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Emma Thompson (#110 of 9)

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories

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Cannes Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Netflix

Cannes Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Centered around a bitter patriarch and his three alienated children, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) feels lived-in despite its glaringly mannered dialogue and charmingly eccentric characterizations. After all, there aren’t that many people like bitter also-ran sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman), clingy musician turned stay-at-home father Danny (Adam Sandler), depressed control freak Benjamin (Ben Stiller), and Danny and Benjamin’s pushy but kind step-sister, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel).

The Meyerowitzes are rich oddballs: Danny somehow can afford to not work for long stretches of time; Harold tellingly quibbles about the merits of his colleagues’ work right before he beams proudly about bumping into a celebrity (Sigourney Weaver!); and Harold’s fourth wife (Emma Thompson) secretively combats alcoholism while binging on expensive hummus, and serving rarefied dishes like shark and pigeon. But while these individuals may not talk like the people you know, they obsess, kvetch, and ache in ways that make it seem as if you’ve known them for years.

Summer of ’91 Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again

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Summer of ’91: Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again

Paramount Pictures

Summer of ’91: Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again

With Dead Again, Kenneth Branagh takes a shot at unseating Brian De Palma as the master of the Hitchockian homage, and one can’t help but appreciate the attempt. Especially when the result is as gleefully fetishistic as this 1991 film, which has the hots for numerous classics by the Master of Suspense, and fashioned in ways that allow cinephiles to visually pick out these drool-worthy influences. The ridiculous story, however, takes its cue from North by Northwest, whose equally incredulous plot served as the hook upon which its director hung his effective bag of tricks. Hitch once said, “Logic is dull,” and it’s a quote that writer Scott Frank takes to heart: Dead Again’s director-inspiring hook is a mystery about reincarnated lovers who may or may not be heading down the same murderous path as their predecessors.

Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony

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Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony
Golden Globe 2014 Winner Predictions: Who Will and Who Should Triumph at Sunday’s Ceremony

Believe it or not, we know exactly what’s going to happen at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards. Since there are no actual musicals competing in the Comedy/Musical category this year, the talent will have to pick up the slack. Co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will kick off the night with a dance number to the tune of 30 Rock’s theme music, since guests might fear they’re in the wrong place if they don’t hear it during the ceremony. Alfonso Cuarón will strap drunken revelers to their seats before turning the ballroom into a zero-G environment, only to have Michael Douglas tickle the ivories in midair as Liberace. And, to wrap things up, Emma Thompson will serenade Meryl Streep with a feministic, shade-throwing rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Or maybe not. But herein is who will, and who should, win in each category.

Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Actress

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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Actress
Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Actress

Saving Mr. Banks telegraphs Emma Thompson’s date with Oscar. When her character, Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, first meets Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), the mogul of magic walks past a wall of Oscar statuettes—golden idols nearly within Thompson’s grasp. And when Travers finally hits the premiere of the film she reluctantly greenlit, she’s decked out, as seen above, like she’s bound for the Academy’s red carpet (though, admittedly, it’s good this film takes place in the days before “Who are you wearing?” as it seems the answer could be “Bed Bath & Beyond”). In short, this is my way of saying that Thompson, a woman who’s flawlessly navigated the campaign circuit, is in. Could Meryl Streep’s Thompson tribute at the National Board of Review Awards, which some saw as underhandedly self-serving, have affected the Brit’s chances? I don’t think so. If anything, the last few days have galvanized my suspicion that August: Osage County’s Streep, the vulnerable hopeful alongside the category’s other predicted locks (Thompson, Gravity’s Sandra Bullock, Philomena’s Judi Dench, and Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett), is out.

Oscar Prospects Saving Mr. Banks, the Winning Heavyweight That Probably Won’t Win Anything

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Oscar Prospects: Saving Mr. Banks, the Winning Heavyweight That Probably Won’t Win Anything

Walt Disney Pictures

Oscar Prospects: Saving Mr. Banks, the Winning Heavyweight That Probably Won’t Win Anything

If I had to bet which 2013 Oscar contender would score the most nominations without a single win, I’d go for Saving Mr. Banks, a movie so gosh-darn disarming you might just strain your cheeks from watching it, but one that doesn’t quite fit into the apparent fabric of this year’s awards race. Watching this film, which recounts the rocky relationship between Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and smiley juggernaut Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who’d adapt Travers’s work for the screen, you feel, aptly enough, as if you’re on a theme park ride, soaking up the glee while knowing your joy is highly controlled by precise mechanics. You also feel that this baldly manipulative, yet nevertheless adorable, origin flick has all the trappings of a Best Picture frontrunner—one from some stage in history, at least.

A Movie a Day, Day 50: Pirate Radio

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A Movie a Day, Day 50: <em>Pirate Radio</em>
A Movie a Day, Day 50: <em>Pirate Radio</em>

We wanted to see Restrepo yesterday, but the AC wasn’t working when we got there and we couldn’t take the 90-degree-plus heat, so we headed home and I surfed the movies on demand channels on our TV. I wound up with Pirate Radio, which seemed to fit the bill since I was in the mood for something light by then.

Pirate Radio is based in reality the way a kite is based wherever its holder is standing at the moment. This live-action cartoon celebrates the power of rock and roll and the lives of a few lucky (and fictional) boy-men and one token lesbian aboard a ship (also fictional) anchored off the coast of Britain in 1966 to evade broadcast laws. The ship’s DJs, lightly managed by Quentin (Bill Nighy), the Brian Epstein-ish businessman behind it all, take turns blasting out rock music 24 hours a day to a British populace portrayed as starved for the infusion.

10 Reasons Why Love Actually Actually Should Be Your Cinematic Christmas Tradition

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10 Reasons Why <em>Love Actually</em> Actually Should Be Your Cinematic Christmas Tradition
10 Reasons Why <em>Love Actually</em> Actually Should Be Your Cinematic Christmas Tradition

I’ve been a Richard Curtis fan for years now. Upon seeing my first episode of the incredibly witty Blackadder, I never looked back. (Full disclosure: Curtis’s Bean was never my cup of tea, but it apparently falls under the “You can please some of the people some of the time” category, and certainly the concept shows the man’s versatility.)

Hardly Novel: Stranger Than Fiction

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Hardly Novel: <em>Stranger Than Fiction</em>
Hardly Novel: <em>Stranger Than Fiction</em>

Will Ferrell is Harold Crick, an IRS auditor with an OCD-like daily use for his knack for mathematics. Emma Thompson is Karen Eiffel, a neurotic and depressive writer who cannot finish her newest novel. Harold Crick is the protagonist of Karen Eiffel’s newest novel—supposedly an unassuming everyman, living his everyday life in an anytown, unaware of his fate. But he is fully aware, because he’s been hearing Eiffel narrate his day-to-day torpor and she’s spot on with every minute detail, like the sound of folders pulled across one another mimicking soft ocean waves cresting on a beach. Her novel is moot if Crick is aware of his “imminent death” because that hideous phrase “little did he know” is simply wrong: he knows. Stranger Than Fiction is a movie, confused about its intent and clumsily executed at that. Zach Helm is a screenwriter, clever and witty and myopic. Marc Foster is a director, quick to telegraph the screenplay in an effort to streamline the story while undermining his cast’s roundly good performances with borrowed tricks and a meticulous art direction that serves only to distract.