneke loves, using Isabel Huppert. André Téchiné seems to worship the ground that Catherine Deneuve walks on. Francois Ozon has a thing for Charlotte Rampling. And who can forget Lars Von Trier’s constant use of Charlotte Gainsborough.
And from Germany we have writer/director Christian Petzold who has little trouble finding interesting and effective roles for his latest muse: Nina Hoss (quickly becoming one of the world’s more impressive actors). Together they have made several films, from the existential Yella; the unofficial remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Jerichow; the cold war thriller, Barbara; and now the Holocaust drama, Phoenix. Continue reading

THERE WILL BE WEED or THE GRASSTER: Inherent Vice


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

Warning: SPOILERS
inherent viceI’m afraid that when it comes to me, myself and writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, the honeymoon may, at last and alack, be over.
I mean, this was no one night stand.
When I first met Anderson, he took me with his Hard Eight. And we then spent many Boogie Nights together. I did think that with Magnolia we didn’t quite come together as we once did. Still, though it may not have totally worked, it was far, far…far more stimulating than many films that did. And with Punch Drunk Love he just, well, punched, drunked and loved me.
I was delirious.
But time marches on and, like so many relationships, people change, circumstances change, conflicts emerge until the relationship starts hitting some rough shoals. Continue reading

THE HALF YEAR OF THE WOMAN: Ida, Young & Beautiful and The Immigrant


young and beautifulI am one of those annoying movie fanatics who tend to make year end lists. You know what I mean: the top ten movies of the year, the best acting, directing, writing, etc. And if that’s not bad enough, like most people who do this, I start building that list early on such that by June, say, I have some strong possibilities as to who might make it out of the Darwinian survival of the fittest mire and who might not.
But there is something interesting happening this time round. While I already could easily have a top five or more list when it comes to female actors, I don’t have anyone I feel that strongly about for their male counterparts. So far this year, roles for women have been more interesting, more complex and more exciting than roles for men. Continue reading