February 6, 2014 |
The Academy Awards are still more than three weeks away, and, by this point, there's the feeling that everyone involved should be looking (or at least feeling ) like Cate Blanchett's desperate, fallen socialite at the end of "Blue Jasmine" - bleary-eyed, babbling and drenched in perspiration. Those who have avoided that fate have probably honed their personal mantra along the lines of Matthew McConaughey's chest-bump money chant in "The Wolf of Wall Street," something along the lines of: Mmmm-hmmm-hmmm.
December 19, 2013 |
Do the clothes really help find the character? Is it a good idea to watch your own acting? And are movies sacrificing entertainment to be morally correct? The performers participating in The Envelope's Actors Round Table wrestled with those and other questions - when they were not laughing about less serious subjects - during a wide-ranging conversation that ultimately focused on their memorable performances. The panel was as varied in experience as the films were different. In addition to "42's" Harrison Ford, our ensemble included Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave")
December 11, 2013 |
Five black actors, ranging from a television superstar to a Somali-born newcomer, have earned Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for their film performances, a reflection of an especially strong year for movies featuring actors of color. The movie that won the most film nominations was "12 Years a Slave. " Steve McQueen's unblinking portrait of slavery received four nominations, including for cast in a motion picture. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," about a White House servant who is a witness to civil rights history, collected three nominations, one of them for talk show host and mogul Oprah Winfrey.
October 21, 2013 |
In "12 Years a Slave," director Steve McQueen demonstrates both an eye for striking compositions and an unflinching gaze at scenes of stunning cruelty. There are abundant examples of the latter to be found in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped in the North in 1841 and sold into slavery in the South for a dozen years. At the Envelope Screening Series , McQueen and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt discussed their use of long takes to grab and hold the audience's attention, as in a searing whipping scene that lasts 10 minutes without a single edit.
October 19, 2013 |
The state of Louisiana - with its manicured plantations, moss-draped sycamores and creeping kudzu vines - serves almost as a character itself in "12 Years a Slave," Steve McQueen's historical drama based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in the antebellum South for a dozen years. At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series , actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northup, and Alfre Woodard, who plays a former slave married to a plantation owner, discussed how the film's powerful sense of place helped them get into character.
October 17, 2013 |
When a director who never ever blinks takes on a horrific subject, a nightmare in broad daylight is the inevitable result. Welcome, if that is the right word, to the world of "12 Years a Slave. " Based on an 1853 memoir detailing the appalling experiences of Solomon Northup, a free man of color who was brazenly abducted and sold into slavery, this film intends to do more than tell us a story. It wants to immerse us in an experience, and it does. Obviously, no film can re-create the unspeakable degradation of one human being owning another, but in making the attempt "12 Years" insists we feel things in a particularly oppressive way. This is impressive filmmaking, but it is not easy to take in. PHOTOS: Scenes from '12 Years a Slave' British director Steve McQueen, working from a screenplay by John Ridley, has no intention of making audiences the slightest bit comfortable with this terrible story, no interest in putting in any special pleading to bend our hearts.