House Logo
Explore categories +

Frances Mcdormand (#110 of 9)

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Actress

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Is Frances McDormand's Mildred in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film about a woman's vigilante efforts to get justice for her murdered daughter by publicly shaming the town's police for failing to sufficiently investigate the crime, made of Teflon? Case in point: After throwing Molotov cocktails into the town's police station, setting it ablaze, the only reprimand she receives after being provided with the flimsiest of alibis is the side-eye of the town's temporary police chief.

Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

Comments Comments (...)

Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

Forager Films

Hope and Chaos: The Sixth Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival

Watching Australian director Jennifer Peedom’s Mountain one morning at the sixth annual Los Cabos International Film Festival, I was struck by the fullness of the auditorium and by the prominence of children in the audience. Peedom’s film is an essayistic documentary about humankind’s relationship with mountains all over the world, with tender, ruefully poetic narration (spoken by Willem Dafoe) that emphasizes how our appreciation of nature can morph into an urge to conquer it, rendering the wild another of the controlled habitats from which we seek refuge. Mountain isn’t what Americans would designate a “children’s film,” as we have a habit of parking young ones in front of whatever A.D.D.-afflicted cartoon happens to be topping the box office at any given moment. It was gratifying to see such a varied audience turn out for Mountain, imparting hope as to the communal possibilities of cinema in the 21st century. Of course, many of the children were whispering and running around the theater, seemingly bored with the film in front of them, but at least they evinced some effort and curiosity.

Cannes Film Festival 2012: Moonrise Kingdom

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Festival 2012: <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>
Cannes Film Festival 2012: <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>

Moonrise Kingdom’s opening scenes are vintage Wes Anderson. A series of pans and lateral tracks explores the Bishop household in studied tableaux, each isolated member of the family captured in their native habitat, while on a 45rpm record a disembodied voice guides listeners through the works of Benjamin Britten. Likewise, there’s a narrator (Bob Balaban) to guide us through Anderson’s film, in just one of many recursively referential—and, at times, painfully self-aware—touches. Examples could be further multiplied, but let’s stick with the Britten: Not only does his music recur in the epilogue that effectively bookends the film, but Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde, itself based on a medieval mystery play (see the Chinese puzzle box pattern emerge?), serves as an objective correlative for the acts of God or nature that dominate the second half. As the recorded voice intones late in the film, “Britten has taken the orchestra apart and now puts it back together again.” Much the same could be said for Anderson’s direction and script work with co-writer Roman Coppola.

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2011: The Sleeping Voice, The Double Steps, I Wish, & More

Comments Comments (...)

San Sebastián International Film Festival 2011: The Sleeping Voice, The Double Steps, I Wish, & More
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2011: The Sleeping Voice, The Double Steps, I Wish, & More

When Billy Wilder was once asked if he was ever going to retire, he replied, “Directors who retire end up on the jury of the San Sebastián film festival.” None on the international jury of this year’s festival, which included Frances McDormand, Bent Hamer, and Alex de la Iglesia, seems ready to retire, and I can think of worse tasks than judging films in the elegant Basque city of San Sebastián, known as Donostia to the locals. The jury, of course, is too busy watching the 17 films in the main competition to follow some of the other sections such as “New Directors,” a complete retrospective of that whimsical purveyor of modern fairy tales, Jacques Demy, and “The American Way of Death,” a vast program of 40 crime movies from 1990 to 2011. However, the title of the latter program took on a new meaning as news of the execution of Troy Davis came through.

Down and Out in Southie: Frances McDormand in Good People at the Friedman Theatre

Comments Comments (...)

Down and Out in Southie: Frances McDormand in <em>Good People</em> at the Friedman Theatre
Down and Out in Southie: Frances McDormand in <em>Good People</em> at the Friedman Theatre

Only David Lindsay-Abaire could write scenes of downtrodden Southie (South Boston, or “Bah-ston” as its citizens might say) women talkin’ shit at a church bingo night without it being patently insulting. As sensitive a modern playwright as can be heard these days, the setups for the scenes in his grandly entertaining Good People—his best work to date—sound like doomed-to-fail, ivory tower-slanted scenarios: a minimum-wage employee being fired for dismal work, an uneasy meeting of old flames (one of which has a spouse of a different race), the needs of a child with a major disability. But Lindsay-Abaire is after something bigger than trite blue-vs.-white-collar advantages and disadvantages. Instead of holding up the play’s lead character Margaret (Frances McDormand) as a victim of hard luck, the playwright shrewdly uses her as an example of how choices can make or break us, and the smallest twists of fate determine our path.

North Atlantic at REDCAT

Comments Comments (...)

<em>North Atlantic</em> at REDCAT
<em>North Atlantic</em> at REDCAT

North Atlantic, the latest production from stalwart avant-garde troupe the Wooster Group, is a sexed up Catch-22 that follows the travails of an international, Cold War-era peacekeeping force confined to an aircraft carrier while on a classified mission in the North Atlantic. James Strahs wrote the piece for the company way back in 1982 and it’s now being revived not to draw any modern political parallels, but because, well, according to highly practical director Elizabeth LeCompte during a Q&A after the show I attended at the REDCAT theater in L.A., the play fits the space that’s available for the NYC run. And Frances McDormand wanted to work with the group. While it’s refreshing to hear a director candidly embrace limitations and ignore politics, it requires more than that to create great art.

Worst Best Actress, & Best

Comments Comments (...)

Worst Best Actress, & Best
Worst Best Actress, & Best

This isn’t Oscar time. It’s Ed time. Edward Copeland, that is.

Last year, the film blogger, House contributor and compulsive list-checker and poll-taker asked readers to submit their choices for the Worst Best Picture winner of all time; then, for karmic balance, he followed up with a poll of the Best Best Picture winners.

This time, Ed’s running a dual poll of the Best Best Actress winners, and the Worst. He’s asking for just five candidates in each category—and to save you the trouble of Googling, he’s helpfully supplied chronological winners lists right there in each post.

Ed’s instructions: “Rank both your best best actress and your worst best actress choices from 1-5, with 1 being the best, 5 the worst. Each No. 1 vote will get 5 points, No. 2 votes will get 4 points, etc. I will unveil the results on the eve of Oscar nominations, which this year will be Tuesday, Jan. 23, so the deadline for ballots will be midnight Friday, Jan. 19., central time. Send your ballots to copesurvey@yahoo.com Since I’ve heard some confusion, I want to clarify the ranking. Both the best and the worst lists’ rankings work the same: Give your best best No. 1, give your worst worst No. 1. Keep going down with the slightly less good and slightly less bad for your top 5 in each category.”

Here’s my ballot, which I’ve already sent to Ed.