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An appropriately festive New Year’s Eve mash-up

“You Got Served” meet your new best friend, “Fiddler on the Roof”

Thanks to ACDPresents, a student somewhere I take it, and my friend Wes for turning me on to this one. L’chiam, everyone.

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A Roundtable Chat with actress Lesley Manville (“Another Year”)

A classic case of an “overnight success” who’s been working successfully for decades, Lesley Manville was just starting to be able to bask in the glow of a job extremely well done during the junket for “Another Year” last month. A few weeks later, the already simmering Oscar speculation around her performance in the latest film from maverick English director Mike Leigh got an early boost: she won the Best Actress award from the influential National Board of Review alongside a number of nominations elsewhere.

anotheryear-14

Lesley Manville began her career on the stage and British television, making her film debut with a minor role in Mike Newell’s 1985 melodrama, “Dance With a Stranger.” In 1988, she appeared in Mike Leigh’s worldwide breakthrough comedy, “High Hopes,” the first of six films so far with the director known for his uniquely collaborative approach. Notable roles in Leigh’s historically-based “Vera Drake” and “Topsy-Turvy” followed, along with numerous less well known films and television shows. It’s possible that she’s best known to the mass U.S. audience as Mrs. Cratchit from Robert Zemickis’ motion-capture “A Christmas Carol.”

In “Another Year,” Manville portrays Mary, a lonely and progressively more depressed alcoholic whose visits to the home of a contented therapist coworker (Ruth Sheen) and her husband (Jim Broadbent), become increasingly painful. It’s a powerful and all too real-seeming portrayal that has hit Manville’s career with enormous force.

Even without a huge number of awards, I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of Manville from now on. During the post roundtable chatter, I half jokingly suggested that she should work on her American accent, and she reminded me that she had just recently finished doing the very American play by John Guare, “Six Degrees of Separation.”

Things got a bit interesting late in this group interview, when one of the other writers present asked a question which Manville, perhaps stung by some past public discussion of her short-lived late 1980s marriage to Gary Oldman, deemed overly personal. With a little luck, Lesley Manville will have to deal with more prying from less from the press in years ahead.

Read the rest of this entry »

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“Let Me In” — Best scene of 2010?

Richard Jenkins in This sequence about a murder that doesn’t go at all smoothly is certainly what popped into my mind when I saw that Salon’s Matt Zoeller Seitz was doing a series on his ten favorite scenes of the year. It does seem clear that Matt Reeves’ solid and beautifully acted “cover version” of the vampire-themed coming of age Swedish art house hit, “Let the Right One In,” “Let Me In” was the film most cruelly overlooked by audiences.

Matt is a filmmaker as well as critic, which is nice because what follows is his annotated version of the scene in question, which explains everything you need to know (and really doesn’t spoil anything at all about the film as a whole).

For more commentary on the movie and the scene from the ever-thoughtful-and-engaging Mr. Seitz, see the original post at Salon.

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Totally random movie moment #2

I know just how Bill McKay feels.

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Totally random movie moment #1

We’re deep, deep, deep, in the holiday doldrums as far as movie news and trailers go. Since I don’t feel like paying any attention whatsoever to Kevin Smith’s latest answer to the question “What is the stupidest possible way to react to some bad reviews?” that really leaves nothing to do but present Bruce Lee playing a game of death with Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

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