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Jesse Eisenberg (#110 of 12)

Cannes Film Festival 2015 Louder Than Bombs

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Cannes Film Festival 2015: Louder Than Bombs
Cannes Film Festival 2015: Louder Than Bombs

It’s hard to remember exactly when being promoted to the Cannes competition ceased to mean much—the actual moment when festival director Thierry Fremaux decided that giving a platform to the likes of, say, Pedro Costa, Lucrecia Martel, or Apichatpong Weerasethakul (the latter bafflingly downgraded to Un Certain Regard this year) was simply not good for business. The decision to elevate such dully competent, glossily empty fare as Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs to premier-league status serves, if nothing else, as a sobering reminder that those days are gone for good. Yet this isn’t the only artistic downfall that Trier’s film marks, as Isabelle Huppert’s previously sure hand at picking the crème de la crème of contemporary cinema has clearly also gone awry, the venerable French actress coming off here like a profile-hungry Madonna in desperate search of a new Mirwais.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013 Tom at the Farm and Night Moves

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Toronto International Film Festival 2013: Tom at the Farm and Night Moves
Toronto International Film Festival 2013: Tom at the Farm and Night Moves

In tackling the genre of psychological thriller with Tom at the Farm, writer-director Xavier Dolan reigns in his often flagrant use of formalism without sacrificing his confidence as a filmmaker. Grieving the death of his boyfriend, the titular protagonist (played by a blond, mop-headed Dolan) travels to Northern Quebec to attend Guillaume’s funeral and offer his condolences to his late lover’s estranged family. Upon arriving at the isolated pastoral abode, Tom quickly discovers via a tense encounter with Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), a brother Tom was never told about, that Guillaume remained closeted to his mother (Lise Roy). Francis, privy to Tom’s relationship with Guillaume, mentally and physically bullies the unwanted gay visitor under the guise of protecting his mother’s delusions: “You don’t go until you’ve set thing straight,” Francis insists of Tom with both literal and figurative fervor.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013 The Double and Enemy

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Toronto International Film Festival 2013: The Double and Enemy
Toronto International Film Festival 2013: The Double and Enemy

There were plenty of Jesse Eisenbergs and Jake Gyllenhaals and doppelganger-centered film adaptations to go around at Toronto. Richard Ayoade’s The Double, loosely based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, pits Eisenberg against Eisenberg, his Mark Zuckerberg smartass squaring off against his Michael Cera nebbish. Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, adapted from José Saramago’s The Double, features a double dose of Gyllenhaal as a disheveled history professor and a cocky actor, exact replicas of each other, right down to birthmarks and scars. Both films are unsurprisingly about male anxiety, a subject that can now be firmly deemed a preoccupation for Ayoade, whose Submarine explored similar territory.

2011 Theater Fall Preview

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2011 Theater Fall Preview
2011 Theater Fall Preview

With Labor Day, summer vacations, and weekend getaways behind us, it’s time again to tune into the city’s arts and culture vibe. The House checked out the wide variety of theater offerings for Broadway and beyond this fall and made a few selections to put on your calendar:

New Plays

This season is notable for the number of women playwrights with new plays on Broadway. One of them is 29-year-old Katori Hall, who makes her Broadway debut with The Mountaintop (from September 22 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater). In her fictional account, which takes place in 1968, on the night before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in her own home town of Memphis, the playwright imagines a late-night encounter between King and a mysterious woman. Movie and television star Samuel L. Jackson plays the great civil rights leader and Angela Bassett the nocturnal visitor. The production is directed by Kenny Leon, who received a Tony nomination last year for directing Fences. Leon also helms the production of Stick Fly (from November 18 at the Cort Theater), which marks the Broadway debut of another African-American female playwright, Lydia R. Diamond. Stick Fly is a comedy of manners about an affluent black family spending a summer weekend at their home in Martha’s Vineyard.

Adam Rapp is well-known for not pulling his punches, so brace yourself for his latest, Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling (starts September 13 at CSC), a surreal play that promises to “lift the veil on the lives of two wealthy American families” in Connecticut. The Atlantic Theater Company production features a dream cast which includes Christine Lahti, Cotter Smith, Katherine Waterston, and the incomparable Reed Birney.

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Actor

This ought to be chapter three in a series of prediction entries no longer than the amount of time it takes the orchestra to cut off the acceptance speeches of the winners in the short film categories. If you don’t think Colin Firth is taking this one with, if anything, even more ease than Jeff Bridges coasted to his win last year, then you may as well put your money down on Hailee Steinfeld winning this category in a shock upset. Because she has as good a shot as at least two of the nominees that actually have a penis and roles nearly as central as hers. Not that being attached to a penis matters quite so much as being attached to a Best Picture nominee, especially one that recently all but swept the BAFTAs. A number of pundits have already pointed out, in comparing Firth’s easy win here against Annette Bening’s increasingly uphill battle to reach endgame over in Best Actress, how AMPAS continues to think that men age like fine wine and that women spoil faster than leaky, raw chicken breast tenders in a Styrofoam tray. Firth’s emerging worry lines and crow’s feet are as much to account for his easy win as his affected stammer as the emotionally crippled King Bertie, and the presence of a couple of actors whose youth and charisma make Oscar feel all funny in his special area only underline Firth’s win. (For that matter, you might say Firth’s Oscar chances last year weren’t so much dashed by Bridges’s battles with the bottle as they were by Tom Ford’s taste in men, culled from the very same smoldering age bracket Oscar simply can’t stomach.) Jesse Eisenberg managed to ride the coattails of what was once considered an Oscar juggernaut, and James Franco’s extracurricular bid to snatch the title once held by James Brown. But Ryan Gosling and Andrew Garfield learned the hard way that the Academy is truly No Country for Young Twinks, just as Firth will now have to come to terms with the notion that his time as the thinking woman’s sex symbol may not extend much longer beyond the time it takes to say, “I’d like to thank the Academy.”

Oscar 2011 Nomination Predictions: Actor in a Leading Role

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Oscar 2011 Nomination Predictions: Actor in a Leading Role
Oscar 2011 Nomination Predictions: Actor in a Leading Role

The second I heard Scott Foundas splooge over David Fincher’s The Social Network prior to the film’s New York Film Festival premiere for representing our cyber-obsessed times as importantly as All the President’s Men captured its own eight-track era, I knew we had our Best Picture Oscar winner. Even then, it didn’t seem like its star, a young Jewish kid who stammered his way memorably, if unimaginatively, through a handful of high-profile indies since 1999, would make it into the Best Actor horse race, even if the actor had finally, and scarily, succeeded in articulating on screen the sort of personal neuroses that might actually be attributed to someone other than himself. Flash forward four months and Jesse Eisenberg is the only actor standing in the way of Colin Firth’s regal march toward Oscar victory—and by standing in the way I mean the shadow cast by the topmost curl on Eisenberg’s head.

Why Does Justin Timberlake Have an Erection?: The Social Network Meta Review

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Why Does Justin Timberlake Have an Erection?: The Social Network Meta Review
Why Does Justin Timberlake Have an Erection?: The Social Network Meta Review

Robert Tumas just arrived in Union Square with his wife and they are about to see “The Social Network”…but first, a Thai dinner for said wife. I wonder if Zuckerburg likes Thai food.

Robert Tumas likes Thai food.

Robert Tumas just paid for two tickets to see “The Social Network” and overdrafted his joint bank account. He is kicking himself for not just buying a cam recording of the movie illegally on Canal Street.

Robert Tumas has until 11pm tomorrow night to replace the overdrafted funds, thanks to Chase Bank’s polite overdraft policy.

Robert Tumas is settled in at the theater and is fucking amped up, having just seen the trailer for “True Grit” with Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges.

Robert Tumas LOL when he hears his wife remark that the only reason they chose Jesse Eisenberg was because they couldn’t afford Michael Cera.